Sunday, November 11, 2012

Why Ubuntu, Unity, Gnome 3, etc., Are Losing Popularity

Several times I've bemoaned the fact that Linux is getting more-and-more like Windows on a year-by-year basis. Of course, now, with Unity and its ilk, we're expected to use an interface that looks like a smart phone on a full-size monitor with an actual keyboard and mouse. Perplexing.

So it looks like I might try Cinnamon again since it appears that one can disable edge-tiling, which I  and apparently several other people find very annoying. The fact of the matter is that with a large monitor, wanting to maximize a window is a much less common operation than is moving a window, and edge-tiling badly violates the keep the common case fast principle. I often move windows to the top of the screen. With edge-tiling, this takes longer, since it is often followed immediately by an unmaximize operation.

Googling about this annoyance, I came across a discussion at which is a great example of inability to read coupled with arrogance. One of the posters complained that adding these sorts of features, making them default behavior, and not making it clear how to disable them wastes peoples time. Gerryl: This is dangerously close to operating with MS Windows. How are us mere mortals supposed to find out and address these kinds of issues?

The next posting agrees. I agreed (though without bothering to log in and say so). Then markbl responded

This is unfathomable. markbl knows better than gerryl what gerryl (and presumably me) will think it's a good idea once we get used to it? Maybe riding around in donkey carts would also start to seem like a good idea once one gets used to it. Maybe sitting in this pot of water that keeps getting warmer will someday seem like a good idea (wait, aren't we doing this is a society by continuing to pump carbon into the atmosphere?).

Furthermore, maybe it's been buried somewhere as an option, but once it suddenly becomes default behavior, or someone first encounters it when evaluating environments (as I did in Cinnamon), it's a new and potentially negative experience.

People acclimate to bad things, e.g., new user interfaces for Blogger and Gmail, but that doesn't mean we should be happy about it.

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