u Notes from the Underground: Linus flares up on GNOME UI

Linus flares up on GNOME UI

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Linus talks about what is wrong with GNOME's GUI. Some worthy points in that thread.

Opening salvo:

I personally just encourage people to switch to KDE.

This "users are idiots, and are confused by functionality" mentality of
Gnome is a disease. If you think your users are idiots, only idiots will
use it. I don't use Gnome, because in striving to be simple, it has long
since reached the point where it simply doesn't do what I need it to do.

Please, just tell people to use KDE.

Another juicy one:

The fact is, developers don't know what their users are going to need.
That's a very fundamental issue in any software engineering. The other,
almost as fundamental issue, is that asking users is usually not very
productive either, because (a) different users will give you different
answers and (b) users often don't even know.

So when you ask "which flexibilities do you consider important", you're
pretty much BY DEFINITION asking for something senseless. It's akin to
asking how many angels dance on the head of a pin.

But the fact that users and developers don't know does NOT mean that
customization is bad. Quite the reverse. It means that defaults make
sense, but since you don't know what they'll be doing, you should always
strive to have ways to let _them_ make the choice when they have some
reason the default doesn't agree with them.

Those users may not know before-hand (which is why asking them is
pointless), but people actually _like_ twiddling around, changing fonts
and personalizing their machine. It may not be "productive", but it sure
as hell is user-friendly.

I havent followed the whole thread. If you see anything more worth reading, sure point me to it.

(Hat tip to Praveena)


At 8:40 PM, December 14, 2005, Blogger Rajat said...

I followed the thread from your link to this one till this one.

Check the replies by Torvalds. *satisfied smirk*. Personally, I have always believed GNOME had it wrong somehow - vindication arrives. For e.g. the Glade interface designer, the GIMP & some other apps open up hajaar discrete windows at the same time. They just don't seem to have heard about MDI.

At 11:38 PM, December 14, 2005, Blogger Venu said...

You are right. GNOME always was prettier than KDE; and also harder to use from the few times I had to deal with it. If you start up nautilus and double-click on a folder to open it, it (horror-of-horrors) opens up a new window. I am sure there must have been some way to turn it off; I never hunted around for it. It drove me insane that the default should be so bad.

And now, judging by what Linus says, it isnt very configurable either.

BTW, have u ever tried out fvwm
? It's not very pretty, but its ultra configurable. You can configure the whole of it.. binding arbitrary keys to commands, making up your own left-click and right-click menus, everything.

Ofcourse, I find that also to be a pain. I just copied one of my colleague's .fvwmrc and changed the keyboard shortcuts.

On the whole, I think Windows rocks. ;-)

At 7:22 PM, December 15, 2005, Blogger Rajat said...

I hadn't checked FVWM out - knew it existed though. Checked the site - dosn't look pretty at all - almost looks Windows 3.0-ish from whatever screenshots I could see. BTW check this out - http://fvwm.org/fvwm-cats/

Also I seriously think you should put your 'anti-Swadeshi'(!) 'rant'(!) on your blog. ;-). I wanted to get back at the original missive, but was in training for the past 3 days.

At 9:57 AM, December 17, 2005, Blogger Tejaswi said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 10:03 AM, December 17, 2005, Blogger Tejaswi said...

This whole KDE or Gnome thing is like two bald people fighting over a comb. The world's best UI, in my not-so-humble-opinion is Aqua . Check this - this .

At 4:51 PM, December 17, 2005, Blogger Venu said...

Well, the debate is not over which is the best GUI in the world. Its about which GUI is best suited for Linux.

fvwm is in fact not so pretty. I made sure I had no buttons or icons anywhere on my desktop and just put convenient hotkeys the few days I used it.

Now I am using the Java GNOME desktop (on Solaris 10) and it's quite good. Not as pretty as actual GNOME, but decent.

I think people just wouldnt get why my rant was so hysterical.


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