The future of the GUI

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
As it is now the GUI of the large user base OSes are as close as ever. Its the triumph of the paradigme introduced in 1984 but also more or less parallel further development by Apple and MS. The only fundamental difference left is the placement of the menu bar and task bar.



But looking into the future this could change. Blackcomb will likely introduce the fundaments to another GUI, stuff they are working on now. When Blackcomb is introduced, probably a five-seven years from now, X will be showing its age and need an overhaul too.



So this could result in two different approaches away from the desk top metaphor, but how will it be? Crazy ideas welcome.



While I believe the desk top will die at some point something will remain, the application idea. While I really REALLY would like that to change for a more "tools centered" idea (one blank sheet, multiple different tools to manipulate it) it is such a departure from how the applications works and interacts today that I don´t think it will happen.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    dave k.dave k. Posts: 1,306member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Anders

    As it is now the GUI of the large user base OSes are as close as ever. Its the triumph of the paradigme introduced in 1984 but also more or less parallel further development by Apple and MS. The only fundamental difference left is the placement of the menu bar and task bar.



    But looking into the future this could change. Blackcomb will likely introduce the fundaments to another GUI, stuff they are working on now. When Blackcomb is introduced, probably a five-seven years from now, X will be showing its age and need an overhaul too.



    So this could result in two different approaches away from the desk top metaphor, but how will it be? Crazy ideas welcome.



    While I believe the desk top will die at some point something will remain, the application idea. While I really REALLY would like that to change for a more "tools centered" idea (one blank sheet, multiple different tools to manipulate it) it is such a departure from how the applications works and interacts today that I don´t think it will happen.




    What is Blackcomb?



    Why do people continue and think that there should be a change in the GUI when the way we fundamentally interact with computers hasn't changed since 1984?



    We still use keyboards and mice for input devices. We still use monitor and printers for output devices. Why shouldn't the GUI just evolve like everything else does?
  • Reply 2 of 12
    chuckerchucker Posts: 5,089member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Dave K.

    What is Blackcomb?



    A codename for the upcoming version of Windows. It is not clear whether Blackcomb is the same as Vienna.
  • Reply 3 of 12
    andersanders Posts: 6,523member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Dave K.

    Why do people continue and think that there should be a change in the GUI when the way we fundamentally interact with computers hasn't changed since 1984?



    There is a change planned by MS for Blackcomb/Vienna so its not as much a question of why it should be changed but how. And thats what this thread is for.
  • Reply 4 of 12
    regreg Posts: 832member
    I believe the desktop part of the GUI will be here for a long while. If someone wants to improve their work area, they usually add a second desk with more storage, monitors or computers. This is currently done by hiding apps or using expose, which is awesome. The changes will come in the methods of input. Better voice recognition and a better mouse. I would like to see a small wand type tool that could be attached to your knuckle. This would be your pointer, add an extra key or function keys beneath the space bar to activate the wand so you could move the curser anywhere on the screen without your hand having to leave the keyboard area. Taking your hand off the keyboard to use the mouse or trackpad is inefficient.



    reg
  • Reply 5 of 12
    dave k.dave k. Posts: 1,306member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Anders

    There is a change planned by MS for Blackcomb/Vienna so its not as much a question of why it should be changed but how. And thats what this thread is for.



    Again, unless MS finds a way to fundamentally change the way we interact with computers, Blackcomb will not change the fundamentals of the GUI. At most it will be what Microsoft did with Windows 95 compared to Windows 3.11. Big changes but fundamentally more of the same.
  • Reply 6 of 12
    dave k.dave k. Posts: 1,306member
    Stupid me..
  • Reply 7 of 12
    fahlmanfahlman Posts: 696member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Anders

    When Blackcomb is introduced, probably a five-seven years from now, X will be showing its age and need an overhaul too.



