Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

“There is going to be a crowd that is just too cool to use something that looks really slick and there is nothing we can do for them.”, said Mark Shuttleworth.

There are two things wrong with that,

  1. Mark Shuttleworth does not get to define what looks slick to me nor anyone else, and
  2. fortunately users have other choices and will make those choices.

Clearly, “slick” on a smart phone and “slick” on a wide-screen monitor with accelerated mouse are totally different concepts. We are naturally tactile and can use our fingers but the best tool for the job is often not a finger. It is fine to use one code for all devices. It is not OK to use one user-interface for all devices. I want a keyboard for everything, even a smart phone. Others may have tiny fingers and sharp eyes and never want to use a keyboard. I want an accelerated mouse to pick out fine details on a cluttered desktop without me having to use too many calories. I am right-handed. It makes a lot of sense to me to have windows controls at the top-right of windows. It makes sense for me to have windows (you know, rectangular regions of the screens reacting with some process, and I do have a ton of processes running).

Shuttleworth, don’t be stupid. Admit that diversity is a good thing and live with it or you will soon be obsolete like that other OS.

My Desktop. It’s messy, but it’s mine, all mine and you cannot have it without using XFCE4.

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39 Responses to Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

  1. the dude says:

    Would be great if we could filter all the obsessive troll messages (You know youre doing the right things when you have your own shadow like that.) but while you use the beauty metaphor I prefer to see the desktop metaphor as ice cream.

    Who knows better than YOU what kind of ice cream you like most? You or someone else?
    Is chocolate really better than vanilla (or vice versa)?

    I use KDE and some XCFE and E17 but I always offer people 3 choices or so (i have YET to find someone who likes Unity over the other 3-4 desktops. Zero. From newbies and power users alike.) when switching them over. Maybe its because when I gave up on Windows and finally switched to Linux I hated it so much, I was on the verge of giving up until someone showed me that there was a choice.
    But I think the most important part of switching is making people feel comfortable in their new environment.
    Let go of your fanboism and let the user decide what they prefer and if its Unity, the so be it.
    Its NOT about you, but the user.

    Thats why I have no problems with Unity and Buntu, im sure people will be interested but my worry is about those that dont. Will they stick it out or will someone lead them to another desktop?
    Desktop defaults are different because if you dont like color, fonts, themes, icons and the rest, you can switch them easily (i hate all defaults and all my desktops look the same). A desktop is still too much of a pain to switch so when your big flagship distro goes for a totally revamped look, the question has to be asked: “what if people dont like it? Isnt the user always right?”.

  2. oldman says:

    “I’ve been reading these pages for some time. I’m well familiar with your pedantic, overbearing, full-of-yourself tirade. ”

    Ah so you can read. That’s good Mr. K. However I doubt that you have absorbed any of the observations that I have made. In fact As far as I can see you are little better than the drive by pro MS types who Pog has banned. Instead of engaging in a discussion about why you think I am wrong, you decide to just come in here and call me names, as if that constitutes an answer to what I am saying

    “Use Linux or take a hike jack.”

    Mr. K YOU do not have any say in whether I post here or not, nor do you have any say in what I do use. Only Robert Pogson has that say – he can ban me any time he wishes. Until he does, I will continue to post and comment as I see fit.

    It might surprise you that I don’t particularly care about Microsofts position Mr K. I do care about the fact that Pog makes statements that seem wrong to me, statements that I challenge. Pog’s “answers”
    and “facts” are more often than not opinion, and in the end I respect the fact that he is entitled to his opinion. In the course of my commenting, I do indeed bring in the experience of over 30 years in computing and in IT. If bringing that experience into the mix makes me a “know it all” then I plead guilty. I have zero intention of stopping.

    So whats it to be Mr. K. Do you want to join the debate state your position and tell me why I am wrong, or do you just intend to sit back and call me names.

    The choice is yours.

