OK, I hope this doesn't sound sacriligous or anything but...

I'm setting up my father's machine, using Windows.  He prefers
ease-of-use, so I'm not going to even pretend I can stick Linux on

However, I'm noticing a few ease-of-use features I think GNOME could
benefit from.  Some of these probably belong in Sawfish, but I'm not
getting any mail on the Sawfish list, so I wont bother there...

1) File selection.  Everyone knows GNOME file selection is the worst
thing there ever was.  It sucks.  Horribly.  if GTK isn't going to
improve, can't GNOME improve the GNOME File Selector?  I'd hack on it
myself, but I'm a tad bit busy with 4 other projects right now... maybe
in a couple weeks?  Anyways, there needs to be easier navigation.  A
real history bar.  Filtering, at least off of file names (*.txt, for
example).  Perhaps an app could say select file of MIME type so-and-so,
and have the file selector take care of that.. Etc.  It's just plain
hard to select files in GTK, and not much easier in GNOME.

2) Window maximizing/minimizing.  Again, this belongs in the WM, but the
Sawfish list appears to either be dead or something's up with my getting
mail from it... Um, the memory for maximized Windows is plain
bad.  There needs to be a way to better distinguis windows (I don't want
ALL the netscape windows to open maximized... stuff like banner ads
opening up maximized is a hassle).  Also, if you maximize, and sawfish
remembers it, then next time it opens, if you hit maximize, nothing
happens.  There needs to be a way to remember the last maximized size
and the last non maximized size.  So, if I open an app and it starts
maximized, and I hit the maximize button, it goes back to the last size
it was at before maximizing.  Again, sorry about posting this here, but
I can't get through to the Sawfish list...

3) Drives and networks.  OK, this belongs back in #1, but here's
something else.  It's a pain to read the CD... first open /, scan
through till you find /mnt, then find the right drive... Windows drive
letters are weak in approach, but when selecting drives, its easy to
find.  Perhaps a way to scan /etc/fstab and find all mount points that
are of CDROM, floppy, ZIP, etc. format, and adding them to a special
list, so in the file selection, you can just click on CD 1, Floppy 2,
etc.  Something similar with the network drives would be useful too.

4) Feedback boxes.. OK, I found this in XFce, not Windows.  If an app
prints messages to the tty, a box opens up to show what it was.  There
should be an option for this.  A lot of apps die at startup, and the
message is printed to the console.  While I'm capable of opening a
terminal and trying the app, the average newbie (a.k.a. my father)
wouldn't know how, or want to.  Also, the "run in terminal" option isn't
all that useful because the terminal closes when the app is done.  And
writing scripts is really out of the question for newbies...  Also,
perhaps an option to open such a dialog box with tty output for any app
that crashed, or exits with an error code... It would be necessary for
newbies (cause a lot of software out there crashes alot... I run into
more crashing on Linux than I do Windows, simply because its all
development software, but still... feedback is nice).

OK, I have a few other things to bring up, but it looks like they're
being taken care of (Nautilus looks like it'll be great when it can
actually run on my machine).

Um, what are your guys's opinions on this?  Would these be plausible
improvements?  These are a few of the things that make me jealous of
Windows users (or XFce, I suppose).  We're getting lots of application
support now, but the core desktop still needs lots of improvements.  the
GNOME development platform is excellent, and is improving even more at a
rapid rate, but it almost feels like development on the side of the
panels, and standard applets and whatnot are very slow.

Anyways... I'd be more than willing to hack on this stuff (well, some of
it, my skill in GUI-related stuff really isn't all that great) as soon
as I get the time.  I'd love to make GNOME the best.

Sean Middleditch

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