back to article Fedora 15: More than just a pretty interface

The Red Hat–backed Fedora Project has released the latest version of its Linux-based operating system, Fedora 15, into the wild. Despite the similarities of the two leading Linux-based PC operating systems, Fedora has long played second fiddle to Ubuntu in the minds of many Linux fans. Now – for the first time – there are …

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  1. E 2

    Gimme a break

    "After all, GNOME 2 borrowed much of its UI design and basic interface concepts from Windows 95 – and it's been a long time since Windows 95 was cutting-edge."

    IIRC Win95 introduced pop-up start menu idiom as main interface to the OS. 98 kept the pop-up idiom, as did Me, as did 2000, as did 2003, as did 2008, as did Vista as did 7.

    Things got more bling encrusted as time passed but the basic idiom never changed.

    Qua UI, I'd say Win 95's idiom has weathered the past 16 years very well indeed. It's hardly changed at all.

    Open Sourcers should perhaps stick to writing some of the best s/w the world has ever seen and leave the marketing babble to M$ & co.

    1. Nigel Campbell

      Start menu was a knock-off

      Technically, the Win95 start menu was a knock of the Apple menu from pre-OSX versions of Mac OS, with the minor proviso that the apple menu sat in the top left corner.

    2. captain veg

      it's been a long time since Windows 95 was cutting-edge

      Since April 1992, I'd say.

      When '95 came out, it looked an awful lot to me like the Workplace Shell from Tracey.

      -A.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Customizations

    Ok, the front end looks awful but surely I can replace all that crap with Windowmaker and carry on as normal, can't I? Or has the bonnet finally been welded shut?

    1. AdamWill

      of course

      of course you can. that would be a hell of a bonnet-welding operation to undertake otherwise...

  3. batfastad
    Linux

    Gnome 3

    I've never used Linux as my MAIN system so can't comment on the differences between Gnome 2 vs 3. Not being able to have icons/files/directories on the desktop seems like a strange decision though. But Fedora does seem like it's the future distro for me. Not sure about Ubuntu these days, with all social media blarg all pre-integrated. I think I'd end up spending more time disabling and removing stuff.

    But for me to switch to Linux full time (and I really really want to, believe me!) there needs to be more polish in the lead programs, not the OS. Proper CMYK support in GIMP and a decent Acrobat equivalent (not just a PDF reader/creator but full PDF manipulation). Libre/OpenOffice is alright but needs another 12 months or so of work. Seems to crash with pivot tables frequently but I've worked with them on that. Inkscape is brilliant and Scribus is close. Then I'll be able to switch most of my workflow over to Linux.

    But a serious question... do we ever think commercial software companies will start developing applications for Linux that aren't just an afterthought, feature parity with Win/Mac etc?

    1. copsewood
      Linux

      @batfastad

      "But a serious question... do we ever think commercial software companies will start developing applications for Linux that aren't just an afterthought, feature parity with Win/Mac etc?"

      Things you need to bear in mind here are what kind of commerce the software company is engaged in, and what kind of customers they are going after. If the software supplier is primarily service or hardware driven (or both) and their customer is technical, e.g. like an ISP or Google, then Linux is a very good fit as a delivery platform, because it's more than likely the software development platform. Google now have, I think, around 80% of their staff using Linux, and I think IBM were planning something similar last time I heard.

      If the software company sells services or hardware as opposed to packaged software, there is little loss in giving away access to the source code, and much to gain in spreading the cost of software development. There are a few closed source packages ported to Linux, but it is the open source packages which can be kept more up to date and which don't restrict the user to particular supported versions, so closed source on Linux isn't a very good fit.

      In one sense what we're seeing in the growth of Linux is a cultural shift, a bit like the way the music business is changing from one where money is made from packaged recordings to one where money is made from live performances. Software companies which have little revenue other than from sale of packaged software will have a hard time with Linux and have little incentive to support it - so while Linux isn't likely to take over the computer games market anytime soon, in relation to standard desktop platforms, for software development and for networking and servers, Microsoft and Apple have real competition.

      1. FIA

        @copsewood

        "There are a few closed source packages ported to Linux, but it is the open source packages which can be kept more up to date and which don't restrict the user to particular supported versions, so closed source on Linux isn't a very good fit."

        do you really think this is down to ideology though, or more practical reasons, such as cost versus potential userbase?

        Packaging software for linux is a royal PITA, you either have to roll numerous distribution packages (well, okay, probably an RPM and a .deb, but still), and then that doesn't cover the dozens of edge cases.

        Whilst it's not ideal (infact, it's horrendous) windows does have a fairly well established system of installation and uninstallation, which allows me to be fairly confident that software will work on the version of windows I've tested it against. (Linux even falls down here as there's often not even a single 'version'), it's fine supporting the RHs and the Ubuntu's but you've got to also support the more esoteric stuff, especially if you've got paying customers.

        Apple (or more correctly NeXT I suppose) have gone a long way to address this by 'borrowing' Acorn's application as a self contained directory idea, until there's a suitable mechanism available for linux, or a dramatic upswing in desktop usage to make the fringe case headaches worth the return financially I don't see this changing.

        But on the other hand it may be more ideological than I give it credit for?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Packages

          "Packaging software for linux is a royal PITA"

          You sure? I find that packaging someone else's software can be a bit of work when you have software that does not follow established conventions, or when it uses less common build systems, etc., The good news is that you can still do it.

          Packaging your own products, on the other hand, is completely straightforward. On ours it is a simple matter of running a make target when we want to build a package set. The only manual input required is entering the password for the signing key.

          "well, okay, probably an RPM and a .deb, but still"

          Not much packaging experience, I gather? For any non-trivial program you will have a different package for each supported version of each supported distro. There are three main approaches to this:

          One: you look after your project and publish a tarball or public access VCS. Distro packagers take care of packaging your software.

          Two: same as above, but you create a more or less generic/skeleton package recipe which distro packagers can tailor to their own OS idiosyncrasies.

          Three: you are the developer and the packager. You choose which distros you are going to support, prepare and publish packages for those. The door is still open to other distros to carry your product as well, but they look after it themselves.

          "Whilst it's not ideal (infact, it's horrendous) windows does have a fairly well established system of installation and uninstallation,"

          I have no Windows experience whatsoever so I cannot comment there, but I have heard rather otherwise from my Windows colleagues.

          "Linux even falls down here as there's often not even a single 'version'"

          No, of course there is not. Different distros are in effect different operating systems, usually from different vendors, and often targeted to very different markets. When it says "Linux" on the tin, it is describing the kernel being used and little else. "Linux" by itself does not denote an operating system, at a level that's useful considering from a user's point of view.

          Having a varied yet interoperable ecosystem is precisely one of the advantages being brought into the game. As a developer I much welcome this.

          1. FIA

            @AC 19:49

            "Not much packaging experience, I gather? For any non-trivial program you will have a different package for each supported version of each supported distro. There are three main approaches to this:"

            No, I'll freely admit I don't. I'm looking at this from a small developers point of view too. I maintain a small piece of freeware, as a hobby, and because I use the rather wonderful Qt framework I can ship for win/linux and OSX easly, so I do.

            My build process for a release takes about an hour (involving 2 virtual machines for the 32/64 bit linux builds), and is fairly boring.

            However, at the end I end up with a windows installer I know will work on Windows from 32bit XP to 64bit Windows 7, 2 OSX builds, one for intel from 10.5 onwards, and one universal one that'll work on anything from 10.4 onwards on either PPC or intel.

            I also end up with 2 tars for the linux distribution, which do work on most of the linux distros out there. (BTW, I get it's gnu/linux, but hey..) However if I was to offer distributions packages also I would (unless I'm missing something), have to have at least another 1 (or 2 for 32/64 builds) distro's installed in virtual machines, and more and more complexity as part of my build process.

            If I was a company with a build infrastructure obviously this wouldn't be a major issue, but as a single developer workng on a small hobby project the extra time/effort for the very small number of users it would affect is not something I'm going to do.

            So I have an installer that works on all the versions of windows I support, all the versions of OSX and 90-95% of the linux distros out there. That was my point.

            "I have no Windows experience whatsoever so I cannot comment there, but I have heard rather otherwise from my Windows colleagues."

            Windows installer makers are usually horrible (Installshield is yukky, NSIS is free and... strange...), however if you understand windows DLL loading semantics my point was more that you can create an installer and have confidence it will work on your target OS, not that it /should/ work assuming all the dependencies are satisfied.

            "Having a varied yet interoperable ecosystem is precisely one of the advantages being brought into the game. As a developer I much welcome this."

            I wouldn't disagree with this, I do quite like linux (although I'm not hugely into the ideology behind the GPL, if I'm honest my nix of choice is NetBSD.) however my point was that easly packaging software for the desktop is difficult, especially if you want to be distribution agnostic, and this is possibly one of the hinderances to large scale adoption of it as a desktop platform.

            Oh, and @John Bailey:

            "Which is why you use install method number three.. The one that nobody seems to talk about. Outside those of us who actually use Linux that is.

            Pre compiled binaries. The Aspirin to your distribution headaches."

            Ironically, this is what I do do, I ship a tar with the required shared libs all precompiled, and I'll agree it does work, however it does occasionally fall down. (eg, I have a report from a user using a slightly more esoteric distro of my software that they can't get it to run, the only way I'm going to fix it is to install the distro their using to track down the issue as it works fine for me on the ones I try.)

            "The old "Buuuut you have to make a different exe for every distro.. " chestnut is about as realistic as complaining about not being able to mount a USB key. Basically, a depreciated stick to beat Linux with. ."

            However, anything more than a non trivial program is going to have a fair chunk of dependencies, now there's a good chance (expecially these days) that most distro's do ship with fairly similar versions of whatever libs you've linked against, but there's always that /slight/ chance that someone will try your precompiled software on a machine with an old or incompatable libraray, and, from a users point of view, weird dynamic linker errors aren't particularly friendls.

            "And with open source software, not a problem. The distro maintainer handles it, or the users set up their own repos. We are after all, talking about open source based OSs. Not really set up for all the closed source stuff. Why should they be. Different business model."

            Because i'm using an operating system, not an ideology? At the end of the day I want it to provide an abstraction layer for software to run on, and ideally I'd like it to run whatever software I choose, not just whatever software happens to be ideologically compatable. ie, I don't run linux at home because it's 'open source', I run it because it's the best platform to drive the software I need. (In this case Mythtv), But that's just a different point of view I suppose.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Build Service

              "However if I was to offer distributions packages also I would (unless I'm missing something), have to have at least another 1 (or 2 for 32/64 builds) distro's installed in virtual machines, and more and more complexity as part of my build process"

              You may want to try the OpenSUSE Build Service (http://build.opensuse.org/) if you haven't already done so. I have the impression that's what most of us use for multidistro packaging these days.

              If your products are FOSS you can use their build farm at the above address. Else, the build service itself is open source so you can download it and install it on your own servers (for your own use, a commodity machine with a large enough hard drive should be adequate).

