Maturity is reached

I feel that desktop operating system maturity is reached. Think of all the new features that Steve Jobs announced today for Leopard. None of them is to “die for” (even for the impressive Time Machine, most users don’t care about backups).

This is not to say that all the new features of Vista and OSX are not welcome. On the contrary. But I don’t see most of these features being as important to the usability of a desktop as features arriving with Win95 (even if the OS was unstable) or OSX 10.3. Instead, most are nothing but “brush ups”, clean ups, refinements, beautifications, and in some cases, useless eye candy and pure cpu suckers. I feel that for the current computing model, keyboard-mouse-monitor, OSes are pretty close to the best they can be in terms of desktop experience. Which is good, as it will be easier for less fortunate OSes to catchup on desktop experience, e.g. Linux distros.

Maybe the next big company in technology, in 10 years from now, instead of showing off their brand new shiny animated UI, they will show us a completely new way of using a computer.

8 Comments »

Adam wrote on June 11th, 2007 at 11:21 AM PST:

“Everything that can be invented has been invented.” Charles H. Duell

I’m afraid, Eugenia, you will almost certainly live to eat your words. When we lack vision, we still assume we can see it all. Your OS heyday was a few years ago, and you’ve said yourself it’s not worth it anymore for anyone to compete with Linux and OS X and Windows. Though you’ve moved on to new areas of interest, the desktop is FAR from dead, and you dismiss real steps forward – like a user-friendly backup tool, as “most people don’t care.” Sorta like no one used the internet 15 years ago? What if people said, “well, IPX is really what most people use on their networks, so let’s not bother with TCP/IP.” What if the people who wrote Firefox felt browsing had been mastered with Seamonkey, IE, and – gasp – HotJava? What if the people who wrote Gmail felt that the previous incarnation of Hotmail was the end-all of webmail?

Leopard may not bring anything to the table that YOU feel is important, but it brings lots to the table for most users, people who have never experienced virtual desktops or in place backup. It brings people dazzling graphics in their OS. Eugenia, stuff that people have envisioned for YEARS can now be reality with Core Animation.

You may be stretched to the max of your imagination, but there are several people committed to still breathing life into the desktop metaphor.


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Eugenia wrote on June 11th, 2007 at 11:33 AM PST:

>When we lack vision, we still assume we can see it all.

Honey, read again the LAST paragraph of my blog post. I do have vision, but not for the current model.

>the desktop is FAR from dead

I never said that it was dead. I said that it has reached maturity. This means that while lots of things can be added, what we have today, is already enough for most things people would want to do. Can things get even better? Yes. But don’t expect LEAPS of usability for the current model.

>like a user-friendly backup tool, as “most people don’t care.”

That’s because they don’t. Backup is not new, it existed since day 1. And yet, normal users don’t bother because it’s freaking boring — even when it happens in the background.

>What if the people who wrote Gmail felt that the previous incarnation of Hotmail was the end-all of webmail?

Gmail is not all that different than Hotmail. I use both with similar excitement. As I explained above, refinements can always be made. But at the end of the day, Gmail is not revolutionary. It is a mail app with dynamic page loads. That’s what it is.

>Firefox felt browsing had been mastered with Seamonkey, IE, and – gasp – HotJava

Get a grip. I did talk about refinements. And again, Firefox is not all that different than seamonkey. It is REFINED, but it is not different. The ONLY thing that has indeed brought as “new” is tab browsing!! Now, THAT was a real change!!! But everything else for the average user was simply smooth evolution — not huge leaps forward as Win95 was over Win 3.1 and OSX was for OS9.

Please think through a bit of what I am trying to say here instead of your knee jerk reaction. I am talking about reaching a POINT where things are “good enough” and while everything new IS welcome, it won’t be super revolutionary. That’s all I am saying.

Take Photoshop for example. It HAS reached maturity. New features don’t awe anymore anyone, because the app is good enough! This doesn’t mean that no new features will never be added or shouldn’t. They will. But even working with Photoshop 6 is good enough for many *professionals* and they don’t bother to switch to a newer version!


thebluesgnr wrote on June 12th, 2007 at 1:49 AM PST:

I think you should revisit Sugar and the OLPC instead of waiting another 10 years.


stormrider wrote on June 12th, 2007 at 3:44 AM PST:

I think Gates’ “table-PC” will be the next step of computer evolution.


l3v1 wrote on June 13th, 2007 at 8:04 AM PST:

“instead of your knee jerk reaction”

All I can say is, look who’s talking. I mean come on, recently (and not so recently) every time you post a writing and someone tries to argue against it, it seems you wanna blow the fellas’ heads off.

Like “Take Photoshop for example. It HAS reached maturity.” Let me put it simple (as someone from inside image and video processing r&d): maybe it has in the sense that their coders or the management don’t see demand right now for other features and a change of paradigm, but oh man, how many things we could put in there and people would just wonder why dodn’t we have those before.

Or this other one “Gmail is not all that different than Hotmail.” Yeah sure, still, if Gmail wouldn’t have popped up, what would you speculate the web-mailing landscape would look today ? I just don’t wanna go there.

Oh, and a pearl “I said that it has reached maturity. This means that while lots of things can be added, what we have today, is already enough for most things people would want to do.” Well, how many people have said similar things on how many topics. “enough for most things people would want to do” :) funny thing, maybe we all should just ask _you_ what we want and since you say we don’t want anything more we could just be happy ever after :) But seriously, give us a break, in this industry changes and paradigm shift can happen quite a lot more faster than anywhere else. And even before that happens, we still have a lot of room for improvements in these existing ones too.

“Get a grip.” Yo, well said.


Richard wrote on June 13th, 2007 at 9:00 AM PST:

I tend to agree with your opinions Eugenia, but never the less I still feel that there are a number of open issues. Especially in the realm of Hardware. For me maturity also means stability and stagnation, at least of the basic platform. And this is something I am very much missing, there is no real stable reliable hardware available, at least in places accessable for consumers. For everything you buy there wont be spare parts or replacements available in the near future, and you can never be sure whether every feature will work as advertised. :-(


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Eugenia wrote on June 13th, 2007 at 8:08 AM PST:

>it seems you wanna blow the fellas’ heads off.

Why are you still reading this blog then? Feel free to not read it so you don’t have to endure all this. Besides, Adam was not very kind to me either, you know.


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Eugenia wrote on June 13th, 2007 at 10:37 AM PST:

I don’t think that most consumer hardware is stable either… but i think that desktop OSes are pretty mature now, without this to mean stagnation though.


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