Taking a Linus-like Attitude Towards Gnome

by Caitlyn Martin

Last December I blogged about the uproar Linux creator Linus Torvalds had caused by posting on the gnome.org Usability list his extreme dislike for the direction the Gnome developers had taken with the UI. For those of you who may have missed his original post the high point follows:
This "users are idiots, and are confused by functionality" mentality of Gnome is a disease. If you think your users are idiots, only idiots will use it. I don't use Gnome, because in striving to be simple, it has long since reached the point where it simply doesn't do what I need it to do.Please, just tell people to use KDE.As the thread went on Linus became even more colorful in his criticism, calling the Gnome developers "interface Nazis" and citing examples of how Gnome's UI makes it take longer to do things. At the time I agreed with the eminent Mr. Torvalds wholeheartedly.

Why rehash this now? A number of people have written to me about the wonders of Gnome 2.14. One reader of my review of Fedora Core 5 here on O'Reillynet went so far as to suggest that the performance improvements I was seeing were because of the wonderful new Gnome code. They aren't. Carla Schroder, the author of the absolutely wonderful Linux Cookbook, was one of two people to praise the alacarte menu editor. Carla is usually right on about all things Linux so I tried it. Sadly, on my systems running Fedora it seems very broken. I really wanted to like the new Gnome. Honestly, I did. Gnome generally consumes less resources and memory than KDE and that, combined with excellent internationalization and localization, made it worth another long look. Sadly, I came away feeling every bit as frustrated with Gnome as I had been with previous versions.

The good news is that in Fedora Core 5 the performance improvements do result is a snappier, crisper KDE. On a modern system with significant resources I will repeat Linus' sage advice: Just use KDE. For those of us dealing with embedded systems, nano-ITX technology, or older systems with limited resources, KDE may not be an option. The good news is that other alternatives just keep improving. Some are reaching the point where they are worth looking at even on a well equipped high end system. The idea that the "desktop wars" are strictly a Gnome vs. KDE battle may be a bit passé.

94 Comments

Richard
2006-05-15 19:33:11
My desktop of choice is KDE too. But one of my hobbies is to explore other desktops. I've taken a good look at Fluxbox, XFCE and Enlightenment. Enlightenment is amazing. It just may be the desktop of the future. If I ever get a chance to convert a Windows user with an old computer I would use XFCE. But on to Gnome. When I first installed GNU/Linux (Fedora Core 3) Gnome was set as the default. I struggled with it for about 3 weeks before I figured out how to switch it to KDE ($ switchdesk kde). I was immediately able to do much more with the computer. But I'm the home system administrator. I think Gnome has been given a bad rap by the GNU/Linux community. I see Gnome setting its self up as the desktop of choice for large enterprizes. Users who just need to get the work done and not be fiddling around with near endless enhancements provided for by KDE. I understand too that Gnome has built-in administrative controls. So I wish to encourage the developers of Gnome. I think they're on the right track to help GNU/Linux find its way into the mainstream corporate desktop.
supermike
2006-05-15 20:29:19
Gnome, for me, is more subtle and corporate. And for editing a quick file here or there, and can't do without gedit. In general I prefer gtk and gnome apps as well for the quality and the more mature appearance. However, Nautilus has become a beast that Thunar outdoes quite well and I now use nautilus only when I have no choice. I wish I could have a thinner, gnome like desktop, but xfce just doesn't cut it for me yet because to make it look the way I want it requires installing all these other components.


Ubuntu, debian, novell, and redhat have put much of their weight behind gnome or at least gtk, so I am picking that racehorse for now.

salparadise
2006-05-15 22:19:57
There isn't a WM/desktop environment that's perfect. KDE has too many options and Gnome not enough. If KDE could be switched into "I've finished tweaking, now I just want to work" mode where all the options were hidden it would be better. If KDE could easily have extra themes added it would be better. I've been using Gnome for the last 2 years after (wrongly) being told that KDE was unsuitable for new uesers. In the project I work for we install Linux for organisations, thus far, the ones who've had KDE have responded positively whereas the ones who've had Gnome are unhappy. That's the biggest pointer for me.

2006-05-15 23:10:15
I've spent most of the past eight years supporting Linux in the corporate environment, both server and desktop. The typical user moving from Windows finds KDE awfully comofortable and familiar. I don't find it to be at all overburdened with features.


Richard, I don't think Gnome is on the right track at all. Dumbing down the desktop isn't the answer and there is no fiddling required that I can see in KDE. There are choices in how to configure but you can tighten it up and lock it down all you want as a systems administrator. Sal, I don't think there is such a thing as "too many options". You train the user to find the ones he or she needs.


