Linked by Eugenia Loli on Mon 17th Mar 2003 22:49 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces So many operating systems and so many graphical desktop environments... This article is a comparison of the UI and usability of several Desktop Environments (DEs), that have been widely used, admired and reviled: Windows XP Luna, BeOS 6 (Dano/Zeta), Mac OS X Aqua and Unix's KDE and Gnome. Read on which one got our best score on our long term test and usage.
Order by: Score:
although I haven't used XP...
by Evan on Mon 17th Mar 2003 23:10 UTC

There are things it must inherit from 9x/2k that in my mind make it unable to be so close to OS X. Just about everything was spot on in this though. I suppose it comes down to personal tastes. A behavior I like may not be one someone else does.

by Anonymous on Mon 17th Mar 2003 23:13 UTC

What....Windows wins at OSNews? Shocking....

RE: Shocking
by BonaFied on Mon 17th Mar 2003 23:15 UTC

I know...i read that windows won and i nearly had milk come out of my nose!

Definite Comparison?
by C. Evans on Mon 17th Mar 2003 23:17 UTC

On the contrary, this seems to be the least definite comparison I have ever read.

Take for example, the section on speed and UI performance. The writer does not take a particular machine as a reference for testing, and instead compares experiences on a wide variety of machines. Absurd claims arise from this, such as "even the smallest Gnome application (e.g. calculator) is slower to load than the big and fat Blender." Gnome-calculator on a 533 Mhz Celeron might take longer to start than Blender on an SGI, but who cares?

It would take a very long comment to identify all of the absurd claims in this article. Overall, its entire basis of judging seems to be on the writer's likes and dislikes (such as I don't like C, thus Gnome has a bad programming framework).

Issues with Windows XP
by Brian on Mon 17th Mar 2003 23:18 UTC

I liked a lot of what Eugenia had to say in this article, but I feel it left out some important criticisms of Windows XP:

First, as mpt ( ) so often points out, Windows XP (and prior versions) has a problem with dialog boxes. Simply put, most dialog boxes in Windows XP are poorly worded, long, have confusing or non-useful button labels, and have close buttons in the window title bar that are used as "Go Away You Stupid Alert" buttons. Comparing this behavior to the common alert behavior in OS X, I would have to say that Apple does much better in designing their dialog boxes. In addition, the Sheets concept introduced with OS X is quite useful and really a good improvement.

I also don't think you did a good job explaining how amateurish the default Windows XP Luna theme looks. The first time I saw it, I thought that Microsoft had replaced all of their theme designers with a bad GTK+ theme designer! Newer betas of Longhorn take this to an extreme, making the entire user interface some shade of blue. Perhaps MS is hoping that their OS will become a hyperintelligent shade of the color blue.

While you rightly mention that BeOS's font rendering is a little dated, Windows XP doesn't provide many options. There isn't a way to use font antialiasing at all without using subpixel AA, which doesn't work very well for CRT users. Without ClearType, most UI elements are delivered non-antialaised!

RE: Definite Comparison?
by Eugenia on Mon 17th Mar 2003 23:19 UTC

I can assure you, the Blender/Calculator thing was on the same machine, running Red Hat. The reason for Gnome's loading slowness was the number of libraries linked to (around 25 for any simple Gnome app and only 6 for Blender IIRC)!

by oGALAXYo on Mon 17th Mar 2003 23:22 UTC

Libraries used

galaxy@ulixys:/usr/local/bin > ldd gnome-calculator | wc -l
galaxy@ulixys:/usr/local/bin > ldd gcalctool | wc -l
galaxy@ulixys:/usr/local/bin >

The definite comparison's definitive review
by Roberto on Mon 17th Mar 2003 23:23 UTC

I find this article to be ill-informed, anecdotal, and, well, pretty awful.

For example, Eugenia seems to find Konqueror extremely unstable, I use it about 12 hours a day, and I would be surprised if it has crashed 3 times on me in the last month.

I must say I have not noticed those toolbar bugs she mentions, but then again, I use Liquid.

She ventures guesses in areas she knows nothing about. "The Qt toolkit actually doesn't seem to have much of a good support for what Keramik is trying to do." is a telling sign of ignorance, for example.

In the usability review, she mentions Konqueror acts as a CVS frontend, and she feels overwhelmed by the functionality. Besides the obvious (If you don't want a cvs frontend why did you install it?), I have not seen any bugs in toolbar configuration, and the link she gave is to a KDE 3.0 review.

The single-click action is, IMVHO, a usability plus. Whenever someone uses it, he is hooked. After all, double-click is a pretty antinatural action. But, hey, if you prefer it to be clunky like XP, you can have that, too.

Also, she sprays the catchall unspecific word "bloat". I think any review using that word without giving any numbers or at least a rational description of the intended meaning belongs in the recycling bin.

In the "consistency/integration/flexibility" page, she simply doesn't even mention integration between apps in GNOME and/or KDE, simply integratio with the underlying OS. Perhaps the page should be renamed. Also, she brings up the tired horse of X performance, again showing ignorance of even the most basic architecture of the system.

BTW: if you want KDE to offer you a way to change resolution,color depth, get X 4.3 with the RandR extension.

I could go on for another page or two, but why bother? nThe article gets an E.

Because as a teacher, I never give an F.

Next time, get an editor, and a technical reviewer.

BTW: look definite in, I am not sure that is the word you actually wanted.

RE: @Eugenia
by Eugenia on Mon 17th Mar 2003 23:23 UTC

Heh, no wonder it takes more time to load then than the much bigger Blender...

To the writer of this comparison...
by Nathan on Mon 17th Mar 2003 23:25 UTC

In MacOS X...

When you need to get access to different controls via the keyboard you can tab between selection and text fields by default.

If you want to be able to tab to all UI elements like in Windows, just go to the System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Full Keyboard Access, and at the bottom of the window change the radio button from "Text boxes and lists only" to "Any control"


RE: Roberto
by Eugenia on Mon 17th Mar 2003 23:27 UTC

>I find this article to be ill-informed, anecdotal, and, well, pretty awful.

I wouldn't expect anything better from you anyway.

>(If you don't want a cvs frontend why did you install it?),

It came with the OS.

>and the link she gave is to a KDE 3.0 review.

That was just additional information which STILL applies for KDE 3.1. My current review was made with KDE 3.1.

by mmu_man on Mon 17th Mar 2003 23:27 UTC


To me ethics is also part of the choice for an OS (environment). and really XP s disqualified here.
(no this is not a troll)

Appart this, I was surprised by the rating for BeOS ;)
But now I'm sure we can get an even higher mark ;)
not entirely, hmm...

Speed of XP
by Brandon on Mon 17th Mar 2003 23:29 UTC

I don't know if I agree with the speed of XP. I use it on an Athlon XP PC, and it can feel quite sluggish. While OS X on my 600 MHz G3 iMac was sluggish also, they are about the same, and XP can be even less responive with mulitple apps running. I'd say both are more responsive than KDE, but I 've found Gnome 2 to be the feel the fastest, and I haven't used BeOS.

Re: the definite review, etc.
by Roberto on Mon 17th Mar 2003 23:32 UTC

Eugenia said:

> I wouldn't expect anything better from you anyway.

Well, my opinion is my opinion, and what I said is pretty easy to check, unlike most of this "definite review". Too bad you don't like it. I'm really sad about it NOT!

As for the CVS frontend coming with the OS... why did you instal the KDE SDK (that is where Cervisia comes)?. It is an optional package. Complaining about it being installed is, IMVHO, stupid.

It's like complaining that XP has a MP3 player after you install winamp.

Giving that link as an addendum to a comment in toolbar bugs is disingenuous at least. Did you actually see these alleged toolbar bugs in KDE 3.1, or are you just remembering them from KDE 3.0?

v BeOS Died...
by Runner on Mon 17th Mar 2003 23:33 UTC
Re: the definite review, etc.
by Eugenia on Mon 17th Mar 2003 23:33 UTC

The bug is still there on the three distros I tried with KDE 3.1 on them: the text size buttons in particular.

by suka on Mon 17th Mar 2003 23:35 UTC

@Eugenia: hmm, can't follow you, gcalctool starts for me almost immediately, while blender takes maybe half a second (Athlon XP 1700+/Gentoo)

my comment
by oGALAXYo on Mon 17th Mar 2003 23:36 UTC

Well I need to agree to Roberto here from the technical standpoint he is absolutely right. KDE has deserved some higher points than these given to it. I wonder why she didn't made use of the explainations of the bottom layer things that I explained nearly in detail in various threads here. These should be a good point to have a look at. Personally I would have placed the Desktops that way

1) WindowsXP
2) MacOSX

Because they contain a whole OS and not just the DE

3) KDE
4) BeOS

No offense but I think BeOS is not as good as Desktop as KDE because KDE offers functionality that bombs out WindowsXP in various places.


GNOME as last place is ok imo. It reflects the reality.

IE unfair
by Sean on Mon 17th Mar 2003 23:40 UTC

I think that using IE for OS X to judge anything (as the author did) is unfair. It's like using AOL 2.0 to judge Windows XP (if pre-4.0 versions of AOL could even run on NT based machines). Mac OS X is responsive with applications that are properly coded. Mac OS X is simply experiencing the same growing pains that Windows 95 had and the next major revision of Windows will have (not Longhorn, but the next time that MS makes big changes).

RE: Blender
by Eugenia on Mon 17th Mar 2003 23:41 UTC

>gcalctool starts for me almost immediately, while blender takes maybe half a second

On my Athlon XP 1600+ and Red Hat, is not the case.

y'all shut up
by nxtw on Mon 17th Mar 2003 23:41 UTC

Eugenia is one of the few reviewers that aren't biased. Like many othres, I use Windows XP simply becuase it's better than anything else I've used. All of you people whining about the evils of MS are simply being overzealous idiots.

I give the article an A+

RE: IE unfair
by Eugenia on Mon 17th Mar 2003 23:42 UTC

>I think that using IE for OS X to judge anything (as the author did) is unfair.

Wrong! First of all, IE comes by DEFAULT with OSX. This makes it PART of the experience. Secondly, IE's example of menu bar freezing is just an example. Other applications do that as well, including Safari.

Classic Mode
by Anonymous on Mon 17th Mar 2003 23:43 UTC

I find that I am most productive when using Classic Mode under XP moreso than any DE under *nix. Great Fonts + slim window manager (if that is what you call explorer?) is awesome!

Eugenia is the only one here that will give credit where credit is due ... Thank you Eugenia.

re: Definite Comparison?
by Bill on Mon 17th Mar 2003 23:44 UTC

Wow. Couldn't agree more, C. Evans. Don't even know where to begin.

Gnome gets a 6.5 out of 10 for having poor icons??? And yet the guady play school / fisher price buttoned XP gets an 8?

And why are you complaining about Kicker not being able to resize like the Dock? It does do this, and I've been using this feature since 2.x, I believe.

In reality, though, one should use what one is most comfortable with. Complaining that KDE has so many features that the control center is bloated is downright silly. KDE is made by professionals and hobbyists, for professionals and hobbyists. People who have the time, patience, and desire to tinker with way too many settings.

And why BeOS is included is beyond me. A desktop that doesn't run on modern hardware (and for that matter, didn't even run on current hardware of the time) is not what I would call "still good"

But I'll just be labeled a troll, and possibly filed away as someone else who just "doesn't get it".


Will the author update the article now given this new information?
by Anonymous on Mon 17th Mar 2003 23:45 UTC

If you want to be able to tab to all UI elements like in Windows, just go to the System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Full Keyboard Access, and at the bottom of the window change the radio button from "Text boxes and lists only" to "Any control"

Perhaps the article should be updated to reflect this?

re: Definite Comparison?
by Eugenia on Mon 17th Mar 2003 23:48 UTC

>Gnome gets a 6.5 out of 10 for having poor icons???

Of course not. But it ain't Miss World either [overall].

>And why BeOS is included is beyond me. A desktop that doesn't run on modern hardware

You are wrong. BeOS Max Edition runs *everywhere* and the few problems with compatibility are all straighten out with YellowTAB's Zeta, which is the NEW BeOS coming out in a FEW weeks! BeOS is far from dead. Be, Inc's BeOS is dead, but not Zeta. Also, I explain very well WHY BEOS is included. Read the first page again.

> And why are you complaining about Kicker not being able to resize like the Dock? It does do this, and I've been using this feature since 2.x, I believe.

Not what I am asking, no. The taskbar does NOT resize when more programs are get opened.

I agree
by Ciprian on Mon 17th Mar 2003 23:49 UTC

All phylosophical issues aside I find XP to be the best overall Desktop experience in term of usability and merely "getting stuff done".
OSX is just slow IMO (I use it at work sometimes and I find it unresponsive and I don't really care about how "pretty" it is).
KDE and Gnome are good environments but I think they suffer from the different ways apps behave, there is a general lack of consistency. If I install a new app I never know exactly how it will look and behave.
I never tried BeOS....

Once again I think these issues ares omewhat subjective and your mileage might vary but I found myself agreeing with most of Eugenia's points.

Re: the definite review, etc.
by Roberto on Mon 17th Mar 2003 23:50 UTC

Ok, let's go over the bugs reported in that old article regarding toolbars:

Number 1 (the side by side toolbars) is not what you are referring to here, I suppose. I will admit I can't do that.

Number 2 (the save dialog bookmark) is just that you don't get what a save dialog bookmark is. Sure, it's not an intuitive feature. Ignore it, and you get a less featuerful dialog, but surely less confusing to you. I don't think any other OS gives you that feature anyway. Perhaps that should have been counted in the features page?

Niumber 3: Can't reproduce it. Oh, did you add the buttons in the toolbar you removed them from, the khtml toolbar? Or you added them in the navigation toolbar, where they don't work?

Number 4: personal perference, as you said.

5 and 6 are not toolbar related.

So, why is this link given as a detailed explanation of the problems with toolbars in KDE 3.1? I have no idea.

BTW: a clear inconsistency in the rating method: you discount points in KDE's flexibility score for the problems it causes. But you also discount points for those problems in the consistency, bugs, and usability scores. That hardly looks like a reasonable scoring mechanism.

by oGALAXYo on Mon 17th Mar 2003 23:52 UTC

I was following BeOS for various years in the pasth and lost overview to it then I investigated into Zeta BeOS and OpenBeOS for a few minutes some weeks ago but I don't see the connection between both can you explain more why there are 2 different approaches to bring BeOS back ?

And why isn't QNX included ?

by oGALAXYo on Mon 17th Mar 2003 23:54 UTC

> KDE and Gnome are good environments but I think they suffer
> from the different ways apps behave, there is a general lack
> of consistency. If I install a new app I never know exactly
> how it will look and behave.

Little info, only GNOME is affected by this and will be for another couple of years! Not KDE. KDE is absolutely consistent.

RE: @Eugenia
by Eugenia on Mon 17th Mar 2003 23:55 UTC

>And why isn't QNX included ?

I explained in the beginning of the article (I deleted the QNX partition a few months ago and I wanted to include OSes that I had readily available). IMO, QNX's UI wouldn't take big scores anyway (for different reasons...) and it is not as widly used (not even more than BeOS AFAIK)

It Doesn't Matter?
by Anonymous on Mon 17th Mar 2003 23:57 UTC

Eugenia says it doesn't matter whose fault it is for the problems she describes with KDE, many of which I have not experienced personally.

I think it matters. I am running a CVS copy of KDE circa pre-3.1 and I don't have any of the bugs she described. If Konqueror was so crashy, I wouldn't use it as my permanent browser. I have not seen any of the rendering bugs she describes with Keramik. And so on. She does make good points, but many of the problems she describe just aren't from the KDE I know.

There is no real description of her test system, but I'm guessing she is using Red Hat which is notorious for its bad treatment of KDE. Why not use a better KDE distribution such as SuSE or Mandrake? Of course to be fair you would have to compile everything properly and do the same with GNOME.

And btw if you compare Qt apps with KDE apps, it's much worse when you compare some of the horrendous GTK+ apps like the GIMP with GNOME apps.

Eugenia: You can't make everyone happy..
by Mark on Mon 17th Mar 2003 23:59 UTC

I read some of the responses and I am surprised at how some people have reacted.

Don't let the OS zealots bother you. I thought it was a fair article even thought my favorite OS did not win.

Good article. And OS News is a great site. Keep it up...

- Mark

by mmu_man on Tue 18th Mar 2003 00:04 UTC

> Newer betas of Longhorn take this to an extreme, making the entire user interface some shade of blue.

Well, M$ always liked blue... ;)

I pretty much agree with Roberto
by Nick B on Tue 18th Mar 2003 00:06 UTC

This is a really biased article. Methodology is pretty awful.

BeOS scores right after OS X???? Give me a break. BeOS widgets are AWFUL. They don't follow _any_ of the UI methodologies.

It should have been done like this:

Please, next time consult this very basic article when judging UI:

MacOS X pretty much wipes the floor with all other UIs. I wish I had some cash to buy a Mac for home.


RE: I pretty much agree with Roberto
by Eugenia on Tue 18th Mar 2003 00:09 UTC

>This is a really biased article.

I can assure you, it is not. I am a user of all these systems for years and I give them credit only when they deserve it.

>BeOS scores right after OS X???? Give me a break. BeOS widgets are AWFUL

First of all, here we compare BeOS Zeta, not BeOS 5. And even with Zeta/Dano's widget set, BeOS scores WORSE in that "look and feel" department than OSX, as you also feel appropriate.
But the *final rating* is a SUM of a LOT of different things, not just how things are looking to your eyes. Please re-read carefully the article.

Keyboard Navigation
by Jasenko on Tue 18th Mar 2003 00:14 UTC

If you want to be able to tab to all UI elements like in Windows, just go to the System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Full Keyboard Access, and at the bottom of the window change the radio button from "Text boxes and lists only" to "Any control"

You don't even have to do this to dismiss dialogues, just use command+<first letter of the option> like for example if you want to cancel use command+c

I agree that XP has great keyboard navigation but I also think that OSX keyboard navigation is great but different, and it does need bit of a getting used to.

v RE: Blender
by geogeek on Tue 18th Mar 2003 00:14 UTC
Good Review
by White Rabbit on Tue 18th Mar 2003 00:16 UTC

While I didnt agree with everything she said, esp in the look&feel section, it was a good review. I am interested to see how the final release version of Zeta will fit into this.


Excellent article.
by Another matthew on Tue 18th Mar 2003 00:16 UTC


Thanks Eugenia
by Mario on Tue 18th Mar 2003 00:16 UTC

Good article overall, but i do think it could have benefited a lot from more reasearch on all of OSes compared. I know you tried not to be biased, but the reality is EVERYONE is a slightly biased, even if the person does not realize it.

I also think you were a little too harsh on KDE/GNOME, many of the issues you mentioned are not the fault of the DE's themselves, rather X11 and other toolkits. You we re comparing DE's so when you compare KDE to some other DE you should assume that every app is a KDE/QT app, the KDE developers have no power to make Motif, X11 etc apps all look like a KDE app. They also can't mask X11's speed problems problems. I hope you're catching on to waht I mean. If you were comparing OSes I would understand this, but you are comparing DE's. Therefore, if you compare GNOME to KDE you are comparing ONLY GNOEM APPS, CONFIG UTILITIES ETC. with KDE's counterparts and nothign else.

look is a lot different from usability.
by Nick B on Tue 18th Mar 2003 00:20 UTC


I'm not sure if we're on the same wavelength but UI 'prettiness' has very little to do with UI usability. Usability is what matters to users. It takes VERY long time to get the UI right and to make it flawless. Looks don't really have much to do with this (but they do help). It's all about the workflow and consistency. I have to say that I have not used Zeta but I have seen the screenshots of it and they repeat many of the UI mistakes that we've seen in many of the previous UI prototypes.


A collection of random notes...
by OBOS4ALL on Tue 18th Mar 2003 00:20 UTC

Dano's font rendering is good on paper, but in real life it just sucks. I find R5 much better in this regard.

A typical Dano backstep that you didn't mention is the new titlebars that the user can't shift-slide anymore.

XP and BeOS both include mnemonics (underlined keyboard shortcuts) that OS X lacks. This is one thing that I can't stand about MacOS.

BeOS and OS X use better message boxes than those common on Windows (Save|Don't Save|Cancel rather than Yes|No|Cancel)

BeOS Tracker and Windows Explorer have an address bar, the Finder doesn't and it hurts.

The OS X Finder and Explorer can show the Desktop folder in a window. Tracker doesn't allow the user to do this (just like previous versions of MacOS and OS/2 which also include this stupid limitation).

Consistency - BeOS has *no* HIG, how can it be the most consistent? You might want to check the links below and reconsider the 10 you gave it....

A good example of *inconsistency* in OS X is Safari. For 20 years Command+W was used to close a window, but with Safari it closes tabs. This is a good UI choice that will help users prevent data-loss, but the legendary MacOS Consistency is now officially over (actually, Aqua took care of that a couple of years ago...)

Flexibility - WinXP is much more flexible than OS X and BeOS. There are at least twice as much preferences, and with third party tweaker utilities like X-Setup, it's more like tenfold (TinkerTool is very minimalist).

BeOS is indeed snappy, but even us "Bealots" ;-) admit that it has the slowest Mozilla port bar none (and this is the only modern browser available), and Tracker is nowhere near the speed of Explorer when it comes to folders with huge amounts of files.

XP is definitely an "improvement on multitasking/multithreading over the Win9x codebase", but for some odd reason, it is not as good as Win2k. Many a time have I encountered Start/taskbar freezes that take seconds off your productive time (even post-SP1). It never happened with Win2k.

KDE and Aqua are hard to compare, but I believe that Aqua is more optimized and slightly quicker, or maybe it's just Konqueror that spawns windows slower than the Finder...

Finally, I must say that I really enjoyed reading this comparison (keep up the good work Eugenia), and sorry if I repeated any of the previous comments.

RE: look is a lot different from usability.
by Eugenia on Tue 18th Mar 2003 00:22 UTC

>but UI 'prettiness' has very little to do with UI usability

Nick, are you SURE you read the whole article???? There is a *different* section for "looks" and a different for "usability"!! I don't understand what you are trying to say here! In my article all that stuff are all seperate.

by Chris Parker on Tue 18th Mar 2003 00:24 UTC

I find it interesting that so many people complain about gtkmm when in fact it is the most pure C++ gui library out there. I think developers have been working with broken and/or incomplete environments for so long when they see real C++ code it scares the crap out of them.

Sometimes People Suck
by Adam Scheinberg on Tue 18th Mar 2003 00:26 UTC

Leave it to a bunch of nerds on a website to pick a fight at every opportunity.

OSes are NOT striving to meet some tangible goal. They aren't competing for an elusive technology. They are trying to zero in on an experience that pleases the most people possible. I tell you now - there will never be an OS that pleases everyone every time. Someone will always dislike what they are using.

Eugenia's review, in my opinion, was pretty fair. I've definitely been known to tell Eugenia directly that I think she's wrong. In this case, a) I happen to agree with her lineup, despite the fact that I really like Gnome, and b) I think no matter what the result, there would be 50 people, 35 telling her she and her article suck and 15 telling those people to shut up.

I use XP every day, many hours a day, and it virtually NEVER crashes. Maybe 3 times since I've installed it back when Devil's Own first was released. But some idiot always insists it crashes after 30 seconds of uptime for them. Experience is different for everyone, and for each person, perception is reality.

If you have an opinion, please -- offer it like an educated adult. Don't criticize her work or her opinion.

RE: Bias
by redtux on Tue 18th Mar 2003 00:28 UTC

Of course the review was biased - all reviews are biased.

The good thing about Eugenias reviews is that she is honest about her biases, so you can take them into account

Windows... Eh
by Anonymous on Tue 18th Mar 2003 00:30 UTC

While I agree that Windows XP is better than the previous versions, I still feel like you failed to address a few functions of the OS/UI that truly make people nervious about using thier own computer.

One of the main areas I am talking about is package management (ie installing, uninstalling software and config files). Windows takes a pretty scary approach to this in that when you install an app, it pretty much dumps the app/support files wherever it damn well pleases. You don't normally see this, because it puts a "shortcut" in the start menu and that is your interaction with the program. However, should something go wrong, or should you need to untinstall the application, you are left to the whim of the windows installer app to clean up after you. I can't tell you how many times I have seen the message, "File foo.ini was used by this program, and may be used by other programs, actually, I am not really sure what it does, but you can possibly delete it", or something to that effect. One area where Mac OS X (and maybe BeOS, im not sure) shines is that the program you have are the actual executables, and any config files or preferences they have go in a well defined place in the system. If you want to delete an app, 99% of the time you just drag it to the trash. WYSIWYG at its finest.

Another area where Windows lags is Power Management. Perhaps its the use of power hungry-hot running x86 processors (maybe Centrino will help), but Windows laptops have a hell of a time sleeping and waking from sleep. They also frequently don't last for more than an hour and a half on the battery. You should be able to close your laptop and have it save its state, go to sleep and live for at least a few days. When you want to use it again, it should wake up immediately and restore itself.

Finally, Windows has a pretty ugly driver system. I understand that much of this has to do with the sheer amount of devices that windows has to work with, but driver packages are far from easy to understand. Some things work out of the box, some require you to "insert the windows CD", some install, but then leave your devices half working. I don't particularly think any OS out there now handles this the best, but it would be nice if you had a driver "folder" where you could just throw your driver files. If they were in there, they were active, if not then they aren't. Perhaps something like the MacOS 9 extension folder. Mac OS X has an OK system with kexts, but then again, most users don't know they exist, so when they have to install one, they are lost if something goes wrong.

Safari [command-w]
by Excalibur on Tue 18th Mar 2003 00:35 UTC

A good example of *inconsistency* in OS X is Safari. For 20 years Command+W was used to close a window, but with Safari it closes tabs.

The official release beta of Safari has no tabs, and DOES close the window. You are talking about the leak build which they are internally testing.

v Re: Adam Scheinberg
by Roberto on Tue 18th Mar 2003 00:35 UTC
RE: Windows... Eh
by White Rabbit on Tue 18th Mar 2003 00:37 UTC

Two quick points
Removing BeOS apps is as simple as removing their folder, config files go in ~/config

Also, BeOS has a driver folder where you can just drop drivers, with most devices other than video cards no reboot is necessarty, they just start working.

Re: redtux
by Roberto on Tue 18th Mar 2003 00:41 UTC

You said "all reviews are biased" and "[Eugenia] is honest about her biases".

Well, did you read the comment where eugenia said "I am not biased"? ;-)

Somone: This is a really biased article.

Eugenia: I can assure you, it is not.

That's comment 36, this very forum.

good point, Mario
by Bill on Tue 18th Mar 2003 00:44 UTC

I also think you were a little too harsh on KDE/GNOME, many of the issues you mentioned are not the fault of the DE's themselves, rather X11 and other toolkits. You we re comparing DE's so when you compare KDE to some other DE you should assume that every app is a KDE/QT app, the KDE developers have no power to make Motif, X11 etc apps all look like a KDE app. They also can't mask X11's speed problems problems. I hope you're catching on to waht I mean. If you were comparing OSes I would understand this, but you are comparing DE's. Therefore, if you compare GNOME to KDE you are comparing ONLY GNOEM APPS, CONFIG UTILITIES ETC. with KDE's counterparts and nothign else.

Excellent point, Mario.

by Adam Scheinberg on Tue 18th Mar 2003 00:47 UTC

Roberto, I get the feeling you're trying to pick a fight. When Eugenia says she's "not biased," she means she doesn't start with a dislike of a particular UI and go in with preconceived notions.

When someone says that all reviews are "biased," they mean that each reviewer is offering their opinion. Everyone else gets that. We use the same word, but we mean different things.

I know you understand this difference, that's why I suspect you're mad and just trying to make other people look foolish. Sorry, buddy, it's not working.

by WattsM on Tue 18th Mar 2003 00:48 UTC

I'd probably have rated OS X slightly higher but otherwise they're probably not far off from the ratings I'd give--with the caveat that my "users don't care about implementation" rant from a previous thread is something I still believe. ;)

I find OS X to be pretty responsive on a system level; the chunkiness shows up more on a per-application level. The spinning beach ball of doom generally only affects one application. Windows 2000 and XP don't suffer from that, but my experience they replace it with the "mysterious system freeze"--every once in a (long) while the system just stops for several minutes. The other thing I've noticed with Windows (albeit only in Pre-XP, because my experience with XP isn't long enough to have seen if this has finally been fixed) is what I call "creeping crud syndrome." A perfectly well-maintained Windows 9x or NT/2000 system will, over time, get flakier and flakier, to the point where the system must be reinstalled to fix the problems. When I mention this to other Windows users, they all nod. This is a usability issue in the "long-term road test" sense--it's worth mentioning. (I haven't had that problem on my PowerBook with OS X, but to be fair we'll have to check back in this time next year to see if that's still the case.)

To the people crying "subjective review!"... eh. It's all subjective. There are common UI practices, but even some of the supposedly objective ones can be argued about. (Mac users will defend their fixed menu bars to the death by waving GOMS analyses at you, for instance. Yet a quantitative GOMS keystroke-level analysis "prove" that Vim is a better text editor than BBEdit.)

this time next year maybe?
by Anonymous on Tue 18th Mar 2003 00:52 UTC

Thanks Eugenia, for that delicious always never one to disappoint. ;)
I particularly admired your honesty...and am very interested in GUI/UI/DE. I was wondering if you will be doing something similar on 3D-enviroments, as this is possibly the future of Desktop-Environments?

Re: Adam Scheinberg
by Roberto on Tue 18th Mar 2003 00:53 UTC

Well, I disagree with you.

I think "all reviews are biased" and "this review is not biased" are conrtdictory statements.

An opinion is not the same as a bias. A bias is a preconception, or a prejudice, or a personal preference, tainting an opinion, making the opinion unreliable.

As webster says, "a personal and sometimes unreasoned judgment", or "prejudice".

Prejudice, bias != opinion.

by MaxAuthority on Tue 18th Mar 2003 00:57 UTC

Windows takes a pretty scary approach to this in that when you install an app, it pretty much dumps the app/support files wherever it damn well pleases.

Hmm, I have 1 out of 20+ Programs where I can't specify where to install it (Canon Printer Driver).

Have you EVER used Linux? Here you really can't say where things are installed, and I hate it.


Really, I was reading it and thought at 95% that you are right, and I have used BeOS, WinXP, Gnome and KDE (sorry I have no PowerPC ;) .

My own opinion in short terms:
- Gnome launching programs slow, KDE even slower.
- Windows has great Keyboard accessibility and is so snappy. I personally think it's on par with BeOS - sometimes slower, sometimes faster. But compared to all other DEs, its like a Ferarri.

