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New Desktop for Linux

CmdrTaco posted more than 14 years ago | from the come-one-come-all dept.

Linux 438

naasking writes, "A new desktop project has been started by former Apple and AOL employees. Their goal is to create a graphical environment for Linux that "your mother could use." The company doing it is called Eazel. " It also is supposed to be based on GNOME. CT: Several people noted that this shell is destined to be the GNOME 2.0 shell/file manager.

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So how long before VA/RH buys them out? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1264564)

Is this an acquisition/rollup play? Will the founders retire in eight months with hundreds of thousands of VA or RH shares? Sounds like a money grab to me ...

GNOME Infidels Must Be Destroyed! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1264601)

Err, waitaminute. I got confused there for a minute. That's *KDE* infidels who must be destroyed! Sorry about that.

they better get a better designer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1264602)

Cause that logo is WACK! And if they really knew about interface design they'd clean it up a bit for the web. Maybe they're saving 3k of download time by making it all gross and jpeggy lookin somehow, but it just looks weak. I ain't down. DRE5000

Re:GNOME fork? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1264627)

Nautilus will be the default file manager in Gnome 2. Just who do you consider the "Gnome team" to be anyway? Gnome is being contributed to by a whole lot of people, and I would certainly count the talents at Eazel as part of the Gnome team because of their significant contributions.

Thank god (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1264630)

I hate GNOME. Sawmill and E are not done (useable without screen redraw problems and or obscenely new hardware) yet. And GNOME is ugly.

KDE is not much prettier.

Apple people == pretty
AOL people == money


Re:How they make money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1264633)

I rubbed my magic bunny, and I discovered they are planning on making money by selling a subscription service that works as a plugin to Natilus (the new GNOME 2.0 file manager) to allow remote backups, remote address book storage, and other "goodies".

Of course my bunny could be wrong, but it hasn't been yet!

Re:This is what Linux needs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1264634)

But what if you have bad aim?

Re:Look for something amazing from this project (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1264639)

Just because something is easy to use doesn't have to mean it can't be powerful and flexible. I consider myself a experienced Linux user, and I would love to have better designed user interfaces for all the apps I use on a everyday basis. Everything can be improved and refined.

Now *that's* funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1264644)

My mom cannot use Macintoshes. She finds the GUI to be horribly counter-intuitive.[1] And they think making GNOME Mac-like is going to help her?

[1] She's far from the only one. The whole metaphor of computer as desktop just doesn't make sense. I use a computer to do the things my desktop can't do. And furthermore, Apple's implementation of it is brain-dead. If I want something that's on my desktop, I don't have to drop it into the trash can before I can pick it up and walk away. Why should I do that (and why should I intuitively think to do that) with removable media?

Re:Windows is NOT easy to use. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1264645)

haha, you want an inconsistant inferface? lets talk about some of the window managers that run on X.

Re:The New Microsoft is Born (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1264647)

We don't want to be in business, we want to sit at home and hack and watch DVDs and BS on /.

thank you

I like Gnome (0)

bubbasatan (99237) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264655)

All this after Apple canned the aqua theme?

The New Microsoft is Born (0)

myxlplix (142293) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264657)

If this is a good GUI, then I can easily see Linux turn into the next Microsoft. Ease of use is the key to selling alot, which means market share, which means power...

Um (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1264659)

Any idiot can come up with an easier interface than what Linux has now. But can they make one that my mother could install? Will they handle LIBC and other library incompatibilities?

I just hope it runs INSTEAD of X, not on top of X. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1264663)

X is the blue whale of software bloat. We don't need new window managers running on top of X. We need a streamlined replacement for X itself.

Ramiro Estrugo (1)

Dave Fiddes (832) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264669)

Is that the same guy who used to work for Netscape on Mozilla...?

If so there's hope for the project ;)

Linuxconf and text files (1)

planet_hoth (3049) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264675)

I thought one of the selling points of Linuxconf over other admin utils was that linuxconf DOES allow you to also edit the config files by hand!? I jump from linuxconf to text files and back again all the time, with no negative side effects.

X != Linux Re:Oh, brother... (1)

jlv (5619) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264683)

GNOME and KDE are both making good progress towards bringing a good, usable GUI to Linux
Aren't GNOME and KDE are both making good progress towards bringing a good, usable GUI to X? Neither is Linux-specific in any way, shape, or form.

Re:Oh, brother... (1)

Goner (5704) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264684)

Also, if this leads to a better wm-spec [gnome.org] , the world will be a kinder, happier place. Where all programs and windowmanagers can get along and share their bells and whistles, creating a joyous cacophonic r(o)ar.

But, I think some of upper management is still trying to shake this Linux thing off. I can't wait to show them this, just to make them lose sleep. Oh and now open source projects with $10 mil. in VC off the bat... that's what I'm talkin' about.

Linux for stupid people (1)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264688)

Oh joy. Former employees from Apple -- a company with an interface dumbed down to the point of unusability -- and AOL -- a company that dumbs down the internet to the point of unusability -- banding together to lobotomize Linux. Great news, I guess... anything that makes it easier to disengage the drooling millions from the great teat of Microsoft. At least with Linux, when they dumb it down, I'm not obliged to follow suit. My bash prompt will not go away because someone else decided it was unnecessary.

OTOH, the rush to World Domination has often led me to wonder -- will the presence of the clueless millions "improve" Linux the same way the opening of AOL's floodgates "improved" the Internet? You do realize that they're not going to clue in when they switch operating systems any more than they clued in when they went online, don't you? To them, this is just an extension of television.

Yet Another Desktop (YAD) (1)

Keel (11611) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264695)

Wouldn't it be better to just finish the ones we already have? Then maybe grandma could use it.

This is what Linux needs (1)

Mr. Flibble (12943) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264698)

This is one of the things that is needed for Linux. Its pretty well known though. I suppose that people will complain even more that there are too many WM/GUI's for Linux...

Even if this does not take off, (and I think it will, no SHOULD) it creates more "competition" which results in more choice. This is great.


Slight divergence:

A "GUI" that I would love to see for Linux would be one based on the Quake 1 source, a true 3D environment that interacts like quake. Bringing up windows would bring up 3D windows in the world which you could move around or have on "walls" of the level.

Just something I thought would be cool (although I cannot see it being as user-friendly as this "Mac" GUI idea) Still, it would be very geeky cool.

(I know that SGI had a similar thing for IRIX as seen in Jurassic Park, but there is AFAIK nothing like this for Linux.)

Re:This is what Linux needs (1)

Mr. Flibble (12943) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264700)

Well, I am not looking for JUST that, but a total 3D environment. Imagine a small quake level, that had say, icons on the walls of the level, if you were to place your crosshair over the Icon and "shoot" it, it would load the said program. You could move around the level a-la Quake, when a program Launched it would appear fullscreen (or close to that) in a window in front of your vision.