  3. Kozmcrae says:

    “Yes Shock, horrow”

    Are you trying to be funny @ldman? No need to reel off your tired old rant. I’ve been reading these pages for some time. I’m well familiar with your pedantic, overbearing, full-of-yourself tirade.

    Yes, of course you use Linux but you have never mentioned anything about having purchasing power. I suspect you have no say in the matter. Use Linux or take a hike jack. Care to pontificate on the matter? We all know how you love to do that.

    So you don’t care for the GNU/Linux desktop. I don’t see where that really matters. You can’t possibly be getting any work done no matter what desktop you use. You’re reading and posting here so much. Do you harass other open source bloggers too?

    The way I see it, Mr. Pogson posts an observation generally a about some proprietary company, usually Microsoft. He backs it up with real data, links and real mathematics. You come in and pick some detail and use some combination of opinion and outdated facts in an attempt to squash his argument. It doesn’t work because he points out the fallacy of your statements. You try again but end up dismissing his argument with some wimpy BS. Every time it’s the same thing. He brings up something new or a new take on an old subject and you use the same BS to try to knock it down.

    When someone else, like me for instance, makes some observation on the absurdity of your position, you get angry and start misspelling words. When you get really mad, use the word “bushwah”.

    You know something @ldman, you accomplish nothing here. If anything you and the gutter rats tarnish Microsoft’s image while adding nothing to the understanding of their position.

    Do you know why Mr. Pogson’s blog has grown so much in popularity? Because he follows good blogging habits like posting often for one. I suspect there’s another reason too. You and the ever changing (in name only) Microsoft gutter rats come here for target practice. You’re the targets. You bring nothing new to the table and you are shot down time and time again. When you get tired of losing, you fall back on school yard insults. When you get tired of the same old insults you can try giving some other blog a boost in readership.

  4. oldman says:

    “I am not limited by FLOSS in any way. I am empowered.”

    I am empowered too Pog, because I have access to everything including FOSS, closed source commercial, and closed source freeware.

    And I don’t need to limit myself in any way as you have admitted from time to time that you do.

  5. pogson says:

    I have 30K software packages to choose from in Debian GNU/Linux:
    apt-cache search e|wc
    36663 304347 2276380

    dpkg –get-selections|wc
    1517 3034 38181

    I need only 1500 for Beast, a machine that does everything for me: desktop, servers, databases, utilities, virtual machines, video/audio stuff, graphics, caches, filters …

    I am not limited by FLOSS in any way. I am empowered.

  6. oldman says:

    “Oh, I forgot. In the world of M$, one is supposed to be a slave giving all to the great god, M$, because that’s what’s due and we mustn’t criticize.”

    I am no slave robert Pogson. I pay for the tools that I use and they serve me well. That is my choice, freely made. As it is my choice NOT to use those portions of FOSS that I consider sub-par.

    Would you have me work with less effective tools?

    From my perspective, it is YOU who are the slave to the great god FOSS. It is you who deliberately limit you own choice for some cause.

    Consider this.

  7. pogson says:

    Let’s see. Problems with GNU/Linux are a lot of choice… Hmmm. That’s not really a problem. That’s a wealth of resources. OTOH that other OS gives us a few thousand new malwares daily, slowing down, re-re-reboots, slow installation/updates and we have to pay for all that?!!! What am I missing here?

    Oh, I forgot. In the world of M$, one is supposed to be a slave giving all to the great god, M$, because that’s what’s due and we mustn’t criticize.

  8. oldman says:

    “Yes Phenom the infighting is less today than it was in 1998”

    Mr. Ohio Ham, telling someone in effect that “it is getting better” as an answer to the legitimate issues with linux no not an answer. The fact remains, as you have now admitted, that there are real problem with linux as a desktop.

    If the time ever comes that the community does get its act together and fix these problems, then those of us who already have closed source commercial solutions that work for will take another look.

    Until then, All else is bushwah.

