Create the vision

10. June 2008

(for all who are just not interested in useless “Future of GNOME”-discussion – just open a beer or scroll down)

Personally, I think Andy has started the right discussion and the approaching GUADEC is also a good time for it.

The whole GNOME community really needs to start thinking about the next generation Desktop -  whatever that will be. Maybe it’s very similar to the current Desktop but sure it will just be better. Andy mentions some good ideas though 3D and desktop effects may not be the only truth.

But let’s assume we want to go into the desktop effects direction, what would we want there? GNOME was always meant to be clean and easy to use and we should continue this. Until now, desktop effects are just “effects”, they look spectacular but there is now real need to have them despite impressing your neighbor. Let’s change this! Let’s have desktop effects in a way that they improve the user interaction. Usually that means that computers should act more like the physical world but not by copying the annoyances of the physical world but by using work-flows developed thousands of years ago. That could mean to put documents aside or to stack them or do whatever you find appropriate.

The main problem of such abstract visions is that they are visions. We don’t need more visions, we need implementations. When you compare our current development libraries with those available before last GUADEC we have made a big step with clutter and other things now available. Perhaps it’s now time to include such things in mainline GNOME in an incremental way without breaking everything. So everybody: take the ideas that are mentioned on the planet and create the next generation desktop instead of talking of it. I already said to much…

BTW, the first thing I would love to see is a more fancy (and useful) GNOME panel…

8 Responses to “Create the vision”

  1. Jonas Says:

    “Until now, desktop effects are just “effects”, they look spectacular but there is now real need to have them despite impressing your neighbor.”

    I’m not so sure about that. True, most of the effects provided by MacOS X/Compiz/Vista/KDE4 (to various degrees, and especially considering the more outlandish compiz plugins such as Atlantis) are mostly just eye-candy and not necessary in the strictest sense. However, in some cases they do provide extra functionality or ease of use. For example, the desktop cube. Virtual desktops provide the same functionality but I’ve found it far easier to explain the concept with a more physically real representation of it.

  2. Calum Says:

    You’re quite right about the effects. Right now we’re sort of going through the gaudy, in-your-phase (aka compiz) phase– GNOME is growing into a brash teenager, albeit a couple of years early :) Apple went through this phase a couple of years ago, and have mostly come out the other side.

    If you look at OS X today, many of the effects are more subtle, almost subliminal, but make help to make everything feel more fluid. Rotate an image in Preview.app and you see it actually rotate; use the arrow keys to move the cursor in a QuickLook index sheet, and it glides between the files rather than jumping. Nothing flashy, just nice attention to detail and a natural progression from what was there before.

  3. daniele Says:

    I totally agree with you, the panel is the first thing that should be enhanced, small things, not the whole compiz mess!

  4. Rob Staudinger Says:

    I’d love to open a bear, but don’t have one at hand.

  5. Hohn Says:

    Yes, the gnome-panel is totally out of date. It should be a good pilot project for innovation.

  6. troll Says:

    Telepathy. All the way.


  7. [...] Johannes Schmid – Thinks that it is the right time to start thinking about our next-gen desktop. We should focus more on writing code instead of just talking about visions. Effects should enhance user interaction, not just be flashy. [...]


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