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[P]
Gnome 2: A quick look

By Bob Abooey in Technology
Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 10:22:01 PM EST
Tags: Technology (all tags)
Technology

The newest release of Gnome has been officially unleashed on the public with much attention paid towards improving the usability of the software. The move to make Gnome2 less of a "hackers" desktop and more of a commercially viable environment has been much publicized and discussed amongst the Linux/Unix faithful. I decided to take a look at what all the fuss is about.


Installation:

Gnome 2 is currently available as binaries for some platforms, as well as source code for any, as is fairly common when many open source projects release a new version. While there are scripts available that will download and build the software automatically, I chose to manually compile the software from source code. The entire project consists of 60 different packages which need to be compiled and installed in a specific order. Not too difficult to do but certainly a daunting task for anyone not familiar with building software. You will need to pay close attention to the system requirements before starting on your journey or else trouble most certainly awaits you.

I had one problem in the build/install process which happened when I tried to compile the rep-gtk source code. An error occurred which aborted the build process and forced me to go out onto the net for help. A search on Google resulted in my finding a bug report detailing my exact problem. However since there was no resolution offered I sent an email to the developer and was very pleased to see his reply a couple hours later. There was a conflict with an older version of a library called libglade which required me to un-install the old library. After that the software compiled and installed with no further problems. Thanks to John Harper for the quick reply and the help.

First Impressions:

After setting my system to default to Gnome instead of KDE I restarted the X server and held my breath while the new Gnome2 splash screen popped up. Much to my relief about 15 seconds later I was looking at the brand new Gnome2 desktop. My first thought was wow, very slick and very nice looking. Aesthetics are important to me, along with functionality of course, and while it's ultimately a matter of personal taste, I really like the look of Gnome2. The top panel looks polished and very slick and they do great job with their program icons. Your tastes may vary but I prefer the artwork that goes into the Gnome project over KDE by several orders of magnitude.

Getting to know you:

Now it was time to see how well things work and how productive I can be with my slick new desktop. Here is where things got a little sticky for me.

The top panel has been welded to the top of the screen and there is no amount of negotiating that will change that. This wouldn't be bothersome if you could set the panel to "auto hide", similar to the old panel in Gnome or those used in KDE and Windows. In fact I actually resorted to reading the help file for the panel and was informed that the "menu panel" cannot be moved or hidden. Granted it is very small and only takes a little room away, but it was an immediate source of frustration for me. I can only assume there are some hidden config files somewhere that will allow me to have my way but for now I'm stuck with the status quo.

That was the start of one nit-pick after another, with some nits being bigger than others.

  • I turned on xmms to listen to some music while I looked around and was greeted with silence. A little investigation showed that the new esound daemon was not started by default. I found this strange and had to wonder if a new user would assume that sound was broken and just doesn't work

  • I always have a separate workspace dedicated to a full screen terminal running VNC which lets me access a remote display of my SPARCstation desktop. Upon starting this up I was a surprised to see that the top part of the screen, the part containing the titlebar, minimize and maximize and close buttons, was hidden behind the welded panel on the top of the screen and not accessible. I'm not sure if that's a Sawfish window manager problem or a Gnome2 problem but either way it's just wrong.

  • The next annoyance came when I started up Mozilla. While I was thrilled that the top didn't get hidden behind the panel I soon noticed it didn't size properly and the bottom of the application was not visible. Thus I had to resize it, along with every other app that runs maximized, in order to see the entire application. A minor nit to be sure.

  • I started up a couple of KDE applications which resulted in my discovering the next bug. The application opened two windows, one running the actual app, the other a blank window which had the minimize/maximize buttons and the titlebar. I was able to repeat this behavior with several KDE apps. Again, this might be a Sawfish window manager problem but it is a problem.

  • The new Gnome2 has Windows "registry-like" functionality called GConf, which led me to start the GConf configuration tool to have a look at it. I was immediately greeted with a dialog box telling me that it is not ready for prime time and maybe I should think twice about using it. I decided to forge onward and play around with it despite their strong warnings. If Microsoft did something like that in a major version release the open source community would have naked riots in the street. Meanwhile my experience with the GConf editor was better than some of the stuff that was supposed to be tested and working. I like the idea of a central configuration tool and I like the fact that they use plain text instead of cryptic hex codes to describe the data.

  • While playing around with the different preference dialogs I found that they have decided to do away with the traditional OK/Cancel buttons and simply have a Close button instead. The assumption on my part was that when I clicked a radio button the change was going to happen immediately and this turned out to be the case. Functional, yes. Potentially confusing, most certainly. Was this something that needed to be changed, not in my opinion.

  • There is no preference option to set your screensaver. None. You have to do a search on Google to find out that you need to run xscreensaver-demo to change your screensaver. This one was a real mystery to me.

    On the positive side I thought the Nautilus file manager/kitchen sink application seems to have come a long way. It was very responsive and has a very polished feel to it. There were virtually no programs that crashed during my limited testing, most everything worked as advertised.

    Final thoughts:

    After setting the preferences to meet my tastes, and resizing all my favorite apps, I was able to get to work without missing a beat. Almost everything felt fast, from switching virtual desktops to launching apps from the welded panel menu. It's been quite a while since I've used Gnome 1.4 but my impression was that Gnome2 feels plenty fast and very smooth. Other than constantly moving my mouse down to the bottom to search out the main panel, instead of up to the top where I'm now forced to go, I find that I'm able to function as well as I was with the latest version of KDE. While I may have focused on the things that need improvement, overall I'm pretty happy with it and plan to make it my default desktop.

    Is Gnome2 ready for the public? I would say it's very close and while it has some rough edges it show terrific potential for the future. It certainly looks very nice. From the users perspective I would give the Gnome developers a "mostly well done" with hope that they address some of these issues in the near future.

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    Display: Sort:
    Gnome 2: A quick look | 114 comments (105 topical, 9 editorial, 1 hidden)
    The KDE "bug" (4.33 / 3) (#1)
    by regeya on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 03:19:38 PM EST

    What apps were they? More than likely, they're apps that add appicons to the dock. If only I remember the name for it . . . anyway, the reason it's a problem is because, when GNOME went from being what it was intended to be (an object-oriented environment) and instead became an intended replacement for KDE, rather than using the windowmanager hints KDE used, they created their own. How very clever of them.

    It's not a bug, but just another example of NIH syndrome.

    [ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]

    A bug is a bug is a bug (none / 0) (#3)
    by Bob Abooey on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 03:32:30 PM EST

    No no, it's a real bug. I don't think that's the intended behaviour. It doesn't happen with all of them, but I never saw that with Gnome 1.4.


    -------
    He is answering a question from a half hour ago. - Tom Cruise
    [ Parent ]
    It's a known problem (none / 0) (#11)
    by Mister Proper on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 05:11:05 PM EST

    As regeya said above, the application creates a new window with this tiny icon in it. This window is supposed to be reparented by the panel.

    From reading the freedesktop.org mailing list I've gathered that the spec is undocumented and believed to be broken by some (race issues I think, also if a panel crashes and restarts the status icon don't return). This is also why it was removed from GNOME 2.

    IIRC someone is working on a replacement for that. I don't think regeya is correct when he says that GNOME used an incompatible version, but I don't want to put any money on that.

    Here are some posts from the wm-spec-list. (Unfortunately the Xdg-list doesn't allow searching.)

    [ Parent ]

    When I say "incompatible version" (none / 0) (#32)
    by regeya on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 08:21:34 PM EST

    I was grousing about GNOME's silly applets, which weren't a thing like KDE's apps which reparented windows in the panel as KDE did.

    There was that helpful GNOME applet at one point that served the same purpose for KDE apps, but that was just a nasty hack to pretend to work nicely with KDE.

    [ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]
    [ Parent ]

    Oh, applets instead of status icons (none / 0) (#38)
    by Mister Proper on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 09:46:24 PM EST

    Well, KDE doesn't use the technique you described. It apparently uses DCOP for applets-to-panel communication.

    The reparenting of windows as you describe it, is what both KDE and GNOME use for status icons so maybe you were referring to the status dock after all?

    [ Parent ]

    It's the funniest thing about Open Source software (2.92 / 14) (#2)
    by Space Monkey on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 03:29:15 PM EST

    I would say it's very close and while it has some rough edges it show terrific potential for the future.

    It's always "very close" to being usable, but never gets there.



    Sometimes it is necessary to sacrifice freedom for safety," as Benjamin Franklin once said.
    New versions of Gnome and KDE (3.33 / 3) (#9)
    by thebrix on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 04:59:55 PM EST

    Having tried them both out at great length KDE 3.0.1 is very nicely polished; I can't fault it on that. G2 is dull matt by comparison and, as you say, the 'don't use this' message is utterly unacceptable for production software and perpetuates the stereotype mentioned. Like all stereotypes, it has some truth in it.

