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Has GNOME Become LAME? 866

Posted by michael
from the minus-one-flamebait dept.
auferstehung writes "Nicholas Petreley (should that be KNicholas KPetreley) of LinuxWorld and VarLinux.org has taken his gloves off in the latest article in his KDE vs Gnome series. An unabashed KDE supporter, Petreley uses some choice fighting words in re-acronymizing GNOME as the Language Agnostic Morphable Environment (LAME) Franken-GUI. Despite the sensationalistic flamage throughout the article, several of his GNOME criticisms (Gconf, file selector, features) echo those already voiced within the GNOME community itself. A happy GNOME user myself, please someone...tell me it isn't so."
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Has GNOME Become LAME?

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  • by GauteL (29207) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @05:41AM (#5412319)
    .. that complains about GConf, is the ones that do not know what it means.

    It is basically a configuration database that provides notification, and can use any backend, where the default is pure XML-formatted text files.

    An LDAP-backend is also being worked on, something which should be a boon for network administrators.

    The file-dialog is lame, and is being replaced.

    This article is basically a troll. Use whatever you like. Some people like KDE, others like GNOME.
    • by Richard W.M. Jones (591125) <rich.annexia@org> on Saturday March 01, 2003 @07:41AM (#5412572) Homepage
      I don't use GNOME. I DID use Galeon up until it lost all my preferences for the 4th time in a row because of gconf. I've now ditched it and I'm back to Mozilla, although I'm looking for a lightweight replacement.

      Rich.

    • by jilles (20976) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @09:57AM (#5412880) Homepage
      Not every message you don't like is a troll. While obviously biased towards KDE, the author does list an impressive number of valid arguments to support his claim that gnome is deviating from what it used to stand for. Whether that's good or bad is a personal thing. Consistency in UIs is overrated imho and many (unix) apps I like are not ideal in terms of usability. Awkward little tools are what make unix so nice. You pick the stuff you like/need and forget about the rest. That's why people use gnome. KDE, while configurable to the extreme, works differently. You basically install Keverythingandthekitchensink and that doesn't go down well with the more tradiotional/anarchistic unix folk who like to have a bit more choice .

      That being said, kde is currently obviously more feature rich, configurable and consistent than gnome. That's a message that infuriates some but stimulates others to fix things. If I were a GNOME developer, I'd prefer to be in the latter camp.

      BTW. IMHO the question to which desktop environment to use boils to figuring out which one sucks least for you.
  • by bushboy (112290) <lttc@lefthandedmonkeys.org> on Saturday March 01, 2003 @05:43AM (#5412329) Homepage
    If all of what this article implies is a reasonable "comparison" between the way KDE and Gnome function, why is it that so many prefer Gnome over KDE ?

    I've used both for years and have finally settled on Gnome as I find it faster, more intuitive and less "bloated" than KDE, yet the authour of the article finds pretty much the opposite to be true.

    I'm no programmer, so what happens behind 'the scenes' is not something I can use to compare the different desktops.

    All I know is that I much prefer Gnome over KDE.
    • Why?

      Because it's backed by RedHat and Sun.

      And it's no coincidence that RedHat users usually say that Linux isn't ready for the desktop yet while SuSE, Mandrake or Gentoo users say it is...

      At least that's my observation, and it's also confirmed by statistics (in Germany (= SuSE territory) Linux marketshare is about 3-4 times higher than in the USA (=RedHat territory))

      • I switched from slackware to SuSE a long time ago. around SuSE 6.1, so I guess you could say I "grew up" on SuSE and of course because its a Germant Distro KDE was the window manager of choise. This was because the non North American's weren't as caught up in the debate over wether it was politicaly correct to use the non-open Qt libary and therefore spent more time polishing.

        On my new SuSE 8.1 tho I notice that the KDE is slow, sometime drifting off into LALA land, and sometimes not coming back I've had actual screen freezes that required pulling the plug and rebooting. Now that I've got a cable broadband connect it's time to do some serious updateing.

        Gnome on the other hand seems to work a lot better for me does slowdown occasionaly but hasn't actualy frozen yet,(a lot of the slow downs seem to come from Mozilla and not realy Gnome) I miss the more familar KDE interface Gnome is very spartan in comparison.

        One advantage I've really noticed is that Gnome bassed app run a lot better in KDE than KDE app run in Gnome. A good running KDE is a pretty good desktop I've notice that the look and feel of Windows XP seems to be the same as KDE 3, and of course everything in the KDE. I've noticed that when I'm on the wife Windows XP I start to do someting, and have to stop myself because the software isn't in there.
    • "I've settled on Gnome as I find it faster, more intuitive and less "bloated" than KDE, yet the authour of the article finds pretty much the opposite to be true."

      I think the author of this article would agree with you, although he doesn't cover such issues in the article. Take his example of file-select box. He has a screenshot of KDE file-select, with bookmarks, favourites icons, an image-previewer, an optional directory-tree, a browser toolbar, and little icons by each type of file.

