My experience in the theatre is limited to high school productions. Lousy renditions of Bye Bye Birdie and West Side Story. All played on an aging stage in an aging gym in front of small town parents who had nothing better to do than come watch their kids do lousy renditions of Bye Bye Birdie and West Side Story.
I remember the semi-dark backstage madness...the charged whispers just before the curtain went up. The smell of old wood, canvas, perfume and electrical cables...the glitter on the floor from over-powdered girls and that feeling in your stomach that ranged somewhere between nausea and the most exciting thing you've ever done in your life.
And the last minute prayer seconds before the curtain rose.
"God please don't let me suck."
This was back in the day when you had to actually get up out of your chair and physically walk to the television to change the station. Oh yes, there were such things as remotes back then.
They were called kids.
"Hey Skip...put it on three, the basketball game is about to start...and get me another beer."
There were three stations to choose from and the knob on the channel changer went "clunk, clunk, clunk when you turned it. The most popular toothpaste was a brand called Crest, the Chevy 409 was king, and that year the Chicago Cubs lost a bid for the world series in a way that is all but but impossible according to physical probability and statistics.
I'm sure the dynamics of theatre have not changed much...that knot in your stomach, the glancing around for the little taped squares on the floor that told you where to stand...that feeling you got just before the curtain went up.
Hey Gnome people...if you don't have that feeling right now, you are spending too much time in Gedit and not enough time looking around you.
Your curtain is about to go up.
"God please don't let them suck."
I see it every day...I feel it. The low rumble of an impending change that will alter the way people use their computers from now on. That change is Linux, and that change is going to be facilitated by Ubuntu.
Like it or not, that's the way things have shaken out and we have to work within these system-sets. While Gnome is as good as any other environment in my book, we have to remember that this is the environment that people are first going to experience. What I have found most frustrating is that things have been left half-done and half-thought out for several releases now and it's time to get them fixed.
Like Dood, Wherez my Filez?
The first thing a new user wants to know almost always is this:
"Where are my files?"
The file structure of Linux is a system shock within itself. Where users did have free-range in Windows, their new digs may seem a bit confusing and even a little restrictive at first. I've easily explained to most users that all they really have to be concerned with is /home/myfiles.
And if you disagree with this technique, let me give them YOUR number so when they delete their xorg files. They can call you.
Home is where the files are. Everything else is just gears and pulleys.
I base my opinions here on my experiences in Konqueror. In my opinion, Konqueror is the best file manager out there. You don't have to install "scripts" in order to do simple things...you don't have to drill down three menu entries to do the easy stuff. Take a look at my scripts folder and see what I mean. Note the file folder in the middle of the pack. Shouldn't it follow heiarchy and be at the top?
Right click - move or copy files.
There is even a little addon called "Kim" (konq-kim in some distros) that gives you amazing control over your images with a simple right click....and it's there right in front of you when you right click. You don't have to open a series of other folders to get to it. You don't have to add separate scripts to change from different formats. You can even make compilations or DVD movies from you photos and lay in music underneath the presentation.
What is so hard about that? Now there may be plenty hard about that. I don't write the code that makes the magic happen. I would have to assume that since the people that write Nautilus have not made these seemingly easy and often requested changes for years now, it must be something terribly complex.
Or maybe John Hall was right.
John, Tom King and I were privately discussing Gnome at the 2007 Linux Symposium here in Austin. John boiled it down so that all the clutter was blown away immediately.
"Gnome Developers have perfected the art of ignoring their users."
Another choice is also available. They just cannot do it. It may be designed to fail the ability to make these changes.
In talking with new users, I hear constantly the frustration of having to find features after the right click. According to them, and I agree, there are simple things that should be there natively. Move and copy files are obvious and in my mind the most important. Even everyday users find themselves in the file manager constantly. We need to make that experience as functional, efficient and user-friendly as possible.
Right now I don't think it is. Why are we adding an extra step of adding scripts?
"Oh, you mean I have to go out, find them, drag them home and put them in a file folder I can't see normally? I thought you told me that everything ELSE was gears and pulleys. Now I have them in my home file? And why are there "hidden" files in my home directory. What is there that I am not supposed to see?"
And no...I don't want Nautilus to be Konqueror...I want someone to have sense enough to realize that moving or copying a file shouldn't entail a drilling expedition.
Functional, efficient, and user-friendly.
I was told once by a third party that the reason Nautilus did not include these simple features was because they did not want to be perceived as copying the KDE guys. I honestly hope that isn't true. If it is, that means the development of the première environment for file management is being fueled by ego.
So given the fact that Gnome via Ubuntu is going to be the face of Linux, what changes do you see as an evolution of the system? Post them here and we'll cull the best and send them forward. No they probably won't listen, but you can't give up until you try at least once. You people are pretty smart...we'd like to know what your ideas are.
And don't make me quote Mad Dog again. He charges me a royalty every time I do.
Monday, June 15, 2009
blather and mumbling provided by Ken Starks at 12:34 PM