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Freedesktop.org on KDE/Gnome, New Goals 340

Posted by simoniker
from the mmmm-juicy dept.
fdo writes "OSNews has a long and juicy interview with the freedesktop.org developers regarding many aspects of their project, including interoperability between GNOME/KDE, the new X Server, the new Hardware Abstraction Layer library, accessibility, package management and in general, all things desktop."
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Freedesktop.org on KDE/Gnome, New Goals

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 24, 2003 @02:32PM (#7549436)
    WOW! Linux enters the late eighties!
    • by the_olo (160789) on Monday November 24, 2003 @03:05PM (#7549751) Homepage

      I Agree 100% that X clipboard copy-paste support is terrible and freedesktop should focus on that, instead of eye candy and breaking speed records.

      I talk about exchange of non-ASCII data through clipboard (I want to emphasize that as I can see that many OSS types think that clipboard is for text only). I mean copying and pasting images, fragments of images (rectangular an irregular shares), with alpha channel; sound clips; video files; HTML with images copied to local application (not some lazy trick where HTML copied from Mozilla to OpenOffice has all HTML untouched and IMGs are still loaded from the network when you save that file and try to open it at home).

      The X contains all necessary infrastructure, as explained here [jwz.org] and here [tronche.com].

      When you actually try to use the X clipboard for something more that transferring plain text, the results are terrible. Read this [slashdot.org], this [slashdot.org] and this [slashdot.org] Slashdot comment. Shocking.

      • 100% true

        Personally I belive the clipboard should only contain text, but the people is already used to this file-system-on-the-clipboard. X needs this more than any visual candy they are adding now, and it should be really simple to implement.
      • I Agree 100% that X clipboard copy-paste support is terrible

        While I agree that the copy-paste support of most X application is terrible, I think it is important to state that it is the applications that are lacking, not X. As you write, the architecture is there for copy and paste, also for copying things other than text, it is just that most (all?) applications do not support it.

        The reason is simple: if X lacked the support for this, then we would have a cache22 problem trying to get it implemented bot
      • I Agree 100% that X clipboard copy-paste support is terrible and freedesktop should focus on that, instead of eye candy and breaking speed records.

        I only read the first page of the article. I won't tell you the obvious of what you need to do...

        The issue isn't poor implementation in the libraries, it's simpler than that. When you add drag and drop to an application you have a list of types that you support dragging or dropping, such as "text/plain". Applications simply don't agree on what these types a

  • Pfft. (Score:4, Funny)

    by Now15 (9715) on Monday November 24, 2003 @02:37PM (#7549485) Homepage
    The problem with current user interfaces is that they require arcane, computer-esque input devices. Give me UI that I can control by sucking on breasts, and then I'll be impressed.

    Not to mention thoroughly freaked out.
  • by Space cowboy (13680) on Monday November 24, 2003 @02:38PM (#7549506) Journal

    Keith Packard: "One thing I have noticed is a sudden interest in video cards with *lots* of memory. GL uses video memory mostly for simple things like textures for which it is feasible to use AGP memory. However, Composite is busy drawing to those off-screen areas, and it really won't work well to try and move those objects into AGP space"


    Finally an excuse for even the most die-hard "oh no, I don't play games" programmer to go and get a decent graphics card, and not to use a Matrox G500 because it does 2 screens best :-) ... "but boss, I *need* it for the new application"...

    Simon
    • a decent graphics card, and not to use a Matrox G500

      So you're saying the Matrox G500 is NOT a decent graphics card? For a dual-head system, it's STILL a damned decent video card. What Keith is talking about is video memory, not 3D video performance. A normal low-end 2D card with 64/128Meg memory is sufficient. No need to spend hundreds of dollars for cards requiring multiple heatsinks and a dedicated PSU power connector.
      • Er, I think you missed the not-so-subtle point... I have a G500, and I use it because I'm a developer. Would I like to have the latest and greatest video card, you bet! But I have no business reason to.

