Posts Tagged ‘UI’

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GNOME 3.0 Beta v0.0.6 Impressions

GNOME 3.0 is due for release April 16 and I’m pretty excited by it. So I finally decided to check out first-hand how it’s progressing. My perspective is that of a GNOME 2.X user, but like many people, I was a little skeptical of the changes in 3.0. I tried the 0.0.6 image from the GNOME3 website and ran it off the USB key.

The Good

  • It’s pretty. And minimal. Love the new font.
  • High quality and scalable graphics and interface – tried it on both a 10″ netbook and a 23″ monitor with success. Large title bars and close buttons – easy to hit.
  • All the updated core GNOME programs! I especially like the progress with Nautilus, the file manager. Instead of using a status bar, it uses a floating alt-type yellow info box to display info. Plus it seems much faster.
  • Single stroke exposé-like effect that reveals all windows, scaled and tiled. This is bound to the Windows (Super) key, which actually makes it more appropriately named for GNOME3 than any version of Windows. Note: It can also be reached by clicking Activities in the top-left corner. From here, you can use your mouse to switch to a window or quickly close windows, launch/switch-to a program from the left sidebar, or you can start typing a substring of a program to run, or a string to search using wikipedia or google (these options appear after you type something… OR you can browse applications by clicking Applications. Additionally, on the right, you can manage workspaces. With the smart launcher and window manager functionality tied to a single key, I found myself actually starting to heart the windows key and its prime keyboard real estate.

  • Don’t worry, you can still alt-tab! 🙂 And it’s improved, with mouse input, and grouping instances of the same program.

  • Integrated chat with notifications is great.
  • Modal windows are now attached to their parent window (by default, this can be changed).
  • Slick animations with meaning. Like the modal windows that slide out of the parent window’s title bar. I think OSX does something like this….
  • Yelp, the Help browser is about a billion times faster. Seriously. This is largely due to the shift from gecko to webkit, I believe.
  • No more minimize/maximize buttons. At first, I wasn’t sure about this and thought I wouldn’t like it, but the way the new desktop is designed, I don’t miss them. You can add them back, if it’s a concern. And all the old window shortcuts still work: [Alt+F9] = Minimize; both [Alt+F10] and [double-click title bar] = Toggle Maximize; [Alt+right-mouse-button] = window menu.

  • GNOME is just much leaner than it has ever been before. Instead of starting 3 different programs at login (nautilus, gnome-panel, metacity), it simply starts gnome-shell.

The Bad

  • Requires 3D support. Unfortunately, this is not always a simple request for us Linux users. Tried it on my netbook and failed. Couldn’t run it and probably never will thanks to the terribly supported poulsbo integrated graphics.
  • And not just any 3D support… Tried it on my desktop, also with integrated graphics, but a better supported ATI x1250 – performance wasn’t stellar, but it was usable.
  • Not very mature and not very customizable (yet). Panel Applets in prior versions of GNOME are extremely popular. Now we have this huge piece of space we can’t do anything with. But I’m sure something like panel applets will come eventually.
  • It’s really hard to train myself to look to the middle of the top panel for the time/date… I keep looking at the top-right. 😛
  • Some of the changes had me fishing for functionality. Like, where is the control-center? It’s not in the Applications list under the Activities window. It’s under the user menu, under System Settings.

    And once you’re in the System Settings, you often want to change many things. At first, I was opening System Settings, selecting a component (they’re called Panels) to adjust (Background, for example), making changes, closing, repeat. When you open a panel from the System Settings window, that panel replaces the contents of the System Settings window. I didn’t notice the All Settings button that replaced the search entry in the dark grey area! After realizing that, it wasn’t so bad. 🙂 And to be honest, I think the theme or something is not quite finished. Looking at other screenshots on the web, the button is much more noticable.

