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GNOME GUI Software Linux

Gnome 2.4 Release(d) 566

Posted by timothy
from the seldon-plan dept.
chendo writes "Gnome 2.4 will be released today. Here is the link to the article on Ars Technica. GNOME 2.4 is the result of quite a bit of work toward complying with the GNOME Human Interface Guidelines (HIG), which mainly focus on user interface consistency and predictability. This release has also undergone some general polish, and it can finally be said that the GNOME 2 platform has achieved maturity with this release. The Epiphany web browser, a major new component of GNOME, also makes its debut with this release. (From Footnotes)"
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Gnome 2.4 Release(d)

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  • Are we going to have to wait until Mandrake 9.2 to get our hands on Gnome (outside of going through the installer, something I'd probably f'up)?
    • Re:Mandrake (Score:2, Informative)

      by fuzzix (700457)
      If the mirrors are updated it should be as simple as issuing

      urpmi gnome

      from a root shell. Update your sources with http://plf.zarb.org/~nanardon/
  • by geschild (43455) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @07:09AM (#6919852) Homepage

    All KDE and Gnome Zealots please board this thread, forsaking all other threads within this topic.

    To make this new guideline more comfortable for the really and truly devoted:

    - KDE had all of the new features three releases ago. Please get Gnome development out of the way of The One Real GUI(tm)

    - KDE whiners: eat our dust! (Gnome, The True Gui for Real People)

    A Console/Lynx user... (Yeah, right... ;)

  • Browsers... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    What is the point of all these different integrated browsers now appearing in X window managers?

    Sure an integrated browser is handy, but wouldnt it be worth putting the same effort into an existing browser like Mozilla Firebird instead?
    • Many of these integrated browsers were started long before Mozilla got useful or Mozilla Firebird was coneived. Yes, GNOME and KDE are that old. Some people have short memories.
    • Re:Browsers... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Jellybob (597204) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @07:29AM (#6919989) Journal
      It's an integration thing... Firebird/Mozilla/whatever else has it's own way of doing windowing, unlike Epiphany, which is GTK2 based, and integrated with the Gnome config options.
    • Konqueror is a great browser IMHO. Apple used the KHTML engine in Safari as it was lean and mean.

      Anyway, just throwing developers onto a project doesn't mean you get a better product. It's taken years to get anything semi decent out of the Mozilla project, they overdid it with the OO framework stuff. Creating a whole GUI system instead of a browser.
      • Konq is very good, but it's let down in a couple of important regards.

        Most imortantly it doesn't have a javascript console, if a javascript error occurs you have no idea what, where or when it went wrong, it just doesn't work.

        And secondly, while close it doesn't support a few important CSS things, like overflow:scroll for one.
        • I agree, it's not perfect and it renders pages with more errors than the Moz family.

          But crucially for me it starts faster than Firebird and the GUI is KDE style, which when running KDE is important.

          If I was running Gnome I might use Galleon.
        • Re:Browsers... (Score:3, Informative)

          by fault0 (514452)
          > Most imortantly it doesn't have a javascript console, if a javascript error occurs you have no idea what, where or when it went wrong, it just doesn't work.

          It's there in CVS..

          > And secondly, while close it doesn't support a few important CSS things, like overflow:scroll for one.

          I beleive this was implemented a few weeks ago with one of the safari merges.
    • It's Gecko based, so in a sense it *is* Firebird. Anyway, good code/features will jump to other apps: that's the point of OS!
    • Re:Browsers... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Deusy (455433) <charlie@vBLUEexi.org minus berry> on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @07:54AM (#6920174) Homepage
      Firstly, Gnome is not an X Window Manager.

      Secondly, only two 'desktops' have their own 'integrated' browser; Gnome (Epiphany) and KDE (Konqueror).

      The purpose of the integrated web browser is to provide a default for users, and to provide extra functionality through tight integration with the desktop. Think Internet Explorer in Windows.

      - Imagine if you installed your new Gnome and tried to browse the web, only to find no browser available
      - Epiphany views can be embedded in Nautilus
      - Epiphany strictly follows the HIG and other Gnome2 standards (GConf etc)

      In a decent desktop, every basic task should be accomplishable through a default suite of applications; playing media, writing documents, browsing the web, checking your email. And each of these components should be substitutable so those requiring extra functionality (or with a simple preference) can drop-in their preferred application. This is part the Utopia the Gnome project is working towards.
    • Epiphany is not a required install. It's merely a UI that builds on top of gecko libraries. Thus, it's not integrated.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @07:11AM (#6919864)
    1) Main menu doesn't respond to alphabet keybindings ala IceWM, KDE and Windows 95!

