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The Notable Improvements of GNOME 2.22 265

Posted by Zonk
from the short-but-pretty dept.
Michael Larabel writes "Phoronix has up a list compiling eight of the most interesting improvements on track for GNOME 2.22. These improvements include the Epiphany browser switching to the WebKit back-end, transition effects inside the Evince document viewer, a new GNOME application for taking photos and recording videos from web cameras followed by applying special effects, a mouse tweaking module for improved accessibility, and a new GNOME VNC client. On the multimedia end, GNOME 2.22 has a few new features appended to the Totem movie player and the Rhythmbox player. Totem can now search and play YouTube videos and connect to a MythTV server and watch past recordings or view live TV. Rhythmbox now can utilize FM radio tuners, integration with new lyric sites, improved Podcast feed support, and even has support for communicating with newer Sony PSPs. There will also be a standalone Flash player and flash previewing support from the file browser in this release."
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The Notable Improvements of GNOME 2.22

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  • gtkhtml (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LizardKing (5245) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @01:56PM (#22223868)

    I wonder if the move to WebKit for the rendering engine used by Epiphany will prompt other GNOME projects to transition from the various gtkhtml versions that are currently used. The maintenance of gtkhtml seems to be sporadic, and the API changes drastically between versions. For example, on a Fedora 8 install at work there's two versions of the gtkhtml library required by different apps in the basic GNOME desktop ...

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by scorp1us (235526)
      By using WebKit, and with KDE/Qt switching to WebKit, and Apple already using WebKit, GNOME gets to use a very popular web core. This effectively divides the internet either as I.E., WebKit or Mozilla. By being part of the WebKit crowd, you get to ride the wave of Safari compatibility. I see the consolidation as good as eventually we should have the internet divided into I.E. or WebKit. I do expect some grumbling from Mozilla peeps, which have their own top-notch core. But the fewer cores the web devs need
      • Re:gtkhtml (Score:4, Interesting)

        by UtucXul (658400) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @03:01PM (#22224812) Homepage

        But the fewer cores the web devs need to support, the better.
        I really have to disagree there. Web devs should not support any rendering engine. It may makes sense to test against more than one engine, but a website should never be written for a given rendering engine. We've seen the mess that gets us. Website should be written to standards and the people who write the rendering engines should then try to write their engines to that. Some of them do. No one gets that perfect, but with one exception, they all do at least an okay job. And supposedly even IE is doing better although I really have no way of testing that myself.
        • by node 3 (115640)
          You're saying that web sites should conform to an arbitrary standard, even if no browser supports it?

          Don't you think it makes more sense to write a web page in such a way that people can properly view it than it does to write it so that it conforms to an unused standard?
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by UtucXul (658400)
            I said some of this in the post answering the post above yours, but enough browsers (Gecko-based, Webkit-based, and Opera) support enough of the standard that yes, I think people should code to the standard. And even IE is supposed to be moving towards better standards compliance, so I don't think I would call HTML 4 and XHTML unused standards.

            There is also the idea that html is supposed to degrade fairly gracefully, so unlike say a C compiler, even if a browser doesn't fully support the standard, things

    • Re:gtkhtml (Score:5, Informative)

      by ozamosi (615254) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @02:25PM (#22224244) Homepage
      Actually, the plan is to create a new "gtkhtml" widget that's supposed to be able to work with different backends, so that you can use Gecko, Webkit, and existing gtkhtml through the same API. http://www.atoker.com/blog/2008/01/10/putting-the-web-in-gtk/ [atoker.com]
  • by rucs_hack (784150) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @02:03PM (#22223932)
    The main reason I like gnome is that its a fast window manager with a low cruft index. This looks to me like Gnome trying too hard, and adding too many capabilities to what is, so far as I understand it, just a window manager. Why, for example include vnc? It's not like seperate client/servers for this task aren't available, and most are pretty good.

