69 posts • joined Monday 7th January 2008 18:00 GMT
Re: That GUI
Yes it was. Yours truly wrote the article that covered the release for the Reg.
Said article was of course behind the "CDE Desktop" link in the story... but thanks for the update.
Re: Nearly made it
The letter that is the *first link in the story,* you mean?
BTW, another small thing given your immense attention to detail: it's "Proven", with an R.
I really don't see what was particularly hard about /The Algebraist./ I'd say the least accessible of his SF was /Inversions/ myself. (Which, to reignite an old argument, *is* a Culture novel due to the inclusion of at least one minor detail. Which this is is left as an exercise for the alert reader.)
It wasn't just the RISC PC
"Podule" was the officlal name for *all* the internal expanion cards for all the Acorn ARM machines, from the original Archimedes to the final Risc PC. As such, I've been using it since about 1987. I have an Ethernet podule in my A5000, for instance.
Re: "There never will be a year when Linux conquers the desktop" - WRONG
Do explain to me exactly when Android became a desktop OS?
Because here I was thinking that it was a handheld/phone one, almost exclusively for touch-driven devices. In fact I don't think I've seen a single Android desktop computer ever.
Re: Ubuntu should have kept their focus
Another commenter who appears not to have read the article.
Just to help you out - the purpose of the article was to explain *why* Canonical and GNOME rewrote their desktops *instead* of comtinuing work on GNOME 2.
Perhaps you might write this on a sticky note, slap it on your monitor and then read the article again, all the way from beginning to end, while glancing regularly at the note to remind yourself of why you're doing so.
Re: This is nonsense
As with many other posters and commentators on this issue, you appear not to understand the actual details that this debate is about.
If you consider the differences between Windows 3 and 95 to be minor, then you do not understand the sort of software design changes that are patentable and the elements of look and feel of which are made legal disputes. Seriously. The stuff that you casually dismiss as minor *is the basis of the whole discussion.*
So either go study up on the trivial differences or kindly leave the debate, because you do not understand.
It is also facile, glib and useless to idly comment that U, V X, Y and Z copied each other; the important part of of the discussion is to take them apart, look at the dates, and work out who took what from where and when they did it. Xerox did not borrow from the Mac; the Mac didn't exist yet when Xerox did its work. Lisa didn't borrow from GEM; it predated GEM. And so on.
Interesting. Do please elucide, with examples, ideally illustrated.
The differences seem minor to me - multiple panels, 2 by default, rather than one. (But readily merged, e.g. in Mint.) Multiple menus with apps, filesystem and system-admin separated out (as they were in early Windows 4 betas) - but merged back together in some distros.
GNOME 2 is more customisable, sure - but it did not do vertical taskbars as well as Windows, for instance, so it's not a complete win. It lagged badly in some areas. (E.g. try renaming or deleting a folder from the tree in the Nautilus sidebar. It's a magic, uneditable view, unlike in Windows Explorer.)
I'm glad you liked the WPS. As an OS/2 user from 1.0 myself and an early-adopter of OS/2 2.0, I hated it. I thought it was an ugly, clunky mess.
However, it had little influence over Win95 -- if you feel differently, then please provided illustrated examples, with dates.
But yes, OS/2 and Windows share a lot of design elements, especially in window management, menu and dialog box design, because they were written by closely-cooperating teams with members from both IBM and Microsoft.
OS/2 inherited its window manager design from Windows 2. Windows 3 in turn took its Program and File Managers, its 3D title-bar widgets and other elements from OS/2 1.2 and 1.3.
OS/2 2.x was created after MS & IBM fell out and shows signs of IBM intentionally trying to do things differently, presumably for fear of litigation - e.g. the missing "Apply" and "Close" buttons in WPS dialogs. However, OS/2 contains lots of licensed Microsoft code, which is one of the reasons why it has never been open-sourced.
Re: Boooring, where is CDE?
/Some/ OpenWindows apps had menus, not all. When present, they were implemented as a row of separate buttons, each of which opened a separate menu. This design was bolted on later - SunView lacked even this.
In fact, SunView originally did not even have things like maximise, minimise or close buttons. Example:
Re: Boooring, where is CDE?
No, I did not mean Solaris, because OpenWindows appeared in 1989 and Solaris in 1993.
CDE also did not appear until 1993 and contained elements licensed in from - guess who? Microsoft!
Fancy that, eh?
