[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Installer UI advices

From: M. Uli Kusterer
Subject: Re: Installer UI advices
Date: Mon, 14 Mar 2005 15:47:20 +0100

At 11:50 Uhr +0000 12.03.2005, Pete French wrote:
 > have learned to drive a manual transmission car. Driving and flying
 airplanes is getting easier every day. Why can't computing?

Are they ? Cars have remained pretty much the same in control
terms for decadees, and automatic transmissions are starting to
die out (thank god!). As to aircraft, I see no significant differences in
controls between this years shiny new C172 and the 30 year old one I fly.

Well, remember that cars have been around much longer than computers. They matured long ago. If you look at early cars, they're *very* different They had manual brake handles at the side, a crank instead of a steering wheel. Things that stuck for quite a while were the transmission gear-shift-stick (though automatic transmission simplified this a lot), gas pedal and brake pedal, and the steering wheel.

Apart from that, a lot of stuff came and went: the choke, those waving things that showed you were changing lanes, the instruments moved around a lot (and differ a lot between manufacturers these days), the clutch. And most of that doesn't work at all like they did originally. We have servo motors on the steering wheel, digital instruments, hydraulic brakes...

There will probably be more changes in the future. Already we have navigation systems, brake assistance, parking aids, cars that correct the steering wheel when you veer off the lane...

I started driver's ed on a BMW (it's a rather common car here in Germany). Then I got switched to a Volkswagen Rabbit. You won't realize how much of a difference usability can make until you almost drive into a traffic light because you're fighting the rough gear shift.

The point I was trying to make: There are superficial similarities (just like between Windows, MagiC, RiscOS etc.), but in many ways they differ. Many of these things have improved usability and safety by focusing on helping drivers move in the world, not by teaching them more about how the insides of the car work.

But I think in your analogy the users equate to passengers. They dont
want to know how to fly the plane or drive the car. they just want to
get from A to B. Same with users - they just want to use the apps
and get their work done. They dont care if the underlying computing gets
harder or easier, thats our concern, not theirs.

You have to hide the complexity, you cant get rid of it because it is
necessary for the whole lot to work. If you have dictatorial control
over your OS then it's easy but for GNUstep it isnt because it runs on many
systems. So all we can do is stick to the bits we *do* have control
over - i.e. if you install an app it goes either in your Apps
directory or the system Apps directory. Nowhere else.

Why restrict ourselves this way? GNUstep itself has no problem launching applications from other places. Why cater to the lowest common denominator when, with very little work, we can actually allow many applications to just be put anywhere the user wants them?

Conclusion: Dont use the installer to try and package up things which
arent GNustep stuff and we'll do fine.

Yes, sometimes you need to hide the complexity. But why stop with that at the very edge of the GNUstep libraries? Installer.app will be one of the core components of a GNUstep desktop (e.g. Étoilé). And users of a desktop don't care about where the complexity comes from. If they run up against it, they'll just pick another desktop that doesn't have it. IMHO it's fairly easy to make the installer flexible enough to install system-level stuff while retaining at least a basic level of ease of use.

M. Uli Kusterer
       "The Witnesses of TeachText are everywhere..."

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]