Pressing say, the 3rd mouse button would disengage you from the window, and leave a floating (semi-transparent w/ GL extensions?) window hovering in the level. You could then move around this window, and open other windows in the same way. Or, the walls themselves could be textured with the programs themselves: Imagine Netscape as a "texture" on one wall. Again "shooting" the wall or floating window would bring it into a "zoom" mode (i.e. normal desktop apperance of the window)

And just like that doom process manager, imagine zombie processes REALLY becoming zombies! It would be great to beat them down or gib them!

I got this crazy idea because of an article in an old boot mag. It was written by Alex St.John. He mentioned how Bill Gates was thinking about buying id Software because he imagined that the 3D environments that Carmack was creating would be a potential threat to the 2D windows interface, and that a 3D "virtual" window manager would be more intuitive and easier to use.

Just a thought anyways. I would love to start trying to code something like this myself, but my programming skills are laughable at best. :/

Still, if I was going to code anything large this would be it, this is the only "itch" that I can think of that would need scratching.

Re:Thank God! (1)

um... Lucas (13147) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264704)

Actually, a friend of mine just picked up a Mac Portable (pre-powerbook), running Mac OS 6.something.

Anythings better than that these days... YOu can only run application at a time, plus desk accessories. Double clicking an icon opens it. Double clicking a name sets you to rename it. Duplicating files creates "Copy of " files, so they don't appear in order anymore...

But back then, Windows wasn't where it's gotten today... But don't give System 6 too much credit.

Hertzfeld (1)

just someone (13587) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264706)

Got a great software wiard in the lead, Andy Hertzfeld. The one who's cludge, switcher, left us wih the get-info boxes that are the bain of the MacOS today.

Should make many great things happen.

Checkout Berline (1)

ihxo (16767) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264716)

you mean Berlin ??
that project seems pretty interesting, but I am not sure it'll support window manager or one standard interface.

fsn^Hv for *nix (1)

Straker Skunk (16970) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264718)

(Warning, blatant plug to follow)

fsv - 3D File System Visualizer [mit.edu]

This was released just last month. It's LGPL'ed, built on OpenGL/GTK+, and while it lacks many features of the original fsn (and isn't even at 1.0 yet) it sports a slicker interface, and not one but two distinct approaches to visualizing the file system.

There have been some noises to making this into a Nautilus optional view mode, which would be pretty cool (since the program would then have a real file manager backend, and what with XFree4.0/DRI coming around the bend...)

GNOME fork? (1)

Ripp (17047) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264720)

I'm confused. Their site is pointless. developer.gnome.org has something about their 'friends at eazel.' but nothing else....

Isn't nautilus just another file manager type deal for GNOME ala gmc? I guess I don't see the need for this, really, unless they can do it better and faster than the GNOME team.

*shrug* enlighten us anyone?
What exactly are they doing here!?

This is good (1)

acomj (20611) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264729)

I'm new the linux stuff. I've used unixes (AIX, ,VMS, Solaris, SunOS, Digital UX) as a user, but I feel like I have to be a sys admin to figure out all these linux configurations. What goes where /bin /usr/local (although no less cluttered than windows). where is that x windows config file? If they can make it easier bless them.

I had to set up an NT server at my last job. It was way easier (although much less powerfull). What is the price of power though. How much time do I have to spend learning linux to make everything easy..? Maybe its just tht linux documentation that is confusing but I don't think it needs to be as difficult as it is.

I'm pretty familiar with Unix, heck I even know how to pipe. But this difficulty in administoring linux is going to hold it back..

I'm running suse 6.1 on virtual PC. I miss the mac extension manager that tells you everything thats loaded and run on boot, and you can shut it on or off with a click. I find it hard to tell linux to stop loading httpd and ftp servers. (keep in mind I've only been at this a couple weeks part time.)

hope they do it right... (1)

adrien (26080) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264734)

Apple is really putting their foot in their GUI with Aqua (pardon the akward metaphor...). It is an insult to professionals who want to get work done in a quiet, neutral envirnonment. I for one do not want to be amused by my OS, i want to get work done...

If these folks do it right and Apple continues turning the Mac into a MTV OS, there will be a LOT of professionals switching over to Linux. I will be one of them.

Although the project is GPL, are they also opening up the project? that is, how can i get involved???


New Interface for a New Century (1)

WillAffleck (42386) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264750)

If they get it working by year end, it will be a new GUI/OS shell for the next century. It's still the 20th Century, after all, no matter that we had a minor technical glitch a year early.

And, to be frank, my Mom could use this. She's so non-techno, and she's not alone.

Wasn't this on the GNOME news site a long time ago (1)

Me_n_U (43721) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264751)

I remember talking about this out at Linux World Expo w/ some GNOME people.

This isn't news?

I think the armada of trained mammles (damn spelling) need some time off to catch up to the news they have missed... hmm?

Someone correct me if I'm wrong... but I'm sure this was in the GNOME news.

Re:This is what Linux needs (1)

fingal (49160) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264756)

I think that what you are looking for is File System Visualizer [mit.edu] which is based on the 3D File System Navigator [sgi.com] that was seen in Jurassic Park...


Re:"User Friendly" is more than a simple GUI. (1)

Here Comes Everybody (62497) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264760)

Hmmmm. As computer literate as a houseplant... Well, I wish you and your fiancee' a lot of luck, and I hope she has a sense of humor......

Re:Business model? (1)

Schmerd (83210) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264771)

Yeah. If you have to read the documentation or pay for support, they didn't make it easy enough to use, now did they?

Re:Look for something amazing from this project (1)

DebtAngel (83256) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264773)

Simple: Easy to use IS good. Mind you: Powerful IS good too.

Most of the time, however, Easy to use != Powerful.

The apparent goal here is to get Linux on every desktop, and the way to do that is to make it easy to use. The nice thing about Linux is that, even after all of that, if you would rather do things the hard way, you CAN. While it would be nice to get my network card to work without using ifconfig (damn PC card, even in Corel Linux I had to write a script that called ifconfig to get it to work on a regular basis), it's nice to know the option exists (or, I would have to open the COntrol Center every time).

Linux has the potential to be easy to use and powerful, all at the same time. So stop whining.

Gnome unstable (1)

nuttyprofessor (83282) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264774)

I would hate to build anything on top of Gnome.
I have used gnome in the past from time to
time, but eventually something always happens
that places Gnome in some wacked state from
whence I can never return. Gnome resembles
an M$ product -- sex appeal sans stability.

About DDoS attacks... (1)

hautis (83345) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264776)

CNet doesn't seem to respond. I wonder if some evil frustrated teenager somewhere has just sent instructions to bomb news.cnet.com down to all the machines he has compromised...

