No hate, just discontentment

Story: Why Linux Desktop Makes Total SenseTotal Replies: 21
Author Content

Dec 22, 2011
6:34 AM EDT
The key is stick with it, when you use it daily it becomes natural to you.

And yet I resist this notion with a vengeance. I don't want these sub-par interfaces to become natural to me. To me they are a regression on a decade of desktop progress. I don't want to lose that progress. So no, no sticking with it. Sane interfaces or burst.

There is nothing that distracts me, yet I know they all are a finger tip away.

Call me a freak, but a taskbar with window list and system tray never distracted me. What breaks my workflow is continually having to perform a view switching action and only then being able to get to the program I want to bring to the front.

However if you don't have any software dependency it is how well you use a system makes it usable or unusable.

Excuse me, but that is manure, one of the hallmarks of user unfriendly software used to be the forcing of the user to heavily adapt to the software, instead of the other way around. I missed the memo that the world is topsy-turvy now.

As you can see, I don't react too well to the equivalent of "Get with the program!" There is a reason I'm on GNU/Linux after all. The system used to be about empowerment and freedom from coercion. These days it seems to be about lowest common denominator users and "market share".

Dec 22, 2011
2:08 PM EDT
I don't see any subpar Linux desktop software. I see choices between a smartphone/tablet style interface similar to the Windows 8 and MacOS Lion desktops and traditional desktops. Whether you like it or not, this is the new desktop paradigm and a lot of the masses really seem to like it. Linux pioneered this style of desktop on early netbooks and it caught on like wildfire. Canonical and the GNOME developers did the smart thing by seeing where desktop development was going across the board and making sure Linux stayed ahead of the game.

You don't like it. I get it. I really do. Neither the GNOME developers nor Canonical are around to cater to your personal tastes. Get over it.

You have Mate and Cinnamon and Xfce and KDE and LXDE and a whole bunch of other choices that preserve the old paradigm for people like you who want to stick with it. I'm such a person and I use Xfce as my choice.

Why do you feel that your choice should be the dominant choice? Why do you feel, in at least two threads now, that you should be the one to decide? Get over yourself.

Dec 22, 2011
2:25 PM EDT
You can use CentOS. I am sure it will be around with Gnome 2 for years yet. Or use Debian, Mate will be mature enough when new Debian with Gnome 3 comes along.

You said yourself that Lİnux is about "freedom from coercion"; so, why don't you listen to the advice of that old bard and suit your word to your action?

Dec 22, 2011
2:45 PM EDT
Caitlyn, it's forced change that messes people up and understandably riles up users. If a new desktop is worth switching to, it will attract users on its own merits. Forcing people to drop something they've learned well and developed a good efficient workflow on is irresponsible IMO. 'Take it or leave it' is an unprofessional, user-hostile attitude. This isn't staying ahead of any game, it's regressive. Windows and Mac interfaces are sub-par, and chasing them is going backwards.

Though it seems that Gnome users should have gotten the message with the 2.x series, which discarded features wholesale in the name of simplicity. Users didn't matter then, just like they don't now. Gnome devs simply do not get interface design; they're bad at it, no matter how stupid they tell us we are for not liking their bad implementations. Gnome 2 was a nightmare of poo. Like dialogues and menus that exit after you do one thing. Like the executable picker that drops you into your homedir, and the infamous Gnome habit of hiding features and useful information. Maybe Gnome is doing people a favor by chasing them away. Ubuntu kept Gnome alive and popular by streamlining and customizing it usefully. Now that Ubuntu has gone to Unity Gnome is on its own, and good luck with that.

Dec 22, 2011
3:02 PM EDT
I'm not disagreeing with you, tc. I don't see it as "forced change." People who like GNOME 2 are forking and preserving it. Linux Mint was the first distro to offer Mate but I'd bet it won't be the last. Trinity preserved KDE 3 as well. The only thing that is lost is the combination of favorite distro + favorite desktop if the distributor doesn't want to offer that combination anymore. Considering that Mint is based on Ubuntu going to Mint + Mate shouldn't be painful for someone used to Ubuntu + GNOME 2.

