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GNOME 2.12 Previewed 437

Posted by timothy
from the sweetness dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Davyd Madeley has completed his Prerelease Tour of GNOME 2.12. Scheduled for release on September 7th, 2005, GNOME 2.12 has picked up a new theme, some features popularised by Apple's System 7, some new multimedia tools and plenty of bug-fixes."
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GNOME 2.12 Previewed

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  • BSD ? (Score:4, Funny)

    by mbyte (65875) on Sunday July 31, 2005 @06:33AM (#13206769) Homepage
    Is this some subtile joke by the editors among the BSD is dying trolls ?
    • Or perhaps it's cause Gnome works on BSD?
      • Re:BSD ? (Score:2, Informative)

        by trollzor (858973)
        I have seen other GNOME stuff listed under the BSD section a couple of times. It's all a bit of BS if you ask me. Because the G in GNOME stands for GNU. Perhaps timothy mistakenly believes GNOME is a BSD project, I dunno, anything is possible with these editors. I don't mind the BSD guys using LGPL stuff or GPL stuff, hell I use the OpenBSD derived ssh stuff which totally kicks ass (ubuntu lists it as OpenBSD derived in the bootup and shutdown I believe), but credit where credit is due.
    • Re:BSD ? (Score:4, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 31, 2005 @07:41AM (#13206918)
      Netcraft Confirms: GNOME is dying.

      The current number of servers Netcraft reports as powered by GNOME now stands at zero. It's official. GNOME is dead. Upon hearing the news, creator Miguel de Icaza was seen working at Taco Bell, depressed, sweeping the floor, and muttering the words, "ay carajo..." The KDE dragon was unavailable for comment.

      Or something. I don't quite have the knack for these.
  • What about Beagle? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rekrutacja (647394) on Sunday July 31, 2005 @06:38AM (#13206778) Homepage
    Is this mature enough to include it as standard? Desktop search is key missing feature in Linux...
    • by ralinx (305484)
      as long as Red Hat is opposed to distributing Mono, Beagle (written in C#) will never be in the default Gnome Desktop... at least not the one Red Hat will ship. So who knows... there may be another high profile fork (red hat gnome vs novell gnome) coming up soon.
      • by KeyserDK (301544) on Sunday July 31, 2005 @07:22AM (#13206876) Homepage
        To be honest, the widespread porting of the lucene engine(beagle backend) is the highest amount of forking i've ever seen.

        There exists a port for every language, it just doesn't make sense. The basic algorithms for searching, and storing indexes hasn't changed for quite some time.

        In the digital library space there even exists quite old (10 years) open source software such as zebra[1] which can handle large indexes fast. There are actually open standards[2] for information retrieval (IR), but nobody in the open source desktop space seem to know about it(?).
        [1]http://www.indexdata.dk/zebra [indexdata.dk]
        [2]http://www.loc.gov/z3950/agency/zing/ [loc.gov]

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 31, 2005 @06:51AM (#13206801)
      no beagle is only a trojan horse done to justify
      mono as default platform into gnome.
      i've heard that someone are working to produce a beagle replacement in python
      http://img185.echo.cx/img185/2971/pybeagle47ya.png [img185.echo.cx]
    • I understand that Ubuntu will have it included by default in their next release (which will probably be on the same day as the release of GNOME.)
      • by Korgan (101803) on Sunday July 31, 2005 @08:25AM (#13207042) Homepage
        I hope not. I've been playing with Beagle 0.12 and its definitely not ready for prime time. Its a great service and the 'best' front end is very nice (although I personally prefer the web frontend as I usually already have a browser open) but its not anywhere near solid enough.

        Its a mission to get going from source at the moment and even if you run a distro that already includes it, it doesn't take much to break it. Upgrading Firefox/Mozilla is enough in some cases (thanks to best's reliance on the Gecko libs).

        Don't get me wrong. Personally I love the technology, but I really don't think its anywhere near ready for mainstream use. Great if you want to try out bleeding edge tech or help improve the software, but not if you just want a search tech that works.

