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Re: Default GUI or CLI for 3.8

From: PhilipNienhuis
Subject: Re: Default GUI or CLI for 3.8
Date: Sun, 24 Nov 2013 13:19:04 -0800 (PST)

Initially I preferred to stay away from this discussion, but I changed my
mind when I saw the comments about the state of the GUI. I'm more hopeful
than the Linux guys here :-)

Michael Godfrey wrote
> On 11/22/2013 03:53 PM, Rik wrote:
>> On 11/22/2013 12:31 PM, John W. Eaton wrote:
>>> > From the messages I've seen so far, everyone seems to be in favor of
>>> >releasing with the 3.8 version number and the GUI disabled.  That's
>>> >OK, but I'm not sure it will accomplish what we want.
>>> >
>>> >3.8 vs. 4.0 probably doesn't mean much to most users.  Many of them
>>> >don't even know what version of Octave they are using.  One number is
>>> >just as good as any other.
>>> >
>>> >We can ask, but we can't prevent packagers from enabling the GUI by
>>> >default.
>> No, although I think most packagers won't go out of their way to
>> disrespect
>> our wishes.
>>> >   And users are likely to just want to run it regardless of
>>> >what we do.  Having a --gui option won't tell them anything except
>>> >that the GUI is optional.  It won't tell them that we consider it to
>>> >be in a state of testing.  If that's what we want users to understand,
>>> >then we need to be more explicit about that.  Subtle clues like
>>> >version 3.8 instead of 4.0 and having the GUI disabled by default
>>> >isn't enough.
>> We could keep the existing option --force-gui as the way to start the
>> GUI.
>> It doesn't sound that friendly and anything with "force" in it shouldn't
>> be
>> something you throw in casually to an option list.
>>> >How about adding a message box to the top menu bar that has a warning
>>> >icon and tells people that this is the first release of the GUI and
>>> >that we are looking for feedback and help with testing and fixing it?
>> I think this is good too, in addition to other measures like the
>> announcement in the NEWS file and requiring an option to start it. 
>> Strings
>> for the new window probably won't be translated in time for release, but
>> that's a minor concern.
>>> >
>>> >I'm aware that there are problems, but I think the GUI is working
>>> >pretty well on Windows and GNU/Linux systems now.  I think we should
>>> >make it start by default on those systems (still with the warning
>>> >displayed) just because there are more serious problems on OS X.
>>> >
>> The GUI does work pretty well on Linux and I could recommend it there,
>> but
>> my experience on Windows hasn't been great.  I know that is the system
>> that
>> needs it most since Windows users almost never resort to the command
>> line,
>> but I'd still call it rough.
>> --Rik

As to Windows:
I've been working on a daily basis with the GUI on Windows since early this
year. All I can say is that IMO especially since -say- last October the GUI
is very very well usable. 
In addition Octave has translations - I expect many people will like that
very much (although Octave's language and warning/error messages are still
in English).

The only stumbling block for unwary users could be finding out how to
dock/undock a pane using the relevant button. Maybe a right-click menu on
the pane's title bar would be more intuitive, I don't know.

> The warning about "first release" or something a bit stronger is 
> required in any
> case.  If the choice is made to have the GUI as default the warning 
> should make very
> clear how to start Octave in CLI mode.
> An argument for not making the GUI default is that due to its obvious 
> importance
> it would be seriously detrimental if many users (i.e. Windows folks) 
> found it had
> problems that impeded their work.  My experience is that once a user 
> decides something
> "does not work" it is very hard to convince them that it has been fixed, 
> and that they
> should give it another try.

I'm afraid Joe Average-Windows-user only needs to see the CLI once to
immediately decide "that doesn't work for me".
The GUI simply is way more persuasive than the CLI, and that'll work the
other way round as well (if you get what I mean).

My feeling is that the best way to convince users is being responsive, e.g.,
quick reactions to questions and bug reports etc, updates released quite
often. In that sense the real work might very well start after the release.


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