And I understand that every review is a little biased, but I know Euginia, and in previous articles she was often much more biased, so she really tried hard to give a fair review.

Keep up the good work!

XP wins???
by Kristof Polleunis on Tue 18th Mar 2003 01:00 UTC

Well I still have PIII 450 mhz 256ram I can assure you windows XP is slow! It's so bloated, windows 98 was flying on this machine, so was windows NT. Apart for the eyecandy and stability issue, I don't find it so different from the older windows versions but yet it's so much slower and bigger.

BeOS was just flying and it was relatively stable in a time windows was crashing every 3 minutes. Ok some apps crashed and took down tracker but that was more due to bad apps rather than BeOS.

I windows XP I still need to reboot to get software installed, that not a userfriendly experience is it. A good desktop should be responsive even with my hardware if not it's bloated.

However I do admit XP is the most stable OS I ever used

Re: gtkmm
by mmu_man on Tue 18th Mar 2003 01:04 UTC

> I find it interesting that so many people complain about gtkmm when in fact it is the most pure C++ gui library out there.

You never coded in BeOS I see ;)

Telling where a linux program is installed
by Roberto on Tue 18th Mar 2003 01:07 UTC

rpm -ql program

dpkg -L program

Not very hard, IMHO.

Re: Safari [command-w]
by OBOS4ALL on Tue 18th Mar 2003 01:07 UTC

Excalibur wrote:
> The official release beta of Safari has no tabs, and DOES
> close the window. You are talking about the leak build which
> they are internally testing.

What's a "release beta"? Apple have learned their lesson with the fiasco of Safari hosing people's home directories. Ever since this horrific bug was fixed, Safari has been off the public beta stage. b62 and b64 have only been sent to testers whom Apple know won't complain if hell breakes loose.

And for you info, the tabs are here to stay (with Command+W and all). Read the blog of Apple's Dave Hyatt for more details:

E: OS reviews
by David Hunter on Tue 18th Mar 2003 01:14 UTC

I actually find that on my brother's Gateway Essential with a 500 MHz Celeron with 96 MBs of RAM that RH8 runs far nicer than Win98. Also I find at where I study that RH8 with GNOME you are able to surf the net alot quicker than on the very same machine (they have removable Hard drives) that Win 2000.

v That was obviously biased.
by nemo on Tue 18th Mar 2003 01:26 UTC
Very nice review
by Zenja on Tue 18th Mar 2003 01:30 UTC

Before I start reading user comments, I want to thank Eugenia for writing an excellent review. It was fair, unbaised and basically spot on. Good work. Its a pleasure to read such thorough and well informed articles.

Now, time to sift through the comments and join the flame fest.

Re: Comparison
by Roberto Jose Dohnert on Tue 18th Mar 2003 01:39 UTC

I find it to be refreshing, Eugenia does a good job telling us about her opinions and it seems she is very fair with her DE review. I personally like the KDE interface but I can see what she is saying about each one and yes I do think Windows has a superior interface design as well, For development I use QT and I use QT for a couple of reasons the most pressing one is its cross platform capabilities. All the problems I have with GNOME and OS X interfaces I think she hit the nail head on. Good Job Eugenia

by Squidgee on Tue 18th Mar 2003 01:41 UTC

Seriously, seriously, how can Euginia put Win XP above Mac OS X? I mean...seriously?!

Mac OS X mops the floor with Windows. As many people have said, the dialogs in Win XP blow. Win XP, IMHO, looks like ass. And WinXP on _my_ machine is slower than Mac OS X on my iBook. And, may I point out, Mac OS X is running on a 600mhz machine. Win XP is on a 1.6ghz machine.

Windows UI is also often inconsistant (Dialog boxes, again...). Also, why does skinning matter? Hello, you seem to be constantly harping how "It's not included in the OS!". SKINNING ISN'T INCLUDED! It's an _addition_!

Ack, this article wreaks.

oh, well
by Ced on Tue 18th Mar 2003 01:45 UTC

Hey guys, relax. Not the first (and probably not the last) time Eugenia write controversy statements. Unless what she could claim, she has troubles to understand what "objective" means. Her notion of "comes as default matters more than everything else", personal color tastes and a definite inertia in her computing experience totally screw up her reviews.

A long time I noticed that. Better read the headlines here and the articles/reviews on some other sources.

Very Good Article, but - -
by stopdabombing on Tue 18th Mar 2003 01:48 UTC

Overall, I think this was an excellent article, fair and pretty much consistent with my experience (except re: crashes of Konq).

However, as Eugenia herself said, it is necessarily somewhat subjective IN CERTAIN aspects.

Unfortunately, I think this cannot be fixed, even though she brings up extremely important issues that need to be discussed a lot more.

Here, I'd just point out one: the whole "feature bloat", versus "clean default" argument best seen in the Gnome/KDE debate. Or as it was explored in greater depth in the exchange between Havoc and Mosfet. I'm afraid ultimately, there is no "right" and "wrong" here - either you like to have tons of options, or you like to have a "clean and spare" default. Sometimes I feel like Eugenia (and Havoc, and generally the "spare" camp) don't appreciate the fact that as Mosfet puts it, it doesn't have to be "too many options, confusing", but rather "tons of options WELL ORGANIZED will not be confusing". Eugenia seems to think that it is _impossible_ to combine the two, that at some point "no matter how well" you organize, you'll have confusion with too many options. I strongly disagree. I think it is a cop-out, and I think that Havoc simply is unable/unwilling to think hard enough to come up with organization solutions and takes the easy road of hiding options (deeply, so you have to dig down just to tweak rather _basic_ stuff). Hey, sorry if imagination fails you - but many inventions wouldn't even come about (such as tabbing) if everyone had Havoc's attitude that you "can't" organize. That's a lazy way of thinking. Havoc simply took organization features such as tabbing, drop-down menues, context menues etc., and STOPPED thinking further whatever year his outlook was formed (mid 90's). I bet if Havoc was working back in the 50's he'd never imagine the mouse. Sorry, just because you don't know how to organize, or cannot think in a revolutionary way doesn't mean it is IMPOSSIBLE. I think it is lame to deny people choices or bury them deeply. Defaults matter, and I prefer a feature-rich default.

Having said that, I do agree that the KDE feature organization is poor, and so in that sense Eugenia is right. But her (Gnomish, and Havoc) prescription is wrong - you stop to innovate UI ideas too quickly and settle for the easy solution of stripping away choice (and sending the pro user to dig deep). Obviously, there needs to be a balance, and it will be different for different people - so if you have just ONE default (by definition), you need to make sure it works for MOST people. And here, I feel Eugenia's camp underestimates users - people are much more flexible and able to learn, and are much less confused than you give them credit for.

Still, a very fair and good article.

Re: Safari [command-w]
by Excalibur on Tue 18th Mar 2003 02:04 UTC

I'm talking about the versions with tabs are not available to the public. They ones you are refering to are leaks. Meaning they are not written in stone. If you want to judge an internal build as law, thats you perogative there.

Re: Safari [command-w]
by Eugenia on Tue 18th Mar 2003 02:06 UTC

That was just an example. Fact remains that text is not very visible on the metal interface. With Safari or not.

Re: Squidgee
by Roberto Jose Dohnert on Tue 18th Mar 2003 02:09 UTC

Another example of why more Mac users are on anti-depressants than the rest of us.

Squidgee she does a very good review and I find OS X to be more processor intensive and slower than XP, comparing OS X and Windows XP. I find no problems with XP and I must say, Windows XP is by far the most stable and best OS microsoft has ever released. But alas, a Windows vs. OS X war is one no one will ever win.

Good article
by Richard Weber on Tue 18th Mar 2003 02:20 UTC

A previous post called this article ancedotal. That's clearly not true.

As a developer, this article has given me food for thought. I'm bookmarking this with a view to addressing some of the issues. I'm glad to see there wasn't an element of flame like one sees in Petreleys articles, at any rate.

Free Software developers have a tendency to bury their heads in the sand like ostriches at the first sign of criticism, which I guess is necessary to a certain extent for them to keep their sanity.

by stopdabombing on Tue 18th Mar 2003 02:21 UTC

I know Eugenia had to go for the "current" iteration of software, but I had a secret hope she'd include Win2K in the comparison - it was/is different enough from XP, yet current enough to make for an interesting comparison.

XP and OSX (mostly) are mature, meanwhile, Gnome and KDE are "a work in progress", and it shows. Linus said linux would not be desktop-ready until 2006, which means we are still 3 years away - a lot can change... of course, at that point Longhorn will be out, BeOS updated, and Gnome & KDE probaby still a work in progress (though usable, while today it is not ready to be a 100% Windows/Apple substitution for the masses).

Overall, pretty nice...
by Hmm on Tue 18th Mar 2003 02:30 UTC

But pretty easy on Windows. Case in point: Here we have an operating system where every single menubar an every application is along the top of the screen, and you pull down menus, even in old Win16 apps, and yet the MAIN SYSTEM MENU is along the BOTTOM of the screen and a menu shoots up from it! There's no reason at all for this. Once people get their minds contorted to deal with this inconsistency, they barely notice. But the same could be said for any inconsistency.

While I agree that a lot of usability is just "what you're used to" and thus Windows wins in every category, I think overlooking such blatant UI inconsistency is taking it rather easy on them.

And yes, this DOES mean you could deduct points from KDE and Gnome for the same thing, too.

Mac OS dialog keyboarding.
by Anonymous on Tue 18th Mar 2003 02:30 UTC

Escape to cancel and command first letter of any other option (fer instance, command-d for "Don't Save"). Piece o' cake..

v RE: RE: Shocking
by Grant on Tue 18th Mar 2003 02:44 UTC
nice review
by Brad on Tue 18th Mar 2003 02:46 UTC

Very nice job. Nothing to complain about.

I'd have to say to the people in here, if your complaining about something, it's more then likely you that is messed up. Not the review, not the OS.

Right click context menu on text input fields
by Zenja on Tue 18th Mar 2003 02:50 UTC

BeOS usability - For example, when having an input box, a text view, or a selectable text item, I want to be able to right click on it and have a cut/copy/paste menu. Agreed, a right click context menu would be nice, but the system wide Alt-Z, Alt-X, Alt-C and Alt-V still work as you'd expect.

Huh ?!
by Jago on Tue 18th Mar 2003 02:51 UTC

"What Mac OS X lacks though is good keyboard navigation."
"Another thing I recently realized deeply is that Macs are way more keyboard-oriented than the rest platforms"

Make up your mind Eugenia.

RE: Huh ?!
by Eugenia on Tue 18th Mar 2003 02:53 UTC

I suggest you re-read what I write there. "keyboard navigation" and "keyboard oriented for other tasks" is not the same thing.

dont diss gnome :P
by Gozu on Tue 18th Mar 2003 02:56 UTC

why are all you people saying that gnome is crap?

and Eugenia (who i respect i might add) Your saying gnome is ugly? Have you used gnome 2.2 with xft2 ? actually i suppose you probally have, the fonts are so purty ok? and the ugly icons can be fixed with icon themes now in 2.2. Heck they even include a theme manager that lets you install various kinds of themes. I like gnome. It definatly might not be as consistant as kde, or as complete, but it is pritty ok.

v Whats The Worst Part?
by Scorchen on Tue 18th Mar 2003 02:58 UTC
win XP seems to get slower...
by riq on Tue 18th Mar 2003 02:58 UTC

One thing I've noted about win XP is that is gets slower and slower if I don't reboot the machine, perhaps, twice a week (Win XP home Edition). Have you noticed that ? anyone ?

by jbolden1517 on Tue 18th Mar 2003 02:59 UTC

I basically agreed with most of what was written. A few comments:

First the flexability was IMHO very unfair.
Windows XP 7, MacOSX 7, KDE 8, BeOS 7, Gnome 7.5
I don't know BeOS but XP isn't even in the same ballpark as either X environment in terms of flexability. Network transparency is a huge feature in terms of flexability and didn't get mentioned. How do you use multiple video cards with a single window? How do you display Windows on an arbitrary group of nxm monitors using multiple video cards?

How about multiple language support. X applications have supported full character sets for over a decade and this technology is very mature.

Finally a dozen different widget sets may be horrible for consistency but it is wonderful for flexability.


There were minor points I disagreed with. I think speed of use is more important than speed of load. Take the mac interface from the 1980's it took forever to load apps but once loaded they were pretty fast. To this day Windows can be very unresponsive when it has network problems.

Horrid Article - WORST-- for OSNews Pull it
by Goodman on Tue 18th Mar 2003 03:01 UTC

I do not know what you do for a living, but Im afraid reality is not what your doing on a regular basis.

Luna - crashes so much, much more than Windows 2000's shell. And its rediculous look feel by default blows. The look of WinXP and officeXP and the new office are totally inconsistent, which makes me think that their user interface group is so irrelevent they must still be looking at Apple's guidelines set forth many years ago.

Don't you get it yet, you dope, MS only changes the look every few years to make you rebuy bug fixes and SPY on you.

MS has the notion of skinning per se. (thats a corpoate idea of skinning), but you can only use their skins or something else you have to buy.

No matter - I completely wasted my time on this whole topic.

KDE and OSX should have been 10.

RE: Horrid Article - WORST-- for OSNews Pull it
by Jago on Tue 18th Mar 2003 03:05 UTC

"Luna - crashes so much, much more than Windows 2000's shell. And its rediculous look feel by default blows. The look of WinXP and officeXP and the new office are totally inconsistent, which makes me think that their user interface group is so irrelevent they must still be looking at Apple's guidelines set forth many years ago."

The problem is, Luna cannot crash. It's not a program.

Vector icons
by Anonymous on Tue 18th Mar 2003 03:07 UTC

MacOS X doesn't have vector icons, it just uses really big bitmaps and scales them down

what about the specs the system runs on
by Auzy on Tue 18th Mar 2003 03:09 UTC

Sure when u run winXP on the most powerful comp available it wins, but personally, I'd love to see it be compared to any other OS when using 128megs ram, or/and a very slow processor like 400mhz, Windows XP would lose for sure

RE: what about the specs the system runs on
by Eugenia on Tue 18th Mar 2003 03:11 UTC

The specs of the machines I used are detailed in the article. Primarily, I run XP PRO on a lowly dual Celeron 533 Mhz with 256 MB of RAM.

Re: Keyboard
by MaxAuthority on Tue 18th Mar 2003 03:12 UTC

Escape to cancel and command first letter of any other option (fer instance, command-d for "Don't Save"). Piece o' cake..

Hmm, very good thing. I liked this in windows because since MS started to hide these usefull indicators by default in Win2000 more and more programmer's "forget" about them completetly in dialog boxes ;)

But how is this handled in MacOSX if 2 options start with the same letter? And is it possible to *fully* control the Mac with the keyboard only? This means some way to maximize/minimize windows, move windows, switch between tabs in option dialogs, etc....?

v Oh My
by Scorchen on Tue 18th Mar 2003 03:14 UTC
Interesting Choices of Operating Systems
by Sam on Tue 18th Mar 2003 03:14 UTC

One Question Eugenia: Why is the BeOS (or what is being reconstituted as it)in here? I know your'e a fan of it and have used it extensively, but, the userbase must be a lot smaller than all the people that use Mac OS X and Linux (on the desktop). Correct me if im wrong.

The OS camp is basically heading toward Windows vs *nix (OSX, Unix, and Linux). I'm a programmer, so I've used and coded on OSX, XP, and several linux distros.

XP's blue aqua skin is just too cartoony. I reverted it back to the win95 look. It is still an architectural mess and susceptible to bit rot (I do a reinstall every couple of months).

I am deeply impressed with the immense progress that Linux has made since I started toying with it in 1999. The KDE-Gnome rivalry might be a little damaging, but if you have an os written by hobbyist, everyone will have their own idea how to make it their own.

I like Mac OS X the most. Applications install and remove easily (just remove the application file itself, and done, unless you do a package install). Everything is laid out cleanly. Quartz Extreme on a good GPU is beautiful. I do not like how apple is wrecking their previous gold standard for UI consistency, but Aqua seems like a better step in that direction.

Nothing's perfect.

You forgot a couple things...
by Robert Warwick on Tue 18th Mar 2003 03:15 UTC

Though you did try to look at all the characteristics, there are a few things I think you missed. I'm gonna mention KDE a lot because that's what I use.

- ALT-F2 in KDE. It's a run command dialog. I find this an easy and convienent way to open up any program and rarely use the K menu (start menu equivelent).

- Linux is (at current) still for reasonably technical people. If your biggest concern is 'it's pretty' then you probably shouldn't use it. Different DE's are really good for different people. I use a Mac at work, Windows at school, and KDE at home.

- It's easy enough to change your theme in KDE. I think it's just as easy as in Windows. Of course, you have to use KDE a bit before it becomes easy, but ditto with Mac, Windows...

- What about changing the default app for opening up a document? I think it's so incredibly easy in KDE, while I've seen friends spend far too much time trying to figure it out on Windows. Of course, that was 98. I haven't seen anyone do this on XP.

- Multiple desktops. I can barely get along without these at work. I take them for granted with KDE, being able to keep my work seperated and visible.

Thanks for all the work you put into the article, but I'd be more able to believe a review compiled by several people. Or at least read over by one person who uses each DE _heavily_.


by Anonymous on Tue 18th Mar 2003 03:15 UTC

It's really not quite fair for Eugenia to judge KDE and GNOME on 'consistency' when you include other apps not written for its toolkit. Many people like myself use only KDE apps when using KDE, GTK when using, *box, Windowmaker, etc.

Also, since there are so many KDE apps, it's really quite easy to get away with running only KDE programs when using it. Based on a fair comparison, I think that the ranking should be KDE, BeOS, Windows (not all apps support theming even MS Office XP), Mac, GNOME.

KDE and Be apps all behave and look the same as each other.

Re: system specs
by MaxAuthority on Tue 18th Mar 2003 03:16 UTC

Sure when u run winXP on the most powerful comp available it wins, but personally, I'd love to see it be compared to any other OS when using 128megs ram, or/and a very slow processor like 400mhz, Windows XP would lose for sure

That may be right, but a Ferrari is also slower than a pickup on a VERY bad road, but since I don't drive on such roads(don't have such a PC) it's important for me how an OS performs on _my_ system (Athlon 1.33) - and here Windows wins *by far* over any *nix desktop and probably MacOSX.

Excellent review
by philnut on Tue 18th Mar 2003 03:20 UTC

I sometimes get the feeling that eugenia is a bit overconfident about her UI expertise.. The truth is, she's way more qualified than most of us who comment here-- this article has proven to be especially objective--
and worth reading.
Hopefully my favorite environment (Gnome) can take care of some of the things she mentions.

On a side note, I've gotten hooked on bluecurve... but I'm amazed and intrigued kde can be adjusted to look this clean! :
(a modification by eugenia)

Speed Test
by Anonymous on Tue 18th Mar 2003 03:22 UTC

After reading that article I did a small speed test. The 3 OSes are Windows XP Home w/Luna enabled, KDE 3.1 and GNOME 2.2
The OS at top is the fastest and the OS at bottom is the slowest
My 2.8GHz P4 (suprising) 1GB DDR333-
Windows XP
KDE 3.1 (I am SHOCKED)
My 533MHz Celeron 256MB PC100 (as usual)-
KDE 3.1
Windows XP
It seems like that KDE and GNOME are having some kind of "speed cap"..... :/

Review based on similar hardware???
by anonymous on Tue 18th Mar 2003 03:22 UTC

How about trying to run your reviews on the same hardware wherever possible?

Obviously you should be able to run Gnome vs. KDE vs. XP on the same machine. I'm not sure if BeOS has a version that runs on a semi current system ( never used it ). You could even try running Gnome vs. KDE on more than one linux or BSD install, just to see if there's something the distro is doing that's causing things to act flaky.

What I got from the review was that all of these were tried on different machines and that's part of the problem. Obviously you don't have a choice with OSX, but comparing BeOS, or KDE, or whatever, on a dual CPU system and then Gnome, or whatever, on a single CPU system is likely to give vastly different experiences. I think laptops were even mentioned at one point. I don't think I've EVER seen a laptop that I'd consider a "high performance machine".

If BeOS won't run on the same system, why not? I'd say if you can't load them all on the same machine, then there'd better be a reason, and it should be reflected in your scoring. OSX we already know the reason and I can't see why you'd deduct points for it. But if they all won't run on the same machine, then there's simply no way to get meaningful results here. Also, without testing on more than one linux distro or BSD, you cannot say that it is KDE or Gnome that is causing the problem with consistency or performance.

Load times are quite possibly at the mercy of the underlying system. It's not quite fair to say that the load time of Gnome app Y is slower than the load time of KDE app Z if you run Gnome under Gentoo and KDE on FreeBSD stock out of the box.

It may take a bit more effort, but I think it would create more consistent results. It should at least more consistent methodology which should help remove some of the bias comments. After all, at least your base starting point is the same.

Just my .02$

by MaxAuthority on Tue 18th Mar 2003 03:22 UTC

Also, since there are so many KDE apps, it's really quite easy to get away with running only KDE programs when using it. Based on a fair comparison, I think that the ranking should be KDE, BeOS, Windows (not all apps support theming even MS Office XP), Mac, GNOME.

Why is Gnome on last position? When i use(d) Linux I used Gnome2 mainly because it was more beautiful and it had something called HIG (or human interface guidelines) and nearly all programs for Gnome followed them.

RE: Review based on similar hardware???
by Eugenia on Tue 18th Mar 2003 03:25 UTC

>How about trying to run your reviews on the same hardware wherever possible? Obviously you should be able to run Gnome vs. KDE vs. XP on the same machine. I'm not sure if BeOS

This is ONLY relevant for the Speed category. And YES, I have **EIGHT** OSes on that machine (dual celeron 533), including all the above you mentioned with their DEs. And also I have **9** more machines in my office, playing with many OSes over time. Remember, this is a long time testing, including experiences from many machines AND a single machine.

I like the review
by Erwos on Tue 18th Mar 2003 03:26 UTC

And I'm not afraid to say so. I think it's pretty honest, if opinionated, and people shouldn't whine just because they don't like the results. No review is "impartial" - the reviewer's biases are always in play to some extent. At least we know Eugenia's up front.

stopdabombing: I think that GNOME's lack of configurability at the moment is more from the recent change to Metacity than any real decision to remove configurability totally. Still needs to be corrected, of course.

What both GNOME and KDE need to do is make sure the configurability they have do not devolve into the mess that KDE is currently. I'm sorry, oGALAXYo, but it's just impossible to say that KDE is not a horror to configure as a newbie as it is right now. Windows always seemed to get this right with a simple rule - put the simple stuff people usually alter on the top, and put the rest in an "advanced" screen with tabs. It's a _huge_ turn-off to see 50 options squished into one window. The only good thing that can be said is that RedHat 8.0 KDE has sensible defaults, meaning I don't usually need to wade into that stuff.


Arent you forgetting things ?
by Dopey on Tue 18th Mar 2003 03:26 UTC

First off nice on avoiding marios comments about comparing de's as that in itself would make most of what u put down nix de's obsolete.

RIght other things u forgot to mention the single most useful thing that slaps windows silly. Multiple desktops something both gnome and kde have supported for years and what mac osx supports and from what i seen longhorn will more than likely have. This feature alone is awesome.

It seemed you could not find one nice thing to say about kde or gnome without instantly going into some sort of bashing most of what u said i was just thinking wtf ? no seriously.. u sure u were using kde 3.1.
speed wise is awesome.
Also u mention bluecurve default for gnome in rh8 but thats also default for rh8 and kde. yet u only mention keramik.

Lets see changing themes with xp . Yeah 3 different themes but to get more u have to get a third part app which is shite.

I do agree changing resolutions etc.. should be in the de's on nix no doubt. And i would rate them down quite a lot for that.

As for unstableness of kde / konqueror. maybe 3.0. Not 3.1 sorry thats just wrong.
SOme things justs didnt make sence.

Yes linux wm still have a lot of maturing but the bloat u so frequently threw at it because u couldnt be arsed with a valid criticism was just bullshit.

Sorry to say it as far as responsiveness goes kde has been good.. It got vast speed improvements from 3 to 3.1.

Lovely u talk about registry for microsoft, nice having to go through that to configure simple things that u cant see. WHen u have kcontrol which configures everything to do with kde right there and u call it bloat ? bullshit right now im on 3.1.1 and damn its slick. It has everything i need. No one else can compare but u knock off points for bloat. Im sure with win xp had as many features u would be praising it like mad.

Last thing i have devils own winxp installed when i was testing it explorer does tend to crash. However i have seen it rarely take down the whole system. Which is good.

I am only comparing kde / gnome and windows aint used the rest so dont have a right to say anything about how good / bad they are.

Yes my comments are biased
ahh yeah now we are talking.

but no doubt you would see this project not as an innovative idea but as bloat.

GUI usability. . .
by kelly on Tue 18th Mar 2003 03:26 UTC

Pertaining menu bars, task bars or the panel, they should be at the top of the screen. People, in the western world, read top to bottom, left to right. Hence having the task bar at the top makes absolute sense.

The trash can should be at the lower right of the screen. Most people are (unfortunately) right handed and, as such, it is an easier movement to drag an item to the trash in a sweeping arch (clockwise direction).

The print function should be directly above the trash for drap and drop functionality and for the same reasons as listed above.

Much more UI info can be found at:

Nice to see it is now definitIVe
by Roberto on Tue 18th Mar 2003 03:33 UTC

At least you are able to learn. But don't bother saying "thanks Roberto for educating me", I will keep on doing it regardless.

OS X mouse buttons
by David I on Tue 18th Mar 2003 03:35 UTC

Yikes - this guy doesn't know a thing or one.

I use a three button wheeled mouse on my old 333Mfz iMac and it wroks great. Left/Right/scroll wheel cum middle button. OS X supports right button clicks just fine and most OS X programs have it implemented.

The single button has consistently been found to be less confusing to newbies, whereas two or three button mouses are supported by 3rd party USB devices.

Get a MacAlly icemouse - sheesh.

RE: Re: the definite review, etc.
by Gareth on Tue 18th Mar 2003 03:58 UTC

Roberto no need to be a fucken prick (i mean that as respectfully as possible ;) ). At least she got off her fat arse and took the time to review it. i dont agree with all she's written but im not gonna slag her for it.

I agree with many of the criteria used to evaluate the DEs.

I want a DE that is particularlly good at these points:
#1 Operations must work in every single app I run in the DE (e.g. ctl-o == open, selected text on X == copied to clipboard)

#2 Forcing my to switch between my mouse and my keyboard had better only happen when appropriate. If the DE opens a dialog box with only two buttons, and then opens a follow up dialog box where I must type in text, and THEN I have to click on a button to advance the dialog box I want to kill the next cider-head I see. Usability and consistency guidelines, my ass.

#3 Most common and useful operations quickest to get to.
Perfect counter examples (GRR!!!)
- Windows explorer/browser - creation of a folder is in varying menu locations and takes several clicks to get to
- Windows explorer - clicking on a file will switch my context to renaming a file. Right, because I rename my files and folders at least 20 times a day.

The review gave examples about the CVS commands being so near the first operations you encounter while working with files, while the operations you could perform with the "trashcan" where several sub menus. Then everyone talks about how great CVS is. Hello? go to goole, enter "find clue" and read.

#4 Resonpsivness - When I click or otherwise request some action, I want to see indication that progress is being made. I find this frustrating in GUI as well as commandlien tools. Let me know what's happening. Freezing my mouse cursor after turing it into an hour glass/spinning wheel is _not_ useful feedback. Here are some good examples of how shitty DE/OSs are:
- Printing, isntead to checking how much paper is left, or if the printer is ready, my print job waits for 5 minutes and then a dialog box pops up in the middle of whatever I was doing to tell me that my print job "encoutered a problem". Check the printer first.
- Copying files (Mac) Drag a folder of files from one location to another to copy them. The Mac waits for a while and then starts grinding along. At some point during this operation, I am interrupted with a popup telling me that there isn't enough sapce to complete the copy. My only option is to abort the partial copy. Check the destination for enough space first. If there is a problem mid operations, then give me some reasonable back out options, like undoing the complete copy, or, better, tell me what the problem was, let me fix it, and then gasp, resume the operation.

I'm willing to learn any DE if the operations allow me to get my work done efficently. I suspect many people here have. Show of hands for people who can get work done in Windows?
Jeez look at unix with commands like (ls -l, ps -auxww, grep -name, vi or emacs key sequences, etc.), or windows with alt space n, alt tab, ctl shift tab, etc.

These arcane commands are just fingerings that I've muscle learned. I can fire them off at very high speed. My brain thinks in terms of operations I want to perfrom. My fingers just translate.

What aspects of the DEs out there have people really enjoyed?

An interesting review :)
by Cesar Cardoso on Tue 18th Mar 2003 04:29 UTC

A nice review, indeed. Instead of trolling like Petreley did, she took the time to test and play with stuff.
Only some opinions...
1) IE for MacOS Classic/X sucks, but sucks a lot in every conceivable way, probably the worst browser around. Unfortunately for Apple Safari is still not ready for prime time.
2) Konqueror is TOO confusing! Its easy to lose myself with all-oh-those loads of features and buttons and all of this.
3) Nautilus still sucks, but nowadays fortunately is near the unsuckiness state.
4) If you take out the Microsoft history and all those Microsoft-sponsored spyware, XP is a good system, EXCEPT for those horrid Luna colors.
5) Troll people sucks. :-)

And for those who havent seen enough trolling:

Top Marks
by Alastair Nicol on Tue 18th Mar 2003 04:34 UTC

Yup, well rounded overview of the DE's available.

I love Linux, I hate microsoft, I can hack a linux distro to fix problems, but i'm a busy chap. Installing linux on a server *nice*. Install linux on a desktop arrgghhhhh. I always end up hacking the x config files to get fonts to work. I shouldnt need to.

All the application software I run is opensource. Mozilla, Open Office, python, cygwin etc. I am NOT dependant on using windows. Which GUI do I use? Windows 2k. Why? It lets me get on with my job. (xp sucks imho)

I can break explorer about once a week and i can break win2k (after a heavy 24h+ session). I can live with that.

On the same notebook (dell 8200) using SuSE 8.1 (and redhat 7.3). I can kill the desktop within 8 hours (not sure its an x, kde etc). Koffice - its not usable, within 30 minutes of playing with koffice I killed it. Linux is still running like a rock, but sometimes i have to ssh into my notebook from my linux server to kill x.

Open Office fonts suck (even more hacking)

Konqueror - it *sucks*
1. major, major bloat. it should be split into separate apps
2. walking directory trees is pure evil compared to Microsoft
3. Way, way too many icons taking up far too much space.

