Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.
Re: Linux GUI
Author: Dave Winer Posted: 3/4/1999; 7:29:57 AM Topic: DHTML MTTF! Msg #: 3530 (In response to 3528) Prev/Next: 3529 / 3531
Most Linux boxes contain Lestif (a Motif clone) and, now, Gnome. Many contain the QT widget set. If you want to ensure that your app runs on all machines, and you can distribute two copies of your app: one dynamically linked (smaller) and one statically linked (runs everywhere). Netscape has done this forever with Navigator on Linux: they statically link Motif to Navigator.
You're looking at it from the point of view of a developer. Consider the POV of the desktop user. What if I want to use an emailer and a spreadsheet that were written by two different companies.
The common user interface on the Mac and Windows was a boon for users. Learn one File menu and you've learned them all. Learn the quirks of one base of UI code and never have your braincells burnt by another.
I used a Mac for thirteen years and Windows for a little over one. It gets so ingrained, so learned at the base of the spine, that even subtle little changes screw you up. For example, OpenDoc changed the name of the first menu from File to Document, and that was enough to convince me that I'd never use OpenDoc. It made my computer seem tilted!
And now I'm challenged to use the Mac because I've incorporated the Windows UI at the base of my spine. When working on the Mac I always reach for the accessories in the wrong place. This makes me curse Apple for suing Microsoft way back when. Otherwise everything would be in the right place on both machines. History is funny.
Engineers often overlook or oversimplify the user's perspective. You don't go that deep into the use of the computer. The computer is what's interesting to you, and god bless you for that. But the non-geek user has a different focus, on the problem he or she is working on, which if things are working properly has nothing to do with the computer. (Otherwise what are computers useful for?)
When even subtle change is in the interface you're going to encounter resistance. Try sitting a Windows user down in front of a Linux machine with a spreadsheet and an emailer and ask them to do some work. When you can pass that test, then Linux will just begin to challenge Windows/Mac on the desktop. Don't get me wrong, I'm rooting for Linux. It'd get Microsoft and Apple off their butts. They're too cozy. They need some new motivation.
There are responses to this message:
- Re: Linux GUI, Nicholas Riley, 3/4/1999; 7:50:40 AM
- Re: Linux GUI, Marc Canter, 3/4/1999; 7:56:26 AM
- Re: Linux GUI, Eric Soroos, 3/4/1999; 7:58:40 AM
- Re: Linux GUI, Daniel Bushman, 3/4/1999; 12:21:33 PM
- Gnome, KDE and the legacy stuff, Eric Kidd, 3/4/1999; 1:22:17 PM
- Re: Linux GUI, Jim Roepcke, 3/4/1999; 1:44:13 PM
- Thoughts from the Linux Trenches, Kurt Granroth, 3/4/1999; 7:28:17 PM
- Re: Linux GUI vs. Broadband GUI, Bryant Durrell, 3/5/1999; 8:28:39 AM
- Re: Linux GUI, Kurt Granroth, 3/5/1999; 1:48:24 PM
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