Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 3rd May 2010 22:04 UTC
Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu Remember how Mark Shuttleworth justified moving the window titlebar widgets to the left by claiming the space freed up on the right side could now be used for something else? On his blog, Shuttleworth unveiled what, exactly, Ubuntu's plans are: window indicators, or 'windicators'. In a nutshell, it comes down to having a tray area in every window.
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Oh boy! Here we go again.
by sorpigal on Tue 4th May 2010 01:46 UTC
sorpigal
Member since:
2005-11-02

This is all very nice as far as it goes but the danger with any 'new' design is that it blindly throws away value that exists in current designs simply because the designers don't know all of the real uses of current designs, or because they discount the value of those uses.

For example, the three listed uses of the status bar are indeed three common uses. A fourth use that is not mentioned: Non-transient status information, such as current page and line number in a text editor/word processor. You cannot put that kind of data usefully into an icon and hiding it behind a submenu makes it nearly useless. This example is real and represents the tip of a dangerous iceberg which one risks hitting any time a radical design decision is made.

You cannot simply say "This is a great design because the ten problems I set out to solve, I solved." You can create a decent system that way but you are not likely to create a system that is good enough that it should replace the status-quo (this is also the mistake, incidentally, made by people who try to revise the FHS by fiat). In order to be as good as the existing system you must address *all* uses of the existing system, especially the uses you do not replicate well or are inferior in your system. Talking up why it's good is fine but talking about how it deals with the areas where it is weak is far more valuable.

Until someone sits down and works through how it fails I do not see that you can suggest that it's worth writing even one line of code. If the design doesn't stand up to criticism even on paper then there is probably a serious flaw with it. Again, that may be okay for a brand new system but you're agitating for replacing something that already exists. The burden of proof is on *you*.

I don't think Ubuntu has the power to coerce developers to make use of an Ubuntu-specific API for an Ubuntu-specific UI element of questionable value to anyone and no value to non-Ubuntu users. Either push this idea at the toolkit level and adopt it when it's ready or be prepared to maintain a hefty patchset.

Reply Score: 9

RE: Oh boy! Here we go again.
by wirespot on Tue 4th May 2010 22:50 in reply to "Oh boy! Here we go again."
wirespot Member since:
2006-06-21

I don't think Ubuntu has the power to coerce developers to[...]


Unfortunately, Ubuntu has the power to screw Ubuntu up beyond recognition in just short 6 months from now. Seems like all these ideas converge to making things adhere to a select few people's idea of "pretty", usability and common sense be damned.

The notification bubbles started off with good intentions but they messed everything up by not allowing any customization at all. The activity indicator is also currently messed up and unusable. And instead of stopping and working out these quirks, they rush on to completely modified window buttons and "windicators" (there's an idea born dead if I ever heard one).

There's a lot of useful stuff coming out of Ubuntu but also a lot of bad ideas. And I don't know if whoever's driving these bad ideas will have the guts to stop and say "ok, sorry, we messed up", then backtrack and fix things. Few big collaborative projects manage to do that.

Reply Parent Score: 4

bornagainenguin Member since:
2005-08-07

wirespot speculated...

Few big collaborative projects manage to do that.


The problem with your speculation is that Ubuntu ceased to be a collaborative project some time ago and has become Mark's little fiefdom. Not a bad position to be in if you can afford it and Shuttleworth certainly has the gold enough to make the rules. Only after a while people stop caring about you having the nicer toys if you're going to be a prick about letting them play too...

--bornagainpenguin

Reply Parent Score: 2

sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

Unfortunately, Ubuntu has the power to screw Ubuntu up beyond recognition in just short 6 months from now. Seems like all these ideas converge to making things adhere to a select few people's idea of "pretty", usability and common sense be damned.

And Ubuntu users have the power to become non-Ubuntu users as replacement distributions spring up like weeds. This is the power of the free desktop: No platform lock in, no brand lock in. Make a mis-step and you could see your user base disappear inside of a year.

Reply Parent Score: 2