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Make Linux "Gorgeous," Says Ubuntu Leader

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the also-crash-less dept.

688

OSS_ilation writes "They say beauty is only skin deep, but when it comes to Linux and the free software movement, people like Mark Shuttleworth think looks have an important part to play. On his blog and an article on SearchOpenSource.com, Shuttleworth and a slew of open source end users say that the look and feel of open source is also a matter of wider acceptance among enterprise players who are used to Windows, yet crave Mac OS X and the functionality of Linux. 'If we want the world to embrace free software, we have to make it beautiful,' Shuttleworth said. "We have to make it gorgeous. We have to make it easy on the eye. We have to make it take your friend's breath away.' With the early success of Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10, Shuttleworth and company may be onto something."

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688 comments

Imagine... (4, Interesting)

Nrbelex (917694) | more than 7 years ago | (#16646855)

A person who has never used a computer turns on three which are arranged in front of them... A Windows box, a Mac box and a Linux box... all look identical on the outside. They receive no prompting. Which do they begin to try to learn to use?

Re:Imagine... (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16646907)

Windows. Next question. please.

Re:Imagine... (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647305)

> Windows. Next question. But they end up on Mac. After a while some get fed up with commercial and shareware pop ups for the simplest things, and see the light. BTW the icons in TFBlurb look like a fuming penguin.

Re:Imagine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16646925)

In the end it doesn't really matter. If the person can get the job done with any of them it doesn't matter. If there is something that can not be done with one of them, he can try the other one.

Do or do not. There is no try. (1, Insightful)

mbkennel (97636) | more than 7 years ago | (#16646929)

It doesn't matter what they first go up to.

The point is that the "feel", and that means deep, cognitively focused ergonomics, matters more than eye candy.

Candy rots your teeth.

If something looks good and it communicates function and state well, then that's fine.

Remember: beauty is skin deep, but bitch goes right down to the bone.

Re:Do or do not. There is no try. (2, Insightful)

shmlco (594907) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647151)

Why can't you have well-designed ergonomics AND great eye-candy? Why deny that both serve a useful place at the table?

Another thing that's needed is something similar to Apple's original User Interface Guidelines, so that all of the applicatons on the platform are consistent from both a usability and visual standpoint.

Having consistent dialogs, button placements, menus, and so on tend to make a platform a LOT more accessible.

Re:Do or do not. There is no try. (2, Interesting)

mbkennel (97636) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647297)

Of course you should have great ergonomics and eye candy.

Mark Shuttleworth said that the problem that Linux didn't look good enough.

That's not really entirely true, it looks OK. But the ergonomics still suck really hard for
many things. It works reasonably nastily.

Comparing to Windows isn't remotely good enough.

When it starts to be an ergonomic horse race between Mac OS X and Billionaire
Linux, then that's progress. We're about as far in that direction as Afghanistan is sending turbaned men to Mars.

In fact, a number of Mac users have complained, rightfully, that some more recent
MacOSX releases sacrifice ergonomics for eye candy.

Re:Do or do not. There is no try. (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647233)

How is this a troll? He's almost totally right and a killer line in the end too. I'd add that performance matters, too. So an eye candy interface that takes noticeably a toll on *perceived* performance is not so advisable IMHO. But I don't call on keeping linux graphically simple and performant. Linux is not an uniform environment, can be a stark command line on the server, a light desktop on the old machine and some eye candy on the latest hardware. Let hackers and designers loose and keep the best ideas.

Re:Imagine... (1)

diersing (679767) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647025)

Without prompting, three identical computers (regardless of operating system) would be so foreign to a person whose never used a computer they would prolly leave the room.

If you want someone to use technology you have to lead them to it, show them how easy it is, and teach them not to fear it. Your question, or is it an opening to a joke, is irrelevant.

Re:Imagine... (1)

drpimp (900837) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647099)

MOD Parent Up. VERY interesting concept. But as much as I would like to say they would go for the most eye appealing one. Which IMHO (Not a Mac Fan Boy) the order would be Mac OSX, Linux, Windows. I think it would have to do a lot with age, sex, and demographics of the person to which they would prefer.

Now as an everyday computer user, I definately love Mac OSX GUI. Linux has gotten 1000 times better over the past years. Standard Windows XP is ugly as F$%#. The first day I get into any new XP install I revert it back to Classic Windows as that is much more appealing/usable to me.

Hasn't seen a computer before? (1)

slack_prad (942084) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647107)

He would probably think it's TV, and ask you where's the remote.

Re:Imagine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16647163)

To pass your test the Linux desktop should be a cute furry creature that purrs when you click on it, therefore something is seriously wrong with your test.

Re:Imagine... (3, Insightful)

Mikachu (972457) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647215)

It really doesn't matter. You're not competing against a world that has never seen a computer before. You're fighting against a world where Windows owns the market share, and Mac OSX is often shunned aside, where Linux is called the nerd OS.

So essentially, Mark Shuttleworth is right. It's not enough to be just barely the best in anything when the market leader has almost all of the market. You have to truly jump miles above the market leader before people will notice. It's unfortunate but true.

How do you think the Apple iPod worked so well? When it came out, nerds said "less space than a Nomad, it's shit." But what happened? If you really compare, the iPod blew the Nomad away in terms of ease of use and beauty. Not to mention marketing, but that's a different story altogether.

Re:Imagine... (2, Funny)

Kookus (653170) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647585)

Windows DUH! Because it automagically boots up by default without asking for a username and password!

So Mark Shuttleworth makes SUSE now too? (1)

maubp (303462) | more than 7 years ago | (#16646877)

"... With the early success of Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10, Shuttleworth and company may be onto something."

Maybe that could have been phrased better... Mark Shuttleworth only looks after Ubuntu for now. Not really the best snippet to use for Slashdot.

Re:So Mark Shuttleworth makes SUSE now too? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16647241)

Who is this fucking kosmonaut? And why is he keeps constantly appearing on articles about my favourite distro?

Wow, and accurate assessment! (4, Insightful)

Salvance (1014001) | more than 7 years ago | (#16646879)

Finally, someone who is addressing the root cause of why Linux continues to trail market leaders in desktop share. In addition to making it "beautiful", developers need to continue adding out-of-the-box widgets/features to prevent someone from ever needing to modify a script or enter a terminal window if they didn't want to. If they could address both of these 'issues', Linux would have a fighting chance against Windows desktops.

