Conceptual models (was: Re: Detachable menubar idea)

Not only doesn't the detachable menubar seem terribly useful, but the
situation is much worse... it is symptomatic of a major problem with
Gnome; the lack of coherent conceptual models.

Ok, so we have a detachable menu bar... not a bad idea in principle; by
detaching it I can prevent it from taking up space in my window, which
can be a good thing.  But now that I've detached it how can I tell it
apart from other detached menu bars?  Also, how do I re-attach it (at
the moment the only way to do so is to close it via an ICCCM message)?
If there's a single application that can have multiple windows (like,
say, the gnome-terminal) will there be a single detached menu for all
windows (not currently) or do new windows still have their own menu
bars (currently so)?  If we had a concept of application layers (a'la
Macintosh or NeXT) then detached menubars would have a more
identifyable identity and a single detached menubar for all an
application's windows would make sense... but not as it is.

Currently there just aren't any easy answers to these questions, and 
frankly, even if we come up with sepecific solutions to some of the
most glaring problems (i.e. detached menubar identity), I'm afraid the
solution will be just another special case that doesn't fit into a 
coherent whole.

A GUI framework like Gnome should consist of a small set of conceptual
models from which all behaviors can be somewhat intuitively inferred...
the Macintosh and NeXT GUIs adhere very well to this design principle and
even Windows is slowly by surely getting better in this regard (until the
'95 GUI Windows was an absolute disaster from a conceptual model
perspective, and even in the modern versions there are a lot of

I am afraid that Gnome is falling into the trap of just kind of "growing
together"... we may make good UI design decisions on particular details,
solving particularly hairy inconsistencies one at a time, but will end up
with something that simply doesn't have any unifying overall models, thus
constantly surprising the user with unexpected behaviors.

I am therefor calling for everybody who is interested in the larger GUI
issue to take a step back and think about conceptual models for user
interaction, maybe go play with a Mac or a NeXTstep box, and start some
discussion here on the list.  We need to fix this now, while everything is
still in flux, so that we can have a GUI that's truely better than Windows
from the start.

   ~~/            /~)
    /.. 	 /-< 
 \_/ u r g e n  /_ _) o t z      "Unix?  What's that?  Is that like Linux?"

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