John Peter Tapsell tapselj0 at
Wed Jul 25 02:48:02 UTC 2001

On Wed, 25 Jul 2001, you wrote:
> > On Tue, 24 Jul 2001, John wrote:
> > > Wim De Smet wrote:
> > > > 
> > > > John Peter Tapsell said:
> > > > > Just to troll....
> > ...
> > > > I agree (almost) completely. We don't want to dumb it down to the point
> > > > where one doesn't see what the os is doing (i.e. Windows).
> > >
> > > I couldn't disagree more. The user interface should be as independent
> > > from the OS structure as possible. The aim of a UI is to be usable. It
> > > should help users of any skill level perform the tasks they need to
> > > perform.
> > 
> > Bingo! I think we have hit on what I mean.
> > 
> > I feel the UI should _not_ be as independent from the OS structure as possible.
> > I've taken UI classes etc, and heard these argument, but they are after maxing
> > usability.
> > We should be after raising the users awareness of how things work, and
> > understanding it.
> > I want the UI to be tied to the OS structure as much as possible.
> > I don't want too much abstraction in the UI - this is what leads to clueless
> > users.
> No, that doesn't follow.  A good UI will make it easy - by itself it will 
> do no more, no less.  Users will only remain ignorant of the 
> workings if (a) they don't care about them, or (b) the workings have 
> been obfuscated.  Avoiding (b) is one of free software's main goals.  
> But (a) is a personal choice that we shouldn't attempt to control.  
> Computer science, quoth Dijkstra, is about computers in the way 
> astronomy is about telescopes.

But again your users are just users - and I totally agree if that is the case.
What I'm trying to say is that we should force the users into being more
technical then users, and having to have some understanding of the underlying
Do you agree/disagree that if use the base assumption we want more technical
users, then we can't abstract the UI too much, and we have to make the UI
closely related to the inner workings?

I agree with everyones points about abstracting etc for lusers, but we
shouldn't aim to cater for them, instead aim for the more techinical user - the
ones that will be interested in knowing how to fix simple problems by
themselves, and not be afraid to use a terminal.

> By all means aid the hackers in their study of the equipment we're 
> all using; that's great, the knowledge there protects much freedom. 
>  Meanwhile everybody else in the world (literally everyone) has their 
> own ideas about what's cool.  Imagine what you could do if your 
> integrated development environment was a starship holodeck...

oooohhh, pooorrrnnnn

> > You want to aim gnome at usable by a luser, i want to aim gnome at being usable
> > by newbies.  So what if the learning curve is steeper, if they are afraid of
> > learning [about telescopes], then don't use gnome.
> At Xerox PARC in the seventies (birthplace of clicky, responsive 
> interaction, and huge influence on modern desktop computing), the 
> guiding principle was to make everything usable by children.  Only 
> then did they know it was designed properly for adults.

Um, aren't children generally a lot better at this then adults? :)

> David
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