Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 16th Feb 2008 21:16 UTC, submitted by Vincent
Xfce "By popular demand, I decided to push the limits of Xfce's customisability even further. This time, I would make it look like Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. This task proved more difficult than trying to make it look like Windows Vista. Though I haven't achieved the same degree of perfection as I did when replicating Vista, I still think I came pretty close."
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My guess
by thavith_osn on Sun 17th Feb 2008 00:46 UTC
thavith_osn
Member since:
2005-07-11

I'm very impressed Xfce can get that close, both for Vista and OS X.

I'm guessing using Xfce and the real thing is a different thing, but that doesn't take away from the fact that at least looks wise you can get very close...

Well done...

Reply Score: 3

I was very impressed also.
by fasted on Sun 17th Feb 2008 00:58 UTC
fasted
Member since:
2006-11-09

but I ran into problems with AWN, and it generally hosed my Ubuntu install. Am going to try a fresh install of Xubuntu, some day when I'm finished trying out Fluxbuntu on Virtualbox inside of Pclinuxos!! I know, geekfactor +5, but it's great trying out all of the possibilities that operating systems can afford. It's fun though. Up next, figure out OpenSolaris networking.... read, read, read some more...

Reply Score: 2

RE: I was very impressed also.
by AlexandreAM on Mon 18th Feb 2008 00:50 UTC in reply to "I was very impressed also."
AlexandreAM Member since:
2006-02-06

I just found this out yesterday (and have't had time to test yet, so I can't really recommend) and I think you might check this out, if you tried AWN.

It is a software called cairo-dock[1]. I liked it because it has no (indirect) gnome dependency (I had a problem with AWN, perhaps my distro fault, but it wanted to load a lot of gnome packages upon install).

I don't know exactly what features it has, and I believe it to be less featureful than AWN, given the development time and language of choice, but I'll give it a try as soon as I have the time.

[1] http://cairo-dock.vef.fr/

Oh, and the web page is terrible, but I saw it has both archlinux (through AUR) and ubuntu packages available, at least.

Reply Score: 2

Just use Enlightenment
by sorpigal on Sun 17th Feb 2008 12:19 UTC
sorpigal
Member since:
2005-11-02

While it's nice that XFce can be customized pretty extensively, if you want total look-and-feel control why not use a system that was designed for it?

Reply Score: 4

So, you can make linux look like Leopard
by aesiamun on Sun 17th Feb 2008 20:05 UTC
aesiamun
Member since:
2005-06-29

What does this get you really? Your desktop looks like the Leopard desktop, but it essentially stops there.

I always thought that the majority of linux users considered the MacOS to be inferior because of its limitations, it's lock in, it's closed sourcedness. What's the point of emulating it? I wonder the same thing about part 1 where they emulated the look of Vista.

Yes GTK is flexible, yes XFCE is light weight, yes you can make it look like anything you want, but looks aren't everything.

*Added some more, cleaned up some text*

Edited 2008-02-17 20:07 UTC

Reply Score: 3

ichi Member since:
2007-03-06

What makes you think that anyone emulating the OSX (or Vista) look actually wants to emulate anything more than just the looks?

Reply Score: 2

dbodner Member since:
2007-07-01

What makes you think that anyone emulating the OSX (or Vista) look actually wants to emulate anything more than just the looks?


Exactly. Just because OSX has "limitations, lock in, and closed sourcedness" doesn't mean the UI can't be attractive to some people.

And, again, the point of these series is to show how flexible Xfce is, not to say "all linux users should emulate these environments".

Reply Score: 2

tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

What does this get you really? Your desktop looks like the Leopard desktop, but it essentially stops there. I always thought that the majority of linux users considered the MacOS to be inferior because of its limitations, it's lock in, it's closed sourcedness. What's the point of emulating it?


Well, in theory, having a similar UI would make it easier for someone who's looking to migrate from OS X to Linux -- but doesn't necessarily want to abandon all visual aspects of Leopard.

Reply Score: 2

aesiamun Member since:
2005-06-29

I still don't understand.

Here's a completely different version of the desktop you're used to, the keystrokes aren't the same, the menus aren't remotely similar, the applications aren't going to act like what you are used to...

but it'll be easier to move to linux!