    Is all this new stuff going to slow it down, that's the thing that interests me. If the team have too many things to maintain, just how good a job can they do?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by K. S. Kyosuke (729550)
      If you expect Gnome to be just a "fast window manager with a low cruft index", what about its CORBA server on which the whole beast is based? Gnome, as far as I can recall, has always strived to be a full-blown desktop environment. I think it works quite nicely in this role (even though I like KDE much more, I find it much more resource-efficent on older machines, and not that spartan, from the POV of a power user - oh, and being a friend of some of its developers, I don't want to make them upset :D), but i
      • by Knuckles (8964)
        Gnome was never really "CORBA-based". Some parts used it, like the panel, and IIRC most people planned it to use CORBA a lot, but the thing IIRC just became too heavy. All the hits on google about "gnome and corba" are outdated.
    • by Tack (4642)

      GNOME isn't, and never has been, a window manager. It's a desktop environment, which has a window manager as one component. A GNOME VNC client makes perfect sense for a desktop environment.

    • by gujo-odori (473191) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @02:17PM (#22224130)
      First of all, GNOME is not a window manager. It is a complete desktop environment. When last I used GNOME, Sawfish was the default GNOME window manager. Before that, it was Enlightenment. I haven't followed GNOME for a while, maybe they've changed the WM again. The point being, you can use a number of WMs with GNOME; it is not, itself, a window manager.

      Low cruft? Anything that is a complete desktop environment probably doesn't meet most people's definition of low cruft, but if there is one that makes that cut in the free software world, I'd vote for XFCE (I'm a KDE user, and neither KDE nor GNOME come anywhere near low cruft in my book; XFCE is reasonably low cruft, although you also give up some things to get there; one user's cruft is another user's indispensable feature. YMMV).

      If you really want low cruft, though, you need to really run just a window manager. Fluxbox and IceWM are a couple of very good choices in that area. They really are low cruft and they are also very, very fast. Of course, unless you truly are willing to trade a lot of features for speed, you may find yourself wishing for a bit more cruft after a while.

      Is this new stuff going to slow it down? Yeah, maybe. OTOH, they may make tuning improvements in other areas to offset it. Of course, GNOME is already slow [1], so you may not notice an incremental slowdown. KDE is slow, too (especially KDE 4; having tried it, I put it back on the shelf to wait for 4.1, and went back to the 3.5 tree).

      [1] Compared to faster things like XFCE, or even faster things, like $WINDOW_MANAGER_OF_YOUR_CHOICE, but still seems relatively responsive compared to certain proprietary systems.
      • by VValdo (10446) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @02:37PM (#22224450)
        When last I used GNOME, Sawfish was the default GNOME window manager. Before that, it was Enlightenment. I haven't followed GNOME for a while, maybe they've changed the WM again.

        For a while now (since 2.2) the default WM has been Metacity [wikipedia.org].

        W
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ChristTrekker (91442)

        Anything that is a complete desktop environment probably doesn't meet most people's definition of low cruft, but if there is one that makes that cut in the free software world, I'd vote for XFCE. [...] If you really want low cruft, though, you need to really run just a window manager. Fluxbox and IceWM are a couple of very good choices in that area.

        Between those "extremes" are even-lighter desktops like Étoilé and EDE, and somewhat-heavier WMs like Enlightenment. Lots of options in the X11 world

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by cparker15 (779546)
      GNOME is a desktop environment. Metacity is a window manager.
    • by hr.wien (986516) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @02:18PM (#22224144)

      Neither KDE nor Gnome are just window managers (that's Metacity and Kwin). Desktop environment is a more fitting term for them. They both aim to include most of what you need for basic day-to-day use of your computer. They also make sure everything they include is nicely consistent, which makes for a good user experience.

      As for your speed concerns, I don't see how inclusion of a few new apps will slow down anything? It will take a bit more disk space probably, but it won't slow anything down unless you use these new apps. You're also free to uninstall anything you feel is redundant.

