Arguably, the new unified UI on Red Hat 8 was the talk of the town for the whole summer since the Limbo betas. Today we talk with two of the leading people behind Red Hat’s enhanced usability and UI found on 8.0-Psyche, Havoc Pennington (also known for his work on the Metacity window manager) and Owen Taylor (lots of cool stuff on XFree’s side). We discuss about XFree and its capabilities, about Linux’s ability to fullfil a modern desktop for every user, about the unification of Qt and GTK+ and more.
1. Red Hat 8 has just been released. How do you feel about the progress Red Hat has made since its last version in the desktop and UI field?
Owen “OWT” Taylor: It’s definitely a big step forward. I think we’ve really gone from a collection of applications to something that looks and feels integrated with this release. And visually, I’m really incredibly impressed by what Garrett Lesage, our new graphic designer, managed to do with this release. I flinch now every time I see a screenshot of an older release.
Havoc “HP” Pennington: I think it’s great. There are so many cool enhancements. Of course lots of work remains, but I’m amazed by how much we got done for 8.0.
2. What kind of changes you did or wanted to do for the RH desktop, but they did not make it to the final release (if any)?
OWT: You never get everything in that you want to, which is good, since then you’d have nothing to do for the next release. Garrett had a lot of visual tweaks that he wanted to do still… he has the real attention to detail of a graphics artist. We thought it looked great, he was upset that an icon was blurry – that text here or there was off by a few pixels.
One thing I’d like to see for future releases is a way for system administrators to be able to easily change the default applications.
HP: Tons and tons of things. Printing and multimedia are at the top of my list for things I want to work on.
3. What is your opinion about offering a single X11 desktop environment with a desktop OS, instead of a plethora of them?
HP: As long as there’s demand for more than one, in my opinion there’s a benefit and not a lot of cost to having choices available. However I do think it’s necessary to hide choices by default in many cases, to avoid confusing new users. “GNOME or KDE?” should not be the first thing a new user sees.
Also, the choice has to be a choice of desktop shell or environment, not a choice of two different sets of applications — thus the Bluecurve integration effort, which is in part about breaking the link between the desktop shell and the applications.
We can’t have a situation where an application only works properly if it’s running in a specific environment. (And for the most part we’ve avoided this problem.) Even if GTK+ or Qt went away tomorrow, we have to deal with VCL (OpenOffice), XUL (Mozilla), WINE, old Motif applications, and so on. The same is true on Windows, where I’m told there are multiple generations of the standard GUI toolkit, plus third-party toolkits such as OWL, Qt, and Swing.
So any time an application is going to have runtime dependencies, those dependencies should be properly expressed in the form of a specification that lays out the protocols, file formats, conventions, and so on that are involved — enabling multiple implementations to interoperate. This is just good engineering, and is pragmatically necessary for us to make sense of the Linux desktop platform.
4. How well integrated Qt and GTK+ are now, after your changes? For example, do shortcuts, copy/paste or drag-n-drop work adequately now between applications created by the two popular toolkits?
OWT: In general, I’d say that interoperability between a Qt application and a GTK+ applications is just about as good as betweeen two Qt applications or between two GTK+ applications. A lot of the remaining work is really stuff like agreeing on file formats and what is on the clipboard when pasting between applications. There is also work to be done in standardizing how toolkits interact with the desktop environment for things like changing the theme.
HP: Copy/paste and drag-and-drop have been fully interoperable on the toolkit level for years now – the protocols are standard. If you see problems there, they are bugs in the specific applications you’re using. A bug should be filed against each application combination that doesn’t work. If people don’t file bugs against the specific application combinations, they won’t get fixed.
Keyboard shortcuts have to be synchronized shortcut-by-shortcut. We’ve started on this, and have a substantial head start because both GTK+ and Qt are using a lot of shortcuts inherited from Windows/Java/Motif. I certainly hope to see more progress there over time, ideally on the upstream level (the GNOME and KDE UI teams seem to be talking about some shared style guide stuff, which is nice).
5. Purely from the UI point of view, what do you think about OSX’s Aqua and XP’s Luna interfaces? Which are their bad and good points?
OWT: I don’t have a lot of experience with OS X personally. For XP, my feeling that it is nicely polished, but just a bit clunky. In many cases the useability improvements in XP are done as another layer on top of the existing familiar windows interface, so navigation from one place to another can take a lot of steps. Also, it doesn’t feel as consistent to me as I’ve come to expect with the work that the usability team has done on GNOME 2. But it has a lot of nice slick little touches, and there is no doubt that they’ve done a good job burying a lot of complexity.
HP: That’s an awfully broad question. 😉 Both of those interfaces are respectable efforts, I think, with lots of attention to detail.
You could make the Jef Raskin criticism, that the whole windows-icons-mouse UI concept is too complex. But if you accept the big picture, OS X and XP are both good implementations of that picture in my opinion. Better than most other attempts, at least.
6. What is the future of UIs? Do you see purely 3D interfaces to come on our way in the future, or something else?
OWT: I think it is worth distinguishing using 3D hardware to draw the desktop from an actual 3D desktop. A lot of transistors are being thrown into the 3D hardware, so it may well make sense to use it to draw the desktop as well.