CDE itself was based in part on Windows 3 concepts, licensed from MS. I would welcome any traceable design lineage from CDE to Windows 95 /et seq./
Win95 task switching: jeez, did you actually understand *any* of the article? Switching windows is what the taskbar is *for*. That row of buttons between the start menu and the clock? That's the task switcher, that is. Those buttons with the names of windows on. Those.
Show me the equivalent in OpenWindows, or the Mac, or RISC OS, or GEM -- oh, wait, you can't, because *they don't have an equivalent.*
I am not talking about window managers or tiling windows. I am talking about a graphical mechanism for switching between multiple open windows, *even if they cannot be seen*, even if invisible, even if minimised.
You appear to have failed to understand the most basic points of the argument and you lack knowledge of the timescales involved.
Re: Apple didn't invent those
You're wrong, according to all the research I've done.
I am of course entirely happy to recant, on production of cited, dated evidence showing these features in existing GUIs before the advent of the Apple Lisa in 1983.
It is one of the saddest aspects of the arguments over GUI development that so many people who weren't there and don't actually know pooh-pooh the massive amounts of original development that Apple did, turning Xerox' prototype Smalltalk-based GUI into a complete functional desktop layered on top of a hierarchical filesystem with discrete applications programs.
Re: RISC OS and applications
Indeed; I have it running here and if you'd been paying attention you'd have noticed that I have written, well, pretty much all the Reg's RISC OS content for about the last 5Y now.
*However* this is not prior art:
 all the Apps icon does is open a folder;
 it's not a menu;
 it's not hierarchical;
 it's not extensible (AFAICR).
Re: What's with this "Apple invented" BS?
You don't know your history.
I have specifically addressed this, with pictures for the hard of thinking.
Pre-Apple: no menu bar; no title bar widgets (often no title bars); no standard dialogs; no filer windows; no folder icons with icons for files inside them; no standard buttons (e.g. Yes/No, OK/Cancel); and enough more to fill another article.
All this stuff came in with the Lisa. Not the Mac, the Lisa.
You prove just two points: firstly, your ignorance of early GUI design and secondly, your bias against one company.
Re: Microsoft *has* NOT won. AT ALL.
Go on then. You offer a better explanation.
Re: Microsoft *has* NOT won. AT ALL.
@Shagbag: either you didn't read the whole article or you didn't understand it.
Its points, simplified enough for you to maybe have a chance of understanding them:
 It never came to court so we don't *know* the details. Therefore, we have to try to *deduce* them.
 So, what is in common between "the Linux desktop" (of the time) and Windows? I list a detailed selection of features.
 I then point out, with examples, that these are *all* derived from Win95. The existing similar concepts are too different.
 I then point out that after the legal threats, the KDE team caved & signed; the GNOME side didn't, then ripped & replaced their Win95-like features.
Sorry if this was too complex for you. Try Computer Active instead.
2 possible plans to save Nokia
#1, the cheap one: buy Jolla & adopt Sailfish. It was Nokia code once.
(The alternative would be Tizen, but that means getting into bed with Samsung -- possibly not a safe place to be.)
#2: merge with RIM. QNX is brilliant, Blackberry 10 is excellent, but the hardware sucks. Nokia always made better phones. Run Blackberry 10 on them & they would be potentially world-beating.
NeXT emulator -- help needed
If they want to get the first ever web server back online via an emulator, they could help the Previous project:
It's a (so-far incomplete) NeXT workstation emulator. More info than the project itself gives out on Wikipedia:
And I want it because I have an actual boxed copy of NeXTstep but nothing to run it on. Perhaps CERN can throw a coder or two at it for a while?
Re: KDE is configurable for a reason
Good for you. You might like to try Gentoo or even Arch -- you may well enjoy tweaking and adjusting the innards of the system, too.
I don't, not any more. I want it to go on my machine, just work, for nothing to need adjustment and for the GUI to get out of my way and let me do what I need to do. Less chrome, not more. I don't really want visual effects, I don't want masses of customisation, I just want something that is subtle, does the job and then recedes into the background.
Re: nonsnse that KDE isn't easy to use
Fine. Good for you. Perhaps you like the imposition of some 4 or 5 extra categories. Perhaps you like that you can't browse a submenu and then return to a higher-level menu without clicking on a tiny grey link -- perhaps it is intuitive to you that clicking the category at the bottom does /not/ back you out a level. Perhaps you like clicking your mouse; me, I prefer running mine up and down a menu without any clicking at all, watching the sublevels open and close on their own, so that I can read what's there without needless interaction.
