Alarms have been raise, get your pitchforks out now. Our tried a true metaphor of stacks of paper sitting on an electronic desk has been questioned!!! Why, computers shouldn’t be about running activities, having fun while learning and getting the interface out of the way. No it should be about dull boring work, applications, stacks and stack of them dulling the senses while churning out mind numb bots who can type word documents and make power point presentations. That is what learning is about, wrote and repetition. Innovation be damn.
Please…the alarmists and reactionists are running roughshod over the Sugar interface claiming that we should be instead slimming down the GNOME shell and use the standard look and feel that has “worked well” for decades. I wonder why they didn’t come out of the wood works when the 770 came out? Or how about all those Linux phones on the market? But that is all besides the point. We are not making a laptop here, we are making a learning device which in many way resembles a laptop in that it has a folding screen, touch pad and keyboard. But it is much more than just that. We have very competent designers working on the interface. One person who has been involved in the design process is Brian Clark who has also extensively worked on design within GNOME. He says it best when he asks “What is GNOME? Is it a panel? A library? or is it simply an idea that a group of people implement?”. GNOME is much more than point and click icons, buttons and widgets. Until people get their head out of the sand and see there is wider world out there we are just going to be stuck in the mud with the same old metaphor. Of course many people would have been just as happy living in the old DOS, UNIX CLI world. Thank god someone tried something different.
To be sure what we develop here on the OLPC will help GNOME. All of our work is open and since we live in a resource deprived environment improvements we make to the base libraries such as cairo, D-Bus and gtk+ go back upstream. Even some of the mesh networking bits may find its way back to the GNOME Desktop. This in a way is a better motivator than just saying we need a speedier desktop. The 770 itself has proven this to be true as they tailor the libraries to their environment GNOME wins every step of the way without the 770 having to be a clone of the GNOME Desktop.
Just watch the development of Sugar or even participate. We haven’t yet started to tweak all the little thing that will make the environment easier to use. Most of the negative comments come from these rough edges which will be polished up as we go along. I am sure you will be pleasantly surprise at some of the cool ideas coming out of Sugar, many of which would just not be thought of if we had simply said we are just going to do a desktop.[read this post in: ar de es fr it ja ko pt ru zh-CN ]