  9. oldman says:

    “I will continue to call you @ldman and you will continue to deserve it. You will also continue to be a pedantic, overbearing, arrogant fool. For that, I’m glad you are out there boosting for Microsoft. It seems there is no shortage of miscreants, gutter trawlers, blowhards (that would be you @ldman) and pontificates going to bat for Microsoft. Things just don’t seem to be going too well for Microsoft these days.”

    No, You continue to be a jerk and I will continue to work with windows and Linux.

    Yes Shock, horrow, I actually run linux and support it at my place of employ. The difference between us is that I run Linux ( Specifically Red Hat Enterprise Linux) because it is useful as a server, not out of some idealogical determinant. My place of employ uses Linux as the platform to both run closed source commercial software (e.g. peoplesoft, oracle, Remedey) as well as selected FOSS. I don’t use Linux as my desktop because it is as far as I am concerned inferior to my windows desktop.

    People run applications not operating systems sir. I use selected FOSS like firefox and thunderbird, when it is useful. I also run closed source commercial applications Crystal reports and MS office because they have features that allow me to be efficient – far more efficient that I would be if I limited myself to a linux desktop using FOSS. for those few cases where having a linux application on my desktop is useful, VMWare workstation allows me to run any linux application that I might actually need in a virtual machine, so I can avoid the headaches of allowing Linux to own the hardware.

    As far as boosting microsoft is concerned, that is a side effect. The points that I am making remain valid.

  10. oiaohm says:

    Phenom history of Linux is battles.

    Fighting among themselves is how science works. Different things are designed on different theories the strongest live out.

    Thing is as Ubuntu has recently seen is 1 mistake and numbers of Users of there distribution drops like a stone.

    Sound API is a tricky one due to conflicting end users wanting todo different things. Not even windows sound api successfully addresses everything.

    Of course Phenom you don’t want to look at sound properly and notice that out of the 8+ sound servers that did exist in the time of Unix and early Linux only 2 are left. Same is true of audio driver interfaces. There is a process of reduction going on.

    Even in DE there have been those that have come and gone.

    Now Linux proponents fighting are not causing more variation Phenom its slowly causing less. In fact the fights are getting less as the population of projects increase. Ie where the ones with strong point of views are out numbered by the many and unified solutions come out.

    Yes Phenom the infighting is less today than it was in 1998.

  11. Phenom says:

    It is always a dear picture to see linux proponents fight among themselves over a distro, a DE, or sound API, or whatever.

  12. Kozmcrae says:

    I will continue to call you @ldman and you will continue to deserve it. You will also continue to be a pedantic, overbearing, arrogant fool. For that, I’m glad you are out there boosting for Microsoft. It seems there is no shortage of miscreants, gutter trawlers, blowhards (that would be you @ldman) and pontificates going to bat for Microsoft. Things just don’t seem to be going too well for Microsoft these days.

  13. oiaohm says:

    1roxtar Unity did commit a cardinal sin.

    Since the time of xerox and the first graphical the close window button has been on the right hand side of the menu bar. Even apple close is there.

    There are many other annoyances like this that have to be fixed up. Its problemmatic for us who don’t only use Linux all the time. Every other WM in history to move the close button as default has disappeared.

    Please be aware I am a kde user. Unity does tie my hands and I do hate it for it. Activities in KDE is a god send. Note KDE we don’t just put icons on the desktop we put mini applications doing stuff. We can suspend all applications inside a Activities as well.

    There is a management issue of resources with Unity. Maybe Unity will get something equal to Activities.

  14. oldman says:

    “Are you thinking I should mind my own business? Go to hell @oldman! This *is* my business.”

    Oh I dont expect your kind to mind their business. You will continue to call me names, and I will continue to Ignore you…

  15. pogson says:

    1roxtar wrote, “don’t sit here crying and moaning because your favorite isn’t the default”.

