Home > Gnome > The State and Future of GNOME The State and Future of GNOME Submitted by Brad Griffith 2004-04-02 Gnome 94 Comments In response to the article about Free Software and usability, Brad Griffith decided to write up an article about the niceties of GNOME and its future. Mirror here. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 94 Comments 2004-04-02 10:15 pm Anonymous I have been addicted to KDE for years now- but I must admit that I’m impressed by Gnome 2.6… I might just try it out… 2004-04-02 10:18 pm Anonymous > I have been addicted to KDE for years now- but I must admit that I’m impressed by Gnome 2.6… I might just try it out… Me too. My biggest problem with such a “switch” would be to change my fast Konsole for a way slower gnome-terminal. But aside from that I just can’t decide… 2004-04-02 10:25 pm Anonymous This is an excellent article .. a good way to conduct the argument. Here’s to hoping for better things 2004-04-02 10:26 pm Anonymous Great article, it feels good to finally see people appreciating those points. The author really points out everything that makes me enjoy the GNOME project (and everything surrounding it) so much. 2004-04-02 10:32 pm Anonymous Quote: “What’s Coming Dashboard…” I like having as little on my desktop as possible (“Home” folder, “My Computer” (Gnome 2.6), and “Trash”) and the Dashboard seems to take up a lot of screen realestate. As long as I can startup Gnome without Dashboard or disable Dashboard, I will be happy. Does anyone know how Dashboard will be integrated? 2004-04-02 10:36 pm Anonymous The interface for Dashboard is not at all set right now. It is just a working model of a way to get this functionality into the desktop. People have already pointed out the current GtkHtml interface makes the various result sets look inconsistent; I’d expect this to be fixed before major releases. And the screen space issue is also well-known. Projects like scoop or something like the XMMS plugin “Weasel” might solve this problem. Of course, though, you wouldn’t have to run dashboard. 2004-04-02 10:41 pm Anonymous I would like to see something similar for KDE. I just installed FC2T2 and gnome 2.6 is a significant improvement. The feature that blew me away was network browsing. I think gnome is now faster than XP when browsing network computings. Overall it’s a great upddate and I have learned to like the spatial navigation, I was really apprehensive about this feature (and turning it off is a sinche thanks to the very good gnome configuration tool) The most interesting feature (aka innovative) is dashboard. That app looks very, very cool. I can understand the real estate concerns but I would be surprised if there aren’t a lot of options to hide it, shrink it, etc. Or you always have the option of just ditching it. The only think I missed in this article (maybe I really did miss it and he had it) was the mention of seperating Evolution in a way to make it a system wide API for all programs. Creating a common data source for all calendaring, email, contacts, etc. This is a very good and significant development. 2004-04-02 10:43 pm Anonymous I didn’t mention evolution-data-server in the article. I meant to include a link to the bounties so as to point it out, but I forgot. That is a really wonderful feature, though. I think GNOME will really start to feel well-integrated over the next few releases. 2004-04-02 10:57 pm Anonymous Though I agree that gnome is moving linux forward in interface design, and I applaud it’s progress, being simpler does not make the UI better. Take for instance the media player. The “simple” player offers a lot less in features than does iTunes. He speaks of the non standard controls yet iTunes is very much in the OS X standard (iTunes for windows is not standard in that environment, but the goal is to introduce windows users the the Mac interface). There are some elements that are new, but they apropriatly themed. However, while presening signifiganly more in the way of useful features, it does so in a way that does not complicate the design. Yes, UI’s should be as consistant as practical, but a good interface is one that is easily navigated by a novice but provides all the needs of the power user from the same interface. Linux (and OS X to a lesser degree) both suffer from having a lot of power available from the command line, and less available from the GUI). OS X does better in both quantity and quality than Linux, but both are improving with each release. OS X benifits from having a single entity controling the interface. Gnome (and KDE) for that matterare attempting to give linux more consistant operation. Apple should be faulted on somethings as well. Such as the over use of “metal” windows with out providing it as an alternative theme for all. But Apple does seem to maintain a good interface that shows real planning of how the product is used then I have seen from windows or Linux. Many of the gnome dialogs ar not athstetically pleasing. (The same goes for windows – i just dont care there). As I said Gnome is moving forward. But the very fact that there is a discussion of Gnome vs. KDE (throw in some others like WindowMaker) is part of the problem. When I run a program it will follow the standards of the framework on which it is built. This is a double edged sword – a lot of choice for the user vs. standard operation. Good UI design should make it easy for a user to get the job done. Consistancy matters, but some minor variations shold be tolerated if they are both functional and athstetic. 2004-04-02 11:06 pm Anonymous I would disagree about iTunes being a good interface. As pointed out in the article, the album covers are an obvious afterthought – they don’t fit at all. The solution to everything is to add something to the source list. The default view is a gigantic list that doesn’t clearly differentiate between albums. And some of the non-standard widgets are rather bad. The worst being the slider for the playing song. It looks nothing like the standard OS X sliders. That is confusing. Also, iTunes takes much more screenspace than necessary. It is planned to integrate burning into muine, which is the most important feature missing. Other than that, there really aren’t other features in iTunes that ought to be in a music player. Anyway, the point was that there are interfaces better for novices especially available. Free Software does not mean poorly designed software. I’m not trying to say that iTunes is horrible, but it has a few problems interface-wise. Thanks for commenting. 2004-04-02 11:09 pm Anonymous Wow, this guy hasn’t even mastered HTML.. His links are all screwed up.. I think he’s stating the obvious. By that I mean that every one in the Gnome community has been working hard to do just what he’s described for the past several years, it’s just a matter of time and the resources to get it completed. If you like Gnome and want to help out, either contribute bug reports and code and/or donote money to keep those hard at work running nice machines. -Aaron Mitti 2004-04-02 11:15 pm Anonymous I don’t miss anything from Muine as a music player, yet it’s interface is a lot simpler than the iTunes interface. The main difference is that Muine does only one thing and does it well, it’s not a “one stop music center” like iTunes is. This becomes even more obvious when comparing it with Windows Media Player. Certainly OS X is a lot more complete than GNOME right now, but at least I think that GNOME is the closest contender in the “free” world or even in general. 2004-04-02 11:21 pm Anonymous “The worst being the slider for the playing song. It looks nothing like the standard OS X sliders. That is confusing.” I disagree, that’s just plain wrong. It serves a different purpose than other sliders, and is the same slider used in the other multimedia app, Quicktime. The other slider throttles levels of output, to use it to determine a place in a media file would be very confusing and strange. 