(i love the shell like autocomplete of filenames though)

The default editor in windows is notepad, it is basic as hell, but works. The default kde editor (kate?) does nasty things to config files. (but it has lots of options ;-)

I work faster using win2k gui than using cygwin and vim, i work faster in linux using xterm and vim than i do in kde.

Kde has all the functionality I need and bags more. I would love to use KDE, but for me KDE need to change their priorities.

1. total freeze of new features
2. focus on stability
3. split konqueror into separate apps (and fix directory walking)
4. focus on usability


Decent Comparison
by Brendan Orr on Tue 18th Mar 2003 04:39 UTC

I like the comparison and fairness that you shown throughout the comparison (the results are another story ;) ). The main thing I would've done differently would be to judge the ui after modification are made instead of over the defaults. E.g. taking KDE's many themes into account instead of using Keramik as the basis for your judgement. I have not yet seen any bugs with KDE visually, (and I appollogize if someone asked this earlier), what version of Redhat are you using? Mosfet ( has many points on how Redhat 8.0 changes to KDE for the worst.

And remeber, usability, ui, and the internals isn't everything. For instance, many people use KDE/Gnome because it is open source (with OpenBeOS making a good steady progress).

Still, though, a good overview of DEs
just, my 2 pieces of copper

v Re: Gareth
by Roberto on Tue 18th Mar 2003 04:40 UTC
v ??
by Dj Trippin on Tue 18th Mar 2003 04:42 UTC
Re: Roberto
by Roberto J Dohnert on Tue 18th Mar 2003 04:46 UTC

Roberto, There is really no need to be stupid about the whole thing, she stated her opinions, she is entitled to do that. If you dont like it then dont friggin bother reading the articles. Let me educate you on what a review is. Okay a review is when somebody, in this case Eugenia, uses a product and gives you what she feels is highlights and or faults and the review is based on their user experience--not yours not mine. dude, grow up.

Now as for you mac users out there that so maliciously decide to trash Eugenias review. Im going to say this much. I have never understood mac zealotry, I guess I never will. Its a hunk of plastic, glass and metal. I have never been that passionate about a computer, even when I was a full time mac user working in a mac farm. You guys are scarey and when somebody says windows or Linux is better than the mac, OMG its like " MAC USERS UNITE " You cant stand the thought another OS out there is better than the Mac, just because we dont share your ideas about the Mac doesnt mean we are brain dead it just means, WE DO NOT LIKE THE MAC. Get real folks, a computer is a tool, nothing more, nothing less. I like Linux but my entire wardrobe doesnt contain any Linux t-shirts and I do not have any bumper stickers on my car that says Linux, and I dont have 25 Linux posters decorating my house. Just because I dont like the mac or its GUI dont push your politics off on me, because quite frankly I dont care. I want a platform that is stable, that I can develop on, and one that is simple to administer. Right now SuSE Linux 8.1 Pro and Windows XP fit the bill. I like them, they work and I have fun using the OSes when I use them. I never really liked the old Mac OS and Mac OS X, even though it is based on NeXTStep, is still too much in its infancy for me to trust anything professional to its care. I was raised on NeXTStep,It was my first introduction to a UNIX based OS. I know the internal workings of NeXTStep and of Mac OS X, I just dont like Mac OS X, call me crazy, call me stupid call me a jerk, But if Im all that just because I dont like Mac OS X, I have one word for you guys...PROZAC

My WM Review
by Nico Coetzee on Tue 18th Mar 2003 04:52 UTC

"let me apologize in advance for not including..."

If you used Linux to look at KDE and Gnome, you could have easily looked at many other Dekstops. I use WindowMaker every day, and here is my 2c's:

The Look and Feel
"Clean" comes to mind when using WM.There is really a minimum of clutter on the Desktop, and what I like most is that there is no "task bar". The menu is anywhere on the desktop - just right click. For me it's the small things like this that really makes WM perfect.

My Rating: 9


The less "gadgets" there are the more usable the Desktop should be. What do you really need? A menu system, a configuration agent, Date and Time, Desktop Switcher and a place to get you minimized apps from.

WM does for me what I expect - 100% of the time. BTW, my current Desktop session is up for 48 days and a little over 23 hours.

Rating: 10


Come on - seriously now! The only thing then let WM loose a point here is that they changed the theme formats at one stage - which led to incompatibility between themes and versions of WM. Today that is a non issue.

Rating: 9


This is also the weakest point in stability in Windows XP. You can't manage a PC with BSOD - even though an underlying app caused a problem.

Granted - most of the stuff in Unix ( in general ) is done in a terminal. Then again, if you use Mandrake Linux you can configure your system without going to the terminal to often.

My Rating: 7


For me this is a non-issue. Maybe it's because I'm not into fancy stuff and eye candy.

In terms of configuration options to customize WM, I think all the other reviewed desktops take a distant 2nd anyway.

My rating: 9


Come on....

Rating: 10

Stability and Bugs

No bugs visible in the UI. As I mentioned - my session uptime is close to 49 days now. Scary if you take into account WM is still Beta ;)

Rating: 10

Technology + Programming Framework

Windows and Mac are really out of their depth here. Especially since they are Closed Sources.

Rating: 9

My Conclusion

Interesting article, but very Windows bias. I hope you will have more objective reviews in the future.


v Eugenia and her site
by Gecko on Tue 18th Mar 2003 04:57 UTC
Re: Nico
by Roberto J Dohnert on Tue 18th Mar 2003 05:07 UTC

It was a very unbiased review, many of the things she points out, myself and others happen to agree with her. If you dont think its fair or it is biased, write your own review. Choose your winner and I will watch as these people who dont agree with you tear your review to shreds.

v Eug is GREAT!
by Gecko on Tue 18th Mar 2003 05:10 UTC
v Lets try it from an other ip..
by Gecko on Tue 18th Mar 2003 05:13 UTC
Bad review
by FirstTiger on Tue 18th Mar 2003 05:15 UTC

I really didn't like this article. As other posters have noticed, it seems to be entirely on subjective and anecdotal - "I thought it was faster/smoother/better".

I found it especially odd that Windows XP scored highest in the stability/bugs category. Eugenia, you must be using some special version of Windows that the rest of us have never seen! My experience is that Windows XP (with all the updates installed) is more unstable and much less responsive on a >1GHz machine than the first release of KDE3.1 on a 330MHz FreeBSD machine. And bugs? _Please_!

X11, as a graphics architecture, is showing its age. But there is _nothing_else_ that provides the same mature network and platform transparency.

The fashion in commercial Windows (and Mac) apps seems to be for applications to roll their own interfaces - using custom widget designs and 'artistic' interfaces. The hoary "windows is consistent but every X app is different" argument no longer holds water.

My subjective, anecodatal counter would be that the X11 based environments are improving rapidly in all areas (KDE faster then GNOME, IMHO), Windows is getting worse, Mac OS X continues to lead the way, and BeOS is interesting but irrelevent in practical terms.

by JEFFERY on Tue 18th Mar 2003 05:19 UTC

This review seems driven by preference instead of function. Anyone used to a Windoze interface would pick Windoze as an interface of choice. Having used Windoze until about a year ago, I would have agreed. However after using KDE for the last year, I like its custom-izability. Out of the box Windoze is easier. For tweaking, KDE is it. Women like things that just work. Men like things to work with.

RE: Bad review
by Eugenia on Tue 18th Mar 2003 05:19 UTC

> it seems to be entirely on subjective and anecdotal - "I thought it was faster/smoother/better".

It is based on LONG TERM usage. Do you have a specific benchmark that runs on ALL of these platforms and measures EXACTLY the above? NO, there isn't such a benchmark. Therefore, it can't be anything else but write down the experience of long term usage and evaluate the lot.

@Brendan Orr
by Trip on Tue 18th Mar 2003 05:23 UTC

Many people will stay with the default settings that come out of the box. This is why tweaking settings before a review is such a bad idea. Default settings are very important.

Say you're going to buy a car. Just because you can tweak up the car with a different paint job, exhaust tips, vtec decals, rear spoilers or whatever else those ricers do to their Hondas doesn't mean you are not going to seriously consider the default things that come with that car. Get the things you want in the first place (default UI settings) and your user experience will be much better, especially since the ricers are in the minority and most people stick with what they buy.

Why do everyone thinks that windowsXP is bad?
by Anonymous on Tue 18th Mar 2003 05:25 UTC

>My experience is that Windows XP (with all the updates installed) is more unstable and much less responsive on a >1GHz machine than the first release of KDE3.1 on a 330MHz FreeBSD machine. And bugs? _Please_!
Speaking of the truth, I run WindowsXP Home w/ALL UPDATES on a 2.8GHz P4 machine with 1GB of RAM, and I have it to see it crashes more than 2 times in the past 2 months.

by Anonymous on Tue 18th Mar 2003 05:29 UTC

Correct one:

Speaking of the truth, I run WindowsXP Home w/ALL UPDATES on a 2.8GHz P4 machine with 1GB of RAM, and I have YET to see it crashes more than 2 times in the past 2 months.

Consistency with gnome apps
by Trip on Tue 18th Mar 2003 05:31 UTC

GTK/Gnome apps are being updated for GTK2 and as such are expected to be inconsistent during this transision. Many of the latest stable builds for the apps mentioned that were inconsistent (Abiword, gnumeric, Gnucash) all have CVS versions with GTK2 being implemented and should be in the next major releases. Also dragging office apps into these DE comparisons isn't really fair either. You could do a whole other article comparing them (Gnome Office, KOffice, OpenOffice, MSOffice). Does Mac even have its own office suite? Or is it just praying that MS or OO port their suites to their platform?

Gee Eugenia
by Roberto J Dohnert on Tue 18th Mar 2003 05:31 UTC

We must have the same version of Windows XP that no one else has, that gives us cause to celebrate. We are special. First Tiger, I have never had a problem with stability in XP as I previously stated it is the most stable and the best version of Windows Microsoft has ever released, I am running XP Pro with Service pack 1, sure I have had application crashes, but I havent had a system crash, well I cant remember the last time I had XP crash. Mac OS X seems to crash more apps than Windows XP does, You wanna talk stability my AMD Athlon 900 mhz with 2 gig of RAM and my 140 gigs of HD, running SuSE 8.1 hs never had an app or system crash and I run that system 24/7 and I use it intensively, daily. My Alpha Workstation running Linux hasnt crashed in forever either. My XP box is a dual 366 mhz Celeron with 256 mb of Ram with a 10 gig HD, and yet Windows is pretty speedy on that machine and I dont find speed or performance lacking. My G4 450 mhz Dual Processor machine crashes at least twice a month with Mac OS X 10.2 It also has 1.5 gig of RAM.

Gotta love it...
by Jason Lotito on Tue 18th Mar 2003 05:32 UTC

...when the /. weenies come out and state their opinions without reading a thing.

And Roberto, stop lying and quoting people for saying things when they NEVER did.

by Daniel Basso on Tue 18th Mar 2003 05:35 UTC

I agree with most of the article. Even so, I think GNOME has a great future, and soon we'll see newer and better applications (and with better responsiveness, supported by the linux 2.6.x kernel).

The truth is that Free Software is reaching the point where it gets the main development focus, and from there things will get fast.

And being a C++ coder, all I can say about GTKmm is that it really rulz!!! ;)

xp crashes
by Anonymous on Tue 18th Mar 2003 05:43 UTC

>I am running XP Pro with Service pack 1, sure I have had application crashes, but I havent had a system crash, well I cant remember the last time I had XP crash
well it is all about tweaking and other stuff. In the past 2 months my 2.8GHz P4 w/1gig ram system only has one BSOD, and it is because of an old game that is not compatible with Windows xp and 2k.

Hmm, nice and fair d00d
by looncraz on Tue 18th Mar 2003 05:51 UTC

Wow, even though BeOS finished 3rd, I have to thank this guy for being so absolutely fair and honest. Wonderul.

Not only that, but his information was very much accurate for pre-Zeta BeOS.

Okay, in Zeta to maintain R5 code compatibility (oh.. binary too) we have to decide how to implement new features. We also want to keep our code seperate from the Be code allotment (whatever that may be, only Bernd knows for sure).

The current plan seems to be to create a series of libs. Of course, logically created and well documented (and appended to the BeBook in appropriate locations).

BRect frame,
uint32 resizingMode = B_FOLLOW_LEFT | B_FOLLOW_TOP,
uint32 flags = B_WILL_DRAW | B_NAVIGABLE)

Fun to use huh?

Well, yeah actually, pretty easy.
ZPictureButton*button = new ZPictureButton(button_rect,"button","Only If Bitmap not found!", buttonBmp, buttonBmp, buttonBmp,new BMessage(button_MSG), B_FOLLOW_ALL, 0)

What I did is just use the same image over and over. Of course, I guess I will now have to write this class..hmm.. more work.. good idea though ;-)

More midnight coding!!

--The loon, cutting it short

by JEFFERY on Tue 18th Mar 2003 06:06 UTC
v Jeffrey
by Eugenia on Tue 18th Mar 2003 06:13 UTC
v RE: Lets try it from an other ip..
by Grant on Tue 18th Mar 2003 06:14 UTC
RE: OS X spinning beachball, OS X navigation, and gtkmm vs. BeOS API
by Terry Glass on Tue 18th Mar 2003 06:53 UTC

Are this a review of desktop environments, windowing systems, or operating systems? The title leads me to believe it is the first case, but then the article mixes all three together.

The "spinning beachball" has nothing to do with the desktop environment. It is caused by poor application design. You're experiencing the same problem that you get when a MS Windows or X11 app stops repainting itself. Including IE 5.5 as an example was not very nice. It is well known that it was an AWFUL port from the old Classic Mac OS codebase. It is generally consider to be the poster child of "the wrong way to do it."

Mac OS ISN'T keyboard oriented, it's mouse oriented. Always has been and probably always will be. I won't go into the details between which is more efficient versus which people perceive to be more efficient. As a UI expert, Eugena is probably familiar with the studies I would cite anyways. (Of course I spend most of my time in the world's most keyboard intensive app, Emacs. Go figure.)

I have coded against both gtkmm and the BeOS API (DR8-v5). Gtkmm is hands down more "C++". The BeOS API is basically "C with classes."

by Terry Glass on Tue 18th Mar 2003 06:54 UTC

Are, Is. Close enough ;)

re: review
by Bas on Tue 18th Mar 2003 07:04 UTC


I must say it was no suprise that WindwosXP won in your review
since you often point out that is what you like, find best, and use
all the time. No suprises here but to rate BeOS higher than
KDE or Gnome is completly bullsh*t. I use BeOS (yes its dead i know)
every day and i find it a very nice OS to use but with all
gimicks and features enabled it does not come even close to the functionality of kde2, left alone 3 and Gnome. You lack enormous fileds in the review, visability and usability (blind/deaf people) costs, scalability etc. Anyway MacOSX should be no 1 for me followed by KDE and Gnome.

GTK excels in areas the WinAPI/MFC can only dream of. It is clean, easy to use, not derived from a legacy API and doesn't try to change the ANSI standard. Also, GTK is free for any kind of development use. If you write an app with GTK+, it can run on just about any *nix you can point your finger at, Win32 and Beos AFAIK whereas WinAPI/MFC is Win32 natively only (WINE isn't native).

MacOSX/Cocoa uses Objective C, the Red Tape C with an awful syntax. It is MacOS only.

QT is rather nice and runs on Win32, Unix, MacOSX but not Beos. Also, like MacOSX it does not integrate seamlessly with the language, it requires MOC, a cheap way to get around a signal implementation.

As for the comment about Windows' UI being more responsive than GNOME/KDE. LOL!! Thanks Eugenia, I needed a good laugh today! Honestly though, in the development environment and during the heavy copying of files, WinXP's UI can freeze up like the antarctic, causing me to have to CTRL-ALT-DELETE, kill exporer and Run->explorer.exe to restart it. Thank goodness that project is finished! Also, the drop shadows on XP can take ages to render and the transparent selection rectangle takes ages to render compared to nautilus' on this S3/VIA ProSavage.

In conclusion, I believe:
GTK+: 10, QT: 9.5, MacOSX: 8, Beos: 7, WindowsXP: 5

why won't you let me print the page
by Anonymous on Tue 18th Mar 2003 07:23 UTC

I get a link back to the story and a request to 'link only to the story, not the printer version.' Do I have to remind you that YOU linked to the printer version?
I think your referrer test is screwed up.
(Yes, I accept cookies.)

If you don't have a card that can accelerate transparency in XP of course those effects would be slow. I have a Geforce2MX400 card and it accelerates those things so they are not slow on my system.

a few things
by Satchel on Tue 18th Mar 2003 07:28 UTC

I do not work with Beos or Linux, but on the windows-OSX sides I wanted to express my humble opinion:

- On OSX, command-W closes tabs in Safari:
That is the expected behavior in most (all?) tabbed programs on OSX/OS9. On macs a tab window is considered like a regular (nested) window. command-w closes the front tab/window. command-alt-w (dont know if it is implemented in your build of safari) should close all windows/tabs. No inconsitancy here.

- Usability and performance: Frankly, multitasking appears to be much better on OSX, and for me it is the biggest usability issue with computers (I guess we all have different needs). Throw heavy computation (saturating ram, making a large use of I/O and network) at a XP/2K/NT system and you get something close to a unusable user interface, user space slows down to a crawl, and intermittently freezes. While Aqua is not the zippiest on a system without load, its responsiveness remains practically constant when heavy loads are thrown at the system.

- I find the Mac finder in column mode to offer the a better file browser experience than the windows counterparts. Simple, efficient, elegant, flexible.

- the (OSX) dock IMHO is superior to the taskbar, offering more flexibility, spatial arrangement, user configuration..

- I agree that XP/2K are more malleable and configurable, but the control panels on windows is really the weak point: not explicit, barely readable, multi hidden tabs, options, surprise pos up, inapropriate labelling, etc... The OSX system preference app is something my grandma can actually use: easy to read options, well organized and labelled buttons, text fields, icons and toggles.

Smoke Wrote: "If you don't have a card that can accelerate transparency in XP of course those effects would be slow. I have a Geforce2MX400 card and it accelerates those things so they are not slow on my system."

I'm just saying that on my system (ProSavage), Nautilus shows a near identical rectangle in a flash while XP (only installed once, when I purchased the PC) jumps all over the place with the selection rectangle. I didn't trial this on 2 different systems

Your using RedHat, that's why!
by eliott on Tue 18th Mar 2003 07:34 UTC

While RedHat is geared towards ease of use on the desktop, it is not exactly configured for performance. While their version of Gnome is fairly refined, they have severely hacked and abused KDE. I do not complain though. I like KDE, so I use other distros for that when I require it. The point is, that basing KDE on a distribution that has notoriously bad support for KDE is kinda silly. It would be like using IE in OSX as a comparison for .... oh wait....

Where's XFCE
by 3BSD on Tue 18th Mar 2003 07:43 UTC

Sad to see my favorite DE missing. ;)


My Opinion
by gallen on Tue 18th Mar 2003 07:48 UTC

I have a couple of things to say. First is that just because a DE is overall better than another doesn't mean it is necessarily better for your particular use. Some people seem to think that just because KDE was rated lower than Windows that some huge wrongness has occurred. This is not true. It just means that windows may be better for general use. For user Y though, KDE may very well be the best solution.

I chose my DE based on a few things:
1. App support
2. Comfort
3. Ease of configuration
4. Speed

App support is in here for windows. I work for a computer gaming company. This means we're windows centric. We do other os's, but primarily windows. I am also a gamer. This means windows. Mac has some. Linux has fewer (with compatibility through winex but what's the point of running at half windows speed?). Windows is just fine for most task, and once you learn it pretty well it works very well. It has security issues. It can't be fully configured. It's not the fastest thing in the world. But it runs the apps I want, how I want; bottom-line!

That said, I'm an engineer, so when I do engineering work, linux is generally prefered. When I'm running linux, I do use CLI, but the gui is important. I keep trying to like KDE, but I have to agree with Eugenia, it's too cluttered. Konqueror is much harder to use/slower to use than individual apps because of the excess of buttons and functionality. Yes I know it can be changed through configuration, but so can just about anything in windows...that doesn't mean it's easy to do. I use Gnome. That is not really by choice, but it seems the be the best combination of usability and prettiness. I look at the small ultrafast DEs (icewm, fvwm, wm) but they all seem to be lacking something I want, and while they can be configured, no doubt, it's a question of time spent configuring versus time spent on my current project. I said I use gnome, but I HATE nautilus. It's incredibly slow and clunky. Maybe I just have something wrong but I find it way better just to use a console for nautilus like things.

Ease of configuration is where I like aqua. It is a pretty DE with great (and powerful) configuration tools. It has its problems as everything else does though (these are mentioned in the article).

Speed is really dependent on what you want to do. Windows is usually most responsive for me (with the exception of BeOS, but it doesn't really count since there are very few apps worth running BeOS for). I presume this aspect will be fixed in linux before too long as it has always been one of the selling points of linux (fast on old hardware).

Just a comment on HIG. Games have no HIG for them. They have no consistency in user interface at all. They don't need it. HIG is generally an unnecessary thing assuming the app was designed to be intuitive. I don't mind if things look different if I can figure out how to use them and they do something close to what's expected.

So to sum up what I'm saying Windows is great for most things, but if it doesn't suit you, use something else and nobody gets hurt. This is why there are choices.

XP usability problems
by tuttle on Tue 18th Mar 2003 08:03 UTC

One huge problem with XP is not the UI, but the fact that it uses locking with each file operation per default. For example, you can not move a folder full of mp3s while it is playing, you can not move a text document while in use, you can not do a backup while applications are running, etc.

This is not really a problem with the UI, but it makes using Windows much harder and more cumbersome. In linux there is only locking if the app asks for it. One should think that this leads to huge consistency problems, but I never had problems with it.

Why was this not mentioned? Am I the only one who thinks this sucks?

re: speed test
by dwilson on Tue 18th Mar 2003 08:04 UTC

It seems like that KDE and GNOME are having some kind of "speed cap"..... :/

I don't think that is the issue. I think the reason Windows XP ran so much better on your faster machine is because it is very memory hungery. Your 1GB of ram keeps XP healthy and happy. KDE and Gnome (and the linux underneatht them) aren't so memory hungry. Xp is proven to perform crappy on machines without much memory, so on your lower end machine (you didn't say ram, I am guessing 128-256), Xp wasn't pleased. Linux on the other hand didn't mind the change so much, thus KDE and Gnome operated more consistently.

XP and user interface
by me on Tue 18th Mar 2003 08:04 UTC

XP has a most horrible user interface. If you launch two apps and start working in the first one that pops up your focus will be stolen by the other app when it pops up.

This is a serious error because it's the user who should control the machine not the other way around.

The same thing if you are trying to do something in a menu ( I think they fixed it on the Start-menu) and focus is stolen your menu disappears and you have to do it all over again.

I would also like to know what knowledge the reviewer has in engineering psychology / human performance and man - machine interaction.

Whats this crap with OSX mouse support?
by Anonymous on Tue 18th Mar 2003 08:07 UTC

If you plug in a 2-button mouse, you can use both mouse buttons. And the same goes for 3 and 5 (scroll) button support. The rest of the article is pretty much crap as wel.... I personally rate osx far ahead of win XP, and i think the opensource desktops on linux are just as good as on windows.

eugenia is right
by yasasvi on Tue 18th Mar 2003 08:10 UTC

I think eugenia is right. I use the two oses ( win2kpro &xp/office xp, linux ( RH/mandrake))at my place. Although linux is stable, but the responsiveness and the ease of installing is good in windows. Even there is no dependency probs. Win2k/officexp is one of the best combo i ever had. Infact better than winxp/officexp. Winxp is for kids with its all sugar candy'ish look and long horn i see from the builds, is taking it to heights.

Eugenia has done well at least in comparing windows and linux. KDE is just bloated and not as responsive as WE. No need to talk about nautilus

XP Stable?
by tom on Tue 18th Mar 2003 08:14 UTC

I'm running both XP and OSX. I use XP for almost nothing, but still need to restart about once a day. I don't remember the last time I restarted my mac. I find that any speed advantage in XP is negated by its' tendency to hang for incredibly long periods of time. I find that internet explorer, in particular, crashes constantly.

Hardware: 667 Mhz PIII deskop w/ 512 MB ram
600 Mhz G3 iBook w/ 384 MB ram

I'm a CS major, and yet I still found setting up my windows network painful. The only computer that could see anything else on the network was the mac, which could see both PCs, no problem. Meanwhile both PCs were busy trying to create their own network while refusing to join the existing one. Only by doing a complete windows reinstall did it sort itself out.

by yasasvi on Tue 18th Mar 2003 08:23 UTC


Its really surprising to see a CS major unable to setup network in win xp. I am a bio grad working in one of the big acad insti in india. Win 2k/xp goes into network like magic.

I think there is some fault in your installation of windows xp

shit, forgot to mention...
by tom on Tue 18th Mar 2003 08:25 UTC

how unreadable the text on desktop icons gets in windows if you pick the wrong deskop image.

how utterly nasty the windows file organization is... any unix is so muchcleaner.

how windows hides everything from you, so you never know what the fuck is going on.

how windows requires a security update every two days.

how much better office works on a mac.

how java doesn't work in windows until you install it yourself.

how half the time uninstalling software in windows doesn't work.

shit, drag-and-drop, folder-less installation of most software should be reason enough to ditch windows for OS X.

how OS X aliases actually work properly, whereas windows shortcuts are just clutter... then again, the file system is so well organized in OS X that I haven't needed to use any aliases.


Few comments:
by Janne on Tue 18th Mar 2003 08:36 UTC

Eugeniea said that because XP is the most usable of these desktops, she keeps it as her main OS. What if XP is the most usable for her because it's her main OS? If you use XP more than others, of course you get used to it's quirks and it becomes the most usable of them all.

And many of the complaints she had about KDE (I don't use GNOME so I can't comment on that) are not the fault of the desktop but the OS. What distro did you use to test KDE? In Gentoo (for example) KDE is fast and stable. And there are ways to make KDE order of magnitude faster (like prelinking).

And her complaints how "bloated" KDE is are.... well, strange. Bloated how? It would be same if I just said "Mac OS X(for example) sucks!", without telling how it sucks. Just telling that "KDE is bloated" without telling what's exactly wrong with it is rather lame and counterproductive. KDE can be trimmed down, it's has been getting faster and faster and it's memory-requirement are going down. People have been running it on 166Mhz Pentiums and it works fine (once it finishes loading that is)

OS X *has* UNIX...
by James Jeffrey on Tue 18th Mar 2003 08:43 UTC

OS X DOES have the power of UNIX underneath. Therefore under the conclusion of this story it is the "utopian desktop environment".

XP rocks
by Glenn Sweeney on Tue 18th Mar 2003 08:58 UTC

Man XP so works for me .. no wasting around with stupid graphical fx, no "unix" underneith to confuse issues with the host OS.

XP has COM (how else does 1 program support communication with a program not yet even written)
XP has WDM audio and video subsystem (think coreaudio for video .. ie download the DX sdk and run "jukebox" then click load in filter graph)
XP is completely accessable from keyboard.. or mouse.. all its widgets were designed this way (unlike Mac)
XP is multithreaded and has been for years (Even 98 is multithreaded yet OSX finder only just got there)
XP dosent need 2 processors just to go at a resonable speed (p2 200 works great at work with it)
XP supports remote desktop all the way up to terminal server systems.
XP contains no Open Source components not written by microsoft, yet many Open source programmes work on windows if u want them.
XP runs DOS programs, win 3.1 programs win 95 programs win 98 programms win NT programms win 2000 programs.. all almost without fail.
XP has DX8 and soon 9 (Mac and linux have NOTHING as comprehensive dont kid they dont)
XP is scalable from CE to the Nasdaq

This is the tip of the iceburg.. Windows is the technology leader and OSX and linux are playing catch up.

by Daan on Tue 18th Mar 2003 08:59 UTC

What I really mis, is the amount and price of applications available for platform X, to get my work done.
For example: with Linux/KDE you can do your work. One can browse the web, read email and write a letter with the apps delivered with it.
With Linux/Gnome2 this is not possible. It does not come with a webbrowser, nor does it have a email reader or a word processor. Well, reading email will be possible within a short time.
On windows, this is possible too. Okay, Wordpad is not the best but it is possible. And MS-Office also exists.
On BeOS networking does not work for me, and for the rest it does not ship with a good browser, nor with a good email program or wordprocessor. BeMail, Opera and GoProductive are there, though.
MacOSX ships with iMail and AppleWorks, and Safari can be downloaded. MS-Office is available too.

So the environment where you can do your work for free, there is KDE. Second place goes to MacOS-X, as it bundles the software with their computers. One can say this is 'free' but MacOS costs money. Third place for Windows, as it ships only with Wordpad, but better apps are available, but costly. Fourth place to BeOS, as opera and BeProductive cost money and do not have good enough free counterparts, and Gnome2 comes last as at the moment it does not have applications available.

Re: XP rocks
by Daan on Tue 18th Mar 2003 09:04 UTC

KDE has DCop
KDE has aRts and KParts audio and video subsystem
KDE is completely accessable from keyboard.. or mouse.. all its widgets were designed this way (unlike Mac)
KDE is multithreaded and has been for years (Even 98 is multithreaded yet OSX finder only just got there)
KDE dosent need 2 processors just to go at a resonable speed (p2 200 works great at work with it)
KDE supports remote desktop all the way up to terminal server systems.
KDE is Open Source so everyone can make it better
KDE runs Console apps, Motif apps and more, almost always without fail
X11 has Mesa.

Good article... some constructive critisism
by Skipp on Tue 18th Mar 2003 09:16 UTC

I found this article to be both insightful and informative, as well as unorganised and lacking in focus. Firstly, let me say thank you for putting so much work into such an article and of course into OSnews. I enjoyed the article. However, there were several aspects I found somewhat suprising. Firstly, you were much too apologetic, don't appologize when writing an article, it just cheapens it and diverges from the focus. Secondly, state your goals clearly and consistantly and stick to them. This article seemed more like a stream of consciousness than a review. Thirdly, stay on topic, every paragraph it seemed that you went off on a tanget as you wrote. I was also suprised at some parts by what seemed like you didn't take the time to research enough, the facts came out bare, not clear and consise. One point that struck me as particularly bothersom was when you said,

"As someone else said once 'after you have used BeOS, anything else will never be the same and it would just seem slow' and that has proved true. "

Someone? who???? Scot Hacker!, Eugenia, shame on you, you should know that, he only wrote that in a review on this very site! Why paraphrase when you can get the real quote? You only had to look into your own archives to find it. Took me ~1 min to find this quote by Scot Hacker:

"While BeOS did get faster as years went by, the OS was a speed demon from day one -- radical efficiency was one of its hallmarks from the start, and one of its great drawing cards. The fact of the matter is, BeOS on a Pentium 233 with 64 Mbs of memory is faster than OS X is on this so-called supercomputer. "

I also found several parts simply factually incorrect and highly opinionated. That is great for an opinion piece, but this is suppose to be a review. FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS. I also detected some BeOS bias, I can understand that as you are married into the BeOS family and all, but, it really showed through, which is a bad thing when you are trying to write an impartial review.