              Incidentally, you do not need VMs for multidistro packaging, although that's probably the easiest choice if you need to get something going in a hurry. Outside of using the build service, that is ;)

              "if you understand windows DLL loading semantics my point was more that you can create an installer and have confidence it will work on your target OS, not that it /should/ work assuming all the dependencies are satisfied."

              Thanks for your insight on the Windows build process. As regards your quote above, how does the dependency solving work in Windows? You just ship everything you think your product may need on the installation blob, and then some program takes care of looking at what's already installed and what's missing, that sort of thing?

              1. FIA

                @AC 10:38

                "[Open SUSE Build service]"

                Thanks, didn't know about that. It looks like exactly what I need for this kind of thing in future. :)

                "how does the dependency solving work in Windows? You just ship everything you think your product may need on the installation blob, and then some program takes care of looking at what's already installed and what's missing, that sort of thing?"

                Generally yes, just bung it all in the same directory as the program and it should just work.

                It's horrible!

                The example I was talking about uses Qt, which is compiled using Visual C 2008, to make it work I need to ship the Qt dlls, and the visual C runtime. Microsoft recommend you ship, or point people at the VC redistributable installer, which will install it site wide on the end users PC, however I wasn't happy with that (as I don't like asking people to install additional software) so have shipped it in the application directory, which works fine. Same goes for Qt, it's just a small config file to tell it where to load the plugin dll's it uses.

                Windows isn't too bad an OS these days, it's just got years and years of bad design to deal with, however if you're aware of these issues it's now perfectly possible to ship apps that cooperate well with others. (eg, you can use them on a machine with limited user rights, they'll write settings to correct folders to support profile roaming, etc etc.) The main problem still is many windows devs don't.

        2. John Bailey
          Boffin

          Umm.. Slight correcton..

          If you are distributing via a repository.. then yes. You need RPM/DEB what ever. Just as you need the relevant file type to download an Android or iOS app. Centralised repositories are like that.

          And with open source software, not a problem. The distro maintainer handles it, or the users set up their own repos. We are after all, talking about open source based OSs. Not really set up for all the closed source stuff. Why should they be. Different business model.

          But user or distro created packages of paid for software would be a bit tricky to reconcile with per seat licenses. Eh?

          A repository for each program would get very awkward very quickly too. Totally impractical. And providing the source is obviously out of the question..

          But that is only install method 1.

          Install method 2 also turns out to be unsuitable. Releasing the source code is not practical.

          Which is why you use install method number three.. The one that nobody seems to talk about. Outside those of us who actually use Linux that is.

          Pre compiled binaries. The Aspirin to your distribution headaches.

          Download and uncompress a tarball, type "./install.sh", and it goes into a set-up program, asking you where you want to put it, and what working directories you want to use etc. Just like Windows really. I assume they could make a network wide, or multi user install, so long as they put the config files in home.. Perhaps even have an uncompressed version on CD that just runs when you pop the disk in the drive. But auto running tends to be frowned upon, so they would have to know how to make a file executable at the very least.

          The old "Buuuut you have to make a different exe for every distro.. " chestnut is about as realistic as complaining about not being able to mount a USB key. Basically, a depreciated stick to beat Linux with. .

          Realistically, no reason why someone couldn't wrap a Linux program up in all kinds of lovely phone home DRM, and demand a key disk and license number be typed in if they really wanted. None of that is actually down to the OS on Windows either.

          And before the next old wives tale pops up. No prohibition on closed source software running on Linux. It's not going to catch GPL.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Have a seat

            "user or distro created packages of paid for software..."

            Not a problem there, at least for vertical enough markets.

            "would be a bit tricky to reconcile with per seat licenses."

            Probably. But that model, on the desktop, has been dead since the last CD was sold :). If you want to play that game with any perspective of a longer term future you need to move to the mobile arena.

            That leaves us with two common viable options: you can sell content, and you can sell support. In either case, the software is just a means to an end, not the end in itself, so closing the source does not help. In fact, if your target market requires an assurance of continuity (i.e., in case you go under) that plays very much against you.

            One way or the other, paid for OS software is doing very well indeed. It just happens that that particular sales model you mention can only work where you have tight control of the distribution channels, as was the case in the era of foil-wrapped software, or is the case now with mobile marketplaces.

            Note btw that I'm not talking about the future of closed-source as a development approach, which is an entirely different beast.

            "Pre compiled binaries."

            You mean software appliances?

            "The Aspirin to your distribution headaches."

            In the general case, that would be at the expense of the user's convenience (if you're talking a massive statically linked blob), and experience, unless you have gone to great lengths to ensure smooth integration with the user's environment, or your application is intentionally designed to be sui generis.

            There are specific cases where I would say a software appliance is exactly the right approach, but that's not something I have experience on, so I won't comment.

      2. scub
        Boffin

        Safety Glasses

        "so while Linux isn't likely to take over the computer games market anytime soon"

        This kinda stuck out for me and is interesting.

        I`ve been enjoying ID`s Q3A @ quakelive.com

        Re-living the good old days and the entertainment value is phenomenal. I noticed some of the older maps have been spruced up a little and quite frankly, this game is every bit as good if not better that your COD`s and MOH`s. Quakelive has killed my xbox dead for some 6mnths now. I`m developing a 7th sense with the rail, with a good chance of hitting something that catches the corner of my eye briefly...

        Amazes me that flash player can be used in this way. When Adobe first came on the scene and everyone/most ppl where still on dialup. I couldnt believe they where coming away with such crap! I wasn't one for turning off images when browsing, lynx style or whatever, but I couldn't fathom any possible use for this Sh*te

        kinda makes you wonder if ID isnt showing a clear path here? A lifeline if you will?

        Love KDE btw, always found windows ok to use. Miss WB and saw someone using a mac the otherday, first time in years. Got a bit of a shock at how good it looked, is this the market force messing with the GUI`s? (Answer plz)

        I`ll use the man with the safety glasses, I like safety Glasses, Safety Glasses are good....

    2. Arkasha

      @batfastad

      My company ONLY produces software for Linux. In fact, we used to have a Windows version but we dropped it because it was detracting development resources from where we make the most money: Linux

    3. teknopaul Silver badge

      krita?

      FYI Krita is comming along (part of koffice) and says it has CMYK support.

      Krita seems to export PDF too, but load of apps do so I presume you have specific requriements for PDF output?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    XFCE?

    "....If you hate GNOME 3 with the sort of passion most people reserve for politics and religion, well, your best bet is to stick with Fedora 14. Forever...."

    A more constructive suggestion may be to try XFCE. This new direction with Unity and GnomeShell is in my view a huge mistake. Sure, kids might like it 'cos it looks like a huge Android phone, but to get work done, no way. I have given Gnome 3 a week and that was a week too long. I switched to XFCE today and I'm very happy to get back to a proper work machine.

  5. DrXym Silver badge

    GNOME 3 & Unity

    I think both desktops will get there eventually but both IMO at present need work. My biggest gripe with GNOME 3 is you can't make links on the desktop. Other annoyances would be the dock which resides offscreen where you can't see what's in it without explicitly looking, the lobotomized prefs, and the lack of minimize / maximize buttons. In all these cases I do not accept that it would interfere with the design of GNOME to improve this behaviour, e.g. by looking how Windows 7 & OS X manage to do it.

    Unity is more conservative but has annoyances such as that horrible global app menu, and a lack of prefs dialogs to configure it's quite irritating default behaviour.

    There is no doubt that GNOME 2.x was pretty mouldy or "decadent" as someone put it. It was fine for what it was but what it was was about 10 years behind the curve in terms of desktop design. So I'm glad to see a bit of effort gone back into moving things on even if first results are still lacking. Hopefully a point release or 2 will make these desktops more palatable and hopefully will pave the way for wayland too when X can be dumped entirely from the local desktop experience.

  6. Rod 6
    Unhappy

    title

    I'm sure fedora 15 has many nice new features. Shame I won't be using it thought BECAUSE of the new Gnome 3.0 interface. I tried to use it the other day and it sucked. Everything needed more mouse clicks or key presses to do. It seems to be a GUI designers wet dream rather than a working interface. I have stuck with fedora/RH over the years from pre F1 to F14 and now I am looking for a new distro. Very sad.

    1. tim-e
      WTF?

      you...

      You don't have to use it. Install one of the other of the myriad of desktop/WM environments available.

      1. Duncan Watts

        @tim-e

        I'm pretty sure that's what he was saying...

        1. Demosthenese

          @Duncan W.

          No - he said he's moving distro. He could stick with Fedora and use a different DE, such as Xfce. If he wants gnome 2 then move distro - but eventually this option is going to disappear as other distros shift from gnome 2 to gnome 3.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Linux

      You don't have to use Gnome 3.0

      I tried it because it was new and went back to KDE because I've been using that for about the last, oh, goodness knows, ages. There's at least two others to choose from as well: XFCE being the most popular. There's also a couple of extremely lightweight options.

      People like to bash X, but one thing it does well it provide you with choice. If you don't like one particular desktop paradigm there are others to choose from and this is what gives us progress. The change is exciting, and I'm sure big changes are on the way that will make life better for all of us: it's taken a long time to shake off the Win95 and CDE legacy.

  7. Goat Jam
    Thumb Up

    I'm On The Fence Regarding Gnome3

    Unity? No way. Not ever.

    I'd like to try Fedora, because I've got an itch to switch from Ubuntu cos I don't like the direction they're going in. I came from Redhat (RH9 was the last one I used) and I use Centos a bit here at work and I have to say that were it not for yum/rpm I would be have moved back already.

    I simply cannot stand yum and RPM.

    Dependency hell - Do NOT tell me that this is a thing of the past, it is not.

    Unable to proxy repositories - I use apt-cacher-ng currently so that I don't have to download the same packages over and over and over. How do you do that with RPM? I've never figured it out.

    I just find YUM and RPM to be unnecessarily clunky and problem prone compared to APT/DEB so I don't care how good a distro is, if it is RPM based I will avoid it like the plague.

    I like RedHat, I think they are great for the Linux community but not enough to get over my hatred of RPM

    I'm sure I'll get downvoted by a bunch of RH fans but whatever, this is where I stand. I'm switching over to Debian 6 for my server, I still have to choose between Mint Debian or vanilla debian for my desktops.

    Thumbs up for Redhat though.

    1. AdamWill
      Stop

      It really is.

      "Dependency hell - Do NOT tell me that this is a thing of the past, it is not."

      No, it really is.

      The term applied to the situation that happened before dependency-solving package managers, where you had to solve deps manually: you'd download evolution.rpm, try and install it, it'd tell you it needed gtk, so you'd download gtk.rpm, try and install it, it'd tell you it needed freetype, you downloaded freetype.rpm...and on and on and on to the bottom of the stack.

      Fedora has had a dependency resolving package manager ever since it became Fedora, so Fedora has never been subject to 'dependency hell', as the term is properly applied.

