User friendly Free Software Desktops (was: Very Worried at MS .net)

Havoc Pennington hp at
Wed Jul 18 14:03:49 UTC 2001

MJ Ray <markj at> writes: 
> I can't help but second the above.  *Most* of the things currently
> done in the X desktop environment space seem to be copies of other
> people's innovations.  Can either FSFE or freedesktop please sponsor a
> list to look into developing our own?

If you want to develop your own, you don't need a mailing list. 
You need:

 a) unbounded humility and willingness to rewrite things
 b) a comprehensive user testing setup and willingness to 
    user test over and over
 c) someone to write prototype after prototype to be tested
 d) many someones to write the final desktop
 e) a firm belief that theory and discussion of UI on mailing lists
    is 95% useless, and user testing is 95% useful

If you just want to try random ideas with little concern for
usability, you could use e.g. Enlightenment, fvwm, twm, scwm, any
number of innovative desktops like that where hackers just made up the
UI without testing. Of course those all use the basic
window-icon-mouse model; if you want to escape that, you have about 1
million lines of graphics server and toolkit code to implement before
even considering a desktop - have fun! But a mailing list won't
help. ;-)


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