    That blunder is a pity; I note that a lot of the complaints about G2 being 'dumbed down' are because Sun has been doing usability work on G2 ... and it shows! A lot of the marginally useful configuration options have been pruned (their wild proliferation being a common problem with OSS user interfaces) and reasonable defaults chosen instead.

    Also, note that you can change the underlying G2 window manager from Sawfish to Metacity. The second is far 'lighter' and may get rid of some of the bugs you noted, although 'halfway usable' in the description is not exactly going to impress people :/

    (En passant there have been a few strange decisions in OSS recently, such as allowing AbiWord to be released at version 1.0 without any support for tables. A word processor which doesn't support tables ...! I've put myself down to beta test to death the version with tables, though).

    [ Parent ]

    What GNOME 2 is not. (4.66 / 3) (#26)
    by paine in the ass on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 07:27:01 PM EST

    It is not "production software". Note that on the www.gnome.org homepage, it's listed as the "GNOME 2 Desktop and Developer Platform". GNOME 2 is all about the new libraries and GTK+, which are tools for developers, not for users. All the actual GTK2 software is still very rough around the edges (though I've been hearing really good things about Nautilus 2), and I think most users are well aware of this; I personally don't plan on switching to GNOME 2 until there have been at least a couple minor revision releases, and you can bet most Linux distros will do the same. The same happens with KDE - I didn't use KDE 2 until the 2.2.1 release, and I haven't touched KDE 3 yet. When I have to use GNOME, it's 1.4 and I typically screw the desktop entirely and go with Enlightenment and assorted apps from a variety of places (GTK, KDE, Motif, etc.).

    The same would also likely go for proprietary software; I don't know a whol elot of serious customers who were in a rush to get Windows XP when it first came out; they stuck with (and many do still stick with) W2K, which is known stable, rather than jump for a new (and horribly buggy and insecure) release.

    But I think one of th ebiggest misconceptions is that this is not a finished product by any means; GNOME 2 won't be anywhere near finished until most of the big GTK applications have been ported and polished, and that will take time.


    I will dress in bright and cheery colors, and so throw my enemies into confusion.
    [ Parent ]

    My thoughts (3.00 / 2) (#35)
    by Bob Abooey on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 09:05:04 PM EST

    When you release a software product and you call it Widget 2.0, it had better be production software.That's what the dot oh means at the end of the number. Especially when you have a commitment from Sun Microsystems to use your Widget 2.0 in their flagship software product. The last thing Sun wants to deal with are a bunch of screaming customers who were using a very functional CDE and now have been introduced to a buggy version of Gnome.

    We've been brainwashed into believing that a dot oh release is really just the final beta but that doesn't make it right. Even though it's "free" software that doesn't mean that they should be held to lower standards than commercial companies regarding quality. But the good news is that even though I picked a lot of nits, IT WORKS IT WORKS IT WORKS !!!. It's still has lots of little bugs that need ironed out and, in my humble opinion, some usability issues, but by golly it does work!

    I will agree with you in one sense though. Gnome is built on the GTK+ 2.0 widget toolkit and they only released the version 2.0 of GTK+ a few months ago and they have already released 5 minor point releases, so they are still very much in the process of optimizing and cleaning up bugs in GTK+. We should see some major improvements over the next few months for Gnome2.


    -------
    He is answering a question from a half hour ago. - Tom Cruise
    [ Parent ]

    As I said (4.50 / 2) (#47)
    by paine in the ass on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 12:13:42 AM EST

    I don't feel that "free" software is held to a different standard or set of expectations. Corporate users didn't really flock to WinXP when it released, and many are still quite happy with Windows 2000...having the latest and greatest is second to dependability and reliability for those users. And when you look at it, you'll see that Windows XP still has major bugs which need to be fixed, though it's been out for eight months. Sun has committed to using GNOME 2 on Solaris, but I wonder when we'll actually see that; I'm not familiar with their product line, so I don't know when they're planning to release. If they're smart, they'll wait a little while yet.


    I will dress in bright and cheery colors, and so throw my enemies into confusion.
    [ Parent ]

    Indeed, but ... (2.50 / 2) (#65)
    by thebrix on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 04:16:27 AM EST

    ... things like fragmentary or missing documentation or popups saying 'this isn't finished' would never be found in a Microsoft, or any commercial, product which didn't have 'technology preview' or similar plastered all over it.

    Sadly, I have to agree with the point about OSS standards, although I'd rather say 'lack of' rather than 'lower'. The OSS act needs to be got together regarding numbering of releases and definitions of terms ('alpha', 'beta', 'release client', 'production' and so on) as there are no conventions. It's interesting that Mozilla feels quite commercial in its approach and does have a good numbering scheme and terminology.

    [ Parent ]

    "this isn't finished" (2.50 / 2) (#66)
    by chexum on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 05:20:57 AM EST

    So, you mean I didn't see Novell Netware 3.0, installed from original 5.25" diskettes, starting up with the line "in-house version", only to be "fixed" by a later patch overwriting this text with spaces?

    Everyone can make mistakes. For fun and for money too..

    [ Parent ]

    Well... (4.00 / 2) (#67)
    by paine in the ass on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 05:23:19 AM EST

    You won't get fragmentary documentation, yu'll get none. You won't get "This isn't finished", you'll get "This feature is not available" or "An unspecified error has occurred".


    I will dress in bright and cheery colors, and so throw my enemies into confusion.
    [ Parent ]

    That's just mean, man! (4.00 / 2) (#41)
    by spacejack on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 10:07:45 PM EST



    [ Parent ]
    Well, if you don't like Open Source software... (2.33 / 3) (#43)
    by buck on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 10:31:41 PM EST

    ...don't fucking use it. It's not like anyone's putting a gun to your head or anything. Time to get a life there, sunshine.

    ---

    -----
    “You, on the other hand, just spew forth your mental phlegmwads all over the place and don't have the goddamned courtesy to throw us a tissue afterwards.” -- kitten
    [ Parent ]

    Calling OSS unusable, using OSS (4.66 / 6) (#61)
    by swr on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 02:40:33 AM EST

    It's the funniest thing about Open Source software
    It's always "very close" to being usable, but never gets there.

    Linux, an open source operating system, seems to be plenty usable for running Apache. Apache, an open source web server, seems to be plenty usable for running Scoop. And Scoop, an open source blog package, seems to be plenty usable for you to post your message about a lack of usability in open source software.

    In that light, I find your post rather amusing.



    [ Parent ]
    My thoughts on Gnome 2 (3.00 / 10) (#6)
    by hovil on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 03:45:51 PM EST

    It sucks the donkey dick. I seriously wish they'd just go 'well, we had a shot at it, but KDE looks quite spiffy now and all those license issues have been resolved, so we'll take the best things we learnt from gnome and apply them to KDE and make it even better'. To be able to concentrate on a single effort will create much better results than the current state of affairs. IMNSFHO

    The licensing issues (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by Mister Proper on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 05:18:06 PM EST

    haven't been resolved completely. When writing proprietary software in Qt, a fee still has to be payed to TrollTech. For obvious reasons Sun, HP, Red Hat and other companies helping GNOME don't like that (warning: speculation). Because of this, GNOME will not disappear.

    Furthermore, I personally prefer GNOME 2's clean interface over the bloat that KDE is.

    [ Parent ]

    RMS should prefer KDE (3.83 / 6) (#16)
    by jonathan_ingram on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 05:32:41 PM EST

    When writing proprietary software in Qt, a fee still has to be payed to TrollTech.

    Yes, this is because Qt uses the GPL, rather than the LGPL. Interestingly, this means that Qt and KDE are now more 'ideologically pure' (in the RMS sense) than Gnome -- the Qt and KDE libraries have a $2000 barrier to entry for closed source apps. I personally consider this a very positive thing (it removes the possibility of the KDE software landscape turning into a shareware hellhole).

    Furthermore, I personally prefer GNOME 2's clean interface over the bloat that KDE is.

