Article about how desktop UIs changed over the years

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Nach
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Article about how desktop UIs changed over the years

Post by Nach »

I'd appreciate feedback. I'd also appreciate if you can pass this link around to other places you may frequent.

http://insanecoding.blogspot.com/2011/1 ... sktop.html
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Re: Article about how desktop UIs changed over the years

Post by adventure_of_link »

Nice article, Nach :)

I also like your comment at the end about KDE 3.5 and calling it trinity...

As for KDE4 sucking and not ready for prime time yet people still insisted using it anyway, that certainly explains why it was like a slug on my old desktop... :?
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Re: Article about how desktop UIs changed over the years

Post by odditude »

I found the article a solid read, well-written with your points consistently argued. Thanks for sharing!

I also have a great love for KDE 3, although I haven't run Linux on a personal machine since late '06.

Personally, I'm a huge fan of the Win6 Start menu, and the ability to start quicklaunch/docked items with Win+num. However, I always invoke the Start menu with Ctrl+Esc (even when mousing to something, have done this since Win95), have regular enough habits that my most common apps that I don't need docked are in the left pane, and I have my most common Explorer targets in the right (Downloads and Music). Therefore, for me, the Start menu is almost always single-click.

I also love and make great use of Start search to launch apps or Explorer windows in random paths.

I seriously dislike the extra crap they keep trying to shoehorn into the left pane, though. Treeview of local and network paths is sufficient, thanks, and don't try to dumb it down.

BTW, "Title" is a valid column in Details view in Explorer under Win7 (and likely Vista, though I don't have anything handy to test on).

The control panel, however, was indeed horrible in Vista and somehow even worse in 7.
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Re: Article about how desktop UIs changed over the years

Post by Nach »

odditude wrote:I found the article a solid read, well-written with your points consistently argued. Thanks for sharing!

Glad you enjoyed it.

odditude wrote:I always invoke the Start menu with Ctrl+Esc

Me too!
odditude wrote:BTW, "Title" is a valid column in Details view in Explorer under Win7 (and likely Vista, though I don't have anything handy to test on).

That's quite useful. Which kinds of documents can it extract titles from? I've seen KDE's work with any office suite document format, PDF, CHM, DJVU, HTML, audio files, and a few other random things.
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Re: Article about how desktop UIs changed over the years

Post by odditude »

Nach wrote:
odditude wrote:BTW, "Title" is a valid column in Details view in Explorer under Win7 (and likely Vista, though I don't have anything handy to test on).

That's quite useful. Which kinds of documents can it extract titles from? I've seen KDE's work with any office suite document format, PDF, CHM, DJVU, HTML, audio files, and a few other random things.

Looks like it's not as capable as KDE. It appears to work with any filetype where "Title" is a field on the property sheet instead of actually parsing the file; this seems to only include Office filetypes, XPS, and "standard" adio/video types.
Last edited by odditude on Thu Dec 15, 2011 6:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Article about how desktop UIs changed over the years

Post by Rashidi »

Now a new version of Windows is coming out with a new interface being called "Metro". They should really be calling it "Retro". It's Windows 3 Program Manager with a bunch of those third party add-ons, with a more modern look to it.

should add the following picture: http://i.imgur.com/vd2WA.jpg (because the size i choose not to use "IMG" tag)
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Re: Article about how desktop UIs changed over the years

Post by Nightcrawler »

I posted this and my opinion over at RHDN. I thought it was a nice article and would be good food for discussion. :) I generally agree with your sentiments having also been a user since the Windows 3 days.
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Re: Article about how desktop UIs changed over the years

Post by Nach »

Rashidi wrote:
Now a new version of Windows is coming out with a new interface being called "Metro". They should really be calling it "Retro". It's Windows 3 Program Manager with a bunch of those third party add-ons, with a more modern look to it.

should add the following picture: http://i.imgur.com/vd2WA.jpg (because the size i choose not to use "IMG" tag)

Haha. I think the interface is closer to Windows 3's though.

Nightcrawler wrote:I posted this and my opinion over at RHDN. I thought it was a nice article and would be good food for discussion. :)

Thanks! :)

I read your response there, and it's quite good. Your summary is exactly what I was trying to get at.
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Re: Article about how desktop UIs changed over the years

Post by grinvader »

Rashidi wrote:should add the following picture: http://i.imgur.com/vd2WA.jpg

should add the following picture:
Image
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Re: Article about how desktop UIs changed over the years

Post by odditude »

95 was good, 98 was shit, 98SE was good.
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Re: Article about how desktop UIs changed over the years

Post by adventure_of_link »

love how you conveniently left out windows 2000...
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Re: Article about how desktop UIs changed over the years

Post by odditude »

adventure_of_link wrote:love how you conveniently left out windows 2000...

windows 2000 was not a consumer-oriented OS. note that NT 3.1, 3.5, and 4.0 were also omitted.
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Re: Article about how desktop UIs changed over the years

Post by Nach »

odditude wrote:
adventure_of_link wrote:love how you conveniently left out windows 2000...

windows 2000 was not a consumer-oriented OS. note that NT 3.1, 3.5, and 4.0 were also omitted.