I know that this is comming in late in the tread, but I hope that someone will read it. Thank you for this article, and I hope that when you write your next one, you will take some of my advice to heart.

Long time reader,

by net on Tue 18th Mar 2003 09:22 UTC


that's hilarious, windows xp win...
mmm... let me see, how much money do you receive from them?
don't answer please. I don't want to explain how slow is windows xp with a Pentium II and how much different behaviour it have with gnome or kde, the stability and flexibility and everything is out of range when you compare windows and gnome or kde, giving the linux desktops more than never know flexibility and stability.

so I think, I disagree with ratings...

- Windows XP: 6.5
- Mac : 7.2
- KDE : 7.9
- GNOME : 8.0

Say what you want, it's still biased!!
by lebowski on Tue 18th Mar 2003 09:23 UTC

I tend to disagree with large parts of this article. Particularly, I really don't see how you can say that XP and OS X are about the same when it comes to stability.

I've used OS X now for 1.5 years, and not ONCE has it crashed. The only times i've had to re-start it was after system updates. I've installed loads of different apps (large ones like Office and Photoshop to a very large number of smaller utilities), i've customized the OS using various hacks (themes etc..), i rarely turn the machine off, and it just keeps pluggin away. AND, i'm using a 2 y.o. low-end iMac.
Conversely, i know not a single XP user that hasn't had a crash. Many of them are extremely reluctant to install any new software, through fear of it crashing the system - this fear is not borne in a vaccum. One person i know gets continuous restarts in XP for no apparent reason - it looks like a serious hardware problem, but then why oh why does it not happen with RedHat or SuSe booted??

They way the UI look and feel is judged is also very suprising. IMVHO, the only reason you find XP more productive is because you, like many people, have become locked-in to the Windows UI and it's start menu, widget style/location etc... If you consider the individual elements and the reason for doing them in that way (Mac OS X single menu bar which reduces screen clutter, always located at the top of the screen for easy access etc...) an truly unbiased review will find OS X to be superior.
For those of you that want a more complete and (although it is written by a mac user, still) unbiased comparison of XP and OS X, have a look:

RE: Eugenia
by GetOutofHere on Tue 18th Mar 2003 09:27 UTC

It seems like these comments were directed toward both KDE and Gnome UI managers, since they seems to have brushed you off during the last interview. I could tell in your Q&A that you were not happy with the responses from both camps.

Both KDE and Gnome seems to have gotten low scores in the integration and consistancy, a big petpeeve of yours.

Everyone ticked off at Eugenia's comment should relax, it's only one person's opinion; nothing more nothing less.
Besides, how many guys really care that much about appearance?

Linux will forever be a GUY's ultimate toy; atleast KDE/Slackware/Gentoo.

Re: Glenn Sweeney
by Janne on Tue 18th Mar 2003 09:29 UTC

"XP is scalable from CE to the Nasdaq"X

Not quite. Windows CE (or Pocket PC or whatever) really has nothing to do with XP, apart from having word "Windows" in their name. And the XP you use is quite different from the server-editions (datacenter-server etc.). and FYI: NYSE recently migrated to Linux ;) .

Linux on the other hand... It's basically the same OS, regardless that is it running on a PDA (like Sharp Zaurus) or a mainframe. Windows on a PDA is completely different from Windows on a server.

"XP has DX8 and soon 9 (Mac and linux have NOTHING as comprehensive dont kid they dont)"

Linux has OpenGL. Direct3D has only recently started to approach OpenGL in features and functionality. As for sound, Linux has ALSA, OSS, OpenML, SDK...

"XP supports remote desktop all the way up to terminal server systems."

X has had that for years! I'm glad to see XP finally reached the level of functionality X has had for as long as anyone can remember.

"XP contains no Open Source components not written by microsoft, yet many Open source programmes work on windows if u want them."

Linux has no Windows-apps made by MS, yet many MS-programs work on Linux if you want them

"Windows is the technology leader and OSX and linux are playing catch up."

Heh, MS only recently got features that has been standard in Linux for years.

lunx fanboys
by Glenn Sweeney on Tue 18th Mar 2003 09:30 UTC

Its funny windows caching technology has ment for ME and for my LINUX friends windows is faster on old and new technology to use.

Dunno what ver of linux u guys are using but IE on windows sure cains netscrape on unix.

OSX fanboys.. I like each meny with each window.. i oftern click directly on a menu of an app not in focus.. i hate the slow OSX way.

Its always the ppl that claim the others are locked in that are the ones who are really locked in.

by makkus on Tue 18th Mar 2003 09:31 UTC

First Gnome doesn't have a menu-editor. But you can edit the menus.
1. Start-here (what does it say? Right!!!)->applications, here you can add and remove links to applications (what does it say? Right!!!). The menu is called applications, what can you find there? Right, the same applications.
2. Right click in the application menu, go to entire menu and here you can add a new link to the menu.

You expect a menu-editor, first they complain that every DE wants to look and funtion like Windows XP, but then they expect it to look and function like windows XP. Double standards.

Your dislike of GTK+ and C makes your judgement of Gnome very biased. The development-tool agnostic nature of gtk+ is in mine opinion more a strenght then a weakeness. What is you dislike of gtkmm?

Windows XP consistency
by JK on Tue 18th Mar 2003 09:36 UTC

I'm surprised the author of this comparison didn't mention the inconsistency of Windows XP running a mix of SDI and MDI apps. To me that's much more inconsistent and a bigger usability issue than Apple's metallic windows, MDI apps work in a significantly different way to SDI apps.

For example they don't show all their windows on the taskbar, while all Mac OS X apps I've seen use the Dock in the same way. MDI apps have a single menubar for all windows, SDI apps have a menubar for each window, while Mac OS X apps all consistently use the menubar at the top of the screen. The window management behaviour inside different MDI apps can be totally different. For example some have their own internal taskbar, some have a window menu and don't let you minimise windows. I could go on, there are a lot of other inconsistencies and they aren't just in older apps.

IMO MDI is a terrible design, it makes working with multiple windows of different apps a real pain. Having to deal with MDI is the main reason I prefer a slower Mac to my fast PC when doing DTP and Photoshop work.

But I guess everyone has their pet hates that don't bother other people, that's what makes UI design such a personal thing.

RE: Janne
by Glenn Sweeney on Tue 18th Mar 2003 09:38 UTC

Not quite. Windows CE (or Pocket PC or whatever) really has nothing to do with XP, apart from having word "Windows" in their name.

CE is diff from windows but the APIS are very similar. Terminal server and XP home share a very very very simlar codebase. Perhaps u dont program?? so u dont realise this?

Linux has OpenGL. Direct3D has only recently started to approach OpenGL in features and functionality..

U proved my point that u dont understand DX. A even John Mcormak likes DX better than open GL now. The rest of DX is unique to windows .. the bits for controllers, client server network code, audio with real time automatable FX etc etc
Linux has ALSA, OSS, OpenML, SDK...
None of these are as good as DirectMusic and DirectSound.. also its AWEFUL having 4 standards .. lack of audio standards on linux is a big minus, the apis are ok but nowhere near DirectMusic and DirectSound.

X has had that for years! I'm glad to see XP finally reached the level of functionality X has had for as long as anyone can remember..
Yup it has its also slow thats why ppl want to change X to be like windows without the bad network implementation.

Linux has no Windows-apps made by MS, yet many MS-programs work on Linux if you want them ..
Yup thats good .. bear in mind i was refereing to OSX .. which sells OSX on the fact it comes with Apache ..

Heh, MS only recently got features that has been standard in Linux for years.
Such as?

Linux is still chasing the performance enhancements windows has.

Glenn Sweeney:
by Janne on Tue 18th Mar 2003 09:38 UTC

"Dunno what ver of linux u guys are using but IE on windows sure cains netscrape on unix."

Nobody uses Netscape. Mozilla maybe, but not Netscape. And what do you mean "cains"? Do you mean IE is better, or faster or more secure? IE is not better. Mozilla and others render websites correctly and it renders them faster. And don't even get me started on security!

Opera is also miles ahead of IE. For all intents and purposes, IE is pretty mediocre browser.

IE might start faster but that's because parts of it is loaded when Windows starts. But there are lightweight alternatives on Linux that load just as fast (like Galeon or Phoenix). And slightly tweaked KDE/Konqueror loads instantly.

XP Should Win
by Ken Lynch on Tue 18th Mar 2003 09:43 UTC

I'd have been surprised if XP didn't win. It has the biggest application base, biggest user base, biggest hardware support. I currently run XP and I don't care what anyone says, on my PC it is fast and stable. The only other platform I can get apps to do what I want on is OSX - I would love a Mac but can't afford to buy one and replace all my software. I've tried every major distro of Linux, BeOS, and QNX and while they all provide nice desktops, nothing matches XP for its applications and hardware.

I do a lot of 3D graphics, web/graphic design, photography, and music on my PC and there are NO alternatives for the software I use on any other platform except OSX. Don't get me wrong, I've looked into all these OSs because I wanted to get away from Microsoft's quirks and I had high hopes for BeOS with it having the weight of a company behind it and with it's aim of being a Media OS.

Since Windows XP came out and I believe it has addressed a lot of issues with the Windows 9x range and does continue to improve. But whatever OS you run you need to take the rough with the smooth.

Now if I could get OSX on Intel/AMD... well I can dream ;-)

Glenn Sweeney:
by Janne on Tue 18th Mar 2003 09:53 UTC

First: could you please type properly? You sound like a 14-year old.

"_CE is diff from windows_ but the APIS are very similar. Terminal server and XP home share a very very very simlar codebase. Perhaps u dont program?? so u dont realise this?"

So you admit that the OS'es are different? Thanks for proving my point. As to Linux: The OS IS the same, even if it's on PDA or mainframe.

"U proved my point that u dont understand DX. A even John Mcormak likes DX better than open GL now"

Wrong. Carmack said that only with DX9 Direct3D has reached OpenGL (1.4. OpenGL 2.0 is in the pipeline). And still, OpenGL has the advantage. For example: if you want to use ALL the new features of GeForce FX, you have to use OpenGL, Direct3D just doesn't cut it. And why do all professionals use OpenGL and not Direct3D?

"None of these are as good as DirectMusic and DirectSound"

How do you know?

"also its AWEFUL having 4 standards"

The word is "awful". And there's nothing wroing with having several competing standards. In MS-world, MS dictates what goes on, in Linux, it's free competition and the best tech wins.

"Yup it has its also slow thats why ppl want to change X to be like windows without the bad network implementation."

What is slow? X? Nope it ain't. Some IMPLEMENTATIONS (like Xfree) could use more tweaking, but X itself is good and fast. And the network-implementation is good. Fact is that X has had features for a long time that were unheard of in Windows-world. MS touts their "remote desktop" as an innovation, when in reality it's has been standard in X since it's birth! MS just lags behind. Big time.

You obvously don't know what you are talking about.

""Heh, MS only recently got features that has been standard in Linux for years."
Such as?"

Like the remote desktop you raved about. Old news on Linux. And besides, MS has started copying KDE and Gnome with XP (like application-grouping).

"Linux is still chasing the performance enhancements windows has."

Yeah, right. It's a well-known fact that Linux mops the floor with Windows. Windows might SEEM to be faster (on the desktop that is), but in reality it isn't. And in Linux you have the choice to choose your UI to fit your needs. Don't need full-featured desktop but a lightweight UI? use something like Fluxbox. On Windows, you are more or less stuck at what you get.

And the new 2.6-kernel bring HUGE benefits to end-users, desktop-user included.

Re: the definite review, etc.
by Richard Moore on Tue 18th Mar 2003 10:08 UTC

> The bug is still there on the three distros I tried with > KDE 3.1 on them: the text size buttons in particular.

Which 3 were those? Are there three distros that include 3.1 yet? I have to agree with Roberto this is not a good article - it tries to cover too wide an area and fails to do any part of them justice. It is simply a rehashing of your previous complaints.


Fair and good
by Cuba++ on Tue 18th Mar 2003 10:14 UTC

I found this article fair and well written. I use WindowMaker 8-10 hours a day, Gnome 2.2 for 6 hours and there are still little problems. I use W2k for 2hours a week, but certain thins run better on w2k to be frank. Good work!

waho 2.6
by Glenn Sweeney on Tue 18th Mar 2003 10:23 UTC

So you admit that the OS'es are different? Thanks for proving my point.

And thanks for ignoring mine that Terminal server and XP home are pretty much the same OS. I dont see many useual apps for a PDA, u usualy want to run specialised smaller apps which u then compile for it. Exactly the same as CE .. good thing about windows is useually u dont need to recompile except for CE. (Making it the only time its as much hassle as linux)

About DX, its got a standard for pixel and vertex shaders.. unlike open gl. If u want to use the advanced features of the latest cards u write them specifically for that card. DX provides a layer so u can come a lot closer to writing the pixel and vertex shaders once. If u really want u can code directly for the card anyway i believe. DX is obviously better, providing a common framework AND the ability to utilise the newest features. Dont call the vendor specific enhancments part of opengl.

The "pros" used to use opengl cause it was made for modelling and rendering not gaming, nowdays ppl write games in 3dsmax with direct support for directx. It depends on what your aiming for. DX supports way more features then opengl (without vendor specific addons) and as i pointed out there is DirectPlay and many other parts to DX that arent on any other platform.

None of these are as good as DirectMusic and DirectSound"
How do you know?

Because im a programmer and have programmed both. How do u not know? havent u looked?

As an IT lecturer once told me "the great thing about standards is theres always so many to chose from".. just think about it for a bit.. just look at the state of linux audio apps .. maybe then youll understand. So far u dont have a "winner" so linux has many problems.

I wouldnt say i raved about remote desktop i just mentioned it. Ive used X for over 10 years.. i know what it does.

Appears to be faster on the desktop .. lol i like that .. so when apps run popup and swap faster its just in the appearnce.. not the real performance.

Linux wins some brute force benchmarks but not real world transaction etc type benchmarks.

Windows wins on the desktop .. and on the REAL server benchmarks.

These huge benifits of 2.6 are pretty much the things that hve been in windows for quite a while now.. start naming the things that windows dosent have.. U dont have to use explorer.. but its so fast the exploere replacements keep dying because nobody wants them.

by stew on Tue 18th Mar 2003 10:33 UTC

MDI is the main reason I prefer a slower Mac to my fast PC when doing DTP and Photoshop work.

MacOS X is using MDI too, just look at ProjectBuilder...

by JAVE on Tue 18th Mar 2003 10:39 UTC

Ofcourse this review is subjective, that's what you get when you try to compare things that you can't measure with standard tests.

I use KDE/Fluxbox (depending on the power of the machine I work on) on FreeBSD. I also use WinXP (Hey, I like to play some games every now and then :-)). I hate it when an GUI steals a large part of my screen for buttons & bars. It's quite hard to get KDE good looking with small icons & buttons though.
I tried Gnome a few times, but I can't get used to its way of working.
WinXP has the option to use the 'classic' windows look. It might not be beautiful, but at least it's consistent, small, and EVERYONE is used to that look. Most people I know that use WinXP use the classic look for one of those reasons.

I don't really care if my GUI is beautiful, as long as it's functional. (Although things can be too ugly to be usable (see AmigaOS 1.3 with the default colours)

I'm RIGHT!!!
by zhopon on Tue 18th Mar 2003 10:51 UTC

I always said that Windows XP is the best!
Sorry.... I'm really hungry for an alternative but the only one who could beat Windows XP is BeOS but it's dead... ;)

The whole article is just a giant troll
by GldnBlls on Tue 18th Mar 2003 11:11 UTC

Basically, Eugenia has her opinions, and then set out to prove them, rather than the other way round. How else can you explain BeOS's inclusion, for example?

The bugs in Kongueror do not exist in the latest version of KDE - the fact that she obviously used KDE 3.0 proves that this was not a fair comparison. She presumably used RedHat 8 as well, which is well known for having introduced several bugs and inconsistancies into KDE.

On the subject of stability, GNOME applications fall over if I look at them the wrong way. I have also had problems with several WinXP apps - bearing in mind that Eugenia sees fit to include app bugs as DE bugs (eg konqueror), this should also bring XPs score down. But it didn't, did it?

I agree that Keramik is ugly, which is why I use the KDE 2 Default style, which I find much cleaner. The buttons in the kicker are too big by default, but it's trivial to make them smaller though.

I agree with other posters comments, you installed kdesdk, then complained when you get various sdk tools (cervisia) integrated into KDE. If you install stuff you don't want/need, don't turn round and blame somebody else when you see icons for stuff you don't want/need.

On the whole, I've seen several articles by Eugenia, and agreed with practically nothing she has ever said. Oh well.

Good article, but
by bb_matt on Tue 18th Mar 2003 11:13 UTC

I would've liked to have seen Windows 2000 used instead of Windows XP, simply because it is the most polished version of the "old theme" that so many know very well.

I more or less agree with the final scores, having used everything mentioned with the exception of BeOS, except I would place Gnome above KDE when the Blue Curve RedHat 8.0 theme is used - I find the basic interface the most slick I have seen in X11 to date.

The bottom line is that Windows and MacOS are far more mature than either KDE or Gnome and I'll also add that they are far more focussed, mainly because they are a result of a closed source development team that is very tightly knit and controlled.

On the flip side, Gnome and KDE, although still very "young" in development terms, have showed major improvements with each release - I'm sure they will only get better as time goes on.

What a load of crap
by Phil on Tue 18th Mar 2003 11:20 UTC

Your article was over opinionated and completely bias. You obviously hate X11 and throughout the article stepped around that fact.

Opera and Qt
by AVL on Tue 18th Mar 2003 11:50 UTC

...important applications that are still available only as Qt 2.x (e.g. Opera)
Opera is actually using Qt3 from version 6.1 and upwards.

by Manip on Tue 18th Mar 2003 11:54 UTC

I agree from the point at which you install all these GUI's this is a fair assessment. I think though if all of them where tweaked and customized you would get very different results.

Also I think the current Linux GUI's suck ass and I find them irritating. Windows 2000 is a pleasure to use and I can't speak for Beos or Mac because I have never used them

Control Panel vs. KDE Control Center
by Fritz on Tue 18th Mar 2003 11:58 UTC

Ok, first off I disagree with the review in many respects, but an opinion is an opinion and I'm ok with that. Although calling a single person's review "The Definitive" review is a joke.

Anyway, my one major complaint was about Eugeia's belief that the KDE control center is too complex and bloated. Quite the opposite compared to the winner, XP. I would assume that in writing this review you are assuming the user has had the same amount of time to learn each DE, and assuming that it is rediclous to assume the user would find the KDE control more complicated than XP's.

Yes, there seems to be a lot of options in the control center, but in reality, there are no more (possibly less) total tweaks than in XP. The difference is that they are all in one spot. Have you ever seen a non-computer person look for a single option in XP? They sort through menu to submenu through sub-submenu, etc. Several of the options are just illogical, but as a regular computer users, most of us accept that and remember their location. I believe that unintentionally, the writer assumed her ease of using the control panel was because of it's design, and not because of her years of experience. A new user to KDE can simply open up the kontrol center, and while it may seem frightening at first glance, it is structured logically and everything is there in one spot.

-> Fritz

I am not a zealot.

by Anonymous on Tue 18th Mar 2003 12:03 UTC

These kind of comparisons are utterly useless as information source. It just reflects the taste of the writer.
I've seen no objective numbers in the review. And no sound controls when things were compared. In addition, a lot of the things under examination were subjective.
Lastly, many things under investigation are actually not caused by the toolkit.

The result is that everybody here is complaining (and rightly so) or just happy (also rightly so) because their observations are different or similar to the author's.

conclusion: pointless review. OSnews: please be a bit more objective next time.

But well, if Eugenia would have written down: 'if you want to know which DE is better, you will have to try it yourself', nobody would have published it:)

Some minor points for Eugenia
by Jonas B. on Tue 18th Mar 2003 12:06 UTC

Overall I think your comparision is very good. Your observations are always enligtening. Having coded some intro/demo code earlier, I am as depressed as you are on the state of the art environments. (Vsync isn't exactly rocket science.)

There are two minor points regarding your KDE tests. I think what makes KDE a real DE is that it actually has all those apps for it (as opposed to any of the other free environments). Mozilla and Openoffice, no matter how good they are themselves, aren't integrated in *any* DE (actually, Mozilla is almost its own, see OEone).

So I believe you should give KDE higher consistenty rating, and look only at KDE apps such as Konqueror and KWord. (Galeon for GNOME, then.)

You should also tell us what distribution you are using. To to fair to KDE you should use Gentoo with the 'prelink' package (there is a Howto available at the Gentoo web). KDE is heavily dependent on shared libraries, and prelinking these (which is NOT static linking!!) makes a large difference on application startup times. This is how Mac OS X behaves as default. The frequent crashes you see with KDE 3.1 may also be a packaging problem, it is very solid for me.

I'm not saying KDE is better than the others, just that some of the comparisons may be a bit unfair. I believe KDE sucks. A lot. But it shows a great promise and has the most potential, which is why I'm leaning towards it for the future.

MFC good?
by lurwas on Tue 18th Mar 2003 12:07 UTC

As everyone that's been working with MFC for more than 2 months knows, MFC sucks!

by Tim on Tue 18th Mar 2003 12:07 UTC

I've been forced to use XP recently at Uni, and I must say that I find it slow, extremely unresponsive, ugly, and overall unpleasant to use.

I use KDE 3.1 at home, which I greatly prefer, but my favourite is Gnome 2 which I find to be a very easy to use and logical layout. I also have Win2k at home, but I only use that for Visual Studio (too many incompatibilities with other compilers, and uni insist on using VS), and viewing sites using Quicktime or Shockwave.

Not knowing your criteria for marks, I will rate my experience in terms of XP, KDE3.1, GNOME2(best first)

Look and Feel: GNOME2, KDE3.1, XP
Usability: KDE3.1, XP, GNOME2
Consistency: XP (it all looks crap), KDE3.1, GNOME2
Integration (your definition): XP (wish I could use text config files though), KDE3.1, GNOME2

Flexibility: KDE3.1, GNOME2, XP
Speed: GNOME2, KDE3.1, XP
Stability and Bugs: not much difference, i've had more problems with XP than the others, but not noticed any real "bugs"

Technology: not up to speed on this area (not very "desktop" subject really though)

Programming Framework: not done too much programming, but I cannot stand MFC, and tend to shy away from it and .NET as I try to do cross-platform stuff.

Conclusion: KDE 3.1, GNOME2, XP (I realise that GNOME2 and XP had the same average position, so I decided their place on "which one would I prefer to use?"

GNOME2 (13) KDe (10) XP(13)

Glenn Sweeney
by Mike Machuidel on Tue 18th Mar 2003 12:07 UTC

- Currently OpenGL2 is still under development while OpenGL1.3 supports new features of modern video cards through extensions. Direct3D usually lacks behind.

You can read about OpenGL2 and what it will do here:

- The syntax of Direct3D had changed a lot over the years and is by now almost the same as OpenGL. Cause of the Direct3D syntax changing that much a lot of documentation is outdated by now. The OpenGL syntax is still compatible with older versions and in my opinion easier to learn.

- My biggest problem with DirectX is that its not portable to other platforms. I like to write a program so I can use it on different platform only by a recompilation. For example on Unix I can use Mesa.

- As what you said about John Carmack, here a direct quote from what he said about Direct3D:

Direct-3D IM is a horribly broken API. It inflicts great pain and suffering on the programmers using it, without returning any significant advantages. I don't think there is ANY market segment that D3D is apropriate for, OpenGL seems to work just fine for everything from quake to softimage. There is no good technical reason for the existance of D3D.


Recently he didn't say that Direct3D was better than OpenGL, he only said that Direct3D is approaching OpenGL to be as good.

- A benefit for Direct3D is that it has better support for older video cards. Correct me if I'm wrong.

- Just like DirectX under Unix you can use SDL ( in combination with OpenGL ( for 3D graphics and OpenAL ( for 3D sound, this is pretty much the same and fully portable to other platforms. That way it doesn't matter if you use OSS or ALSA for audio, these are just choices you can make abstracted by SDL were eventually the best one will win, probably ALSA will replace OSS in the future.

- Linux currenly has a complete audio framework ready to be used. Have a look at Ardour ( and you'll now what I mean. But I agree that one of the things the open-source community still needs is a descent music/sound editor, may be like what the Gimp does to graphics. Everything else is pretty much there and well integrated.

I'm using Gnome myself and think it's one of the best desktops out there, I cannot believe why Gnome is ranked that low, even lower than BeOS. And WindowsXP is ranked that high, why?

Gnome is so very clean, it does the same what any other desktop does but does it right, like for example being able to change multiple desktop configurations at once using GConf. The only thing that still misses is a good file selector, everone knows that by know, but it's better than nothing.

What's wrong with Gnome using C, the reason they are doing that is to make it easier to create language bindings. Like C++ ( and many others ( Damn, parts of windows are written in C as well, is she complaining about that?

If she really thinks that Gnome looks so bad she probably used the wrong theme. She should have given ScalableGorilla a try, many people like it more than the default Gnome theme.

You think Eugenia is completely wrong? You think she doesn't have a clue, is a troll and hates X11 above everything else?

Why don't you go ahead and write down your own comparison? You can even try and submit it as an article on OSNews. I think it'd be only fair if you contributed your opinion in a well-formed article to OSNews, so that readers are educated about both sides. I'd love to see where and why you think Eugenia is wrong.

However, that would take a little more from your side than just posting "What a load of crap".

re: The whole article is just a giant troll
by Joe on Tue 18th Mar 2003 12:21 UTC


How else can you explain BeOS's inclusion, for example?

Was wondering about that one too. This is the only site I ever see talking about this dead OS. I've never seen, heard, or known anybody or any organization that uses BeOS. I'm certaintly not saying it needs to be popular to be a good OS....just don't understand where is it being used, by who, and why.

Can it be considered primarily a hobbyist OS?

by Elektro on Tue 18th Mar 2003 12:31 UTC

I personally think that KDE is the best environment but I also like Gnome. I cannot follow you in your assumption KDe was slow. I run KDE from CD (Knoppix) and it works fine. Especially the QT-Toolkit is the best structured GUI toolkit araound. Motif programs run but are not part of KDE. Another important factor is internationalization.

I prefer the control center. Settings of Windows are distributed.

I also prefer an editor with more options, what I dislike with KDE is that 3 editors are provided.

A Windows default desktoip is nothing worth.

The new start-menu of XP is garbage when you want to run your programs.

XP does not offer you 4 desktops.

KDE with Keramik and lightweight buttons - fantastic.

Don't run KDE-ripoff on RedHat or Lindows. That gives a bad impression.

Many apps don't follow guidelines yet. Sure, but would it be better if they ran on BeOS? It's the problem of the apps.

by Schock on Tue 18th Mar 2003 12:36 UTC

The bluefish argument is silly. Bluefish is not part of Gnome. Dreamweaver also has a different UI than Windows XP. Who cares? KDE Quanta is nice as well.

Great review, excellent job !
by John G. on Tue 18th Mar 2003 12:43 UTC

I dare all the oriented critics here to ellaborate such an exhaustive and meaningful DE review, they probably don't have half the competencies Eugenia has to write their own. Ok, it reflects Eugenia personal opinion about DE but bear in mind that it is soundly argued and provided with article references and screenshots whenever appropriate. Anything said in this review can be verified easily.

Chapeau for your review and thanks for sharing it with us !


OSes are tools
by CrackedButter on Tue 18th Mar 2003 12:43 UTC

Operating system maybe just "tools" BUT if i had a tool like a screw driver i would expect to use it as i please. Rather than the tool say "Sorry this nail is not compatible with your screw driver" and then on the flipside organistations are trying to further force "users" to buy their screws because you as a user of that screw driver can get your own because your friend has a device which stamps pieces of metal into new screws.

Bah i'd rather build my own screw driver (linux) or get somebody who offers me a screw driver that can do anything i want it to (Apple) unlike from the other guy who is limiting me to his nails for his screwdrivers (ms).

So they may be tools but its nice to have a favoutire one and then preach about how much better it is compared to others on the market.

by Aitvo on Tue 18th Mar 2003 12:45 UTC

You said:
>Ignorance?? Hardly.
>Check our archives. We wrote already 3 reviews on Lycoris. >But Lycoris has less than 3% of the *Linux* market. Which >translates as 0,01 of the world OS market. Therefore, Lycoris >is irrelevant at this point. Especially for this

I hate to break it to you, but BEOS has even less marketshare than Lycoris. BEOS is irrelevant at this point. Especially for this article. I'd agree with your article but I've been too busy resetting my Silver XP theme every 30 minutes because my file menu seems to lose it's ability to blend with the rest of my desktop. Honestly, I think XP GNOME and KDE ALL deserve a 6, but that's just me.

Indubious References to Gnome
by Karl Abbott on Tue 18th Mar 2003 12:48 UTC

If one wishes to review RedHat, then please don't call it gnome in the future. RedHat's gnome is a bastardized version, like everything else they do. Use Gentoo and review the straight unaltered source for crying out loud before you review something! If you're not reviewing an unaltered product, then you're not presenting a straight review.

Karl Abbott
by Aitvo on Tue 18th Mar 2003 12:54 UTC

You have obviously never used it. I hate to burst your bubble but they have invested more into GNOME than all of the other Linux distributions combined.

by Karl Abbott on Tue 18th Mar 2003 12:58 UTC

I use it on a daily basis unfortunately, and yes I know that RH has invested a lot in gnome, but a stock gnome install from source runs a hell of a lot better and doesn't have that god awful menu layout! I appreciate RedHat's work on gnome, but their presentation of the environment is highly flawed. It's half the reason she gave gnome a bad rating. A lot of her problems were RH specific. You have obviously never run gnome from source.

Eugenia XP?---Not!
by Glanz on Tue 18th Mar 2003 13:01 UTC

Under X11, and in this order, are four alternatives far superior to XP: IceWM, Xfce, WindowMaker, Blackbox.... Each of them is more than three times as fast. The fact that you find the XP interface superior to either the Gnome or the KDE environments is not a testamony to the superiority of XP, but rather a sign of the degeneration of the others to the point of lumbering unuseability, especially in Gnome's case, and the incompetence of Distro developers when it comes to consistent integration.

