[Nottingham] GUI Apps - was: Re: Wed 05/12/2007 Food'n'beers meet

Richard Smedley rs at m6-it.org
Fri Dec 7 08:12:46 GMT 2007

On Thu, 2007-12-06 at 21:45 +0000, Martin wrote:
> Is OpenSource by it's very nature "Geekie" due to it being written by
> "Geeks" for "Geeks"?

I might not be the best person to answer, as I find GUI apps much
harder to use than their command-line equivalents, however...

> What GUIs are there out there that are truly good?

WindowMaker is a great window manager. No unnecessary clutter.
Right click gives you Debian menu - ordered access to every app. 
Middle click gives you a desktop pager.
Of course if this is too spartan for you, then there are
dozens of dock applets and other add-ons.

I've seen computer newbies take to wmaker very quickly.

> Anyone with real-world experiences in this area?
> Have we really learnt nothing since the futuristic days of the 1970's at
> Xerox Palo Alto and the first versions of The Mouse and Windows?

The great thing that came out of Xerox PARC, with its
WIMP GUI, was the associated OO language: Smalltalk.
The disappearance of Smalltalk, as universities moved
to the unmanageable Java, was v depressing - but nowadays
Ruby keeps the flame alive for many of its ideas. :)

> Any thoughts?

You mention The GIMP as a difficult interface - it's actually 
not /that/ bad, given the complex range of options that
need to be presented at a right-click on the image.

That aside, I'd say that any GUI app that doesn't make all
functionality available via the keyboard is poor - regardless
of how easy it is for most users.

 - Richard

Richard Smedley,                                          rs at m6-it.org
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