Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

The Future Of The GUI?

CmdrTaco posted more than 13 years ago | from the i-miss-/bin/sh dept.

Technology 237

Graymalkin sent in a nice article written for fairly novice folks comparing Mac OS X, Microsoft's upcoming .NET, and Nautilus's respective user interfaces. Considering all 3 are still vapor, it'll be even more interesting to read an article like this in a year, and compare it to this.

cancel ×

237 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Re:The Author of this article just doesn't get it. (1)

praedor (218403) | more than 13 years ago | (#575013)

Err, gnustep isn't innovation. It is copying/cloning Next. Berlin is rather innovative but it isn't even in the catagory of vapor yet. It is in such extreme alpha state that it is practically not worth mentioning. It is FAR, FAR from being end-useable, plus it will suffer, unfortunately, from the huge dependence of almost all things linux on X.

I would LOVE to ditch X and go with something smaller, faster, better, but unless the major distros get behind Berlin, it will be ready for prime time around the time that Golgotha is (yeah, right - but even then golgotha is so much more developed).

How many guys are working on Berlin? Two? Three? I'm holding my breath on it's release in even beta format, I tell you.

Re:Oh please.... (1)

mplex (19482) | more than 13 years ago | (#575015)

Gnome and KDE are crap compared to these interfaces, the only good features they have they stole. They are handicapped by strong direction and lack of interface testing. UI is VERY VERY hard, you don't just slap together whatever comes to mind and expect it to be usable to the general public. All gnome and kde amount to are extremly complex interfaces built by COMPUTER EXPERTS that try to be beginner interfaces at the same time and fail miserably. You can argue that gnome and kde are great, but you allready know and understand the concepts behind them. From the outside, it's pretty much worthless. Plus they are discovering all the problems msft discovered during the early phases of its switch to componant software. MSFT took the plunge and now they are coming back in a big way after working out all the problems. Gnome and KDE have just begun their journey.

Re:Too Bad. (3)

leereyno (32197) | more than 13 years ago | (#575017)

Why are you afraid of cookies? Is Big Brother(tm) watching you?

(Big Brother is a registered trademark of Microsoft corporation and is used without consent.)

Lee

Just a purty Gopher (1)

groundclutter (227351) | more than 13 years ago | (#575018)

Is it just me or does the future of GUI's seem to be just a "pretty" version of the old modal menu interfaces? Remove the purty graphics from the .net and all you have is list of options. Does the fact that you click on them instead of pressing a number really make it any different?

The same question applies to both Aqua and Nautilus. In both cases, their "only on list at a time" approach to file browsing reminds me of a gohper interface with graphics. Am I the only one that see it like this?

Usefulness and Innovation and Power: Three Things (4)

Christopher B. Brown (1267) | more than 13 years ago | (#575021)

GNUstep and Berlin both suffer similarly from the problem that neither provide much an "upgrade path" from where people are now.
  • Berlin inherits approaches from Fresco and InterViews; this doesn't provide any ability to run any existing code.

    Your Gnome apps? Would need to be completely rewritten. Ditto for the KDE apps.

    Everything needs to get recoded using OmniORB, C++, GGI, and the Berlin libs.

    As a result, jumping to Berlin means losing all the GUIed applications that you might be running now, from StarOffice to GNOME to Netscape to KDE.

    If you run Berlin atop GGI atop X, then maybe you can run some of those concurrently...

  • GNUstep has similar expectations of your adopting Objective C, DPS, and LibFoundation.

    It makes you jump through the hoop of applying DPS to everything, which will be quite wonderful for anything that should be WYSIWYG, and which may represent a big "who cares?" for other sorts of applications.

    It has the merit over Berlin that there may be some existing NeXTstep and OPENSTEP applications out that would be an "easy port away," and might have a bit more ability to play well with existing X apps.

Unfortunately, both suffer from the same daunting problem that in order to make them useful, there's a whopping lot of code that needs to be written. And they're pretty useless until both libraries, services, and applications get written.

GNUstep is somewhat closer to usefulness, with the added merit that there are parts of it (namely the DPS services/libraries) that can be usable with other graphical environments.

In similar senses, Linux and the BSDs are not particularly "innovative," as they all "merely" represent Yet Another Unix Clone. In contrast, EROS [eros-os.org] is a truly innovative OS kernel design, but since building a user space to go along with that is daunting, practically nobody uses EROS.

Innovation is pretty cool and all, but I'm just not sure that it actually represents something deployable.

Re:The Future of the OS? (1)

toddhisattva (127032) | more than 13 years ago | (#575022)

For exampl MacOS-X is using a base linux kernel

Nope, it's Mach.

-Todd

Re:We Fear Change... (1)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | more than 13 years ago | (#575024)

When putting together my software base, I tend to look for the leanest, fastest, and simplest programs I can find that meet my needs. Although I might keep some feature-laden stuff around, I don't use it on a regular basis. (Heck, I usually do my web browsing in Lynx, only switching to NS when there's a page I really want to see that doesn't work in text mode. I don't switch very often.)

In my opinion, a feature that I don't use is a feature that gets in the way. Since the GUI is what lets me interact with the program, anything that gets in the way can cause me to be extremely annoyed. I just don't have much tolerance for fluff. (Explains why I avoid gnome and kde.)

I'm not saying that a good program can't have lots of features, just that it's hard for programs to include a lot without having some of them get in the way. If your program does 5 things, chances are that every user will use all of them. If it provides 500, everyone will find that 475 of those things are useless to them. Every program needs a way of keeping those 475 things somewhere where they won't be bothersome.

Re:Limiting the user (1)

znu (31198) | more than 13 years ago | (#575025)

I would like to be able to automate operations involving GUI-based applications in much the same way as I can automate command-line-based ones by using "here documents" in shell scripts. Given a few simple conventions for identifying GUI elements such as menu entries, buttons of various types, list boxes, and so on it shouldn't be hard to come up with a simple language for redirecting events into an event queue to start programs, issue commands to them, and pipe I/O between them.


What you're asking for sounds a lot like AppleScript [apple.com] . AppleScript will still be supported in OS X, and there will probably be a way to integrate it with the CLI too, from either from Apple or from some 3rd party.

--

Re:Vaporware my back-end! (3)

praedor (218403) | more than 13 years ago | (#575026)

I must admit I just don't get Eazel (yet). It appears to me that all it is is a file browser. What the hell do I care about a fancy file browser? I have that with konqueror, and honestly, I can't see any real difference other than look (HUGE icons, like everything in Gnome...WAY too frickin' huge like everyone has vision problems).

Would someone explain to me why Eazel, a mere file browser (web browser?) is in the company of full GUIs like the doze interface IDEA and the MacOS X reality? It is just an app that can be run on an interface system...like gnome or kde for instance.

Re:Oh please.... (2)

Hard_Code (49548) | more than 13 years ago | (#575027)

Yeah, and what's gfm (Gnome File Manager) for then? They make it sound like Gnome was just in total useless disarray before the saintly Eazel came along, and that Eazel is essentially synonymous with the Gnome desktop. I mean, Gnome is a lot more than just one file manager/browser. Seems to me that Eazel is at best a peripheral player who is nicely writing some Free software for Gnome hoping to capitalize on it later. Hardly responsible for Gnome as a whole.

