LXer Feature: 28-May-2012
Whenever there has been new transition, people have resisted to adapt to
changes. Same has happened for gnome 3 based desktops. Specially from people
who used to use gnome 2 as their primary desktop environment. Change for just
the shake of change is not the best solution in most cases. However changes
with desktops is something that can make or break the deal.
I don't think any linux desktop has given us the ultimate beauty. The most
closest to perfection being default gnome 3 desktop. I know someone well known
has written his dis-pleasement with this shiny and transparent thing, but
desktop beauty are very subjective thing. E.g I don't like the
orange icons in ubuntu. Even dark black color is something that did not came
from beauty shop. I don't like the ugly window bar of gnome 3, nor do I like
any icons generated for linux desktop till date. Khaki icons of gnome 3 are
Does that make me not use Linux? Absolutely not. I would use it even if I did
get was only xterm and all the bazzar of GUIs built out of oil in water GUI
apis. Since all the GUI apis are bad looking, in totality if you try to fix
one type of GUI windows you break a million others.
E.g If I try to fix Ubuntu-mono-dark icon with Oxygen-refit I would break the
looks of Download bookmark in nautilus. So the best looking Desktop cannot be
built from anything other than ambiance or Ubuntu-mono-dark, which is a
horrible combination as I said earlier. Some might argue elementary theme and faenza icons looks good, but I argue elementary theme
looks as horrible as it can be, because it does not respect the window bar
color and you have to strain your eye just to get the handle while dragging.
The green mint icons are one of the most bad icons that can exist.
There was one icon set called fs-icon which tried to beautify ubuntu, but
failed miserably because it had same orange color. The author might have
noticed this and made another set of icons (with different color), which did
not fit too, because it was too bright and did not know what theme the user
For ubuntu to beautify its looks, graphics artists have to do a very good job. Gnome 3
is one of the best looking desktop, but it fails at icon and window bar color.
Even if each of these desktops fixed its look, color and icons, there is still
a bigger problem that needs to be fixed. Its the inconsistent looks of each
application. I know we can't fix that until we force the authors to rewrite
their applications using new apis, which by the way is never going to happen
at least for some applications. Even if some author would adapt their software
to these new interfaces, they would not be sure if the whole thing changes 6
month from now. We have seen gnome developers not care anyone so who can say they won't screw everyone again. So the fix would be to improve the apis with
more beautiful photos and themes. Even if it would not give a consistent look,
but if they all looked beautiful in their own way very less would care and
appreciate each application.
If you a programmer who don't care about GUIs everything might look good as
long they are usable. However world has changed from system programming to
usable enough GUIs to beautiful web pages. Since people spend most of their
time on beautiful web pages, they don't want to get a feeling, that what they
use on their desktop is any different in beauty from what they use on web.
Since many desktop applications have blurred the limit for the user of what is happening
online and what is happening offline, they need to make everything look same.
Since they can't make all web pages look like a crappy desktop, so the best
way to go is make desktop applications as beautiful as their web counterpart.
If you dwell on internet, you know even the hello world web pages these days
have beautiful faces. It has been quite some year when client software has
stopped using any form of desktop window and have completely switched to web
interfaces. Today web interfaces have become so defacto interface, clients
measure everything in terms of graphical interfaces. They think if something looks
becautiful it might be more secure. As a result good software programmers
spending their time where they should. I don't know
how long such practice can continue, but currently its horrible. Today a
this web centric mentality. Managers who think bgcolor="red" to bgcolor="blue"
is a whole day work, rather than code refactor or 5 unit tests implementation, will surely know what I am
Let me not side track you, but the purpose of my previous paragraph was to
show you how important gui interfaces these days are. Bottom line is you have to
be absolutely beautiful to look good. You may fix many critical bugs after
release, but a break in user interface
or looks is 10 times bigger bug than any serious bug.
Why ubuntu has not taken off yet?
We all know Linux has very limited set of software in some sector E.g people
such as graphics artists absolutely need photoshop. I don't say linux should
go begging on adobe's door, but they should make people who can use linux
absolutely use it.
E.g In my office I use ubuntu. Since I am a long time Linux user I can get
around different bugs. But since some releases ubuntu has been a real pleasure
to use. As a result more than half of the staff have started using Ubuntu. And
I did not have to help anyone of them. Since all of them are technically sound
users of computer, they can work fairly easily. However a new user would not
want to spend any time trying to install linux to solve a subset of problems her
computer can do. If however it looked something beautiful they could not
ignore the matter would be different. Can ubuntu bring a whole new experience for users (not just clone of what is already beautiful)?