Fwd: gnome-control-center

Bogdan Butnaru bogdanb at gmail.com
Tue Feb 24 14:23:08 GMT 2009

On Tue, Feb 24, 2009 at 12:18 PM, Matthew Paul Thomas <mpt at canonical.com> wrote:
> The problem with gnome-control-center is exactly the same now as it has
> been for the past three years: it's faster to use if you don't know what
> you're looking for, but slower if you do know.

I was just going to mention something like this: I always use the
settings menu if I know exactly where and what I want to change, and
the control center if I'm not exactly sure what I'm looking for.

I wasn't going to use “problem” in the wording: I'm not sure it is a
real problem, in the sense that I don't think you can cover both use
cases with a single solution. You can't have three-click access* to
more than a hundred settings without having at least once to pick
through at least a dozen options. And for picking through a dozen or
more options you can either put them all together in small type (menu)
or expand them in a panel with larger icons and a little description.
The menu is always going to be faster** if you know where you're
going, and the panel is always going to be better if you're not sure
which group the setting you're looking for belongs to. I've used all
versions of Windows, Mac OS 9 and X, BeOS, Gnome, KDE and a few other
environments on Unix, and I haven't seen one case where that wasn't
true. That doesn't mean it's not possible, but it's quite strong

(*: open settings menu -> pick a panel -> pick an option; log2(100)=10.)
(**: less space to move the mouse through, and click-anywhere-else to
dismiss instead of clicking the tiny close-window button in a corner.)

So I actually see no reason why they shouldn't be both used. The only
improvement I can suggest is make them a bit more mutually-compatible:
 - In  the System Menu, have a "Control Center" option, then the two
(or eventually one) Administration / Preferences sub-menus.
 - In the Control Center, have the list of applets on the left, the
way KDE has it. This way if you open the panel but remember what you
were looking for you can click it quicker (a sorted linear list is
easier to search than a list of matrices). But this is a bit less
helpful unless you have the option panels integrated in the control
center window directly, the way OS X and KDE do.

-- Bogdan Butnaru
“Believing this statement will make you happier.” — RL

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