      These days it tends to be *mis*applied to situations where you try to use third party repositories and run into dependency problems, or the now very rare situations where there are dependency problems within the main Fedora package set. But neither of these things are actually 'dependency hell', and neither of them has anything at all to do with rpm or yum; they're simply issues in the dependencies themselves. You can have dependency problems with absolutely any package format that _has_ a concept of dependencies; there's nothing the package format or any package manager can do to stop maintainers making mistakes.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Your problem is not with yum/rpm

      I've upgraded my CentOS systems from 5.3 to 5.5 and then to 5.6 and from 4.5 directly to 4.9 without any dependency problem. On the other hand I got hit pretty bad when I tried to install drivers for my shiny new HP laser color printer on CentOS v5.3 64bit (I've managed to hack it somehow though).

      Your enemy is not yum/rpm in itself, it's perhaps the lack of understanding the Linux distro policy/philosophy and the correct usage of RPM repositories.

      On a long term support distro (as it should be on almost any production server) just stick with the official repositories and you can live long and prosper without YUM/RPM coming out to get you. I admit though that sometimes this position can become untenable.

      Of course I'm not going to downvote you, after all Linux is about choice, isn't it ?

    3. A. Nervosa

      Yum Proxy

      Take a look at mrepo in the DAG Wieers repository. It will let you set up a centralised yum/apt proxy containing mirrors of just about everything you want.

      1. Goat Jam
        Pint

        re mrepo

        Thanks for that, I'll take a look. As long as it doesn't want to replicate the entire Fedora ecosystem in a local mirror then it might do the trick. I might even give Fedora a go (If I overcome my laziness long enough to rebuild my desktop anyway)

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: repositories

      simple, you create your own local copy. Yes, it takes 20G of disk, but it allows you to to point to a local repository. I have 20 CentOS servers (most virtual) and one of them holds my local repository. With a weekly cron job that repository is kept up-to-date. I simply updated my /etc/yum.repos.d/CentOS-Base.repo at my local repository. You'll find that the speed of your disk subsystem is your new bottleneck. (if you have a Gig+ lan).

      1. Goat Jam
        Paris Hilton

        ah yes, the old create a mirror suggestion

        I was waiting for that.

        So, in order to avoid re-downloading a few dozen packages I should build a 20G mirror, and have that constantly downloading updated packages for every single package in the entire repository even though I will only ever use a fraction of the packages therein?

        How exactly is that saving on downloads?

        1. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re ah yes, the old create a mirror suggestion

          I use apt-cacher-ng on one of my workstations to serve my 7 other machines. It only downloads the packages I use and when I install another machine for someone its like lightning! The equivalent for yum is, I beleive yum-cacher, and if its like apt-cacher-ng then the 10 minutes it takes to configure it will be repaid a thousand times.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. Loki 1

    Why the comparison with Win95?

    I mean... come on, the so-called Win95 interface has been around a lot longer than Win95. I had pop up menus and win like desktops under Linux before Win95 was released. And was using proper desktops since the days of old Solaris and Amigas.... why do people thing the desktop paradigm started with Win95?

    1. Zolko
      Thumb Up

      CDE ?

      Yep, I used CDE in HPUX in 1993. It was quite ugly, but had more functionality than Win95.

    2. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Win 95

      Win95 introduced the Start button and menu.

      Before then everything else relied upon you opening a folder and double clicking a program to run it. Or dragging it to a dock to create a quick link.

      Win95 also put the close buttons on the right of the window when the rest of the world had them on the left.

      Perhaps there is prior art for some of the above, but obscure X Windows desktops don't count as they were not on 90+% of desktops.

      1. DrXym Silver badge

        Start menu, task bar etc

        I think Windows can claim credit for a start menu that can launch apps and double up as a task bar. It can't claim credit for docks which appeared in numerous ways e.g. Acorn Archimedes, CDE, OS/2, NeXT etc.

        Neither can it claim credit for unifying the concept of task bar and dock into a single thing. Arguably OS X got there before Windows did (with Windows 7) in a mainstream OS, and I'm sure there are some precedents before that too.

        I do think the concept of a dock / taskbar is an accepted design concept now. It's good to see Linux desktop modernising though Unity and GNOME 3.0 clearly need more work to fulfill their potential.

    3. Don Mitchell

      The UNIX community didn't grok Windows for a long time

      At Princeton prior to 1995, we had a variety of UNIX workstations in the CS department, IRIX, HPUX, a lab full of SUN's for the undergraduates, and if you were really low on the pecking order, you got an X-terminal that logged into a DEC mainframe running UNIX. If you looked at anyone's screen, what you saw was half a dozen command-shell windows running various text-oriented programs. It was still very much a command-line interface world, still heavily dependant on text editors to do any kind of content creation. That was the state of the art in UNIX. You could copy/paste text between windows, but there was none of the object/embedding/scripting action that you had in Apple or Windows PC. You were just beginning to see people play with TCL/TK, an ersatz version of Visual Basic, but UNIX "apps" were still very limited by the lack of underlying system support.

      At a deeper level, UNIX was still very monolithic in those days, while Windows was very modular and object oriented. UNIX was just beginning to support DLL's and device driver interfaces, so the operating system was pretty much one giant C program. Windows was based on dynamically loaded libraries and COM interfaces that let Microsoft update and swap out components without compiling from source. I still remember the pain of installing a new scanner on my SUN workstation, having to fiddle interrupt vector tables and then compile the whole damn kernel. This lack of modularity plagued the UNIX window system as well. You can go read the X-windows paper in ACM ToG, and it's all about how clever they were at supporting overlapping of bitmaps and handling redraw with you moved something. But there's nothing there about the underlying logic of communicating interface objects that Apple and Microsoft were focused on. A UNIX window was a virtual command console. If a program presented a GUI interface, it was pure brute force, it had to track the cursor and know where any "buttons" were.

      Even in the late 1990s, when SGI briefly flirted with Windows NT on their hardware, it was pretty amusing to watch them demonstrating drag and drop, like it was something new discovered on Mars.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Those were the days

        "If you looked at anyone's screen, what you saw was half a dozen command-shell windows running various text-oriented programs"

        Exactly! That was (and still is) the beauty of X. Whereas before you were limited to one text terminal, you could now easily have upwards of eight terminals all on the same screen. That was pure genius, that was!

        "I still remember the pain of installing a new scanner on my SUN workstation, having to fiddle interrupt vector tables and then compile the whole damn kernel."

        I, like you, have only ever once written one device driver too (but we did have shared libraries by then), which makes us both basic users.

        "A UNIX window was a virtual command console. If a program presented a GUI interface..."

        Well, yes. But you're talking about the days before the advent of VIM.

        I guess I'll go recompile a kernel now, just for old time's sake (snif!)

      2. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        @Don - Depends on which flavour of UNIX

        IBM introduced dynamic driver load/unload, shared libraries by default, virtual Kernel address space (associated with never having to sysgen a system again), along with journaling filesystems and many other features, in 1990.

        Shared libraries were around in SunOS before then, although the norm was still to statically linked libraries for several years.

        I think that your description of X11 applications is completely wrong for everything except Java graphical programs (but that is a Java problem).

        The concept of Drag-and-Drop in X-Windows (and it was probably X10 at the time) was shown to me on a Torch TripleX running X.desktop (although I'm sure it was also called LookingGlass and possibly OpenTop) in the middle of the 80's, along with desktop icons and walking menus. I concede that MacOS had these concepts before then, but they were not foreign to UNIX even before Windows.

        The standard X-Windows model for GUI type programs was indeed to use toolkits and widgets (effectively library code) for drawing things like buttons, text boxes and pixmaps, and this does mean that the application has to keep some sort of track of what is going on on it's own graphical space, but the server is what keeps track of where the cursor is. X-Windows is built around call-backs and managed data objects, which meant that the X Server (the thing that controls the keyboard, mouse and screen) always has a degree of separation from client programs (which is really to allow X-Windows to run across a network, something that Windows still does not really do well), but it can only marginally be called Object Oriented.

        This separation allows a client to be completely ignorant about the position of the cursor and which parts of a window was obscured by another window. Each click, key press and other event was tagged with the current cursor position by the server, and when a part of a window was uncovered, the server gave one (or sometimes many) expose events, saying exactly which part of a window needed to be re-drawn. And if the server was configured with BackingStore, the server itself could fill in the missing bits without bothering the client. This was designed to make it run efficiently with a network between the server and client.

        In addition, things like window decorations (frames, resizing options, window control buttons) are all handled by a separate component from either the client applications and the X server. This is the Window Manager, which is what allows you to rapidly change the look and feel of the GUI. This works by encapsulating an application window (X11 defines a window hierarchy, with the root window at the top, application windows in the middle, and individual graphic contexts at the bottom handling widgets within application windows) , allowing keyboard and button events to be acted upon before they are given to the client. This is also an OO type feature.

        I don't think that Windows integrated COM into the presentation manager until the late 90's probably with Windows 2000, although it was available to applications, and all windowing applications needed to manage their own

        HP VUE and then CDE did provide something like COM, and this was before Windows95, but coding for CDE was difficult, and the old X11 models still worked, so were still used.

        There are not many people now who actually code at the X11 level. Almost all applications are now written with toolkits or SDKs (like Motif, Qt and GTK+), which hide almost all of the complexity of how X11 works.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Linux

        Sigh.

        "At Princeton prior to 1995, ..."

        You've got your history around the wrong way. The first time I used Windows on Unix was in 1986 (and it wasn't new then), in 1987 I was using X10 and by the time I eventually got a PC (at 25MHz 386 running Windows 3.1) in 1992 X11 was well established. By that time, the protocols and mechanisms for things like drag and drop and the object-oriented things that we all take for granted were becoming well-established.

        The lack of policy in X was one of the major strengths in developing those mechanisms. On a platform where the policy was fixed there was an apparent leap-frog where things like drag and drop gave the impression of being polished. The X Window System didn't hurry, it took its time to get things _right_. You might think that it took too long (and you could well be right) but while the X desktop was evolving people were learning from it and applying what they learned elsewhere.

        I think that the solid base that we now have is paying serious dividends: we have something that new paradigms can be tried with. Gnome 3, Unity and KDE are quite different, but they cooperate with each other where it matters and I'm sure that we're on the brink of seeing great stuff.

  9. J 3
    Linux

    Yeah, but...

    Any news of virtual workspaces? Given that the article states that the desktop is gone or something like that, I'd guess no virtual workspaces either. Is that so?

    Virtual workspaces are my favorite feature on Linux desktops. Without them, it's hard to see myself happily working with a computer. I mean, if I have to have a computer that looks like a Mac user's, with a ton of overlapping windows covering every surface (I don't know why, but the few people I've observed using Macs for a longer period always had screens like that), then I'd rather pass...

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Skrrp
      Thumb Up

      Virtual desktops

      Gnome 3 provides 2 by default, in a vertical configuration.

      Since it is so raw I haven't found the settings area to change this, but I did notice that as soon as I started working in the 2nd workspace it automatically added a 3rd empty one below it.