    Gnome and KDE are equally bloated, and can be made to look very similar. Admittedly, their default themes are different, but they have moved closed together with Gnome 2, now that the icons have been altered to look much more like the KDE ones.
    -- Jon
    [ Parent ]

    OTOH the Qt license(s) could keep people away (3.33 / 3) (#22)
    by Mister Proper on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 06:38:21 PM EST

    Yes, this is because Qt uses the GPL, rather than the LGPL. Interestingly, this means that Qt and KDE are now more 'ideologically pure' (in the RMS sense) than Gnome -- the Qt and KDE libraries have a $2000 barrier to entry for closed source apps. I personally consider this a very positive thing (it removes the possibility of the KDE software landscape turning into a shareware hellhole).
    True that. But consider that RMS endorsed the move from LGPL to BSD license for Ogg Vorbis because that would encourage more developers to use the software. IIRC RMS also endorsed the zlib license for similar reasons?

    I think that if KDE were the only desktop, GNU would have a hard time competing with Windows. Not so much concerning users, but concerning developers. Why would a developer want to switch to a platform where you either use a non-standard toolkit, pay money for the programs you distribute or use some weird "open-source" license (it is likely that most developers are apolitical)?

    Were the only GNU desktop written using Qt we might not see any proprietary software ported, which would probably keep many people from switching from proprietary platforms to GNU. Because having people use Free Software is more important than having developers write Free Software, I believe a less restrictive license is best.

    Gnome and KDE are equally bloated, and can be made to look very similar. Admittedly, their default themes are different, but they have moved closed together with Gnome 2, now that the icons have been altered to look much more like the KDE ones.
    I'm not sure why you bring up the themes and icons but I was referring to feature bloat. In this department I'm more happy with GNOME2 because its preference dialogs are now so much simpler.

    UI wise I also love the new dialog button order and panel setup. Not that no improvements could be made: a toplevel Settings menu, a window list that considers Fitt's law and a new status dock would be nice.

    [ Parent ]

    So why (2.00 / 2) (#30)
    by cr8dle2grave on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 08:00:54 PM EST

    Are more commercial apps written using QT and not Gtk?

    ---
    Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


    [ Parent ]
    I can only guess (2.50 / 2) (#37)
    by Mister Proper on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 09:40:18 PM EST

    I take it that by commercial you in fact mean proprietary because the original question is not very interesting (since even GPL'd software can be commercial).

    It's impossible to give a good answer to your question without interviewing all these companies ;). I can only give advantages that Gtk+ or Qt have.

    One such advantage of Gtk+ over Qt happens to be the license. An advantage of Qt may be that it is written in C++ which I think is more widely used in companies than C. Or the toolkit may just be much better than Gtk+ (wouldn't know that myself but that's what I've been hearing).

    If companies use Qt over Gtk+ because its technical superiority then that doesn't invalidate the licensing cost issue. In the future Gtk+ and Gtk-- can catch up to Qt up to a point where the licensing cost or install base becomes critical.

    If someone actually interviewed the companies that use Qt in their proprietary software then their reasoning would probably still be of little use. The yet-to-switch crowd is much bigger than the already converted companies so I think it would be prematurely to make conclusions already. Qt is quite expensive compared to Visual Studio and Windows combined. The companies listed as TrollTech reference customers are mostly very big and because of that they might be less concerned with the price difference.

    But perhaps more importantly Sun, HP, etc. can't choose KDE as their desktop environment because that would give Qt a monopoly. Those big vendors don't want to tell their customers that they must pay a fee to TrollTech for software they target at their platform. If it weren't for GNOME, perhaps Sun, HP, etc. would have written a new proprietary desktop environment instead of contributing code to GNOME.

    Also, Qt pricing is inappropriate for shareware or small sales. That's a very large group of developers that can't use Qt.

    (BTW, do you have a reference to back up your claim?)

    [ Parent ]

    References (3.00 / 3) (#40)
    by cr8dle2grave on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 10:07:31 PM EST

    (BTW, do you have a reference to back up your claim?)

    I can think of only one proprietary -- yes, that is what I meant -- app which uses Gtk, Applixware (or whatever it is called these days).

    Qt, on the other hand, is used by the whole stable of apps from The Kompany, Hancom Office, and Borland's Kylix project.

    I didn't want to take sides in the Qt/Gtk battle, but just point out a flaw in the argument that Gtk  is more attractive to proprietary app developers because of the licensing. Basically, I don't think companies have much of a problem paying other companies for goods and services of value to them.

     

    ---
    Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


    [ Parent ]
    You win :) (2.50 / 2) (#71)
    by Mister Proper on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 08:04:49 AM EST

    After sleeping over this I've reconsidered my opinion on this. Who would have thought.

    My point still stands on the reason why Sun, HP and all wouldn't have chosen KDE even if it was the only desktop environment available (though that wasn't really a reply to your post). Though Qt's license and pricing is acceptable, it was sure to encourage the creation of an alternative DE, which fortunately happens to be Free Software.

    [ Parent ]

    Qt is definitely superior to GTK (3.66 / 3) (#42)
    by tftp on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 10:13:34 PM EST

    Qt is quite expensive compared to Visual Studio and Windows combined

    Qt is cross-platform. This invalidates your price-based reasoning right here.

    companies listed as TrollTech reference customers are mostly very big and because of that they might be less concerned with the price difference.

    Big companies are listed because they impress prospective customers.

    Also, Qt pricing is inappropriate for shareware or small sales

    It is appropriate for any meaningful sales. If you can not pay $2000 for a multi-platform GUI library which is light years ahead of MFC then your business is just not viable. If so, use GPL for your shareware - your customers won't be able to compile or maintain the code anyway.

    Qt offers incredible development speed improvements. It has classes that actually work, methods that are designed to do things that you need - not some wrappers for some Win3.1 API with 73 parameters that you don't want to use (and if you do it will crash). Qt works, and that's why I use it for commercial applications.

    [ Parent ]

    Misc. comments (3.75 / 8) (#7)
    by daedal on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 04:17:21 PM EST

    "15 seconds later I was looking at the brand new Gnome2 desktop"

    15 seconds is a long time for something to load in. One of the reasons I don't use Windows is because I dislike long loading times. What benefits do you get from it that you don't get from lightweight window managers?

    "Is Gnome2 ready for the public?"

    Heh. Is Windows ready for the public? No.

    Actually (4.00 / 3) (#10)
    by Bob Abooey on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 05:08:06 PM EST

    15 seconds is a long time for something to load in. One of the reasons I don't use Windows is because I dislike long loading times. What benefits do you get from it that you don't get from lightweight window managers?

    I usually leave my PC on all the time so I only end up waiting for Gnome or KDE to come up on rare occasions.

    It's a matter of preference for me, I've used WindowMaker, AfterStep, BlackBox, KDE and Gnome, but I mostly prefer Gnome and KDE.


    -------
    He is answering a question from a half hour ago. - Tom Cruise
    [ Parent ]

    Write-in vote (3.83 / 6) (#15)
    by fluffy grue on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 05:26:54 PM EST

    None. I hate desktop metaphors, and instead run a window manager which doesn't insist on such a broken interface.
    --
    Try the new Aborted Fœtus McFlurry
    It's cool and delicious!

    [ Hug Your Trikuare ]

    pwn isn't commercially viable. (4.00 / 1) (#24)
    by harb on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 07:08:01 PM EST

    Gnome and KDE are attempting to be.

    My mother could use KDE3, somehow I doubt she'd have a clue as to what to do in pwn, or wmaker, or Enlightenment, or any of the other non-DE WMs.

    Slightly OT comment considering the nature of the poll, but it needed to be said. :)

    bda.
    [ Parent ]

    I didn't say it was (none / 0) (#25)
    by fluffy grue on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 07:12:44 PM EST

    I just said I don't run a DE. :)
    --
    Try the new Aborted Fœtus McFlurry
    Enjoyed by buttheads everywhere

    [ Parent ]

    IceWM (none / 0) (#108)
    by sgp on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 08:26:57 PM EST

    This is the 3rd comment I've posted in this thread about IceWM now, but what the heck....

    IceWM may not seem "commercially viable" as it's just a WM, not a UI. But for Grandmothers, a WM with a few icons is a UI. Actually, that's enough for me, too.

    A WM with a nice default config file is a UI.

    Okay, plus X and IceWM, I've added OpenOffice, Mozilla, etc - but Gnome and KDE don't distribute these anyway, AIUI.

    If I were to do a user-friendly Linux distro (not that I plan to), I'd be heavily inclined to use IceWM + OpenOffice + Mozilla. I'd have a hard time picking an Email client, though. Evolution looks nice but needs all the Gnome crap - similarly, Kmail is nice but needs all the KDE crap. NSCP/Mozilla mail client isn't as "pretty" as the others, though.

    Okay, I use pine, but I'm nobody's grandmother.

