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back to article Apple's poisonous Touch silently kills the GNOMEs of Linux Forest

If a major Linux desktop falls in the forest and no one is around to use it, does it make a sound? That's a question the GNOME project would do well to contemplate. The once mighty Linux desktop has stumbled and looks like it might be poised to come crashing down after the release of GNOME 3. Here's the problem: the radical …

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Anonymous Coward

I presume El Reg pays its hacks by the word? Or is there another explanation for whole sections of that article being repeated?

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Facepalm

It's called a "pull quote". I'd grant you that this use of it did seem especially pointless though.

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Old Handle is right; you're referring to the pull quote? They tend to work best in print, but if you're undecided on whether to read the whole article, the pull quote is there to highlight something intesting to convince you to stay on the page.

C.

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Unhappy

Sad, and a huge loss of resources

KDE was THE Linux-GUI in any case. GNOME only saw the light for some (some call it paranoid) licensing reasons: Qt (the basis for KDE) was on a non-free license. More than 10 years lost for the world (of Free and Open Source) by splitting resources, confusing potential users and naturally delaying development. KDE has an interface now that can work on mice and fingers, Plasma. It is not totally ready, but close.

No, I am not a KDE developer, I used to run GNOME for quite some years. What makes me sad, is that we had a number of "year of Linux on the desktop"; and it still isn't there. It is for me, personally, using double-boot the MS-thingy just feels crufty and childish and I miss a multitude of desktops dearly; as well as the network-enabled-by-default., plus the full-screen Dashboard.

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Re: Sad, and a huge loss of resources

KDE is a fine piece of work. It's a more customizable than Gnome by the end user, too. The author writes that the transition from KDE3 to 4 was "bumpy". Well that wasn't the developer's fault. They brought out version 4 so that everyone could get started with it, learn it. It was a major overhaul so that was necessary. They explicitly stated that this was the reason to do so and that people should normally stay on three. And yet hundreds of angry people kept posting about how it didn't work for them or that it didn't have X or Y and that their system was broken. It made me angry at the time, and the idiotic whining of it still makes me annoyed today. KDE4 was a fantastic overhaul to KDE3 bringing in a really solid new foundation for a lot of future development. Gnome ducked facing that and continued with it's iterative approach. And as to Unity - a brave effort but it didn't manage the jump - ending up on neither side of the canyon but falling to its death in the middle.

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Re: Sad, and a huge loss of resources

"KDE is a fine piece of work."

I agree entirely - I've been using it since it first came out and indeed SUSE since v5.0 and never really had a problem, somethings I don't really like but I switch them off generally. Most people that seem to have a problem with desktops or indeed distros seem to chop and change and never actually become familiar with any one.

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Flame

Re: Sad, and a huge loss of resources

I agree that KDE4.0 was only meant as a developer preview, but for some reason all the big distro's (except RHEL and Debian stable) replaced KDE 3.5.9 with it as soon as it was released. THAT was the reason you had ordinary users bitching about it.

Don't blame the users, blame the idiotic distro maintainers who had to have the latest shiny in their new release. Yes, they should have done their homework and stayed on the old version of their distro, but back then only Fedora users expected things to break that badly with upgrades.

It was still pretty broken at KDE 4.2 when Slackware upgraded, and IMHO only approached equality to to KDE 3 with KDE 4.5 .

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sad, and a huge loss of resources

KDE was trying to be more like Windows but Gnome always seemed to be trying to be more like Mac OS.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sad, and a huge loss of resources

"...trying to be like..."

Only if you are born and raised on commercial software. Anyone with a knack for remembering software release dates will know where copying *might* be happening, but I can assure you it is not as black and white as you paint it. You'll be amazed to find that many software companies will copy a public domain or open source program and proudly proclaim it their latest innovation.

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Re: Sad, and a huge loss of resources

Perhaps a better way to state that would be, "If you are familiar with Windows, KDE will seem more natural, while if you are familiar with Mac OS, Gnome will seem more familiar."

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sad, and a huge loss of resources

The funny thing is that Miguel de Icaza (one of the Gnome founders) is obviously a Microsoft fanboy

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Facepalm

Re: Sad, and a huge loss of resources

To me the saddest thing is that Gnome, once properly plugged-in, is actually quite a likable desktop; it just so happens that it's released in quite a screwed up form. There have been movements to rectify this (Fedora 17 for example brought back "Power Off" as a plain menu item, no more Alt-Click required), but unfortunately it may be too little, too late.

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Linux

Re: Sad, and a huge loss of resources

Agreed, and yes I also moved from Gnome - and indeed Unity - to KDE4. KDE is a beautiful, smooth, fast, efficient, customizable, and actually very easy-to-use desktop. It competes very favourably with Windows in ease-of-use, especially for those who are used to Windows XP already - except KDE is rather nicer to work with.

