[linux-elitists] GNOME report.

Shlomi Fish shlomif@iglu.org.il
Thu Jan 8 03:16:00 PST 2004

On Thursday 08 January 2004 10:42, Jeff Waugh wrote:
> <quote who="Shlomi Fish">
> > The bottom buttons in the dialog boxes are arranged from right to left
> > instead of from left to right.
> That's an inaccurate description of the design.
> http://developer.gnome.org/projects/gup/hig/1.0/windows.html#alert-button-o
> (Plus, dialogues should be rare - coherent and verbal too, but rare.)

I am still annoyed by handling all these dialog or input boxes when I have to 
handle them. In KDE, I just follow my instincts and press the correct button. 
In GNOME or Gtk+ apps, I have to think - "wait a second, this is not right", 
before I have to read the labels and press the correct button. That's not 

> > This is a more Mac OS behaviour than the Windows one I'm used to and it
> > is practically hard-coded into Gtk+. I've been meaning to send a patch to
> > make this configurable, but haven't done so, yet.
> It's not something that will go away. You can't actually make it an
> "option" because it's a very specific application layout design, not a
> "reversal". 

I beg to differ. In Gtk+ there's a special enum value intended for this, which 
maps to either LEFT or RIGHT. One can hack Gtk+ so that upon initialization 
it will see if the configuration file or an env var sets it to the opposite 
and then map it to the opposite direction. This way people can configure Gtk+ 
GNOME to their liking. (just like you can configure Qt and KDE like that)

> We had many a flamewar, lots of user testing, and many 
> discussions with distributors and so on about it. 

You deserve all this mess.

> The design is there for 
> consistency and usability, and as the Siemens study showed, making things
> "work like Windows" [1] and familiar to Windows is not the best strategy we
> can take. Making the best usability decision can be a far better call.

I beg to differ: making things similar to what the user _is used to_ (whether 
Windows or otherwise) is the best usability decision. Suddenly reversing the 
order of the buttons will cause people to become very frustrated with GNOME. 
And I heard from someone that he knows several guys who switched from GNOME 
to KDE for various reasons, after GNOME 2.0 came out. Other than that I don't 
see the GNOME's excuse for setting the buttons this way (that the user's eye 
jumps to the bottom-right corner of the dialog) as good enough to force this 
scheme over the traditional Windows/KDE/GNOME 1.x/whatever one.

That put aside, I must say that I completely disagree with the GNOME's "less 
is more" ideology. I found Metacity to be the lamest WM I ever encountered, 
and could not get it to behave even remotely like I liked it to be. (I 
quickly switched to Sawfish, but then missed the nice configuration dialog in 
GNOME). Also, why isn't it possible in GNOME 2.0 (don't know about later 
versions) to configure the fonts? My fonts were initially very unusable. 
Finally, why did gfontsel and the excellent font choice dialog disappear? I 
very much miss them.

KDE knows that people like choices, and so is very configurable (albeit 
sometimes not from the UI, but from initialization files). Furthermore, it 
can emulate other popular desktop systems, so people who are used to one of 
them will quickly feel at home. I think its usability is second to none.

> - Jeff
> [1] Who don't actually have a coherent design for dialogue buttons. They
> are just... how they are.

Most of the dialog buttons in Windows are arranged in one order. The OK to the 
far left, the Cancel to its right. The help to the far right. KDE can be 
configured to be much like that, but in GNOME it is the opposite. Sorry, I 
don't buy it.


	Shlomi Fish


Shlomi Fish      shlomif@iglu.org.il
Homepage: http://t2.technion.ac.il/~shlomif/

I don't believe in fairies. Oops! A fairy died.
I don't believe in fairies. Oops! Another fairy died.

More information about the linux-elitists mailing list