Re: Proposal: gnome-main-menu for inclusion in GNOME 2.18

On Thu, 19 Oct 2006, Jim Krehl wrote:

> Date: Thu, 19 Oct 2006 17:40:13 -0400
> From: Jim Krehl <jimmyk novell com>
> To: desktop-devel-list <desktop-devel-list gnome org>
> Subject: Proposal: gnome-main-menu for inclusion in GNOME 2.18

[I'm replying to the first message but I have read through much of the
rest of the discussion on this too.]

> I would like to propose that the gnome-main-menu project -- found in
> gnome-cvs under the module "slab" -- to be included in GNOME 2.18.

I have serious reservations about changing the defaults or removing any of
the existing menu applications at least not until Gnome 3.0 whenever that
might be.  Although I dislike the clunky term "user experience" I would
hope for the duration of Gnome 2 users should be able to update and still
have something that looks like Gnome 2 and a fairly stable "user
experience" much as developers demand stable APIs.  Even if developers are
convinced something is vastly better users should not be forced on the
upgrade treadmill and told they need to relearn how to use things, that we
know best and it is for their own good.

The proposal sounds like as if slab wants to be shipped not necessarily
turned on by default or the default layout changed.  As far as I have read
in the discussion this remains unclear, but I suspect that was left
intentionally vague to leave room for negotiation.  ;)

Maybe slab could be turned on for new users but as others have already
drawn parallels between the look of slab and the Windows XP start menu I
would point out that Microsoft did treated this as a major change and also
made it relatively easy to switch back to the old menu layout (they did
not expect everyone to use the 'All Programs' option even though they had
made the effort to build something simliar to the old behaviour in the new

> * It's been included in a variety of distributions, primarily in
>   openSUSE.

Unless things have changed since last I looked OpenSUSE does default to
KDE which doesn't use slab.  It would be helpful if you could clarify
where else slab has been included.

I particularly like the Recent Applications feature of Slab but I'd prefer
to have that same feature in any of the menu layouts.

> * The user interface is the result of significant and iterative user
>   testing.

I know the SUSE developers also did testing of their own comparing their
new "Kick Start" to various solutions including slab.  I would be
interested to know more about that research and testing and what if any
impact that has or might have on the direction of slab.

> I'm sure that there are a variety of issues surrounding my proposal as
> it's my first one and I'm a bit confused by the whole process.  Lemme
> know what they are.

If you could further clarify your expectations of how you see the default
layout being changed (or not) it would be helpful.

Despite my reservations I am very glad that Novell are proposing Slab for
inclusion.  The current two panel layout was proposed by Ximian (as most
of you know, now part of Novell) and they have since abandoned the idea
but Gnome stuck with it, making many small "refinements" over the past few
releases.  (I say "refinements" because I still want the Run Dialog back
in the menus where it is actually discoverable.  I cant believe I missed
it being buried but at least it wasn't removed and I was forced to
memorize a keybinding.  I supported the removal of the terminal icon from
the panel safe in the knowledge the Run Dialog would be just another click
away.  but anyways ...)

Given that another large Gnome user in the form of Sun Microsystems also
declines to use the default Gnome layout I do think there needs to be a
slighly larger discussion about the defaults, and perhaps changing them in
a way that more/most distributions would be satisfied with and we might
get more than a couple of release out it before the discussion comes up


Alan Horkan

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