    There are 10 types of people in the world:
    Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

    [ Parent ]

    PWM (none / 0) (#48)
    by DJBongHit on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 12:32:02 AM EST

    PWM is definitely sweet, and I run it on my Solaris box. I'd run it on my Linux box too, if only it supported KDE extensions. I love my KDE, but I'd rather have PWM as the window manager. If only it didn't do things like make the desktop a regular, moveable, focusable window.

    ~DJBongHit

    --
    GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

    [ Parent ]
    It does? (none / 0) (#49)
    by fluffy grue on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 12:43:08 AM EST

    I have no idea what you're talking about (treating the root window like a normal window). pwm does that?
    --
    I am a happy flower.

    [ Hug Your Trikuare ]
    [ Parent ]

    No (none / 0) (#55)
    by DJBongHit on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 01:56:23 AM EST

    I have no idea what you're talking about (treating the root window like a normal window). pwm does that?
    No, it doesn't treat the root window as a normal window, but I guess KDE doesn't use the root window for its desktop, either. Can it, even? Can an application handle events for the root window? I'm not sure (except a window manager, obviously, but that's not a normal app).

    ~DJBongHit

    --
    GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

    [ Parent ]
    Ah, I see what you're saying (none / 0) (#57)
    by fluffy grue on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 02:12:45 AM EST

    What Gnome does is it makes all of its desktop icons separate decorationless windows. Which is probably more annoying than the KDE way. :) Personally, though, I don't like the desktop metaphor to begin wtih...
    --
    I am a happy flower.

    [ Hug Your Trikuare ]
    [ Parent ]

    it used to (none / 0) (#72)
    by Mister Proper on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 08:09:30 AM EST

    What Gnome does is it makes all of its desktop icons separate decorationless windows. Which is probably more annoying than the KDE way. :)
    That's what GMC did but now Nautilus behaves the same as KDE. There's a spec on that somewhere but I can't find it.

    [ Parent ]
    why not ion? (none / 0) (#50)
    by sesquiped on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 12:50:28 AM EST

    You certainly have my respect for using a minimalist WM, but I have to wonder, having heard of Tuomo's work, why you aren't using his other (and far superior, IMHO) creation, ion.

    Granted, ion takes a bit more initial effort. The default keybindings should be scrapped and replaced (I have a nice set based on vi keys, if you'd like), and you have to mess with the makefile to get it to compile cleanly on linux, but the results are worth it: tabbed windows as in PWM, but windows (I should say "frames"), are forced to be maximized and are arranged in a tree-like hierarchy, providing simple and quick keyboard navigation, and maximization of usable screen space. The first hour is a little strange, but after a couple hours with it, you'll find all other WM's unusable. No one who I've convinced to try it (at least six friends) has gone back to what he was using before.

    There are a few rough spots, particularly its handling of transient windows (dialog boxes). Rumor (and the ion mailing list) has it that Tuomo is working on a new version of ion and PWM that will allow you to use PWM floating windows and ion frames at the same time.


    [ Parent ]

    I tried ion first, actually (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by fluffy grue on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 01:05:36 AM EST

    I found it to be incompatible with my work style. For starters, I do a lot of things with applications which don't lend themselves very well at all to split panes - GIMP, for example, and also my own graphics stuff.

    The way my desktop ends up makes it basically like ion on the primary desktop and like traditional window management on the others; on my primary desktop I have a column of xterms going down the left side (wrapping nicely around the dock - I have things sized Just Right for that) and then on the right goes all my webbrowser windows, tied together. Then at the bottom I have miscellaneous stuff like xmms and so on.

    Then my other desktops are arranged in whatever way is appropriate for the program which is occupying it.

    If I did nothing but code and use terminal-based applications, then I'd probably be happy with ion, but then I'd might as well just run a single fullscreen xemacs and no WM at all anyway. :D
    --
    I am a happy flower.

    [ Hug Your Trikuare ]
    [ Parent ]

    BTW... (none / 0) (#53)
    by fluffy grue on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 01:06:48 AM EST

    I have rather nice keybindings for pwm, also based on vi (due to my wrist problems), which are included with my theming engine. A pity Tuomov lists/discards it as only being a theming engine, and not replacement keybindings as well.
    --
    I am a happy flower.

    [ Hug Your Trikuare ]
    [ Parent ]

    Odd... (none / 0) (#51)
    by Canar on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 12:59:25 AM EST

    I don't see much different about PWM than I see in most other WMs... Except for that tabbed-app thing. That's sorta nifty.

    [ Parent ]
    Yes, that's exactly why I use it (none / 0) (#54)
    by fluffy grue on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 01:12:49 AM EST

    Tabbed window groups is a REALLY nice feature. I often have several dozen webbrowser windows open at once, and they're automatically grouped into a single frame. Very yummy.
    --
    I am a happy flower.

    [ Hug Your Trikuare ]
    [ Parent ]

    Tabs (5.00 / 2) (#80)
    by diamondc on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 12:49:14 PM EST

    It seems that newer apps now a days are having their own tabs i.e. Opera, Mozilla, Galeon.. which is good since it uses less memory and clicking will usually load the new page in the background.
    ----
    "I keep looking in the want-ads under 'revolutionary' but there don't seem to be any listings.."
    [ Parent ]
    A few comments (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by fluffy grue on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 12:57:40 PM EST

    How does it use less memory? It's not like each separate window requires a separate copy of the code for the toolbars and so on.

    I really like having the tabs as part of the window manager. It means that I can configure the management of the tabs however I want - for example, alt-shift-vikeys from the keyboard, and alt-shift-mousewheel from the mouse. It's consistent and pervasive.

    Also, I like being able to mix applications. I have all my webbrowsers in a single window - Galeon, Mozilla, Konqueror, Netscape, Dillo, and so on - and I can easily detach a single one if I want to. Of course, I usually use just Galeon but it's nice to be able to launch other browsers for testing HTML (but still have it bound to the same frame). Also, things like GNapster and whatever can be bound to the same window.

    Basically, by having it as part of the WM, it's much more flexible, and it integrates nicely with the rest of the setup (whereas if the individual applications do it, you're restricted to dealing with them the way the apps want you to).

    Finally, I really like binding together several xterms as well. I have a group of xterms which my MUCK client and shell connections automatically go to, for example. Last I was aware, xterm didn't support tabs, and all of the terminal programs which did support tabs didn't afford the flexibility of just starting the app and letting the WM put the window wherever it should go (rather than having to worry about whether there's already an instance of the terminal running or not, and figuring out which one to tell to launch the new connection, and so on).

    The pwm tab methodology is so much nicer than having the individual apps doing it.
    --
    I am a calm and tranquil flower.

    Try the new Aborted Fœtus McFlurry! Cool and refreshing!
    [ Hug Your Trikuare[ Parent ]

    well. (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by diamondc on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 01:20:23 PM EST

    I went kind of too far with the memory issue.. it might use less video RAM memory, and theres always a CPU spike mapping a new window in X. But that's neglible with today's computers. I use Multi-Gnome-Terminal since it uses tabs too and actually remembers (!) how many tabs I had open since I last closed it. I use GNOME mainly and the session managment opens it automatically and remembers which workspace it was in, too. But yeah... each app having its own way of tabbing is a hassle.
    ----
    "I keep looking in the want-ads under 'revolutionary' but there don't seem to be any listings.."
    [ Parent ]
    Here's a demonstration of pwm (none / 0) (#84)
    by fluffy grue on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 01:27:29 PM EST

    Here is what I'm talking about.

    Also, why would separate windows use more video RAM? You do know how video cards work, right?
    --
    I am a calm and tranquil flower.

    Try the new Aborted Fœtus McFlurry! Cool and refreshing!
    [ Hug Your Trikuare[ Parent ]

    Cool.. (none / 0) (#91)
    by diamondc on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 06:06:24 PM EST

    I may have try out pwm again when I'm home. I'm so used to multiple workspaces, though (I have 8 separate ones in Sawfish right now), that I can afford to have a different browser in different workspaces.
    Regarding the video RAM issue, the more windows that are on the screen the more colors you have to allocate.. But again, it's neglible with today's video cards.
    ----
    "I keep looking in the want-ads under 'revolutionary' but there don't seem to be any listings.."
    [ Parent ]
    No (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by fluffy grue on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 06:20:44 PM EST

    I have 6 workspaces. I still find tabs to be amazingly useful.

    Regarding the video RAM issue, the more windows that are on the screen the more colors you have to allocate.. But again, it's neglible with today's video cards.
    So in other words, no, you don't have any idea how video cards work.
    --
    I am a calm and tranquil flower.