But I don’t think that means that we’ll have a fundamental shift in the the way that users interact with the desktop – the screen is 2D, the retina is 2D, and the mouse is 2D, so I think the current 2 and half dimensional user interfaces will continue to be the way things are laid out for the forseeable future.
If I had to guess for one trend in desktop user interfaces in the future, it would be that they’ll less hierarchal and less structured, and their will be more emphasis on search-like techniques for bringing the data to the user rather than the the user navigating to the data.
HP: Most noise about 3D UI seems to come from hardware companies. 😉
But in general: say you woke up one day and everyone on earth simultaneously agreed to switch from windows/icons/mouse to some new paradigm. It would still take 20 years, trillions of dollars, and be mind-blowingly difficult.
I don’t have a clue what new UI would be exciting enough to get that to happen. If I did, I might invest in it, and not tell anyone else.
For the present, many applications still fail to live up to the potential of current UI technology. For example, I recently used Quicken for the first time, and was impressed by how difficult it was to use.
7. What is more to be done to bring the Linux desktop closer to the Average Joe User?
OWT: For the average home user, the big stumbling blocks are better hardware support and applications. For the business desktop, the average user is doing something much more constrained — using applications someone else has chosen and configured. I think we are quite usable in that arena already and most of the remaining work is small incremental improvements.
HP: There’s an endless list. In my opinion Joe-average-home-user is not in Linux’s immediate future; we’d need to support a huge quantity of consumer software and hardware. For now, we should concentrate our efforts on desktop users that have a system administrator to help them out and configure their machine.
8. Do you feel that the modularity of the GNU/Linux system is a good thing, or a curse for the desktop purpose? For example, by developing Freetype seperately of XFree86, none of the two work well with each other, neither is easy to install new fonts and be recognized by all toolkits (which are also developed seperately).
OWT: The modularity of free software operating systems is a great thing in general. Huge software projects are an engineering nightmare, and the modularity means that people can really focus on making particular components work well.
FreeType is actually an excellent example of the system working. It has a really well defined purpose – to render fonts. It is pretty much universally used by anybody who wants to render fonts in the open source world (and beyond). It has several devoted maintainers and is actively improved.
We now have another module, fontconfig, that layers on top of FreeType to handle font installation and lookup. I think you’ll shortly see it being used almost as univerally as FreeType for people who need these functions.
HP: Modularity is simply required in order to scale a software development effort, both in terms of people (having more people work on the software), and in terms of keeping the platform stable over time.
Sometimes it seems faster to avoid modularity. Fred Brooks explains the issue very well; modular software is part of a “programming system” and takes longer to write than a plain old program. Three times longer. Robust, tested, documented, maintained software is part of a “programming product” and also takes three times longer than just typing in a “works for me” program.
Something you can support for serious customers over a period of years combines both these qualities into a “programming systems product” and takes _nine_ times as long to create. The gap between “works for me” and “supportable product” is order-of-magnitude.
Ignoring modularity is a false economy, it just keeps you from scaling your system to larger size or higher quality. You can write the small, local bit of code more quickly without modularity, but you slow down the big picture by preventing developers from working in parallel.
In the freetype case specifically, I think the solution we’ve landed on (fontconfig and Xft2) is a very good one. It properly modularizes the font system and the window system, so you can use the same font system for both printing and on the screen. And it’s easy as can be to install fonts; drop them in the fonts directory, and that’s it.
Red Hat Linux 8.0 is incidentally the first distribution to ship with fontconfig/Xft2 as the default font subsystem.
9. How do you feel about XFree’s inability to fully function as a modern graphics subsystem? (e.g. you can’t change real resolutions on the fly, no support for OSX’s and BeOS6’s smooth window moving etc) Do you think that XFree is ok as it is today, or you would prefer to see the whole legacy code go away with modern functionality (in the possible expense that it might break old code)?
OWT: Support for changing resolutions on the fly was just added to XFree86 CVS a couple of days ago :-). The basic design of X is a very strong one, and most of the current limitations can be addressed in an incremental benefits. Could you do better by starting from scratch? Given sufficient resources, time and experienced people, yes. Could you do enough better to be worth breaking all the existing code and throwing away all the accumulated programmer experience? No.
HP: Changing real resolutions on the fly is already working in XFree86 CVS, and was not rocket science to add. Smooth window moving should not be that hard either. It’s just a matter of a smart person getting around to doing it.
If we went back and started over, then we’d need 1000 smart people to get around to doing a whole lot of things we already have with X. While right now we just need one or two smart people to fix a few relatively small problems. Do you want the 2-smart-person deficit or the 1000-smart-person deficit? Seems like a no-brainer decision to me.
10. A lot has been said recently regarding the KDE/Red Hat issue that was raised. Do you feel that there is such an issue, or that is simply a misunderstanding?
OWT: A lot of it was misunderstanding, but there are certainly real issues as well. Red Hat is interested in a desktop that is well integrated into the OS. The KDE project is interested in a desktop that is well integrated with itself. These goals don’t always completely coincide.
HP: Like most situations, it’s complicated. I think there were some real issues and some misunderstandings. Owen’s writeup here is a good summary of how I feel about the matter.
