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[#] Thu Jul 26 2012 11:48:59 EDT from dowdle @ Uncensored

Subject: Metro for the masses

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I agree with your assessment of Windows 8 from one perspective... that of Windows literate users.  From the perspective of computer novices, Metro is more usable.  I think Microsoft realized that the iPad (and other smartphone derived user interfaces) was winning with people who found more traditional computer interfaces intimidating.

The desktop computer UI is very much filesystem oriented with a file manager being important... as well and item selector dialogs (mini-file managers) within applications.  Apple decided to go the other way and make it application focused by providing screens of application icons and letting the applications themselves act as proxy file managers doing their best to eliminate the need to understand storage concepts.

Microsoft with Metro has adopted a hybrid approach.  Metro is somewhat application oriented but they don't use little icons... Metro is more content oriented.  The application icons are replaced with larger solid color rectangles whereby when the application is used and configured and content is available, these rectangles will preview content.  It is really an application oriented interface but they are presenting it a little differently so they can say they didn't rip anyone off.

The "desktop" is still available in Metro but they have gotten rid of the start button.  No, scratch that... they have NOT gotten rid of the start button, they just have a new start button that is part of the Metro interface which is very search oriented... and they want you to use the new design rather than the desktop oriented one.  Conceptually it really isn't that different but since the start button isn't where it used to be... and is different... many desktop literate users are freaking out.  Microsoft is trying to guide them slowly to the new system but as people start to get to use it they will slowly forget the old way and the new way will become THE way.  After a year or two of the new way, going back to the old way will seem weird and oddly painful... and yes, even clunky... but it is hard to see that from now / here.

This is very similiar to the switch from a menu driven applications menu to a search driven system that we have seen with the Gnome 2 -> 3 switch, the Gnom2 -> Unity switch, and the KDE 3 -> KDE 4 switch.  Having used both Gnome and KDE for many years, at first the search oriented system was painful but eventually I got used to it and it is second nature now.  Why did the desktops switch from menus to search, because the Internet did long ago... and people were used to searching rather than going through tree structure type catalogs and directories of topics for finding information on the Internet.  The search indexes were fairly primative at first but over time they got better... and the shear amount of information exploded and the old way couldn't handle it anyway... and finally Google's searching got so good that whatever it was you were searching for was usually at or near the top of the results.

I believe Metro, iOS merging with Mac OS X, and the newer Desktop Environments on Linux will eventually win over the majority of people.  I primarily use Linux and at first I was rebelious towards the changes in the Linux desktop systems but finally I saw the light. :)

-- 
TYL,
Scott Dowdle - Belgrade, Montana



[#] Thu Jul 26 2012 14:37:01 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

Subject: Re: Metro for the masses

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The new UI's on several platforms eliminate the distinction between an application that is running and an application that is installed/available. That works fine on a mobile, where applications know from the start that they may be asked at any time to save their state and go away (in Android, the app at the bottom of the stack falls off when the operating system needs more resources for what's up front; I imagine Apple does the same).

This may or may not be the right thing to do on a desktop, especially with legacy applications which aren't expecting this behavior. Sometimes when the user clicks on an icon he wants another copy of the program to be started, not to simply focus the copy that's already running. I think the newer versions of Gnome Shell let you right click on the icon to select which action you want to take. I know Apple briefly removed the little arrows on icons that distinguished a running application from a startable one, and there was enough backlash on that decision for them to put the arrows back.

I don't think the new UI's suck because they are search based. They suck because they are optimized for touch even on non-touch devices. They suck because they assume the user is operating with the short attention span associated with mobiles, even when seated at a desk.

[#] Thu Jul 26 2012 15:59:57 EDT from LoanShark @ Uncensored

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Should have named it "Retro" or perhaps "Throwback."

[#] Thu Jul 26 2012 19:34:56 EDT from dowdle @ Uncensored

Subject: Re: Metro for the masses

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Thu Jul 26 2012 02:37:01 PM EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored Subject: Re: Metro for the masses
I don't think the new UI's suck because they are search based. They suck because they are optimized for touch even on non-touch devices. They suck because they assume the user is operating with the short attention span associated with mobiles, even when seated at a desk.


