Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 27th Aug 2009 19:08 UTC
Linux A complaint you hear quite often is that the Linux desktop environments, which mostly refers to KDE and GNOME, are trying too hard to be like Windows and Mac OS X. Now, even James Bottomley, Distinguished Engineer at Novell, Director of the Linux Foundation, and Chair of its Technical Advisory Board (put that on your business card) states in an interview that he believes the Linux desktop is too much like Windows and Mac.
Thread beginning with comment 381242
To view parent comment, click here.
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
jimmy1971
Member since:
2009-08-27

Thanks for the clarification, as it made me revisit and refocus my thoughts on this issue. (While I'm aware of the distinction between a WM and a DE, by default I usually just think of a DE as simply a WM with some extra stuff thrown in.)

If someone chooses a WM, and then installs a file manager and extra widgets, and customizes/creates their own "themes", have they not arrived at a DIY desktop environment?

It seems to me that the pre-packaged DE's (KDE, Gnome, etc.), by buying into the supposed "desktop allegory", doom themselves to seeming very close to Windows or Mac. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, however, if it helps newcomers migrate from Bill's OS into the world of FOSS by giving them some measure of familiarity.

As someone becomes more advanced at Unix, however, and gets more used to customizing things at a granular level, the less they desire a DE that makes them say "I can't believe this isn't Windows!"

Edited 2009-08-28 14:11 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

If someone chooses a WM, and then installs a file manager and extra widgets, and customizes/creates their own "themes", have they not arrived at a DIY desktop environment?


That's debatable. One consideration I often hear is that a DE should be consistent, e. g. all programs should follow a common guide for style and operations, they should use the same libraries and UI toolkits and should interoperate.

Once upon a time, I had to create a system for a customer who wanted "CDE on a BSD system". I installed XFCE 3, did some configuration work (for look and feel) and added different applications, such as OpenOffice, Opera, Sylpheed, gv, xmms and mplayer. Of course, this mixture was very appealing to the customer ("Hey! How did you get this advanced CDE onto the BSD box?"), but I would definitely not call it a DE. It was a functional compositum, done by preinstallation and preconfiguration.

As someone becomes more advanced at Unix, however, and gets more used to customizing things at a granular level, the less they desire a DE that makes them say "I can't believe this isn't Windows!"


I've heared this already about KDE. I'm not using it regularly, so I'm definitely the wrong person to make a statement, but... I've been told that many users - not only "advanced" ones - don't feel well inside KDE. Most of them have migrated to Gnome, and few to "niche" DEs and WMs such as Xfce (4) or tiling WMs. Often, users expect a speed gain when they abandon "Windows" in favour of Linux or UNIX. The operating system basis delivers such a speed boost, but if it's immediately taken away by "bloated" DEs and "fat" application programs that "do everything", users will orientate elsewhere. And that's the great thing about Linux and UNIX: They are able to do so, and maybe find a solution that feels better to them.

Reply Parent Score: 2