The Ugly

  • BIG change in the way it expects people to use it. This will likely cause lots of frustration.
  • Doesn’t quite seem ready for prime time. I guess that makes sense, it’s still beta.
  • Some odd input lag every now and then. Visual artifacts. For both of these, I point my finger at my integrated graphics. Just a general lack of polish. But that’s to be expected with alpha/beta software.
  • Bold, black window titles with same-colour shadow. Ugh… I expect that will change soon. 🙂

After trying Shell, I’m actually more excited for it. It still lacks polish in areas, which is expected at this point, but I love the direction GNOME3 is taking GNOME. I’m hoping I can get by on my integrated graphics, but I’m probably willing to purchase a low-end video card to get better performance. Anyway, I’m really interested to see how Canonical’s Unity and GNOME Shell will evolve side by side. Now I have to try Unity, I guess….

1024×768 Desktop

Lots of people customize their desktops. Many don’t, but I do.. a little. Here’s mine:

1024x768desktopusage_annotations

I actually had to remove the Time Tracker (Hamster) applet to scale my 1280×1024 desktop down to 1024, but I think that was all. And I only just decided to try moving the Tomboy and Deskbar applets over to the top-left corner… looks a little odd, but it’s much more accessible. It’s good to try out new things, right? 🙂 (When the keyboard will do, Alt+F12 and Alt+F3 for Tomboy and Deskbar, and Super(windows-key)+Space for Gnome-Do are good shortcuts to keep in mind.)

How about you? (If you run Ubuntu, read this – which is why I tried scaling my 1280 desktop to a 1024, in the first place).

File List Applet – GNOME Panel Applet

This is kind of a proof of concept I’ve been playing with. The idea is that finding a file within a folder is often easier by type, and you are often only interested in the most recently modified file. The problem with a file manager is that although you can easily sort by either type or modification time, you cannot filter your view of all the other files you’re not interested in. I previously wanted to address this issue within Nautilus, (and I still believe this functionality would be wonderful in Nautilus), but I ended up doing this much less ambitious applet as a proof of concept.

This applet will let you add any number of folders to it, and will try to categorize the files automatically and intelligently. Currently, it’s more automatic than intelligent as it just looks at the mime-type. Even so, I’ve found it especially useful for keeping track of all my downloads:

Steven is catching up on the latest on planet.gnome.org and has downloaded a couple screencasts demoing the latest and greatest. These files are typically 2-10 megabytes, so they didn’t download instantly. Steven continues reading and forgot about the screencasts until a couple hours later. At that time, he can simply click on the File List Applet, select Downloads, select Video, and look at the top of the list for the newest files. Steven is happy. When finished, he can follow the same process to delete them – without once opening his file manager and being assaulted with ALL the files in his Downloads folder.

Ultimately, I would like to extend the idea to provide the same type/subtype menu system for all files under all folders – a type of summary – but I have not implemented that yet. There are other features in the cooking pot, as well, but I have to get started on some “RL” tasks… like my resume. 🙂

Screencast

I had a problem recording audio, so I ended up typing as narration. Unfortunately, this makes the YouTube one pretty unwatchable, but you can give the “HQ” version a try.

Download

No tarball yet as it’s still extremely rough.
Browse the source here.
Branch the source: bzr branch http://stevenbrown.ca/src/FileListApplet

Install

Update 2009/04/05: Updated install instructions here. (Some people don’t look at the comments….)

Installing will require some manual modifications.

  1. First, make sure you have the following packages (Ubuntu): python-xdg, python-gnome2-desktop, python-gtk2, python-pyinotify
  2. Then branch the source.
  3. Adjust the FileListApplet.server file’s location to wherever you keep it.
  4. Then copy FileListApplet.server to /usr/lib/bonobo/servers/.
  5. Restart the bonobo-activation-server. killall bonobo-activation-server
  6. Add it to the panel like other applets.

Update 2008/12/05: Added a couple screenshots.

Rhythmbox Plugin: Jump to Playing 0.3(.1)

Update 2012-01-29 – Deprecated:
Brief: This plugin has been deprecated. For future versions and updates, please go here.

