Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 25th Nov 2007 23:05 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces This is the seventh article in a series on common usability and graphical user interface related terms [part I | part II | part III | part IV | part V | part VI]. On the internet, and especially in forum discussions like we all have here on OSNews, it is almost certain that in any given discussion, someone will most likely bring up usability and GUI related terms - things like spatial memory, widgets, consistency, Fitts' Law, and more. The aim of this series is to explain these terms, learn something about their origins, and finally rate their importance in the field of usability and (graphical) user interface design. In part VII, as promised in part VI, we focus completely on CDE, the Common Desktop Environment.
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OpenWindows & CDE
by bnolsen on Mon 26th Nov 2007 16:18 UTC
bnolsen
Member since:
2006-01-06

I remember when solaris came out and CDE came with it. At that time I was very used to running OpenWindows with the olvwm (ahh virtual desktops!). The buttons were rounded, the bevelling was nice and light and the scrollbars IMHO were the best I've ever used, except the behavior went out to lunch when the scrollbar area compressed.

Pretty much all of us developers complained heavily with the new CDE/motif mandate. As mentioned in some posts above, the persistent "dock" was just space getting wasted as were the icons on the left. And everything looked boxy, plain and boring with "heavy" themes. I think the original CDE looked so heavy because of the very thick and blocky bevels with motif, not to mentioned all the dark background colors that went along with motif.

But CDE was customizable to the point that we could make it work enough like openwindows and the dock could be thrown onto the desktop as an icon.

Someone should do a usability study on the old OpenView stuff. Too bad the API was quite primitive.

Edited 2007-11-26 16:19 UTC

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