I'm not sure if you were referring specifically to the Linux desktop environment updates or not... or perhaps more generally... and I have seen this claim aimed at Gnome 3, etc... but I don't think it is completely accurate.

What touch devices are running Gnome 3?  The only ones I know of are the higher end tablet PCs that are enhanced laptops with twist/flip around screens with touch features usually using a stylus.  Ubuntu is definitely going after touch-based mobile devices, but again, I don't know of any that exist now.  If none exist, why and how would they be optimized for touch?  Some of the refactoring is probably to accomodate touch... so that one interface would be usable for both.  I think that is better than having two different codebases but opinions on that differ.

A lot of focus with Gnome 3 has gone into hotkeys so that applications are easily launched via keyboard... without requiring the mouse.  That is definitely not touchscreen related. Switching tasks via keyboard has been improved (alt-tab and alt-`) Some of those features aren't exactly obvious to non-hotkey fanatics but they are there.  I also like control-alt-up/down arrow for switching between virtual desktops.

What does Unity and Gnome 3 do that makes it so hard to use on the desktop?  Let's look of the changes I can think of.

1) They got rid of the task bar and took most of the taskbar functionality and merged it with a dock.  Gnome doesn't always show the dock and Unity used to be that way too but with the most recent Ubuntu release I don't think they auto hide it by default anymore.  This change isn't really touchscreen related.  If you don't have a taskbar, you don't really need to minimize things... because where would they minimize too.  For those who really want minimize, they have tweeks to add it back.  I added it back but found I don't really minimize things anymore.  I have been using the window snapping feature alot though.

2) The dock basically replaces the portion of the panel that was dedicated to aplication launchers.  You mentioned that clicking on a running application icon in the dock takes you to that application's window rather than starting up a second copy of the application... and that you could right-click to start another... but there are other ways to start up another copy of the application.  I'm sure you are aware but I thought I'd mention that most applications have an "Open new window..." feature one or more places... in a File dropdown, via a right click menu... or by dragging a tab off.  I find myself using mostly tabs in applications that offer them rather than new windows.  The web browsers made tabs so popular.  For terminal windows I add screen and/or tmux for panes / side-by-side views.

3) Gnome 3 auto-manages virtual desktops (and vertically stacks them) and I'm not sure what the reason for that its... other than perhaps helping new users understand what virtual desktops are and how to use them.  I think Unity is limited to four virtual desktops but I'm not sure.  This doesn't seem touchscreen related.

4) No icons on the desktop.. I didn't use them much.  Oddly most touchscreen environments are lots of icons all over the screen so their move in this direction seems opposite from touchscreen.  Of course you can add and remove launcher icons from the dock so that functionality is still there.

5) Search oriented application launcher... again, not what the touchscreen environments are doing... which is screen after screen of icons.  While you can do that too on Gnome 3 and Unity, the search interface is strongly encouraged... and the icon system is painful... on purpose it seems.

6) Universal menu - That's a Unity thing that they borrowed from Mac OS X which isn't a touchscreen feature.  I am NOT a fan of it.  Gnome 3 does have a universal menu but there isn't much there and they still retain the traditional application menubar thank goodness.

7) Systray-ish icons... are basically still there just moved around some.

Other than those changes... everything is pretty close to the same as before.  Personal preference is a big touchy (no pun intended) subject so I don't really expect anyone to agree with me completely. :)

Now having said all of that, I primarily use KDE at work and Gnome 3 at home.  I like KDE because it does a fanastic job of session restore.  KDE also has activities which I conceptualize as being able to have multiple sessions to restore to and switch between.  Activities are more than I need so I don't use them much.  At home I typically have less applications open so restoring them upon login isn't as big of a deal... and most of the applciations I care about (web browsers) have session features of their own.