    2) Taskbar doesn't reflect order that programs were started in. It inserts new buttons at random positions.

    GNOME rules, but these two things (among the Metacity wireframe and animation niggles) are real problems. For all the UI work, it's a shame they can't get such elementary stuff right.

    Still, I'll be downloading it tonight :)

    • by mccalli (323026) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @07:23AM (#6919947) Homepage
      2) Taskbar doesn't reflect order that programs were started in. It inserts new buttons at random positions.

      Disclaimer: Haven't used pure Gnome in quite a while, perhaps some of the points below have been handled by now.

      I hate the fact that the Windows taskbar reflects the order in which the apps are launched and then cannot be changed. If you're going to have a taskbar interface, then fair enough chronological order seems a sensible default. However once launched, I really want to be able to drag that indication to whatever position I want in the taskbar.

      For example, at work on my NT4 box I have a standard set of apps open most times. They are Notes (ugh), two Firebird windows, Putty and a Remote desktop connection. Apps after that can come and go, but I want those apps always in the same place so I don't have to hunt for them later.

      I'm also an OS X user, and although I'm aware of criticism of the dock there's certainly one thing to be said for it - your most frequenctly used applications always appear in the same place, both for launching and for bringing to the front.

      As a quick aside - anyone else remember the Apple Human Interface Guidlines circa System 7-era, incorporating the Principle of Muscular Remembrance? The idea is that important stuff is always in the same place, every time, so that the user doesn't even have to conciously think about where to find things. It's the reason Macs have a single menu bar, at the top of the screen. It seems to me to also be a key thought behind the dock.

      Cheers,
      Ian

    • by cbiltcliffe (186293) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @07:25AM (#6919954) Homepage Journal
      2) Taskbar doesn't reflect order that programs were started in. It inserts new buttons at random positions.

      It doesn't insert them at random. It inserts them beside similar buttons. At least, Debian testing's Gnome (version 2.2) does.

      If you open a Galeon window, then a terminal window, then a FreeCell window, then open a second Galeon window, the button for the second Galeon window will appear in the taskbar beside the first Galeon button. That way, you don't have to go searching through 14 buttons to find the similar ones.

      Windows XP does this, too, if I remember rightly. Of course, every time I see a default Windows XP install, I want to gouge my eyes out in horror.....

      • Actually I think that's stupid (let the flame wars begin =)

        I normally have a great number of windows open. As most start their entry in the taskbar with the application name and then the content of the application I normally can't read which specific instance of an application that button means (the entry would look something like this: "Galeo...") Therefore I think it's better for instances of the same program to be as far apart as possible because that way it's easier to remember which one you wanted. (a

        • by xanadu-xtroot.com (450073) <xanadu@inorb i t .com> on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @07:52AM (#6920157) Homepage Journal
          I normally have a great number of windows open. As most start their entry in the taskbar with the application name and then the content of the application I normally can't read which specific instance of an application that button means

          This is the great thing about multiple desktops. It took me a little while to get used to, but I can't stand going to a Win* machine and having only one desktop now after using "Linux" for 5 or 6 years.

          I usually use 4 desktops. 1 and 2 are my "working" desktops (work, web browsing, games, etc.). Desktop 3 I leave my mail app open (kmail). Desktop 4 I usually have Pan open or minimized, and also keep a few network monitoring apps open (etherape, ethereal, tailing /var/log/messages, things like that). This way it keeps my taskbar clutter to a minimum, but keeps everything just a click (or a CTRL+TAB) away at the same time. VERY handy!
  • It's not out yet. (Score:5, Informative)

    by asobala (563713) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @07:11AM (#6919870) Homepage
    When is _is_ out, you'll have all sorts of release notes and screenshots to look at. Slashdot is announcing non-existant releases again :)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @07:12AM (#6919871)
    Learn how to use the GnomeVFS library to extend GNOME, enabling drag-and-drop and other features across multiple protocols and file systems. This article [ibm.com] gives you what you'll need to extend GNOME and develop your own extensions to the virtual file system.
  • by Si (9816) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @07:25AM (#6919958) Homepage
    No way to edge-flip to another desktop.

    Thus no d'n'd windows across desktops. Pager sucks for this at 16x12.