      He then gives a screenshot of the Gnome file-select, with a listbox and a "parent directory" dropdown, and goes on to note how basic it is. Yes, but how long did the K take to load? How much memory is that file-select using? How long does it take to redraw a directory with thousands of files?

      For me, speed is not the issue so much as reliability. I've had problems with KDE and Gnome crashing (Fixed in whichever version comes with the Drake 9) which lost me more time than any delays in the operating environment.

      WindowMaker is very good, for people who've not tried it yet. You can run you Gnome and KDE programs the same, but the environment is more stable and robust, and it loads in less than a second.
  • by BrokenHalo (565198) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @05:44AM (#5412331)
    I am very tired of reading flame wars between Gnome and KDE. OK, I am a big supporter of Gnome, but that doesn't mean KDE sucks. It plainly does not. I would be the first to agree that there have been some terrible blunders made by some of the Gnome developers along the way, but the current 2.2 is very sweet. Every so often I try out new versions of KDE as they come up, and every time I abandon it because my desktop looks cluttered and Kalling Keverything Kfoo.Kbar Ketc Kgives Kme Kthe Kshits... :-) [/rant]
  • by Isldeur (125133) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @05:51AM (#5412347)
    Nicholas Petreley (should that be KNicholas KPetreley) ...&&... Despite the sensationalistic flamage throughout the article,

    So can you give examples of this "sensationalistic flamage"? I sure didn't find any. Why is there an immediate knee-jerk reaction when anyone ever criticizes gnome or kde? I personally think he has some very good points. Why can't people try and learn from constructive criticism?

    If I could now lapse into a personal opinion: I've tried gnome and I try it regularly. And to be simply honest, I continue to get this "Is this all?" feeling every time I use it.

    He's right about the dialogs. When I tried changing my background with one of the latest gnomes, I get this measly little window with three different picture boxes that don't help at all. I remember thinking how Spartan (?) this was back then.

    Gnome just seems to be going in so many directions that it's turning into a mess. And no one wants that.
    • So can you give examples of this "sensationalistic flamage"?

      You don't think referring to GNOME as LAME is flamage?

      I personally think he has some very good points.

      I'd say he has one good point: GNOME's file selection dialog sucks, and KDE's is much better. One thing I like about the Gtk file dialog is that it has tab completion. I don't know if KDE's does or not. The bookmarks rock, though.

      Beyond that, Petreley just seems to harp on consistency, though he doesn't give any concrete example of how KDE is consistent and GNOME is not. He seems to imply that KDE is consistent because it uses a bunch of small tools from a common framework. But Gnome is the same way. I fail to see what his point is.

      Further, he criticizes Gnome and Bonobo for not fully exploiting CORBA's network transparency, yet he doesn't explain how this makes it worse than KParts. He also ridicules Gnome's efforts at language indepence, though doesn't really explain why their efforts are bad.

      He also briefly criticizes a few other components:

      • GConf is like the windows registry - This old chestnut has been thouroughly debunked by Havoc Pennington in a number of places. I won't recount them here. Google is your friend.
      • Metacity and Nautilus are lacking features - Of course, he doesn't say what these missing features are, though.

      Beyond that, he incessantly spins things as negatively for Gnome as possible. I love this passage: "New holes are appearing, as well. Read my lips: no new file-pickers." When did not fixing a problem become equivalent to a new problem emerging?

      When I tried changing my background with one of the latest gnomes, I get this measly little window with three different picture boxes that don't help at all. I remember thinking how Spartan

      Changing a background image is a simple procedure, why would you need a complex dialog? I've used the Gnome2 background picker as well, and I haven't found anything lacking. On the contrary, I think it is quite elegant.

      Gnome just seems to be going in so many directions that it's turning into a mess.

      This seems to contradict your previous observation of Gnome's spartan qualities. How can something be both spartan (simple and lacking luxuries) and a mess moving in many different directions? That said, I can see your point here. There are places where Gnome is a bit awkward, though these are mostly relics from Gnome 1.4 that haven't been fixed yet. This is not an indication that things are moving in many different directions, just that they are moving, and still need to move some more.

      As an aside, I've noticed an increasing frequency in these anti-Gnome trolls. A while back, an Australian site did an interview with Shawn Gordon, and he came across as very arrogant and contemptuous of Gnome. The same interviewer tried to bait Gnome's Jeff Waugh into a flamewar over this, but he politely declined. Why have certain members of the KDE camp become so bitter? By the way, I don't mean to imply that your post was anything of the sort. Rather, I think it was honest and tactful. Petreley's article was a major league troll, though

      <disclaimer>I do not use either Gnome 2.x or KDE 3.x, though I do follow the Gnome project closely and admire what they are trying to accomplish.</disclaimer>

  • by nkv (604544) <nkv@willers.emplo y e e s . o rg> on Saturday March 01, 2003 @05:51AM (#5412348) Homepage
    Which is something to be said. I'm a GNOME user myself. KDE is definitely good and beats GNOME in lots of ways. But it does seem to be like the latter is getting there.