    • by Simon80 (874052)
      You're confused, GNOME is a suite of applications that provide a usable desktop environment, not a window manager. The window manager used in GNOME is called metacity, and it certainly is not becoming a VNC client.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by brunascle (994197)
      these are mostly just changes to applications in the "official gnome apps" list, and new apps added to that list. they're not really going to affect the performance of the desktop itself (i.e. gnome-panel, nautilus, metacity, etc).
    • by Ckwop (707653) <Simon.Johnson@gmail.com> on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @02:25PM (#22224236) Homepage

      This looks to me like Gnome trying too hard, and adding too many capabilities to what is, so far as I understand it, just a window manager. Why, for example include vnc? It's not like seperate client/servers for this task aren't available, and most are pretty good.

      This is a very good point. Linux is so flexible because each project has a different agenda and a different set of design criteria it is trying to satisfy.

      I think that Gnome should not try to be a direct competitor to KDE. KDE is huge, has tonnes of software included with it and tries to be everything to everyone.

      We need a desktop environment that does that.

      However, this doesn't mean that Gnome should try to be this too. If it tries to, it will lose. KDE's software base is absolutely huge, and it's all controlled from a series of close-nit projects. Gnome would struggle to match that style of development.

      Gnome's advantage is that is simpler and less complex. It is my view, Gnome should be a like a good text-book; it is complete not when there is nothing left to add, but nothing left to take away.

      Free software is about choice. You don't have a real choice when both options put before you are the same. The differences between open-source projects are not weakness but strengths. Being different allows you to choose your software according to your needs; it allows you to adapt.

      Simon.

    • by samkass (174571) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @02:33PM (#22224382) Homepage Journal
      I assume you're with the crowd that are (mis)using Slashdot's tagging feature to make editorial comments about window transitions not being a "feature". It's kind of ironic, because some of those same people will, at times, talk about Linux's viability as a desktop operating system, where utility of transitions are immense. In fact, transitions are probably one of the more valuable HCI movements lately, and give users great feedback as to what happened to their data/windows and where they went. All the way back to the Newton's "crumpling paper" when things were thrown away, Apple has been using them to great effect. When minimizing something to the dock in MacOS X, it's an extremely good way of showing the user where they can find it later.

      Considering my 6-year-old PowerPC-based Mac can do them just fine, I think keeping things "lean" for lean's sake is counterproductive. All the visual aspects should be analyzed from a consistency and return-on-performance factor, and while transitions may have been too expensive to performance at some point, nowadays they're virtually free and a great tool.
      • by rucs_hack (784150)
        I assume you're with the crowd that are (mis)using Slashdot's tagging feature to make editorial comments about window transitions not being a "feature"

        Me? (I wrote the original post). I haven't even worked out how to do tagging yet, let alone abuse it...

        Actually I turn window transitions off on every OS I use that has them, but that's because I'm still using my trusty old Gforce 6 series card, and the poor thing does choke a bit on the candy.

        I don't do OS politics, I just y'know, use them.
      • I recently visited dell.com to price out a new system. When they finally present the full specs, they use a "reveal" transition to display the page. On my 2.4GHz P4 under Firefox, this effect took about 30 seconds. Infuriating.

        It's especially bothersome given that it is trivial to get this right. The obvious "trick" is to spec the amount of time a transition should take, rather than the number of frames that should be rendered. The transition-rendering loop then draws the appropriate frame for the time
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jhol13 (1087781)
        The problem with all those animations is that I really, *REALLY* hate them. All of them.

        I have never ever seen a single "windows transition" or any other animation which does not look boring when you it the second time and annoying when you see it third time. BTW Compiz is the worst, the wobbly windows makes me want to puke.

        When minimizing something to the dock in MacOS X, it's an extremely good way of showing the user where they can find it later.

        Are you implying that it goes to a different place every time? If yes, it is a horrible misfeature (minimize ten windows and try to remember where all went ...). If no, I will remember

    • by nguy (1207026)
      Is all this new stuff going to slow it down, that's the thing that interests me. If the team have too many things to maintain, just how good a job can they do?

      These are all done by separate developers, and they shouldn't impact core development.

      Why, for example include vnc? It's not like seperate client/servers for this task aren't available, and most are pretty good.

