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GNOME GUI Software

Review of GNOME 2.26 and GTK+ 2.16 140

Posted by timothy
from the small-improvements-add-up dept.
devg writes "The GNOME development community recently announced the official release GNOME 2.26, the latest version of the open source desktop environment for Linux. It adds the Brasero disc burning software, UPnP support in the Totem media player, and basic support for video chat in the Empathy instant messaging client. GNOME 2.26 will be shipped in upcoming Linux distributions, including Fedora 11 and Ubuntu 9.04. Some early reviews show that it is an incremental improvement with some good additions. GNOME 2.26 is accompanied by the release of GTK+ 2.16, a new version of the widget toolkit that is used to build the desktop environment. Ars Technica has published a detailed programming tutorial with code examples that demonstrate how developers can use the new features of GTK+ 2.16 in their own applications. Users can test GNOME 2.26 by downloading one of the official Foresight-based VM or ISO images via BitTorrent."
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Review of GNOME 2.26 and GTK+ 2.16

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  • Exchange support? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Tuesday March 24, 2009 @08:09PM (#27322321) Journal

    From the changelog:

    Second is support for Microsoft Exchange's MAPI protocol. This is the protocol that Microsoft Outlook uses to communicate with Exchange. Previously, Evolution only supported Exchange's SOAP protocol, which is not available on all Exchange servers. This support significantly improves Evolution's integration with Exchange servers.

    That sounds like a big deal. Anyone knows how well it actually works in practice?

    • by duguk (589689)

      <snip>... Microsoft Outlook ...<snip>

      <snip>... Anyone knows how well it actually works in practice?

      I'll guess not very well? :o)

      • I think you are criticising the wrong component. Don't blame Outlook, blame MAPI! It's one of the most stupid, bonedead APIs I've ever seen. The underlying protocol apparently consists of a lot of proprietary binary blobs that the OpenExchange guys have had to capture over the wire and disassemble. Hardly a stable or neat mail protocol if you ask me.

        Also, people think that MAPI is inherently secure, which it isn't. I can't tell you the number of clients I've seen who've shut down POP3 or IMAP services on th

    • Re:Exchange support? (Score:4, Informative)

      by romi (80701) on Tuesday March 24, 2009 @09:43PM (#27323493)

      Not well at all.

      The official 2.26.0 "release" of evolution-mapi had a small bug whereby it would crash immediately upon trying to connect to anything.

      2.26.0.1 fixes one of the various issues contributing to that, but there are other changes needed in other libraries and Ubuntu has yet to pick those changes up.

      It's quite amusing to see this trumpeted everywhere though given that anyone who actually tries to use it is in for a world of hurt.

  • awesome bar (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jeffstar (134407) on Tuesday March 24, 2009 @08:32PM (#27322635) Journal

    the gnome file manager also has an awesome bar like firefox now!

    • That's f***ed up. SRSLY. First multiple tabs and now an Awesome Bar in the file manager ? Sounds like a solution looking for a problem, if you ask me.

    • Re:awesome bar (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Coryoth (254751) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @08:07AM (#27327649) Homepage Journal

      the gnome file manager also has an awesome bar like firefox now!

      Since this was modded Interesting/Informative instead of funny, let's be clear: the GNOME web browser (Epiphany) now has an "awesome bar" like firefox -- which isn't a huge change since the old version of the epiphany address bar searched bookmarks etc., mostly it just means more advanced history searches. The GNOME file manager (Nautilus) does not have an "awesome bar".

    • by KeyserDK (301544)

      the gnome file manager also has an awesome bar like firefox now!

      That's wrong correct. It's epiphany - the gnome browser.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I left gnome when they removed all the options from the screen-savers because they decided that configuring the screen-savers was to complicated for users. Surely not all gnome users are retards!

    • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Tuesday March 24, 2009 @08:55PM (#27322937)
      Having used both KDE and GNOME (along with Xfce and fvwm-crystal) I don't really feel like GNOME is lacking in customization options. While it obviously has less than KDE does, it doesn't feel like it, and everything I felt like customizing either had a pre-made theme or I could do it with the GUI. People always seem to criticize GNOME on its customization, but I don't feel like it is any less configurable than KDE, Xfce, fvwm and even Windows. What features did the old screen saver menu have that the new one does not? Because having just taken a look on it (Using Ubuntu 8.10) I can't find an option that isn't there that I would use.
      • What features did the old screen saver menu have that the new one does not? Because having just taken a look on it (Using Ubuntu 8.10) I can't find an option that isn't there that I would use.