I've been a consultant for Red Hat and I've seen companies that used Gnome/Metacity as their desktop under RHEL 3 and RHEL 4. Lots of issues, lots of complaints. I've been in a SLES environment as a consultant and found that KDE presented fewer issues, less odd behavior, and was generally a better choice. As always, YMMV.

Caitlyn Martin
2006-05-15 23:11:13
The last "anonymous" comment was mine. That's what I get for posting at 1 AM. -C
Bruce89
2006-05-16 04:43:54
Just use Kubuntu if you want KDE. I think you would find the version of Gnome in Fedora Core 5 is rubbish, as Gnome 2.14 was released a few days before Fedora Core was.
Summer
2006-05-16 04:53:21
I am a returning Linux user. Supported RH 5.X and 7.X in the workplace a few years back but the organisation was not Linux heavy at all. MOF, they had no idea that the 5.X machine sitting in the corner was acting as their DHCP server.


I am now in a Novell environment so when I decided to get back into the Linux distros I went with SuSE 10.0, using the Gnome desktop. While I have not run into too many issues that could not be overcome by simply pulling up a terminal, I can see the point where Gnome does not offer enough for someone who may be, say a sysadmin.


However, I agree with Richard and I do feel it would be adequate for the common user that I support. They use simple databases, a lot of email, and a lot of word processing files. Now to just convince them to migrate away from MS.

Jeff Waugh
2006-05-16 07:07:21
Hi, could you please describe some of the things that frustrated you, beyond a single application on Fedora? It would be much more useful for both the greater community *and* GNOME developers to hear about your specific concerns. We can't actually do anything to help you if you don't tell us what's wrong.
Brian Zhou
2006-05-16 07:18:03
For machines with limited resource and if you're a keyboard person, also check out ion, wmii, and ratpoison. Actually I have been using ion even on bigger machines.
Michel
2006-05-16 08:11:24
I don't really see a connection between the title and the whole article. What exactly is wrong about GNOME, other than a disappointing menu editor I fail to see from what the author writes.


For what it's worth, I've been a happy GNOME user who can use his desktop to the full extent. I have used KDE, and while it was not bad at all, GNOME simply suits me better. What suits people best varies, for some it's GNOME, for some it's KDE. Some KDE apps are better, some GNOME apps are better. That's about all one can say, and all the rest is personal preference.

eMBee
2006-05-16 08:21:46
i use neither gnome nor kde as my desktop but i do prefer gnome over kde apps.
i am with salparadise here: all this kde configurability just gets in my way and keeps me from working. a click in the wrong place and time is lost.


i actually prefer commandline apps because they work without the mouse so i can never click in the wrong place. so in gui apps i also prefer a minimalist interface. only provide the options that i really need for my work every day.
others should not be visible.


gimageview is such an example:
it has all the configurability of kde apps, but they are hidden away through keyboard shortcuts, in menues and in the preferences.


remember the old netscape/mozilla interface where you could hide menu and toolbars with a click on the side? my grandmother clicked it accidently once and it took her weeks to figure out what happened and then describe to me by email what the problem was and how to fix it. kde apps have these things everywhere, and they are just annoying.


firefox fixes that, it has a customize window which makes your interface editable. you go make your changes easely with drag+drop and when you are done you close it and you are not bothered with it again.


so configurability is good. but please keep it out of the work interface.

Farnsworth
2006-05-16 08:29:22
Mr. Waugh, the complaints/feedback about Gnome are legion. I don't see where you really need any more. :) The lack of a menu editor is a huge one, which was dismissed by havoc Pennington as unimportant if I recall correctly. The Gnome file dialog is another- has that been fixed yet? ctrl+f is sooo intuitive. :P The main annoying thing about gnome is how it wobbles between too dumb and too smart- if the dumbed-down options don't do the job the user is forced to fire up gconf-editor, which is a maze of confusing Boolean options. (have you stopped beating your wife: on/off)


Pardon me if i missed it, but I would also like a graphical hardware browser, like KDE's Info center, that shows everything- CPU, RAM, chipsets, expansion cards and adapters, buses, the works. It's just a front-end to all the usual /proc, lscpi, and other standard Linux utilities.

Francisco
2006-05-16 09:02:45
I rather have too many options than not enough. I am relatively new to Linux, but I do remember reading some discussion a while back on whether Gnome should allow the user to change the way the file manager worked. The main developers wanted the file browser to open a new window every time a new directory was opened. Most everyone else, including me found that appalling. It would have been fine if they had made that behaviour the default, but provided the option to change it. However, there was no option. You had to do as the developers told you to do. That was when Gnome lost me.


There are some options in KDE I haven't explored, and that is mostly because I've been happy with the defaults. However, in KDE, I have the peace of mind of knowing that if I want to I can change things. With Gnome I fell tied down, even when things are working well. I guess it is a psychological thing.