IMO - Microsoft doesn't dominate because it is better, it dominates because of great marketing and ease of use (even for groups such as the disabled). My grandmother can use XP Home, but if I have Linux up, she completely freezes. Sure, there's some grandmas that know perl scripting, but who wants to jump in and start compiling code just so they can play bridge with their friends over the net?

Re:Wow, and accurate assessment! (2, Insightful)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647005)

I dispute the hard to use part of Linux. Yes it's a bugger to get working sometimes but so is Windows. How many of us here provide tech support to otherwise intelligent people who have a complete blind spot when it comes to using a Windows box. If Windows breaks in a confusing way how many non-geeks do you know who can sort it out? My dad is the only one I know and I support a lot of family, friends and co-workers.

Re:Wow, and accurate assessment! (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647111)

Can your grandmother rid the computer of virii and worms? Fix it when its utterly broken? If not who fixes her computer when it breaks?

Re:Wow, and accurate assessment! (1)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647119)

I'd settle for less widgets and chrome for better usability.

I'm not exactly a novice when it comes to computers, but after deciding to try Kubuntu (Ubuntu didn't run well on the computer I was using) I decided it wasn't worth the hassle when I spent two days trying to mount a network drive hosted on a Windows machine and have it reconnect automatically whenever I log in.

IIRC, the "solution" involved editing at least two files and creating a third, and having the password as plaintext in at least two locations.

Mapping the same drive from another Windows box is as simple as "Map Network Drive", enter/browse for the share, and clicking "Reconnect on startup". (Optionally: "Connect as a different user" if the username/password used for local login does not have credentials to access the share). Takes all of 2 minutes.

It's shit like that which keeps Linux out of reach for the masses, IMHO.
=Smidge=

Re:Wow, and accurate assessment! (2, Insightful)

Salvance (1014001) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647323)

I couldn't agree more ... the unfortunate thing is that any time I make similar suggestions to Linux programmers or just tech groups in general I get responses like "PEBKAC, not my problem", or "If you can't do XYZ, then you're not smart enough to be using a computer", or even "if Linux were easy to use, there'd be less jobs for support guys like me". These are REAL responses I've received from legitimate Linux developers.

As backwards as it sounds, I really think the Linux world needs to find some investors to plop down BIG money for PR, Marketing, and Focus Groups just for increasing desktop penetration. These may all sound like swear words to a techie, but I think they're essential to increasing Linux adoption.

Re:Wow, and accurate assessment! (2, Informative)

Shawn is an Asshole (845769) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647489)

Under Gnome, click on "Places" and then on "Connect to server". A dialog will now open. Set the service type to "Windows Share" and fill in the "server", "share", and "user name" fields. If there is a domain, fill in the "domain" field too. Hit "connect". You now have an icon on both the desktop and in the Places menu named after the folder. Click on it. It will ask you for a password and it will give you the option to save it in your keyring (it's encrypted, btw). All Gnome applications (including OpenOffice) will show it on the left of file dialogs. It will be there whenever you start the computer.

KDE provides similar functionality, but it's not as easy to find. The tool to set it up do it is in one of the menus but every distro seems to try to hide it. Here [kde.org] is documentation on how to use it.

No editing text files. No plain text passwords. No root privileges required.

Re:Wow, and accurate assessment! (2, Informative)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647161)

That's funny, because most people get scared when the hear that they are using Linux. Try running KDE, plopping your friend in front of your computer, and seeing how hard it is for them to figure out what to do. I have done this several times, and people almost immediately adapt to: 1.) Using Konqueror 2.) Using GAIM 3.) Using OpenOffice 4.) Playing music. When something works differently, or doesn't work, they just shrug it off, assuming that it is simply some error or bug, the same way they shrug off problems in Windows. And there is scripting support on Windows, and I know somebody who does use JScript to automate certain tasks. It is more common to script things on Linux because more Linux users know how to write programs, but that doesn't make it necessary for using Linux. If you think about how most home users use computers, you get: Office (word processing, spreadsheets, etc.), Web, Instant Messaging, E-mail, and Gaming. Of these, the only thing that somebody would really be unable to use Linux for is gaming -- some day, the wine guys will solve that problem. In general, though, Linux has been usable for the average person for years now.

Re:Wow, and accurate assessment! (1)

stubear (130454) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647453)

Put that same person in front of Linux and ask them to install an application.

Re:Wow, and accurate assessment! (1)

scuba0 (950343) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647669)

Just because they do not know which application to use does not mean it is hard. If it is hard to find or understand it is up to them or the softwaremaker to make them see how. Sidenote: A lot of people does not know how install on Windows either so your argument fails. Try get a person to find an application that they need. If they don't know how to find it, maybe it is better to try and learn first or not bother at all.

Re:Wow, and accurate assessment! (1)

hobo sapiens (893427) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647603)

4.) Playing music
Oh, what, like using AmarocK? Without having to visit the CLI?! hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha ha

Re:Wow, and accurate assessment! (1)

neersign (956437) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647265)

Humans are very superficial. As the saying goes, first impressions are everything. You need the looks to grab everyone's attention, then you need substance to keep it.

Re:Wow, and accurate assessment! (1)

chromatic (9471) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647293)

Microsoft doesn't dominate because it is better, it dominates because of great marketing and ease of use (even for groups such as the disabled).

Very true. It's difficult enough for me as a fully-capable technical user to buy a computer with Linux preinstalled. I can't imagine how someone different might possibly avoid the Windows tax.

Re:Wow, and accurate assessment! (1)

n1hilist (997601) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647309)

A good point.

Friends and co-workers have often asked me, "Hey, what cool version of Windows are you running on your notebook?" and I say, "it's not Windows, it's LInux". and then the questions about why Linux and what's cool about it come up. is it better/faster than Windows and I say, yeah sure.

and then the but.. comes up.

People want plug and play, sure, Windows has many security and stability issues but in most cases, the PnP and out of box features outweigh those drawbacks for the average user.

I loaded an Ubuntu box for a disabled child and he was using Ubuntu easily within a few minuits, but he eventually came to me asking to switch to Windows.