-- 
TYL,
Scott Dowdle - Belgrade, Montana



[#] Fri Jul 27 2012 04:31:36 EDT from dothebart @ Uncensored

Subject: Re: Metro for the masses

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Thu Jul 26 2012 14:37:01 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored Subject: Re: Metro for the masses
(in Android, the app at the bottom of the stack falls off when the operating system needs more resources for what's up front; I imagine Apple does the same).

IOS? Multitasking of any kind? which planet do you live on?

you can merely implement a callgate to the apple push notification service to awake your app for notifications, which is right now closed in europe due to motorola patent wars.



[#] Sun Jul 29 2012 21:59:05 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

Subject: Re: Metro for the masses

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A random blog somewhere ran an article called "An Opinion on the Future of GNOME" and it was the usual random stuff ... I saw some Scott Dowdle comments there too ;)

G3 is starting to get usable, which probably means they didn't do enough user acceptance testing before releasing the first couple of versions. Back in the days before Apple adopted its "we know best" attitude, they were famous for doing a huge amount of UAT, even to the point of observing the users through one-way glass to see how people reacted to various design decisions.


The Gnome team needs to do more of that type of thing.

After a couple of releases, Gnome 3 eventually was good enough for me. I was particularly impressed with the way they dynamically create workspaces; why did it take so long for someone to think of that! The only reason I didn't stick with it is because the accelerated window manager kept locking up my video card. So back to Gnome Panel ('Gnome Classic' in debian) it is for me.

[#] Wed Aug 01 2012 16:44:58 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

Subject: Re: Metro for the masses

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Meanwhile, on the other side of the ranch...

[ http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=MTE1MTc ]

It is being reported that Nokia is getting ready to sell off its Qt asset.
This is not surprising, considering that Nokia is basically now the mobile phone division of Microsoft, and they have been systematically killing off all of their own software (Maemo, MeeGo, Symbian, Meltemi, etc)

According to the article they are going to try to get the Qt 5.0 release completed before the group is sold off. Depending on who it is sold to, the future could either be awesome or terrible.

[#] Wed Aug 01 2012 19:25:39 EDT from dothebart @ Uncensored

Subject: Re: Metro for the masses

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if only nokia had purchased ximian, and novell trolltech...

the opensource world would be much better off.



[#] Thu Aug 02 2012 12:51:29 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

Subject: Re: Metro for the masses

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There is probably some amusement in entertaining the idea that Microsoft wanted to control both the GTK and Qt toolsets, and that is why they kept both Miguel de Icaza and Stephen Elop on their payroll. But the toolkits seem to be getting away from the minions...

[#] Thu Aug 09 2012 17:20:39 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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Hey, check it out ... [ http://goo.gl/gs3EW ]

SCO is finally in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Sure took long enough.

I suppose in retrospect we can call the SCO debacle a Microsoft pilot project in Linux extortion, since they later perfected their technique and are now using sooper-seekrit patent agreements with individual Linux companies instead of simply funding obvious trolls.

[#] Fri Aug 10 2012 08:13:52 EDT from dothebart @ Uncensored

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Yes, SCO shurely was a test animal to burn while making software patent negotiations a working business.

And, I guess it paved the land for lots of other things which are going on in the legal sector right now.

But, we also see, judges aren't as clueless as we always might think, and some meanwhile are getting more encuraged to slapping the offender.

I hope this trend continues.



[#] Sun Aug 19 2012 08:43:47 EDT from the_mgt @ Uncensored

Subject: Re: Looking for a linux-based Citadel for telnet users

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hello harry!

Have you had a look at http://citadel.org/doku.php?id=installation:start ?

Which flavour of linux are you running? Getting the telnet part up and running should be fairly easy. 



[#] Sun Aug 19 2012 09:35:07 EDT from dothebart @ Uncensored

Subject: Re: Looking for a linux-based Citadel for telnet users

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[#] Mon Aug 27 2012 06:38:05 EDT from TheOneLaw @ Uncensored

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Fri Nov 04 2011 07:36:24 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored
Oooh, I like the idea of a "rolling" distribution. It's definitely not for everyone, but the idea of simply getting constant updates instead of ever having a Big New Version (tm) seems attractive for an end user.

