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Re: Abandon "Default Desktop"

On Mon, 2009-05-04 at 21:00 -0400, Orcan Ogetbil wrote:
> On Mon, May 4, 2009 at 8:41 PM, Callum Lerwick wrote:
> > On Mon, 2009-05-04 at 20:00 -0400, Orcan Ogetbil wrote:
> >> On Mon, May 4, 2009 at 6:46 PM, Callum Lerwick wrote:
> >> > On Mon, 2009-05-04 at 14:31 -0400, Orcan Ogetbil wrote:
> >> >> A person already makes a choice (a very big and "radical" one) when he
> >> >> decides to use Linux. A second choice is made by deciding on Fedora.
> >> >> Why should we enforce that these were the last choices he makes?
> >> >
> >> > http://www.joelonsoftware.com/uibook/chapters/fog0000000059.html
> >> >
> >>
> >> Nope, that text doesn't have any scientific value. It contains
> >> variations of "Nobody cares", "Nobody wants..." without backup. I
> >> neither have met this Nobody person, nor do I care what he wants more
> >> than I care for any other user in the pool. In fact, I know more
> >> people who care about certain design choices than who don't. Moreover,
> >> the text tends to confuse bad design with customizability (although it
> >> tries hard not to).
> >
> > I'm sure you have scientific studies showing people love playing 20
> > questions to get anything done, right?
> >
> No, I particularly like having choices. Whenever I am getting
> furniture or some kitchen appliance, I go to the store and make my
> selection according to my taste. I find it important the way my
> furniture looks. Also I make sure that my kitchen appliance have the
> capabilities that I am interested.

And if you actually read the essay, it's not against choice. It's about
being very careful and responsible in what you force the user to choose.

Choice for the sake of choice is not desirable.

> And I know quite a lot of people who do it the same way. In fact, very
> few houses I have seen have identical furniture and kitchen
> appliances. The reason for this is people have made decisions among
> multiple choices.

> You may want to grab the first microwave oven you
> see and get out of the store, but believe me, most people are not like
> you.

I doubt that most people *want* to spend hours obsessing over what
microwave to buy.

I note that all your examples pertain purely to aesthetics. Yes, *that*
is one thing average people care about. They want things to look unique,
and personal. They *do not* care about underlying mechanics.

> If you don't believe me, look out of your window. You might see
> different brands of cars. I think that would be a proof that is
> "scientific enough".

And when most people jump in their car, they don't want to spend hours
selecting ignition timings and suspension settings and transmission
tunings and the gender and accent of the navigation system's voice
before they can start the car.

Those who want to do so are free to buy a BMW with iDrive. Those people,
dare I say it, are not in the majority.

> Have a choice :)

No one's taking any choices away. Having choices available is something
completely different from *forcing* users to *make* choices they do not
understand or care about.

A non-technical user who just wants a platform to run Firefox and email
photos to grandma does not want to play 20 questions about this "desktop
environment" thing they've never heard of before they can do so.

And as KDE itself has embraced this mistaken philosophy of "choice is
always desirable", why would we ever want to inflict it on non-technical
users? People who want to play 20-questions already know where to find

Devo said it best:

"Freedom of choice is what you've got, freedom from choice is what you


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