To be remarked and distinguished, one's products must be clearly different from the others: it is a fact of marketing. When applied to software, there are two main kind of differentiation possible: the invisible to the eyes, yet noticeable, differences, such as better internal engineering and better performance, and the visible ones, most particularly the user-interface. In operating systems supporting windowing systems, the user-interface is one of the most important aspects of the product because it is the interface between the user and the machine: this interface thus needs to be both pleasing to the eyes but still ergonomic and efficient for the user to be able to accomplish his duties as quickly as possible.
Having one’s application stand out from the others is maybe a good thing for marketing, but what happens when every application on the system wants to look different from the other in term of user-interface of the system taken as a whole? This is what we are going to see through this argumented rant, with the help of some applications examples, and try to see whether the short-term benefits of these moves are worth the longer-term inconveniences of inappropriate user-interface skinning.