        Here's one that annoys me a bit: if you select the image gallery screensaver, it was possible before to specify which image directories to use. Now, you can't; it uses the F-Spot gallery and nothing else. I don't even have F-Spot installed, as it cannot handle large collections of images (too big to fit on any single volume). Also, I would prefer the screensaver to access only a small subset of my images, not the entire image collection (which includes some naughty stuff). As I said, it's a minor annoyance

        • by camcorder (759720)
          If you don't have F-Spot installed, then use "Pictures folder" theme. That would show slideshow of your xdg standard Pictures folder. And if you're power user enough, you can easily change the /usr/share/application/screensavers/personal-slideshow.desktop file and add --location=/your/picture/folder to 'Exec' line. You can even set background-color or sort-images options. If you're not poweruser, then your Pictures folder would be more than fine.
        • by KeyserDK (301544)

          That's two diffent screensavers.

          The f-spot one shows the pictures markes as favorites. Which is a bit limited :/.

          The pictures one shows all pictures from whatever XDG_PICTURES_DIR is set to.
          Default is XDG_PICTURES_DIR="$HOME/Pictures".

          Also, f-spot does have a 'hidden' tag that hides any pictures marked as such unless you explicitly choose them.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by X0563511 (793323)

      Wrong.

      That was done because the old way is a security risk.

      http://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=316654 [gnome.org]

      • by jejones (115979)

        Wrong, with the sole exception of those xscreensaver hacks that display the window and hence could display sensitive information.

        The FAQ [gnome.org] gives the developer's justification for denying the user all configurability. It's worth a look.

      • by beleriand (22608)

        Ok i read that whole bug thread, and the only "security risk" i could see was the following:

        On a public computer someone could change the screensaver settings to display offensive text. "the CEO is a bastard" O noes!! Can't have that.

        It seems config functionality wasn't added to gnome-screensaver for years, no idea if it's in by now. My opinion of gnome project just went down a notch.

        • by jejones (115979)

          It's not in now, never was. As the FAQ says--it was thought to be a bug. (Not only is the user the enemy, the POV is that any configurable screensaver is by definition broken.)

          • (Not only is the user the enemy, the POV is that any configurable screensaver is by definition broken.)

            Not exactly. The idea is that screensavers which require configuration are broken, which doesn't really relate to the problem in question.

            gnome-screensaver doesn't operate on hacks like xscreensaver does; it operates on "themes", which are a hack combined with a set of configuration options. Why there's no options to duplicate a theme and edit its options, now that is confusing. I think that's what the developer wanted someone to write for him.

            He sucked at explaining this, and succeeded only in pissing off

    • by jejones (115979)

      Same here (KDE 4 is getting there, and I'm immensely impressed by the look of MoonOS using E17), but you don't have it quite right. Strangely enough, while the "it should just work" is part of the rationalization, the major reason given is that you, the user, can't be trusted.

      The justification for taking essentially all customization away from the user is that if you're given that ability, you're going to put obscene or insulting messages in GLText, or make the screensaver display your pr0n collection.

      To qu

  • by AvitarX (172628) <me@brandywinehund[ ].org ['red' in gap]> on Tuesday March 24, 2009 @08:43PM (#27322795) Journal

    Per application volume control is a MAJOR feature. Listening to music, while not having web pages blast out your ear drums is a major win. This is my favorite feature of Vista, and I am happy to see it integrated into Gnome.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Nice feature in theory, but so far like all the other features of the Pulseaudio sound server, it's a bitch to get working right. Pulse eats up a shitload of CPU cycles, and I've not yet been able to configure it to eliminate the ridiculous latency and the ever present snap crackle pop during playback and recording. Whoever had the audacity (pun intended) to describe this software as "glitch free" with the requisite "Perfect Setup" should be subjected to a nut punch. Sound support in linux has always been

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Things went downhill the moment the first sound server became common. The first popular one was "esd" or "esound", the Enlightenment Sound Daemon.