11. If it was one thing that you would like to change/add/remove from the Gnome 2 DE, what that would be?
OWT: Better printing support
HP: Nice multimedia applications and infrastructure. With the infrastructure part at least shared between GNOME and KDE.
12. Any plans to implement any of these suggestions here and here?
HP: Most sound nice. They are on a level of detail that really needs to happen on the upstream level (as part of the GNOME project); we would not add that many patches in Red Hat specific changes, except for the items that can be implemented by changing the theme.
Frankly I think we’ll be all set as a desktop OS once those small pixel tweaks are our biggest problem. 😉
13. Why the nvidia 3D drivers are not included by default in the new Red Hat 8, which is a distribution release that is pitched against the desktop as well?
OWT: Well, aside from free software issues, Red Hat, in general, has a lot of trouble supporting binary-only kernel modules. Having code in the kernel that we haven’t seen and have no control over invalidates all the testing we do.
HP: We don’t include proprietary software with Red Hat Linux 8.0 in general, but in this specific case even more so because the drivers have (at least historically) had flaws that result in lots of bug reports and support headaches. If we ship the drivers, no matter what disclaimer you put on them, people will blame us for those bugs; and without the source code, we can’t fix the bugs.
We also like to support and encourage the open source drivers for nvidia cards.
Remember that the primary target desktop users for Red Hat Linux 8.0 are users with a system administrator that will set things up, and can install the nvidia drivers on users’ behalf, or purchase hardware that’s better supported.
Very well done Eugenia. You ask all the right questions. This website keeps getting better every day…
Now all y’all can stop ragging on X Just for the record, I’d like to point out that my desktop, thanks to all of the modularity and independence (which many see as fragmentation and incohesion) is a whole lot more coherent than OS X or Windows XP. OS X has two toolkits (Aqua and Carbon), 3 major APIs and an emulated environment. Windows XP has dozens of major toolkits (thanks to Microsoft apps, ironically) and dozens of APIs. My Linux setup has one toolkit, one API, and no emulated environments. Architecturally, it doesn’t get much cleaner.
>My Linux setup has one toolkit
I can list for you about 7 toolkits that come with most Linux distros by default.
I end up checking up on this site more then once a day lately – very well done Eugenia. 🙂
Thank you everyone.
We got more cool stuff coming up soon.
But I don’t think that means that we’ll have a fundamental shift in the the way that users interact with the desktop – the screen is 2D, the retina is 2D, and the mouse is 2D
The last I check, my mouse is 3D 🙂
And the retina being 2D or 3D doesn’t matter. All it does is captures images for the brain to process. We interact with other beings, human or not, or with stuff like pianos, the kitchen and so on in a 3D may….. God only knows how is it like if it become 2D.
Having said that, I think 2D is here to stay until monitors go the way of dodos. Which is unlikely, BTW.
“Remember that the primary target desktop users for Red Hat Linux 8.0 are users with a system administrator that will set things up,…”
They should have mentioned this earlier …
I installed it at work and the SMB browser in gnome could not connect to anything and there are no configuration options for it. Also the Windows Shares option from KDE is gone, so I can’t specify a username/password and domain/workgroup.
There also needs to be a right click context menu so users can simply right click on a folder and share it via SMB.
for business use this is critical.
If these issues get ironed out RedHat will really rock.
I think Xanadros is going to take the desktop crown though.Corel linux 2 years ago had far superior SMB support than anything currently available.
Doesn’t matter. I said MY setup only has one. It does everything I need it to do, and that covers quite a range. Basically, the only thing I have that doesn’t use Qt is Mathematica, but for something that expensive (~500 USD for all you non-students and obscure, that can be forgiven On Windows, I don’t really have the option to use only one toolkit, not if I use office, anyway. And OS X is still a bit away from being able to go fully Cocoa.
>They should have mentioned this earlier …
I think that this is what “business desktop” means (there are no real businesses without an admin around) which Red Hat was very clear about for months now…
Rayiner, on your linux setup what is your “one toolkit, one API…” ?
Hey Eugenia, I can’t believe you didn’t take the opportunity to tell those flakey Red Hat folks how wrong they are for not including proprietary, binary NVidia drivers in Psyche.
Bet you still think everyone else is wrong and you’re right, eh? 😉
I sent these questions to the Red Hat guys, BEFORE I actually installed Red Hat 8, get pissed off with the nvidia drivers, and wrote that review. If I had sent it later, my question would have been different, more direct, and maybe even a bit rude (eg. “you are a big company now and nvidia has the gfx market. Why don’t you PARTNER with nvidia to make sure the damned driver works with your OS?“). Count on it.
>The last I check, my mouse is 3D 🙂
yeah, the object is – but your movement is still 2D, unless you happen to press it down or raise it ever so often…
you are a big company now and nvidia has the gfx market. Why don’t you PARTNER with nvidia to make sure the damned driver works with your OS?
Has RedHat ever partnered with another closed source OEM chipset developers before? No! I don’t see them starting now.