As were 2003 and 2008.
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Re: Article about how desktop UIs changed over the years

Post by odditude »

Nach wrote:
odditude wrote:
adventure_of_link wrote:love how you conveniently left out windows 2000...

windows 2000 was not a consumer-oriented OS. note that NT 3.1, 3.5, and 4.0 were also omitted.

As were 2003 and 2008.

indeed.
i wonder how many people see the parallels between 2000/XP/(2003/XP x64) and (Vista/2008)/(7/2008 R2)?
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Re: Article about how desktop UIs changed over the years

Post by Gil_Hamilton »

odditude wrote:95 was good, 98 was shit, 98SE was good.

If we include service packs, we should score 95 as three categories. And 3.0, 3.1, and 3.11 separate. And so on.

And 98 was loads mroe stable than 95. Which was a hell of an improvement over 3.x anyways.


I honestly respect 95, 98, and XP for what they are: a well thought-out plan to gradually wean people off MS-DOS get them all to a point where they can run everything they need on the NT path. It's a shame the compatibility layers feature wasn't ready for 2K's launch, as otherwise it would've been the first home NT, and we never would've suffered with ME.
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Re: Article about how desktop UIs changed over the years

Post by odditude »

Gil_Hamilton wrote:
odditude wrote:95 was good, 98 was shit, 98SE was good.

If we include service packs, we should score 95 as three categories. And 3.0, 3.1, and 3.11 separate. And so on.

And 98 was loads mroe stable than 95. Which was a hell of an improvement over 3.x anyways.


I honestly respect 95, 98, and XP for what they are: a well thought-out plan to gradually wean people off MS-DOS get them all to a point where they can run everything they need on the NT path. It's a shame the compatibility layers feature wasn't ready for 2K's launch, as otherwise it would've been the first home NT, and we never would've suffered with ME.

98SE was actually a separate retail release and paid upgrade over 98, so I think it's valid to include.

I saw more OS-related issues with people running 98 than 95 back in school, so that's where 98's been relegated in my mind.

I definitely agree with you on the what-could-have-been with 2k, especially in regards to avoiding Me. (I remember having a sales quota for promo upgrade copies of Me on launch day, and feeling absolutely horrible about it once the reviews started coming in and I got to actually play with it myself. From then on, most customers who asked "should I get this?" got a "Nope."
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Re: Article about how desktop UIs changed over the years

Post by grinvader »

adventure_of_link wrote:love how you conveniently left out windows 2000...

> Implying I made the pic

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...........\lllllllllllllllllllll,-*...........`~-~-,...(.(¯`*,`,
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..........././.../...,*`-,.....`-,...*`....,---......\..../...../..|.........¯```*~-,,,,
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..................f`-,.........`-,/...*-,___,,-~*....,-*......|...`-,..........\........
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Re: Article about how desktop UIs changed over the years

Post by Gil_Hamilton »

odditude wrote:
Gil_Hamilton wrote:
odditude wrote:95 was good, 98 was shit, 98SE was good.

If we include service packs, we should score 95 as three categories. And 3.0, 3.1, and 3.11 separate. And so on.

And 98 was loads mroe stable than 95. Which was a hell of an improvement over 3.x anyways.


I honestly respect 95, 98, and XP for what they are: a well thought-out plan to gradually wean people off MS-DOS get them all to a point where they can run everything they need on the NT path. It's a shame the compatibility layers feature wasn't ready for 2K's launch, as otherwise it would've been the first home NT, and we never would've suffered with ME.

98SE was actually a separate retail release and paid upgrade over 98, so I think it's valid to include.

I saw more OS-related issues with people running 98 than 95 back in school, so that's where 98's been relegated in my mind.

I definitely agree with you on the what-could-have-been with 2k, especially in regards to avoiding Me. (I remember having a sales quota for promo upgrade copies of Me on launch day, and feeling absolutely horrible about it once the reviews started coming in and I got to actually play with it myself. From then on, most customers who asked "should I get this?" got a "Nope."

Coulda sworn SE was 98+service pack.
Maybe I'm crazy... well, okay, we KNOW I'm crazy. Maybe I'm crazier than suspected.

Hmmm... most of the 95 updates were never available outside of OEM install disks. THAT's some serious shit, there. "Want an update? Buy a new PC already, geez..."
I've got a copy of 95 OSR2(maybe 2.5, have to find it and check) somewhere that may be worth money in that case! :P
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Re: Article about how desktop UIs changed over the years

Post by paulguy »

Windows 98 didn't have service packs. Just plain old "windows updates". 98SE I'm pretty sure is a separate product from plain "98", that you would need to have bought separately if you wanted it.
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Re: Article about how desktop UIs changed over the years

Post by Gonzo »

Gil_Hamilton wrote:
Hmmm... most of the 95 updates were never available outside of OEM install disks. THAT's some serious shit, there. "Want an update? Buy a new PC already, geez..."

