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oedipuss
September 25th, 2008, 03:51 PM
I just read this article :
Desktop Linux Suckage: Where's Our Steve Jobs?
(http://www.linuxtoday.com/news_story.php3?ltsn=2008-09-25-004-20-OP-DT)

Basically, I think he's right .. I can't really have an opinion on the strength and ease of use of C and GTK , but I agree on his other points.

What do you think about design and uniformity in the gnome desktop? Does it really need someone with a specific and complete plan to guide it visually?
Would a distribution benefit if it did that itself, and provided all gui/design changes upstream? Then if more than one distros all come with their own committee and a single application ends up with multiple interfaces, would it promote better separation between the ui and the actual code or would it just be chaos ?

LaRoza
September 25th, 2008, 03:54 PM
Basically, I think he's right .. I can't really have an opinion on the strength and ease of use of C and GTK , but I agree on his other points.

I think it is missing the point. The UI is the least important part, and choice is a good thing.

oedipuss
September 25th, 2008, 04:03 PM
But it's not about colors or fonts etc, which all can be changed to any user's preference, but mostly about layout and uniformity.
Gnome apps that look really consistent isn't hindering choice.

LaRoza
September 25th, 2008, 04:05 PM
But it's not about colors or fonts etc, which all can be changed to any user's preference, but mostly about layout and uniformity.
Gnome apps that look really consistent isn't hindering choice.

Have you ever checked out Windows? Everything strewn about, weird controls.

GNOME and KDE seem much more uniform.

If the writer were used to GNOME or KDE, they'd find OS X or Windows poorly designed.

donny_the_linux_geek
September 25th, 2008, 04:06 PM
You do know you can change the way your desktop looks and works to just about anything, right?

donny_the_linux_geek
September 25th, 2008, 04:07 PM
And I agree, Windows is set up in a pretty weird manner.

the8thstar
September 25th, 2008, 04:16 PM
Some apps do break in the middle when you use them, for no reason. Other don't work well together (try compiz and google earth together for instance). The desktop integration is also questionable.

The only way I see the desktop become uniform is to come up with a carefully set of apps that are customized and tuned up to work perfectly within the WM and the UI. Choice is nice, but 95% of what's out there is CRAP or a reinvention of the wheel or just useless for the basic user.

smoker
September 25th, 2008, 04:17 PM
the one thing about open source is that all are welcome, and i'm sure if there is a budding linux steve jobs out there, he will be welcome also. but no one can force change, people will use what they want, whether one person thinks it better or not. the variety in linux is one of it's most endearing aspects.

oedipuss
September 25th, 2008, 04:17 PM
Have you ever checked out Windows? Everything strewn about, weird controls.

GNOME and KDE seem much more uniform.

If the writer were used to GNOME or KDE, they'd find OS X or Windows poorly designed.

I'll agree about windows ..
But OS X poorly designed? As compared to the gnome panel, for instance ?
I'm not saying gnome should mimic the look, that's never the answer, and not the point really.
To give a more specific example, would you find a team in charge of coordinating ui changes in apps included in ubuntu beneficial in general?

LaRoza
September 25th, 2008, 04:21 PM
I'll agree about windows ..
But OS X poorly designed? As compared to the gnome panel, for instance ?
I'm not saying gnome should mimic the look, that's never the answer, and not the point really.
To give a more specific example, would you find a team in charge of coordinating ui changes in apps included in ubuntu beneficial in general?

My experience with OS X was very bad. I don't like panels or things on my desktop at all, but GNOME is managable. OS X's wasn't. It looked different every time I looked at it. I couldn't put things on it. I couldn't customize the menu's, and the menus weren't useful.

I am not saying OS X is flawed, just that is all about what one is used to.

I am sure Ubuntu has people working on the UI...

Sorivenul
September 25th, 2008, 04:21 PM
I think it is missing the point. The UI is the least important part, and choice is a good thing.

+1

Linux is about choice. I prefer not to have any garbage on my screen, and my wallpaper is rather attractive IMO. If I think this is the most attractive UI experience for me, who's to tell me I need to exchange it for an interface similar to the competition (Apple specifically in this example)?

The article is too general in its focus solely on GNOME. KDE is, while not my preference, and attractive and usable desktop. KDE4, while still slightly underdeveloped IMO, is a great and admirable piece of work. A three paragraph blurb is hardly enough to justify the rest of the article.

