I downloaded the latest Knoppix Live CD over the weekend. This is a Linux system that comes on a CD, and runs entirely on the CD so doesn’t require any hard drive activity; for a temporary play with Linux this makes it ideal. (In the sake of fairness, other Live CD installations are available).
Anyhow, booted from the CD, it asks 1 single question and then loads into a memory drive, up and running with KDE (the desktop environment) in about 2 minutes. It autodetected everything and my web machine was on the Net working.
One thing I noticed when I was playing with KDE, apart from the speed and stability of it, was that if you put the menus into ‘sticky’ (?) mode, whereby the current applications’ menus are at the top of the screen, it conforms to one of Fitt’s Laws. I’d not appreciated what a productivity gain this could be having the menus at the VERY top of the screen. It was interesting to see that the Linux Open-source teams have done this. But then again, as KDE is an X-Windows manager which you can swap in/out as needed it makes sense that someone would do it.
I wonder if/when Microsoft will change Windows and concentrate on it being an OS, thus allowing other vendors or open source provision of the look and feel.