What are they crazy? (1)

cansecofan22 (62618) | more than 13 years ago | (#575029)

"but until a new company named Eazel came along, no one was willing to take the step to create a world-class interface"
Have these guys seen KDE 2 or GNOME? These are both "world-class" GUI's!

.NET Interface will be a Dud (1)

EverCode (60025) | more than 13 years ago | (#575031)

I know that in the upcoming Whistler (next version of Windows) there will be a choice to use either their new webified GUI, or the old.

I bet 90% or more of the users will still use the old GUI design. It looks better, and is more functional.

What this means, I don't know.

Re:The Author of this article just doesn't get it. (5)

Junks Jerzey (54586) | more than 13 years ago | (#575033)

What a pud. More innovation has come out of development on Linux than from M$ and crApple combined.

What are you talking about? Completely objectively (I am a user of Windows, Linux, and the Macintosh), the GUIs for Linux are more attempts to outdo Windows than anything else. You won't find much in terms of amazing human engineering or honest innovation, just more doodads.

Very unfortunately, the "we must beat the evil empire" attitude has hurt Linux development in a number of ways. Isn't Linus always saying "there is no war"? Doesn't anyone listen?

next stop...Palm (4)

josepha48 (13953) | more than 13 years ago | (#575036)

Lets face it. The desktop is good for now, but OS X is not really bringing anything new into the arena. Sure they are makeing OS X run with protected memory and some other features. They are improving the GUI (some may think otherwise), but they are still where they were back when they started. You still have icons, a mouse, and applications, that do the same thing they used to with a few more bells and whistles.

I think that the GUI is going to need to take another leap and a few bounds, before it actually improves. What OS X really needs to introduce is voice input. Mac has always had great graphics capability. They are showing commercials that show how easy it is to hook a video camera to the system. They need to push some kind of easy to use send mom the video campaign. I started sending my relatives mp3s of me talking to them already rather than a typee letter. Sure they are larger, but it si almost like a one sided phone call. The technology is here and a 1 meg donload over 56k is about 5 minutes, which is not that bad. If Mac could make this the NORM, then I think it it would be a leap in the right direction. If they could make it standard with voice input, even if it is as a side assistant then it would be real cool. Like prody parrot or something.

If nothing else Mac should introduce handwriting recognition devices as part of its top of the line machines.

I don't want a lot, I just want it all!
Flame away, I have a hose!

pwm (3)

cydorg_monkey (259983) | more than 13 years ago | (#575038)

every minute a computer user realizes that eye-candy sugar coated user interfaces are a waste of time and computer resources and detract you form whatever it is you were trying to do before a shitty user interface got in your way.

check out this [students.tut.fi] .
Note that this is not a lame link to goatse.cx or otherwise dried up joke.

Well... (2)

Raymond Luxury Yacht (112037) | more than 13 years ago | (#575040)

... as someone who started out with Macs, went to Windows, and finally to Linux, MacOS X is IMHO the best of all worlds as long as they continue to allow access to command line and the ability to hack the interface.

I know it's sort of a lame reason to really like an OS. Stability and functionality should be (some of) the most important issues. But I have to admit the only reason I even tried Windows 95 was when I saw that you could replace the shell and use apps like Litestep [litestep.net] to totally change the experience. I simply hated MS Windows, but realized the need to get to know it. After that, of course I would be interested in Linux and want to get to know it, since so much of Litestep is based on GUI's used with Linux and Unix. And that helped me get over my admittedly irrational fear of working command line, really hacking the way a computer works, etc.

/me ends overshare

Re:Mac OS X Public Beta (1)

while (213516) | more than 13 years ago | (#575045)

1. Office 2000 is SDI
2. Yes, that was the case in Windows 3.1
3. You can move EVERY OTHER application.

(end comment) */ }

Do M$oft care ? (1)

dingbat_hp (98241) | more than 13 years ago | (#575047)

they won't own any of my apps

Do you own any of their apps ? If you work in an office (driving Word or Excel), or you sell eServices over the (.)Net, then M$oft want a piece of you as a market. If you're a hypothetical Slashdot reader with a blagged copy of Win98 that you only ever use for games playing, then they don't really care that much about you anyway.

Stop a typical small business pirating Word and they'll buy it.
Stop a home geek pirating it and they'll just stop using it.

IMHO, M$oft recognise that the "home computer" is dead. A population that can't set the clock on its video is just too stupid to need a PC anyway. They bought them previously because they needed them as games machines or web browsers, but no longer. As M$oft does depend a lot on OEM Windows sales, then this is a big problem for them.
Cue the X-box....

You'll keep using Borgware. When you read the cable TV guide on-line (using the X-box's browser), it will be .Net code that serves it up to your local cable co. (and charges them per-view to do so). The cable co. hosts it on a web page running on Win2K++ (and gets charged a per-hour licence for using it) and when you put your CC details in to order the night's pr0n viewing, it's another .Net service that validates the CC details. You might not "own a copy of Word", but M$oft will still be getting its slice of your pie.

Vapor? (4)

spicyjeff (6305) | more than 13 years ago | (#575048)

Last I checked you could purchase an OS X Beta CD for $29US to run on your G3 or G4. And in a few months the full OS will be available to everyone.

hot keys (3)

British (51765) | more than 13 years ago | (#575051)

All I ever ask for in a GUI is hot keys. I use them as often as the mouse. That's the only thing I can think of that helps me speed up productivity, whether it's Ctrl C/V/X for cut n paste in just about any app(as well as ctrl+shift for more specific cut n paste) or Alt-Tab switching, I use them all the time. Even the weird ones that make you contort your fingers.

What do you mean no one owns Linux? (3)

leereyno (32197) | more than 13 years ago | (#575053)

While the job of revamping Macintosh and Windows obviously belongs to their respective stewards, the same can't be said for the upstart Linux system. Nobody owns this Unix-based operating system built around the code first created by Finnish programmer Linus Torvalds.

Uhhmmm, actually Linux is owned. Different portions of it are owned by different people. Linus Torvalds owns parts of the kernel, as does Alan Cox and many other people. The GNU utilities are probably owned by the FSF rather than the individual coders who created them. The fact that all of these pieces of code have been licensed under the GPL in no way nullifies anyone's ownership of them.

So many people confuse the GPL with something being in the public domain. If a piece of code was in the public domain, the GPL would be unenforcable. It is only because individuals do own and hold the rights to the code they have created that the GPL has any meaning at all.

Something that a lot of people don't realize is that code licensed under the GPL can be licensed by its creator under other licensing terms which are incompatible with the GPL. Users of that code, who use it under the GPL, do not have such rights, but the copyright holder does. So the next time someone tries to tell you that you can't license your own code to anyone else once you placed it under the GPL, tell them to go study copyright law just a little before they start running their mouth.

Lee Reynolds

"Universal Canvas"?! (1)

azool (91453) | more than 13 years ago | (#575054)

"We want users to be able to run applications without even knowing it," says the company's vice
president of interface technologies, Kai-Fu Lee (naturally, an Apple veteran). This concept is
called the "Universal Canvas" and is an integral part of the eventual .NET interface that
will not only blend the Web with the desktop, but allow users to access the same techniques to
search their mail, their files and the Web.