It's also interesting that the writer zeroes in on Mark Shuttleworth and Compiz. I get the relation in that Ubuntu uses Compiz with GNOME, but Ubuntu doesn't directly develop it. This seems like complaining to Steve Jobs about problems with Asus or Dell products, to keep the comparison running.

In short, the article, to me is one giant troll, one big flame-bait for the community, and something that just stole 10 minutes of my life.

Just my two cents.

issih
September 25th, 2008, 04:25 PM
Windows has some oddities, like media player and all the skinnable apps, as does OS-X to a lesser extent. These exist, however, because the skinable apps grab attention in a land where the majority of things are so nice and uniform. Since Leopard, this is especially true of macs.

I'm sorry but I simply cannot agree that gnome or kde is better designed than os-x. The lack of uniformity across applications is a big issue from a visual consistency perspective, and I think it does need addressing if ubuntu wants to expand beyond the techie audience.

I am a semi mac tart, and I like the software apple produces, if not its business practices. Linux would benefit greatly from having some of the rough edges filed off. That can only really be addressed from the ground up however, the tols need to be there so that people produce consistent looking applications...I agree entirely with the article on that front. Without those tools every developer reinvents the wheel, and we get the mess we have now.

Linux is so nearly there...so much works, but from a user perspective, it looks amateurish at times, because it doesn't look to have a unified overall controlling vision....probably because it actually doesn't have one :)

I'm all for things being unified and pretty, unified and pretty makes life easier, and thats what computers are meant to be for.

SunnyRabbiera
September 25th, 2008, 05:18 PM
Windows has some oddities, like media player and all the skinnable apps, as does OS-X to a lesser extent. These exist, however, because the skinable apps grab attention in a land where the majority of things are so nice and uniform. Since Leopard, this is especially true of macs.

I'm sorry but I simply cannot agree that gnome or kde is better designed than os-x. The lack of uniformity across applications is a big issue from a visual consistency perspective, and I think it does need addressing if ubuntu wants to expand beyond the techie audience.

I am a semi mac tart, and I like the software apple produces, if not its business practices. Linux would benefit greatly from having some of the rough edges filed off. That can only really be addressed from the ground up however, the tols need to be there so that people produce consistent looking applications...I agree entirely with the article on that front. Without those tools every developer reinvents the wheel, and we get the mess we have now.

Linux is so nearly there...so much works, but from a user perspective, it looks amateurish at times, because it doesn't look to have a unified overall controlling vision....probably because it actually doesn't have one :)

I'm all for things being unified and pretty, unified and pretty makes life easier, and thats what computers are meant to be for.

Yes but with unification you loose freedom, Linux is about flexibility and freedom.
To bog it down with endless guidelines would be against the nature of open source, sure KDE and Gnome have guidelines but they are not 100% enforced.
Really Apples human interface guidelines is more like Apples android duplicate guidelines.

pp.
September 25th, 2008, 05:18 PM
I think it is missing the point. The UI is the least important part, and choice is a good thing.

For most users, the UI definitely is not the least important part. I do not claim that the UI is more important than the functions the program is to perform, but the UI is of tantamount importance to the usability of an application.


Have you ever checked out Windows? Everything strewn about, weird controls.

GNOME and KDE seem much more uniform.

If the writer were used to GNOME or KDE, they'd find OS X or Windows poorly designed.

I think the writer wrote about the applications in different environments rather than about the controls of the OS. My users scarcely spend any time fiddling with the OS. They spend very much time using the applications.

Having seen lots of applications in Gnome, KDE, OS X and several versions of Windows (not to speak of Psion, Palm OS, Newton and so forth), I tend to agree that the UIs of Gnome based applications are uncomfortably often below par.

issih
September 25th, 2008, 06:52 PM
I'm all for flexibility and freedom, but that doesn't to my mind preclude a uniform experience. If there are well known, and well developed gui toolkits that are easy to code to and tie in neatly with the theming system of a desktop environment, and bindings are provided for the most popular languages..then lazy programmers just wanting to push a gui out the door will use them. Therefore all the applications will slowly move to consistent look.

In this scenario if an application developer chooses to make an application look different, its a concious decision, made because they are doing something innovative and unique, and are specifically concerned about the look of their application...chances are they won't make a total mess.

Programmers should have the choice to make something unique if they want...users should have the choice to pick the theme they want.. freedom is fine, flexibility is fine...none of that demands that every application has a different widget set.

oedipuss
September 25th, 2008, 07:39 PM
Programmers should have the choice to make something unique if they want...users should have the choice to pick the theme they want.. freedom is fine, flexibility is fine...none of that demands that every application has a different widget set.