FWIW, I agree with you about GNOME 2. I remember Linus Torvalds calling the GNOME developers "interface Nazis" long before GNOME 3 was a glimmer in anyone's eye. Yet, some people obviously love what you called a "nighmare of poo". FWIW, I think that description was unfair. Stinking nightmare of poo is more accurate :)

Finally, Linux isn't chasing Windows or Mac. GNOME 3 actually came out first, and the ideas for GNOME 3 were seen in things like Xandros Presto, Linpus Lite and XPUD Plate starting in late 2007. As usual, Windows and Mac are chasing Linux.

Dec 22, 2011
5:29 PM EDT
AS I've already said in another thread. I intend to upgrade to MATE, as soon as it's mature enough. If it isn't by the time Mint 13 is released, I'll upgrade from Mint 9 to Mint 11 (last GNOME2 desktop), and wait for Mint 14 or even 15.

Dec 22, 2011
8:33 PM EDT
I like a lot of things about the current "mobile paradigm," if you want to call it that. I like the way apps come into focus and how you can switch from one app to another without "losing your place" in the last app.

Of course we already have this capability in the now-dying "desktop paradigm," where we also have enough screen area for things like persistent icons, panels and -- the horror -- MENUS.

The disconnect for me comes when adapting touchscreen UIs to systems that a) don't have touchscreens and b) have keyboards and mice.

Dec 22, 2011
9:20 PM EDT
That's because "consumers" are assumed to be stupid, incapable of comprehending more than one thing, and getting dumber all the time. For example, regular phones are now made to operate exactly like a mobile phone does, with the same controls (ie. "Send" button to avoid burning up air-time) even though that's extra effort, and entirely pointless on a regular, non cell-phone.

Dec 22, 2011
10:10 PM EDT
People calm down. Why we Linux folks always bring a software that brings a fight between us. Though I use Unity as a Desktop environment, I wanted to emphasize just flying around Desktop environments cannot justify if a Desktop is for you or not. Just yesterday my senior and I were working on a problem using my laptop. He could not use it at all. I could sense the frustration he was having to move mouse to left and click on icons. Since 80% to 90% people are trained with windows, it becomes very hard to adapt to a unique experience that is not windows like. As I said Mac experience was so hard to me. I thought how can it be so hard. Since I am a computer guy I can figure it out. If I thought for a while how it works then I could surely work on a Mac, but in a computer environment there are certain things we don't need to think. If we don't get what we expect to be obvious it becomes frustrating. E.g in a mac for a Linux guy the Ctrl Win key swapped is a nuisance, which is obvious for a mac guy. Since there are many hatred article about unity. Canonical might in some releases might drop the unity experience and release something completely new, which will again be a frustrating experience to me. I never implied unity is better than any other Desktop. It is unique, but frustrating unless you give at least one month to familiarize with it. If I gave same time to use a gnome 3 Desktop, I might find it more fruitful than unity. If a Linux guy can find a Linux Desktop so new and frustrating, how can a windows or mac people can find it user friendly, when his or her usage pattern is broken.

Dec 22, 2011
10:24 PM EDT
Quoting:If a Linux guy can find a Linux Desktop so new and frustrating, how can a windows or mac people can find it user friendly, when his or her usage pattern is broken.

Exactly the point of so many people's complaints about the new desktops. So given that the 'powers that be" aren't willing to listen, exactly why should anyone calm down?

Quoting:I never implied unity is better than any other Desktop. It is unique, but frustrating unless you give at least one month to familiarize with it.

But why on earth should I familiarise myself with it, or GNOME3. They are both aethetically displeasing on my high resolution multi monitor system, they both require that I learn a different way of interacting with my desktop, one that requires more actions, requires that I learn key functions (CTRL + key), neither of which I want to do. Neither of then work, in the sense that they don't allow me to have the components where I want them, on my high resolution multi monitor system. There is time enough to get familiar with one or the other of them when I get a tablet or some other touchscreen device.