      I use VNC frequently, and the existing clients suck. Keyring support is worth having a Gnome version, and working full screen support would a
  • Why webkit over khtml ? To avoid the irony ?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by N3TW4LK3R (841526)
      AFAIK, the KDE team is also switching to Apple's fork of KHTML, WebKit.

      KHTML is very good of course, but it wouldn't make sense to switch to an engine that's going to be made obolete soon.
    • by LizardKing (5245)

      WebKit can be used in apps written in C and Objective-C, thanks to the KWQ wrapper, and unlike KHTML it has no dependencies on the Qt toolkit.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by cozziewozzie (344246)

      Why webkit over khtml ? To avoid the irony ?
      Most likely because KHTML uses Qt internally, and Webkit took the Qt dependency out, and is therefore probably easier to integrate with GTK.
  • by Colin Smith (2679) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @02:15PM (#22224092)
    Just encouraged me to switch to XFCE [xfce.org]...

    And people say there should be a single desktop...

     
    • by Sleepy (4551)
      >And people say there should be a single desktop...

      Actually, NO ONE says there should be a 'single desktop'. (Well, I'm sure some people will say anything, but...)

      What developers and managers often bemoan is that there is no SINGLE API for development of desktop apps.

      In fact your example of XFCE is a PERFECT example of what happens when there IS a common API. XFCE uses GTK as the engine.. as does GNOME.
      The 'core' functions are all there... and then extended.

      I don't think there should EVER be a single des
  • vino sucks. It's totally unusable: buggy, slow, and fails with 3D acceleration. x11vnc, on the other hand, works very very well. Why not borrow the code?
    • by muszek (882567)
      Earlier today, I read Ubuntu Hardy Heron, Alpha 4 release announcement [ubuntu.com] (due in two days). Vinagre [gnome.org] is going to be installed by default... it looks like it might be inherited from Gnome.
      • by mhall119 (1035984)
        Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron) is going to use Gnome 2.22, so I would assume it would have all the features mentioned in this article.
    • by Blakey Rat (99501)
      All VNC servers kind of suck. An ideal remote desktop system:
      1) Would be encrypted by default. Yes, I know you can pipe VNC through SS-something and yada yada, but I'm not smart enough to do that, and frankly people shouldn't have to-- just encrypt it by default!
      2) Send widget descriptions (1k) instead of images of widgets whenever possible to save bandwidth.
      3) Locked, logged-out, or otherwise blanked the server system to prevent eavesdropping while connected remotely.
      4) Had an option to transmit sound, at
  • I wonder if any of the items on my Gedit wish list are going to be looked at?

    I use Gedit for my IDE of choice. However, I have wishes to make it better.

    The big two are simple,
    when working on an indented line and press enter, the next line is indented the same distance.

    When the cursor is next to a bracket (brace, etc.) {([ ])}, or even quotes ' " " ', it highlights one that matches it.

    The other items were fixed between 2.18 and 2.20, so no worries there...

    As for Epiphany, someone asked if anyone actually use
    • by deanlandolt (1004507) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @02:33PM (#22224384) Journal
      I'm running 2.20.3 on Ubuntu Gutsy...

      when working on an indented line and press enter, the next line is indented the same distance.
      Edit > Preferences > Editor > Enable automatic indentation

      When the cursor is next to a bracket (brace, etc.) {([ ])}, or even quotes ' " " ', it highlights one that matches it.
      Edit > Preferences > View > Highlight matching bracket I'm not sure when the features came in, but perhaps you need a minor version upgrade?
      • by sayfawa (1099071)
        Yeah, And those have been there for years. Gedit has a huge amount of preferences that people don't seem to discover for some reason. I think people look at it's default state and just assume it's another extremely simple Gnome app with no user-defined preferences.
    • when working on an indented line and press enter, the next line is indented the same distance.
      GEdit does that already, just not by default. I can't recall off the top of my head where the option is and I'm not at a Linux PC to check, but it should be fairly easy to find.
    • http://www.scintilla.org/SciTE.html [slashdot.org]>SciTE is a similar lightweight editor which has the features you've mentioned (though from what I hear there's ways to make gedit behave that way too) and has, among others, the added bonuses of being cross-platform and not depending on gnome libraries.
  • by tloh (451585)

    ....transition effects inside the Evince document viewer....

