Re: Global menubar (was Re: #4 on ToDo list: make the top panel prettier)

On Sun, 2009-01-25 at 10:49 -0500, Owen Taylor wrote:
> [ resending from a thread that accidentally drifted off-list ]
> On Mon, 2009-01-19 at 20:34 +0100, Jonas Jørgensen wrote:
> > 2009/1/19 Owen Taylor <otaylor redhat com>:
> > > On Sun, 2009-01-18 at 19:14 -0800, Brian Fleeger wrote:
> > >> I have one question: with the part of the top panel next to the
> > >> activities button empty, are there any plans to use global menus to
> > >> more effectively use that wide open space?  Is it going to go fallow?
> > [...]
> > > I have some opinion that the global menu bar is pretty tied to
> > > the application-centric model of the Macintosh .. it's not entirely
> > > clear to me that you can go to the global menu bar without adopting that
> > > model wholesale. Which would be a pretty major change to the way the
> > > desktop works.
> > 
> > I'm curious as to why you have that opinion, and I'd love to hear an
> > explanation of it -- because I strongly prefer the
> > menu-bar-in-top-panel approach, and I strongly dislike the
> > application-centricism of Mac OS :-)
> Well, on the Macintosh, to really use the computer effectively, you do
> have to understand the concept of an application being "current". This
> is exposed, among other things by:
>  - All windows of an application come to the front at one
>  - The ability to "hide other windows" to hide windows not from the 
>    application
>  - The menubar staying there when you close the last window
>  - The dock icons activating an application
> The global menu is part of the "bundle" of concepts.
I don't think global menu in gnome should be a bundle of mac concepts.
I would like to say Global Menu is GNOME + centralized menu bar.
We are still experimenting (primarily on the switcher menu in the
applet) how to conciliate a centralized menu bar with the current gnome
window/application model. The 'bundle' is a nice reference but it is
definitely not a must. 

> On a Linux (or for that matter Windows) desktop, if I'm only working
> with maximized windows, then there is a clear stand-in for the current
> application, which is the maximized window. In that case, I think the
> global menu does work OK - it's really just shuffling around the stuff
> at the top of the screen.

> But large monitors have become cheap and common (22" could be said to
> be the standard size at this point), and multiple monitors are not
> unusual. Given sufficient real estate, most people stop maximizing all
> their windows. And at that point, I think that it's a leap to say that
> selecting something in one corner of the screen changes something all
> the way at the other corner of the screen.
No matter how common large and cheap monitors, it is still difficult ot
imagine a 5'10'' carrying a 22'' laptop. 

> You might say that the global menu is just an extension of the concept
> of keyboard focus. Here's two predictions I'll make about keyboard focus
> on a large monitor with non-maximized windows based on
> "locality" (completely unsubstantiated from actual data)
> - Users will keep the mouse over or near the window they are typing on,
>   even when that requires extra effort. 
> - Users will occasionally click on an already focused window before
>   starting to type in it.
> In other words, the user doesn't really have a strong mental model that
> there is global focused window that applies even when there their
> eyes, attention, and mouse cursor are elsewhere.
I agree with you on large screens, global menu has the potential to
cause issues interacting with users. But to how much? I can't answer
this question since I don't yet have sufficient money to buy a 22''
monitor. I had a chance to connect my laptop with an 20'' external,
though. and there seems to be no big issues to me; as I have already
been accustomed to a centralized menu bar.

Currently there is no way (after global menu us enabled) to invoke the
'alt' shortcuts for the menu items. The user can press F10 to go to the
global menu, though. Therefore I don't think global menu is an extension
of keyboard focus.

If we find a way to smoothly integrate the GNOME app model with Global
Menu model (GNOME global menu model), then at least we can offer to the
(1) a Global Menu model desktop on small screens, assuming 15''s have to
save screen estate) and 
(2) a Traditional model desktop on large screens, assuming 22''s have
difficulties to find stuff.
(3) the privilege to swing between two models until she is happy.

At this stage to think about global menu in gnome as a theoretical work
may be too early and harm the project. It sounds more natural to me to
work with users first, before fall into the UI politics and get trapped.

> There are also some corner cases to the global menu model that have
> obvious answers in the "application" case, but less obvious answers in
> the "window" case. 

The current(current!) answer to there questions are:

> Do all windows from the same application have the
> same menu bar?  
No. The menu bar is for the window. Whether the menu bar is the same in
the application depends on the application; Most applications try to
keep the menu bars consistent between document windows though. 
> What happens with windows without a menu bar? 
> (From an app with other windows? As a standalone app?)
If it is a toolbox, use the menu bar of last activated window,
If it is a normal window show nothing -- that's an alien window.

Because installing global menu nowadays is cheap I sincerely recommend
everyone on this thread give a try for a week or so (even if it feels
inconvenient at first). Together we can seek for answers to the
unanswered and make life better.

Your great help will be appreciated.


> - Owen
> _______________________________________________
> gnome-shell-list mailing list
> gnome-shell-list gnome org

[Date Prev][Date Next]   [Thread Prev][Thread Next]   [Thread Index] [Date Index] [Author Index]