April 25th, 2006
So the blue drop shadows guy wrote back by way of a new blog post to explain that I’m a silly bunny and it’s fine because it’s just a technology demonstration. He also suggested I read the comments on his entry, where people have come up with Really Useful Applications for his technology demonstration, such as:
“Use a different color for windows running as another user. For example, if I start an admin tool with root priviligies that windows would use a different color for the shadow.”
So the problem with the suggestions is they stink of doing things ass-backwards: instead of identifying a problem then deciding on the best solution, someone codes up a piece of borderline useless eye candy and people come up with the best half-hearted justification they can manage for why it’s Really Useful. Now if we were doing things forward, we would start by identifying a problem: there’s no indicator of what user a particular application is running as. Now we’ve identified this problem, we try and pick the best possible solution. If we were working this way around, would the solution that immediately jumped into anyone’s mind be “I know! Let’s use a different coloured drop shadow!”? No. I don’t think it would.
The problem with the “ooh, it’s just a technology demonstration!” excuse is it’s getting old. Novell has developed this shiny Xgl thing and touted it around as the next big thing. Everyone’s jumping on the bandwagon and declaring how great it is. They’re making it one of the cornerstone features of the next SUSE release. And yet, several months after it first broke, the only things that have actually been DONE with it are the useless bits of eye candy which were justified by the “it’s just a demonstration!” excuse. The Xgl features Novell developers (and Novell – see for e.g. http://www.novell.com/products/desktop/preview.html , where Xgl is featured prominently as a new feature in their *enterprise desktop* product, for Pete’s sake) are making a big deal about shipping in SUSE 10.1 are…the useless bits of eye candy that everyone said were just technology demonstrations. Where’s the beef? Hasn’t it been long enough that it’s reasonable to start asking this question? Isn’t it reasonable to argue that the development process of this technology has been compromised in the pursuit of PR opportunities?
Those are my questions.