I like and use KDE all the time, the other desktops I've tried are mostly more beautiful but otherwise crap, kind of unintuitive, too much animations and other useless shit, panels behave strangely etc. At least with KDE all the machines behave the same or can easily be made to behave. I think KDE is easy, too, and anybody that can use Windows could live perfectly well with KDE. The silly part is, there are practically no useful applications that support KDE. I use Gtk+ stuff all the time.

I just hope this new "even-your-granma-can-use" desktop isn't just a Windows-like theme on Gnome. if it's something as well-organised as KDE, AND theme-and-stuff-compatible with Gnome, then I think it's good news.

Make up your mind (1)

Rares Marian (83629) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264778)

Do you want configurability or vendor lock-in? Geez.

Re:danger... (1)

radish (98371) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264795)

Another thing "mere mortals" want is an all-graphics interface; everything point and click. Hmm, I can't see how something like:

rm `ls -l|awk '{print $3}'|grep "juser"`

could be graphical, not with the same flexibility and any kind of Unix without the pipe/redirect capabilities would be kinda stupid.

How about this:

You have a window view something like windows explorer in list view, with a column for "owner". You switch to this view, sort by owner (click on the column heading), locate the group of files belonging to "juser" and rubber band them. Then drag them off to the delete bin.

Now I realise that it seems more long-winded, but it is fairly intuitive and I think the average windows user would understand it much more easliy than firing up a shell. And of course you would have lots of fun if you decided to try and recurse or something clever like that; I have yet to see a gui which lets you easily perform the same operation over a whole directory tree. There must be a way!!

Re:danger... (1)

cowscows (103644) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264803)

I don't think this is intended to become the desktop of choice for current linux users. Current linux users complain about the MacOS being too childish and limiting, and this project intends to simplify things even more. I don't see why people are so concerned about having just one desktop metaphor for everyone. People are different, they think differently, they work differently, the comptuer should adapt to them somewhat. There of course needs to be standards and such to make things work together, but it doesn't need to be so extreme.

The standards and protocols that we really need to worry about are file and documents. Until there are better standards and wider support for things like word processor documents, a computer is still going to need more help than the "mere mortal" wants to worry with.

And if linux truly wants to go mainstream, it'll have to be in a significantly different form than how it currently exists. Most people don't need the majority of features that linux offers. They don't need the infinate customability and such. The only reason I see for even trying to put linux on the desktop of such a person is because even the "mere mortals" in the computer world deserve an OS that is secure and stable. And you can have secure and stable behind all sorts of interfaces.

Good Point (1)

hoss10 (108367) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264810)

Our goal is to establish Linux as the desktop of choice for millions of users

Why just Linux. If they have there head screwed on they should be able to get it to compile on other Un*x's. FreeBSD at least.

Is this GNOME's fault. I've never thought about it before but does GNOME and/or KDE work on anything other than Linux.

Now, back to the post i'm replying to. I wonder if X will always be the protocol used. Is it that old now that it could do with a complete replacement - called Y maybe :-)

I wish I knew more about the exact details of how X works low level - is it an old program patched and extended into a mess or is it as efficient etc. as it could be?

Now to go off-topic:
In the case of fully GNOMEified programs (can you come up with a better name for programs that stick to the gtk instead of making "direct" calls to X) if this Y became the standard would it just be a case of rewriting the gtk or would the apps need to be patched also?
ie: Just to satisfy my curiousity, can you write X apps that don't need to make calls to X! Tcl/Tk aside.

------------------------------------------------ -
"If I can shoot rabbits then I can shoot fascists" -

Re:uh... isn't this nautilus? (1)

molog (110171) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264814)

Hmm, it seems that they are going with the Be look for their stuff or the screen shoot was of Nautilus using a Be like theme. Are they going to try to copy the Be interface? Just wondering.


So Brain, what are we doing tonight?

They're not going far enough! (1)

-brazil- (111867) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264818)

Mark my words, we will see another such project in the near future, claiming to build a desktop that "your grandmother can use"!

Re:This is what Linux needs (1)

jred (111898) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264819)

I used to use a similar (only 2d) product called diskmap32. It was great for determining where all your disk space was going. Unfortunately it doesn't like larger disks, so I had to stop using it. If I could get a 3d version I would use it often.

Cant catch a crackhead (1)

SaiyajinTrunks (117664) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264822)

Just a thought: is this new development "Eazel" pronounced like the crackhead in Friday? Heh, like Craig says, "You know you aint be catchin' no crackhead!" What a mascot!

Re:Is this good or bad overall? (1)

jallen02 (124384) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264828)

Here is a thought I have seen kicked around..

This should NEVER replace good old fashioned debugging and writing clean and effecient code.

Have a daemon I imagine it can be quite lightweight. All this daemon does is monitors a few programs and in the event of a hard crash/lockup instead of the "I had to run to another machine and telnet in to Kill X" This little daemon just kicks X around for a few and restarts it.

Now the idea is *simple* enough sounding. Keep X running at any cost. How much actual interfacing with X is required I dont know?

Another question is how much would a daemon of this nature drag the system down

MY *guesses* are it would not be terribly overweight or inneffecient.

Perhaps it could also interface with GNOME and every maybe 5 seconds save the desktop and all of the applications that are open etc. And in the event of a crash it wil restore your desktop.. I dont think that is to far away

Jeremy Allen

Re:Is this good or bad overall? (1)

jallen02 (124384) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264829)

An additional thought that *IS* a dream until one toolit becomes *THE* toolkit. Along with saving the state of the user area and all. Every application has a standard interface and you can along with the user area snag the exact state of the application and in a somehow effecient manner write these to a file and when it crashes you can just restore the wordprocessor and spreadsheet.. and or web browser to what it was right before the crash.. But thats a pipe dream :-) But with almost all our major apps still open source maybe not?


Cool! (1)

Dysan2k (126022) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264830)

Ex-employees from 2 companies who really know what 'Ease of Use' really is are now working on a project to help Linux out! Perfect.. This is preciesly what it needs. Geeks are usually great coders, but typical fall short of the "What's easy for Mom to use" area. It's okay. We like things more complex than most.

I'm really looking forward to seeing how they produce. If it was in Florida, I'd be working over there tomorrow!

Re:danger... (1)

Bug-Y2K (126658) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264833)

Another thing "mere mortals" want is an all-graphics interface; everything point and click. Hmm, I can't see how something like:
rm `ls -l|awk '{print $3}'|grep "juser"`
could be graphical, not with the same flexibility and any kind of Unix without the pipe/redirect capabilities would be kinda stupid.