    Gnome-panel regularly poops out at shutdown.

    Metacity? Feh. Bring back sawfish (and I mean updated!). The introduction of predictability has led to a sharp decrease in customisability.

    I have on average 20 terminals open. If one dies (e.g. because it's a shell window on a machine not available from my current location at start-up), down go the others. This is wholly unacceptable. Because of this, I almost switched to KDE - but it only supports 16 desktops which is Fucking Lame. Excuse me.

    Other than those few issues, Gnome (2.x) is very stable, reliable, and well-featured. Keep up the good work (and please attend to that terminal problem).
    • by JanneM (7445) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @07:38AM (#6920044) Homepage
      The Gnome-panel bug is a new one for me; filing a bug report would likely be very appreciated by the devels.

      Sawfish: Just run it. There are some people hacking on it, I believe, so it should be maintained. And tell the sawfish devels if there is something you miss.

      The terminal: They are all the same application with multiple windows; cuts down on resource use. Of course, if it dies, so do they all - that's the downside. You can, however, start a new terminal, explicitly stating that it should not be another instance in an existing gnome-terminal application:

      gnome-terminal --disable-factory

      That will give you an independent terminal instance that will not be affected. Of course, you pay by a bit higher total resource use, but that is probably worth it for you.

    • by Johan Veenstra (61679) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @07:57AM (#6920193)
      Exit KDE

      edit ~/.kde/share/config/kdeglobals

      change:

      [Desktops] ....
      Number=4

      into

      [Desktops] ....
      Number=32

      restart KDE, voila.

    • No way to edge-flip to another desktop.
      Thus no d'n'd windows across desktops. Pager sucks for this at 16x12.
      Metacity? Feh. Bring back sawfish (and I mean updated!). The introduction of predictability has led to a sharp decrease in customisability.

      You can run any window manager that supports the EMWH (aka NetWM) spec. Metacity is a decent default for most users, but if it's not good enough for you, feel free to choose something else. Sawfish, fluxbox, openbox, kwm, waimea, even the venerable fvwm. Lot

    • by Alan (347) <arcterex.ufies@org> on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @10:50AM (#6921855) Homepage
      Re: metacity vs sawfish

      I used to think the same way as you did, hated the lack of features, bitched on the lists, etc. But at some point I forgot to switch from Metacity to sawfish and grudgingly used it, and after a while, found I didn't miss the features I fought so hard to have. Pageflip is nice, but do I use it? Nope. Maybe it's just me as a user adapting to the lack of features, or maybe it's the fact that as a user I didn't really use that feature enough.

      Try this: Make a list of all the things that MC is missing vs sawfish (or The Ultimate Window Manager) and then work as you do normally and tick the times you miss each feature. I'd be willing to bet that in an honest test you'll find that you don't use them nearly as often as you think you do.

      I'm no fan of the HIG and the cutting and slashing of features in the latest GNOME, but I'm also finding that a lot of it's not all that bad, because a lot of times It Just Works.
  • Wrong logo (Score:4, Informative)

    by asobala (563713) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @07:27AM (#6919967) Homepage
    You know, this logo is the really old one. Any chance of slashdot changing it?
  • GNOME section icon (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sfraggle (212671) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @07:27AM (#6919968)
    The GNOME section icon is out of date: GNOME changed their logo about a year ago. I've done a new topic icon [soton.ac.uk] with the new logo if one of the slashdot editors is interested in putting it in.
    • The GNOME section icon is out of date: GNOME changed their logo about a year ago.

      Still the foot motif. If the goal of a "lickable" interface is ever to be attained, does this mean also having to lick the foot of a gnome who probably stepped in bear poop while out hunting?

  • GNOME 2 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nutshell42 (557890) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @07:29AM (#6919980) Journal
    From the article:

    Unlike some other browsers, in Epiphany you will not find half a dozen ways to use tabs and manage cookies and bookmarks, as Epiphany is targeted towards the average user.

    And IMHO that's the wrong approach. *Especially* for the less technically inclined it would be better to have as many different ways as possible to do something. If you look at usability studies they always say how the test persons all tried different things to do the required task and how half of them got stuck on the way and didn't know what to do. One thing Windows gets right is that there is always more than one way to reach your goal. (e.g. you can adjust the time by double clicking on the clock, by using the context menu of the clock, by using the control panel etc.)

