Change is good

Story: Change Isn’t Always Bad for Linux Total Replies: 12
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Jul 24, 2011
6:44 PM EDT
When it actually provides something useful or better than before. In my case neither Unity nor GNOME 3 nor KDE provide me with any useful change.

Jul 24, 2011
7:58 PM EDT
what she said.

Jul 24, 2011
9:03 PM EDT
There is a big ole UI conspiracy happening all over the computing spectrum. Not all of us are enthused by such actions and what's more is the versioning/releases.. It's as if someone or some group has pushed an agenda so far that it's literally alienating end-user's everywhere, regardless of the os, device, etc.. Who in the heck is driving this bus? Why all of a sudden are the end-user's just being brushed aside and projects doing what ever they like? Valid questions..

I can live with out gnome, unity, kde and devices and I don't think I'm the only one either. It will be nice to see what new path lies ahead in the near future for those who don't want change pushed upon them--even if it's "for our own good".

How about we rewind and go back to where user input was actually welcomed rather then shunned or how about we look towards the future and actually support those projects which don't abuse or take lightly the thoughts of their ____.

basically: what she said

Jul 25, 2011
12:01 AM EDT
I don't think it's a conspiracy. Perhaps it's something even simpler.

Computers and operating systems have finally become commodities, and which one(s) you use has become as much a statement about who you are as it is a choice of tool -- consequently user interface design has come to be governed by fashion more than by efficacy.

As the fashion changes, some companies establish themselves as trend-setters, (in technological circles this is often referred to as "ahead of the curve") while other corporate entities struggle to keep up, or risk being perceived as passe, and suffer the economic consequences.

Google has successfully pushed "Android" as a trend-setter, or at least as hot competition for "iStuff". Even Microsoft has at last jumped on the clearly identified, well-established, no-longer-quite-new trend. It may not be hot, anymore, but it's not outmoded yet, and MS can trade on their reputation as a solid, stable brand (yes, we know better, but that's still the general perception). Canonical-Ubuntu is making a major effort with Unity to shoulder it's way into the top names. Gnome is trying to be modern, too. While KDE is making waves among the cognoscenti, they seem to be at least trying to break new ground, rather than just get with the latest trends.

Linux distros and FOSS UI projects, in this model, are something like a swarm of small, indie design shops. Some people pay attention, and they have a following, but it's not often that one "breaks out" and makes a big splash in the mainstream. It's an up-hill struggle, and all too often some questionable compromises are made along the way.


Jul 25, 2011
12:51 AM EDT
I don't think it's a conspiracy either. In the case of kde, a full rewrite was necessary as the kde 3 code base had become unmanageable and with QT4 being introduced the time was ripe for the rewrite. One may argue about how the devs went about that rewrite and some of the design decisions that were made. But over time, the kde code base is in much better condition going forward than kde3 ever was. It's also noteworthy, that the introduction of kde4 predates the whole netbook/android/ipad craze that we are currently in.

In the case of Unity, I think it is an attempt to try and carve out a space in the netbook/pad market as the go to linux distro of choice for those type of devices. I think Canonical correctly realized that there was no money to be made by dominating the conventional linux desktop with yet another standard linux distro. However, in the pad/netbook market device manufacturers may be willing to pay for support or a distro customized for their needs. I think Canonical is attempting to enter and dominate that market largely leaving behind the conventional linux desktop users.

With gnome, I have no idea what they are doing other than trying to keep up with kde and Unity. I haven't seen any complaints about the gnome 2.x code base being a mess so the only sense I can make out of gnome3 is an attempt to not be left behind and to remain relevant in the netbook/pad market.

Jul 25, 2011
8:50 AM EDT
@tracyanne - +1

I attended a talk on GNOME 3 a few years ago, and at the time it was pretty exciting (then unreleased) technology. Unfortunately, what became GNOME 3 doesn't seem very close to that, and I'm left wondering where to go next since I'm really not a fan of GNOME 3 or Unity.

I suspect that some of the lesser run desktop environments will gain a lot of traction over the course of the next year. Unfortunately for those users that don't want GNOME 3 or Unity it means they will suffer from a user experience perspective at least for a while.

KDE, and XFCE - IMHO will gain significantly this year.

Unfortunately for me (and many others), I was very happy with GNOME 2.

Jul 25, 2011
11:48 AM EDT
most are looking at UI in their own perspectives, which doesn't necessarily match the views of developers or market creators.

