The KDE project has issued a short list of things the’re aiming for in a future release of Linux desktop. Interestingly the first item on their list is »breathtaking beauty«:
- putting an emphasis on the form and style of software in addition to the function of it
- creating visually impactful interfaces that support usability
To me it seems the KDE project is not only trying to improve the look & feel of KDE – they want to include design in their strategy. Finally they need to help Linux to get a competitive user experience.
It is a good sign. But we should never forget the spirit of the early 1970ies where user interface design was about inventing interaction patterns – and not so much about selecting preferable color schemes. There have been very few inventions recently (but a lot of tiny ones to be fair).
This morning I was thinking about people trying to hack MacOS X to run on ordinary PC hardware and what Apple might do about it. What would I do if I’d be Steve Jobs? What could be arguments against OS X non-Apple hardware?
Suddenly I was thinking of a list (I love lists) of things Apple has introduced as industry firsts throughout their history of products. It would be a very long list. Apples brand value number on has always been to be ahead of time. Having control over hardware and software has always made it possible to design their products from A to Z. I think Apple has good reason to keep their OS exclusive.
Anyway: This design quality Apple has been able to establish and keep up over the years is a real challenge for other standard user interfaces like KDE or Windows. KDE also needs to come up with an answer to the Next generation Windows (codenamed Vista).