Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 20th Dec 2017 17:39 UTC, submitted by Henrik Hellerstedt
OpenBSD

If you've noticed a disruption in the time-space continuum recently, it is likely because I have finally been able to compile and install the Common Desktop Environment (CDE) in a current and actively-developed operating system (OpenBSD 6.2 in this case).

Since it's been a while - I love CDE.

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I noticed the callout at the end
by earksiinni on Wed 20th Dec 2017 18:58 UTC
earksiinni
Member since:
2009-03-27

Must feel good being cited as an authority on antiquated desktop environments, Thom ;-)

Reply Score: 10

Good old Motif
by Darkmage on Wed 20th Dec 2017 19:41 UTC
Darkmage
Member since:
2006-10-20

I love the Motif widget set. I just wish that there was a decent open source version of the IRIX desktop. Motif just makes so much more sense with the way focus works. It stops you from making accidents with the mouse. Far superior to modern trash desktops. Too bad there aren't more apps written for Motif, it desperately needs a modern browser.

Edited 2017-12-20 19:42 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE: Good old Motif
by bsdero on Thu 21st Dec 2017 22:11 UTC in reply to "Good old Motif"
bsdero Member since:
2005-08-29
RE: Good old Motif
by tylerdurden on Fri 22nd Dec 2017 10:25 UTC in reply to "Good old Motif"
tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

Click to focus can be enabled in just about any window manager, the widget set has little to do with that I think.

Motif was a god awful abomination to code for.

Edited 2017-12-22 10:26 UTC

Reply Score: 5

Comment by drcouzelis
by drcouzelis on Wed 20th Dec 2017 20:11 UTC
drcouzelis
Member since:
2010-01-11

Haha I've sent people that CDE article of yours so many times! ;)

Reply Score: 3

One of the worst
by rener on Wed 20th Dec 2017 20:53 UTC
rener
Member since:
2006-02-27

I really wonder why someone who literately hates software and thinks "Traditional operating systems are garbage." likes CDE. I can agree to like a lot of things, but CDE looks to me like the worst user experience Unix nightmare memories, ever, ... I'd rather use BeOS or NeXTstep.

Reply Score: 3

RE: One of the worst
by kwan_e on Wed 20th Dec 2017 21:19 UTC in reply to "One of the worst"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

but CDE looks to me like the worst user experience Unix nightmare memories


Based on looks?

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: One of the worst
by Vanders on Wed 20th Dec 2017 21:33 UTC in reply to "RE: One of the worst"
Vanders Member since:
2005-07-06

I don't know about anyone else, but having used CDE on Solaris for a year as a young(er) professional, I'm fairly comfortable in my position that CDE was horrible because it was a terrible user experience with endless non-discoverable functionality, non-orthogonal usability, required a text editor to make anything but the most basic configuration changes, and yes, was ugly.

Reply Score: 9

RE[3]: One of the worst
by jessesmith on Thu 21st Dec 2017 15:20 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: One of the worst"
jessesmith Member since:
2010-03-11

I used CDE on Solaris back in the 90s. I thought it was an okay experience and that might have grown out of the fact it was one of the earlier full blown desktop environments I'd used. Up until then I'd been mostly command line only, with some limited exposure to Windows 98.

Coming from a mostly DOS background I certainly found it easier to adapt to the CDE desktop than the complexity of the Unix command line.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: One of the worst
by Soulbender on Thu 21st Dec 2017 04:41 UTC in reply to "RE: One of the worst"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

I used CDE on HP-UX for a while and just as Vanders I found it to be a rather terrible user experience.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: One of the worst
by Troels on Thu 21st Dec 2017 15:36 UTC in reply to "RE: One of the worst"
Troels Member since:
2005-07-11

The looks were not THAT bad for its time (mid to late 90s). But it was so incredibly bloody slow, and was a nightmare to use.

What i remember the most was it being an intelligence test to start an Xterm (ironic on a unix system) and waiting for the damn blinking yellow light to stop blinking so it would actually react to clicks.

I don't understand why anyone on a Sun machine would run this over OpenWindows. By the time the Ultra 5 was released, KDE 1.0 had luckily been released, and after that CDE has just been an unpleasant memory for me

Reply Score: 3

RE: One of the worst
by Sauron on Wed 20th Dec 2017 21:36 UTC in reply to "One of the worst"
Sauron Member since:
2005-08-02

I really wonder why someone who literately hates software and thinks "Traditional operating systems are garbage." likes CDE. I can agree to like a lot of things, but CDE looks to me like the worst user experience Unix nightmare memories, ever, ... I'd rather use BeOS or NeXTstep.


Nothing wrong with BeOS's desktop, it's a pleasure to use even today and still looks better than Windows!
Can't comment on NeXTstep because never used it but from what I've seen of it, it looks fine.

Reply Score: 2

Glad to see someone used my instructions
by Onyx_RE2 on Wed 20th Dec 2017 23:10 UTC
Onyx_RE2
Member since:
2015-03-05

I wrote the install guide for CDE on OpenBSD found on Sourceforge.
https://sourceforge.net/p/cdesktopenv/wiki/OpenBSDBuild/
Glad to see someone has found it useful.
I always meant to make a package for this but never got around to doing so. Maybe someday.

Edited 2017-12-20 23:12 UTC

Reply Score: 5

Is CDE on OpenBSD any news?
by wigry on Thu 21st Dec 2017 09:00 UTC
wigry
Member since:
2008-10-09

Hmm, I find it amusing to see it as a news. When CDE was open sourced, OpenBSD was one of the first systems it was possible to compile it on. So I have a screenshot of running CDE on OpenBSD from many years ago already. Therefore I do not consider it to have any significance.

