[TriLUG] Use Windows not Linux
lovelace at wayfarer.org
Fri Nov 7 11:18:23 EST 2003
Ilan Volow wrote:
> I have seen in the linux community mindsets and statements like the
> above do more damage to the formation of a viable alternative to the
> Windows desktop than anything Matt Szulik (or Bill Gates) could ever do
> or say. As long as linux folks continue to deny that usability problems
> and bad UI designs exist in linux, as long as they continue to assume
Sure, bad UI designs exist in linux. They also exist in windows and
even in OS X. Bad UI designs exist everywhere. Linux doesn't have
a monopoly on them.
> that end-users are stupid (I've heard the jokes in parking lot folks)
You know what. End users are stupid. But, then again, so are programmers.
It just depends on when you get them. Everyone is stupid at certain
times (even, or rather, especially me) and trying to deny it doesn't
> and blame this 'stupidity' for the problems caused by some dumb
> programmer's bad GUI, and as long as they blame Microsoft for the
Sometimes it is the programmer's bad GUI and sometimes it isn't. There
is no one size fits all here. You have to look at the specifics of
each case. I'll take one example. CD tray or cupholder? Bad design
or stupid user? You decide. :-)
> problems on the linux desktop that they themselves created, the linux
> desktop ain't going anywhere. There's no amount of money Bill Gates
> could spend that would do a better job of derailing linux for
> non-technical users than the job done by linux's technical users for the
> last 10 years.
Well, it seems to me that for the last 10 years linux has been getting
to the point where the underlying stuff was stable enough for a desktop
to start emerging. And, what do you know, that's been happening. It's
an iterative process, though, and there are bound to be some mistakes
to begin with. Just take a look at Windows 1.0 and compare it to current
versions. Saying the programmers are bad (and, by implication stupid)
isn't really going to help. How about writing some interface guidelines,
or editing what's already out there? How about making specific suggestions
as to what's wrong and what needs to be fixed? Could the time you spend
ranting about what's wrong be better spent trying to make things better?
> Enough. I've got an Interface War to prepare for, I've got to rid KDE of
> all instances of the word "Directory", I've got a pile of Kernighan and
> Ritchie books to burn, and Guilder to frame for it. Frankly, I'm swamped.
To the pain, then? :-) I'm not sure that I'd want to cast myself in
the role you've chosen, after all, he is the villan there. But, seriously,
why does it have to be a war? Sure, things could be better. Please
help make them better. In doing so, however, don't dumb everything
down to the lowest common denominator and forget about the "power users"
(i.e. people who aren't necessarily programmers, or even technical, but
*are* smart and good enough to learn). There's a lot of room in UI design
for people to be right (and wrong), so also don't assume that just because
you don't like something it's automatically bad. Seriously, let's discuss
specifics and figure out what we can do to fix them.
Tanner Lovelace | lovelace(at)wayfarer.org | http://wtl.wayfarer.org/
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"A one question geek test. If you think it's funny, you're a geek. Seen
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