shiny desktop, anyone?

Steve Hill steve at
Tue May 29 09:37:46 UTC 2007

On Tue, 29 May 2007, Trond Danielsen wrote:

> I do believe that most users actually care more about kernel hacks and
> speedups than bling-bling on the desktop, they just do not know it.
> Most of the people I know run Windows on their computers, and they can
> roughly be divided into two groups: The non-technical users that do
> not change anything, and the technical users that instantly switches
> to the Windows classic interface once they get the chance. I think
> they would be very upset if the support for their iPod was replaced by
> drop shadows on windows :)

There are basically 3 modes that workstations are used in:

1. Sitting in PC World on display.
2. Being used by "normal folk"
3. Being used by "power users"

For (1) noone cares about the performance so long as it looks more shiny 
than the computer sitting next to it.  This is probably also the mode you 
want to use when showing off your Linux desktop to people too.

(2) and (3) find performance more of a big deal.

(2) is just about running 1 or 2 applications well and having lots of GUI 
stuff to do simple operations.

(3) is about running lots of applications well, and the GUI bits need to 
do more since, lets face it, these users can do the more simple stuff from 
the commandline faster than using the GUI bits.

Even though I'd consider myself a "power user" (I really hate that term :) 
I still like shinyness so long as it doesn't harm the perceived 
performance of my machine too much.  However, I may be more inclined to 
throw away shinyness and usability for a performance gain than the people 
in group (2).

> adding support for new hardware to the kernel. The time that it takes
> to boot a modern linux desktop and the time it takes to start up a
> popular application like Openoffice, are also much more important to
> gain attention from regular users.

Personally, I don't find boot time important - if I have to reboot then 
something has gone wrong since I don't shut down my computers, I just put 
them to sleep.  However, I do realise that some people like to shut down 
machines (or for some people various software/hardware/firmware bugs 
prevent them from suspending) and it seems that Ubuntu have definately got 
the edge on fast boots so maybe we can take cues from them.

The time taken to fire up big applications is an issue though, and is one 
of the (many) reasons I use Pine instead of Evolution to read my email.


  - Steve
    xmpp:steve at   sip:steve at

      Servatis a periculum, servatis a maleficum - Whisper, Evanescence

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