'Universal Canvas', 'Natalie Portman', 'Mr.Toad's Wild Ride' call it whatever the hell you want...
it still sounds like 'Big Brother'.

Too Bad. (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 13 years ago | (#575056)

Too bad MSNBC's website won't allow me to even reach their website unless I turn my cookies on (you'll bounce between two of their servers indefinitely).

Happens with every MSNBC linked article.
---
seumas.com

sounds worse . . . (2)

droleary (47999) | more than 13 years ago | (#575057)

If what you say is true, .NET actually sounds much worse than I thought. First, XML is just a buzzword, one of an infinite number of ways to represent data (it is a useful interchange format, to be sure, but what other vendors does Microsoft want you to interchange your Windows configuration files with?); it does not make object sharing between apps or OSes any simpler than what is available now (read: badly done), it simply makes it more structured for reuse (read: badly done and shared). What you're really saying is the big deal is that all configuration files are accessible and modifyable. I don't believe it but, my goodness, wouldn't that be a absolute support nightmare? It's nice to have a somewhat configurable system, but giving the users the ability to tweak absolutely everything is a disaster waiting to happen.

hmm (1)

diamondc (241058) | more than 13 years ago | (#575058)

I went to CompUSA the other day and looked at the new Macs and was totally confused with the Mac OS interface... go figure. Too much command line interface'ing does that to ya.

Re:What Gate's had to say about OSX (1)

Drone-X (148724) | more than 13 years ago | (#575059)

He is so right there, OSX is not exactly revolutionary, and support for things like vectors ect is not exactly what UI's need right now.

It's not necessary today as having does support more than 640K wasn't necessary when it was first written. The OS-X was written from scratch and will probably outlive the current pixel-based windowing systems, a while ago I read that IBM was able to produce monitors with resolutions 10 or more times better than current monitors, unfortunately we can not use them on our current systems. Systems like OS-X and Berlin are important for the future of such technologies because people won't buy such monitors if their windowing systems don't support it.

Re:hmm (1)

chrischow (133164) | more than 13 years ago | (#575061)

no it happened to me when i started to use a Mac, i think its because i went to it with preconceptions about how some things had to be done and that some things have to be hard. you soon get used to the mac way however, and don't want to go back!

The Future of the OS? (1)

the_ph0x (157769) | more than 13 years ago | (#575062)

By the way things are moving these days, it looks as if more and more of the open-source movement is coming into play.
Where I wouldn't say that it is coming in 'Rambo Style' it is, however, slowy grabbing hold of more portions of the public.
For exampl MacOS-X is using a base linux kernel, and even hardware companies are moving more toward linux-freindly alternatives to there products, which in turn offers better comunity support.
So in all, it will be interesting to see this 'vapor-ware' team up with some 'vapor-hardware' and some 'vapor-ideas' which really aren't all that vapory to begin with. ;)

.ph0x

KDE is proof that GUIs will always suck... (1)

tenzig_112 (213387) | more than 13 years ago | (#575063)

We have a chance to re-work the very idea of a window manager/application platform and what GUI do we use? KDE- designed with a look at feel suspiciously close to Win9x. START menu anyone? And GNOME is just as bad- even slower than KDE on my machine.

We say we want to revolutionize the user experience, but when it comes right down to it, we're out of ideas.

It's time to face up to the truth here. We (and by that I mean all of us) have failed as developers and consumers of application platforms.

...and now- the dancing bears! [ridiculopathy.com]

Limiting the user (3)

msuzio (3104) | more than 13 years ago | (#575064)

One thing that strikes me on reading all of this is how the GUI deliberately restricts and channels the actions the user may perform -- "Here is the metaphor, you must make your actions fit this model".
Both Aqua and .NET very much present a set of actions, a set of ways to show your data and interact with it (I reserve comments on Nautilus, I can't really draw any conclusions on it from the article). For instance, .NET offers different "levels" of user (Basic, Intermediate, presumably "Expert"). Within these, it seems like you can edit some aspects of what that levels means in your interactions with the GUI.

But what happens when the desired action isn't made available? When I decide I'd like to be able to drag one document on top of another and concatenate them? (cat doc1 doc2 > doc3 in good old CLI world). I cannot.

It seems like the "dream" GUI really is the CLI / pipe metaphor taken to the next level -- put data in this widget, output it to that widget, send the results of that to my Web site. If only that were possible and easy to use! *That* is the next stage for me -- a visual environment where I am free to hook up components in a meaningful way, and save that "hookup" as a new widget of it's own (The "spell check, reformat, ftp" widget).

Re:The Author of this article just doesn't get it. (1)

chrischow (133164) | more than 13 years ago | (#575065)

so is that why they are trying so hard to recreate the Windows UI in Xwindows eh?

GUI or... (2)

sir_nas (261676) | more than 13 years ago | (#575066)

with all the platforms, and platform bashing aside i feel the future of the gui will be very strong. however, and apple has seen this, a nice user oriented gui with an administrative backend (ie: bsd/console) makes it a powerful contender.

i dont know what will happen with .net, but i do think two main things are the key to success. a good, solid, stable gui with plenty of configurability, and a good, solid, stable backend, which you can administer via a console.

console/gui hybrids are starting to gain popularity (ie: BeOS, QNX, OS X, etc..), and i feel its important that companies continue along those lines.

a gui cannot do everything, which is why many prefer console. however, millions of users (like your parents, grand parents, etc..) have no clue about bash, csh, or what have you. for them there is the gui.

systems comprised of both, as in OS X, and even Nautilus, among others know this. so the trick seems to be...how to make the gui easy enough for your mother, while still retaining its roots for you, and/or other power users.

sorry if this seems more like a rant then anything else...just my two cents worth i guess...

Re:Still too flat... (1)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | more than 13 years ago | (#575074)

Perhaps the best way to simplify the interface is finally making good use of virtual space - would take a heckuva lot of horsepower to do it and need a lot of serious research and design to get it usable, but 2D just can't get it done for much longer. I think the reason that we don't see much in the way of 3D interfaces is that nearly everything we work with is essentially 2D. For instance, all text is 2D (we've been printing on flat paper for hundreds of years, and I see no movement from that arena.) Our monitors are 2D as well, as is our mouse. (Although, admittedly, 3D input devices do exist.) I believe that there is a project going on to create a 3D window manager ... does anyone have any information about it?

Re:pwm (1)

itodd (259277) | more than 13 years ago | (#575077)

I'm using pwm right now. Innovative comes to mind when I first started x with this window manager. There is nothing else like it. Grouping all of Gimp's windows and grouping all your communication terms is just heaven. An organized desktop is a happy desktop :)

I wrote a small review of pwm on my almost empty website at itodd.org [itodd.org] .

INTBWTCL (3)

SquadBoy (167263) | more than 13 years ago | (#575078)

This from Neal Stephenson [cryptonomicon.com] explains why almost all of our current UIs are crap myself I find myself in console more and more often also I find that when I'm helping someone I take them into the CLI. It is in many ways just easier now I know this is not for everyone but the limitations of a GUI make it impossible to create something that is *really* good.