Or different layouts and menus, even if those differences are slight.
Theming isn't affected by this, nor is choice, or "freedom".

SunnyRabbiera
September 25th, 2008, 07:40 PM
I'm all for flexibility and freedom, but that doesn't to my mind preclude a uniform experience. If there are well known, and well developed gui toolkits that are easy to code to and tie in neatly with the theming system of a desktop environment, and bindings are provided for the most popular languages..then lazy programmers just wanting to push a gui out the door will use them. Therefore all the applications will slowly move to consistent look.

In this scenario if an application developer chooses to make an application look different, its a concious decision, made because they are doing something innovative and unique, and are specifically concerned about the look of their application...chances are they won't make a total mess.

Programmers should have the choice to make something unique if they want...users should have the choice to pick the theme they want.. freedom is fine, flexibility is fine...none of that demands that every application has a different widget set.

But you practically said you want uniformity, make up your mind.
What apple OSX and its guidelines is nothing short of uniformity, limiting creativity and freedom for programmers.
The GPL and the free software movement would never do anything like Apple wants.
I think our Steve Jobs is already here in the form of Mark Shuttleworth personally, as his recent campaign is to make Linux look pleasing and fun.
Really though why force everyone to use the same widgets and toolkits, just because Apple is like that doesnt mean we should.
Like I said it would go against the freedoms that open source offers.


Or different layouts and menus, even if those differences are slight.
Theming isn't affected by this, nor is choice, or "freedom".
But must we force everyone to use the same toolkits and such?
I am looking at this with a open source perspective.

issih
September 25th, 2008, 07:52 PM
The point is they are guidelines...and the fact is that you can code an app to look god awful in os-x very easily. There are plenty out there.

The majority however look fine, and fit the look and feel of the os, because they use the pre-packaged solutions offered for basic functionality. That is all I am arguing for, and is most of what the article argues for.

I DO want uniformity for the majority of applications..it makes an OS feel a single piece, rather than a random bunch of things. Having a few applications break the rules and do so well is just fine though.. that's where things become art. Having everything be different because nobody knows any better is not freedom..it is anarchy, they are not the same thing.

As it is all the applications look different not because people want them to, but because there is no standard to write to, and very few standard tools to use. A set of guidelines and good tools is NOT restrictive, it means that the vast majority of programmers (and I include myself here) who are actually pretty damn bad at gui design, produce something reasonable rather than half assed.

If someone pulls something brilliant and innovative off, I'm all for it. but suggesting that we shouldn't try and improve things because it restricts peoples right to produce crap guis seems odd to me.

SunnyRabbiera
September 25th, 2008, 08:04 PM
The point is they are guidelines...and the fact is that you can code an app to look god awful in os-x very easily. There are plenty out there.

The majority however look fine, and fit the look and feel of the os, because they use the pre-packaged solutions offered for basic functionality. That is all I am arguing for, and is most of what the article argues for.

I DO want uniformity for the majority of applications..it makes an OS feel a single piece, rather than a random bunch of things. Having a few applications break the rules and do so well is just fine though.. that's where things become art. Having everything be different because nobody knows any better is not freedom..it is anarchy, they are not the same thing.

As it is all the applications look different not because people want them to, but because there is no standard to write to, and very few standard tools to use. A set of guidelines and good tools is NOT restrictive, it means that the vast majority of programmers (and I include myself here) who are actually pretty damn bad at gui design, produce something reasonable rather than half assed.

If someone pulls something brilliant and innovative off, I'm all for it. but suggesting that we shouldn't try and improve things because it restricts peoples right to produce crap guis seems odd to me.

Well if thats how you feel seriously stop using linux as its never going to meet your demands.
Linux is not about uniformity, it is not about some big company telling everyone what they can and cant do with software, its about freedom and choice.
Me I rather have choice over uniformity and the same ol same ol.

issih
September 25th, 2008, 08:22 PM
You amuse me... you act as if I am the one being dogmatic...but the reality is you are. You insist that nothing should change because change is anti choice. That is absurd. I have said several times that choice is fine, and no one but you has suggested forcing these things on anyone, be they programmers or users.

I argue for better tools so that better (and by definition more consistent - as guis are better if people can use them, and consistency promotes usability) guis are produced more often, instead of bad tools that are hard to code to producing myriad bad guis.