Apple Computer's first UNIX (A/UX) had a way of doing this called "commando"... it was a graphical tool for builing command lines. While in a shell you could type a CLIU command, then type 'command k' and a window would pop up that had essentially all the "-whatever' flags for you to choose from. It would *tell* you what those flags would to and give you sample output. It also allowed you to redirect, pipe, etc. Very Cool.
All this a an excellent MacOS Finder environment too.
I still have a couple of A/UX boxen around for entertainment purposes.
I've also been around unix too long as I've seen the wheel reinvented far too many times and it still doesn't roll that well!

--chuck goolsbee
seattle, wa

Re:Business model? (1)

Megane (129182) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264839)

Through a buyout, perhaps? Or an IPO? It seems these days you can do an IPO with no other source of capital than VC. You can be drowining in red ink, but as long as your product has the attention of enough eyeballs, the IPO crowd will love you.

Re:Great idea.... (1)

TheApproach (133632) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264841)

Look, most of us are geeks and we have all fixed computers belonging to Mums, Dads autie beryls and fred down the street because that's what we do.

As long as Linux is stable, has an easy GUI and can be used with Micro$oft products then it becomes a viable alternative. The same goes for the "killer apps". They don't have to be BETTER than Micro$oft because they are FREE.

When was the last time your mother installed a hard drive?

I didn't think this was a NEW desktop project?!?! (1)

e_n_d_o (150968) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264851)

Isn't Eazel just making the new GNOME 2.0 file manager "Nautlius?" More information would be appreciated!

Re:This is what Linux needs (1)

e_n_d_o (150968) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264852)

As an added benefit, it would help everyone to maintain clean hard drives free of all junk files... deleting would just be too much fun!

Thank God! (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1264862)

This is the one area where that Linux really needs help. I have long argued that Linux was a horrible desktop product because of its lack of standards for the user interface. Of course, any time you say anything negative about Linux, the wackos moderate you down. Linux has shown itself to be strong in the serving area against all comers and goers but serving does not require a human interface, only a geek one.

Apple's 10 year-old MacOS 6 is far more thoughtful to the needs of the basic computer user than the current desktops provided by GNOME and KDE. Mainly because these are products made by geeks for geeks -- your Grandma need not apply.

Once a real human interface is developed for X, Linux can really break open the holy grail of the home & business desktop. Until then, Linux will be left to the domain of the geek and file serving. Kudoos to eazel!

This is really cool! (2)

mavpion (5416) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264889)

According to their web page, it's going to be released under the GPL. I like Gnome (and to a lesser extent KDE). However neither appears to be made with the rigid quality control (as in ease-of-use, not stability) found in Apple products.

So I'm really looking forward to this.

Re:Hertzfeld (2)

deeny (10239) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264890)

Andy Hertzfeld is a good prototype programmer. He wrote Switcher on a dare: how can we make the Mac pseudo-multitask without changing anything underneath?

The problem is that it's still legacy cruft because, as you say, it's all kludge.

They should never let the guy write production code. Around about the time of General Magic, people stopped letting him do that and the products got better (Magic Links *rocked*).


Re:Duplication of Effort? (2)

um... Lucas (13147) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264893)

It sounds like they're building extensions to GNOME... And it's all GPLed... GNOME people can grab whatever theyed like from it. So can KDE people. So if it makes good progress, expect to see pieces of it pop up all over the place, or even see Gnome co-opt it.

An effort like this has needed to be started for a long time... Unfortunately it doesn't seem like enough of an idea to base a business on. Look: If it doesn't amount to anything, then no one want's it. IF it becomes the greatest thing since sliced bread, then it ends up being taken over or absorbed into Gnome, and in turn gets distributed with all the major distro's... Not much revenue for the original authors/concept people.

Re:The New Microsoft is Born (2)

um... Lucas (13147) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264894)

A good GUI means next to nothing until WINE is more up to the task of emulating windows... Pretty interfaces don't win desktops, plentiful, usable applications do. Witness Windows 3.1: Aweful in terface compared to Macs and OS/2... Incredibly unstable. Lots more apps. Guess who won the battle for the desktop?

Re:Unless it comes with a one button mouse. (2)

um... Lucas (13147) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264895)

Most people use windows because they're required to.

Company's standardize on windows because the programs they want are available. Schools standardize on windows to help students use what they'll one day use. Homes standardize on windows because so students can stay compatible with their schools computers, parents can bring home work. That plus when they have problems, there's huge amounts more of Windows users that may be able to help them out...

I don't think people use Linux because they're lazy... Unless laziness is not wanting to switch from what gets the job done to something they've just been hearing about for the past year...

Re:This is what Linux needs (2)

jabber (13196) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264896)

A "GUI" that I would love to see for Linux would be one based on the Quake 1

A few months back, there was a slashdot article [slashdot.org] about exactly this sort of thing. Well, sort of. It's here [unm.edu]

I know that SGI had a similar thing for IRIX as seen in Jurassic Park

Yeah, that was real.. And so were the dinosaurs. :) As others noted, it was a model for a tool. Much like the T-rex. I did get the warm-and-fuzzies when the 12 year old girl said: This is UNIX... I KNOW THIS!

built on gnome (2)

josepha48 (13953) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264897)

It is interesting that they chose to build on top of gnome. I guess the fact that if they decide to sell there stuff and it was based on kde there could be potential qt license issues. Yes qt 2.0 is supposed to be more open source-ish, but I think that a commercial entity would still have to have some license to sell there product. GNOME does not come with that kind of baggage. GNOME is also in C (AFAIK), so I wonder if they have C++ wrappers for it. (or do they already). My guess is that someone sees holes in the GNOME UI and they want to fill them. I have noticed that there are things that linuxconf do not do, that would be nice for sys admin. I still find myself editing many of my config files. There is no FE to hdparm, and modprobe.

I do know that Linux has come a long way in the years that I have been using it and much of what I used to have to do by hand is now automagically done (ethernet was easy as is ppp). I look forward to the coming years and seeing the progression. I think that the more companies that get involved with Linux will be good for Linux. I already see more driver for Linux and support of some kind from hardware manufactures, the next thing I'd love to see is shockwave support, yes I have flash, but I want shockwave too. It would also be nice to see stuff apearing on Linux first and windows second. I hope I hope.

I always have to laugh when my friends using windows have problems, and my Linux box is rock solid.........

send flames > /dev/null

Kudos: They use 'hackers' correctly (2)

griffjon (14945) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264899)

Despite their lacking business model, and the problems of creating a Linux frontend that anyone's Mom (excepting Dilbert's) could use without maybe interpreting Windows-keypresses as pipe functions, they get points in my book. On their front page, they say they're hiring hackers. And the mean CODE-hackers, not security experts, not white-hats, but honest-to-god, code-monkey hacks. What a concept.

GUI veterans? (2)

Industrial Disease (16177) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264900)

Sounds like a bunch of folks with some decent professional GUI experience. Hopefully, they'll focus more on usability than widgetry.

