What does "Desktop" mean to you?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by EchoD, Oct 20, 2015.

  1. EchoD

    EchoD Administrator
    Staff Member

    Mar 9, 2013
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    We are having some internal discussions about the future of DesktopBSD with the developers team, and I want to start gradually opening to the public some of the issues we're going to be talking about as we decide on the long-term vision for the OS.

    What does "Desktop" in DesktopBSD mean to you? Is the classic desktop metaphor from the 90s still relevant today? Have today's touch-based (and now wearable) devices changed your idea of what to expect from a desktop-centered computing device?

    What attracted you to DesktopBSD when it first came out? Are those expectations different today? This is not just about casting a vote for a specific existing desktop environment. Perhaps you think none of the currently available "desktops" are satisfying; if that's the case, what high-level concepts do you think are missing in existing products, and where should the "desktop" go next, in this OS and others?

    There are no right or wrong answers here. This is simply to kick off the discussion and generate ideas.
  2. dinsdale

    dinsdale Member

    Oct 22, 2015
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    So I really liked Windows Phone. Windows 8.1 desktop was a half assed implementation of the design language, but Windows phone 7.5 and 8 were really nice OSes. The implementation was consistent across all menus and applications, and everything was easy to find with your finger. It was fun to just swipe up and down on the start menu.

    Conversely, I think Android is a disaster in terms of a UI. They simply threw the desktop paradigm onto a small touch form factor. There is no consideration for function because it is designed to be "multi platform". There is no consistency in how things are presented, and everything is siloed by the silly concept of an "app". For gmail, go here, for outlook open this app etc. Blackberry really got it right because they combined all communications into their hub and built it in as central to the OS itself.

    I think the modern OS should recognize that the important part of computing is the data. The inputs and outputs and organize itself along the lines of a being a big flow chart. Information comes in and gets piped through filters or sorters or outputers.

    Likewise what is so frustrating about many systems is the inability for the user to SEE what is happening. I think if there was a way to visually see what was happening in your computer, people would be able to defend themselves better against hackers and viruses.

    Oops it got late. More tomorrow.

    KyBlackwolf likes this.
  3. malco_2001

    malco_2001 DesktopBSD Veteran

    Feb 22, 2015
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    I would take this to mean interface consistency, and storage first. I like it. I also agree that we should provide tools that show a user what is going on rather than keep things dumbed down to a level that covers up what is going on.

    The question is should this process of being more verbose start at the loader when the users types boot -v? Should it then follow through with the GUI in the form of OSD's, and notifications that spawn full logs when clicked? Or if a power user chooses to make verbose booting always the default? Or should each individual application or tool just have a control to show realtime logs? What's the right balance, and best approach?
    KyBlackwolf likes this.
  4. KyBlackwolf

    KyBlackwolf Member

    Oct 6, 2015
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    I hate to use Windows as an example, but I think Malco's right that we could consider the usability factor, but also the customization as a guide too. I know many people who I'd readily suggested DesktopBSD to before, and who could just get on the computer and using the simple interface...get things done. Then again, I have another individual who just cant stop tinkering with his system, and I'm constantly reimaging his hard drive to undo the damage he's done with "tinkering". I'd almost think there could be room for a "user" mode... and "Administrator" mode... obviously not using those names but separating the power users from those who just want something that works.
  5. LorenS

    LorenS New Member

    Sep 25, 2015
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    To me, a desktop is for work, a phone is for calling people, and a tablet is for somewhere in the middle (mostly play, but there are some applications for more serious use like doctors office). I don't want the same interface on each because they are completely different devices. I think marketing and advertising have blurred the lines to their own ends, and developers have jumped on board to do tricks to utilize the computing power. A friend of mine is so happy that he found an ssh client for his phone, but when pressed if he actually used it, he said no. So, just because you can doesn't mean you should.

    The desktop metaphore of the 90s is still relevant when you consider a desktop as something used to accomplish work, like writing code, generating complex documents, and analyzing and manipulating data. You have to display the applications that are available to use in some manner, and the text menu is the quickest and easiest. If you use any other metaphor, it is still predicated on the application metadata, just chaning the display. I prefer menus because with a single click I can see so much information as text without having to think about what an icon means. Personally I dont need wobbly windows and bouncing icons, so I turn desktop effects off.

    I must have complete control of my OS or I would use Windows. When I am in a serious mood I switch the desktop to Openbox, when I am not I leave it as KDE or XFCE. I want a desktop OS to be tuned for desktop use. It is not going to be used as a server, so that can be stripped out. Filehandles, memory, and threads need to be tweaked to give the most responsive experience possible without going RT. Each DE provides some form of log viewing and process monitoring, and if I need to I can go to the command line. But personally, I cannot use Gnome 3x.