      1. El Cid Campeador
        Happy

        Good!

        Thank God for that at least.... multiple workspaces, are IMO, one of the most useful features ever...

      2. AdamWill

        yes

        Shell actually kind of expects you to use workspaces quite heavily (though I don't). As Skrrp says, there's a workspace switcher bar on the right hand side of the overlay which is mostly hidden and pops out when you mouse over it; it shows a thumbnail of each desktop. There is always exactly one empty workspace at the bottom: if you put a window on that workspace, a new empty one appears; if you remove the last window from any workspace, it vanishes so there's still only one empty one. This is neat, but it does screw up the workflow some people use where they always have X workspaces and always put their apps in a particular configuration. There's an extension which changes the workspace system to be more static, for those people.

  10. Eddy Ito Silver badge

    Just one question

    How easy is it to adjust the UI for use at 10 feet on an HTPC? Guess I'll have to give it a whirl to find out.

    1. AdamWill

      Why?

      Why would you run a desktop interface on an HTPC and not, well, an HTPC interface? It's not like Linux is short of them - MythTV, XBMC, Freevo...

      1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

        Easy

        The HTPC interfaces are great for the HT side of the equation. When you want to do the PC side... not so much.

  11. Antti Roppola
    Grenade

    And jumps on the iPhone bandwagon

    "GNOME emerges from last century"... and assumes I have a low res 3" x 4" dsiplay device and only ever want to see one thing at a time.

    I have been giving Gnome 3 a red-hot go, but the whole assumption that I'm driving my user experience form a tiny touch screen is really starting to grate. Why shouldn't I be able to have my power settings and network preferences open at the same time?

    1. AdamWill

      Assumptions

      The one making assumptions is you; GNOME 3's design doesn't have anything to do with small touchscreens. Note that the control center design is rather like OS X's, do you assume OS X was designed for small touchscreens too?

  12. Joe Zeff
    Linux

    XFCE!

    I've been using Fedora as my only OS since Fedora 9. Until recently, for various reasons, I've been using Gnome. Then I read a description of what the Gnome Shell would be like and I was appalled. Not only does it do a number of things I don't like (I like having one panel, at the bottom, not the top, TYVM and I want to decide for myself which desktop each window goes on.) most of them can't be turned off. Not only that, every time there's a Gnome "upgrade," it's less and less customizable. You're stuck doing things the way the Gnome devs like to do things whether you like it or not. And, if you dare complain, you get a combination of flames and snotty-grams telling you to write an extension of your own from people who probably weren't born yet the last time I did any serious programming.

    As soon as I saw the shape of things to come, I started looking around. I'm now using XFCE on both my desktop and my laptop, and I'm very happy with it. I haven't upgraded to F 15, yet, but I've learned better than to jump in the first day or two. Not only are the servers slammed, there's always a few last-second gotchas to be cleaned up. Once things settle down, though, I'll be using F 15 with XFCE and Gnome can go in whatever direction the devs in their ivory tower think it should.

    1. AdamWill

      Wow.

      So, you read a description? You didn't even bother trying to use it for half an hour?

  13. ceebee

    Gnome

    The problem with Gnome 3 and Unity is they both seem to distance the user from the basic functions a user needs.

    The key principles of GUI design must be simplicity and consistency.. as best I can see both fail this test to varying degrees.

    Even Windows 7 and OSX 10.7 (Lion) seem to moving away from the user being able to interact directly with the file system and desktop. (The dumbed down file explorer in Windows 7 is a classic example along with the increasing desire to hide menus or functions requiring clicks or keyboard actions to make them popup)

    Have a look at many users' desktops ..they are full of files because it is the quickest and easiest place to put files. This reveals a basic failure of the file management application beit Windows, OSX or Linux.

    KDE's desktop with its strange panels etc. is a prime example of the new style of UI that pushes its way between the user and their files and workflow. Sure it works (I managed to batter it into submission) but I shouldn't need to.

    A GUI should get out of the way, be simple and easy to use. Those principles were the same in 1968 at Palo Alto as they are today.

    1. Zolko
      Grenade

      KDE4 can look & behave like a classical desktop

      I have KDE4.5.3 on Mepis 11 (based on Debian Squeeze stable) and it is easy to make it look and behave like a classic old-timer desktop, with icons, task-bar, menus, dock... but with all the bells and whistles of Compiz with new hardware. With QtCurve, you can even have the same look-and-feel on GTK and Qt apps.

      What's not to like ?

      1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

        Needs customising

        As the op says the mere fact that you have to significantly tinker with settings to get there?

    2. AdamWill

      funnily enough...

      ...that's exactly what GNOME 3 is trying to do. You might notice that you can't put files on GNOME 3's desktop; this isn't because the GNOME developers hate the world, it's because - as you correctly point out - dumping every file on the desktop is a really bad way of managing things. GNOME 3.2 and on will provide new mechanics for dealing with this; if you want to look at the designs then they're being developed under the name 'finding and reminding', if you search the GNOME wiki / mailing lists with that term it should provide some interesting hits.

    3. Lamont Cranston

      Reading that

      has made me all nostalgic for Win3.11, and the File Mangler. Oh, happy days, drawing a pixel art mangler, just to service a bad pun...

      Seriously, though, storing files on the desktop is dreadful behaviour, and something that I'm always telling myself off for.

  14. John Sanders
    Linux

    Well I'm a full time Linux user both at work and at home

    And I can say that neither Unity nor Gnome 3 are ready for prime time.

    As they are now, they're both a walking disaster.

    Unity may become little more than a gimmick by Ubuntu 13.04, perhaps 13.10

    Gnome 3 may be useful again after two, maybe three revisions, but as a long time Gnome user, I think it is a huge ten steps back.

    We need a sad penguin (or panda) icon.

    1. James Hughes 1

      Been using Unity

      And have been less upset than I thought I was going to be. Just needs getting used to it.

      Yes, there are rough edges - some stuff takes longer to do/more keypresses, which is daft, but in general, it works, and hasn't slowed me down. Perhaps one of my biggest gripes is that quite a few times I've not been able to figure out how to do something, but once I have its been easy. For example, say you have a terminal icon in the launcher. You click it, you get a terminal, You click it again, you go to the same terminal, not a new one. So how do you get a new one? Middle button click. Took ages to find that out, but once you know it, very quick.

      I do hope that Canonical take note of what people are saying about the issues, and I think they should be able to sort most problems pretty quickly. I think it should end up being pretty good.

      1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

        But has it sped you up.

        Surely the test of a UI improvement is that it speeds up your activities?

        Any thing else is a failure. Most platforms UI revisions seem to have missed this point instead adopting a shiny shiny approach.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        Unity

        Can I suggest you install Synapse to speed up key press: http://www.webupd8.org/2011/02/synapse-launcher-024-released-with-new.html

  15. K. Adams
    Linux

    "GNOME emerges from last century..."

    ... and lands in Playmobil City Life / Fisher-Price Play Family Village / Weebleville.

    I've tried Gnome Shell, and have tried to like it... But I just can't. It seems to me that GNOME.org has decided that the whole "desktop" metaphor is broken in some fundamental way, and that the best way to fix it is to completely ditch established Human Interface Guidelines developed through years (or even decades) of ergonomic and semiotic research.

    Sure, Gnome Shell **looks** slick, but it lacks flexibility, and takes away much more than it brings to the computing world: It has no customisable panel(s) (it does have a top panel-like bar, but you can't do much with it) or panel applets; no native, always-visible panel-based task switcher (the Gnome Shell "Dock" extension doesn't count; there are fundamental differences of behaviour between docks and task switchers); is too rigidly designed around a "one instance per app" paradigm; and (in my experience) has flaky multi-monitor support.

    Unity has, IMHO, more promise, but still isn't ready for prime-time (Canonical should have waited another six months to one year before releasing it as the default desktop for Ubuntu), and also lacks a certain amount of flexibility and customisability. Things may get better if/when Canonical rewrites Unity to use GTK+ 3.x, because GTK+ 3.x is quite a bit cleaner and more modular than GTK+ 2.x. (Right now, the "standard" Unity interface is written as a Compiz plugin and uses GTK+ 2.x, the "non-compositing/non-accelerated" Unity interface uses Qt 4.x.)

    So, where to from here, then? For me, unless the "Classic Gnome" desktop is forked and/or re-written under GTK+ 3.x, I'll probably be migrating to Xfce. I've tried KDE SC 4.x (since version 4.3, it has been quite stable), and it has a lot of cool features, but is still a bit too resource-heavy for my tastes, and has a little too much of a "cartoonish" look to it (especially with regard to its native window decoration and icon sets).

    (A note for completeness: "GNOME Shell" does not equal "GNOME 3." "GNOME 3" is the third-generation GNOME/GTK+ framework. "GNOME Shell" is a user interface and window management system based on GNOME 3 and GTK+ 3. Canonical has indicated that in the near future, Unity's codebase will be migrated to GNOME 3 and GTK+ 3, to take better advantage of GTK+ 3's modularity.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Linux

      Tonka Toy desktops???

      LOL – Fisher Price, that's not far off. I've tried both Unity and Gnome 3 and my reaction was actually Tonka Toy desktops. Without the virtual desktop panel nav applet, there's no way to switch desktops with a single click! WOW, now that's better <snark>.

      I've always preferred KDE so was really just looking out of curiosity. At least when KDE moved from 3.x to 4.x they warned everyone that it was only half baked and most distros kept 3.x as the default until several revisions later. Even now, if you don't care for the new candied menu structure it's possible to switch to something like the 3.x menus.

      Unlike Ubuntu where you at least have a fall back option, Gnome seems to have decided that right-handedness is passe and have chosen to prove their point by chopping for everyone's right hand.

      The great thing is - when it comes to choice, Linux RULES and thrives as a result. The only question is will Gnome thrive in the choice barren land to which they moved?

      1. AdamWill

        So...

        I've had this discussion a dozen times already, and here's how it goes:

        I point out that there's lots of ways to do all those things that are more efficient even than clicking on a panel. You can switch workspace with ctrl-alt-up or ctrl-alt-down. You can switch apps with alt-tab and alt-key-above-tab.

        Then people reply and say 'yeah, but who the hell wants to learn KEYBOARD SHORTCUTS, and how is that good for new users, huh!??!' (completely ignoring the fact that their initial argument had nothing to do with new users; it had to do with their own current work flow).

        So, here's the deal: either you're a new user and you need an interface that you can figure out, and it's so important how fast it is. In this case, an overview where it's immediately clear (or at least clearer) what everything is is clearly better. A row of thumbnails of virtual desktops clearly communicates the concept of virtual desktops better than a tiny 32x32 hieroglyphic of slightly differently colored rectangles.

        Or, you're a 'power user', in which case you damn well can spend half an hour learning some keyboard shortcuts.

        1. david allyson

          ergonimics!

