Kelly McNeill writes: "The latest trend in 'user-friendliness' is allowing users to extensively modify the interface of applications by applying 'skins' or 'themes.' This goes far beyond changing colors and fonts; themes can drastically change the appearance of an application, and even change the functionality. Themes began with media players such as Winamp and RealJukebox, and now seem to be spreading, kudzu-like, into other application categories and operating systems themselves. Proponents tout them as a way to help people bond with their software. I have
a proposal for what to do with most themes: get rid of 'em." The column is at osOpinion.
March 14, 2001