    I'm not at all sure what this is, but there is one thing that I hope Evince will be improved on. When used to view some PDF documents with Chinese fonts, the text comes across as terribly mangled. Though readable with great effort, the rendering is very coarse with inconsistent line widths. I may not be speaking for a large number of affected users. However, Gnome under Ubuntu for me has been indespensible as the computing plateform of choice for my retiree father. Those of us living in the US have d

    • by Knuckles (8964)
      The Ubuntu folks are very interested in multi-language support, so I figure they would like to fix the bug. Have you let them know about the issue, if possible by including the document? It would be great if you could go to Launchpad [launchpad.net] and file a bug on evince.
  • filechooser ? (Score:4, Informative)

    by C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @02:28PM (#22224300) Journal
    my pet peevee with _any_ GTK based app is the filechooser.

    it's ugly and far from intuitive.

    there's a wrapper aplication that allows some GTK apps use KDE's filechooser, but it doesn't work with everyting.

    if GTK developers really don't wan't to fix this, could they at least put something to allow the use of KDE's dialogs when the app is not running under gnome ?

    BTW, the wrapper is here: http://www.kde-apps.org/content/show.php?content=36077 [kde-apps.org]
    • Was going to mod you up, but I'll reply instead (sorry!).

      I completely agree.

      The GNOME filechooser is an abomination. It is one of the reasons that Linus Torvalds uses KDE, and the reason that no sane person will touch GNOME.

      1. COMPLETELY unintuitive (and difficult to get used to) initial layout. Instead of having an area with the file name that you can type in, there is simply a three-panel directory. What happens if you start typing? Some weird mystery box appears that is right on top of your filter d
      • thanks dude. i was going mad googling for that FF option. i had it set on seamonkey on my desktop box before i turned it into a hackint0sh (don't ask!!!), and now i was having a hard time trying to find it againg to apply to my notebook.
      • Nothing like as bad as you make out.

        What happens if you start typing is not "a mystery" but simply type ahead.

        I just tried it - I have a file on my desktop called test.txt.

        I open the chooser dialog in Firefox. I type 'de' and desktop is now highlighted. The mystery box is showing you what you have typed so far. I hit enter to go into desktop, then type te and test.txt is highlighted. I hit enter to open it.

        And if i try it a second time it remembers where i was last so now just "ctrl-o te enter" and i have o
        • Oh, now it's a user error, right? Blaming it on the users is so 1980 "mate".

          That type-ahead "feature" is probably the most annoying type-ahead I've ever come in contact with.
          Sure, it's fine if you have one or two files around. If not, it's a nightmare. I pray every time that type-ahead is disabled.
          You see, for some reason it works in some situations and doesn't in others. I don't have time to look in the code to see why it wouldn't work in some situations.

          The main problem with it is that you don't know
          • by Clansman (6514)
            Weird, I type /usr/lib/ and that is what I get, every time. I just tried some lother folders. Same. I either keep typing for sub directories or hit enter to get a list of files in that folder. Easy, fast and reliable.

            I use this set of features all day, maybe 100 times a day. Type ahead on loads of files? Works as planned! Now the down key moves only within the filter you have typed. I combine this with the snap open plugin (in gedit).

            Wasn't blaming the user, far from it, saying that it works well for me the
      • I wish it was as simple as running away from it.
        I use Eclipse and SWT for Java development. Because Eclipse uses SWT and SWT uses GTK+ to bind to, that piss poor dialog trolls all over the place in many, many SWT based applications.
        The trick with FF is nice (and I applied it immediately on my Kubuntu box) but there are unfortunately other apps out there...

        Man, how do I hate that dialog. I'm getting all worked up just thinking about it. Shees.