Perhaps you think more clicks = better. I think less clicks = better, personally.
Some people like KDE. Perhaps counselling and medication might help them get over it, perhaps this is incurable, but for these people, Kubuntu is there.
For everyone else, there are simpler desktops, smaller, quicker, easier ones, that do all the same stuff and don't have floating kidneys in the corner and pointless widgets everywhere.
Re: nonsnse that KDE isn't easy to use
It is not stuff that I haven't bothered to understand. It is stuff that I don't want, which to me, means pointless cruft.
I understand that some want a comprehensive environment with all the possible bells, whistles, gongs, horns, custard pies and the water-powered whirling knives. I am happy for them that it is available, complete with an assortment of themes designed by colour-blind 14-year-old males with ADHD.
However, I do not want it, and for the most part, I think most people don't, which is why KDE, which was utterly dominant around the turn of the century, is now a neglected backwater, and as of a few years ago, *all* the leading distros had switched to GNOME.
If someone found it easier, I will warrant that is because they had used Windows before.
Re: 119 MB is lightweight?
I'm afraid you're reading the columns wrongly.
119MB is RAM use with an empty desktop, just booted.
Lubuntu takes 2GB of disk space -- also the smallest of any of the variants on test.
Re: 119 MB is lightweight?
I also said, you will note, "Lubuntu is the closest thing the Ubuntu family has to a lightweight edition."
I've tried it on a 2004 laptop, where it runs excellently, and a 2001 laptop with 320MB of RAM, where it is perfectly usable. So, yes, for 2013, it /is/ lightweight.
I've tried it. I have colleagues who love it. I hate it, myself. And it was my review. :¬)
The example that you choose to give as a positive thing - that it has /both/ virtual desktops /and/ "activities" - is the kind of pointless bloat that really annoys me.
I have been using KDE since 1998; when did you start, out of interest? KDE 1 was good: focused, simple, clear. Clunky in places but the best thing around. KDE 2 started to add clutter and bloat. KDE 3 was a huge, overcomplicated mess. KDE 4 I personally find completely unusable, not to mention so ugly it is actually unpleasant to look at.
However, I know that some people like it. (People completely devoid of any æsthetic sense, presumably.) So I tried to give it a fair crack of the whip.
As for the 3D part - I found Kubuntu's performance in a VM poor, although not as poor as Unity and GNOME Shell. When I took the same steps required for them to function well, KDE also responded a great deal better. Its extensive use of transparency and similar effects punishes a 2D-only display and is wantonly demanding of CPU. As well as being fugly, as I think I mentioned above.
There was a time when KDE was the gold standard of Unix desktops. It isn't any more. Now, it's a self-indulgent mishmash of thousands of twiddly little options and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.
What I wrote in the review was me being fair and even-handed towards if.
@Tom Chiverton 1:
If you had paid a little more attention, you might have noticed that in the second KDE screenshot, I do actually show a reconfigured desktop with icons on it (and a hierarchical start menu).
A consequence of the Hitler clothes shop?
"Abbas" is very probably young, Indian & working in a call center in Hyderabad or Bangalore or somewhere - a very different country with a different culture from Europe.
As was evinced by the recent clothing emporium called "Hitler":
There, all the name carries is a vague implication of someone very strict, apparently.
He has quite possibly heard of the story of the clothes shop and does not realise, any more than the shopkeeper, what implications the name carries.
This is no worse than many a Brit thinking that "Mahatma" was Ganhi's first or given name, or not having a clue who Rabindranath Tagore was.
> if only there was a similar 8-bit Forth computer
Well, some enterprising soul could port ColorForth to the Raspberry Pi - that'd be close. Should be unbelievably quick and the absence of 3D drivers, video decode and so on would not be a problem - in this case, the language /is/ the OS.
Don't bother trying if you suffer from daltonism, though...
Damn, pipped to the post
Another Reg hack here, ./ user #6030. Outdone!
Bradbury died last *year*?
No he didn't. He died last June, this year.
There's a rather important missing character, or bit of HTML formatting, in there. Where it says:
a storage capacity of about 109
it should say either
a storage capacity of about 10^9
a storage capacity of about 10<sup>9</sup>.
