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GNOME 2.30, End of the (2.x) Line 276

Posted by timothy
from the are-you-a-version? dept.
stovicek writes "GNOME 2.30 was originally intended to coincide with GNOME 3.0 — a massive cleanup and rethinking of the popular desktop. However, GNOME 3.0 is delayed for at least another release, which leaves GNOME 2.30 as most likely the last version in a series stretching back almost a decade. [...] 2.30 will probably be the final version of the 2.0 series. For those who were around for GNOME 2.0 back in 2000, the 2.30 release stands as evidence of how far GNOME in general and the free desktop in particular have come in the last decade in usability and design. If you do a search for images of early GNOME releases and compare the results with 2.30, you can have no doubt that, although GNOME sometimes tends to over-simplify, its improvements over the last decade remain unmistakable."
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GNOME 2.30, End of the (2.x) Line

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  • I remember gnome when it first arrived on the scene. I seem to recall testing it around late 1998 on a workstation. Definitely not the same as current stuff.
    • Re:early gnome (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jonadab (583620) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @08:15PM (#31784066) Homepage Journal
      Not the same, that's for sure.

      Personally I liked Gnome 1.x a good deal better than I like the 2.x series.

      Except for gnome-terminal. The newer versions of gnome-terminal are better.

      But everything else is worse. More dependencies that shouldn't be necessary, worse performance, more emphasis on completely pointless features like the ability to use the file manager as a web browser (WHY would I EVER want that?) but fewer *useful* features (like, the ability to have an always-on-top panel of a particular size in a particular position, which was great for stuff like having a clock just to the left of where the minimize button was on maximized windows), more gratuitous bug-the-user annoyances (like dialog boxes asking you stupid questions and/or unasked-for windows popping up voluntarily every time you connect a USB device or insert a disc), more undesirably arcane Windows-esque stuff (like gconf), more effort required to get the theme the way you like it, and some things you just plain *can't* do, or I have not figured out how (like, changing the icons on the built-in feature buttons on the panel for things like logging out; in 1.x this was as easy as changing the icon on an app launcher).

      If Gnome 1.4 were compatible with modern software (both directions: modern versions of the software it requires, like libraries, and, going the other way, modern versions of applications), I'd still be using it. It was good. I have no idea why they decided to screw it up so much. Gnome 2.x comes across as a bad sequel or a poor remake. It is inferior in nearly every respect.

      I can't say I'm very excited at the prospect of Gnome 3.0. What features are they going to take away now, the foot menu and the ability to have a clock on the panel? And what are they going to add? A useless 3D "walk through" filesystem animation like in Jurassic Park, which activates automatically every time a filesystem is mounted? Fixed-size desktop-bound "gadgets", like in Windows Seven, which are strictly inferior to panel applets in every way? Take your time, guys, take your time. I'm in no hurry to upgrade.
      • > more emphasis on completely pointless features like the ability to use the file manager as a web browser (WHY would I EVER want that?)

        Yes, for some reason that kind of "resource namespace abstraction" seems to be some kind of Holy Grail for a lot of developers who assume users will love it; the same thing happens with Kde's Konqueror, year after year, despite 99.99% of the web sites needing something heavy like Firefox et al. and 99.99% of the users desperate due to slow/unresponsive basic file browsin

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by steveha (103154)

        the ability to use the file manager as a web browser (WHY would I EVER want that?)

        Wait, does GNOME even have that? I just tried it in Ubuntu 10.04 Beta 1, and it doesn't work.

        On the other hand, KDE has had that for years; Konqueror. (Google it; the top hit says "Konqueror - Konqueror - Web Browser, File Manager - and more!")

        I agree with you that I am fine with the file manager and the web browser being two different tools. I guess I don't care if they are merged, but I don't view it as a feature.

        As for

      • Oh man, nostalgia. I loved Gnome 1.4. Particularly gmc (the old file manager). Simple, clean, and fast -- Nautilus was so terrible initially that I made several efforts atreplacing it with gmc. I don't remember if I was ever sucessful, as it was years ago.

        Sure, it got better over several releases (I remember ~2.6-2.8 beginning to be usable again, I believe), but I never have liked new-Gnome as much as old-Gnome -- though XFCE is a somewhat reasonable 'replacement' for it these days.

  • by slimjim8094 (941042) <slashdot3 AT justconnected DOT net> on Thursday April 08, 2010 @06:51PM (#31783160)

    If this is done properly, I think it'll be good for GNOME. From where I sit, they sound like they're shooting for a major architecture redesign. In other words, this 2.30 release is analogous to the 3.5 releases of KDE.