Finally, to my mind flipping the handle and trying to claim that if I feel that way I am clearly anti linux and shouldn't use it is slightly pathetic and smacks of trying to take away a ball you don't even own. I have as much right to linux, and my definition of the choice and freedom that offers as you do to yours.

To my mind the position of some pixels on screen is somewhat less important than the overriding freedom from restriction, curtailment of user rights and general philosophy of the OSS movement. Never again should you be so bloody cheeky as to suggest that your opinion is the only right one. You are not the mouthpiece of a whole movement made up of millions of individuals. You are just you, and pretending you are anything else makes you look foolish, not me....I'm now leaving this debate as I don't discuss things with people that can't be bothered to argue with ideas and instead resort to abuse.

SunnyRabbiera
September 25th, 2008, 08:41 PM
Hey I am a advocate for open source and its ideals, from a open source perspective putting everything under one roof is what limits both OSX and windows.
I rather not have that happen to linux, I rather like it that linux has so many options and toolkits for it as it makes it diverse.
And diversity is good in my eyes.

pp.
September 25th, 2008, 08:53 PM
Hey I am a advocate for open source and its ideals, from a open source perspective putting everything under one roof is what limits both OSX and windows.
I rather not have that happen to linux, I rather like it that linux has so many options and toolkits for it as it makes it diverse.
And diversity is good in my eyes.

Forget for a moment the GUI and think about CLI. Just glancing at a few man pages clearly shows that there is a largish number of design decision which apply to practically all commands available through the CLI. Spaces separate things. Dashes, slashes, equal signs and whatnot are consistently used.

What you appear to demand is the liberty that every command does the same things differently from the next one. Where one uses spaces to separate tokens, the other round parentheses, the next only left round parentheses, still another greater than and less than signs to accomplish exactly the same. And anyone confessing to be confused by the bewildering variety is in violation of the code of command line for not appreciating freedom of choice for the programmer.

Mr.Auer
September 25th, 2008, 08:56 PM
Meh. I like to customize my desktop. Thats about the biggest requirement I have.

I have Compiz manage my desktop, so each virtual one has a different wallpaper - for visual memory. I have no desktop icons - I hate that cluttering stuff :) Everything is neatly ordered into folders, and the important ones I add on the side pane of Nautilus. Im on Intrepid now and the tabbed Nautilus is great ... Took a long time coming ;)

I have just a notification area in Gnome panel, usually hidden, and latest bzr version of Avant Window Navigator (OSX type dock, but a lil different). Its visible all the time, but very transparent. That has the menu, file manager launcher, clock, fortunes and taskmanager.

Use mostly Compiz to switch between windows ("Expose" = Scale), cube either with mousewheel or keyboard, alttab, and Avant panel.

Even on Eee pc 701 I have Compiz on, it makes window switching easier on such a small screen. Not much else is needed.

sicofante
September 26th, 2008, 01:27 AM
I think it is missing the point. The UI is the least important part, and choice is a good thing.
Wow. I don't think I've seen any sharper comment that can explain why Linux is poor on the desktop. So many Linux fans believing (truly believing, that's the problem) that "the UI is the least important part" IS the reason why Linux doesn't finally shine on the desktop.

The very boring "Linux is about choice" mantra has gone out of proportion to such extent it doesn't really mean a thing nowadays, except "take your clever design elsewhere, we don't want it".

The article is absolutely to the point and I couldn't agree more with the author. Maybe I'm less pessimistic than he is, but he's right there's a need for a stronger head in the design department. Obviously, Mr. Shuttleworth has to deal with the Linux fanatics that hate real design and believe no-design-at-all equals freedom of choice. He's not in the luxury position of Mr. Jobs who almost owns the Mac design. I do hope when Ubuntu gets stronger (and I believe its momentum is only growing), Mr. Shuttleworth is able to prove his bet on design. If he fails to do so, we'll have to wait for another leader.

cardinals_fan
September 26th, 2008, 02:09 AM
I'm all for things being unified and pretty, unified and pretty makes life easier, and thats what computers are meant to be for.
Everyone has a different definition of "pretty".

Wow. I don't think I've seen any sharper comment that can explain why Linux is poor on the desktop. So many Linux fans believing (truly believing, that's the problem) that "the UI is the least important part" IS the reason why Linux doesn't finally shine on the desktop.

The very boring "Linux is about choice" mantra has gone out of proportion to such extent it doesn't really mean a thing nowadays, except "take your clever design elsewhere, we don't want it".