I simply cannot believe that anyone with your knowledge of Operating systems would choose XP as the "best" in anything. Well, as they say, we all create or own private helll, and I must say, you are welcomed to yours. But this may have an upside for you. Now maybe you can sell some AD space to the convicted monopolist.

Karl Abbott
by Aitvo on Tue 18th Mar 2003 13:17 UTC

I've been running GNOME as long as there has been a public release of GNOME. I have used the, Ximian, Gentoo, and RedHat variants. Eugenia is showing bias in this review, for example:

>The functionality of the Red Hat's Gnome taskbar is fine,
>but it feels a bit amateurish, icons in the notification

Huh? Can you resize the XP startbar to use only 45% of the screen, and remove the start button? No.

>area move by themselves and create unwanted space, the menu

Riight, they move by themselves, they appear and disappear like any others on any other OS.

>is ugly and looks like a potpourri. However, applications

The menu while not beautiful is not ugly by any means.

>like FileRoller and Red Hat's RPM installer application make
> the whole experience better. Gnome can easily become better


> than what it is today. Exactly because it is already
>simpler than KDE, the work required to clean up things, I

Clean up what? You realize that the menus have been cleaned up in the RedHat beta, after all YOU reviewed it.

>think, would be less overall. However, I don't understand
>what took the Gnome project (especially Red Hat) developers
>so long before they start working on the new
>GtkFileSelection. It is now scheduled for Gnome 2.4, which

They were busy with other things.

>comes out at the end of the year. Also, why can't I move the
> toolbars from Nautilus next to each other and save some
>real screen estate? Anyway, more here.

See my comment above about the Windows startmenu

OS Responsiveness
by Hank on Tue 18th Mar 2003 13:19 UTC

I've been very disappointed with OS bloat in the offerings of Microsoft and Apple, but at least Apple's excuse is an overly ambitious graphics engine. How is it that WindowsXP feels more sluggish in operations on a 2.4 GHz Dual Xeon machine than Windows2000 on my 900MHz laptop? How is it that this dual processor machine can still be brought to its knees simply because explorer is trying to find a network file server?

BeOS was cool in the responsiveness category, as was illustrated above. On my 500MHz Pentium, to show people how neat the OS was, I ran every mpeg movie I had on my system simultaneously. Then I started up Gobe Productive and started working, and there was no speed degradation and the movies were all playing reasonably well. Is that a stupid benchmark? Certainly. It had no practical use whatsoever. However it was cool looking, and a testament to the fluidity of the OS.

I miss BeOS, and may buy Zeta out of nostalgia. However it is dead for all intents and purposes. It will live on in a dedicated few users, but will never reach critical mass. That is a sad but accurate statement. I'm therefore hoping Apple gets their processor act together to keep OS X alive, otherwise we all get to be sucked into the MS vacuum.

by Aitvo on Tue 18th Mar 2003 13:28 UTC

"How is it that WindowsXP feels more sluggish in operations on a 2.4 GHz Dual Xeon machine than Windows2000 on my 900MHz laptop?"

I agree with this statement. My 400 running Win2K feels faster than my 1.6 running XP home. I've tuned XP as far as it can go too, it boots into 90MB of RAM and I've applied every tweak in every combination out there. :-(

by Karl Abbott on Tue 18th Mar 2003 13:31 UTC

Right on man! That is definitely the angle I was coming from. Sorry that we didn't see eye to eye at first. My apologies ;)


Re: Glanz
by stew on Tue 18th Mar 2003 13:38 UTC

Each of them is more than three times as fast.

If you come up with such figures, may I ask how you do you measure that?

m$-xispe better than mac osX and kde....
by fs/oss on Tue 18th Mar 2003 13:42 UTC

let me laugh....

the m$-xispe desktop is something really hugly....

by Chris Simmons on Tue 18th Mar 2003 13:47 UTC

You do realize that Zeta is coming out this year, from YellowTab, right?

They're far from dead, imho. ;)

-Chris Simmons,
Avid BeOS User.
The BeOSJournal.

aitvo - XP 90MB mem load - that's worse than default
by tty on Tue 18th Mar 2003 13:52 UTC

a cleanly installed XP has only 60MB to 80MB mem load after bootup

a tweaked XP can do 35MB to 45 MB on bootup

by PH on Tue 18th Mar 2003 13:55 UTC

Biased, subjective, superficial...That's not a serious review, that's a 5-page long opinion about OS that could have fitted perfectly in some forum or just as an Editorial. I thought I was @ osnews, not osopinion...
In my Opinion twm rulez, so twm: 10, WinXP: 0.

No surprise here
by ac on Tue 18th Mar 2003 13:57 UTC

Anyone who has read Eugenia on OSNews more than twice knows that she is infatuated with Windows XP. She used to be hung up on BeOS, but apparently she has noticed that BeOS was a failure and has died.

All of Eugenia's "unbiased" reviews have the same outcome: Linux, KDE and GNOME suck because they don't follow her personal preferences; OS X sucks but less than Linux; XP has minor flaws, but overall is absolutely dreamy.

For me, XP is an ugly kludge, suitable only for computer newbies and Aunt Tillie. I cannot understand why people get the idiotic idea that one DE is going to be right for everybody - CHOICE IS GOOD. Anything (Windows XP, BeOS) that satisfies Eugenia's ideas about DE design is going to feel like a child's toy to a poweruser who is happy with KDE.

by Glenn Sweeney on Tue 18th Mar 2003 13:58 UTC

D3d had imediate mode but nobody uses that.. eveyone seems to agree it was a stupid mode, and using the other mode was more complex than opengl. DX has improved and until recently it was the only way to attempt to program cross card pixel and vertex shaders.. open gl had been stuck.
It seems because MS was pushing so hard to try make DX8 utilise all the features of Nvidia and Ati (it failed to do a complete job hence Dx9 soon) Opengl has had a big resurgance catching up to the latest features, however its been slow to create a cross card pixel and vertex shader standard.

It seems for doom3 John is now using ARB_vertex_program's which work on opengl and directx. Its very good to see nvidia and ATi working this out.

I also happened to find cross platform tool, looks pretty cool.
"Support for DirectX Pixel Shaders with the OpenGL Renderer!" etc..

I wouldnt have much of a problem if the D3D part of DirectX was really just openGl, if it supported the latest hardware with cross card compatibiliy. ARB hopefully will solve these problems anyway ;)

About DirectX my point was that all the DirectX libraries together make a very easy free way to develop games and other multimedia titles. There are several very good libraries for linux, but they dont fit together and oftern lack all the features provided by DirectX.

If linus decided multimedia was part of the OS and tried to forcus on a single video , 3d, 2d accel, controller input/output library (using filters and graphs like windows)this would be a very good thing. The amount of free stuff still mighnt include a client server network game engine or some of the other plentify features of DX but that wouldnt matter to much.

by oGALAXYo on Tue 18th Mar 2003 13:58 UTC

For those who think that GNOME is consistent, looks clean and esthetical. You probably have skipped or ignored my UI review that I made 2 days before official GNOME 2.2 release. None of these issues have been solved or paid attention to. You can read the review here:

Some of the points I brought up such as the Toolbar issue are said to be solved with a new Toolbarcode from LibEGG which soon replaces the other Toolbars (all the old code is getting wrapped). But pay attention to the other issues there. Some people also worked to fix the Toolbar issues in the various old Toolbarcodes which are spread over the GNOME libraries, they are on bugzilla for various weeks now and instead applying the obvious fixes they still discuss wether this makes sense or not. All in all from esthetical standpoint I find GNOME very unpleasing to use. But that's what one has to expect when unprofessionals are working on serious Environments and talk about corporations and business customers in the same sentence. KDE is a bit undervalued in this review (no doubt) but GNOME deserved that place.

The article says "GTK-- is there as a C++ wrapper to GTK+, but it ain't elegant or easy to use". gtkmm hasn't even been called "GTK--" since November 2001. This suggests that the author hasn't actually looked at it. That's fair enough, nobody knows everything, but in that case it's best not to express strong opinions about it.

As ever, we would be interested to hear about any specific problems - most people find gtkmm to be clear and easy. If you can get your head around MFC's bizarre undocumented API, as you suggest, then gtkmm is going to be a walk in the park.

The worst...
by PH on Tue 18th Mar 2003 14:03 UTC

I forgot: The worst thing of the article is that it's autoproclamed the "DEFINITIVE"...

by Aitvo on Tue 18th Mar 2003 14:04 UTC

Default is all well and fine, after your virus scanner and all of the other things that are necessary on the Windows platform 90 is quite good.

Eugenia is no journalist. Why care?
by Adam on Tue 18th Mar 2003 14:05 UTC

Taken from an informed post on Slashdot:

Some quotes:

1. What we are comparing here is the overall user experience

2. I decided to include in this test only operating systems that I can reboot at any time

3. the way things work in a way most people expect

The translation

1. What we are comparing here is *my* overall user experience

2. I decided to include in this test only operating systems that I can reboot at any time, thus rejecting any scientific methodology or averaging effects which may significant when determining membership of a particularly fuzzy data set

3. the way things work in a way *I* expect as a long time user of $MYFAVOURITE desktop environment

I'm not going to go on, all of Eugenia articles are like this. Stating opinions as if they were facts does not make them facts. "The buttons are overwhelming" is not the same as "the temparature of the solution was 26 degrees". None of this is helpful - I (as a random member of the computing community) do not care what Eugenia's preferences for colour, widget style and theme are. I care whether these environments can be made to work the way I want them to. I (as the adminstrator for other desktops) care whether these environments have the ability to make my users happier; if their particular preferences can be accommodated.

This brings me to what these sorts of reviews should focus on... absolutes only. e.g.

features of WinXP: themeable, log multiple users on simultaneously, clean fonts, ability to choose classic style or luna

features of KDE: virtual desktops, themeable, transparent menus, adjustable levels of eye candy, full featured keyboard shortcut editors


Writing those lists just now I noticed how hard it is to keep my own opinions out of it, but it can be done and a journalist should certainly be doing that. If a personal opinion were required, it would be preferable that a third party was used as the source of opinions as we are more likely to hear a balanced view than the rantings of one particular user.

In such a subjective area - more care must be taken to remain objective. It is not sufficient to simply write at the top of the article "I realise this is subjective but...."; I'm sure what she meant, as a professional journalist, was "I realise this is subjective so I have taken the following steps to minimize any influence my own opinions may have on this review"

This is a difficult task, articles such as these must by definition include some element of opinion; comments like "The menus were slow to respond" are acceptable even though "slow" is a subjective term; but one I would be willing to allow under the assumption that an experienced computer used could assign fuzzy terms like "slow" and "fast" with the same skill that we can all use terms like "hot" and "cold". This is not an excuse to decend into the completely unquantifiable "I want my UI pixel perfect".

All these environments will gain equally from a more balanced review process and as such we will all gain.


In the end Eugenia is hilarious, but with nothing of any real value to offer. Why should any of us listen to her when she clearly has no problems declaring this to be the 'Definitive' review and stating that she has no bias when in fact anyone (no matter what the favorite desktop) that reads the article can tell immediately that it is littered with opinions, contradictions, and generally a bunch of subjective blather.

gnome is b*tt ugly - Remote X is just slow
by Anonymous on Tue 18th Mar 2003 14:05 UTC

just look at the file open dialog - anything since 1995 on
windows beat it and in terms of functionality, you just type *.* in the file name field and it would not expand the wild card - that's worse than win3.0 IIRC

XP's RDP can play VCD (mpeg1 video) over a network and run MacOS emulation with a decent frame rate - doing similar things in X is either impossible or with an unusable performance.

if X, or XFree86's impl. of X is fast, why there is the need for the linux kernel patch to improve UI responsiveness ???

by TheCatPerson on Tue 18th Mar 2003 14:09 UTC

I had expected much more from the article, based on its table of contents and avowed purpose, than what was delivered. The reviewer appears to lack the technical expertise and design saavy required in order to properly evaluate the items she discusses. Instead, the review consists largely of comparing various OS in terms of how well they do things the way Windows does. Numerous comments about what the right-click menu should contain and how the taskbar should look backs up this perception. Given this criterion (i.e., "how good a Windows is it?"), it shouldn't be surprising that Windows "wins".

However, as someone who works with all these OSes (and more) on a regular basis, and who does programming on them, administration of them, and user interface design for them, I can attest that both her criteria and her final judgements are arbitrary and useless. (Certainly anyone who doesn't find a Unix-based OS to be the most stable has not worked sufficiently with it and its competitors to know of what they speak. But I am critiquing her review, not the merits of the individual OSes here.)

Ultimately, this review is too subjective and unformed to be anything more than a testimonial for the author's preferred OSes. Which is disappointing.

PS - An editor, or at the very least a spell-and-grammar checker, would go a long way towards creating a more professional article, which in turn would make it more likely that you'd be taken seriously as a reviewer instead of as a mere booster.

by Mike on Tue 18th Mar 2003 14:16 UTC

Heh, you call this 'definitive'?!?! LOL

You're kidding, right?!

aitvo - I dont use anti-virus sh*t on windows
by tty on Tue 18th Mar 2003 14:19 UTC

with NTFS and a user account - limited in xp's term and non-root in *nix world - I don't need to have too much of a concern for virus

IE and stript ??? scripting is disabled in my IE except for a few trusted sites.

In fact, I never used any anti-virus software on a daily basis even on win9x - since I dont run untrusted programs/activeXes and script is generally not allowed in IE and OE and file sharing is only started when I need it.

Combined, these steps let even win9x ran on my computers
much more stable than X with any apps more sophiscated than an xterm.

reviews are based on opinions...get over it
by PJM on Tue 18th Mar 2003 14:23 UTC

>"The buttons are overwhelming" is not the same as "the temparature of the solution was 26 degrees".<

No, you can't review the user experience of an OS as if it were an experiment in physics. Beyond simple (and uninformative) statements, everything gets into the realm of opinion.

I guess nobody here has read a movie review.

write your own...
by stew on Tue 18th Mar 2003 14:23 UTC

I see a lot of folks here that don't like the review and critizise the reviewer and her criteria.

Why don't you write your own review? Complaining is one thing, but doing it better is another thing. OSNews is accepting reader submissions, so go ahead and do something better yourself.

Good but definately biased
by Danni Coy on Tue 18th Mar 2003 14:25 UTC

Firstly nice review... I think it puts things usefully for many people. However the review is of coarse biased... (To have an un biased review you would need somebody who had not used a computer before)...

My point being that I personally find many of the features in a desktop like KDE to improve my desktop experience beyound what is offered by the more mainstream DE's... I am sure that if windows XP offered some of these features and KDE did not people would notice.

Anyways KDE (and other X-WM) features I find it difficult to live without)...
1) The ability to stick any app to the screen so that it stays on top no matter what - This can get a bit tricky with dialogues but I find it essential.

2)Focus Follows Mouse / Focus does not raise window -- This makes life a lot easier when accessing reference material from another app.

3) Multiple Desktops - I don't use them that much but they sure are useful.

4) My Kde Desktop is incredibly responsive under load. I can have a Render happening and My processor (a Duron 750) and my memory (756MB) Can be maxing out with no slow down to the system. In fact I can browse the web use Emails etc and not notice any difference to performance at all. I can compile software and watch fullscreen DVD's at the same time and only occassionally notice any problems with the performance of the DVD.

Overall I think though that the X based DE's lack the polish and intergration of the Native DE's, However since both KDE and Gnome are now on 6 Month release cycles I would expect the situation to improve quickly.

I think that as Linux is better geared for the desktop the quality of these environments will improve.

to Stew
by Glanz on Tue 18th Mar 2003 14:29 UTC

Yes Stew, you may ask.

RE: The Definitive Desktop Environment Comparison
by nonamenobody on Tue 18th Mar 2003 14:32 UTC

Whilst this is an interesting, entertaining and somewhat informative article, I would hardly call it 'The Definitive Desktop Environment Comparison'.

There are a number of points which I take issue with. Particularly the integration rating, BeOS gets 10 because it only supports BeOS apps. A KDE system, with only KDE apps installed, would provide similar level of functionality to BeOS system (IMHO). Additionally many X11 apps, with their inconsistent bunch of toolkits, will run on Windows XP or Mac OS-X just as much as they can run on a system running GNOME or KDE (which could be Mac OS-X, or Windows XP). I believe Eugina is confusing her OSs and her desktop environments.

BTW one last small point that I have to mention, Opera has used Qt 3 for quite some time now.

The other part of this 'comparison' which really shows it up for what it is (Eugina's Definitive Desktop Environment/Operating Systems Opinions), is the final rating. The final rating should not be a simple average of all the seperate sections, which implies that all sections are of equally weight. It should either be a separate, independant rating (the reviewers overall impression) or it should be weighted average, with each of the previous ratings given a weight and then averaged.

I believe the third sentence of the conclusion sums it up: 'But I think this article summarizes well my view on how well these DEs they function and deliver what they are supposed to deliver to the user.'

I would agree with that line, to be honest Eugina's concise view of Desktop Environments, is much more interesting to me than an exhaustive comparison (of things which aren't really comparable anyway).

I particularly liked the link with her thoughts on Keramik, I really like Keramik, but the toolbar backgrounds and the borders do annoy me.

re: comment
by Anonymous on Tue 18th Mar 2003 14:34 UTC

For those who think that GNOME is consistent, looks clean and esthetical. You probably have skipped or ignored my UI review that I made 2 days before official GNOME 2.2 release. None of these issues have been solved or paid attention to. You can read the review here: ~chrisime/random/ui/

NO - we have all seen your site, and noone can believe that a GUI designer like yourself would design such a horrible looking website!

by oGALAXYo on Tue 18th Mar 2003 14:36 UTC solves all your and others Keramik issues ;) . I prefer simple Windows 2000 look or Mosfet HighPerformance-Liquid under KDE.

To Stew
by Glanz on Tue 18th Mar 2003 14:38 UTC

<<I see a lot of folks here that don't like the review and critizise the reviewer and her criteria.

Why don't you write your own review? Complaining is one thing, but doing it better is another thing. OSNews is accepting reader submissions, so go ahead and do something better yourself.>>

My my, aren't we turning into the Don QuiX(P)ote of the IT world here! But I understand Stew. When I take a break from rescuing virgins from the flames of perdition, I write article too. Of course nothing of such a high quality in the convicted criminal monopolist's eyes. I simply cannot believe anyone even considers XP to be an "operation system". It is more like a user "honey pot" to catch the credulous in a labyrinthine back-ended mother of all security flaws.

@Anonymous (IP: 129.62.16.---)
by oGALAXYo on Tue 18th Mar 2003 14:41 UTC

> NO - we have all seen your site, and noone can believe that
> a GUI designer like yourself would design such a horrible
> looking website!

Do you value how the site looks or what's written inside (the information it spits out) ? It's right that my english grammar sucks bad ass and it's also true that english isn't my native language and it's true that I'm no webdesigner. Regardless of these issues, the context is still true and can be verified by everyone on her or his own. I think you are a GNOME user, feel free to ignore the issues on your plattform. I'm not the person to be blamed for issues related to the Environment.

@oGALAXYo, Anonymous
by Jaroom on Tue 18th Mar 2003 14:42 UTC

> ~chrisime/random/ui/
May suggest the spell checker for this one, too? :-)

> [...] We have all seen your site, and noone can believe that a GUI designer like yourself would design such a horrible looking website!
There is nothing wrong about that website's layout, honestly. You don't need to win a design prize with a UI mockup, now do you?

Which is why you have no credibility. You probably have every virus in the book, and are the very reason I am still logging requests from hosts for root.exe.

in regards to api's
by slacker on Tue 18th Mar 2003 14:45 UTC

I don't see how on earth you could come up with some conclusion that just because a library isn't programmed in C++ that it isn't worth your while. C++ is classically bloated, and you do pay for the extra overhead of "object orientation". I've had to program using the windows whatever libraries, it is the most confusing library I've ever seen; I'll even take Qt over Windows. GTK+ does have an object hierarchy unless you are extremly blind, and has extremly good bindings for Objective-C. My only bitch about Qt is the liscensing. Your damned right that Cocoa being a good library. Your article is completly biased imho and it's a shame that you ever had the gaull to post it.

by stew on Tue 18th Mar 2003 14:47 UTC

Is there any substance in your last post?
Why do you suddenly get all that defensive when I was only asking for people to write down their different opinion? I'd seriously be interested in reading a profound, prejudice-free article representing an opposite position.

It's just a matter of taste and what kind of apps you use
by Z_God on Tue 18th Mar 2003 14:52 UTC

I really prefer KDE over anything. I also find it to be more responsive on my machine than Windows XP. Also Windows XP seems to swap my apps to disk pretty soon, while in KDE/Linux they're just availlable when I need them.
I love the new keramic theme and the way KDE looks, while I don't like the XP default theme at all. At higher resolutions, the fonts in Windows are a lot worse than in KDE.

I don't think this is a good article since many things are just a matter of taste and also really depend on what you are used to use. A thing I really missed from the article was the cost of the software. For me, XP is pretty expensive.

Great Article
by Erik Axel on Tue 18th Mar 2003 15:09 UTC

First I'd like to say I really liked your article. (even though "my" GUI didn't win)

One point you probably should investigate is the new O(1) patch on Linux (is in 2.5 branch now!). The reports says you'll get a much better responsivness using this one.


Erik Axel

"Dead" BeOS
by Hank on Tue 18th Mar 2003 15:09 UTC

Chris Simmons, "You do realize that Zeta is coming out this year, from YellowTab, right? They're far from dead, imho. ;) "

As I said in the post, "dead" doesn't mean obliterated. There will be a core of loyal users who will continue on with BeOS. However the dream of reaching critical mass and having widespread acceptance is dead. Just look at BeOS from 1999 and look at BeOS today. In 1999 it had the potential of catching on, today it has zero chance of doing so. That's a reality. That doesn't mean people shouldn't continue to sell it or use it, or that anyone will. As I said, I'll probably buy a copy of Zeta for nostalgia purposes. If you think it will ever reach a significant percentage of the installed platforms, even 1%, then I think you are living in fantasy land.

Windows responsiveness
by stew on Tue 18th Mar 2003 15:12 UTC

I really prefer KDE over anything. I also find it to be more responsive on my machine than Windows XP.

One reason why Windows is very unresponsive sometimes is the fact that window operations like dragging go through the applicaion's main event loop (at least in Win32, haven't tried .NET yet). That means when the app is busy handling other events, it is unable to respond to such messages.

In X11, the application owning the window does not have to worry about moving the window at all, since the window manager does take care about that.

waw, allot of comments
by Anonymous on Tue 18th Mar 2003 15:24 UTC

221 comments for a single article, is this a record? ;)
I didn't think that the article was that good though, way too subjective, zero research and user-testing.
If eugenia rounded up 100 people, all with different computing backgrounds, and let them use the various desktop environments, well *then* it would be interesting. Currently it's just an editorial..

good lord
by Aerick on Tue 18th Mar 2003 15:28 UTC

This is probably one of the most ill-informed, poorly written articles I have seen on this site. Definitive? Hardly. It told me nothing I don't already know! And the technical content is as watery and thin as my Aunt's tomato soup!

This was the final nail in OS News' coffin. I don't take slashdot too seriously, but OSNews has become the laughing stock of the Alt OS community. And given the number of posts I am sure I'm not the only one who feels this way.

Now all you need is yet another article on why BeOS "isn't dead".

WTG Eugenia!

File locking..
by looncraz on Tue 18th Mar 2003 15:31 UTC

The most intelligent way for responsiveness is to Lock a file only on write. However, your store changes in a temporary attribute (not possible in most places, so a temporary file) until a copy task is complete of the original, then make the changes immediately afterwords. and Unlock.

Or, you can just do nothing, and let the programmers take care of it, like Linux or Zeta. That way you get this:

file->AddAttribute(bool,"RunDeamon", true);

You had a lock of about .000002 seconds.. at most. It is very unlikely (even with a Node monitor in place) to be able to access the file at the exact same point of time the lock occurs.

Another thing that is wise, is to create a scheduler in the file system. When another app calls a file that is locked, you return a code of FILE_LOCKED, the app simply does this:

if (file->Open == FILE_LOCKED){MyNodeMonitor("unlocked", &file);}

and with your MessageReceived for your BApp or Looper:

switch (msg->what = NODE_MONITOR){

That means as soon as it is no longer locked, it opens. ;-)

Of course this is just how I do it. Works for me ;-)

Okay, for all you who do not know, I just spawned two threads. A BMessageRunner thread and a BLooper thread. One which sends messages, the other which recieves ;-). I have nothing to worry about how it is done, the system does it for me, and the UI stays perfectly responsive (the work is being done by the system to alert me when the app is no longer locked).

In this case I do not display a note to the user, as this will last at the most of just a half second or so regardless of how well another app writing to the file is. The system automatically will unlock it on a schedule and suspend the other apps operations for about 2ns. Totally imperceptible, but that is what multithreading is ;-) Of course, it also depends on priority.

A priority of 10 (Normal) will result in a 2ns period of time in which the CPU is used for app #1 per schedule pass. And 15 may result in 3 or 4 (it will be revisited more often, and out of order based on priority and such from my understanding of things.

Now, of course, I just use the stuff, and write some of the other stuff, so you don't need to take my word for it. I didn't design it, or ever even see any code that does all this, but it is what happens (enough coding mistakes trying to learn how to deal with files, and you will figure it out soon enough).

--The loon (What was I talking about??)

Oh, and it should be ZBitmapButton, heh.. and a note on that (previous post I made, like #121)..

The other Bitmaps are optional, only need the first one, and leave the others as 0 (NULL), which will cause the images to be tinted or grayscaled for effects (Well, I plan on it being that way.. haven't coded it yet).

Some things Forgoten about Konqueror..
by megalex on Tue 18th Mar 2003 15:32 UTC

Some People fail to see some critical features that konqueror has that many filemanagers / browsers dont have !!! Konqueror TOTALY does circles around IE ect..

PROTOCLS !! konqueror handles MANY ptocols.. IE handles just a few..
in example:



many more..

and you get a "feel" the overall filebrowsing feel when you are using one of this protocols is that you are browsing in you localhost in terms of what you can do!! you can edit/move/copy files directly and do many of the same functions that you would do to files that are in your local file system. and any of these protocols in Konq move WAY faster than in IE. specially smb/ftp.
Kioslave allows you to have many more.. weeee...

Add Tabbed Browsing / Split views and you have an awesome way to manage multiple directories in a single window ! Or you can browse websites in tabbed or split view!!
Let me Tell u SPLIT VIEWS ROCK !!!.
for pics look at

To poor Stew
by Glanz on Tue 18th Mar 2003 15:41 UTC

<<Why do you suddenly get all that defensive when I was only asking for people to write down their different opinion? I'd seriously be interested in reading a profound, prejudice-free article representing an opposite position.>>

For the last ten yeard, good tech writers have been exposing Microsoft and Microsoft's software. It would be a total waste of time explaining anything to a devoted Windows user. It would be like explaining logic to Dubya, like trying to convert Saddam to a born again Christian sect, trying to de-program & un-brainwash someone suffering from the Stockholm Syndrome. As another one of many MS victims, you seem very confortable in your opressor/opressed relationship with the criminal corporation. You are more than welcomed to stay there.

Some good points but biased and wrong framework
by Anthony on Tue 18th Mar 2003 15:43 UTC

The biggest problem is that she is using the wrong criteria for desktop analysis

She uses The Look and Feel, Usability, Consistency, Integration, Flexibility, Speed, Stability and Bugs, Technology, Programming Framework.

What about security? Leaving this out for me draws question
to validity the whole analysis.

What about Value? ($$ vs what you get)
And lock-in.

What about hardware support?
Gnome runs on many platforms unsupported by Windows etc.

Specific problems:

Programming Framework
- This has to be the most misinformed section. There are dozens of api that work in Linux. Both gnome and kde can use XML to define layouts.
What about wxWindows, FOX, PyQt, wXRuby, Java?

There are so may interfaces for programming I think the majority of programmers
if they have worked with both would prefer the flexability, code availability
and cost of GTK and secondly QT.

The Look and Feel

"I don't like keramik"
-Ok change it
-different distros change them

Which distros did you look at Xandros? Lindows? Mandrake 9.1?

"Gnome widgets are plain"
-so fix them


"problem I have with KDE is its extreme bloat."
-pick a distro without it - knoppix


She talks about applications not desktop. If this is truly a desktop review than no applications
would be mentioned.


She doesn't want to have to open a terminal app. Well she doesn't to edit a configuration
file. The registry is much more confusing the configuration files
as there is no space for comments.

"no GUI on configuring printers/scanners/other hardware"
-knoppix both have one

Definitive...come on now
by teknishn on Tue 18th Mar 2003 15:44 UTC

I respect your opinions and your review Eugenia, but you should have left off the term Definitive. Not much to say that hasnt already been covered and then some, so I'll just share my own quick opinion.....

I personally think XP is garbage. Its the same thing we've been staring at for 8 years with new fluff added to it. I would give it high marks for consistency and speeed and low marks for innovation and customization.

OSX is super purdy, and has really nice innovations like OpenGL rendering of the UI. But, its still a canned setup and, like XP, youre really stuck with what Apple and MS want....not what you want.

I personally run KDE3.1 under Gentoo (Gentoo = speed.....lotsa speed). I really cant understand how anyone can think windows is more functional than KDE is. When Im in windows at work or at home for games etc, I feel handicapped. With excpetion to playing games, there is nothing windows does that I cant do in linux. In fact its quite the oposite. I want to do somthing in linux I can got get whatever program it is that I need for free. With OSX and Windows you have to go buy very expensive software to accomplish your goals. On the konqueror note, I really dont understand your position. Konqueror is great to me. Does everything window explorer does, but better and faster. Not sure where you get this KDE = bloat crap either. Its not even close to the bloat of windows and its 1gb install. The big problem with KDE has been that its cluttered or messy, and I think that 3.1 has come full circle to cleaning that up and making things much more user friendly without taking away the ability to customize everything.

Im not too fond of Gnome personally, but I will give it its due props. Its clean its fast. Ive had stability issues with it, but Im not gonna hold that against it til 2.x has really matured. My problem with Gnomw is that its too clean, at the sacrifice of easily accessible functionality and customization. But, I believe theyre moving in the right direction.

One last thing to mention about the latter 2 that I believe is very important and should be considered in any "Definitive" review is the fact that the devolopment pace of KDE and Gnome are and will far outpace that of the Windows and OSX UIs. MS has released the same ole UI since win95 with nothing more than refreshments. I expect OSX will be the same. Then you have to wait several years in between any possible UI enhancements or innovations and then fork out $$. Longhorn UI looks just like XP with some refreshments as usual, and theyve borrowed the multiple desktop idea from the Linux world. KDE and Gnome on the other hand will generally see 2 to 3 or more point releases a year and most likely 2 or maybe even 3 major releases in that same timespan.

