Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 20th Feb 2007 09:59 UTC
Window Managers What is wrong with KDE 3.x? What is wrong with GNOME 2.8+? These seem to be the two questions arising from the recent revival of Linus vs. GNOME spat. We all know the history; Linus called the GNOME guys 'interface nazis' and advised Linux users to use KDE, which resulted in the longest comment thread on OSNews ever. That kind of fizzled out, only to be brought to light again by Linus submitting a few patches to make GNOME behave more like he wants it to behave.
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RE[3]: Unbelievable
by h times nue equals e on Tue 20th Feb 2007 21:16 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Unbelievable"
h times nue equals e
Member since:

Although I'm not the OP, I have had similar experiences, so I will try to explain:

First, let me tell you (just in case you haven't used it) that GNOME 1.x was sometimes a bitch to configure, esp. if the distribution focused on KDE (like SuSE, which I was using back then). It took me some time to adapt GNOME 1.x to work with me (and it took even longer to get the hang of the things it didn't allowed me to adapt). Next, replacing the underlying WM was more common for GNOME setups than for KDE back then (I once configured a GNOME installation at a colleages desk and it took me minutes to figure out, that the reason some of the advanced options were in a strange place was, that he was using sawfish instead of my familiar WM. I was less familiar with Linux then :-) ), so that behavioural patterns for configuration were not always transferable across distributions / installations. I was initially (to use this stupid market-speech) "very excited" when the 2.x series of GNOME promised to fix this issues.

I had my first "what the duck" moment when the galeon (which was my default browser) 1.3 release and the subsequent fork into the galeon/epiphany double occured, leaving me with approx. half the configuration options in both browsers I had grown to rely on. At the same time (IIRC, this is some years from now, please correct me if I'm wrong) many more - partially obscure, I admit it - configuration features got axed in the sake of simplicity and the new HIG. All in all nothing wrong with that, but the decisions (aka the "sane defaults") ran many times counter what I have got used to previously during the "GNOME-1.x-vs.-myself-adaption" stage. With no first-class-citizen access to "advanced configuration options" (I will try to keep calm while thinking about gconf-editor, thank you for asking), I felt limited and came finally to the conclusion, that I was no longer the intended audience for this DE.

I left GNOME with the 2.6 release (the spatial-or-not-spatial debate was fun to watch from a safe distance) for good, because I found a more suiting environment (XFCE) that has so far allowed me to adapt even minor settings to my pleasing (I like for example non-flat buttons in the taskbar still better, thank you for letting me set this back even in 4.4!) while staying out of my way during work.

So what would be needed to get me back to GNOME? An "Advanced Settings" panel/tab/button for most applications and dialogs, even if I don't need them 90%+ of the time. A more straightforward way to build GNOME releases from source and perhaps a little-more open attitude towards users who are not afraid of learning curves even "later" would not hurt either.

But OTOH, since there are many GNOME users who are happy with what they got, I doubt, that this will
(or even should) happen, because otherwise, GoneMe would probably have been more successful.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[4]: Unbelievable
by kelvin on Wed 21st Feb 2007 13:17 in reply to "RE[3]: Unbelievable"
kelvin Member since:

Wow! 528 words and you still didn't answer the question:
What specifically is missing [from the GNOME 2.x series]?

Do you have any concrete examples, I'd really like to know? Is it just the ability to set flat/non-flat buttons on the task-bar?

I'm a Gnome user since the 0.3 series, and I'm perfectly happy with the usability focus that's been integral to the project since 2.0. From my perspective, I'm happy to never have to wade through pages and pages of useless junk-settings to find the one I'm looking for. Here's an example from the bad old days:

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[5]: Unbelievable
by h times nue equals e on Wed 21st Feb 2007 17:24 in reply to "RE[4]: Unbelievable"
h times nue equals e Member since:

Sorry for being that exhaustive in my GP post, and sorry for not providing explicit examples. I will try to do shorter this time

It's been some time since I left GNOME (last regular use was 2.6.1, last flyby was FreeRock GNOME 2.12), so please bear with me. From the top of my head, what bothered me in/up until 2.6 was for example, that I couldn't get rid of the (volume) icons on the desktop (seems to work at least since 2.8 via gconf), that epiphany somehow refused to let me set the lifetime of my cookies, that I had found no way to have a list of background images instead of a single one, that there was little consistency in how the toolbars could be configured (some applications refused to allow me to adapt the toolbar at all like evolution, while the degree of what was adaptable varied among applications) and similar stuff.

Things I've been missing even in GNOME 2.12 (perhaps this has been adressed in the mean time) and where XFCE has spoiled me is, that
- scrolling with the mouse wheel over the desktop (and
not only the pager) can switch virtual desktops
- the direct availability of Gamma correction controls
- grouping of keyboard shortcuts to themes

I realize - thanks to yours and dylanmrjones posts in this thread - that the situations concerning advanced settings seems to have got better. Perhaps it's time to give GNOME 2.16 or 2.18 when it's out a spin :-)

Note, that flat or non-flat buttons in the taskbar are not a big deal. They are an example, that one possibility for a project like XFCE or GNOME is to honor the experience of advanced users and let them access advanced configuration options in a sane manner, or to axe the feature and ban it to the other second-class configurations into the gconf menu.

I prefer the first approach, you seem to have no problem with the latter, which is OK for me, but explains why we have different tastes wrt our desktop environments. BTW, Your screenshot brought up old memories, except, that I kinda liked the ability to tweak the desktop to the nth degree once and for all (a better way to group/layout the options would have been nice, though)


Edited 2007-02-21 17:26

Reply Parent Score: 3