Less Brief:If you’re using a newer version of Rhythmbox, you’ll need a newer version of this plugin. I’m not sure exactly which RB version the plugin format changed, but I am currently using Rhythmbox 2.90.1 on Ubuntu 11.10 and this plugin no longer works. However, Timo Loewe has ported jump-to-playing to Rhythmbox 3, all properly hosted and everything! Get it and any future updates here (https://github.com/dmo60/JumpToPlaying). This is the version I’m now using. Thanks, Timo! 😀

– – – – –

The following pertains to the deprecated version of the plugin…

– – – – –

This plugin will display the View : Jump to Playing Song link as a button in the toolbar and/or as link in the Browser’s context menu. Other Rhythmbox plugins can be found here.

Screenshots


Using a future version of Rhythmbox – patch here – the menu item will appear in a plugin placeholder, above Properties. Otherwise, it will appear at the bottom, like previous versions.


From version 0.3, the Open Folder plugin will also be placed in the plugin placeholder.

Changes Since 0.2

Just a couple small changes since 0.2.

  • Selecting the context menu option in the preferences will now display the link in PodcastView and PlaylistView popups, as well as BrowserView and QueuePlaylistView.
  • Assuming the patch on bug 557152 is applied, this will place the context menu items in a plugin placeholder and allow the Preferences to remain the last menu item.
  • Update (Nov 10 2008): Modified version of patch has been applied to RB development trunk, so the next version of Rhythmbox will have this update. Yay! Version 0.3.1 of jump-to-playing is to account for the modifications. Please use it. 🙂

Download

jump-to-playing-0.3.tar.gz jump-to-playing-0.3.1.tar.gz
Browse the Source: Here
Grab the Source: bzr branch "http://stevenbrown.ca/src/jump-to-playing/"

Installation

  1. Extract the jump-to-playing folder into your ~/.gnome2/rhythmbox/plugins/ directory (or ~/.local/share/rhythmbox/plugins/ directory, if the .gnome2 directory doesn’t exist). Completely replace any previous versions.
  2. (Re)Start Rhythmbox and enable the plugin in Edit : Plugins.

Todo

From my previous post.

  • the gconf keys in gconf-editor say they have no schema. The main plugins’ keys have a schema and don’t give a warning. Definitely not serious, though.
  • it currently adds/removes the ui string when the options are toggled in the configure dialog. I have a feeling it might be better to only add/remove them in the activation/deactivation, and just hide/show here. Maybe faster?
  • it currently hides the browser button in small display mode. That has nothing to do with the jump-to-playing button. That should be in core, if it was decided that was the desired behaviour.
  • to hide the buttons in the small display, it checks the value at activation, and it connects to the View menu’s toggleButton’s “toggled” signal. So whenever it’s toggled, the gconf value for the small display mode is checked, but I think there’s a delay sometimes. Pushing Ctrl D quickly a few times may result in incorrect UI presented. I remember deciding that this is due to a delay set on the gconf callback to overcome some other bug….

All patches are welcome! 🙂

Update 2008/10/26: Added screenshot, descriptions to screenshots, and link to main plugin page.

Update 2008/11/10: Added link to version 0.3.1 and added description.

Update 2010/12/08: Added alternative installation directory.

GNOME 3.0 Ideas (Intelligent Desktop)

This is based off of a Summer of Code application I made in 2007, titled “Intelligent Desktop.” Recent discussions have reminded me to at least blog about it. And given my current employment status, I have the time. 🙂

Note: You may also be interested in File List Applet filelistapplet.

