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Author Topic: Ubuntu's Latest Interface "Brainstorm" - HUD  (Read 3266 times)
40hz
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« on: January 31, 2012, 09:50:56 PM »

What do you get when you cross something like Launchy and Mouser's FARR and wrap it in something that looks like an Adobe Air interface? You get Ubuntu's HUD (Heads Up Display) - Mark Shuttleworth's latest foray into 'original'  undecided interface design for his adopted wonder-child.

Check out the following video. Does any of this look familiar?

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_WW-DHqR3c" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_WW-DHqR3c</a>

It's a bit much to go into in a post. So the logical starting place is Mssr. Shuttleworth's own blog where he speaks rapturously about his latest brainstorm:

Quote
Introducing the HUD. Say hello to the future of the menu.
Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

The desktop remains central to our everyday work and play, despite all the excitement around tablets, TV’s and phones. So it’s exciting for us to innovate in the desktop too, especially when we find ways to enhance the experience of both heavy “power” users and casual users at the same time. The desktop will be with us for a long time, and for those of us who spend hours every day using a wide diversity of applications, here is some very good news: 12.04 LTS will include the first step in a major new approach to application interfaces.

This work grows out of observations of new and established / sophisticated users making extensive use of the broader set of capabilities in their applications. We noticed that both groups of users spent a lot of time, relatively speaking, navigating the menus of their applications, either to learn about the capabilities of the app, or to take a specific action. We were also conscious of the broader theme in Unity design of leading from user intent. And that set us on a course which lead to today’s first public milestone on what we expect will  be a long, fruitful and exciting journey.

The menu has been a central part of the GUI since Xerox PARC invented ‘em in the 70′s. It’s the M in WIMP and has been there, essentially unchanged, for 30 years.

What I find quite interesting in this blog post is the first image that follows the above text. It's this:



Yes. It's an original Apple desktop. Do you begin to suspect where Mr. Shuttleworth is going with this now that the 'Son of Zeus,' Steven Jobs has quit this mortal clay? Apparently there's a perceived vacuum in the computing universe. And Mark Shuttleworth abhors that vacuum.

Unfortunately, I think Mr. Shuttleworth fails to appreciate that the current desktop metaphor (WIMP) has been in place for 30 years because it works. It's a proven design that admittedly has its faults and shortcomings. But it works. And people get a lot of things done using it.

And despite the flowery prose, as it stands from its given description, there is nothing new in HUD. It's a mashup of adaptive interface ideas and launchers that have been around for years. And there are numerous realizations of them available for download on all the major software sites.

Hmm...Maybe, if Mr. Shuttleworth knew a little more about software and interface design, he'd know that?

What is it about non-coders and non-engineers that they feel the need to try to carve out a place for themselves in computing history without mastering any of the skill set required to earn such a name? When did "design" and "vision" replace engineering, programming skills, and computer science as requisites for true innovation?

Oh...that's right! It happened when Steve Jobs decided to ride into town on the coattails of people like Steve Wozniac, Jef Raskin, Andy Herzfeld, Burrell Smith, and a host of others. Failing to master any technical skill, Jobs called himself a "designer," and then unilaterally put himself in charge of the people who did have real skills.

And now it looks like Mark Shuttleworth is heading down the same road. And dragging Ubuntu along with him.


There's a couple of articles over at ZD's website that might be worth reading. The first is a quick intro to HUD. The second, is another one of ZD's usual cautious don't-rock-the-boat follow-ups.

Quote
Beyond the desktop: Ubuntu Linux's new Head-Up Display

By Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols | January 24, 2012, 8:13am PST

Summary: Following on the heels of changing its interface from the GNOME 3.x shell to Unity, Ubuntu is proposing a new, radical change to the desktop Linux interface: Head-Up Display.

Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical Ubuntu Linux’s parent company, has announced that Ubuntu will be adopting a radical new change to the interface that will do away with the “menu” in the Windows, Icons, Menus, Pointer (WIMP) interface, which has defined the desktop for the last thirty years.

Shuttleworth states, “The menu has been a central part of the GUI since Xerox PARC invented ‘em in the 70?s. It’s the M in WIMP and has been there, essentially unchanged, for 30 years. We can do much better!” This new interface, which will first appear as a beta in April’s Ubuntu 12.04 release, is called Head-Up Display.

Link to above article here.

Quote
Linux users cautiously optimistic about Ubuntu's Head-Up Display desktop

By Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols | January 26, 2012, 8:55am PST

Summary: Most users seem willing to give Ubuntu Linux’s Head-Up Display interface the benefit of the doubt.


