Window Placement

There is a trend in Linux desktop design toward tiling open windows. This design default once again caters to the geeks, of whom many developers believe are multitasking wizards who have dozens of programs opened concurrently.

Non technical users are not multitasking wizards. They do not multitask at all. They use one or two programs at a time.

Most non technical users do not know anything about using Alt-Tab. Non technical users are heavily mouse-centric.

When non technical users launch programs, they expect the programs to open full screen or open in the center of the desktop. They do not expect programs to stubbornly open in the upper left corner of the desktop or in some “rasterized” left-to-right sequence.

Some desktop environments allow for centering windows, but often this option is not enabled. Some desktop environments do not support window placement options at all.

Some folks might argue that software defaults should be configured for 80% of the users. Currently the 80% bell curve user is not a regular user of Linux based systems. Defaults are being set for 80% of the current user base, which are Linux users, but not 80% of the populace, which are not using Linux.

The trick with defaults is the tech savvy users know how to adjust anything to what they prefer. The non technical user, the 80% bell curve user does not and likely will not learn.

Surprisingly in this day and age, clunky work-arounds are still needed to force window placement behaviors, such as using Devilspie. Do developers really think non technical users are going to spend time fiddling with apps like Devilspie? That such work-arounds are needed are an example of Linux not being ready for prime time.

Posted: Category: Usability Tagged: General

Next: Work Spaces

Previous: Terminals for Geeks