This is just my opinion, but I think your review was far from "Definative" and was anything but objective. I really think there are few ppl out there that can be objective much less definative. I work with KDE3.0/3.1 and Windows2000/XP equally almost all day long. With regard to those 2 UIs I can be objective and I TOTALLY prefer KDE 3.1 outa the group. Its as fast, its more stable, its more secure, its more functional than windows and its all mine (configured to look, act, and feel the way I want it)

Re: Glanz
by stew on Tue 18th Mar 2003 15:47 UTC

As another one of many MS victims, you seem very confortable in your opressor/opressed relationship with the criminal corporation. You are more than welcomed to stay there.

ME? A MS victim? What in the world led you to that funny conclusion?

Re: Ken Lynch
by Bas on Tue 18th Mar 2003 15:48 UTC

>I do a lot of 3D graphics, web/graphic design, photography,
>and music on my PC and there are NO alternatives for the
>software I use on any other platform except OSX.

No, Linux runs just Ventura, Gimp, FilmGimp, Blender, Maya, Houdini, Softimage, Mantras, Mainactor and Real3D.
Nothing special here...

Huh? What distribution?
by dkite on Tue 18th Mar 2003 15:50 UTC

Kde has configuration for X. You can change resolution, etc. Of course, you need a working setup to get there.

Also, kdeprint has printer configuration if you use cups as a driver. Select printer, paper, resolution, etc.

It may be more of a distribution issue here.

Odd the konqueror crashes. I haven't had any since rc6. Again possibly a distribution issue, since I've had two or three updates to kdebase.

Another quibble. You used a piece of software that is unsupported, ie. beos. Yet you could use it without getting some key or something. With XP, you have to ask permission to use what you have purchased. Once it's not supported, you will be out of luck, even if it is a favorite. Maybe outside of the scope of the article, but that situation disqualifies XP from any of my machines.


From a GAMER's point of view
by Anonymous on Tue 18th Mar 2003 15:52 UTC

--Windows-the king of games. Compatible with any new games. Console games are ported to Windows first ALMOST all times.
--MacOSX-pfffttt.... sure you can play recent titles on that, BUT who likes FEWER new games and who likes to see having to wait an additrional 3-5 months to wait until the mac port of the new game is finished?
--BeOS-heh, very few recent titles are on that platform
--LINUX(KDE/GNOME)-Yes you can play PORTED titles OR play recent games under WineX. But what now? SOME of recent titles works in WineX, but they will be SLLOOOWWWW. One of my game is soldier of fortune 2. With the SAME setting and playing on the SAME map, I get a 20-40FPS(frame per secend) DECREASE IN WINEX! Note that my normal FPS is about 125FPS in an empty map (System: p4 2.8, 1gb ram, geforce ti 4600)

Stew, do you mean?
by Glanz on Tue 18th Mar 2003 15:53 UTC

...Sorry RMS, I didn't know you were posting under the name of "Stew".... Now I must leave you to you personel hades. I have virgins to rescue, and miles to go before I sleep.

eComStation is readily available, as is OS/2 if one looks at all online. Its WorkPlace Shell, long lauded as one of the best GUIs ever developed, *still* has capabilities like work area folders, templates, and visual cues that more "modern" desktops seem to be lacking.

By failing to include it or its successors simply because it's inconvenient, I believe you do your readers a serious disservice. They already have a clue about the common Linux, Windows, and Mac desktops. How about introducing them to something "new"...?

by stew on Tue 18th Mar 2003 16:01 UTC

Are you even trying to lead a conversation here or are you just building chains of nonsense phrases here?

by george on Tue 18th Mar 2003 16:02 UTC

Simply unbelievable. Living in a college dorm between two of our student network techs I get to hear their complaints. XP is not well loved. One has wiped it for a Win2k install. Gamers especially dislike the latency tradeoffs (framerate up, sound down to the point some games aren't playable). And I just opened Kcalc, and it opens faster than any single app I run on Win2k (disclaimer: Mandrake 9.1rc2, so I'm compiled for 586). Most *everything* is more responsive under linux than MS (although BeOS does well here too). I clicked on a folder on my desktop and there it was open. No having to watch the little sandglass. If MS wasn't slow, and ugly, and dumbed down (try to search for "regression" in excel, its not there...took two Physics Phds half an hour to find it as "line fitting"), then it could be in the running . Assuming you don't care to be bankrolling convicted criminal enterprise. Admittedly MS is everywhere (as are Fords or Chevys,) but when BMWs are *free* it is just unbelievable that people can suggest that the Ford looks better or handles better. It just doesn't. I mean not even. ROFL!

beos UI and stability
by le_tigre on Tue 18th Mar 2003 16:13 UTC

say, eugenia, you referred to dan0 as "beta" in reference to its unstable app_server - does that apply to your experience with zeta, as well?

Konqueror bloat? General feedback on the review.
by sindre on Tue 18th Mar 2003 16:15 UTC

Someone mentioned konqueror being bloated. I don't think konqueror's many features slows it down much, since konqueror is modular. Meaning it loads the needed module when it's requested. For me konqueror is the trap that makes it really hard to use any other DE than KDE. (Yes I realise I can use konqueror outside KDE, but then I wouls have to load tons of extra libraries, which I don't want to). I'm addicted to many of konqueror's excellent features.

Looking at the review it seems that some of the good/bad points being made for each DE, could well apply for some of the other ones too, making them a bit wothless. Also I think it's totally unfair to rate KDE's consistancy, looking at non-KDE applications.

I would have installed the linux DEs on a distrobution which favours none of them, e.g Gentoo (if I was to publish a review).

Seems you found out you like Windows XP best, but I don't think you really found out why. I sure don't know why.

by nils on Tue 18th Mar 2003 16:29 UTC

well i have read a lot of posts, and i agree that kde/gnome have there faults.Also with respect to the article a little more taught might have been put into the review of the desktops.As to the the font issue i think that with gnome and kde support for widget AA my eyes are alot less strained, I supposed this is a good thing.Gnome has some issue with stablilty but these will be worked out in no time.Kde well as i do not use this desktop for everyday use i am not qualified to comment on,but i have it install on my gentoo system along with fluxbox,xfce (can't think of the rest).enough about that... linux as as a desktop enviroment is here with kde 3.x and gnome 2.x and will get even better with time, where as with most other (DE) unless they radically change the direction of their development and design will not have any major innovation. And will be borrowing(stealing) more and more from kde/gnome to encorprate them into there design. With respect of X i think that yes it is big (not bloat) but for what it can do outweights the costs,also with the 4.3 version will see big improvments in the how X handles errors and such things.
ps. I am typing this from a college computer(win2k) and i must admit that the fonts suck big time in comparsion to Gnome 2.2 AA(they just looks better).
nils (linux only shop since 1999).

Fianl Ratings math error....
by nic on Tue 18th Mar 2003 16:43 UTC

ok, Eugenia has 5 different categories where she scored each of the 5 DEs:
-Look and Feel: Windows XP 8.0, MacOSX 9.0, KDE 6.5, BeOS 7.0, Gnome 6.5.
-Usability: Windows XP 9, MacOSX 8.5, KDE 6.5, BeOS 8.5, Gnome 7.
-Consistency, Integration, Flexibility: Windows XP 7, MacOSX 7, KDE 8, BeOS 7, Gnome 7.5.
-Speed, Stability and Bugs: Windows XP 9.5, MacOSX 9, KDE 7, BeOS 7.5, Gnome 8.
-Technology, Programming Framework: Windows XP 8, MacOSX 10, KDE 7.5, BeOS 8.5, Gnome 7.5.

Final Rating:
Windows XP 8.55
MacOSX 8.33
BeOS 8.22
KDE 6.72
Gnome 6.61

however, how does she arrive at the "Fianl Rating"?
if she took the average for each DE, her math is wrong and the outcome is different.

averaging the 5 categories together reveals:
OSX 8.33
XP 8.30
BEOS 7.70
Gnome 7.30
KDE 7.10

so how did XP win again??

RE: Final Ratings math error....
by Eugenia on Tue 18th Mar 2003 16:47 UTC

They are not five categories, they are NINE. Do YOUR math.

by Daan on Tue 18th Mar 2003 16:49 UTC

One of you said, well, go write your own review, and I have done that.

I have not focussed on the UI usability or ease of programming, but more to availability of programs, Drag-n-drop support and such.

Desktop consistency
by JK on Tue 18th Mar 2003 16:50 UTC


She talks about applications not desktop. If this is truly a desktop review than no applications would be mentioned."

But people usually use a desktop to work with applications, they don't spend all day admiring the window decoration or playing with the taskbar/dock. The UI guidelines for applications and the consistency of the applications is a big part of the desktop's usability.

nice joke
by oGALAXYo on Tue 18th Mar 2003 16:51 UTC

7.30 for GNOME ? and KDE put down to dirt with 7.10 ? Dude you can't be serious. I mean your post is far from any reality. KDE is used by 5 times more Linux users than GNOME which you can verify on many votes and polls made on various pages even now on many more people talk about how much they prefer KDE and even on Slashdot these days no one even takes GNOME into mouth and you want to put it over KDE ? GNOME has nothing to offer, a crappy framework, no documentations, no tools, a horrible unesthetical UI and whatever and is not pleasing to use. I think that Eugenia valued all Desktops (and Operating Systems) more or less good she only undervalued KDE in 2 categories but I think she made this on purpose only to not put GNOME down to much. To give both Desktop Environments a chance to evolve but we know that KDE is simply better.

Re: Good Lord
by Walt Huntsman on Tue 18th Mar 2003 16:51 UTC

Now all you need is yet another article on why BeOS "isn't dead".

Personally, I'd be interested in reading such an article, particularly a review of BeOS Max. (If there is an OSNews review, please point me to the article.)

I recently had a Linux user suggest I take a look at this OS as a faster booting alternative for my Celeron 400 notebook. Linux seems to take forever to boot, and XP is not an option (too expensive, my hardware is too old, I do not want to support Microsoft, etc.). I can't afford a Mac, and I like what little I've seen of BeOS in terms of the look (which is important to me - better looking usually also means easier on the eyes, and my eyes are bad enough ;) ).

Now, on to the article itself:

I'll agree with those who say Eugenia's article is opinionated. (By the way, for those few clueless who obviously didn't figure it out from the name, Eugenia is a she, not a he.) But then, since the article is billed as a review, I would expect it to contain some opinion. I have no problem with that and, in fact, appreciated it. I found the article well laid out and presented.

Although I am not a Microsoft fan, my limited exposure to XP (on my wife's laptop) tells me that it seems a big improvement on previous incarnations of Windows. If only there wasn't that whole activation issue. It does seem a bit harder for non-technical (i.e., those who do not design for Microsoft or work as programmers) people to tweak certain things in XP with regard to look and feel (at least my wife has had trouble with certain aspects and she does work as a programmer). However, my own personal biases (and I admit, I am biased) will preclude me from ever using XP on a machine of my own. (Of course, my current machine precludes me from using XP anyway. And buying a new machine is not an option at this point. Unfortunately ;) )

I will conclude by simply saying that I enjoy reading Eugenia's articles (no, she did not pay me to say that ;) ), even if I do not always agree with her views and conclusions. I find them to usually be informative and offering plenty of food for thought. Keep up the good work!

Daan's review..
by Aitvo on Tue 18th Mar 2003 16:54 UTC

"This is mostly because at the moment there are no good applications available for it."

Riight, GIMP, Evolution, GNUMERIC, GNUCash, SODIPODI, DIA, GAIM, etc are not good applications. Another bias review by another barely informed user.

Lemme guess, you used kpaint for all of the images on your review site, oh wait what images?

RE: Definite Comparison?
by Wibble on Tue 18th Mar 2003 16:58 UTC

> It would take a very long comment to identify all of the
> absurd claims in this article. Overall, its entire basis
> of judging seems to be on the writer's likes and dislikes
> (such as I don't like C, thus Gnome has a bad programming
> framework).

I think a more hilarious fact was that Eugenia said good things about the Win32 API and MFC (an extremely shoddy and thin c++ wrapper for the Win32 API), but slated GTK+ because, amoungst other reasons, it is C based. The Win32 API is the _classic_ C based API. It makes the whole statement seem very badly thought out, or at the very least naive. The Win32 API is not just a 'steep learning curve' it's actually extremely ugly, inconsistent and has too much legacy and not enough elegance. I program it daily, believe me, I hate it with avengence.

by Jay on Tue 18th Mar 2003 16:59 UTC

So, again Eugenia tries to do something worthwhile and gets crucified. Instead of using her article as a starting point, some of you compulsively make her the subject. Sad.

I think this is the Year Of OS X, when it will fully blossom and its power, from all aspects of it, will really begin to shine. It isn't perfect though, that's for sure. People talk about the Dock alot, but I like the Dock. It's Finder windows that I think are the weakest part of the OS. The windows themselves are fine, but it is not the best way to navigate. I knew this because of my NeXT workstation and thought that was the weakest part of it. Fortunately, their are utilities like MaxMenus that help greatly in this area. But, OS X is becoming a truly great OS.

Windows XP Pro is, I think, the fastest and most stable of the major commercial OSes. I say that knowing it took a long, long time for Windows to get to this point.

And now Be is back! I'm sort of stunned by this, that Zeta turns out to not just be R5 with some patches. I can't wait for this, especially because Be was/is the fastest OS and the one with the greatest potential.

I love to use Linux distros, but Linux is in a different place, I think. I'm very impresseed by KDE 3.1 in particular. But, to me it's impossible to compare an OS that has hundreds or even thousands of professional programmers to OSS. It's just different.

I want to continue to experience more OSes - like eComStation, FreeBSD and many more. So many OSes, so little time :-)

by Daan on Tue 18th Mar 2003 17:00 UTC

For me, the KDE 3.1 toolbars look right except if you "ripp them off" to a seperate window.

by oGALAXYo on Tue 18th Mar 2003 17:38 UTC

3/4 of your counted applications are NO native GNOME apps. KDE has native apps that fill this gap. Without companies such as Eazel or Ximian then GNOME would only offer the Panel these days.

RE: gnome is b*tt ugly - Remote X is just slow
by Janne on Tue 18th Mar 2003 17:39 UTC

"XP's RDP can play VCD (mpeg1 video) over a network and run MacOS emulation with a decent frame rate - doing similar things in X is either impossible or with an unusable performance."

X can do that too. In fact, there is a video-playback-software designed perticularly for client-server operations (

"if X, or XFree86's impl. of X is fast, why there is the need for the linux kernel patch to improve UI responsiveness???"

If changes can be made to improve desktop-experience, why shouldn't that be done? People have happily used X on desktops for years, and now the Linux hackers just thought that "Hey, if we did this, we could make their experience even better", so they did it. The responsivness-thingy isn't due to X, but due to Linux-kernel. FreeBSD has coped better on that regard. Kernel-hackers just fixed that thing, that's all. So far, Linux kernel has handled the desktop OK. 2.6 will handle the desktop really, really well.

To my knowledge, XAA (X Acceleration Architecture) has been benchmarked to be fast, even faster than equivalent systems on Windows.

I have used remote X on a LAN without any problems. People have used remote X back when networks were alot slower than they are today. If I'm short on bandwidth, I would use something like TightVNC

by Aitvo on Tue 18th Mar 2003 17:40 UTC

Elaborate, please tell me which ones are and are not gnome applications.

HTML and @Aitvo
by Daan on Tue 18th Mar 2003 17:44 UTC

Here is an HTML version:

For the rest: Except Nautilus and Dia all Gnome applications have not been updated to use Gnome2. GNumeric, Abiword, Gaim still use Gnome1. Of Evolution only a bta Gnome2 version is available. I already mentioned this under "Applications Available".

And still, there is no webbrowser for Gnome. Mozilla might be able to use Gtk+, but that does not make it an integral part of Gnome. In both senses: not integrated and not Gnome, as Gnome is an extra layer on top of Gtk+.

Definite?? I dont think so..
by megalex on Tue 18th Mar 2003 17:45 UTC

Comming from the same person that said that
i quote..
".net will kill all operating systems" (
I find this article very hard to swallow..

by Anonymous on Tue 18th Mar 2003 17:49 UTC

<<Assuming you don't care to be bankrolling convicted criminal enterprise. Admittedly MS is everywhere (as are Fords or Chevys,) but when BMWs are *free* it is just unbelievable that people can suggest that the Ford looks better or handles better. It just doesn't. I mean not even. ROFL! >>

Yes George... I couldn't agree with you more. This Eugenia/XP phenomenon may be a result of TellyTubbism. It may be a tellytubbyophiliac reaction to the first background image one is presented after installing XP. All that's missing is the mound, the wabbits anf the little guys with TVs embedded in their stomachs. This syndrome affects parents who are obliged to watch the Telly Tubbies with their kids. After awhile everything starts to ressemble that Windows background, the mind "dumbs-down" to the level of a child's. That explains why parents who have children who watch the Telly Tubbies like Windows, and are even willing to hypocritically support a criminal organisation that lies, frauds, bribes, threatens, and subjects the weak to its whims.

by Aitvo on Tue 18th Mar 2003 17:49 UTC

"For the rest: Except Nautilus and Dia all Gnome applications have not been updated to use Gnome2. GNumeric, Abiword, Gaim still use Gnome1. Of Evolution only a bta Gnome2 version is available. I already mentioned this under "Applications Available"."

They don't exist because they aren't GNOME2 applications? What kind of crap is that? LOL

"And still, there is no webbrowser for Gnome. Mozilla might be able to use Gtk+, but that does not make it an integral part of Gnome. In both senses: not integrated and not Gnome, as Gnome is an extra layer on top of Gtk+."

Huh? I guess this project doesn't exist yet then.

yes, XP is better than OS X
by appleforever on Tue 18th Mar 2003 17:54 UTC

right. ha ha, what a joke. Good example of breaking things down into a bunch of micro-analyses, then adding them up and the finished product ("analysis") doesn't, well, add up.

another thing - who cares about the DE?
by appleforever on Tue 18th Mar 2003 17:55 UTC

The action is with the apps. Apple is doing things with the iApps and soon iWorks that are putting everyone else to shame. DE's are becoming less and less relevant.

Glenn Sweeney:
by Janne on Tue 18th Mar 2003 17:57 UTC

"The "pros" used to use opengl cause it was made for modelling and rendering not gaming"

I guess that's why Quake 1, 2, 3, Half-Life, Return To Castle Woflenstein, Medal of Honor, _Doom 3_, Counter-Strike, X-plane, and many many others use Direct3D instead of OpenGL... Oh wait, they don't! LOL!

Direct3D is still not as good as OpenGL is. It's getting there, but it still has a way to go. And one area where it fails miserably is portability. Write a Direct3D-game, and you are hopelessly tied to Windows. Write OpenGL-game, and you have several platforms at your disposal.

eugenia is someone who
by appleforever on Tue 18th Mar 2003 17:57 UTC

is conflicted and can't seem to quite admit to herself that the best PC experience is the one she just plunked down the $$$ for. That would be a mac (a 12" powerbook).

Re: Final Ratings Math Error
by Walt Huntsman on Tue 18th Mar 2003 18:03 UTC

ok, Eugenia has 5 different categories where she scored each of the 5 DEs

Actually, there are (by my reckoning) eight scores rather than five.

Eugenia's Final Rating:
Windows XP 8.55
MacOSX 8.33
BeOS 8.22
KDE 6.72
Gnome 6.61

Nic's averages:
OSX 8.33
XP 8.30
BEOS 7.70
Gnome 7.30
KDE 7.10

Actually, my math reveals yet a different set of numbers (what a surprise):
Averaging all nine scores reveals the following results:

XP 8.44
OSX 8.33
BeOS 8.06
Gnome 6.78
KDE 6.72

Using the five categories (averaging the three Consistency, Integration, and Flexibility scores into one score and doing the same with Technology and Programming Framework scores) results in the following averages:

XP 8.55 (as in Eugenia's final ratings)
OSX 8.37
BeOS 7.73
Gnome 6.92
KDE 6.78

What does all of this mean? It proves you can do just about anything you want with numbers ;) Personally, I like averaging all nine scores together. No worries about weighting or other issues.

by Glanz on Tue 18th Mar 2003 18:03 UTC
Not really objective enough
by Budge Feeney on Tue 18th Mar 2003 18:07 UTC

I've tried BeOS, it doesn't deserve the marks it's gotten. Asthetically even the old Mac Classics could beat it (God I loved those machines, I'd ebay one if I had the money). But what got me in particular was this

BeOS is very good on abstracting the complexity as well, but it doesn't offer too many tools (though there are third party tools for such operations and also is easy to add more, as BeOS is a solid and simple system as we reported above).

followed by this

Additionally, both Gnome and KDE don't offer tools to change the native resolution of X (this will change soon though, but it should have been here years ago already), no tools to configure internet connections, startup OS items, a GUI to load/unload/install/uninstall drivers on the fly [or by rebooting], no GUI on configuring printers/scanners/other hardware.

KDE has (in some cases since 1.0) had support for
Internet Config: KPPP
Startup Config: Ksysv
Printing: kups, other tools
Scanning: Kooka, xsane (which is GTK/Gnome, I know)
Drivers: The Linux KControl module to recompiler the kernel

What's more, almost every version of these you get has a whole load of other tools thrown in by the distro: e.g. Redhat's tools (Gnome), Mandrake's tools (Gnome), SuSE's tools (KDE - all the way!), which are at least as valid as "third-party tools" mentioned for BeOS.

It was therefore rather bizarre to see
Rating: Windows XP 10, MacOSX 9, KDE 4, BeOS 8.5, Gnome 4.

at the bottom. I think BeOS came out of this a bit better than most other reviewers would allow. But all in all, an interesting article. A couple of months ago the comments would have been fun.

by Daan on Tue 18th Mar 2003 18:09 UTC

Aitvo: "They don't exist because they aren't GNOME2 applications? What kind of crap is that? LOL"

I wanted to compare Gnome to KDE. I actually took those Gnome1 apps in the rating, but lowered it because they are not updated to Gnome2. If I would not calculate them, Gnome would get an 1.0 instead of the 3.0 it has now on this point. If KDE 3 shipped with all kinds of KDE 1.1 apps, it would also get a much lower rating. And if I would make 5.0 of it, they still don't integrate, which is another point Gnome scores low. And this still doesn't make Gnome available in Dutch, the third point it scores low. But that last one can change if anyone can explain me which LANG code I need to use.

About Galeon: this is indeed a Gnome app, but the embedded browser is Mozilla, which is not Gnome. With KDE, Konqueror uses KHTML, which _is_ Kde. And that is the difference. If you like, compare the scrollbars of Galeon and the Gnome-terminal to see what I mean.

by oGALAXYo on Tue 18th Mar 2003 18:13 UTC

Look you are acting clueless my friend. You suggest other people to get some background before talking and you on your own talk clueless outside.

A) The GIMP is a GTK+ only application. NO GNOME components is used in the code.
B) Evolution is a full GNOME application.
C) Gnumeric is a full GNOME application.
D) GNUCash is a full GNOME application.
E) SodiPodi only uses GNOME-Print (if exist) but the rest is GTK+ only.
F) DIA is a GTK+ 2 port only. No GNOME components.
G) GAIM is a GTK+ only application, contains NO GNOME components or code.

You should seriously investigate better before trying to fool someone who spent some years on GNOME. Your funny gnome-office page even contains OpenOffice as GNOME app while it's obvious even for stupid apes that it doesn't contain ANY GNOME related code.

by Strider on Tue 18th Mar 2003 18:22 UTC

I simply found this "Comparison" to be one of the badly written articles I have EVER seen at OSness I appreciate what Eugenia was trying to do but the lack of evaluation consistency, repete falure of understanding, and total lack of what consititues gui consistency are blaringly obviously to anyone but the most inept readers. Just to go thru the list:

Look and feel:

First this entire catagory is ALMOST ENTIRELY subjective. I am just talking about button size either accustom usage is NOT the same thing as correct usage. Anyone will get used to the way a UI does things given enough time and experience. Yet most of the review basis its decisions (in this catagory) on subjective UI usage.

The only things that can really be evaluated (in this catagory) is Look & Feel configurability, system clearity, and widget usage complience (i.e. does the UI take full advantage of screen "hot zones" and do widget elements remain consistent.) Yet there is virutally no mention of these few useful "Look & Feel" topics in the review.

When we are finished what we finally end up with is a review of which OS UI is the "prettiest", according to the reviewer, based on its default settings (unless we are talking about Windows XP.) Even if the reviewer was not trying to do this... this is effectly how it Look & Feel was reviewed.


Finally a useful review topic. This is where the review decied to place the look and feel elements the could have been useful. I.E making the first catagory ENTIRELY WORTHLESS! No problem., at least it was included.

But wait.... this section takes minimal amount of time actually looking at usability standards and universally accepted usability principals and spends most of its time commenting on personal preferenced. So we are left with almost the same thing that was reviewed int the "Look & Feel" section.

What little "good" this section actually reviewed (i.e. complexity, multiple input navigation, and consistency) are reviewed INCONSISTENTLY accross the systems. Not to mention the duplication of review. Why are we taling about UI consistency in usability if we are gonna REVIEW consistency in the next UI section. Ok well Windows XP has good tooltips and keyboard navigation.... but do we mention that in BeOS or KDE or GNOME? These lack of consisten review makes the final eveluation basically a "Which on I find easiest to use."

Consistency, Integration, Flexibility:

OMG this is the worst of ALL of them.

There is cusory mention of consistency of previous versions of windows... but NO mention of other toolkits... say mozilla, java, dephi, or even dos.. Fine.. no problem... as long as these reviews are consistent. But Hey they review KDE based on NON KDE toolkits, Gnome based on non gnome toolkits, BeOS on JUST THE CURRENT version of its toolkit, and then totally ignores in inconsistency of OSX's three different CURRENT toolkits! (i.e burshed metal vs Aqua.)

Integration is glossed over by totally ignoring the some aspects of one UI and going in depth with others. Sure you can do anythng in the Windows GUI that the Windows GUI will let you do but what about the hundreds of things that you cannot do in Windows because Windows doesn't want you to do them. Then there is no consideration for the differences of what distrobutions allow you to do for Windows but the author spends half a paragraph talking about the lack of integration as a detrament to Unix (i.e. Windows Advanced Server gives you more integration to the network than Windows XP Home does, or multiprocessor configuration, or server configuration; sense most of us run some kind of server on our home machines now.)

Then the reviewer starts spouting off random technical thoughts that are simply untrue. Things like: "non-optimized X11", "Gnome and KDE don't offer tools to change the native resolution of X", "a GUI to load/unload/install/uninstall drivers on the fly", and "no tools to configure internet connections" are simply ignorant statements.

Then Flexability??? WTF... how can mac (which has almost NO options for changing the gui either via skins or system UI options) compare with Luna (which is entirely skinable and has many many system level UI choices) ... Again the review falls back to "Which one I hear is the most flexable." This is even more frusterating because the review actually says that 9in the Look and Feel section) that Windows XP is more flexable than OSX.

Speed, Stability and Bugs;

Speed has already been killed by several ppl so far.. I will not repeat the total lack of "review" that the speed statements are.

Please give use some numbers to support stability... even your own numbers would be nice. What you give use for stability and bugs is (AFAIK) entirely subjective. I have not had KDE crash on me yet... but I cannot go a day without Windows XP crashing. We are left with nothing but a vague sense of how YOU felt the stability of the systems where. Again another "Which one I hear is the most stable."

Technology, Programming Framework, Conclusion:

This part almost made me want to cry. "X11 Technology, Programming Framework, Conclusion" as a statement in the same sentance network transparency got blow off is so rediculas. The review make NO attempt to compare USEFUL technology as opposed to "eye candy" technology. Can MacOS log in as three different users to three different GUI's at the same time? Can OSX run its gui on a machine other than the one its connected to? Can Jaguar run indiviual applications on different computers over a network? Sure it can! When you INSTALL X11! But hey, you can always make your GUI nice a pretty! That obviously makes it superior technology. Just because someone doesn't use the technology available in network transparency does not make the feature worthless! NO comparision is actually make between the toolkit technologies! etc.. etc.. etc..

Statements like, " like the API of Cocoa", "I find the Windows API to have a steep learning curve", and "I dislike GTK+ and C" are really the only insite we have to good API's vs bad API's. "Which one I find better." is again ringing in my ears. In this case its even worse because the reviewer only skims over what "good" is in his/her definition.

A review is suppost to compare and evaluate (on as equal footing as possible) products based on common criteria. This "review" was a total faure in that respect. Trying out all the products does not turn an OpEd piece into a review.


by Aitvo on Tue 18th Mar 2003 18:33 UTC

You said 4/5 were not gnome apps, now you yourself show that you were incorrect. By attempting to prove me incorrect (which you did not, a GTK application can also be a GNOME application even if it doesn't use gnome specific libraries.) you have totally discredited yourself with your own argument. Cool ;-)

Eugenia is too easy on Windows
by Geezle/2 on Tue 18th Mar 2003 18:36 UTC

But [Eugenia is] pretty easy on Windows. Case in point: Here we have an operating system where every single menubar an every application is along the top of the screen, and you pull down menus, even in old Win16 apps, and yet the MAIN SYSTEM MENU is along the BOTTOM of the screen and a menu shoots up from it! There's no reason at all for this. Once people get their minds contorted to deal with this inconsistency, they barely notice. But the same could be said for any inconsistency.

While I agree that a lot of usability is just "what you're used to" and thus Windows wins in every category, I think overlooking such blatant UI inconsistency is taking it rather easy on them.

Excellent point! How many people don't realise how braindead it is to select the "Start" button to shut down the machine? Yeah, that sure is intuitive.

Then we can discuss the Windows File Mangler. . .err. . .Manager. Newcomers will know this 'tool' as the Windows Explorer. What a pathetic and awkward beast that is! It is far more a productivity impediment than aid. Since it has remained fundamentally unchanged since the days of Windows 3.0 however many users have patiently internalized the numerous weird rituals needed to make the Mangler do its work and now can no longer see just how remarkably unintuitive and cumbersome the thing is.

Eugenia gives points for more menus available from RMB clicking on things. In XP these menus seem to be tacked on as an afterthought rather than arising naturally from some object oriented design of the UI. This also brings to focus comments about the language the interface is coded in. Being coded in C++ does not make an interface object oriented and an Object Oriented UI need not be coded in and OO language. One has little bearing on the other.

I think it is too bad that the one production OS that has ever effectively delivered an object oriented interface was excepted from this 'Definitive Desktop Environment Comparison'. OS/2 (and now eComStation) has many of the features that other OSes were awarded points for and has had some of these features for about a decade now. The Workplace Shell achieved object orientedness through elegant design rather than through layering on the bloat to a bad design to give desktop features object-like characteristics.

