Re: What is GNOME office?

On 16 Nov, Havoc Pennington wrote:
> Lauris Kaplinski <lauris helixcode com> writes:
>> > I don't agree - I think Microsoft and Apple technologies are extremely
>> > high quality in general, in many, many ways ahead of us. Beating them
>> > will involve making our technology at least as good as theirs, if not
>> > compellingly better. So I think 2) is an essential step in 1). You
>> > can't win on marketing alone. People are using free software because
>> > it meets their needs.
>> Hmmm...
>> I personally would consider those to be a huge pile of mud, containing
>> some diamonds. But I have not seen the actual code...
>> Anyways, think about:
>> Windows/DOS vs. MacOS
>> Windows/DOS/MacOS vs. Amiga
>> Windows/DOS/MacOS vs. Unix
>> ...
> The operating systems are bad, yes. But Internet Explorer and MS
> Office are excellent. As is the component/control technology and the
> .NET cross-language runtime. These are the things we should be
> trying to equal or exceed.
> Users don't like the way Windows crashes a lot and has countless
> driver problems. But users _love_ IE and Office. They are simply very
> good programs. And they are well-architected with components and
> high-level languages.
I'm probably in a minority here (and if marketing "statistics" can be
trusted, I definitely am), but I *hate* IE and MS-Office.

Oh I can use them if I have to, but I really dislike using them.

Among my reasons for disliking them are:
  * each new version is bloated with "features" that IMHO are either
    unneccessary or don't pass my personal price/performance assessment
  * most, if not all, new versions include subtle, often undocumented,
    changes which alter the behavior of features--especially "reorganization"
    of configuration options (including phrasings that make the actual purpose
    of a given option ambiguous)
  * MS's penchant for hiding the complexity from the user results not only in
    documents that are far larger than need be, but also unexpected behaviors
    that result from these hidden codes. (IMHO, WordPerfect had the
    right idea--the basic display is the document, but you could "Reveal
    Codes" at any time to see in detail what options were or were not in
  * Corollary to the above is the result that MS designs for novices--and ends
    up making things more complicated (and thereby less efficient) for
    advanced users--by introducing layers of "usability" features that
    end up just getting in the way. Can you say "dancing paper clip"?
  * MS's obsession with multiple toolbars, functionbars, and menubars that
    waste available screen real estate. While the new "dockable"
    toolbars help, it's still overkill. (I really loved the way Amiga's
    Intution used the titlebar as a menubar . . . it kept the display
    clean & simple.)
  * MS's pattern of denial wrt bugs & security holes. (If any of your MS
    force be caught or killed, the CEO will disavow any knowledge of
    your actions.  Good luck, Jim.)

Well, you get the idea.

Oh, FWIW, users *love* AOL too . . . I hear it all the time from AOLers
who sign up for broadband speed with the ISP I do TS for. Having to
monkey around with MS's simplistic networking settings is too complex
for their tastes.

>> So I have strong feeling that better techincal solution does not win
>> in short-term. Just do not mix end-user experience (which is great for
>> WinMac) with techincal features (which are endless source of joy (or
>> frustration) to people writing code).
> GNOME is about delivering technology to end users - this is part of
> the original vision. When Miguel started GNOME, Berlin and GNUStep did
> exist and people said they should be used, since they were technically
> better. But guess what - those desktops still aren't usable and still
> don't exist from the end-user perspective. GNOME does.

And that is the real trick--to deliver a technically excellent product
that end-user *can* and will *want* to use . . .

Which begs the age-old question: do we mimic the UI of MS apps because
that's what most end-users are accustomed to, or do we try to go at
least one step better, but risk "confusing" these folks.

Personally, I'd like to see us take the approach of "weaning"--helping
the end-users move from pablum to steak. But that will require a
delicate balancing act of robust features, technical excellence, ease of
use, and ease of transition.

Any agreement here? Or am I just living in the past?

   ld_barthel yahoo com |
       Organization: The Pennswald Group -- Linux powered!!

A computer does what you tell it to do, not what you want it to do.

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