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Linux

When will developers learn?

It doesn't matter how sexy it is to the developer, if the user doesn't like it then the thing is doomed. The only way you can get away with an interface which is fundamentally different from the previous one (say, let's put the steering wheel on the roof!) is if it is immediately and intuitively better. It's not apparent that Gnome 3 meets this criteria...

To someone coming to it cold, never having used a computer, I suspect there would be few serious issues. But from people who have been using previous desktops - whether Windows, Gnome 2, or KDE - then things that used to work no longer do. Things have been added which make no sense in any circumstance except full screen single applications and things have been removed because they're apparently not 'touch friendly' irrespective of their general utility. (See Linus' rant about opening a terminal window, and the changes to Nautilus).

It's change for the sake of change, and in doing so, they've driven away their core fans. You know, the ones who prefer a Linux solution *because* it isn't MS or Apple; the ones who run with a dozen windows open on a large monitor; the ones who need to know that a program has actually stopped rather than simply been hidden; the ones who use their computers as tools, not playthings.

The underlying technology is fine, if a little confusing at times, but what they've slapped on top of it? No thanks. I spent twenty-five years learning the (recent/current) WIMP model and I have no reason to change. I am so pleased that Mint delivered Cinnamon...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: When will developers learn?

"You know, the ones who prefer a Linux solution *because* it isn't MS or Apple;"

That's why Linux adoption is slower than it could be. When normal people encounter that attitude the people with it, and by extension what they're advocating, lose credibility. I know it's not really relevant to the topic at hand, but you gave me the best opportunity to point it out.

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Holmes

Re: When will developers learn?

Thank you, XFCE developers.

I run XFCE on Debian stable. A bit behind the times, but *stable*. And if I need more recent, I have Xubuntu on a virtual machine.

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Re: That's why Linux adoption is slower than it could be

Not the only reason either.

Someone recently had a problem with a bad website infecting their machine, possibly through some Java exploit. I suggested they use a VM for running uncertain websites in. They could use a friendly Linux in it like Mint or similar, or even a Windows if they could finagle it into working without paying Microsoft again.

Then I got jumped on by a number of commentards (emphasis on tard) with stuff like "don't be stupid, why would you want to replace the whole OS with Linux just to run a VM", "Windows runs VMs as well you know", "Why would a normal user ever touch something as hard as Linux", and various other statements along the lines of me being a sweaty Microsoft-hating freetard who refuses to pay for anything.

It's like they completely ignored what I actually said, and decided to hallucinate something that I completely didn't say.

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What's wrong with wanting to keep Microsoft and Apple at arm's length?

That sounds like a perfectly rational reason for choosing Linux -- even if Windows or OSX would do the tasks at hand.

As a systems developer, I (along with the other developers in the company) use Linux because it's by far and away the most friendly, convenient, stable environment for designing, testing, and automating hardware and embedded software. But I stick with it for my personal computing as well, simply because I like the way that I can configure it to work the way *I* want it to work, on *my* hardware, something that both Apple and Microsoft are increasingly trying to prevent me from doing.

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Anonymous Coward

You don't have to replace the whole OS with Linux just to run a VM

Thank goodness! The only way I can get any productive work done on my work-issued Win 7 laptop is to install Linux inside a VM and do all my work there, bouncing back to Windows only to use Outlook.

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Anonymous Coward

Why does "Linux adoption" matter so much?

I drive a car made by a healthy, respected manufacturer who has less than 1% of the market share. Yet no one ridicules my choice or suggests that I should switch to a Ford or Opel, despite their market dominance.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: When will developers learn?

"it isn't MS or Apple" is what it sounds like to you. Other people use the term "vendor-lockin" or "unusable software".

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Linux

Re: When will developers learn?

Windows is crap and Macs are overpriced and inflexible.

It's sad when "wanting something else" or wanting something better makes you some sort extremist or zealot.

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Is it time to switch back to Enlightenment again?

seriously.

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Joke

Re: Is it time to switch back to Enlightenment again?

Nah, E17 is still in development hell. I recommend Window Maker.

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Stop

Re: Is it time to switch back to Enlightenment again?

Bodhi shows off quite well what E17 can do in its current state.

Also, E17 v1.0 is due out tomorrow...

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"If a major Linux desktop falls in the forest and no one is around to use it, does it make a sound?"

That line just creased me up! :)

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does it make a sound?

only if you have the proprietary drivers.

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Pint

Re: Tom

Well said, sir.

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Re: Tom

Would have been true 10 years ago.

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with Liux sound

alsa ogg pulse..blah..blah its odds on it wont make a sound whatever you do :-(

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Anonymous Coward

Windows 8: desktop + mobile interface on same machine

Which is what confuses people, they know there's a desktop there and some programs for it but can't see to get to it.

