Ok, I just read the nice article on OSNews about the power of the command line for newbies and I'm quite impressed. This guy is absolutely right.
I had an encounter with my uncle last weekend because he bought a new computer (which didn't work well BTW). He and some other people I know are not really close to the concept of multitasking. Multitasking for them is maybe to smoke and phone at the same time, but the way I multitask will never be archived in anytime soon. They do one thing at a time and actually don't need a computer that does multiple things at a time and disturb there workflow by doing this e.g. when a background mail program pops up an error message they are totally confused. So what to do with our nice GUIs when they suck on the one hand and most of the features they provide are actually unnecessary? I'll sleep over that.
Another thing I start wondering about while reading the article is the questions why there are actually email programs. For the average user who gets about 10 emails per week and doesn't care about nice rulesets, folders and whatever feature a separate email program is far too much overhead. Why not just put two more icons on the desktop, one for “Inbox” and one for “Write Mail”. The inbox folder could add (like KMail) the number of unread messages to it's name and expand to a plain listview of emails. I believe that is enough for mostly everybody, despite of the people I know :-). The Write Mail icon could give a new mail window and nothing more. Would be far more easy for the average user to handle that instead of KMail, Thunderbird and whatever. Maybe I should start hacking KDE.
The last thing this article inspired me to was the gui notification system. How often am I disturbed by stupid, mostly unimportant messages by my desktop environment. There are actually better ways. Something like a system status log that would appear somewhere where it doesn't disturb and gives e.g. the last two events that would have lead to a message box otherwise. Another way would be to make the notifications intelligent. If I'm just typing an email or playing frozen-bubble, I don't want to know if my browser reports an error or not. Just put some heuristics in and it would be really nice.
The very last point for today is the intelligence of web browsers. We got a quite uniform system to find out if a domain name exists, called whois. But browsers keep telling me if I enter a non existent domain that the “server” is not responding. Think about that!