    Try the new Aborted Fœtus McFlurry! Cool and refreshing!
    [ Hug Your Trikuare[ Parent ]

    MGT (none / 0) (#85)
    by Bob Abooey on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 01:28:41 PM EST

    Can you use keyboard shortcuts to cycle through the tabs? I was looking at their website last week and the mgt looks pretty nifty. If you can use your keyboard to change tabs then I might give it a try. I've been using Konsole for a while just because of the tabs.


    -------
    He is answering a question from a half hour ago. - Tom Cruise
    [ Parent ]
    Yep! (none / 0) (#90)
    by diamondc on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 05:46:07 PM EST

    It's shift + arrow left or right or ctrl+[0-9] to switch tabs

    ----
    "I keep looking in the want-ads under 'revolutionary' but there don't seem to be any listings.."
    [ Parent ]
    Multi terminals and tabs (none / 0) (#100)
    by Ronniec95 on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 06:17:10 AM EST

    Use gnu- screen. Works with any terminal. Extremely configurable, fully keyboard controlled, totally scriptable. Remembers sessions even if you log out. Combine that with either fluxbox/pwm/ion for tabbed windows for the graphical side of things (eg mozilla etc) and you get the ultimate in minimalistic desktops!!!

    [ Parent ]
    Konsole (none / 0) (#109)
    by sgp on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 08:37:48 PM EST

    When I dumped KDE (and Gnome) for IceWM, I installed MGT because the thing I missed was Konsole's tabbing. MGT does it all. Other posts have commented on how, so I won't describe how to use it.

    It has ugly buttons now (1.5.0) but they can be disabled.

    My only gripe would be that it seems to assume that you have Midnight Commander. I guess I could hack the sources to get rid of that, but I can't be bothered.

    There are 10 types of people in the world:
    Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

    [ Parent ]

    What I Didn't Get... (none / 0) (#94)
    by Canar on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 09:47:42 PM EST

    ...is how you got to the assertion that it is not using the desktop metaphor. Minor extension of it, sure, but the underlying concepts and interfacing is identical.

    [ Parent ]
    It's not (4.00 / 2) (#96)
    by fluffy grue on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 09:55:06 PM EST

    Having windows is not the same thing as a desktop metaphor.

    The "desktop metaphor" is having files as "physical" objects you can move around on the "desktop," and little dealies to drag them to in order to perform tasks like deletion (because everyone keeps a trash can on their desktop) and so on. This is a very clumsy way to work, because you have to move/hide the windows around to deal with the files. It's supposedly "intuitive" but I'm always seeing newbies getting totally confounded by that "simple" interface, because they keep everything on the desktop and then it gets hidden by the windows and they don't know how to get back to it.

    I'm fine with graphical file browsers - but keeping files and such on the desktop is just stupid, IMO.

    Docks I'm fine with, but they're fundamentally different than a desktop.
    --
    I am a calm and tranquil flower.

    Try the new Aborted Fœtus McFlurry! Cool and refreshing!
    [ Hug Your Trikuare[ Parent ]

    couple of questions (4.00 / 1) (#17)
    by khallow on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 05:39:32 PM EST

    I have a couple of questions. First, what is the footprint of a base Gnome 2 installation? Second, anyone use Gnome 2's software libraries? I wonder what the performance/features of that is like.

    Stating the obvious since 1969.

    re: footprint (4.50 / 2) (#18)
    by Bob Abooey on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 05:50:30 PM EST

    Per this installation instruction page they claim you need 341 megs for a full install. You could do with less than that if you leave out the games. Probably some other stuff could be left out as well.


    -------
    He is answering a question from a half hour ago. - Tom Cruise
    [ Parent ]
    Answer to your first question (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Mister Proper on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 06:43:15 PM EST

    First, what is the footprint of a base Gnome 2 installation?
    It's right here. Compared to GNOME 1.x I'd say this is a definite improvement.

    [ Parent ]
    Universal Open Source clause (4.14 / 7) (#19)
    by babylago on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 06:11:24 PM EST

    Is Gnome2 ready for the public? I would say it's very close and while it has some rough edges it show terrific potential for the future

    I see this phrase so often that I suspect its use must be mandated by the GPL.

    The question is, why put up with something that has terrific potential for the future? Why not just find something that works right the first time and use that? What is the practical, that is to say, non-ideological compelling argument for a Gnome2 desktop?

    ---
    [ Blog | Hunnh ]

    Clarification (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by Bob Abooey on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 06:34:48 PM EST

    By ready for the public I was thinking about Sun including it as the default desktop for Solaris 9, as they are planning to do. My limited usage (it's been about one full day now) shows that it's very functional and very usable for my needs.

    However, due to some of the rough edges and bugs I wouldn't want to shrinkwrap it and actually sell to to the public. I suspect after it gets more usage and the developers focus on cleaning up the broken bits that it won't be long before it will be a shipable product.

    The question is, why put up with something that has terrific potential for the future? Why not just find something that works right the first time and use that? What is the practical, that is to say, non-ideological compelling argument for a Gnome2 desktop?

    It meets my needs and I'm finding that like it. Not to be smart, but those are pretty much what I require. I'm really not too much on the whole ideological part of software, but I do enjoy using certain tools, like Unix or it's clones, over other options. No political statment involved there, I guess I'm wired that way.


    -------
    He is answering a question from a half hour ago. - Tom Cruise
    [ Parent ]

    Nothing works (5.00 / 2) (#62)
    by Nickus on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 03:14:55 AM EST

    Nothing works the first time. Or the second time. Or the third time. Software, and especially graphical user interfaces, evolve with time. Consumer requirements changes, things that seemed really smart two years ago seems really dumb today.

    Look at MacOSX if you want to see software that started out ok, has now evolved in one years time to nice and with the release of 10.2 later this summer will probably be even better.

    The same applies for KDE, KDE1 was cool because it was the first free (yeah yeah, I know about the license problems earlier but it was free as in beer) integrated user environment for Linux. KDE2 was cool because now it was usable. KDE3 added more polish and stability.



    Due to budget cuts, light at end of tunnel will be out. --Unknown
    [ Parent ]
    Need for NRPL (4.00 / 1) (#74)
    by thebrix on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 08:56:25 AM EST

    This is the 'Not Ready for the Public Licence', and should be added to and removed from the GPL at appropriate points!

    The amount of asseveration on OSS-based forums about 'not ready for the public' is incredible; there's rarely much detail as to why a package is considered 'not ready for themselves' (never mind thinking other peoples' thoughts for them) by the poster. Would anyone care to give their thoughts?

    As far as I'm concerned both KDE3 and G2 are both 'ready for me'; after the initial installation and configuration I can do all the tasks I do on a Windows PC or Mac with no obvious omissions or awkwardnesses as far as I'm aware.

    [ Parent ]

    Menu panel (3.00 / 1) (#27)
    by paine in the ass on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 07:31:31 PM EST

    I've been wondering about that, since I keep seeing people in reviews complain that it's stuck where it is and can't be moved by anything. Yet in the GNOME 2 screenshots, nobody seems to have this problem; they've got their panels (including what looks like that pesky menu panel) all over the place. Any GNOME-savvy folks care to explain?


    I will dress in bright and cheery colors, and so throw my enemies into confusion.

    It can't be moved, but can be removed (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by Mister Proper on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 07:46:29 PM EST

    You can't move the menu panel, though you can remove it if you have at least one other panel (so you don't lock yourself out -- if you really want it gone you can always kill the process). After removing the menu panel, it will appear as an option in the Create Panel menu so you can get it back just fine.

    Other panels can be moved just fine. Also, as an alternative to the menu panel, the old GNOME Foot is still available.

    [ Parent ]

    I've seen this a few times. (5.00 / 1) (#93)
    by static on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 08:17:33 PM EST

    And it's broken, IMO. Making the default menu panel "immoveable" is just arbitrary for arbitrariness' sake. Unless there's something fundamentally different about it from all other panels that hasn't come through in the discussion

    Wade.


    [ Parent ]

    menu panel (4.50 / 2) (#28)
    by damiam on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 07:41:27 PM EST

    I should point out that you can always right-click on the menu panel, create a new normal panel, and then delete the menu panel. The new panel can do all the normal stuff - move anywhere on the screen, autohide, etc.

    I still don't like the menu panel, though. It's like they're trying to clone MacOS without actually putting the application's menus in the system menubar, thus defeating the entire point. I really hope that GNOME 2.2 either allows you to have a full mac-style menubar, or does away with the default menu panel.

    A couple of things I'd like to see (none / 0) (#33)
    by regeya on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 08:28:29 PM EST

    Along with you, I'd like to see the ability to have a full Mac-style menubar in GNOME apps, but only if it works nicely with KDE apps as well. Heck, let's get those KDE windowmanager hints people and GNOME windowmanager hints people together on this one.