The article is absolutely to the point and I couldn't agree more with the author. Maybe I'm less pessimistic than he is, but he's right there's a need for a stronger head in the design department. Obviously, Mr. Shuttleworth has to deal with the Linux fanatics that hate real design and believe no-design-at-all equals freedom of choice. He's not in the luxury position of Mr. Jobs who almost owns the Mac design. I do hope when Ubuntu gets stronger (and I believe its momentum is only growing), Mr. Shuttleworth is able to prove his bet on design. If he fails to do so, we'll have to wait for another leader.
How do you define good "design"?

Sorivenul
September 26th, 2008, 02:49 AM
Everyone has a different definition of "pretty". [...] How do you define good "design"?
Like I said in my original post, this is more or less one big flame-bait for heuristic design analysis vs. choice. This thread seems to be full of more infighting than insight.

sicofante
September 26th, 2008, 03:53 AM
Everyone has a different definition of "pretty".

How do you define good "design"?
Hmmm, are we having a deja vu here...?

You learn good design in design schools, like almost everything else. Linux fanatics insisting in the idea that there's no "objective" good design is just plain ignorance.

Pretty means pretty the same to everyone. If you mean "what's pretty to me isn't pretty to everyone", just go to the above sentence: good taste can (and should) be learned.

zmjjmz
September 26th, 2008, 04:00 AM
Hmmm, are we having a deja vu here...?

You learn good design in design schools, like almost everything else. Linux fanatics insisting in the idea that there's no "objective" good design is just plain ignorance.

Pretty means pretty the same to everyone. If you mean "what's pretty to me isn't pretty to everyone", just go to the above sentence: good taste can (and should) be learned.

But design like that passes with time, and in the internet age (where culture is global) it moves even faster.
It would require a serious amount of effort to keep up with good design. Obviously there are some things to watch out for, but nonetheless it's not worth the effort.

cardinals_fan
September 26th, 2008, 04:07 AM
Pretty means pretty the same to everyone. If you mean "what's pretty to me isn't pretty to everyone", just go to the above sentence: good taste can (and should) be learned.
Perhaps I misunderstand, but you seem to be saying that I am wrong because I have a different opinion regarding what is attractive. I apologize for having bad taste and not agreeing with all of the aesthetic choices you suggest (I haven't heard you mention any yet, by the way).

oedipuss
September 26th, 2008, 04:29 AM
Why do so many people feel that guidelines can inhibit choice, whatever that means?

The whole point wasn't about forcing or limiting anything, the article wasn't about diminished "freedom" in any way whatsoever. The control it insinuates isn't enforced.
In fact it is actually impossible to "put everyone under one roof", in linux, by definition. And forks or different projects with the same final purpose can be beneficial in many ways.

It was about thinking of desing in a centralised way, and whether that center is the distribution, the gnome project or any other, is irrelevant.

Isn't KDE doing a similar thing, anyway?

Even theming and customization, which seem to be a concern, are greatly improved when parts of a window are where they are expected to be.

At least that's what I think of it..

PS:I'm actually interested in that first question, it wasn't rhetorical.


Perhaps I misunderstand, but you seem to be saying that I am wrong because I have a different opinion regarding what is attractive. I apologize for having bad taste and not agreeing with all of the aesthetic choices you suggest (I haven't heard you mention any yet, by the way).

Come on, it wasn't an attack on your personal taste. Just that there is a basic level of attractiveness or usefulness that can be considered common for everyone. Besides, having a set of windows of related tasks share a uniform layout isn't really a matter of taste.

cardinals_fan
September 26th, 2008, 04:40 AM
Come on, it wasn't an attack on your personal taste. Just that there is a basic level of attractiveness or usefulness that can be considered common for everyone. Besides, having a set of windows of related tasks share a uniform layout isn't really a matter of taste.
That was supposed to be a joke. My fault :)

I would be much more willing to endorse this idea if I understood exactly what you consider "good design" to be.

oedipuss
September 26th, 2008, 05:07 AM
I'm not entirely sure.. I guess the question would rather be if you would be willing to accept minor changes (that you can theoretically agree with, not anything outrageous) in the way your application looks in order for it to be accepted, for example, in ubuntu main. Or if you'd be ok if ubuntu patched your app to alter it's look, in order to include it, in ways that you might not agree with, but again, reasonable.

So rather 'a' common design , instead of a good design.

Or if you think something like that would be a good thing or not.