Jan 01, 2012
9:17 AM EDT
What are you talking about? I'm a Gnome Shell user and I don't use any keyboard shortcuts whatsoever and I have no issues. And what tablets do you know of which come with Unity or Gnome Shell? Neither of those interfaces is suitable for a tablet.

Jan 01, 2012
9:41 AM EDT
My reaction to that article was "Well good for you. What is your point?". The sly inference appears to be that people not seeing unity the way the author does are old fogeys who need to adapt i.e it is insulting.

The fact that a very large number of users think unity is awful should not be dismissed in this arrogant fanboy manner. Instead the developers should find out why.

Jan 01, 2012
7:48 PM EDT
@fatriff, so they are just poorly designed, aesthetically unappealing desktop UIs, Oh well never mind. I guess I won't be getting a tblet anytime soon, in that case. Or if i do I'll stick to a KDE 4 Tablet interface, or simply use MATE, or have a look at Bodhi to install on it.

Jan 01, 2012
8:29 PM EDT
The problem with Gnome Shell and Unity is, ultimately, not that they have an "innovative" UI model, or that they are different than (ie. a change from) what most users are used to, or even that they aren't well suited to many use-cases.

If Unity or Gnome Shell had been offered as an alternative, as new approaches with specific strengths and advantages, and a presumably bright future, people wouldn't be verging on flame wars about how slick, efficient and innovative vs how awkward, inefficient and wrong-headed these new desktop interfaces/paradigms are.

We would still be talking about Gnome Shell and Unity, but the whole tone of the discussion would be different. We'd be talking about for who and for what these news desktops were best suited, and why, and where it could lead and how some of their features could be incorporated into other desktops.

I believe that many people who now rant against Gnome Shell and Unity, or the devs behind them, would happily promote them and praise those same devs for their bold experimentation -- even those who personally still preferred to use classic Gnome, XFCE, Fluxbox or whatever. Gnome Shell and Unity would be shining, even intriguing, examples of how Linux is an amazingly creative, flexible, innovative environment that is readily adapted to users needs, preferences and circumstances.

But that's not how it went.

The users were generally satisfied with their current desktop -- and so they stayed with it rather than switch to another. Some of them would have been happy to switch, if offered the choice. Others would have found the disadvantages outweighed the advantages, and stuck with the "old" paradigm.

If the new paradigm really is a great innovation, it would grow, on its own. And there would be legitimate ways to promote a change-over, and even to favor the new project over the old. But the "force majeure" wholesale arbitrarily dictated replacement of one project with another under the guise of the old name and project structure signifies an unwillingness to present the new project on its own merits.

Instead, the developers behind these projects in effect highjacked preexisting projects that satisfied their users needs, exploiting their position to yank the ground out from under those users. They abruptly and roughly hammered these projects into a different mold, They took the well served users on a different path, like the proverbial Boy Scout who "helped" the Little Old Lady across the road, without regard to the fact that the lady didn't want or need to go there. The Boy Scout sauntered off and bragged about a good deed well done. But the old lady was still stuck with an untenable situation. Other peoples' opinions on the superiority of the new neighbourhood, the new shops and more attractive architecture won't be persuasive.

This could be fixed. The people behind this already have (or can readily get) the resources required to do this. Some control-freakery might need to be jetisoned to make room. But give people (ie. "ordinary users") an actual and reasonably convenient choice , and the aggravation and rancor will fade away, and users both will gladly not only vote with their feet for the "superior" paradigm for their own needs, but also willingly promote both as actually appropriate to conditions. Sounds like a recipe for success, to me.

Jan 02, 2012
12:13 AM EDT
@tracyanne There are no tablets you can buy which have any of the common linux based interfaces on them. Android is on almost every tablet out there unless you opt for an ipad. I know Android is running on linux too but it's not perceived as such by consumers.

@BernardSwiss Yes, this is exactly it, we had the rugs pulled out from under us, these not even fully functional desktops should have been optional and by being optional the strongest one would eventually shine through based on what users wanted. Is it already too late to turn the clock back and pull either of these environments? I think it is but it's not to late to make them optional instead of the default.

