[no subject]

For the record, as much as I prefer the conservative approach of
Chrome/Chrome OS right now, I'm really eager to see where Gnome Shell goes.
And I'm looking forward to changing my interfacing habits. It's not just the
apps that need reprogramming, after all. In any case, I hope these thoughts
are useful.

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<div class=3D"gmail_quote">On Mon, Jan 4, 2010 at 7:21 PM, William Jon McCa=
nn <span dir=3D"ltr">&lt;<a href=3D"mailto:william jon mccann gmail com" ta=
rget=3D"_blank">william jon mccann gmail com</a>&gt;</span> wrote:<br><bloc=
kquote class=3D"gmail_quote" style=3D"margin:0 0 0 .8ex;border-left:1px #cc=
c solid;padding-left:1ex">

=A0But speaking=A0of modern desktop systems, I don&#39;t know of a single O=
S environment<br>
designed in the last, say, 5 years that has a window based taskbar.<br>
Do you? =A0(Docks and live window previews are different.) =A0Vista was<br>
probably the last one ever.</blockquote><div><br></div><div>Well, <a href=
=3D"http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DhJ57xzo287U"; target=3D"_blank">Chrome =
OS</a> seems likely to have something very similar to a window based taskba=
r. The tabs are essentially full screen windows, supplemented with either o=
verlaying panels or sidebars, and what were windows are made to be more lik=
e desktops, selected from a zoomed out overview. To me, this seems like a p=
retty enticing evolution of the taskbar, and of window management generally=
 (though &quot;management&quot; is what this tiling largely dispenses with,=
 at least for a small, single-tab screen). And Firefox, which for lots of p=
eople is almost an operating environment in itself, has outlined (tentative=
)=A0<a href=3D"http://limi.net/articles/reinventing-tabs-for-the-browser/";>=
plans</a>=A0to keep its tabbar even as it adds a sidebar-based tab switcher=
<div><br></div><div>If anything, Gnome Shell seems distinctive among all av=
ailable desktop operating environments in doing away with persistent visual=
 representation of unfocused windows and apps, at least by default (litl is=
 like this too, I guess). In Windows and OS X these things are (as far as I=
 can see) always visible, unless auto-hiding is enabled (setting aside any =
fancy situations with workspaces). From that perspective, the activities vi=
ew is something like an auto-hiding menu/dock, an approach more familiar fr=
om cell phones than desktops.</div>

<div><br></div><div>This seems to me a bold move, making unfocused things i=
nto fully invisible ones. And it seems very deliberately and thoughtfully i=
ntended:</div><blockquote class=3D"gmail_quote" style=3D"margin-top: 0px; m=
argin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0.8ex; border-left-width=
: 1px; border-left-color: rgb(204, 204, 204); border-left-style: solid; pad=
ding-left: 1ex; ">
Owen Taylor:</blockquote><div><blockquote>Well, the bluntest answer here is=
 that if a window isn&#39;t important to</blockquote><span class=3D"Apple-s=
tyle-span" style=3D"font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; border=
-collapse: collapse; "><blockquote>
what you are doing right now, it&#39;s good that you forgot it!</blockquote=
></span></div><div><br></div><div>As Owen Taylor makes clear, this puts a b=
urden on applications to make use of the available notifications systems to=
 maintain the distinction between active and inactive activities:</div>
<div><br></div><blockquote class=3D"gmail_quote" style=3D"margin-top:0px;ma=
rder-left-color:rgb(204, 204, 204);border-left-style:solid;padding-left:1ex=
The larger extension of that is that we want window switching to be</blockq=
uote><div><blockquote>about switching what you are doing, and not about pol=
ling for changes.</blockquote><span style=3D"font-family:arial, sans-serif;=

There&#39;s obviously plenty of work to be done to get all applications on<=
/blockquote><blockquote>board with that story.</blockquote></span></div><di=
v>My question is how this relates to the web and all the applications there=
. Given the diversity of apps in the world, especially in the wild west of =
the web, I&#39;m worried that this sort of integration is an unreasonable e=
xpectation. If Gnome&#39;s goal is to be as self-contained and integrated a=
s a mobile os, or as litl, then I suppose that would include wrapping or co=
mmunicating with web services rather than just relaying and arranging web a=
pps. But what about a less ambitious sort of integration, one that allows G=
mail and Obscurewebmail to function as units equivalent to Evolution withou=
t expecting all three to be equally communicative about their states?</div>
<div><br></div><div>From the web side, Chrome OS is making parallel efforts=
 to enforce a distinction between foreground activities (full tabs) and bac=
kground ones (IM and music in overlays). The Googlers are working on a noti=
fication spec, and maybe in the future everything will talk with everything=
. But for now I don&#39;t think they are relying on this sort of communicat=
ion (well, nothing is even released yet), and they are keeping the (comfort=
ingly familiar) tabbar.</div>
<div><br></div><div>For the record, as much as I prefer the conservative ap=
proach of Chrome/Chrome OS right now, I&#39;m really eager to see where Gno=
me Shell goes. And I&#39;m looking forward to changing my interfacing habit=
s. It&#39;s not just the apps that need reprogramming, after all. In any ca=
se, I hope these thoughts are useful.</div>



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