Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 24th Sep 2005 19:36 UTC, submitted by trygvebw
GTK+ Exigo is a new desktop environment project, being developed in Python and C++ using GTK+ as the GUI toolkit. The main aims of Exigo are usability, simplicity, and flexibility. Exigo also aims to introduce new concepts to the desktop, such as the use of tabs instead of standard windows. It mainly revolves around a desktop search engine, which indexes all your applications and files, and displays a list of matching files and apps when the user searches for something. See a mockup here, and read docs here. Please note that there is no release yet.
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There's not much to say yet
by japail on Sat 24th Sep 2005 20:48 UTC
japail
Member since:
2005-06-30

There really isn't much there to comment about. In the presence of the split screen applications, tabs become a form of multiple desktop management. It isn't clear if the screen splitting that prevents overlapping windows is intended to be resizeable by the user, whether there's any sort of session management for each desktop to configure "types" of collections of windows, or how having a lot of tabs is handled. It isn't handled especially well in Firefox, which shrinks the tabs until they reach a certain size and then simply ceases to add visible tabs once this state has been reached. If the normal behavior here is for almost every application to have its own virtual desktop/tab/whatever you want to call it, then the usability of the bar will fall into classic Windows start menu territory.

Also, we find that there are basically two types of virtual directories that items can be collected into: object groups and file collections. While being able to associate applications and files together independently of storage layout is interesting, with these collections available it looks more like instead of defaulting to "browse what you have" one is just defaulting to "ask me what you have." This might be interesting for large collections of data, but I think this would only confuse users with regard to what applications they have installed, and potentially make working with network applications annoying for them. Searching the network or the Internet for something you might just as easily bookmark or drag a link to your desktop or wherever to access again later doesn't seem like an improvement.

I think when dealing with the prospect of adding search to the user experience as a means of managing data and relationships between it, that less emphasis should be placed on using it as a replacement and more as a complement for the current manner in which computers are used.

Reply Score: 2

Somewhat interesting
by Anonymous on Sat 24th Sep 2005 21:00 UTC
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I tend to run my apps in tabbed mode anyway. Most of my windows are fullscreen and I just alt-tab or click on the appropriate app in the taskbar. What I really need is a couple 30" Cinedisplays ;)

I'm looking forward to komodo www.komodoware.com. But it's good that people are trying different things.

Reply Score: 0

...
by Anonymous on Sat 24th Sep 2005 21:33 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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Good luck to them, I hope their release awonderfull desktop.

Reply Score: 0

v hahahaha
by Anonymous on Sat 24th Sep 2005 21:49 UTC
v Mockup ugly
by Joe User on Sat 24th Sep 2005 21:51 UTC
RE: Mockup ugly
by ma_d on Sun 25th Sep 2005 00:52 UTC in reply to "Mockup ugly"
ma_d Member since:
2005-06-29

If manager was only spelled nanager...
YAWN.

Reply Score: 2

v My God..
by Anonymous on Sat 24th Sep 2005 21:53 UTC
RE: My God..
by Blackhouse on Sat 24th Sep 2005 22:56 UTC in reply to "My God.."
Blackhouse Member since:
2005-07-06

It's a mockup you know, not more than a rough scetch..

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: My God..
by zephc on Sun 25th Sep 2005 02:09 UTC in reply to "RE: My God.."
zephc Member since:
2005-07-06

Still, you want to put your best foot forward when trying to drum up interest/support for a product. Spend some time in photoshop/gimp/whatever and create something really compelling, even if it takes longer. Other than its like a central search system, i gleaned nothing from that mockup image.

And it sorta looks like you have to change 'pages' to search. put a search bar top or bottom and center, and its always there.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: My God..
by re_re on Sun 25th Sep 2005 02:22 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: My God.."
re_re Member since:
2005-07-06

>till, you want to put your best foot forward when trying to drum up interest/support for a product. Spend some time in photoshop/gimp/whatever and create something really compelling, even if it takes longer. Other than its like a central search system, i gleaned nothing from that mockup image.<

I agree with you to a certian extent. I think this is simply an idea, not a vision, and the full vision is needed to gain followers.

