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If you want to understand why I’m so pissed off about such a “minor” thing (icons, pfft!) it’s because this year I will be showing my Linux desktop to 1000s of people at conferences and I want to challenge their preconceptions about FOSS; to know that FOSS can be beautiful.

@aral KDE Plasma is beautiful. 😬 (At least with the dark theme.) 😉

@aral

Microsoft and Apple doesn't overwrite any icon in their operating systems, and still the ecosystem feels *mostly* consistent. The consistency problems of those OSes and Linux's aren't the icons.

Pop_OS removing the custom icons seems like the right choice. Apps should have a decent icon independently (as every app should provide a decent UI/UX for the purpose). If the app doesn't have a decent icon, it's the app's problem. Fix it in the app, make a pull request with a better icon.

The solution of custom icons, also, doesn't scale well. It's better to have each icon with its own style, that all the icons with the same style... In a distro that doesn't fit in that style. Is having to re-design every app for every distro the right decision? I don't think so.

@sirikon Try and get an app that isn’t consistent with Apple’s HIG onto the iOS or macOS App Stores. Also, on those platforms, since consistency is the norm, people would reject an inconsistent app even if Apple allowed it (or if it was distributed outside the store). It’s a matter of pride on those platforms for your icon to be consistent. On Linux, the norm – currently – is inconsistency.

@aral I agree on that. The norm should change to consistency, but the distro providing icons for the third party applications doesn't seem the way to go for me

@aral @sirikon tbh, i have a feeling that they all are moving towards inconsistency, with microsoft being the worst. say thanks to electron, etc.

@leip4Ier @aral

Microsoft is being highly inconsistent with their own applications. Just see the icons of VSCode, Visual Studio and the Office Suite. And all that compared with how SharePoint or Bing looks like.

How is electron affecting here?

@sirikon @aral electron is just one of the offenders. electron apps are based on a built-in browser, so it's impossible for them to use system UI widgets, and they don't even usually try to mimic them.

@leip4Ier @aral Ok, thought that it was something about the icons, but yea, agree.

@aral I understand your frustration, and of course consistency in design is very important. But the right thing to do for Pop!_OS would not be to retheme all the icons (like it used to), it's to retheme none — the icons *are* consistent in the upstream GNOME (they were intentionally designed to be consistent between each other & with third-party app icons). *That's* what you should be calling for.

@bugaevc
The default GNOME icon theme is... not very good, honestly. At least the current one. It looks 2003. It was a good year, no doubt, but it won't get you any wow points today.

So, this is PopOS's added value: it's GNOME but better. Much like Ubuntu tried to be back in the day. My boss, a long time mac user took a look at PopOS PC I installed for the intern and said "wow, this looks and feels really really nice. Is it really Linux?". I couldn't believe my own ears. Even Elementary hadn't moved him. The intern is in process of switching to Linux right now.

I understand the appeal of "getting rid of distributions" and making desktop Linux a cathedral project. It's harder to achieve consistency in highly competitive bazaar environment, totally get it. But "harder" doesn't mean "impossible". PopOS duplicates a lot of work redrawing all apps' icons in its own unique style, but honestly? Their style being well defined, it's doing okay.

@aral

@drequivalent @aral you're talking about the previous, pre-3.32 icon theme, aren't you? That one looked quite dated indeed, but the new one is flat, bright, & lovely. jimmac.musichall.cz/blog/2019-

@aral

But then again, Apple has complete despotic rule over anything iOS, and nobody has that for Linux, which in fact is one of the good things about Linux.

@aral This is actually a thing.

It is visual consistency that helped me make the jump from macOS to Linux many years ago.

I’m not a techie plus a very visual user, and if it weren’t for @elementary OS' much-derided styleguide, I would probably still sit in my gilded iCage wondering what might be on the other side.

I had tried other distros, but being unable to see the beauty of code or licenses, you’re left with the GUI and UX – and coming from macOS, most felt like an assault on the senses.

@dirk if it's ugly, people won't use it

look how much time and effort google and apple spend on making their things look nice and work well.

FOSS community, take note. average users don't care what's secure, they want pretty and easy to use UX.

yunohost vs. freedombox
pi-hole vs. privoxy
nextcloud vs. syncthing

branding and names matter too

*cough* gnu image manipulator program i'm looking at you!

@tootbrute I agree but as I've said many times, there needs to be a separation of concerns here. We need engineers who don't give a shit what the bridge looks like as long as it doesn't fall down. We need aesthetic designers who don't give a shit about structural strength as its looks and feels nice to drive on. We need architects who care about both and bridge the structural and the aesthetic. We need all three (at minimum) in user-facing software development too. (1.2)
@dirk @aral

@tootbrute I specify user-facing because nobody cares about the aesthetics of subway tunnels or oil rigs. Similarly, there are pieces of software that *must* work reliably and efficiently, but that no end user ever interacts with directly. These are quite rightly the domain of software engineers, not #UX designers. Similar we generally don't need to care about engineers opinions of static web pages, fonts, or icons. It's horses for courses. (2/2)
@dirk @aral

@strypey yup, but they need to work together from the start too.

usually engineers make The Thing, then go to UX people and say make The Thing pretty or have a well-functioning interface.

