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

-----Original Message-----
From: Tom Vogt <>
To: <>
Date: Thursday, July 23, 1998 12:35 PM
Subject: 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.

Easy target.

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

Like I said, part of the Windows Standard of installing to company name
instead of to category name.  Just because Microsoft mucked this up in the
name of Brand Identity doesn't mean their concept was off.

>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
>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

So lets organize the gnomeprint in the same fashion as Nextstep--by app
category, not by app creator.  Start Menu(1), Games(2), Quake II(3).  Three
mouse motions.  Lets see how many for next step:   Dock-Games(1), Quake
II(2).  You've saved a mouse click, but lost a significant amount of desk
real estate.  Guess which resource is rarer.

>> 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
>> 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
>> 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
>the gnome panel, but it puts it to a much better use.

I'm working on that :-)   shhhh that's my Stealth Proposal that I was
slamming everyone for screenshots for *ehehehhehe*

<Best mad scientist impression>

>> But that's not the point.  Point is, wasted space is useless.  Most UI
>> suggestions don't entail every single system application recieving a
>> 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
>> a value, is that of reduced reachability, or the time necessary to tell
>> 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
>> 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
>of one button. instead of going "start->programs->adobe->pagemaker" you
>would go "apps->pagemaker". which one is more intuitive, easier and

start->apps>pagemaker is the best choice of all.

>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.
>please allow the rest of the world to enjoy a cleaner, easier and more
>intuitive layout.

Well, we're talking about defaults here, and we have to remember the poor
schmuck who accidentally screws up and defaults to having no way to control
anything.  It must be pretty clear in the GNOME interface that if you REALLY
muck up your interface, something like Control-Alt-F12 will let you load up
an old set or the original set.

I think you'll see that it's more efficient to just sort the gnomeprint by
app category rather than splitting the gnomeprint up.

One other thing--I've decided being able to launch apps from any location
where the mouse happens to be is quite nice, and should be highly suggested
to WM's by the GNOME standard.

>> What the standard Unix way appears to be, then, is to place *categories*
>> applications on a standard bar instead of the apps themselves.  This too,
>> 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
>> 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.

Misunderstanding.  App windows are windows that you click to load up an app,
or to bring up all apps of a given category.

>> 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
>it is by far outclassed by the disadvantages of that philosophy.

Microsoft SEVERELY SEVERELY SEVERELY mucked up the Start Menu by not
suggesting categorize-by-category.  GNOME *cannot* make this mistake :-)

>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.

Maybe Gnome's interface should be written in XML, for the ultimate in

(It's lines like that that make me happy I'm not coding this puppy.)

>> >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
>> >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
>> 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

However, we've gotta prove that it works better.  If somebody else chokes on
a burger because they're not smart enough to chew before they swallow,
doesn't mean we should avoid burgers.

We should just eat smarter.

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


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