I think this made it to the press a bit early perhaps.

All that having been said, I will say that this project has potential providing it is taken in the right direction.

Reply Score: 1

v Too much talk
by Anonymous on Sat 24th Sep 2005 22:59 UTC
RE: Too much talk
by rain on Sat 24th Sep 2005 23:35 UTC in reply to "Too much talk"
rain Member since:
2005-07-09

We'll if you like, you can think of them as research projects instead. A lot of times projects like these never becomes usable, but they sometimes create new concepts that will be implemented into other projects.

Reply Score: 3

Heh...
by Anonymous on Sat 24th Sep 2005 23:20 UTC
Anonymous
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I thought exigo was dead! Meh, I remember when it was originally started. Some funny stuff happened ;) .

Reply Score: 0

desktop search instead folder navigation
by Anonymous on Sat 24th Sep 2005 23:23 UTC
Anonymous
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imho desktop search is only effective if you

a) have some stuff you've forgotten about
b) are generally a dissorganized person

but your rarely enconter a) if your are organized ;)

if you are organized you will know where your stuff is and desktop search cannot beat the speed of a click on the folder (or link/shortcut to that folder)

Reply Score: 0

Anonymous Member since:
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"if you are organized you will know where your stuff is and desktop search cannot beat the speed of a click on the folder (or link/shortcut to that folder)"

alt+space drod enter (or at this point i just need to get dr to hit the file)
versus
click scroll click scroll click scroll click

with the time spent scrolling inversely proportional to the number of clicks

and total time increases as you have more and more files/folders.
where as desktop search is pretty much a flat time

organization only goes so far.

Reply Score: 1

Daniel Borgmann Member since:
2005-07-08

and total time increases as you have more and more files/folders.
where as desktop search is pretty much a flat time


Yes, but it's a flat time that is considerably higher than your ideal time in an object oriented environment. Considering that you can perfectly mix desktop search with the object metaphor, this equation simply doesn't look good for search-only environments.

Imagine you would have to ask your filing clerk everytime you needed a document, even if that's located right in front of you on your desktop. It wouldn't matter if your filing clerk could present you the search results instantly, it would still be annoying (especially as the results may be inaccurate). It would be great as a complementary choice, but not as the only choice.

Reply Score: 1

Anonymous Member since:
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Not to mention the fact that you never really know where your documents are in a database-like environment. I think BeOS got it right the first time: fast search + spatial browser = comprehensible + powerful.

-bytecoder

Reply Score: 0

Nice
by rain on Sat 24th Sep 2005 23:29 UTC
rain
Member since:
2005-07-09

This sounds pretty much like the desktop environment I've been thinking about on and off for the past years, with a few exceptions. Perhaps I'll join the project if time permits me to.

Reply Score: 1

Eclipse and stuff
by John Nilsson on Sun 25th Sep 2005 01:33 UTC
John Nilsson
Member since:
2005-07-06

If the purpose of this project is research I'd think it would be quicker to implement as eclipse plugins. The basic UI of tabs and panes is allready done.

I was actually thinking of starting a similar project myself today. Funny how that works ;-)

I hadn't decided if it would be a metacity+nautilus replacement or a complete DE/toolkit yet...

In any case, adding a zoombar (read scrollbar) to complement the zoom by scrollwheel might be an idea.

Reply Score: 1

tabs...aka taskbar
by jessta on Sun 25th Sep 2005 04:10 UTC
jessta
Member since:
2005-08-17

How is their 'tabbed' interface any different from the windows taskbar?

There is no point in making a new window manager unless there is some kind of innovation or for the purpose of learning something new.

currently I'm using ratpoison and even the bloat of ratpoison annoys me.