You can't just plug in your cellphone and easily synch your contacts or buy any webcam and make it work withoug some serious configuring and patching and hacking. with some devices, sure, but overall, Windows wins in this department.

So, yeah, I agree completely with what Mark Shuttleworth was to say.

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what distro you're running, as long as it gets the job done.

I'll disagree. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647325)

Finally, someone who is addressing the root cause of why Linux continues to trail market leaders in desktop share.

And by "market leaders" you mean "Microsoft". Whether Linux trails Apple is subject to debate.
IMO - Microsoft doesn't dominate because it is better, it dominates because of great marketing and ease of use (even for groups such as the disabled).

Nope. Microsoft dominates because it has a monopoly on the desktop. That means that just about every ISV and OEM has to consider Microsoft in their business plan. If you make hardware for PC's, you need to make Windows drivers. You don't need to make Linux drivers.
My grandmother can use XP Home, but if I have Linux up, she completely freezes. Sure, there's some grandmas that know perl scripting, but who wants to jump in and start compiling code just so they can play bridge with their friends over the net?

And is Gramma's PC a spam zombie? Being able to "use" a computer means different things to different people.

There is no real difference between using a pre-installed Ubuntu machine and a pre-installed XP machine.

The only difference in the platforms comes AFTER deployment. When Gramma wants to add a peripheral or install some software that her friend told her about (it has a cute monkey!).
In addition to making it "beautiful", developers need to continue adding out-of-the-box widgets/features to prevent someone from ever needing to modify a script or enter a terminal window if they didn't want to.

Have you used Ubuntu recently? It easily matches XP for never needing to open a terminal window.
If they could address both of these 'issues', Linux would have a fighting chance against Windows desktops.

Again, no. Linux will not match Windows in the HOME MARKET until Linux is pre-installed by the OEM.

This is because the vast majority of people in the HOME MARKET do NOT install their own OS. They use whatever was pre-installed. They use it as it was pre-installed. They don't even update their anti-virus software. The PC is tool for them. Like their VCR or their TV. They plug the connection in and expect it to handle the feed.

Due to the pre-installed issue, Linux's next major advance will be in the corporate/government desktop segment. Not the home market.

Re:Wow, and accurate assessment! (1)

Slugster (635830) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647431)

I agree--the CLI that is adored by so many hardcore Linux users simply isn't practical to "sell" to the general public.

A typical person doesn't want to need to remember a bunch of CLI mumbo-jumbo. To tell them that such a [CLI] system is "superior" because they have to remember more things in order to use it is pathetic and ridiculous--and (among the general public) it has gotten Linux the reception it deserves.
~

Re:Wow, and accurate assessment! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16647445)

> My grandmother can use XP Home, but if I have Linux up, she completely freezes.

only (and i'm generalising here, but i bet it applies to quite a few /. readers) because you or someone else showed her how to use winxp.

it took me about ten minutes to show my mother how to use Gnome. "this is how you get to the internet" and "this is how you get onto msn messenger", and she was away.

(now she's upset that i had to put her back onto a windows box so i could run some win-only software on her pc, and she can't play majhongg.)

Re:Wow, and accurate assessment! (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647493)

Finally, someone who is addressing the root cause of why Linux continues to trail market leaders in desktop share

It seems to me there have been three general problems with Linux on the desktop:

  1. It's hard
  2. It's ugly
  3. It lacks applications

A lot has been done a lot to solve these issues. I would say many distributions are easier to set up than Windows. I would even say that the default setup of Ubuntu, SuSE, and Fedora are all prettier than the default blue Luna theme in Windows XP (which I've always thought was hideous). Sure, things can always be improved, but things are going fairly well.

Application, however, are still a bit of a sore spot. Firefox, OpenOffice, and Evolution make great replacements for IE, MSO, and Outlook. However, you start hitting problems, still, in other areas. If you're doing professional graphic, sound, or movie editing, you'll probably need to go to another platform. So I think that's a real roadblock for some people. We need Photoshop, Sound Forge, and Final Cut replacements. GIMP and Audacity are great apps, but not on the same level.

I'm not criticizing the community or anything. I'm just happy, most of the time, to have such great software available for free. However, since people seem to be asking how to drive Linux adoption, I'm giving my perspective. Linux could be easier, but it is easy enough. It could be prettier, but it is pretty enough (I've had Windows users comment on how pretty my Ubuntu setup is, and it's pretty much the standard setup). If it were just these issues, the free price tag, in tandem with diminished risk of viruses, would be enough for a lot of people to take the plunge.

What would really help is if someone would make more professional-grade apps for Linux. Hell, Adobe would make a big difference all by itself. If Adobe ported their entire product line to Linux, that alone would increase the feasibility of switching people to Linux to an incredible degree.

Either way, it doesn't hurt to make things prettier, so I'm not really arguing with Shuttleworth. However, i know people who would like to switch to Linux and just can't because there aren't FOSS alternatives to the apps they use. Oh, and porting more games wouldn't hurt either. I know people who stick with Windows just for the games.

Re:Wow, and accurate assessment! (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647507)

>> developers need to continue adding out-of-the-box widgets/features to prevent someone from ever needing to modify a script or enter a terminal window if they didn't want to

*sigh* that path leads to the same bloat that is driving pweople away from windows.

I don't want my computer to continually assume I know nothing. Why must GUI's have to be dumbed down to suit the lowest common denomiator?

I'm waaay more productive under Linux than windows precisely because of the conciseness of linux. Also because I can use a terminal window much faster than a gui, and the Linux gui doesn't keep asking me "Are you sure...". Also because Linux doesn't hide detailed technical vocabulary with general terms like a dumbed-down gui does.

"A system error has occurred" is the most useless error message you can have. Just because its the Microsoft way doesn't mean we have to copy it (in fact its a good reason not to).

Ironic (1)

The Lone Man (1017800) | more than 7 years ago | (#16646899)

Funny, this is, in my opinion, precisely the problem with Linux. Programmers are spending too much time designing shnuggly-wuggly GUI's and spend less time on drivers and other necessities for the OS.