          AdamWill:

          I point out that there's lots of ways to do all those things that are more efficient even than clicking on a panel. You can switch workspace with ctrl-alt-up or ctrl-alt-down.

          So to change desktop all i need to do is :

          put down my coffee, let go of my mouse, take my eyes off the screen to look at the keyboard, press ctrl and alt with my left hand, press up (or down) with my right, look back at the screen to check I'm on the right desktop, repeat as necessary and finally go back to the mouse and pick up my coffee.

          How much more efficient that is than the old-fashioned way of "move mouse two or three inches, click on icon in desktop switcher applet, continue working"

          With the old-fashioned way, you never even got the chance to look away from the screen!

          1. AdamWill

            really?

            you have to look down at the keyboard to find ctrl, alt and an arrow key? so much so that you then have to look up again (oh, the pain!) to see the screen?

            I think we've reached the 'protest too much' stage.

            (hell, on both my laptop and my desktop, the keyboard and monitors are so arranged that I can actually see - wait for it - *both at once*! shocking, I know.)

          2. K. Adams
            Pint

            "... put down my coffee..."

            That's **exactly** what I was thinking, and is a pretty elegant way of describing one of my "cornerstones" of GUI-friendliness: I should be able to do anything I need to do to manipulate the desktop, without having to set down my cup of coffee (or mug of ale) and use both hands to do it...

            Definitely drink to that one...!

            :-)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Pint

          Have a beer or two and take a deep breath.

          Sorry, Adam. Was it my Tonka Toy desktop that set you off or have you just been working too hard? It was meant to reflect the outsized appearance and not the underlying quality of the work that it represents. You've made two other assumptions.

          First, I'm guessing your reference to “a tiny 32x32 hieroglyphic” is based on the default panel size. My panel is approximately half the vertical size of the default so is smaller than even your definition of tiny. I can't tell by looking what the window layout is on any of the panels, if that's the lack of functionality your implying. But here's the point, I don't need that functionality because I know where everything is because I put everything where I wanted it. Efficiency of work flow is highly subjective and no amount of focus group analysis will ever reveal all the nuances of individual preference. The choice of mouse or keyboard is the individual user's to make.

          Second, you're comment that “you damn well can...” may betray the accuracy of the perception of a dictatorial attitude underlining the design and deployment of the new Gnome desktop. It's not the choices that have been made that is at issue so much as the “ 'and now for something completely different' - no looking back cause we're burning that bridge as we speak” thing.

          In the credit where credit is due dept, the Gnome team has shown a truck load of courage in the bold step that Gnome 3 represents. The reaction should not be a surprise to you though. This is after all the world of Linux and holding back or hedging an opinion it not the way of the Linux community. Every visionary must suffer the abuse of the doubters at the outset of the journey. Only time will reveal the wisdom or the folly of the decision to embark on the journey.

          Beer icon, 'cause it really sounds like you could use one or two. Cheers, and carry on.

          1. AdamWill

            A few things

            You can't infer anything about the attitude of the GNOME project from what I say because I'm not in any way part of it. =) I don't work on GNOME for GNOME or Red Hat or anyone else; I do QA; on everything, not just GNOME. It just means I've been using GNOME 3 for a while. I personally happen to like it, but you're free not to; I mostly just get annoyed at the criticism that's simply utterly wrong headed, and apparently based on a mulish refusal to accept that anything different to Windows 98 could ever possibly be anything other than a downright failure produced by active malice on the part of evil moustache-twirlers who wake up every day, eat a kitten, and think 'what can we do to ruin the lives of computer users this fine morn?'

            So, yes, GNOME 3 is different to GNOME 2. This almost inevitably means that, if you try to use it in exactly the same way, you will wind up being less efficient. I just find it kind of a shame that some people are apparently not willing to even *try* and get over this - and then take the fact that the GNOME team actually tried to do something innovative instead of just polishing that Win98 turd for another six months as some kind of personal insult.

            "First, I'm guessing your reference to “a tiny 32x32 hieroglyphic” is based on the default panel size. My panel is approximately half the vertical size of the default so is smaller than even your definition of tiny. I can't tell by looking what the window layout is on any of the panels, if that's the lack of functionality your implying. But here's the point, I don't need that functionality because I know where everything is because I put everything where I wanted it. Efficiency of work flow is highly subjective and no amount of focus group analysis will ever reveal all the nuances of individual preference. The choice of mouse or keyboard is the individual user's to make."

            Again, read what I wrote: I acknowledged that a workspace switcher that's always visible on the screen is a more efficient way of switching workspaces than one which requires a mouse movement or keypress to make visible. But is that really the only thing we should take into consideration?

            One: is switching workspaces so important you need a quick way to do it all the time? As it happens the answer to this is probably 'yes', but the answer for some similar things that now aren't immediately accessible is 'no', which was a factor in why they didn't need to be taking up screen space all the time any more. But this one gets a pass.

            Two: is an always-visible tiny icon actually the only quick and efficient way of changing desktops? Answer: no, you can use keyboard shortcuts. Yes, you can't do this while you're holding a coffee, but I'm willing to allow the designers not to expect you to be able to do everything as efficiently as possible when holding a coffee. You can still switch workspaces. (Hell, given that there are ctrl and alt keys on the right hand side of the keyboard too, you can actually do it with the keyboard short cut with one hand. I just tried.)

            Three: is an always-visible tiny icon a good way of exposing the concept of virtual desktops? Answer: no. No, it really isn't. Have you ever plonked someone who hasn't used GNOME before down in front of GNOME 2.x and had them actually figure out what virtual desktops are and how to use them? Cos I haven't. With the GNOME 3 interface it's a lot easier. You probably aren't going to get it right off the bat, but after a few minutes messing around you'd probably figure it out. The way virtual desktops behave in the overview makes it sufficiently obvious what's going on after you play with them for a bit. The GNOME 2 switcher...doesn't.

            It's really worth looking at things from a few angles and not just 'oh shit I can't do exactly what I did with GNOME 2, this thing sucks'.

  16. penguin slapper

    Gnome 3 emerges from last century?

    How very apposite.

    The 21st Century!

    Corporate controlled, user ignoring, dumbed down, hard to use crap.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    How about a follow-up article?

    It's nice to see a positive article on Gnome 3. although I chose the XFCE4 route myself. However, the issues of lack of customisation, one of the great joys of gnome 2.x and linux desktops in general, and "enforced" defaults are a concern. It's fair that it took the writer a week to get over the hurdle of learning gnome 3's new ways. How about a follow-up article after a month or two to see if the concerns of some regarding comfort as a desktop pan out? Shiny and new doesn't necessarily equate to better once the shine wars off, but hopefully there are things in gnome 3 that can show the way.

    Otherwise, just a few teeny bijou issuettes with XFCE 4.8, like not being able to single-click desktop icons, and XFCE looks as though it's showing the way.

    S

  18. Jim 59
    Stop

    Desktops

    Oh dear. KDE went through the same process with version 4 a couple of years ago. Now it is scarecely mentioned in these columns, or anywhere else. Project leaders, take note of what your users are saying. Making it look like a giant iPhone should not be your number 1 priority.

  19. Tim Parker

    Win 95

    "After all, GNOME 2 borrowed much of its UI design and basic interface concepts from Windows 95"

    No it didn't. The very fact that is avoided the "lower-left start menu on a bottom task-bar" style favoured by OSes such as Win 95 - great for neck strain and not much else - is one reason I use it, even (sometimes) through the truly awful days of early GNOME 2.

    What other "basic interface concepts" do you think it used that come from Win 95 ? Icons ?

    KDE, on the other hand, seemed to follow a closer course to the Windows look until recently (when the converse seems to be happening) - but none of them can claim many rights on much of the interface, conceptually or otherwise.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What?

    "Fedora has long played second fiddle to Ubuntu in the minds of many Linux fans"

    They're completely different things. Ubuntu is designed to install easily on anything and be ready-to-go as a desktop, Fedora is a test bed for potential RHEL technologies, desktop and server.

    I suppose, if by fan you mean the sort of person who self identifies as a geek and has jumped on the linux bandwagon for browsing his pron and downloading music, the statement might make sense. But for anyone else it's nonsensical.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Linux Mint is the way to go

    (btw files and shortcuts on the desktop did NOT start with Win 95 - MS copied the idea. I would rather move to XFCE than put up with less functionality with an overgrown smartphone interface)

    Linux Mint is the way to go, if you want to jump ship from Ubuntu. It's "Ubuntu done right" with minty freshness!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Pint

      Favor to ask...

      I tried to install Mint 10 Debian in WMware player the other day and it absolutely, 100% didn't work at all (mouse wouldn't work, and even if it did it would eventually go nonresponsive). Any idea if the XFCE version works with VMware... or should I try a different VM like Virtualbox?

      I'm running it on Win7...

      /beer, because I'd happily buy one for some help here.

  22. Richard Lloyd
    Stop

    Fedora still broken with some of the AMD/ATI HDxxxx card family

    Ever since kernel modesetting came in, Fedora's installer has been broken for me with my ATI cards (HD2600XT and HD4290) if you choose the graphical option (pressing Tab and adding nomodeset to the kernel line fixes this) and F15 is sadly no exception.

    Once you get F15 installed, there's still no support for my ATI cards, so it runs in "fallback mode", which provides some Frankenstein GNOME 2-ish 2-task bar environment where you can't seem to right-click at all to change anything!

    So I trundle off to rpmfusion.org (a bit of secret that fedoraproject.org don't mention prominently, when they should), only to find that there's no F15 repos there yet and hence no nice Catalyst driver RPMs to use. Yes, I could get the latest drivers from ati.com, but the RPMs are much more convenient.

    So if you've got an ATI HDxxxx card, good luck getting GNOME 3 to work out of the box. I can't believe both Ubuntu and Fedora have been broken for years with this kernel modesetting issue!

    1. AdamWill

      not entirely

      there are several hundred Radeon HDXXXX cards, and most of them work fine. (No, really: see https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Test_Day:2011-02-23_Radeon ). It's obviously unfortunate that both of yours have trouble (have you filed a bug on the radeon driver?), but your generalization doesn't hold.

  23. tardigrade

    End of the road.

    GnomeShell and Unity are two different cars driving off the edge of the same cliff.

    If this is the future then there is a need to try something else. XFCE is ok but what about KDE? The last time I tried KDE was back when Mandrake was the next big thing. I tried it again recently and KDE 4.6 was a hugely pleasant surprise. Whatever problems it had when 4 was first released are history. It's a great desktop.

    I'd urge you to download the ISO of Kubuntu 11.04 burn to a USB stick and try out the live session, without installing. Well worth the effort.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still won't catch on

    One of the best things about Windows is that you can install an application by simply clicking on an executable and it runs.

    Installing software such as the VMWare Tools is perplexing to someone who isn't used to having to take multiple steps to what was once a one-step process.

    Another thing - Linux people continue to bash Windows for constantly requiring patches, etc., but have you looked at how many patches are required for Linux on a weekly basis? Seriously - there's an awful lot of them.

