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harsh and constructive comments on UI

From: Riccardo
Subject: harsh and constructive comments on UI
Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2005 12:26:45 +0100

Hey all,

first my positive comments.

I like the design of:

some details may be smoothed out, but it has a nice look and it doesn't disrupt the *step tradition. It clearly borrows some inspiration from aqua's brushed theme but is not a clone of it, in some aspects it is even better.

However, as always, this list gets flooded about more or less useless comments and opinions about the UI stuff. I don't mean they are wrong, sometimes they are just a bit too "unpolitically" expressed. The fact is that gnustep has to get complete. SO let's direct our energies there too!

My personal feelings, but apparently they are more or less shared by some other traditional developers as I discussed them on IRC, are:

1. The default gnustep theme should be what it is now, just better. a 100% next and openstep clone. COnsistent in the icons and in the details. I like it. Other like it too

2. on the other hand I appreciate the idea of some "official" themes that should not be the default, but should be a half a dozen, not more, that are easily installable and accessible from the gnustep site. This implies - more modern or alternative look, but still professional and polished, like jess proposal cited above. These should be included in a new Live CD for example, as that is for the moment our "demo". - easy selection through, for example, a plugin in Preferences.app (seems to me the most integrated solution) - minimum (better if none) impact on "default" theme users on both look, performance and compatibility - showing off of these "selected themes" on the gnustep.org site would finally calm down those voices that theming is not possible or does not allow good looks. This is good to have to cut-down stupid comments before they are even born. - I don't like the idea of a "contest" the default gnustep theme is one and it was done before us. Of course a "gnustep-themes.org" sites could exist and it could be linked from the official site. But I would not like to see many themes "officially" endorsed by gnustep. Leave the user the choice and make them easy installable and selectable.

Again, I point the finger on the problem that GNUstep is "lingering" not only for it looks. I remember KDE 1. It had a quite spartan look and had no real themes, just some colors (here again, Preferences.app already has coloring capabilities, maybe we should slap in some combinations, including the default one; currently that pref is not very good). But it already had a broader range of integrated and usable utilities!

On this side, I'd invite to have a look at the frameworks omniweb released. They could pre useful. License maybe discussed though.

-Riccardo (aka grey gandalf)

PS: I know that after all these good words my two GNUstep applications don't have a bad icon: they have none at all. I never came up with something satisfactory. Although I can do some design work, it is a long work and I often trash the results. I might speak with jess about this and other should do it too maybe.

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