Obviously I'm thinking it would work on a distribution level, and ubuntu would be a very good place for it to happen, both because of its acceptance and because of Mark Shuttleworth's plan to outshine the mac in future releases.

cardinals_fan
September 26th, 2008, 05:12 AM
I'm not entirely sure.. I guess the question would rather be if you would be willing to accept minor changes (that you can theoretically agree with, not anything outrageous) in the way your application looks in order for it to be accepted, for example, in ubuntu main. Or if you'd be ok if ubuntu patched your app to alter it's look, in order to include it, in ways that you might not agree with, but again, reasonable.

That sounds unpleasant. Apps would have to be patched for appearance in order to appear in Ubuntu? Would anyone honestly find the change positive?

earthpigg
September 26th, 2008, 05:13 AM
Some apps do break in the middle when you use them, for no reason. Other don't work well together (try compiz and google earth together for instance).

THATS what causes that?

grrrr

sicofante
September 26th, 2008, 05:46 AM
So rather 'a' common design , instead of a good design.
I understand you're trying to be polite but, sorry, no: it's good design, not "a common" design.

I insist: no one can pretend to be taught on design in a forum like this. There are schools and books and I have mentioned them a number of times in many other threads. It's exhausting to explain obvious things again and again. Anyway, if any of you wants to read one single book on the subject, try this one:

The Design of Everyday Things (http://http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0465067107/donnormanA), by Donald Norman (http://www.jnd.org/books.html)

If you're going to start a discussion on design, at least do some research and study a little bit on the subject.

EDIT: I just stumbled upon this (http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/162). I'm really happy to see M.S. talking about design like this. I've always complaint that Canonical should hire designers and usability experts and that seems to be exactly what M.S. has done. This is great news.

EDIT2: Sorry for so much editing, but here (http://mpt.net.nz/archive/2008/08/01/free-software-usability)'s another great article on FLOSS design I just stumbled upon.

cardinals_fan
September 26th, 2008, 06:23 AM
EDIT2: Sorry for so much editing, but here (http://mpt.net.nz/archive/2008/08/01/free-software-usability)'s another great article on FLOSS design I just stumbled upon.
That's very interesting. I haven't got time to read it now (it's 21:30 and I have to wake up early tomorrow), but I'll reply tomorrow afternoon when I have more time.

enlightenment now
September 26th, 2008, 06:30 AM
I just read this article :
Desktop Linux Suckage: Where's Our Steve Jobs?
(http://www.linuxtoday.com/news_story.php3?ltsn=2008-09-25-004-20-OP-DT)

Basically, I think he's right .. I can't really have an opinion on the strength and ease of use of C and GTK , but I agree on his other points.

What do you think about design and uniformity in the gnome desktop? Does it really need someone with a specific and complete plan to guide it visually?
Would a distribution benefit if it did that itself, and provided all gui/design changes upstream? Then if more than one distros all come with their own committee and a single application ends up with multiple interfaces, would it promote better separation between the ui and the actual code or would it just be chaos ?He's got a good point.

Gnome should simply throw in the towel and admit that it is a lost cause and go help another project.

Sorivenul
September 26th, 2008, 07:30 AM
My final thoughts on this are a paraphrase of some of Saul D. Alinsky's from his 1971 Rules for Radicals:

What kind of ideology, if any, can developers have when working in and for a free society? The prerequesite for an ideology is posession of a basic truth. However, developers in a free society hava dilemma. To begin, there is no fixed truth - truth to developers is is always relative and changing. They are software relativists. The consequence is that they are every on the hunt for the causes of our problems and the general propositions to help make some sense out of our irrational world. They must constantly examine requests, ideas, and concepts, including their own, to get some idea of what it is all about and test their own findings. Irreverence, essential to this questioning, is also required.

Does this mean that the developers in a free society for a free society are without direction? No. Indeed, they arguably have a better sense of direction than the closed society developers and their ridgid plans and guidelines. First, the free-society developers are loose, resilient, fluid, and on the move in a society which is itself in a state of constant change. To the extent that the developers are free from the shackles of software dogma, they can respond to the realities of the widely different situations our society presents. Ultimately, the developers have one conviction - a believe that if people have the power to act, in the long run they will, most of the time, reach the right decisions for themselves.

If we are all so concerned about the GNOME project, or other projects, we can do much more to help than sitting around the forums fighting each other about whether our projects are going in the right direction, if they are going at all.

Cheers.

pp.
September 26th, 2008, 08:12 AM
I am a bit bemused to see a couple of preconceptions in this thread which seem to be quite common in Linux circles:

GUI design occupies itself exclusively or mainly with the visual appearance of a piece of software
GUI design is irrelevant to the usability of the software
Appearance is irrelevant to the usability of the software

All of these statements are false to fact. Anyone believing one of those is advised to read up on user interaction, usability and design.

