[openbeos] Re: Visual design stuff again

  • From: "Simon Taylor" <simontaylor1@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: openbeos@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 25 Sep 2003 10:19:56 +0100 BST

> On 2003-09-24 at 13:08:54 [+0200], Simon Taylor wrote:
> > It's not an issue of being mistaken for R5 - it's an issue that 
> > people 
> > will not realise there have been MAJOR changes from R5.
> Rather than this discuss this here I refer to the FAQ on the website.

A FAQ that me and Michael have agreed in private, needs a lot of 
clarification in certain areas.

> > It's not on GE because I'm still talking about R1. The fact that it 
> > isn't 
> > directly a developmental issue is why most of the emails have been 
> > private between me and michael, and why I didn't respond in depth 
> > to 
> > Adi's original question about what we had been talking about.
> OBOS seeks to be a direct replacement to R5; changes in networking 
> and 
> memory management notwithstanding. Even if you don't think this is a 
> GE 
> issue it is at most a creative design issue and I would prefer to see 
> the 
> work done over there. Technical implementation issues which affect 
> the app 
> server or other parts of the system can then be aired here or on 
> interfacekit@xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Although non-technical, this is an issue that affects all of OBOS. As 
long as people have opinions and make comments, I will keep discussing 
the issue here. Also, this list contains many more "outsiders" - those 
are the opinions that really matter for this particular issue, IMHO.
> > I think there's a few more than that - a few thousand downloads per 
> > week 
> > of PE - many of these probably can't even boot it and scrap it 
> > immediately, so won't even consider R1 if they perceive it to be 
> > the same 
> > thing.
> Oh well, we'll just have to live without them.


They are the very people we should target  - people who are prepared to 
download and try an alternative OS, people who have read good things 
about BeOS and decided to try that. We should be able to say to them 
"R5 might not have worked for you, but try OBOS R1, it's much better".

> > We tend to look at BeOS through rose-tinted glasses to a certain 
> > extent 
> > - we're the ones who actually use it. We forget that many people 
> > have a 
> > negative impression of R5 simply because it didn't work on their 
> > hardware. The best possible release of R1 needs to maintain the 
> > positive 
> > associations (like those we have) - but needs to show people with a 
> > negative view of BeOS that improvements have been made. 
> hehe, I spent two hours this morning helping a Windows user because 
> of 
> exactly the same problem. My experience of users new to BeOS is 
> continually 
> one of amazement particularly regarding hardware support and that 
> despite 
> all the known issues with lacking drivers.

We obviously know different users. I have read lots of comments in 
forums all over the place saying "My PC just keeps rebooting - this is 

My point is that appearing to be a complete "clone" of R5 will not 
please everyone. Moreover, that does not even accurately reflect what 
R1 will be. 

> > > It's 100% new. Which is why it gets a new name.
> > 
> > And the same look as an OS from the last decade? That is my point.
> Why not? It's an operating system not a fashion accessory.

Huh? Do you mean it doesn't matter how it looks? In that case, would 
you download TriangleOS if it had lots of cool features, even if it 
looks like this:

100% new code, a name that doesn't include "Be" or "BeOS" anywhere, the 
first milestone release from a new team of developers, yet it looks the 
same pixel-for-pixel as a 5 year old OS.
> > > Key word here is "selling". That is what distributors and not 
> developers 
> > > do.
> > 
> > Developers have to make a product that distributors are able to 
> > sell. 
> > Shared responsibility.
> Interesting definition which I don't agree with.

Fair enough.

Linux (as a full OS) is the only thing in the OSS world that even needs 
the concept of distributors. That is because there is not one co-
ordinated project to create "an operating system" - there are lots of 
individual bits and pieces that a distributor needs to bring together 
and try (and fail mostly) to make it seem a consistent package. OBOS 
doesn't need a third-party to do that for them.

> > Also OBOS is not linux - R1 is going to be more than a kernel. A 
> > download 
> > of R1 from www.walteros.org will be akin to a download of PE from 
> > www.be.com. That is a truly great thing for consistancy - that the 
> > whole 
> > OS is developed by the same folks, and it really reduces the need 
> > for 
> > distributors at all. The only thing I can see commercial 
> > distributions 
> > adding are their own closed source things (Zeta's tracker) and 
> > support.
> Distributors and retailers are essential for the success of any 
> product. 
> They do a lot of hard work convincing people to try or buy their 
> product. 
> They might even invest in improving the core product or adding to the 
> application palette. Think of Dane Scott's great work with 
> TuneTracker as 
> an example.

You'll have to explain your TT example. Isn't Dane just a commercial 
software vendor? AFAIK, he doesn't even distribute BeOS (just advises 
people to d/l PE or buy pro from purplus etc). He certainly isn't 
responsible for changing the look of the OS.

Retailers are different - they sell what they're given.

Again, in a wholly self-contained OSS product, retailers and 
distributors are not that "essential". How many retailers and 
distributors do you know of for the GIMP? Yet I would say that is quite 
a successful product.

> > I stand by that. Buzzwords may get people interested, screenshots 
> > will 
> > decide if they can be bothered to download and install. I'm talking 
> > users 
> > here.
> Again, I don't agree with this definition. What does OBOS gain from 
> these 
> "users"?:
> "Wow! 'WalterOS' looks great. Runs on some but not the stuff you need 
> to 
> pay for and sign NDAs for to get the specs of my hardware. Still no 
> apps 
> for it but who cares 'cos it's just so cool!".
> Those are users?

Yes, they are - if they are "using" your product, then they are 
"users"! ;-)

"Runs on some but not the stuff you need to pay for and sign NDAs for 
to get the specs of my hardware." - I have no idea what this sentence 
is about, sorry.

If we get 100,000 users using OBOS because "it's cool", that might 
encourage GoBe to release Productive 4 for BeOS. There's no way we'll 
ever improve the app situation without users. And any type of user is 
better than no user.

> Charlie


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