2004-04-02 11:25 pm Anonymous I few broken links in a layout and article I just made in an hour or two has nothing to do with my HTML skills. Chill my friend. I think what I coded was adequate for a single article. And I was kind of rushed to finish it. Anywho, sorry if a broken link through a kink in your day. 2004-04-02 11:32 pm Anonymous “functionally, desktop Linux is nowhere near as usable as Windows.” I stopped there, I hope he later defined usable to mean that anyone can use it. On that note, from an administrative standpoint, I would agree. As someone you might call a “power user” KDE/Gnome/Fluxbox is FAR more functional than Windows. I don’t wanna sound like a zealout, but seriously; Windows doesn’t have the advanced features I am accustomed to: middle click pasting, long memory of copies (Klipper), keep above other Windows (KDE only I believe), Customizable Browser (I have a menubar and ctl+l to enter addresses), pop-up blocking, customizable panel with apps (sysmonitors, sound adjustment, pager, etc), virtual desktops, icon taskbars (like kasbar), window shading, tabbed browsing, etc. *sigh* I don’t think I could go back to Windows. Maybe they will add in some features. So, did he go on and redefine that? 2004-04-02 11:36 pm Anonymous Actually, I think you are commenting on the article that my article was commenting on. *confused* I disagreed with it, too, which is why I posted this. 2004-04-02 11:36 pm Anonymous the itunes interface is not meant to be designed to be a tree architecture, it is an ordered list that groups the songs by your criteria, and you then can put in the name of the album or artist and quickly get all the songs that fit that search… it is also built around the idea of creating playlists. the interface is extremely fast and easy to use for such a job. bumbling through hierarchies are a pain in the but and take a lot more time than necessary (a-la WMP or Music Match, etc) 2004-04-02 11:36 pm Anonymous but not as nice as he makes it out to be. First, with Gnome 2.6, Nautalus goes back to the one window per folder way as the default for browsing the system. The save dialogues are nice and functional, but definitely not better. Not that they are bad or anything. They work fine. The argument about media players is bunk. You can get media players that play everything for Windows as well as Linux. Saying that Windows people are burdened by RealPlayer is REALLY bunk since you can get it for Linux as well. That said, I TOTALLY agree that things like Gnome aren’t hindered by all the branding and crap that goes on the the commercial world. This is the greatest strength of open-source. None of that crap that makes programs run and look like crap happens. It also allows people that can’t program, but can make a rockin icon participate in the development process. This makes programs look a lot better (hey, a lot of companies simply don’t hire the people to make the icons and whatnot). In general, because there is such a large development pool, someone will make sure that everything lines up nicely. I know that companies could do that, but they don’t usually. Frankly, Microsoft is actually good in this area compared to most commercial software. Anyway, as for the preferences, that is just bad application design. People can design stupid preference dialogues on any platform. Gnome’s preference dialogues are no better than any other platform’s. They aren’t worse either. Now, I have found that Gnome software does usually have better designed preferences, but that’s just whose developing it and the community rather than the platform. In multimedia, I’m less thrilled. Rhythmbox is nice – probably because it works like iTunes. I wish it would rip CDs rather than having to launch Soundjuicer. Eh, maybe someday. I haven’t tried Muline, but it looks like it would be more difficult to organise but hey, anything’s better than WMP or RealOne. As for being better than iTunes, I’m not so sure. iTunes is a nice finished product. Rhythmbox looks like it might get there, but it isn’t quite there yet. I know that iTunes isn’t the most efficient software (neither is WMP or RealOne), but I still like it. It just works. I don’t know, I just wish that Fedora was better at mounting my CDs. Gnome has no shortage of web stuff. Evolution is the nicest email program I’ve seen. While I personally don’t like Epiphany, it works. Frankly, I think that Firefox is stronger and prettier, but whatever. It’s practically the same app. There just aren’t enough options in Epiphany for me and it doesn’t always behave like I expect (maybe I’m just too used to the way that Moz works). I haven’t used Gossip, but I prefer GAIM to AOL’s own software (or any other messenging client). Dashboard looks like it might be a cool idea, but right now I think it will just waste screen space for me (like the upcoming Longhorn sidebar). My attitude will probably change once it comes into being and I realise how I cannot live without it, but a picture doesn’t convince me of that. The vector interface is going to be really cool. Hopefully it won’t be too slow in its first incanation, but this might be the thing that I am most excited about. Utopia is going to make a lot of things easier and bring Linux a lot closer to trouncing its commercial alrernatives. Medusa and Storage will keep Linux competitive against Longhorn and whatever Apple might come up with by 2006. I’ve actually never had too much trouble with configuration issues. Actually, I’ve found it wasier to set up my Samsung ML-1210 USB with Fedora than Windows or Mac OS X. I really don’t use much other hardware. Hey, better is always better. A nice CD Burner would be great, but at least Gnome allows you to burn CD Images already. Windows doesn’t do that (cheap Microsoft with their built in burning tools). Office software on Gnome isn’t great right now. OOo is so fully featured, but HUGE. AbiWord, which I favour (although not by much), doesn’t have the features, but is wafer thin. I think that native is always the way to go. Maybe there is code that can be stolen (borrowed from OOo for AbiWord. This is a hard decision. Hey, at least Gnome has OK options for right now. Neither are perfect, but they are definitely usable. Software installation needs to be made easier. There’s really nothing more to say. No matter what you say about Gnome now, it’s future looks very bright. More great apps are coming out for it, it is getting more and more features and the final rough edges in the interface are being taken care of very quickly. I know that I can’t wait for Gnome 2.8. 2004-04-02 11:46 pm Anonymous My own wish it that they somehow make Dashboard dynamically transparent. What I mean is that they make dashboard less transparent when the mouse is over it and more when the mouse is elsewhere. The point for Dashboard is that it present information that is hopefully relevant (the search engine byword nowadays) to whatever context / application the user is working on, but at the same time not be distracting. 2004-04-02 11:50 pm Anonymous I’m not sure that would work because the user would have to go back over to the dashboard to be able to clearly read the information that it was offering up. You might miss a lot of things because of the transparency. Also, it’s just not yet technically possible. Can’t wait for that fd.o X Server. 2004-04-02 11:51 pm Anonymous How about making it pop up like a context-sensitive menu does when you right-click an item? Something like alt-rightclick will pop up Dasher for you and will use the context where the mouse pointer was when it was activated. 2004-04-02 11:56 pm Anonymous The thing that holds me back about that is that it might require applications to alter themselves too much. One of the benefits of dashboard is that it just looks for cluepackets on port 5903 – or something like that. If dashboard isn’t there to receive them, it doesn’t matter. And applications can send the packets in any number of ways, meaning they don’t have a dependency on dashboard or vice versa. It’s a very clever way to keep dashboard completely optional. 2004-04-03 12:12 am Anonymous when I heard this sort of comment about multimedia apps, I’m just keep laughing : winamp, bsplayer and even mediaplayer9 is all about their simplicities and of course not about the fact that some people could use 5 of the basic fonctions they used for 10 years and the rest could enjoy all the advenced features… Those gnome guys have lost the point in those last 3 years : Peoples don’t want “usability” in the meaning of “does my gran ma can rip its cd in one click ?” (she’s old, maybe she just put cd in her stereo ?