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

i think george has done a wonderful job of implementing the right tools
to keep both of us happy, regardless of our difference in viewpoint.

Dan Kaminsky wrote:
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Tom Vogt <>

> >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
> >submenus.
> 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 know what you're hoping the obvious answer everyone will think of will
be, but let's not forget the guy who _only_ plays quake and thinks it's
annoying to dig through three layers of menus to get there. the current
panel allows that program to reside in the third menu layer, or right on
the panel, or both... just as it should be.

> >> 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.

this i don't understand. if the windows bar and the gnome panel both
take a fixed amount of screen real estate, and the gnome panel and
afterstep wharf both use the same amount of screen space, what needs to
be fixed where? the way i see it you have the option to run the same
types of stuff in all 3 "bars". how is one more/less useful than

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

i give up: wanda the gnome fish for the afterstep/windowmaker dock? a
gnome panel that collapses to a user-definable percentage of screen
width/height? the latter would be useful but not vastly different from
what we have now; the former would be no different from what we have

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

this isn't, however, your call to make for any user except yourself. the
current panel allows for 1.) the guy who never uses pagemaker to stash
it deep in a menu somewhere where he'll be able to dig it up fairly
quickly in case he might need it someday; 2.) pagemaker in the root
level of a single gnome menu, for the guy who agrees with the
one-entry-point philosophy but uses pagemaker frequently, 3.) the
graphic designer who uses several different page-layout tools and keeps
them all neatly organized in a drawer (right next to the drawer full of
graphics apps); 4.) the newspaper paste-up man who only uses his
computer for pagemaker and thinks it's irritating to store pagemaker
anywhere but right smack dab on the panel itself.

all is, therefore, exactly as it should be. configure your panel the way
you like it and thank george you can, because if i tried to mandate the
way the panel should be, you wouldn't be happy. :)

> 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.

imo this default should be whatever the system administrator has set up
in /usr/share, but as far as out-of-the-box, the way root sees it when
he first installs it, should pretty much be a blank canvas. again, the
way things are right now is fine: each package you download (games,
network, admin, etc) has a separate entry in the gnome menu, and if you
didn't download any of those apps, that submenu doesn't appear. the only
_really_ necessary apps in the default are the menu config utility and
the panel config submenu, so the panel and gnome menu can be built up to
whatever the user wants.

> 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.

agreed, but this is kind of a darwinian thing... wm's that don't allow
for this are invariably forgotten, having lacked a fundamental feature
of a window manager in the first place.

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

well, i still don't see the problem. i happily use drawers and
launcher-buttons alongside my "dynamic" applets in my panel and find it
very convenient to have some apps (like rxvt) so easily accessible.

> >> 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.

unless you don't. then you stick the cute little square buttons wherever
the hell you want them, and again, you thank george that the capability
is already there to do so. :) i am, by the way, not the only person who
likes having launch-buttons on the desktop.

btw, have you tried enlightenment? you'd probably freak: it has a huge
desktop-dragbar, tons of launch-buttons, additional buttons for raising
and lowering desktops, and not a single dynamic applet or status
indicator anywhere in sight, by default.

you might be surprised to learn that i've "converted" several friends to
linux on the basis of this one windowmanager alone, and that there are
many people who find it very useable in spite of (because of?) what you
surely would call clutter.

> 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.

keep selling those burgers whole, though. don't chop them up just to
make them safe for those who haven't learned how to chew; let those
morons make their own decision. if they choke, let darwin take care of
them. if they don't choke, hmm. maybe they're on to something. let them

and for the record: i rather agree with you (or at least understand your
viewpoint) on the single point of entry thing. my main reason for
replying to this letter is to demonstrate that you have your freedom to
enjoy your interface the way you like it, right now. let's not try to
bind anyone else to that one philosophy of interface when it's already
so customizable as to please nearly everyone. there's plenty of room for
those who think multiple points of entry are better; if you disagree i'd
invite you to question why the nextstep interface (now manifested in
windowmaker, afterstep, and enlightenment) and mac os 8's tabbed windows
are heralded as such great improvements on the gui.
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary
deserve neither liberty nor safety." --Benjamin Franklin

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