    I know what the GNOMErs will say: KDE's more than welcome to switch. I'm sure folks in the KDE camp are more than welcome to do the same. Personally, I've just about sworn off of pure-KDE or pure-GNOME entirely, preferring the flexibility of Sawfish+ROX. But, as with everything, YMMV.

    My own take is that the GNOMErs ought to adopt some of the KDE "standards," as KDE came along first. I doubt it will happen that way (after all, KDE had a chance, during the rewrite of KDE, to adopt GNOME's standards) but one can always wish for interoperability. :-D

    [ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]
    [ Parent ]

    MacOS-like menubar (none / 0) (#73)
    by Mister Proper on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 08:33:24 AM EST

    Isn't freedesktop.org and its mailing list an indication that cooperation between the desktops is already happening? There's a series of standards on that site which seem promising. Your wish for interoperability is not an idle one.

    Personally I don't like the Mac menubar because it entails that you have to focus a window before you can use or even see its menu.

    [ Parent ]

    IceWM (none / 0) (#107)
    by sgp on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 08:17:51 PM EST

    Seriously, have a look at IceWM (http://www.icewm.org). It's having a crisis at the moment in that nobody seems to be developing it, but I've been using it for the past 6 months now, and as far as I'm concerned, it doesn't need any further development.

    There are 10 types of people in the world:
    Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

    [ Parent ]

    No/Yes (3.00 / 1) (#36)
    by Ubiq on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 09:17:44 PM EST

    Did the reversed (wrong!) order of the Yes/No buttons on requesters tick anyone else off like it annoyed me? I clicked the wrong choice twice, and I only ran Gnome2 for half an hour.



    No/Yes? Those would be bugs (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by Mister Proper on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 09:53:44 PM EST

    The correct thing to do in that case is to have [Cancel] [OK].

    You can read about this in the HIG, under "Alerts". Seth Nickell also wrote a a justification for you to enjoy ;).

    [ Parent ]

    Or... (1.00 / 1) (#44)
    by Bob Abooey on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 11:02:21 PM EST

    [Cancel] [Apply] [OK]

    The distinction here is that the user can "try" the settings by making some changes and hitting the apply button, which activates the changes. If the user is happy with the results they can hit [OK] or they can try some other settings or they can hit the [Cancel] button to revert back to the original ones. This allows you to do a "try it out but don't worry about screwing up the defaults"

    . This was my beef with the Insta-Change dialogs they have in G2. It's not possible to hit [Cancel] and go back to the defaults. Now granted a lot of the dialogs seem to have been dumbed down but it still goes against the grain for what I think of as usability. But then again I'm no usability expert, I think most of it is a bunch of overblown mental masturbation.


    -------
    He is answering a question from a half hour ago. - Tom Cruise
    [ Parent ]

    Try button (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by Mister Proper on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 07:28:04 AM EST

    The [Try] button was present in the GNOME 1.x control panel but I didn't like it personally. Such a thing is confusing because at first it looks like an apply, but behaves differently when you hit cancel.

    Personally I prefer these instant-apply dialogs, though an Undo button would be nice to have.

    [ Parent ]

    No (1.00 / 1) (#59)
    by Ubiq on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 02:28:57 AM EST

    The correct thing would be [Ok] [Cancel]. It is not the labels that I object to, it's the order of the options. Left means "affirmative", right means "negative". Or so it does in all standards except Gnome 2.



    [ Parent ]
    It's not "more correct" (5.00 / 2) (#70)
    by Mister Proper on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 07:57:31 AM EST

    I don't think I have any intuitive binding for affirmative to left, or negative to right.

    If there truly is such a thing then I would think that it's a cultural thing, and thus awkward to some people. The same problem can be found in wizard (druid) like dialogs, in them the left button (with a left arrow on it) means back while the right button means forward. This is confusing for people that write right-to-left.

    But I expect that the association you make was learned by using other-styled dialogs long before that. Don't worry, it only took me a day or so to switch. Which is nothing compared to how long it took me to switch from double-click to single-click in a file manager.

    Or so it does in all standards except Gnome 2.
    No. NextStep, classic MacOS, MacOS X and even ICQ are alike.

    [ Parent ]
    Doh! (5.00 / 1) (#79)
    by /dev/niall on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 10:51:31 AM EST

    Never use ICQ as an example of "right" or even "acceptable" when discussing usability!!
    --
    "compared to the other apes, my genitals are gigantic" -- TheophileEscargot
    [ Parent ]
    [OT] (1.00 / 1) (none / 0) (#104)
    by Ubiq on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 11:39:47 AM EST

    Excuse me joschi, but how is this a troll, spam or any of the categories that warrant a "1" rating?



    [ Parent ]
    performance on older machines? (4.00 / 2) (#45)
    by danny on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 11:20:36 PM EST

    My mother is using a machine with only 64MB of memory (and a 166Mhz processor), currently using GNOME 1.4. Is 2.0 likely to be faster or slower on that hardware?

    Danny.
    [900 book reviews and other stuff]

    Pretty okay... (4.66 / 3) (#46)
    by obi on Sun Jun 30, 2002 at 11:56:35 PM EST

    I'm running it on my laptop, P166MMX with 64MB ram.

    performance seems better than 1.4, I see 32 megs of RAM used. This is with Debian unstable+experimental. I'm not using Nautilus.

    I use it because it looks and feels more polished, simple and clean.

    Add mozilla+current Galeon in the mix and the thing does however become painfully slow. The problem with Galeon is that it uses the whole series of Gnome1 libraries, which take a lot of memory. I should try one of the Gnome2 Galeon snapshots on that machine, they will probably be alot better (no duplication of libs).

    Same thing with evolution.

    Bottom line: if you're using stuff like galeon and evolution, wait until they're ported to switch. Unless you can add ram.

    [ Parent ]

    G2.0 is much faster (3.00 / 1) (#95)
    by joschi on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 09:52:22 PM EST

    all around, and in nautilus in particular. you will be amazed at how much faster and better nautilus is.

    [ Parent ]
    Offtopic (2.33 / 6) (#99)
    by jonathan_ingram on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 04:57:09 AM EST

    You know, joschi, voting 1 on a comment just because it doesn't fit with your personal prejudices isn't very nice.
    -- Jon
    [ Parent ]
    None of those (2.80 / 5) (#56)
    by taerom on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 02:10:51 AM EST

    I use WindowMaker. Why?
    • Small memory footprint
    • Graphical config tool that's not newbie-ish, but also not overly complex
    • All sorts of nifty dockbar apps like a handy e-mail marquee, and miniature post-it note board
    • Easily customizable themes (using the graphical config tool) that don't look like sh**
    • Fully flexible key and mouse bindings - I've never found a window manager quite so flexible in this regard

    'Nuff said. Go try it and see. :)



    Re: WindowMaker (2.50 / 2) (#60)
    by Ubiq on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 02:30:41 AM EST

    It would appear that the desktop environment that WindowMaker is the window manager of, namely GNUstep, is even less finished than Gnome 2.



    [ Parent ]
    I wouldn't know :) (3.00 / 3) (#63)
    by taerom on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 03:24:32 AM EST

    I don't buy into the whole "desktop environment" thing, really. All I need to be able to do is manage my windows (wow, guess that's what they mean by window manager), launch apps, and be able to glance at my e-mail counter and clock. :) I only have a "desktop" insofar as I have wallpaper like pretty much everyone else does.

    [ Parent ]
    Managing windows (none / 0) (#97)
    by ddilling on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 12:13:55 AM EST

    My problem with WindowMaker is that it DOESN'T manage the windows. At least, not all of them.

    Specifically, WindowMaker is the only window manager I have yet seen that exhibits the following behavior: Java swing apps come up with a size of about 1x1 pixel, with the barest minimum wmaker frame around them. It's virtually impossible to grab ahold of it and size it out to how it should be.

    Now, that may not be much of a problem to most people, but um, I'm kinda currently working as a Java developer, and it's become a big pain for me.

    Having said that... it's still not enough to make me switch. Love me some WindowMaker. :-)



    [ Parent ]
    Why desktop environment? (none / 0) (#102)
    by strlen on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 12:43:28 AM EST

    I personally keep GNOME installed, but use window maker (or fvwm2 or icewm, depending on what machine I'm using) as a window manager. GNOME applications run just fine, without the over heard of running the panel and other memory using shit. Really nifty on my machine with 32 mb of ram.

    --
    [T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
    [ Parent ]
    WindowMaker (none / 0) (#112)
    by werner on Sat Jul 06, 2002 at 12:17:39 PM EST

    WindowMaker kicks arse.

