Samus’ Power Suit Can Run Ubuntu

Metroid sucks morph balls

Thanks, Sal, for the image and blog post title. Neither has much to do with window buttons, but that’s okay. I like them both anyway.

Regarding window buttons, I just got a peek at the forthcoming Ubuntu 10.04 release, and I no likie the left-oriented window buttons. The new layout brings to mind a long-standing GNOME usability quirk involving window title bars being so close to the default top panel (regardless of whether the window buttons are on the left or the right) that you risk accidentally closing, maximizing, or minimizing the active window whenever you interact with the panel. Particularly if you’re in a hurry. For this reason I always remove the top panel whenever I do a GNOME install. Two horizontal bars stacked together is bound to result in accidents.

Say what you will about Windows, but Microsoft has at least gotten their button placement “likely” over the years. What I mean by that is each corner of your screen has a likely purpose. The top-right area is strictly for minimizing, maximizing / restoring, and closing your program windows; the top-left is for menu entries; down below, your Start bar holds its own, out of the way and yet easily accessible, with the bottom-left of your screen reserved for the Start menu, and the bottom-right for notification items. A place for everything and everything in its place. If your cursor is in any given corner, it’s there for a particular reason. What the new Ubuntu layout has done is give multiple purposes for a single area. Great for consolidation fans, but, in my opinion, a disregarding of the hard-won convention that each corner of a user’s screen space is reserved for a specific function.

Of course, this won’t be an issue if GNOME moves its application menubars elsewhere. But for the time being left-aligned window buttons are just too close to the menubar for my taste. Here’s to hacking the config file and reclaiming my “rights,” so to speak. 😉

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About jesse

Book designer and formatter based in southern California. Supreme overlord of the SuperMegaNet pseudoverse.
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3 Responses to Samus’ Power Suit Can Run Ubuntu

  1. Righty. It just feels righty! haha

  2. Cheryl lEE says:

    Call me a non-geek, but actually I would say I was balanced, with an appreciation of the geeks and their world, but I don’t get the picture.
    I have that typical “if it ain’t broke, why fix it” feeling about the buttons. I mean it is bad enough with having to get over the hump of the program problems and all. I mean, seriously, vista stunk. All that is bad enough, I think buttons should just stay uniform… much like all languages, there is an underlying rule of thumb. I like uniformity. Leave the buttons where everyone is used to them being.

  3. jesse says:

    Damn straight, Claude! 🙂

    Cheryl, I agree with you. There’s a time for change and shiny new buttons that wow, but (for the reasons I listed above) this just doesn’t seem like it’s necessary. Sadly, Ubuntu seems to have been doing a lot of that lately: changing for the sake of change…when really they should be focusing on polishing what’s already there.

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