= or “I want only One button to do all my work”, people just want to use their linux aps with the same pleasure than the mac os X or the winXP guys… People want power, ease and fun, not your crappy way of telling us “I want you to make what I think is better for you” hurting their desk with their shoes like Kroutchev in the 60’s People want butter, money of butter and the ass of the sellers as we said in french (“le beurre, l’argent du beurre et le cul de la crémiere”)… i’m fed up to spent all my days reading a lot of papers about how gnome is great, how kde is cool and how they compare to the mac os or winXP ? People don’t have work ? When I’m looking for how-to in the linux lands, it’s always a matter of how to configure stuff and never, never a matter of what is the best way to do stuff… Just have a look to the great communauty of virtuadub and its tons of tutorial (how to include subtitles in one divx, How to make a bivx…), in linux it’s “how to compile your kernel in order to make gnome behave faster, or to set up properly your ide-scsi modules instead of writing your cd…) After 8 years of linux, I’m gonna make the oposite switch… If I have enough money, I’ll run mac os X machine, or a x86 something, win2k +cygwin if I lack recompiling stuff again, again and again…… I would miss three things : lopster, all my dock aps from wmmakers and the zero virus land linux is….. pfffffff…… 2004-04-03 12:49 am Anonymous To solve the need for users to configure their own repositories, if might be interesting to explore web-based interfaces much like LindowsOS’s Click-N-Run Warehouse. Such an interface could use apt or yum without much difficulty. There’s a nice project for Knoppix available here: http://klik.berlios.de/ Looks really interesting although it uses something like the application folders on ROX. This isn’t a problem for Knoppix but for all other distributions, unfortunatly. 2004-04-03 1:05 am Anonymous Two questions: When I want to save a file in a new subfolder, can I create this subfolder with the gnome savedialog? Sometimes when I save a file, I’am not sure if I have used the filename already. Can I see this with the gnome savedialog? 2004-04-03 1:08 am Anonymous To get more details, which hopefully won’t be necessary very often since most users do commonly save files in only a few directories, you would click the expander widget labelled “Click to browse more folders” which displays a more standard file save box. This is very much like the OSX save dialog, but a little more obvious (on the OSX version, there is only a little down arrow by the file name text box to show more details). 2004-04-03 1:15 am Anonymous He lost me bigtime when he said iTunes has a poor interface. iTunes has the best software interface for listening to music. Everything is right there in one view and self-explanatory. The only other music app that comes close is rythmbox but lets face facts, rythmbox is nothing more than an itunes clone(ripoff). The other app he shows is laughable. I own an 800mhz G4 iBook and a 1.8ghz Athlon. OSX(Panther) actually feels faster than Gnome 2.4. Screen redraws in Gnome dissappear on the same machine using KDE. Gnome looks nice but feels “broken”. Hopefully they have made big improvements with 2.6. Linux is a great server OS but desktop-wise IMO it totally sucks. You want Linux to make strides on the desktop? _Installing and Removing_ programs AND drivers should be done from one standard panel(not seperate apps for the different DEs) like in Windows OR all the files should be bundled and the app handled like one file on OSX. I downloaded radeon drivers from ATI and the amount of work to install the driver is LAUGHABLE compared to OSX or Windows XP. RPM is the worst package management system ever created. I would rather stick with Windows 98 than have to deal with the nightmare that RPM creates. Yes, the user can install additional programs to use APT but that is too much work. Look at the competition(Windows & OSX) and how easy it is to install and remove drivers and apps. If Linux programmers cant match such ease of use OUT OF THE BOX they can forget about desktop use everywhere except hackers, enthusiasts and the enterprise. Dashboard innovative?!? Looks like they copied features of Windows Longhorn…… 2004-04-03 1:23 am Anonymous Multimedia apps are something I’m not even going to begin to hit on. Primarily because there are so many for linux, windows and mac. If you don’t want simplistic minimal players for certain tasks, there are always more full featured players. Just like if you don’t like Gnome’s striving to be different, usable, and simple, there’s always KDE, and several dozen others to pick from. “in linux it’s “how to compile your kernel in order to make gnome behave faster,” Of course this is available as a howto for linux, because you can do it. You can’t with Windows. I’m sure you can find a guide somewhere about how to configure darwin. “or to set up properly your ide-scsi modules instead of writing your cd…” Which isn’t a problem anymore, as in the 2.6 kernel CD burners are supported natively. No more IDE-SCSI. Personally I find having a single desktop wide theme far easier and consistant than having a skin for every individual application, which is part of the reason why I use Dropline Gnome. 2004-04-03 1:31 am Anonymous “I find having a single desktop wide theme far easier and consistant than having a skin for every individual application” Skins and themes are a bad idea for usability. OSX got this right for the most part, you can change some subtle things but the interface says the same. Redhat actually tried to do something sensible with bluecurve with a mixed reaction from the Linux crowd. 2004-04-03 1:36 am Anonymous Saying GNOME 2.6 is better than WindowsXP because it has less options is like saying Windows95 is better than WindowsXP since it has less options. What a bunch of crap. What matters is how you present them, and OS X has the lead there for me. It perfectly combines a powerful UI with ease of use. Setting up a firewall with OS X f.ex. is so much more simple than WindowsXP, and I am not even talking about GNOME. What still pisses me off is the lack of a good file requester in OS X and GNOME despite the advances they claim to have. They are still poorly designed and I tend to use the console for most of my file handling on these platforms. 2004-04-03 1:57 am Anonymous i love simplicity, very keen on. but just a warning, simplicity & UI consistency, is not about loosing identity. i just found that, from looking screenshots, sometimes i just can’t distinguish which window is for what app? they are just too similar to others. may be loosing too much identity for each app will results some (or may be just few) user confusions (and yeah, for sure, makes it’s too boring). anyway, i’m not sure this is valid point or not. i just feel it.. but at least i have feel it… … sorry for wasted your time 2004-04-03 1:58 am Anonymous I didn’t once say it was better because it had less options. The epiphany prefs, for instance, are only fewer than IE’s because epiphany chooses them more intelligently. Take a look at IE’s advanced tab. What is that? 50ish options. Look at the connections tab. How often do you set up an internet connection? Why put it in the browser preferences? Anyway, as detailed in the article, epiphany actually has far more features (even more so if you want to use the extensions), but STILL remains to be simpler. And, in fact, things are much the same throughout GNOME. 2004-04-03 2:11 am Anonymous “Multimedia apps are something I’m not even going to begin to hit on.” Of course, so why does the author use that as an argument pro gnome ?? the first app which used theming was winamp, then enlightenment followed and increased the concept and then gtk add theming support too… Obviously it was a cool feature to change the aspect of your desktop… In fact, changing the way drag bar and stuff appears is nice but changing the fact stuff s behave is very bad (that’s why I hate mozilla skin, every one of them change something in option, in menu.. Hey don’t touch that, just be pretty !!!) BUT when you change xmms skins, winamp one, gmplayer one, does it change the whole apps, no…. and It’s cool to have something that doesn’t look like GEM or Mac os 7…… the saddest is gnome arging uniformity is a top cool feature and skinning is bad, but in the real world uniformity is normal and skinning is a plus. “Hey, look my desktop looks like win95 with themes” “Hey, look my desktop looks like OS X without the eye candy and without all those easy, and not 0.08-beta apps ?” how happy I am……. “in linux it’s “how to compile your kernel in order to make gnome behave faster,” Of course this is available as a howto for linux, because you can do it. You can’t with Windows. Maybe windows guys don’t have to ? “Which isn’t a problem anymore, as in the 2.6 kernel CD burners are supported natively. No more IDE-SCSI. ” So, basically, we spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to get cd writing work in every case but we should have wait 3 years instead ? It’s not an argument to say it’s working now as it should have from the beginning because it means it was hard, painfull and boring before and noone told. could you tell me if in the new 2.6 I have to reinstall/nor recompile all my cdrtools or if the transition is smooth (no difference because a compatibility layer is provided ?).. I imagine how cool it must be to recompile all my apps just to comply to a yet another major change in kernel’s api…. I should sleep, I’m getting cynical……. 