Is this good or bad overall? (2)

angelo (21182) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264910)

Is this a good thing or a bad thing for us overall? Linux was always a hacker's system. If you didn't know how to compile something, you weren't likely to get far. RedHat fixed that bug.

Now our desktop is too difficult to use? Which desktop? we have over 50 or so window managers, and 2 object models. I can see something based on gnome helping out, but what happens when JoeRandomNewbie loads up his pretty desktop and it proceeds to segfault? What if XDM drops him to a standard login prompt like when Windows can't load all of its dll's?

Suddenly, cold hard reality sets in. This isn't MacOS. For it to be close, they would have to somehow castrate the shell interface. You can't really do much in BeOS until you drop to a command line. MacOS is good for new users because they CAN'T go to that level. Everything is taken in graphically, just as our minds tend to work.

I once worked at Egghead. On the week following WIN95 going on sale, fielded many questions. One of the people there wondered if he had to use "DOS words" When I asked hem what he meant by that, he said "like name _period_ dat dat dat" and It dawned on me he was referring to filenames! This seems to be a common thought pattern among users out there.

Linux not getting new users is all about the CLI. New users are afraid of it. If a "newbie" distribution is made, it would be accepted quickly, but what happens if it fails out of the GUI? Or if a release goes out that has something broken in it? And the usual questions like "does it run Word" comes to mind. Heck, if it runs on Intel hardware, and so does Windows, why can't it run Windows applications? You will have a lot of Linux users on paper but not in life. They would be Eazel users.

While innovation is great, I think this project may do more harm than good. It will be good in the sense that a lot of UI work would be done. It would be great if it could be downloaded for free and used under any distro as a window manager. But how will Eazel make money if it is a company. There's the obvious support, but even RedHat sells a physical product.

If they put it up for sale it may not reach full adoption like standard libraries such as GTK or tcl/tk or X protocol. But they probably have a plan to take care of this. I could be wrong, but they could just be the first with an idea.

I know that the OS to most of us isn't the sum of its GUI and ease of use. It's the kernel and the applications. I hope the Eazel foks remember that. It's a different paradigm.

Re:This is what Linux needs (2)

irix (22687) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264912)

-- I know that SGI had a similar thing for IRIX as seen in Jurassic Park, but there is AFAIK nothing like this for Linux. --

What you saw in Jurassic Park was a little demo that SGI put together called "File System Navigator" that basically displayed your UNIX filesystem in 3D using OpenGL. You could see the directories, files, sizes of files/dirs, etc.

It was never part of the O/S or 4Dwm, and it wasn't really useful apart from the "cute" factor.

Duplication of Effort? (2)

DarkFyre (23233) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264914)

Now, I realize that choice is a good thing. I think it's a good thing that Linux has two major consumer desktops (KDE, Gnome) and all of the standalone WMs that form much of the workstation market (AfterStep, CDE, etc). But really, is it better to start a new project for this kind of activity?

I think it would be better for these developers to contribute to the existing projects. It's kind of a waste of man-hours to go about writing another window manager if Sawmill, Blackbox or E will meet their needs. Similarly, I think it's kind of a waste of man hours to go about trying to build another project with similar goals to KDE and Gnome.

Besides, it may be special that they're starting to build this product, but who really believes that it will surpass Gnome/KDE? Even if they take the existing Gnome codebase and add modifications, I think it's unreasonable to expect that anyone else will be able to improve Gnome faster than the Gnome team. Both Gnome and KDE have built communities of developers and users, which help them develop better products. I don't think that this new entry will be able to do any more than the existing products, or advance at a quicker pace.

Of course, I could be wrong. Actually, I hope I am. Best of luck, guys.

Re:Look for something amazing from this project (2)

PigleT (28894) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264917)

I won't flame you for linux being already "easy to use", but I do ask: why is "easy to use" synonymous with "good" in so many folks' views? Why is it seen that it "must" appeal to the desktop luser as well as everyone else?

Isn't the idea of "winning the OS war" that (a) there is no war (b) it's the strength of quality signal that counts, not count(bums_on_seats)??

Re:GNOME fork? (2)

t-money (32075) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264920)

This is not a fork. Nautilus is the REPLACEMENT for gmc. It will be part of GNOME 2.0. I actually had not heard of Eazel until today, but I knew of the existence of nautilus and that the Gnome project wanted to replace MC/GMC with a brand spanking new file manager.

not just a file manager (2)

/ (33804) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264921)

It'll end up being a complete distrobution when they're done. Then they'll sell the cd's and the documentation and support for the entire distro. Remember, this isn't being aimed at people who want to download the software off the net and install it themselves -- it wouldn't do to say "Here's a filemanager for all you novices out there, but you'll have to install it over an existing scary-to-install installation.

Corel's distro is basically Debian + a filemanager. There's no reason for this company to do differently.

Duh (2)

/ (33804) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264922)

The people who want it to be easy to use are asking for it to be easy to use because they want it to be easy to use -- they find it hard and would like it to be easier. They want the stability and the low hardware requirements and the neat apps and the security and all the other stuff without having to invest a lot more effort. They themselves want this for their own purposes, and they're happy when someone comes along and says: "Sure, I can give you that." Some people simply don't do complex things, and it's usually not prudent/fair to make them learn how to handle complex tasks that don't arise for them.

It's not the number of seats that matters so much (although I could present arguments as to why it does matter) but the satisfaction and happiness of the people who fill them. If Linux doesn't serve their needs perfectly but could do so if someone out there wrote some software to accomodate them, then let that programmer go ahead and do so.; especially if that software is just a shell wrapped around all the technical and gritty details that remain inside for people to play with if they so choose.

Linux isn't just about making an operating system that's fun for hackers to play with. It's supposed about making an operating system that can be extended to fit people's needs as they arise and if someone wants to address them. One of those needs is a click 'n drool interface. You can safely ignore it if it doesn't suit your needs.

Re:built on gnome (2)

RNG (35225) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264924)

GNOME is also in C (AFAIK), so I wonder if they have C++ wrappers for it. (or do they already)?

Yes. There's several. I've been using Gtk-- (available on soureforce) for a year now and like it a alot; it's nice to be able to use real inheritance rather than the casting madness Gtk+ makes you go through.

Re:Look for something amazing from this project (2)

thimo (36102) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264925)

For me winning the OS war will be when we really have a choice. At home I have and I can impress my friends with my system. But at work it is a whole different story. Here, I'll have the choice when we have all the apps I need (and Lotus Notes is one of the necessary ones) and to have the apps, we need to have the audience and as the audience is the "dumb"...

At work all we have is Windows and AIX. AIX to run Baan and Domino and Windows to do almost everything else. A few NT servers could be replaced, but... *sigh* I won't start while I'm still in a good mood. :-)

IMHO, winning is *not* having quality. It has never been quality and it never will be. I really think that in case to win, we need to crush MS. Its share on the desktop needs to be less than half of what they have right now, otherwise they'll still be too powerfull and be a too-save choice. A breakup of MS will help too. :-)


You've got core! (2)

georgeha (43752) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264929)

heh-heh-heh, ex AOL workers, someone had to say it.