    I have all of Gnome and all of KDE installed, and I think KDE 2 and 3 are wonderful Desktop Environments. But KDE is just too slow. I have an Athlon 1200 for Pete's sake, and it takes several seconds for the vast majority of apps to start.

    I understand this has something to do with the X font server loading every font whenever you start anything, and will soon be fixed. Nevertheless, KDE is currently very slow compared to Gnome or WindowMaker et al, and ultimately, one of the key factors in the user experience - IMHO - is speed. And here, WindowMaker can't be beaten.

    It is beautifully configurable, looks wonderful, is intuitive and just all-round super. With a few dockapps, emelfm and a couple of Bash scripts, you can do most of the cool things Konqueror, Klipper and friends do, and the less said about the abomination that is Nautilus, the better. Have they fixed that in 2? I can hardly think of another app so badly designed. IIS perhaps...

    Other window managers like XFCE, fluxbox, blackbox etc are also quick, but not as configurable or pretty as WindowMaker.

    [ Parent ]

    Gnome 2 very usable (3.25 / 4) (#58)
    by FruitCake on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 02:25:16 AM EST

    having just finished setting up my new Gentoo linux system with Gnome 2 I must say, im very impressed with it. I have experienced none of the problems mentioned above (been running for about a day now, tho of course i dont have any KDE installed which is a good thing)

    the menu panel is a pain in the arse but if you get rid of it and place a 'menu bar' applet onto another panel you can get the features of the menu bar with the customisablity of the other panels

    hmm.. very mac-like. so what? (4.33 / 3) (#64)
    by buglord on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 03:45:40 AM EST

    I've just installed Gnome2 on Debian Sid/Experimental and must say, very slick despite its experimantal status... The first thing that sprung to my eye was the top panel. It looks very OSX-ish. The mixer applet, for example, appears somewhat... ahem... inspired.
    You could almost say that whereas the KDE developers try to emulate Windows's look&feel, Gnome developers are inspired by MacOS and NextStep.

    So now the discussion flares up all again that the Gnome developers should finally trash it and admit that KDE won. Won what? I thought that OSS is all about piecing together the software you prefer, because you have the freedom to do it and aren't bound to anything. What's to prevent me from using Evolution in KDE, or Kivio in Gnome? The world isn't white or black, KDE or Gnome, RedHat or Debian.

    I'd like to send out respect and admiration for the Gnome hackers that consistently give us stable, slick, no-frills apps and libraries that do their job and look good at it, too.

    I'm happy so much now I know how to use a gun!
    Die Technik bereit und stabil... wir wollen zurück ins Telespiel!
    welle:erdball - telespiel

    Won what? (none / 0) (#105)
    by sgp on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 08:08:27 PM EST

    I agree - the fact of there being two different UIs is a good thing.

    I personally use IceWM (icewm.org), as it's fast, slick, and stays out of my way. I still need to run GnuCash, though, which forces me to install most of the Gnome supporting libraries.
    Okay, so I use multi-gnome-terminal, too, but I'd live without it if all the crap I have to install to support GnuCash didn't happen to support MGT too.

    I install my systems with linuxfromscratch.org. It's not too time-consuming, and gives me a great speed improvement on oldish (433 MHz Celeron, 500MHz Cyrix, etc) kit.

    I think it's great that there are two competing UIs, even though I use neither, I'd rather there were more, in many ways.

    I do find it frustrating that the "killer app" - GnuCash in my case - assumes that you have all of Gnome installed, and doesn't specify which versions of the 60 mentioned libraries are required.
    The same goes for KDE, of course.

    The fact that all the major Linux distros supply all the libraries required for their version of KDE / Gnome, leads a lot of developers into saying "my app works" without really knowing what it depends upon, and therefore being unable to debug problems users may be having.

    I'd like to have Konqueror around, but there's no way I'm going to go through all that crap to get it.

    What I guess I'm really saying is it's great to have Gnome and KDE, if they'd (especially Gnome) just document exactly what is required, what depends upon what else, and exact version numbers.

    There are 10 types of people in the world:
    Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

    [ Parent ]

    Evolution (none / 0) (#106)
    by sgp on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 08:10:43 PM EST

    Oh yeah, and I tried to install Ximian Evolution on one machine. That was hell! At least with a commercially-based application, I would expect a detailed list of dependancies.

    There are 10 types of people in the world:
    Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

    [ Parent ]

    Screensaver and Panels (4.66 / 3) (#68)
    by rossyb on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 05:57:42 AM EST

    Panel: Yes, the panels being on top is a Sawfish bug. Try killing the panel (run xkill and click on the panel) — the session manager will restore it and hopefully it will be in the background now.

    Screensavers: If you are missing the Screensaver configuration you need to upgrade XScreensaver. There is a GTK2 port which provides the correct configuration. Also, xscreensaver-demo has been the configuration for xscreensaver for many, many years...



    Preferred desktop (2.50 / 2) (#75)
    by locke baron on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 09:55:44 AM EST

    Well, hmm... Desktop metaphors often go too far, but I like having somewhere to stick frequently-used files and apps. Thus, a combination of XFCE and ROX-Filer does the trick for me - I get a RISC OS-style panel and pinboard, and I've configured xfwm to respond to mouse clicks the way I want it to (although I can't make its window decorations like the NeXTstep ones - that's my only real gripe). I use the XFCE panel, too, as a quick-launch bar (A la OS/2 Warp's Launchpad), but I don't care much if windows maximize over it.

    On Fluffy Grue's suggestion, I'm giving PWM a shot, though my gut feeling is that it won't be quite right. Ah well, that's what's good about OSS - I can always fix that, if I feel so inclined :-)
    Micro$oft uses Quake clannies to wage war on Iraq! - explodingheadboy

    Auto-application of preferences (4.00 / 4) (#76)
    by jwb on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 10:11:25 AM EST

    I adore the new preferences dialogs because they have no OK, Apply, or Cancel buttons. In the real world, you do not need to Apply or Save something as a prerequisite to persistence. It simply persists. I set my thermostat to 65°F. It will stay at that setting until I change it. No need to save or apply. If I write a phone number on a piece of paper, I don't have to do anything special to keep it from disappearing. The new dialogs are much more usable because of this real-world analog.

    Real World and Cancel Button (4.00 / 1) (#77)
    by bayankaran on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 10:41:29 AM EST

    Still there should be 'Cancel' button...'Apply' is definitely not needed.

    Real world would be much better if we have a Cancel button.

    [ Parent ]
    Undo, not Cancel (none / 0) (#103)
    by Tom Rowlands on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 07:24:20 AM EST

    Still there should be 'Cancel' button...'Apply' is definitely not needed.

    Real world would be much better if we have a Cancel button.

    It would be better still if, in the real world, we could go `back in time' rather than `Cancel.' By removing the OK, Cancel and Apply buttons an application can supply direct manipulation. As the value is changed those things it effects change as well. For example, in a drawing application a palette may show the currently selected colour in a colour wheel. As the user changes the selected colour in the wheel applicable objects change their colour. In this example there is none of the offensive three buttons. However, there is still an Undo function.

    With Undo available a user can be free to experiment. Cancel requires the user to have a dialog box on their screen interrupting their work and to master the subtle difference between Cancel and OK (don't try explaining Apply vs. OK to a new user).

    --
    Tom Rowlands
    (Sorry, I can't sign this.)

    [ Parent ]

    Cancal or Reset (4.00 / 1) (#78)
    by /dev/niall on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 10:44:15 AM EST

    Do they have cancel or reset buttons?

    Nice to revert to your original settings.
    --
    "compared to the other apes, my genitals are gigantic" -- TheophileEscargot
    [ Parent ]

    could be a problem (4.00 / 1) (#87)
    by wrinkledshirt on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 02:44:56 PM EST

    Slight problems from the visual point of view...

    The slider widget, for instance, might force updates all the time depending on how it's coded. That could lead to halting behaviour from the GUI.

    Also, having the Apply separated from the GUI doesn't give you the chance to see an example theme in contrast to the existing theme.

    Don't know if this is the way it is with the latest version of GTK+ or Gnome2 or whatever. I just had disagree with your no-need-for-an-apply catch-all. I do agree that for data settings it's not a bad idea to just go with what's been inputted directly, instead of waiting for an Apply.

    [ Parent ]

    Just rolled back (4.00 / 4) (#83)
    by kostya on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 01:22:21 PM EST

    I used the Ximian snapshots, and things drove me so batty that I had to roll back.

