[rescue] NeXTSTEP or OPENSTEP?

Liam Proven lproven at gmail.com
Mon Aug 11 09:02:42 CDT 2014

On 10 August 2014 18:09, Carl R. Friend <crfriend at rcn.com> wrote:
>    It's not just a usability disaster of biblical proportion it just
> made absolutely *no* sense whatsoever to push that idiom onto a
> desktop environment.

W8 still *has* a 100% functional desktop, you know. They just replaced
one small component of the UI: the app launcher. Quit exaggerating it.

> Sure, it's appropriate for the next generation
> of what computers are going to become -- entertainment and advertising
> devices for consumers of "stuff" -- but whither the folks who actually
> *create* the stuff that'll be being consumed.  The folks who need the
> tools to create got shafted in the move to the tablet interface.

Not at all. The desktop works as well or better than ever. I used it
exclusively for months, exclusively with desktop apps -- I removed all
the Modern ones except for trivial stuff like a weather-forecast,
stuff I never interact with, just glance at.

>    Bluntly put, if all there was out there on offer was Windows 8, I'd
> go back to handwritten letters and the post.  I'm also tired of hearing
> my wife cursing at the latest laptop she bought because Windows 8 was
> the only thing available for it.

Oh stop being such a drama queen!

As I said, you can even re-enable the old quicklaunch toolbar and
never use the Start screen /at all/, not even for launching apps, if
you want.

>    Does it have to be this way?  Is the GUI so tightly integrated with
> the kernel that other shells cannot be provided?  NO -- on both counts.
> What Microsoft *should* have done is offer multiple shells and let the
> user-base determine which one it wants to use based on hardware and
> personal preference.

Henry Ford b 'If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have
said faster horses.'

The point of W8 was to force Windows users to get accustomed to the MS
touch interface. The idea, I guess, was that when they caved and got a
phone or a tablet, they'd know the UI and be comfortable.

And as tablet/phone UIs go, it's quite a good one. It doesn't pull an
Android and copy the Apple UI then enhance it a bit -- it does
something different.

Just like Win95 did nearly 20y ago. Others had done inferior copies of
the Apple UI -- DR GEM, AmigaOS, OS/2 WPS, and my personal favourite
Acorn RISC OS, which added some interesting new features including,
notably, a fixed "icon bar" at the top of the screen that held all
your running apps and launchers for the Filer (as Apple patents meant
you couldn't put drives on the desktop).

MS took the basic established notions of icons in folders represented
as windows, with title bars at the top with manipulation widgets, plus
a menu bar underneath, and built a whole new UI: a visual app switcher
and a visual hierarchical app browser.

They tried to do the same again. They kept the switcher part
unmodified, ripped out the launcher completely (mistake) and bolted on
the touch interface instead, with a different switcher (mistake) and
removing the existing mechanisms for closing apps (mistake).

I'm not saying they did it /well/ but they made a brave bold move in
the right direction.

Predictably, the users revolted -- too much too soon -- and now
they've backed down and I think it'll kill them. The W8.1 compromise
-- bringing back the Start *button* and on right-clicking it giving
the system-management functions, and offering boot-to-desktop (a
function that was in the original beta but was stupidly removed) was a
good compromise.

But AIUI 9 bottles out, caves in, brings back a Start menu, and now
touch-native UIs will continue their rise unopposed. Windows RT and
Windows Phone are not strong enough on their own to make their way in
the market -- they're third- or fourth-best offerings, and they'll
fade away. Nokia's touch hardware is nothing special. Indeed
/nobody's/ phone hardware is anything special since Apple tore up the
rulebook: even Nokia and RIM threw away their distinctive strengths
and played me-too moves.

Liam Proven b" Profile: http://lproven.livejournal.com/profile
Email: lproven at cix.co.uk b" GMail/G+/Twitter/Flickr/Facebook: lproven
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