As Douglas Adams wrote...
"Many respectable physicists said that they weren’t going to stand for that sort of thing, partly because it was a debasement of science, but mostly because they didn’t get invited to those sorts of parties."
Re: Oh, c'mon.
There are a number of factual errors in your comment.
No version of Mach is "based on a Unix code base". Mach was designed to be a message-passing microkernel, but for Unix compatibility, there is a large in-kernel Unix server; this is just one of the modules of code within the kernel, although by far the largest. In NeXTstep this was based on BSD 4.x code - 4.3 and 4.4-Lite, I believe - but in Mac OS X it was updated with code from the FreeBSD kernel. This is one of the main reasons that core FreeBSD developer Jordan Hubbard was hired by Apple.
There is no "BSD emulation layer". The userland of the OS is also taken from BSD, and again, in Mac OS X it was updated with code from FreeBSD.
Yes, XNU and OS X are radically different from BSD and indeed FreeBSD, but there is a lot of FreeBSD code in there. Your talk of "emulation layers" makes me think that perhaps you don't know what a userland is. I suggest starting your reading here:
@Gordan - Re: Why not ShivaPlug etc
Yes, I am sure you can attach a USB display controller to a plug-server, but that is still not coming with a built-in display adapter. Secondarily, the MIMO USB screens you cite are quite a lot more expensive than the entire plug computer, which makes a mockery of the "inexpensive" part.
You can use almost any kind of computer for almost any kind of role, but it's not a great idea to use a server as a desktop - it's expensive & performance is poor. Similarly, something like a RasPi or BeagleBoard is not a great server, as it has no native Ethernet (it's running over USB) or SATA.
It is generally best to use the right device for the job.
I'd be happy to do a roundup of inexpensive plug servers, but the cited devices are mostly a couple of years old now so it's no longer news. Part of the point of this article was to highlight that the RasPi was not the only device of its type, but equally to highlight how it is dramatically cheaper than the alternatives. A ShivaPlug is not an alternative to a RasPi and nor is a 2010 Tosh kinda-sorta-netbook.
And thirdly, there are limits to the length of this sort of piece. There isn't room to include every even-vaguely-comparable device that is aimed at a different role but happens to use the same CPU. This was about *desktop computers*. Not notebooks, netbooks, servers, tablets or phones. Desktops. *Just* desktops. No battery, no built-in screen, no onboard keyboard and trackpad, but display & sound ports. Desktops.
No, today, ARM cannot compete against x86 kit on price. But it hands x86 its backside on a plate when it comes to performance/Watt.
I am hoping that Raspberry Pi will catalyse a new generation of very-low-cost ARM systems.
Once a suitably low-power display is available, say from Pixel Qi or using e-ink, this enables the possibility of capable, flexible solar-powered ARM computers running FOSS OSs which could transform the lives of billions in the developing world.
Me, personally, I want an open, flexible ARM-powered netbook or ultralight laptop with a Pixel Qi display & a honking great battery - something that can run for a long weekend on a single charge. Tablet, schmablet.
HardReg has also covered the Toshiba AC100 before:
... And whereas it /is/ possible to put another OS on it, not all the hardware is supported, there are significant caveats and it is *not* easy:
So I would not rate it as a suitable device for someone wanting to just play.
Furthermore, it's a 2+ year old device; I am not sure if they are even available new any more.
Why not ShivaPlug etc
The reason for omitting the likes of the ShivaPlug is that they're *servers* and this roundup was for desktop-type devices, capable of running a general-purpose OS with a GUI. Sure, there are various plug servers, and HardReg has covered some of them before...
... But none of them have any way to attach a display.
And yes, there are other ultracheap devices out there, such as Arduino or MiniEMBWiFi, but they are so low-spec they can't run a graphical desktop. Great for hardware hobbyists, but not much use for WIMP merchants.
A nostalgic former Psion, N7710 & E90 owner agrees
I had a 7710. Great design, crippled by no Wifi or 3G. It would actually support a 1GB MMS card, though - I had one. Worked fine. Took several hours to format the thing, but that was a one-off task.
I then went to a friend's old (free) SE910i for a while, but a 9500 would have been a much more sensible move. Then an E90, which had great hardware, let down by a poor, substandard OS. I still long for an "E90i" with a faster chip, an internal touchscreen, USB charging & a standard headphone socket. That would be the perfect phone handset for me.
