Saturday, September 08, 2007

Taste and Choice on the desktop

With all the kinds of people out there it is very, very hard to satisfy all the different taste people have. We users are very choosy when it comes to the look and feel of our desktop or not. Some are just comfortable with what is offered and others must tweak and adjust until out desktop is just right. The problem has always been for software writers, just how much tweaking can you allow users to do before it becomes a headache to manage? You know, you don't want your upgrade package to wipe out the after market add-ons if you can help it. This I experienced when I tried to install the FlyakiteOSX desktop in MS Windows XP. The program produced a DLL relocation error because it was incompatible with some security patches. So in the quest to tweak the look and feel there are some pot holes to navigate around.

Well, what is hot and what is not? These days it seems that the Mac desktop is the one to emulate. The Mac desktop in my humble opinion is simply the most functional thing I've seen so far. The Mac desktop is clean and not littered with shortcut icons and desktop folders. Of course the clutter option is always present, but I myself like the clean look. Here are some screen shots of my desktops.
This shot is my Kubuntu Linux Desktop. I made the row of icons on the bottom smaller than the ones on the Mac screen so they don't get in the way. The icon dock program is called KoolDock and it works in the KDE desktop environment, nicely.
Now, this is a shot of my MS Windows XP desktop. It has a skin applied that has a decided Mac look. The icon dock on the bottom is called RKLauncher. Again I put all those many desktop shortcuts into a desktop folder so I can get at them when I need them. The launcher cleans up the desktop rather nice. The icons on the side still are double-click to use but the ones on the bottom are single click. MS should give you a choice to single click, my fingers don't always get double-click on the first try.

So, is Mac emulation flattery or envy? You have to decide for your self. Desktop arrangements are just tools to get at the files and programs on your machine. Look and feel is a very personal thing if you discover you can do something about it. The question you are all dying to ask is, what do I think of the new MS Vista look and feel? I think it is more of the same Microsoft you know and love. But fear not, there are already tweakers at work extending the look and feel of Vista into personal statements of otherworldliness. Why? Because they can. Do I have a favorite desktop? At this point, I still favor the Kubuntu Linux desktop mainly because of the crisp response to my mouse clicks. I like the way windows pop in and out, not fading in and out of existence in slow motion but, crisp and snappy. I like another feature Kubuntu has, the desktop background can be set to change every so often, your choice, so that you don't see the same constant view. Now if some enterprising tweaker can get movies to run as the background image, full screen, that would be interesting.

Are there more desktop ideas to be exploited in the future? Why yes. I have seen on the web several desktop arrangements in the works. Apple is improving on the icon docking system for sure making it even more functional. Linux has had desktop docking applications for a long time now in different window managers but a serious overhauling would be needed if that idea would be explored again and integrated into the popular Gnome and KDE desktops. It is all very much like cars, same function, different look and feel (and price).

No comments: