Home > Gnome > A Preview of GNOME 2.6 A Preview of GNOME 2.6 Eugenia Loli 2004-03-08 Gnome 63 Comments Sayamindu Dasgupta put up a preview (mirror) of the upcoming Gnome 2.5. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 63 Comments 2004-03-08 8:48 pm http://www.clai.net/sayamindu/GNOME-2.6/GNOME_2_6.html 2004-03-08 9:28 pm I see there’s more new features beside the spatial nautilus and the new file selector. 2004-03-08 9:29 pm Well, I hate the spatial view. I’m assuming you can turn that off and go back to a tree view. I hate icon views too. The default on XP is icon view. I want details, details, details. 2004-03-08 9:38 pm It seems like just the clean-up and polish Gnome needed, may not be the nicest looking default theme but it’s easily changeable. 2004-03-08 9:43 pm * nautilus is easily reverted to the old behavior with a gconf key mentioned in the article * typing the begining of the filename in the file dialog selects the file that begins with that (type ahead), for anything more complicated, you have ctrl+l * Using dasher is an amazing way of playing a side scrolling game while writing an essay 2004-03-08 9:45 pm it’s a nice overview, but i do want to know a little more about the changes, for instance if we can put it back how it was. but i must say, i really like that YellowCosmos wallpaper 2004-03-08 9:59 pm Taking a look at GNOME FTP, it seems they have now added a GUI option for “always use browse.” Don’t even need a GConf key anymore. 2004-03-08 10:00 pm DnD in new fileselector works just fine (add dirs to favs and DnD files & dirs from fileselector). 2004-03-08 11:03 pm Gnome is beginning to look quite good, but I don’t believe that it will reach KDE’s maturity till the 2.8 or possibly the 3.0 release. Each project has made design choices that will appeal to some users and alieante others. The good thing is that users can choose what works best for them. My only concern is that both projects are beginning to look like complete operating systems in the breadth of apps available to them. In doing so, they may eventually part ways to such an extent that it will become difficult to speak of “the linux desktop”, because there will not be such a thing. I am aware that both projects run on a bunch of other architectures, but they are more closely associated with Linux than say AIX. By the way, I have been using KDE 3.2 for about a week and the ease of use is breathtaking. I am also heartened to see that a great deal of work is going into improving usability for the next release. I can’t wait for an end-of-the year distribution with a mature 2.6 kernel, KDE 3.4 and Gnome 2.8. 2004-03-08 11:09 pm Isn’t a spatial view sort of a step back? Who needs all those windows open? I know the option is easily changed but, for example, imagine if every link you clicked in a webpage always opened up in a new window. That’s why things like tabbed browsing are introduced. 2004-03-08 11:14 pm I admire the GNOME hackers’ attention to detail. 2004-03-08 11:16 pm Indeed, I think that today it makes more sense already to speak of “the GNOME Desktop” and “the KDE Desktop” than of “the Linux Desktop” and “the FreeBSD Desktop”. I don’t see this as much of a problem, it would be much worse if those two systems would indeed be incompatible operating systems. Obviously it might have been better if there would be only one free Unix desktop, but the “split” was unavoidable due to known historical reasons (involving proprietary software) and it can’t be undone anymore. Today, both desktops have their own developer commuities and largely different philosophies. 2004-03-08 11:19 pm Isn’t a spatial view sort of a step back? Who needs all those windows open? I know the option is easily changed but, for example, imagine if every link you clicked in a webpage always opened up in a new window. That’s why things like tabbed browsing are introduced. The difference is that in a webpage you don’t move files from one place to another, thats the true application for spatial mode. 2004-03-08 11:26 pm “Isn’t a spatial view sort of a step back? Who needs all those windows open?” Read the article. You don’t need “all those windows open”, only those you actually do something with. I couldn’t go back to only a navigational browser, sorry. The whole object oriented metaphor (window = object) is a joy to use and work with. It almost seems to me like the entire window-thingy was invented with this in mind and this might actually be true. “but, for example, imagine if every link you clicked in a webpage always opened up in a new window.” This is not a good example because you can’t “objectify” the web. It is not as easy as to say “this webpage is one object, that webpage is another object”. Often if you access another website, it’s just meant to change a function for example. Today, the only sane way to access web pages is a browser. As for tabs, they are mostly useful because loading webpages is slow, so people tend to keep webpages open just to avoid loading them again or even load some in the background, while they are still reading another webpage. 2004-03-08 11:32 pm The difference is that in a webpage you don’t move files from one place to another, thats the true application for spatial mode. If that’s the benefit then a tree view should be used instead. 2004-03-08 11:36 pm As for tabs, they are mostly useful because loading webpages is slow, so people tend to keep webpages open just to avoid loading them again or even load some in the background, while they are still reading another webpage. Tabbed browsing was invented in order to easily manage the large amount of windows aka “objects” open when browsing the web. 2004-03-08 11:40 pm You don’t need “all those windows open”, only those you actually do something with. What do you mean by that? It sounds like your contradicting yourself. You’re right, nobody needs 5 windows cluttering your desktop when your navigating by clicking on “Computer” then “Filesystem” then /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins or whatever directory your trying to get to or browse. This is the dumbest thing I think I’ve seen from the Gnome developers, ever. I thought I would give it a chance (using Fedora Core 2 test wiht Gnome) but it is driving me nuts…. 2004-03-08 11:41 pm As a long time Mac user (15+ years), I must say that I like the new spatial nautilus a *lot*. There isn’t *much* difference in the rest of GNOME though (at least when I tried GNOME 2.5.5 from breakmygentoo) It is a must have upgrade for any 2.4 users though. I must say that I probably won’t be using it, because I’ve joined the “dark side”. Yeah, I’m using KDE 3.2 for the last three weeks. God save me, because I would have once shruddered at the thought of running KDE. The new version of KDE is really enjoyable however. 2004-03-08 11:57 pm Elaborate. Don’t just claim. Back that up with facts. Not just some anecdotal evidence. If you love KDE, why do you post here anyway and start advertising KDE? Why does GNOME seem to bother you? If you have problems with things becoming harder to use because of the HIG, say exactly what has become harder, and maybe people will try to get that fixed. 2004-03-09 12:26 am In fact, I agree with anonymous, after 3 years with ximian gnome 1.4, I switched to gnome 2.4 trhough the mandrake 9.2 and I’ve never been so disapointed… where is everything ??? Just to change my windows manager I had to : – find the WINDOWS_MANAGER env variable, not documented in the gnome doc (why do they provide doc to describe obvious operation and not the really advanced ones ??? ) – find the proper gconf key through a cryptic register editor which lacks a SEARCH ENTRY IN THE MENU !! (I can’t believe that, they convince us that a register database was good but they don’t provide something to search into, am I crazy or what ?) – change metacity to enlightenment – see that’s it changed nothing after relaunch – make killall metacity ; enlightenment & (hoping that this time metacity would not respawn forever) Unbelievable…………. Just to figure out how to change my apply gtk theme to regular application was a pain in my a… where’s grdb ??? at least I was hoping the migration between my old desktop and gnome 2.4 will be cool, but nothing…… (I filled a bug report).. why using xml everywhere if it’s not to make our life easier ? why do I have to use a register base, the old .rc files was too easy ? now, if my gconf stuff is corrupted, I have to erase it and I lost ALL my settings, in the goold old time, I’d just have to erase the bad .rc file…….. I don’t know maybe it’s me… but I’d never be happy whith a filemanager which eats 30% of my ram and 20% of my ressource cpu… yes, I have a low end machine (500 mhz) but anything else including gnome 1.4 itself runs perfectly fine…… I can’t believe that : they’re targetting my aunt jeanne but they forgive us, the average users who want the power of choice, not the choice choosen by a small oligarchy of UI ayatollah……….. argh…….. tomorow I’ll make a gnome 1.4 fork and you’ll see !!!!!!!!! (satanics laugh …. I’m tired, sorry) Djamé ps : of course, I’m back to my old conf.. maybe I’ll give gnome 4 a try when they’ll decide to rechange everything for the 6th time in 2 years and when I could run a gtk 1.2 apps such as lopster (compiled before the install, and not I’m not gonna recompiling everything just to please gnome crew…I have life) in the new gnome without having to wonder why my god why, this apps has not the same look than the rest (pff, in french “Je suis soulé de chez soulé……pfffff”) 2004-03-09 12:42 am I just gotta chime in here and say that I agree with the parent poster for the following main reason: The removal of features and configurability in Gnome seems to cater to the lowest common denominator of user. This results in having to use the command line to do all kinds of tasks that KDE automates. For example, Kate in KDE lets me do a regular expression replace in the normal search dialog. I just hit Ctrl-R then check the box and type my regex in and replacement and go. In gEdit I have to save the file, drop down to the command line, then go to the path of the file, then finally use grep. Takes a hell of a lot longer. Another example, Samba. In KDE I can check ‘share this folder’ in konqueror to share a folder on the network. Gnome: again drop down to the command line, open samba.conf, and manually edit the config file to add the folder that I want to share on the network. So my *opinion* (but rational one), is that Gnome is harder to use due to the philosophy of minimizing features that might confuse ‘granny’. In Gnome, I am always dropping to the command line to do something that I can use the GUI in KDE to do. This doesn’t even include the point that Gnome forces you do use it one way and then throws you into this crappy registry like editor. I’ve used GConf to give an ‘always on top’ feature, but KDE it’s already there. What normal user is going to want to use GConf to enable ‘always on top’? None. They are just going to get pissed that it’s missing (provided they even know about that feature) and move to KDE. In summary, Gnome forces users into an environment where only the most minimal options are available, causing them to drop to the command line for many tasks. (i’d rather use windows) KDE on the other hand, uses the power of the GUI to give me GUI options for just about anything. Result: no more dropping to the command line for most tasks and increased productivity. Maybe that’s part of what the parent poster meant. 2004-03-09 1:07 am Just realized that konqueror provides a regex search option too! 🙂 *in heaven* hehe 2004-03-09 1:34 am What you write is absolute nonsense. None of your points has anything to do with the HIG, it’s just missing functionality. It wasn’t there before and it wasn’t “taken away” because of any philosophy. You also cannot compare Gedit to Kate, try comparing Gedit to Kedit. There is no such application as Kate for GNOME yet, which is a shame, but true. The “always on top” thingy is now available directly from the Metacity context menu, which was mentioned in the f*cking article! Please guys, the article was informed and informative, please read it and at least try to _marginally_ do it justice by not posting the same old flamebaiting bullshit again and again. These comments are starting to kill my mood again, which is really pissing me off. 2004-03-09 2:43 am …just get along? 2004-03-09 3:05 am “The removal of features and configurability in Gnome seems to cater to the lowest common denominator of user.” More the user who likes a usable desktop, with sensible defaults and features. With GNOME, options that only appeal to 1% of users aren’t cluttering up the GUI, I like that. “Another example, Samba. In KDE I can check ‘share this folder’ in konqueror to share a folder on the network. Gnome: again drop down to the command line, open samba.conf, and manually edit the config file to add the folder that I want to share on the network.” You can also do billions of other things. Some would say billions too many. “For example, Kate in KDE lets me do a regular expression replace in the normal search dialog. I just hit Ctrl-R then check the box and type my regex in and replacement and go. In gEdit I have to save the file, drop down to the command line, then go to the path of the file, then finally use grep. Takes a hell of a lot longer.” They’re different programs. gEdit is more a general purpose editor than a programming editor. If you want programming, you VIM or Emacs, IMHO. “So my *opinion* (but rational one), is that Gnome is harder to use due to the philosophy of minimizing features that might confuse ‘granny’. In Gnome, I am always dropping to the command line to do something that I can use the GUI in KDE to do.” Harder to use for you. Not the non-geek everyday PC user, IMHO. You shouldn’t be concerned about using the console if you’re a geek anyway, so it shouldn’t be an issue. “This doesn’t even include the point that Gnome forces you do use it one way and then throws you into this crappy registry like editor. I’ve used GConf to give an ‘always on top’ feature, but KDE it’s already there.” This GNOME user has never used GConf once. Never needed to. Every sane option is already there, in the GUI. GConf is much better than Registry too, less corruptible. “In summary, Gnome forces users into an environment where only the most minimal options are available, causing them to drop to the command line for many tasks. (i’d rather use windows) KDE on the other hand, uses the power of the GUI to give me GUI options for just about anything. Result: no more dropping to the command line for most tasks and increased productivity.” Tell that to Sun. Tell it to Novell. Tell it to Red Hat. Tell it to IBM. They’ve all jumped on the GNOME ship and clearly disagree. 2004-03-09 3:26 am Where to start… GNOME 2.x Made a concious choice to provide intelligent defaults, and limit the visible options to the ones that 99% of people will ever need. It’s also, to a limited degree, meant to be intergrated. If you really want E+GNOME, start E, and then the gnome bits on from that. Otherwise, just use the damn metacity window manager. Example: The switch for turning off icons on the desktop is in gconf. I’m pretty sure that anyone who thinks of wanting to turning desktop icons off will be able to do a quick google search for this. Themes, including GTK1, GTK2, and icons, got completely reworked, grdb isn’t used anymore. Deal. You can access these by Going Applications -> Desktop Prefrences -> Themes. Migration is a sticking point, but half the problem is how to migrate. Given the many weird and wonderful things people will have done to their desktop, exactly how much migration is reasnoble? I imagine one of the reasons that .rc files got ditched in favour of XML was so that future conversions would be easier. Have you ever tried to tack a GUI onto a .rc file? It’s not pretty. Also, the various things in gconf are held in seperate directories in ~/.gconf, so if you do need to delete individual application entries, you can. While I know nautilus can be a resource hog, there comes a point where certain features demand more ram. I want AA text, scalable icons, metadata, and all the rest of that junk, but I’m not under the illusion that I’ll still be able to run it on my 386. You run Linux, you have the power of choice. If you want E+GNOME 1.4, damn well use it. To me, it sounds like all your bitching is a case of “Waaaah, the world has changed around me, and I wasn’t paying attention, but it’s all your fault! Waaaah.” Grow up. 2004-03-09 5:58 am Here is a good link on the spatial finder: http://arstechnica.com/paedia/f/finder/finder-2.html. I think it was also linked in the article. If you don’t read this and haven’t used a spatial interface then don’t comment on it. Simply put you will probably get a very wrong misconception about it. Many people seem to think it’s just implementing the windows 3.11 interface all over again. It’s not. It’s actually a very intuitive, albeit different, interaction philosophy. The idea is you don’t have to think like a computer thinks. Read it. This all looks very good. Gnome has made some pretty big changes and it will continue to make even bigger ones. I think KDE and gnome do things a lot different. Whereas KDE likes to throw in a ton of features and stuff it appears gnome is trying to carve out what they think is the best interface. Both approachs have pro’s and con’s. I really do like some of the things coming out on gnome though. One is the dashboard: http://www.nat.org/dashboard/. As well as a storage component (think winfs like). In my mind the most exciting thing is mono but we don’t need to get into that! 2004-03-09 7:38 am In fact, I agree with anonymous, after 3 years with ximian gnome 1.4, I switched to gnome 2.4 trhough the mandrake 9.2 and I’ve never been so disapointed… where is everything ??? This is the perfect example for the GNOME|KDE divide. To sum it all up. GNOME is for functionality, KDE is for features. This is a gross generalization. Old unix hands will want to use KDE because they can tweak almost any thing they want, it’s very versatile. People new to linux will probably like GNOME better because they will not feel over whelmed with options. (you really can stop reading here, what follows is just elaboration, so if your short on time, skip to the last paragraph) I recently switched to the dark side of GNOME after trying KDE 3.2 When I tried to return my desktop to a comfortable state I found tons of options in KDE (some people like this). After finally completing the task I switched to GNOME (it was too late then…). GNOME’s lack of options is refreshing to me, (I found gnome 2.0 restrictive). GNOME 2.4 lacked polish, this can be readily seen in the load and save dialogs… GNOME 2.6 is/will be a huge leap forward for gnome and with it’s release I think some “Desktop” distros will sub it in for kde. No one desktop is “the best”, it all depends on the user. So lets top this kde is better/gnome is better crap. Sure some aspects of one desktop or the other may be better but these problems will be fixed. Fixing will go faster with your help. Also merging the to projects is a no no as well. I don’t think it’s possible to serve power users and newbies at the same time without inconviencing one group. This is the beauity of Linux an FLOSS, just like burger king you can have it your way. Enjoy it and make sure it dosen’t die. Again (for those of you who skipped) no one desktop is “the best” for everybody. In conclusion, the gnome and kde projects have different goals. KDE is more suited for the tweaker, the guy who runs gentoo ya know. GNOME strives for simplicity while still maintaining functionallity. 2004-03-09 7:57 am let me start complaining about the new open/save dialog: it’s not integrated with the search tool 2004-03-09 8:00 am Wrong, wrong, wrong. GNOME doesn’t have a lack of options, they just don’t clutter up the GUI. If you want tweaking and options, open Configuration Editor. KDE for old UNIX hands? Rubbish. The real tweakers will most likely take FVWM or Openbox anyday over KDE and it’s bloat (which GNOME has too). 2004-03-09 9:00 am Firstly, as Eugenia has often said (usually while criticising KDE <g>) you have to review the *default* options. Therefore, when reviewing GNOME, you should really be reviewing the spacial browser, rather than falling back on “if you don’t like it, there’s a menu option to switch it off”. As far as I can understand it, the idea of a spacial browser is that every directory has a window associated with it. So 1) you can’t have two windows open in the same directory, and 2) when navigating by clicking on directories, a new window will be opened each time (assuming the window of that directory wasn’t already open). If this is the case, then it sounds monumentally stupid and counter-intuitive. If I want to navigate to a file on my disk, (let’s say /d/Music/Marillion/Anoraknophobia/Disk 1/Quartz.mp3) that’s 5 windows open! And if I decide I want a different album, surely it’s easier to press ‘up’ twice on the current window, than to locate the /d/Music/Marillion window?? For the life of me, I cannot see how spacial navigation can be useful. Please tell me I’ve fundamentally misunderstood how it works? 2004-03-09 9:15 am but, for example, imagine if every link you clicked in a webpage always opened up in a new window. Actually… It practically works like that for me (I more often click links with the middle button than the left). The exception is mostly in pages like the OSNews Comments where what is really one page is broken into multiple ones (and I’m not saying it’s bad; I find it useful). I’ve often thought that making Galeon and ROX-Filer open in new windows/tabs* on button-1 and old on button two would be nicest. * The difference b/n windows and tabs is very minor… I think BeOS (never used it!) had a feature where you could connect windows like tabs or something… Would be better (more flexible, simpler, more predictable), IMHO, than application-implemented tabbing as in Galeon. 2004-03-09 9:51 am Actually, it is spatial, not spacial. Second, you do not have to have all of the window remaining open. You can middle click, and you open the new window, and close the old. So, if you want to move something from a folder in this sort of heirarchy /home/user/documents to /home/user/html/docs or something, you open /home/user, and then double click on ‘documents’ to open it, then you can proceed to middle click on ‘html’ in ‘/home/user’ which is still open, which promptly closes the home directory, and open html. You can then middle click again on ‘docs’ in ‘html’ and you open ‘docs’ and close ‘html’. You can then drag and drop the file from one window to the next. Note that at this point yo uwill only have 2 windows open, not 4 or 5. Or you can simple check/uncheck the option and use the navigational nautilus, which is apparently also improved in this edition. Best of both worlds really. 2004-03-09 10:23 am Second, you do not have to have all of the window remaining open. You can middle click, and you open the new window, and close the old. So, if you want to move something from a folder in this sort of heirarchy /home/user/documents to /home/user/html/docs or something, you open /home/user, and then double click on ‘documents’ to open it, then you can proceed to middle click on ‘html’ in ‘/home/user’ which is still open, which promptly closes the home directory, and open html. You can then middle click again on ‘docs’ in ‘html’ and you open ‘docs’ and close ‘html’. You can then drag and drop the file from one window to the next. In Konqueror if I want to open a directory in a new window I can middle click. I can do exactly what you describe using the traditional method. The difference is if I try and navigate back up the hierarchy. What happens if you click th ‘up’ button in the spatial view? Does it open a new window? Can you middle click it? I’m just trying to understand. The whole concept just sounds so dumb. 2004-03-09 11:23 am That I do not really know.I have not installed it. This is from an explanation of what spatial nautilus is about. The concept is this really. You open your home directory, and the window opens in some position. You close it. From then on, whenever you open that directory, it will open in the same position, with the same size and whatever other options you had saved passively of course. So after a while, you know where your home directory on the space of your desktop, hence ‘spatial’. Think of your home directory as an object, with all tis associated properties and attributes. This is remembered for you, if you wish. You could opt out easily by choosing the navigational metaphor. So you have an option, something many people think GNOME lacks. Usually, you will find there is no up button. I am sure you can customize that of course. The thing is that, unless you specifically request windows be closed when you open new ones, those windows which you want to navigate to using up will be open anyway. So you use the task bar. The best way to experience it is to download it if you have time, its certainly free to try and free to keep. You have to be prepare dto adjust to new ways of doing things though. 2004-03-09 11:50 am is, the ability to navigate file/drive structures alla BeOS. Right click on a desktop drive icon and have a list of directories appear in a contex menu and then navigate through it to the folder I want. I also like to have a means to navigate back through the hierachial tree to a higher folder. Does Gnome 2,6 allow for backward navigation if you use middle click mouse controls? Ah BeOS, some things were just done right, then others weren’t. 2004-03-09 12:19 pm I would hope so, although on my dual Athlon box it as quite usably and responsive, it should also be on much lower end hardware, and it often was…not. If it really is faster then before, then quite cool. 🙂 Hope theres a distro for Solaris once this goes final. 2004-03-09 1:22 pm It is a helluva faster. I’m using a compiled version with debug options built in, and still it’s faster than 2.4’s. The trick is that now, instead of sniffing mime for every file in a folder (that is, reading the first bytes of _every_ file to determine its content), it just read the extension when displaying the folder. If there is no extension, it reverts to mime sniffing. Also, it uses mime sniffing when operating on files (selection, execution, dragging, etc.) as it is more reliable. And security is considered for fake extensions (example: perl script with .jpg extension). 2004-03-09 1:24 pm > Does Gnome 2,6 allow for backward navigation if you use > middle click mouse controls? Check out: http://www.peacefulaction.org/sayamindu/GNOME-2.6/images/nautilus_d… Apparently, you can go up several levels at once. 2004-03-09 1:26 pm There something that should be noticed when using spatial nautilus. In the status bar, at the left, the name of the current folder is displayed. Clicking on it, it displays a list of folders in the path. For example, if you’re in /home/usr, it displays a list like this: /, home, and user. You can click on the list items to open the specified folder in a new window. Specially useful when you’re going to move files to the parent folder, and you closed its window beforehand. 2004-03-09 1:27 pm That’s exactly what I was talking about. You posted it seconds before I hit “submit comment” 2004-03-09 4:18 pm GNOME 2.x Made a concious choice to provide intelligent defaults, and limit the visible options to the ones that 99% of people will ever need. It’s also, to a limited degree, meant to be intergrated. So if I’m using my desktop at 1280×1024, gnome thinks I’m almost blind and make my icons 64×64 ??? 10 icons on my desk and I can’t barely see my deskpic… If i select ONE icon, I can resize it but If I select all, I can’t do that for every one of them in the same time.. that would be a normal and coherent feature, if I can do it for one, I can do for all… and, where can I see the size of the icons ? in the old panel properties menu, I could choose the size of the panel (tiny, small, medium, normal) now I can choose the exact size of them in pixels ? maybe I don’t want to try every pixel between 64 and 24 ??? That’s a property you call “for every user” ? One more : If in gnome desktop properties I choose no image at all nor any color to be my desktop, I mean : let other apps be my desktop pic manager : wmsetbg, enlightenement, or even xawtv in overlay over the screen mode ? why it’s not possible ? this stuff thinks I’m stupid and force me to accept at least its color. Leave me alone, I want you to only manage my files and my Icons…. If you really want E+GNOME, start E, and then the gnome > bits on from that. Of course I tried : what a delight to see a wonderfull alert telling me another wm is running and to see nautilus creating a top windows in 1280×1024 with all the gnome stuf….cool…. Otherwise, just use the damn metacity window manager. if only you told me why should I learn to use another one… Free software is all about choice, isn’t it ? so if gnome act as a rupture from the other paradygm, why is it not able to respect the reflex its user base has learned Themes, including GTK1, GTK2, and icons, got completely reworked, grdb isn’t used anymore. Deal. You can access these by Going Applications -> Desktop Prefrences -> Themes. Ok, you want facts that is not true ? let’s start : I compile by hand a lot of app (lmule, lopster, gtktalog and a lot more) in /usr/local which is my partition where I put stuff I want to compile by hand and I don’t want to recompile anytime gnome folks thinks it’s to time to go ahead breaking ascendant compatibility.. So I installed gnome 2.4, and now bang : a few one still works without the theming stuff (lopster, lmule) another one didn’t even start to do : gnome-multi-terminal for example… then I launched Nedit (which by the way follow the gtk1.x color scheme and fonts with grdb) and bang, it’s back to the old motif color.. you’re going to tell me that’s normal, the old nedit.app (in /usr/X11R6) doesn’t exist anymore but no, I’m a good guy and all my favourite apps motif colors are in my ~/.Xdefaults. So why ? just to be fair, if I run win2k and a specific theme and I run a very old app, let’s say : Quark Xpress 3.12, Xpress will follow the colors scheme even if it was built in 1995 Migration is a sticking point, but half the problem is how to migrate. Given the many weird and wonderful things people will have done to their desktop, exactly how much migration is reasnoble? Just my panel position, my theme and maybe, let’s be crazy, my old session or my wm of choice would have been nice… I forgot, my .Desktop of course….. Just to the people who are involved in gnome for 3/4 years don’t feel themselves betrayed. If I remember correctly, it was of the arguments anti microsoft in the win98x days… I imagine one of the reasons that .rc files got ditched in favour of XML was so that future conversions would be easier. And ? after 3 years of libxml ? nothing….and I want to use my environnmeent now, not in 3 years…. “it would be usefull in the future -> yes, i will use it at this time, so.” I bet my shirt that the next gnome version will require a clean install (without any past files conf) Have you ever tried to tack a GUI onto a .rc file? It’s not pretty. Also, the various things in gconf are held in seperate directories in ~/.gconf, so if you do need to delete individual application entries, you can. I really don’t think digging around gconf-editor is better… it’s exactly like poking somewhere in the memory hoping that it would be producing some sound…… If the gconf-editor is to edit advanced stuff, they have to make an very advanced option editor (like powertweak in what you know) While I know nautilus can be a resource hog, there comes a point where certain features demand more ram. I want AA text, scalable icons, metadata, and all the rest of that junk, but I’m not under the illusion that I’ll still be able to run it on my 386. in a 386, no. But in a 500 mh machine, 256 meg of ram and 20 gig of scsi hd, I’d would have hopped yes… even win2k, win9x, beos and former version of gnome itself, run fine on it……. by the way, could you remind me how to rescale all the icons in 2 ou 3 clicks ? or why do I have to specify which apps must be launched when I double click on a .rm files when I just installed realplayer (for example)? You run Linux, you have the power of choice. If you want E+GNOME 1.4, damn well use it. That’s what I was saying……I’m not saying that gnome 2.4 is crap, I’m saying that targetting every kind of newbies and forgetting the 10% of the rest its base (small one anyway) is an error. you should read an article from joelonsoftware about those apps which were only targetting the 90% of the user with only 90% of the excepted features and which were a failure in the end……. To me, it sounds like all your bitching is a case of “Waaaah, the world has changed around me, and I wasn’t paying attention, but it’s all your fault! Waaaah.” To me, it sounds like you’re running around me yeling “Burn, heretic, burn !!!!!!!!”…….. Be realistic, linux will never be in the main stream desktop so what is the point to design interface for people who will not use it ? people are so idealistic, it’s charming….. Djamé 2004-03-09 4:33 pm > let me start complaining about the new open/save dialog: > > it’s not integrated with the search tool Would you actually elaborate on this? People cannot read your mind. 2004-03-09 5:15 pm I’m already using the spatial nautilus, I already know how to use it but still don’t like it at all. The metaphor says that every directory should have it’s own window. Ok, it does make sense to me. But, imagine a box (a house) with every kind of things inside of it and as many windows as many the rooms are. If I want to see an object I should search it’s own window and looking trough, if the object is not in the first room I should get into it and search for a window again till I get to the object’s room. OK, this is exactly what the methaphor should works. This is a non sense. What I need to do instead is to open the house from the roof and watching everything from the top. Searching for my object, picking up eand droppi in a completely different room as fast as I can. 2004-03-09 5:25 pm If you want a good implementation of the spatial metaphor, you should try the ROX-Filer which is an execellent fusion of 2.6 Nautilus and the Konqueror way of doing things. It is far faster than either one as well and has better thumbnailing capabilities. Its interface has better aesthetics by getting rid of the ugly menu bar instead of the toolbar which is more useful and better-looking besides. You can also get rid of that if you don’t want it. File operations are nice as well since you don’t have to have anything selected to embark on an operation. Just press your keystroke and click on the file you want to do something to. If you like the spatial stuff, you can do it, plus, you can always type / and then go to whatever location in the filesystem you want. And it automatically mounts mountable media without the need for autofs or supermount. ROX can also serve as a desktop and taskbar as well with a pager that is larger and more convenient than either GNOME or KDE’s. 2004-03-09 6:00 pm Wow, I’m surprised no one has said this yet. The latest UI changes in GNOME 2.5/2.6 (which one is it?) are very much inspired by OS X’s UI (the UI design, not look) — sometimes a direct clone (if I were uncharitable, I’d say “rip-off”). For instance, the “save changes” dialog box looks almost identical to the one in OS X (with the Don’t Save | Cancel | Save buttons in that order, the bold question above the non-bold “you’ll lose changes” note), and the sidebar in the Open/Save panels look just like the ones in Panther. In fact, it looks like GNOME dialog boxes are now all using the tried-and-true Mac placement of buttons where the affirmative button (like OK) is always in the bottom-right corner, unlike Windows which is the opposite. Hehe, the “menu/status bar” and “dock”-inspired UI elements didn’t go unnoticed either. I’m not complaining about all of this, mind you. I’d MUCH rather see GNOME follow the superior Mac UI rather than Windows for its design inspiration. I’m just bringing this up because I find it very interesting. Regards, Jared 2004-03-09 6:10 pm So if I’m using my desktop at 1280×1024, gnome thinks I’m almost blind and make my icons 64×64 ??? 10 icons on my desk and I can’t barely see my deskpic… If i select ONE icon, I can resize it but If I select all, I can’t do that for every one of them in the same time.. that would be a normal and coherent feature, if I can do it for one, I can do for all… and, where can I see the size of the icons ? Applications -> Desktop Preferences -> File Browsing And there, change “Default Icon Size”. The names might not be the same, since I’m doing an Spanish-English translation from my Spanish desktop. One more : If in gnome desktop properties I choose no image at all nor any color to be my desktop, I mean : let other apps be my desktop pic manager No, it’s not what you think that is. Nautilus still will show icons. You can override that using gconf-editor: Applications -> System Tools -> Configuration Editor There, open “apps->nautilus->preferences” and uncheck “show desktop”. Then you should be able to put anything as wallpaper. I compile by hand a lot of app (lmule, lopster, gtktalog and a lot more) in /usr/local which is my partition where I put stuff I want to compile by hand and I don’t want to recompile anytime gnome folks thinks it’s to time to go ahead breaking ascendant compatibility.. So I installed gnome 2.4, and now bang : a few one still works without the theming stuff (lopster, lmule) Gnome major versions don’t break ascending compatibility (and major versions are around for 2 years at least). That means, 2.0 applications will work the same in 2.2, 2.4 and 2.6. But lopster and lmule use gtk 1.x, so that’s a problem. Not looking at updating the toolkit in 2 years (since gtk 2.x has been around) isn’t very nice neither. then I launched Nedit (which by the way follow the gtk1.x color scheme and fonts with grdb) and bang, it’s back to the old motif color.. you’re going to tell me that’s normal, There’s an utility for changing gtk 1.x themes (that are different than 2.x). I think it’s called gtk-switch-theme, but it’s been a while since I’ve used gtk 1.x apps, so I’m not sure about the name anymore. I bet my shirt that the next gnome version will require a clean install (without any past files conf) If that’s the case, fill a bug report quickly! 2.6 version must be able to use 2.0, 2.2 and 2.4 config files the first time it starts. It’s one of the compatibility compromises that was taken for major gnome versions. If the gconf-editor is to edit advanced stuff, they have to make an very advanced option editor (like powertweak in what you know) I agree. It’d be easy to program (just gtk + gconf). Any volunteers? As soon as I’m over with my exams (july), I’ll give it a shot. Be realistic, linux will never be in the main stream desktop so what is the point to design interface for people who will not use it ? Hey, be more optimistic. There’s a need for easy desktops on enterprises, and gnome is going for it. After all, many people in 1997 said that linux would be a geek toy forever, and look now. Even Hollywood uses it in clusters, and the idealistics got recognizement 2004-03-09 6:13 pm Yeah, looks like gnome developers get a lot of inspiration (if not “best way to do this” ideas) from Mac OS X. And I like it too. BTW, I don’t have a Mac OS X desktop around. Out of curiosity, does the templates mechanism work the same way as in Gnome 2.6? (I heard it’s pretty similar to OS/2’s, but I can’t get access to an OS/2 machine). 2004-03-09 7:01 pm Gnome has sane defaults? How do you know? My idea of sanity might be totally different from yours. 😉 I’d rather choose MY idea of sanity rather than having it chosen by SOMEONE ELSE for me. That’s my problem with Gnome. 2004-03-09 7:32 pm Thanks for your tips for the desktop icon size, I’ll give another try to it…. for the wallpaper stuff (remenber I want nautilus to manage the icons not the wallpaper, exactly as gmc did with the tab “arrière plan” in french (I’m sorry I can’t remenber what was the english name) ; there was a clickable option “let gnome manage wall paper”, why is it off ? I’m pretty sure there’s an option in gconf-editor but i’m also pretty sure it’s not documented… Or If I remenber the old option in nautilus (back to version 1.) the “show desktop” option will cut of the icons too ? lopster and lmule use gtk 1.x, so that’s a problem. Not looking at updating the toolkit in 2 years (since gtk 2.x has been around) isn’t very nice neither. You do really think that great apps such as lopster (the best opennapster client) or lmule must focused on the switch to gtk 1.x rather than the bug correction or the adds of new feature ???? Is that so hard to keep it gtk2.x source compatible (or binary compatible) trhough a wrapper layer ? IMHO it’s the worst defect of linux (and gnome2.4 by extension)… it’s hard enough and not intuitive to make people use the source, it’s hard enough to have correct support for opensource tools like lopster, cantus, lmule, grustibus for example and every two years all the api changes… I’d rather prefer people focus on fonctionality than support new api… so if one day, gnome drop gtk1.x support I won’t be able to use correctly the not so old apps ? I don’t understand that : people complains the linux lack of certain apps and it has never been harder to maintain compabilities between version : just try to have wordperfect, applix 5 or even Houdini (the apps behind the special effects in X-men) in mandrake 9.3… impossible (or very hard, I did for mandrake 8.0 and I’m not going to do it again any time soon). Having great desktop is cool, having apps to run on it it’s 100x better (and yes, I’m not an open source ideologist guys : sometimes closed source apps are just better than the rest and sometimes people have to sell something just to keep eating, and if it costs more to check if an apps run in all the version of linux than the developpement effort, the apps are not maintained anymore – yes the corel apps are a bad exemple, some said microsoft investement existed only if corel abandonned their linux products suite… which were really great by the way : worperfect , corelphoton paint and quattro pro, funny to see at their time people cry about their heavyness but now noone complains about the speed of OpenOffice ) Hollywood things .. Do you really believe that Hollywood folks would have thought about linux if it was not for softimage maya, houdini and a few other (where FIlmGimp is really used but not integrated in the main gimp devellopement, they maybe prefere switching to gtk2.x (no, just kidding) ), I’m not sure it’s for gnome or kde stuff, it’s more because the cluster apis are pretty stable for 5 years now, they can really work with and they don’t have to paid for a site licence…. I don’t remember the raytracer render farm pixar developped and use but it’s not free…. It’s time to go on working…. Cheers Djamé ps : I saw gtk-theme switcher was here, but how do I know the exact correspondance between the theme used by gtk2 and the one in gtk1 ? having a entry : “apply main theme to legacy apps” (included gtk1) would not have been that hard.. 2004-03-09 7:44 pm Anyone who calls KDE’s ease of use “breathtaking” clearly has never watched non Linux nerds interacting with computers. KDE violates so many interface laws, I can’t even begin. At least GNOME has the sense to create a seperate Applications and Actions menu. 2004-03-09 7:59 pm I wasn’t really serious, but let’s say that I’m a little dizzy and I don’t remember where is that nasty file named openme or something. Since I’ve got to the open dialogue I would click somewhere in it and it would search for that file. 2004-03-09 8:45 pm Hi “Anyone who calls KDE’s ease of use “breathtaking” clearly has never watched non Linux nerds interacting with computers. KDE violates so many interface laws, I can’t even begin” the applicationa and actions menu is there is kde 3.2 too. what interface laws does kde violate. by the way there is no law it is called a guideline and some apps can and will violate it. if you will be specific do that because generic statements like this wont make anything better. if you are specific atleast i can do some bug reporting for you at bugs.kde.org Jess 2004-03-09 9:07 pm “Wow, I’m surprised no one has said this yet.” Exaggerating a tad, aren’t you? Inspired by (like how Mac OS was inspired by Xerox PARC)? Definitely. Direct clone? I think not. You probably shouldn’t be suprised that nobody’s said it yet. 2004-03-09 10:44 pm If you want a good implementation of the spatial metaphor, you should try the ROX-Filer which is an execellent fusion of 2.6 Nautilus and the Konqueror way of doing things. ROX-Filer doesn’t actually do spatiality (properly). Annoys me immensely; it’s its worst problem. For instance, when you open a folder, it puts the middle near the pointer. The effect of this is you quickly walk to a corner, and if you have any ROX-Panels, you have to keep moving the mouse more than you have to. On the other hand, if ROX was spatial, it would remember the window position and open it there. This’d be infinitely more convenient. (Though for the DND file selector widgets, and most other non-folders, it’s very useful putting them on the pointer. No need to look around to see where they are.) However, in almost every other way, it’s a damn good file manager. (I hate the way icons on the pinboard are always large, not huge or superhuge or ginormous or custom.) 2004-03-09 11:24 pm Well, that depends on your window manager. You can configure it to open the windows so that no overlap occurs. That pinboard thing has never bothered me before but now that you mention it, I can see how it ought to have an option to scale the icons like you can with the panel. 2004-03-09 11:55 pm I’d rather choose MY idea of sanity rather than having it chosen by SOMEONE ELSE for me. That’s my problem with Gnome. There’s at least one advantage in choosing the idea of sanity by someone else: you know what to expect when you work with other machines. It’s good to customize your whole desktop to your likings but you’ll probably be lost once you work on another machine (to fix it or just to work temporarily on it). I understand you need of power… but having too much is like not enough sometimes. 2004-03-10 12:35 am But that’s no argument against customizability. It’s an argument for sane defaults. 2004-03-10 3:22 am Direct clone? I think not. Look, I hate calling anyone a zealot, but that comment is clearly blind zealotry. GNOME 2.5/6 has obviously (just look at comparison screenshots!) copied specific implementations of UI layout and text wording featured in OS X (for some elements, featured specifically in Panther). I never said this is necessarily bad, just an observation. Again, I’d much rather see GNOME copy UI elements from the Mac rather than Windows. I’ve used various versions of Windows, GNOME, KDE, OS X, OS 8/9, and BeOS for years, and I’ve seen dozens of detailed screenshots from lots of other OSes, including Amiga, NeXT, SkyOS, AtheOS, Cosmos, etc. Believe me, I KNOW when I see an obvious clone of a specific UI element. Jared 2004-03-10 6:45 am It was mentioned in the comments above that GNOME drops features that are needed by only 1% of the users. This sounds minor thing but lets have some calculations. If you have 30 special features each needed by about 1% of the potential users and you expect that groups needing each of those features don’t overlap then you result quite surprising numbers. 0.99^30 results 0.74 which means that 26% of potential users are dropped out because GNOME doesn’t have feature they need. With 50 non-overlapping special features about 40% of the potential users would be dropped out… 2004-03-10 10:29 am Well, the statement could mean that they drop features which in total, only 1% of users use. And what you gave is an absolute lower value. It is highly suspect to assume these feature wants do not overlap. If users drop GNOME because of one feature, then it is probably better not to code for them. Making a desktop is not about satisfying every user’s whims. 2004-03-10 3:34 pm I’m sorry but the former (comment 60) guys is absolutely right…. just have a look to http://www.joelonsoftware.com, the chapter about the UI design of Excel for exemple he’s saying the same thing : 1) a product must conform to what users except : people who used Gnome for 3 years are excepting some stuffs, if it doesn’t conform to they’re not happy 2) a product must have all the possible features and the 90% most used ones (those gnome is obviously focusing on) must be the easier ones, they must be without defects in order to satifsfy the mass BUT the 10% left must exist or the 10% (who are in fact included in the 90%) will not be satisfy 3) a new product have to maintain compability with the one it’s targeting to replace (Excel was 100 % compatible with lotus 1.2.3 for example.. ) so the transition has to be smooth. Noone would have to learn a new paradygm every 2 years….. By the way : what do you mean by “Making a desktop is not about satisfying every user’s whims” ? I believed the aim of gnome project was to provide an usefull desktop for everyone … you’re telling that if someone drop for some reason (even if the reason is perfectly valid) they should not code for this user, just like it was some of religious war. We’re talking about UI design, not about zelotery….. “J’hallucine” (I’m hallucinating, some french idioms, sorry) In fact, I think the main grief written in the unix hater hand book is true : the goal of unix is to make programmer’s life easyer, not the user’s. So is gnome. And I’m sad to tell that…… in the past time kde was told to be less customizable than gnome, now it’s probably the most customizable one and the easyer one.. they’re following the freedesktop.org advice, they seem to follow some of the best gnome UI Design and forget the rest.. Why I’m not using it ? because the last time I checked it I hate the launch time of every little apps and I hate the icons design. THe only thing where gnome is far beyond is the visual aspect, they had the most talentous artists. I know it’s silly, but I spent most of my life in front of a 21″ and I want eye candy stuff, I want speed and I want to be productive. Only one of those is accomplished by gnome 2.4.. 2004-03-12 7:15 am Djamé, you seem to be way off. First, you’re comparing level of API/UI stability achieved during ten years of development in Windows (you mentioned Windows 95 and Windows 2000, how come you didn’t come up with a thesis about Windows 1.0 apps not working very well on Windows 3.0? not to mention that API is very much different between NT and “old” 32-bit Windows, and porting is not a trivial work), with level of API/UI stability reached in Gnome during 3-4 years (of Gnome 0.* and 1.* development). On that note, I’d rather think that we’re way better than Microsoft, because we hope to have gotten to that stage three times faster. Yes, I’m claiming that Gnome with 2.0 has reached the phase Microsoft has reached with Windows 95. And from then on, we’ve got evolution, not revolution any more. And because we have reached this stage, casual users won’t notice any significant change in experience. And that’s _exactly_ the point. As for the options, if you insist on being bit specific, delve into gconf-editor. And do not by any chance compare it to things like “registry editor”. Every setting in GConf has both a “short description” and a “long description”, where “short” one gives a short summary of what the key is for, and the “long” one gives all the available options, and elaborates on the purpose of the setting. If you were able to edit rc files, you’re surely able to edit this. Comments are there (short/long descriptions), GConf files are split into several directories (just like rc files where), and you can edit them with text editor as well, if you wish. The only difference between rc files and GConf is that GConf is a *standardized* way to store all settings for Gnome applications, so you need to learn only one style of “rc” files. Oh yes, it’s also easier to optimize one set of configuration file reading routines, than one-per-package set of routines. On the compatibility note, apart from above mentioned “age of development”, you need to note that gtk+ 1.* is crap compared to gtk+ 2. Of course, the plethora of features provided by gtk+ 2 (internationalization support being one of best improvements, and which is the main reason I fell in love with gtk+2) also mean introducing some slowdown into the system. It also means introducing some incompatibilities. However, you’re perfectly able to keep your Gnome 1.* and Gtk+ 1.* installation besides your Gnome 2.* installation. If you don’t know how to do that, use a distribution that provides it by default. You also “hate” spatial Nautilus, but you have never gave it any thought. As someone with a PC background (DOS), I got used to having a Control key down-left on the keyboard. However, I was soon to realize that optimal placement for it is where Caps Lock key is, which I almost never use. It took me some time to get used to it, but I have far less stress on my wrists and fingers. Ok, this is not a “newbie” setting, but I just ask you to consider spatial view of Nautilus before you dump it because it’s not what you’re used to. I was so far never able to use any GUI tools to manage my files (I usually opened a bunch of terminals, and bash and TAB completion did the job, along with pushd, popd and stuff) in “browse” mode, but with new spatial Nautilus, it suddenly makes sense. This is actually the first time that I am doing things I usually done with Bash in a GUI tool. FWIW, I’m really not a “typical” user Gnome is targetting. But setting a couple of GConf keys (focus-follows-mouse, home-directory-as-desktop, dropping “minimize” from metacity titlebar, and putting close button on far left) is all it takes to make a perfect desktop for me. And that’s what wins me over every time I have to install a fresh Gnome. To Jared White: You mention some features that are supposedly copied from Panther, but which have been in Gnome HIG since 2.0 days (like button layout, for which there was usability study I think, though don’t hold me on that). And lets not forget, this means 2+ years of Gnome development. Of course, Gnome is trying to reuse all the good (unpatented — this is important, Apple has some stuff patented) inteface ideas, but it also has its own policy which has already endured a lot. So while any assertion of that kind can be true in some interpretations (like “Gnome is picking ideas from NeXT/MacOS/Plan9/Windows/AtheOS/KDE/put your favourite environment name in here”), it’s not that simple — everything goes through review, and nothing is blindly put into software. The idea of freedom that surrounds all free software is also to freely reuse ideas in designing software. Certainly, no Gnome hacker is going to claim to have all the best ideas (except maybe Dasher folks . Thus, your comment is only to confirm that many Gnome UI hackers consider Apple doing a good job in terms of UI design. But each of those “good ideas” is adapted in small or big ways, and that’s what should make Gnome better, more useable software (eventually, if not already). On the comment of “Linux desktop” (I prefer “Gnome desktop”) never getting any wider adoption, use the power of Google to find about 80 thousand computers in schools in Extremadura, or the plan for getting Sun-provided JDS to China (in hundred of thousands of desktops). And to Sayamindu: thanks for a great review I can now point people at. It’s been a pleasure reading it. Another new feature in Gnome 2.6 is desktop-wide support for more than two plural forms. There are at least 600 million people whose languages depend on that, and no other proprietary software provides it (including Windows). One more plus on the i18n front.