M-Saunders wrote:I've not used Metro (yet). What happened in the last couple of years? How did we go from having a bunch of fairly stable, refined desktop environments to all these experimental half-implemented mock-ups like Metro and Gnome 3?
No idea; although I think the popularity of smartphones and apparent death of Netbooks has made the tech sector halucinate that 'traditional' means of interacting with computers are dying out. Obviously the people coming up with these ideas have never actually tried typing on an on-screen keyboard, or they wouldn't be so keen to shove them down everyone elses throats.
Or maybe they're sadists and they have
used them and want everyone else to suffer just as much?
M-Saunders wrote:It still strikes me that we're trying to make the same interface for 7" tablets as well as PCs with 30" monitors. What's especially funny is that everyone is trying to imitate Apple, and yet even Apple knows that different classes of products need different GUIs. Yeah, they're mixing some features between Mac OS and iOS, but they're still very different to operate.
But you've also found the crux of the issue: everyone is seeing how successful Apple are being and are rushing to see if they can get a slice of the cake. It feels to me like the runaway success that was World of Warcraft - every big dev studio (and some of the smaller ones) suddenly thought that an MMO was going to be a big moneyspinner - "WoW killer" proclaim some boxes/marketing hype. Almost all of them fail quickly and either are closed or (more recently) go Free-to-Play. The only real survivors seem to be EVE (which is to WoW what quantum mechanics is to basic arithmetic) and Guild Wars, the latter of which took a totally different sales model as it is essentially free-to-play after you've bought the game.
So it is with copying Apple - try, hype it up so it has no chance of living up to the marketing, putter along for a few months, fail, product dies. Very few manage to carve a niche out for themselves. Samsung is strong because they've got such a large product portfolio. HTC and RIM are haemorraging marketshare. Nokia lost the plot years ago and really missed the 'smartphone' boat, although with the WP7.5 Lumias seem to have something worth looking at. Briefly.
On a tablet with a capacitative touchscreen, I'm sure Windows 8 has something going for it. I'm not quite sure what, but it must be there somewhere! On a desktop? Not so much - particularly if you've got an exotic setup like EyeFinity/Surround or more importantly... don't have a touchscreen.
Maybe it's just a fad, and in a couple of years we'll have interfaces designed for desktop PCs again. Oh well, I'm glad there's always Xfce
Or Openbox; I'm always torn between the two of them. For some reason I've never much cared for LXDE, though.
We can but hope that (the-UI-that-once-was-called-)Metro fails and Microsoft and other GUI developers return to sense for desktops. I tried the Consumer Preview and Release Preview and honestly had to wonder whether Metro was a bad joke taken seriously. It's taken easy multitasking and thrown it out the window, just like Android and iOS (although they have an excuse, mostly their device screens aren't large enough to multitask effectively). Everything fills the screen, whether its an RSS reader or Word. OK, so you can
get to a desktop, but with the removal of the 'Start' button (however you feel about it and its name) it's really a signal that MS would prefer you use Metro thankyouverymuch.
At least Classic Shell fixes some of those issues, even if it's a bit of a bodge-fix.
...I didn't mean to write that much...