        With that came sound libraries by the dozen, because sound was no longer simple for app programmers. This in turn was an enabler for the evils of ALSA, which is totally unusable without the ALSA library. As the years went by, everybody and their dog wrote a sound server. We got sound servers feeding into sound servers. You could even connect them to each other in

        • And for what? I certainly don't want sounds from different apps mixed into an ear-assaulting mess. I want one thing at a time.

          I don't. Most apps assume they can just open() the sound device, but actually that doesn't work. You might have a music player running in the background, and then start up some VOIP software. Or have the music player running while your messenger program needs to play a sound when you receive a message or something.

          This is appropriate, modern usage.

          • by pizzach (1011925)
            I think the modern poster mostly lamenting a haphazard implementation for a feature he wasn't even sure he wanted in the first place.
            • Alsa mixer has dmix which needlessly duplicates the functionality that is is esound and pulseaudio.
            • Alsa has become bloated. If pulseaudio actually takes off, Alsa should most likely be gutted back to being ultra simple and actually be reworked to be linux style again. (devices are a simple file)
            • Many people will be just using pulseaudio as an esound replacement in programs t
            • I'm sure there are still a fair enough people who don't care about audio settings per app because most important apps include their own volume bar.

              That's true enough, a good solution would be for current applications to simply control the PA per-app setting. Future apps wouldn't need to spend time on developing an internal volume setting -- unless they intend to work with other sound servers, of course. I still want a widget within the app to control the sound level, though, using the PA per-app volume cont

          • by Rakarra (112805)

            I don't. Most apps assume they can just open() the sound device, but actually that doesn't work. You might have a music player running in the background, and then start up some VOIP software

            Which was fine when you had a decent sound card with a sound mixer in hardware. Then sound card manufacturers figured out they could save a few cents (literally, that's how much these mixers cost) by not including them and forcing the user to rely on a "sound server" in userspace or in the sound driver. It's one reason

            • It's one reason why I never bothered with the shoddy-quality on-board integrated sound in motherboards.

              Yeah, I can see where you're going. Also, try to listen to soft music and enjoy the noise that other stuff on the motherboard creates. But with 50% of sales consisting of laptops or similar, on-board is the way we're going :-/

        • by Blakey Rat (99501)

          Meanwhile, on Windows, I'm playing World of Warcraft, using VOIP (with fellow WOW players), "watching" a movie, and receiving/sending IMs (with associated sound effects) all at the same time. Vista lets me control the relative volume of every program easily, and it's certainly not a "ear-assaulting mess." (Well, as long as you turn off the music in WOW.)

          I don't know what era of computing you come from, but the situation described above is perfectly normal and expected in today's world. And it will be moreso

      • by X0563511 (793323) on Tuesday March 24, 2009 @10:37PM (#27324013) Homepage Journal

        Pulse only eats up a 'shitload' of CPU if you have it set up to resample (hint... use your card's native rate and don't resample)... especially if you use a CPU intensive resample algorithm.

        • by amorsen (7485)

          Pulse only eats up a 'shitload' of CPU if you have it set up to resample (hint... use your card's native rate and don't resample)... especially if you use a CPU intensive resample algorithm.

          If only this was true. Puzzle Pirates will cause Pulseaudio to eat 50% CPU (more than the game itself!) even though the sample rate of the card and of Puzzle Pirates are the same and there are no other sounds playing. Also, just for kicks, the resampling algorithm is set to trivial. This happens on two different computers.

          I guess it's nice to have found something more wasteful of resources than Java. I just didn't expect it to be a sound server.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by pembo13 (770295)

      Windows has this. It's a cool feature. But this one is not provided by Gnome as far as I know, but by PulseAudio, correct me if I am wrong.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It's a cool feature. But this one is not provided by Gnome as far as I know, but by PulseAudio, correct me if I am wrong.

        It's a PulseAudio feature, but this latest version of GNOME integrates support for it. So, you can set the volumes using the standard GNOME volume control applet.

        • by chammy (1096007)
          Also, at least in Pulse you don't have to restart the application to reassign an output like in some other operating system out there.
      • by AvitarX (172628)

        Section 2.5 of the release notes implies controlling such a thing is easy in the new sound prefs.

