OCT
26
2004

"KDE is about choice"

I swear, if I hear this or "Linux is about choice" or "Open Source / Free Software is about choice" or "My life sized Richard Stallman blowup doll is about choice" one more time, somebody's gonna get an ass kicking. People, let's step back and look at the absurdity of this statement.

I'm not going to say that you couldn't make something that is "about" choice. But I can say that it would probably suck for any useful purpose.

Let's face it. We're not about choice. We're about functionality (ok, maybe not the RMS doll), or at the very least expression of some ideals that are more meaningful than "choice".

Choice isn't a bounded thing, and taken to its logical extreme and applied to software design you simply arrive at a logical recursion where you're building choices on top of choices on top of choices and so on. You could (and some have) conceivably have an application that focuses more on how it's set up than how it works. It's easy to get to a point that you've forgotten what the application is for because it seems to be drowned out in the noise of overloaded functionality.

Again, my standard line: "The ideal interface makes everyone happy at all points in their time spent using it; configurability is a poor substitute." Now, of course we can't design the "ideal" interface, and options are all that we're left with in some cases, but that's hardly a license to target the compromise instead of the goal.

Comments

But "the ideal interface makes everyone happy at all points" is any less absurd than "KDE is about choice"? I fully agree with all except your last paragraph. For me the ideal interface works by offering multiple ways to reach the the user's goal, not limiting it to "one true way" and then forcing everyone that way telling them it's the best there is. Now this is also a generic statement and doesn't necessarily mean that pursuing some kind of "ideal interface" is bad, but I sure hope that these kind of black and white discussions with regard to interfaces which regularly let all the people afraid of losing their personal (already existing or targeted) "ideal interface" come out of the woodwork will stop sometime. More often than not all this is no issue when rhetoric is avoided.


By Na at Tue, 10/26/2004 - 11:46

> But “the ideal interface makes everyone happy at all points


By Scott Wheeler at Tue, 10/26/2004 - 12:21

> Again, my standard line: “The ideal interface makes everyone happy at all points in their time spent using it; configurability is a poor substitute.


By Jason Keirstead at Tue, 10/26/2004 - 16:36

(And I'm really posting anonymous?)


By Stephan Kulow at Thu, 10/28/2004 - 07:36