        My pet peeve: you type in a filename, say "foo-bar.txt" and yo
      • by prockcore (543967)

        2. The CANCEL and OK buttons are reversed from almost all other GUIs. Cancel to the left? Cancel above OK? What???


          Except the one that everyone on here raves about. Gnome's Cancel/OK button order is identical to OSX.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by NotZed (19455)
      Umm, newsflash, the kde (or windows) file chooser isn't 'intuitive' either - fuck, they're not even easy to use.

      The gnome one is awful, but so are the rest. I mean for fucks sake, in windows you double-click too slow and suddenly you're renaming files! Who wants to rename a file when opening it?

  • For the proverbial 'year of the Linux desktop' this is the sort of thing that we need. The flashy stuff might not matter to the slashdot crowd but to the average joe, the cosmetic improvements itself would be a reason to consider linux. We just had that article about better designed GUI's rating over better functioning programs, looks like the Gnome developers have taken that to heart.
  • I'd be happy to just settle for support for Exchange 2007 in Evolution 2.22 (I mainly use KDE applications in a gnome desktop anyway). I'm getting tired of work-arounds. What did all that Microsoft money to Novell buy?
  • Removed .NET yet? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by metamatic (202216) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @03:04PM (#22224852) Homepage Journal
    Any chance that they've removed the dependency on Microsoft's patented .NET technologies via Mono?

    (Yes, I know you can manually remove bits of the Gnome environment to get rid of Mono; but the Gnome environment by default includes Mono.)
  • Switching to WebKit? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by daemonc (145175) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @03:20PM (#22225156)
    "In order to use the WebKit backend, Epiphany must be built with the --with-engine=webkit argument."

    That sounds more like WebKit is available, as an option, if you are compiling from source, than "switching" to me...
  • Compared to KDE this is a non-update. It is almost irrelevant. One need not even look at it. I'm a gnome user and that's my opinion. There are tons of features they could add but mostly they could seriously fix the issues they have with it.
  • Last year I tried Ubuntu and the reason I ditched it and went back to RedHat/Fedora was Gnome. I can't stand Gnome, it is ugly, intrusive and non-configurable. Then I tried Kubuntu but gave up almost immediately on it -- it seems those who say that Kubuntu is Ubuntu's poor cousin have a point. So, now it's good old Fedora again. Sure, the update system is more primitive than Ubuntu but it has WORKING KDE, which far outweighs all its perceived disadvantages. I wish KDE was the primary environment of Fedora,
  • GDM Greeter (Score:2, Informative)

    by BadHaggis (1179673)
    One thing I haven't seen listed here is the rewrite of the GDM. While the core GDM is being rewritten it will not be included with Gnome 2.22 in Ubuntu, Mandriva, and Gentoo. These three main stream distributions have already stated in the GDM mail list that they will stay with the 2.20 version of GDM.

    The reasons stated for these distributions not including the 2.22 GDM are configuration issues, lack of a themed login, GDM Configuration tool and lack of testing. While many areas of Gnome are receiving im
  • Does Totem with Win32 codecs still crash X so badly that it crashes nVidia kernel module and the rest of the kernel, leading to crash/reboot of the PC?
  • File Roller (Score:2, Informative)

    I am a GNOME user. And I like it. It's all good. With one exception: the "File Roller" application, which is used to examine archives.

    Using it is basically a chore. You open it up, and you get a list of files. So, you think, it's just a matter of dragging those files into a directory you want, and it'll extract them there. Oh no. Total rejection. So you click on "extract," and if you're already in the directory you want to extract those files into, you have to leave that directory, and then re-enter it, b

  • I just don't understand desktop environments like Gnome and KDE. Most of their efforts seems to go into building half-assed reimplementations of their previous half-assed reimplementations of various existing programs. I understand they want everything to fit together perfectly, with uniform look and feel, but most of their software just isn't very good, and I'm not interested in waiting another seven or eight years for them to "realize their vision" by rewriting every component a few more times. I'd rather

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