Also, I find the call for 'freedom for deveopers' passingly strange. I vertainly would not buy a motorbike where an arbitrary number of screws turned to the left and where I had to mail-order my spark plugs from a two-person outfit in the middle of the pacific.

Standardisation, standardisation, standardisation. That's what made the "Industrial Revolution", and it's what will make the "Software Revolution" in the far future. Ask - for instance - the supplier which is so admired in this forum that most call it simply the Mega Dollar Company, or M$ for short.

[non-standard-smiley]big-wide-evil-grin[/non-standard-smiley]

oedipuss
September 26th, 2008, 10:17 AM
I understand you're trying to be polite but, sorry, no: it's good design, not "a common" design.

I insist: no one can pretend to be taught on design in a forum like this. There are schools and books and I have mentioned them a number of times in many other threads. It's exhausting to explain obvious things again and again. Anyway, if any of you wants to read one single book on the subject, try this one:

The Design of Everyday Things (http://http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0465067107/donnormanA), by Donald Norman (http://www.jnd.org/books.html)

If you're going to start a discussion on design, at least do some research and study a little bit on the subject.

EDIT: I just stumbled upon this (http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/162). I'm really happy to see M.S. talking about design like this. I've always complaint that Canonical should hire designers and usability experts and that seems to be exactly what M.S. has done. This is great news.

EDIT2: Sorry for so much editing, but here (http://mpt.net.nz/archive/2008/08/01/free-software-usability)'s another great article on FLOSS design I just stumbled upon.

Hehe I fully realize my ignorance on the subject, and wasn't trying to make actual design suggestions .. I'm not so much interested in how should a unified gui look, I can't really have an opinion on that after all, but rather if there should be one in the first place.




Does this mean that the developers in a free society for a free society are without direction? No. Indeed, they arguably have a better sense of direction than the closed society developers and their ridgid plans and guidelines. First, the free-society developers are loose, resilient, fluid, and on the move in a society which is itself in a state of constant change. To the extent that the developers are free from the shackles of software dogma, they can respond to the realities of the widely different situations our society presents. Ultimately, the developers have one conviction - a believe that if people have the power to act, in the long run they will, most of the time, reach the right decisions for themselves.


This is very very interesting. I haven't thought about it in this way ..

the8thstar
September 26th, 2008, 12:08 PM
That sounds unpleasant. Apps would have to be patched for appearance in order to appear in Ubuntu? Would anyone honestly find the change positive?

I sure would. More uniformity is good; and more quality and consistency is great too.

Canonical should benchmark apps that are listed in the repos and make sure they meet quality criteria in terms of technical maturity of the program, memory management, purpose of the program, usability and finally its design too. Then they would approve it inside Ubuntu. The rest would be TRASHED.

I care about choice. But I care even more about QUALITY.

the8thstar
September 26th, 2008, 12:10 PM
THATS what causes that?

grrrr

I wish I knew. Windows Vista Home Premium running the SAME Google Earth on the SAME machine is SEAMLESS. My hardware is NOT at fault here.

K.Mandla
September 26th, 2008, 12:32 PM
I just read this article :
Desktop Linux Suckage: Where's Our Steve Jobs?
(http://www.linuxtoday.com/news_story.php3?ltsn=2008-09-25-004-20-OP-DT)

Basically, I think he's right .. I can't really have an opinion on the strength and ease of use of C and GTK , but I agree on his other points.

What do you think about design and uniformity in the gnome desktop? Does it really need someone with a specific and complete plan to guide it visually?
Would a distribution benefit if it did that itself, and provided all gui/design changes upstream? Then if more than one distros all come with their own committee and a single application ends up with multiple interfaces, would it promote better separation between the ui and the actual code or would it just be chaos ?
I avoid the Gnome desktop like the plague.

And Linux is inherently a follower, not so much an innovator. We see the things the moneygrubbing corporations do, and then do it better, and for free.

And there is no Steve Jobs for Linux, which is one of the things I like about it. I don't need someone inventing something new every six months and expecting me to buy it. It's wasteful, and little more than an experiment in human conditioning.