Re:uh... isn't this nautilus? (2)

anatoli (74215) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264934)

Yes, it is. [eazel.com]

Unfortunately I would have to agree (2)

slashdot-terminal (83882) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264942)

I would hate to build anything on top of Gnome.
I have used gnome in the past from time to
time, but eventually something always happens
that places Gnome in some wacked state from
whence I can never return. Gnome resembles
an M$ product -- sex appeal sans stability.

Darn it I tried I really tried. I guess the only reason I use anything GNOME related is because some apps can be run without the need of the whole things running. Mostly I use Gnome-terminal and the occasional other possibly useful app.

What really truely pains me is that it takes so much of my system with it.

486dx66/16MB ram/340MB hd/20MB swap.

I can barely get anything to actually work without a tremendous slowdown.

I have figured out one thing with linux which I think is accurate.

All the development on linux apps is going into what that theoretical computer in the sky will be able to do and not what the average or low end machine can do. The size of the disk space requirements, the size of programs, the need to compile almost everything yourself (and then spend 10+ hours banging your head against the wall getting the said features to work). It is intensely agraviating. I only use it because my machine isn't supported by the bastards in Redmond and never will.

Gnome could very well streamline it's use of memory and perhaps allow for a seamless use of things. Perhaps scale itself for whatever machine or system profile. Have graphics taken to vertain levels depending on the memory or disk space would be an excellent start.

Re:danger... (2)

abram_fettig (88038) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264948)

I don't think that their aim is to make a one-size-fits-all desktop. Their aim is to create another desktop, one that will be simple to use for novice users. Yes, a UNIX without pipes would be much less powerful. But no, your Grandmother doesn't care. All she wants to do is to be able to surf the web, send email, find where she put her files, and MAYBE hook up a scanner, printer, or cable modem. So she uses this new, super-simple GUI to get around and configure her system.

When you are visiting and you want to write a new startup script for her, just escape to the command prompt, or switch over to Enlightenment or KDE or whatever your favorite desktop shell/environment is.

I think that one environment will never appeal to everybody. That's what Windows tried to do, and that's one of the reasons we all use Linux today. By providing muliple environments for users of different skill levels, Linux can become truly an OS for anybody.

ease of use; was Re:Look for something amazing (2)

QuasEye (98125) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264951)

why is "easy to use" synonymous with "good" in so many folks' views?

Forgive me if I seem condescending here, but I think the answer is obvious. No matter the quality, a tool (of any kind) has absolutely no utility, and therefore no value, if no one can use it. That being said, there are places for both complex tools (requiring special training) and simple tools (requiring more than two brain cells). This isn't an attempt to steal away your ultra-flexible command prompt, just a way to get more functionality out of your computer without having to look at it should you be so inclined. If you're not, don't use it, but please don't gripe about it being there. This OS is not now, and never was, the exclusive property of you and your hacker kindred. Bring on the masses...


The last big thing (2)

jalefkowit (101585) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264955)

Great, another GUI. They aim to make Linux as easy to use as Windows. Say what? The plain fact is that Windows isn't easy to use in any traditional sense of the term. Windows is just familiar for most people -- they've just internalized its quirks and contradictions. The same goes for MacOS; neither is particularly intuitive in the sense that it would be immediately apparent to someone who'd never seen a computer before how it works. We define these interfaces as "easy" only because the basic premises of the GUI have had 15 years to percolate through the population. Moreover, the whole idea of the GUI is showing its age. The first popular GUI was for the Apple Macintosh, and was designed to handle 400K disks that could hold a few files. Today essentially the same interface is being used to manage 30GB disks that hold millions of files. The result is chaos; folders within folders within folders ad infinitum. More and more, people resort to finding ways to work around the file system rather than working within it; watch how often a new user has to go to Sherlock or the Windows "Find" command to figure out where his or her file went. Managing files on a modern PC via a GUI has become a little like trying to bail out a battleship with a thimble. So, while it's great and all that someone is working to develop Yet Another GUI, I'd be more interested in seeing some of these smart people devoting some time to coming up with an interface that will do to GUIs what GUIs did to CLIs. Is there anyone more interested in developing The Next Big Thing than in refining the Last Big Thing?

-- Jason A. Lefkowitz

Modularity (2)

razvedchik (107358) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264956)

I hate to sharpshoot, but....
A yes/no response takes up one bit, consisting of either a 1 or a 0.

Having said that, I think this is an opportunity for the modularity of Linux to shine through. If you want the easy GUI (the 2-bit one), you can have that, even make it the default install interface so you don't even have to set it up. If you want to work only from a console(the 64-bit interface), that too is acceptable. If you want something in the middle(the 32-bit interface), you have many choices.

Remember, it's all modular. I use KDM at home so that my 3-year old can click on the icon for him to log in and have his own little world (he likes to run 5xXroach, 5xXsnow, and wine at the same time), but I can use the virtual consoles or X if I want to, and I just pick which window manager to use at log-in. Even a no-brainer can figure out how to log in, and the more advanced users can pick which option to use.

Re:The New Microsoft is Born (2)

molog (110171) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264957)

A good GUI means next to nothing until WINE is more up to the task of emulating windows... Pretty interfaces don't win desktops, plentiful, usable applications do. Witness Windows 3.1: Aweful in terface compared to Macs and OS/2... Incredibly unstable. Lots more apps. Guess who won the battle for the desktop?

I have to disagree. Lets look at a few things. First of all emulating windows never did anyone any good. OS/2 emulated Windows 3.1 functionality (I was able to run pretty much any 3.1 app that I put on OS/2 Warp)I'm not saying that OS/2 died because it ran Windows apps. I'm saying that People aren't going to come to Linux just because they can run Windows apps. They have Windows to do that for them already. Linux needs easy to use apps that will bring people over to Linux. If we have to rely on running Windows apps then we have lost. Linux either stands alone or it doesn't stand.


So Brain, what are we doing tonight?

This is good news (2)

Animats (122034) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264958)

This is really good news. Andy Hertzfeld knows what he's doing. But the real problem is at setup time, not usage time.

As I point out occasionally, the whole configuration mess needs a rethink. I'd start by dropping support for all non-PnP hardware, all ISA hardware, and driving the configuration process strictly from the PnP tree. No end user should ever have to deal with IRQs, device address numbers, or hardware conflicts again. Yeah, some legacy hardware won't work. So use an old version of the OS on those machines, or upgrade.

Win and Mac simplicity (2)

348 (124012) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264959)

Boich said his company aims to take ease of use to a new level and plans ultimately to surpass Microsoft's Windows OS and the Mac in simplicity.