2004-04-03 2:12 am Anonymous Epiphany is a crap web browser. Managing bookmarks especially is painful(I used the latest release). Safari is the best example of simplicity and just enough power as far as web browsers go, IMHO. 2004-04-03 2:32 am Anonymous I hope the Gnome developers aren’t regressing into some feedback loop that mandates that a minimum number of widgets is the ultimate goal….because maybe it’s just me, but I seem to keep on seeing this theme. Most mac zealots think that the OSX interface is the best because other people tell them that it is. Group think in the Mac community is like a disease. 2004-04-03 3:37 am Anonymous i rather have requests like more ‘just work’ software. commercial quality matching applications. although dependency issue isnt likely to go away i still hope for less hassle software install/remove procedure. a collaborative hardware compatibility database for latest hardware for various distros i.e. wiki and of course more hardware support from community or vendors just look at windows explorer its much the same as 10 years ago! i dont like os x desktop its way too clutter for me. the menubar is always there… the iconbar means unprofessional or cartoonish and they are big compare to taskbar can i change the window control close max min to the right side like windows or linux? a panel for me on top of screen is as good as it get. gnome cares too much about it(ui design) while they cant give me the features i found in kde/apps 2004-04-03 3:49 am Anonymous There’s the option of autohiding like the recently-released xmms plugin, or there’s also the option of doing a panel-click-to-hide-type-thing like rhythmbox does. There’s also the possibility of having it drop down from an applet like the Gnome clock/calander. The possibilities for the presentation of Dashboard are numerous. 2004-04-03 4:20 am Anonymous The article is so good, I bookmarked it. Great job! I have often argued that GNOME is simpler and easier use than Mac OS X. It is also a lot more consistent. With this article, I have a lot of facts to back up my argument. In fact, Auntie Tille will have a much easier time migrating from Windows to GNOME than she will to Mac OS X. This essay is a winning response to the rebuttal on open source software by John Gruber. The essay that falsely condemned OSS was filled with nothing but FUD. It provided no facts and absolutely no illustrations. It just basically said, OSS sucks because it is open source software and because Mac OS X is better. This article on the other hand provides hard facts, ample illustrations, beautiful comparisons with screenshots, and even discusses the weakness of OSS, and provides an insight into the direction a prominent GUI open source project is heading. I don’t mind genuine and respectable individuals critizing “OSS”, like ESR. What I can’t stand is when the critics don’t tell us which OSS project they have qualms with, hence hastily generalising; when they don’t provide concrete illustrations about what actually sucks; and then they carry on to conclude that OSS sucks and has no hope because OS X is better and good things cost $$$. Fortunately, faulty premises don’t to lead to true conclusions. When you say something sucks, you need to be specific. You need to provide concrete examples. You need to identify what other project does the functionality better and why. And you need to provide suggestions on how the thing can be improved upon. ESR did that. Eugenia does that. John Gruber, unfortunately, fails to do that. How do you expect me, or anyone, to take his rants seriously. Brad, once again, good job. 2004-04-03 4:24 am Anonymous The article is so good, I bookmarked it. Funny, I did the same, and I really don’t set many bookmarks. Now it’s one of my whole five GNOME bookmarks. 2004-04-03 4:32 am Anonymous Did I miss the proof for this claim in the article? 2004-04-03 4:33 am Anonymous I’m not trying to spin the multimedia thing Gnome’s way. Theres full featured players for Linux, and there are minimalist skin free players for Windows. Gnome themes don’t change the way the desktop works, just the way it looks, and usually the themes don’t change the way it looks that much anymore, there just haven’t been many pixmap themes for Gnome 2. Really Gnome needs an easy way to pick the gtk engine, and the color scheme seperately. About half the themes I’ve made have just been ports of different color schemes to a different engine. As for compiling the Windows Kernel, I can think of situations where it would be nice to be able to do that. “Hey, WinXP home is just a compile away from being WinXP Pro and supporting SMP!” (actually I think it just takes a couple of edits in the registry, but hey, what do I know. The last version of windows I used was 2k pro, and it was the last one I’ll touch, because it was the best) And for IDE SCSI, I know it was a problem for a lot of people, but it wasn’t like it was unusable, I have a stack of CDs that prove that CD burning has been possible before 2.6 came about. All I had to do was install the latest cdtools and it just worked. cdrecord dev=/dev/hdx if memory serves. I know there are people out there who insist that their Linux desktop look exactly like XP, or OS X, or even Be. This has always bugged me a bit, but I prefer to say “Hey look, my desktop looks like Gnome!” 2004-04-03 5:10 am Anonymous No consistent look between apps… still No decent config tools… still This is 3 years behind KDE now and the mantra of less features = better usability will ensure that KDE continues to attract more users over Gnome. Putting screenshots of Gnome next to Windows and Mac just highlights how amateurish Gnome looks. Its embarrassing. I really think its time they threw in the towell. 2004-04-03 6:32 am Anonymous I really think its time they threw in the towell. Maybe so, but it should have happened years ago and KDE will never be the desktop as long a small norweigian company holds the strings on the toolkit. Much of the advantages of the KDE sdk over the Gnome developer tools could be overcome if the Gnome crowd embraced Mono – which appears to be happening more and more every day. C++ is pretty much a clusterfuck for doing anything anyway. Keep it simple with c for the Gnome system libraries and something like Mono for everything else. In conclusion, KDE will never dominate anything as long as a european company keeps hold of the proprietary toolkit that it uses 2004-04-03 8:07 am Anonymous The same could be said about Mono. Personally I would rather have my toolkit in the hands of a small Norweigian company than being loomed over by a convicted illegal monopolist waiting for just the right moment to pull out the litigation stick and slap some Mono developers upside the head. Besides if Trolltech goes MIA QT gets BSD’ed and if Microsoft curls up and dies, Mono is in the clear too, but which has the higher probability of happening? Besides, QT is under a GPL liscense now anyways so anyone could take it and make it better if they decided they disagreed with Trolltech. I rest my case. 2004-04-03 8:08 am Anonymous Just wanted to say I am a big fan of your website ! Keep up the great work. 2004-04-03 8:50 am Anonymous The same could be said about Mono. Like the same could be said about oranges. :p Besides, QT is under a GPL liscense now anyways so anyone could take it and make it better if they decided they disagreed with Trolltech. The problem is, that this is not really true. It would leave you with a toolkit that is only available under the GPL and it’s just not realistic that you will ever get everyone to jump on a library with a license that is as restrictive – when it comes to linking – as the GPL. While using the GPL for libraries is not always bad, it’s clearly not the way to go for a library that would benefit most from wide adoption. So in practice, Qt depends on Trolltech (until they go down). 