Messy Desk

The desktop – this gigantic area of screen real-estate – is a mess. Some people use their desktop to dump random files that they’re working on, or have recently downloaded. Others work tirelessly to keep the pretty background picture visible with minimal icon clutter. Still others find the Desktop useless because it fills up with icons too easily. In the Nautilus Desktop (GNOME’s default), icons can get placed on top of one another either by a bug in placement or simply because there is no space left, which really deters from the usability. Personally, I clump different themed files/folders into the corners of my desktop. When a file is added to the desktop procedurally, there is no obvious place to put it and thus no obvious place to look for it. This is compounded if there is a “hole” in one of my “icon clumps,” in which case the hole may be filled with the new icon making it extremely difficult to locate by both file name and screen location. I recently gave up on having mounted drives displayed on the desktop. Anything dynamic fails miserably as their location changes each time, and sometimes they even end up overlapping other icons. In any case, it seems the desktop requires maintenance to work, when it really shouldn’t.

An Intelligent Desktop would overcome icon clutter automatically and intelligently. It would also be a starting point to looking at potential benefits of a more dynamic desktop view. I’ll explain what I mean by this in a second. This is NOT that silly little notification that your desktop has old/unused icons on it.

Automatically Sorted, Categorized, Updated and Easily Searched

The desktop is a useful place to dump files, but retrieving them is a pain. In fact, browsing the desktop for that particular file (or folder) is a pain without a lot of maintenance. My idea requires an always-visible, on-the-desktop set of UI elements that I will call the Desktop Action Window (DAW). The easiest way to think of the DAW is as a sidebar for the desktop. (Don’t stand up quite yet, sidebar haters.) But rather than the DAW being a collection of meta-information or unrelated widgets, think of it as a controller to the desktop view (formerly just a desktop). Performing actions on the desktop via the DAW simply creates a new view of the desktop. The original/default view that is customized by the user will always be available. If you think in terms of Model-View-Controller, the current desktop is essentially everything. With the DAW, the DAW becomes the controller, the desktop viewing area becomes the view, and the model is partially hidden. The DAW should allow easy management of multiple views of the desktop, some automatic (Images, Movies, Recently Modified), some static (Default, Custom).

And you shouldn’t be concerned about a sizable widget infringing on your carefully chosen background, there are ways around that: the DAW could be hidden when no mouse movement on the desktop occurs (like the controls of a photo slide show), it could be semi transparent until the mouse is over it, it’s location could be customized, etc.

Some quick ideas for different actions in the DAW include:

  • An automatically generated list of types of files on the Desktop. Selecting one of them displays all icons of that type.
  • A text entry for string pattern matching.
  • Ability to easily hide all icons, except ‘always visible icons.’
  • Ability to have custom views displaying only icons that user specifies.
  • Ability to easily open file manager and display all files
  • Some form of icon pager or scrollable desktop view to allow for arbitrary numbers of icons to be displayed per view.
  • Ability to view and manipulate an arbitrary folder, such as Home, in the same way.

Mockups

This is where I stop the prose and leave you with a couple mockups. The “Overflow” view could probably be replaced with “New” or “Recent” for recently modified files. Anytime new files/folders/launchers have been added, the button could be flashing to grab the user’s attention. Better not to alter the default view at all, I think.

Update 2008/12/04: I’ve started implementing what I was thinking about with the automatic view filter as a GNOME panel applet. Check out File List Applet.

python treeview toggle

Had this post sitting around. Seems finished. May be helpful to someone. /me waves Wand of Publish +1

I was confused when I was playing around with this basic concept: adding a toggle widget to the treeview in pygtk. The reason for this is an inconsistency in the api model – or at least how I perceived it. With a regular toggle button, you create the widget and can manipulate it once it is drawn. The checkmark is toggled and the “toggled” signal is emitted. I only connect a signal handler to the toggled signal after. However, following this same logic, I created a list with a column of toggle widgets and tried clicking them… but nothing happened. The problem here was the toggled value was linked to the list’s data, and the data wasn’t actually changing. Even though the toggle signal was being emitted, the checkmark wasn’t being toggled because the data wasn’t changing, so I thought there was a problem with my code and the signal wasn’t being emitted. But actually, it would make more sense if it was a “clicked” signal that was being emitted, not the “toggled” signal.