This story explains a little of why Nokia made such bizarre decisions when it did. It's still a massive shame, though.
The hardcard has risen from the grave of obsolescence
This formfactor was very common for a while in the late 1980s, when it was called a "hardcard". Never thought I'd see them again.
It would seem to me that technologically, there would be greater efficiency in the OS managing the "cache" of fast Flash between the system and the disk - but then again, caching hard disk controllers worked pretty well, and today, running one OS under another with a Type 2 hypervisor often results in great disk performance from the guest as the host manages caching for it...
Re. ABEND - the author responds
I will cop to some errors in this piece, including missing IBM's latest name-change from zSeries to the System z, and that VMware does indeed now use hardware VT if it's available - and indeed, according to several comments, /requires/ it for 64-bit guests.
This article series was a long time in gestation and when I started researching it, VMware was still adamantly maintaining that its software virtualisation was better than Intel's hardware implementation.
However, this comment titled ABEND is notably incorrect in almost every detail.
KVM does not fall back to software VT; if no hardware VT is available; it *requires* hardware VT support. Without it, you can't use KVM at all.
Xen falls back to paravirtualisation, meaning that it needs modified guest OSs.
VMware and VirtualBox both use software VT if no hardware VT is available; in VirtualBox, enabling hardware support is an option - you can run without it. I have not tried this yet in VMware but it might be possible.
This is not "do[ing] the same thing"; it is doing 3 different things: failing, offering different, incompatible functionality, or switching to an emulation-based alternative.
The author responds
In response to a couple of the questions.
 No, Apple did not let me in to the preview; my request for a (p)review copy was refused by Cupertino PR, so I got it elsewhere. Which does mean no NDA was violated, mind.
 Performance: hard to tell. As it's unfinished, I did not attempt to benchmark it. However, my overall impression was that it felt fast. Quicker than Leopard, I'd say; as to whether it was quicker than Snow Leopard, I'm not sure. I had to buy a copy of Snow Leopard just to install it, update it to current and then immediately upgrade, as a bare-metal install did not work. This does mean it was a clean copy, with no added anything, and I only had an hour or so to play with it - so not a great basis for comparison.
 Sadly, I can't do any further testing - the Mac mini used was a loaner & it has now been returned.
To answer a few questions...
I have to agree with the commenters who say that the Classic MacOS Finder was more pleasant - and in quite a few ways, better-featured. I don't like the new one much & never did. The Dock is fine but insufficiently flexible and customisable.
No, TotalFinder etc. are not adequate replacements.
BeOS - it was a superb OS, I loved it. But if Apple had bought it, it would be dead & gone by now. BeOS didn't have the world-leading development tools - they were as important as NeXTstep's polish.
Those who find Macs constraining and prefer Windows just have no taste; but then, most people have no taste, and most of them don't know it.
As for those whinging about iPhoto etc. - those are *apps*. They are not part of the OS, they're just bundled. You don't have to use them. I don't. There are other choices out there - lots of them once you include FOSS stuff.
P.S. Small typo: "migirate"?
@Diccon & @The Original Ash:
There are enough other people agreeing with me that no, I don't think it's me.
I have it polling my Gmail, giving me Facebook and Twitter notifications, connecting to any known Wifi connections it sees, as normal, routine operation. I update Foursquare every day or 2, sometimes a few times a day. I use Google Maps to navigate every now and again - less than every week, normally. I occasionally listen to the radio. A half dozen to a dozen or so times a day, I look something up on the Web, and a few times a week, I'll spend half an hour reading Twitter and Facebook.
None of this is "heavy" usage.
I leave Wifi on, but Bluetooth off and GPS is only turned on when I need it. Brightness is left on default auto setting normally.
As others have noted, since the 23rd Dec Android 2.2.1 update, it does a little better, but it now occasionally spontaneously reboots itself, which is not ideal.
I reckon you guys are either /very/ light users, or you're manually disabling loads of functionality and managing power usage by hand. Neither of those strikes me as a fair comparison, really.
- Review Samsung Galaxy Note 8: Proof the pen is mightier?
- Nuke plants to rely on PDP-11 code UNTIL 2050!
- Spin doctors brazenly fiddle with tiny bits in front of the neighbours
- Game Theory Out with a bang: The Last of Us lets PS3 exit with head held high
- That Microsoft-Nokia merger you've been predicting? It's no go