2004-04-03 8:57 am Anonymous “No consistent look between apps… still” Look again. “No decent config tools… still” Since this article is about Gnome, the tools are fine. “This is 3 years behind KDE now ” Only three? Tell us what you really think. “and the mantra of less features = better usability will ensure that KDE continues to attract more users over Gnome.” Popularity contest==Slashdot polls. “Putting screenshots of Gnome next to Windows and Mac just highlights how amateurish Gnome looks.” And putting KDE shots next to them is an improvement, how? “Its embarrassing. I really think its time they threw in the towell.” With friends like the above. SCO and MS doesn’t have to do a d**n thing to us. We’ll do it to ourselves. 2004-04-03 8:59 am Anonymous The difference is that QT is only GPL for open source apps. You have to pay (starting at)$1500 per developer/per app for closed source apps. And of course QT is allowed to change these licensing terms at any time, so who knows what that next revision of your app is going to cost you. ECMA 335 and 336 is RAND + Royalty Free. Even if Microsoft decided to go after Mono for non-ecma covered apis the core is still there for free use. For Linux to grow up, there’s going to have to be many more closed-source, proprietary apps developed for it. QT is not going to cut it. Business doesn’t like being held hostage by a small european company for a toolkit. Not only that, but Microsoft is going .NET all the way for Longhorn, so in the future, Mono is a better bet for cross-platform apps. 2004-04-03 8:59 am Anonymous it’s just not realistic that you will ever get everyone to jump on a library with a license that is as restrictive – when it comes to linking – as the GPL. But the Great Leader Himself encouraged library developers to put them under the GPL instead of LGPL! Btw. It seems that a lot of people are “against” KDE/QT just because it isn’t from the US. What’s the reason behind that? Well, probably there is no reason as they use Linux instead of BSD. 2004-04-03 9:06 am Anonymous By the way there is no up to date free version of QT for windows, so basically forget about free cross-platform apps using QT. The best thing to happen is for someone to buy Trolltech and open up QT. 2004-04-03 9:16 am Anonymous “ECMA 335 and 336 is RAND + Royalty Free. Even if Microsoft decided to go after Mono for non-ecma covered apis the core is still there for free use.” Well that kind of defeats one of Miguel’s goals then. Making it easy for Windows users to cross over, and potentially can lead to a “Miguel’s version”, and a “Microsoft version” split. “For Linux to grow up, there’s going to have to be many more closed-source, proprietary apps developed for it. QT is not going to cut it.” Not as a core technology it doesn’t. “Business doesn’t like being held hostage by a small european company for a toolkit.” And having Microsoft leaning over them is an improvement? “Not only that, but Microsoft is going .NET all the way for Longhorn, so in the future, Mono is a better bet for cross-platform apps.” See above. 2004-04-03 9:27 am Anonymous Btw. It seems that a lot of people are “against” KDE/QT just because it isn’t from the US. What’s the reason behind that? Well, probably there is no reason as they use Linux instead of BSD. Maybe people are actually against KDE/Qt because it is a commercial library which happens to allow GPL stuff, much like MYSQL. You saw what happens when they though they had a large enough market share. They tried to change the license. And yes, I know there is a Free Qt foundation, but you must know that there is still the option of a lawsuit in, for instance, the Qt guys disagree with the KDE guys, governed by some Oslo courts. 2004-04-03 9:28 am Anonymous Well that kind of defeats one of Miguel’s goals then. Making it easy for Windows users to cross over, and potentially can lead to a “Miguel’s version”, and a “Microsoft version” split. There’s already a “Miguel’s version” and a Microsoft’s version. If there wasn’t then there would be .NET on windows and .NET on linux. As long as the compilers spit out compatible assemblies it’s irrelevant whose runtime it runs on. Also, if you read the reasoning behind Mono it’s always been a “great development/runtime environment for unix”. The crossplatform benefits are secondary. Of course Microsoft will have to go after Wine and Samba too for the non-ecma parts when they go after Mono, and since they haven’t gone after them already, it’s unlikely they will ever, especially considering the current legal predicaments that Microsoft is in. Remember the non-core stuff is ASP.NET, ADO.NET, Windows.Forms(which is secondary to mono anyway). The stuff that really matters are covered under the ecma specs 2004-04-03 9:34 am Anonymous Other than that, there really aren’t other features in iTunes that ought to be in a music player Mate, have you ever used smart playlists? That’s one thing why iTunes is worth using it. I really love this gnomeish approach to application: when they don’t have a feature, they always consider it “clutter”, “bloat”, or “useless”, in order to downplay it, ignoring the fact that perhaps, that’s one of the most useful and innovative features (I haven’t seen any other music player provide anything like that) And as for iTunes having a difficult interface, you should see my girlfriend ripping and burning cds two minutes after seeing itunes for the first time. But also, look at the contradiction: the guy’s praising here muine for being minimalistic while being very excited about dashboard, which will include everything and the kitchen sink. I can say that other than a calendar and a list of appointments, a pim program shouldn’t include any more feature (that’s like comparing muine and itunes) 2004-04-03 10:15 am Anonymous Smart playlists? If you’re talking about what I think you are talking about, those are in Windows Media Player 9 working nicely. 2004-04-03 10:19 am Anonymous I stopped reading when he wrote about how bad iTunes’ interface is, and how cool it is that you can make screenshots of that GNOME movie viewer even of movies that are hardware accelerated. Well on OS X all movies are hardware accelerated (Quartz Extreme) and making a screenshot is either CMD+C (copy to the clipboard) or you can make a screenshot of anything any time using CMD+SHIFT+3 (fullscreen) or CMD+SHIFT+4 (select area). What’s so special about that? Just because Windows is broken and doesn’t have such everyday functionality, doesn’t mean it’s something special anywhere else. 2004-04-03 10:24 am Anonymous “Btw. It seems that a lot of people are “against” KDE/QT just because it isn’t from the US. What’s the reason behind that? Well, probably there is no reason as they use Linux instead of BSD” Maybe people are actually against KDE/Qt because it is a commercial library which happens to allow GPL stuff, much like MYSQL. You saw what happens when they though they had a large enough market share. They tried to change the license. QT/Free allows all free software. For a real-word example, Kicker is BSD-licensed. And on the other hand, what is the problem with commercial software makers paying for a QT license? I bet Windows developers also need to pay for Delphi or Visual Studio, and even a lot of freeware is developed with one of those two expensive applications, controlled by companies that (want to) make profit and can change license fees anytime they want to. And yes, I know there is a Free Qt foundation, but you must know that there is still the option of a lawsuit in, for instance, the Qt guys disagree with the KDE guys, governed by some Oslo courts. See: “some Oslo courts“. Doesn’t that imply you don’t trust the courts just because they are in Oslo? What if Trolltech had been an American or even a South African company. Would you have trusted it more in that case? This all does not mean I hate GNOME. In fact, Gnome 2.6 looks better than the previous version, especially now that they have integrated VFS into the file dialog. I am installing it now, and hope that they also fixed gEdit’s session management. Not that I am going to switch: Evolution has buggy IMAP support so I need to use KMail (or pine). 2004-04-03 11:01 am Anonymous i freshly installed debian for a desktop computer with gnome and kde. i like the default gnome desktop and really disliked kde when i started the first kde session. one of the first decission the user can made is choosing a theme. totally useless, too many and most of them are ugly. before i used redhat and fedora and i really hate bluecurve. there is gnome and there is kde and they are different and thats the way it is. consistency is important and when i’m using gnome (or kde) i don’t want to care about the distribution, it should look and behave the same. and that’s the reason i’m using debian, they don’t try to make kde and gnome look the same. i find gnome 2.4 (on debian) easy to understand and uncluttered. it just works. 