    Having one elegant solution is nice and appeals to the mathematician in us all but if you look at speech there are many different ways to express a thought, perhaps one is more elegant than the others but all may be correct and logical. (to go back to the clock example: user A thinks "I want to change the time, that should be possible by doing something with the clock thingy" but in user B's opinion it's "I want to change a setting, it should be in the control panel")

    IMHO, GUIs should try to enable users to do things their way and therefore it's better to have as many approaches as possible for a task

    jm2c

    • No it's not a good thing Windows does. You learn the multiple ways, and then when you want to do something you spend a few milliseconds thinking about which way to do it, and you don't always reach the same conclusion. By comparison, if there were only one way, you would learn it and you would be done with it. This approach is much cleaner in my opinion.
    • Re:GNOME 2 (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Boing (111813)

      If you look at usability studies they always say how the test persons all tried different things to do the required task and how half of them got stuck on the way and didn't know what to do. One thing Windows gets right is that there is always more than one way to reach your goal.

      That may be applicable to your example of setting the system time, but the behavior of fundamental interface elements should be consistent across installations. The problem with flexibility and customization on that level is t

    • Re:GNOME 2 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Deusy (455433) <charlie@vBLUEexi.org minus berry> on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @08:05AM (#6920279) Homepage
      You have both valid and invalid points.

      One thing Windows gets right is that there is always more than one way to reach your goal.

      Is 'tabbed browsing' a goal or a method? I'd suggest it's the latter. And methods should always be logical and consistent. By offering various unecessary preferences on how your tabs behave, you provide the user with a means to confuse themselves. However, if the most logical default method is used, then there is no confusion available to occur and the user finds it intuitive. If the method is not intuitive, then a different setting should be used.

      As for multiple paths to reach all goals; it depends on the goal. The clock example is a good example of multiple logical paths to the one goal. Double clicking to activate, right clicking to bring up the contextual menu, and an appropriate entry in the control panel. These are all routes that a user might try to take to configure the time on their computer.

      All logical routes should be available to any goal, but sometimes there is only one logical route. For instance, you would not want multiple ways to disable popups in Epiphany, just a simple entry in the preferences for Epiphany.

      Do not confuse methods with goals, nor assume all goals have multiple intuitive pathways.
  • Gnome 2.4 Review (Score:4, Informative)

    by the_pooh_experience (596177) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @07:29AM (#6919986)
    So ARS Technica [arstechnica.com] has a fairly in depth review [arstechnica.com] of 2.4. Among other things, it includes:
    • by pubjames (468013)
      A valid criticism of the Open Source Community used to be that it just copied, and never innovated. Well I think the copying stage (or as I like to think of it, the "catching up" stage) is now almost over. Now we are innovating.

      I have Windows XP, and quite a few of the things in the latest Gnome are better than Windows XP. For instance, the fantastic way Pango deals with multilingual issues. And scalable desktop icons are a great addition. Some of the desktop accessability stuff is great too.

      I bet that Mi
  • by jdub! (24149) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @07:31AM (#6919998) Homepage
    I'm kinda surprised that Slashdot haven't updated the GNOME category logo, considering that it's been 18 months and three major releases since the logo change. :-)
    • by Anonymous Coward
      That sounds an awful lot like work... I think you should try and formulate your request a bit differently to get it accepted by the slashdot editors. Say, make a funny animation of the new logo and the old logo battling it out on the slashdot homepage (the new one should obviously win), and then submit that.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    They dumbed down nautilus. What Nautilus needs is tabbing and splitting like konqueror has.

    There still is no common compound document model between kde and gnome.

    Besides that, Gnome has become excellent. Congratulations to the developers.
  • by chendo (678767)
    I had some bad experiences with 2.3.5, which caused me to just go and reformat and reinstall again (had too much junk on drives too).

    One major problem I noticed was that Sawfish wasn't working properly with the pager. Every time I tried to change workspaces, the windows go flying all over the place. And with metacity, I can't seem to position my shaded XMMS window above the empty space in the top panel.

    And does anyone know if somebody's doing/done the ebuild for 2.4?

    And on another note: My first ar
  • by elliotj (519297) <slashdot@elliotjohns o n .com> on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @07:50AM (#6920135) Homepage
    You gotta love Ars. The first few paragraphs describe in layman's terms why Windows and the Mac have consistent GUIs and why Linux does not. I hope the main drivers of Linux desktop adoption (the Gnomes, KDEs & Red Hats of the world) pay very close attention to the implications of this message. It's been said many times, but warrants repeating again: Linux desktop adoption is suffering from a lack of consistency across applications.
    • Consistency between applications on Linux is a pipe dream, unfortunately for the near future. I'll explain why.