More Jobs BS, believed by journos (1)

dingbat_hp (98241) | more than 13 years ago | (#575089)

If the Mac's invention of the GUI, "put a dent in the universe" it was only by falling into a very large Xerox-shaped hole. NeXT gets a mention, but only for the Unix aspects and for Jobs, not for NeXTStep - a bigger leap in GUI redesign than either of the three they showcase here.

We all like to rag journalists for being clueless and gullible, but did anyone find where they'd hidden the content in this piece ?

What Gate's had to say about OSX (1)

mplex (19482) | more than 13 years ago | (#575090)

From the article:
Gates insists that the only place that's willing to redefine the interface is his own company. OS X may look cool, he says, but it's "just sexy widgets." To go all the way, he explains, you have to define a new style for a new generation of applications. You have to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to do it. You have to eliminate previously sacrosanct concepts and unify formerly disparate functions.

He is so right there, OSX is not exactly revolutionary, and support for things like vectors ect is not exactly what UI's need right now. I remember some stats from msft that roughly 95% of users dont use their right-click menus in windows. At first I just thought as I usually do that the world is stupid about computers, but if it's not intuitive to 95% of the world then we are the stupid ones for sticking to it. Great article...

Re:The Author of this article just doesn't get it. (2)

RickHunter (103108) | more than 13 years ago | (#575091)

We listen. So do the people running the KDE and GNOME projects. Remember that pretty much every modern GUI is somehow a rip-off of the original by Xerox. This includes both Windows and MacOS, as well as most Unix GUIs. As for KDE and GNOME, both have (IIRC) publically stated that their first objective is to match Windows and MacOS in usability terms before they move on and start trying new things, although both are already doing some new things... Windows (the versions I've used, at least) doesn't nearly match the number of interface options available with either KDE or GNOME.


-RickHunter

warning, don't listen to this anonymous coward (1)

cydorg_monkey (259983) | more than 13 years ago | (#575092)

he's full of shit

Re:The Author of this article just doesn't get it. (3)

sjbe (173966) | more than 13 years ago | (#575093)

But there is a war. Or at least a serious competition

I'm not so sure the "beat the evil empire" thing is altogether bad. I agree that most efforts seem to be an attempt to out-Windows Windows and that probably isn't inherently good. However it does provide a competitive influence as a driver. Windows sets a benchmark to beat. Right now linux is beating that benchmark in some ways and has a ways to go in other areas. But without Windows (or some similar dominant system) I seriously doubt that linux would be getting as much development effort as it is. You have to admit that there are more than a few developers working on linux simply because they don't like Windows/Microsoft.

Linus himself may not be at war, but for better or worse a lot of linux developers certainly are.

.NET reminiscent of AOL interface? (3)

Non-Newtonian Fluid (16797) | more than 13 years ago | (#575094)

Is it just me, or does .NET feel like a dumbing down of the Windows UI to AOL levels to other people too? Perhaps, I'm not thinking outside the box enough, but where's the desktop? Where do things get done? Does anyone have more info on how the .NET desktop works?

Re:What Gate's had to say about OSX (5)

Mononoke (88668) | more than 13 years ago | (#575121)

I remember some stats from msft that roughly 95% of users dont use their right-click menus in windows.

Wow, so 95% of the users could get by with a one-button mouse?

Some company should come up with a one-button mouse.


--

Jobs Quote (2)

ymekl (261680) | more than 13 years ago | (#575122)

"Creating the interface for the Mac was like being in a jungle with a compass that worked one day a month, not knowing if you were headed for a river or a mountain or a snake pit," Jobs says now. "And thinking there might be a pot of gold at the end, but also not sure if it wasn't a pot of fool's gold."

sounds like the old Atari 2600 Pitfall game ..

Cartoon GUIs (2)

Koh-I-Noor (206758) | more than 13 years ago | (#575123)

Why does everyone keep making these GUIs look so much like damned cartoons. And why incorporate so much unnecessary shit? What ever happened to a simple GUI that is functional and doesn't look like it was designed to entertain 5 year olds.

Re:.NET isn't as bad as you think (1)

msuzio (3104) | more than 13 years ago | (#575124)

...and all of this sounds nifty, but:

1) I'll believe it when I see it -- MSFT freely
emits new strategies and plans and then drops
them a year later. It's a basic FUD strategy to
paralyze the enemy in indecision (because MSFT
can afford to waste time and money, so long as it
keeps them on top -- it's like a defense budget)
2) I hardly trust MSFT to get it right
3) I sure as hell don't trust them to actually
manage and handle the whole thing
4) Open-source hackers will steal the best
ideas and implement them better ;-)

Re:next stop...Palm (2)

svirre (39068) | more than 13 years ago | (#575125)

"They need to push some kind of easy to use send mom the video campaign. I started sending my relatives mp3s of me talking to them already rather than a typee letter. Sure they are larger, but it si almost like a one sided phone call. The technology is here and a 1 meg donload over 56k is about 5 minutes, which is not that bad. If Mac could make this the NORM"

Then I hope I don't know any mac users. With anything from 20-200 mails pr. day I rather not have even a small percentage of these as large binary objects.

Beside, I read much faster than anyone can speak legibly. Having to listen to a spoken message is rather tedious compared to reading it.

It's nice to have the ability to send audio in mail (allthough it got nothing to do with the GUI/UI in general but rather just that part of that interfaces you to mail), mut it must not be made default.

Jobs is God! (2)

fm6 (162816) | more than 13 years ago | (#575126)

And his prophet is Levy.

Sorry, that's a little cruel. But whenever I see a piece by Stephen Levy it always starts out with a rant about how Jobs et al. changed the world. Whereupon my eyes glaze over and I have to go do something else.

I mean, even if it were true, I'd be a little tired of hearing it.

__________________

Re:Two out of Three Ain't Bad (2)

Drone-X (148724) | more than 13 years ago | (#575127)

If by describing OSX as Vapor, you mean freely usable in its Beta form, then I guess you're right. Somehow, I'm thinking you're not, tho. I mean, come on, Eazel's entire existence is a collection of screen shots thus far, and .NET is barely a framework-in-progress...

Having tried Nautilus myself I can say its very usable already, if you ignore the slowth and occasional crashes that is. I've also noticed that Nautilus' performance and stability is increasing week by week (yes, more so than with Mozilla), the only thing I'm hoping for is that they put in some more threading.

As for .NET, that is indeed barely a framework-in-progress though their MSN browser already exists though I doubt the ``universal type-in line'' will ever work... it will certainly not be welcomed by Microsoft's target audience, the people who want pretty things to click.

Re:What Gate's had to say about OSX (2)

while (213516) | more than 13 years ago | (#575128)

You're stupid. I am, too. Just about everyone is.

Who ISN'T a member of least one small minority of users that find feature X in application Y useful to them. It's bound to happen in any application/OS with thousands of features and millions of users (no bug count jokes, please). WTF should we chop it out?

(end comment) */ }

Re:Mac OS X Public Beta (1)

while (213516) | more than 13 years ago | (#575129)

Welcome to the Windows 95 interface circa 1997.

I believe that all of those features have existed in Windows 95 from the outset, with the exception of anything similar to the dock. QuickLaunch bars are essentially the same thing, but they didn't come into existence until ~1997 when IE 4.0 came out.

