Aaron Brethorst

Round peg in a square hole, rabid generalist.

KDE Usability Gripes

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Just for fun, let’s look over the KDE screenshot from before.

Issues: 1. What in the world is “aRTs?” 2. Why would I want to enable or disable full duplex operation? Hell, I spent four years getting a computer science degree, and I have no clue here. 3. If I am going to use a custom sound device, sampling rate, or other custom options, what am I going to type into those text fields? Is this ever realistically going to come up? How will I know? 4. Sound quality? Ostensibly I would want to set this to good or great or something, but it states that is currently set to Autodetect. Whose standard is this, and what is it supposed to mean? 5. The audio buffer size slider makes a fair amount of sense, but wouldn’t this be a lot less confusing if the millisecond count, fragment count, and packet size (I assume that that’s what the 4 kilobyte thing represents) were taken away, leaving only the underlying bullet points? 6. What’s the deal with the Yamaha soundcard information? How do I know if I have a Yamaha soundcard, and if there are settings that should be applied if I have one, why doesn’t KDE do this for me automatically? Furthermore, where do I set sampling rate? Is that what Audio Buffer Size actually is? If so, why doesn’t it say that, if not, how do I find it? I assume that Audio Buffer Size is totally separate, since the Yamaha soundcard notice is outside of the box containing the buffer size slider. 7. What is the difference between a menu editor and a menu updating tool? Furthermore, if KAppfinder is the Menu Updating Tool, why isn’t it just called Menu Updating Tool? 8. What’s the difference between Settings and Preferences? Aren’t Preferences considered Settings in their own right? 9. Why is there a separate category for Applications? Isn’t everything listed a header for a different type of application? Why is Word Processing considered separate from Office?


I could potentially go on for another 20 or 30 points, but I think this gets my point across. There is just way too much stuff going on for the average user to figure out what they’re actually doing.