    And I think starting largely from scratch will be a net benefit. I've never personally used GNOME (though I've recommended it to others) and I've found it to be technologically lacking compared to KDE (KParts and KIOSlaves are awesome, and while there are GNOME counterparts they aren't as used).

    One thing I think GNOME does very well is their HIG - probably the best outside of Apple. The new release is very simple - dump a lot of legacy code and keep the HIG. Maybe drop the old-fashioned look too.

    Though my fantasy is to see them use Qt.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by neiras (723124)

      KIOSlaves are awesome, and while there are GNOME counterparts they aren't as used.

      One neat thing about GVFS, the GNOME abstraction, is that part of it wraps FUSE filesystem modules. Any application, not just GNOME applications, can use filesystems mounted with GNOME's 'connect to server' feature, for instance. I think it's more desirable to write a FUSE module than a KDE-specific KIOSlave.

      GNOME sometimes comes across as a hodgepodge of bindings and semi-coherent libraries, but there has been a great deal of work to consolidate [gnome.org] and even eliminate [gnome.org] core libraries, tighten up [gnome.org] coding standard

    • by MrHanky (141717) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @07:31PM (#31783654) Homepage Journal

      The KDE type cleanup is what they did for 2.0, which was what made Linus Torvalds say "fuck this shit, I'm switching to KDE" (and, incidentally, what made him say "fuck this shit, I'm switching to Gnome" after trying KDE4). It pissed off a lot of other users as well. Of course, Gnome 2.0 was a bit more stable and less bug-ridden than KDE4, but on the other hand it had almost no features you'd expect from a computer (which was supposedly 'good for you', according to the HIG apologists, pretty much like the absence of multi-tasking on the iPad until yesterday), and took several years before it was as useful as 1.4 (the last version I used).

      I forget. Did I have a point with all this? Oh, yes, the cleanup: it sucked the last time, and I hope they manage it better now, or they will probably hear it until the next time some huge project mismanages a major revision. On the other hand, maybe a botched Gnome3 release will help KDE get the recognition it deserves again.

    • by d-Orb (551682)

      Though my fantasyThough my fantasy is to see them use Qt.

      Well, you already have KDE for that don't you? :-) What I really wish they sussed out once and for all, is freedesktop.org, so you can use whichever desktop you want with whatever tools you want, and it all works. They already co-operate a bit, but I'm not entirely sure how deep it goes in many ways.../p

  • You can try it out without any harm. It's ... interesting. It is actually quite usable and does give a lot of features that will be quite nice for people that use multiple desktops. I tend to use a single desktop and gnome-do to provide quick access, so I find it gets in the way a bit. There's a few things I don't like about it that I can't change, like the panel at the top of the screen. I prefer it at the side instead, as my netbook and laptops both have decent horizontal resolution but crappy vertical. P
  • I know it's sin to actually RTFA, but I've been a GNOME user since the 1.x days and figured I'd take a read. The author seems to use the number "3.30" to refer to the current release..
  • GUADEC (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ReinoutS (1919) <reinout&gmail,com> on Thursday April 08, 2010 @07:05PM (#31783356) Homepage
    The GNOME Conference (GUADEC) will be in The Hague (NL) this year from July 26-30. You can bet there'll be a lot of GNOME 3.0 hacking going on there. More information: see the GUADEC website [guadec.org].
  • by _greg (130136) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @07:22PM (#31783570)

    Yes, I DO remember the early days of Gnome and how much better it was than now:
        - automatic save and restore of multi-workspace sessions
        - handy window operations like maximize-vertically and maximize-horizontally
        - easy to change settings like which app to handle movies, etc.
    I remember when clicking on a menu button gave an instant response,
    not a several second delay for the first time in a session.

    Gnome has become bloated and slower while becoming less stable and less powerful.
    It is neither easier nor harder for beginners. It has more eye candy.

    Gnome clients have also gone downhill: Evolution used to support my mh mail folders.
    Now it uses a database that crashes when I try to load my old mail and fails to work
    with my rules. It still doesn't integrate the contact manager with the mail rules.

    I'd switch to KDE but they've been destroying themselves even faster!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      I have some similar impression even though I only use it occasionally. It seems the desktop itself is trying to match features with other desktops, but not much improvements on application development on the desktop.
    • by Arker (91948)

      This is my impression also.

      All the stuff you mention plus keybindings and WM choice. Once upon a time I was totally in love with Gnome. Unix keybindings and WindowMaker integration made it very useable and useful for me. Gnome2 took away all that - took away everything I liked about it - and to ad insult to injury the developers made it a practice to abuse anyone that didnt like the change. It's true I havent tried it recently, and it's also true I probably never will. I am not a masochist.