Re:Ironic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16646951)

It's very simple:

make dep && make clean && make bzImage && make modules && make modules_install && make install && make linux georgeous

Re:Ironic (2, Insightful)

IflyRC (956454) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647115)

Linux actually needs both to really compete on the desktop. Sure, don't let drivers and other core libraries slide but it needs serious help in the UI department. Linux developers always speak of standards and fault MS for never following them - how about Linux having a UI standard? Too many things I use I have to relearn the UI to some degree. At least in Windows (for the most part) there is a standard in the tool bars and menus. File, Edit, etc.

Re:Ironic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16647121)

I agree. How it looks now is fine. All I want is to be able to have Linux work out of the box with a TV tuner and webcam and MIDI keyboard and Lego Mindstorm NXT and all the other stuff I connect to Windows XP and not have to worry about spending MONTHS trying to figure out how to get them working. Getting a TV tuner and MythTV working on Linux is just too ridiculous. I have spent months following step by step instructions and just can't get it working. Yeah most Linux users would just tell me to RTFM but with Windows XP I don't have to. I just want something that works. I wish it would be Linux but things need to get a lot easier than they are now.

Different developers (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647171)

Hmmm, in most cases I find that those that can design useful and attractive UI's are not the same as those who can develop kernel drivers or other such things. I see no reason why those with design/UI skills can't continue to improve the look & feel of linux, while those with skills at dissassembling/developing drivers, kernel features, and other such things continue provide those skills.

Not to mention the fact that kernel drivers, in an ideal world, would be developed and provided (preferably with source) by the hardware manufacturers, who have very little do with with the GUI in any operating system.

Re:Ironic (1)

HappySqurriel (1010623) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647291)

"Funny, this is, in my opinion, precisely the problem with Linux. Programmers are spending too much time designing shnuggly-wuggly GUI's and spend less time on drivers and other necessities for the OS."

I thought I should highlight the problem that you so adequately put in your post.

There is no reason why a Programmer should be designing a user interface because they (usually) lack the knowledge or experience to make a good one. Often a programmer will develop a user interface which is ugly and confusing which is barely useable to someone who doesn't have the same understanding of the program as they have.

The reason Windows remains popular on home desktops is that Microsoft has spent Millions (if not billions) attempting to ensure that their system is far more useable than any other system on the market.

Am I the Only One (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16646941)

Who found the department that this article come from to be hilariously wrong?

Uh, I went to Linux to escape Windows crashing, I don't ever recall Linux crashing on me. Why do they need to make it crash less?

Re:Am I the Only One (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16647261)

The apps arguably crash more often than windows apps. My uptime's about the same for both, but I'm not using windows to run multiple servers and a desktop at the same time.

artists wanted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16646943)

What's needed is more people with artistic talent to realize they have an interest in great open source software.

Givent the easy availability of great commercial software like Zbrush, Maya, and Photoshop etc. versus Blender, GIMP, etc.

Most artists I know use the commercial software, and they either havent tried or don't see an advantage in the open source software. Therefore maybe they don't feel a need or interest to "give back". For operating systems and other stuff, geeks themselves build the tools, so they are available freely.

An Artist Replies (1)

CheeseburgerBrown (553703) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647511)

I recently had the opportunity to get to know Blender.

Does its feature set compare well with commercial packages? Yes, it does. Is the performance reasonable given high-end hardware? Yeah, not awful.

And yet I was able to safely declare the application at this time unusable by our art department, because they're not software engineers. Why should that matter? Hint: it shouldn't.

It's all about what concepts are taken for granted as part of the knowledge-base of the user -- and Blender is obviously built by engineers. For example, object transformation tools frequently use mathematical rather than descriptive (or industry-standard) terminology. I can see where the coder is coming from -- it's a transform involving such-and-such an algorithm, it must seem straight-forward to name it that way...I mean, heck, everybody knows what a such-and-such algorithm is, right?

Wrong.

I am educated in my discipline. I studied art at a variety of institutions and have a decade of experience in commercial design. I am used to labels like "knife tool" (from ElectricImage) or "reflect tool" (from Illustrator). I can't make heads or tails of the "fourier meta-transform fuckulation B-phase inhibitor" tool, like the labels seen in Blender.

Blender is an engineer's application -- suitable, I guess, for making really sadly misdesigned crap like Elephant's Dream which screams "engineer pretending to be an artist!" with every rendered frame.

The problem isn't only Blender.

Open source software engineers, or a distinct but visible subset thereof, are too egocentric to be software architects. Their interfaces remain mired in overly technical jargon, with options that should be drill-down options presented alongside top-layer options -- because engineers hate to think there are features "too advanced" for day to day use. It insults them. Burying fine controls is for wimps. Engineers want their brains respected by their software, so they'll all into coding it like it is.

The rest of us find using such applications awkward and plagued by nerditis.

The GIMP is maturing nicely, but it still isn't there. Blender has recently become much more powerful, but is still about as usable to a designer (ie, the profession for whom it is targeted) as a slide-rule.

I'm not trying to resurrect the spirit of Kai Krausse here or advocate the dumbing down of interfaces, but there is a happy medium between utilitarian low-level access bloat and a piece of software that fits in tune with the knowledge context its users have.

So...we tried out Blender and we're buying Maya.

Don't make it beautiful, make it Just Work (tm) (4, Insightful)

blackcoot (124938) | more than 7 years ago | (#16646949)

and when things don't Just Work (tm), make it Really Easy to Fix (tm). gui eye candy is nice and all, but it does no good if the underlying software is flakey and generally hard to use.

Re:Don't make it beautiful, make it Just Work (tm) (2, Informative)

nadamsieee (708934) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647021)

From TFB (the fine blog):

Of course, "pretty but unusable" won't work either. It needs to be both functional and attractive. Rather than bling for bling's sake, let's use artistic effects to make the desktop BETTER, and obviously better.

Re:Don't make it beautiful, make it Just Work (tm) (1)

DoktorSeven (628331) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647439)

How does artistic effects make the desktop better?

This whole movement toward prettifying the desktop reminds me of the recent trend in computer and console gaming to emphasize graphics over gameplay. The proponents of better graphics say that pretty graphics brings better gameplay... somehow, despite the fact that there has been games with great gameplay since the early, blocky, ugly gaming era of the 2600 and the early arcades. They don't seem to understand that the solution does not lie in pumping up the graphics even more, but pushing all that aside and making a great *game* first. Graphics, ultimately, don't matter -- it's what is underneath that counts. What they can't understand is that gaming has come to the point where graphics doesn't matter, it's what is underneath that needs improvement.