FOSS Developers have their own goals and objectives. They approach users with the "Take it or leave it attitude". I am sure some will listen sometimes, but many times they just have to go with what they think is the right thing. After all, they can't please everyone and they might as well please themselves. We have to accept that and take the appropriate action either by adapting to the new ways or just find a better option that suit us best. Luckily, there are many options in FOSS.

Business Market Creators have different goals and objectives. Most of them believe that the current desktop market is saturated and being marginalized by laptops. At the same time, at the end of the day, what the majority of users are mostly interested in is information. That is the purpose of the big push for the Cloud. And what is the best UI to access the cloud and prevent users from escaping it is? The touch & grab interface currently being pushed forward. Users who are not really into such interface will eventually going to be forced into it, or remain the odd minority constantly complaining.

Personally, I like KDE and will remain my choice because they are accommodating for all three types of devices, Desktop Plasma for classical desktop, Netbook Plasma (touch & grab) for Tablet, and Mobile Plasma for Phones and such. They are not totally there yet, but they sure are making a good progress as Plasma Active being developed.


Plasma Active

Plasma Active Demo


Jul 25, 2011
12:15 PM EDT
Don't lump KDE in with those others. KDE isn't the one that's changing; it hasn't changed at all in many years (except the early 4.0 where features were temporarily removed in the rewrite, but that's all been fixed now). The KDE UI is still much the same as it's always been: a panel, K/gear button that brings up a menu, a taskbar, a clock, etc. A lot of the stuff behind-the-scenes has changed, but the basic UI is the same as it was back in the 3.5 days.

It's not like GNOME where they decided to remove the minimize buttons because "it's too confusing", or Unity where they assume you're using a touchscreen on a small tablet.

If you want a heavyweight desktop that isn't designed for a small touchscreen, KDE is your only choice now. Otherwise, you'll have to try out lxde.

Jul 25, 2011
12:31 PM EDT
I also forgot to mention, KDE doesn't do anything "for your own good" or ignore users; that's Unity and Gnome3. That's why the whole theme behind KDE is configurability. By default on most distros, the K button brings up a menu with 5 submenus: Favorites, Applications, Computer, Recently Used, and Leave. Don't like that? Think it's too XP or Win7-like? Fine: you can change it to the "Classic" style where there's no submenus. By default on most distros, the panel is at the bottom. Don't like that? Fine: you can easily move it to the top, the right side, the left side, or you can even add a second panel if you want more space to show icons for all your open apps. By default on most distros, you no longer put icons directly on the desktop, but instead inside a widget called a "Desktop Folder". Don't like this? You can change it back to the old way.

But what if you say, "why should I have to waste my time setting things the way I like? It should come that way by default!" Well then, you're saying that you need someone that knows what's best for you to configure your UI the way THEY think is best. If you're that kind of person, then maybe you should be using Gnome3 or Unity, and stop questioning their decisions and learn to accept that you need to be told what's best for you. If you're the kind of person who rejects that, and wants the ability to easily change things to be the way YOU want them to be, then check out KDE.

Jul 25, 2011
1:10 PM EDT
Grishnakh wrote:(except the early 4.0 where features were temporarily removed in the rewrite, but that's all been fixed now)'re saying KDE4 was deliberately released while it was still broken? And I thought it was simply to get wider testing of a beta.

That does nothing to encourage my trust of the KDE4 team.

Jul 25, 2011
2:51 PM EDT
The article wrote:"Perhaps there is something to be learned from the way Mac people are rolling with the changes."

Does this mean we would have to continually drink Koolaid?

Jul 25, 2011
3:30 PM EDT

Yes, KDE 4.0 should have been a beta precisely because stuff was missing. The developers pulled into a defensive fetal position that didn't help when it all hit the fan. I hope they have learned to be more open now. We will see. Meanwhile the Gnome developers seem to be making many of the same mistakes.

Jul 25, 2011
4:24 PM EDT
Quoting:If you want a heavyweight desktop that isn't designed for a small touchscreen, KDE is your only choice now. Otherwise, you'll have to try out lxde.

Actually KDE is unlikely to be "your only choice now" besides lxde. Many others have found that Xfce is quite the high-performance DE.

Indeed, it might even be well-worth re-reading Schroder's LXer post and piece 'Weekend Project: Find Hidden Treasures in XFCE 4.8' linked to at

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