Griff
2006-05-16 09:26:08
I'm sorry, I still don't understand... desktop? I have searched the screen docs, vi docs, lynx docs, etc, but still can't find any mention of a 'desktop'.
Caitlyn Martin
2006-05-16 10:45:08
> I think you would find the version of Gnome in Fedora Core 5 is rubbish, as
> Gnome 2.14 was released a few days before Fedora Core was.


The Fedora Project has updated the packages since then. My copies are fully updated and patched to the latest code. The issues with Gnome 2.14 haven't gone away. Indeed, the Gnome developers don't see them as bugs. The file and print dialogs are still dumbed down to the point of unusable. There still isn't a working menu editor. The menus that are there are poorly organized. Nedd I go on, Bruce?

Caitlyn Martin
2006-05-16 10:51:09
> could you please describe some of the things that frustrated you, beyond
> a single application on Fedora? It would be much more useful for both the
> greater community *and* GNOME developers to hear about your specific
> concerns.


Jeff: I provided those complaints through a link to my previous post and in comments, above. As one other commenter pointed out my complaints are the common ones: Why won't the file or print dialog let my type in a name instead of just doing the icon thing? Both should be available as they are in KDE, If I know the name drilling down through directories and icons for files takes a whole lot longer. Why is there no menu editor, as in one that actually works? Why is evolution so pathetically slow and unconfigurable in terms of the folder layout? I could go on but if those things alone were changed Gnome would be much more usable.


Sumemr: I think if an ordinary user knows their filename they would like to be able to just type it in, too, rather than clicking through directories and icons. After all, if they created the file and know where they put it (and many users would know that much) it would save them time too.

Caitlyn Martin
2006-05-16 10:54:09
Michel wrote: "I don't really see a connection between the title and the whole article. What exactly is wrong about GNOME, other than a disappointing menu editor I fail to see from what the author writes."


If you had followed the link at the top of the article to my original posting you would have known exactly what I was writing about. Typically, in blogs, we rely on links rather than writing very long posts.


You say it's personal preference. I agree, which is why this article was filed under "Opinion" for the primary category :) As an O'Reilly blog author I can post my opinions, no? It just happens that I hold a fairly widely shared opinion, one that Linus Torvalds (who happens to carry just a little weight in the Linux world) happens to share, which is why I quoted him. That, it would seem to me, is the point.

Caitlyn M. Martin
2006-05-16 11:14:04
ALL: One of my main points which is largely missed in the attacking of and defending on Gnome is that there are OTHER alternatives besides Gnome and KDE that have made huge progress and are worthy of consideration for a Linux desktop, including a corporate desktop. XFCE 4 is ready for prime time. Enlightenment DR17 shows great promise as well.


What the majority of my article did was stress CHOICE. Choices are good things, both for ordinary users and for those of us who have been working with Linux professionally for a decade or more. Some will choose Gnome and like it the way it is. That's fine.


My complaint is that internally Gnome lacks choices. Yes, we can tinker with gconf-editor but for most users that really isn't a practical way to adjust the desktop. KDE and XFCE offer choices but can be used in a simple way with their defaults as one commenter pointed out. While I really do appreciate Jeff Waugh taking the time to comment I think Farnsworth has hit the nail on the head: the complaints have been repeated often enough by a large enough group of people and have been largely dismissed. I'm not saying Gnome's default behavior should be changes. I'm saying there should be an easy way for those of us who want to change it to do so. Enlightenment has stressed configurability from the beginning which is why I believe that it has such an outstanding opportunity to evolve into a first rate desktop.


It isn't a Gnome vs. KDE argument any longer. There are multiple choices and the cream will rise to the top. Gnome is currently the default for some of the most popular distributions: Red Hat, Fedora, Ubuntu, etc... Wordstar was once the popular choice for word processing. What happened to Wordstar? It failed to evolve to respond to what it's user community wanted and its competitors, first WordPerfect and then Word, passed it by. In some places OpenOffice is now a real threat to Word.


Clue to the Gnome developers: give the people what they want. If you fail to do that you will be the WordStar of the Linux desktop world. Everyone will remember you but will have moved on.

Chris
2006-05-16 13:44:52
I've bounced between the two several times. GNOME's user interface seems to be prettier, but I can just get more done on KDE. I run CentOS 4.3 for my primary desktop, but tried Fedora & Ubuntu in Virtual Machines. I really like the GNOME interface, but KDE seems so much more powerful. And with the stuff their talking about for KDE 4.0.....Wow, can't wait.
Carla Schroder
2006-05-16 15:23:03
Hey Caitlyn, I just want to point out that Alacarte is developed by a student in his spare time, not the official Gnome team, and he is not getting any help that I know of from them. I haven't had time to test it on FC5 yet; it works well on Ubuntu, including Dapper Drake. So I suspect any problems with it are something to do with Fedora.


