Somebody I have been conversing with for a while now asked me a very interesting question the other day and rather than answer it directly I thought it would be good to gauge the opinions of the Everyday Linux User readers.
Recently I have written a few articles about Debian and one of those articles suggested ways to improve some peripheral things about it such as the website and the installer.
I have become an advocate of GNOME recently and as such I have obviously mentioned this.
One of the comments that I received stated that because I liked GNOME I am therefore one of those people that needs things dumbed down.
This got me thinking. Is making something easier to use necessarily the same as dumbing down and indeed is there anything wrong with dumbing down if that makes something easier to use?
Whenever you look at technical videos online (and they don’t have to be about Linux) you will quite often see Unity being used as the desktop environment.
Chris from the Linux Action Show uses Arch but quite often when you see demonstrations from one of their videos you will again see Unity being used.
The point is, do they use Unity because they need something dumbed down or do they use it because it is actually convenient and easy to use when you really just need to get a job done?
I think the beauty of desktop environments such as Unity, GNOME and for non-Linux users OSX and Windows 8.1 is that they are very intuitive and easy to use and they keep out of your way.
The keyboard shortcuts are definitely a good thing and the ability to search for applications, documents, audio files and videos with just a few key clicks is just great.
I think that the people who don’t like the Unity and GNOME style interface fall into one of two categories.
The first category would be the people who like things to be the way they have always been. These people would appreciate Cinnamon, KDE and MATE.
The second category would say that the reason they don’t like Unity and GNOME is that the developers have assumed the users want the desktop to work in a particular way but there is no way to change it if the user wants it to work in an alternative way.
To be honest I am not adverse to tinkering with a desktop environment and so I really like XFCE, LXDE and more recently Enlightenment. When it comes down to it though if I really need to get something done in a hurry I would turn to a machine with GNOME or Unity on it first.
So what kind of Linux desktop environments do you prefer?
Do you prefer the modern desktop environments with maybe less flexibility but perhaps better desktop integration and slightly more intuitive or do you like things more traditional with menus and panels? Maybe you don’t care so long as you can make it the way you want it. Let me know in the comments below.
Thankyou for reading