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THE GUI SHOULD BE BETTER

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1 minute ago, sulupickles said:

This I did find very peculiar; part of what delayed me learning Scheme was that everyone who proselytized LISP used Emacs as if it were necessary (it is not). But I know lots of FSF-alike people who don't know any LISP (sometimes who don't know any C, even) who like Emacs. Is evil mode Emacs' vim-editor?

Evil mode is a major mode for Emacs that makes it act like VIM. I haven't used it myself, but I've heard that many former VIM users really like it.

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2 minutes ago, Im_CIA said:

I call for anther VI-emacs holy war

They both have their uses, let's not start a war over this.

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Just now, Duuqnd said:

Evil mode is a major mode for Emacs that makes it act like VIM. I haven't used it myself, but I've heard that many former VIM users really like it.

I've been thinking for awhile of writing some sort of middleware that takes scankeys as input and returns vim operations as output, since I like vim bindings so much (I don't believe any software I use lacks at the very least HJKL). I've never been able to get into Emacs, maybe someday once I finally fall for the LISP meme all the way.

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You might be delightful that there are communities on Linux that basically do what you want to do - share screenshot and ideas, as well as use highly customizable and scriptable DMs (there are droves of those) designed by those people for those people. You have been looking at themes for KDE and Gnome, but there are a lot more than that.

Also, Windows 10 soon™ will support (already supports?) "Linux subsystem" with graphics support, so it's not entirely impossible, you'll be able to run Linux DE on a Windows.

Now I can't really tell you anything besides that, as my ideal OS UI is no UI. Like I use full-screen window and launch apps via a launcher by typing it. But I do use a lot less programs and I don't use mouse that often, so it's usually sits somewhere by the side sad and lonely, so I don't have the problem with hotkeys or command line.

Also, if you want to look for general UI innovations, you may look at web scene and nodejs and electron and like that. Stuff like Atom or VSCode. You may see that the trend there, but I assume you won't like it - the trend is not to use mouse. In fact, most professional applications are moving this way - for example Maya have the selection wheel like you want, but they're now mostly following the Blender road of basically command line + hotkeys.

That's why you see so many freakish themes - people who make them, don't really use them. The trend today is less mouse more keyboard (which is ironic, yes).

 

But honestly I don't think a lot of people really care. Like I think it's not very honest to say MS (or anyone else) don't do R&D on that stuff. They do and there are tons of weird ideas being tested. It's just for most people "easy to understand" interface trumps everything else, and what is more easy to understand than what you know.

Now, what the ideal UI would be? Neurointerface. Can we have it right now? Nope

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We need a central knowledgebase for everything related to the GUI Quest™.
A place for proposed ideas, design guidelines for existing interfaces, links to experimental interfaces, list of abandoned concepts, etc.

Someone on Reddit made a repo that I assume will be used for this purpose. https://github.com/HawaiinPizza/Ross-Good-Gui

But if it won't then we should set up a different place where we can gather and present knowledge and ideas in a readable way.

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Just now, testman said:

We need a central knowledgebase for everything related to the GUI Quest™.
A place for proposed ideas, design guidelines for existing interfaces, links to experimental interfaces, list of abandoned concepts, etc.

Someone on Reddit made a repo that I assume will be used for this purpose. https://github.com/HawaiinPizza/Ross-Good-Gui

But if it won't then we should set up a different place where we can gather and present knowledge and ideas in a readable way.

Thanks for linking, I may contrib!

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Just now, NightNord said:

You might be delightful that there are communities on Linux that basically do what you want to do - share screenshot and ideas, as well as use highly customizable and scriptable DMs (there are droves of those) designed by those people for those people. You have been looking at themes for KDE and Gnome, but there are a lot more than that.

Also, Windows 10 soon™ will support (already supports?) "Linux subsystem" with graphics support, so it's not entirely impossible, you'll be able to run Linux DE on a Windows.

Now I can't really tell you anything besides that, as my ideal OS UI is no UI. Like I use full-screen window and launch apps via a launcher by typing it. But I do use a lot less programs and I don't use mouse that often, so it's usually sits somewhere by the side sad and lonely, so I don't have the problem with hotkeys or command line.

Also, if you want to look for general UI innovations, you may look at web scene and nodejs and electron and like that. Stuff like Atom or VSCode. You may see that the trend there, but I assume you won't like it - the trend is not to use mouse. In fact, most professional applications are moving this way - for example Maya have the selection wheel like you want, but they're now mostly following the Blender road of basically command line + hotkeys.