Example source code:

#!/usr/bin/env python
 
# example basictreeviewtoggle.py
 
import pygtk
pygtk.require('2.0')
import gtk
import gobject
 
class BasicTreeViewToggleExample:
 
    # close the window and quit
    def delete_event(self, widget, event, data=None):
        gtk.main_quit()
        return False
 
    def column_toggled(self, cell, path, model):
        # get toggled iter, and value at column 0
        iter = model.get_iter((int(path),))
        val = model.get_value(iter, 0)
 
        # toggle the value
        val = not val
 
        # set new value
        model.set(iter, 0, val)
 
 
    def __init__(self):
        # create a new window
        self.window = gtk.Window(gtk.WINDOW_TOPLEVEL)
        self.window.set_title("Basic TreeView Toggle Example")
        self.window.set_size_request(200, 200)
        self.window.connect("delete_event", self.delete_event)
 
        # create a ListStore with two columns to use as the model
        self.model = gtk.ListStore(gobject.TYPE_BOOLEAN, str)
 
        # create some list items
        for item in range(5):
            self.model.append([False, 'item %i' % item])
 
        # create the TreeView using the model
        self.view = gtk.TreeView(self.model)
 
        # create a CellRendererText to render the data
        self.cellrenderer_text = gtk.CellRendererText()
        self.cellrenderer_toggle = gtk.CellRendererToggle()
        self.cellrenderer_toggle.connect('toggled', self.column_toggled, self.model)
 
        # create the TreeViewColumns to display the data
        self.tvcolumntext = gtk.TreeViewColumn('TreeViewColumn 1')
        self.tvcolumntoggle = gtk.TreeViewColumn('tog', self.cellrenderer_toggle, active=0)
 
        # add the TreeViewColumns to the TreeView
        self.view.append_column(self.tvcolumntoggle)
        self.view.append_column(self.tvcolumntext)
 
 
 
 
        # add the cell to the tvcolumn and allow it to expand
        self.tvcolumntoggle.pack_start(self.cellrenderer_toggle, False)
        self.tvcolumntext.pack_start(self.cellrenderer_text, True)
 
 
        # set the cell "text" attribute to column 0 - retrieve text
        # from that column in treestore
        self.tvcolumntext.add_attribute(self.cellrenderer_text, 'text', 1)
 
 
 
        # make it searchable
        self.view.set_search_column(1)
 
        # Allow sorting on the column
        self.tvcolumntext.set_sort_column_id(1)
 
        # Allow drag and drop reordering of rows
        self.view.set_reorderable(True)
 
        self.sw = gtk.ScrolledWindow()
        self.sw.add(self.view)
        self.window.add(self.sw)
 
        self.window.show_all()
 
def main():
    gtk.main()
 
if __name__ == "__main__":
    tvexample = BasicTreeViewToggleExample()
    main()

Free Software to Look Forward to

  • WordPress 2.5 is out! This one makes me overly excited because it comes with a built-in gallery!!! FINALLY! And with multi-file upload!! I was just playing with it and It looks like it will suit my purposes just fine. I guess I will continue avoiding the Flickrs and other such community-based photo sites, for now. I’ll probably have to update my theme a little, however… and see if there’s a way to set a maximum photo size.
  • OpenOffice.org 2.4 is out and comes with quite a lot of improvements, including OpenGL transitions (perdy) and performance gains. OpenOffice.org 3.0 looks like it will be quite a massive release, aiming to sing and dance. Also see here (Thanks, Andrew).
  • Ubuntu 8.04, Hardy Heron, is nearly out. Less than a month away! It comes with the recently released GNOME 2.22, Firefox 3.0b4, PulseAudio, and a bunch of other goodies, like using the excellent Transmission as the default Bitorrent client. I’m also really looking forward to the World Clock Applet – then I won’t have to think about Japan’s and Brazil’s timezones ever again. 🙂 Beta’s available now.