    Similarly, don’t tell us how user-friendly Ubuntu is when many users of that other OS would be totally lost in front of the default. Like it or not the “desktop” paradigm works for people. It predates that other OS and is more or less familiar to billions of users.

  16. 1roxtar says:

    “powerless users”???? For your information, I do everything on my Ubuntu 11.10 with Unity desktop, everything that requires using a GUI and the Terminal. It doesn’t get in my way and I am not dumbed-down. It’s a lot more than “wallpapers and docks” to many of us power-users.

    To think that you get more done because you CAN move a dock or pin 1000 icons on your desktop is absolutely absurd. We all have a lot of f$%#in options out there. Use the one that best suits you, but don’t sit here crying and moaning because your favorite isn’t the default. Enjoy the fact that it doesn’t come down to just one UI. Canonical isn’t limiting your choices. There are various derivatives and everything is open sourced. Enjoy that Linux has a buffet of goodness.

  17. istok says:

    “(…) Mark Shuttleworth (…)”

    I wish we could stop this. Imho, this is the best time thus far, in the history of Linux, and GNU/Linux, to be a Linux user/supporter. I love Linux on my desktop and I love it on my smartphone. I run nothing else and get all my work done on Linux.
    Let’s stop blogging and commenting on petty, offensive people in this community, who are basically trolling the community with their provocative statements. I know it’s hard, because otherwise trolls wouldn’t even exist, but the rest of us really need to move on and past what Canonical and their powerless users are doing.
    To them their wallpapers and docks, to us our functional, useful Linux systems that we use to earn our bread and butter every day.

  18. pogson says:

    Fine. Can you have multiple windows open to interact with multiple processes simultaneously? Whatever happened to multi-tasking? Don’t have windows? Pity. That’s not slick. That’s a regression to DOS.

  19. Kozmcrae says:

    Hey dude, maybe you did write it yourself. Slackware and Gentoo are hackers distros in my opinion. And that’s all you can say about a distro, is your opinion. As a Microsoft booster though, your opinion of GNU/Linux distros, @ldman, isn’t worth anything at all.

    Are you thinking I should mind my own business? Go to hell @oldman! This *is* my business.

  20. oldman says:

    “Dude, you have the jumbled desktop you want, so why are you crying about Unity? ”

    I couldnt have said it better…

    Pog. It may be the case the Shuttleworth is going to take canonical in a direction that Linux true believers will not be able to accept. So be it. He will succeed or fail on the merits of the application, and you will continue to use your hackers distro to do what you want.

    As you are fond of saying, its all good.

  21. 1roxtar says:

    Dude, you have the jumbled desktop you want, so why are you crying about Unity? Just because Ubuntu/Mark Shuttleworth doesn’t ship the one that lets you jumble it up, as the default desktop, doesn’t mean you have to bitch about it. I am one who likes Unity as the default and thinks it is slick.

  22. pogson says:

    Canonical used to work very closely with derivatives but there are too many these days. I used EdUbuntu because it included a GNU/Linux terminal server in the installation. It still does and that’s a huge advantage for a teacher. Unfortunately the installation is bloated. In the days of LTSP 4.2, 50MB per client was all that was needed. Now, it’s 256MB per client, minimum… You have to do a lot more work to use feeble machines as thin clients and a server can handle far fewer clients. There are still places one can find LTSP 4.2 but it is not maintained…

  23. Danillo says:

    Ever heard of Xubuntu? Kubuntu? Lubuntu? I love both Unity and XFCE, and I can use Ubuntu with any! =)

  24. oiaohm says:

    oldman
    “This is bushwah pure an simple. TO compare simple variations to the panoply of chaos in Linux DE’s is IMHO dishonest.”

    What if the variations is what most of the difference is oldman. Have you really looked closely.

    The appearance divide in Linux is not caused by the DE. But by the rendering toolkits.

    Really oldman you are dishonest and really don’t know it. Does items like gimp firefox and so on fit in on the windows desktop properly no they don’t.

