Giving thanks for classic desktop options

Giving thanks for classic desktop options

Summary: There's always something to be thankful for and I'm thankful for the ability to select a classic version of my favorite desktop interfaces.

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TOPICS: Hardware
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I like new things. I really do. But, like most people, I don't like to change the way I work. I have built an efficient flow to my day and to disrupt it by trudging around through some ill-conceived new interface that only serves to frustrate me and slow me down is not something I take lightly. The rule of thumb for any new interface should be efficiency not the lack thereof. For now, I'll stick with the "classic" versions of my favorite operating systems.

You'd think that a guy who happily purchased an iPad and an iPhone 4 would jump at the chance to download and use one of the new-fangled desktop managers and OS versions but that isn't the case.

I upgraded to the latest iOS for my Apple-flavored gadgetry on its release date. I had no trouble using iOS 3.x or 4.x And, I have no issues or hangups with iOS 5.x. I like it. In fact, the changes were enhancements not redesigns for the sake of redesign.

So, why am I, and many of you, having so much trouble embracing the new GNOME, the new KDE and Windows 8? You might remember my November 8 post, "I hate Unity. I hate GNOME. I hate Windows 8. The ultimate desktop search continues," where I stated my distaste for the new interfaces. OK, I said, "hate." Several of you told me that "hate" was too strong when referring to something as benign as a desktop interface--especially when I have a choice. Point taken.

But, it isn't just a matter of taste or reluctance to try something new, it's the fact that learning the new interfaces would send my productivity plummeting. And, I can't afford that. Some of you have said, "If you don't like them, then switch to something else like LXDE, XFCE, Linux Mint." Yes, I can and have done that but why should I have to do that? I'm comfortable with what I have become accustomed to.

That single point might be the answer to the riddle. Comfort. We become comfortable with what we use everyday. We become efficient. We become complacent.

I like being comfortable. There's nothing wrong with it. Comfort is what makes us long for the nostalgic and the "remember whens" of days past. No, I couldn't go back to using Windows 3.x. It would make me crazy. OK, craziER. But, you get my point. Comfort. Ease of use. Efficiency. Isn't that what we're striving for?

Like so many others, I can find little good about the new Unity, the new GNOME or the new Windows 8 interfaces. They're foreign. They're inefficient. They're different. They're icky.

I'll switch to them, when the general consensus is, "Hey, this is way better" or "Wow, new <operating system with weird interface> is awesome!" Then, and only then, will I switch. In fact, I probably won't switch until both Jason Perlow and David Gewirtz tell me it's safe to do so. I rely on those two to make good decisions for me in such matters.

I'm thankful for the ability to use the classic versions of my favorite OSs, at least for the time being. I'm sure that, at some point in the not too distant future, I'll have to give up hope and make the switch to one of those icky new interfaces that will cause me to fly into fits of cussword-laced rage, but until then it's classic for me. I prefer to minimize my irritation level and to preserve what's left of my sanity by sticking with what works for me.

Topic: Hardware

About

Kenneth 'Ken' Hess is a full-time Windows and Linux system administrator with 20 years of experience with Mac, Linux, UNIX, and Windows systems in large multi-data center environments.

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33 comments
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  • RE: Giving thanks for classic desktop options

    Adapt or die, that's the way of the world. Feel free to cling to the past, but when a twelve year old has more tech expertise than you do, you're not allowed to complain.
    Aerowind
    • RE: Giving thanks for classic desktop options

      @Aerowind

      ahhh.. methinks that what you consider to be 'tech expertise' may often be just superficial. being a whiz at using tech devices doesn't require deep underlying understanding of the tech. and more and more tech is moving towards hiding important details from casual users.
      BitBanger_USA
      • RE: Giving thanks for classic desktop options

        [i]and more and more tech is moving towards hiding important details from casual users.[/i]

        That's because they don't want you to know. They count on all those dumb sheep out there.
        ScorpioBlue
    • RE: Giving thanks for classic desktop options

      What about the ribbon and sms predictive text?

      Two systems that fundamentally change the way we used an interface, both greatly increase speed of use but both have a learning curve. Millions hate both when first used and either use a different product (ribbon) or turn it off (predictive text).

      Simply because they like comfort and aren't prepared to embrace "change" to see if it may actually improve their lives. Those who have gone the opposite route and given the ribbon/predictive text a chance, I'd wager nearly 100% wouldn't go back to the prior system in place.
      bradavon
      • RE: Giving thanks for classic desktop options

        @bradavon : Wrong! I have been "Trying" to work with MS Office Ribbon for 2 years and it still sucks! Give me File...Edit...View...Go... any day of the week and I will blow away anyone else using that stoopid Ribbon crap. HAHA!

        I still don't know how to insert an image without hitting the help button in an e-mail... What a POS!!!!

        Thank GOD I only have to use Office at work... Normal life, I use Linux and Open Source applications to get work done...