In short, this: http://kmandla.wordpress.com/2007/11/11/maybe-we-need-those-mac-guys/
And this: http://www.thestoryofstuff.com

CarpKing
September 26th, 2008, 01:47 PM
I wish I knew. Windows Vista Home Premium running the SAME Google Earth on the SAME machine is SEAMLESS. My hardware is NOT at fault here.

http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=NjQxMQ

Erunno
September 26th, 2008, 01:48 PM
What Linux lacks is not a Steve Jobs but

a) control and
b) a working business model for the home desktop user market.

Apple has the huge advantage that they own major pieces of their software stack top to bottom. Starting with their own kernel (Darwin), driver framework (I/O Kit), graphical layer (Quartz), SDK (Cocoa), web engine (WebKit), mulimedia framework (QuickTime) and many other pieces which Mac OS X is made of. Apple uses parts of the BSD userland so they can get a BSD certificate but this is in no way crucial and the permissive license would allow it to continue development inhouse should FreeBSD stop maintaining it. So even if Mark Shuttleworth has similar goals to Steve Jobs he'll never be in a position to dicate the direction the Linux desktop should take or which parts of the software stack should be prioritised as he lacks control and the continous flow of money to have software engineers work on specific parts.

SunnyRabbiera
September 26th, 2008, 01:52 PM
I sure would. More uniformity is good; and more quality and consistency is great too.

Canonical should benchmark apps that are listed in the repos and make sure they meet quality criteria in terms of technical maturity of the program, memory management, purpose of the program, usability and finally its design too. Then they would approve it inside Ubuntu. The rest would be TRASHED.

I care about choice. But I care even more about QUALITY.

Yeh but with that it means that Ubuhntu will be no better then Apple.
I rather have my options to choose what applications I want and dont have to worry about compiling.

the8thstar
September 26th, 2008, 04:35 PM
Yeh but with that it means that Ubuhntu will be no better then Apple.
I rather have my options to choose what applications I want and dont have to worry about compiling.

I understand your opinion, but I disagree. I think I'm going to start a poll about that in the community cafe to see who prefers what.

the8thstar
September 26th, 2008, 04:49 PM
http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=NjQxMQ

I didn't find the solution I was hoping for. Thank God for dual-boot. ;)

zekopeko
September 26th, 2008, 05:06 PM
LaRoza is so wrong on the whole "GUI is the least important part..."

The best definition that i found out what is a good UI design is (and i'm paraphrasing here):


When the user doesn't notice the UI, when the UI isn't hindering his need to use
his computer for the thing he wants in an efficient and enjoyable way

There is no reason that multiple toolkits can't exist. KDE4 can really mimic GTK+ themes with the QGTKstyle. GTK+ should also be able to mimic the KDE4 style. that way your apps look nice and integrated no matter the toolkit.
If you people haven't notice there is this freedesktop.org organization that is neutral in the whole toolkit department and only wants uniformity for basic things across desktops.
I find GNOME far nicer to use than KDE but that's just my personal preference and i still haven't tried KDE 4.1.

cardinals_fan
September 27th, 2008, 12:29 AM
Okay, here are my thoughts. It's true that learning good UI design is a complex process that probably can't happen in the space of a few hours on this forum. However, I would be interested in seeing (from anyone) some examples of what they deem "bad design". Explain why said apps are poorly designed, and maybe I'll agree. At the moment, I can't think of any of my apps that don't serve their purpose perfectly for me.

oedipuss
September 27th, 2008, 01:11 AM
Yeh but with that it means that Ubuhntu will be no better then Apple.

What? Why? Apple is commercial and sells its products which are not open source.
Extending the quality control that already takes place in order to include something in main, for example, to affect and patch the gui too, has absolutely nothing to do with licenses, commercialization or anything of that sort.


The only valid point I've seen so far was the quote from Rules for Radicals Sorivenul posted.

zekopeko
September 27th, 2008, 01:41 AM
apple uses open source for a lot of things.
samba for windows sharing, cups for printing, VNC for screen sharing...

cardinals_fan
September 27th, 2008, 01:43 AM
What? Why? Apple is commercial and sells its products which are not open source.
Extending the quality control that already takes place in order to include something in main, for example, to affect and patch the gui too, has absolutely nothing to do with licenses, commercialization or anything of that sort.

This argument is defective. Apple doesn't screen all the separate apps available for OS X, and Canonical doesn't need to screen every app in the Ubuntu repositories. The default setup needs quality control, but that's it.

the8thstar
September 29th, 2008, 11:46 AM
The default setup needs quality control, but that's it.

I agree with that. It would be great for Canonical/Ubuntu devs to communicate more on the improvements accomplished to create more appeal to the 'core' programs of the desktop.