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

Dan Kaminsky <> wrote:
> >I'd like to get a couple more topics rolling, among them:
> >
> >- the panel
> >  basic configuration should be more sane and less windoze/kde like. for
> >  instance, DO remove the "start button" analogy, every ui knowledgable
> >  person I know agrees that it's one of the worst things ever.
> Microsoft bashing.

as an aside.

> Damn it, you can't *out*class something you can't
> recognize the class *of*!  And before you pull some "newbie" argument on me,
> let me tell you from personal experience that the number one thing newbies
> appear to have problems with is THE MOUSE.  Are we to eliminate clicking,
> dragging, double-clicking(which button?!?), and so on because newbies don't
> figure it out quickly enough?  They figure out the start menu quicker.

true, they figure it out quicker. however, aside from some minor issues of
confusion and inconsistency (like clicking the start button to shut down),
it is a major source of unnecessary complication. the structure of the start
menu is inherently broken. first you have one single point of reference
where a menu would have allowed you access to the subpoints much faster.
second, within that menu you have ANOTHER single point of reference (the
"programs" point) that spawns the exact same problem yet again. some people
I know have a screen full of items in the "programs" point and I don't mean
one menu bar from top to bottom, but enough of those to fill the screen.

in contrast, take a look at the way nextstep works. the dock is basically a
collection of "start" buttons, but by grouping you avoid a lot of
unnecessary movement (avg. number of mouse actions to start a windoze
application is SEVEN! nextstep: four), you also bring a much clearer structure
into everything. if you have a somewhat sane grouping (say "system, games,
graphics, misc apps" for someone with a focus on graphics) you will find
programs MUCH faster than by opening the "programs" menu and gettting
visually killed by an unsorted list of several dozen programs, some with

> I think the present "Unix Way" of listing *categories* of apps on the bar
> instead of a single app button is tremendously wasteful.  Screen desk space
> needs to deliver as much relevant information is as little space as
> possible, mindful of the organizational factors of whitespace but not
> excessive like 90% of the non-windows menu bars out there.  If there's one
> thing we learned from Windows 95 its that windows should have VERY LITTLE

the windoze bar as well as the gnome panel take a fixed amount of screen
real estate anyway, so why not put that to good use?
the afterstep wharf I use here uses the exact same amount of screen space as
the gnome panel, but it puts it to a much better use.

> But that's not the point.  Point is, wasted space is useless.  Most UI
> suggestions don't entail every single system application recieving a screen
> button; too much clutter, and *way* too little dynamic information value.
> Lots of space being wasted for what is essentially advertising for what's
> around to do besides what you're doing right now.  The only gain, and it is
> a value, is that of reduced reachability, or the time necessary to tell your
> computer you want to load a given app.  On-screen buttons have a direct
> linear mouth path with but a single click to load.  But the clutter has a
> way of contraverting this by forcing the user to hunt without the benefit of
> alphabeticals through far too many boxes.  So this gets shot down pretty
> easily.

I don't want every app to be started directly from the panel. :)

my proposal is moving away from the single-point-of-failure, oops -reference
philosophy towards multiple groupings. take my above example of four instead
of one button. instead of going "start->programs->adobe->pagemaker" you
would go "apps->pagemaker". which one is more intuitive, easier and cleaner?

I also suggest every user should be able to easily costumize his starting
points, adding or removing them if he needs more or less. if you insist on
having a start button, you can remove everything else, I won't stop you. but
please allow the rest of the world to enjoy a cleaner, easier and more
intuitive layout.

> What the standard Unix way appears to be, then, is to place *categories* of
> applications on a standard bar instead of the apps themselves.  This too, is
> flawed, because though there is less clutter, you no longer have the
> click-line advantage, you're still wasting alot of space, and most
> importantly, there's STILL no dynamic information value!  Now, email gets a
> window or a box or a checkmark or a whatever because you *get new email*.
> There's nothing dynamic in your app windows;

why not? I have a calender/clock and a network-up/down display in my
afterstep wharf currently. both are dynamic information. I do not see any
problems putting both types on the same bar.

> That's why the Start menu concept(maybe not the name, but who cares about
> the name, really?) is actually a great one.  It's the minimum necessary
> space needed to convey the fact that this is where one goes for their
> applications.  That's the thing about statics.  You want to suck up as
> little real estate as possible for them, so that the stuff you're really
> looking for, the dynamic stuff, actually has room to operate.

you are right that the minimum space argument holds true. however, I believe
it is by far outclassed by the disadvantages of that philosophy.

and still - if you want it, I am all for allowing you to customize your
system so everything is on one button. I just ask in return for my ability
to customize it so that it's not.

> >I absolutely agree on that. my point went to say that we have to think
> about
> >what's good for GNOME - no matter whether it's done differently on other
> >systems. if there's a good reason to throw overboard a convention, no
> matter
> >how common or "well-used-to", we should do it. people have the ability to
> >relearn, and if how we do it really is better, they will have the
> >willingness, too.
> Well, it's an issue of cost-benefit analysis.  St. Thomas Aquinas said that
> it's OK to rebel, but not just any time.  There's an inherent pain in
> revolution, or in fighting for the just cause.

aside from the fact that I'm not on friendly terms with aquinas, this is
about rebellion WHEN IT'S RIGHT. my point was explicitly that if it makes
sense, if it works better, we shouldn't care that everyone else does it

[...about posting everything first...]
> Welp, if you've got arguments, justify them.
gotta know what to argument on first. :)

The universe does not have laws -- it has habits, and habits can be broken.

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