        The big fast 3D-accelerated cards tend to come with a lot of RAM on-board. This could be used by a tech-savvy developer to justify a new graphics card to a not-so-savvy manager, and incidentally a new monitor too, a digital flatscreen one, to plug into the new graphics card, so I can still have 2 screens...
    • Not really, because when you run out of video memory, physical memory would be used. In that case, if you don't want a new video card, you could just buy comprable RAM.
  • by gilesjuk (604902) <[giles.jones] [at] [zen.co.uk]> on Monday November 24, 2003 @02:41PM (#7549527)
    It's all very well thinking of the technical considerations (and there's quite a lot to consider), but don't forget to consider users and the usability of the desktop. Why do people use Microsoft products? because they're either forced to (at work) or they they find them easy to use (at home). Microsoft spends a lot of time ensuring their products are very usable and open source desktops need to do the same. Usability labs, heuristic evaluation etc.. all should be used (yes I am studying HCI before you ask).
    • Try more like... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Kjella (173770) on Monday November 24, 2003 @03:04PM (#7549739) Homepage
      Why do people use Microsoft products? because they're either forced to (at work) or they they find them easy to use (at home)

      a) It came with their computer
      b) It's "free" since it came with their computer
      c) They don't know anything else
      d) They are industry standards
      e) They're the same as at work (familiarity)
      f) They've had basic Windows training at work
      g) Your poweruser friends likely know more Windows
      h) It runs off-the-shelf software
      i) It's inherently badly designed security-wise (security vs usability)

      Pick any of the above, and I swear it's more of a reason than "easy to use". I bet 99%+ have never tried using a preinstalled, well configured Linux system (like the Windows install that came on their PC) at all. Without knowing the alternative, they have no basis to know that Windows is easier - they just assume so.

      Kjella
      • There used to be plenty of database, spreadsheets and word processors before Microsoft Office appeared. Why do you think their products have taken market share so fast? sure they have been bundled but that doesn't explain it entirely. If their design was poor then people wouldn't clone their ideas (see Star and Open Office, they look quite similar).

        I'm no Microsoft fan but you have to admit they know how to design pretty good interfaces on the whole.
        • Ok, I remember why I once used Windows. Games. Fre, cracked games I got from "friends" in my school break. That's why I switched from my Amiga, that's why I started MS. Personally I guess the most important thing is still that Windows comes free, Office comes free from a friend and Halo does alike. If this ever changes (ie: if MS really cares about a copyprotection) people might start using real free software.

          cu,
          lispy
    • by acidtripp101 (627475) on Monday November 24, 2003 @03:08PM (#7549769)
      I'm sorry, but people don't use windows at home because it is "easy to use."
      A person once told me the best reason I've heard that people use windows:
      Everybody uses windows because everybody uses windows
      If Everybody used any other OS (OSX, Linux, FreeBSD, BeOS, Amiga, etc) for gaming, productivity, media, etc. Then EVERYBODY else would use the same operating system to maintain compatablitiy.
      I have yet to hear a casual user say that they love windows.
      The honest fact is that 90% of people don't care what OS they use, as long as they can listen to MP3s, play games (in my opinion, a MAJOR obsticle that desktop *NIX has to overcome... I was excited that I could get unreal tournament to run on my gentoo box), and open office (open/star/MS/whatever) documents.
      The current state of *nix desktops is wonderful! KDE 3.x is definatly professional grade. XFCE4 is definatly ready for the desktop. Fluxbox is there for people that want the best performance with the smallist footprint. I dare ANYBODY to name something that can be done on a Windows based workgroup that can't be done on a *nix workgroup.
      I'm sorry, but the ONLY area that linux is truely lacking is in the gaming department. This includes Graphics acceleration. I don't care if the drivers are closed-source (such as the nvidia drivers, which I must admit, are awesome), or open (the DRI for the ati cards isn't as good, but it's still not bad at all).
      I'm willing to bet that if a company like loki got into the market now, with some big name titles, then the ammount of linux desktops would skyrocket. Sadly, the only precident of a comany like this is loki, which dipped it's feet in the water way too soon. Linux wasn't ready then. It is now.
      As proof of this, I have at least 3 friends (granted, they are somewhat more computer literate than the 'average joe') that want me to install *NIX on their desktop. A year ago, there is NO way that they would have even THOUGHT about dual-booting.
      I just don't believe that anyone can get away with saying that *NIX isn't ready for the desktop anymore.
      • by myc (105406) on Monday November 24, 2003 @04:10PM (#7550249)
        Actually, the reason I use Windows is it is probably the OS that takes the least effort to get working out of the box to a degree sufficient for me to accomplish work on commodity hardware. Sure, just about most everything I do can be done on a Linux box, but it would take me forever of digging through poor documentation, newsgroups, and futzing around to actually get it working reasonably well (I've tried, so don't accuse me of not trying). Even then, usability is generally poor. Sure, linux programs are generally quite powerful and flexible, but the vast majority of us just want to get things done. If that means having to put up with a few idosyncrasies of Windows, so be it. Sure, I've gotten hit with viruses, but with reasonable precautions it's not an everyday occurance, just the occasional annoyance.