I'm all for Linux trying to gain desktop momentum, but do it in a way that sets it apart from the others, not copying the look of another OS. GNOME and KDE have their own look and feel, sure they are similarities, but they aren't all that different that people will feel lost in the UI if they have used any other WIMP interface before. Copying another OS to a point where it looks almost exactly like it (while probably breaking a lot of copyright laws where applicable).

Reply Score: 4

alcibiades Member since:
2005-10-12

His problem was, he had done Vista. What comes next? Its not really about OSX, its about one person hacking away at xfce and needing an opponent 'worthy of his steel'. XP was too old hat. That left OSX.

Reply Score: 4

aesiamun Member since:
2005-06-29

Ok, if it was purely a 'let me see if i can do it' thing, then ok. But people were saying that this helps converts. Like I said before, I'm all for linux progressing further into the desktop, but it has to be able to do it without blatantly copying an interface...otherwise it's no different than the korean rip offs selling Sorny batteries, or Magnabox televisions...

I appreciate and recognize the customizability of XFCE + GTK, I really do. I just wish we could see some really interesting results as opposed to Vista or Leopard rehashes.

Reply Score: 3

Vincent Member since:
2007-01-03

Well, in the Vista article I explicitly mentioned that I did not recommend this to help users make the switch. I didn't write it down here, but I still think this is just to show that extensive customisation is possible.

Reply Score: 2

aesiamun Member since:
2005-06-29

I never said you said it, someone else mentioned it helps migrate users to linux.

Reply Score: 3

Vincent Member since:
2007-01-03

>.<

You're right ;)

Reply Score: 2

tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

I just wish we could see some really interesting results as opposed to Vista or Leopard rehashes.

What strikes one as "interesting" is very subjective. Of the 100 or so *nix window managers and of their zillions of themes, it would be difficult to predict what would be interesting for another individual.

However, disregarding personal taste in color schemes and other aesthetics, it is fairly easy to point to a few window managers and themes that are essentially "different."

One of the more unusual *nix window managers is the Mezzo desktop of Symphony OS, which runs on FVWM. Unlike a certain popular desktop that is often mistakenly promoted as "utilizing Fitts' Law," Mezzo truly locates important GUI targets in the screen corners and screen edges.
Here is a proposed color scheme for the latest version of the Mezzo:
- http://www.symphonyos.com/ss/sos-2007b.jpg

Here is Kuartet, the KDE version of Mezzo:
- http://kuartetdesktop.sourceforge.net/images/screenshots/current/de...

(Most of the following screenshots are several years old.)

Another uncommon window manager is UWM/UDE. A floating "hex" menu controls the windows, instead of window buttons:
- http://udeproject.sourceforge.net/images/screenshots/ude022.jpg

The Golem window manager has a few unique themes:
In this one, the active window faces upward, while the inactive windows face downward:
- http://golem.sourceforge.net/themes/ForcedPerspective.png
Here, the window elements slide along each other as the window expands/contracts:
- http://golem.sourceforge.net/themes/XpansionBlack.png
The window elements are floating stars:
- http://golem.sourceforge.net/themes/CyanStars.png
A cow (I think this theme was ported from the Oroborus WM):
- http://golem.sourceforge.net/themes/aCow.jpg
The window border in this theme is delineated only by the red corner lines and the cross-hatch background:
- http://golem.sourceforge.net/themes/RedCorners.png
An extremely minimalist theme:
- http://golem.sourceforge.net/themes/BlackLine.png
The title bar is on the bottom of the window, here:
http://golem.sourceforge.net/themes/BlueBase.png

Here are screenshots of FLWM and PYWM, two fltk WMs that place the window titlebar on the left side of the window:
- http://flwm.sourceforge.net/screenshot.png
- http://pywm.sourceforge.net/screenshots.html

Also, I don't know if there are any speedy, tiling WMs that run natively in Windows or OS X, but *nix has lots of them.

These examples are just the more unusual ones that I can recall, and, no doubt, some of them could be duplicated in XFCE.

Edited 2008-02-18 22:14 UTC

Reply Score: 2

aesiamun Member since:
2005-06-29

Please don't get me wrong, I never meant to say that there was nothing interesting. In fact, I never said that. I want to see more interesting things than the common "let's copy windows or leopard" UIs.