      Different applications make use of different interface toolkits like GTK+, Qt, Tk, Swing, AWT, Xaw, Fltk, etc. Unless a container toolkit of some kind is developed (that supports GTK+ and Qt at the very least), this is going to be a major roadblock.

      A better solution that would be amazingly helpful to Linux on the desktop is if KDE and Gnome could come together and tackle this as a team.
    • by vondo (303621) * on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @08:59AM (#6920722)
      While I agree that consistency is very important, Windows is not very consistent either. Last time I looked, Windows Media Player (a MS product) has a very different interface (look and feel) than windows or IE. Plus there are all the 3rd party apps like WinAmp that are TOTALLY different. The monitoring/overclocking control for my motherboard tries to look like an console game pad.

      Mac may be better. I haven't really used one in years.

  • That does make it a lot clearer why we are talking of the 2.4 release before gnome.org
    While I'm at it... I welcome our new Second Foundation overlords!
  • Quick question, I use nedit [nedit.org] as the development tool of choice and whilst it's really nice - it's look and feel isn't the Gnome standard.

    Is there any alternative which fits in nicely with my desktop and has similar functionality to nedit?

    • gVim [vim.org]. The latest version (6.2) has gtk2 support, so it matches your gnome2 theme. Take a look at the huge repository of scripts on vim.org, while you're there. They have tree-view code browsers which make gvim much more useful for code editing. I currently use a LaTeX plugin, which contains a number of shortcuts for editing LaTeX files, and vimspell, which pipes text through aspell and red underlines errors as I type. I haven't needed to use a wordprocessor since I installed those two.
  • Maybe Nautilus will provide a little competition for Konqueror. Hopefully something has been done to speed up its start-up time and web browsing. I tried Gnome a couple of months ago and its speed and simplicity surprised me but Nautilus needs some work compared to Konqueror.
  • by tweek (18111) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @08:01AM (#6920243) Homepage Journal
    is the .hidden config file for konq views. Actually it really only applies to my desktop view as I use my home directory as my desktop.

    You'll be surprised how much cleaner your home dir stays if it's your desktop!

    Right now I have three folders on my desktop that I don't want to see: evolution, mail and News. Short of recompiling evolution to use .evolution for its datastore, I have to live with it. Being able to right click a folder on the desktop and select some like "Hide from desktop view" is enough to make me wet myself.
  • Will this finally end the argument that Gnome doesn't have any usability issues. There are always tons of complaints when anyone says Gnome needs to improve usability. Yet here they are with a release focusing on interface guidelines. So please, please, end the arguments that Gnome shouldn't work on improving usability.
  • Epiphany? (Score:2, Funny)

    by FZer0 (585622)
    Next we'll have the Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious email client. :)
  • hmmm (Score:2, Interesting)

    by XO (250276)
    Hopefully this version has undergone some serious memory and speed enhancements, as currently, with my system running debian, X, and GNOME 2.2, with 256mb RAM.. nothing else running to speak of.. I have 0 normal RAM free, and the system has cut about 20-30MB into the swap file.

    Any comments on RAM usage? I have to use fvwm because KDE and GNOME are so damn HUGE these days..
    • Re:hmmm (Score:5, Interesting)

      by BenjyD (316700) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @10:03AM (#6921339)
      256mb of RAM should be fine. The difference in memory usage between a bare windowmaker desktop and a KDE one is about 60meg (~34meg -> ~90meg). That's worth about what, $20? Considering the vast amount of functionality that gives me, I think that's a worthwhile trade off.
      Back in the day, I was a major lightweight system zealot. I used Ratpoison or Ion at work (if you though fvwm was lightweight, you ain't seen nothing yet). Then I realised that saving 0.5 seconds on launching a terminal window didn't make me any more productive, but having excellent integrated apps like kmail and konqueror did.
  • I used GNOME 2.2, but I cannot glean from the article whether the one quirk was fixed or not in 2.4.

    The one thing keeping me from using GNOME (and for which I now use a more minimalistic window manager/desktop environment) is the fact that it is difficult to move one window into a different virtual desktop. You have to make it visible on all panels first then go to the desktop you want it to appear on and click show on just this desktop. Is there a way around this? Has GNOME 2.4 fixed this?

    Besides that, i

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