    I'm not saying Linux has to be Windows, but if you want to convert more Windows users, you need to simplify things more.

    Things like this will continue to dog the Linux distros, regardless of how "pretty" the face looks.

    Just my two cents.

    1. tardigrade

      Two cents FUD.

      I'm afraid your information is a little out of date.

      "One of the best things about Windows is that you can install an application by simply clicking on an executable and it runs."

      When was the last time you used Linux, 1904? If you use a Debian based distro you will find that most applications are supplied as .deb files. You click on them and they install. End of story.

      There is also a software centre that contains thousands of apps, you can choose an application and click install. That's it.

      As for patches. There aren't so many patches but there are frequent software updates. I think that's quite useful to have your software updated automatically without having to go to the website and download and install new versions, that is assuming you even know that a new version of a given program is available.

      Updates also download and install with the minimum of fuss and unless it's a kernel update, without requiring reboots. So no being told that you can't unplug or switch off your computer while updates are installing, when you are trying to shutdown or then being told that you have to wait while updates are configured before you can use your computer when you turn it on again. Which is, I think peoples biggest gripe about Windows patches.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Not FUD

        It's my real experience with Linux. Just last week (and I didn't know Linux existed before computers - interesting) I installed the latest Ubuntu on a VM.

        I have it open as I type this. Click on the "Install VMWare Tools" link in the VMWare Infrastructure Web Access and of course, it comes up as a drive on the Ubuntu VM. No problem.

        Double-click the DVD icon. I get three files: a .txt., .rpm, and .gz file. Double-click on .rpm opens Archive Manager. Double-click on the .gz and again the Archive Manager opens up. Not exactly intuitive.

        Now what? Can't just "click and run". I posted in the Ubuntu forums on how to install the VMWare Tools on Ubuntu. Got zero response.

        In Windows, you double-click on one file and it starts the install process.

        It's stuff like this that makes it more difficult to make the transition.

        I've been involved with Novell and Windows for well over 20 years, and while I'm no Linux expert, I'm not some neophyte, either.

        I just want it to work as simple as possible. I am trying to convert others to Linux (I didn't like what Novell did to SuSE and prefer Ubuntu), but things like this make it hard to believe that it would be easy to convince others who are almost afraid of their computers.

        I'm no troll or FUD-dweller. I don't want or need a Windows-clone. I don't want a Mac clone, either. I just want it to work for someone as simple as I am.

        Blow me off if you want, but that doesn't change the fact that there are many like me who would love to make the move, but can't because of things like this.

        Thanks.

        1. tardigrade

          RTFM (please.)

          For a start you need to use the right software for the distribution that you are using. A .rpm file is a RedHat Package Manager extension. It wont work on ubuntu which is Debian based. You need a .deb file. If you think that's "Not exactly intuitive." Then look at it this way. Microsoft Office runs on both Windows and Apple Mac right. But you wouldn't expect the same copy to install on both Windows 7 and Mac as well would you. You need Office for Mac for one and Office for Windows for the other. In the same way you're not going to get a .rpm to install on ubuntu.

          If VMWare can't provide the right software for your installation or documentation to make you aware of its limitations then that's their look out.

          Alternatively you could click on Applications on your ubuntu desktop, click on Ubuntu Software Centre, type in VMWare Tools in to the search box (no need to press enter) and then select open-vm-tools and click on the big Install button that will download and install the software for you.

          Done.

          Just because one provider can't be bothered to document their software properly that doesn't suddenly justify a blanket claim that Linux wont be up to scratch until it can provide click and run software installation like Windows does.

          Linux does do this and it even provides a superb Software Centre that Windows doesn't yet have. Your statement is an inaccurate gross exaggeration, in the same way that it would be a gross exaggeration if I were to state that Windows is command line hell just because ipconfig is run from a DOS prompt.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            RTFM 2

            Thanks for the informative post.

            With over what, 350 different "flavors" of Linux, don't you think there should be some sort of consistency among them? Should there not be some kind of consistent way to deliver applications that don't require "for Ubuntu, Press 1, for Red Hat, Press 2, for SuSE, Press 3, etc"?

            There shouldn't be hundreds of ways to deliver a simple application. Yes, the Linux group has created a bunch of applications - some even worthwhile and not game-like - but there should still be a consistent way to deliver them. IF there were, it would open up many more apps across the board.

            Yes, that would also invite malware, etc., but that's going to happen anyway, so use AppArmor or something to help protect the kernel, etc.

            I don't use MS software on a Mac. Seems counter-productive to me.

            I was a bit supporter of StarOffice when it came out (until it took over the entire desktop), and now a big advocate of OpenOffice.

            I'm no Redmond-Altar worshiper by any stretch of the imagination. I just want Linux to be easier to work with.

            I shouldn't have to break out to shell commands to type in stuff that MS now seems to want to do with their cmdlet crapola, because they're too lazy to get it in a UI, IMO.

            Simplify and get commonality in how apps are delivered and things will get better for Linux adoption as a whole, IMO.

            1. tardigrade

              Bork, bork, bork.

              "I don't use MS software on a Mac. Seems counter-productive to me."

              Probably shouldn't use a RedHat package on ubuntu then, it's counter productive.

              How is it that you've gone from not understanding why clicking on a .rpm in ubuntu would open the archive manager and also not understanding why zipped files open with the archive manager to espousing the benefits of AppArmor to Kernel security?

              "With over what, 350 different "flavors" of Linux, don't you think there should be some sort of consistency among them?"

              There is they distil down into several distinct trees namely....

              "Should there not be some kind of consistent way to deliver applications that don't require "for Ubuntu, Press 1, for Red Hat, Press 2, for SuSE, Press 3, etc"?"

              ....oh you already know. Good.

              If you want more interoperability between package formats and distributions, should I also expect Microsoft to ensure that .exe files run on Mac OS, RISC/os, Aegis and AIX etc?

              "There shouldn't be hundreds of ways to deliver a simple application."

              Would it matter as long as there still exists one way that you can click and run? I use apt-get frequently, not because I can't browse to a website and download a .deb or install from the software centre, but because it's faster if I know what I want. I'm glad that there is more than one way. It's productive and helpful.

              "Yes, the Linux group has created a bunch of applications - some even worthwhile and not game-like - ..."

              OK enough, obvious Troll is obvious. Have a nice day.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Yeah...

                So I express some frustrations and I'm labeled a "troll".

                Nice.

                So much for the "friendly Linux community", eh?

                1. Goat Jam
                  Windows

                  LOL

                  You come here, spout a load of 1996 era uninformed FUD and then bleat about the "unfriendly Linux community"

                  My heart bleeds.

                  Question: If you get $RANDOM.EXE from teh intertoobs, do you have to care that it is the correct version for Win3, Win95, Win2000, WinXP, Vista, or Win7 or are all EXE's interchangable between all versions of Windows?

                  Answer on a postage stamp please.

    2. El Cid Campeador
      FAIL

      Huh???

      Are you kidding? For serious admins both apt and yum do what we need-- and for the general user Canonical has got a nice GUI-driven setup with tons of apps; click, password, done! Even programs from other sources are not difficult for anyone who can follow directions. My girlfriend (oops, am I now kicked out of the Linux true believer club for violating the celibacy rule?) is not technical and she loves her dual booted laptop, and complains bitterly when she has to reboot to run ITunes on Windows....

  25. Jay 2
    Linux

    Fedora/GNOME 3 and Ubuntu/Unity

    Much as I'd like to say I've played with both, I haven't. The single reason being that under ESXi and Parallels Desktop (Mac) the VMs don't seem to meet the min hardware requirements now set for these reimagined desktops.

    As that's how I usually test/play with a new (to me) OS nowadays it's a big dissapointement.

  26. Rinsey
    Linux

    The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

    "...Btrfs is getting there, but probably not a good idea for mission-critical work."

    The same could be said of Fedora as a whole imo.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    If "mystery meat navigation" is bad on websites

    Why is it good on the desktop?

  28. lesway

    GNOME 3 and choice

    Like most people here, and like the author, I was very sceptical about Gnome 3 at first. But after a few days, Gnome 3 just 'feels right', and it's a struggle going back to desktop icons and menus, and... clutter. I actually find myself getting things done without all the hunt-and-click nuisance.

    The nice thing about Linux, of course, is that you don't have to agree with me, or with the people who developed Gnome 3. UI's are a very personal choice. I happen to like Gnome 3 on Fedora 15. But if you want XFCE on Ubuntu, there's a .deb for that.

  29. itsallcrap
    Badgers

    The trick is to type, you fools

    If you're always insist on navigating your desktop with a mouse, you'll defiinitely find GNOME3 harder to use.

    However, if you just tap the system key (the one with the Windows logo on it) and type what you want, it's frickin' glorious.

    In many cases it will even match a rough idea of what you're after instead of the application's actual name - ie. type 'resolution' and it will return the Display settings program.

    I like it, and it's really not that similar to a smartphone interface either - unless you insist on always going back to that big page with all the applications on it, which decidedly counts as Doing It Wrong.

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      So CLI rides again?

      I thought we had mice for that?

  30. Kubla Cant Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Great! A new user interface!

    Suppose you're test-driving a new car. The salesman reveals it has a new UI - brake and accelerator reversed, you work the indicators with your elbow, the gear-change responds to gestures and the wiper switch is now in the glove compartment.

    Do you test it, or do you get out while you're still alive?

    Your computer is less likely to kill you than your car, so the UI designers feel free to introduce new visual metaphors, not because the old ones don't work, but simply because they're "stale".

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Change" is not inherently bad.

    "Change for change's sake" or "fixing what ain't broke", IMHO, is.

  32. Martyn 1
    Linux

    XFCE4 is the way to go.

    I upgraded my lappy from Fedora 13 to 15 the other evening and was appalled when I logged in and saw what GNOME3 was like.

    A quick "yum groupinstall xfce" and I had a new desktop installed in a minute (try that on Windows AC @Wednesday 25th May 2011 09:47 GMT) and was happy once again, I might even have another look at KDE which I haven't used since Ubuntu was still in nappies.

    I've still got GNOME3 on there and I will revisit it but I can't see me getting on with it TBH.

  33. spegru
    Thumb Up

    I like it

    A good moment, when we are moving to the post-pc era to introduce new desktop metaphors.

    Tried Unity and Gnome3: So far I prefer Gnome3, but I guess they'll both evolve

    It also makes KDE4 look a bit out of touch.... and as for XP.....

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Extra UI idiocy

    That is so not going to be thin client / remote session friendly. Who spends time gazing at their desktop anyway?

    Most of the time ur in the web browser anyway - who spends time gazing at their desktop u just want to organisae and run applications.

    On to xfce I go....

  35. E 2

    Maybe

    take away the Gnome developers smart phones. Especially the iPhones.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    I just don't get it ...

    RANT START - warning, profanity within.

    ... I must be getting old and Jaded, but I simply *don't* get all this fucking around with the desktop Paradigm - this is a *DESKTOP* not a *MOBILE INTERFACE*

    Heck, why don't they just force users to adopt the Dvorak keyboard layout while they are at it - it's the same frikkin' difference.

