Practical Technology

for practical people.

New Desktop Interface Flops

If you follow my work, you won’t be surprised to know that I really dislike Windows 8’s proposed new interface, Metro. That’s not because I hate everything from Microsoft. It’s because I hate anything that’s a bad design, and it’s not just Microsoft that’s guilty of that. So are open-source groups such as GNOME.

Unlike my colleague Ken Hess who hates just about all the newest interfaces, I do like some of the new ones… in their place.

For example, he really dislikes Ubuntu’s Unity desktop. I don’t. In fact, I rather like Unity/… in its place. Mind you, I don’t like it that much for me, but at least I can see what Ubuntu is trying to do with their interface and I think they’re successful in reaching that goal.

What I mean by that is I’m a power user. I want a graphical user interface (GUI) to either help me reach deep into a system so that I can tune it just the way I like or, at the least, to get out of the way so I can get to a command line interface or shell so I can easily adjust the system. Unity doesn’t do that. But, then Unity isn’t meant for power users. It’s mean for new PC or tablet users who want to easily do a relatively few tasks: get on the Web, play music, and so on. For them, Unity is great. For me, or Ken, not so much.

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