Let us know how that works out for you.

Just remembered to let you know, LMDE XFCE 64bit worked out just fine, as near as we can tell.

No problems yet, anyway.

Just revisited this as we are upgrading our backup to the new 201204 version to get the Citadel 8.14 in place.

Seems ok so far.

 

LMDE turns out to be more of a 'lurching' adventure than a rolling distribution as the updates are generally waiting on

clusters of upgrades to make it through the vetting process before getting into the updates arena.  A debian characteristic of sorts.


The heartburn of worrying about whether everything will hold together after an upgrade

 is probably just about as focus-intensive as a full bare-metal reinstall but the thought is that

 everything remains more or less in the same place each time without those moments

 where you discover that some of your key software no longer works at all because

someone decided to remove all the wheels, for no particularly urgent reason.  (I also use SeisUnix, which has had moments)

This business of improving software by cyclically adding unrelated functionality seems to be a disease with no cure,

 as the saga with KDE and now GNOME seems to illustrate.  A global epidemic?

They should have forked off with their grand ideas and left the train on the same rails (I do use KDE4 now sometimes, but....)

 

If you cannot just upgrade in place, and are required to re-Frakking-install each and every time the basis iterates,

  there is a fundamental problem in someones 'big picture' program.

-- 

TheOneLaw



[#] Mon Aug 27 2012 15:10:13 EDT from the_mgt @ Uncensored

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Why not use a real rolling distro like Arch or Gentoo (where the package maintainer is currently procrastinanting with other stuff instead of updating the ebuilds..... ;)? I don't know if there is an arch... build script or something, but could be done, I think.

The other way of dealing with this stuff is using a LTS version of a distro. As a conservativ debian (and derivates) hater, I chose centos for some of my servers. Centos6 is going to stay for a while. On the other hand, I am considering ClearOS as an alternative for more SBS like installs.



[#] Sun Sep 02 2012 07:53:41 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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You know something ... Linus Torvalds is one of the most brilliant developers in the world. He runs circles around everyone else. But when he speaks about anything other than software development he's a complete bonehead. That's kind of disappointing.

[#] Sun Sep 02 2012 18:06:21 EDT from zooer @ Uncensored

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I forget how easy installing Linux can be. I was still using Ubuntu 10.4 and not wanting to install for many reasons. I installed Debian side-by-side with Ubuntu and things are relativly smooth. Not perfect but what isn't working I am learning or
at least remembering what I forgot when I installed the last time.

[#] Tue Sep 04 2012 10:09:37 EDT from the8088er @ Uncensored

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I don't care much for Ubuntu but I have to hand it to them -- their install is painless and the hardware support is great. Debian is pretty good now too but they don't include a lot of "non-free" firmware that you have to install manually and things just don't seem to configure as easily in my experience.

[#] Tue Sep 04 2012 10:30:08 EDT from zooer @ Uncensored

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I started linux on a command line server, I wanted to give a desktop environment a try and I think I dual booted SUSE with
KDE. I hated it. I had messed around a little with other distros/environments but not enough. Then my ex-boss had a
project he wanted me to work on in the last few weeks of my ex-company's operations. He wanted it on Ubuntu with the
default Gnome flavor. I was empressed, things were easy and everything seemed to work. I installed and started to dual
boot with it at home and very quickly it became my OS of choice. If I had any questions I thought the forums were very
friendly and helpful.

I dislike Gnome3/unity, I was ready for something else. I tried Fedora but not enough and felt Debian was the next step in
the evolution. I don't think Debian people are as friendly as the Ubuntu crowd.

[#] Tue Sep 04 2012 14:12:54 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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Achieving the "classic" GNOME desktop with GNOME 3 on Debian is surprisingly easy. Install the package "gnome-panel" and you're good to go. Ubuntu offers no such flexibility.

Although I must admit I am beginning to warm up to GNOME Shell.

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