That's why you see so many freakish themes - people who make them, don't really use them. The trend today is less mouse more keyboard (which is ironic, yes).

 

But honestly I don't think a lot of people really care. Like I think it's not very honest to say MS (or anyone else) don't do R&D on that stuff. They do and there are tons of weird ideas being tested. It's just for most people "easy to understand" interface trumps everything else, and what is more easy to understand than what you know.

Now, what the ideal UI would be? Neurointerface. Can we have it right now? Nope

For most non-pointing interfaces, the keyboard is superior to the mouse. The predomination of the mouse has made it popular to contort fundamentally non-pointing interfaces into artificially pointing ones (this is partially what plan9 did), e.g. UWP winning out on windows over UNIX-style scripting.

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Back in 2002/3 I got into 3d modelling and learning Maya PLE.

 

Maya has a PIE/radial menu and at the time I found myself thinking it would just be so much better for Windows to just be a wallpaper and a click anywhere to open PIE menu. Similar to the way some desktops in Linux had for their start menus and the way Ross has it set up with Light Step. So the end of the video where you show programs akin to the PIE menu showed that I wasn't the only one who felt this would be a step in the right direction, but not with huge circles of hundreds of icons.

 

I did once try customising Windows but I just found the programs to override things so clunky that the end user experience to get an end user experience wasn't worth the effort involved.

 

I used to work in IT and was around when Offices' UI changed from 2003 (icons) to 2007 (ribbon interface) and the amount of complaints from people using Office saying such things as "Why couldn't they leave it as it was" and "Can we still use the old version" etc.  Of course over time the complaints lessened, and people became used to the Ribbon UI and now it's the norm for Office.

 

I agree that a new UI where everything is fluid and natural to anyone using it for the first time will propel any new UI forwards towards a global adoption, but most people don't want to adopt anything new, they just want to go to work, do the job as it is now and most importantly get paid. I remember the training when Windows 8 came in to try and persuade us all to use it, as someone in IT I got asked what I thought of 8 and I'm not entirely sure my response that I hated it was the response the trainign people expected from me :)

 

While it's true Microsoft did try to revamp the UI with 8 and Metro the implementation was flawed. 8.1 was a major improvement compared to 8 in that it was less clunky to use but it's still very restrictive in how you customise the interface. I feel Windows 10 is what Windows 8 should have been in terms of customising the interface layout, or to put it another way - the UI we're all using now, belongs to 2012 - so just imagine what improvements could have been made 8 years on.

 

I do get the feeling Microsoft are trying to win back the whole "I'm a mac and I'm a PC" user base. Simplify everything, restrict everything so your novice user can't break anything. Restrict choice and your OS will be better, people will find it more stable since if you can't break anything it won't need fixing. That way anyone can learn Windows, no one needs to delve into the control panel, and if anything goes wrong beyond a novice users' expertise then there's the support people at Microsoft, and also just the normal IT businesses to do anything else required. Let's face it, Windows 10 has been so restricted that even something as simple as a slideshow wallpaper can involve registry edits if you don't like their predefined change times.

 

As to your (Ross) move from 7 to 10 and customisation. I reckon you'll hit a brick wall. Windows 10 isn't just cutting down on what a novice can do, it's also restricting things an advanced user would want to do. An example in my case are disabling Windows services. There have always been protected services, but now there seem to be so much more, and they rely on others.

 

 A long time ago I created a gaming performance app, it basically drops you to safemode + any additional services you required and had a custom launcher that listed all games on your PC and ran them. I actually had the 2013 TombRaider running with max settings (bar AA) and tress-fx hair running on an old bootcamped mac mini and Windows 7 the program worked so well. The program worked fine up until 10's release but now it's next to useless because even after running it  you still end up with 30-40+ services still running  (compared to the 8 or so it used to be).

 

In terms of custom shells, back in my IT job I had to image machines, which at the time meant using Windows PE which didn't provide a file manager. 7-zips' 7z-fm worked as a really great alternative and of course it has the added bonus of in-built archive de/compression.

 

As to your problem with copy/paste - I only experience that from Firefox into another program and yes, it does seem to have been happening more and more and it's very, very annoying !

 

Couldn't help but feel while watching the video that you feel like the mouse should be akin to a vehicles steering wheel, always one hand on the wheel at all times.