Freddie Montana
2006-05-16 15:31:42
GNOME vs. KDE?
Maybe be a big deal for some but for me? I learned Linux with RH5.0 & Gnome; have not the time to go learning other stuff if it doesn't contribute to my better off-ment, and this, after moving form MS98SE.
Come on people, the argument may be valid but for me and many others who simply want an alternative to M$: Who cares???
Robert
2006-05-16 15:45:48
> Clue to the Gnome developers: give the people
> what they want....Everyone will remember you but
> will have moved on.


Caitlyn, I think that you're missing the point that GNOME *does* give a segment of the population what they want, otherwise they would have gone to KDE already. It's not as if most distros don't support KDE too.


Personally, I can't stand KDE. It's too cluttered and it takes too long to configure the way I want, and even then, it's still cluttered. If GNOME didn't exist, I'd be an XFCE user. I've used Linux since 1993, so I'd hardly be classified as a newbie. KDE developers have been hearing these complaints for ages and they've mostly been ignored too.


The thing is, GNOME and KDE have different mindsets and different user bases. It's the modern version of the vi versus emacs debate (or left-wing versus right-wing political debate). KDE developers disregard the GNOME-philic criticism precisely because KDE users *like* the way things are. GNOME developers disregard the KDE-philic criticism precisely because GNOME users *like* the way things are. Okay neither KDE developer nor GNOME developers completely disregard these comments, but they're placed at a lower priority. If there's a way of getting rid of the criticism without alienating their user base, they'd do it. But it's not trivial.


What's wrong with the live and let live policy? As long as Portal and other cross-desktops take shape, it won't matter which desktop you're using. Apps will play nice in both desktops.


Greg
2006-05-16 15:56:37
I see this whole article as a KDE person bashing Gnome. Dont get me wrong, I think we should all use what we like, but to start an article as though it will be a balanced review and ending it abruptly becase a menu editor did not wor=k for you first time, is a little....shallow.


All desktop are in flux and Im sure we could all nitpick any of them. Stick to KDE, others will stick to what they like.


The major distros want their desktops to be viable alternatives to MS and they choose Gnome, if you dont like it, select KDE during install.


Can we please have some constructive articles instead of the Gnome V KDE drivel.


My 2c

anonymous coward
2006-05-16 16:41:49
I use gnome personally to restrict myself from stopping my work to play with linux and all the functional features that KDE and linux offers. GNOME's interface is restrictive and straight to the point, it doesn't permit for lost time.


I guess it's a good thing and a bad thing at the same time. Alpha and beta users went to toy with their system, they choose KDE. End users and enterprise users use GNOME because it prevents them from playing on the computer during work time.

Marcos Rufino
2006-05-16 16:42:32
I couldn't disagree more. For years I was a KDE user but changed to Gnome some months ago since I migrated to Ubuntu. Well, from my experience with Gnome I could just invert each argument you gave against it.
David Neeley
2006-05-16 17:39:44
Those who like Gnome because they switched to Ubuntu should consider that Mark Shuttleworth uses Kubuntu as his personal desktop, as I understand!


Personally, Gome is missing a HUGE opportunity--to make an easy-to-use application that would be a sort of "global gconf preferences editor" for instituting the behaviors you prefer other than the default ones. I quite agree that not giving choices in a reasonable way is at least somewhat brain-dead--but once the choices are made, it is also too bad to have to "stumble through" them over and over again.


Surely something along the lines of the menu config for the kernel options would be easy enough to implement for the purpose? It could easily enough be extensible, and eliminate a huge amount of confusion now present in most environments wherein the newcomers must spend an inordinate amount of time searching for the right config scripts and routines.


Of course, this probably makes far too much sense for anyone to get behind who can do something about it! (Unfortunately, I am *not* a coder myself--a little long in the tooth to learn the field, I'm afraid.)


By the way, this kind of application could also be a place for storing the descriptions of the installed programs. Newcomers also have a great difficulty remembering all the stuff that is installed by the modern distros, and what they are used for. Putting it all together would be a Godsend...and, if it were around so I could modify things a bit here and there, I would even consider switching to Gnome myself.


David Neeley

Anonymous
2006-05-16 17:46:00
Caitlyn, why start another round of desktop wars? Your article is so 5 years ago.


In Gnome's defense, I personally love its look and feel and find KDE somewhat tacky, *but* I would never want KDE to go away. In the future I'll probably try KDE again and if then it suits me better, switch.