    What makes you believe that OS X will not advance in the next five to seven years? Mac OS X's GUI will always be more advanced than Windows. Apple is small and nimble, willing to change and implement new ideas. Microsoft is always more of the same ol' stuff.
  • Reply 8 of 12
    xoolxool Posts: 2,460member
    I don't see the primary methods for human-computer interaction changing until systems and software advances and the new fangled features permeate the entire line.



    If something is only available to a minority of the users, most developers won't code for it. Meanwhile speech and handwriting systems are too clunky when compared to typing and using a mouse. This is the same reason we use Keyboard Shortcuts rather than mousing around for everything.



    Computing paradigms will change, but I don't expect any drastic changes for years to come.



    There is one exception though, and that is for specialized devices. Here hardware can special in some ways, but if the speed isn't there and it's not compatible with my current apps, why bother.
  • Reply 9 of 12
    thttht Posts: 3,209member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Anders

    While I believe the desk top will die at some point something will remain, the application idea. While I really REALLY would like that to change for a more "tools centered" idea (one blank sheet, multiple different tools to manipulate it) it is such a departure from how the applications works and interacts today that I don´t think it will happen.



    Isn't this just OpenDoc?



    For GUIs, the basics of "windows", "icons", "menus" and "pointing" encompasses fundamental human visual sensory input with a rudimentary language system. There's really no advancing that because our natures aren't going to be changing. Next generation OS systems will be using WIMP interfaces, just more and more refined.



    The only big thing left (that looks to be attainable) is a natural language interface. We interact with the computer at a very basic level with a 2 word sentence consisting of a noun and a verb. Ie, select object and execution function on object. With CLI and scripting - they are typically verb first, then noun - it can go beyond 2 words using pipes and stuff, but it is a specialized language that takes a while to learn.



    Some more user interface power can probably given to users by having the computer interact with the user in a natural language, ambiguities and all. A GUI for this will use WIMP and the keyboard, so the "G" part in GUI won't change much.



    The last big thing is the neural shunt like seen in SCIFI, but that's probably more than 7 years away.
  • Reply 10 of 12
    a_greera_greer Posts: 4,594member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Chucker

    A codename for the upcoming version of Windows. It is not clear whether Blackcomb is the same as Vienna.



    longhorn is vista, blackcomb is "vista server" (more or less what server 2003 was to xp)
  • Reply 11 of 12
    toweltowel Posts: 1,479member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by THT

    The only big thing left (that looks to be attainable) is a natural language interface. We interact with the computer at a very basic level with a 2 word sentence consisting of a noun and a verb. Ie, select object and execution function on object. With CLI and scripting - they are typically verb first, then noun - it can go beyond 2 words using pipes and stuff, but it is a specialized language that takes a while to learn.



    This is exactly what I wonder about. The WIMP paradigm is fundamentally based on emulating our real-world interactions...with objects. But most folks still find that interacting with other people is more efficient than interacting with objects. Our interactions with other people evolved beyond pointing and gesturing (the GUI paradigm) long ago, because language is far more efficient. So I see the next revolution being an interface that emulates our real-world interactions with people. Maybe we'll see baby steps in the next major OS releases. Something like a natural language command-shell interpreter. Like Automator, but able to interpret free-form requests. Select a bunch of jpgs in the Finder, and type "rotate 90 degrees left" in the "Do..." text box. The systems tries to map the request to known commands, or offers suggestions if it can't. A window pops up with a sample result, so you can confirm whether it's what you actually wanted. You can "Do", "Fix", "Add another step", etc.



    I don't see voice commands taking over. Text is much easier to parse than speech, is much less likely to be misunderstood, and can be used in any environment. And hell, most young people can type as fast as they speak these days.
  • Reply 12 of 12
    placeboplacebo Posts: 5,767member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by fahlman

    What makes you believe that OS X will not advance in the next five to seven years? Mac OS X's GUI will always be more advanced than Windows. Apple is small and nimble, willing to change and implement new ideas. Microsoft is always more of the same ol' stuff.



    I'm sure Microsoft has acknowledged this and is spending millions of dollars combatting that design philosophy as we speak.



    Vista, all things set aside, looks pretty kickin'.
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