I’d much rather have them FUND a company like Tungsten Grahpics (http://www.tungstengraphics.com/) to write Open Source drivers. NVidia for its part, despite many complaints, is doing an excellent job supporting their hardware on Linux. I for one have had zero problems with the NVidia drivers and my Asus Geforce4 ti4400. Everything works as expected. I can play UT2003, Quake3, RtCW, Warcraft III (WineX), etc. till I’m bored without ever crashing. I’m also playing around with Houdini5. I did have problems on another computer, but that turned out to be a chipset issue i.e. AGP was not stable at 4x. It’s quite amazing how unstable many of the AGP implementations are. Also note that the AMD/AGP “bug” is not yet fixed in kernel 2.4.19 (and surely not in 2.4.18-something RH8.0 ships with).
IMHO RedHat should not waste resources by supporting closed source OEM supplied drivers. Same goes for MP3 BTW. Be(tm) might have shelled out the bucks to legally supply MP3 software, but hey, did that prevent them from going down in flames?? It’s bloody easy to download an MP3 player or plugin for RH8.0. Not having MP3 playback support in RH8.0 by default is a non-issue for the customers that RedHat is targetting. Besides, it makes OGG that much more attractive 🙂
Why doesn’t Red Hat partner with NVIDIA to deliver their drivers? Why doesn’t Red Hat partner with Winmodem makers to deliver their drivers? Why doesn’t Red Hat partner with Company X to devliver their drivers? And so on and so forth…
I strongly believe that Red Hat are doing the RIGHT thing in not providing NVIDIA drivers. Doing so would undermine the whole community effort to make companies create open source drivers, setting a nasty precedent. Why would a company do that when they can keep everything closed and get a big fat cheque from Red Hat (and other distro companies) for doing so? Pretty soon everyone is doing it. Red Hat can’t afford to pay everyone, and nor should they. Unlike Microsoft, Red Hat don’t have the clout to charge (not pay) manufacturers that create drivers for their OS. Closed-source drivers (especially ones that ‘taint’ the kernel like the NVIDIA drivers) add an unknown factor into the software equation, and they negate the benefits of using free software (transparency, security, stability, etc.).
Why do you you keep asking for smooth widgets in gtk+-2 while you already have it with gtk-xfce-engine ?
I agree with Fooks — closed source drivers make an operating system gradually less secure and less transparent. Remember that they are operating on the kernel level, which means they can literally do anything to your system and your data. I’m actually quite surprised by Red Hat’s strong commitment to free software — must be Alan’s influence :-).
RH is very unjustly villified, people expect Red Hat to be a good general purpose distro, but RH sees no way to make money by giving away a good end user distro for free, so they choose to make money by supporting a good business distro instead. Unlike other distros (SuSE, Lindows, Xandros [probably], Libranet, ..) they have not chosen to “go proprietary” in the interest of financial success.
Since a lot of what’s good for business users is good for end users, you still get a powerful distro for free, and OEMs could easily create a very nice desktop system on the basis of Red Hat.
The lack of multimedia support will hopefully make people more aware of the patent issues surrounding the technology in question. Software patents and closed source drivers are dangerous to the open source / free software methodology in the long term. What good is a Linux distro that beats Windows in terms of multimedia and gaming, but is just as closed and proprietary as Windows itself? It’s the “free and open” part of Linux that makes it competitive — take it away and you have another BeOS.
Furthermore, the criticism that Red Hat doesn’t support multimedia properly is simply irrelevant to their business strategy. Even in the cases where Red Hat workstations are used for multimedia, you can bet that the users won’t be asked to install RH themselves 🙂
I disagree about the X clipboard(s) though — it was broken in KDE2, and still doesn’t handle large amounts of data or non-text properly in most apps. Just yesterday I kept losing my clipboard contents in Konqueror after closing it. That really needs to be addressed, it is a major issue for business and home use. (And yes, I know about select + middle click, but that doesn’t work for non-text, has problems with large amounts of data and is useless if you want to overwrite existing contents of an entryfield — see Konqueror’s stupid “delete location bar” button as the result.)
Now I’m a linux newbie…..how do I go about getting a desktop as sexy as that?
i’m a windowsuser and would love to switch to linux. The last month i tried several distros (Mandrake 8.2 & 9, Redhat 7.3 & 8). Lot of stuff that is important to me (usb scanner, usb webcam) don’t work yet and Ooo is slow and fonts were (till now, RH8) ugly. They are all very close to be a usefull replacement (to me) for windows, but not yet. One of the most important issue to me is that i have all my data on Fat32-partitions. In mandrake i can easily acces them, but i have to much other issues. Redhat 8 seems to solve my other issues (bad fonts, programs seems to work out of the box), but i can’t EASILY acces my data (Fat 32-partition). So i want to ask Redhat to do whatever Mandrake has done to make that easy and i do the switch immediate even if i have to buy another scanner and webcam. I want acces to my data easy! Thanx!
BTW: Great website and articles! Keep on the good work!
Try Lycoris. 🙂 http://www.lycoris.org
Are you sure your partition isn’t NTFS (Win2K or WinXP)? Redhat does not ship with support for NTFS, but I think FAT32 should work. It does in RH 7.3 anyway. If you didn’t set your FAT32 partition when you installed RH, you can still mount it manually with the mount command when you want to use it, or you can edit your /etc/fstab to do it automatically. To mount it manually, just make a directory to be your mount point (for example /mnt/win98), then do “mount -t vfat /dev/hda1 /mnt/win98”. That would be if your fat32 partition is the first partition on your first hard drive – change the /dev/hda1 accordingly. You can verify that you have the fat32 module by doing “modprobe vfat” as root. You’re right though, this could be made a lot easier by RedHat.