        The bottom line is, your time is MUCH more valuable than the cost of a windows license.

        • the reason I use Windows is it is probably the OS that takes the least effort to get working out of the box to a degree sufficient for me to accomplish work on commodity hardware.

          Yes... duh... And why is it easy to get working on commodity hardware? Acidtripp101 just told you:

          "because everybody uses windows"

          It's the reason behind your reason.
        • Fuck that, your time is not much more valuable...

          If you can't take the time to get to know your computer, and to get it the way you like it, you shouldn't be using a computer. If you don't want to learn how to use the internet, want to see which browser you like best, want to learn how not to get viruses or ads or shit like that, get off the internet, because it's as sure as shit is shit that you don't fully understand what a computer is.

          A computer is a *tool*, and a way to access pretty much anything you
        • Although I respect your opinion my experience is the exact opposite.

          I am not counting download times, and your mileage may vary, but this it what a typical Linux install looks like for me (I have Linux-friendly hardware, so "getting it all working" is an unnecessary step, except for my quake3 and DVD/DivX addiction, which pretty much requires NVidia's drivers)

          Install of RH9 including post-config: 35mins
          Installing apt for RH: 5mins
          Installing security-updates through apt: 5mins
          Installing NVidia drivers: 10
    • by lou2112 (265869) <slashdot@noSPAM.louisbennett.com> on Monday November 24, 2003 @03:08PM (#7549772) Homepage
      This is a problem across most open source projects. Indeed, most programmers know very little about HCI concerns, and it shows. Take, for example, Mozilla's UI blunders -- its numerous "managers" and the famed cipher editor (see also: commentary by Ben Goodger [bengoodger.com] and comments by Blake Ross [blakeross.com]).

      What's needed is not just the involvement of HCI people, but a commitment to accept the methods they bring to the table, and the results they produce. For example, if it's proven that a system like Mozilla's "Edit Ciphers" confuses more than helps, the project's drivers must be willing to listen, and get its code out of the main builds. If not, the HCI people can put as much time as they want into a product, only to burn out.
      • by Joe Tie. (567096) on Monday November 24, 2003 @03:30PM (#7549958)
        What I don't like about HCI and so called usability experts is that they seem to want to lump everybody into a single catagory. I don't use a computer the same way my grandmother does, and a system that tries to force me to isn't intuitive for me. Sometimes I want a page of 80 clickable options instead of one wizard that allows a choice of five and a requirement to then go edit a registry.
        • That's not really true, you have to take into account the different cultures from around the world when designing software. Not everyone reads left to right or top to bottom. Most people can only memorise approx 6.5 digits, can only tolerate a tree with a few levels etc...

          Not everyone has good colour vision, not everyone is good with double clicking and so on..

          Shortcuts should always be well thought out, experienced used should be considered as they can improve their productivity vastly with good shortcut
    • by gnu-generation-one (717590) on Monday November 24, 2003 @03:13PM (#7549806) Homepage
      "Why do people use Microsoft products? because they're either forced to (at work) or they they find them easy to use (at home)"

      Find them easy to use? Have you ever met someone who's tried MacOS, tried KDE, tried Gnome, tried Windows, and then concluded that Windows was easiest to use, went out and bought a copy?

      No? Isn't it more likely that home users were forced to use Windows just as the office users?

      If they did truly choose, you could imagine people going into the computer shop and hearing"this is the computer running WindowsXP, this is the same computer but running Windows98, and this is the same computer but running Gnome, which would you like to buy"

      Most of the computer shops I've been to say "this is the computer, and YOU WILL buy WindowsXP, because otherwise we won't sell you the computer". Say what you like about building your own systems, or going to an Apple shop, but in most cases, somebody buying a computer is forced to use Windows.

