Ease of Use

Graphical User Interface

All the desktops offers by Windows 95, OS/2 Warp and Linux Xwindow can be customised. However, it is not easy for users of Linux Xwindow to make changes to their setting. They must understand the window initialization files and need to be able to change it with a text editor such as vi or emacs before the Xwindow is started. (Note also that in the Xwindow of Linux, there are a few windowing systems you can choose from such as Motif, twm, and fvwm. They all have different look and feel from each other in the windowing environment). It is very easy under Windows 95 and OS/2 Warp. Users can easily change the background color, background picture, system font, windows color. There are also templates readily available to Windows 95 and OS/2 Warp users. OS/2 Warp users can also make use of the object-oriented drag-and -drop feature to change any of the settings. Windows 95 employ the same interface as Windows 3.x for changing system color and fonts.

Window Management

Windows 95, OS/2 Warp and Linux offer comparable graphical user interface. All provide proportional sliders, minimize, maximize buttons. Users can double click on the program icons to activate the programs in Windows 95, OS/2 Warp. It depends on which type of windowing system that the users choose but most of the windowing systems in Xwindow of Linux still requires the command line interpreter, (the shell) to call the program desired.

On clicking the minimize button on the windows, the window will be hidden away from the user. Windows 95 users will be able to find the hidden program in the task bar. Depending on the setup of the program, OS/2 Warp user can have the minimized programs to create icons at the lower left corner of the screen, otherwise, users can use the CTRL-ESC combination key to activate a list of running program and recall the hidden programs. Users who are unfamiliar with this might think that their programs have terminated.

When users move directories from one location to another, OS/2 Warp will automatically update all the pointers to files in the moved directory to the new location. Hence, there will not be a problem trying to activate a program from its icon after moving the program. This is not true in Windows 95. Windows 95 users will encounter problems with finding a program associated with the icon once the program is moved. Linux do not handle program the same way OS/2 Warp and Windows 95 do, so there is no comparison here.

In Windows 95, users can easily change the name of the title bar for each window. OS/2 Warp do not have this capability of renaming the windows title bar. Linux allows the title bar to reflect the program that the individual window is running. However, the setting up is not as user friendly as that of the Windows 95 and is done by modifying the login script in Linux.

February 20, 1996

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