When Ubuntu announced that it was going to switch to Unity for its primary Linux desktop, some users were outraged by Ubuntu’s shift to a new interface. Many turned to Linux Mint in place of Ubuntu. So, when Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth announced that Ubuntu would be moving from Unity to Head-Up Display (HUD), I expected Linux users to be even more annoyed. I was wrong. Instead, they are taking a wait-and-see attitude to HUD.

Link to above article here.

The thing that really makes something like this a problem for me is Canonical's plan to offer HUD as a replacement - not an add-on or an accessory - to the standard menu and mouse interface. As was the case with Unity, Canonical is deliberately walking away from the larger Linux community with interface decisions that will end up becoming the equivalent of a proprietary interface since it's doubtful any other distros will follow them down the path they're taking.

And all because somebody decided to do something different purely for the sake of doing anything different - just so long as he can put his own name on it.



 tongue

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Deozaan
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« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2012, 12:32:27 AM »

It actually looks pretty cool to me. It's not just an app launcher. It allows you to search and "launch" all the things from the menus in multiple applications. Sweet!

That said, I agree with you in that I'm not too keen on the idea of it totally replacing the menus rather than being an additional feature. Sometimes you can't remember the name of something but you have an idea where to find it and once you see it you know what it is.

I hardly use the Windows Start menu anymore because of the nifty built-in launcher in Windows 7 (and I think Vista). But when I do it is exactly for that reason: I can't remember the name of the program I want to launch but I'll know it when I see it.
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barney
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« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2012, 02:00:01 AM »

Change for the sake of change is not, never has been, and never will be good.  (Well, maybe if you're cooking dinner  Grin, but even there 'tis not always well received unless you get very lucky  Wink.)

I'd like to see some of these mental giants, these impresarios of innovation replace the wheel.  After all, it fits all the [supposed] criteria:
  • It's been around - no pun intended, but all accolades accepted  tongue - for centuries.
  • It's definitely old hat.
  • People use it all the time.  (Hey, this one is important - if you can't discomfit the users, why bother?)
  • No one has done any real enhancement recently (chrome rims, spinners, and the like don't count).

And don't modernize it, let's replace it.

Hell, that should be enough to inspire any innovator, doncha thimk?  

As you might surmise, I'm not in favour of pointless innovation.  The HUD element strikes me as being very much like the ribbons that are so in favor right now.  They take up a lot of screen real estate, they are difficult to maneuver - unless you have an eighteen-year-old's 20/20 vision - and have served no real purpose save to confuse the user and point out how innovative the developer team is.  The old-fashioned toolbar did the same thing w/o gobbling excess vertical space.  Having seen the intro, HUD strikes me as being in the same vein, "Let's do something different because it's different."

Oh, well, I was leaning away from Ubuntu anyway  tongue.
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40hz
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« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2012, 06:16:15 AM »

It actually looks pretty cool to me. It's not just an app launcher. It allows you to search and "launch" all the things from the menus in multiple applications. Sweet!


It certainly is - IF - you're primarily interested in coming up with an interface for tablet PCs.

Which is where Canonical and Ubuntu are obviously going despite their being so coy about it.

I keep waiting for an Ubuntu branded tablet to be introduced. After which I expect Canonical to attempt to do the same thing with Linux that Apple did with Mach - wrap a proprietary interface and userland around an ostensibly 'open' platform, with the goal of getting away from GNU and that pesky GPL most of it is licensed under.
 undecided
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Deozaan
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« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2012, 12:59:29 PM »

It actually looks pretty cool to me. It's not just an app launcher. It allows you to search and "launch" all the things from the menus in multiple applications. Sweet!

It certainly is - IF - you're primarily interested in coming up with an interface for tablet PCs.

I disagree. Typing your search terms would be more of a hassle on a tablet PC's virtual keyboard than navigating the menus with touch. On the other hand, pressing a hotkey to bring up the HUD and speedily typing away to get access to the things you want would be so much better on your desktop/laptop PC with a physical keyboard.
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40hz
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« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2012, 01:33:06 PM »

It actually looks pretty cool to me. It's not just an app launcher. It allows you to search and "launch" all the things from the menus in multiple applications. Sweet!

It certainly is - IF - you're primarily interested in coming up with an interface for tablet PCs.

I disagree. Typing your search terms would be more of a hassle on a tablet PC's virtual keyboard than navigating the menus with touch. On the other hand, pressing a hotkey to bring up the HUD and speedily typing away to get access to the things you want would be so much better on your desktop/laptop PC with a physical keyboard.

Might want to mention that to Mark Shuttleworth then.  Grin

Although there are plans for implementing voice control for it too.

