Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 1st Dec 2008 23:31 UTC, submitted by linuxlinks
Window Managers "Mainstream Linux distributions typically default to one of two desktop environments, KDE or GNOME. Both of these environments provide users with an intuitive and attractive desktop, as well as offering a large raft of multimedia software, games, administration programs, network tools, educational applications, utilities, artwork, web development tools and more. However, these two desktops focus more on providing users with a modern computing environment with all the bells and whistles featured in Windows Vista, rather than minimising the amount of system resources they need. For users and developers who want to run an attractive Linux desktop on older hardware, netbooks, or mobile internet devices, neither KDE or GNOME may be a viable option, as they run too slowly on low spec machines (such as less than 256MB RAM and a 1 GHz processor). This article seeks to identify the best lean desktops for Linux, for users that have old or even ancient hardware."
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Dissatisfied with KDE & GNOME
by Jason Bourne on Tue 2nd Dec 2008 03:38 UTC
Jason Bourne
Member since:
2007-06-02

I uninstalled today my copy of Ubuntu 8.10. My motives were the hassle that is to replace Windows Explorer "Classic Mode with Sidepanel & detailed view". Nautilus got so much in the way that it became obvious that the application did not want to do what I needed to do. This time I really felt like if GNOME was almost popping up a banner "Don't do this, you're too stupid...". Then I installed Konqueror, but I needed to download something like 300MB to also get (the unwanted) Dolphin and a vast amount of KDE libraries. With Nautilus or Konqueror, I couldn't even change a mimetype icon for a specific kind of file (FLAC). I am sure one out there managed to do this, but not me, not with konqueror in KDE4, not with Dolphin and to with Nautilus. My Main menus in both KDE and GNOME got "cluttered" of one's another application, everything out of the right places. I mean... these two desktops really must not even LIKE BEING TOGETHER on! (LOL)


Today I realized that one of the biggest problem for me, in Linux, is the file manager: Windows Explorer/XP may suck for some people, but I didn't see any competitor at its level. (I said "Classic Mode, with panel and detailed view", not default)

You will tell me of other alternatives that certainly don't use GTK+ and are quite ugly, not to mention the inconsistent system behaviours such as the mouse pointer to left, outside at the desktop area, and then to the right, inside the application. I mean, this really sucks man! Further more, it's Nautilus that is "decently" integrated to the system, and not others which I later installed to fiddle with (Pcfman, Thunar).

Tom already wrote in the series "Why DE sucks" how GNOME redraws are slow. I have a good 3D card, my video is working wonderfully well and still, GTK+ is slow to redraw. This redraw glitch and Nautilus are one of the greatest GNOME shortcommings. Take that away and Ubuntu will be a real alternative to Windows.

On the other hand we have these lightweight desktops but they also have ridiculous flaws. For instance, XFCE. I think it's primarily the name. It will never "catch". XF what? Too much acronyms! Why can't something be properly named, like Orion or Andromeda, for example. The panels are not very optimal just like GNOME default. There is space in the bottom being wasted. I think if XFCE shifted to a Windows XP-like interface, emulating the look and feel (not necessarely all that blue) would get this desktop really far ahead GNOME and KDE. You see the contrary, developers will try to emulate the strangest things around, but not what 99% of the users are used to on a daily basis (read Windows).

It's kind of humiliating for DE developers to try to imitate everything that Windows Vista does or what Microsoft is going to implement, instead of trying to diminish the learning curve between Windows & Linux desktops. I believe KDE signed a consentiment to its obituary, because they have increased the complexity and there are people who are right when they say that they couldn't "do a thing" inside KDE4.x. GNOME is ahead KDE in that sense, but it seems like another extreme-right politics group, embracing no new ideas on how to get rid of Nautilus. Can you do a "lasso" over your files in list view (detailed)? I bet you can't. (Yep, I know there is a workaround and it has been filed as a bug, but is it in latest Ubuntu? No...) You see, this is what I am talking about.

Until there, I find difficult to adopt even more alternatives to the desktop.

Edited 2008-12-02 03:47 UTC

Reply Score: 2