(end comment) */ }

.NET isn't as bad as you think (5)

Lt_Kernal (11104) | more than 13 years ago | (#575130)

Here's the deal...although the interface now may look clunky (which I admit it does), the .NET strategem includes XML. And what does this mean to you? It means that the whole damn interface will be extensible through just some simple (or not-so-simple, depending on your preferences) editing of XML configuration file(s). This means that your entire GUI, not just the window hangings, not just the widgets...the WHOLE thing, will be extensible to any document format that's supported under XML. I know Apple has got XML configuration down in Mac OS X, but I don't think it's as widespread throughout the OS, as in Microsoft's case. And since ALL MS products are moving to the XML base, theoretically you should be able to click on a link, see your most commonly used Office documents, and then have one of them "materialize" on your desktop, workspace, whatever, SEAMLESSLY. Imagine having several programs/documents open at the same time and be able to seamlessly operate between them, as if they were one program.

And you think Enlightenment is customizable? Heh. MS isn't playing here. This is gonna be a BIG thing.

And think of this...once the .NET frameworks get ported to other OSes (think Linux), this same extensibility will be there in all .NET platforms, with the same commonality features. No more Windows, Linux, or Mac specific GUI's. One person's interface on a Linux box will be able to be used on any other platform. Just copy the XML config files (and the appropriate extensions) and you're done. No porting necessary.

They're going for COMMONALITY here people. They realize the money's not in the OS any more, it's in the applications. As long as you have the .NET frameworks on your platform, the app will work.

Period.

Imagine going to the store and buying Microsoft Office .NET and just having it run on your Linux box...no modifications needed.

This, I think will be a very exciting thing.

-Kevin, MSCE+I, MCT

Re:Limiting the user (2)

eXtro (258933) | more than 13 years ago | (#575131)

This is something I screwed around with a bit when I had a Mac. I liked the power of unix pipes and redirects and was wondering if a graphical implementation would be interesting so I grabbed codewarrior and wrote a rudimentary graphical interface to pipe and redirect.

I wrote some small applications that did a few limited examples of unix commands, like grep, cat and sort. I didn't aim for full functionality at all (well, except for cat I guess).

The gui interface was a number of boxes that you could drag files or commands into. So you could for instance drag a file into the first box, set the next box to a pipe, drag the grep application into the box after that, double click it and type in the word you were grepping for, set the next box to a redirect, double click it and set a filename.

It seemed like a neat idea but I didn't keep my PowerMac long enough after that to really go anywhere with it. My eventual idea was that you'd be able to drag AppleScripts into it to, and for instance do a pipeline that would perform filter operations on a set of files using PhotoShop.

Re:Vapor? (1)

Gonzodoggy (118747) | more than 13 years ago | (#575132)

For vapor, OS X is running pretty well on my G4 right now. And on my Linux box, there's a pretty solid looking beta of Nautilus running... or, maybe I need to lay off all the cough syrup in the morning.

Re:The Author of this article just doesn't get it. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#575133)

I agree. for example, gnustep [gnustep.org] and Berlin [berlin-consortium.org] are both more innovative than KDE or GNOME, yet only a tiny fraction of linux users have even heard of them, despite gnustep having been around for ages.

Re:next stop...Palm (2)

dingbat_hp (98241) | more than 13 years ago | (#575155)

Mac should introduce handwriting recognition devices

I think it will be a cold day in the Valley before Apple go near handwriting recognition again. 8-)

Have you used handwriting recognition ? It's horrible; you can't do it mobile, you can't do it quickly, and some of us can barely scrawl anyway. Handwriting recognition is not where it's at for new interfaces.

I want wearable computers that can take notes in meetings at reasonable speeds. I want cameras that know how to email images, and where the speed-dial directory is (filtered already to those people I'm in the habit of sending images too). I want adaptive interfaces that only need two buttons and know that if I've just had a phone call from a client I'll either want my notebook or my phone dialler.

Handwriting ? That's too inherently bandwidth limited.

Newsweek (2)

booch (4157) | more than 13 years ago | (#575156)

The article appeared in this week's issue of Newsweek. (Unfortunately, if you go to www.newsweek.com, it takes you to MSNBC.) The interesting thing I noticed was that the screen capture of Nautilus is completely different in the print version, while MacOS X and Microsoft .NET are the same as in the online version.

Still too flat... (1)

Keighvin (166133) | more than 13 years ago | (#575157)

Perhaps the best way to simplify the interface is finally making good use of virtual space - would take a heckuva lot of horsepower to do it and need a lot of serious research and design to get it usable, but 2D just can't get it done for much longer.

Re:What Gate's had to say about OSX (1)

mplex (19482) | more than 13 years ago | (#575158)

Try out MSN explorer for windows, and try not to pass it off as colorful shit in 20 seconds. We need features that read in to themselves, and a much more consistent mode of thought. You are just thinking along the lines of menu options and the like, I figure they will throw out menus all together before it over. We're stuck in a rut of old operating system concepts of directories ect when most of the world just can not handle the complexity, with all of the computing power now there has to be a better way. For all the people who will just reply, you want to throw out directories?!?, maybe not, but at least throw out the concept.

Re:Two out of Three Ain't Bad (2)

Skeezix (14602) | more than 13 years ago | (#575159)

I mean, come on, Eazel's entire existence is a collection of screen shots thus far

This is simply untrue. You can download Nautilus PR2 [eazel.com] and test it and the Eazel services out. In addition you can download hourly RPM builds of Nautilus [eazel.com] . I've been running these for a few weeks now and it's coming along nicely.
----

Add to the list of outraged OS X users (2)

jafac (1449) | more than 13 years ago | (#575160)

OS X is NOT vapor you moron!

Server has been out for over a year (okay, not relevant to the GUI discussion) - and X consumer has been in beta for two months with tens of thousands of users. Nothin but screenshots is vapor. Actual CD's is substantial.

An uptime of 3 weeks for a beta - is phenomenal (disclaimer - I'm used to Windoze and Classic Mac OS; my new e250 at work is doing pretty well too ;-))

Re:.NET is a joke (1)

baitisj (64922) | more than 13 years ago | (#575161)

I bet they code most of their user interface using DHTML and obscure JavaScript hooks, just like they did for windows media player...

Ugh.

Re:The Author of this article just doesn't get it. (2)

praedor (218403) | more than 13 years ago | (#575162)

Well, you took the words right out of my keyboard. As much as I like linux - unless I want to play some game linux is the only thing I use for EVERYTHING else - it is NOT innovative. Don't get me wrong, I like it and it is nicely functional, but everthing in it is cloned from old unix or copied from windoze or the mac. The Gimp? A clone of photoshop. KDE and Gnome? Both borrow heavily from windoze (and one could argue from OS/2 Warp). You can even make KDE pretend to look like Aqua OR the old MacOS.

As I think about it, I can't bring to mind ANY innovative design or software package that is really something only in linux and not preexistent in windoze or the mac world.

I will keep on using linux, that is a fact, but I honestly cannot say there is innovation there. It is a good game of catchup, but not of "catch ME!" with linux. Certainly not yet, at any rate.

Re:Limiting the user (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 13 years ago | (#575163)

I can envision a way to work this fairly easily.