I am also interested in how you got your desktop like that. All of the images on xfce.org looks like crap, and nothing like the screenshot you posted.
> I am also interested in how you got your desktop like
> that. All of the images on xfce.org looks like crap, and
> nothing like the screenshot you posted.
A bit off topic I’m affraid (sorry Eugenia), what show on the screenshot is xfce4 (the panel) running with xfwm4 (window manager) and various GNOME2 tools such as gedit or the calculator. (xfce4 is still under developpment)
The gtk engine is indeed gtk-xfce-engine version 2.10 (to be released very soon, previous versions are already available from themes.freshmeat.net and ships with Mandrake 9, for example) which implements Eugenia’s proposal on slightly rounded (1 pixel) buttons and widgets.
I really enjoyed reading this piece. Nice job! I am a very, very happy RH 8.0 user and I for one am glad that guys like Owen and Havoc work for RH. Havoc’s help on the psyche list (and the limbo list previously) shows just how committed these guys are to creating an excellent distribution. Is it perfect? Of course not. But I think RH 8.0 is a major step forward.
Kudos to RH for an awesome distribution and kudos to Eugenia for making OSNews.com an extremely interesting and thought-provoking site. Thanks!
I love the look of Redhat8. It has oodles of “Mmmmmmm GUI” appeal.
Unfortunately it is still too damn easy to break. I’m a “would love to be in linux but…” person. I’ve tried distro after distro over the last 2 years (seriously with on and off over the last 5 or so years) and still can’t find a distro that installs simply, looks nice, out-of-the-box lets me access windows drives/network, lets me install things simply and doesn’t BREAK.
Galeon apparently has died on my rh8 and I don’t know why and when I tried to remove it, the package remover died. What a crock.
It’s Fat32 (Win98 Se)and i knew it was possible to acces these partitions with some kind commmand (mount) or edit some config. files. I will try it later, but most Joe’s won’t know or bother to try. Without easy acces to their data they won’t care about Linux long enough to see the good.
Some distros do this better, some others do another thing better. I just wanna suggest that distros should take a good look to what the others do better. In Mandrake 8.2 it was already there, so why didn’t redhat saw that this was a very good thing for (ex) windowusers and did it too??? May be i see this too simple (i don’t know about programming).
It’s just that everything i want to make the switch is already in some distro, but not all in the same distro lol. (another example: apt-get or whatever in debian, everybody seems to say that it’s better then rpm and all this dependencies problems, why not use that one then?).
Many questions i have, but i’m just new and have a lot to learn and read.
Thanx a lot for the info about mounting, i will try it and hopefully start using redhat as my default OS.
Eugenia, you’re a babe!
Kudos guys, Redhat has a job that is truly pleasant. Now:
SMB Shares: Even companies that adopt a Redhat desktop are likely to have a lot of other windows machines, at least in the begining. Sharing windows files, and generally integrating Linux into a windows network, should be fast, simple, easy, and obvious to do. Given its stated objective, I am surprised Redhat didn’t do much in this regard.
Strange as it sounds, a linux desktop should even be able to “join” a windows domain seamlessly. If you seriously want to break into the business desktop, the ability to work with windows machines, with minimum useability and administrative stress, is critical and deserves special attention. Typing “smb:” in nautilus browser, and waiting for minutes before Nautilus displays windows machines in the neighbourhood will simply not cut it. You will have to work extrememly well with windows if you hope to capture part of their pie.
Here is an awesome screenshot.
I need to find that background. If anyone knows please email me.
> eg. “you are a big company now ..”
but a company that has YET to turn a PROFIT or break even! Don’t forget that!!!!
I have no clue how big Redhat is, but until they start generating good profits, they obviously need to be careful with expenses.
Unless, of course, they want to lay people off, and explode is a huge .com bang!
I think RH8.0 will be known as Linux first real step to being a Desktop system aswell as server system 5 years or so from now, so even though I don’t personally use Redhat I applaud them for bringing more desktop people to linux, thus creating a demand to improve on existing desktop stuff like XFree etc to bring performance and functionality closer (and beyond) to what BeOS/Windows GUI have/had.
I’ve ordered Redhat 8.0 even though I run Gentoo 1.4 and happily so, I made the misstake to buy Windows Me once so I figure god would look the other way if I redeemed myself like this.
You have my support.
To anon: Lycoris only fixes the ease of use thingy, something he is okay with Mandrake. But he wants RH for the fonts, something Lycoris is terrible with.
To bluetea: I don’t know about the stable release, but for Null (Beta 3), I had to edit /etc/fstab to enable me to use FAT32 partitions. It doesn’t do that by default.
I really don’t know why that post isn’t moderated down. Not to defend Eugenia (something she is extremely capable of), but if there is ANYONE disliking Bluecurve, it isn’t Eugenia. Heck, IIRC, Eugenia list this as one of its stronger points in her’s (controvesial) review.
linux_baby: At the height of the dotcom crash, Red Hat announce its first profitable quarter. I’m quite sure when the economy is better and they manage to get its revenue stream running, it would be profitable.