2004-04-03 11:53 am Anonymous FreeBSD does not yet have Gnome 2.6 (in binary form) so I installed the release candidate – so the things below might be wrong. So, as it looks now, I see Gnome 2.6 a bit as a disappointment, as things simply Just Don’t Work (where they do in KDE): a) SMB browsing does not work – When I try to open a Windows share from an account with no password, I get a password entry and if I then just click OK Gnome complains that “Authentication required”… b) Opening password-protected FTP sites still doesn’t work – gives an error message about “No application associated with this action”. c) There is still no option to change the UI language, thus I still need to edit configuration files to have a Dutch Gnome. d) Still no possibility to open network resources from the File-Open window On the other side, – the spatial mode of Nautilus is great – the gconf-loses-descriptions-after-changing-an-option bug is solved, and – you can finally open things like start-here:/// from the Action-Run Application window. 2004-04-03 12:18 pm Anonymous e) The Theme Manager only works from KDE. Within Gnome(RC1) it freezes. f) Running a single Gnome application within KDE changes DPI settings of the X-server so that new KDE applications have too large fonts. 2004-04-03 12:52 pm Anonymous But the Great Leader Himself encouraged library developers to put them under the GPL instead of LGPL! That’s wrong, that misunderstanding stems from some people misunderstanding a headline without reading the actual content. RMS once published a paper titled “why you shouldn’t use the LGPL for your next library” or something like that and inside the paper he explains why it _can_ make sense to use the GPL under certain circumstances. For something that is as usual as a toolkit and depends on widespread adoption, the LGPL is clearly the more practical and suggested library. The only reason why Qt isn’t falling behind because of this is, that Trolltech offers other licenses, which in turn leads to a dependency on Trolltech. Btw. It seems that a lot of people are “against” KDE/QT just because it isn’t from the US. What’s the reason behind that? Who knows? When reading german message boards I also see a lot of people who are against everything that is from the US. That argument is pointless. 2004-04-03 1:13 pm Anonymous no. there is no problem implicit in some Oslo courts having jurisdiction over the license. But I am sure trolltech wanted to make sure that in the even they were outvoted by the KDE League members, they could prevent the Qt from going under the BSD like license. So they probably chose a court which would favour them most. 2004-04-03 1:16 pm Anonymous How does Evolution have buggy imap support. That is an allegation I commonly heard levelled against KMail instead of evolution. I access IMAP mail using evolution all the time and nary a problem. 2004-04-03 1:21 pm Anonymous (…) Using the ordinary GPL is not advantageous for every library. There are reasons that can make it better to use the Library GPL in certain cases. The most common case is when a free library’s features are readily available for proprietary software through other alternative libraries. In that case, the library cannot give free software any particular advantage, so it is better to use the Library GPL for that library. This is why we used the Library GPL for the GNU C library. After all, there are plenty of other C libraries; using the GPL for ours would have driven proprietary software developers to use another–no problem for them, only for us. (…) Then it depends upon whether GTK+ is seen as a viable alternative to QT, at least in the eyes of developers of proprietary applications. Who knows? When reading german message boards I also see a lot of people who are against everything that is from the US. That argument is pointless Indeed. So to compare QT to other toolkit, the only relevant things are that it is owned by a company and that you need to pay to develop closed-source applications with it. Now, doesn’t Microsoft exactly do the same? And do you trust Microsoft to keep prices low, when 80% of the price of a copy of Windows is revenue? 2004-04-03 1:26 pm Anonymous About Evolution: 1. I open my imap.web.de account 2. I click INBOX 3. A list of messages appears, however, the list is “empty” in the sense that the messages only have an icon, no subject, no sender and no date. 4. When I click one of those messages it is displayed correctly. KMail, Pine and Outlook Express do not have this problem, they display the message list just fine. 2004-04-03 2:05 pm Anonymous Gnome lacks functionality for power users. It’s that simple. Every time I use Gnome theres always something missing in the interface that should be there but isnt. I end up thinking “Why the hell did they remove this feature?!” because a lot of the features were in previous versions of Gnome or Nautilus. Sometimes I think “Why the hell is this feature missing”? I’m a power user, I could give a damn about having a clean interface, or having a clean desktop. I want functionality. I don’t care, I want tabs, I want the ability to properly browse through folders. I mean its even annoying to browse through the window manager. Removing features is not a way to end bloat. The way to end bloat is through making your program module based and letting the user decide which features they need. Gaim does a great job at this. KDE does this as well. Why can’t gnome? Let me decide what features I want or I’ll use KDE. 2004-04-03 3:07 pm Anonymous > Gnome lacks functionality for power users. > Let me decide what features I want or I’ll use KDE. Much of that functionality *is* there, it’s just hidden away in GConf. Power users should have no problem with using gconf-editor. If there is demand, someone can create a gnome equivalent of TweakUI which will expose GConf features in a more user friendly way. I like the GNOME approach more often than not, so I stick with it. If KDE satisfies your needs, then use it. The beauty of UNIX is that you have choice. At work, the company has standardized on CDE (ugh), but since I can compile XFCE and GTK2 in my own directory, I can use it as my main window manager. I could have used GARNOME to compile GNOME2 into my directory, but for my work environment XFCE was enough. So even if the whole world standardized on CDE, XFCE, Motif, GNOME, or TWM, you could still choose to use KDE (if the Konstructor folks would allow non-root installs). 2004-04-03 3:10 pm Anonymous Integrated burning, with my app, is planned. Smart playlists are planned and almost finished. There isn’t really anything iTunes can do that we can’t with several well-integrated simple tools. Just because our interface is simpler does not mean that it is a feature-less program. The thing that has excited me so much about muine is that it has got to the point it is at in only 1.5 months of active development (the main developer, Jorn, was absent the month of March), already has features iTunes doesn’t (like auto album cover fetching), and the interface has been LOVED by every newbie I’ve given the program to. Try it out. You’ll like it. The main developer was the original developer of rhythmbox but left the project because he didn’t like the iTunes-like interface; the man knows what he is doing. For those of you claiming perfection for iTunes, one of the things I pointed out about its interface is indisputably wrong: the album cover in the bottom-left hand corner is bad. It is an afterthought. Think of it this way, the album cover is labelled “Selected Song”…where else do you see information about the selected song? It’s in the little green bubble at the top of the app. Why is there info about the selected song on two separate and unrelated parts of the interface? Because Apple didn’t design the iTunes interface with people’s desire for album covers in mind OR didn’t know how to set it up to grab the covers automatically and wanted to avoid blank space. Either way: bad. 2004-04-03 3:12 pm Anonymous I don’t understand why people say that Gnome is easy to use than KDE. My experience is opposite… Average Joe users here in Brazil, Windows-addicted, normally prefer to use KDE because it is very alike with Windows interface. Some of them ask for me “Which Windows version is this ? Is