@tootbrute true. Maybe what's missing in a lot of #FreeCode projects is the equivalent of the architect? The person whose job it is to bridge both sets of concerns within a project from the get-go? I suspect most projects either get started by engineers or designers, who start prototyping, then try to recruit from the other group after-the-fact.

@strypey i think so.

with mastodon, i don't agree with all of Gargron's decision but it is clear he has a vision for what he wants Mastodon to be - free, open twitter.

@strypey Maybe what's missing in a lot of #freecode projects is a prestigious demanding user/user-community who's not a dev not an admin and has no intention of self-hosting an instance bcos they have a lifetime of other things to get on with? Now that would be taking P2P to unusual lengths! And maybe, if you have that role in the team, what's needed is not the Architect-expert but the Facilitator skillset held by somebody/ies? Enspiral-style?
@tootbrute @aral

@mike_hales

I'd like to see some design for justice and community-oriented design principles in these discussions: andalsotoo.net/2016/07/13/gene

Not just prettiness and focusing on individual users, not that those are unimportant, so don't start complaining...

@strypey @tootbrute @aral

@bhaugen Thanks for this link Bob. Great stuff . . codesign & design-of-design meets social justice, solidarity economy and place-making. Principles here
designjusticenetwork.org/netwo
@strypey @tootbrute @aral @Matt_Noyes @emi @asimong

@mike_hales this
looks to me like a less specific (and therefore less helpful) version of the #AgileManifesto. Good to see that designers are finally starting to catch up with programmers in this regard though ;)
@bhaugen @tootbrute @aral @Matt_Noyes @emi @asimong

@strypey Possibly you're just seeing words on the page? The significance of this is not the bullet points but the practice they were generated in - designers away from their desks, co-convening actual dialogues with communities of folks for whom tech isn't core, but who bear the brunt when it lumbers off the drawing board into their lives. My hunch is, not too much code is produced in this kind & scale of design relationship? Producers rule?
@bhaugen @tootbrute @aral @Matt_Noyes @emi @asimong

@mike_hales this is all part and parcel of the #AgileDesign philosophy, if you read "individuals" as "people" and "business people" as "user communities" etc.
* "Individuals and interactions over processes and tools"
* "The most efficient and effective method of
conveying information to and within a development
team is face-to-face conversation. "
* "Business people and developers must work
together daily throughout the project. "

@bhaugen @tootbrute @aral @Matt_Noyes @emi @asimong

@mike_hales the difference that I see is that the Agile Manifesto doesn't just say *what* to do (and not do) but gives some guidance about *how* to do it. An example, it's all very woke to say:
> "We center the voices of those who are directly impacted by the outcomes of the design process"

But what does that actually look like in practice? Contrast that with:

> "Business people and developers must work
together daily throughout the project"
@bhaugen @tootbrute @aral @Matt_Noyes @emi @asimong

@mike_hales I says it's a living document, so it would be nice to look again sometime and see some more concrete guidance about what to do (and not do) to achieve the goals it sets.
@bhaugen @tootbrute @aral @Matt_Noyes @emi @asimong

@strypey @mike_hales @tootbrute @aral @Matt_Noyes @emi @asimong

Here's a discussion about community-centered design that includes some of my mistakes in trying to do so, with some comments from Una Lee of Design for Justice.
github.com/valueflows/forum.va

@bhaugen
> I think first of what this community I am working with needs (in the economic sphere), not what each individual user needs

This is the false dichotomy I was referring to in an earlier post. "user-centred" or "user-driven" are just clearer ways of saying "agile" design. They're "user-centred" in that they are centred on users needs and priorities, rather than those of the developers, and they involve users throughout the development process (ie *not* like waterfall).
@mike_hales

@bhaugen you may be aware of examples of people doing "user-centred design" that values the atomized individual or communities of users, but I've never come across such a thing, at least not in #FreeCode development. Certainly there are folks who conceptualize community differently (there are as many definitions of that word as there are people), but free code never has only one user unless it's the developer themselves.
@mike_hales

@strypey

When I say "community", I mean a self-defined group of live, identifiable people who mostly know each other in the so-called real world.
@mike_hales

@strypey

I don't mean "the community of users of this software". We develop software for people we know and who know each other.
@mike_hales

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@strypey

The agile manifesto and agile development in general was developed by people who worked with corporations and they usually had a "voice of the customer" (often a business analyst) in the team, but not necessarily any contact with hands-on users, and focused on "business value", that is profit, not user needs.

The deep focus on user needs came later with people developing consumer-oriented software.

