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NewsForge: Usability comparison: Windows Whistler vs. Gnome 1.2, KDE 2.0, Mandrake Update

Nov 21, 2000, 21:18 (11 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jeff Field)

"Microsoft's next version of Windows, Windows Whistler, makes an attempt to put a friendlier face on the mainstream version of Windows (now called "Windows Whistler Personal Edition"). Microsoft has made quite a number of interface changes to this home user version of Windows 2000, some drastic. Whistler's beta has been released, and we've compared the interfaces and features of Whistler to those of Gnome 1.2 and the recently released KDE 2.0."

"Despite the differences in these products, all of them use the same approach Windows 95 and up use -- a start menu of some sort, be it the acctual word "Start," a foot, or a big "K." Whistler is the only one that departs from the traditional start menu idea. As you can see in that screen shot, when you open the start menu in Whistler, it opens a "taskpad" that contains link to your default mail program, recently used programs, and many of the commonly used Windows functions, such as Control Panel, Run, Recent Documents, My Computer, etc. In order to get to the menu where your programs are, you have to hit "More Programs". Now, while this may at first not seem to differ much from having to click on "programs" in a traditional Windows 95 setup, however, in this case the users are confronted with many graphical opens, and in order to get to their programs they have to click on a small text link at the bottom of this new start menu."

"On the other hand, KDE and Gnome use similar approaches, both a take on the Windows 95 start menu. When you open their menus, a list of options come up that include recently used documents, configuration opens and contain a list of menus that contain certain types of programs. This means that when users click on these menus, they will immedietly see where their programs are, rather than having to go down another level. This seems more user friendly, although a "recently used programs" option would be quite nice, and is a good idea on Microsoft's part, if not a completely original one."

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