I does seem odd, though, that (as I mentioned) Unity seems to be the product that diverged the furthest from, basically, the Windows 95 “standard,” with more argument over whether window controls go on the upper-left or upper-right than whether this is the best design. And I do think that there’s a certain amount of (as Ian put it) “nobody wants that” conditioning, where any deviation is immediately decried as unwanted or “bloat.” Sugar obviously gets honorable mention for trying to eliminate the “desktop metaphor,” but they still ended up with the same broad components of an open-window list, space for background processes, menu of applications, and so forth; the layout is different, at least.
And I guess part of my reason for asking, besides being up for a change now that Unity (which I like) is largely discontinued, is the weird and prominent fraction of the Linux community–which doesn’t seem to be actively involved with Bad Voltage, but seems to penetrate a lot of other podcasts–that will cheer the innovation and diversity of the Linux ecosystem and wonder why more people aren’t involved on one hand, and complain about new projects like Unity (or
systemd, for that matter) and rave about XFCE on the other. And it’s worth pointing out that I kept this centered on Linux because that’s what I use, but Windows and Mac OS X aren’t far from that Windows 95 Platonic ideal, either, Windows for a lot of similar reasons. So, I’m sort of looking for the complement to that community.
Voice always struck me as sort of a non-starter beyond extremely simple and disjointed tasks (as in, “what’s the weather” or “call the office”). If we think about how many times we interact with the desktop over the course of a work day, it’d be exhausting to talk that much, and would probably be a disaster for the people cursed to work in open-plan offices.
Gestures might be more interesting, especially as touchscreens penetrate the PC market.