Bruce Byfield’s Valentine’s Gift

Bruce Byfield at times provokes me with harsh criticism of FLOSS but today he has done a good job of describing the chaos of the GNU/Linux desktop and giving a recipe to produce harmony and love:

  1. Don’t Invent Problems to Solve
  2. Make All Functionality As Accessible As Possible
  3. Extend Features, Don’t Remove Them
  4. Give Users the Power to Choose Innovations
  5. Be Aware of the Limits of Usability Principles
  6. Allow Multiple Work Flows
  7. Accommodate All Levels of Users
  8. Design for the Medium
  9. Allow for a High Degree of Configuration

I think those principles eliminate most of the friction threats to the x windows system and the long-standing desktop paradigm have caused recently. The diversity I find in the Debian GNU/Linux distro accommodates most of them and Debian has people working on quality control. Debian used to have a usability group but now most usability issues are in the domain of external groups like KDE and GNOME. As a user of Debian GNU/Linux I would welcome those groups to adopt Bruce Byfield’s principles of desktop usability. FreeDesktop.org is a place where such principles can be discussed and shared.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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