<!-- Content taken from the Debian Desktop Subproject. Originally written by Colin Walters. Placed here by Matthew ?McGuire 11-11-02 -->

"We recognize that there are only two important classes of users: the novice, and the expert" Thats sad. What about expert users that wants to get things done without learning the syntax of yet another configuration file?

Learning how to use ipfwadm was fun, because it taught me much about the Linux firewall implementation. Lerning ipchains was not fun, but not hard since I knew ipfwadm. I have never tried to learn iptables options. Why should I waste time on yet another implementation when firewall builder has such a great gui?

2003/03/24 14:33 UTC (via web):


Michel Nolard

Wacky ideas from a newbie

Dominic Amann

In regards to system configuration

Another option might be to integrate system tools such as the ones from Red Hat (which are really the most complete I've used--the Morphix Project appears to be trying to port these to Debian) or the newly GPL'ed ["YaST2"] (which I understand is good).

Keep up the good work guys. . .


I think the most critical aspect, no matter what one might say, is having a minimal UI menu system with the option to expand (instead of the other way around). Clutter the UI and the user gets lost. They don't want that many options. Give them primary options (I've always hated "Open New Microsoft Document" taking up precious "root menu" space. Seems invasive). Give them the ability to right-click on menus to add more options. Debian has done a great job at maintaining (and rarely installing by default) all the cool little toys with Gnome (it's gotten much better though!), but keeping them a right-click -> add panel item away. Simple, good looking (Themable!) menus and slick background (I love the dark navy blue Debian Swirl in testing). Make the default terminal app a nicely customized ["ATerm"] (with transparency). Mmmmmm, transparency... If you keep it clean and make sure you don't block or confuse the real purpose of them, transparent terminal apps, menus, and everything else makes the GUI look absolutely awesome to any user. Just keep it looking professional!

Oh, and give a menu option to 3ddesktop if you have a good video card (and be able to easily switch between that and the other pager system)! I haven't actually used it before but I've seen the site and have a good reference from an 3l1t3 h4x0r friend and it looks and sounds like great eye candy for a GUI. Just don't let it crash or be horribly slow..

Get as many (working) GDM, KDM, hell XDM, Gnome, KDE (and all other) themes and install them by default. Create/install a Gnome/KDE splash screen changer with a standardized Gnome/KDE interface. "Regular people" as well as hackers love themes. Crap, I love themeing my bash prompt with color and da bling bling, ya know. Everyone does. Everyone wants to customize their environment, it makes them feel better about using it. As long as you give that easy accessibility to the user, they can decide how much. Don't leave out installing (stable) themes!!

Focusing on the login manager for a second... The Debian themes for it are awesome!! Take it a step forward and make it easy to snap a picture with your webcam (or select a part of an existing image) to create login photos for you. Makes it look secure...and cool. =) I know it's a long shot, but integrating any kind of biometric authentication (fingerprint or voice being the most easily accessable) and making it easy to "turn it on" is a really eye-catching (and very secure) login method.

Again, simple, slick looking interfaces with the absolute fullest options to customize is my highest reccomendation.

- The Darkener

(I'm a Gnome user, so I mostly reference that...sorry if I offended you. =) )