From ZDNet:

Quote
Although Shuttleworth doesn’t say so, part of the reason why Ubuntu is making these changes is to make Ubuntu a more attractive option to smart TVs and smartphones and tablets. On these systems, the WIMP interface doesn’t work that well. If HUD is successful, users will ultimately be able to use the same interface on any device from PC to smartphone with voice commands.

Ubuntu is retooling to to focus on tablet format computing as fast as they can manage it. Shuttleworth's convinced the future lies with tablets.

 Thmbsup
« Last Edit: February 01, 2012, 01:39:16 PM by 40hz » Logged

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mahesh2k
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« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2012, 02:16:24 PM »

I agree with barney, this is change for the sake of change. I don't like the new gnome UI. It may be touch screen friendly or friendly to those who like to see fancy graphics. I am using xfce whenever I get bored of the interface, I use unity for quick file searching though, It is good at that. I am also keeping tab on Mate desktop, they're going to revive old gnome menu interface and going to support everything - other than slingshot interface in ubuntu.

Assuming desktop users will like slingshot UI is the biggest mistake IMO, which will result in no different than people hating tiles on windows 8. It is also very hard to guide someone over phone or skype with this type of cluttered UI. Not even KDE made changes to their desktop version when they declared spak, so I don't know why gnome (and ubuntu/canonical) assume UI simplicity without considering average linux users. I guess this year I'll be switching to Mate anyway.
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TaoPhoenix
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« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2012, 02:44:38 PM »

Yuck, having to *search* for stuff you want? Am I seeing what I think I am seeing - that there are no icons and folders so you can't just look at what you have?

For amnesiacs like me, I have *no idea* what's on my computer, by name - How the heck am I supposed to remember that the alternate PDF viewer is called SumatraPDF, or that the alternate spreadsheet thingie I used last year once is Gnumeric, or that one of my pic viewers is called Irfanview?

Good grief.

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mahesh2k
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« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2012, 03:24:34 PM »

Quote
Quote from Mark shuttleworth's blog:  Even casual users find typing faster than mousing.
No wonder he's favoring HUD.

Tablet computers are popular not because it allows you to type more but it has point and click ability (like mouse) which saves them time from typing every minute thing out there as well as shows cool UI which has it's psychological effect on user. Moving file/edit menus to search must be the biggest joke ever played by canonical's linux dept.
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barney
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« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2012, 01:26:51 AM »

My biggest complaint about Ubuntu - and most all *nix OSes - is that I have to artifice as super user about a third of the time I'm using the OS.  An OS is supposed to let me do the things I need to do without requiring constant adjustments.  An OS should be totally transparent to me during daily use.  Windows -for the most part - is.  Apple - for the most part - is.  Ubuntu ain't.

So, now we're supposed to use a no-typing touch method to perform daily tasks?  Not gonna happen.  We're gonna spend more time trying to find out how to use what we - maybe! - got.

I just do not see *nix on a tablet, Android notwithstanding.  I've got a Toshiba Thrive 10" and a NookColor 7", both of which are suitable for consuming someone else's product, neither of which is suitable for creating product.

Methinks Mr. Mark might consider that before committing to a HUD environment.  What works in aircraft and warcraft does not necessarily work in an office environment, nor even in a development environment.  Strikes me that Mr. Mark is confusing HUD with HUTA.

Now, if Mr. Mark is, as 40hz implied/stated (and I do agree with that assessment), trying to fill a supposed vacuum left by the demise of Steve Jobs, this effort makes sense.  But only to him, not to his consumers.

This whole approach minds me of a statement made by the Jeff Goldblum character in the Jurassic Park movie.  It's misquoted - old memory cells, donchano - but it went something like, "You were so busy with what you could do that you didn't consider what you should do."

Now, as to the "faster than mousing" statement, that reminds me of the current US political conflict.  What user segment did he poll?  Oh, and did he test?  If so, how did he test?  Particularly with OSKs (On Screen Keyboards)? 

Apologies for the verbosity and acrimony, but this kind of fecal matter is not something I want scattered all over my hardware/software/office.

OK, I'm tired, sleepy, and probably a bit drunk, so I'm going to bed.  G'nite, all.
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« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2012, 09:34:32 AM »

I just do not see *nix on a tablet, Android notwithstanding.

That's like saying, "I just don't see Microsoft on the desktop, Windows notwithstanding." Android is Linux at its core.   Wink
___________________________________
PS: HUD is just another interface attempt. Though I wish the Ubuntu people would create an experimental version of Ubuntu to test unneeded ideas on. (If it ain't broke....)
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barney
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« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2012, 02:11:00 PM »

I just do not see *nix on a tablet, Android notwithstanding.