Yeah, when I finally got a computer in late '97 that had windows 95 on it, it came with a OEM install disk. Is that a practise that's still done these days? I remember someone telling me years ago that that was technically illegal.

Oh and Nach, just read the article. It was a great and interesting read. I got a lot of nostalgia out of it. And it almost makes me wish I had of got into linux. Oh well, I guess I'll just stick with the mindless herd of mac users :)
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Re: Article about how desktop UIs changed over the years

Post by Nach »

Gil_Hamilton wrote:
odditude wrote:95 was good, 98 was shit, 98SE was good.

If we include service packs, we should score 95 as three categories. And 3.0, 3.1, and 3.11 separate. And so on.

On that note, 3.0 was really horrible. Things were extremely slow. 3.1 sped things up by an order of magnitude if not more. 3.11 just patched the basic 3.1 with stuff no one is really familiar with, added a game, and had some networking code and other stuff 3.1 didn't have but you could get via various add ons. Main thing I remember getting for 3.11 was a DMA add on which made things fly, which I don't think they offered for 3.1 itself.
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Re: Article about how desktop UIs changed over the years

Post by Gil_Hamilton »

Gonzo wrote:
Gil_Hamilton wrote:
Hmmm... most of the 95 updates were never available outside of OEM install disks. THAT's some serious shit, there. "Want an update? Buy a new PC already, geez..."

Yeah, when I finally got a computer in late '97 that had windows 95 on it, it came with a OEM install disk. Is that a practise that's still done these days? I remember someone telling me years ago that that was technically illegal.

It's not illegal, but MS "strongly discourages" it.

Basically, they got sick of seeing people strip the OEM disks out of the computer box and resell them, so they made the OEMs ship disks keyed to the computer under the guise of convenience(since a computer-keyed install disk can drop all the drivers and bloatware on at once). It would be great if it was in addition to standalone driver and OS disks instead of in lieu of, but it's not so it sucks super monkey balls.

Nach wrote:
Gil_Hamilton wrote:
odditude wrote:95 was good, 98 was shit, 98SE was good.

If we include service packs, we should score 95 as three categories. And 3.0, 3.1, and 3.11 separate. And so on.

On that note, 3.0 was really horrible. Things were extremely slow. 3.1 sped things up by an order of magnitude if not more. 3.11 just patched the basic 3.1 with stuff no one is really familiar with, added a game, and had some networking code and other stuff 3.1 didn't have but you could get via various add ons. Main thing I remember getting for 3.11 was a DMA add on which made things fly, which I don't think they offered for 3.1 itself.

Honestly, the only thing I remember from 3.11 was the drive selector buttons in File Manager.
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Re: Article about how desktop UIs changed over the years

Post by Deathlike2 »

odditude wrote:
Nach wrote:
odditude wrote:
adventure_of_link wrote:love how you conveniently left out windows 2000...

windows 2000 was not a consumer-oriented OS. note that NT 3.1, 3.5, and 4.0 were also omitted.

As were 2003 and 2008.

indeed.
i wonder how many people see the parallels between 2000/XP/(2003/XP x64) and (Vista/2008)/(7/2008 R2)?


The second time's the charm. :D

Win2k was excellent IMO... the biggest gripe was the strange delay in the boot sequence... it was noticeable.

Win98 (especially Win98SE) was tons more stable than Win95.

WinME was so bad that even my college pretended it didn't exist support-wise...

I get the feeling Win8 will bring back up the Vista whinefest machine though.
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Re: Article about how desktop UIs changed over the years

Post by odditude »

Gil_Hamilton wrote:Honestly, the only thing I remember from 3.11 was the drive selector buttons in File Manager.

ugh, getting WfW boxes on the network in 97... i mean, yay, no Trumpet Winsock, but early 486 machines were crotchety enough to begin with before getting Windows to admit that yes, that 3com card is in fact working properly.
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Re: Article about how desktop UIs changed over the years

Post by franpa »

From memory Windows 95c (OEM) was pretty darn stable but Windows 95b, 95a and 95 were all terrible/crash prone messes.

98SE is indeed a separate O/S with it's main selling point being USB support though Microsoft only included like 5 USB drivers with Windows and didn't offer USB drivers through Windows Update or anything so you were 100% dependent on getting drivers provided with your device and hoping they worked/didn't conflict. My personal experiences with Windows ME were that of it being no less stable then Windows 98 and I like the minor changes they made to the interface, they added shortcuts here and there like more ways to access Display Properties etc. and the default desktop theme was tons better.

I didn't get Windows XP until 2004~ when service pack 2 was integrated on the discs so I completely missed the vast majority of problems people had to suffer through with Windows XP :) I also have limited experience with Windows Vista, I like the interface kinda but hate the fuck tons of UAC prompts, yes you can turn them off but eh I leave UAC on in Windows 7 as it's way less obnoxious and I can see the benefit of it. I kinda prefer Vista's mishmash GUI over 7's dumbed down to the Nth degree GUI.
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