So please stop panning Gnome - have a little faith in the users being smart enough to try it themselves and see if it suits them. I can accept that I probably work around some of Gnome's rough edges without realising, can you admit that you're possibly blind to some of KDE's shortcomings too?

Caitlyn Martin
2006-05-16 18:33:33
Carla wrote:


> I just want to point out that Alacarte is developed by a student in
> his spare time, not the official Gnome team


I was aware of that. It's one of the reasons I still speak of the lack of a manu editor. Gnome proper should have one.


> I haven't had time to test it on FC5 yet; it works well on Ubuntu,
> including Dapper Drake. So I suspect any problems with it are
> something to do with Fedora.


Agreed, and I tried to qualify my comments as based on FC5. I know you wouldn't have recommended it if it didn't work well for you.


Thanks for the input. It is appreciated.

Bruce
2006-05-16 18:51:10
I switched to Gnome from KDE (after 2 years) because I think Gnome is easier to use. I prefer to set up new users with Gnome for this reason also. At home when I switched our 3 computers from KDE to Gnome the only complaint I got from my wife and kids was that I failed to bring over the background and bookmarks! Thus, I suspect that to the average computer user Gnome and KDE are both sufficient. That's enough to deflate any desktop aficionado like we who post and read here.
Caitlyn Martin
2006-05-16 19:07:47
Trying to tackle a bunch of comments at once:


> GNOME vs. KDE?


Absolutely not. You missed the point. I made clear there are lots of other alternatives and that two in particular, XFCE and Enlightenment, are worthy of consideration.


> for me and many others who simply want an alternative to M$: Who cares???


To move people away from Windows we need a quality desktop environment. Pointing out the flaws in the direction taken now is important if we, the Linux community, want to be a real alternative.


> I think that you're missing the point that GNOME *does* give a segment
> of the population what they want,


Perhaps. However, O'Reillynet encourages reviews. It's a major category header. I really wanted to like Gnome 2.14 because I find KDE too resource intensive and bloated. I came away disappointed and wrote a review. Is something wrong with that?


> I see this whole article as a KDE person bashing Gnome.


You are kidding, right? Did you bother to read all I said or follow the links? I actually *complimented* Gnome's internationalization and localization. I complimented it for being less resource intensive than KDE. That's a slap at KDE, isn't it?


Fully half my article was to go on and say that *NEITHER* Gnome nor KDE may be the future and I went on to tout the rapid development and improvement in both XFCE and Enlightenment. I made clear that thinking of the battle for the desktop as Gnome vs. KDE is the past. The future may well belong elsewhere.


> to start an article as though it will be a balanced review


I never claimed it to be a balanced review. It is under opinion.


> and ending it abruptly becase a menu editor did not wor=k for you first
> time, is a little....shallow.


First, Gnome doesn't have a menu editor. As Carla pointed out it's a student add-on, and a buggy one at that. Second, first time out? How about a month of trying to like Gnome and living in it? Third, if you had bothered to follow the links to the earlier piece you'd know my main complaints with Gnome have to do with the dumbing down of the interface (i.e.: file and print dialogs) to the point of unusable and the lack of configurability. I'm clearly not alone in that opinion. Bottom line: I find Gnome 2.14 to be an exercise in frustration. You are free to write a different opinion.


> The major distros want their desktops to be viable alternatives to MS
> and they choose Gnome,


Actually, far more choose KDE than Gnome. I can think of exactly two (the Red Hat family and Ubuntu) that choose Gnome. SuSe, Mandriva, Debian, et al choose KDE as the default. Further, Ubuntu offers alternative versions, Kubuntu, which is KDE based, and Xubuntu, which is XFCE based.


You know, I do Linux consulting for a living. I have to deal with the corporate world and the corporate desktop. There are far more complaints and far more unexplained weirdnesses in Gnome than in KDE. My point, if you had bothered to read, is that NEITHER may come out on top in the desktop wars. Frankly, if you want a good middle ground between Gnomish simplicity and KDE configurability you really ought to try XFCE 4.4 or Enlightenment DR17.


> Personally, Gome is missing a HUGE opportunity--to make an easy-to-use
> application that would be a sort of "global gconf preferences editor" for
> instituting the behaviors you prefer other than the default ones. I quite
> agree that not giving choices in a reasonable way is at least somewhat
> brain-dead--but once the choices are made, it is also too bad to have to
> "stumble through" them over and over again.


David gets the nail hit on the head award. He gets my point exactly! Gnome developers do not have to rewrite from the ground up. They have a lot going for them now over KDE in terms of resource consumption. They have a pretty desktop. They lack functionality and configurability. To add that with one new app would probably make Gnome my desktop of choice. The real problem is that there are no reasonable choices in Gnome. It's the dumbed-down way or the highway. I chose the highway. For now that means KDE.