there Longhorn ? ” when I present them KDE 3.2.1… KDE is superior to Gnome now. The only problem with KDE is the Qt license to make proprietary anc closed applications. C++ is better and more natural than C to make GUIs. 2004-04-03 3:50 pm Anonymous I just migrated yesterday from Xfce 4 to Gnome 2.6 and I’m very impressed. Loving it actually and it has the simplicity I like with options if I want. Now for media I still prefer Alsa-Player for audio and the Jury is out with Video but I haven’t explored all the options yet. Mutli media, well I’m deciding to throw Cubase SX out the door with WinXP and go Linux all the way for Audio. A big step I know but there are some great developments around like Rosegarden and the fact I can use my VST’s under Wine/WineX with it (sampling and synths). As for Linux being slow and difficult, try a decent distribution, I moved to a great one mentioned here on OSNews and it is clean, bloat free and easy to manage. Had to learn a few script edits to load my modules properly but hey it really is easy and not any harder than installing drivers under Windows no matter what the MS lackies claim. I know I’ve been suffering the MS way for the last 14 years from early versions of their DOS to WinXP. All crap. Explorer crashes and Taskmanager crashes happening has driven me away from Windows XP to Linux (not to mention better drivers for my semi pro audio equipment under ALSA). Sure I’ll have to run a form of Wine for my VST’s and Il2-FB simulation but hey I can. Installing software, a piece of piss. Game installations just as easy like UT2004 and I was able to take the UT folder from /home/user to /opt and run it no problems, try that under WinXP! No more virus scanners, no more registry cleaners/optimisers, no more NTFS the bloody clapped out half assed file system it is. Running ReiserFS with ease and virtually no maintanence, try that with Windows XP. So sick of the hyped crap that has required so much of my time maintaining it, now if I could develop a skin for Opera likened to my Gnome desktop, I’d be rapped. A happy converted camper looking to a bright proprietry free future. Anyone else? Mono will be very interesting especially if it means writing apps will require little effort to port to other platforms and I think developers would be mad to not take advantage of that capability compared to MS-Net and it’s write once and be tied down to Windows, who knows. Vive le difference 2004-04-03 4:46 pm Anonymous I think the “Save as..” dialog of XP ist *much* bettern than the new gnome dialog. In the XP Dialog i’m able to create new directories on the fly, by simple pressing the RMB. The gnome “Save as” Dialog ist awful 2004-04-03 5:00 pm Anonymous I like GNOME because it has its own style, this article proves it, Is not copying Windows, Is trying to innovate. Kudos to GNOME foundation. 2004-04-03 6:01 pm Anonymous Brad, Regarding your CD burning project, you might be interested in this thread at the GNOME forums, where another similar project has been started. You can check to see if you can collaborate with the author of that project or investigate code you can reuse or share. I just thought I should mention that, in case you weren’t aware. http://gnomesupport.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=5294&postdays=0&post… 2004-04-03 6:32 pm Anonymous > There is no option to change the UI language I think that’s right that way; that should be handled by the OS IMO. Just export/setenv a LANG= in your .bashrc/.cshrc/… and go. 2004-04-03 7:07 pm Anonymous There is a way to change the language. In the GDM Login Manager, click Language, select your language, then login. 2004-04-03 7:22 pm Anonymous I agree with the author that the GNOME UI is simple and in many cases has better design than the corresponding items under Win or Mac. However, I feel that simplification of the UI should not mean leaving out functionality. A simplified UI is good for the novice user, but please don’t ignore the power users. I feel that GNOME has been ignoring the power users. Here are some annoying things I find in the usability of GNOME 2.4: 1. The desktop icons in GNOME 2.4 are still not aligning to my personal liking. I can only select/deselect “Keep Aligned”, and it doesn’t always work, especially when some of the Desktop files have long names. This is a cosmetic issue I realize but it’s still very annoying. It took a long time for GNOME to even offer the “Keep Aligned” feature, but even when it finally arrived it was not implemented well. Furthermore, the size of the desktop icons can’t be modified AFAIK. On a 1024×768 screen the icons are too large IMO. 2. The “Open With” option in Nautilus when right clicking on a file has a usability issue. I can’t simply type in an application that I want to use to open the file. To open with another application, one has to select “Other Application” then select “Go There” under “File Types and Programs”, and then it’s not clear that you are adding an additional application to the list of applications available to open that file type. If you don’t like the defaults, you basically have to struggle to change them. 3. There is no GUI Tool which allows an administrator to modify the system menu for all users. How can a home user customize the menus for all users, especially since software installation under Linux is still not standardized. Not all programs are supplying desktop files. 4. What about having a maximize vertically toggle, and maximize horizontally toggle for metacity. I see that maximize vertical and maximize horizontal were implemented, but what good is this if it can’t be toggled?? Here’s another half way implementation. 5. FTP does not function in Nautilus via gnome-vfs without crashing it. AFAIK ssh is not even implemented in 2.4. I heard this has been improved in 2.6 but I’ll believe it when I see it. This would be an extremely usefull feature to have working. 6. I feel that gconf was a mistake. Settings should be immediately written to a configuration file, and if you want all running instances of the application to update itself, a messaging system could be used (such as dbus, dcop) to inform the instances to rescan the configuration file. There have been many times when I modified my evolution settings but then encountered an evolution crash which would happen before the settings were stored under ~/.gconf. 7. The nautilus CD burner was a great idea. It’s too bad you can’t burn iso images. I mean how much more work would have it taken to include this option. Please don’t tell me to start coding. I’ve look at some of the code and made some personal tweaks here and there. Please don’t misunderstand me. I appreciate all the hard work that’s being down in GNOME. I just wanted to get some of this out there with the hope that somebody will agree and decide to fix some of these things. 2004-04-03 7:36 pm Anonymous Just wanted to touch on a few points that you brought up: 1) Don’t have much to say about that, it’s worked for me. 2) The Open with… option is confusing right now, I agree. I believe the mimetype system is being revised all around for 2.8. There is a detailed proposal about it somewhere, but I don’t remember the URL. 3) Menu editing is also a known problem, and it is being worked on. This stayed around so long because GNOME has heretofore been deployed mainly in controlled environments where users weren’t installing software. 4) You can set keyboard shortcuts for these options in the “Keyboard shortcuts” caplett in your Preferences menu 5) The FTP, SFTP, SSH, WebDAV support in 2.6 rocks. I have an icon for all six PCs on my LAN on my desktop as we speak. 6) The advantages to GConf are more widespread than sharing within one app. For instance, we’ve considered adding a system wide music folder for apps like Sound Juicer and Muine to share. Also, the config options are just written to XML files,they are just in the .gnome2/GConf folder. 7) You can burn isos with NCB, write click on an iso file and Write to CD… Hope I helped. Thanks for commenting. Valid points are nice, thank you. 2004-04-03 7:44 pm Anonymous I nearly fell over when I read that he prefers the new GTK+ selector to XP or kde for that matter. What a joke. Just because the file selector is incredibly simplistic does not make it better. Gnome is very aesthetically pleasing but for me (I know I am not a grandma) KDE is much more useable. Also spatial nautilus is an idea I could do without. Totem and Rhyyhmox are very nice though. 