    I use a desktop to *get work done*, I'm *not* interested in having to re-learn a good 16 years experience on what I consider to be the accepted UI methodologies.

    I can use Windows / Gnome (2x) / XFCE / MacOSx and switch between without *any* issues.

    I fire up Unity or Gnome 3 and I just get angry - WHY WHY WHY.

    It's like a huge desktop developers wank-fest - it's like they not only threw the desktop UI design guideline book away, but stamped on it and set fire to it before they did.

    "We know better. We know what *you* want."

    Fuck off, no you don't - your just obsessed with the way mobile devices work and want to emulate them on the Desktop. WRONG WRONG WRONG.

    There's a *very* valid reason why both Microsoft and Apple don't stray too far off the path when it comes to Desktop UI design - they don't want to alienate their users.

    There's a very valid reason why they have *seperate* OS's for mobile devices - because they are *different* disciplines.

    They *understand* the concept of interface familiarity - you don't fuck with something that's been around for two decades.

    RANT OVER. I'll get my fucking coat.

    (If this passes moderation, I'll eat my coat)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      i think the moderatrix wants video of your next meal

      and I agree completely. like gnome switching the window control buttons right-to-left....WTF would anyone do that?

    2. AdamWill
      Stop

      Once more for the road

      This whole thing about GNOME 3 being an interface for mobile devices is just entirely made up. It's not. It was not designed for phones or tablets; it was designed for computers. If you read the design documents, this is very clear; the interface is designed for computers, with a small amount of sanity checking to make sure it won't be completely horrible to use on a small screened device.

      Just because it's different, and it happens to have some features which look similar to a few phone features, doesn't mean it's a phone interface; it just isn't. Sometimes a good design happens to be the same for both.

      "They *understand* the concept of interface familiarity - you don't fuck with something that's been around for two decades."

      So, where does this argument stop being valid? Because if it always is, why do we have GUIs at all? Why do we have monitors and not punch cards? Why do we have computers and rocks? There has to be some kind of trade off between conservatism and development; you can't just require everything in the world to stay the same way forever because you're used to it.

    3. Scott Marshall
      Pint

      Hear! Hear! A voice of sanity amidst the cacophany of "let's change everything regardless..." noise

      I'll drink to that!

      Back in the day when I was a *real* programmer, one of the things I learnt very quickly is "don't change anything just because you can". It has also been paraphrased as "just because you can change something doesn't mean that you should."

      Nothing used to piss the clients off more than having to re-learn an application with which they'd been intimately familiar.

      In my experienced opinion, the changes in GNOME 3 are too many, too soon, with no decent or usable transition mode. Don't mention the "fallback" mode - I tried it and it was as useless as tits on a bull - it did NOT fall back to a GNOME 2 environment, it just fell back to a half-arsed attempt to look like GNOME 2, but with all the hassles of GNOME 3 still in place.

      Maybe it's because I *am* an experienced IT type that I find GNOME 3 so useless and constricting, but I don't understand why a PDA/touchscreen UI metaphor needs to foisted onto a desktop environment which has a keyboard and mouse. It may be suitable for "kiosk" style installations, but that's it as far as I can see.

      Now, I've always preferred the Red Hat based distros, and I will be continuing using Fedora with F15, but I have switched to XFCE. I don't think much of KDE4 either, but to be honest I haven't given KDE much of a look since the days of Red Hat 6 (and no, I don't mean RHEL6).

      However, the real winner here is that I have the CHOICE of window manager/desktop managers, and that the UNIX style systems such as BSD & Linux support multiple windows & desktop managers "out of the box".

      (*real* programmer: profiled, hand-optimised, top-down (or bottom-up) procedural programs with text screens, none of this GUI building-block lego style malloc()+malloc()+malloc()... "programming" [let the garbage collector clean it up] of today!)

      Okay, yes I'm trolling a bit with the above statement, but there's an element of truth to it. ;)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        slowly ...

        It's done slowly, over releases. Gradual change, not massive overhauls. You'll notice these gradual changes in both MacOS and Windows if you look back through the releases over the decades.

        It hardly matters much anyway, as the market share of Gnome is miniscule - and about to get smaller.

        1. AdamWill

          Doesn't work.

          "It hardly matters much anyway, as the market share of Gnome is miniscule"

          Indeed; this is actually a point in favour of the GNOME 3 change. All the bellyaching about how it changes ways of doing things that are established in GNOME 2 kind of relies on the assumption that GNOME 2 is a *success*.

          "and about to get smaller."

          good lord, do you have next week's winning lottery numbers there too? Seriously, though: if you've been doing something for ten years (GNOME 2) and your 'market' share is still 'minuscule', doesn't it sort of make sense to think 'I know, let's do something different instead of continuing to polish our turd in our irrelevant little corner'?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            market share...

            "'I know, let's do something different instead of continuing to polish our turd in our irrelevant little corner'?"

            Absolutely. What you need to ensure, however, is that you *appeal* to a set of users who are familiar with Desktops and how they work.

            If your aiming at trying to capture some windows users, you need to make pretty damn sure they can adopt your desktop easily. Your average user is *not* a computer geek. They expect things to work they way they've been shown, the way they learnt.

            I may be giving Gnome3 a bit of a hard time, but the reality is, like Unity, it's gone a step too far from what people are used to.

            Innovation is important, but innovation for innovations sake - because of some drive to 'do things different', is tricky route to take. By all means, do it differently, but make damn sure it works as well or better.

            There's another side to this too. Gnome 3 may indeed be a *better* desktop design in terms of productivity, but if the learning curve is too steep, people aren't going to bother - not because they are lazy, but because, they have work to do!

            I've had 16 years of expecting a close window button to be in the top right corner of a window.

            When I use desktop configurations with that button on the left, I *still* aim for the right and have to do a quick double-check before moving to the left - muscle memory.

            It irritates me instantly.

            Sure, I can probably customise the interface and move it - but why should I have to? Why change a default so many people are used to?

            In closing, I *will* admit that, by and large, we haven't reached a computer UI yet which is instantly accessible with hardly any training. I'll go further in saying that the touch interface is the right direction in achieving this for many applications. But for now, most people are on Desktop interfaces when it comes to productivity and will be for quite some time.

            1. AdamWill

              tried it.

              gnome tried looking and working virtually exactly like windows 98. for a decade. it didn't seem to do much good.

    4. Jim 59
      Stop

      Re: I don't get it

      Quoting Matt 89's fine rant:

      "..this is a *DESKTOP* not a *MOBILE INTERFACE*"

      Exactly.

      Dear desktop designers, my PC has a 20 inch screen, not a 3 inch screen. It runs 10 applications at once, not a single "app". I use 2 hands, not a single finger, and so on, and so on. Please take your shiny Androidesque daftness and place it in the bin with the KDE plasmoids. I'll give you plasmoids.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Not a vintage release I'm sorry to say.

    As a long term Fedora user (and RedHat Linux before that) I have to say that this is not the finest release.

    Gnome 3 is still a work in progress. As someone who was a confirmed Gnome 2 user I find V3 almost unusable.

    Naturally the network interface are configured to be off at boot. IT took me an age to find the network manager to get them going. I was on the point of giving up and editing the ifcfg_* files.

    I will give G3 a bit more of a chance but I have a number of 3rd party apps that I use all the time. Pinning their icon on the top bar in G2 really increased the usability. I really don't want to wade through screens of icons for apps I hardly ever use. Sorry that is not my style.

    Terminal in KDE is totally broken. Thankfully konsole works fine.

    I don't line the light black text on a white background in the installer. Why oh why di you change it?

    As for the default wallpapers etc, F15 is a big letdown. Some of the previous releases the artwork was great. Now it looks like blue Victorian Wallpaper. Sorry, a fail.

    Why do they default the network interfaces to Off! Pah. For the average user this is a big fail.

    With all that, I have to say that I'm going to keep trying with G3 for the tme being. I can always revert to KDE.

    If F-15 fails I will go back to RHEL 6/SL 6 or CentOS. At least they stil have G2.

    1. AdamWill

      Point by point

      "Naturally the network interface are configured to be off at boot. IT took me an age to find the network manager to get them going. I was on the point of giving up and editing the ifcfg_* files."

      This hasn't changed in F15, it was the same in previous releases. (For the record, it depends on how you install; if you enable the network during installation, it'll be enabled post-install too.)

      "I will give G3 a bit more of a chance but I have a number of 3rd party apps that I use all the time. Pinning their icon on the top bar in G2 really increased the usability. I really don't want to wade through screens of icons for apps I hardly ever use. Sorry that is not my style."

      So, put them in the Dash? I mean, that's what it's there for. If you use them all the time, why not just set them to run on boot?

      "Terminal in KDE is totally broken. Thankfully konsole works fine."

      GNOME Terminal? Yeah, it is - https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=670173 . But, I mean, that's not really a huge deal, is it? Seems natural to use Konsole in KDE.

      "As for the default wallpapers etc, F15 is a big letdown. Some of the previous releases the artwork was great. Now it looks like blue Victorian Wallpaper. Sorry, a fail."

      If that's all the problems you can come up with, I'm pretty happy. I mean, a wallpaper's a wallpaper. Don't like it, change it...

      "Why do they default the network interfaces to Off! Pah. For the average user this is a big fail."

      I've never met this Average User of whom you speak, could you let me have his/her phone number? People use computers for all sorts of different reasons; Fedora targets some of those people and some of those reasons. The default network configuration is part of that. In concrete terms, it's been defaulted to off simply because the anaconda team figured you can't really assume someone who did the entire installation without using the network actually wanted it turned on post-install. Sometimes they don't, honestly. It may be changed in future, but it's not a new thing and it's really not a huge deal, I mean, the network applet is right there on the panel.

  38. Cyfaill
    Linux

    Always looking towards the future

    As an aptosid user (Debian sid rolling release) i got use to the idea of a machine in perpetual development, as a daily driver.

    I use KDE 4.4.5 today. Tomorrow it might be 4.4.6, if you get my drift.

    A user interface is not written in stone. At first encounter everything may seem strange if one has never used anything except the same old same old.

    But I bet you have not had your latest podly or android phone more than 6 months... that's new too. tomorrow it will be different, get use to it.

    Fact is... the desktop is evolving into a hybrid of mobile and workstation.

    Most of Linux is geared towards the supercomputer and the desktop struggles for a piece of the action with the developers. The PC itself is dying. These new developments with GNOME and KDE are really the only shot at bringing the desktop PC in to a future that is integrated with the new world of the mobile.

    My best advice to users of computers is stop thinking of these things as white goods were all the controls are always were they were and doing the same things as your dads machine did. Embrace the future and feel the acceleration of greater power in computing. Put that old Pentium in the dumpster of the past along with MS Win whatever it was.

