I'd be tempted to ask them how the Watchmakers dealt with:
- Left-handed watchmakers?
Screwdrivers may be universally handed, but even such simple tools as hammers and mallets aquire a handedness with use. Each user holds the tool in a different way, strickes in a different way. Using another man's (well-used) hammer is pergatory if you are used to your own. So it is for a programmer's tools. They may start the same, but they aquire distinctive faces with use.
- Physically different watchmakers? Tall, short, big bellies etc.
My roommate at one of my previous jobs always had his keyboard far enough back on his desk that he could have an a4 sheet or a book in front. He was tall and long armed and simply reached over to type (at great speed I will add). For me this was physically impossible unless I stood, and I am not that short.
Having worked at several places where the 'powers-that-be' spend immense amounts of time constraining "the users" ability to change anything (desktop's, fonts, color schemes etc.)
Even to the extent of forcing those with newer monitors capable of running in 1200x1024 or higher to using clunky 800x600 modes "because if we let you use the higher modes, everyone will want a new machine/screen".
Or removing the waste bin (and the ability to retreive accidently discarded files) from the local machine drives "because it doesn't work on network drives, and the inconsistancy would confuse the users".
All in all, I'd agree with you that these kind of 'one-size-fits-all' attempts at corporate bondage, serve no-one except the bean counters.
In the Win32 environment, one of the features that MS got right (IMO) is the roaming desktop facility. Sit down at any machine with the LAN (or even the WAN if its done correctly) and log on and lo- I get 'my desktop'. Colours, short-cuts etc.
I assume (but don't know) that something similar can be done using *nix .profiles etc.
My advice. Stand up for "viva la difference" if you have the status or the backing of your peers. And do it ASAP, because once these things take hold, undoing them is nigh impossible.
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