I can understand the mindset to make a product that can surpass or compete with Apples simplicity and ease of use for the average user, but comparing this to Wind*ws seems a little odd. Back in the days of Win 3.1 and possibly up through Win 95, the environment was still pretty simple and the ease of use was also pretty good. However with 98, NT and now the upcoming 2K, these environments are very complicated for the average user to set up and re-configure when adding new HW or maybe a larger application. Look at how AOL's 5.0 completely hosed so many systems.

One more firm that wants to be part of the open source model is a great thing though. A little competition for Mandrake wouldn't hurt for the end consumer either. Although the article seemed a little press-releas-ish, it looks like they want to create a pretty complete environment.

Re:So how long before VA/RH buys them out? (2)

Zebbers (134389) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264961)

I just have two questions:

Whens the IPO?

And how do you know my mother can use it?! You talking bout my mamma?!?!

Re:Gnome unstable (3)

davie (191) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264964)

I used to hold the same opinion of GNOME, but after updating all the modules to the latest stable versions it became pretty solid.

Part of the problem with GNOME may be Enlightenment as the wm. I love E, don't get me wrong--it's the sexiest wm out there IMO, but it's just too much for my everyday use. I just recently built and installed sawmill [sourceforge.net] , and the result is a smaller, quicker desktop that is very clean and configurable. With E, my 128 meg machine was consitently using about 40 MB swap, with most of that being X. The GUI was syrupy and just didn't feel right (prob. just some stupid configuration decision on my part). With sawmill, I'm using about 5-10 MB swap and everything's snappy. Now if I want to show off to friends, I use E, but when I'm working it's sawmill all the way.

Ultimately Cooperative (3)

Christopher B. Brown (1267) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264965)

What they're building is effectively an "all encompassing file manager," called Nautilus.

There's no particular reason for this to represent a "duplication of effort," at least from the standpoint of the GNOME project. After all, they needed a better file manager. GMC has not been all that satisfactory.

What their application amounts to is one that unifies files and remote objects (via HTTP/FTP) together, and lets methods be invoked on them.

By using the Bonobo [gnome.org] interface, they can pull in all sorts of GNOME objects. That's certainly not duplication.

It may be duplicative if you're a developer working on the Kconq file manager for KDE that has similar scope; it's not duplicative within the context of GNOME.

I'd say that this is the most important component to have some serious HCI people take a look at; that's the only hope of it being usable to the "Bubba" users. (No offense intended to other than Presidents of the United States :-) ...)

It's important that this get HCI attention in that if it succeeds, Nautilus would become the front-end for a whole lot of users to get at "system stuff."

Business model? (3)

Jerky McNaughty (1391) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264966)

It appears they're just writing a new file manager/explorer type application for GNOME and releasing it under the GPL. I don't see a way for them to make money doing this (after all, neither support nor documentation should be an issue for something like a file manager).

How do they expect to make money?

D'oh! scooped again... (3)

imac.usr (58845) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264976)

Jeez, and I just submitted this, too... :-]

BTW, one of the employees on the project is Andy Hertzfeld. It will therefore NOT suck. (Andy is about the closest thing to a Linus the Mac OS has, other than Bill Atkinson and a select few others.)

For Mac users reading this, try this experiment. Find a copy of PepsiCaps. Run it in the OS X blue box. Marvel that a 15-year-old Mac application still works on today's machines, even if it does deviate slightly from the human interface guidelines.

danger... (3)

KGBear (71109) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264977)

...And we'll do it in a way that appeals to today's Linux users and to mere mortals...

I'll believe it when I see it. What "mere mortals" want is auto-everything. For auto-everything to work the system has to make assumptions, or rather the programmers behind the systems make assumptions. My experience is that they almost never make the same assumptions I would make, which always leads me to disable all the auto-everything stuff the system will let me disable.

Another thing "mere mortals" want is an all-graphics interface; everything point and click. Hmm, I can't see how something like:

rm `ls -l|awk '{print $3}'|grep "juser"`

could be graphical, not with the same flexibility and any kind of Unix without the pipe/redirect capabilities would be kinda stupid.

Another thing, admin tools (like linuxconf) require that you refrain from touching the config files by hand, or things will preety soon get out of sync.

So, it will take quite a piece of software to convince me it can be useful and enjoyable both for current Linux users and for "mere mortals"; if any software does convince me, though, it'll be amazing.

It's exactly what's needed for Linux acceptance... (3)

Cheerio Boy (82178) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264979)

This is exactly the sort of thing that is needed for Linux to be accepted by the mainstream public.
For all our talk as Linux users about the "dumbing down of Linux" as an OS Linux really needs something like this.
For instance I could teach most of KDE or GNOME to my mother but what would she do if the print spool wouldn't clear after trying the Printer Control? Or what if she wanted someone else in the family to be able to use her system but not touch her stuff? Both of these tasks require administrative skills that she does not have and would most likely be unwilling to have to learn. Unfortunately for those of the Linux community there is no substitute for the Windows Control Panel. (yet)

Remember what people have said for years about software and business management - Programmers want an infintely wide interface, middle managers want an 8-bit interface because that's all they can handle, and upper management wants a 2 bit interface - Yes/No.

Most (I use the word loosely) users in America today can handle the 8-bit interface but due to the increased "dumbing-down" of our culture we're forcing people down to the level of a 2-bit interface. (Unfortunate but true.) Thus we're left with the situation that "Anything that is simpler for the user is the solution."

We may not like it but there it is and we do have to accept it until we can change it.

Also for those of you about to rally to the "We'll force them to learn!" flag - might I suggest you look at your own reactions when someone "forced" you to do something such as use an M$ product. ;-)

The Tick - "Spoon!"

Windows version? (3)

Sunracer (103819) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264982)

I guess that if they ever decide to go Windows, it would be called Weazel... ;-)

uh... isn't this nautilus? (4)

lavaboy (21282) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264983)

Take a look at the nautilus screenshots here ...

Look for something amazing from this project (4)

EverCode (60025) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264984)

1. Distribution contracts
2. Integrated XML using Gecko
3. Integrated Internet functions
4. Web bases software installation and updates
5. Hidden complexity, but still accessable to Geeks
6. Parallels with BeOS interface

Now, I much prefer BeOS over Linux, but this will be a step in the right direction for Linux being useable for the average person.

Please don't flame me about how Linux is already easy to use, because there are many rough edges.

Have a good one.

Unless it comes with a one button mouse. (4)

raptwithal (134137) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264985)

I think this is great news. Although some people might not like the idea of a 'dumbing- down' of Linux, I think it's really good news as this will doubtless help convince other people that Linux really is one of the best choices (if not the best choice) around.