- Jesse McNelis

Reply Score: 1

RE: tabs...aka taskbar
by Scott on Sun 25th Sep 2005 06:02 UTC in reply to "tabs...aka taskbar"
Scott Member since:
2005-09-11

grump... ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE: tabs...aka taskbar
by rain on Sun 25th Sep 2005 08:11 UTC in reply to "tabs...aka taskbar"
rain Member since:
2005-07-09

The difference is that there is no windows.
I think that the concept can be taken much further though. But it's a good start.

Reply Score: 1

I don't get it
by Anonymous on Sun 25th Sep 2005 04:42 UTC
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What's with these new fangled search-oriented/high-productivity? Meh, just another fad.

-bytecoder

Reply Score: 0

RE: I don't get it
by Anonymous on Sun 25th Sep 2005 04:44 UTC in reply to "I don't get it"
Anonymous Member since:
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Furthermore, I'd like to point out that people seem to be very gullable. Anything seemingly 'revolutionary' is taken without question or deep thought, even though it rarely is that good under the surface. I have yet to see a reason why I would want a tabbed (yay context switches!), search-based (yay complex!) environment.

-bytecoder

Reply Score: 1

Solution without a problem?
by youknowmewell on Sun 25th Sep 2005 05:56 UTC
youknowmewell
Member since:
2005-07-08

Maybe there are desktop projects trying to solve a problem that doesn't exist? I've been trying to think of some problem in the current desktop interface and I'm hard-pressed to find on. Can anybody think of any problems in the current desktop 'standard' that needs fixing?

Some have used the example of cars to show that after a while, a certain interface becomes standard and unchanged for quite a while. I certainly haven't seen any drastic changes in the interface for driving a car. Sure, we're getting extras on the dash, tvs in the back, cupholders everywere, GPS navigation, but the basic 2-or-3 pedals + steering wheel + gear shift hasn't changed since I've been around, or since my dad has been around for that matter. Is there anything wrong with that? Do we complain to car companies about their lack of innovation because of this? I think it's unreasonable to expect anything revolutionary and useful to come out of changing the current desktop interface.

I think the next step will be non-physical manipulation of our computers, or a drastic change in what a computer/PC is.

Reply Score: 1

DOOM III GUIs
by Anonymous on Sun 25th Sep 2005 08:43 UTC
Anonymous
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Maybe it would be interesting if someone would try to create a window manager/desktop environment like the GUIs you can see on the computers in DOOM 3: they're really cool. It seems that Microsoft is going that way anyway with Sparkle.

Reply Score: 0

RE: DOOM III GUIs
by Anonymous on Sun 25th Sep 2005 11:25 UTC in reply to "DOOM III GUIs"
Anonymous Member since:
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LCARS would be more intuitive. B^)

Reply Score: 1

Why another desktop?
by Anonymous on Sun 25th Sep 2005 10:11 UTC
Anonymous
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Why another desktop? There are allready a dozen desktop project who do more or less the same thing. Do you belief that this desktop will ever be used?

Reply Score: 0

RE: Why another desktop?
by trygvebw on Sun 25th Sep 2005 12:56 UTC in reply to "Why another desktop?"
trygvebw Member since:
2005-08-26

>> Why another desktop? There are allready a dozen
>> desktop project who do more or less the same thing.

Yes, and that's the reason why we are creating a desktop that's different. The existing desktops are very similar, while ours will do things different in a better way.

>> Do you belief that this desktop will ever be used?

We hope so.

Reply Score: 1

Exigo
by alex_extreme on Sun 25th Sep 2005 13:33 UTC
alex_extreme
Member since:
2005-09-03

Hi, i'm another Exigo developer

Well, there are several new DEs atm, but all of them are based on the same concept. We want to be different, providing a usable interface that anyone can use.

We want to have a different desktop to other OSes. Have you noticed how the GUIs on most OSes are the same. Well, we want to make something that's unique.

