Re: X is painful
>I have to vent.
>I cannot believe that after HOW MANY years of development, X windows is
>still such a completely inconsistent and painful user interface.
# I think you forgot to include open, free, expandable, flexible, . . .
Expandable-- kinda, but not easily. Programming X is as painful as using X.
Flexible-- sure... as a matter of fact, it is so flexible that almost
*none* of the apps actually work with each other!
>The STUPIDITY of the whole thing is frustrating.
# Ohhhhh, really! You would rather have a Mac type world then?
# (Pay thru the nose, and get what you get from THE vendor)
Hey, at least the Macintosh user interface is CONSISTENT! At least you can
use the machine [well, when it doesn't crash] and know that certain
fundamental primitives within the User Interface will work *the same*.
I'd even go so far as to say the Mac-- in some respects-- is MORE
customizable then X because it has a unified toolkit that everyone uses!
You simply customize the toolkit and everything changes appropriately!
Look-- X has been in development for, what, 10-15 years? As long or longer
than the Mac, Windows, or NEXTSTEP... As well, the list of contributors
covers all walks of life with the commputer industry-- quite literally the
best and the brightest have contributed to X over the years.
It is an open box developped with the constraints of 'market realities'.
And that environment is supposed to justify the complete piece of crap that
I think not; within that environment, I would think that *at least* one
toolkit would have emerged as a sort of "standard". Or, at the very least,
the plain text pasteboard would work between all fields.
>From the sound of it, the above statement seems to indicate that BECAUSE X
is free, it will always be inferior in quality to pay-through-the-nose UI?
Along the same line of thought, one would think that Linux would be
inferior to, say, NT or Mac OS.
I'd like to think not...
>Text fields between applications do not work the same. One is not
>guranteed to be able to copy/paste text between fields. Some fields must
>have the mouse pointer within them during the editing process, some don't.
# The kind of car you and I drive ARE going to be different
# (hopefully), cause we are allowed to do so. Just as the
# programmers are allowed to express themselves through the
# toolkits that they choose and/or write.
I'm perfectly happy in a world where things look and act differently-- as
long as the differences are because the behaviour is more ideally suited to
the application in question.
So far the 'differences' have primarily been comprised of just plain crappy
UI. Some apps let you double-click to select a word, some don't. Some let
you triple-click to select a paragraph, some don't. Some tab between
fields, some don't. Some have point to focus within individual fields
[tkman comes to mind], some don't. During editing, some are bright enough
to realize the user likely doesn't want to lose focus on the field until
they take some action to end editing (ie; partial modality), most are not.
Yes-- it is WONDERFUL that X supports such a diverse and customizable
environment. But that does not excuse the horrible excuses for UI that are
rampant throughout the X community!
# With X, a user can control the App thru X resources, granted
# some of them are alittle brain-dead in this area, but this is
# not the fault of X.
But X resources have *nothing* to do with little things like some of the
behaviour I described above or other trivialities such as
>There is no inter-application communication or awareness to speak of.
# There are several. Again not the fault of X, they exist at a
# different layer.
There are many more than several. They are *all* incompatible. There is
*no* standard means of encapsulating, communicating, or identifying the
information that is passed around.
The current stuff is just fine for two apps that are tightly bound-- but it
just plain sucks within an environment where the user defines what apps
will play which roles within their human-computer experience.
>The window manager has no awareness of what is running-- only what windows
>are on the screen. Because of this, various 'dock' programs are nothing
>more than a 'click the button to launch an app' system-- one cannot click on
>a button second time to simply activate the app in question.
# Why should the WM be aware of what is running?
# It is a Window Manager, not a process manager and never was the
# developers intentions.
Well-- The window manager, as a manager of windows, really ought to know
which windows are assigned to which processes. For example, what if I want
to hide all the windows but those owned by, say, Mathematica? Hmmm...
hiding windows-- sounds like a job for the window manager... but it can't do
that job without knowing who owns what!
You are absolutely correct in that the window manager is a window manager
and not a process manager.
BUT THE FACT THAT NO DECENT PROCESS MANAGERS ARE COMMONLY AVAILABLE IS
COMPLETELY PATHETIC for an environment as old as X!
>The various 'toolkits' available for developping apps don't help the
>situation-- while they make it easier to develop X apps, they certainly
>don't make the apps any more impressive.
# Back to the "Mac" situation.
# If you don't like so many different toolkits, then try writing
# your own toolkit that does everything that you want it to do
# and then you can try marketing it and make giga-bucks.
How is this back to the Mac situation? The single best specified and most
consistent user interface around is available as a publically published
specification; OpenStep. Hopefully, when GnuStep arrives, it will 'fix' a
lot of my current woes with X....
Why does free software have to be inferior software?
It doesn't... Linux-- as an operating system-- runs circles around MOST
commercial operating systems!
# You could put your energy into giving to one of the toolkits to
# make it become the type that you desire, which many others have
# already done.
I am; GnuStep.
>X completely lacks a decent mail reader [outside of Messages from the
>Andrew Consortium-- it is awesome... but oncee one decides to use it, it is
>hard, hard, hard to leave. as well, there is no source available, so
>porting is out of the question [though a port already exists for x86
>linux]]. No, emacs/xemacs is not acceptable.
# You should *really* research the history of X and the developers
Regardless of the developer's intentions and regardless of the history, X
has become a popular and widely used UI... and after as many years of
development and community contributions, the current state of X is
>Maybe I'm just spoiled by years of NEXTSTEP-- but, damnit, NEXTSTEP really
>is the most well-inntegrated user inrface *ever* built. Seriously.
# OK, then I'm sad to say "Where is it?".
Running on my desktop, thank you very much.
As well, now that OpenStep is being distributed by Sun [as well as NeXT]
and the GnuStep project is progressing nicely, it will hopefully make
inroads into more of the academic and scientific computing centers.
Regardless, whether or not OpenStep actually survives through the end of
this century, any developer who is working on generic user interface coding
projects-- such as a window manager or process manager-- who has studied and
understood what NeXT has achieved is wasting their time.
NEXTSTEP/OpenStep is likely the single best example of object oriented
programming on a large scale in the industry. The APIs are clean. The
various frameworks work together transparently. Portability is *not* an
issue [except when importing/exporting data]. Nothing touches it. Period.
[No-- I'm not saying that as a religious zealot... I would be very happy to
*not* be running NeXT's operating system on my desktop. I simply have not
found *any* system that provides a user interface that is anywhere near as
well integrated, predictable, powerful or as pleasant to use as NEXTSTEP.]
# I too have seen a many good idea get washed away by (some say
# ignorant) wave of the masses.
As long as people *learn* from the products that are washed away and don't
continue to make the same damned mistakes over and over, then the world will
be a better place.
So far, all signs indicate that software deployed within the X community
has made the same mistakes over and over....
This message was distributed manually by Bruce@debian.org after the list
initially failed to distribute it.