Who cares if our desktops have shiny buttons, 3d rotating icons, transparency, fading, animated window movements, and all of that? How does that improve your experience with your desktop? I don't see any way that any of that will actually improve your desktop, and by extension, your OS. The desktop "problem", like gaming's graphics "problem", has already been solved. Leave it alone and improve what is underneath.

Re:Don't make it beautiful, make it Just Work (tm) (1)

nadamsieee (708934) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647643)

Who cares if our desktops have shiny buttons, 3d rotating icons, transparency, fading, animated window movements, and all of that? How does that improve your experience with your desktop?

I think the point is that making things "pretty" does matter to alot of people (not you obviously). But the real point is that to be competitive in 2006+, your desktop has to be both pretty and functional. That implies usability, consistency, good integration, etc, etc, etc.

Form follows function (1)

Calyth (168525) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647361)

If the OS is easy to use, it's a good chance that the UI is going to be beautiful.
Is Exposé beautiful? Yes, but it's function is to show the user what type of windows are open (yet hidden), and allow them to choose. The pretty interface for it stems from the function.
Don't create a GUI for the sake of being beautiful. Create a GUI that's easy to use, and the beauty would come automatically.

Re:Don't make it beautiful, make it Just Work (tm) (1)

Toddlerbob (705732) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647373)

I agree with your comment, but I have to say that, for this user at least, the functionality and ease of use of Ubuntu is already outstanding, hence I do think it's time for them to start working on beauty. I've had an easier time setting up a Samba computer on Ubuntu than I have with OS X. Of course, other's mileage may vary.

Re:Don't make it beautiful, make it Just Work (tm) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16647523)

It won't matter how beautiful it looks if Ubuntu can't get the soundcard to work on a Thinkpad t20. A dead OS like BEOS can, but not linux. This is just one example of the lack of hardware support in Linux. Until then, linux is not ready for primetime.

Re:Don't make it beautiful, make it Just Work (tm) (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647581)

And on which operating system do things just work and are really easy to fix? Let's see:

  • Windows XP
    • BSOD's after a common hardware failure (drive motor stopped spinning).
    • Lacks focus-under-mouse; attempts to resolve do not work very well.
    • Install new video capture card. Buggy drivers, no source code available. Issue is never resolved.
  • Mac OS X
    • Plug-n-play devices work right away. Finding drivers for everything else...
    • Development tools? A recent development. 3rd-party software gives me problems until very, very recently.
    • Where the hell is focus under mouse?
    • Where did you say the terminal was again? Where do I go to figure out what the actual problem is?
  • Solaris? Please.

Funny, my list doesn't have many system where things just work and are easy to fix. Windows never just works, and OS X only works if you use other Apple products. How is it easy to fix a problem if you cannot determine what the problem actually is? Or if your system BSODs? People are quick to point out how difficult to is to find Linux drivers for high-end hardware; why don't people point that out about Mac? Which is not to mention that there are many Linux-based operating systems, each with a different goal in mind, some with better tools than others.

sjobs - design is not just veneer (5, Interesting)

johnrpenner (40054) | more than 7 years ago | (#16646953)


Fortune Magazine: What has always distinguished the products of the
companies you've led is the design aesthetic. Is your obsession with design
an inborn instinct or what?

Steve Jobs: We don't have good language to talk about this kind of thing.
In most people's vocabularies, design means veneer. It's interior decorating.
It's the fabric of the curtains and the sofa. But to me, nothing could be
further from the meaning of design. Design is the fundamental soul of a
man-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers
of the product or service. The iMac is not just the colour or translucence or
the shape of the shell. The essence of the iMac is to be the finest possible
consumer computer in which each element plays together.

On our latest iMac, I was adamant that we get rid of the fan, because it is
much more pleasant to work on a computer that doesn't drone all the time.
That was not just "Steve's decision" to pull out the fan; it required an
enormous engineering effort to figure out how to manage power better and do
a better job of thermal conduction through the machine. That is the furthest
thing from veneer. It was at the core of the product the day we started.

This is what customers pay us for--to sweat all these details so it's easy
and pleasant for them to use our computers. We're supposed to be really good
at this. That doesn't mean we don't listen to customers, but it's hard for
them to tell you what they want when they've never seen anything remotely
like it.

http://www.fortune.com/fortune/2000/01/24/app6.htm l [fortune.com]

Re:sjobs - design is not just veneer (3, Interesting)

Khomar (529552) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647601)

I wish I had mod points for you, because that was exactly my first thought. There is a huge difference between software that looks beautiful and software that is beautiful. A well designed application need not have visually fantastic features -- in fact, often the most "beautiful" applications have very simple interfaces, but they are very intuitive and a joy to use. I have not actually used a Mac in over a decade, but I am tempted to get one just because of the care Apple seems to take in everything that they do. In Windows Vista, Microsoft is doing exactly what Mark Shuttleworth has called for. They are trying to cover up the flaws and problems with Windows without actually redesigning the system.

The problem with Linux for me has been its clunky feel. Most of the applications felt like hacks. There was no coherent organization for system tools, or there were multiple collections of applications that seemed to do the same thing but with slight differences (equivalent of two apps to change the screen settings, but one sets the resolution and background and the other the background and color settings). The applications felt poorly designed and half-baked with inconsistent interfaces. Now granted, it has been a couple years since I last touched a Linux distribution, so things may have changed since then, but somehow I doubt it. Installing new software was a chore, and was never as simple as it should have been. It seemed that most applications were even worse in Linux than in Windows for scattering files all of the file system. Many applications required edits to text files for configuration which while making some configuration possible to automate from the command line does not make things easy to use for the casual user (where was the config file again?).

Really, from what I understand of OS X, Apple came much closer to what really needs to be done -- a complete revamping of the structure of Linux. Create a consistent, simplified and enforced directory structure to make application and driver installation much easier to manage. Replace all configuration with graphical tools while leaving the power of the command line available for those who wish to tap into it but out of plain view. Create a consistent user experience with well thought out conventions that create an atmosphere of familiarity throughout all applications that run in the system. Unfortunately, I am not sure that this is possible in the open source arena because you almost need a more totalitarian organization system to enforce it. Transforming Linux into a real competitor with OS X and Windows will take a great deal of organization and cooperation -- something that Linux seems to lack, especially when you consider how many flavors of Linux there are. Unity has never been their strong suit, but to accomplish what Mark Shuttleworth is suggesting, they will need a unified effort from the core systems all the way to the MP3 player to make it happen.