    One thing I completely agree with is the removal of sawfish and the inclusion of metacity. A lot of the GNOME users I know loved sawfish. Removing it was a bad decision. Perhaps the developers had their reasons but.... *shrug*.

    • Sawfish (Score:5, Informative)

      by steveha (103154) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @06:17AM (#5412398) Homepage
      My understanding is that they removed Sawfish because it is difficult to maintain. The original developer of Sawfish has moved on to other things, and he isn't working on it at all. Sawfish is lacking some major features (multihead support, accessability), and large parts of Sawfish are written in LISP. I guess the GNOME developers don't like working with the code base.

      Metacity is simpler than Sawfish, and the theory is that it will be simpler to keep it bug-free.

      I've switched to Metacity; I'm content with it.

      The guys who get paid to work on GNOME are not doing anything with Sawfish. If its fans are dedicated enough, however, they could keep it going.

      steveha
      • GNOME and Sawfish (Score:4, Interesting)

        by merriam (16227) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @09:14AM (#5412778)

        I think GNOME needs something like Sawfish -- something with useful features rather than just a Microsoft clone. If the GNOME people have gone off Sawfish, that's a shame, because there's nothing else like it.

        In my experience Sawfish versions 1.2 and 2.0 are not even ready for beta testing. They crash readily and badly. Don't try them unless you're interested in development.

        Sawfish 1.0.1 is fairly solid, and no other free window manager I have heard of comes close in features. It makes it easy to work efficiently. For example, if you maximize, restore and close windows a lot, you can put "Maximize window toggle" and "Delete window safely" on keys easily. You can do the same with about 251 other functions including XMMS controls.

        John Harper [unfactored.org] commits some user interface howlers like the fixed-size "Edit binding" window, but you'll find that sort of thing in all software. Refreshingly, he doesn't readily make assumptions about what features users don't need. Don't want 251 other functions? Don't use them. If you want a particular window manager feature, try Sawfish 1.0.1 first. It's more likely to be there than in any other window manager, and it will probably be easy to use.

        The original developer of Sawfish has moved on to other things, and he isn't working on it at all.

        The Sawfish list [eazel.com] is busy, John Harper is there [google.com], and development seems to be going on.

        large parts of Sawfish are written in LISP

        Most of it is written in the author's own personal lisp dialect [unfactored.org]. One language per developer is a bad principle, but in this case it helped Sawfish become very useful quickly. You seem to suggest that Lisp is the problem. Does it make software hard to maintain?

        Metacity is good for Windows users. It's a better default than Sawfish was with that ugly Crux theme and the settings it came with in the old gnome defaults. But it's a shame that there's no longer a modern, sophisticated and efficient window manager in the project.

        • by TheRaven64 (641858)
          I think GNOME needs something like Sawfish -- something with useful features rather than just a Microsoft clone.

          Finally, someone has said something sensible. A large number of people I've spoken to (geeks and non-geeks) have said that their next computer is going to be a Mac. Most of them have not actually bought Macs, because they are so expensive. Why do they like OS X?

          It has the power of of a real OS. So does *BSD, and even Linux.

          It has a powerful, yet easy to use UI. Ooops. Sorry but KDE/Gome on X doesn't come close to Aqua on Quartz Extreme. There are two main problems.

          1. Open source developers, in general, do not like following UI guidelines (neither do commercial developers, but they have less choice).
          2. X is aging. As a network-abstract way of putting pixels on the screen, it's great, but beyond that it just doesn't cut it anymore. Compare remote X with a Citrix or Apple remote desktop. It's painful. A remote windows display is usable over a modem, a remote X is just about usable over a 10Mbit LAN (as long as it's switched).

          If the OSS community could throw away X (or at least relegate it to running legacy Apps) and agree on some kind of certification program (possibly on a peer review model) for apps that actually did conform to UI guidelines, then *NIX might be ready for the desktop. Apple have shown it can be done, OS X is ready for the desktop, and a far better thing for the OSS community to be copying from than Windows. A machine at x86 prices with Apple usability levels would popular. Even more so if it ran a version of wine that atually worked (the current versions are almost there), and was seemlessly integrated into the OS.

  • No, it isn't so. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MS_is_the_best (126922) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @05:55AM (#5412356)
    This 'article' is definately flame in the sense that it points to problems in Gnome and doesn't mention problems in KDE or positive features of Gnome.

    For example the Gnome fileselector. Yep, it's is a bit underfeatured. But Gnome developpers know this and decided it should be fixed on the GTK level. Such architecture changes take some time and you better do it good at once (ok twice).

    The Gnome registry is critized a lot, because the Windows registry sucks. However, there are a lot of arguments for the registry implementation of Gnome, this article negates them.
    At least you can change a lot of preferences here, (simply with vim/emacs) which cleans up the GUI. Why should you every preference be in the GUI (almost all MS windows/Mozilla user I know freak out on the Mozilla preferences)? Advanced preferences kept in the registry is ok with me.

