Linked by Eugenia Loli on Mon 16th May 2005 18:18 UTC, submitted by Omega
Window Managers Have a look here for an appliance-like desktop environment.
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by Axord on Mon 16th May 2005 19:02 UTC

But will it run Opera?


The idea of a Mozillatech based DE is quite interesting. But if Internet Explorer == Windows Explorer was a bad idea, this almost certainly is as well.

by Rho on Mon 16th May 2005 19:09 UTC

There is a .torrent available of Symphony (Alpha 3) in the forums at (under Announcments). This looks like an interesting project. They are also trying to get hosted on sourceforge and distrowatch, with Alpha 4 available to the general public through normal download links.

RE: axord
by Jon Smirl on Mon 16th May 2005 20:21 UTC

Just because the IE desktop in windows was poorly implemented is no reason to conclude that basing a desktop on the Mozilla widget set is a bad idea.

We have lots of widget sets:
GTK, QT, Motif, Mozilla, Windows, Mac, etc

These are just widget sets nothing more. You can just as easily build a desktop around the Mozilla widget set as the GTK one or the QT one. Microsoft is doing a new version of their desktop based on XAML and Avalon. It is a similar project.

The IE desktop failed because it was built around the IE browser, not the widget set inside of IE (yes IE contains a complete toolkit that is incompatible with the Windows one).

Firefox is an app implemented using the Mozilla widget toolkit. You could have built Firefox using GTK widgets, except that GTK does not conform to the W3C DOM API standard.

In the future it will make a lot of sense to base desktops on DOM conformant toolkits. Doing this will allow much further development of web apps like gmail.

by broken windows on Mon 16th May 2005 21:17 UTC

i think it looks very nice so far, and i like the idea. i think ill take her for a spin.

by theARE on Mon 16th May 2005 21:20 UTC

If the mutch rumored google OS turns out to be fact it should be something along these lines. A mozilla based desktop that runs on Windows and Linux. It would explain why google has been hiring mozilla developers. You build a mozilla based enviroment that can be plugged on the top of windows and Linux.

I think it would be a pretty good way to go actually

Needs more Gecko-based tools
by Damien on Mon 16th May 2005 21:22 UTC

I'm surprised it (alpha 3) didn't include a calendar given that the Mozilla Calendar spawned from a similar project a few years ago. Also, it should have used the Gecko chat program instead of Gaim.

But definitely an interesting concept.


by eelco on Mon 16th May 2005 21:40 UTC

That looks really good - i just have to give it a try.

Perhaps the Gnome developers, looking for inspiration for Gnome 3, should take a look as well.

BTW: read somewhere on :
(Have we hit yet?)
Yes, you did!

by Jacob on Mon 16th May 2005 22:04 UTC

Downloading it now, have to take a look. The project gives a very serious impression, due to the professionaly-looking homepage and mockups perhaps. Hope the distro is as intressting as its website!

by Anonymous on Mon 16th May 2005 22:17 UTC

Perhaps the Gnome developers, looking for inspiration for Gnome 3, should take a look as well.

They're already aware of it.

Don't know about the UI
by Mike on Mon 16th May 2005 22:50 UTC

I like how straight forward the UI designer is about having no formal training whatsoever, but i'm not sure his UI ideas are going to translate into a very user-friendly system. I appreciate that he's using the corners more, but i have to say it looks a bit hokey, and aesthetics are an important part of interface design.

Overall, i'd say he's designing with a clear UI philosophy, but not much in the way of Graphic Design skills. I don't expect this to outplace Gnome.

RE: Don't know about the UI
by Daniel on Mon 16th May 2005 23:19 UTC

Come on, looks are really the least important for an innovative interface. Get the functionality right and the graphic designers will come.
That said, so far the concept doesn't really amaze me. It certainly has some good ideas and is build on sound principles, but I'm not a fan of task based interfaces. It might be an easy shell to use for launching applications, but I prefer to have my interface focused around the workspace. Of course this depends a lot on what you want to do with your computer. If your main interests are web browsing, gaming and communication, then a task based interface might well be the best.
I also don't really understand their choice of apps. Sure, using the entire GNOME desktop would be silly, but why not Metacity, XFWM or KWin, which are all about as simple as IceWM, only that they look and feel more modern?
And I doubt very much that Rox Filer is a natural fit with their goal of simplicity.

Still, it's great to see some experimentation. We need more of this. If we want to see real innovation, then forks are our friends.

RE: Don't know about the UI
by Julian on Mon 16th May 2005 23:43 UTC

Some of the ideas are great! Although it will still have a long way to go it has some nice ideas although I have to agree that metacity would have been a better choice as Windowmanager. But considering the upcoming of Gnome 3 and hopefully e17 it's probably still gonna be behind for a while until it has a reasonable user base and more developers. If they also made the DM a seperate piece then that would be great, because I don't want to be locked into a specific OS or even distribution just because I want to use that particular DM, for that DMs aren't important enough for me.

by Aldi rulez on Mon 16th May 2005 23:48 UTC

this thing is absolute useless.
Why learning a new GUI when you are already on a very good one? (Windows or Linux).