I just added my fat32 partition during the installation process with Red Hat’s nice Disk Druid tool. I selected the partition, clicked “edit” and mounted it at /mnt/windows…
Then, on my first boot, it was there, all mounted for me an everything. Piece of cake.
> Lycoris only fixes the
> ease of use thingy
They try hard, but the ease-of-use thingy and the pretty interface is only skin deep. You get this inconsistent feeling between the gloss, and the actual KDE desktop behind it. The integration has a long way to go.
Way to go, Eugenia! Talk about a timely interview! I’m from a different generation, but the poster who called you a “babe”, may be the ultimate compliment these days 🙂
It sounds like they are on top of some of the many things that need fixing or improvement. I can’t wait for updates!
All you guys have to do is pay attention to the installation process a little closer. When you review and examine your partitions before finally beginning the *real* installation process, you have the opportunity to set the mount point for all your partitions. All you have to do is select it, and click “Edit” (Going by short-term memory, not too good unfortunately), and tell it the mount point.
Just tell Red Hat to let you review the partitioning it does, or if you do it yourself, you should know already how the drill goes.
Really, it might be confusing at first, but you pick up on it rather quickly. I fell victim to the “Where’s my /mnt/windows?!” thing when I first installed Red Hat 8.
You can find that wallpaper here:
Oliver, you have misunderstood. I am not talking about smooth widgets in the interview! I am talking about smooth window dragging. Read here for more:
It is an XFree problem, not a toolkit one.
BTW, thank you everyone for your great comments.
Rayiner: Don’t hold your breath waiting for OS X to go fully Cocoa. Firstly, the Finder is Carbon, and for a reason; the same reason OS X will never be rid of Carbon: Carbon is used for most of the stuff under the hood. Most of the operations in Cocoa are implemented underneath in Carbon.
The Carbon vs. Cocoa debate is over, with no true winner of an API being found. Cocoa is better for RAD and dynamic runtime typing, which allows for some very applications, but also some difficult to track bugs. However, this runtime typing also slows the application down. Carbon, on the other hand, is C, and is not as forgiving as runtime typing, but executes faster. Again, Cocoa drawing might also be a bit hindered as some (note, “some”) of the graphics operations are also handled in Carbon, so there’s another layer. Also, Carbon applications can take advantage of QuickDraw to draw directly to the screen (which also takes a speed hit from the raster to PDF conversion).
If you think that Cocoa makes great fast applications, tell me how long it takes simple operations in Palm Desktop (Carbon) versus iCal (Cocoa), and you’ll see that hype doesn’t always equate to reality.
However, once my LFS installation is finished, I’ll be back on Linux with only one toolkit, too!
(Just for clarification, this wasn’t to be flame-bait or a gauntlet being thrown. I must say though, I was pleasantly surprised by Redhat 8 when I installed it. BTW Eugenia, I love you, and BeOS still lives in my rev6 BeBox I just set up again this weekend — time for more RAM and a better video card.)
w00t, thanks for great interview! It’s nice to catch them in the right and good time. =)
This is very well written, which I agreed most of it. Linux needs the real standard, which there’s nearly none standard for Linux. It’s hard to keep trace and correct them without confuses or problems. BTW: I am speaking of if most of Linux distro companies want to make the good (better) market, then they all should set the real standard. I doubt, it will happen anyway.
BTW Oliver, the shot looks great. I see you are using some of the suggestions I sent you the other day… cool. 😉
BTW, have you tried the LightHouseBlue theme?
There is a whole slew of standards for the distros to follow:
on top of the usual standards, like POSIX.
LBS is full of BS! RPM as standard? Hahaha.. But, I don’t know anything about freedesktop.org, so gotta to read it.
There’s no standard in many of Linux distros, such as file system hierarchy, missing of traceroute from RedHat (STANDARD set of tools) and etc. Most of them are different, hard to trace and etc. /me bravos Slackware and CRUX for who are trying to follow Unix’s standard and much more of Unix-like. That’s what United Linux is trying to do, but I need to try it out and see how it is.
[——@—– —–]$ uname -a
Linux —– 2.4.18-14 #1 Wed Sep 4 13:35:50 EDT 2002 i686 i686 i386 GNU/Linux
[——@—– —–]$ cat /etc/redhat-release
Red Hat Linux release 8.0 (Psyche)
[——@—– —–]$ /usr/sbin/traceroute
Usage: traceroute [-dFInrvx] [-g gateway] [-i iface] [-f first_ttl]
[-m max_ttl] [ -p port] [-q nqueries] [-s src_addr] [-t tos]
[-w waittime] [-z pausemsecs] host [packetlen]
..do these guys always look like hardcore geeks? Like they haven’t seen daylight for years on end, they emerge red-eyed and surprised from their bunkers…..
The RandR extension looks great! I especially look forward to apps becoming migratable and duplicatable. Hopefully this will reduce the need to use VNC. The extensibility of X is proving naysayers wrong. I used to think that a replacement was needed, but I don’t think so anymore. With Render, fontconfig, RandR, xvideo, GL extensions, and hopefully an upcoming transparent window extension, X can meet or beat other windowing systems on every front.