@mike_hales

@bhaugen you were there and I wasn't, and this is certainly one side of the history, but from what I've read it's far from the whole picture. What I'm more interested in discussing is the contemporary Agile-ish practice I've observed over the last decade or so, and the kind of user-centred/ user-driven design I've observed as a community organizer. Do the Design Justice folks have documentation that can help us do that better? Otherwise what they're doing is only useful to them.
@mike_hales

@strypey
> Do the Design Justice folks have documentation that can help us do that better? Otherwise what they're doing is only useful to them.

I don't know, I was looking to them for inspiration, not for procedures.

@mike_hales

@bhaugen you may be aware of examples of people doing "user-centred design" that values the atomized individual or communities of users, but I've never come across such a thing, at least not in #FreeCode development. Certainly there are folks who conceptualize community differently (there are as many definitions of that word as there are people), but free code never has only one user unless it's the developer themselves.
@mike_hales

@strypey

I know, but user-centered design was his mantra.
@mike_hales

@strypey

P.S. I've also known people who are really good at combining user-and-community focuses. I'm not that good, but I can appreciate their abilities. A few them were associated with Enspiral.

@mike_hales

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@bhaugen sure and authoritarian leaders in the US and the UK love to go on about "democracy". People misusing terms as levers of control don't get to define them.
@mike_hales

@strypey I do have a sense that the living document process may have stalled a bit. But as I said, it's the practical process that's being conducted, away from the desk, as distinct from the bullet-pointed protocol, that I think is significant. I guess - for what reason? - devs place greater weight on the protocol statement? Is it bcos they work remotely?
@bhaugen @tootbrute @aral @Matt_Noyes @emi @asimong

@mike_hales

Where do you get the idea that the process has stalled? I haven't been in touch with Una Lee lately, but I know that the group of people who were collaborating at that time continue to make progress, although often in separate projects. For example bufubyusforus.com/

@strypey @tootbrute @aral @Matt_Noyes @emi @asimong

@mike_hales @strypey @tootbrute @aral @Matt_Noyes @emi @asimong

Some of the connections went through alliedmedia.org/amc

I am not in the midst of all this work, I am way peripheral, don't know the people very well, so might mislead you without meaning to. But I am very interested.

@bhaugen can't help but note the irony of a website called "by us for us" depending so utterly on third-party (probably proprietary) Javascript from Squarespace.com and Typekit.net, that when those scripts are blocked by #NoScript all I get is a blank white page ;)
@mike_hales @tootbrute @aral @Matt_Noyes @emi @asimong

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@bhaugen I don't doubt that the practice is continuing, but it seems to me that various websites look a bit unattended-to. So . . the displayed version of the living document doesn't necessarily reflect where they're at?
@strypey @tootbrute @aral @Matt_Noyes @emi @asimong

@mike_hales

I don't know. It seems like a widespread group who interact with each other intermittently. As I said, I have not been in touch with Una Lee since that conversation I reported in part.
Last connections were with BUFU and some other people connected thru Allied Media who pop into SSB now and then.
I don't know them well, but I wear their t-shirt....;-)

@strypey @tootbrute @aral @Matt_Noyes @emi @asimong

I want to apologize for the snarky and combative tone I've taken in this discussion over the last few days. I don't know anything about the folks involved in the #DesignJustice Network and I have no right to be dismissive of their work or the perspectives they've shared. It's great to see anyone trying to combine community organizing and software development in ways that bring out the best of both (as @bhaugen says, both/and). @mike_hales @tootbrute @aral @Matt_Noyes @emi @asimong

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@mike_hales I can't speak for what devs place weight on, since I'm not one. I'm not a designer either. I'm an anarchist, an activist, and a software user, tester, and researcher.
@bhaugen @tootbrute @aral @Matt_Noyes @emi @asimong

@mike_hales I'm curious about the implied claim that people involved in developing #FreeCode are not usually involved in "away from the desk" community development work. Thousands of people in the #Indymedia network started doing it more than 20 years ago and most of us have been doing it routinely, in one form or another, ever since. I cite the Agile Manifesto as one piece of evidence that it's mainstream practice.
@bhaugen @tootbrute @aral @Matt_Noyes @emi @asimong

@strypey @mike_hales @tootbrute @aral @Matt_Noyes @emi @asimong

I was involved in several of the conversations that led to the Agile Manifesto. They took several years and a lot of experiments before some of the people wrote that manifesto.

SCRUM was percolating at the same time, including some of the same people, but led in a somewhat different direction.

And some of the people involved ended up disliking both of them.

So it's too much to expect design for justice to be that packaged now.

@bhaugen
> Not just prettiness

Spoken like a true engineer ;) This is never the goal of good UI design, just a bonus of getting it right. The goal is to make the UI as simple and obvious as possible, making it efficient and enjoyable to use, as well as self-teaching, so the user doesn't need to waste a lot of time looking up instructions or getting help from the devs or more experienced users.
@mike_hales @tootbrute @aral

@strypey

Do you understand the diffs between designing for justice and designing for communities vs just designing for individual users?

@mike_hales @tootbrute @aral

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