        See Figure 4.

        Allegedly KDE 4 can do this too, but I have searched and searched, but the handbook is for KDE 3 still. Googling for it simply turns up press releases bragging that it can be done by application, or application group.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 24, 2009 @09:50PM (#27323557)

    Can I put a different wallpaper on different desktops yet? That's the main feature I miss from KDE when I use Gnome (I tend to have different versions of the same code open on different desktops, so a visual queue as to which one I'm looking at really helps).

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You mean cue.
    • Can I put a different wallpaper on different desktops yet? That's the main feature I miss from KDE when I use Gnome (I tend to have different versions of the same code open on different desktops, so a visual queue as to which one I'm looking at really helps).

      What I've done (just yesterday) is concatenate 2 pictures together using GIMP. To do this I doubled the horizontal canvas size, offset the 1st picture to the right and pasted in the picture on the left. Takes about half a minute, although I do see why it would be better to have it done properly.

      As a related aside -- shouldn't GNOME support transparent backgrounds by now for wallpaper with icons, so that other programs can make use of the background as well?

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        Can I put a different wallpaper on different desktops yet? That's the main feature I miss from KDE when I use Gnome (I tend to have different versions of the same code open on different desktops, so a visual queue as to which one I'm looking at really helps).

        What I've done (just yesterday) is concatenate 2 pictures together using GIMP. To do this I doubled the horizontal canvas size, offset the 1st picture to the right and pasted in the picture on the left. Takes about half a minute, although I do see why it would be better to have it done properly.

        As a related aside -- shouldn't GNOME support transparent backgrounds by now for wallpaper with icons, so that other programs can make use of the background as well?

        I'll try not to make a habit of replying to my own posts, but I was talking about a multi-monitor setup whilst the GP was probably refering to virtual desktops.

        Compiz's wallpaper plugin can put different wallpapers on different virtual desktops, but currently needs nautilus to not draw the background. However, this means that you won't have any icons on the desktop! All that need be done by GNOME developers (specifically nautilus/eel people) is add an alpha channel to the background wallpaper pixmap -- whic

        • by mugenjou (912908)

          I'll try not to make a habit of replying to my own posts, but I was talking about a multi-monitor setup whilst the GP was probably refering to virtual desktops.

          Compiz's wallpaper plugin can put different wallpapers on different virtual desktops, but currently needs nautilus to not draw the background. However, this means that you won't have any icons on the desktop! All that need be done by GNOME developers (specifically nautilus/eel people) is add an alpha channel to the background wallpaper pixmap -- which they may one day do.

          once, for the nautilus/eel version as used by ubuntu gutsy i think, there was a not-really-big patch for this(actually 2, for both packages). however in ubuntu hardy that one did not apply anymore..
          I think it *might* have caused a graphical redraw glitch with the screen-outgraying for gksudo and co, but I wonder could there any other reason for not including this for over a year? I want my desktop icons back...

    • by coaxial (28297)

      I have a program that does that. I haven't used it in years since I now have a mac, but it used to work. gtk and imlib.

      I don't remember what the diff is between the versions, so here they both are.

      http://jonathankorensucks.com/imlibsetroot-10.tar.gz [jonathankorensucks.com]
      http://jonathankorensucks.com/imlibsetroot-11.tar.gz [jonathankorensucks.com]

  • I find using cheese annoying because when you record a video it's REALLY compressed and looks crap. It also saves it as OGG which makes sending videos a pain to the uncoverted.

    Oh and as usual no obvious way to change the format or quality.

    The way it is now I don't see how Cheese would be usable to someone who isn't computer savy and knows how to change the video format so those on windows can watch it. I'm not saying you can't watch OGGs on windows just that it doesn't come default so to the laymen it doesn

  • by melted (227442) on Tuesday March 24, 2009 @10:58PM (#27324225) Homepage

    I had to edit config files to get my laptop to recognize and bring up the second screen after docking. Editing config files should not be required for one of the core mobility scenarios.

    Does this release fix the issue? I.e. if I just connect the monitor, will it get recognized automatically?

  • My biggest question: Did they fix session management? On my Ubuntu 8.10 box, sessions and session saving is completely hosed. I have been eagerly awaiting a fix for this severe regression.

    -l

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