Stuff that looks good, but I have no experience with…

  • Pencil – Open source, cross-platform 2D drawing/animation application.
  • Hotwire – Smart shell.
  • GNOME Do – Like quicksilver from OSX.
  • ReInteract – Super python console.
  • Faces Project Management – PM is something that’s lacking on Linux.
  • Tracks GTD – If you’re willing to install it on a RoR supported server to help get things done.

Finally

I’ve been meaning to mention this incredibly well designed (because it’s simple) program to edit subtitles (for those totally legal foreign videos you’re downloading/transcribing): gaupol. Very slick.

Rhythmbox Plugin: Jump to Playing 0.2

I’ve updated the Jump-to-Playing plugin for Rhythmbox. The latest version is now 0.2, and it’s a large improvement. Many thanks to Dan Mihai Ile for his work on the configure dialog and the gconf functionality! I’ve been really busy recently, and without his efforts, I wouldn’t have gotten around to working on this.

Screenshots

toolbar button, context menu item, about dialog, configure dialog

small display mode.  notice something missing?

Changes Since 0.1

  • Added preferences dialog based on work from Dan Mihai Ile, allowing either the toolbar button or the context menu item to be displayed.
  • Modifed the UI of the preferences dialog (HIG compliance).
  • Made the preferences dialog act immediately (HIG compliance).
  • Toolbar Jump-to-Playing button hides in small display mode.
  • Browser button also hides in small display mode. This should probably be moved into a different plugin, or the core. But I’ve left it here, for now.
  • Included QueuePlaylistView’s context menu in addition to the Browser Source popup.
    Moved UI XML into strings within __init__.py.
  • Added GPL license to files.
  • Updated plugin description.
  • Checks if small display is active on activation.

Download

jump-to-playing-0.2.tar.gz (Update: Newer version is available.)

Installation

  1. Extract the jump-to-playing folder into your ~/.gnome2/rhythmbox/plugins/ directory. Completely replace any previous versions.
  2. (Re)Start Rhythmbox and enable the plugin in Edit : Plugins.

Todo

  • Force “Properties” to bottom of browser context menu (may depend on placeholder being added to the context menu)
  • Add Configure dialog with checkboxes for toolbar and browser context menu, defaulting to toolbar only (both is a little redundant). Currently, both are added automatically.
    [x] Add button to toolbar
    [_]Add link to browser context menu
  • Hide toolbar button in Small Display mode.

The code could definitely be better and there’s still room for features/general improvements. All patches and code-clean-up are welcome! 😉

Rhythmbox Jump-to-playing Plugin

This plugin will display the View : Jump to Playing Song link as a button in the toolbar and as link in the Browser’s context menu. This is about as simple as a plugin could be (which is partly why I wrote it), but I’ve actually found it quite useful. Maybe you will too.

jump-to-playing-0.1

Download

jump-to-playing-0.1.tar.gz (Update: Newer version is available.)

Installation

  1. Extract the jump-to-playing folder into your ~/.gnome2/rhythmbox/plugins/ directory.
  2. (Re)Start Rhythmbox and enable the plugin in Edit : Plugins.

Todo

  • Add Configure dialog with checkboxes for toolbar and browser context menu, defaulting to toolbar only (both is a little redundant). Currently, both are added automatically.
    [x] Add button to toolbar
    [_]Add link to browser context menu
  • Force “Properties” to bottom of browser context menu (may depend on placeholder being added to the context menu)
  • Hide toolbar button in Small Display mode.

GNOME Panel / Ubuntu UI Musings

Reading Ubuntu 7.10 Pragmatic Visual Presentation Critique got me thinking about a better way to position applets and launchers on the panels in GNOME.