> Caitlyn, why start another round of desktop wars? Your article is so
> 5 years ago.


You are entitled to your opinion. I am entitled to mine. I reviews a NEW version of Gnome, first off. One I really wanted to like. Second, I pointed out that their are NEW, or at least radically improved alternatives. Sorry you chose to ignore that.


> So please stop panning Gnome -


Gladly. When they put out a decent version I'll give it a positive review.


> have a little faith in the users being smart enough to try it
> themselves and see if it suits them.


Hey, let's ban reviews completely! Let's trust that users really don't want to read reviews, particularly ones they don't agree with. Let's not write articles any more at all. People can figure it all out for themselves. Is that what you are saying?


> I can accept that I probably work around some of Gnome's rough edges


Good for you. I find it costs me time and productivity to do so. I'd rather use something that better suits my needs. Right now that's Gnome of XFCE. Enlightenment could be there in the future, but right now the lack of support for languages I use rules it out.


> can you admit that you're possibly blind to some of KDE's
> shortcomings too?


Really? What am I blind to? Please tell me since I obviously can't see it.


Look, KDE's main shortcoming is that it's big, bloated, and resource hungry. To me that's a huge shortcoming which is why I gave the new version of Gnome yet another long look. I am NOT satisfied with KDE. It's the better of those two right now.


I'm waiting for the final release of XFCE 4.4 as it isn't fair to judge it on beta code. Having said that it looks like, if they get all the little bugs out and add a little more functionality that is already in development, that it has the potential to displace KDE for me. I really can't wait to see what the released Xubuntu 6.06 (Dapper Drake built around XFCE) looks like.


I think you, like a lot of others, had a knee-jerk reaction to some piece of what I wrote that you disagree with. Disagreeing with me is fine. We should all make our own choices based on what works for each of us. That's what choice and freedom is all about, isn't it?


Reread the second half of the article. It is *NOT* a strict pro-KDE piece. It is a piece that explains my unhappiness with Gnome and offers three alternatives, not one. It also says that the future may not be with either Gnome or KDE.


Jeff
2006-05-16 21:11:25
I used KDE for a long time and I really wanted to like it, but I just don't. GNOME is more professional and polished and just works better on a daily basis. Why does KDE try so hard to look like and act like Windows? Why can't we have both. What a dumb article!

2006-05-16 21:40:44
i have used both kde and gnome.


Gnome is my Main Desktop. It is clean.
Evolution, firefox, gimp, gaim, inkscape, gmplayer, nmapfe (any one think that, why they use the gtk instead of QT)


Kde is also nice but now a days it take too much memory and there is so many apps for same work.
(but the k3b is the best cdrw then the gnome's one)


i hate the refresh style in KDE desktop

Jamie Ryadel
2006-05-16 22:11:56
I still do not understand why people still want to use any of these desktop environments. OS X is far far far far better than anything they have to offer and will be so indefnitely into the future. It is faster, more stable and FAR more secure than linux. It is easy enough for your grandmother to use and powerful enough for any engineer or developer. OS X is for creative, fun and intelligent people who just want to get work done and not worry about recompiling kernels and fidgeting with menu editors.
Miguel
2006-05-16 23:36:21
I think this disscussion is a waste of time! Both KDE and Gnome are impressive and will benefit from each other, so stop this nonsense about that there should only be one choise. Linux is all about choise different people have different needs.


If you have been paying attention you have noticed lately that co-operation between KDE and Gnome has increased and through Freedesktop have created new desktop independent standards, this would NOT have happend if there were only one choise.


Ultimately competition is good.

mangoo
2006-05-17 00:10:02
Previously, a couple of years I used Gnome. When KDE3 was released, I switched to it, as Gnome was somehow crippled.
Just look at Gnome's Load/Save dialog window, and you'll know what I'm talking about.
Daniel
2006-05-17 01:20:59
Well I too really wanted to like GNOME. Despite what is written about getting Emacs keybindings to work, I could not get it to work. I just think GNOME is plain broken.
Guy
2006-05-17 04:11:07
I used to really like KDE. having used Gnome on Ubuntu I now find KDE horrible - garish and cluttered. I have no probl,ems doing what I want to do on Gnome and, as a lower end system user it runs noticably faster on my hardware.


Linus should drink less coffee and learn more manners.


2006-05-17 07:12:42
I must agree with Linus here. Here's my big complaint with GNOME and why I use KDE for my desktop:


MIME type handling.


