Giving thanks for classic desktop options

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.
Written by Ken Hess, Contributor

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.

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