      Usability doesn't come into it. Full-page adverts in newspapers and consumer magazines, television adverts, and yes, illegal monopolistic action against suppliers who stock alternatives, is what makes people 'choose' Windows. None of these people do so because they've decided it's easy to use, quite the opposite, many people spend their lives cursing the difficulty of using Windows.
    • Please study some design while you're at it, there's too many mega-techie HCI people out there who know all the rules and best practices and cognitive psych but cannot actually design an interface.

      I've always been stunned by HCI-oriented UI designers who say things like "I don't care what color it is" or "just fill in this wireframe" to visual designers.

      Usability testing is a Good Thing but it frequently takes place too late to fix any of the fundamental problems of the product.

      I recommend Alan Cooper's
    • Why do people use Microsoft products?

      I tend to think it's because it comes pre-installed on everything. Windows is the dominant OS, that's true, but it's not necessarily by choice.

    • The interview isn't about making Linux desktops easier to use. It is about the implementation of underlying technologies to bring X to the modern desktop. Why do you want the interviewers to throw in off-topic questions?
  • by amightywind (691887) on Monday November 24, 2003 @02:41PM (#7549528) Journal

    I don't know if GTK or KDE are too complex but these names sure are:

    Rayiner Hashem, Havoc Pennington, Eugenia Loli-Queru

    What ever happen to Dick and Jane?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 24, 2003 @02:42PM (#7549546)
    Windows fanboy: "When will Linux look and behave exactly like WindowsXP and therefore be ready for the desktop?"

    Linux fanboy: "When will the Longhorn fake-commandline-console look and behave like bash and therefore be ready for serious work?"
  • Implication (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Pivot (4465) on Monday November 24, 2003 @02:44PM (#7549570)
    Well, the implicaction of the effort of these guys probably means that there will be two competing X11 servers, very analogous to the Linux distributions versus the *BSDs.
    • by gosand (234100) on Monday November 24, 2003 @03:43PM (#7550058)
      Well, the implicaction of the effort of these guys probably means that there will be two competing X11 servers, very analogous to the Linux distributions versus the *BSDs.

      OK, that's it then. XFree86 is dying.

    • That's what is good and bad about the Open Source community, plenty of stuff going on and different ideas being tried which can be good. But there needs to be a point where things meet up and all work together well. Gnome and KDE really do need to merge at some point if systems that run those desktops are to have a good selection of apps with a fairly uniform look and feel.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 24, 2003 @02:46PM (#7549588)
    If the thing was designed properly, integration wouldn't be much of an issue.

    Most of a 'desktop environment' important details are underneath, not the pretty GUI. ( though the importance of having a CONSISTANT GUI shouldn't be dismissed. )

    They should have had mechanisms in place from DAY ONE for shared information and intercommunications.. not something that was seemingly tacked-on later.. Integration of the desktop must be done on the fonctionnality level, not on the software level.

    KDE is much closer to this, as they PLANNED ahead, and didn't just wing-it since it was 'pretty'. See here [kdedevelopers.org] for example.

    The problem with GNOME is that they use GTK+ object-oriented style, but don't borrow the most important aspect of (early, anyhow) GTK... cleanliness and simplicity! Without that, the GTK-inspired GNOME macro, er object, system is COMPLETELY INCOHERENT and to put it completely blunt: SHIT.

    Not to mention the fact that the numerous API libraries do not work well together and stability will _never_ be achieved since one package will _always_ depend on something that is considered beta or unstable.

    Don't even get me started on the various ad-hoc configuration mechanisms and the nightmare that is CORBA and Bonobo.

    Sorry to sound harsh, but it was a complaint of mine from day one of GNOME, it just wasn't professional.. They worried more about a smelly foot in the menu then making it solid and consistent.. Now they are finding out the price to be paid if they want to stick around and be more then a cute plaything...

