Your favourite GUI ever?

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Your favourite GUI ever?

Postby M-Saunders » Thu Aug 30, 2012 7:46 pm

Lo!

I just came across one of my favourite websites again:

http://toastytech.com/guis/index.html

Even though I barely used RISC OS, I can't help but love its smooth, stoney appearance. It just looks really "solid". I remember seeing screenshots of it back in the mid '90s, and the texturing and anti-aliased fonts looked amazing back then.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/e ... _4_scr.png

What do you guys reckon?

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Postby Debian Acolyte » Thu Aug 30, 2012 10:09 pm

Gives me the impression of a cross between Atari and early Windows. Interesting, but not my favourite GUI. Sorry.
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Postby Paradigm Shifter » Fri Aug 31, 2012 7:59 pm

Like that site; don't remember seeing it before. :) Thanks.

I'm not sure I have a 'favourite' GUI... but I know which one I don't like: Windows 8 (UI-that-was-at-one-time-named-)Metro.

I do have fond memories of RISC-OS 3, though. It had a 'dock' before Apple even thought of the idea, and hidden menus (three-button mice!)...
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Postby M-Saunders » Sat Sep 01, 2012 9:28 am

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?

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.

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 :-)

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Postby nelz » Sat Sep 01, 2012 10:04 am

Or KDE, which takes the sensible approach - using the same backend code but with interfaces tailored to different hardware environments.
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Postby Paradigm Shifter » Sat Sep 01, 2012 11:06 am

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? :lol:

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.

I agree.

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.

M-Saunders wrote: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. :lol:

...I didn't mean to write that much... :shock:
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Postby Dutch_Master » Sat Sep 01, 2012 11:59 am

Speak your mind, that's what Freedom is for ;)

For me, I'll stick to Gnome 2 for as long as I can, thank-you-very-much... :roll:
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Postby guy » Sat Sep 01, 2012 1:29 pm

I used RISC OS a lot at one time, even dabbled in development for it.

The anti-aliasing was second to none, but was actually implemented in hardware (in a chip called VIDC) and was patented. Acorn were too possessive in those days so it never saw widespread use and the world had to wait for sufficient processing power to do it in software. A great example of hardware patents holding back the world every bit as much as software patents. :(

Drag-and-drop between windows was seamless too, you could even do drag-and-drop software install.

And the icon bar - partially stolen for the Windows task bar - was cool. You could add things like printers and drives to it, not just apps.

But a few things drove me mad. The mouse had 2 menu buttons with different menus - always opening the wrong one! A great idea having all menus accessible without hunting across the screen, but badly implemented.

So - my favourite GUI? Probably the Psion Series 5 - OS was EPOC 32, which would evolve into Symbian. Not particularly sophisticated, being for a palmtop device before the media age, but almost everything was there and where you would expect it to be - and it did touchscreen! The Series 7 had colour, but I never got to play with one.

Close second is my current Gnome 2, debian-style, with high hopes for Mint+Cinnamon in the near future.

Worst GUI ever? It's a close call between Motif on Solaris - a thousand stupid clunky ways to do small things - and the MS Office ribbon - what a waste of screen real estate, and all dedicated to adding more mouse movements and clicks to what was once serviceable!
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Postby M-Saunders » Sat Sep 01, 2012 3:01 pm

Motif, eh? You must be over the moon that CDE is now open source:

http://www.osnews.com/story/26247

:-)

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Postby guy » Sat Sep 01, 2012 7:07 pm

Can't say I care. That client switched to Red Hat a long time ago :)
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Postby Paradigm Shifter » Sun Sep 02, 2012 4:49 pm

guy wrote:...and the MS Office ribbon - what a waste of screen real estate, and all dedicated to adding more mouse movements and clicks to what was once serviceable!

Agreed.

Suddenly half the keyboard shortcuts I knew didn't work any more, and the Ribbon does hide stuff in some stupid places at times.

And yet MS Office is (other than games) the one 'killer' application that keeps me using Windows... :(
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Postby el chapulín » Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:54 am

I'm sure some of the *box WMs have RISC OS style themes...

I used to use openbox and fluxbox, but these days I stick to KDE. Took gnome-shell for a spin a few weeks ago... easily the worst UI I've ever seen. I think UI design peaked with stuff like KDE 3.x, Xfce 4 and perhaps gnome 2.x, but things have turned very smartphone in the last few years... I want a computer operating system UI, not something which is primarily designed for facebook and twitter users...
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Postby shaddack » Mon Oct 22, 2012 11:34 am

I do like the Amiga Workbench. I like its simplicity and I never felt limited by it (maybe I would today though). I was also complemented well with Directory Opus.

Of the more modern desktop environments I'm a fan of GNOME 3.
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Postby Nuke » Mon Oct 22, 2012 4:26 pm

I liked the OS/2 v3 (Warp) GUI. Solid looking icons, and you could design your own. You could link to an app (many were DOS apps in those days) from the desktop using a standard icon, then a right click on it would bring up options with one of them being the icon editor.

That website is brilliant BTW. It is the first time I have seen a tour of the Windows 8 GUI and jeez, isn't it awful!
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