If there’s one thing I have to say it’s that kde and gnome are struggling to de-uglify themselves, and X is half the problem. I don’t own a mac and I’ve hardly used os x, but use quartz as a window server / drawing api – u don’t even need cocoa/carbon toolkits and linux desktop useability will improve exponentially imho.
> How do you feel about XFree’s inability to
> fully function as a modern graphics subsystem?
How do _you_ feel about ridiculously loaded questions?
XFree functions fine as a “modern” graphics system. It is fast (I can play MPEG2 at 1600×1200 on my Radeon and olf G400). It supports 3d graphics. It is reasonably memory efficient (people who complain about X being a resource hog do not understand the requirements for multiple buffers).
It has had some problems with fonts, but RH8 has demonstrated that these can be solved. Excellent work is happening on the RENDER extension which will give X an affine transform system to rival MacOS X’s.
This only leaves trivia, such as switching resolutions on the fly (working now in CVS) and silly visual effects, which can be taken care of by the toolkit and the WM.
I’d like to know when Red Hat will fix the problem of having inconsistent versions of Python in the default install. It really is time to update the minor apps that rely on 1.5 and not have to have Python2 as a separate application. Has this been rectified in RH 8?
[xyzzy@xenon /tmp]$ rpm -qa | grep ^python
>How do _you_ feel about ridiculously loaded questions?
Cut the trolling or you will get moded down again. My question was as valid as all the other ones. XFree still can’t do many things that the BeOS appserver and OSX’s Aqua can do (like smooth dragging and until a week ago, changing resolution on the fly – somethign that even Win95 could do!!).
I wouldn’t call that trolling, at least no more than your original question was. Do you deny that your question was loaded?
Beyond silly things like “smooth dragging” (which is being addressed by the DRI project) do you have anything _serious_ which prevents X as being used as a desktop? All your criticism seem annoyances at most and truely trivial at best.
> All your criticism seem annoyances at most and truely trivial at best.
Sure. Its sorry state today, having a zillion of layers of crap toolkits, one made on top of the other. That slows down things like hell. XLib itself should have been easier and simpler and full featured, so toolkits wouldn’t have to make all these layers on top of the other.
Read our main story for today, “Making the case for XFree86’s speed”. There, you will see what it needs to be done to make XFree better.
And my question was not a troll. It was a REAL question. I ask “should we fix it, or should we keep it as is”?
And the real answer is in the article I am mentioning above (currently on our front page).
just wanted to ask.. how did u get the name havoc ? is it ur real name or just a nickname.
if it is real.. did your parents smoke a lot of weed?
> Sure. Its sorry state today, having a zillion of
> layers of crap toolkits, one made on top of the other.
Zillion? Try 1-2:
[xlib] – [gdk] – [gtk] – [application]
[xlib] – [qt] – [application]
(xlib is not a toolkit, just a library which implements the X wire protocol).
The above middle layers are slow under certain circumstances, but are generally OK. They certainly keep up with the apps I use. You wouldn’t want to write a high-performance game using GTK, but that’s why we have libSDL and OpenGL.
That being said, the pixbuf demo in gtk-demo demonstrates reasonable graphics performance through gtk.
> XLib itself should have been easier and simpler
> and full featured, so toolkits wouldn’t have to
> make all these layers on top of the other
Xlib is essentially a drawing and window management library, nothing more. It is not the place to add features (re-read the bit in your the interview about the benefits of modularisation)
Like I said – and more of it!
> We can’t have a situation where an application only works properly if it’s running in a specific environment.
Not? RedHat 8.0 has: Try running KOffice under Gnome. 🙁
There’s no ‘XFree’, only ‘XFree86’. It’s a pun on X386.
Anonymous: LBS is full of BS! RPM as standard? Hahaha.. But, I don’t know anything about freedesktop.org, so gotta to read it.
I’m sure you mean LSB. Now, LSB fixed a lot o file hiearchy issues – sure, there is STILL some differences, but you can’t expect everyone to change too fast, right? Plus, the last time I checked, they recommended RPM support, doesn’t mean Debian has to get rid of its packaging system…. noooooo. Besides, what’s so bad about RPM anyway? Most of the faults I see is distribution-related (i.e. a problem can’t get gotten from another distribution)
As for Free Desktop, they made serious strides in the past few years, while they are moving slow, I’m placing 10 years before GNOME and KDE and every other Free Desktop-compatible WM would work perfectly together.
Anonymous: /me bravos Slackware and CRUX for who are trying to follow Unix’s standard and much more of Unix-like.
Ahhh. If you like UNIX, why not you just stick eith UNIX? A great *NIX (that beats UNIX-branded OS’s in Unix-likeness), like FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD. There are some people that likes something different.
You, my friend, have the ultimate choice to pick a distribution out of your own taste. I don’t see Linux loosing market share in the server and desktop market just because they don’t take the same route as Slackware or CRUX, do you?
not me: With Render, fontconfig, RandR, xvideo, GL extensions, and hopefully an upcoming transparent window extension, X can meet or beat other windowing systems on every front.