Maybe I will make it my next project: a visual piping facility

Dave

KDE and GNOME weren't meant to be good (2)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 13 years ago | (#575164)

We say we want to revolutionize the user experience, but when it comes right down to it, we're out of ideas.

No.

You do not understand the purpose of GNOME and KDE. They are not intended to be good GUIs! They are not intended to be revolutionize the user experience. If you go into them expecting that, then yes, you are going to be disappointed.

Listen to Miguel some time, and he will tell you exactly what he is doing with Helix, and his reasons really apply to all the GNOME/KDE stuff. This software is intended for infiltration. They are deliberately intended to be like Win9x, so that Win9x users will feel at home. The purpose of these GUIs isn't to make Unix easy to use; it's to make Unix familiar to former Windows users.

Once you understand that, then you will appreciate GNOME/KDE more for what they are. And yes, you will also become restless and wonder where the real innovation is happening. And I can't help you with that, because I don't know either. But KDE's lameness doesn't prove anything, except the obvious: software that deliberately attempts to be lame, will succeed at being lame very well.


---

From what I've heard... (4)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | more than 13 years ago | (#575165)

I've talked to several 'computer illiterates' (ranging from never touched a computer, to people who are still on dos 5.0 computers, to people who have always used win9x as their typewriter), and have found that they agree on a couple different points about UI that would make things easier:

They need to be able to see what things are. Right now, our system of icons just doesn't work well enough -- see the iloveyou, which apparently was partly perpetrated by the fact that the text icon looks similar to the script icon. (At least, that's what I heard.) Documents often have the same icon as the related executable. When the icons are small, they're had to identify. Etc, etc. One person suggested that they'd like a color-coding system: for instance, all text/word processor documents are green (or shades of green), perhaps along with an icon to identify exactly what type it is. Executables are red. A directory window full of music might have a blue border around it, but the documents folder has green. Nautilus makes a big deal of quickly seeing what information is where; perhaps this will be a good step.

The other thing they want is application integration. For instance, if they go to file/open, and open a text document, they want an editor. If they then open an MP3 file, a player should show up. You should be able to click a button in your spreadsheet program and have it sent via e-mail to everyone in your address book. This, of course, runs counter to the unix way of doing things in a lot of ways -- lots of small programs that each have their seperate task. (Disregard that if you use emacs, of course :) It seems that M$ has the jump on everyone there, with the mentality that every program should do everything. (I think it makes for shoddy software, but apparently a lot of people like it.)

To make the unix way of doing things more attractive to these people, I think the best move is to make sure that all programs work together in a standard way. Right now, we have the GNOME and KDE projects that try to set standards, but what if we think a bit bigger? For instance, a body could be chosen that could set exacting standards for how specific applications work. (For instance, an e-mail program can be invoked like so, reads a global address book from such-and-such, etc.) Then, I can imagine (for instance) a toolbar or global menu that has a send e-mail button on it. If you press it, the system tells the current application, "The user wants to send something via e-mail." The application returns what it is they want to send (for instance, the current document.) Then, it's sent to the e-mail program for processing. You could switch from one program to another and continue to use it in the same manner you always have been.

I don't know if that's the best way of doing it, or exactly what kind of interface and technical details would be needed, but it's definately within our grasp. (And here I am, the one who usually says that we don't need to pander to the Windows users, but ... hey, I think this would be useful too.)

Finally, about this stuff about getting rid of the files/folders analogy: all the people I've talked to say "don't." As has been pointed out, there's a lot of data on a computer. Some sort of hierarchical method of organization is necessary. I've heard suggestions of organization based on type of data, rather than by what's related to it (like we generally do now), and that may be doable, but the folders analogy makes sense to them. Until someone can give a convincing alternative that makes more sense, we should hold on to it.

Re:.NET is a joke (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 13 years ago | (#575169)

Nah, they won't own any of my apps. I only need a single Windows box for playing games. If they want to lose lots of business due to a stupid zealous need to grasp the user by the scrotum and control every aspect of their computing -- it's just fine with me.
---
seumas.com

OS X is vapor? (2)

Amokscience (86909) | more than 13 years ago | (#575170)

It's beta, I've used it. Anyone can purchase it. That qualifies as vapor?

Vaporous? (1)

Spazntwich (208070) | more than 13 years ago | (#575174)

Now, these "vaporous" GUIs. They don't emit any harmful vapors do they?

Agh! I'm choking on a .NET!
---

The Author of this article just doesn't get it. (1)

Vladinator (29743) | more than 13 years ago | (#575180)

While the job of revamping Macintosh and Windows obviously belongs to their respective stewards, the same can't be said for the upstart Linux system. Nobody owns this Unix-based operating system built around the code first created by Finnish programmer Linus Torvalds. And so, transforming Linux, whose interface reflects its roots as a geek playground where civilians are unwelcome, has been a job up for grabs. A couple of groups have attempted to produce a crude graphical interface, but until a new company named Eazel came along, no one was willing to take the step to create a world-class interface.

What a pud. More innovation has come out of development on Linux than from M$ and crApple combined.

Fawking Trolls! [slashdot.org]

Mac OS X Public Beta (3)

gorgon50 (245003) | more than 13 years ago | (#575182)

I've been using MacOS X PB for a few months now and I still for the most part don't like the interface (too much fluff). But... I really have started to loose the sense that I'm running individual applications.

The windows from any 'application layer' can be interchanged (I can have a browser window from IE, then a terminal window, then my Macster window, then another IE window, etc.)

I rarely end up using the 'desktop' to search for applications anymore as I've but 99% of my most used Apps in the dock...

Anyway... strange sensation...

Re:Vapor? (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#575186)

Great Caesar's Ghost!
An on-topic first post!

Oh please.... (4)

Non-Newtonian Fluid (16797) | more than 13 years ago | (#575194)

A couple of groups have attempted to produce a crude graphical interface [for Linux], but until a new company named Eazel came along, no one was willing to take the step to create a world-class interface...

Really? I guess the definition of "crude" is subjective, but I don't know where the "no one was willing" bit comes from. I guess both the Gnome and KDE folks are trying for a barely mediocre interface, too fearful of what the fame and fortune of being "world-class" might bring them....

Re:The Future of the OS? (1)

kennedy (18142) | more than 13 years ago | (#575195)

uhh.... mac osx doens't have anything to do with linux. it's using a MACH kernel as well as 4.4bsd.

browser as GUI... (3)

tewwetruggur (253319) | more than 13 years ago | (#575196)

I must admit that I like Apple's stance on NOT integrating "browser" features into the GUI... that's what pisses me off the most about Win98 - it just looks stupid, particularly when 90% of the time, having the browser features there are meaningless. If I want to peruse the web, I'll use a browser. If I want to find a file, don't give me IE/Netscape/Mozilla/Opera et al... give me something simple that can sort the files by whatever I want.

And, just my opinion, but I felt that particular prototype of .NET looked damn dumb - very busy, much like a poorly laid out web-site or magazine.

I'm really curious to hear other opinions on this... I've never really heard a really good argument as to why every damn window needs to look like a browser, or why some people have this driving desire to get away from "simpler" GUI layouts.

Re:Vapor? (2)

amccall (24406) | more than 13 years ago | (#575197)

That isn't the only thing that isn't vapor. Nautilis is coming along real nicely, and from CVS its almost usable. (Albeit a pain to install.)