    Actually I think Gnome 2.2 with it's HIG is heading as the OS for new linux users and advanced (yup I changed this feature in Gconf or C) users and KDE for the equivalent of the people contantly changing all their skins in windows and "Tweak UI"-ed it to the max. Once you have grown over this and just want a usuable DE, use gnome (or a out of the box KDE). Also a lot of professional linux (ex-unix) people use Gnome. They just aren't posting to Slashdot about it..

    Disclaimer: I'm an Ion [cs.tut.fi]user.
  • by g4dget (579145) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @05:58AM (#5412360)
    And that's not necessarily a bad thing: Gnome and KDE are competing with Windows and OS X for users, so they should look and behave roughly like what common users expect.

    However, some of Petrely's remarks are just silly. For example, he thinks that KDE being "more feature rich" is a good thing. Sorry, but that's not true. Having lots of features and buttons and widgets may work for some users, others may prefer something simpler, and yet others may want a different set of complex features. And while some users get all pushed out of shape about inconsistent appearances, consistency just isn't a big deal to many users either.

    But what makes Gnome/Gtk+ and KDE/Qt both really lame in my book is that they don't take advantage of the really powerful and useful capabilities of X11. Motif and Xaw, for all their many and fatal faults, had better support for remote applications, customization, and inter-application communication than either Gnome or KDE. And Gtk+ and Qt both make very inefficient use of the X11 APIs, giving X11 an undeserved reputation for being slow. The Gnome and KDE developers don't even seem to understand what they are not doing, they are just complaining with some regularity that X11 is more cumbersome than Windows (which it is, if you try to program it like Windows).

    As I was saying, I think both Gnome and KDE are ultimately good projects for Linux. I'm glad I have something simple and pretty to install on PCs for use by friends and family, something that, for better or for worse, works just like Windows and MacOS. But I also view them both as about equally "lame" from a technical point, and the differences between them seem minor compared to their common limitations.

    • by rseuhs (322520) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @07:29AM (#5412538)
      For example, he thinks that KDE being "more feature rich" is a good thing. Sorry, but that's not true.

      OK, show me the app that is successful because it's not feature-rich.

      MS Office? Nope, probably more configuration options than full KDE and full GNOME combined.
      Winamp? Nope, the plugins are all configurable, plus Winamp itself. On top there are skins.
      ICQ? Nope, configuration options are crawling everywhere and more are added with each version.
      And finally KDE: KDE is more successful than GNOME. That's a fact. The Gentoo statistics and numerous web polls confirm that. To argue that KDE has to become like GNOME to be more successful is quite retarded.

      KDE is great, better than the Windows GUI and MacOSX (yes, I tried both of them). I don't want to see make KDE the same mistake GNOME did and sacrifice usability and features for some mysterious "average user" that doesn't exist anyway.

    • However, some of Petrely's remarks are just silly. For example, he thinks that KDE being "more feature rich" is a good thing. Sorry, but that's not true. Having lots of features and buttons and widgets may work for some users, others may prefer something simpler, and yet others may want a different set of complex features.

      Agreed. He also seems to confuse "lots of stuff" with "features". Having 3 media players or whatever they're up to now is not feature rich, it's bloat. OK, OK, so I'm being picky, but I've yet to find features that I really miss from KDE. Sure, I liked the idea of having a mini-webserver in my panel, but I never actually used it.

      And Gtk+ and Qt both make very inefficient use of the X11 APIs, giving X11 an undeserved reputation for being slow.

      Ignoring the fact that both GTK and Qt have pluggable backends, which entails a very slight loss of tight integration, the real reasons that GTK2 is slower than GTK1.2 are

      1) It is double buffered. This slows GTK down, but makes it feel faster and smoother to the user. Net win.

      2) It uses anti-aliasing. XRender is still not finished, nor well optimized. Profiling the new gnome-terminal widget for instance showed that most of the time was spent inside the X server. That will speed up over time.

      3) If you do opaque resizes of apps, you'll find the content area doesn't stick to the borders. That's due to a problem with the internal scheduler, not due to lack of speed on the part of GTK.

    • Having lots of features and buttons and widgets may work for some users, others may prefer something simpler, and yet others may want a different set of complex features. And while some users get all pushed out of shape about inconsistent appearances, consistency just isn't a big deal to many users either.

      And what that really says is that you can't please everyone.

      I personally think that you can come close - and here's how you'd do it:

      1) Leave all the customization options *in*. Organize them as best you can. If someone wants to fiddle with 'em, fine.

      2) Create an interface that let's an admin *lock* out options/preferences and/or set the defaults. I think the Kiosk type thing may fit the bill here.

      I think if KDE and GNOME, and any other graphical interface parties do this, they'll be successful.

      An example: With a setup like this, I can put linux on a machine primarily for the kids to use. I can have either GNOME or KDE available to them to pick which one they want to use. And I can lock things like their webbrowser so that it uses our proxy, which filters out inappropriate sites. I can lock down their look n feel so that I don't get the "help me I lost this icon" etc while I'm watching MNF. Yet I can login and use the box with as much customizations as I want.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 01, 2003 @05:59AM (#5412362)
    The "best" feature of gnome-panel was the Swallowed App, but it seems it's not to be in Gnome2... Now That's LAME!!
  • Why I use Gnome (Score:5, Informative)

    by JamesGreenhalgh (181365) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @06:02AM (#5412368)
    When I upgraded to SuSE 8.1, I decided to give KDE another whirl since it had hit version 3. Pretty good, does a lot of stuff, appears to do it well aside from a couple of basic apps which would crash every time they were closed (not KDEs fault as such).