That's like saying, "I just don't see Microsoft on the desktop, Windows notwithstanding." Android is Linux at its core.   Wink


Which is why I made the exception statement.  *nix requires too much time at the command prompt to be comfortable on a tablet.  I can read a book on the Thrive, but it's hard to take notes.  I can <shudder /> interact on a social site - if it doesn't need much typing.  I can browse.  In large, I can consume across many venues  cheesy.  But creation is difficult at best  ohmy.  A simple email is tedious, an extended email is difficult.  Any other creative effort is well nigh impossible.  And HUD does nothing to alleviate that.  In general, a HUD is supposed to allow you to consume certain important data without significantly distracting you from the task at hand.  So it makes sense in vehicles, e.g., aircraft, automobiles (although successful implementation there seems a long way off).  And HUD as currently implemented works fine on PCs.  (Although we don't call it HUD  Grin, we call it pop-ups, alerts, alarms.)  But the implementation Mr. Mark seems to propose flies in the face of any such usage w/o providing any discernible benefit (at least, that I can see  undecided).

As far as tablet implementation, well . . .
*nix is a command-line oriented OS.  Windows/OSX are a bit more GUI oriented.  But there is no OS extant in the public arena that is touch oriented.  Until that is developed, tablets will be naught but high-tech book carriers and entertainment devices with middlin' communication capabilities.
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Edvard
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« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2012, 01:41:26 PM »

Quote
And now it looks like Mark Shuttleworth is heading down the same road. And dragging Ubuntu along with him.
Exactly why I quit Ubuntu  undecided

Quote
As far as tablet implementation, well . . .
*nix is a command-line oriented OS.  Windows/OSX are a bit more GUI oriented.  But there is no OS extant in the public arena that is touch oriented.  Until that is developed, tablets will be naught but high-tech book carriers and entertainment devices with middlin' communication capabilities.

That's exactly what the Unity interface was supposed to do, dumb down the front-end to some big shiny buttons and slinky menus, so everything is accessible with a touch.
...but I'm afraid you're on the right track; Ubuntu (or any other Linux Distro, for that matter...) is still a desktop OS, whether command-line or button driven, and the HUD is still firmly in that world, as far as I can see.

Hence Android and iOS; They ARE touch-operated OSs.
Admittedly, they don't do much beyond work the phone and SMS (with the OSK, of course), store your contacts,  and play some touch-and-swipe games, while the pads remove the phone part and allow you to view  and interact with larger screenfuls of info.
Yes, there is more possible,  but what can you do with a touch-oriented interface beyond what it does already?

I agree, content creation beyond tactile art is never going to be practical on a touch interface... until somebody comes up with a programming language, or at the very least an IDE that is PURELY visual.
Imagine writing programs by connecting Reactable Tangibles that contain program objects instead of sound-generating elements.*

If Mr. Shuttleworth wants to make Ubuntu a pad OS, he's going to have to totally abandon the whole desktop gestalt (something I thought he was trying to do with Unity).
The HUD is so keyboard-centric, it makes me think he actually figured all this out, but I'm doubting...

* After doing some research, it is apparent these kinds of things have been around for a while:
http://en.wikipedia.org/w...category#Visual_languages
All the elements needed for touch-interface programming to be practical are there, but it's going to take the insane audacity of someone like Steve Jobs to make any of these into something slick and shiny and promoted ad nauseum to catch on.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2012, 01:47:01 PM by Edvard » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2012, 12:49:00 AM »

Bravo, this looks fabulous! Before watching this video i can't stop wondering what Windows 8 would like without a "start" button, now from this Ubuntu video, i got more expectation on Windows 8
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40hz
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« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2012, 06:25:31 AM »

it's going to take the insane audacity of someone like Steve Jobs to make any of these into something slick and shiny and promoted ad nauseum to catch on.

Yes. And I think we're all beginning to get a very clear idea of where Mark Shuttleworth's ambition and ego are pointing him - to be the New Steve Jobs.

Great. Just what we need. Another meglomaniacal poseur - with entourage - in charge of an important tech company.

As I said earlier:

Do you begin to suspect where Mr. Shuttleworth is going with this now that the 'Son of Zeus,' Steven Jobs has quit this mortal clay? Apparently there's a perceived vacuum in the computing universe. And Mark Shuttleworth abhors that vacuum.

It seems Shuttleworth has come to realize just how effective "standing on the shoulders of giants" is as a career strategy for wannabe innovators...

Especially if you, like Steve Jobs, have a selective memory and absolutely no shame.  undecided
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