"My first 48 hours enduring Ubuntu"

Eric Dunbar eric.dunbar at gmail.com
Wed Jun 15 21:12:31 UTC 2005

> On 6/14/05, Chanchao <custom at freenet.de> wrote:
> >
> > This is a couple of months old so I'm sure many of you will have read
> > it or know about it, but as Ubuntu is obviously getting so many new
> > users all the time (including myself) you may not have seen this
> > before:
> >
> > It's quite brilliant..  It's a list of flaws, but nearly ALL of them
> > are in the category that any programmer would label 'trivial', doesn't
> > even qualify as a bug or flaw.
> >
> > I don't agree with (or care about) many of the issues raised, but he
> > definitely has a point, and you can tell he knows a thing or two about
> > GUI design.. :) Article has a brilliant ending to it too.
> >
> > http://mpt.net.nz/archive/2005/04/11/ubuntu

This is the attitude that relegates Linux to second-best status.
Quality is what people respond to, and, they understand is what they
can see. These "trivial" flaws are much more important to the user
than whether an app executes its operations efficiently, for e.g.

Those "trivial" flaws allow a user to say "Widget xyz in gaim doesn't
work the way I expect it should (or at all) so gaim doesn't work" or
"This widget does x in gaim but y in GIMP. Who's the rocket scientist
that can't make up their mind."

Anyway, with any luck enough people with programming skills will
recognise this little, but important fact (that the UI is THE MOST
important part of an application) and make OSS a software ecosystem
which opens software tools to people who otherwise couldn't afford to
use OR create/modify software.

We've seen two foundation shaking developments in the past 25 years!
First, Apple taking the plunge and giving life to GUI computing in
1983 with the Lisa and second, the development of Mozilla in the early
90s (the internet was important, but the web browser is what has truly
revolutionised the way the world works). We're on the cusp of a third
shake-up with OSS, both as patents expire *and* as Linux/BSD/other OSS
OSes improve.

I'd love to see OSS start the computing revolution sooner than later,
but, unless there's a wide-spread recognition that the little things
counts it'll be later than sooner. Apple has shown, time after time
that the little things REALLY DO COUNT. A simple interface is
_usually_ better.

There is little reason that a Mac OS X app written by *one* programmer
should be better than what's available from a gaggle of programmers
for Linux but often it is! I don't think it's because Mac OS X
programmers are any better than Linux programmers, but it is because
the programmers (a) recognise the need for a quality INTERFACE so
their software is usable and (b) users will not accept a poorly
designed interface. Mac in 1984 had software written by programmers
for users. DOS in 1984 had software written by programmers for
programmers. Windows developers are *starting* to recognise that
reality, but unfortunately Linux is still in the era of programmers
coding for programmers. Until there's a fundamental community-wide
shift Linux will fail to live up to its potential.

Eric (a happy Linux and Mac OS X user and not-so-very-happy Windows XP user)

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