Also, we are the kind of people that actually want to give back to the open source world. Ask yourself this question: If people didn't contribute new ideas to the computing world, where would we be now? We'd be stuck with the original desktop design. We are contributing a new idea. Is that such a bad thing?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Exigo
by youknowmewell on Sun 25th Sep 2005 15:17 UTC in reply to "Exigo"
youknowmewell Member since:
2005-07-08

What problems do you intend to solve with a new desktop interface.

Reply Score: 1

innovation
by Anonymous on Sun 25th Sep 2005 15:40 UTC
Anonymous
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While I agree that the current standard does need to be changed, it won't be this that breaks that trend. First of all, windows are good. The mouse is good. Overlapping is good. The desktop is decent, but could be better.

In my opinion, computer interfaces have been degrading ever since Win XP and OS X, because of the removal of spatial Finder and the general lack of elegance.

Speaking of which, I think it might be a good idea to get a mockup together of my interface, maybe even a website.

-bytecoder

Reply Score: 1

RE: innovation
by rain on Sun 25th Sep 2005 17:53 UTC in reply to "innovation"
rain Member since:
2005-07-09

Windows certainly have their advantages, but they can easily become a pain for the user, especially if one application use many windows. A lot of developers are moving away from multiwindow applications, and that's a good thing. But if an application is meant to be used in fullscreen then why do we even have windows anymore?
About 90% of the people I know run their applications in maximized windows, those are mostly novice users or users who work with specific applications. Those who actually use windows are powerusers or minimalistic souls. About 4% of them have no other windows open other than the one they are working with, they just like to keep down the size of the window so the content fits better and is easier to read.
These are ofcourse no scientific statistics, just my observations.
But I still have a feeling that windows are confusing to most people, but are usable to many powerusers.

I don't think a normal DE with maximized windows (or tabbed windows if you like) automatically makes the situation much better. We'd have to rethink a lot of things to make it a better solution.
But I actually think that we can build a windowless environment that makes things more efficient and easier, even for powerusers.

I agree with you about file storage though. I think a combination is best. People need a visual represantation of where they put their files. Just throwing them into a black hole isn't that comforting.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: innovation
by Anonymous on Sun 25th Sep 2005 21:48 UTC in reply to "RE: innovation"
Anonymous Member since:
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Who says applications meant to be maximized are good? If I ever do finish (or start) my project, I know I won't have a maximize button on the window borders ;) This type of interface indirectly promotes task-based applications, which is a mistake, since the command line is the ultimate task-based environment.

Do you know how overlapping windows came into existance? Believe it or not, the first macintosh didn't have overlapping windows, obviously because you couldn't run more than one program at a time. After they got passed that hurdle, there was a problem; they didn't know how to visually display two apps. The first candidate was very much like this tab approach--each application had its own screen, and you would cycle through to get to another application. Then came overlapping windows, which completely took over the one app per screen idea.

Trust me, windows are a good thing.

-bytecoder

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: innovation
by rain on Sun 25th Sep 2005 23:41 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: innovation"
rain Member since:
2005-07-09

Who says applications meant to be maximized are good?

Well, I suppose it's simply a matter of preference. And also depending on how you are working. I used to be a supporter of the BeOS way of an object oriented desktop. But frankly I discovered that I am much more productive in a screenbased environment. There's nothing to distract me that shouldn't be there, and I don't loose focus hunting down windows.

But we all work differently, and I'm not saying that object oriented window based desktops are useless, they work for some people, just not for me. I personally think that there should be more options when it comes to computing environments. Every major desktop environment out there works pretty much the same way. And I refuse to believe that it's because there is no other equaly good or better way, I think it's rather the evolution of one idea that has been copied by people over and over again. If the original idea had been completely different they wouldn't have made the same design decisions and we would would be laughing at people posting ideas about "windows" and other crazy things.

With so many people doing pretty much the same thing, I think there's place for something different, there's place to experiment a bit.

