Re: gnome-terminal's I pointer shape

Tony Houghton <gnome realh co uk> writes: 
> I would be happy with changing the default - after all, if I'm the one
> who writes the patch, it's less programming than making it optional ;-).
> But I'm not sure that everyone would prefer the alternative behaviour.
> Although I don't like the I-shape, maybe some people do, and presumably
> there was some reason why it was made that way in the first place.

Right, but our job as developers is to work to understand decisions
and make them as best we can - punting to the user isn't right. If we
don't understand why it is why it is, then we can't choose the right
default, which is the most important thing anyway. So making it an
option doesn't get us out of needing to know why people like each way,
and why it is how it is, and whether there's some compromise that
works all around.

> It looks like I need to start a discussion to find out whether there's a
> strong rationale for the I-shape, and if so whether my rationale is
> strong enough to justify even an option, let alone a new default
> behaviour. That's why I posted here first instead of going straight
> ahead with a feature request on bugzilla. Is this the best place for the
> discussion, or is there a better list for it?

Other possible lists are usability gnome org or desktop-devel-list, or
just in bugzilla would be fine. But this list is also fine.

The first issue I think is one of consistency; most arguments here
will not be specific to the terminal but will apply to text boxes in
general. So we would need to document a policy in the HIG and apply
that to all text boxes, and if an option is added, it should apply to
all of them.

Another general question we should ask is what the prior art is; if OS
X and Windows XP both do something, then the presumption should be to
follow that unless we have good evidence otherwise, because they have
a lot of experience and user testing behind them, and users are used
to the behavior. I don't know what either OS X or Windows XP does in
this case, but it's good information to have.

One thing that may be relevant is that I think "cursor themes" are a
feature we expect to have fairly soon, and that feature would allow
global replacement of the I-beam (even in old apps such as xterm).
This is probably the right place for the configurability.


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