2004-04-03 7:45 pm Anonymous I have been wanting to contact the authors of other GNOME burners for a while. The problem with all of them right now is that they are continuing the old problem of doing file management inside the app. Doing so really complicates things because users have to learn to navigate a new treeview just to add a file to a CD. Also, a lot of the interfaces assume that all users know what the different types of CDs are. I have a few tricks to try to mitigate this. Anyway, I’ll try releasing as soon as I can. Check out footnotes in a couple weeks. 2004-04-03 8:04 pm Anonymous i_code_too_much’s response: ”The desktop icons in GNOME 2.4 are still not aligning to my personal liking. I can only select/deselect “Keep Aligned”, and it doesn’t always work, especially when some of the Desktop files have long names. This is a cosmetic issue I realize but it’s still very annoying. It took a long time for GNOME to even offer the “Keep Aligned” feature, but even when it finally arrived it was not implemented well. Furthermore, the size of the desktop icons can’t be modified AFAIK. On a 1024×768 screen the icons are too large IMO.” In GNOME 2.4, right click on the icon(s)in question, select “Stretch icon” to resize the icon(s) to any size of your choice. As for icon alignment, it works 100% of the time for me, I guess your problem is distro specific. If you don’t like the alignment pattern, you can always set up your icons manually in a pattern you prefer. 2004-04-03 8:08 pm Anonymous Brad Griffith’s response: ”have been wanting to contact the authors of other GNOME burners for a while. The problem with all of them right now is that they are continuing the old problem of doing file management inside the app. Doing so really complicates things because users have to learn to navigate a new treeview just to add a file to a CD. Also, a lot of the interfaces assume that all users know what the different types of CDs are. I have a few tricks to try to mitigate this. Anyway, I’ll try releasing as soon as I can. Check out footnotes in a couple weeks.” I look forward to your project. What are the chances of your project supporting DVD burning too? 2004-04-03 8:23 pm Anonymous > There is no option to change the UI language I think that’s right that way; that should be handled by the OS IMO. Just export/setenv a LANG= in your .bashrc/.cshrc/… and go I tried them all: .bashrc, .profile, .cshrc and .login, tested it in a terminal window, and it still didn’t work. It might be that KDM calls Gnome directly, but still I think I must be able to change the Gnome language when using KDM. 2004-04-03 11:04 pm Anonymous DVD burning is already planned…don’t you worry. 2004-04-04 12:38 am Anonymous Thanks for the responses. Re: Brad Griffith 1) Don’t have much to say about that, it’s worked for me. The following 2 screenshots illustrate icon alignment problem: http://www.pengi.com/Screenshot1.png http://www.pengi.com/Screenshot2.png These are the two choices I have when using icon alignment for this scenario. In the top center of Screenshot1.png, check out where the Files and Pictures Icon is placed. Scrennshot2.png shows what happens when I move this icon to the right slightly. The icon gets placed too far to the right. The three icons to the far right are actually kde hard disk icons. GNOME and KDE don’t seem to agree about these kinds of icons, but that’s perhaps another issue or even non-issue. Re: Brad Griffith 4) You can set keyboard shortcuts for these options in the “Keyboard shortcuts” caplett in your Preferences menu I’d like to point out that the toggle option is not there. That is, “toggle maximization state” exists which I use quite often. “Maximize window vertically” exists but “Toggle Maximize window vertically” does not exist. It’s the latter which is far more useful. The same holds for “Maximize window horizontally”. The toggle option does not exist. It would also nice to have the kde behavior where a middle mouse click on the maximize icon will toggle vertical maximization state, and a right click on the same icon will toggle the horizontal maximize state. Re: root In GNOME 2.4, right click on the icon(s)in question, select “Stretch icon” to resize the icon(s) to any size of your choice. As for icon alignment, it works 100% of the time for me, I guess your problem is distro specific. If you don’t like the alignment pattern, you can always set up your icons manually in a pattern you prefer. Yes, but it would be nice to have small/medium/large desktop icons so that I don’t have to stretch each one manually. Furthermore, aligning desktop icons manually should not be a solution. Of course I know I can do that but it’s not something I wish to be doing all of the time. 2004-04-04 3:29 am Anonymous You can easily adjust the size of icons by fiddling with the default zoom level setting. 2004-04-04 11:39 pm Anonymous When will appear the beloved option in Metacity called: “Always on Top” ?????????????????????????????????? KDE have this for decades. 2004-04-05 1:20 am Anonymous It has been possible for some time to configure a shortcut key for “Always on Top” with metacity. Havoc did decide to put it in the window menu for 2.6 though, so that feature is there for you. 2004-04-05 1:31 am Anonymous Read the review, it is implemented in the new GNOME 2.6, believe it or not, read the changelogs helps. 2004-04-05 2:41 am Anonymous guau !!!! thanx!!!!! that’s is an excellent new!!!! thank you GNOME team!!!!!!!! 2004-04-05 12:02 pm Anonymous Yeah, Gnome hackers (I use the term loosely) didn’t had the time/skills to implement new features, like other desktop enviroments did, so they halted everything for two (plus) years. During these years, they mail produce refined (i.e with less options, awkward and crappy) versions of their user interfaces, based on UI research by the kings of horrible UIs themselves, SUN (CDE, Awt, Swing L&F, Forte, etc…). KDE, on the other hand, with a gazillion of improved features and code, and the excellent Qt Designer and XML gui definitions, can stop for 6-8 months whenever they like and refine their whole GUI. Then again, it’s no need, they decided to do it incrementaly (new Koqui and Control Center modules in CVS, KDE usabillity group formed, etc…). With no bloody SUN advice in sight. Just my 0.02 eurocents. 2004-04-05 8:59 pm Anonymous You forgot to mention that we (gnome developers) also eat babies. 2004-04-06 10:07 pm Anonymous The problem is, that this is not really true. It would leave you with a toolkit that is only available under the GPL and it’s just not realistic that you will ever get everyone to jump on a library with a license that is as restrictive – when it comes to linking – as the GPL. Free software – restrictive. I love it! 2004-04-06 10:09 pm Anonymous Much of the advantages of the KDE sdk over the Gnome developer tools could be overcome if the Gnome crowd embraced Mono – which appears to be happening more and more every day. Yes. Unfortunately Gnome still does not have a nice programming toolkit/environment that can natively compile apps. This will be important in a lot of cases. 2004-04-06 10:32 pm Anonymous Unfortunately, developers involved with Gnome still think that there is a utopian, usability nirvana. It is a false oasis. You look at the multitude of uses your application and desktop will be used for and work hard on making sure it can fulfil those requirements. There is a reason why Windows has more options for many things, and that is that Windows is used in a multitude of different environments, and for different purposes. The Mac has less mainly because you don’t see large networks of Macs all over the place – that is Apple’s target market. Many dialogue boxes and applications may not measure up in terms of pure usability, but it depends on the use of the application itself. Many dialogues have to be simple for office users, but sys admins have to have the features they need when they need them. They do not want to edit a registry because someone did a usability review. Spatial Nautilus is a classic example of someone taking banned substances and preaching usability at the same time. No one will edit a registry to turn this off – they’ll throw their computer out of the window instead. However, all this is window dressing. I don’t know why no one involved with Gnome can come out and admit that the reason why there is a tight HIG is because Gnome does not have the underlying architecture to tie its applications together. What is happening with Gnome at the moment is not usability – its simplification gone mad. Unfortunately, there are many things you just can’t simplify.