Patterns in Linux Journal's Readers' Choice Awards
Dec 06, 2012 GMT
One of the frustrations of writing about the free desktop is the lack of information about the distributions and apps that people are using. That's why, when the latest issue of the online Linux Journal came out, I immediately turned to the results of its Reader's Choice Awards in the hopes of observing the latest trends (despite writing on a competing magazine's site)
Of course, like all such surveys and questionnaires, Linux Journal's Reader's Choice Awards are an imperfect indication of what's happening. Linux Journal's audience... more »
Why I Prefer KDE
Nov 27, 2012 GMT
Fifteen years ago today, KDE began -- and I, for one, am glad that it did. I run virtualized versions of all the major desktop environments, and have a few more on secondary machines. Sometimes, too, I'll log into a desktop like Mate, Xfce, or LXDE just for a change of pace or to keep myself in touch. Yet, on my main workstation, I always return sooner or later to KDE. Of all my available choices, it's the one whose design philosophy, communal attitudes, and vision come closest to my idea of what a desktop... more »
GNOME Proves It Can Listen
Nov 21, 2012 GMT
With one announcement, suddenly the prospects for the free desktop have changed.
I'm referring, of course, to Matthias Clasen's announcement that, having dropped fallback mode, GNOME will support a core of extensions that will recreate the GNOME 2 interface.
This announcement marks a major reversal of GNOME's policy. For the past two years, the project has officially defended the radical redesign introduced by GNOME 3, making few -- if any -- acknowledgments of users'... more »
The Problem of Menus
Nov 16, 2012 GMT
Interfaces for traditional computers and mobile devices have become increasingly inventive in the last few years. So far, however, none have solved a basic design challenge: designing an efficient menu.
The challenge rarely exists within applications. An application usually has half a dozen or more top level menus, each with less than a dozen items, so a drop-down system is usually good enough.
But on the desktop environment, the norm has always been to have a single menu that lists all applications, and often shut-down commands, a list of favorites, and a few other... more »
The free software media and cults of personality
Nov 08, 2012 GMT
It's all the media's fault. Or, if not, the media helps perpetuate it.
I'm talking about the cults of personality that often dominate the free software community -- not just the respect for accomplishment in an alleged meritocracy, but the undue influence that certain people are allowed to exercise.
As Aaron Seigo points out in a blog that anticipates much of what I would otherwise have said, such cults are contrary to community values.... more »
Plasma Active: The Mobile Interface That Works
Oct 31, 2012 GMT
To express myself mildly, I'm not a fan of interfaces for mobile devices. At best, they seem clumsy makeshifts, tolerable only because nothing better is available. The only exception is KDE's Plasma Active, which not only works well on tablets, but, with its recently released version 3.0, remains the only mobile-inspired interface I can tolerate on a workstation – and that includes Unity and Windows RT.
What makes Plasma Active so well-designed? Probably, it gets a boost from the fact that in the last... more »
Reactions to women speakers
Oct 23, 2012 GMT
Congratulations! You've managed to attract more women speakers to your conference. But, if you think your problems are over, you may be in for a surprise. If the experiences of Moose, the chair of Ohio LinuxFest 2012 are typical, instead of relaxing after your efforts, you may find yourself answering second-guessing from not-so-closet sexists.
Ohio LinuxFest is one of the regional conferences that has made special efforts to encourage women to speak. In 2010, thirty percent of its speakers were women -- a rate higher than most leading free and open source software... more »