I find it very easy to tweak the MIME-type handling in KDE. Why does this matter? I was just configuring a K12LTSP (Fedora Core 4-based) server two weeks ago for a demo, and the default GNOME application for playing videos appears to be Totem. Fine, Totem's not bad. However, I wanted to use MPlayer instead because I prefer the way MPlayer does certain things. Getting GNOME to play videos with MPlayer by default was HELL, and I still don't yet know how to do it. Googling for this told me to edit some XML file in /usr/share/applications. Didn't work.


This is exacerbated by Firefox's apparent dependency on GNOME's MIME settings to tell it what application to launch. And no, you can't tell it to use another one (no "Open with" functionality), so it's the GNOME default or nothing. If there is no GNOME default, then "Save to disk" and "Cancel" are the only options; no "Open with". This is unacceptable.


By contrast, I can *very easily* tell KDE what application to use to open any given file type, and KDE also makes it *very easy* to change the default app to open file types. I like that. It gives me control. Now, I'm sure that there's a way to actually change "default app" settings for file/MIME types in GNOME as well. The difference is that KDE makes it *VERY EASY* for the user to do this, and GNOME does not.


Anyway, I did my K12LTSP demo using KDE and Konqueror instead of GNOME and Firefox. It went over very well.


BTW, I like XFce's feature of importing the KDE menus. That is really cool and gives me a full-featured menu "just like Windows" that I can edit *EASILY* and have users be productive quickly. This definitely make XFce a viable corporate, and school computer lab, desktop; thanks, XFce team!


That said, I must thank the Ximian/GNOME folks for one application in particular: Evolution. Evolution allows me to access MS Exchange Server email with full groupware functionality and thus allows me to use Free Software in "Microsoft shop" environments. Therefore, while I find GNOME The Desktop (TM) to be unacceptable for me, I consider GNOME The Project (TM) very necessary and am glad that they're getting corporate sponsorship.

Anonymous again
2006-05-17 07:40:28
> > So please stop panning Gnome -


> Gladly. When they put out a decent version I'll give it a positive
> review.


With an attitude like that it's hard to take you seriously at all. Gnome works well enough for millions of users (including myself and many people I know), and so does KDE.


> > have a little faith in the users being smart enough to try it
> > themselves and see if it suits them.


> Hey, let's ban reviews completely! Let's trust that users really
> don't want to read reviews, particularly ones they don't agree
> with. Let's not write articles any more at all. People can figure
> it all out for themselves. Is that what you are saying?


To call what you wrote a review beggars belief; you even went so far as to write "On a modern system with significant resources I will repeat Linus' sage advice: Just use KDE".


In the last paragraph you write:
"With all of these options available I have adopted a Linus-like attitude", the implication being
'anything but Gnome' to anyone with a grasp of the English language.


Please try harder.

Francisco
2006-05-17 07:57:20
Mr Anonymous,


I was begining to feel a little guilty because it has been a while since I last tried Gnome and yet I posted that comment above pointing out a deficiency that probably does not exist any more. The reason I haven't tried it again is precisely because I agree with what Linus wrote: "This "users are idiots, and are confused by functionality" mentality of Gnome is a disease." After reading your post I see that similar issues stil exist. So, I won't have to waste my time giving gnome another try for a while. to me Gnome seems to be a preaty shell, with no depth. KDE4 is supposed to resolve the resourse Mr Anonymous,


I was beginning to feel a little guilty because it has been a while since I last tried Gnome and yet I posted that comment above pointing out a deficiency that probably does not exist any more. The reason I haven't tried it again is precisely because I agree with what Linus wrote: "This "users are idiots, and are confused by functionality" mentality of Gnome is a disease." After reading your post I see that similar issues still exist. So, I won't have to waste my time giving gnome another try for a while. To me Gnome seems to be a pretty shell, with no depth. KDE may not be as pretty to some but it allows one to do what one has to do. KDE4 is supposed to be quite a bit less resource intensive than the current version. So, I will stick with KDE for now. However, I did read a review of Enlightenment the other day and it looks awesome. At first, when I saw the screen shots, I thought it was a custom version of Gnome and thought, "Wow, I may have to give Gnome another try". So I see what Caitlyn saying and agree wholehartedly.

Doug
2006-05-17 08:00:36
GUI's are meant for the dumb. Use the command line and get over it... My GUI apps consist of firefox, openoffice, thunderbird, and netbeans. My productivity apps consist of gnome-terminal (oops), bash and vi!!


VI being the real eye candy.