Anyway I think that it does the readers a disservice to include a truely dead, nostalgic hobbyist OS like BeOS in this 'Comparison' but not an OS that is in production and current active development like eComStation. This is all the more striking when one considers that OS/2 (and therefore eComStation) has had for a decade features that are now being considered 'revolutionary' because Microsoft can (poorly) emulate them.

I know it hurts, Be-fans, but face the truth: Be is dead. No one uses it for real. There are a few nostalgic ones out there who may occasionally fire it up on their dusty and unused old Win98 machines to show to friends and reminisce about what might have been but that is about all. On the other hand, eComStation is piece of brilliant engineering equal to Be but with the difference that it is still quite lively. Your wishing that it had been OS/2 that had died instead of BeOS cannot change history. Try to get over 'the unfairness of it all' and present a slightly more comprehensive 'Definitive Desktop Environment Comparison'.

by oGALAXYo on Tue 18th Mar 2003 18:47 UTC

I somehow expected that you replied with such a bad excuse.

I must admit that I made a mistake with 3/4 of the applications because I was in the wrong assumption that GNUCash is GTK+ only (Never used that app). This came to the conclusion and sum that 1/2 of the applications you mentioned are NOT GNOME related and therefore pure GTK+ apps. I for my own differ this otherwise we need to add all QT apps to be KDE apps as well (but they are not). There is a big underlaying difference of GNOME vs. GTK+ apps. E.g. not using the same Configuration system, not using the same HIG, not using the same Dialogs, not using the same framework such as gnome-vfs and other things. You liked to show me and others wrong and now you come up with such a crappy excuse. Basically worthless the trouble of conversation. Regardless of the fact what apps are GNOME or GTK+ the problems here are that all these applications act differently, don't work seamless integrated and so on. They are all individual apps. So you can't compare that with the applications that a pure KDE system offers. The counterparts found on KDE are through and through KDE apps, starting from using KParts, Same object Toolbars, same object Fileselector and so on.

Some lines later you expressed that GALEON2 (or Epiphany) is a full worthy GNOME application. This is true but only for Galeon 2 and Epiphany. This is not valid anymore for the embedded component which requires Mozilla therefore shows XUL in your rendering Window.

Sorry but you have NO legitimate knowledge and throw only pieces of junk into this round and basically disqualifies your argumentations.

I understand (we all do) that you like to defend your favourite Desktop Environment which is obviously GNOME but please stop throwing wrong informations into this round. Look, even when I hype KDE now then this doesn't mean that I am illiterate what GNOME concerns. I worked longer with GNOME, supplied more patches to GNOME and wrote more own things GNOME related than you. So please stop trying to fool me, you need to wake up earlier for this.

Principles vs. Personalities
by Jay on Tue 18th Mar 2003 18:48 UTC

"She just wanted hits for the site..."

Have any of you people stopped to think that Eugenia writes these reviews and editorials in order to spark discussion and various viewpoints? Is that idea so hard to wrap your minds around?

Instead of picking her apart, why don't you pick up where she left off? That's the whole idea. But noooo, it has to be pointed out that it's the worst article ever written and blah, blah, blah. Don't you people know how to take a lead and run with it? It isn't about Eugenia, it's about OSes. What part of that don't you understand??

All kind of things
by Daan on Tue 18th Mar 2003 18:59 UTC

"which you did not, a GTK application can also be a GNOME application even if it doesn't use gnome specific libraries."

Then they also count as KDE programs, making KDE even better. And what remains is that about 4/5 is not Gnome2.

About integration: in KWord I can insert an embedded spreadsheet with Insert-Object-Spreadsheet. In Word I can insert an Excel-spreadsheet. In Abiword this seems not to be possible.

"While I agree that a lot of usability is just "what you're used to" and thus Windows wins in every category, I think overlooking such blatant UI inconsistency is taking it rather easy on them."

When quickly writing my review, it was quite difficult to come up with good and bad points about Windows, indeed. Everything seems very "natural" because I have used it for so long.

But there are feautures I really miss in the leading desktop environments, between (brackets) the osses I saw it in:
- Why doesn't the Save dialog only show an icon, which can be dropped to an Explorer window? This makes network transparency easier to implement: the program sends the file to the Explorer via IPC and the Explorer actually saves it (RiscOS)
- Why can't I paint buttons? I want to paint the Yes button in the Save dialog green, and the Yes button in the Delete dialog red. (OS/2 Warp 3)
- Why can't I select some text and drop it in an Explorer window in Windows? (KDE and BeOS)
- Why can't I send a file by dropping it on an IM window? (Windows MSN)
- Why isn't an application only a folder. (MacOS, RiscOS)
- Why not the menubar at the top of the screen. This has been proven by usability research, because you reach screen corners more easily. (MacOS, KDE)
(I have seen the things above myself, so do not say that it's not true. I have not heard it, I have experienced it myself.)

I'm sorry, but as far as I am concerned any window system
that REQUIRED me to MANUALLY SUPERVISE keeping my mouse
pointer within the scrollbar slider while I move it, and
WHICH SCREWS UP IF IT SLIPS OUT deserves a failing grade
in the usability department.

Rating Windows XP at 9 on usability is BULLSHIT on just
this ground by itself !!

Re: Bas
by Ken Lynch on Tue 18th Mar 2003 19:39 UTC

No, Linux runs just Ventura, Gimp, FilmGimp, Blender, Maya, Houdini, Softimage, Mantras, Mainactor and Real3D.
Nothing special here...

Ventura - Not according to Corel's site. As far as I remember Corel pulled the plug on it's Linux support and it's app where slow due to using a WINE layer.

Gimp - It's good, but it's not Photoshop. CMYK support not quite there yet.

Blender - Nowhere near the capabilites needed for pro 3D.

Real3D - Currently beta software on Linux. Buggy as hell on Windows.

MainActor - No Linux version available at the moment according to MainConcept's site.

Leaving FilmGimp (now CinePaint), Houdini, Maya and SoftImage. So OK, there are some products out there (with VERY expensive price tags)

Still nothing to match Dreamweaver MX, Flash MX, Director MX, Adobe Illustrator, Quark, Cakewalk, Cubase.

Even if Linux had some of these apps I still wouldn't move to it as there are the other issues of hardware support and ease of configuration/installation (Linux needs to get rid of the 'dependancy hell'). Yes, Linux is getting better, but it's also getting more fragmented - not all distros support everything in the same way, new distros 'cause someone wants to do things differently, different desktops, different toolkits, different scripting languages - Linux is beginning to look more bloated than Windows in some cases.

At the end of the day, the PC is a tool and I choose what I can get my work done on.

Dearest Jay
by Anonymous on Tue 18th Mar 2003 20:07 UTC

<<"She just wanted hits for the site..."

Have any of you people stopped to think that Eugenia writes these reviews and editorials in order to spark discussion and various viewpoints? Is that idea so hard to wrap your minds around?>>

Ending rouge programs
by GregZ28 on Tue 18th Mar 2003 20:15 UTC

Pretty good article overall. I was kinda sensitive to my favorite operating system reading it, but after thinking about from a more un-biased point of view, it all makes sense. It's funny reading these comments about how 'insert your fav OS' should have scored higher.

One feature that I see very little exposure to is the ability to end mis-behaving programs. We all know that apps have bugs and crash. How can they be gracefully ended? Windows has gotten good at this. Just Ctrl-alt-delete and then pick the app to end. BeOS is the best, with the 'Vulcan grip of death', or Ctrl-alt-delete (since windows made this the standard) . How does this work in OS X? Linux os okay, using the ps command and then looking for the correct process id, then typing ps -9 psid. I don't always get the right id, since there could be several processes running for an app. Not very elegant.

Ease of use features like that are WAY more important to me than system icons looks, or transparency, etc.

To Jay
by Glanz on Tue 18th Mar 2003 20:17 UTC

I accidently hit enter and a partial msg was posted anonymously. So I will continue here. I said "She just wanted hits for the site." So Jay, what's wrong with wanting hits for the site? Whats wrong with selling Micro$lop $oftware with inaccuracies about their insecure and infantile operating system for morons? Nothing at all. That is, if you like watching the Telly Tubbies on Saturday morning.

by WattsM on Tue 18th Mar 2003 20:42 UTC

I just typed "regression" into Excel 2000's 'answer wizard' and got 13 hits, the first one being "Regression analysis tool." You're correct in that it's inexplicably not in the index, but thinking to go to the answer wizard and typing "regression" into the box labelled "What do you want to do?" is not so counter-intuitive that it should take Ph.D. candidates a half-hour to find. I don't even have a degree and I thought of it in about 20 seconds.

I don't like to defend Microsoft normally, but it's not Microsoft's fault if your friends aren't able to use the HELP command. Perhaps they should turn that friendly paper clip back on. ;)

Re: Great Review
by Anonymous on Tue 18th Mar 2003 21:31 UTC

Hmm, I have 1 out of 20+ Programs where I can't specify where to install it (Canon Printer Driver).

My point isn't that you can't tell the installer where it goes, it is that Windows by design doesn't encourage the user to know where thier files live or manipulate thier files by actually clicking on them. It provides the start menu, but most programs are just dumped in C:Programs...., thier config files wherever (sometimes in that same folder, sometimes otherwise), registry edits made, dlls installed over eachother, and a startmenu item pops out along with yet another item on the desktop. In fact, the default behavior in WindowsXP is to not even show the "Program Files" directory to the user. I find this behavior frusterating and inconsistent.

by makkus on Tue 18th Mar 2003 21:35 UTC

You're not completely honest about the applications not belonging to gnome and I think you know it.

First, like eugena, you take a biased mindset. in Eugenas case its windowsXP, in your case it is KDE. Both of you take this starting point as perfect and compare the other on this terms with it.

Eugena shows here biase by dislikinggtk+ (c) and gtkmm combination, while praising the win API (c) it C++ wrapper and expecting that the DE solves problems the windows way (menu-editor),

You show your bias by demanding a API like KDE (window API clone), not a bunch of libraries that can grow or shrink with the demand of the application or too the developers liking. So what makes a GNome application, your definition. You would like that, but nobody told me or the developers of those application that you are the judge here! Take Gaim and Pan, both no Gnome application in your definition. Nut both trying very har to comply to the gnome HIG. You see not only technical merrits make a application Gnome, don't believe me look sometimes in there changelog and see what they are doing. The look makes it also Gnome apps.

The KDE api approach isn't the holy grail you know, I think that the tools approach of Gnome has something going for it. In my opinion gtk+2 application who are trying to comply to the hig are also Gnome applications.

by achtung on Tue 18th Mar 2003 21:54 UTC

windows xp, like os x and windows 2000 supports hardware alpha blending (ie "true transparency"). ever seen those winamp 3 skins with the soft edges? wonder why they only work on 2k and xp?...

Re: Dearest Jay
by teknishn on Tue 18th Mar 2003 21:58 UTC

I agree that its good to spark viewpoints, but I still would have preferred a more objective review. Using terms like definative and clear bias towards Windows is just gonna spark flame wars and bring out the trolls. Its clear that KDE and Gnome didnt get the time of day in this review, and that is really sad and disappointing. Especially when its the Windows and OSX UI that are generally static or should I say stagnet. Like I said earlier, since 95 MS has continued to polish the UI turd. In just 2 short years, KDE and Gnome have made major improvements to get to the good solid point theyre at now, and just wait and see what they have in store over the next 2 years of improvements while XP and OSX are still eating the same dogfood.

Cocoa? What about Carbon/Java
by Anonymous on Tue 18th Mar 2003 22:02 UTC

>>MacOSX/Cocoa uses Objective C, the Red Tape C with an awful syntax. It is MacOS only.

Hmm, well if you like Objective-C or not is your opinion. But MacOS X also has 2 other APIs to its GUI toolkit that are considered on equal footing with Cocoa. They are called Carbon and Java. Carbon in particlar supports coding in C/C++. What were you looking for, a toolkit that supports VB or something?

Good article
by Sagres on Tue 18th Mar 2003 22:08 UTC

Just want to i say i think this is a very good article and leave a word of appreciation to Eugenia.
One of the reasons i read daily is exactly because i can count on the articles refecting the reality instead of the blind propaganda you get on "/." about "linux in wonderland" or any mac related site for that matter.
Critiques should be taken in a contructive manner, that's the way things improve.
And if my grammar "sucks", well too bad, im portuguese and english isn't my "native" language".

Re: From a GAMER's point of view
by Anonymous on Tue 18th Mar 2003 22:11 UTC

Dude, how can you rate a UI based on how many games it has? When you are playing a game on a computer, you can't even see the desktop. ???

by oGALAXYo on Tue 18th Mar 2003 22:20 UTC


Well, I don't know howto react on your message now but simply belive me. Look I advocated GNOME for the past couple of years now, advocating it, contributing to it as good as my time made it possible, wrote CVSGnome a GNOME buildscript which also took me from middle 2001-2003 as maintainance and I also tried to write my simply own GNOME application. All this requires good knowledge from a) installing GNOME correctly towards b) programming a GNOME application from scratch c) contributing patches to other GNOME components which also takes fairly some amount of time. I simply didn't snipped with the fingers and all these things came up from nowhere. The problem over the time is the frustrations of the situation withing GNOME. I pretty much prefered GNOME 1.x over anything else even over KDE, then with GNOME 2.x I pretty much got disappointed with it because it took the road of MacOSX look like and some other stuff got totally changed that made it unusable for *me*. I was totally pissed off to see what actually happened with GNOME and most of the direction that GNOME leads these days are mainly decided by one single person. Nowdays it looks like this, whenever this person says 'Jump' then everyone in the GNOME community asks 'how far and how high' without even questionizing that his vision and direction of GNOME may be right or not. Anyways, I then tried some pre KDE 3.0 versions (the first time after years) which was more or less meant to be a joke. I thought myself let's try that stupid shit for some minutes, you don't loose anything, then you can delete it again. But then I realized how much advanced, ahead, consistent and integrated it was. Due the frustrations of GNOME I spent some time into KDE, went to their developers pages, investigated into all sorts of things like development possibilities, availability, documentations and so on and realized that the whole Desktop, development utilities, programms and so on are more enchanced than the counterparts on GNOME. I previously always thought that GNOME is the ultimative Desktop for Linux but then after I investigated into KDE I found out that I was wrong. As you see, I'm not hyping KDE and bashing GNOME because of the fun or because of being a silly person. No, I have investigated a lot of time into both Desktops. Spent a lot of time in irchannels, spent a lot of time on the Mailinglists and much more. Well explaining all in detail will take a lot of time and we could do this per email if you wish or on some irchannel. I still belive that for some people GNOME may be the ultimate Desktop and I also belive that GNOME may enchance to a direction that is questionable for me and I'm sure it will find it's users too. But for me GNOME is simply stagnating, it has a lot of issues that I have addressed various times. Even trying to convince people that Esthetical things are important and even trying to reach the developers that integration is indeed necessary but nothing happened. Everything is stagnating, a simple freaking fileselector will make it into GTK not earlier than 2.4 or 2.6 (and GNOME 2.4 will depend on GTK 2.2), esthetical issues that could already be solved because of really small issues takes AGES until someone starts caring for it, snap to grid for nautilus no way and so on. Simple little things which are trivial are so much hyped under GNOME that I need to touch my head and ask what actually happens. To sum it up I'm simply not happy with GNOME anymore now that I saw KDE. Compare KDE 3.0 with 3.1 and you seriously SEE major changes and then compare 3.1 with 3.2 (soon) and you see another major changes while GNOME on the otherhand makes little progress, from 2.0 to 2.1 nothing big, from 2.1 to 2.2 again nothing. Of course form CVS I see that there are changes going on like thousands of *.po file changes and some trivial bugfixes and enchancements but not the progress I like to see in a desktop. It's frustrating to wait AGES if not YEARS to see some significant progress in GNOME. If you use another computer such like Windows or MacOSX then you have a lot of time because YOU already have an OperatingSystem and Desktop where you can get work done, but for some of us (including me) we depend on these alternatives such as GNOME or KDE. I was always willing to help better improving GNOME (contributing more patches and so on) but as I said I generally dislike what happened with GNOME this leads into frustrations again and demotivation to contribute to it (see, why should I contribute to a Desktop that I don't like anymore). I have mixed feelings regarding GNOME as someone said some days ago. This is some sort of hatelove, on the one hand I like programming C, I like how GNOME installs the files (so clean and logical) but on the otherhand I don't like some of the new changes such as GConf, reverted buttons and so on, this totally pisses me off and as more I deal with it as more it pisses me off. KDE on the otherhand offers everything that I always liked to see in GNOME, a clean integration, esthetical looking apps, good usability and functionality and so on, I'm even that far saying that KDE is in some situations ahead of WindowsXP. The GNOME people are sitting down on their earned fruits from former GNOME 1.x days and forget that there is also KDE which doesn't sleep. Today because of the nice framework, because of the good documentation and because of the many developers and users KDE offers a variety of applications that can be used, apps that don't look like ass, apps that do what they are meant to do, simply, effective and many of these apps communicate with each other e.g. embedd parts from one app to another and so on. It's rapid in development and now wiht KDE 3.1 (towards 3.2) you see how heavy people work on it. GNOME these days and past months had a lot of bad press and whenever this happens you can see it as kind of mirror on their CVS, whenever there is bad press the committs to CVS goes towads 0 and then days later people contribute to it again 200-240 committs per day (where 200 are usually documentation and .po files). While updating KDE in a hourly basis really shows changes, significant changes, better integration and so on. But there are still some issues in KDE that I don't like. But well as I said I only give you a quick overview what I really think about this situation. Well GNOME should seriously start doing trivial things such as a FileSelector, better documentations for Developers and start updating their Webpage (that they planned to do 2 years ago already). There is to much advocating and techtalk in GNOME than actually DOING serious changes in it. Some people are doing changes (no doubt and thanks to all of them) but many others are simply only dictating the shit out of it. It would be really nice if GNOME had a serious direction, a serious roadmap, better planning and a stricter development road. Even if this all sounds hard but without Ximian, Sun, Redhat and that failing company Eazel then GNOME would be nothing today while KDE made the most out of their own. Ever asked where the Eazel people left ? None of them work on GNOME anymore (besides the on or other) but the majority simply disappeared into nirvana.

If you like we can continue this conversation on private. And sorry for my bad grammar.

RE: @makkus
by Eugenia on Tue 18th Mar 2003 22:24 UTC

oGalaxy, please use paragraphs by pressing the Enter key... ;)

v What I've learned...
by Student #12 on Tue 18th Mar 2003 22:25 UTC
Modal dialogs??
by Chris Cox on Tue 18th Mar 2003 22:33 UTC

Anyone find it strange that with all of the Microsoft innovations over the years, that their UI is still chopped ful of useless modal dialogs? Of course it doesn't crash, it doesn't let you do more than one thing at a time!

@makkus, @eugenia
by oGALAXYo on Tue 18th Mar 2003 22:40 UTC

First sorry, I was using Links to write this text so no Paragraphs. I like to add one line that I think is important as well. Look the past couple of weeks how much effort from GNOME developers was spent to get KDE into an unification process it went that far that Havoc Pennington (for sure a respective person but I have hard time with his ideas and visions) asked KDE to unify the CORE bottom layers of the framework, this causes KDE to change a lot of code and that's what pissed me off again. As if it wasn't enough for the responsible ones totally crappyfying GNOME the same persons want to do it with KDE. This for my own personal opinion will bring KDE and the Desktop back for another 1-2 years because of radical changes (And I spent carefully time reading all sorts of Mailinglists) after you read all the various mails from various people you gonna understand the full situation and with a bit of programming skills you realize that talking about this is for sure honourable but changing this in practice is insane. That's why I started my argumentation some days ago here and got flamed for it just for expressing my very own opinion. KDE has a stable framework. There is no and I mean absolutely no need for them breaking their framework up for the requested changes from the GNOME camp. I mean why is GNOME going from one technological idea to another ? Why not settle down to what's there already and concentrate into making a working and really usable Desktop ? Why does it have to adopt one shit after another ? At the end it doesn't even reflect into a usable Desktop or more or better applications. Even YET many applications doesn't really use 100% of the functionality that GNOME offers today such as full use of Bonobo or Corba. Fragmentation is the key, even GNOME seem to realized it that's why they got the idea working together with KDE on a new framework with sharing bottom libraries so both can rapid progress and use one bottom layer. For the GNOME side this is good, for the KDE side this is bad (because they need to trash a lot of their components). I don't simply speak about DBUS here. I speak about ATK, GLIB, new VFS layer, GStreamer and so on and even that retarded GConf crap. Now you understand why I personally hype KDE these days a) because I'm sure it's far ahead (specially after reading Miguel de Icaza's mail which gave me the last kick to say 'now is the time'), b) because of the own made investigation that KDE has a good plattform, good apps, integration, easy use, windows'ish look and well a lot of other things mentioned by other people as well. I think KDE is successful and will dominate the Desktop no matter if a bunch of kids hype GNOME from a technical point and from a programmers point KDE dominates. Trashing the bottom framework is plain stupid and we should do everything to protect KDE from doing this. See in 2 years again, GNOME still patches and glues stuff together while KDE offers a more integrated Desktop, once again better apps and so on.

End of communication.

Re: What I've learned...
by Sagres on Tue 18th Mar 2003 22:47 UTC

Hummm, it seems all the GNU's are doing their anual migration from the slashdot savana, perhaps the open-source pasture is running out for them there due too overpopulation, too bad their not lemmings...

Re: Definitive???
by anonymous on Tue 18th Mar 2003 23:21 UTC

To qualify as definitive, you'd need to have a broad sample.

Check out the bitch sites regarding UI complaints for the different issues people have with KDE, Gnome, etc.

Also, you'd need to try each one out, where possible, on multiple machines. You would ALSO need to try these out on different distributions. Gentoo vs. Suse vs. FreeBSD vs. etc. Each one will do something different and complaining about KDE or Gnome's supposed inconsistency or slowness does nothing if it's the underlying distro, OS, or hardware ( dual CPU or funky video card ) that's causing the problems you find irritating.

Even better would be to see if a bunch of people wanted to participate. Maybe time some basic stuff such as opening a browser or whatnot. More useful would be if people went digging to find inconsistencies in UI. This would probably be far more productive and would provide a much better definitive review as well as remove the underlying hardware and OS as factors.

Re: Re: Dearest Jay
by Jay on Tue 18th Mar 2003 23:54 UTC

I appreciated your post very much. The thing is, I think people see Eugenia as being static and unbending, but I have, in fact, seen her opinions change over the course of time, as she, like any of us, sees more, uses more and learns more about different OSes. I know her current choice of XP Pro is not an idle choice - it is based on her own user experience. I also know she couldn't care less what Microsoft thinks. She always calls them as she sees them, no matter what.

In some ways, I too was surprised the KDE and Gnome received less attention. In my own post, I pointed to KDE as a real up and comer. But, like I also said, it is different with Linux. When you look at the resources companies like Microsoft and Apple are pouring into their OSes and then see how things happen with OSS, it is hard to compare. But, there is no doubt that KDE and Gnome have come a long way.

The important thing is, when Eugenia writes an editorial or review, she isn't doing it as a platform for her opinions, but as a springboard for discussion. She does give her opinions - what kind of a Greek would she be if she didn't do that? But, they are not intended to be the focus of people's responses. I don't want to see 290 criticisms of Eugenia's opinions, I want to see 290 posts that reflect what those 290 people think - think about the issues, not about Eugenia's opinions.

@glanz: I am not responsible for your missed keystrokes :-)

by ofranja on Wed 19th Mar 2003 00:39 UTC

I don't know how can someone *dare* to say KDE is not integrated . As you can see - reading a little bit of the documentation - it is one of the most complete and integrated desktop UI for X, that also integrates with the underlying system (ex: X extensions, CUPS, SANE, lm_sensors, pppd, samba, openlsp, java, ldap, openssl, wine, openSLP, PAM, ...).

I think KDE should got 10 for integration, as it works with a much more set of environments than Windows XP.

You can point to and see some of the suported (or required) libraries/drivers/applications.

That's it.

by bruce on Wed 19th Mar 2003 02:54 UTC

I'll grant you this that it did take some time to configure my KDE desktop to my exact needs and preferences. But now that that is done I'll never go back. As I spend at least 5 hours a day on computers investing a day on a desktop setup exactly for my needs was no big deal.

Bugs in KDE and text based configuration - Eugenia go get a good distribution like SuSE and make sure your hardware is supported. I haven't had these problems.

KDE 3.1 is hands down the best!
by Mr. Banned on Wed 19th Mar 2003 03:07 UTC

After dabbling w/Linux distributions for the last 2-3 years, KDE 3.1 has finally convinced me!

I've hardly booted into Windows for the last month! I still have to for video editing and Games (Civ III), but for the most part Linux has reached that plateau that all Linux distributions have been trying for!

Windows XP, while nice, can't doesn't hold a candle to KDE 3.1, if having a highly productive, customized desktop is your thing!

Killing apps in KDE
by Anonymous on Wed 19th Mar 2003 04:50 UTC

is very easy. Just press Ctrl+Alt+Escape and use the skull-and-bones cursor to kill the app you want.

by Peter Colijn on Wed 19th Mar 2003 05:02 UTC

WinXP more stable than OS X? Gimme a break. I've *never* had a WinXP box last more than a week without locking up, crashing, etc. I agree, 2k/XP are *light years* ahead of 9x, but they "just ain't there" in terms of stability. My Mac can easily do 30 days uptime, no sweat. I usually only reboot it for software updates.

And WinXP more stable that GNOME? WTF? Maybe I don't use WinXP and GNOME the same way you do, but I sure as *hell* don't think WinXP is more stable than GNOME *at all*. Yes I have had some GNOME apps crash on me (Galeon and Totem in particular). But I just fire 'em up again and all is well. In XP sometimes that's possible, sometimes you just get into a never-ending cycle of "End task", "End now", "End task", "End now", and nothing ever happens. And then there's the lovely blue-screens and spontaneous reboots. Once again, light years ahead of 9x, but these things are *not* gone in XP/2k. I routinely have my GNOME desktops running for 60-80 days straight, no sweat. Let me reiterate that yes, sometimes *applications* crash, but nothing so serious as to force me to logout and log back in. When I do logout/login, it's usually because I got a new version of GNOME.

by makkus on Wed 19th Mar 2003 06:54 UTC

Your long reply shows you've many issues with Gnome and I'm sorry that you feel that way but can't change it, you liked GNome for the wrong reasons and now you want to change it into the thing you really wanted, another WIN API clone.

First you didn't answer my post, what makes a gnome application a gnome application. The API isn't like any of the other DE we know. If you can speak of a API. Well except, in my opinion, the Amiga approach. In my opinion the binding is the gtk+2 widget set and the HIG look.

They've unlike other DE I know not the desire to make everything Gnome. What they do is providing building stones for making a DE and you can take or leave the things you want or don't want. That's why those stones (libraries) are popping up everywhere: pango, atk, glib, gconf, gtk+2, etc. A lot of projects taking or discussing to take parts of it. And with gnome you can do that, You can take seperate components and leave the rest, it is designed that way. You find this approach confusing and allien, I find this refreshing and totally different from all the other DE setups.

I don't now what you expected from gnome, too guess by your reply and all you other posts I see everywhere where the word Gnome is mentioned on the internet, you expected that the API (if you can speak of that) would become more like the Windows or KDE one. But if you followed the Gnome approach over the years you must have seen that this was absolutely not the intention of Gnome and I applaud them for considering the platform where they are build on, namely *nix. The building tools and building blocks approach is how *nix did and do thinks and made it the strong platform it is now. I hate the day when THE ONE RIGHT WAY to do things is taking over.

I totally agree with Student #12.
by Fritz on Wed 19th Mar 2003 07:07 UTC

I totally agree with student #12, and wonder why he got modded down. His comment was very well written and wasn't particularly rude other than in his opinions of the writer. Apparently he got modded down because he stated his opinion as a fact, and god knows nobody can do that on OSnews.


not stable
by JC on Wed 19th Mar 2003 08:36 UTC

Well, what distro this guy uses ? Which kde version ?

I like kde, and read that konqueror is not stable makes me laugth. May be on redhat (that crash many apps because their genetically modified gcc & co) But if you uses a real linux system, it's as stable as windows xp. Konqueror crashed sometimes on 3.0betaX but not anymore. IE version 6.0 with SP1 still crash once a while.
And the same for the rest of the apps.

I just know that I will never spend $200 for a system that is not better than a system for free. Even for a "support" that doesn't exist. A least the french microsoft team.

Just wanted to be # 300!!
by wakeupneo on Wed 19th Mar 2003 08:39 UTC

Woohoo. 300 comments ;)

by oGALAXYo on Wed 19th Mar 2003 11:37 UTC

Hi, well comparing GNOME with AMIGA is plain stupid (if I understood you correctly). I spent 1984-1996 on the Amiga as my main plattform. The whole system and philosophy GNOME vs. AmigaOS is different. The OS framework is different, the Desktop framework is different, the look and feel is different.

Well I have no problems with a Windows approach of the Desktop and as you can see from many replies here and on other places you see that other people don't have issues either. Besides the fact that Windows is a commercial OS doesn't make it bad. GNOME right now tends more to look like Macintrash OperatingSystem X with the NULL usability. Adopted 2 of the most retarded things from Windows (Registry) and the button reorder shit from (MacOS). then it stopped.

Even so, they have decided for this but I still put my own personal needs of a Desktop over this. While GNOME offers the pleasing eyecandy effect It still doesn't offer the needs and requirements of a whole Desktop. Now we are in the luck of having two Desktops offered. The cool one (which sucks because it stagnates and makes no real progress. A hackers joketoy. No matter how much SUN contributes to it (hoho ATK and the stupid Usability Review which was the cause for GNOME to fuck up that way without any value and some stupid bugfixes) that's basically ALL comming from SUN. Even now (some 1-2 weeks ago) Bill Hannemann got upset with on Desktop Development List because of no feedback to the ATK people and he was heavily critizising the teamwork. And on the otherhand we have the functional one KDE, rapid development, more and better apps, the apps are present today.

Sure they are 2 different Desktops, 2 different roads (at least one has a road, the other doesn't need one *g*), so to get work done people better decide to use the one that offers all the tools really necessary for this task. And KDE offers all these tools GNOME has nothing and no matter how much we like to talk it away. GNOME will require years to come to the level of usability and functionality of KDE.

