How often do we Linux advocates and enthusiasts hear the complaint that Linux lacks the polish and refinement that users expect from their desktop? For most end users, it doesn’t matter how good the underlying software is. If the interface sucks, then the software itself sucks. While it may pain some avid Linux adherents to say it, this is part of the reason why desktop Linux has yet to catch on with a broader set of users: Linux has struggled for years to come out of the woods and be perceived as visually appealing and pleasant to use.
Those who read this blog probably know that Interaction Design matters a lot to me. It has been one of the things I have advocated extensively in my work with desktop Linux. To be sure, part of why I still like working for Novell* is that the desktop team at Novell continues to produce not only great technical advancements, but also continuous improvements in the look and feel of the desktop. The new Main Menu for Gnome that debuted with SLED10 showed how studying user interaction with the desktop can result in a strikingly improved interface. (I don’t kid myself here–there are many who have vocalized their preference for Gnome’s traditional Applications-Places-System menu. But, many do like it.)
I’m pleased to share that the desktop design team at Novell is working on further improvements to the original Main Menu. The video below comes from the upcoming SLED10 Service Pack 1 as it looks in the current internal beta 3. (The unreleased status means that this is not necessarily the final product, and things may change from what you see today.
- The video is a 12.1 MB Ogg Theora file.
- I recommend using something like Totem for viewing. (Helix/RealPlayer did not play the video very smoothly.)
- I narrated the video using a small PC headset rather than a professional microphone, and I did no post-production editing. So, it’s kind of rough.
- If the video link is broken, please leave a comment. then I will put it on a different host.
*Yes, I say “still” that is an admission that I have been challenged with a certain, recently-cemented partnership