Re: [Usability] The Pathetic State of the GNU/Linux Desktop

On Sun, Feb 18, 2007 at 07:54:45PM -0500, Jacob Beauregard wrote:

> The Pathetic State of the GNU/Linux Desktop

Pathetic is quite a strong word. Such a broad and unfounded 
claim shows a lack or respect to all the hard work that went 
into current offerings. It is no at all constructive.

> There is no excuse for a blind person not to 
> be able to use a mouse, it's just that nobody has made this available to 
> them. There's no excuse that a blind person has to use a long-winded 
> screen reader when they're tabbing through a panel or their desktop.

Maybe I'm missing something ... but explain to me how a blind user 
is supposed to use a mouse, a device where you have to rely on visual 

> I also mentioned long-winded screen readers 

You like to prepend long-winded screenreaders. Are there screenreaders 
that are not long-winded? How can a non-visual user interface be not 
long-winded, given that audio and tactile interfaces have to serial?
Ok, I could imagine 'broadband' tactile interfaces, but the hardware 
would be damn expensive.

> One thing I notice about all of these applications using tabs, usually 
> they have varying functionality. Some let you drag and drop a tab and 
> have it create a new window, or drag a tab to another tab bar of the 
> same application and it will merge into that window. Some have X 
> buttons, some don't. Some applications like hiding the tabs if there's 
> only one open. Tabs can be easily compared to window lists. I'll tell 
> you what I see with this, a huge potential gain for functionality and 
> interoperability.

Well, I would like to see a single implementation of tabs. Or at 
least consistent behaviour everywhere.

> First, since tabs with X buttons on them have proved usable and 
> successful, why not have the functionality to add the -[]X stuff to the 
> task bar? The only difference between the task bar and a tab bar is that 
> the task bar generally handles multitasking whereas a tab bar generally 
> organizes several things that aren't all being used at once. 

X buttons would take space away from the labels.
They would likely increase the time it takes to 'read' the task bar.
Task bar entries are associated with windows. Windows that have X buttons.
Closing is accessible via right-click on a task bar item.

> Secondly, why in the world haven't all applications come together on the 
> dragging a tab out opens that tab in a new window, and dragging a tab 
> back in merges it into the current window, and closes its own? One 
> reason that people generally don't like tabs is that it gets into the 
> way of their multitasking, where this kind of feature overcomes that, 
> giving more power to the user. 

While I agree that being able to pull tabs out and in would be nice, 
it's new to me that people generally don't like tabs. I think tabs  
have appeared exactly there where users prefer them over windows and 
do not miss the characteristics of windows much (separate windows 
having there own size and location, showing/hiding, moving between 

> P.S. And now I will mention that this entire letter is stream of 
> consciousness, so good luck reading it.

Yeah, the way to go to show good manners and respect for your readers. 
Like, do you really want to communicate something else except some 
vague frustration?

Thorsten Wilms

Thorwil's Creature Illustrations:

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