GUIs (was Re: A comment on Slashdot)

cpt.kirk at cpt.kirk at
Tue Apr 11 10:26:21 EDT 2000

There seems to be a lot of mis-understanding about Grphical User
Interfaces (GUIs). The first being that they are purely (or even mostly)
graphical in nature. The next misconception is that command line
interfaces don't have any graphical content to them.

I will point to how our beloved Pine brins in GUI features. At the top of
the screen is a band that has the program name, what I am currently doing,
the folder I am in and how many messages are there. At the bottom are some
control key codes to do various things such as send and/or cancel my
message. Additionally when new mail comes in a message comes up for a
short time letting me know how many peices and the subject and author of
the last peice of email recieved. These are all graphical elements in a
"text based" environment. 

Going to the GUI, I would imediatly point to Word. It is still a word
processor. The point is typing text. While it certainly extends this to
beyond imagination, it still remains a program for typing text. And then
lets look at email. While certainly there are pictures sent, the vast
majority of information is still textual in nature.

What it really comes down to is how the text is presented. A GUI adds
certain elements to the presentation. The shape of the letters will be
varied. The space between letters can be optimizes for best reading, or
just to "look cool." An astounding number of "graphics" on web pages are
in fact text that has been drawn to have a certain look that would not be
possible in using straight HTML.

If you could somehow "see" what all the fuss is, it would probably bother
you even more the amount of effort that has been going into GUIs. But
honestly, if someone had thought it all the way through from the begining,
access to a gui would never have been a problem. With the exception of
real drawings, such as a diagram or schematic, most information istextual
in nature. (Well much is now comming out in audio format.)

Kirk Wood
Cpt.Kirk at

Why can't you be a non-conformist, like everybody else?

More information about the Speakup mailing list