Thanks, Sal, for the image and blog post title. Neither has much to do with window buttons, but that’s okay. I like them both anyway.
Regarding window buttons, I just got a peek at the forthcoming Ubuntu 10.04 release, and I no likie the left-oriented window buttons. The new layout brings to mind a long-standing GNOME usability quirk involving window title bars being so close to the default top panel (regardless of whether the window buttons are on the left or the right) that you risk accidentally closing, maximizing, or minimizing the active window whenever you interact with the panel. Particularly if you’re in a hurry. For this reason I always remove the top panel whenever I do a GNOME install. Two horizontal bars stacked together is bound to result in accidents.
Say what you will about Windows, but Microsoft has at least gotten their button placement “likely” over the years. What I mean by that is each corner of your screen has a likely purpose. The top-right area is strictly for minimizing, maximizing / restoring, and closing your program windows; the top-left is for menu entries; down below, your Start bar holds its own, out of the way and yet easily accessible, with the bottom-left of your screen reserved for the Start menu, and the bottom-right for notification items. A place for everything and everything in its place. If your cursor is in any given corner, it’s there for a particular reason. What the new Ubuntu layout has done is give multiple purposes for a single area. Great for consolidation fans, but, in my opinion, a disregarding of the hard-won convention that each corner of a user’s screen space is reserved for a specific function.
Of course, this won’t be an issue if GNOME moves its application menubars elsewhere. But for the time being left-aligned window buttons are just too close to the menubar for my taste. Here’s to hacking the config file and reclaiming my “rights,” so to speak. ;)