    Linux has far more in face toolkit divide between applications. These days quite quickly fixable. http://blog.bodhizazen.net/linux/using-gtk-2-themes-with-qt-applications/ Yep QT4 applications support using gtk2 themes and there is a reverse of GTK supporting QT themes.

    Basically oldman the look issue of the Linux desktop has cleaned up in the last few years. Ok its not as automatic as I would like yet. The chaos in look has mostly disappeared after about 5 mins work should be zero but hey 5 mins work is not major chaos.

    So leaving the major difference between DE being nothing more than simpler variations.

  25. pogson says:

    Clarence Moon wrote, “In the worst case, you can buy a Windows machine and install Linux yourself for free.”

    Buying a new PC is not usually an option if it comes with that other OS because M$ was paid by the OEM and the OEM was paid by the retailer and the consumers pays the retailer, so the consumer pays a couple of times over for that other OS. A used PC is another matter. At least then someone else paid M$. One can buy FreeDOS PCs from plenty of vendors, though.

  26. Anon says:

    Choices to me means at least keep the old until the new is ready.

  27. Kozmcrae says:

    The people who come here to boost for Microsoft for the most part fall back on insults. They have nothing else to offer but the same old talking points that grow more absurd with each passing month. When someone presents a problem with a Microsoft product or service backed up with solid data (like Robert does for instance) you will see the insults fly and attempts to turn the discussion into a shouting match. It’s a script worthy of an Ed Wood movie. It wouldn’t surprise me Microsoft offered their little helpers high-end laptops to go boost for GNU/Linux and leave Microsoft alone. No company needs that kind of image.

    I suspect that the most new GNU/Linux users had their installation done by a friend or family member, next would be those installing it for themselves and lastly would be those who purchase their computers with GNU/Linux pre-installed.

  28. Clarence Moon says:

    I do not understand what all the fuss is about and why it needs to be conveyed with such insults as well. It is a fact that anyone with an understanding of why they would want something in the first place can obtain Windows, Linux, or Macintosh easily. To get Linux, you may have to buy from some minor supplier, but they abound on the internet. In the worst case, you can buy a Windows machine and install Linux yourself for free.

    It is up to the manufacturers or others who may have reason to advocate their favorite to convince others to select what they have to offer. Apple goes to a lot of trouble to advertise their stuff and Microsoft does too. Google and various OEMs advertise Android as well and it sells a lot of phones and now the Kindle and Nook tablets.

    There is plenty of room for everyone to play.

  29. Kozmcrae says:

    “Why do we need need multiple desktop environments and windows managers that work in a half a$$ed manner.”

    Thank you for pointing that out oldman. But my statement still holds true whether it directly answers your statement or not. Now why do you have to be such a dick? Why do people “need” so many desktops? How the hell should I know. I’m not a sociologist. But apparently they do. If nobody used them, nobody would bother to develop and update them.

    So I tell you again oldman. Pull you’re head out, you look like a giant @ with legs. If you can’t see that enough people are not only using GNU/Linux but are using numerous versions of it, then you are in complete denial (BTW Android is one of those versions). You are in complete denial oldman.

  30. pogson says:

    M$ doesn’t have a single API. It has some for itself, some for its friends and some for its enemies. There’s a lawsuit still grinding on about Wordperfect being sabotaged by M$ yanking an API back in the Lose ’95 days. Novel depended on an API and it was not delivered in Lose ’95 causing a huge delay getting to market. Of course, M$ had encouraged Novel to use that API.

  31. oldman says:

    “Lets be simple here MS ships with classic and current configuration all the time. Lets forget the huge sharing of code in it. They are basically shiping with 2. 1 for light and 1 for heavy with majority different layouts of things.”

    This is bushwah pure an simple. TO compare simple variations to the panoply of chaos in Linux DE’s is IMHO dishonest.

    But then again that is what I expect from you Mr. Ohio Ham.

