RE: Don't overlook Simplicity.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: James Henstridge []
> Making things simple to the end user is great for newbies, but quite often
> simplicity just gets in the way of the more experienced users (if you have
> used MS office, what did you think about the paper clip after the first
> two minutes?).  If it is possible to create a simple interface that does
> not limit functionality for experience users, then that is great.  It is
> not necessarily a good idea to go for simplicity where it limits
> functionality for more experienced users though.

There's one big mistake I keep seeing in this thread - don't confuse
with simplicity.  They are a *horrible* model to follow.  MS has a very bad
habit of making things very difficult to use by automating things too much,
and deciding that they know better than users how things should be done.
overwhelming trend in MS software is to take flexibility and configurability
*away* from the user completely.  This isn't simplicity - this is
dictatorialism.  (Wouldn't King Bill love that?)

SIMPLE software allows you to accomplish common task quickly, intuitively,
easily, without more steps than are necessary.  At the same time, it cannot
prevent you from accomplishing things in different ways, or from
more complex tasks, if you wish to take the time to learn them.  Proper
software does not make the complex tasks difficult, either - they just may
be as readily apparent.

Qmail is a good example of simple but powerful software.  With just a few
variables configured at installation, you can have it running.  If you want
a more complex mail installation, it will let you do it.

Believe it or not, rebuilding the Linux kernel on most systems is also
but powerful.  "make config" is a very simple step that guides you line by
through all of the configuration variables.  If you don't understand them
fine.  Just accept the defaults.  Anyone can build a new kernel this way.
if you take the time to learn what all of the settings mean, you can
tune your kernel to your specific requirements.

Truly simple software is a difficult goal to achieve (user-friendly =
hostile), but it's a worthy one.


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