    Why did I switch back to Gnome 2?

    Speed. The two systems I was using KDE on were a dual p2-400 and a celeron 800. On both, there was an enourmous speed increase switching to Gnome - especially with lots of open apps. They definitely still have work to do, I like Metacity because it's nice+light+simple, but the configuration leaves a little to be desired. GTK2 based apps appear to run a lot slower than GTK1, but even then they're still much quicker than the QT based KDE.

    Fortunately, with "big players" backing KDE and Gnome seperately, I don't see either going away - a good thing, although I do wish they'd agree on how drag+drop should work ;-)
  • well... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Unominous Coward (651680) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @06:03AM (#5412370)
    my GNOME has always sat silently on my front porch. And now it's singing MP3s encoded with LAME?
    Who would've though that open source software would lead to a singing GNOME?
  • by dcuny (613699) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @06:40AM (#5412432)
    This is one of those "what went wrong with Gnome" articles. Obviously, if you love where Gnome 2.2, the isn't anything gone wrong.

    I belong to the "something has gone wrong with Gnome" school of thought. I dearly want Gnome to succeed. It's got a different sort of style and sensibility than KDE and Windows, and there's a lot of great stuff there.

    Love it or hate it, KDE feels like a unified desktop, while Gnome feels like a cobbled together set of unrelated tools.

    The "Open File" dialog is a thing of shame, and I can't believe that it won't be until October until a replacement comes along. The fact that something so basic has been allowed to stay unchanged so long, in my mind, reflects the difference between KDE and Gnome.

    I don't think that it's an organization issue, or even that one group is more clever than the other. My guess is that, at some level, Qt really is better than GTK. I don't know if it's C vs. C++, or KParts vs. Corba, Glade vs. KDevelop... Perhaps Nick's got it right, that it's the underlying objects. KDE doesn't seem to have suffered from having a C++-centric toolkit, and Gnome doesn't seem to have benefitted from having a C-centric toolkit.

    The last release of KDE had some pretty cool stuff in it - I was eager to get my hands on it and play with it. In contrast, most of what I've heard about Gnome 2.2 has been about what it doesn't have in it anymore. It apparently won't even be featured in the next Knoppix release, since it's broken so badly.

    But I wouldn't discount the future of Gnome. Maybe .NET/Mono will solve the problems (I wouldn't bet the farm on it). Maybe there are no problems at all - just a different desktop, with a different way of doing things.

    But, gah... Please, fix that "Open File" dialog!

    • by GauteL (29207) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @07:40AM (#5412568)
      "The last release of KDE had some pretty cool stuff in it - I was eager to get my hands on it and play with it. In contrast, most of what I've heard about Gnome 2.2 has been about what it doesn't have in it anymore. It apparently won't even be featured in the next Knoppix release, since it's broken so badly."

      While I'm not that opposed to the rest of your post, this one is assuming way too much. GNOME 2.x has been about cleansing and purifying. You assume that removing things makes it broken. I on the other hand applaud what have been done, since it makes GNOME easier, simpler and more elegant. The people complaining are very loud. The people that like this do not bother screaming about it. In addition the project is trying to attract newbies, which would not care about the ability to switch window manager in the GUI (which KDE thankfully does not do either).

      Knoppix has always been about KDE (the whole name implies it). That they did not like GNOME 2.x does not surprise me the least.

      I also disagree that KDE feels more unified, I personally think it is the opposite, but every one has their own taste.

      The file dialog is not good, and is being fixed, but there is a lot of applications out there that just use GTK+ and not the rest of GNOME. Two totally different file dialogs for The GIMP and Gedit would not be very good, so it has been decided that the file-dialog will need to be fixed at the GTK+-level.

      The rest of the GNOME-project is not going to stand still and wait for it to be included in GTK+, so it is highly possible that the next GNOME-version (2.4) will still be based on GTK+ 2.2 (with the old file dialog).
      • by mickwd (196449) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @08:31AM (#5412677)
        "Knoppix has always been about KDE (the whole name implies it)."

        Actually, the name comes from the guy who produces it, Klaus Knopper [knopper.net].

        But then again, maybe he changed his name by deed poll ;)
      • The file dialog is not good, and is being fixed, but there is a lot of applications out there that just use GTK+ and not the rest of GNOME.

        BTW, what is it about Gnome's file dialog that everybody hates so? It seems OK to me (it's certainly as good as the one in windows). Also, the fact that the TAB key works properly is a big point in Gnome's favor...
        • what is it about Gnome's file dialog that everybody hates so?

          What I hate about it is that if I have to navigate around to different directories (i.e. directories other than the default) it is extremely inefficient.