Microsoft .NET has beta products ready for download, including a copy of the C# development kits. Most of this stuff is going to be here within a year.

Re:What are they crazy? (2)

NickV (30252) | more than 13 years ago | (#575198)

The point the article was making is that Eazel is a "revolutionary" GUI. We all know KDE and Gnome, while they are "world-class" GUIS, are basically trying there hardest to replicate the Windows 9x look&feel.

Re:KDE is proof that GUIs will always suck... (1)

NonSequor (230139) | more than 13 years ago | (#575199)

Yes, I know that I am replying to flamebait.

I'm a little sick of people bitching about the fact that Gnome and KDE have something like a start menu. What else can we do right now? There must be some way of organizing programs into groups. The start menu happens to be a good way to this and when not in use it takes up little screen space.

I suppose you think that we need some "innovative" way to start applications like speech recognition. I hate to flame so harshly (although it does bring a sort of sadistic pleasure to me), but everyone and there dog has thought of this. It would be nice to be able to say "Start AbiWord" and have it done, but this would have to be used in addition to a start menu of some sort. A new user cannot be expected to know what programs to ask to be run; he or she will have to browse through some listing of programs at some point. Even experienced users may not know all of the programs they have. I don't know all of the programs that are in the Utilities folder (I hate to use the term folder, but directory seems awkward in this case) of my Gnome menu.

Despite the claims of many, Gnome (I can't say anything about KDE since it has been a while since I used it) has made some wonderful innovations. Gnome panel applets are far more sophisticated than the system tray icons (or whatever they are called). Also I find that there are far more useful Gnome panel applets than there are useful system tray icons. The ability to create "cabinets" containing applications on the Gnome panel is very useful. Also one can create more Gnome panels to add more applets; I use this to add performance monitor applets.

What kind of machine are you running that you complain about being slow under Gnome and KDE? On my old machine Gnome was somewhat slow under Enlightenment. Switching the default window manager from Enlightenment to Sawmill has made Gnome *much* faster. In my opinion, Enlightenment is ten percent genius and ninety percent pure fudge. Due to Sawmill's Lisp scripting I would say that it is every bit as customizable as Enlightenment and yet manages not to have Enlightenment's bloat and slowness.


"Homo sum: humani nil a me alienum puto"
(I am a man: nothing human is alien to me)

Then you will like MSFT's new interface (1)

mplex (19482) | more than 13 years ago | (#575200)

From the article:

But the closest thing to their realization can be found in the new version of the MSN Explorer (code-named "Mars"), which Microsoft openly describes as a test bed for some of the .NET ideas. And one of its key architects has been Steve Capps--who was one of the main designers of the famous "Finder" file-management system in the original Macintosh, and then the honcho of Apple's ill-fated Newton personal digital assistant. It was partially through Capps's influence that a persistent media player wound up on the screen; it is also Capps's minimal esthetic ("I'm a Bauhausian," he cheerfully explains) that helps keeps the MSN screen coherent in the midst of a surprising amount of activity. "Folders are ridiculous!" he says with a snort. "Computers have 20 things that are important, 10 things you use often and a bunch of crap. Let's put it all on one screen--go for it!"

I think that quote pretty much speaks for itself. I use MSN explorer almost exclusivly in windows after 4 years of working with linux. It's for beginners but I think its great, very very simple with everything I use allready. Linux is stuck trying to conform to posix or whatever direction linux is going (Does it have direction?) while the world passes it by.

Re:Two out of Three Ain't Bad (1)

DeathBunny (24311) | more than 13 years ago | (#575201)

>Eazel's entire existence is a collection of screen shots thus far

You can download Eazel's Nautilus from their web site. I've been running it for weeks.

Re:browser as GUI... (1)

Siqnal 11 (210012) | more than 13 years ago | (#575202)

I agree that every window doesn't need to look like a browser, but some of the features of browsers are definitely useful in a GUI.

Having 'Favorites' & 'History' dropdown menus, particularly in Save/Open dialog boxes is great.

--

.NET Vapor? (1)

anubis__ (168382) | more than 13 years ago | (#575203)

I always thought vapor was a reference to something that is currently nonexistant and may never come to be. That's how I've always used it anyway. Looks to me like all these interfaces are in some form of beta stages.

.NET is really nice too. Very slow though... 256 MBs of RAM recommended.

Re:.NET reminiscent of AOL interface? (3)

jon_c (100593) | more than 13 years ago | (#575204)

What you saw there was bassicly MSN Explorer, which is in effect, IE with a pretty (dumbed down) skin.

.NET, from what i understand isn't supposed to take over the GUI, it's a framework for writing windows applications that work well in a client server model. and IMHO more of a extension to there current API's.. look at GDI+, ASP+, C#. nothing really new here. just improved.

As for a new Windows GUI, take a look at Whisler screen shots, it's more of the same increamental improvments (aka dumbing down) that's been going on since Windows 95 - slight change in functionality, new graphics.

-Jon

Re:Oh please.... (2)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 13 years ago | (#575205)

I guess the definition of "crude" is subjective, but I don't know where the "no one was willing" bit comes from.

Well, people might have been willing, but totally unqualified and incapable.

I guess both the Gnome and KDE folks are trying for a barely mediocre interface

If that was their goal, they are succeeding admirably indeed. Keep adding flashing lights and neon spinning 3d graphics, maybe a GUI will magically appear...

---------------------------------------------

Re:hmm (1)

irn_bru (209849) | more than 13 years ago | (#575208)

As they say, Make something idiot proof, and they'll invent a better idiot.

We Fear Change... (2)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 13 years ago | (#575212)

I'm not sure what to think about these new GUI designs, I'm finding them becoming more and more cluttered and end up turning off all the 'new features'. Case in point, the interface for Netscape 6, while cool looking, is not easy to read (for me anyway) and for the most part looks cluttered. Lets keep the desktop / app looking clean.

I don't know about the rest of you but I'd prefer a more basic user interface. It might not be pretty, but it gets the job done...

How about an HAL 9000 [tbid.com] style interface?

Capt. Ron

who's got a good memory? (1)

Lord Omlette (124579) | more than 13 years ago | (#575215)

"Considering all 3 are still vapor, it'll be even more interesting to read an article like this in a year, and compare it to this."

This would make one hell of a slashback...

But all three are in beta now, will they actually be released in a year, or will they still be in beta? Hm...
--
Peace,
Lord Omlette
ICQ# 77863057

Vaporware my back-end! (3)

bXTr (123510) | more than 13 years ago | (#575216)

Hey Rob,

You can download nightly builds of Nautilus at nautilus.eazel.com [eazel.com] . Hardly vaporware.


Sensual: Running a feather down your lover's body
Kinky: Using the whole chicken

Re:Mac OS X Public Beta (1)

Geekboy(Wizard) (87906) | more than 13 years ago | (#575223)

FYI Windows 95 is a bastardized version of Mac 7.5 (not trying to troll, just trying to point out that Microsoft did NOT invent the GUI, that was Xerox, but Apple had the first commercial one.)