  32. oldman says:

    “oldman competition is good. When KDE got stuffed up people took home based in a different wm.”

    Nope, its just chaos and it results in Applications having to support multiple interfaces and umultiple UI paradynes. That is a far as I am concerned crap.

    If you like tinkering with with your windows managers as opposed to getting work done its great. Give me a single comprehensively implemented windows manager
    with a well developed single Application APIU any day.

    You can keep your so called competition.

    “but it’s your right to do it in GNU/Linux. ”

    WHo cares, it’s an asinine thing to do!

  33. pogson says:

    Yes! I would call that slick, but too tidy for my taste… and your CPU too hot. 😉

  34. pogson says:

    That’s not a problem for GNU/Linux. Create three users in the same group, oldman and give them access to the same file-system with GNOME, KDE and XFCE4 window managers and access the three users’ stuff in three sessions from a single seat using VNC or SSH. I think you would be foolish to make a setup so complex but it’s your right to do it in GNU/Linux. This is all quite normal for GNU/Linux terminal servers which aim to please. In Largo, the user logs in on one machine and major apps are actually running on other machines. It’s a small step to have multiple sessions running for one user but it’s possible if the apps don’t lock files/directories.

  35. oiaohm says:

    oldman competition is good. When KDE got stuffed up people took home based in a different wm.

    Of course old man you are only mentioning the top 3 ish.

    http://xwinman.org/otherdesktops.php Yes there are more. There is about a top 4 in fact. lxde is fairly popular as well.

    Lets be simple here MS ships with classic and current configuration all the time. Lets forget the huge sharing of code in it. They are basically shiping with 2. 1 for light and 1 for heavy with majority different layouts of things.

    Linux really has been 2 heavy 2 light. Not that bad at least this way if a project has a issue you can avoid it. The big question was why did ubuntu think they had to add unity to the mix. Redundancy is critical.

    So in compare Linux is only minor-ally worse.

    I have used applications from Gnome, KDE, and xcfe at the same time.

  36. oldman says:

    “Multiple desktops are a boon to productivity even for those who don’t work in offices. If it wasn’t why would anyone bother to have two or more monitors?”

    Really, so how are you planning on using Gnome, KDE, and xcfe at the seme time?

    THOSE are the multiple desktops that I was speaking of.

  37. Kozmcrae says:

    oldman pull your head out. You have nothing new to say. Multiple desktops are a boon to productivity even for those who don’t work in offices. If it wasn’t why would anyone bother to have two or more monitors?

    I agree, Mark Shuttleworth is not the last word on “slick”. He must of had a little too much of Mark Shuttleworth for breakfast that morning.

    One difference I have noticed from my days as a Windows user and now as a long-time GNU/Linux user is the respect for screen real estate. Most utilities on the Windows side must assume they are the only thing to occupy your desktop. My previous computer’s Intel motherboard came with a CPU fan, voltage and temperature readout utility. It was overly extravagant and shiny looking. Kind of like a souped up Fifties dashboard. It was really cool looking but totally useless for constant monitoring.

    GNU/Linux on the other hand keeps it simple, not extravagant, yet delivers all the information you need without grabbing more screen real estate than is needed. For those who like big shiny clocks and other nifty utilities GNU/Linux can do that too.

  38. pogson says:

    It’s not about tinkering but choice. You want to use a keyboard and mouse and Shuttleworth wants to stop that.

  39. oldman says:

    “Shuttleworth, don’t be stupid. Admit that diversity is a good thing and live with it or you will soon be obsolete like that other OS.”

    The so called diversity that you regularity crow about is nothing more than chaos. Why do we need need multiple desktop environments and windows managers that work in a half a$$ed manner.

    As far as I am concerned, Shuttleworth is finally waking up and realizing that the only way that he has a chance at a commercially viable product is to stop worrying about the tinkerers.

    Remember Pog, there are those of use who don’t want to tinker with our tools.

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