At Tue, 15 Jun 2004 09:40:26 +0900,
Sean O'Dell wrote:
> > >Most programmers never get to that level, so there are a lot of
> > >programmers out there who, when asked to do something they simply
> > >can't do, defend themselves by saying it shouldn't be easy to
> > >use/learn in the first place.

I don't know whether it's really like that. If you're mainly talking
about open soure (or free) software, then in many cases it's probably
more like this: those programmers put their free time in their
projects, and they think it's more important to get in the needed (in
their opinion) features, than to add documentation or to make it
userfriendly. Additionally, i'm sure that a lot of programmers just
don't have any idea about how to make a good intuitive gui, for
example.

> So in your mind, the reason so much software is hard for people to use is 
> because programmers don't have time to do any more than just get the software 
> working, and ease of use simply isn't going to put food on the table.

I think this applies to programmers who don't get paid for the work
they do. Userfriendliness (including documentation) most of the times
is low priority for them.

> That's really laughable.  Steve Jobs and Bill Gates might have something to 
> say about that particular position.

Hmmm.. 'userfriendliness' is also relative. What is more
userfriendly... typing 'rm *.jpg', or selecting each jpg-file
individually (if you first find out how to let explorer/finder show
extensions), and then dragging them to the trash-can, and then
emptying the trashcan ?  _To me_, the former is a lot easier and seems
more userfriendly. ;-)

But seriously, i think that especially Mac OS X is really good
concerning userfriendliness.

> If you mean *nix is the foundation on which KDE is built, sure, of course.  
> But no one designed unix with KDE or even X-Windows in mind.  KDE could very 
> easily be just as difficult and cryptic to everyday users as anything else in 
> *nix.  It's not that KDE can now afford to be easy to use because *nix laid 
> the foundation.  What about Macs, Windows and Beos?  Those aren't (well, OS X 
> is) based on a Linux core, and they're easy to use.

I think he meant that once the libraries which KDE relies on (the core
KDE libs) were finished, that the programmers could start to focus on
ease of use. It's the same with GNOME, they have a big set of
libraries around which the GNOME desktop is built and these days they
seem to focus more and more on userfriendliness, they for example have
guidelines for the way gui-s should be built (HIG.. human interface
guidelines?), and i believe that official GNOME apps should always
follow those guidelines which then should result in uniform and
consistent gui-s.

(btw, OS X is not based on a linux core, but on a BSD core and a Mach
kernel AFAIK)

> No, I stand by what I said.  New talent is working around Linux
> these days and things are getting easier to use, as well as
> remaining, or being more, powerful.

I'm not so sure it is all/only *new* talent. But for sure, recently
userfriendliness has gotten much more attention (again, in open
source/free software world), which is a good thing of course.

> > > The command line interface, though, is a tough nut to crack
> > > because it's been around so long.  If it were being developed
> > > from scratch today, surely there are enough inexperienced
> > > computers users that you could probably design something that's
> > > both powerful and intuitive to use.

I do wonder what features would make the CLI more 'intuitive' ?
Because, personally, i don't think that renaming the commands (as was
suggested before) is making it much more intuitive... if you use
'copy' instead of 'cp', well, you have to know that it's 'copy', so
you have to learn it anyway. So you can as well learn 'cp' then. (i
personally don't have any problem remembering those commands, once i
know how they came to them) I have noticed before however that some
people (in general, not necessarily on this list) reason like this:
"Oh, i've been using a DOS command prompt for years... and there i use
'copy' to copy files. Now in Linux they use 'cp', what kind of
braindead OS is that ?!?" And then they go on like this: "If Linux
wants to be popular, they should make the transition for Windows/DOS
people a lot easier, so they should use 'copy'."  I think that if you
switch to another OS, you should just take the time to learn the OS
and read the available documentation. You should adapt yourself to the
new environment and not the other way around. And if you really insist
on having things the way it is in your previous OS... well, then just
don't change.

But nonetheless, a more intuitive CLI sounds very interesting, i just
think it's a lot easier to say that CLI should be more intuitive, than
to actually give some ideas about *how* to accomplish that. I think a
lot of people aren't necessarily *against* userfriendliness, but for
sure they are not willing to 'cripple' their tools to make it easier
for newbies who refuse to take the learning curve. And tools like
'man' and 'apropos' can give you a lot of usefull information. Most of
the time those are enough to help yourself. (at least in my case)

Ruben