The most stupid thing of this concept is that can't move windows (at least partly) out of the desktop. I do this very often, especacily with large programs to read to see another window (or part of it) simultanously.

So this is not an improvement. you can't use the computer better with it and you don't get better applications.

If they really want to make something better, they should write plugins for gnome or kde or windows to improve these desktops. Not to set a new one in top of them.

I like it
by andrew on Tue 17th May 2005 01:34 UTC

Just remember, this is Alpha, and will change dramatically. that being said, it is a nice change from Gnome and KDE. BTW, i could of swore they chose IceWM for it's lightweight, that's why Metacity wasn't chosen.

I see their is a lot of people who like gnome in this thread, with all the talk.

It's an innovative desktop at the moment, and, the best thing is that is provides another desktop choice. It might not be for everyone, but, it has a choice.

And for the person who said
"this thing is absolute useless.
Why learning a new GUI when you are already on a very good one? (Windows or Linux)"

Symphony OS is another Linux distro, just with a new desktop environment.

Oh, and I agree, Rox is not simple, and I think they should consider changing File Managers.

I know it's Alpha, but a little more software wouldn't hurt.

by captainmellow on Tue 17th May 2005 03:23 UTC

. . . nice to see someone doing something different, rather than copying other os'. cool interface ideas, i'm interested to see how they work.

Not good enough
by wygiwyg on Tue 17th May 2005 06:10 UTC

It looks like an ordinary desktop with (super)karamba addons. But this UI still have a desktop and windows manager(s). So, nothing 'revolutionary' here.

Too harsh
by Anonymous on Tue 17th May 2005 06:29 UTC

I think you all are being just a tad bit harsh. This DE does have some nice aspects.

1) All your settings are in the corners
2) Running app's on the bottom of the screen
3) Extra space with no tool bar. And yes I am aware that several DE can hid the tool bar.
4) The little pop up menus in the apps at the bottom. Somewhat like XFCE or CDE.

It is showing a good/great deal of orginality. And if light or system resources. This could be an excellent replacement for heavy DE's. And yes, there are some light weight replacements for the 2 most popular (heavy) DE.

I would like to see more on how this projects grows.

Good ideas
by Vide on Tue 17th May 2005 09:34 UTC

Moving away from the unmaintainable hierarchy menu model is only a good thing...this distro could be a good test ground for new methods, but IMO then they should adopted by the 2 majors opensource DEs.

Anyway....I'm going to give Symphony a try, CD-RW are made for this ;)

afraid of change
by andrew on Tue 17th May 2005 13:21 UTC

Most people seem to be complaining about this, mainly because they are afraid of change.

It is different, and it has innovative ideas, whether there is a wm or not.

After a test..
by Jacob on Tue 17th May 2005 13:33 UTC

.. it's obvious you won't get charmed by a an alpha software, and yes, as it is now, it is almost completly useless. But it's not mean for usage either, it's a preview!
A very diffrent and intressting approach I think. To come up with new ideas like this is something good, and even if it won't be a desktop revolution today, we can perhaps see traces of it in the other DE tomorrow..

Squish not Bump
by mawrya on Tue 17th May 2005 16:43 UTC

Symphony sounds good. Will be intesting to observe it being tuned from alpha to production. One suggestion: instead of having the windows simply bump into the edges of the desktop, have them squish instead. Many people drag windows partially off the desktop to quickly view something behind them, and then drag them back on again. Have the window shrink (squish) when it hits the edge of the desktop and then re-expand to its pre-squish size when it is moved back.

Bravo to the designers.

I just love this "proof of concept"s, really.
by Howie S on Tue 17th May 2005 19:57 UTC

Cudos to Symphony!

I'd like to see some flash demos to get a feel for it. I'd also like a way of installing Mezzo/Orchestra on an exisiting Debian/KNOPPIX installation as a DE in lieu of KDE or GNOME.

Sounds like this thing is powered by httpd (Apache), and Mozilla for serving and rendering apps respectively. Personally, I can't imagine writing anything large as a series of perl cgi scripts. Ouch! Maybe that's OK for desklets, but that's about all.

With your apps piped through a webserver (see, orchestra apps are an interesting hybrid between a "native app" and a "web-app". Why am I now so worried?

In the end, it's about *design*. Visually, there's some nice stuff here. Generally a good start. Dig, a little deeper, I'm still not so convinced about the orchestra model. GUI's are complex little beasts. Good object-oriented patterns (I'm talking "Design Patterns" here), have emerged to address some common GUI issues. Let's not take a step backward and make our apps behave like cgi scripts. Now if you based it on mod_python instead, hey, my ears would really perk up!

For my personal use, I don't like some of the design. But I notice that a number of feature changes seem to made for people who don't understand the internals of computers and additionally do not want to learn - like my mom!

No matter how many times I try to teach her stuff she just reponses "I guess I am too dumb to understand". Yea, right. My mother hold nursing papers for five diffirent countries (you have to pass exams before you can become a nurse - and this is over a thirty year period so I know the exams are not the same). She always is hitting the close button when she want to min. the page then complains the computer did it.

This OS prevents a number of dumb mistakes.