Attention IM developers: Exit means exit

The open-source programming movement prides itself on giving people control over their own computers.

So why is it that even in the latest version of Linux I've been trying, Novell's Suse Linux Enterprise Desktop 10, clicking the Close button in the upper-right corner of the GAIM instant-messenger software only minimizes the program?

It's not just GAIM, the default IM client software for GNOME. Kopete, the client for the rival KDE user interface software project, exhibits the same behavior.

This program behavior has always bothered me with Windows-based IM software, such as AIM and Yahoo Messenger. But why have Linux developers taken their cue from corporate interests that want to maximize their users' availability for online chatting?

Maybe there's a check box hidden somewhere that I'm missing. Or maybe I should quit whining, modify the source code and recompile my own version. Or file a gripe in a bugzilla database. While I'm failing to get around to that sort of constructive activity, though, I'd welcome an explanation as to why one category of software is permitted to violate otherwise-consistent user-interface guidelines to what happens when I click that little "X" button.

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Tech Culture
About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.

 

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