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Month: November 2013

"Improving"/"Modernizing" the Look of TDE Considered Harmful

From: Mark S Bilk <mark@...>
Date: Sat, 16 Nov 2013 20:17:24 -0800
On Sat, Nov 16, 2013 at 09:02:37PM -0500, Alexandre Couture wrote:
>> > ...
>> > I mean that if the efforts has been made to make TDE more
>> > attractive to new users and to modernize it, it would
>> > certainly have more popularity. As well as making a new
>> > ''outside'' on top of an outdated car is not good, changing
>> > everything under the hood and keeping the old outdated
>> > ''outside'' is certainly not better at all. I know that
>> > TDE could be better, if some attention could be thrown at
>> > things that are not just under the hood.
[Alexandre continues:]
>But with all the renaming issues (which does not improve TDE
>at all), a lot of dev time has been used, and this time would
>have been better used for things that are not under the hood
>only. The current TDE look-and-feel was great in Win XP era,
>but time has changed. Interfaces have evolved, sometimes for
>the worse (MS office ribbon...) and sometimes for the better
>(Win 7 and parts of KDE 4). I am sure that there is some
>things to do to refresh TDE, but it needs some openness from
>the TDE dev team.
>Some pop-ups could be made less intrusive, some widgets
>could be made to be less Win95-like and many little details
>could change, just to make sure that TDE doesn't die over
>the time because it was frozen forever in 2005.  MATE has
>already improved its theming and color scheme to refresh its
>appearance. Their website is more attractive, and it doesn't
>means that it has removed features to MATE or that their
>website is unusable.

My preference is just the opposite.  I want UI windows to look 
as simple as possible, so they don't distract the eye and brain
from their contents, which is what's important.   I want window
frames to be of settable thickness, and to have settable colors 
for the frame and top ("handle") of 1. the selected window, and 
2. all the other windows.  Plus the usual widgets for min/max
etc.  That's _all_.  

If that's the way windows looked in 1995 or 2005, that's fine.
I want things to look just fancy enough to be effective and 

It doesn't matter whether TDE is "appealing" to new users or not.  
New users don't know what's good for them.  Hopefully they will 
eventually learn from explanations in the TDE website and forums, 
and other discussion areas with experienced Linux users.

I like KDE3/TDE because it doesn't distract or get in the way of 
perception and thinking.  TDE should cater to people who _think_.  
That's what Unix/Linux is _for_.  And KDE3/TDE may be the only DE 
left that does it.

Non-thinkers can waste their time and money on MS-Windows or a Mac, 
or on some other Linux DE like KDE4 which provides over 100 bling
adjustments, but has made multiple virtual desktops -- the most 
important Linux feature for thinking and working -- _unusable_ 
(because the desktop names are not readable in the desktop-pager 
buttons).  I use all 20 desktops, named Mail, Music, Website, 
Ruby, etc., each with programs running in it appropriate to its 
specific work, and konsoles/mcs in it pointing at relevant 
directories for that work.  This enables me to totally switch 
contexts with a single trackball click.  KDE4 is utterly unable 
to do this.

There is no reason to "modernize" a UI except to give it more 
actual and _needed_ functionality.  If people want to see something 
pretty on their computer screen, they can display a picture or video 
in a window or in the background.  It should not be part of the 
window structure or UI in general, because that would distract the 
eye and the mind during the execution of _every_ task.

I suspect that many people -- experienced Unix/Linux users -- 
choose TDE and stay with it because they have similar preferences.  
If that's true, then "improving"/"modernizing" its UI could 
actually result in a loss of users.

I apologize for my bluntness here.  I don't mean to tread on 
anyone's toes.  I'm 68 years old and don't have time anymore to 
sugar-coat things.  Linux is a superb adjunct to the human mind.
It's vital for that to continue.