And what you and others always forget, GNOME the GNU Object blah blah model blah. Was meant to be THE DESKTOP for Linux and not The Desktop that takes various roads and still don't find it's way to go. Still with 2.2 GNOME has no stable and functional framework. This explains why they need to adapt DBUS, that's why they are permanently putting wrappers inside the code to change e.g. 5 different Toolbars to 1 Toolbar and keep the API the same, that's why they still discuss where they should put the LibEGG code and in which library they should put the new Fileselector in and so on. All these things should have been thought of before switching from one plattform to another and not in the middle to something new. This only explains and shows how much crap is remaining in the existing code. The HIG came up months (if not 1 year after 2.0) and many applications got ported and look like ass and fixing them will take them ages (well probably never fixed).

Whenever I read people talking how nice and clean and well layouted GNOME is then I say 'wow an ATK user who is blind'. Even those who worked for longer and more and better onto GNOME than others never realized how ugly and unesthetical their Desktop is (not before I made the UI review) this only shows how unprofessional and unqualified these people are making a Business related Desktop and some people I know started to fix these issues from ONE disaster into another HIG disaster (that is, they spent half a day fixing the shit and it's still not HIG conform which usually takes me less than 5 seconds to find out). Because they work on it individualy instead talking to each other and make a real plan howto do the changes so other people who like to bring it up to HIG level can benefit from it). There is no teamplay in GNOME only freaking dictators.

by oGALAXYo on Wed 19th Mar 2003 11:42 UTC

Oh by the way, I know that GNOME is written by mostly volunteers (well 'mostly' isn't the right word anymore but we'll leave it that way) and that we have no right judging about GNOME in this way because it is volunteer work and if you want to have things changed contribute to it or fork it.

But, why is it announced everywhere then ? Why did their target change from normal freak user to customer and business ? Now I viewed the things as a customer and business related person and you got quite some feedback here. Even if you or others don't like my opinion but it was worth for me finally to bring my concerns up on a neutral place (because comments like mine was written by many other people as well but usually deleted on the gnome related pages).

Peter Colijn
by Roberto J Dohnert on Wed 19th Mar 2003 11:44 UTC

Yes Windows XP is way more stable than OS X, Im not going to say its more stable than Linux, but yes much more stable than OS X, My XP machine is going almost 6 months with no unintentional reboot, sure I have app crashes and all I do is fire up that application again, and I keep working. Save your Apple spewing politics for people that actually care to hear stuff like that, In the old days I could say the mac was more user friendly, but today the ease of use in Windows XP has surpassed that of the Mac. Macs have nothing else left, everything that was a concievable reason for choosing the Mac, the PC does now, sometimes even better than what Apple has to offer. Save your politics, but let me ask you something, Apple has its switch ads and they claim so many people left the PC, more than half those ads are fake by the way, I wonder tho how many people actually left the Mac and bought a PC? I think the number is more than Apple is willing to admit. Because with people actually buying the Mac, marketshare should be increasing instead of decreasing...

by makkus on Wed 19th Mar 2003 11:58 UTC

Woooow you use a lot of words without answering me! But okay.

Listen, I've used the Amiga form 1986 till my 4000 broke in 1998 as only desktop at home and I don't mean only playing games with. And yes I still link the amiga gui with Gnome. I've evaluated qt and gtk+ as widget set for our in-house build and used Medical Image Manipulation applications and frontends. I have choosen for gtk+ two years before SUN adapted Gnome (we used solaris machines back then, running a KDE desktop). To call people who support gnome children shows who is really the kid in here, also to call everybody who disagrees with you stupid is really childish too.

What really amazes me is that your claiming to be knowlegdable about the structure of KDE and Gnome and fight the inclusion of building blocks that are being used by Gnome into KDE with the claim that this would destroy the integration of KDE. You (if your a that knowlegdable) and I know that the inclusion of those building blocks will not be visible to the developers that use the KDE API for creating applications. Come with real argument instead of the FUD you're spreading. Calling something retarted and stupid doesn't make it so.

First you attacked gconf, now you're attacking every single library that has the faintest connection with Gnome. The mask has fallen of, you're the only one who doesn't see it.

by oGALAXYo on Wed 19th Mar 2003 12:09 UTC

Listen, I'm not illiterate what Amiga concerns, you can still find me in some Paradox and Amiga channels on EFNET if you like.

Well for the library issue, I think you are missunderstanding something here. I only expressed what I know about GNOME not what I have cut out of my ass. The wrapped libraries I have talked about is acceptable because it only shows the cleanup process inside the code but it was worth to bring that issue up because it's simply true. You can read more about that on the february archive on of desktop development list.

The GConf windows registry approach is indeed retarded and plain idiotic. That's what we on Amiga have fighted and made jokes about for over one decade. I recall so many people saying 'Look at Windows registry how stupid this is, this can't beat our S: or ENV: directory' and indeed, I find more similarity with KDE's way of storing settings in the .kde/config dir than with GConf on GNOME and the various other places GNOME still stores configurations. I mean, simply have a look in your homedir if you know howto run 'ls -Al' from commandline and you will realize that I don't speak the untruth here.

From a programming view of point I'll take the libraries offered by Kickstart and Workbench over everything else. Not to mention that AmigaOS offered a reference manual since day 1 which was complete and usable. Not to mention all the books and writings related to Programming the Amiga from Hardware point, Library Point (System) and so on.

I can't find any equivalents of what was Amiga with what is GNOME today. I tend to say that Enlightenment comes closer to the Feel of an Amiga Workbench than GNOME.

Simply turn on a MacOSX and then GNOME and you see that GNOME has more in common with MAC than Amiga and it doesn't take much to understand this.

Automatic troll generator -- target: @oGLXYo
by minkwe on Wed 19th Mar 2003 12:30 UTC

You must love GNOME very much to spend all your time on GNOME threads, complaining about every pixel that is misplaced and trolling in bugzilla (first in history, he he he he).

Why don't you spend your time and do something _USEFUL_. Like, concentrate and finish your studies -- you know, convert some of those F's into C's or if you can't manage it D's. Or maybe school is too boring then you could instead do something beneficial for your favorite DE !

I have a suggestion: make a CVSKDEBuild script and release it under a closed license? Or better, get a Girlfriend/wife (poor lady).

This message is for TROLLS only. Don't respond to it if you are not a TROLL.

by oGALAXYo on Wed 19th Mar 2003 12:46 UTC

This is another reason why I don't suggest people using GNOME or develop for it. Don't you people think that it is not a waste of time writing software for people such as minkwe (who is a GNOME user). Basically he reflects 1/3 of the entire GNOME community. Full of people like him who blame others for their opinion, who libel, slander and namecalling people on open lists such as this one and various (if not a lot of other) places only for expressing their very own opinion. During the years I hit to many of these kind of people which made me upset writing any shit for them. Anyways they can blame me and others as much they like but it doesn't take me the right to say and write what I personally think about GNOME or not. It's the freedom of every individual deciding wether I make a point or not.

So now you understand why I wrote 'GNOME is a kidstoy' 2 comments earlier. Someone still belive it's a lie ?

@ Danni Coy and about window managers and more
by aRTee on Wed 19th Mar 2003 13:00 UTC

Danni Coy,
you are dead on!

Funny that when I started to read this article, and the comments, I wanted to post what you wrote, so thanks, I'll just quote you:

"Anyways KDE (and other X-WM) features I find it difficult to live without)...
1) The ability to stick any app to the screen so that it stays on top no matter what - This can get a bit tricky with dialogues but I find it essential.

2)Focus Follows Mouse / Focus does not raise window -- This makes life a lot easier when accessing reference material from another app.

3) Multiple Desktops - I don't use them that much but they sure are useful.

So basically, without these features a DE is not my piece of pie. At work I sometimes have to move things from my NT pc to the unix realm and edit files/data etc through reflection where I can have the window behaviour that I require to do my work in an efficient way.
The fact that none of this shows up in the review, that kde scores much lower on usability whereas it is the only DE/wm that you can set up to have this behaviour (without crazy hacks, as are required for gnome) is very telling about how personal the outcome of the review is.
(Bloat doesn't bother me as long as I can set things up the way I want; if the handles, levers etc in your car are many but they allow you to drive a long time without getting too tired, in the end you win... btw you only set things up once.)

This review is one persons opinion and should be respected as such. Thanks go to the author for writing it, and thanks also to others like Daan for writing their take on things.

Instead of whining about that XP should not win because whatever, or that KDE merits more points here and there, or that OSX is or isn't much better than OS9, I think it would be much more interesting to see what everybody likes about their own favourite DE, and what they don't like about it.

I like KDE the most, but things are not perfect. They are maybe close, as far as the KDE people can do things about it, but some things are annoying. For instance: I'd like to be able to drop a file (image) from konqueror onto the gimp icon on my panel, or on gimp. Once works, but the second time opens a new gimp, and dropping onto gimp does not work...
But I prefer this than to have to miss the useful window behaviour that Danni mentioned. Also I realise this is the result of the whole gtk/qt stuff but that doesn't interest me.

Aside that, I will personally not touch an MS product if I can help it, and not spend any money to a convicted fellon. I also don't believe it's right to steal from a thief, so I just don't buy or use MS win. Add to that the virus problems, spyware, unacceptable (unlawful where I live) EULAs, etcetc...

So I go OSS all the way, the only thing that I don't like is what I mentioned above, and that's minor.

by makkus on Wed 19th Mar 2003 13:01 UTC

Your talking about looking like. Yes Gnome has some things that look like < os9. But API wise it is a total different , horse. I programmed on them too (Siemens used them with some of there medical equipment).

The rest of what you're talking about is FUD. Gconf isn't the windows registry or clone. Fighting against it on that grounds is dishonest when you claim you know how gconf works.

I'm still amazed by the fact that you ignore the contents of my posts which points too your FUD claims and only talk about 'looking like': Gnome 'looks like' <=OS9, gconf 'looks like' Windows registry. But if you're so knowlegdable as you claim, then you also know that the comparison stops by 'looking like'. This means your are FUDDING and suppressing information to make a point which you're not able to make when you were completely honest about the subject.

Now tell me in your Amiga days how many solution for toolbars did you count? How many solution for the file-selector? How many different approaches for buttons (skinnable and not), dropdown-combo boxen? How many API for this. Do you want to talk about that? Claiming that the Amiga delivered a one API solution is lying, Commodore delivered something but the community delivered a lot what made the Amiga and its package of components (just like Gnome) or are you ignoring Miami (TCP/IP stack), MUI (widget set), Dopus (workbench/filemanager replacement) etc. No, the Amiga was like Gnome now, compenents could (and would) be replaced, it sure wasn't a KDE windows clone. how dare you critizing gconf on false grounds, that is on grounds of windows hate and the same time promote the windows API cloning approach of KDE. This is called double standards! Disclaimer I've nothing against KDE, I'm questioning oGALAXYo in his FUDDING.

Uhh no.
by Aitvo on Wed 19th Mar 2003 13:05 UTC

You wrote "GNOME is a kidstoy" because you are a common forum troll. I've read lots of your work, and can completely understand why it gets deleted. This argument (that you've lost) is great based on it's exposure alone. LOL

by makkus on Wed 19th Mar 2003 13:12 UTC

Can you honestly say that the simularities between inclusion of libegg things (toolbar) into gtk+2 and the adoption of widgetsets and other libraries developed by the community by AmigaOS is not comparable. There was no 'one right way' in AmigaOS it was a box of tools were you could pick and build on every level, just like Gnome.

How does it feel?
by Edwaurdo Carochio on Wed 19th Mar 2003 13:21 UTC

The defintitive real experience of those using MS products is one inherent queasiness and irritation associated with Spyware, Pop-up ads, Nags and the "cross your fingers" install/uninstall process of third party commercial programs.

by oGALAXYo on Wed 19th Mar 2003 13:31 UTC

Excuse me but you are cutting things out of context here:

To answer your question about this 'looks like'. I thought you were follwing all sorts of GNOME threads here so I was in the assumtion that you know the issues about GConf that I have brought up. I expressed many times that GConf for example caused a lot of problems for various developers specially the installation and use of Schema files caused a lot of problems. I have a good example of that still visible infront of me where some Galeon developers had hard and nasty times getting their stuff running and all sorts of people came into the channel and where complaining about GConf and Schema files issue. Even today there are a lot of Programs within GNOME (and I speak about the core itself) that has issues with installing Schema files correctly or crash when started up the first time because of not being able to find any configurations and so on. Theoretical techtalk about how advanced something is and then the practical use of it are two different things. And going one step further, what was wrong with the old way of storing configurations ? Nothing. the lame excuse that Administrators can use GConf to set global values is more a technological idea than something that has been proven to work in the practice. And to top all this it's also a matter of personal taste that I don't want to deny here.

The Amiga concern, yes you are not untrue with what you say. Multiple Toolbars made on their own or simulated by putting pushbuttons on the Top, MUI, GadTools, Reactive, ASL, ReqTools sure, all this is right but you forget how old AmigaOS, Kickstart and Workbench is, since early '90 there are no real enchancements for these things. Only some lame updates AmigaOS 3.5/3.9 but nothing API wise. I don't need to tell you about memoryprotection and other stuff. I think you are well aware of all this. But during that time (and even today in certain situations) AmigaOS is still supperior to anything similar. Specially the 512kb ROM (an entire Operating System), the Workbench. With 15-20 Mb you have a full working System anything similar these days that can beat it ? Regardless the fact of multiple Toolbars, MUI, GadTools, Reactive and whats else, there are usually Documentations for developers to work with that.

From todays perspective I would criticise many of these standalone solutions myself. And MorphOS for Pegasos solves many of the old issues e.g. Memoryprotection for new Programms, Control-Center like Preferences, MUI as standard Widgetset and so on, still lacks some stuff but all in all it's getting in the right direction and faster with fewer developers than GNOME offers for their public.

Do you want to compare the good old DirectoryOpus 4.1x, DiskMaster or DOpus Magellan II with Nautilus ? Nautilus won't even touch or sniff the ass of those applications offered on Amiga during these days. Do you wan't to measure how Icons is being placed on the Desktop or in an own Window with the way Nautilus does it nowadays on GNOME ? Yet again Nautilus won't even be able to do half what the normal Workbench was able to do, e.g. Layouting Icons in the Window, saving their state and so on. I think you have forget a lot after you left Amiga 1998 because of the death of the A4K. I did not forget all this.

Now let's get back to GNOME and KDE for the last moment before I discontinue this conversation. Today 2003, march, 19th I'm sitting here infront of Linux box, my only box, my only Operating System that I have decided for. Linux on the bottom layer is perfect here, has everything to offer for me, from customizability, logical installation of stuff and I'm really happy with it and not wanting to change it for anything else because from the console point of view it's perfect and I can do all I like (Vim, LaTeX and so on).

But I'm also used to use a Desktop Environment and as many other people here I'am not illiterate about Windows. To say I have nothing against Windows and if I wasn't used so much to Linux I would switch to it anytime just to get over this sad sad sad situation with Linux Desktop alternatives. In all the semesters I have studied Computer and Economics Science I was missing a lot of stuff on Linux like standard applications to get my work done. Work that brings me forward in my studies, work that makes me earn money, work that is relevant for business and customers that pay millions for an IT project. These apps are only available on Windows. That's a fact and can't be denied. Now I as many others try to find opensource counterparts for these applications, who are able to import and export the informations required. Now, what does GNOME offer ? and what does KDE offer ? Do you see something ? KDE offers most of the apps to do exactly this kind of task. UML with Umbrello (they work on import and export Rational Rose files), Visio (Kivio as counterpart to do DIN 60001 (?) EDV Diagramms for Work), KPresenter to do Powerpoint like presentations. That's relevant for me. That's what I need and I don't plan to wait another 5 years for someone to bring up the same apps for GNOME while KDE offers them already. I'm also quite sure that many other good applications are being offered on KDE really soon and I'm also sure that writing good importers and exporters and enchance the app in general will be easier on KDE than on GNOME.

I don't need yet another MP3 player or other fancy mediaplayer. I need tools that does the work and using the good parts from Windows (as used in KDE) is nothing bad and it's easier for Windows users to get familar with KDE from easy play than with GNOME.

by oGALAXYo on Wed 19th Mar 2003 13:46 UTC

First of all, learn the difference between a GTK+ and a GNOME app before calling someone a Troll (specially someone who at least contributed to GNOME, that's more than you actually did).

by makkus on Wed 19th Mar 2003 13:55 UTC

Hei FUDmaster, you're a moving target. I said that Gnome was like the Amiga, you said there is no comparison (well you said such a comparison was stupid). Now you've to admit I'm right and promptly switch to 'but I would critize the Amiga too if it was now'. Strange coming from someone who said he would take the Amiga API above everything. I'm glad I took the time to reply to your FUD, so everybody can see what arguments you have (none).

Second, I don't compare nautilus to dopus, I compare the ability of gnome and the amiga setup to replace on every level every core element (building block). You're trying to distract from the point a made which are:

Gnome == Amiga approach to DE
KDE == Windows approach to DE

Thirth you're starting to loose ground in the API discussion and promptly switch to application comparison. I could start all over with you about applications (yes I prefer gnome applications) but what is the point. All you whining and gnashing of teeth about API's and libraries boiled down to preference of applications, which you are saying Gnome is lacking, which is very disputable of course.

by oGALAXYo on Wed 19th Mar 2003 14:01 UTC

Sorry my friend but you are getting to far here. If you think I made mistakes in my reply then it's because you didn't clearly stated what you want to ask. You brought in the Amiga in this conversation and not me and you feel upset now just because my reply doesn't fit into your picture ?

Take my reply as is. If you don't like it it's your problem. If it doesn't fit in the answer you expect then be precise next time. Now I hope you decide for the first one and take my reply as is so we can close this conversation. And no GNOME is definately NOT moving the AMIGA way. This is blasphemy to the good old Amiga.

@oGALAXYo: About gconf
by makkus on Wed 19th Mar 2003 14:09 UTC

Every introduction of new technology has his problems. Gconf is no acception. This happens in every DE, well except KDE and Windows which always work perfect in the current setup and the problems ly in the past in a version number lower then the current (look up in google dcop in KDE 2.x, worked flawlessy when KDE 2.x was current and had a lot of problems when KDE 2.x was old and not the current version).

But tell me I'm running a gnome only DE (USE=-arts -kde in gentoo if this says something to you). Which application (who are not extremely apha) have trouble with there schema'sand gconf? Because the only applications crashing on a regular basis on me at the moment are the beta ones like epiphany and totem and not on gconf. I thought I kept up with all the newest in Gnome but if I've to believe you, I miss a whole lot of applications (the ones crashing on gconf or with gconf schema problems).

@oGALAXYo about your last message
by makkus on Wed 19th Mar 2003 14:23 UTC

Not much to say about what I wrote didn't you! And talking about blasphemy to the good old Amiga, what a remark is that? Is the only right way to talk about the Amiga your way? I made my points clear why it was (API wise) like Gnome, you didn't have anything to refute that, except shifting the focus to some claims I didn't make, like comparing nautilus with dopus. You're more at home in flamewar speach (mine is better and bigger then yours) then in technical discussions aren't you (well except if you count words like retarded and stupid as technical, you use them a lot when you discuss GNome building stones)
Some of your technical highlights:
Enlightment is like the AmigaDE (Well if you strip all and == equals 'look like'. )
OS X is like Gnome (Yeah if we forget that it is based on object C. Try OS X == GNUStep or more cacao == GNUSTEP to be more on the spot)

by oGALAXYo on Wed 19th Mar 2003 14:46 UTC

Excuse me but you should do some homework. You said:

GNOME is similar to AMIGA because of C

I said GNOME is more directing into OSX (from look than Amiga) and then you said:

OSX is based on objective C therefore is not compareable to GNOME which is C therefore similar to Amiga.

But you forget that LARGE parts of Kickstart and Workbench (refering to 3.1 here) are written in Assembly language and assembled on a Unix Mainframe. Due the time I can't remember which parts are Assembly but I have parts of the original Kickstart sourcecode somewhere on my archives and can for sure tell that Exec is 100% pure MC680x0 Assembly.

Nice day!

by makkus on Wed 19th Mar 2003 15:13 UTC

Still grabbing everything except the point.

AmigaOS and Gnome both had the ability to replace every core element on every level by something else as proven over and over again by it faithfull community. This makes it exciting technology.

The "Definitive" Desktop Environment Comparison
by Anonymous on Wed 19th Mar 2003 15:23 UTC

How egotistical to say "Definitive".

Confusing conclusion
by akira28 on Wed 19th Mar 2003 16:21 UTC

Will the reviewer clarify the confusing conclusion. The same line states "I much prefer overall the Windows XP experience " then states "a close second the ones of MacOSX and BeOS".

One cannot like one *much* more then say others were close.
This is a contradiction in terms.

re suka's post far up: Blender
by Knuckles on Wed 19th Mar 2003 17:44 UTC

Original post:

Eugenia, I have the same experience as suka. Can it be that you count blender start up time only until the greeter window comes up and the UI is displayed? Measured like this, I can follow you. But measuring it like this is wrong, because, of course stuff still goes on behind the scenes in blender, and it is not usable until the greeter goes away.

re: re suka's post far up: Blender
by Knuckles on Wed 19th Mar 2003 18:03 UTC

bah. the greeter goes away when you move the mouse. I have to agree with Eugenia

RE: re: re suka's post far up: Blender
by Eugeia on Wed 19th Mar 2003 18:17 UTC

Nope, no the greeter. The whole thing comes up immediately and there is a good reason for this, despite Blender being much more big than the small Calculator Gnome app: library dependancies. Gnome apps are crazy on their dependancies and that slows down extremely their loading times.

by Aitvo on Wed 19th Mar 2003 19:52 UTC

"Gnome apps are crazy on their dependancies and that slows down extremely their loading times."

Uhh no.

[xxxxxxx@wyatta xxxxxxx]$ date;/usr/bin/gnome-calculator;date
Wed Mar 19 14:49:39 EST 2003
Wed Mar 19 14:49:40 EST 2003
[xxxxxxx@wyatta xxxxxxx]$

[xxxxxxx@wyatta xxxxxxx]$ cat /proc/cpuinfo
processor : 0
vendor_id : GenuineIntel
cpu family : 6
model : 8
model name : Pentium III (Coppermine)
stepping : 1
cpu MHz : 598.691
cache size : 256 KB
fdiv_bug : no
hlt_bug : no
f00f_bug : no
coma_bug : no
fpu : yes
fpu_exception : yes
cpuid level : 2
wp : yes
flags : fpu vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 apic sep mtrr pge mca cmov
pat pse36 mmx fxsr sse
bogomips : 1196.03

[xxxxxxx@wyatta xxxxxxx]$uptime
2:50pm up 156 days, 4:37, 2 users, load average: 0.11, 0.11, 0.09
[xxxxxxx@wyatta xxxxxxx]$

Please note that I also had to take the time to alt-f4 gcalc when it came up to return control to the shell.

"Slow", gimme a break already.

re: Blender
by stew on Wed 19th Mar 2003 20:32 UTC

Just press ctrl-U in Blender and the splash window will never bother you again.

RE: A developers view in how stupid PEOPLE are
by Eugenia on Wed 19th Mar 2003 22:29 UTC

Yes, Havoc is 100% correct over there, again.

by Go on Wed 19th Mar 2003 22:55 UTC

Stupid people don't use Linux or never heard of it.

RE: A developers view in how stupid PEOPLE are
by Eugenia on Wed 19th Mar 2003 22:57 UTC

>Stupid people don't use Linux or never heard of it.

This is true only for today. But what we see today is a large effort on making the public aware of Linux. In other words, steps should be taken to make Linux READY for these "stupid" people.

Please retain the "RE: <Subject>" in your replies.

by Anonymous on Wed 19th Mar 2003 23:33 UTC

don't worry! just keep calling them "stupid" and they stay on whatever platform they are right now.

One disagreement
by Anonymous on Thu 20th Mar 2003 00:27 UTC


I have one disagreement with this article, and it is with this quote:

"Gnome and KDE feel more like shells, and while this is what they really are if you clearly look at them, they don't solve the given problem (even if they never meant to, it is irrelevant here, as the overall experience is what matters)."

That KDE and Gnome were not meant to solve the problem IS relevant. They are meant to be part of a total solution, not to be a total solution in themselves, and there are distros that use them properly. An example would be SuSE with KDE; Control Center is the one stop shop for ALL your configuration needs, including all the KDE config stuff plus all the YaST modules. You do a disservice to your readers, and damage to your credibility, by ignoring this (and don't try to tell me you're unfamiliar with SuSE's KDE implementation). I realize you were trying to stick with KDE 3.1, but with so few distros shipping 3.1 at this point, I would hardly say it's a fair representation of the default KDE a user is likely to encounter.

Also, I realize you have a bone to pick with X, but you keep blaming it for things that aren't it's fault. Most people who claim X is slow or unstable have only used KDE or Gnome. When you try something like WindowMaker it quickly becomes apparent that X is very fast and very stable, and it is in fact KDE and Gnome that are slow and unstable.

Finally, you really should have had an editor read this before you posted it. The last few pages were very difficult to read.

Does this article deserve such attention?
by Petr on Thu 20th Mar 2003 11:55 UTC

Well, the thing with this very article is that it should have started with words like "This is how me, Eugenia, tried to use various desktops and how I (dis)liked each and every of them in various ways". It is obvious that the author is used to using one of the tested environments on a daily basis and the rest simply does not meet her personal criteria - this is what is commonly called to be biased.

While there surely are certain valid points in the article, the overall result is just a sum of personal tastes and preferences, based more on random experience of one person rather than specific UI usability tests with a group of randomly selected users. It has the same level of importance to me as saying that when I first tried to use WinXP, it choked up while transferring a file via FTP and became totally unresponsible (even the cursor refused to move smoother than one jump in a second), which is a behaviour I have never experienced using any other desktop, thus rendering WinXP the least stable of all for me. But is it valid to claim my experience is a general rule for judging and that my preferences are anything important to finding out which desktop is better for anyone? Of course not! There are many happy users of WinXP, just as there are of KDE, Gnome, MacOS or BeOS. And I am biased myself so it would take at least a dozen of various people to get any usable review of the pros and cons of the various desktops!

Therefore I guess the issue is mainly in article claiming to be something it in fact is not. It is not about overall user experience. At least not of users of the very desktops nor of a wider audience.

Then there are other more or less important details, such as that WinXP does not come with any programming framework itself (unless purchased separately) so it should have received much less points than it did (not mentioning MFC being a pain to work with due to its inherently bad architecture). Then, the proposed modified menu for Gnome mis-aligns the texts vs. icons and arrows (arrows become base aligned instead of centered) and makes it harder to read at higher resolutions (compared to the original) etc. But again, all of this is a matter of personal tastes...

So, why does this article deserve such attention? It does not! It just starts another useless flamewar - which is what only the author can profit from. The best we can do is to call for real comparisons, more in-depth reviews and given rules of testing - and for articles of value - such ones that really help spot the weaknesses and care more about usability rather than eye candy!

by Jay on Thu 20th Mar 2003 15:58 UTC

So much of the comments in this thread really end up referring to Eugenia's use of the word "definitive" in the title. Almost all of us know Eugenia is not a native speaker of English and words and terms in a different language are often difficult to pinpoint as to what situations you use them in, etc.

Most of us who natively speak English know that "definitive" means "the standard", "the ultimate", "the agreed upon", etc. This is obviously not what Eugenia meant as she began the article apologizing for not including more OSes and then going on to say, "Also note that this is a quick overview. We can't possibly cover these environments in-depth, as that would take not five pages...".

So, it is obvious she used the word in an incorrect fashion. However, in English (and I'm sure there are equivalents in other languages) there is a saying regarding this kind of thing. It's called "correcting the obvious". And it means that there is no point or use in correcting the person's mistake over and over again. The term is clear - the correction that is being made is something that is calling an evergreen tree a Maple tree. It's in obvious mistake. It can happen to anyone. And it's so obvious that "correcting the obvious" is worse than the initial mistake. So, unfortunately, many, many of these posts in this thread were posted for only one reason - to correct the obvious.

write own de
by nick on Fri 21st Mar 2003 09:01 UTC

if one doesn't like any of the DE available, is it possible to write your own? and if so, how/what is needed?. . .or is this not the place to ask that, even though it is topic of desktop environments?

i use aqua on os x and find it works just fine for me. i use windows sparingly at work and when i do it makes my eyes hurt (that and it doesn't do what i want it to do the way i want it to do and makes sense to me. . .of course that could just be because i was not raised on the windows motif). and i have tried gnome and kde (still trying to figure out how to use others availabe under x11) and find them too-windozy for my taste. . .if i were to have time and talent is what is needed for a de to work/code req'd? or is it possible to look at some of the opensource one's available to figure that out? smile

I rate like so...
by Trey on Sun 23rd Mar 2003 11:12 UTC

My personal ratings would be as follows:

KDE 3.1 - 9.0
- Fast, efficiant, doesn't get in my way, allows me change almost everything, not bloated (using apt-get install kdm kdebase kdelibs in debian sid)
Windows XP - 6.5
- Slow, integration not consistant, bloated, only able to delete curtain apps via 3rd party applications
MacOS X - 6.5
- Looks great, good integration, perhaps the slowest GUI I have used though
Gnome 2.2 - 5.0
- I have yet to see a nice destop using Gnome 2.2, its slow, apps really don't seem to follow any UI rules.
BeOS - Not applicable due to lack of experiance with OS...
Although my ratings probably don't seem very unbiased, I assure you they are. I am currently using XP due to school needs, I use MacOS X alot at school, and used Gnome prior to 2.x ... Most of my system maintenence is done using the Terminal however, so perhaps that could be a reason KDE and Gnome got a bad rap in the article.

Its impossible to please everyone with any one UI, however KDE works best for me personally.

by Anonymous on Sun 23rd Mar 2003 17:33 UTC

So sad you all have such low standards but any OS that isn't snappy with 30 mhz and 4 meg ram is crap IMO! ie. AmigaOS.. Ahh those were the days.

Have YOU ever used linux?
by Just another Matt on Sun 23rd Mar 2003 19:05 UTC

Have you EVER used Linux? Here you really can't say where things are installed, and I hate it.

Seriously have you ever used linux? I would love to see you post that same comment on a linux users forum. Plus the fact that this is about GUI's not OS's. If you want to get into the XP vs. Linux vs. OSX vs. ??? I dont think any of us would make it out alive of that battle.

Re: Eugenia is too easy on windows
by Bman on Mon 24th Mar 2003 14:54 UTC

"I know it hurts, Be-fans, but face the truth: Be is dead. No one uses it for real. There are a few nostalgic ones out there who may occasionally fire it up on their dusty and unused old Win98 machines to show to friends and reminisce about what might have been but that is about all."

Well then I guess none of my computers are actually used by anyone, including myself. It has been since late 2000, and still is my primary OS. I've tried Gnome, KDE, and I use Windows XP here at work. I can't stand them. I am spolied.