    • > I'd switch to KDE but they've been destroying themselves even faster!

      This. First the disaster that was (still is, from my experience) KDE4, and now those brain-dead Gnome 3 UI mockups. What are they all smoking? Can we please have one sane full-featured DE left?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        2010 is the year of GNUstep on the desktop!
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          GNUstep could've been a winner if they'd only put forth the small degree of effort to at least look and feel like other desktops.

          Instead, they chose to stick with those fucking vertical menus that basically nobody else uses. They made it fucking impossible to have GNUstep apps look like GTK+ or Qt apps. And the end result is that nobody uses it.

          It's clearly not a language or API problem, as there are may people who like Objective-C and Cocoa, and develop fantastic apps using both. The problem is clearly wit

    • by Grishnakh (216268)

      - automatic save and restore of multi-workspace sessions
              - handy window operations like maximize-vertically and maximize-horizontally

      Modern Gnome doesn't have those? That's pathetic. KDE4 has them.

      I'd suggest giving KDE4 a second try. Make sure you're using a very new version, though, preferably 4.4. The early versions were very bad, and should never have been released for general consumption.

  • by rudy_wayne (414635) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @07:44PM (#31783738)

    "2.30 will probably be the final version of the 2.0 series"

    I've noticed that open source software generally seems to be more hung-up and obsessed with version numbers than proprietary software. For example Linus Torvalds has said that there will never be a version 3.0 of the Linux kernel. So I guess 2.9.99.99.999 will be the end of the line.

    I don't get the big hang-up with version numbers. Who cares if it is 2.30 or 3.0? My current nVidia video driver for Windows is 196.21 -- as long as it works, who cares?

    • So I guess 2.9.99.99.999 will be the end of the line.

      With the current prohibition on a stable kernel/driver interface in the linux kernel, 2.9.99.99.998 drivers will be incompatible with 2.9.99.99.999

      • Before I get a bunch of "we don't care about binary only" drivers type responses: I'm talking about open source drivers, including those in the main kernel. The constant code churn means constant and frequent changes to driver internals are required just to keep up. New bugs are a frequent result. You are always chasing the latest change with bug fixes to compensate.

        Honestly, a well defined and stable interface is sometimes useful.

    • by hduff (570443)

      For example Linus Torvalds has said that there will never be a version 3.0 of the Linux kernel.

      Because there will be no more major revisions to the kernel? That would make sense.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      In many open source projects the version numbers have a technical basis, e.g. ABI or API compatibility. In proprietary software it's usually marketing fluff. Unfortunately much open source is heading in the same direction.

  • key-bindings (Score:2, Insightful)

    by smoothnorman (1670542)
    Does this version of GNOME allow for easy global key rebinding? There was a version not long ago that sent me off to KDE that appeared to impose some rather autocratically determined key-bindings.
  • The stuff that's happening with gnome desktop is fantastic. It's especially nice on small laptop/netbook/tablet machines. The latest Ubuntu (Lucid Lynx in beta) has built in social networking that actually jumps ahead of OSX or Windows. The fact that I have something like TweetDeck built into my OS is pretty cool. Sure there are some rough edges. OSX has rough edges too. But I rarely find myself explaining away huge deficiencies. It's just a different bug from your OSX or Windows bug.

    I'm excited. But then a

  • by jensend (71114) on Friday April 09, 2010 @01:15AM (#31786058)

    For those who were around for GNOME 2.0 back in 2000, the 2.30 release stands as evidence of how far GNOME in general and the free desktop in particular have come in the last decade in usability and design.

    For those who were around for GNOME 1.2 back in 2000, the 2.30 release stands as evidence that Linux on the desktop and GNOME in particular have made awfully little progress in the last decade. GNOME 2.0 was released in 2002, not 2000, and it was horrid; maybe if your first experience with GNOME was 2.0 then you might think 2.30 was a vast improvement- heck, TWM is a vast improvement on GNOME 2.0. 2.0 was extremely bug-ridden, and if you wanted to change anything from its mind-numbingly bad defaults you had to putz around with finding where in gconf's xml you could go to change things.

    If you were around for 1.0, the RH 6.1 "October GNOME" release, or 1.2, you know that GNOME made a lot of progress, was centered on the needs of those most likely to use Linux rather than on unsubstantiated usability claims, and was becoming quick, convenient, and powerful. The progress GNOME made between 1998 and 2000, the big improvements in the 2.2 kernel series, and a host of other developments made it seem like Linux really would overtake Windows for desktop use soon. But I really don't find much about modern versions of GNOME that really improves on 1.2 or maybe 1.4; the last 9 years have seen little improvement in the Linux desktop IMO.

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