Linked by David Adams on Fri 18th Jun 2010 19:17 UTC
Linux Linux Magazine has a profile of Daniel Fore and the Elementary project. Elementary is a Linux distro that's committed to a clean and simple user experience, but it's more than a distro - it's actually a multi-pronged effort to make improvements to the user experience for a whole ecosystem of components, including icons, a GTK theme, Midori improvements, Nautilus, and even Firefox. The work that elementary is doing isn't limited to their own distro, and some of their work is available in current, and perhaps future, Ubuntu releases. The results are really striking, and I think it's probably the handsomest Linux UI I've ever seen.
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RE: Improvements to Linux?
by Neolander on Sat 19th Jun 2010 09:50 UTC in reply to "Improvements to Linux?"
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I don't really have any naggles with the default DEs; while I don't like KDE4 it still does suite some others, and I do like GNOME even as it is.

But what do I do have a naggle with? Well...X taking all the applications down with it if it crashes! That's STILL one of the most annoying things about Linux desktops and even though it doesn't happen often it still DOES happen.

Right enough. This is sadly an architectural defect of the Linux desktop, it would take ages to fix and no one except maybe for the Syllabe guys feels up to the task, as far as I know. (Myself, I prefer to work on a new OS written from the ground up with desktop use and reliability in mind, and its a hobby thing which just aims at proving that doing so still is possible in 2010, I don't aim at joining the big three in terms of things like hardware compatibility)

Another one that bugs me is that whenever a user double-clicks an RPM file (s)he gets for root password, not offered to install the application for the current user only. That's rather silly: almost all Linux software is relocateable and doesn't require to be in the system-wide locations. If there's some users you don't wish to share your root password with, or if you're f.ex. just trying out something you don't wish to install system-wide it'd make sense to have it installed only in your own home directory; just have the package manager resolve the dependencies but install all of them only for the user in question.

Again, I agree with you, but it's a conceptual defect more than a technical one. Linux, in its current form, still mainly targets offices with big servers and thousands of dumb terminals connected to them. Anything else is a bonus. In such a setting, people don't want to let the user install whatever he wants. So it's the default behavior. I think it can be fixed, but the fix is unoptimized and hence probably tricky...

Yet one more thing is drivers: when Windows finds a device it doesn't know a driver for it offers to check for such via Windows Update and installs it automatically if one is found. When Linux finds a device it doesn't know a driver for it does nothing. Nada. I have f.ex. this USB webcam which needs a certain kernel module installed but that module isn't part of the kernel sources themselves, instead being an out-of-the-tree one. I have to first Google around and try to find out which module I have to install to get it working and I get multiple possibilities I have to try them all..That's messy.

I've been contemplating about making an online database which Linux distros could access: you could search by driver and get a listing of all the hardware it supports and if a specific device needs some additional module options, or you could search with PCI/USB/etc IDs and get a listing of drivers which support the device, along with the corresponding module options. The distro could just access the site via a simple API, get the results, and then proceed to install the needed drivers. Unfortunately I don't have the bandwidth right now to host such a project myself :/

Ubuntu tried to do something like that with Jockey from the beginning, but progresses in this area are now very slow, for reasons which I don't know of. It works sometimes with wi-fi cards and works very well with graphic cards, but that's all. I was thrilled the first time I heard about this software, and now pretty much disappointed as it looks abandoned.

Edited 2010-06-19 09:51 UTC

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