    Linux Rocks in its many forms from android, to some invisible embedded thing running your automobile, to the latest global powerhouse figuring out Quanto-gravitectic hyper-drive in the 4th dimension. Oh by the way, Linux does desktops on a PC... Aren't we lucky it does.

    Icons go down hard and thinking of Linux as a reflection of Windows and the dying Microsoft is like not realizing that in computing terms 1995 was in the last millennium. Computers had better look like and act like today's technology today.

    A rolling release such as aptosid is more like tomorrows technology today... I'm quite sure that the fine people at Fedora and Red Hat feel the same way. Even if the mechanism of the distribution is a little old school :)

    On one hand technology is today an acceleration of doing things with greater capabilities at lower cost than yesterday.

    It also means that people need to take a greater amount of time to think about what they are allowing into their lives today. Your choice to stay in the past or not has ramifications.

    You do have a choice about that. you do not have one if you choose not to move into the future though, as the rest of the world will pass you by. And it will if you can't integrate your mindset with the new.

    Sorry, but just as Luddite became a word... aren't we all just a little bit like that from time to time. Look at your computer as more than an Office sledge hammer and one will see into it the future itself.

    I too look at my Western Electric 202 telephone from 1932 and dreamily consider a past that is no more. But I don't stay there long.

    I wish the people at GNOME and its users all the best in getting people to let go of the past and move into a new more sophisticated UI.

    I look at my (once) beloved KDE 3.5 and now wonder, just what was I thinking so long ago... two years past. change happens.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    What's wrong with icons on the desktop?

    I tend to launch frequently used apps (Firefox & email) from the start menu or a quicklaunch buttons on the taskbar OR a desktop icon - depending upon what's most visible and easiest to hit at the time.

    I have media players and such like arranged around the edge of the screen where I can drag-n-drop documents onto them, and frequently used files and folders tend to get shortcut icons on the desktop too.

    It works perfectly and I simply cannot imagine anything better. I'd be absolutely fascinated to see A Better Way, because what I have at present closely represents - as close as it can - having a nice big Real Life desk with all sorts of goodies (phone, calculator, notepad, reference books, files etc) always in the same place readily to hand.

    Granted, there's an issue of apparent tidyness or lack of, and in real life the things I really don't use that often get put away in drawers or on a shelf - on the PC document shortcuts either end up as icons towards the center of the screen usually covered by some window, or not shortcut-ed at all. What's the problem?

    Seems like this new interface is geared towards very light use of a PC, only launching the same few apps each time - not for real work.

    1. AdamWill

      Again with the 'real work'

      Again with the 'real work' meme, as if there's only one way to do that...again, what do you think the people who program GNOME 3 do with their desktops? Play Solitaire all day?

      Your use of icons on the desktop is a fairly sane one, but in my experience it's unusual; mostly when I see random people's desktops, they have the last five hundred things they downloaded from the Internet on there. In no order whatsoever. When they download something else from the internet, they then minimize all their windows and spend the next five minutes rolling their cursor over the desktop looking for it. This is the kind of thing that GNOME 3 is trying to avoid.

      I can't really explain the alternative any better than the design documents. Take a look at the links from https://live.gnome.org/ThreePointOne/Features/FindingAndReminding .

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @ AdamWill

        I've read all the posts and so far I generally agree with your points.

        However, a point you keep making to everyone who dislikes GNOME 3 is that the way they prefer to work is not necessarily the way everyone else works. Well, I'd like to point out that the way the GNOME 3 team likes to work is not the way we like to work either. Clearly the majority of people currently using GNOME 2.x like the way it works or they would have jumped to KDE, XFCE, etc.

        If the GNOME 3 team don't like cluttered desktops, then they shouldn't put clutter on their desktop. They shouldn't be enforcing their opinion on everyone else either, for the exact same reasons you keep pointing out to all the other posters. If I like clutter on my desktop (which I don't), I should be allowed to put it on there. I have links to my current projects on the desktop, when a project is complete or not as active, any files or links are moved to the home directories, archived if you like.

        We can't give our opinions on how we work without being told we're wrong or have the wrong idea, but the GNOME 3 team can just make changes based on their opinions? Isn't GNU/Linux all about choice and customisation? Clearly not in the GNOME 3 teams opinion. By all means change the default, but surely we are allowed to change it back and decide how WE work, not how the GNOME 3 team work?

        And no, I can't get involved in the community so my opinion could be heard. You wouldn't be Adam Williamson of Red Hat? We're not even trying to change any code here and you're already telling us that our opinion is wrong. What would be the point of joining the developing team when our opinions are even wrong in a discussion forum, none of our ideas or code would be accepted, we're just plainly wrong.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Alert

          Watch it

          If you disagree or show any signs of frustration, you will be labeled the Label of All Labels - a "Troll".

          I just don't see how the "friendly Linux community" just can't stand to have differing thoughts or opinions as you have clearly expressed.

          I totally agree - change the default, but still allow the customer (the end user) to make whatever changes from that default they wish.

          Or is this 1984?

          1. AdamWill

            the code doesn't write itself

            there seems to be a perception here that all the coding involved in writing a desktop is to create a dialog box with a lot of radio buttons in it.

            there does have to be code *behind* those radio buttons, y'know.

            The GNOME team considered what a good desktop environment design would look like, then wrote it. They figured that putting a bunch of icons on the desktop was probably never the best way to achieve what you actually want to achieve, and thought hard about other ways to achieve that, which they have now designed and are starting to code.

            But because you like to throw icons on the desktop, you think the GNOME team should be required to write all the code necessary to support having icons all over the desktop? It's not just a question of providing a preference; it's a question of writing to code to make that preference actually work and then supporting it forever. If that's not how they want their desktop paradigm to work, why would you expect them to spend all the time and pain writing the code to do it?

            So maybe the key point here is to look at GNOME 3 as a new desktop and decide if you like its approach. If you do, great - if you don't, use something else. I don't mind at all if you think icons on the desktop are a great idea and so important you must have them, so you use some desktop which lets you do that instead of GNOME 3. It's your choice. What seems odd to me is this expectation that GNOME must implement, and allow you to choose, anything which you believe is a good way to use your desktop. Would you write to Fluxbox and demand they provide an option for the Expose feature, because you think it's a neat thing? Probably not. So why everyone assumes the GNOME team should be required to implement their $favourite_feature, I'm not quite sure.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Hm

              You're reversing the blame back to us again.

              "But because you like to throw icons on the desktop, you think the GNOME team should be required to write all the code necessary to support having icons all over the desktop?"

              I'm not asking them to write any code, the code was already there in GNOME 2.x. But because they don't use it, they've thrown the code away. The problem I have, along with many others, is that it's not some slightly different way of doing something, it's a completely different way of doing anything. It's pretty much impossible to work the way we did before and it's not even possible to have a slightly similar look and feel any more, because nothing is the same.

              Don't get me wrong, I will try to use GNOME 3, but it means changing everything about the way I work. It's going to take longer to do things until I get used to the new way. But what's going to happen with GNOME 3.x? Is everything going to be thrown out again and we all have to learn yet a new way of doing things, just because the developers decided they didn't like something? It's very difficult to use GNU/Linux of any flavour for anything serious when things change so drastically with the next upgrade. It's a damn sight better than Unity, but it's still too much of a change.

              I now need to remove Fedora 14 from a few machines in order for them to be upgradable, I can't let them upgrade to F15, it took them long enough to get used to not using Windows without moaning. I can't try and convince them that it won't change again. It'll be easier to move them to XFCE or maybe even KDE if it has finally settled down.

              1. AdamWill

                not really that simple

                GNOME 3 is a completely different codebase to GNOME 2. You can't just throw the GNOME 2 code in and expect it to work.

                Well...you can try. In fact, you can do exactly that, as I hinted above: install gnome-tweak-tool and check the box to make Nautilus render the desktop. And you'll find that...hey! It sorta-kinda-not-quite-perfectly works.

                That's what you get by just more or less leaving the code from GNOME 2 alone, because that's exactly the code that's there. But it doesn't really work properly, because of other changes in the GNOME 2 to GNOME 3 transition. And since having desktop icons on the desktop isn't where the GNOME team wants GNOME 3 to go anyway, it doesn't make much sense to spend the effort on fixing it.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Holmes

              Desktop Icons

              Desktop Icons are quite simply icons that represent applications or links to said applications.

              You make it sound like it takes a team of coders to write code for every single possible icon for every possible application, for every single x-y coordinate on the screen.

              It's really just a matter of including code that's already been written - you know, "re-usable code".

              So what they did was choose not to include something that was already there and is pre-existing. Not a helluva lot of work to put it back.

              Why do you make it seem so difficult and time-consuming? It can be done during a bathroom break.

        2. AdamWill

          yes

          yes, that's who I am. Note I don't work on GNOME or represent the GNOME project, or, for that matter, any official opinion on the part of Red Hat; I'm just trying to help explain why some things in GNOME 3 are the way they are.

          you may not realize it, but yes, you are trying to change code. Install gnome-tweak-tool and enable the option that says 'Have file manager handle the desktop'. Then notice that it's broken in various ways; there's been a few threads in the Fedora forums on this already. By asking the GNOME team to implement a preference for this in the main GNOME, you are implicitly asking them to fix up all those bugs and then maintain the code against such bugs forever after, just to support a feature that doesn't fit the design of the desktop they're trying to write. You're free to ask that, but they're also free to refuse. :)

          What tends to get annoying on the mailing lists is when the arguments get depressingly circular: someone pops up on the list and argues for Pet Feature A, someone else replies explaining why Pet Feature A isn't in GNOME 3, then the person writes back and says all the things they said in their first post all over again, only angrier. That's the point at which the signal to noise ratio starts to decline. It's perfectly fine to show up on a GNOME list or whatever and say "I think this thing should be done this way", but if the people who are actually involved in writing "this thing" don't agree and explain why they don't, it does no-one any good for you to keep repeating your demand at an ever-increasing level of obnoxiousness. In any project, people make feature requests, and sometimes those requests get denied.

  40. bodycode
    Thumb Up

    I love it.

    On my HP I7-950 rig, with 9 gigs of Ram, four large 7200 rpm hard drives, and an ATI Radeon high end card with dual monitor, the first install of Fedora 15 went perfectly! It's true that it wouldn't install Grub to enable the Win7 bootloader on the MBR, but, everything went well when Fedora wiped out Win7 and did an auto-install :)

    My HP Pavilion Elite 9280t absolutely FLIES with Fedora, as well as making my jaw hit my floor when messing around with the Gnome Shell! It even found and installed my HP printer which is connected wirelessly to my router, using CUPS.

    I've already done a system update (first time it choked second time it worked).

    My wife just came into my computer lab and asked me to print out an UNO restaurant coupon on the net. Worked perfectly, printed beautifully. All in all I'd say that I'm going to KEEP Ubunto off of my HD and instead, use Fedora instead of both Win7/64 and Ubuntu 11x /64!!!!

    I heartily recommend F15, it's a fast fighter jet :)http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/thumb_up_32.png

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