    But I'm not really sure what to think of it, honestly. That they'd have to involve money to have things that SHOULD be simple get done.
    • by AntiOrganic (650691) on Monday November 24, 2003 @03:30PM (#7549959) Homepage
      Were I still a Gnome user like I was several months ago, I might pass this off as another hapless troll. But you're entirely right -- and the reality is, even with all the usability improvements and Human Interface Guidelines in Gnome, GTK2 is still even more bloated and slow than Qt, despite the fact that GTK is implemented in "faster" C and Qt is in "slow anjd bloated" C++. I can't even begin to explain the difference in responsiveness between my Gnome and KDE apps; even the memory usage of my Qt applications is significantly lower. In addition, I gain many useful abilities: I can save files from Konqueror, KWrite, or any other KDE application directly to my webspace by either FTP or WebDAV. I have a sensible file dialog (yes, I'm still complaining about that). When I drag files from JuK to a project in K3b, they're added. Konqueror doesn't stall horribly when trying to get a directory listing from an NFS share, like Nautilus does. There's so many little things that all the "usability" in the world won't help Gnome catch it.

      KDE is so many worlds ahead of Gnome in terms of sensible technology that bringing it together and eventually utilizing Gnome-like human interface guidelines will really be a breeze when all is said and done.
    • I agree - let's talk about the GTK input modules...I cannot believe that there are built-in input modules for most other less-used languages EXCEPT Chinese. Where's the resource for places where it is needed most?
    • What's this Gnome slowness you people are talking about?
      Sorry, but I am not running any cutting edge stuff such as a preemptive kernel or such. I use a stock 2.4 Slackware Kernel (not even recompiled as he time of writing), the terrible NVIDIA Drivers and Dropline-Gnome on Slack9.1.

      My machine is a plain Athlon 1200 without overlocking and a measly 256MB SDRAM.
      To tell you the truth: My machine is responsive as hell.

      I am forced to use Win2k at work with a 2Ghz P4 and much more Ram and my box at home outper
  • by llouver (579855) on Monday November 24, 2003 @02:48PM (#7549598)
    I can hardly wait for the next Freedesktop.org article FreeDesktop.org updates web pages, which by my calculations is due in about 3.4 hours.

    But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe it will be:

    FreeDesktop.org dreams about a better future (code release TBD)
    FreeDesktop.org builds a better X (code release TBD)
    FreeDesktop.org builds a better desktop (code release TBA)
    FreeDesktop.org builds a better menu (code release TBD)
  • Uhhh... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Chuck Bucket (142633) on Monday November 24, 2003 @02:59PM (#7549698) Homepage Journal
    long and juicy

    Am I on the right website?

    CB

  • by joelparker (586428) <joel@school.net> on Monday November 24, 2003 @02:59PM (#7549704) Homepage
    This question stands out to me:
    • How do you feel about freedesktop.org
      becoming an "umbrella" project for
      all projects that require communication

    I think this hits the nail on the head--
    developers *do* need an umbrella here,
    one group to push apps toward one goal.

    Simple examples are needing copy and paste,
    drag and drop, and consistent mime types,
    all so apps can coordinate data content.

    Havoc points this out, and I hope his team
    can push hard for these kinds of consistency.

    Cheers, Joel

  • by nicophonica (660859) on Monday November 24, 2003 @03:03PM (#7549722)
    It's my observation as a casual user that it is becoming increasingly difficult, to the point of impossible, to install just a KDE or Gnome system. In fact, it's not even clear anymore what that would be. In effect what we have is a monstrous gnome/kde enviornment with at least two philosophical and technical ways to do everything.

    My predication is that we will be spending the next 15 years reconciling this fundamental misstep.

    • But the KDE and Gnome developers are unifying in many ways. For example, the KDE folks are adopting the Gnome accessibility framework for Qt/KDE 4, and both sides are working on resolving the interoperability problems.

  • by 3Suns (250606)
    The biggest problem I see for desktop interoperability is the fact that there are so many GUI toolkits, and there's a huge overhead to keep them all loaded. IMHO as a Gnome user, having to run a QT app is an embarassment - takes way too long to load the QT libraries an initialize the GUI for even a small window. Of course I could keep the libraries loaded, but that's a ton of memory wasted. I'd imagine the same is true for KDE users trying to load GTK2/+ apps. This applies to loading Mozilla and OpenOff
    • by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Monday November 24, 2003 @03:49PM (#7550107) Homepage
      There's one good thing about MS Windows GUI; it's very responsive. That's because everything uses the same widget set that is kept in memory with little extra overhead.

