Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Enough With The Insane Beryl Demos Already!!

It's no secret that I run Linux. More specifically I run Ubuntu 6.10 and use Beryl. I'm quite happy and satisfied with it.

Now since Vista has launched, can somebody point me to a good demo video touting it's interface features? While you're at it, please provide a link to a good video demo of the OS-X desktop.

W-w-what the hell? - you might ask. Why would I ask for these things?

I'll tell you why. I believe that Beryl and Linux can provide at least the equal of the visual desktop experience of Vista or OS-X (and with much lower hardware requirements). Compiz and Beryl have come so far so quickly in their development that it's hard to imagine they won't surpass the capabilities of the other two in fairly short order. But here's the rub:

Almost every Beryl demo I've seen cited on Digg and other sites has been a mish-mash of anime wallpaper, speedmetal and hyperfast cube-spinning and window switching. I'd like to be able to show a co-worker or friend a well produced demo of the actual practical capabilites of the Linux+Compiz/Beryl desktop without resorting to the goth-wallpapered, death-metal soundtrack demos I see all over the place.

What better way to convert would-be Vista or OSX users than by offering real-world high production value demonstrations similar to those produced in their own camps. Let's make the demos match them not only in capabilities, but in taste and style as well. It's hard to argue when you can demonstrate the same functionality.

Burning menus down in flames or exploding title bars might be neat, but they don't exactly bolster the argument for our side.

Anybody got any OS-X or Vista demos they care to hold up as shining examples of what a desktop OS should be?

Or of course, if you can point me to a Beryl or Compiz video that already does this, all the better.


Anonymous said...

Eh I would switch to Linux even if there were not the spinning desktops and burning menus. My problem with switching to Linux were these thing.

1.3rd party software installation was a nightmare. For instance I found an Audio Studio Program. It called for dependencies. I downloaded dependencies for 4 days and I'm telling you after 30 or 40 of those I lost track of what I was doing and just abandoned it.

Installed the Windows version in two clicks. Got the work done in 2 hours.

Needs a standardized easy way of installation across all version/distributions of Linux.

2. Too many custom versions floating around to really know what to start with since some work with certain hardware where others do not. Some are better than others. Condense the better versions together to make things just work.

Think about it. People complained when Microsoft offered what 6 or 7 versions of Vista?
I went to and WTH there were 627 different versions of Linux. I understand certain die-hard individuals wanting custom installs etc...
What makes sense though is to tout and promote 2 or 3 versions at the most to new people and have developers finish and polish those for new people.

3. Sure it is glitzy and pretty to show burning menus, spinning desktops, floppy panels, water dripping desktops but in the end the user will be disappointed when he/she tries to listen to music from their mp3 player and it doesn't work and takes a while to figure that out.

4. Lose the funky drunken names of applications so people will know what the application is for without even using it. Even a tiny hover box to the side explaining what the program is (Maybe right click) would do wonders.


Gimp-N. a person who limps; lame person. Nope don't need that! Don't use that program it might slow the computer!

Paint Shop Pro- professional paint shop. Hrm maybe I can fix my photo in there.

Photo Shop-Shop for photos or a shop for photo repair...I'll try it sounds harmless.

Open Office-Office that is open to the public...sounds nice!

RichardQuerin said...

While the quality of application installation varies widely from distro to distro I can only talk about what I use (Ubuntu 7.10). I use XP-Pro at work and I can tell you that based on my experience, installing software on Ubuntu is at least as easy if not easier than on XP. They have a huge amount of current software in their package repositories and they give two simple GUI ways to install. I've never experienced dependency problems on my machine. But that's not to say it never happens. You don't say what distro you tried, but I can't say I've heard many bad things about Ubuntu's package management architecture.

The unique thing (some would call it a problem and others a benefit) about the free and open source software world is the freedom.
A byproduct of this freedom is a multitude of distros, installation systems etc. Vista's multiple product versions is an ENTIRELY different thing. They sell various crippled versions with reduced functionality. Ubuntu by itself is available in various flavours. None of which are created to cripple certain functionality. If you want consistency of experience and functionality, you should go Apple. Of course then you not only get a closed OS, but a closed hardware loop too. This is perfectly suited to some people. Just not me.

Again, the price you pay for all this freedom is a plethora of options, all of varying quality, aimed at users of various tastes. I'll pay that price so I don't have to shell out 400+ bucks just to get a working system (with no *legal* office applications).

As far as application names, I guess the way Ubuntu names things like "Movie Player" and "Text Editor" would be right up your alley. Of course again harking back to that 'freedom' thing, we're faced with good naming choices and worse ones. But MS and Apple are no better. Why would I use "outlook" for mail.. what does that even mean? What about 'Excel' or 'Safari' ? The free/open-source world has no lock on non-descriptive application names by any means.

But it's not all about descriptive naming. Inkscape for instance doesn't tell you what it does. But boy it's a frickin' cool name though isn't it?

Thanks for commenting, reading and provoking more discussion.