But time will tell if they pick it up.

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FAIL

Re: WOW!

Dude... You never go full retard.

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I really hope Linux can capture a decent slice of the market as it seems like this is going to be it's best shot with Steam going Linux, better support from manufacturers and with some being pissed with MS over Win8. The main hurdle I see though is the UI. Ubuntus has nice features but is initially confusing and Gnome looked to be going the way of the dodo. Linux needs a good solid and interesting UI that is built rationally. The distros I have used seem to have their settings in different places depending on what you're doing or what aspect you want to change. This type of thing needs stamped out IMHO as it will just piss off the standard user.

So with GNOME going and Unity being a massive change and Cinnamon being very bland what's the best way to make new addoptees feel at home but also go "oooo"?

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Anonymous Coward

Thing is, I've never really wanted to go "oooo" over my windows manager... I just want it to provide a nice sensible way of managing my windows and a nice mouse driven interface for getting my programs and files. If I have to touch the keyboard I feel like I'm losing (in regards to the interface that is).

I've never really sat down and gone "What I need is a whole new way of doing this stuff" I have thought "It'd be nice if I had another button on my mouse that brought up a nice list of programs I regularly use anywhere on the screen" It'd be even nicer if that was context sensitive, just copied a bunch of data, probably want a word processor, text editor or spreadsheet! Currently on youtube, probably want a video downloader, currently working on that document you need to finish tonight, probably want to play Europa Universalis!

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I too would like to see more GNU/Linux presence. But I think the biggest rival to GNULinux adoptation on the Desktop, laptop and elsewhere, is actually going to be Android. Android has seized the territory that is the natural expansion area of GNU/Linux. There are even Android-specfic features now being back-ported into the Linux kernel.

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XFCE

Not so much "oooo" maybe but definitely at home. "oooo" should be reserved for play-devices, no need for it on work machines, nice and simple will do.

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Anonymous Coward

Probably Never

Linux will grab a decent share of the market as soon as people like me, who have expensive licensed Windows executables, can feel confident that they will be able to continue to run all of those executables without a problem. That is, probably never.

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Anonymous Coward

@AC 01:18GMT - Re: Probably Never

Why do you believe Linux should be in the service of all those who licensed expensive Windows software ? Also it's the user that feels the need to go to Linux, not the other way around. Remember, Windows has never chased its users, they adopted it wholeheartedly. If you don't know what Linux is for, why would you adopt it ?

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Happy

Re: XFCE

ok, just "ooo" then...

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@h4rm0ny

I love android but I would never want that interface on my desktop so I don't see the connection.

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desktop environment?

Who needs one, honestly? Window manager is enough IMHO, I do just fine with blackbox, while some prefer ion2-style WMs. twm is OK in some circumstances too.

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Re: desktop environment?

You are not the typical computer user, then.

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Meh

Re: desktop environment?

What you mean is, he's not like you.

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Re: desktop environment?

You are not the typical computer user, then.

The typical computer user just gets on with whatever is already in front of them. I personally tend to use Fluxbox on various *nix systems. What's interesting is that whenever a Windows user encounters my machine, all I have to say is "right click for a menu" and they're off and running. Despite being a confirmed *nix user, I honestly don't think that Windows users are stupid.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: desktop environment?

You don't seem to be interested in Linux so why should we care about your opinion ? Who told you I want Linux to get past what ever percent of the installed desktops ? What exactly is this going to bring to me ?

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Facepalm

Re: desktop environment?

What I actually mean is - if you can refrain from twisting my words for a moment - the average computer user has existing expectations of how their should work and what it should do, for example, the starting point to entering a task should be visible on-screen. Views like "fuck desktops just use a window manager guys! LINUX UNITE!" are narrow-minded and non-inclusive. Linux has failed to become an everyday desktop operating system for this reason; for a large number of people because these expectations are not met, and all Linux people seem to do is sit back and say "well gee just use openbox!" instead of fixing the issues at hand.

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Linux

Re: desktop environment?

> if you can refrain from twisting my words for a moment - the average computer user has existing expectations of how their should work and what it should do

Two words: Ribbon and Metro.

Microsoft have always screwed around the "average computer user". Their tendency to play "Where's Waldo" with seldom used but important admin screens is a pain point even for skilled power users.

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Unhappy

This is in fact entirely in keeping with their modus operandi. They have never listened to their userbase. Anyone here tried making a suggestion? I know of a very practical one put to them years ago. First they ignored the submitter. Eventually, almost in as many words, they told him to go away and stop bothering them.

The idea... Drag-and-drop file saving RISC OS style, with example code showing how it could be integrated into the exisiting file manager.

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