        The other downside is that beagled has to be run by the individual users when they log in. It refuses to run at boot as part of the init scripts. So its got to be included as either part of the xinit or shell rc scripts. Thus automation is going to be needed on the admins part at the moment. Sure, this can be done as a default part of a distro, but given its not ready yet... ;-)
        • by dalutong (260603)
          Hmm.. I disagree. First a disclaimer: I am working on a very poor memory -- beagle might not be included at all.

          But I have been using beagle on my ubuntu machine using breezy backports. Ubuntu maintains its packages well -- I have not had beagle break at all over the past couple of months of using it. Setting it up to start when I start gnome has been the only kind of work I've had to do.

          I'll admit, though, that the search is still fairly slow and not great at finding what I need. I am using version 0.11 th
        • by ashayh (636057)
          Installation is not the only problem. mono/beagle frequently use 30-50% of CPU time and/or memory.
      • by Feztaa (633745)
        Actually, Ubuntu's next release will be in October. They follow a 6-month release cycle that has them releasing a new distro every April and October.
  • by w4rl5ck (531459) on Sunday July 31, 2005 @06:39AM (#13206780) Homepage
    for a second I was... "hey I have to install that imme... wait... I already did... I... *click* 2.10... [strange feeling]... ah, 2.12..."

    can someone correct the headline or something? :)
  • Totem (Score:5, Interesting)

    by astralbat (828541) on Sunday July 31, 2005 @06:45AM (#13206793)
    I'll look forward to the day when Totem manages to play DVD's better than Xine.
    Even changing the GStreamer backend for the Xine backend, Totem still never manages to play half the movies I seem to give it.

    I do like the idea of a GStreamer based Mozilla plugin though. It will give users a great choice to drop the ugly Mplayer based plugin.

  • by vectorian798 (792613) on Sunday July 31, 2005 @06:47AM (#13206795)
    From the article: More software is taking advantage of the Hardware Abstraction Layer from Project Utopia. HAL-aware applications can display more information to the user, as well as benefit from "it just works" plug and play style hardware support. GNOME-VFS in GNOME 2.12 has improved integration with HAL, and now gives more visual cues about the types and names of media devices.

    I am looking forward to this feature, especially - just another step towards making Linux more user-friendly.

    In fact, this prerelease tour shows many exciting features for those who want to see a real desktop linux - improvements to Nautilus, a panel with Edit Menu option compliant with Freedesktop.org spec (how long have we been looking for something like this?), and more. Yay
  • Efficiency (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Alain Williams (2972) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Sunday July 31, 2005 @06:55AM (#13206810) Homepage
    The feature that I want is: efficiency.

    Gnome is great at turning a fast computer into a sluggish one. Just because you have all of those CPU cycles doesn't mean that they have to use them, especially when lots of them seem to be wasted.

    For instance: if you look (strace) at a typical gnome program when it starts up, it stats zillions of files; many of them more than once. This is why startup is so sloooooow.

    Oh, I am trolling am I ? We all have fast computers so why am I making a fuss ? Think about: being able to save power (improve battery life) with a slower CPU laptop; people in the third world who cannot afford the super computers that we, in the 1st world, have on out desktops; think about sharing a server between many people (eg LTSP).

    It would be nice to see a gnome release that just concentrated on making the code faster.

    • Re:Efficiency (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ssj_195 (827847) on Sunday July 31, 2005 @07:12AM (#13206846)
      I think both the major desktops are beginning to start the optimisation drive round about now; the thing is that software development usually proceeds in fits and starts, with different parts of the software development process going through the phases of Making It Work, Making It Work Well and Securely, and, finally, Making It Work Fast. I'm going to stick my neck out and say that even though both Desktop Environments have been around before the year 2000, both have undergone more intensive development, or at least had more features added, over the last year or so than ever before in their history (actually, this goes for Desktop Linux in general, from the kernel to X to the toolkits to the DE's to the distros themselves), so there are a lot of rough and unoptimised new additions in there.