Richard S
2006-05-17 08:30:51
While I have to admit GNOME has it's problems. It is still on of the best corporate desktops. First of All, "Users are Idiots". We are all linux people and have been here awhile, so KDE may be fine for us, but not for the everyday corporate user. Users will install crap and spyware everytime you give them a desktop. In the corporate environment you have people from 18 - 80. Some of these people need things dumbed down. If you only make things for the people with experience them you develop poor products with holes that deliver bad data. GNOME is on the right track, they have a consistent, easy to use interface and they are starting to deliver desktop management tools that a corporate environment needs. That's why RHAT, NOVL and UBUNTU are choosing them, because while KDE users will download their products for free, corporate customers will PAY for 500 seats of their product, and we want something we don't have to hold the users hands on, and that will run anywhere Windows ran, and will work for Windows users.
Roger
2006-05-17 08:44:47
Richard,


Have you ever heard of KDE's kiosk mode?


From the website:


"The Kiosk framework provides a set of features that makes it possible to restrict the capabilities of the KDE environment. Although primarily designed for unattended operation of kiosk terminals, these features can also be very valuable in enterprise settings where a more controlled environment is desired."


Also see:
http://developer.kde.org/documentation/tutorials/kiosk/index.html
and
http://enterprise.kde.org/articles/kiosk-lp.php


So you see, no need to suffer with Gnome's deficiencies. KDE can do what everyone needs, and better. Now, as for why RedHat uses Gnome I think it has more to do with the fact that when they started building their desktop, KDE's license had problems. Once that was resolved, they found it easier to just continue whith what they had. They were focused on the server any way. Novel bought Simian which was a spider nest of Gnome developers, so no surprise that they are more inclined to support it. I don't know why Ubuntu chose Gnome, but it doesn't matter. Most desktop focus distributions use KDE.

Richard S
2006-05-17 08:52:03
Roger, Thanks.. I will check this out, as I have not heard of it.
Mr Anonymous
2006-05-17 09:07:33
KDE users, hug a Gnome user today!


And you Gnome folks do the same back.


Let's all agree that the utility of a desktop is largely subjective (with very few exceptions).


2006-05-17 09:21:42
I'm a KDE user, but I like Firefox for web browsing. The only bad thing about using Firefox, however is the god-awful file dialog. It is painfully slow and (to my way of thinking) unintuitive. The file dialogs alone are enough reason for me to stick with KDE.
HG
2006-05-17 11:44:06
My main linux machine is an ancient (8 year old) PII with 64MB RAM. I still use twm under Red Hat 8. Who needs icons and toolbars?


Seriously, I also use xfce and, on rare occasions, AfterStep. Part of me wants to say "it's the applications, stupid!", and I guess it just did. Another part wants to ask whether linux desktops should mimick MacOS X or Windows in terms of user experience configuration, ESPECIALLY menu configuration?


But that begs the question whether it should be possible for users to make wholesale configuration changes. On my home machine I sure as Hell think so, but in a business environment probably not.


I would have thought this could be handled simply by including two user configuration packages in the Gnome distribution, one with utilities for partial/minor configuration (e.g., desktop background color, icon spacing, etc.), and the other with utilities for FULL configuration (e.g., menu editing). Then leave it up to the person installing Gnome to select the appropriate packages. Silly me.


Gnome can be a PITA, but there's lots of good gtk software (one response to 'Just use KDE' would be 'but use the Gnome Office apps instead of KOffice'). Gnome may be surviving in part because of gtk application developers.

dv_cool_fuel
2006-05-17 17:16:36
i have had nothing but excellent results from the Gnome 2.14 and I like the new apps including beagle and fspot, I think that they are excellent. I use KDE apps as well eg K3B and amarok. I have a dozen users on my system all using gnome and they are happy with it so I dont know what the problem is


DVR

Michael
2006-05-17 22:31:34
When was the last time you really needed to edit the menus, honestly? I can't say I've *ever* needed or wanted to, ever since the freedesktop menu standards have been implemented. Programs I install (mostly from packages) just show up in the right place on the menu. It just works. One of the reasons menu editing is so difficult is that the freedesktop standards dictate categories so that distros can group like-programs rather than the hodge-podge of user menus that Windows and KDE give you. OS X seems to be even more extreme than gnome with practically no application organization and users are just fine with that. Actually port Quicksilver to gnome and I'll *never* even use a menu. Ever.
Tachyon
2006-05-17 23:31:47
I have to agree. It seems that the Gnome zealots seem very blinded to the fact that Gnome _is_ poorly engineered (check it's IPC compared to KDE's), constricting, and childish in design style. It reminds me of the Amiga MUI nazi's back in the day.


If you like Gnome, you also probably use leetspeak, and think MySpace is great.
If you prefer KDE, you probably actually have to use your computer to do things, and are (at least mentally) a grown up.


To prove my point, I point to the inevitable childish and idiotic responses that will come from Gnome zealots regarding my comments here.


Go back to chatting with your other Gnome buddies on IRC and leave us grownups alone ok?