I'm not an Apple fanboy, I use macs, I run linux and when I have to, I run windows. I just don't think the direct rip of a UI is necessarily the way to bring converts. It's the interfaces like you described, when implemented well and are easy to use that will. Applications that are user friendly, well designed and relatively bug free will bring users, not a copy leopard's or vista's UI.

I'm not knocking the research, the work that goes in to the open source software that people use everyday. I'm knocking the concept that copying a user interface will bring users in. The interface is only the beginning to why people run Macs or Windows based PCs or even Linux based ones. If I were to give you any of the interfaces you listed but didn't give you the open source system it was built on, instead locked it into proprietary protocols, running proprietary software, would you convert to it? Or would you say "That's just a coating on top of a system that doesn't do what I want it to"?

You're putting a thin coating on top of Linux which isn't Mac OSX, it's not Vista. It just looks like it. You still can't play DirectX 10 games, you still can't run Final Cut Pro or Logic or even a native version of Photoshop.

Reply Score: 2

tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

I just don't think the direct rip of a UI is necessarily the way to bring converts... I'm knocking the concept that copying a user interface will bring users in.

I haven't really thought too much about your point, but the pros and cons of trying to convert users by copying their default theme is a whole other topic.

However, regardless of motivation, creating themes that emulate other themes is a relatively easy and trivial endeavor in Linux/Unix. There are untold numbers of Windows and Mac themes among the *nix WMs/desktops. I would guess that Icewm alone has six or seven XP/Vista themes and almost the same number of OS X themes. I think Icewm even has a separately coded version that is made for ex-Windows users. Even the Golem window manager has an OS X theme: http://golem.sourceforge.net/themes/Wasser.png


If I were to give you any of the interfaces you listed but didn't give you the open source system it was built on, instead locked it into proprietary protocols, running proprietary software, would you convert to it? Or would you say "That's just a coating on top of a system that doesn't do what I want it to"?

A lot of people wouldn't want to use such a set-up because they are, in principle, against proprietary software and proprietary OSs. If you were to provide the same *nix window manager/desktop running on top of, say, open-source Syllable OS, then a lot of the anti-proprietary people would probably be willing to give it a go.

However, there are very few people who are opposed, in principle, to open-source software. Such people would be more inclined to run their desired desktop and software on any other platform, as long as it doesn't cost extra.

In addition, you seem to imply that Linux/Unix is "a system that doesn't do what [most folks] want it to." If so, I strongly disagree.


You're putting a thin coating on top of Linux which isn't Mac OSX, it's not Vista. It just looks like it. You still can't play DirectX 10 games, you still can't run Final Cut Pro or Logic or even a native version of Photoshop.

That point is differentiating the OSs by available apps -- not by the underlying OS nor its looks.

If those applications were ported to natively run in Linux and Unix, the Windows and Mac users would be able to use each app within almost any *nix theme and window manager, just as easily as if they were running them in Vista or OS X.

Furthermore, while using those apps in Windows, there are many ways that one can dramatically change the theme and look, and, likewise, users wouldn't have any trouble.

By the way, there are several third-party window managers available for Vista/XP. (However, it seems to be much more difficult to dramatically change the look of OS X, without X11.)

Also, there are alternatives to most of the software that you mentioned. For instance, Cinepaint has much greater color depth and Photoshop, which is one of the reasons why it is used over Photoshop on most big films (it is also used because the open-source code allows for in-house tweaks), and Ardour is probably more powerful than Logic.

FCP? What can one say... I only use it when I have to. Everything has to constantly be rendered, and it locks-up a lot. Avid is better, and Piranha (originally Linux-based) is probably even better. I have never used Cinelerra but I am increasingly hearing good things about it. I have tried some of the other open-source NLEs, and they were good for simple projects. No doubt, these apps eventually will be more competitive.

DirectX 10 games? I confess that I don't know anything about games.

Reply Score: 1

Who needs a reason
by A30Guy on Mon 18th Feb 2008 04:41 UTC
A30Guy
Member since:
2005-07-06

Sir Edmund Hillary, when asked why he wanted to climb Mount Everest replied, "Because it's there".

Similarly, for some people who want to customise their Linux box, the answer may be "Because I can".

No other reason is required, and who are we to question them?

Reply Score: 6