Even with those, I’m still all for killing X11. Now, my points on the issue
a) The stuff you mentioned is XFree86-only, and applications need to write support for these extensions to use it. But then after that, their apps won’t be portable to other X11 implementations, like Xi or Metro.
b) The main issue I still have with X11 in general is the, well, lack of consistency between applications. Some uses Motif. Some uses Tk. Others use GTK+. Then there is a group using Qt. Notice they all look different?
Think about that 🙂
p00ya: I don’t own a mac and I’ve hardly used os x, but use quartz as a window server / drawing api – u don’t even need cocoa/carbon toolkits and linux desktop useability will improve exponentially imho.
Quartz is a great window system. But it isn’t open source nor available for systems other than OS X. There is Fresco, but it is moving at a snail-like pace, so don’t bother. I think you are quite confuse here, using Quartz would not help usability… it would help speed (yeah, speed, read on) and eye candy. Speed? Yeah, imagine all the fancy effects of Aqua on XFree86 ot Xi…….. yeah, it would be slower than Aqua on Quartz.
Usability wise, they can do it without a Quartz-like system, just better UI designers. Plus, I think you are confused with looks and usability – totally different although related. Looks is good, but I don’t think eye candy ala Aqua really helps usability….
Eugenia: XFree still can’t do many things that the BeOS appserver and OSX’s Aqua can do (like smooth dragging[…]
I thought the proper name for “smooth dragging” is backbuffering? 😀
lol @ his name: if it is real.. did your parents smoke a lot of weed?
Havoc might be his real name, but I don’t suggest insulting someone’s name. People for different cultures have names that seem funny to others from different cultures. My name, minus the second “a” with a “i” in its place (rajin) is Malay for “hardworking”, and I get teased a lot because I’m the exact opposite (rajan, BTW, is Sanskrit for prince).
Anonymous: Xlib is essentially a drawing and window management library, nothing more. It is not the place to add features (re-read the bit in your the interview about the benefits of modularisation)
And that’s the main cause of inconsistency. Nobody, including Eugenia, is asking for Xlib to be a toolkit, but rather allow toolkits like GTK+ and Qt and Motif etc. to link to it to render their widgets like the buttons, text, etc. Why? So that though matter what toolkit it is made for, it would *look* the same.
Michel Dänzer: There’s no ‘XFree’, only ‘XFree86’. It’s a pun on X386.
Getting to 8 and 6 on the keyboard can be… inconvinient…. 😀
ehmmm is fixed in the RH kernel
1) RPM needs to automatically resolve dependcy problems.
2) Gnome and KDE have to pull desktop color info from the same place.
3) When an app is installed, it should ask where in the menu it should be placed AND wthere or not you want an icon on the desktop.
4) Redhat should pick either Gnome or KDE, but stop trying to make both look the same.
I love it and use it.
Btw, most my friend (less IT savvy) like the idea.
Is it just my system or do the man pages look all screwed up in Konsole regardless of the font you set it too?
“HP: We don’t include proprietary software with Red Hat Linux 8.0 in general, but in this specific case even more so because the drivers have (at least historically) had flaws that result in lots of bug reports and support headaches. If we ship the drivers, no matter what disclaimer you put on them, people will blame us for those bugs; and without the source code, we can’t fix the bugs. ”
Someone forward this to Nvidia
These guys defer responsibility to the ‘upstream’ or other places on most of the questions. How about when he says, “once again, our biggest problem is getting the pixels aligned.” I hope redhat isn’t paying these guys to sit around on their asses. As a representative of Redhat, don’t they have any responsibility to cordinate their ‘upstream’! Oh no, I forgot….they still get their paycheck no matter what.
Clad to see several things that came out in this interview.
One being confirming evidence that Red Hat understands the typical user will see the Red Hat 8.0 system after it has been installed and at least partially configured by an administrator. Red Hat does seem to know where the GNU/Linux desktop can gain the most ground in the short term.
Another is their quick dismissal of the idea of dropping or replacing XFree86. I do think they failed to mention the number 2 benefit of X on the corporate desktop (after number 1: The fact that it runs on GNU/Linux) and that is its inherent network transparency. I find that odd, because the non-multimedia corporate desktop is the ideal application for server centrism — a central XDMCP/application server accessed by PCs or appliances configured as X terminals (graphical dumb terminals). In anticipation of response: Yes I do administer a network that includes GNU/Linux X terminals.
To that end however, I am disappointed to note that Red Hat chose to permit the hardware requirements for the 8.0 release to jump considerably higher than those of the 7.x series. I test new applications and releases on older machines before unleashing them on our users, because it saves money and is more convenient to work “off budget.” The 8.0 release will not provide me that convenience.
Modernity is not the culprit, because I can set up a similarly up to date system on a 486 with the same numbered versions of the applications used in Red Hat 8.0 if I avoid Anaconda, some of the 686 optimizations, etc. I’d like to see greater emphasis on supporting the same i386 hardware subset as the kernel developers adhere to.
Hmmm in order to try to find my missing windoze partition I tried (as su) ‘modprobe /dev/hda1’………bash replied “modprobe command not found” also tried ‘mount /dev/hda1’ bash replied “can’t find /dev/hda1 in /etc/fstab. so I tried editing tstab with /dev/hda1 /mnt/win vfat auto,owner,kudzu,ro 0 0
still no joy !!!!! HELP !!!!