"My first 48 hours enduring Ubuntu"

Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier ubuntu at zonker.net
Wed Jun 15 16:23:31 UTC 2005

Stephen R Laniel wrote:
> On Tue, Jun 14, 2005 at 05:52:38PM +0700, Chanchao wrote:
>>Yet all of them together do show a pattern.. It's quite an enjoyable
>>read, seeing how he gets completely anal about every dot and comma.
> I wouldn't describe his complaints as "anal." Linux does
> have usability problems -- GNOME is still not as usable as
> Mac OS X, though it's getting there.
> Apple is phenomenally "anal" about the way that their UI
> works. A friend who does OS X development told me that he
> was using the GUI designer the other day, and it wouldn't
> allow him to put UI elements -- buttons, boxes, lists, etc.
> -- outside of particular spots that were dictated by the
> Macintosh Human Interface Guidelines (HIGs). Would that
> GNOME were so anal.

Whatever happened to "think different"?

Argh. That sounds horrible to me. I'm not an interface expert, but it
seems to me that many HIGs are very subjective and arbitrary. For
example, I *hate* the fact that the option-tab (or whatever that key is,
I use a normal PC keyboard with my iMac and it's the *gag* "Windows"
key...) toggles between applications rather than windows. If I have five
Firefox windows open, I might just want to cycle between those using

I don't care for the application menu bar at the top of the screen
rather than in the application window itself, either. Of course, I'm
sure there are many users who *love* that - which is my point, the
application interface guidelines are the computing equivalent of housing
associations that tell you what color you can paint your house, how
often you have to water your lawn, and that you can't have signs on your
yard or whatever... it may sound reasonable if you agree with the
guidelines, but if you want to paint your house purple it doesn't sound
reasonable at all...

Don't mind the rant - I understand the need for consistency, but I tend
to balk at having the placement of every little element dictated by some
arbitrary guidelines that some UI "expert" decides on. One person's
"intuitive" is another person's computing nightmare.

> I have no doubt that within a few years, GNOME will be just
> as usable as OS X. I think what it will need, though, is a
> much tighter set of HIGs, to keep a much less centralized
> group of software developers writing on the same page.

Maybe I'm just a computing misfit, but I think GNOME is more usable than
OS X. I use both, though I use GNOME much more than OS X, and I vastly
prefer using GNOME over OS X. I admit, I've been using Linux as my main
OS a very long time now (six years) so my outlook is a bit different
than folks who are just now looking at the Linux desktop and comparing
it to Windows and Mac OS X.



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