      Fortunately, unlike a certain other purveyor of Desktop OS's, the devs are actually fairly committed to making everything faster and less resource hungry (witness the GNOME optimisation bounties, and the efforts of the Ubuntu team). Robert Love gave a very interesting talk on optimisation of the desktop environments (I can't find a link right now, but the talk was called "Optimising GNOME", although some of the library-level changes could be conscripted by KDE and anyone else, really). KDE posted some resource-consumption figures for the (very rough and unoptimised) KDE4 port of Kate, and it already looks significantly better. Add in the upcoming xgl et al, and things should hopefully get to the absolutely perfect state of getting faster and faster while still adding features that every developer yearns for :)

      Of course, it's pretty much impossible to continuously increase functionality without paying some price in terms of resource-consumption, so you might be better off going to less featureful DE's like, say, XFCE, if you prefer speed over functionality.

    • Re:Efficiency (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jejones (115979) on Sunday July 31, 2005 @01:01PM (#13208291) Journal
      Amen. When Firefox used its own file browsing dialog, it was kind of slow the first time I saved in a directory with lots of files, but on the second and following times came up immediately.

      On my system at least (Ubuntu; maybe I should uninstall firefox-gnome-support...), Firefox now uses the GNOME file browsing dialog for saving files, and it takes forever for directories with many files, and doesn't seem to cache much, because the second through nth times around are just about as slow as the first.
    • Make it work, make it right, make it fast.
  • Still ugly fonts (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AvantLegion (595806) on Sunday July 31, 2005 @07:04AM (#13206830) Journal
    Neat features. Yes the font in every screenshot is still ugly and would be laughed out of the room if it were the default look for a GUI on an OS from Microsoft or Apple. They're thin, brittle, and chintzy. Though it's not necessarily the fonts themselves. Even when I copy over the fonts from Windows, they make those fonts look thin, brittle, and chintzy. Why can't, say, Times New Roman be rendered in Linux and match Times New Roman in Windows, without the crappy errors with italicized letters and such? All the tinkering with AA and subpixel rendering settings in the world still can't match what a few clicks to turn on and tune Cleartype does. It saddens me to leave my Linux desktop at home, go to work on a Windows PC, and marvel at how much better websites and such look.

    Give me font rendering that doesn't suck.

    • by ocelotbob (173602) <ocelot@NoSPam.ocelotbob.org> on Sunday July 31, 2005 @07:12AM (#13206845) Homepage
      Write congress and tell them to reform patent legislation so that the Xorg folks can use the same techniques that Apple and MS does. It's not gnome's fault that the patent system is broken.
      • by bogaboga (793279) on Sunday July 31, 2005 @09:08AM (#13207193)
        1: Install Microsoft true-type fonts.

        2: You could install them via this script: http://vigna.dsi.unimi.it/webFonts4Linux/webFonts. sh [unimi.it]

        Then do the following:

        Configure X and Gnome to 96 dpi sudo cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.bak sudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf Locate Section "Monitor" and add the following lines before EndSection: # DisplaySize 270 203 # 1024x768 96dpi

        # DisplaySize 338 254 # 1280x960 96dpi

        # DisplaySize 338 270 # 1280x1024 96dpi

        # DisplaySize 370 277 # 1400x1050 96dpi

        # DisplaySize 423 370 # 1600x1400 96dpi

        Uncomment the line corresponding to your current resolution.

        To get other values, use the following formula:

        displaysize = {pixelsize}/96*25.4

        Remember:

        The display size must be "right" so adjust those values till you get your size right.

    • Re:Still ugly fonts (Score:5, Informative)

      by Gleng (537516) on Sunday July 31, 2005 @07:28AM (#13206885)
      If you're using a Debian based distro, you can run:

      dpkg-reconfigure fontconfig

      And then select the bytecode interpreter from the menu. Fixed. :)
      • Re:Still ugly fonts (Score:5, Informative)

        by Gleng (537516) on Sunday July 31, 2005 @08:15AM (#13207012)
        Also, here's a copy of my /etc/fonts/local.conf which disables antialiasing on font sizes under 10 points, so you get nice crisp Windows style rendering on small fonts. I use Tahoma size 8 on my Gnome menus and it looks pretty sweet.