Linux has a great...personality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16646959)

It won't happen because too many in the Linux community think command line is beautiful. What they in the linux community don't realize is the beauty of a Mac is worth the extra dollars. The beauty of Linux, well, Linux is worth the money for the functionality.

Asking about the beauty of Linux is like saying "The girl has a great personality."

Re:Linux has a great...personality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16646997)

oh so .. wait! linux is a girl? FINALLY!!!

Re:Linux has a great...personality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16647199)

What kind of shallow moron has long term relationships based purely on looks?

Oh right, gotcha; Mac fags:P

Re:Linux has a great...personality (1)

manno (848709) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647331)

Hey personality can go a long way my friend. I've been a life long MS Windows user, through the good (Windows 2k), and the bad (Windows everything not based on NT). I love Windows. I know it inside, and out, I'm more than comfortable with it, looks-shmooks. This Vista DRMing/Resource hogging thing is starting to get me worried however. How about Macs they're great computers too, I recently helped a friend purchase and set one up. A mini to be exact. Great system beautiful, and it has some cool functionality built right in. But it has a lot of the same DRM issues MS Windows has... I'm thinking looks aren't doing it for me anymore. I'm looking for something with substance that I can trust won't stab me in the back, and hold any, and all media I own hostage for whatever reason it wishes. I'm looking at the new Ubuntu so hard it hurts my eyes. I'm tired of being at some corporations whim. My only issue with Linux is it's a PITA to get completely set up plain and simple. Yes I can get 80%-90% of the functionality I want from it right off the install, but that last 10% is oh so crucial, and so difficult to get working. I'm going to have to use WINE, as we have to use a strictly windows only program here per our industry's specs.

Re:Linux has a great...personality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16647649)

Maybe you should stick that dick back into your ass and stop talking out of it. FAG!!!

- Wolf Bearclaw

They say beauty is only skin deep, but ugly... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16646983)

...goes all the way to ring 0.

Re:They say beauty is only skin deep, but ugly... (1)

bostonkarl (795447) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647307)

... goes all the way down to the physical layer

resolution independent (2, Insightful)

augustz (18082) | more than 7 years ago | (#16646995)

Imagine having a clean and clear desktop. Make things a little bigger for your mother. Make them a little smaller for the numbers nerd.

When you buy that ridiculously high resolution dell laptop, all the icons and text doesn't shrink to the size of warnings for health meds.

Ugh! Stupid! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16647011)

Yeah, I agree, make it visually beatiful, but you gotta make it functional too. Personally, at this point in time, I see too much eye-candy or features that 'look' nice, but the way it feels is crap. Ugh! Get the user experience right first before you start thinking about making it look nice, else all you are doing is pouring perfume on a steaming pile of poo.

The beauty! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16647031)

I love the nasty yellowish ubuntu thing!

Geographic restrictions (0, Offtopic)

53cur!ty (588713) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647039)

I actually looked at your job postings a week ago and would have applied but you would require me to relocate! Perhaps you would have better luck if you opened the search to all talent not just that living or willing to relocate near your headquarters. If that was an option I'd apply, not that I'm what you are looking for, but it would open up the landscape of possible candidates.

how about making Ubuntu Gorgeous (5, Funny)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647075)

While Ubuntu is relatively polished and most of the stuff "just works", the default baby-shit-brown color scheme is hideous.

So, while I would agree that Linux needs some beautification, I don't trust anyone at Ubuntu to do it!

Re:how about making Ubuntu Gorgeous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16647321)

If you didn't catch the article in your rush to comment, he said they need to make Ubuntu beautiful, not that is already is the perfect example of beauty.

Re:how about making Ubuntu Gorgeous (2, Funny)

Spug (886818) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647379)

It's beginning to get more orange.

Re:how about making Ubuntu Gorgeous (1)

uglydog (944971) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647451)

hey, now! brown is beautiful ;-)

Beauty and productivity (1)

TheViewFromTheGround (607422) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647089)

As DHH from the Ruby on Rails project says: "Beauty leads to happiness. Happiness leads to productivity. Therefore beauty leads to productivity." That's a bit trite, but the principle has some truth to it. Similarly, a beautiful, clear UI that balances respect for the user's intelligence with an emphasis on simplicity means that as a community, FLOSS developers are taking other human beings seriously, taking themselves seriously, and care about the social impact of their work. Shuttleworth is dead on.

And, at least vis-a-vis MS, the FLOSS community is in a position to kick their condescending, wizard-riddled, FUD spinning, Aero-enabled asses right back to Redmond if we all take some initiative because of the massive mistakes MS has made in the past 4-5 years.

Well, Yeah. (1)

nonorganon (1009761) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647123)

To extend the analogy presented in those oh so trendy Apple adds featuring hip young Mac and old man PC, Linux is the man in Teva sandals with white socks, cheap pleated pants, tucked Hawaiian shirt and a fearsome ponytail/neckbeard combination.

Re:Well, Yeah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16647185)

And BSD is the corpse in the background that occasionally twitches.

"Make Ubuntu Boot on my system" says disgruntled.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16647129)

"Make Ubuntu Boot on my system" says disgruntled..

What a coincidence (1)

Salsaman (141471) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647169)

Possibly offtopic, but just to show there are nice looking apps for Linux: I just put up a new screenshot for LiVES on Freshmeat [freshmeat.net]

I think it looks very nice these days. Of course, being functional and stable is more important, but it doesn't hurt to look good too :-)

Doubtful (3, Insightful)

mpapet (761907) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647189)

In principal, I agree.

In practice, it's not what makes people switch. They will switch when there is an overwhelming need for something that is not provided by their current PC.

Otherwise, they don't switch.

Despite Apple's temporarily high visibility (pre vista media onslaught) these days, they know from experience getting people to switch even -if- you have a beautiful desktop and good advertising marketing budgets is tough.

Call me crazy and selfish (1)

bigberk (547360) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647193)

But why must Linux or FreeBSD or whatever appeal to the average person? We as open source developers don't have limitless time and resources to spend making our software usable by everyone, or EZ enough for grandma to use.

