Re: [Usability] Thoughts on GNOME and DTP

On Mar 24, 2006, at 1:40 AM, Maxwell Bowerman wrote:
With regard to DTP, it would be great to see a GTK or Mono application in the future. Through we now have Scribus under QT, there is still a notable lack of applications in this area. The fact that Scribus is not bundled on the install disks of many distros (though it is not downloadable from some repositories) shows that this area is still nowhere near being taken seriously enough, at least by those compiling distros.

As GNOME is reminiscent of MacOS in many ways, particularly with regard to look and feel, would it not make sense to carve a niche in this area. MacOS has always been the premier platform for this area due to its usability, so surely GNOME could extend this?

I would love to see high-quality Free Software for DTP, but I really don't understand your logic.

First, I don't think there's anything intrinsic to Mac OS or Gnome that makes it more appropriate for DTP software than any other platform. The Mac's global menu bar may be an exception, since it makes menu use much quicker, and saves screen real estate, both of which are important to designers. But Gnome doesn't have that anyway. Mac OS seems to have become the premier platform for DTP mostly because Apple concentrated on that area enough to build up a critical mass of customers in the late 1980s.

Second, most Gnome distributors are interested in gaining market share, and if you're going to do that, it makes much more sense to try and take customers from the OS vendor that has roughly thirty times as many customers as Apple does.

Third, to compete in the DTP market (and to gain enough customers to fund continued development) is very difficult and requires much more than just software. Read Quark vs. InDesign <> for a few months to get an idea of the kind of features professional designers care about nowadays, the kinds of things Quark and Adobe do to compete other than software development, and how slowly the industry switches from the semi-standard software (currently Quark XPress) to a superior product (currently Adobe InDesign).

And fourth, the usability@ list is probably not a fertile place to find idle programmers ready to start writing new DTP apps. :-)

Matthew Paul Thomas

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