Even though I've disliked every idea of 3D environments that people have come up with, I still think it's great that they are experimenting with it. Perhaps it will lead to something useful in the end. Who knows.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: innovation
by japail on Mon 26th Sep 2005 00:22 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: innovation"
japail Member since:
2005-06-30

People underestimate the difficulty that the less technically-engrossed people have transitioning to new ideas. They learn the locations of the things they do, and they return to them by rote and gradually filter out everything that they don't understand. Move something, and their ability to process their computing environment lowers and their stress increases. Change something dramatically and they might lose the ability to close a program effectively. Just looking at the poor people having to deal with new Windows appearances, new releases of Office, or new releases of Windows Media Player sometimes can bring an incredible amount of sympathy. It's a "Why do you keep changing shit on me? I'm just trying to use my computer" expression the people have as they puzzle over things, trying to decide how to make them work.


I think UI research is a great idea, but the reason most desktop environments are evolutions of similar ideas is probably because they're trying to make something that is useful for people just looking to use their computers, rather than relearn to use them. Most people aren't into computers, they just use them. Changing what they know can be to them like changing how pants work, or how to get hot water instead of cold water in the shower.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: innovation
by Anonymous on Mon 26th Sep 2005 01:15 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: innovation"
Anonymous Member since:
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Yes, we all know that; however, that doesn't mean there can't be changes. If it doesn't affect them, they don't need to change, simple as that.

-bytecoder

Reply Score: 0

RE[4]: innovation
by Anonymous on Mon 26th Sep 2005 01:01 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: innovation"
Anonymous Member since:
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Well, the mind has a funny way of distorting time. The fact that you feel more productive is probably because a screen-based interface transfers complexity from the screen into your head, which means it doesn't look like it takes long, but it does. An intuitive, object-oriented interface is almost always going to be more productive, because you don't have to think as much to use it.

-bytecoder

Reply Score: 0

RE[4]: innovation
by Daniel Borgmann on Mon 26th Sep 2005 02:15 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: innovation"
Daniel Borgmann Member since:
2005-07-08

If the original idea had been completely different they wouldn't have made the same design decisions and we would would be laughing at people posting ideas about "windows" and other crazy things.

I seriously doubt that. I used to think the same way, until I realized that it's not about "windows" or "icons", but about the very general idea of representing objects which you can manipulate on your screen. If you take it even further, it is simply about creating a virtual working environment. It makes sense to do this, because in a way computers have become replacements for our desktops. They don't serve a specific purpose (like an appliance), but as a generic virtual workspace.

Unfortunately today the idea behind this often gets lost and what reminds are implementation details like our beloved windows and icons. Instead of using our vastly improved system resources to implement the metaphor in a more powerful and useful way, all we get is transparent windows and more buttons. It should be no secret who's the worst offender in this regard and unfortunately they are the de-facto standard, so almost everyone is at least partly following them. And that's why I believe that today's desktop environments are in such a sad state, although the basic idea is perfectly sound and has a lot more potential than what we are shown. At least someone is doing some innovation, but they sell expensive proprietary hardware...

I would be very interested in a desktop environment that simply aims to implement the object idea in the most consequent and advanced way possible with today's technology. Especially if it would use the GNOME platform and Python. ;)

BTW, 3D environments are really just an evolution from 2D object environments. It will only be a matter of time until we'll see the switch, although it probably won't make sense before we can use 3D input devices.

Another interesting related concept is the zooming interface, which makes use of the fact that virtual space is theoretically unlimited. It might be interesting to toy with this idea in a more conventional environment. Just because we try to simulate real-life, doesn't mean that we have to abide to the laws of physics...

Reply Score: 1

v dead
by Anonymous on Sun 25th Sep 2005 23:22 UTC
c++
by Anonymous on Mon 26th Sep 2005 10:21 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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What I find interesting is that they chose C++ over C, since they chose to use GTK+. I like C++ better than C, but given the fact that GTK is developed, mainly in C, it can be assumed that GTKMM will always lay behind on development. I hope that a real C++-based Desktop could boost the development of GTKMM. ;)

Reply Score: 0