In the commercial software world, user interfaces are generally designed by one group. Like Microsoft for Windows or Apple for Mac OS. Those desktop environments were designed by one company who did things like user testing and statistical analysis to try and make the desktop they thought would work best. Linux is different. Large groups definitely DO perform user testing and statistical analysis, but one group can also say "Here's what we want" and, if they have the ability to code it, their idea comes into being. It's pretty amazing, when you think about it. Linux lets people create what they want. If you don't like what's out there, fork it! Or start from scratch! You're in control!
Within the last few days we read the news about Apple's Siri AI personal assistant, and about a brain implant that lets monkeys control virtual limps & feel virtual objects. I believe that if someone is to also combine a few more technologies (e.g. high-res eyeware, appropriate operating system changes), we will be looking at the next user interface revolution, after the inventions of the computer mouse and touch interfaces.
"Like for the previous survey, there aren't much answers anymore after about one week, so I think it's time to thank everyone and close the survey, in order to publish the results along with some interpretation." As before, everything is released under Creative Commons CC0 license.
"As mentioned before, the original multi-monitor survey had some serious flaws, which means that its results should be used with caution. I don't know if I can gather people around this again, but I wanted to try an updated, much cleaned up version of the survey, with results distributed in public domain just as before. Here it is." (from The OS-periment)
"Okay, it's been about one week and there are not much answers anymore, so it's time to thank everyone who participated, close this survey, and publish the results, along with some interpretation." Everything is released under Creative Commons CC0 license, so anyone interested, please help yourself.
"Recently, Brendan and I have been arguing about what can reasonably be expected from a multi-monitor OS (among other graphical stack things). We've reached the conclusion that nothing replaces real-world user data. So anyone interested, please answer this survey about multi-monitor setups and expectations ! (Results will be published here once the amount of answers has reached a steady state, I'd say in a month at worst)" (Source)
While the BFS scheduler is getting ready to celebrate its second birthday, in just three weeks AMD's open-source Radeon graphics driver strategy for Linux will be turning four years old . . . which has ended up being a game-changer in the Linux world. AMD continues to support open-source hardware enablement on their latest graphics processors and recently even hired more developers to work on the code and documentation. How far have they come though in four years?
Since we're on a CLI kick today, here's an "attempt at presenting some of the most important guidelines for CLI design."
A couple of days ago I read a blog post by Stephen Ramsay, a professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Fellow at the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities. In it, he mentions that he has all but abandoned the GUI and finds the command line to be "faster, easier to understand, easier to integrate, more scalable, more portable, more sustainable, more consistent, and many, many times more flexible than even the most well-thought-out graphical apps." I found this very thought-provoking, because, like Ramsay, I spend a lot of time thinking about "The Future of Computing," and I think that the CLI, an interface from the past, might have a place in the interface of the future.
Back in the 80s, a GUI paradigm called WIMP (Windows, Icons, Mouse, Pointer) began to establish itself as the new way in which most people interacted with a computer. When it comes to one of the most significant elements of that system, overlapping windows, I'm beginning to wonder, has it had its day?
"Pinta, a 'lightweight' open source raster image editor, turned 1.0 on April 27, offering Linux users another choice for simple image editing. Pinta is intended to be a clone of Paint.NET, the Windows-only raster editor written in .NET. As such, it uses Mono under the hood, but it gains the ability to run equally well on Linux, Mac OS X, or Windows. Is it a replacement for GIMP or Krita? That depends on what you need to do." What I like about Pinta is that I actually caused its creation in the first place.
Samsung has developed a completely transparent solar-powered monitor that's designed to be used with ambient light. Though they're marketing it as a television, it's almost certainly going to be used initially as displays in commercial areas, and it apparently is also a touch-screen, opening it up for the coolest kind of kiosk you've ever used. See a video after the jump.
If you use a photo editor to crop or convert your images, or to improve brightness, color balance and contrast, then you probably don't need a professional image processing suite. There are tons of web-based graphic editors that are available for free. However, if you are looking for self-hosted, open source solutions, you should definitely go in a different direction. Here's a list of four open source, self hosted online graphic editors.
Over the past few decades, the software that enables us to be productive with our computers has become increasingly sophisticated and complex. Today's UI designers are faced with the challenge of devising graphical user interfaces that are easy to grasp and use, yet still provide access to a wide range of features. Here are some ideas about the nature of GUI complexity, followed by a couple of thoughts on simplicity that might just surprise you.
As an answer to someone asking whether Unity will require a working OpenGL stack to operate in Ubuntu 11.04 "Natty Narwhal", Mark Shuttleworth announced that Canonical would offer an optional, QT-based, "2D" implementation of Unity. Here is a video, too.
Nowadays smartphones, tablets and desktop/laptop computers are all siblings. They use the same UI paradigms and follow the same idea of a programmable and flexible machine that's available to everyone. Only their hardware feature set and form factor differentiate them from each other. In this context, does it still make sense to consider them as separate devices as far as software development is concerned? Wouldn't it be a much better idea to consider them as multiple variations of the same concept, and release a unified software platform which spreads across all of them? This article aims at describing what has been done in this area already, and what's left to do.
"GIMP 2.8 has been talked about for more than a year and back in January there was a GIMP 2.8 release schedule by Martin Nordholts that had set the final release for the 27th of December. That date has now passed and, sadly, this major update to this leading open-source graphics program is still not close to being released."
"Adobe Flash Player 'Square' is a preview release that enables native 64-bit support on Linux, Mac OS, and Windows operating systems, as well as enhanced support for Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 beta. We have made this preview available so that users can test existing content and new platforms for compatibility and stability."
As Nvidia falters, Advanced Micro Devices' ATI graphics unit is on the rise, spurred by "radical" shifts in the market, according to Mercury Research, which tracks the market for GPUs or graphics processing units.
KDE SC 4.5 is about to be released and KDE SC 4.6 is being discussed. However, Martin Graesslin has revealed some details about what they are planning for KDE 4.7. According to Martin's blog post, they are looking at OpenGL 3.0 to provide the compositing effects in KDE SC 4.7. OpenGL 3.0 provides support for frame buffer objects, hardware instancing, vertex array objects, and sRGB framebuffers. Read more here