However regarding the CDE likeing itself, I always have related CDE to professional UNIX as my first exposure to CDE was IBM's AIX. Later in university I also saw it on Solaris boxes but it did look much worse than on AIX where it was very pleasing to eyes. The default color scheme on Solaris was quite horrible.

So If I could work on CDE then I felt like I was using a serious unix. When I started to explore the world of Linux, I was truely dissappointed for the unavailability of CDE and found KDE and GNOME feeling too flimsy and like a consumer-oriented toy-like products compared to ruggedness of CDE.

Edited 2017-12-21 09:11 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Is CDE on OpenBSD any news?
by wigry on Thu 21st Dec 2017 14:39 UTC in reply to "Is CDE on OpenBSD any news?"
wigry Member since:
2008-10-09

Just for those interested, the CDE running on OpenBSD 5.4 back in 2014 with color scheme I remember from AIX days. The terminal window shades are especially cool, the background is not pure gray nor is the text pure white. The combination is just right and pleasant for the eyes.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/QqYNcRi3bMmlpOqK2

Edited 2017-12-21 14:41 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Is CDE on OpenBSD any news?
by jimmy1971 on Thu 21st Dec 2017 19:16 UTC in reply to "Is CDE on OpenBSD any news?"
jimmy1971 Member since:
2009-08-27

Your honor, I'd like the court to know that as the author of the piece in question, my defence is that the "news" part is in the series of patches for building on OpenBSD 6.2, couched as it is within a broader personal perspective on CDE itself. And so although it takes up only a small part of the article, there is a "how-to" element in there. Flimsy justification though that may be, my blog post was an example of me writing about the kind of topic about which I like to read, and so I imagine it is also the same kind of topic many OSnews readers enjoy as well.

As for the "news" part of this website's moniker, I've always thought of it as being akin to a website that offers "news" not just about new cars but also classic cars (i.e. cars that have been out of production for decades), like this one: https://www.motorauthority.com/news/classic-cars.

While it is in semi-retirement as a "commercial" product, and while its aesthetics aren't bound to change any time soon (potential fork projects notwithstanding), CDE is very much recent as far as open source projects go, and as such the open source community is giving it new life.

And finally, the numbers. Since posting that article on my blog less than 48 hours ago, it has had 17,130 hits, and just keeps climbing. That is far beyond what I ever would have imagined so quickly, particularly for something regarding an antiquated desktop environment posted on a marginal general interest blog (albeit one with frequent UNIX-related articles). My second most popular blog post was a piece about NetBSD from June 2016, which as of right now has garnered 2064 hits.

All that to say that there is still much interest in CDE - in using it, in continued development, and in learning from it. Given how underwhelming today's bloated DE offerings are, I think CDE still has a lot to teach today's UI designers.

Reply Score: 2

Long time no see
by quackalist on Thu 21st Dec 2017 19:15 UTC
quackalist
Member since:
2007-08-27

Used it for a bit and though it needed some work I really liked the look of it. Glad to see it back, thanks

Reply Score: 2

RE: Long time no see
by ThomasFuhringer on Fri 22nd Dec 2017 07:52 UTC in reply to "Long time no see "
ThomasFuhringer Member since:
2007-01-25

Guess it has to be charged from the point of view of the stage of development it was in when it was more or less abandoned and what potential it would bear if development were to pick up again.
Wish somebody would get it to run on a more prevalent platform such as Debian so it might receive more attention.
Personally I feel we could really use another contender in the free desktop arena as Qt and GTK have both gone astray and OpenStep has stalled. We should really go back and start over at an early stage.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Long time no see
by wigry on Fri 22nd Dec 2017 09:06 UTC in reply to "RE: Long time no see "
wigry Member since:
2008-10-09

Lots of Debians on the list of supported platforms

https://sourceforge.net/p/cdesktopenv/wiki/SupportedPlatforms/

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Long time no see
by tlal on Sat 23rd Dec 2017 04:08 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Long time no see "
tlal Member since:
2017-07-25

Indeed. I am the one who ported it to Debian and I keep that part of the wiki up to date.

CDE is being modernized, but its mostly under the hood changes right now. Replacing old build code is time consuming. Each platform has hundreds of build warnings, obscure macros and weirdness.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Long time no see
by wigry on Sat 23rd Dec 2017 20:21 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Long time no see "
wigry Member since:
2008-10-09

Wonderful! Thats exactly what I expect the devs to do with ancient code - bring the build system to modern days (./configure & make & make install would be excellent) and perhaps replace odd libraries or code constructs with more modern ones. BUT DO NOT TOUCH THE UX! Because thats kinda the point of CDE in the first place to experience that old ancient user interface

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Long time no see
by tlal on Mon 25th Dec 2017 22:21 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Long time no see "
tlal Member since:
2017-07-25

Bring the build system to something modern is a tremendous effort and no one is really keen on trying, not yet anyway.

The UX won't change. We tweaked it so you can nice fonts and that's it. The one thing that does need work is DTFm, it has not aged well.

Reply Score: 1

olvwm rules
by bnolsen on Sat 23rd Dec 2017 00:16 UTC
bnolsen
Member since:
2006-01-06

I absolutely HATED it when we moved from sunos to solaris primarily because openlook was replaced by CDE. I hated the hard coded wasted screen space and a lot of other things.

Reply Score: 3