Comment 338 for bug 668415

On 23/12/13 16:52, Tal Liron wrote:
> You're mistaken about the modularity of Unity7: it's impossible right
> now pick and chose components. Unity7 is an either-or affair: if you
> want to use Launchy, you will have to deal with the Unity Launcher still
> being on screen, which is of course unfeasible, which in turn is why for
> many of us posting had to switch, with sadness, to a different, less
> beautiful, less "ergonomic" desktop environment (Xfce for me). The last
> version of Unity that supported modularity was Unity2D, for which each
> component was its own executable launched at startup: thus easy to turn
> off the Launcher and run something else instead. It was great! I even
> wrote a guide for how to replace the Launcher. Now, that was a Unity I
> could use in my everyday work.

Would it help if we added simply the ability to turn off the launcher,
so you could use a different component? That would seem to be a
minimally invasive patch. As a hidden option (dconf) it would be fine.

> As far as I can tell, Unity 8 is also monolithic. *Unless* you, as
> SABDFL, decree that there should be a checkbox (even a hidden system
> setting) that allows individual Unity components to be turned off. To
> paraphrase Mao Zedong: "Let 100 desktop configurations blossom!"

Ahem. Allegedly he said that to flush out dissenters, who were then
treated not very well indeed. ;) But I know where you are coming from,
and I think we do support that by supporting so many alternative desktop
environments. I just don't believe we can deliver something amazing if
we don't put it on rails; having spent nearly 20 years working with free
software, I've seen endless shallow efforts that promised infinite
customization, and I want to see what happens if we go deep instead.

> Also:
> I have to disagree about hardcoding user expectations -- I'm left-handed
> myself (also a right-to-left native language speaker!) -- and appreciate
> the ability to flip these things around. I hold my phone with my left
> hand, and things are always a bit more difficult for me than for others.

I would support being able to flip the left-right edges for any
language, but I would be opposed to arbitrary edge assignments, because
a lot of the visual effects of transitions are optimal for vertical or
horizontal movement and space. Given that I and others spend many hours
every week on that tweaking and evaluating options, I don't believe we
could do a good job of it if we didn't put ourselves on rails to some
extent, and being on rails means you don't get to go offroading and
snowmobiling unfortunately :)

> Allowing users to assign any one functionality to any one edge would be
> best.

I'll be glad to be proven wrong but I'm not going to invest in that
experiment based on first-hand data :)

> I also think hardcoding developer expectations can end up shooting you
> in the foot -- what if some day you want to expand the Unity experience?
> Say, Unity running inside Oculus Rift with an entirely different UX?

We prototyped and sketched quite a few different form factors, and
having a set of values to start from generally proved useful rather than
a hindrance.

 * would you want to switch apps? if so, think about how to interpret
"left edge" and "right edge" in this new form factor
 * would your apps want to have a "zoom back for more" experience? if
so, think how to create a "bottom edge" experience
 * would you want to access things like settings and notifications? if
so, think about what the "top edge" is in VR

I hope you'd agree if you play with this in your mind that it's actually
helpful to have some of the core ideas covered so you can focus on
refinement of the experience.

For example, the WAY you use the top edge on a phone is different to a
PC. But the same stuff is *there*.

I bet we will do just fine on VR and I would welcome contributions to
get us there!

> Would developers have to rewrite all apps for the new API? It's best to
> keep the API as generic *as possible* and not let developers program
> towards UI expectations, especially for things as ephemeral as screen
> locations.

Yes and no. It's a nightmare to have to consider every option including
ones you can't imagine. I have yet to meet a very experienced and
successful developer who thinks they can be successful at that. Better
to be on rails.

> I wish you a delightful, troll-free holiday season!

Thank you :) and to you too!