 

At the end of the day I just use Windows as-is, there's things I'd change of course, but I can't so I work round them :-)

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Posted (edited)

[short post :3]

 

 

1) having a 3rd copy of ctrl/shift/alt in the middle of the keyboard instead of the corner. the number of shortcuts doable with a single hand could quadruple :3

 

2) Smite (mythology MOBA) had a cool system with dozens of voice lines triggerable with 2-4 letter combos https://smite.fandom.com/wiki/Voice_Commands . I remember switching to Overwatch with 8 voice lines & feeling limited. you don't have to learn all the lines in smite, since it lists possible shortcuts /while/ you type, a bit like auto-complete in code editors :3 I think it's better than radial menus because your mouse can only be in one place, while you can have fingers on like 3-4 keys ready to press a whole sequence at once.

 

 

 

 

[bonus], some of my fav shortcuts:

-a good replacement for the "close window" [x] button is ctrl+w (it's fairly standard even) :3

-for accessing lots of important menus, in the same place at once, you can rightclick the start button n_n

-windows+E to open explorer is nice too :D

Edited by Meteotrix (see edit history)

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Posted (edited)

On the Linux front, a lot of things that Ross said he wants in the video is already provided by the KDE Plasma desktop environment, it is ridiculously customizable, it's possible to change almost every thing about it and there's tons of widgets and plugins that can add more functionality. It's the one I use, so I may be a little biased, but I think it's a good starting point.

 

There are whole communities of linux users dedicated to creating a nice-looking efficient desktop, such as /r/unixporn and /r/usabilityporn on reddit. Unixporn has been almost completely dominated by minimal window managers, which take a LOT of work to configure (and you must do it via huge configuration files) and is almost completely shortcut-based.  I've seen people using this sort of stuff and it's crazy how fast it can be when you get used to it.

Both GNOME and Plasma have what it's called a "dashboard" that can be used instead of a default menu, which it have large icons of favorite and recently used application as well as a search bar. Also, they have "categories" directories to separate your programs, like "Games" and "Office" and most programs will be placed in the appropriate category when installed.

Regarding command lines, the primary advantage is that you can launch a program with tons of starting parameters and you can get pretty informative error messages on most software. Other than that... a lot has to do with workflow, if I can do a lot of stuff in different terminal tabs or split views, I only need the keyboard. You can also write short scripts directly in the command line, without having to open an editor, you just type it down and press enter. It's fantastic for automating little stuff, it save a lot of time.

This is how my desktop currently looks like (KDE Plasma 5.19). On the left corner of the top panel you have, in order, the dashboard icon, the virtual desktops widget (the rectangles) and CPU and RAM usage (the circles). On the right is the system tray. The dock (Latte Dock) is extremely configurable, including delays for hovering and whatnot (I currently have it to show all open instances of the same program on a left click). I also have a drop-down terminal, like in quake for quick access. I use one of the really dark themes, but one with good contrast. I usually try out new colorschemes, themes and icons every few weeks but I've always come back to this configuration.

desktop.png

Edited by darmok42
Image added (see edit history)

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Posted (edited)

My favorite OS is the command line environment. Of course someone, after using the CLI for some years, may reach the vision of the Unix gurus of yore. Text interface is king. You can read and understand the text a program outputs and change it. You can pipe that text unconstrained by the developer of the original program. In the GUI, for example, you cannot pipe something you wrote in notepad to windows media player.

Of course the command line environment falls short without Stallman free software because:

1) someone could change notepad to allow it to output on the command line

2) someone could change media player. add a flag --ascii-video-input '-' to read ascii video frames from standard input

Edited by naughtius.maximus (see edit history)

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Just now, naughtius.maximus said:

My favorite OS is the command line environment. Of course someone, after using the CLI for some years, may reach the vision of the Unix gurus of yore. Text interface is king. You can read and understand the text a program outputs and change it. You can pipe that text unconstrained by developer of the original program. In the UI, for example, you cannot pipe something you wrote in notepad to windows media player.

Of course the command line environment falls short without Stallman free software because:

1) someone could change notepad to allow it to output on the command line

2) someone could change media player. add a flag --ascii-video-input '-' to read ascii video frames from standard input

As I see it, some things are made for the CLI (text editing, music, file browsing) and some things are made for the GUI (web browsers, image viewers, &c.) and the primary issue is the confusion of one for the other.