        <?xml version="1.0"?>
        <!DOCTYPE fontconfig SYSTEM "fonts.dtd">
        <fontconfig>
        <include ignore_missing="yes">/var/lib/defoma/fontconfig.d/ fonts.conf</include>

                <match target="font">
                    <test name="size" compare="less">
                        <double>10</double>
                    </test>
                    <edit name="antialias" mode="assign">
                        <bool>false</bool>
                    </edit>
                </match>
                <match target="font">
                    <test name="pixelsize" compare="less" qual="any">
                        <double>10</double>
                    </test>
                    <edit mode="assign" name="antialias">
                        <bool>false</bool>
                    </edit>
                </match>

        </fontconfig>
      • Re:Still ugly fonts (Score:4, Informative)

        by mrogers (85392) on Sunday July 31, 2005 @12:39PM (#13208151)
        Also, be sure to enable bitmap fonts - Debian disables them by default, but they're much sharper than antialiased outline fonts at small sizes.

        If web pages still look blurry, add the following line to ~/.bash_profile to disable antialiasing in GTK2 and Gecko:

        export GDK_USE_XFT=0

    • It's not like MS has had the best font renderer forever either. I'm forced to run Windows 2000 on my work machine, and the fonts there don't look quite as nice next to those on my Linux boxes.

      I will admit, XP's Cleartype really does look nice, though it goes a bit too far into blurry-land for my taste, depending on the output device. At least the subpixel hinting is tweakable on X11 with fontconfig/Xft.
      • Microsoft release a ClearType calibration PowerToy a while back, and this made ClearType a whole lot better. Previously, I too thought it looked too blurred.
    • I really don't know why people still go on about fonts in linux. I haven't had a problem with them since XFree86 3.3.something.

      If I've been working exclusively on linux for a few weeks I gag when I boot up windows and look at the fonts for the first time in ages. And vice-versa when I have been exclusively on windows for a while. It just depends what I'm used to.
    • Personally, I despise Windows' hinted rendering. I like the heavily anti-aliased look on OS X, especially when dealing with Japanese text.

      If you want to emulate OS X's font rendering, that's easy to achieve in Gnome. Just go to Font Preferences, Details..., and set Smoothing to Subpixel (or Greyscale for a TFT) and Hinting to None. Then walk away from the computer for a few minutes, because it looks weird in direct comparison. When you come back, enjoy the smooth text!
    • "Thin, brittle, and chintzy?"

      Um, I like "thin" and I don't find the Linux AA fonts to be "brittle and chintzy" which are certainly odd adjectives to use for a font (brittle? did you try to break your fonts by tapping them with a reflex hammer? chintzy? did you ask them for money?)

      IMHO, the Cleartype fonts are just less readable than the subpixel AA fonts I see in, for example, KDE. I've spent tons of time trying to find a way to get Cleartype in XP to render Arial the same way that KDE does and as far as I
    • Yes the font in every screenshot is still ugly

      They don't look ugly to me at all. On the other hand, when I boot up Windows to test a website in Internet Explorer, I think the fonts are supremely crappy.

    • by Stevyn (691306)
      I see it the exact opposite way. Fonts on linux are so much nicer than on Windows. The anti-aliasing on two gentoo boxes, one a dell laptop and the other with a dell lcd looks a lot sharper than on windows. Whenever I reboot into windows xp, the fonts look fuzzy and I end up disabling Cleartype because it's hard to read.

      I also just put windows vista beta 1 on the computer with the dell lcd and the fonts still look bad. Maybe it's just preference or maybe it's because I'm used to the fonts in xorg, but i
    • by zsau (266209) <.ten.srehpargotraceht. .ta. .todhsals.> on Sunday July 31, 2005 @10:36AM (#13207575) Homepage Journal
      Fonts are funny things. Everyone seems to like different ones. I dispise Cleartype on Windows (it's better without anything). And Mac fonts I find to be ugly, too. The fonts in my GTK+ 2 environment, though, I find to be absolutely supurb. If you gave me Windows-like rending of fonts on my GNU/Linux box, I'd punch you in the face.

