Based on John Gruber’s post Ronco Spray-On Usability
For the youngins, one of Ronco’s (fonder Ron Popeil named it after himself) most famous product was spray-on hair. This could mimic hair about as well as paint can mimic hair — which is not all that well.
This piece was written years before Unity was a dream in Shuttleworth’s eye, but as you can see, Linux has learned nothing in those years. That if only they can paint on a better theme, Linux will become “useable”. The problem is the paint can’t cover the holes, the cracks, the bad spackling, the shoddy wiring, or that the windows are nothing but drawings on the wall.
CargoCultUsability™ is a closely related trademark, but not quite what I need. That TM describes LinuxUsabiliyExperts™ crudely copying behaviors from TheOtherOS™ without understanding why ThatOtherOS™ does what it thinks it does. For example, Jono Bacon explaining why he has Unity play hide and seek with interface elements.
RoncoSprayOnUsability™ is where you discover you can’t use the interface as presented. Besides 2004 Linux’s inability to share a printer, I have several examples from 2011 Unity… The inability to drag a program to the dock to pin it (as you’d expect as compared to docks from OS X and Windows 7), or to use a drag and hover to restore a minimized window in order to complete a drag-and-drop operation (as you’d expect as compared to the two previously mentioned OSes, or even compared to GNOME 2)... Or when the fake-global menu breaks down and you wind up with either two menus, or worse — an application where clicks land several pixels above or below where your pointer is because Unity has stopped compensating moving the menu out of the application window. Unity may as well be the canonical example for this trademark because of all of the tricks it has to do to fake that programs are designed for the interface. And like the fake hair, the slightest disturbance reveals to all the essential fraud involved. A little bit of rain will send this hair dripping down your face.