Re: [Nautilus-list] Re: GNOME user environment brainstorming

Luke Hutchison wrote:

Have a look at how ROX desktop ( ) does it: they
have a special button on the taskbar for Home, Apps, etc., and one for each
drive.  The Filer *is* the menu system; applications are self-contained in
special "application directories" which are executable through the Filer so
they can be moved around without installing/uninstalling.  A very good point
is made on the website that many people don't even learn how their
filesystem structure is organised because Win32 isolates them from it
through its Start menu and Open dialog boxes.  (Neither are ideal solutions
to the problem.)  It's a radical thought, now that Win32 has permeated
everyone's thinking, but why not have a folder called "Programs" which
contains all your apps next to one called "Documents" that contains all your
docs, or even better, have a folder called "DTP" that contains your DTP
program launcher, a few related utilities, and a subfolder called "DTP
Docs".  When you want to do some DTP, you open your "DTP" folder and voila,
there is everything that is related to that context.  This has parallels
with the nicities of encapsulation in OOP--the data and the code that
operates on that data is all encapsulated in one place.  Using the
filesystem heirarchy is a required and natural part of what users do, so
they learn how to think about where they are putting things when they save,
and you end up with far fewer directories with hundreds of documents in.
Users tend to create subdirectories for everything (I have seen this over
several years using RISC OS, after which ROX is modelled) and you end up
with much more of a tree than the flat mess that most users' drives turn
into in Windows.

RISC OS had some wonderful and simple ideas that the Gnome
project could learn from.

The Save-as dialog box was much simpler than the Windows/Gnome/KDE
model. You have a filer window open at the directory you're
working in and then you just drag an icon from the Save-as box
to the filer window. You could even drop the icon into another
application (e.g. from text editor to a frame in a DTP program).
Couldn't the standard Gnome Save-as dialog box be made to work
like this?

Another nice feature was the installation of programs. You
dragged a directory from one place and droppped it somewhere
else! If the dir contains a script with a certain name then that
script is run to start the program within when the dir is double-
clicked from the filer (rather than simply opening the dir). If
there was a particular image file within the dir then that became
the applications icon (in place of the default dir icon). This
kind of thing may be harder to implement with unix-like systems
where an applications files are spread across the system (and
package management had to be invented to deal with it...)

IIRC RISC OS programs had no File|Open menu item, why bother
when you can just drag an icon from a filer window and drop
it into an application or onto an applications icon?

Sadly, I think, RISC OS shows how little progress had been made
in mainstream user interfaces over the past 10-15 years.


Simeon Walker,                      email: simeon sbs bangor ac uk
School of Biological Sciences,      phone: +44 (0)1248 383702
University of Wales, Bangor,        fax: +44 (0)1248 382569
Gwynedd, LL57 2UW, UK.              www:

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