      (However, I consider Times New Roman to be godawful no matter how it's rendered, or even in print, so I almost always use only Bitstream Vera Sans/Serif/Sans Mono, the TeX Computer Modern series, and a handful others like Gentium for special characters. I even have my web browser configure to use my fonts and only my fonts, to the best of its ability.)
  • ok, but when will I finally see a list of REMOVED features.

    You know - those features that was recognized to be shitty and unusable. Removed default applications that simply don't work(r). Sourcebase size shrinking by megabytes. Abstraction and unification instead of the Linux Way(tm).

    Yes, I'm flaming. But honestly - what's new? Desktop theme? Cool rendering approach? And why desktop envorement should ever mention HAL?

    (yes, but I really like the fact that now Gnome is copying System7. Actually it's really a
  • True Transparencies? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by xjerky (128399) on Sunday July 31, 2005 @07:19AM (#13206868)
    TFA didn't seem to mention anything about it. I would hope that 2.12 can utilize X.org's native transparencies that have been present for months now.
    • I would hope it doesn't, actually, at least not by default. The X Composite extension is still buggy as hell, and requires a recent video card with good drivers (pretty much only nvidia, and then only using the binary-only driver, and to some extent ATI), otherwise it's painfully slow. Hopefully that should improve with X.0rg 6.9.0/7.0.0 onwards, but I don't think that'll be timely enough for GNOME 2.12.
      • Even with nvidia and the binary drivers, X Composite is flaky and slow on my computer (2.6 GHz P4, not bleeding edge, but not slow either).

        With Composite enabled, I frequently suffer from complete lockups of Xorg (the mouse moves, but nothing else works).

        So yeah, I'm with you on the "hope it doesn't".
  • Wow! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by David Horn (772985) <david@p o c k e t g a mer.org> on Sunday July 31, 2005 @07:30AM (#13206890) Homepage
    My boss saw this over my shoulder and is almost (but not quite) possibly thinking about maybe trialling Linux on his home machine...
  • How much time and cpu power/RAM will be needed for this feature to process a tree with a hundred directories, one directory having a total of, say, 5000 pictures/thumbnails?
  • Yes! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by FrostedWheat (172733)
    New clipboard management, based off the Freedesktop.org specification and tightly integrated with GNOME, allows for objects to persist in the clipboard longer than the lifetime of an application

    About time! Closing the application and losing the clipboard contents always annoying me and was a real embarrasment for Gnome. I'm glad it's been fixed but I wonder why it took so long.
    • by Kristoffer Lunden (800757) on Sunday July 31, 2005 @10:11AM (#13207454) Homepage
      If they could only add an option to block "middle click pastes" too, it would all be perfect in clipboard land. But browsing the web, evertime someone even thinks this thought it is immideately flamed through the ground by all the people who knows how superior this way of doing things is, and that also knows that there is no chance in hell that anyone could do this by mistake.

      Heads up: I'm not proposing to remove it, or even turn it off by default. I just need a way to turn it off manually. It is extremely annoying, and I (and other with me) *do* click middle by mistake - often - and that is a hell when scrolling around code in text editors... Yep, a lot of it probably owes to the mouse I have, it has a tendency to get stuck slightly on scrolling, which results in a click. But really, do I need to buy a new mouse for something as simple?

      I don't use, want or need it, and it hinders me in my work. I would really like to see it go. (Maybe it really is a X.org issue in the end, though. Not sure where it would be best to implement it).
  • It used to be (as of Gnome 2.10), that if I would launch Natilus from a shell, or if another application (such as totem) launched Nautilus withous asking me, that I would get a window where every icon was a grey piece of paper. Apparently Nautilus is incapable of showing the correct icons for the files unless gnome-settings-daemon was launched beforehand. Further, Nautilus would open a window the size of the screen and draw the desktop onto this, as well as draw a static image of the desktop to the root w
    • nautilus --no-desktop
      As it says if you do
      nautilus --help
      But I don't really know about the correct icon for file types. Nautilus has done this for at least a year, and quite possibly more.
    • I just start the gnome-settings-daemon in xinitrc.
    • It would be a pleasure if the Gnome developers were to consider improving the behavior of Nautilus and/or the gnome-settings-daemon to handle users of gnome applications who are not necessarily interested in running the entirety of the gnome desktop experience.

