Re: gnome 3.0 shell concept

I think there is a deeper underlying issue here. People need to open too
many windows at once to get things done. Too many simultaneous tasks,
because applications do not meld together on today's computer desktop.
Instead, we STRUGGLE to cling them together with feeble things like file
managers (far too abstract and generic to be intuitive), drag & drop and
application-specific Export / Import options (often implemented by heaps
of plug-ins).

What we need is a way to streamline interfaces. Make them aerodynamic.
Users expect 'click through' their software so they can follow the
default operations on obvious objects and ultimately encounter an end
result such as having that object tweaked and uploaded to an online
photo gallery. Today, that does not happen. The user must, at some
point, prod through a file manager where he faces a ginormous hierarchy.
A hierarchy that was "automatically generated" by applications such as
F-Spot and Rhythmbox entirely to keep him from having to face it!

I think GNOME-Shell right now is on the right track for
application-centric interfaces, where a game for example is a program
one may think of as a distinct piece of software. However, if it wants
to call itself a shell, this is not enough to be a complete fix. What we
need to realize is that the shell is not just the application launcher,
and it is not just the file manager either. User interface has evolved
beyond that. Users expect both a document-centric AND an
application-centric interface because actual documents -- ESPECIALLY in
a Unix-like operating system -- are carried between numerous
applications, but not all applications handle specific documents in an
obvious way.

The shell has to be the entire desktop environment and every application
it contains. I think F-Spot is really just like a glorified file manager
that's good at photos and abstracts the process of managing them. So, it
should fill in for the file opening and saving widget when images are
being requested. This way the user could "click through" uploading a
file stored in F-Spot, and similarly through putting a file in there,
without needing to revert to an application launcher. Cheese, also,
specifically creates and outputs files. The desktop environment should
be able to recognize this functionality and act on it intelligently.

For example, the user chooses to upload an image to Facebook. A
new-fangled file chooser widget appears with a choice of different
applications known to provide files of that type: F-Spot, MeMaker,
Cheese, and a generic file selector. The user chooses Cheese, and with
it takes a picture of himself then has it immediately uploaded to
Facebook. No fiddling with generic "files" necessary. All he has to
think of is photos.

I have been quietly poking at it with a tiny little toolkit that tries
to open up these sorts of details in an integrated way. Hopefully
something will come of it, but anyone else can feel free to tinker with
the same idea as well :)


Dylan McCall <DylanMcCall Gmail com>

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