[Nautilus-list] Re: GNOME user environment brainstorming

> I have to say I agree.  I know a lot of people who
> consider gnome to be more efficent because of things
> like multiply desktops.  In fact, I think all of the
> people I know who aren't really linux users find the
> multiply desktop thing to be very cool.

I have used open desktops for a few years and still find that I don't use
the multiple desktops feature for everything I do.  In fact I only use it
when I'm starting to get too many windows on a single desktop at once, or
when I need information in a particular window instantly accessible at
frequent intervals (e.g. writing code into maximized emacs window and
referring to API doc in a browser on a second desktop).  Call me backward.

I believe that for new users, adding such a feature as a default is not a
good idea for three reasons:
    (1) It adds an extra level of complexity for them, because of adding an
extra desktop _management_ requirement.  You are adding an extra dimension
to what needs to be managed.  New users don't want to have to manage their
desktop themselves, and don't have the skills to yet.
    (2) New users normally only work on a single task at a time (gross
assumption I know but I think there's a lot of truth to it), thus
eliminating a large need for multiple desktops
    (3) New users (and even many not-so-new users) will forget about
features that they don't use.  Initially most newbies will probably be so
overwhelmed by everything else that is shiny and new in the system that even
if they are introduced to the desktop switcher, most will not probably use
it to a great extent, and then one day all their windows will suddenly
"disappear" off the screen.  Oh dear, it seems to have crashed.  I've lost
all my work.  This Gnome thing is no better than <OS name>.  (User reboots.)

> I think a
> neat thing to have would be a program that could
> actully teach you about some of the features of gnome,
> like a guided totorial or something.  Also, another
> way to help people would be (I think something like
> this has been mentioned already) to have it so when
> someone switches desktops for the first time a message
> pops up saying along the lines of "You've just
> switched your desktop", and has a few buttons like,
> switch back to the desktop you were just working on,
> learn more about this feature, ok, and maybe a check
> box saying "I never want to see this message again!"

This sounds like a couple of good ideas.  Perhaps the user should start with
the most basic and genuinely useful/obvious/intuitive functionality, and
then the system should periodically ask them if they would like to learn
something new to help with <task>.  This process could be timed (number of
logins) or triggered, i.e. If their window-count reaches 12 they could be
asked if they would like to try using multiple desktops.

I certainly strongly agree with the second point ("You've just switched your

> This way, if someone did accedently switch desktops,
> not only do they have an easy way to get back, but
> they get the added joy of having just discovered a
> feature! ;-)
> Anyway, just a thought :)
> Heeten


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