I tried to convince a friend of mine to switch to Linux a while ago, and he was dismayed at having to _type_ in the name of a file in the WM menu configurator instead of being able to browse for it. I consider it a trivial inconvenience, but to him it's still a big deal.

Let's face it folks, most people out there use Windows at least partly because they're lazy. (I didn't say all!) And from what we've heard about Windows 2000 I think it's clear that it's not all that unstable. Plus it's more user- friendly than any desktop we have . . . I still prefer Linux, but an easy- to use GUI would be welcome.

Unless it comes with a one button mouse.

Windows is NOT easy to use. (5)

Wakko Warner (324) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264986)

Ask anyone unfamiliar with computers: Windows is a horrible GUI to master, because of the simple fact that it's so damned inconsistent. The Interface Hall of Shame has a lot to say in this regard, but, to give some examples:

- What's the key combination to print something in Windows?
- What's the key combination to close a window?
- What's the key combination to save a file?
- Where does Game X install itself in the Start menu?

Ask 10 people and you'll probably get at least 5 different answers, simply because every application is allowed to do things differently. This makes the learning curve exponentially greater because you need to learn the shortcuts for _every_ application!

As much as I hate the MacOS from a technical standpoint, it really does have everything else beat hands-down when it comes to simplicity and consistency. (Or at least it did -- Aqua looks pretty hideous...)

- A.P.

"One World, one Web, one Program" - Microsoft promotional ad

Oh, brother... (5)

Millennium (2451) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264987)

There seem to be a lot of misunderstandings about this.

1) It doesn't seem to be a fork on Gnome, but rather an extension of it (perhaps a set of modules for it?)
2) It is NOT being developed by Apple or AOL. These are a bunch of people who used to work for Apple and AOL, but neither company is itself directly involved.
3) I know a lot of people are just going to post without reading the article, so I might as well reiterate it here: yes, it's GPL'd.
4) Once again, this is NOT Apple doing this. But I wouldn't be surprised if some of the people from the now-defunct Human Interface team there are now working on it.

Now, my own views on the project: I hope it works out. GNOME and KDE are both making good progress towards bringing a good, usable GUI to Linux, but both still have a long way to go. A boost, particularly from people who've designed UI's professionally before, would be a great help.

What Lusers! (5)

deeny (10239) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264989)

No, not so much a flame as a caveat. One Eazel employee told, at a recent bay area Linux gathering, of how harsh the management is about prospective employees.

And several prominent Bay Area Linux people with heavy GUI backgrounds (like myself) were snubbed by Eazel to hire much less expensive neophyte programmers. Yeah, I was one of them, but I don't care as I found a great-paying and good job elsewhere. I was much more surprised when several other friends with good credentials were ALSO snubbed.

Basically, they'd be willing to pay a premium for a big name, but I sincerely doubt the employees will be treated well.

My vote on Eazel: nice concept, wrong company.


Great idea.... (5)

EvlG (24576) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264990)

...but it's going to take a lot of work. We need apps that my mom can use, and lots of them. Financial apps, word processing and spreadsheet apps, and a good web browser (Unix Netscape just sucks today).
Some of the pieces are already being worked on, and a few already exist. You might say StarOffice is good enough for mom to use, despite the fact that it doesn't always import MS formats properly. The financial apps are pretty poor right now. All the Free ones listed on freshmeat are so feature-poor, it's hard to use them for anything but the simplest checkbook balancing. When/If Intuit ports Quicken to Linux, things will be different.
As for the web browser, this is probably the "killer app" for most people. Ask anyone what program they use most every day, and they will probably answer NS/IE. The problem is that web browsing on Linux sucks. Unix Netscape on the whole is just crap. Its more unstable than Win32 Netscape, and X just makes the fonts look like shit. The text is unreadable and ugly. Furthermore, plugin and Java support in NS on Linux is abysmal. This is a serious problem. Mozilla looks to change all that, by providing a high quality, standard web browser implementation cross-platform. That would be quite a feat! Unfortunately, that's also quite a ways off.
In sum, I think efforts like these are nice, but I really believe that it's a little early to be making things mom can use. In many ways, right now we don't even have stuff WE can use.

"User Friendly" is more than a simple GUI. (5)

Dharzhak (124289) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264992)

Heh. Getting my mother to use Linux wouldn't be that difficult. My fiancee is another matter entirely. She's about as computer literate as a house plant. Which is why I hope they suceed. I'd like to be able to discuss Unix and Linux issues without her eyes glazing over.

That said, making Linux an easier pill for John Q. Public to take requires more than a GUI.

It's going to require a "Plug and Play" ability for peripherials...or at least better automatic detection and mounting. The latter is mostly an issue of better driver support. The former is a much more drastic change.

It's also going to require a increased ability to set things up from the desktop graphic tools. Don't get me wrong. I'm a command line evangelist. As a systems admin, the command line tools give me a better insight to how the system works. John Q. Public, OTOH, really doesn't give a flying fsck how the system works. John Q. Public wants to run his Quicken 2000, Office 2000 (two products that, if ported, would make a lot of converts), games and web surf for cheap airline tickets and pr0n. What he doesn't want to do is kernel tuning, add patches (or service packs), manually add zip disks, etc. A computer is a tool. If the average user can't figure out how to use our tool or gets continually frustrated, he'll buy one that he can use a lot easier...Macs and Win 9x.

What we really ought to be doing is not beta testing with other techies, but beta testing with people like my fiancee. Those that have no clue and really don't want one. If it passes that test, then it will be ready for prime time as a home computer OS.

Re:danger... (5)

False Data (153793) | more than 14 years ago | (#1264993)

What "mere mortals" want is auto-everything.

I agree with you here.

Another thing "mere mortals" want is an all-graphics interface; everything point and click.

I disagree here. I suspect what "mere mortals" want is a tool, as opposed to today's scaled-down mainframes. It's been very instructive watching my father use my computer, and having to explain what a window is, what a scroll thumb is, the fact that page-up and page-down keys exist and what they do, and how to use a word processor. (Ever tried to explain the margin feature that manages indentation on most word processors? How about auto-numbering? I finally switched him to a word processor with fewer features because they kept getting in the way of his getting things done.) A windowed interface is intuitive for me, but I grew up on computers. He didn't.

I'd argue that what "mere mortals" want is to get a job done, and any interface that does that for them is what they're looking for. For instance, the interface my father would really like to have is a secretary. He'd like to be able to say to the computer "take this hand-written note and get it to Joe", which the computer should interpret as "turn on the scanner, scan this piece of paper, perform OCR, ask me about anything that looks misspelled, out of context, or just plain wierd, perform the corrections, figure out how best to reach Joe - fax, email, whatever - and get this message to him." Sorting through a file structure to find a file is a distraction for him, and having to configure a PPP auto-dialer is right out. The closest thing I've seen that even tries to approach this level of usability is MIT's Oxygen project.

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