There is no problem having an OS primarly designed for experts to use (as Linux was originally). Why must compromises be made so that Linux can be prettier and easier?

Sometimes I think Linux/UNIX developers get suckered into a marketing/commercial mode of thinking, where somebody points out that the "product" will have more "popular appeal" if it (is prettier, easier, dumbed down). Well fsck that, Linux doesn't have to become a product, it does not need popular appeal. And unless you're getting paid to develop, think carefully about whose interests you're serving before you slave away for hours to make that interface EZ to use for anyone.

We're allowed to be selfish, we created this thing to begin with.

Real world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16647341)

Eventually one has to get a job in the real world, so it would be nice to have the same toys.

Thus, increased usage benefits.

Re:Call me crazy and selfish (1)

oscartheduck (866357) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647391)

The issue for me is when someone demands that ALL developers drop what they're doing and start working on feature X to accomplish the goal of market domination. I don't particularly *want* market domination for linux. This is why I actually like Mark Shuttleworth and Ubuntu: he saw the need for his own itch to be scratched and started a foundation to scratch that itch.

Personally, I write scripts that execute from the command line to add functionality to my box; I don't see the need to add a GUI to a script that appends a command to .bashrc.

Re:Call me crazy and selfish (1)

mikeron (837641) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647443)

At least FreeBSD is still somewhat safe - I had to go through Hell to get WiFi working on my laptop. It was sort of like being sent alone into the forest on your 13th brithday with only a knife, and expected to emerge as a fully indoctrinated member of the tribe... err, or something.

OSX already has the functionality of linux (1)

bigtrike (904535) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647223)

I'm not sure if I'd run a server on it, but with a built in x11 server and the vast majority of debian packages ported for install OSX already has this. The beauty of OSX and the functionality of OSX from a desktop point of view (sound works, flash works, peripherals work immediately and always) on generic pc hardware would be pretty nice however.

Re:OSX already has the functionality of linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16647353)

on generic pc hardware would be pretty nice however.

This has been said many times, but what makes OSX "Just work" in the manner you just described is the limited set of hardware on which it is designed to (properly) run. Take away that edge, and I bet it becomes as stable (if not less stable) than Linux.

(I was about to say Windows, but my XP notebook crashed just now)

Not gorgeous... (1)

autophile (640621) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647237)

Maybe we should make Linux fabulous... just fabulous!

--Bruno, van "Funkyzeit mit Bruno"

Ain't gonna happen (4, Insightful)

melted (227442) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647255)

Too many people need to give up their egos, use GUI toolkits they don't like, and admit they don't know jack about what looks good and what doesn't.

-1, Doesn't Get It (5, Interesting)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647267)

People don't crave OS X because it's beautiful, but because it Just Works. The beauty of OS X is way beyond skin deep. To achieve it you need things like consistency, subtle cues that inform the user of what's happening, you need to remove clutter etc.
You need to think about every element of the UI not in isolation, but in relation to all the other elements. Mere eye candy just doesn't cut it. Shuttleworth sort of admits this in the blog entry, but bulldozes over it earlier on, when he says I'm not talking about inner beauty, not elegance, not ideological purity... pure, unadulterated, raw, visceral, lustful, shallow, skin deep beauty.

Sorry Mark, but you're starting at the wrong end here. You need inner beauty, in the shape of e.g. a consistent framework, and at the most fundamental level, just plain consideration of how the user interacts with the application, before you can start working on the skin.

And that is why Linux distributions as we know them will never compete with OS X. You'd need to toss X and its bazillion GUI toolkits, and replace them with something new. Then you'd need to organize a Human Interface Police, whose job it is to kick developers who don't follow the guidelines. And I suspect that won't go over well among the Linux developer community with its "free to do whatever the hell I like" mindset.

mod 0p (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16647275)

as WideOpeN, [goat.cx]

Breath (1)

Apocalypse111 (597674) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647283)

We have to make it take your friend's breath away.

In short, he's proposing that Linux disks ship with:
  • Vacuums
  • Halon canisters
  • Wire garrotes
  • Or, in the case he's merely refering to halitosis, Tic-Tacs

Or maybe I'm overthinking this one.

The trouble with polish (2, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647295)

...is that it has to be applied regularly. New major version of the software, new config dialogs, new wizards, new documentation? Better start redoing a lot of polish. Also, let's not forget that a polished turd is nothing more than a polished turd. Polish is only something you need when you already have a solid product with rough edges. So while I think Linux could use a layer of polish in a few places, I hardly think it's a big driver. Yes, people will flock to Ubuntu over other distros with a little polish. But is that really what drives adoption of Linux as a whole? I think it's more hard questions like:

- Does Firefox work on most webpages?
- Does OpenOffice interoperate well with MS Office files?
- Does GIMP support 16-bit color/CMYK separation?
- Does Thunderbird interoperate well with our exchange server?

The really hard work is being done all the time by the people making fundamental improvements to their applications. What Ubuntu is doing with polish is more like maxing the performance for the Olympics. While it's important to get the most out of the foundation you have, it's the foundation that has to improve. Though I suppose this is a case where I'd like to eat my cake and have it too...

Sooo (2, Insightful)

Klaidas (981300) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647337)

Sooo, if Mark said that "pretty" is a feature, will we see less members of the I-hate-vista-because-a-lot-of-people-will-use-it-a nd-also-it-looks-nice-so-it's-even-worse-and-it-ha s-nothing-my-good- old-terminal-couldn't-do club?

Fir5t (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16647347)

parts 0f y0u are [goat.cx]

What they're used to... (1)

vancbc (974483) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647429)

Users will use what they are used to already, if they can navigate the same way though Ubuntu/OSX as through their windows machines they've been using for 10 years then it doesn't matter to them...

If the OS of their choice happens to be free, look better graphically, be more stable and have more features then they're in luck and be welcomed into the open source community.

