Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 27th Aug 2009 19:08 UTC
Linux A complaint you hear quite often is that the Linux desktop environments, which mostly refers to KDE and GNOME, are trying too hard to be like Windows and Mac OS X. Now, even James Bottomley, Distinguished Engineer at Novell, Director of the Linux Foundation, and Chair of its Technical Advisory Board (put that on your business card) states in an interview that he believes the Linux desktop is too much like Windows and Mac.
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Yeah...
by r_a_trip on Thu 27th Aug 2009 19:16 UTC
r_a_trip
Member since:
2005-07-06

And when it isn't too much like Windows or OS X, then it is too weird for "Joe Sixpack" to use.

You're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't.

Reply Score: 15

RE: Yeah...
by Kroc on Thu 27th Aug 2009 19:25 in reply to "Yeah..."
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

I don‘t think that’s true. The iPhone OS is nothing like a desktop system and people handle it fine. Microsoft tried replicating the desktop on the phone and it’s a disaster.

The fact is that the current general desktop metaphor is confusing for regular users, has been since 1984 and continues to be so even today when I deal with customers buying new computers. Computers are simply difficult to operate.

You don‘t get in your car and expect it to operate like your desktop computer, or phone, or television?

A radically different OS can be, if designed right, easier than Windows. Nobody has found the universal formula that scales properly though.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Yeah...
by FooBarWidget on Thu 27th Aug 2009 20:21 in reply to "RE: Yeah..."
FooBarWidget Member since:
2005-11-11

That's because the iPhone isn't a desktop or laptop, so users don't have the expectation that it should work like one. If Apple ever ports iPhone OS to desktops or laptops then people would go all "how do I install MS Office?" on it.

Reply Parent Score: 9

RE[2]: Yeah...
by Doc Pain on Thu 27th Aug 2009 20:22 in reply to "RE: Yeah..."
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

The fact is that the current general desktop metaphor is confusing for regular users, has been since 1984 and continues to be so even today when I deal with customers buying new computers. Computers are simply difficult to operate.


You say it. Computers aren't easy, or at least they are not as easy as advertisement wants them to be. You often see this even in our "modern" time where users who operate PCs for several years cannot tell the difference from the PC ("modem") and the screen ("TV"), or the speakers ("brain").

You don‘t get in your car and expect it to operate like your desktop computer, or phone, or television?


People like car analogies, and I do like this one. But, allow me to mention this, people expect cars to follow some specific rules, even if they never drove one. For example, where is the steering wheel, how do you use it, where are brakes, where to shift gears, where to honk. This applies in a similar way to desktop environments. Due to specific "education" people got in their career, they expect the desktop to behave in a certain way. This of course differs from user to user. Those who grew up with CDE often find things ununderstandable in "Windows", and those who are familiar with using the keyboard as the primary input device -- we remember now that few decades ago PCs were operated by ordinary people through a keyboard where they pressed keys in order to communicate their "wishes" to the system -- may find problems in KDE or Gnome.

In order to operate a car, a phone or a PC, you need some basic knowledge. Without this knowledge, you will run into problems, sooner or later. All OSes and DEs seem to have this in common.

Following some standardization among all the different DEs often is a lot of help. On the other hand, it often limits functionality and productivity. Things like "focus follows mouse" and "focus doesn't imply foreground", as well as combining mouse and keyboard support come into mind. But finally, it's possible to admit that those things doesn't belong to the primary interests of the home users who seem to make up the main target group.

A radically different OS can be, if designed right, easier than Windows. Nobody has found the universal formula that scales properly though.


We can still wait (or hope) for it.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Yeah...
by axilmar on Fri 28th Aug 2009 09:36 in reply to "RE: Yeah..."
axilmar Member since:
2006-03-20

Computers are simply difficult to operate


That's because the technology used to program them is outdated. The model of processes/filesystems/files/folders holds the development of more interesting software back.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Yeah...
by kaiwai on Fri 28th Aug 2009 11:10 in reply to "RE: Yeah..."
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

I don‘t think that’s true. The iPhone OS is nothing like a desktop system and people handle it fine. Microsoft tried replicating the desktop on the phone and it’s a disaster.

The fact is that the current general desktop metaphor is confusing for regular users, has been since 1984 and continues to be so even today when I deal with customers buying new computers. Computers are simply difficult to operate.

You don‘t get in your car and expect it to operate like your desktop computer, or phone, or television?

A radically different OS can be, if designed right, easier than Windows. Nobody has found the universal formula that scales properly though.


Just to play devils advocate; I would hardly call what Apple did as something revolutionary given that Sharp did something very similar using Qtopia.

The reason it worked is because it s a completely different device; it is a completely different device then the end user will have no expectations on how it *should* behave. If they have no expectations on how it *should* behave then they come to using the device with an open mind. The accept the basic premise of "new device, new way of doing things".

The problem is that people are used to laptops and desktops operating in a certain way - when you change the way they operate; they've already got a set of expectations and they're unwilling to change what their expectations are; no matter how good the alternative you provide. When people for example purchase a netbook, laptop or desktop, they expect it to operate in a certain way - the same reason why people are hesitant with using Mac OS X; they have an expectation from Windows, Mac OS X doesn't operate like that expectation, so they assume the device 'isn't for me'.

Unfortunately there isn't a lot you can do about those sorts of people - who regretfully make up the majority of end users.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE: Yeah...
by vikramsharma on Fri 28th Aug 2009 04:10 in reply to "Yeah..."
vikramsharma Member since:
2005-07-06

You have hit the nail on the head, for example my brother does not like using Linux or Mac OS X as he expects Linux based Operating System and Mac OS X to behave exactly like Windows because he and so many people I know take Windows to be a standard. Microsoft rules the desktop market as of now and Windows is seen as a standard, anything else is perceived as non-standard by an average Joe user. Simple example would be the implementation of copy/paste in Windows and Mac OS X ctrl+c and ctrl+v on Windows as opposed to cmd+c and cmd+v on the Mac.

There are always going to be similarities too, KDE (haven't used KDE 4.x) used to remind me of Windows and Gnome of Mac (hence I use Gnome). I am not saying that KDE/Gnome are a copy of Windows and Mac environment, but familiarity makes it easier for a user to relate to and get his/her job done.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Yeah...
by KenP on Sun 30th Aug 2009 02:24 in reply to "Yeah..."
KenP Member since:
2009-07-28

I agree with you. For once, a major Linux desktop, KDE, has diverted from the typical desktop paradigm and they have faced rabid opposition -- forcing several distributions to provide a KDE3.5-like desktop on default login (Mandriva, for example.)

It is hypocritical of the Linux community to ask for changes and staus-quo at the same time.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Yeah...
by sbergman27 on Sun 30th Aug 2009 02:30 in reply to "RE: Yeah..."
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

For once, a major Linux desktop, KDE, has diverted from the typical desktop paradigm and they have faced rabid opposition -- forcing several distributions to provide a KDE3.5-like desktop on default login

In nature, most mutations are maladaptive. Many are fatal. Think about it.

Reply Parent Score: 2