Imagine if you have locked all your applets and you’re trying to move a new applet to a specific location, you have to first unlock every applet which involves a right click, left click check-box, and repeating this for all locked applets. Once the applets have been unlocked and you have placed your new applet at the desired location, guess what? Time to lock them all again! Right click, left click check-box, right click, left click check-box, you get the idea. A method of locking/unlocking all the applets at the same time seems like a much welcomed option at this time.

I totally agree here. The panel should have a mode, (“layout mode”?) that darkens the rest of the screen so it’s obvious that you’re operating on the panels. Clicking off the Panel will exit this mode. I’m not sure what the best method would be for entering this mode. (An option on the context menu of every item on the panel?) Once in this mode, applets and launchers can be dragged around with the left mouse button. Moving the mouse cursor over an applet or launcher will highlight it with a red outline or something, so it’s obvious what will be moved. There should be a small lock icon below each. Clicking this will toggle the position lock. Speaking from experience, you usually want to do multiple unlock/move/lock actions at once, and with the current interface, it’s rather painful, as the author points out.

A quick mockup (I found an anchor before I found a lock, but an anchor makes sense):

Layout mode mockup

The author also touches on many other things that I don’t really see as big issues. Blurry icons? And he complains about icons not scaling properly with a resized panel. (See here.) For individual launchers, and the volume applet, the icons will scale fine. I’m not convinced scaling the Notification Area icons up would be desirable, as they would take up a lot of extra space and they can appear and disappear frequently, but that might be the user’s desired effect. Maybe an option for the user to say if they want them to scale, wrap, or neither… but all the icons in the notification area should definitely be consistent in behaviour, just as the launcher icons are on the panel.

notification area

Desktop Effects. He says they feel like a hack. I would agree that the defaults are truly terrible (wobbly windows? seriously?) and they certainly aren’t without their problems. As one would expect, they even introduce new defects. But after installing CCSM, and playing around with what’s available, I must confess I like them and I think they add a valuable layer of communication to the user: windows that aren’t responding fading to dark (see pic), new windows sizing and fading into existence, minimized windows flying to their position on the Window List applet (taskbar), desktop panning, zooming anywhere, live thumbnails for every application, etc. I do wish I could enable the one feature of wobbly windows to act as the system bell, and have the window wobble as a visible bell. I really liked that. But I can’t enable that single wobbly windows option without disabling something else I’m currently using. Also, the workspace switcher seems to be broken. I can’t drag windows from workspace to workspace within it.

not responding

Certainly, I agree the preferences menu could be more sensibly organized, but I think the Appearance capplet is great. A reference to the Appearance capplet within the mouse capplet is all that’s needed to improve the discoverability of the mouse cursor icons.

Two About menu items under the main System menu (one for GNOME and one for Ubuntu): they don’t bother me. There’s only four other items on that menu, and these are both important when users are reporting bugs for checking which versions of software they are running. The “Help” launchers are something I never use, and the first things I remove. But for novice users, maybe they’re helpful. I really wonder how often people read the included documentation, though….

Certain types of behavior should be unacceptable where user experience is concerned. It is unacceptable in my opinion for a Linux Distribution to knowingly ship broken Artwork with the distribution.

He’s clearly never used windows. 🙂 In all seriousness, if usable features had to wait on perfect aesthetics before mass deployment, Apple might be the only company releasing anything. In the Open Source world, users are depended upon for everything, including the aesthetics. If the software never gets out, it doesn’t get the attention it needs, bug reports aren’t filed as soon, and relatively stable (and usable) software is dis-serviced by not being allowed to gather the feedback it should. The article itself is a case in point. It’s also worth mentioning that Ubuntu Gutsy is not an LTS release. The Hardy Heron release will be, and that makes it especially important for Gutsy to get as many new features into users’ hands as possible. Linux distributions depend on the community and can’t evolve as effectively behind closed doors.

Hmmm… I suppose this post turned into more of a response to the post on Architect Fantasy (not my original intention), which I found interesting but didn’t agree with everything (which is totally fine).