We're working on it. (1)

JimXugle (921609) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647463)

I'm working on a script that will install eyecandy with minimal user intervention. It's no where near done, but here's a link to what I have so far:

http://www.xugle.com/candy.sh [xugle.com]

But there is more to a good desktop than beauty (1)

linguae (763922) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647491)

The problem with Linux isn't the lack of eye candy. In fact, GNOME and KDE have far more eye-candy than OS X does, IMO, and I say this as a Mac user. Have you seen the XGL effects in GNOME, for example? Or the Beryl desktop? These themes are very nicely done and their eye candy amount is very large, almost to the point of superfluous in some aspects (do we need effects for everything. My only problem with Linux eye candy is the bad fonts available (Bitstream Vera is far uglier than Lucida Grande or Tahoma, IMO) and bad font quality, but that is due to font copyrights and rendering patents, respectively, which is a fact of life when dealing with free software.

What Linux needs is not more eye candy. What Linux needs is innovative usability. A pretty interface is lovely, but it means nothing if it isn't easy to use. Nobody is going to switch to Linux if the interfaces are just Windows (or even OS X) clones. Linux needs to bring something new to the table. I'll use KDE and GNOME as examples. KDE's biggest problems, for example, is the excessive amount of options and toolbars. Don't get me wrong, I love toolbars, and I was one of the original complainers when Microsoft decided to convert toolbars and menus to ribbons in Office 2007. I think that Office 97 is the high-water mark for Office usability. Customizability is very important for using an application. However, there is a such thing as too many toolbars and too many options shown on the screen. This [icefox.net] illustrates some of my issues with KDE. Most Cocoa applications (and some Carbon applications) handle this on OS X by only displaying the most important options on the toolbar, and by placing the rest in an Inspector dialog box (which is a holdover from the NEXTSTEP days). As for GNOME, it has done a tremendous job with usability and addressed many of the problems that I've had with KDE. However, GNOME can use some improvement as well. I wish GNOME were more responsive (it just feels a bit slower than KDE or even OS X).

There are some common complaints that I have with both desktops. Both need to stop trying to be like Windows and add some new UI elements. OS X doesn't try to be Windows (or even OS 9 in some aspects); it has original features (or NEXTSTEP-derived features) such as Inspectors, drawers, search in many applications, full drag-and-drop, and much more. These innovative features have made my life easier and have made using Windows or Linux much more difficult. KDE and GNOME should try implementing some innovative features that would make me never boot into OS X. Imagine a Spotlight-like tool that utilized regular expressions and/or more complex queries for finding files based on their extended metadata. Imagine something a bit more powerful, quicker, and useful than Inspectors on OS X (coming from a Windows and Linux background, it took me a while to get used to the Inspector idea, but I see how well it integrates with OS X. Large rows of toolbars is not OS X).

What most users want is for them to be able to do their tasks without the UI getting in the way. I find that OS X achieves this in most categories. But it can be better, especially in the question of toolbars vs. Inspectors vs. ribbons. KDE and GNOME can (and should) capitalize on this. If somebody can create something that has the quickness of toolbars (one-click) but easy for new users to understand (like ribbons or Inspectors), then I'll really consider trying out your GUI.

Queer Eye for the Straight OS? (1)

pathological liar (659969) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647497)

Sounds like it's time for Queer Eye for the Straight OS.

MAKE IT WORK! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16647513)

Please make that crap desktop called GNOME simply work. It's utterly broken and nothing works.

he's right (1)

Tom (822) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647535)

Beauty is important. That from someone who is a commandline freak. But ever since I switched to OSX, I've learnt that eye candy - well designed - can make a lot of difference. The polished look of OSX makes both windos and Linux look like amateur toys.

What about AIGLX, XGL, Compiz, Beryl? (1)

level_headed_midwest (888889) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647557)

Those are certainly a ton of eye candy and they already run on Linux (but are not yet all out of beta, but that will soon come.) In fact, this old laptop I'm typing on is happily running AIGLX and Beryl and it has led more than one person to think that I hacked OS X x86 onto my laptop.

I'd think that the best thing to do to get Linux widely adopted would be:

1. Hammer the corporate and organizational angle very hard. People do a lot of work at home and if they use Linux at work or school, chances are that they'd use it at home too.
2. Get a few major game and app publishers to publish for Linux. For example, having a good, it's-all-legal-everywhere media player that can handle all types of media would be a definite advantage to Linux, so would having all of the web browser plugins that anybody would need.
3. Then get it preinstalled on first-tier OEM PCs for less than a comparable model with Windows.

Those three things would ensure that Linux would absolutely take off in market share if it ever will. Number 3 is really the key here as most of the issues with Linux stem from the fact that people must install and configure it themselves. If you have to install Windows from scratch, it's harder than Linux, but very few non-techies do that. So by putting Linux on the PC, everything works and you get an instantly perfectly-set-up unit. The games and apps are somewhat less of an issue.

forget beautiful--make shit work! (1)

Uksi (68751) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647559)

In the last 3 years, I haven't seen any ugly desktops from the major distros, such as RH or SuSE. They may not be beautiful, but they aren't ugly.

Make shit work! Let the user get shit done with no bullshit!

"Make Linux 'Gorgeous'" is delusional rambling of someone living in a Linux world bubble, where everything seems known and obvious: "well, it's already easy to use, but it's still not popular?!?! Well, shit, why is that? Oh, I know, it's not beautiful enough! Quick, more transparent terminals!"

Too often while installing Linux desktops, I am apalled at the crap that I have to go through to get it to work well.

Think of any single time that you opened up a terminal and went to tweak something in a config file to solve a problem! That single time is one time too many.

Why aren't more users using Linux? Because it's not EASY!

I don't know of any Linux distro that was designed with an ease-of-use make-shit-work no-bullshit vision from the ground up. Having intensively worked with Linux for a couple of years, I am not surprised, because once you know the details of running a Linux box, it's very easy to become complacent and very difficult to step back and reason about the true ease-of-use Linux experience.

If I were designing a Linux distro for a typical desktop user, I would spend all my time at war with all things Linux. I would write out on the wall every single stupid thing, every single expose-the-implementation config file, and then I would design a distro that saved the user from all that. I would consider every issue as a battle of the user trying to get things done and Linux getting in the way, and I would not be finished until the user trampled the defacto way of doing Linux things.

This was on Digg Friday (1)

TheDoctorWho (858166) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647635)

\., more pathetic everyday.....

Dirt Brown (1)

Jerrry (43027) | more than 7 years ago | (#16647683)

Strange comments coming from a guy who's distro has always been known for its dirt brown look.
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