What have we done?

Couple of weeks ago I was in the situation of having to setup up a new laptop. I decided to go with wheezy’s DVD installer. So far so good. I didn’t expect (somewhere in the lies-I-tell-myself dept.) to have GNOME as the default Debian desktop. However after install I’ve figured it was the new GNOME3 everybody was talking about. Before that I’ve seen it in Ubuntu systems used by my classmates. I thought yeah, OK GNOME3, I think that’s fine for them as a Linux desktop. Turns out that I’ve started using the Debian desktop aka GNOME3 and noticed that it was not as bloated as the Ubuntu desktop I’ve seen before looked, so I sticked with it, (I thought for a while).

Turns out that I did like this new so called GNOME3, the non-window based but an  application-based system (that is something that sticks in my head). I liked the  way it makes sense as a desktop system, like when you look for applications, documents, connect to networks, use pluggable devices or just configure stuff every time with less and less effort. Good practices and concepts learned from Mac OS X-like environments and for sure taking advantage of the new features the Linux kernel and user-space environment got over the years. So, like one month later I stick with it and it makes sense for me to keep it. I had no chance to try the latest XFCE or KDE, my default choices before this experience. Kudos GNOME team, even after the depictions you guys had on GNOME Shell; as I learned.

This whole situation got me into some pondering about the past of the Linux user experience and how we in the community lead people into joining. I remember that when I guy asked: how do I configure this new monitor/VGA card/network card/Etc? the answer was in the lines of: what is the exact chipset model and specific whole product code number that your device has? Putting myself in the shoes of such people or today’s people I’d say: what are you talking about? what it is a chipset? I mean, like it was too technical that only one guy with more than average knowledge could grasp. From a product perspective this is similar for a car manufacturer tell to a customer to look for the exact layout or design your car’s engine has, so that they are able to tell whether is the 82’s model A or 83’s model C. Simplicity on naming and identification was not in the mindset of most of us.

This is funny because as technology advances it also becomes more transparent to the customer. So, for instance, today’s kids can become really power users of any new technology as if they had, indeed, many pre-set chipsets in their brain. But when going into the details we had to grasp few years ago they have some hard time figuring out the complexity of the product that presents itself on this clean and simple interface. New times, interesting times. Always good to look back. No, I’m not getting old.