Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 17th Feb 2007 18:59 UTC, submitted by elsewhere
Talk, Rumors, X Versus Y "Some bad blood between Linus Torvalds and GNOME developers is flaring up again. Previously, Torvalds has said that Linux users should switch to KDE instead of GNOME because of the GNOME team's 'users are idiots' mentality. Now he has 'put his money where his mouth is' by submitting patches to GNOME in order to have it behave as he likes. This week, on the Linux Foundation's (formerly OSDL) Desktop Architects mailing list, the two sides are going mano a mano." Can I interest you in a pair of these and these?
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RE: Linus != Usabilty Expert
by Snifflez on Sun 18th Feb 2007 06:32 UTC in reply to "Linus != Usabilty Expert"
Snifflez
Member since:
2005-11-15

Right. And _you_ are one of those "usability experts". Because, you see, in order to have the necessary credentials to decide who is (or isn't) a usability expert, you must be one. Otherwise, to use a popular parlance, you're simply running your mouth.

Now, just how delusional would you have to be to imagine that you running your mouth about something you have almost no clue about, somehow equals an opinion informed enough to be presented here? Really, next time you happen to be around a mirror, look in it and ask yourself, "What do I _really_ know about usability?" Don't be overly surprised if the reflection in the mirror somehow manages to say, "Nothing."

Reply Parent Score: -3

RE[2]: Linus != Usabilty Expert
by Moochman on Sun 18th Feb 2007 12:49 in reply to "RE: Linus != Usabilty Expert"
Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

I'm majoring in computer science with an emphasis on human-computer interaction right now, and I can say with perhaps more authority than you that you have just made an idiotically misinformed comment.

Good UI design comes from listening to end users' reactions, not from shutting them up. And certainly not from simply creating an interface from your own conceptions of what's best, without bothering do do field testing or gather user feedback.

This is actually one of the biggest challenges in UI design today--that there are too many "superstar-coder" egoists claiming they know best and not listening to what the actual end users have to say. Now, I know that Linus is one of these superstar coders, but read the comments above. He is clearly speaking for a lot of people when he complains about Gnome's limitations. Whereas the Gnome devs who decided to throw out things like menu editing undoubtedly came at the problem from the elitist "we know best" perspective.

For the record, the commenter you're replying to is also idiotically misguided by the idea that "usability experts" magically have all the answers to solving interface problems, and that "normal people" have nothing to say on the matter.

I'll let you get back to your war of egos now...

Edited 2007-02-18 13:02

Reply Parent Score: 5

Mystilleef Member since:
2005-06-29

GNOME has a menu editor.

A lot of people talk about GNOME's limitations but fail to list them.

"I can't configure each pixel on my monitor" doesn't count.

The reason Linus finds GNOME limiting is because he can't reconfigure mouse clicks. Pray tell me how many users, apart from border-line obsessive compulsive geeks, reconfigure mouse clicks?

When was the last time you walked into a computer lab and have someone yell, damn Windows sucks because I can't reconfigure mouse clicks when I click on the title bar.

There are some features worth coding and there are others better left ignored. Writing software should never be about catering for limitless human preferences, emotions, moods or maladies.

Reply Parent Score: 5

Daniel Borgmann Member since:
2005-07-08

I'm majoring in computer science with an emphasis on human-computer interaction right now, and I can say with perhaps more authority than you that you have just made an idiotically misinformed comment.
[..]
Whereas the Gnome devs who decided to throw out things like menu editing undoubtedly came at the problem from the elitist "we know best" perspective.


Since you like strong words, I'm sure you don't mind me telling you that you just made an idiotically misinformed statement yourself.

For the record, menu editing was temporarily removed for technical reasons, nothing else. And that's exactly what's wrong with this kind of discussions. People are taking everything they don't like about GNOME and blame it on usability decisions, when in 90% of the issues this either isn't the case or at least not as black and white as some make it look to be. Most annoying is the constant confusion between customisability and functionality. Both can be argued for and against, but in completely different ways.

This is one of those topics that just aren't any fun discussing on a public forum, because the popular opinions have so much pull, that any counter-arguments are simply washed aside.

Essentially KDE and GNOME still have exactly the same goal: To create software that is simple to use yet as useful as possible. Right now both differ somewhat drastically at their approaches, but nobody is treating users like idiots or writing flawed software on purpose. Free Software usability has come an amazingly long way during the last few years (mind you, before then some people even claimed that it would be impossible for OSS to have good usability). So what if there are still some rough edges.

Reply Parent Score: 5

Snifflez Member since:
2005-11-15

"I'm majoring in computer science with an emphasis on human-computer interaction right now, and I can say with perhaps more authority than you that you have just made an idiotically misinformed comment.

[ ... ]

For the record, the commenter you're replying to is also idiotically misguided by the idea that 'usability experts' magically have all the answers to solving interface problems, and that 'normal people' have nothing to say on the matter."


What in the world are you blathering about, college boy? At no point did dmlongo or I suggest that usability experts should be the only authority on solving user interface problems.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Linus != Usabilty Expert
by gmlongo on Sun 18th Feb 2007 18:03 in reply to "RE: Linus != Usabilty Expert"
gmlongo Member since:
2005-07-07

First of all, you have no idea what my background is, so you are the one who is "simply running your mouth". So by your logic, in order to know who is (or isn't) a doctor, I need to be one myself? Sure, makes a lot of sense. BTW, I did as you suggested and looked in the mirror and asked "What do I really know about usability?", and it responded "more than Snifflez".

Your comment is just ignorant and for some reason you feel the need to attack me because you do not agree with me. I never said that I am a usability expert, but I am not foolish enough to think that there is no such thing. I come from many years of user interface coding/design and I understand the need for usability guidelines and research. Additional features need to be justified as valuable to the system as a whole, not to some small subset of "power users".

Reply Parent Score: 1

Snifflez Member since:
2005-11-15

"First of all, you have no idea what my background is, so you are the one who is 'simply running your mouth'. So by your logic, in order to know who is (or isn't) a doctor, I need to be one myself? Sure, makes a lot of sense."

Spare me your lame attempts at establishing a valid analogy; I can already see that this simple task is outside the scope of your mental abilities. Let's go back to my initial question: in this specific case, what gives _you_ the right to decide whether Linus is a usability expert or not? What facts and arguments have you used to arrive at such conclusion?

Now, judging from your comment about Linus, you seem to be implying that he's wrong in his criticism of GNOME's usability. Particularly, your comment seems to be making a strong indication that you don't believe that configurable left-, right- and double-clicking on a title bar is a good, _usable_ feature. Thus, are you a usability expert competent enough to have an informed opinion about that? Furthermore, if you're not a usability expert, aren't you simply, to use your own words, attacking Linus (not even directly) because you disagree with him?

"Additional features need to be justified as valuable to the system as a whole, not to some small subset of 'power users'."

Ah, finally. An attempt on your part to actually make something resembling a valid argument. So, what makes you think that Linus' patches add functionality that only power users would be interested in? How do you know that? You say that you have years of experience in UI design -- have you designed and|or coded desktop environments?

Reply Parent Score: 1