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Comment Re:It was a good idea, now find a better one ... (Score 1) 617

The ribbon is a very bad thing, simply because it violates one of the basic concepts of usability: It breaks compatibility with the user's hard-earned knowledge. I've worked with numerous people who have used Office for several years, as anything from a casual user to a super duper uber power user, and the #1 complaint, by far, with the ribbon is, "I can't figure out how to do things! Where the hell did they put [feature X]???" The real problem is that every user has a slightly different set of X features. Whenever developers (or their managers) want to make that fundamental a change to a program's UI, they should ALWAYS make the old UI not just available, but the default.

Comment Here we go again (Score 2, Informative) 1365

I've been fighting this battle for years, since before I was writing for Linux Magazine. The bottom line is that Linux works very well for the people who use it today, but for the vast majority of mainstream users it's a freakin' nightmare. I can't run my (or my kid's) games? I can't run the programs I need for work (and their office packages are all almost compatible with MS Office)? I can't just buy hardware or software at Staples or Office Max or wherever, slap it on the system and get it to work?

At that point it doesn't matter if Linux is beer-free or speech-free, how it can run forever without needing a reboot, how secure it is, etc. Until it can pass the day in, day out tests I mentioned above, and do it without the user having to unlearn and then relearn how to do things, it's going nowhere on the mainstream desktop.

Comment Number 1, without a doubt (Score 2, Funny) 682

It's DLLs, hands down. I remember very clearly when they first erupted onto the scene, like something oozing from an immense, infected sore. The pundits were all agog over how DLLs would lets us customize every little part of Windows with third-party snap-in modules. Their favorite example was a universal search and replace dialog and engine.

Of course, these ninnies had no idea what they were talking about, and they didn't know enough about programming to tell the difference between a documented API and the semantics of that level of communication between pieces of software.

Instead of the promised wonderland, we were lured into a dark alley where Microsoft beat us with a sock full of kruegerrands and then proceeded to do all manner of horrible, system destabilizing things to us.

Oh, the binary horror...

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