Jan 02, 2012
1:11 AM EDT
@fatriff, I've seen enough articles demonstrating various Free Software desktops on tablets to be aware that it's quite possible to do. In addition I have access to a factory here in Australia that builds among other things Tablets on which any Linux can be installed.

Jan 02, 2012
2:19 AM EDT
@tracyanne Yes it is in the works but I'm saying you cannot currently buy such a device. You can't walk into the local PC world and come out with a tablet running a Linux based distro not counting Android.

I'm an Android user and it does have it's limitations, I cannot program on it as I would on my desktop or run any of my favorite applications, but then that isn't the purpose of a tablet, they are built for consuming media, nothing more, The Kindle Fire outsold every other tablet this Christmas, it is also running Android, but a modified version.

Let's not forget, for more than 10 years you have been able to buy tablet pcs with windows xp and later windows 7 which will run anything you put on it due to them having the same hardware found in laptops or whatever, it's not new, it never took off before so why would it take off now? I think the role of what a tablet is suitable for is why, which is web browsing, videos, movies, games and books.

Jan 02, 2012
1:07 PM EDT
Quoting:Yes it is in the works but I'm saying you cannot currently buy such a device.

Isn't this also the case with Linux PC yet Linux is talked about quite a bit and being adopted in many places?

If I might add to what TA said, I would also say tablets have a better chance since Windows doesn't come on many and if a tablet comes with Windows, it doesn't run that good.

Now in terms of Android, it is a good powerful system but it doesn't offer the flexibility like Linux OS. Google is making a big mistake by not offering many of the applications Linux OS can offer. I understand their strategy, they want Android users to connect and be tied to their services, but that is going to backfire. Users want to have both, connect to internet services and be able to have independent services and local to their tablets if they can help it. Tablets have enough resources to run many of the applications that normally run on desktops. Tablets are excellent specialized devices and suitable for data consumption and information retrieval. I think they are excellent on the go supplementary devices to the desktop but would not be a replacement of desktops.


Jan 02, 2012
6:07 PM EDT

Wasn't mate was ported from gnome 2 sources by an archlinux user and deployed on archlinux? I thought Mint was the first distro, after Arch to have mate.

I kind of like the new road mint developers are taking with cinnamon, a gtk3 based gnome2-like interface. My problem with gnome shell and unity is the constant view switching. For instance when looking at the standard gnome 3 desktop if you want to find out what is happening in other workspaces, you must switch from the desktop to activities. When looking at the standard gnome 3 desktop and you want to review what apps are open, you must switch to activities. When looking at the standard gnome 3 desktop and you want to launch a new application, you must switch to activities, then switch to applications, then browse through a very flattened (almost non-hierarchical) listing of applications to find what you want to launch. These functions used to be 3 separate panel based apps in gnome 2. You did not have to switch away from the desktop to accomplish these tasks. It was much less disruptive to flow of work.

For me the shell's activities pane is a pain. it is the Microsoft Bob of Gnome, and hopefully will be replaced.

On the bright side I note that DreamLinux, the XFCE based Brazilian distro has a new version out. They always delivered a very good looking 4.x desktop distro. I'm downloading DL 5 now and will be testing soon.

Jan 02, 2012
10:59 PM EDT
Quoting:Wasn't mate was ported from gnome 2 sources by an archlinux user and deployed on archlinux? I thought Mint was the first distro, after Arch to have mate.
Yes, that's correct.

Quoting: On the bright side I note that DreamLinux, the XFCE based Brazilian distro has a new version out.
For XFCE based distros I continue to recommend Vector Linux 7.0 and SalixOS 13.37.

Jan 03, 2012
8:01 AM EDT
Vector would be doing themselves a favor by releasing live versions of their latest release. I downloaded the Vector 7 on your recommendation Caitlyn but it's install only and my partitions are full. I will have to make some room to install it for a full assessment. I wasn't able to find a live CD of 7.

Jan 03, 2012
8:35 AM EDT
I am a fan of Zenwalk.

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