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Two on "Free Software and Good User Interfaces"

Feb 22, 2003, 08:30 (32 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Havoc Pennington, Daniel M Duley)

Free Software and Good User Interfaces

"Aside from the list of bullet points there are a couple big-picture issues I consider significant about GNOME 2, but don't expect most outsiders have noticed yet.

  • "Accessibility. The enormous amount of work Sun has invested in GNOME 2 accessibility keeps us in the running for government use in the US and around the world. Without this rather substantial body of work, free software would have been shut out of all government agencies. (Not to mention that this work means we're accessible to disabled users!) Importantly, Mozilla and OpenOffice are being integrated into the same accessibility architecture. Most people don't understand the significance of the accessibility initiative, even if they know about it.
  • "Usability. GNOME 2 has a long way to go. But in my opinion, it has changed the slope of the trend line that Matthew Thomas (and others before him) have observed, and moreover GNOME 2 is (in my opinion) the first Linux/UNIX desktop release to round this corner..."

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Mosfet.org: A Direct Response to "Free Software and Good User Interfaces"

"While in my opinion the basis of a good GUI is consistency and ease of use within the main application's user interface it's important not to discount features and 'snazzy graphics.' I mean, Havoc himself says 'to your average technically-inclined Internet resident a good UI means you have a lot of features, or alternatively that you have a lot of snazzy graphics.' It's obvious many users like these things. To discount them is to ignore your user base and instead design your user interface on what *you* have decided is best and not what your user has told you.

"This is especially important in Linux, where there is a traditional 'let's explore and see what this thing can do' mentality. While of course not everyone feels this way I'd venture to say it's how most feel. It's the reason why many use Linux and Linux desktops in the first place..."

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