David Monniaux <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> writes:

> Here are a few observations of mine on the UI, following Chris' mom's
> observation that Gimp "looks terrible".

David, this is a wonderful list.

> The installation process is frightening:
> 
> 1. The user is presented with a dialog box "Welcome to GIMP" that is half
>    full of legalese (NO GUARANTEE etc...).
> 
>    Perhaps the first installer screen should simply state that Gimp is
>    a painting, touch up etc... program able to read various image formats
>    etc..., and the legalese should be pushed to a second dialog box ?

Leaving the disclaimer of warranty in is, I think, not a problem.

I think the bigger problem is that the first thing you see when you
start up the GĻMP for the first time is a big ugly BRIGHT ORANGE
window.

That window, aside from being prettified, should tell you something
like

        The GIMP needs to install some configuration files for you
        before it can be run for the first time.  Click on "continue"
        to perform the GIMP user installation or "cancel" to exit.

        The GIMP is free software, is distributed under the GNU
        General Public License, and comes with absolutely no warranty.
        Please click on the "license" button to get more information.

> 2. The current second dialog box shows a full list of files and directories
>    that most users will never care about at first. Maybe we should add an
>    indication that knowing all about this is not necessary to use Gimp?

This dialog is completely unnecessary.  As a user, I don't care where
the GIMP installs its ~/.foo.  I just want to be able to run the
program.

Also, it is bad that you have to know that ~/.gimp exists and that you
may need to hand-tweak the stuff in there.  Everything should be
configurable through a nice graphical interface; if you need to
install third-party plug-ins or scripts or gradients then the GIMP
should have an "install plug-in" command.  This command can simply
copy a binary into your ~/.gimp/plug-ins.

> 3. The installer runs a script that copies files and asks the user to spot
>    an error in the execution of the scriptx and investiguate in case
>    there is an error. [even worse in the Windows version]

Completely agreed.  This looks like a case of "we are too lazy to
think of how our system calls may fail, so we'll run a shell script
and have the user figure it out".

N.B. I just erased my ~/.gimp-1.2 and re-ran it.  I got

        cp /etc/gimp/1.2/gtkrc_user /home/federico/.gimp-1.2/gtkrc
        cp: /etc/gimp/1.2/gtkrc_user: No such file or directory

(because I have /etc/gimp/1.2/gtkrc instead of gtkrc_user).

Still, the GIMP runs just fine.  Some poor user who does not know what
all those scary files do will tear some hair out wondering why there
was an error in the stupid installation script, and he'll be wondering
why the GIMP seems to run fine.

> 4. Adjustment of parameters
>    Another frightening dialog box. We should really convey the idea that
>    the default settings are OK, and that those settings can be changed
>    at any time afterwards (otherwise the users may spend time pondering what
>    to say here).
> 
>    a) The default tile cache size should be adjusted with respect to the
>       installed RAM size. This should fulfill the need of most users
>       (PCs with one console user). In the case of multi-user systems,
>       the system administrator should be able to set other default values
>       (maybe depending on the machine).

Agreed.  Just pick a reasonable default based on the amount of memory
in the system.  And please use libgtop to figure that out instead of
some horrid hack like "cat /proc/meminfo".

If you want to get really fancy and somewhat scarier for the user, you
could have a wizard-type dialog where you ask

        The GIMP may need large amounts of memory to manipulate its
        images.  To avoid using all the memory in your system, you can
        configure how much memory the GIMP will be able to use.

                [ ] Let the GIMP configure this by itself.

                [ ] Let me customize the size of the tile cache.

If you pick the first option, the GIMP should see if the sysadmin
pre-configured stuff (i.e. you are on a multiuser machine and the
sysadmin is smarter than you).  If there are no sysadmin-set values,
you take the available amount of RAM and multiply it by some sane
factor and use that.

If you pick the second option, you explain what the tile cache is, you
explain what would be some reasonable values for different scenarios
(single-user machine, multi-user machine, l33t haxx0r graphic
designer).

>    b) The setting of the swap file in .gimp-x.y/tmp is a problem on
>       NFS-mounted accounts (universities, for instance). Why not /tmp by
>       default?

I have no comment on this.  I do agree that $TMPDIR would be better.

> 5. The resolution thing is OK.

Mostly.  It would be better if it were something like

        The GIMP needs to know the resolution of your monitor so that
        images will be displayed at the proper size.

        [X] Use the resolution suggested by the system (75x75 dots per inch).

        [ ] Use the resolution I specify:

                Horizontal resolution: [____]    [pixels per parsec]
                Vertical resolution:   [____]

        [ ] Let me determine my monitor resolution interactively.

The first option should be selected by default.  These days most smart
X servers are able to use information obtained from the monitor at
boot-up or at some other time.  This is of course the Right(tm) value
unless the user is doing something fantastically stupid.

  Federico
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