Todd Rudgren on Interface (4)

twisty (179219) | more than 13 years ago | (#575225)

Last decade I was watching a video of how lyricist and artist Todd Rudgren used the fairly prototypical VideoToaster to make his music video "Change Myself." (Incidentally, he's a Mac Programmer too.) What was surprizing is how his criticisms and insights were far in advance of any VR Conference or journal I'd studied since:

Interface Should Be Invisible
Only recently have I encountered this concept starting to surface in places like the Enlightenment WM. If you're running pure E without Gnome, there is no start menu, no status bar, no obstuction to the task at hand... If you're not running something, all you see is the background, fullscreen. The menu comes up when you click. That has its PROs and CONs, of course... If you're running lots of windows, it is too much easier to click what *is* there than what *isn't*.

Instant Readiness
"I should be able to pick up my MIDI keyboard and start playing. I should be able to draw five lines on the tablet, at the computer should know it's a staff for composing music." None of this wait-ten-minutes-as-I-boot crap either. BEOS lowered the bar on unnecessary boot times. MS Windows swears that Whistler and whatever follows will boot in 20 seconds and 10 seconds respectively. (I gotta SEE that!) But these stupid enumerations and initializations are not what a computing appliance should be wasting our time doing. Today's sleep and suspend modes are just a hint at *the right thing*, at the ready, and even those aren't as instant as they should be.

One of the best lines in the video was his description of the Amiga applications of that day. (Like most older European software...) "Some programs were really bad... I mean, CREATIVELY bad! You'd have a maze of buttons, all alike, and somewhere in the center, is the exit!" We've come a long way...

Re:Mac OS X Public Beta (2)

f5426 (144654) | more than 13 years ago | (#575226)

> I believe that all of those features have existed in Windows 95

I beleive that you are clueless. There is no way to forget that you are working with individual applications in windows, because:
* many apps are still MDI (Photoshop or Excel, for instance)
* when an application works, there is no way to move its window around.
* when an app puts a modal dialog (like an open-file dialog), the system become unusable (because you can't move windows around).

Oh, boy, you are so wrong, that it is not even funny.

Cheers,

--fred

Re:.NET isn't as bad as you think (2)

Drone-X (148724) | more than 13 years ago | (#575228)

And since ALL MS products are moving to the XML base, theoretically you should be able to click on a link, see your most commonly used Office documents, and then have one of them "materialize" on your desktop, workspace, whatever, SEAMLESSLY.

Though I think XML is a great markup language, I am wary of statements should as this. They seem to suggest that *all* information will be stored in XML in the future which is just not going to happen (anytime soon?), I doubt MS will start compiling programs to an XML format or that images (OK, this does exist) or compressed files will store their data in XML.

What in real life will happen *I think* is that the links will point to an XML file containing the user interface, when a widget is then clicked the XML files will say what code to call.

A good idea perhaps but nothing new. Mozilla already has this in the form of XUL files, it could possible be tweaked to do just what you described (or does so without tweaking?) but it won't happen because its market share isn't large enough anymore. Nautilus also kinda has it in the form of Bonobo components, also to a lesser degree but its techicly the same.

Imagine having several programs/documents open at the same time and be able to seamlessly operate between them, as if they were one program.

Imagine having a screen on which multiple programs could be opened at the same time, the program could be moved by dragging the mouse in real time. It would be possible to drag text, images and other data between them as if it were one application. Again, this is nothing new, Windowing systems have been doing it for years via drag-n-drop and cut-n-paste. I bet Microsoft solution will work even worse because as to this date noone has been able to find a a replacement for windows (not the OS), imagine not being able to move your application!

Micorosft's bright idea: CLI (5)

phinance (210768) | more than 13 years ago | (#575230)

From the story:
OS X may look cool, [Bill Gates] says, but it?s ?just sexy widgets.? To go all the way, he explains, you have to define a new style for a new generation of applications. You have to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to do it.
...
Microsoft thinks that the answer might lie in a ?universal type-in line,? an always-active blank space that intelligently processes what the user wants to do at a given moment

Hundreds of millions on dollars spent on GUI redesign and they came up with the command line.

Dave

Stuck in the 'goo' of GUI (1)

ref7 (72679) | more than 13 years ago | (#575232)

Face it: None of these interfaces offer any significant benefit over the xerox standard from 20 years ago, it just adds more layers of goo to make it look pretty. It doesn't really help people's productivity, in fact at some point it starts to get in the way.

If you look around your office now you'll see nearly everyone hunched over their computer staring at the screen. Sure, coders (like myself) need their command-lines and 7-button mice, and secretaries need to type spreadsheets and memos, but does everyone else need to sit around like this?

No real change will happen in productivity until people get off their asses and do some real work, talk to people face to face. Maybe when PDA's become powerful enough the desktop computer will get tossed and people will start getting things done again. Until then, a slicker interface just glues them to the seat even more.

Re:The Author of this article just doesn't get it. (1)

RichN (12819) | more than 13 years ago | (#575235)

More innovation has come out of development on Linux...

Rewriting a Unix kernel from scratch doesn't fit the definition of "innovative".

Rich

------
"Could you, would you, with a goat?"

Re:next stop...file system (1)

droleary (47999) | more than 13 years ago | (#575236)

I don't see the GUI as being a major wall anymore so much as it is the desktop metaphor and, by extension, the file system it is built on that gets the way. As we start managing larger amounts of information, we're starting to see a need to look at it differently, and not by putting a prettier front end on it, but fundamentally altering how we manipulate it. I predict that within the next few years (OK, it's something that I'm working on that has just such a projected release date :-), the file system will be abstracted up to the level of an object system. It's already started in some respects with Easel and Mac OS X, but more significant work is being done, and just maybe it'll make the desktop easier to use, and further allow the desktop metaphor to be abandoned for . . . I know not what.

.NET gui vapor? (2)

SaltLord (216029) | more than 13 years ago | (#575238)

the .NET beta does have the new gui you know, so it isn't vapor..

Two out of Three Ain't Bad (2)

belgar (254293) | more than 13 years ago | (#575239)

If by describing OSX as Vapor, you mean freely usable in its Beta form, then I guess you're right. Somehow, I'm thinking you're not, tho.

I mean, come on, Eazel's entire existence is a collection of screen shots thus far, and .NET is barely a framework-in-progress...

What does it mean to wake out of a dream and be wearing someone else's shorts? (BNL)

Re:The Author of this article just doesn't get it. (1)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 13 years ago | (#575240)

than from M$ and crApple combined.

Maybe you should check out some of the Apple manuals and look for the little signs beneath the pages saying Copyright 2000 Microsoft corporation...

Not Much Change (2)

Seumas (6865) | more than 13 years ago | (#575242)

Actually, I don't expect much change in GUI's in general for the next decade. I see peripherals having a potentially vastly changing face in the next ten years.

Current GUI's are not all that awful. Sure, some of them are confusing -- but there are others that are not. I can't make heads or tails of a Mac interface (then again, I've never really tried) -- but sit me in front of a CDE or Windows or anything else and it's as comfortable as the command line.

Keyboards, mice and their current alternatives, however, suck much ass. Cramps, slow input, wilting eyesight . . . The few alternatives that exist today are just as likely to disappear from shelves tomorrow and even when they work, they are either expensive or difficult to operate.
---
seumas.com

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>