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Mosfet.org: The Debate about Linux User Interface Flexibility

Feb 19, 2003, 11:00 (75 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Daniel M. Duley)

[ Thanks to Mosfet for this link. ]

"A big debate these days seems to be focused on how configurable the Linux desktop should be. KDE has always taken the approach that users will have different preferences on how they like to work so the UI should be as flexible and configurable as possible. Gnome 2 has taken the direction that 'less-is-more; and that the configurability in Linux desktops, including Gnome 1.x, was clutter and confusing to the end-user. This has resulted in some pundits calling for KDE to remove some of it's configurability.

"The thing all people who argue for less configurability in Linux desktops have in common, whether they are Sun usability teams or Linux editorial pundits, is that they all presume to know how you should work and what a GUI should look like. If you believe your way of doing things is the 'one true way' then making things configurable is a waste of time and space. Some pundits in particular have insisted that KDE developers should listen to them, do things their way, then remove configuration options to 'clean up clutter in the UI.'

"KDE does not make such presumptions. Some people prefer single-click, others can't work without double-clicking. Some Mac users prefer window close buttons on the left, Windows users expect it to be on the right. Some people like icons on their desktop for devices, others don't. Some old school Unix people hate to work without window focus following the mouse, but this would confuse the hell out of non-Unix people. Don't even get me started on button order. Some KDE people have already started talking about making it configurable in dialogs--probably much to the dismay of those who believe they know 'the one true way' despite that different users have expressed opposite opinions..."

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