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Posted (edited)

Re: Ctrl+C / Ctrl+V not working

 

Ross, maybe the problem is that you copy from web pages, and since modern web pages are monuments of complexity, the target application fails to cope with the clipboard in HTML format? It used to work because browsers were simpler and a minority of pages could only "prevent" copy&paste by hooking right click action, but now that it's okay to ship the equivalent of DOOM installation floppy disk in JavaScript alone to display a few paragraphs of text with images, who knows what actually ends up in the clipboard. Sometimes I explicitly have to ask the target application to "paste in plain text format" (Paste Special -> Plain Text in some word processors) to prevent it from screwing up the document because the browser can offer either, but HTML contains too much stuff.

 

Or maybe it's the browser that fails to cope with complexity and place the required content in the clipboard. For example, the word "Featured" in Facebook feed has been reported to consist of multiple blocks containing different parts of the word, some of them invisible. All to make it harder to block ads, of course.

 

Not that I think that this is okay and couldn't be improved, of course. Just offering what I consider an explanation.

Edited by aitap
"paste special" -> "plain text" as a workaround (see edit history)

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As far as Linux goes, Pop!_OS has hands down some of the most comprehensive UI and hardware support I've seen. You'll never have to open the terminal. Nothing super groundbreaking in terms of the interface itself, but it looks quite nice.

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Posted (edited)

For Ross's comment about the Windows shell being embedded so far in the OS that it's a pain to mess around with/replace, there's some good-ish news. Microsoft have apparently finally decided to separate the Windows shell from the OS layer, which should hopefully mean that shell replacements become much easier to implement in the future. Their main reasoning is so that they can push out shell updates without needing a full OS update, but dummying it out and replacing it with a custom shell should become trivial. How long this will take though... that's yet to be seen. As a Windows developer myself, the shell is pretty deeply nestled in there.

 

Source: https://www.zdnet.com/article/windows-10-yields-more-secrets-microsoft-plan-to-split-os-from-shell-takes-shape/

Edited by danm36 (see edit history)

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Posted (edited)

Hey all, figured Id drop by and share my thoughts on gui and what my current setup is.
Huge fan of Warhammer 40k and the Mechanicus so heres my take on changing my computer to be an Adeptus Mechanicus Terminal.

Programs used are Rainmeter, Core Temp. Skins wise I took the RobCo terminal skin and modified the colors to suit my theme. Background image is one of 5 that rotates every now and then between symbols. The one here is for the Skitarii but I have the traditional Skull and Cog as well.Application shortcuts on the left, System Controls up in the left opens and closes the usual Shutdown options.  On the right I have 5 settings for different RSS feeds, currently pictured Valve News. Of course everything else is just information about the internal workings, cpu, memory, temps and whatnot.

Edit 1: Seems Ross's RSS feed works with it too!

8Bi7YVj.png

EYUwJBA.png

Edited by Strom12b (see edit history)

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3 minutes ago, sulupickles said:

As I see it, some things are made for the CLI (text editing, music, file browsing) and some things are made for the GUI (web browsers, image viewers, &c.) and the primary issue is the confusion of one for the other.

Do you mean GUI programs for people like artists, video producers or musicians? openmpt, bryce 3d, etc. :))

Well there are counter examples: POV-ray is text based, csound is text based, etc.

It all depends on how you approach your design. Of course some results are impossible with command line and vice versa ( just ask Godel :) )

 

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Posted (edited)

My take here would be to look at the things that the most recent iPad OS did. I never had an apple product in my life and judging from everything, its at best not for me, including the most recent iPad pro, but it added mouse support and embraced one UI truth in particular: gesture navigation and imprecise controls. 
 

Quick look at the mouse controls in it (timestamped, LTT): https://youtu.be/reb7O8LNZrM?t=261

And they did manage to get some actual video editing work done on it: https://youtu.be/lKqUggbSlHw


Obviously, especially for someone like me or Ross, iPad pro is an awful VERY expensive solution and it would have possibly the worst software compatibility with windows 7 except for maybe a chrome book, but at least those are cheap. I do think that some elements of the design could be applied to windows based workflow.
I particularly like the gesture navigation at different corners of the screen with smooth animation though it could be problematic with dual monitor setups.

On an unrelated note display fusion (https://www.displayfusion.com) is designed for multi monitor setups, but its so stupidly feature rich that you might find use for it even with a single screen. I owned the single-purchase pro version for years but I believe it has shareware aswell.

Edited by Meloncat (see edit history)

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