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?
Thread beginning with comment 214104
To view parent comment, click here.
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
RE[2]: Linus != Usabilty Expert
by Moochman on Sun 18th Feb 2007 12:49 UTC 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

dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

Yes. Gnome has a menu editor. Now. It was added to Gnome in 2.16 but it is actually a third party application added to the Gnome suite.

SMEG began as a project because Gnome devs refused (from an elitist POV) to add in a menu editor.

SMEG became popular, was enhanced and is now a part of Gnome.

But there was no Gnome Menu Editor in Gnome 2.14 - and it is only available in Gnome 2.16 because the devs decided to include the 3rd party application formerly known as SMEG.

Reply Parent Score: 2

antenna Member since:
2006-10-22

Well, thing is, many sane WM's will have the window shade up/down on a roll of the mousewheel over the titlebar such that it never needs to be configured in the first place. To me, this is an almost obvious thing to provide by default but in Metacity this cannot even be configured. I really don't think this type of thing is such an obessive geek type feature, but opinions will differ.

Reply Parent Score: 1

Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

GNOME has a menu editor.

Thanks for pointing that out. I knew that already. Too bad it took so long to reinstate such an obvious feature...

Pray tell me how many users, apart from border-line obsessive compulsive geeks, reconfigure mouse clicks?

As I understand it Linus was just using that as an example pertaining to him. I would dismiss it, too, if not for the fact that even Windows lets you do this.... Once a feature becomes well-entrenched, it becomes expected by the people that use it, however small a minority that may be. I think Windows provides a reasonable standard of configurability, even if the means of getting at it aren't always the best. I think it's reasonable to argue that if Gnome is going to be the main system on corporate desktops everywhere it should try to attain feature parity with Windows, except with an improved, cleaner and better-organized UI. And things like mouse button configuration are low-hanging fruit. But that's just my opinion.

Edited 2007-02-18 20:53

Reply Parent Score: 2

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

Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

Edit: removed--repeat post.

Edited 2007-02-18 20:42

Reply Parent Score: 2

Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

I get what you're saying, but "technical issues" do not excuse removing important functionality. They should have left the old technology in place until the new technology was ready instead of subjecting users to such a ridiculous situation as not being able to modify their own menus.

Technical grounds should never come before UI. IMHO.

Reply Parent Score: 3

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