      Gnome is a desktop environment. I don't think the developers care what happens outside Gnome. It's a shame because some of their applications are pretty good.

      I had the same problem with gnome-settings-daemon under RH 9. FC3 seems to handle this situ

  • This isn't intended as a troll. I'm a GNOME fan. Just a frustrated one, regarding one particular feature of the system.

    I don't know, GNOME's file associations seem really, really tricky to deal with. A few revisions back (2.6), I was marginally aware of how to manage file associations through control panel. I could not add my own icons to file types at all, but I at least managed to say which apps I wanted to be shown on Nautilus menu, which were available at all, and which was the default application.

    I

    • The simplist way seems to be just use the tools. So use the custom icon button in a nautalis properties dialog, and choose an icon.

      Obviously this isn't always desirable, I wanted custom jpg icons for each of my album folders and it would have been a bitch to do using a gui. So to get at the config files, do one by hand, and then look in ~/.nautilus/metafiles/

      The format is quite straightforward xml and its easy to tweak by script.
       
    • I have no freaking idea where this thing is actually stored. In GNOME 1.x, they used some kind of really broken text file format. In early 2.x, they seemed to just keep using it. Nowadays, I have absolutely no idea how it stores the associations. Is it somewhere in gconf database, finally? I also have no idea how to really manage these file associations in 2.10: Nautilus isn't particularly helpful and I couldn't find the knob in the control center.

      You can change the file type associations by going to th

  • I admit I don'tknow anything about Gnome, but seeing a reference to Apple System 7 doesn't really sound very exciting, and doesn't quite make me want to give it a closer look.

    Maybe some details could coinvince me?

  • by delire (809063) on Sunday July 31, 2005 @08:19AM (#13207022)

    ... s/icons/wrinkles

    Bring on the spat of posts telling me I can change the icon theme, as of course I do [gnome-look.org], but I'll say it again: Gnome needs a new default icon set.
    The icons in most of those screens are sadly still as dull, muddied, venerable and depressing as they were 6 years ago, when I first tried Gnome.

    The forward and back arrows in Nautilus seem to have absoutely no graphical correllation with the rest of Gnome's visual landscape (except the Refresh icon). The ~/ icon still looks like a little squashy mushroom house from a childrens novel and the icons in the menu editor [gnome.org] (for menu groups) have no internal correlation other than they exhibit a tongue-and-cheek dig at futurism. Who actually thinks of a typewriter when looking for 'office', let alone a bricklayers tool when thinking about development?. Is this theme targeting a 50+ demographic? For icons so small, that aliasing really eats into their form and lastly the colour space of the icons seems all over the place, as though to solve the lack of a common palette they have simply mixed Khaki greeen into everything. This one thing KDE has really sorted out.

    From what I have seen of Gnome desktops over the years, these default icons have a life expectancy of about 2 weeks (especially that home icon). Why not finally lay them to rest - or just move them down the theme list, far away from 'Default'?
    • You seem to talk as if you're reasonably knowledgeable about UI elements and colours. You also realise that different icon sets exist and use them. But my question is how involved you have got with the development process in Gnome? Whining on Slashdot is easy; making educated argument to the Gnome dev team is harder, but you sound like you have the mettle, so is there money where your mouth is?
    • The question is not about "who actually thinks of a typewriter when looking for 'office'?" but "who doesn't think of wordprocessing or text editing when he sees a typewriter icon?".

      I don't think Gnome needs a new icon set, I think you do. I like the current one.
  • Color Me Amazed (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Sunday July 31, 2005 @01:17PM (#13208388) Homepage Journal
    Antialiasing in the color picker? The edges are smoother, but the colors are wrong. It's bad enough they used that feature in that app, but to use that terrible example to show off the feature?

Do not simplify the design of a program if a way can be found to make it complex and wonderful.

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