Ticket #1053 (closed defect: fixed)
OLPC needs a usable GUI (i.e. not Sugar)
|Reported by:||gnu||Owned by:||jg|
|Action Needed:||never set||Verified:||no|
|Deployments affected:||Blocked By:|
The OLPC development team should replace the clumsy Sugar interface. In release after release, it just gets worse. Each problem is compounded by a lack of documentation matching the running software (i.e. you can never tell if it's deliberately designed to be terrible, or merely full of terrible bugs). It's like wandering blind in a Colossal Cave where the only things you can see are cutesy icons that don't react to anything you do. It's so simple that only a one-year-old can enjoy it, i.e. somebody whose idea of a good time is to drool spittle on the laptop and push on things at random. There's no way to do 90% of what ordinary GUIs let you do, and the 10% that is provided is carefully hidden so you'll need a guru on IRC to find it. Assuming you can get the wireless working, and you downloaded your own IRC program, and found out where the browser had stuffed it, and on and on...
Some people probably think that we can just solve each individual problem and things will get better. E.g. Build 303 requires the user to do a complicated undocumented dance before it will let them log in. Yes, this could be solved. But the deeper problem is that the Sugar team continues to invent such obstacles to intuitive use -- and considers them progress. With each release, the laptop becomes harder and harder to use, because the UI designers don't seem to know the difference between easy and hard, between intuitive and inscrutable. The fix is not to keep fixing their errors; the fix is to find designers who have sense, so they stop doing new things that need constant fixing.
Why should kids have to batter their way through this idiocy before they can get to any educational materials? Why does everybody just keep shrugging and apologizing for how rotten the UI is, without doing anything about it? It's true, on paper, Sugar's ideas might have been a brilliant advance in the state of the art, another miracle like the LCD screen, like the power management, like the OLPC business model. But once Sugar was implemented and we could use it, it turned out that it WASN'T a brilliant idea; in fact, it sucked. Face facts! Give it up and get something that works, rather than have it torpedo the project. You'd have a nice machine here if it didn't fight the user at every chance.
Let's move to a window system where the objects on screen are responsive to the user. Where programs are programs, and none of them are jargon "activities". Where you can run more than the twelve apostles that are lined up along the bottom of the screen.
OLPC should abandon Sugar and install a working Linux GUI.