          The windows dialog is better in that it gives you a bunch of defaults that can rapidly take you to common places (e.g. Desktop, My Documents, My Computer).

          KDE takes this one step further and allows you to define your own common places. So that if you configure "~/ftpin/" as a common location for you in one application, every other application inherets that common location.

          I personally find it incredibly frustrating to navigate around in the gnome file dialog. I typically switch between two directories: ~/ftpin/ and ~/win/windows/Desktop. In GNOME apps, switching between these two locations takes 5 double clicks and lots of drag navigation. In windows this takes 1-2 double clicks and a little navigation (depending on where I'm trying to get to). In KDE it takes 1 double click no matter where I am.

        • what is it about Gnome's file dialog that everybody hates so? [...] the fact that the TAB key works properly is a big point

          The reason everybody complains is that nobody knows that normal shell tab completion is possible in the dialog. I don't know if that works in KDE at all. People clickety-click their ways through it. Of course the gtk dialog sucks then. I once filed a bug that the selector should have a text saying "Use tab completion here" over the text enter area, but was turned down (rightly so :)
  • by gnovos (447128) <gnovos.chipped@net> on Saturday March 01, 2003 @06:46AM (#5412445) Homepage Journal
    As a followup, I wonder if we can finally settle which religion is the one true faith and whether or not abortion should be legal.
  • by Tyreth (523822) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @06:54AM (#5412459)
    I used to be a GNOME man myself, but have recently become sold on KDE, because it really does shine. Not that long ago, both projects were at a similar level. Now kde has shot ahead, and gnome is left unconfigurable, empty. But that's not why I'm writing...

    Something concerns me with the Qt licensing. I'm asking people who likewise share a love for the freedom that free software gives us, not to those who don't really care.

    Imagine 3 years from now KDE has overtaken the Linux desktop, and GNOME/GTK+ has faded to obscurity. The Linux desktop is beginning to look bright and we start to have many commercial applications made for us (free is always better, but commercial is necessary).
    With GNOME or KDE it is possible to make commercial applications. With GNOME the developer merely takes advantage of the LGPL license. In KDE however, the developer would need to purchase a license from Trolltech for Qt.

    Now I have no problem with making companies pay - it's an incentive to make free software. But what I don't like, is if Qt becomes the necessary standard, that we have a commercial company that is the controller of the fate of commercial applications. I don't like the thought of commercial apps for Linux being in the hands of another company - I'd much rather if the community controlled such a mechanism.

    So I want to know if others think my concerns are legitimate or misinformed?

    • by twener (603089) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @07:31AM (#5412547)
      Let the companies decide: Obviously Adobe, Borland, Hancom, Opera and others have no problem with Qt being available either under GPL or QPL license. In my opinion the price for Qt under QPL and for support are peanuts for these (and smaller) companies. They are glad to have someone who can give them support for the tool kit. Who offers commercial support for Gtk?
  • by Kirby-meister (574952) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @07:13AM (#5412498)
    OS X goes for the simple desktop, Windows is becoming more menu-based but still keeps that hint of desktop, and the major GUI's for linux are cloning those desktops.

    While it's nice Linux emulates these other OSes for "consistency" or such, why not develop a new "type" of GUI? Remove the desktop metaphor, the icons, the needless menues. Why not a simple GUI with no mouse where you cycle between things you want your computer to do? A circular node-based selection scheme, like the GameCube's OS except instead of moving around a cube you move around a sphere or circle, where the options are chosen by moving left or right in the circle and choosing things like "E-mail," "Write a paper," "Browse the Internet," "Write a spreadsheet," "Install something," or even "Have computer tune itself up" (so that it sounds easy to understand to a normal user, but it does all the stuff they don't care about like defragging the ol HD or updating virus protection - a technical support employee's dream - just name it something that makes it appealing for them to run it).

    A friend of mine once said "If you could make something easier to use [than Windows], I'd buy it." Granted, he's not into computers, but the majority of people aren't "computer people" at all - they just want their computer to do what they paid $1000-2000 for it to do. And, being technical support for the freshmen in my hall, I can tell you that NOBODY who isn't into computers ever updates security packages, virus protection, or even software they're using, nor does anybody ever run defrag...

    • Because that won't work. You can "innovate" as much as you want to, people simply won't switch.

      Yeah, you can give people a whole different desktop methaphor, but average users don't WANT to learn! They demand things to Just Work(tm) and to work like they used too. Too many people are used to Windows; they will not use something that's even slightly different.
      People are resistant to change, especially regarding to computers. If I put my mother behind a different desktop, she will NOT like it, no matter how "innovative" it is.

      "Innovation" is only an argument for geeks. And since Slashdot is a geek community, of course posts about "innovation" gets modded up. But the average user don't care.
  • by psr (71027) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @07:14AM (#5412502)
    There has been a lot said about the usability of GNOME, and a lot of work done to make the user interface more consistant. However I think that it has mostly been a waste of time. The people who are writing the GNOME Human interface guidelines are forgetting that the majority of GNOME users are going to be UNIX/Linux users, and that to these people it is not necessarily atractive to use a desktop environment which tries simply to be a better Windowss than windows. Take for example key bindings. In the Unix world there have always been two different sets of keybindings that people use, emacs keys and vi keys. I think that it is fair to say that the majority of unix users spend a lot of thier time in either emacs or vi. Gnome used to try to emulate some of the emacs default keybindings, but now they all seem to have been replaced with windows keybindings.

