Launching the Revolution: Kickoff's redesign ideas

The launcher menu paradox has almost been around ever since graphical environments were created. They provided a simple method through which users could access their applications pertaining to a particular task. Before the start menu, users had a folder view, generally, with the applications in a list. Earlier environments had to omnipresent shell which launched programs by just typing the name.

Later, along came Linux and graphical environments for it. Some of them have kept the basic idea of a start menu, like the one on Windows 95. KDE did it, Gnome did it and many others, even the high end ones like Enlightenment, did it. It should be admitted though that this is a very clever idea to work with. It is fast, simple, and very visually engaging. However, this launching model by todays standards seems outdated. At least, this is something that frustrates me every now and then because it is so common. It is time for a revolution, a change.

The first thing that we need to do in order to change the start menu is to understand it. I am sure that a lot of people have decided that it is just OK to imitate what others have done. This is not a bad thing, the launcher menu is something that's very clever already, but I want to see innovation. It is time to rethink the way we work with a launcher menu. It is important to remember that these ideas have developed in great length overtime and I do not intend to cover 100% of what has been done, but rather, focus on the things that saw the day of light. I will point out their strengths and weaknesses to ultimately work with the strengths to come up with the best possible idea about how to improve the start menu for openSUSE.
 This is the main reason why I have decided to split this study into 4 parts. It is such a daunting task that as I was doing my research, I realized that it will take very long to work something out that is useful and better than what we already have available for Linux.
The first part will be an analysis of the many ideas and projects that launched "start menus." the second part will cover the good aspects developed for start menus; the third article will talk about the usability and design problems and finally I will conclude with a proposal for a launch menu. This will be my idea on what openSUSE should do with their Kickoff menu.

So, wait for this first article to come out. It will be soon.

Thank you for your support.


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