Shuttleworth: Unity on Wayland
Posted Nov 6, 2010 20:19 UTC (Sat) by gmaxwell
In reply to: Shuttleworth: Unity on Wayland
Parent article: Shuttleworth: Unity on Wayland
To quote my first message on this thread:
Perhaps a distro fork will arise targeting people who are technically competent [and are] more interested in productivity.
I run a distribution in order to outsource basic system maintenance. I have more pressing things to do with my time and I'm willing to tolerate the consequence of system operation that I don't agree with but that doesn't mean that I don't have preferences. I'm speaking up here because I believe that it would be a disservice for me to everyone who has common interests to sit quietly while people pushing features which are harmful to those interests are so vocal.
You make it sound like it's so easy to disable these things. Sadly it is usually not in the interest of "usability" the mere option to disable these things is often completely eliminated or if it remains at all it is deeply hidden (often inside some undiscoverable registry tool). Just because I am more capable than joe-random that doesn't mean my time is less valuable, that I am more patient, or that I am infinitely capable. In cases where the functionality is eliminated patching the software breaks updates and leaves me tracking development, which is the work I was hoping to avoid by using a distribution in the first place.
Going back to the subject that started this sub-thread: If network transparency is abandoned in the GNU/Linux desktop infrastructure I can't simply turn a knob to bring it back! Remote X is functionality I use _every day_. I have three windows open on my laptop right now to a system with a large amount of ram which is able to work on data sets that I can't reasonable work on locally. It works great. And the notion of it only working via shims or with arcane software which I have to maintain myself troubles me greatly.
I'm certainly not opposed to _performance improvements_. By all means, making it faster has my full support. The discussion here was about tossing functionality (which I find critical) in order to enable performance improvements which are mostly inconsequential to me. I am not comforted by the argument that this change is urgently needed due to make improvements like increasingly intrusive animations.
Posted Nov 6, 2010 10:22 UTC (Sat) by Janne (guest, #40891)
With attitude like this, it's no wonder that Linux on the desktop is perpetually stuck at under 1% market-share...
Janne, I must admit that I'm not quite sure if you're trolling me or not but if you are I guess I'm going to fall for it.
Your market share strawman is not well supported by the evidence. Systems with clearly superior user experience have time and time again failed to capture really significant market share (Mac OS for the longest time and even today it's only at perhaps 7%, BeOS, etc).
You're also making the erroneous assumption that I care about having 7% market share (like OSX) vs 2% market share(numbers source). I don't. I care about having a usable _computer_ (as opposed to a home entertainment center, which has large orthogonal usability requirements). I care about having a good option to recommend to other technical people. I care about not having to build my own desktop software stack, even though I would probably be able to create one which met my needs I have other things that I'm working on. While I'd love to see most people running Free software, 7% wouldn't be much of an improvement against the 85% on windows for that purpose... even if I believed that we could solve the marketshare gap with UI improvements.
People use computers for different purposes. Even windows has a small market share if I count televisions and video game systems as "computers". I wonder if we're using 'desktop' market share numbers which are diluted by a great many use cases which would be better served by an appliance? If I were to care about market share I'd want to first care about getting 100% of uses which are best met by powerful computing systems rather than by media players or the like.
People are not computer-wizards.
I am and I am not alone. And I want a system which is useful for me to run. I also want other people to have systems which are useful for them, even if their needs are different than mine. I feel that non of the major distributions are catering to my interests, and I think thats unfortunate and I hope it changes. The major distributions and major Linux desktop software suites are clearly prioritizing non-technical novice users today. They even say so explicitly. They may be actually failing to satisfy the needs of those users too, but failing to make your target happy isn't equal to having a target which includes other people.
The computer should do everything in it's power to help the user.
It seems to me that the people carrying the biggest "help people" banner often do the most harm. I too want the computer to help people, even non-technical people. I suspect we have very different ideas of what "help" means. I can assure you that adding more popups and interface interrupting animations will not help _me_ in the slightest. Other folks, perhaps, but I don't intend to speak for anyone else.
And sure, people will learn which button does what. [
] And there are even studies about this. Researchers set up two functionally identical systems. The difference was that one system looked plain and basic, while the other has nice graphics [
]. It was found that people were more productive on the system that looked better.
If you provided citations I would read them. But what concerns me with this is that it seems like an unhealthy obsession with the initial impression. Your first few hours with a system are entirely different than your next twenty years with it. Unless you are worried about every last fraction of a percent of market share I believe you should optimize as much for the 'next twenty years' as is possible without turning people off completely. (For example, I think Blender fails a bit too hard on the initial impression)
Perhaps animations can play a useful role in a typical user's "next twenty years" but the animations that do probably won't be the same training-wheels animations that you'll create if you're optimizing for the initial impression. I found the example about minimizing to be pretty humorous. Why would I want that? If I care it's because I either don't know what I did, or because I wish I hadn't done it. In either case what I need is an undo button, not an animation. An animation might make it a little easier to manually undo my mistake, but thats really a half-step... We have computers to eliminate manual processes. How many significant usability improvements are we missing because everyone focused on usability is primary focused on newbies and the initial impression?
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