Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 14th Mar 2007 22:10 UTC
Gnome "Today, the GNOME Project celebrates the release of GNOME 2.18, the latest version of the popular, multi-platform Free desktop environment." The GNOME 2.18 start page has all the details, such as release notes, download locations, and screenshots.
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RE[4]: release
by sbergman27 on Thu 15th Mar 2007 02:31 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: release"
sbergman27
Member since:
2005-07-24

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I just want to add that this has been true for quite a number of releases.

Some people, who disagree with the level of simplification of the Gnome UI, want to see more options added back.

But this user missed a very basic one in the current forest of menu options.

I think it is obvious that we need at least three levels of interface, selectable by the user:

1. Novice
2. Intermediate
3. Advanced

The current strategy of simplifying the primary interface and stuffing all the rest into the gconf-editor is suboptimal.

The user should be able to start out with a simple, reduced option interface. And then graduate to higher levels as their proficiency increases.

I'm not confining my recommendation to Gnome, BTW. Gnome, KDE, and XFCE are all in a position to implement it.

First one that does will be a winner.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[5]: release
by Doc Pain on Thu 15th Mar 2007 03:16 in reply to "RE[4]: release"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

"I think it is obvious that we need at least three levels of interface, selectable by the user:

1. Novice
2. Intermediate
3. Advanced"


I've suggested this as an idea to improve KDE. Because this has been discussed a few times, I just want to add a fourth level.

4. User configured

In this level, the (advanced / professional) user could configure all options and menues for what they should include, item by item, rearranging them as he likes it.

A similar concept has been used by Geoworks Ensemble 3.0 more than 10 years ago.

"The current strategy of simplifying the primary interface and stuffing all the rest into the gconf-editor is suboptimal."

This approach will make the UI less interesting for professionals who want to use it. On the other hand, even the simplest interface can be "misunderstood" if the (potential / novice) user is spoiled by strange and complicated concepts he might know from other desktop environments, usually from them manufactured by MICROS~1. :-)

"The user should be able to start out with a simple, reduced option interface. And then graduate to higher levels as their proficiency increases."

This is what made GeoWorks that appealing.

"I'm not confining my recommendation to Gnome, BTW. Gnome, KDE, and XFCE are all in a position to implement it.

First one that does will be a winner."


The first one was GeoWorks, as far as I know.. :-)

I really like this idea. It has been discussed to even to change the level dynamically. The system recognizes which options are used most times and places them in an obvious place. The disadvantage is a periodically changing UI which might cause problems...

Okay, just an idea. :-)

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[6]: release
by superstoned on Thu 15th Mar 2007 10:30 in reply to "RE[5]: release"
superstoned Member since:
2005-07-07

these 'complexity levels' have been discussed, and according to usability experts, they are one of the worst ideas imaginable. So it won't ever make it into KDE 4, and I guess the same goes for Gnome.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[6]: release
by aent on Thu 15th Mar 2007 03:52 in reply to "RE[4]: release"
aent Member since:
2006-01-25

That reminds me of gnome 1.x... it didn't work because when someone asked a question on how to change one option that was in advanced mode, they would switch to the advanced settings and never switch back. Also, many users, especially those who want to try Linux, feel like they're advanced users, so they will enable that option. For the most part, options are either useful or they're really not, except for really, really advanced users who want to customize everything on their entire desktop. Being able to edit the menus everywhere might be helpful, but I think it would be a huge step back to have more then one set of defaults for beginner and expert and in between.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[7]: release
by nutshell42 on Thu 15th Mar 2007 18:02 in reply to "RE[6]: release"
nutshell42 Member since:
2006-01-12

For the most part, options are either useful or they're really not, except for really, really advanced users who want to customize everything on their entire desktop.

I think there are two (three) kinds of options:

1. Basic, useful, used often. This is the usual stuff, the homepage of your webbrowser, font size etc.

2. Matter of taste, seldomly used but nevertheless useful. This is stuff you change once and then never again. e.g. I haven't touched much of my pretty extensive KDE customizations since the early 3.0beta days.

(3. Advanced system configuration stuff; used not too often, but it's nevertheless important to offer a graphic config tool for it. IME it's much easier to tell a non-expert over the phone how to change stuff in the third submenu, second tab, than to get them to open anything that looks like a command-line. For this kind of stuff gconf is sufficiently "GUIy", more buttons and less text wouldn't hurt though. =)

Imho, developers should try to split their options in categories 1 and 2, and put those in 2 in an "advanced tab", or in an advanced dialog (see advanced settings in the Windows display settings; I need them quite often, I'd be really pissed if I had to edit the registry for this kind of stuff, but I acknowledge that it's just too advanced to put it in the main dialog)

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[5]: release
by John Nilsson on Thu 15th Mar 2007 15:25 in reply to "RE[4]: release"
John Nilsson Member since:
2005-07-06

Another variant is the one oulined in this paper [1]

"The design includes two interfaces between which the user can easily toggle: (1) an interface personalized by the user containing desired features only, and (2) the default interface with all the standard features."

Instead of fixed interface "levels" you have the "personalized" level and the "kitchen sink" level. With an easy way to toggle features from the latter to show in the first.

[1] http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?doid=503376.503406

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: release
by Pfeifer on Fri 16th Mar 2007 17:16 in reply to "RE[4]: release"
Pfeifer Member since:
2006-02-20

This hast discussed to death, you know?

(*shudders* another ghost of user interface past... )

Experience levels have been tried before and they have always failed and will always fail.

First of all, it's a hell to support. Have you ever worked on IT first level support? Even getting people trough "normal" configuration dialogs is a hell. Having multiple versions of configuration dialogs and trying to figure out, which version the user has active is so much, much, much worse.

The second issue is, that as soon someone doesn't find a configuration option for some exotic feature he would like the application to have, he (or she) will turn to the "Advanced" level. Noone ever uses the intermediate level configuration dialog.

Nautilus had such a thing years and years ago. It failed, is was removed. It's dead and burried, please leave it there; it's just where it belongs.

Reply Parent Score: 2