    Don't get me wrong. I liked it. It was slick and it was full of promise. But too many things didn't quite work or changed. The most infuriating was the desktop-switcher. I have mine setup to edge-flip under Gnome 1.4--but under Gnome2 the edge-flipping changed totally. Down or right equalled "next" and Up or left equalled "previous". When you have 6 desktops in 2 rows, that means you cycle through the first 3 on top then the bottom three. Argh! With 1.4, up went to the row above and down went to the row below.

    Ok, that's a setting somewhere--but I couldn't find it easily and I didn't feel like exploring the idiosyncracies of the mappings. But that was just an annoyance--it was the lack of apps at this point. Ironically, it was that I couldn't get the gaim_applet to compile among other things.

    I give it a month--then Ximian will release a slick GNOME2 based desktop. Then I'll switch over in a heart beat. It's really cool, it just needs the customary 3 release revisions to get stability and someone like Ximian to package it up.

    I used GNOME in the pre beta days, so I know I could get it all working and installed eventually. But GNOME 1.4 with Ximian is so polished, it has made me lazy. That's more a testament to the state of Linux desktops than anything else. 5 years ago, GNOME2 would have been considered "complete and polished". Now, it's complete and ready to be polished and packaged.



    ----
    Veritas otium parit. --Terence
    Right (4.00 / 1) (#86)
    by Bob Abooey on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 02:24:40 PM EST

    I remember when Gonme 1.0 came out. I was really hyped about trying it out, especially with that uber cool E window manager. Boy, I couldn't do anything for more than a couple minutes before something would blow a bigass core dump. The panel would randomly die every half hour and sometimes it would refuse to start again so you had to restart X to get it going. And on and on and on. It was kinda cool looking (E was real cool looking but almost completely broken too. Speaking of E, is Rasterman still working on that?) but it was a steaming pile of dung. I went back to K(lunk)DE even though I didn't really care for it because it worked a whole lot better.

    That said, yes, this release actually seems work. My "out of the box" annoyances came from being stoked about trying it out and then the first 5 or 6 things I tried to do all gave me grief. Sure I can fix them or find workarounds, but it would be so cool for once to try a new release and have it just flat out work. KDE 2.2 came real close to that for me, the only thing I had to tweak was the broken aRTs sound blocker.

    Regarding apps - you should still be able to run GTK 1.xx apps under G2. You can have both GTK 1.xx and GTK 2.xx on your system with no conflicts. All my old GTK/Gnome apps are running just fine under G2, they just look a little different because they use the old toolkit.


    -------
    He is answering a question from a half hour ago. - Tom Cruise
    [ Parent ]

    Apps? Yes. (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by kostya on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 02:49:36 PM EST

    Applets? Not sure. That was the problem. GAIM ran just fine. But the gaim_applet refused to go into the panel. I then tried to recompile it and got all sorts of mysterious messages about missing header files. So I think it is mostly due to the huge infrastructure change in GNOME2, especially the panel. I suspect the port is relatively easy--comment out some includes, switch some, grep and replace, etc. So I will be patient and wait for Ximian to roll me a distribution.

    BTW, I agree with you on KDE's look and feel, especially the icons. It's totally a personal taste thing, but I really don't like the look of KDE. I can't pin it down, but it almost seems too sharp--as if the icons were too simple or primitive. I can't put my finger on it, but I just don't like how it looks.

    GNOME has gotten progressively better in look and feel. I also like the default panel setup. I adopted it before it became a default. It gave me tons more screen real estate on a laptop the way it was laid out. But again, personal taste ;-)

    My final hold out against KDE is purely "stupid geek reasons". I hate the way Qt mangles C++. I know Qt people will come to its defense, and a geek holy war would ensue, but I don't care about their reasons. They are dumb reasons :-). I like gtkmm's approach, even though it is a wrapper. If I could have from the ground up C++ foundations like KDE with gtkmm's use of the STL patterns and designs, I'd have my perfect platform. In the absence of that, I'll take more standard C++ syntax even if it wraps C widgets.



    ----
    Veritas otium parit. --Terence
    [ Parent ]
    roll your own dont use the snapshots (none / 0) (#98)
    by FruitCake on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 01:47:38 AM EST

    yeah the ximian snapshots are a pain in the arse, nothing really works, your much better off using a distro that supports it (gentoo) or rolling your own with garnome or similar.

    and that edge flipping/next previous desktop thing, if you read the docs you would know that that is a known problem and it is being fixed

    [ Parent ]

    Looks pretty (4.33 / 3) (#89)
    by CarryTheZero on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 05:44:12 PM EST

    Nautilus and the new icons certainly look nice. GTK, though still looks ugly as hell to me compared to QT. I dunno, maybe that's just personal prejudice. Also, on a completely different topic: I compiled KDE 3 myself, and I had to compile maybe 3-5 packages. 60 is just utterly insane.

    --
    You said I'd wake up dead drunk / alone in the park / I called you a liar / but how right you were
    iTunes users: want to download album artwork automatically? Now you can.
    Must be personal preference (none / 0) (#113)
    by unDees on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 03:06:56 PM EST

    After all the hype about KDE3 and the supposedly beautiful icons and professional look, and all the comments about how clunky GNOME 1.4 looked in comparison, I was all set to prefer KDE.

    But I keep finding myself logged into a GNOME desktop with a nice minimalist panel set and few distractions. The icons are more subtly rendered, the panel seems less hyperactive (no jumping buttons), etc. KDE's icons seem kind of, well, ugly. And a little shell icon for an xterm? C'mon! In how many languages of the world does the word "shell" just happen to have two meanings? And this from SuSE--they should know better than to use an English-language-centric icon (unless "Muschel" could also mean a bash prompt, which I doubt).

    I have to give kudos to KDE for the application interoperability and really pretty fonts, though.

    Your account balance is $0.02; to continue receiving our quality opinions, please remit payment as soon as possible.
    [ Parent ]

    You're right about the icons (5.00 / 1) (#114)
    by CarryTheZero on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 02:33:28 PM EST

    That's actually a really good point about the konsole icon -- I never thought about "shell" only making sense in english. I actually find the default KDE icons to be kinda ugly myself, which is why I installed a different icon set. I just think that gtk is much uglier than QT, and it shows in things like menus and file selection dialogs. BTW, you can turn off the jumping buttons if they bother you -- but I find they help me hit the right button, because I run the panel rather small.

    --
    You said I'd wake up dead drunk / alone in the park / I called you a liar / but how right you were
    iTunes users: want to download album artwork automatically? Now you can.
    [ Parent ]
    Thoughts on GNOME2 and some KDE3 (4.33 / 3) (#111)
    by denisb on Fri Jul 05, 2002 at 08:56:36 AM EST

    At work we're two technicians running Linux desktops. For a time my coworker has been running gnome 1.4 series, and recently started pulling the gnome 2.0 pre releases using Garnome.
    I have been using KDE since 2.1, and have been happy with that, esp. Konsole, Kmail, Konqui have been good stable working tools for me.

    I have tried running a predominant Gnome (1.4 series) desktop before, but found it not to provide satisfaction, as I loathed the lacking dialogs (file-save as for example) and the inconsistent feel of it all. When my friend told me he liked Gnome 2.0 a lot more then 1.4 I carefully installed it on my next desktop install at home (along with KDE 3.x).

    Long story cut short, I still prefer KDE 2.x/3.x over Gnome 2.0, reasons being KDEs more mature feel when it comes to consistent look and feel of things, and simply better integration of tools everywhere. I cannot say I really liked the (imo) dumbed down minimalization of configuration apps in Gnome 2.0, at least give me an option to expand the control-center to something more like KDEs impressive list of options.

    My colleague is now trying out KDE3.0.1 and his first impression is so far quite good. Like me he wants a lot of options in tweaking the desktop to perform the way he wants.

    I will agree that in many ways the artists, and resulting artwork is more spiffy looking in Gnome 2.0 than KDE 3.0, but hey thats not the big issue really :) A heap of themes is coming from various sources, see here if you didn't know : http://kde-look.org

    Still think Gnome 2.0 is a Good Thing (tm), and look forward to my favourite browser being released based on GTK2 (Galeon of course). Hopefully the new breed of GTK2 apps will look a lot better and work better with my desktops KDE3 siblings...

    Still, couldn't they at least stolen a few ideas from KDE / MacOSX / Windows XPs file dialogs ? The current one simply doesn't cut it.. The release also feels a bit rushed, as the GNOME2 is now mostly a desktop with less than a handful of usable applications.. Seems a little short of a complete release to me, and after compiling / installing such a number of packages one could possibly expect more ?

    -denis
    -- d9s

    Gnome 2: A quick look | 114 comments (105 topical, 9 editorial, 1 hidden)
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