    Another good example is the "too many clocks" problem. A Sun sponsored ethnographic study into GNOME usability said that users were confused when trying to add a clock to a panel, because there was a multiplicity of clock applets. The people who write these things make a basic mistake of thinking that a windows user should be able to walk up to a UNIX machine, grab the mouse and go, and that makes for good user interface. Well its not true. The old MacOS is often cited as a good UI. The first time I tried to use it, I didn't have a clue what was going on. The menu bar at the top confused the hell out of me. That doesn't mean that it wasn't a good UI, it just means that it wasn't TWM or windows 3.11, which is what I was used to at the time. So I was pissed off when I upgraded my version of gnome and half the applets I used had gone!

    Don't even get me started on window managers with maximise buttons!

    Developers should remember who they are developing for, and give more precedence to unix traditions than to windows traditions. It is nice to be able to attract new users from other platforms, but it shouldn't be at the price of losing users on the current one. Users from MacOS or windows should have to learn how to use a new user interface. If theres nothing different then theres no point in changing.
  • by pongo000 (97357) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @07:27AM (#5412532)
    A happy GNOME user myself, please someone...tell me it isn't so.

    If you're happy with GNOME, why should it matter what anybody has to say about it? I've never understood the mentality that things in life are deemed "worthy" only if they're popular (pop songs, software, beer, etc.).
  • by Yokaze (70883) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @07:36AM (#5412562)
    Ignore the comparison with KDE for a moment. And the fact that he is pro-KDE. The article is written in such a way, that it provokes. This is the purpose of it. So that people discuss it.

    He raises some valid "problems" of GNOME. Those problems are more metaphyiscal, so they might don't actually have to concern you.

    He raises the valid question: "What does GNOME stand for?"

    The whole project seem to lack consistency in its development process. The whole core parts have been totally replaced. (WM 3 times, Configuration once, FM once). The laudible idea of an "GNU Network Object Model Environment" has been dropped in favour of being a language agnostic desktop enviroment.

    Those aren't real problems, but they are probably the reason for the deficiencies of the Gnome desktop in respect to UI consistency, which is the part KDE concentrated on. And meanwhile, KDE gained some language independency of its own.

    Please note, that I didn't say that the GNOME Desktop is better or worse than the KDE. It primarily means, GNOME could be better than it currently is, when it had concentrated on their primary goal (Being GNOME).

    In the authors admittently slightly provoking words:
    "GNOME's higher purpose was forgotten somewhere along the line, after which it degenerated into a LAME Franken-GUI."

    • by 0x0d0a (568518)
      The whole project seem to lack consistency in its development process. The whole core parts have been totally replaced. (WM 3 times, Configuration once, FM once). The laudible idea of an "GNU Network Object Model Environment" has been dropped in favour of being a language agnostic desktop enviroment.

      Yeah, but the problem is that he ignores that KDE's done the same thing (KDE 1, 2, 3...) What happened to the old mail program, the old WM?
  • by DeadSea (69598) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @08:18AM (#5412652) Homepage Journal
    I used Gnome for two years and then recently switched to KDE. Gnome had several bugs that I was tired of. The sidebars that I had would sometimes reinit themselves wrong when I restarted. This caused two or even three copies of each sidebar to come up sometimes. I upgraded to 2.0 and the number of desktops was stuck at 4 (I want 6) and many of the applets I really loved didn't work anymore (game, xmms, screenshooter).

    So I'm giving KDE a try. It has problems too. The most annoying one to me is the way that it switches focus when I use my scrollwheel. It has options for what to do when clicking any of the mouse button (focus, raise, etc) but not the scrollwheel. When you scroll a window that is not focused and not on top, it gives focus to that window but does not raise it. This maybe wouldn't be bad, but then clicking on the window also does not raise it. You have to focus some other window then come back.

    Another thing I don't like about KDE is that it is hard to add buttons to launch X (not KDE) applications to the sidebars. In gnome I could add a launcher easily. In KDE I have to add a non KDE app, it gives me a browse dialog. I don't know where my apps are, probably usr/bin/ or usr/local/bin, I don't want to hunt around, so I try to click on my terminal button so I can do a `which app`. The dialog has the sidebar. Doh.

    The choices for applets in KDE is very underwhelming. In gnome 1 I was able to put applets for gaim and xmms in my sidebar. They are unobtrusive there and available on all my desktops. It was wonderful. KDE doesn't have these.

    Sure the KDE apps all look the same and act the same, but they are not powerful compared to other stuff. I always use Mozilla as my web browser, open office as my word processor, etc. The KDE stuff are nice, but not as full of features. As soon as you add in non-KDE apps, you lose much of this consistency.