        Joe
        LinuxRocks
    • RE: Giving thanks for classic desktop options

      @Aerowind Not at all, you're creating a desktop interface to appeal to users, not alienate them.
      TGM_1979
  • RE: Giving thanks for classic desktop options

    I need to talk to that 12 year old. Mine are 18, 15 and 10 and I still smoke 'em techwise.
    khess
    • RE: Giving thanks for classic desktop options

      @khess

      Eh.... one 'techie' in a family is usually enough, so the other people don't take the time to get tech-literate. My parents don't.
      Lerianis10
  • RE: Giving thanks for classic desktop options

    aaaaahhhhh......

    This post brings back memories of the good old computer days. I still have my old Commodore C-16 computer somewhere "which was a brown keyboard with grey keys with a slot in the back of the keyboard to insert a cartridge". a lot of people don't know that that computer existed in the mid-80s, as many folk were fixated upon the Commodore 64 "which by the way was the more famous model". I wonder what happened to the Commodore computer company and overall???


    http://www.DrewryNewsNetwork.com
    Drewry
    • RE: Giving thanks for classic desktop options

      @Drewry

      They have recreated the C64 and others. Check it out:http://www.commodoreusa.net
      khess
      • RE: Giving thanks for classic desktop options

        @khess

        awesome! I never knew Commodore was still around up until this day :-)


        http://www.DrewryNewsNetwork.com
        Drewry
      • RE: Giving thanks for classic desktop options

        @khess

        Just checked out the website and it looks like Commodore computers are making on the very nice come back. Their YouTube video is adrenaline rushing??? LOL


        http://www.DrewryNewsNetwork.com
        Drewry
    • RE: Giving thanks for classic desktop options

      @Drewry

      Yeah, my father still has his old C-64..... personally, I'd have trashed it by now, but he says it 'has a lot of memories'.
      Lerianis10
      • RE: Giving thanks for classic desktop options

        @Lerianis10


        you gotta admit "the old apple's & and Commodore computers" bring back nothing but positive memories. I remember those days when you had to hook up a small box from the computer to the back of your television and "the box had a little switch on it" that you had the flip in order to get on the computer, after changing the TV to channel 3. That was when Atari and Coleco was just coming out, and donkey Kong had just become a smash hit videogame??? LOL


        http://www.DrewryNewsNetwork.com
        Drewry
  • RE: Giving thanks for classic desktop options

    It sounds like you want a sea of icons and nothing else. Not very innovative or intuitive, I for one am looking forward to Metro.
    clcrockett
    • RE: Giving thanks for classic desktop options

      @ccrockett@...
      Swap a handful of icons for several screens of tiles?

      Unity and Metro are awful.
      Windows 8 is pretty good once you apply the Registry hack. ;)
      lehnerus2000
  • I think I get it

    "They???re foreign. They???re inefficient. They???re different. They???re icky."

    You're confusing "different" and "inefficient". Listen, I'm gifted with the magical ability of just using whatever I'm given and finding out the easiest way to get my tasks done. I know, bow down to my awesome.

    Anyway.

    To put it in perspective, I'll tell you about my mom. She didn't want 7, XP worked just fine! I showed her the new interface, and she told me that it was too different. She was telling me how she wouldn't be able to get her work done.

    I talked her into letting me upgrade anyway, and then took thirty minutes to show her some of the things that would make it better. Over the course of the next day, she got used to her old pattern of doing things. Now she tells me she gets her work done faster than before, and thanked me for bugging her into it.

    She doesn't do a whole lot, but you're way more of a tech person.

    I just wonder if you gave them the amount of time and effort to find out, and if you went into it with the mindset of actually trying to learn something new.
    Michael Alan Goff
    • RE: Giving thanks for classic desktop options

      @Michael Alan Goff

      True. A lot of the increase might be because Windows 7, even on the same equipment, opens applications MUCH faster than on Windows XP.... sometimes, it's a 30 second difference or more.

      From what I have seen with the Windows 7 vs. Windows 8, Windows 8 Dev. Preview has cut that down even more to 1-2 seconds to open the average application on a regular hard drive. With an SSD, it's almost instantaneous on Core i3 budget hardware.
      Lerianis10
  • RE: Giving thanks for classic desktop options

    "No, I couldnt go back to using Windows 3.x."<br><br>Although, to be honest, the grid of icons on my iPhone is very much like the grid of icons Windows 3 gave us <img border="0" src="http://www.cnet.com/i/mb/emoticons/wink.gif" alt="wink">. Maybe the iPhone is a bit more shiny, polished, and modern, but it's the same core concept. Program Manager was just a program launcher. Icons and text. Same as the iPhone today.<br><br>The more things change, the more they stay the same . . .
    CobraA1
    • RE: Giving thanks for classic desktop options

      @CobraA1

      You're right. It DOES look like Program Manager. Maybe that's why it's so comforting to use.
      khess