To answer your question about the upcoming Style-Guide..

To answer your question, Chris..

   Relax. :) You can rest assured that when I actually do sit down and
begin penning out what will become V2 of the GNOME UI Style Guide, there
will be a very, very heavy emphasis on thew importance of visual
consistancy, clean, uncluttered design, balance, and uniformity of
function. Thats my job. NeXTStep (in paticular) demonstrated alot of the
those principles.

   Theres still alot of preparation which needs to be done before the
actual writing process begins. Here's the current plan: I intend on
preparing a few comprehensive surveys and questionairres for everyone
(novices and know-nothings, to professionals and experts) to convey their
feelings and preferences regarding a few key issues. These suerveys will
be made available during (and after) 2 or 3 public IRC conferences that
i'll host, which will gather up everyone important to the process, to
haggle over the details. This will occur in a few weeks, after a formal
announcement has been made.

   Once I can get a fairly accurate gauge on what the public consensus is,
I can begin tailoring what I know to be right and good, and what will fit
the design goals GNOME needs. 

   I want to make this process as democratic as possible, but in the end,
there are going to be times where I have to make judgement calls regarding
certain design issues which may not be immediately popular; Some things,
despite the public's demand for them, need to be overlooked for the good
of the overall design. Its not just the present that we have to worry
about ; We have to keep the needs of the future in perspective as well.
The first formal style guide will set the standard that all subsequent
Style Guides will have to adhere to, in one form or another. What we do
now will have a *profound* effect on how things are thought of, and done,
in the future. So in a couple years, when its time to write another NEWER
style guide, we will have gotten the process off to a good start by the
work we do now. 

   Standards which make sense, and can survive the test of time, are
more valuable than you can believe. Ever wonder why the distance between
the rails of a railroad track are all the same, no matter where you are?
Its been like that for over 150 years. Why? Because someone back in the
1840's sat down, thought about it, and did the right thing. UI design, and
the writing of its standards is exactly the same idea. You build for now,
AND you build for the future.

   UI standardization is a very touchy issue with some people; Ive found
that generally, the less personal taste and forethought a user has, the
more likely they are to complain about standards. :) The final version of
the Style Guide will likely be formed on the basis of differing
"compliancy levels" ..e.g. a GNOME application which only adheres to the
most basic principles outlined in the style guide will be deemed "Level 3
Compliant", an application which adheres to most but not all of the design
principles is "Level 2 Compliant", etc. That is to say, yes, the overall
guidelines layed out in the the Style Guide will be flexible -- But not SO
flexible as to become vague, indefinite, or weak. 

   In any event, I already have the basic blueprints for the new
style-guide. But, they're still very much in a "rough draft" state, which
can only be further refined once I'm able to get more input from the

   Yes, the form and function of the Style Guide will take largely after
pre-existing designs. Im strongly against the idea of including specific
features & functionality into a design for the simple sake that "People
are just used to it that way"... People are used to Win95, which is as
close to a living abortion of a desktop as one could imagine; An 
inconsistant, loosely-collected blob of borrowed ideas.. I'n NOT going to
lay down the plans to build another Win95. Just because people are used to
doing something in a paticular way, even when that "way" is terrible, does
NOT mean that I will advocate its inclusion into V2 of the UI SG. 

   Microsoft is Microsoft, Commodore was Commodore, NeXT was NeXT, and
Apple is Apple. By the same token, GNOME SHOULD BE GNOME -- with its own
feel, and its own distinct personality. Not a pot-luck blob of comfort
which defeats function, ala KDE.

   This is the core of what separates our approach from that of KDE.
Function, and visual consistancy must come FIRST--Not the desire to
placate and comfort the user with a design which simply doesnt make sense.

   There is a VERY fine line between the need for consistancy, and the
need for comfort..And it can't just be ME who decides where that line
is to be drawn. We all have to draw it. We do so, by arguing the
merits of every single point, idea, or stipulation. Wherever the line
ends up falling, and regardless of what territories it will fall into
(AmigaDOS/Intuition, NeXTStep, MacOS, Win95), it WILL and MUST be
distinctly, totally, and unquestionably >>GNOME<<. Not a collection
borrowed ideas that lack functional consistancy.

We are not KDE.


| Bowie J. Poag |
| Vigor, vim, vitality and punch.                              |

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