    • by Redline (933)
      In gnome 1 I was able to put applets for gaim and xmms in my sidebar. They are unobtrusive there and available on all my desktops. It was wonderful. KDE doesn't have these.

      Both GAIM (in nightly snapshots [sourceforge.net]) and XMMS [hellion.org.uk] now have "dock plugins" that place themselves in the dock area. (KDE calls it "system tray", and GNOME calls it "notification area") The dock applet API is a freedesktop.org standard [freedesktop.org] that both desktops are using. So KDE docklets work in GNOME 2.2 and GNOME docklets work in KDE 3.1.
  • Hey! (Score:3, Funny)

    by tortap-0 (306464) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @08:41AM (#5412698)
    That's GLAME to you mister.
  • by Phantasmagoria (1595) <loban.rahman+slashdotNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday March 01, 2003 @09:24AM (#5412797)
    The article in question is obviously nothing anyone should take seriously. It does not even pretend to be an honest comparison between two windowing environments; it's basically one person's rant about why he prefers one over the other. Good for him, but mentioning only KDE's good points and only Gnome's bad points isn't a useful comparison to anyone else.

    I'm surpised at how poorly informed the people who discuss Gnome vs KDE are. No one has mentioned any of the new accomplishments both environments has achieved. It's still all "file selector" this and "configuration options" that. Dudes, I stopped fretting over thing like that years ago. There's plenty of other things that need focus for a good desktop environment, and are being worked on as we speak, but no one has mentioned them in any of the comments I've read.

    Anyone here even know about the massive time spent on building a rich and powerful "accessibility toolkit" ATK? Or the very well thought out multimedia framework GStreamer that's currently in development. I've only seen a few mentions of the establishment and accomplishments of freedesktop.org - whose goal is to set standards (such as the HIG) which both Gnome and KDE can follow to achieve consistency and inoperatability. How about the universal adoption of Unicode (using UTF8) throughout so that proper internationalization is finally possible?

    These are important things, and much more forward looking than all the nitpicking that's so prevalent in these discussions. These articles and the bickering that ensues are no better than "celebrity tells all" and "other celebrity makes rebuttal" shows on TV. Totally pointless - fun to watch sometimes - but pointless.

    One thing I need to add: Most complaints about GConf that I've read are miss-informed. Yes, the closest approximation is the Windows registry. But it was created with the strengths of that registry in mind, and steps taken to get rid of the problems that the registry had. For example, ALL keys are documented. Which is easier? Hand editing a text file, or going down a list of fully documented options in a gui editor - toggling boolean keys, editing strings, etc.

    I'm obviously a Gnome user. I know KDE has it's own list of accomplishments, but I don't know them well enough to list. My point is, why the hell are you choosing a desktop environment based on which has a better file selector? There is plenty more to look at.
  • Booooooriiiiiiiing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by X-Nc (34250) <nilrin&gmail,com> on Saturday March 01, 2003 @10:12AM (#5412930) Homepage Journal
    <yawn>

    Both GNOME and KDE suck wind. Arguing one over the other is like arguing wich is better, a broken leg or a broken arm.

    CDE is even better than either of them. If you want something that really works look at Xfce. The current "production" version is xfce3 and it can do everything KDE & GNOME can do, and much more. It also is very nice on system resources. It runs as light as BlackBox or IceWM and is just as fast. And the development version of xfce4 will blow your mind. It'll make you cry it's so good.

    The fact is that GNOME and KDE are, functionaly and from a usability standpoint, damn near identical. Under the hood they are vastly different but for a regular user they are interchangable. Bluecurve proved that.

  • by Quelain (256623) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @10:31AM (#5412980)
    Nicholas Petreley is a raving loony creationist [petreley.com].

    Of course he's not going to like anything involving Evolution. Or bonobos, or any other s^hXimian.

  • control-A (Score:3, Interesting)

    by squarooticus (5092) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @11:24AM (#5413158) Homepage
    I want to know why the Gnome developers decided that control-A should "select all" instead of "move to beginning of line" like it does in almost every other (read: emacs editing command-compliant) X application. I can't seem to change it anywhere, even in gconf-editor.

    These are the sorts of changes that make me, as an experienced Unix user, want to look elsewhere. I personally grow tired of the drive to "simplify, man!" and yearn for the days of configurable sawfish and a galeon with 1,000,000 options in the preferences dialog.

    Anyone have any suggestions as to where I should look? I'm completely open.
  • Since... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by triptolemeus (538604) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @11:29AM (#5413182)
    Linux is taking over the world anyway, I personally wouldn't mind if we were left with at least choice, when it comes to desktops.

    The world is big enough for the two to hang around.
  • GFlame you! (Score:3, Funny)

    by daemonc (145175) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @12:53PM (#5413510)
    No, KFlame you!!!

    GFlame!!!

    KFlame!!!

    GFlame!!!

    KFlame!!!

    GFlame!!!

    KFlame!!!

    GFlame!!!

    KFlame!!!

    I quit reading Slashdot...

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