      Bzzzt, wrong. Whether something is held in memory or not effects startup time more than responsiveness. The Win32 widget toolkit renders ridiculously fast because:

      a) It's primitive and crude. For instance, it has NO layout management at all. Supporting internationalization is a pain in the arse. It uses UTF-16 rather than the somewhat more convenient (but more CPU intensive) UTF-8. Typically Windows desktops are not fully anti-aliased (yes yes, cleartype, not on by default) and when it is, Windows has better HW accel anyway.

      b) Microsoft have a lot of people working on performance issues, and entire teams dedicated to optimization. We don't.

      Only one GUI library would need to be loaded and everyone could use their favorite. It would certainly help for Windows ports as well. Thoughts?

      No offence, but I think that's a bad idea. The thing to understand here is that wxWindows is a toolkit abstraction, and when you abstract things the differences between the underlying implementations are at the same time blurred but they also leak out. A wxWindows app doesn't feel integrated anywhere, and it struggles to hide the underlying differences between the real widget toolkits. Subtle details like focus semantics can break and cause wierd bugs in applications.

      When you abstract something, you lose something. Unfortunately the quirks of history have meant we have lots of widget toolkits sitting on our desktop today. The real killer issues from this are integration, consistency and interoperability. Memory overhead is certainly not a big issue compared to these lot - I think you should perhaps do some profiling of applications and then you'd see that having 3/4 toolkits loaded at once is not the real problem, it's the performance quirks of those toolkits that are the issue.

      • Startup time is a large part of responsiveness. If I double-click on MS Word 2002 at work, it loads instantly, because it's already in memory starting at bootup. This makes Windows Explorer (the program launching Word) seem very responsive. If I run KWord from Gnome, it takes about over 10 seconds for the KDE backend theme/DB libraries and QT toolkit libraries to load and all the widgets to be arranged properly. This is very unresponsive. It could be very responsive if I loaded Gnome and KDE at the sam
        • An OpenOffice.org fresh startup startup on my Athlon 1400 takes a mere 7 seconds. After it's cached, it takes a mere 2 seconds to startup.

          Frankly, I just think that a lot of you like to bicker about stupid stuff that doesn't really matter. Besides... Like you are one to complain if you aren't coding anything.

          If you are running KDE apps on GNOME, it will of course take longer, because as you mention - it needs to load the QT and KDE libraries to interpret the program. If all of our desktops utilized a
        • It could be very responsive if I loaded Gnome and KDE at the same time, but then I'd have both of them taking up a ton of memory at once - unacceptable.
          >>>>>>>>>>
          If its unacceptable for KDE and GNOME, then its unacceptable for Windows too. Do you think the multiple toolkits on Windows (classic, .NET, Office, and god knows what else) don't take up any memory by all being loaded at the same time?
        • If I double-click on MS Word 2002 at work, it loads instantly, because it's already in memory starting at bootup

          No, that's wrong. I've already posted analyses of why Word starts so much faster than OpenOffice, use Google power. If people want I can do so again, but Word is not preloaded. End of story.

          If I run KWord from Gnome, it takes about over 10 seconds for the KDE backend theme/DB libraries and QT toolkit libraries to load and all the widgets to be arranged properly

          This is entirely a problem w

    • by Anonymous Coward
      A couple thoughts. First of all, all Win32 apps (even Microsoft Win32 apps) do NOT use the same widget set. To illustrate, just look CLOSELY at the menus on Office XP, Notepad, IE, and, say usrmgr.exe. They only look like they use the same widget set because the widget sets haven't changed very much. That's not necessarily a bad thing--some would say it's because MS got it right the first time and didn't need to change it much (not saying I agree, but it's a decent argument). Then there's Windows Media
      • Qt won't adopt GTK+ because Qt developers are in love with the well-designed elegance/ease of development in the Qt toolkit, and they see all other toolkits as inferior from a development perspective (and I have to say they have a point).

        Do you realise how bigoted that sounds? Can you really back it up with concrete API examples? Can you seriously defend that point of view?

    • The startup performance hit isn't in the size of the toolkits, its in the dependencies. Both KDE and Gnome need to start server(s) to provide basic naming/lookup services. These servers need to look in various config files, and everything needs to go through various layers of modularization/internationalization crud. So starting an application causes a storm of process forking and disk access, which slows things down considerably.

      Personally I feel the principal reason for many of the problems with a lot of
    • his applies to loading Mozilla and OpenOffice.org as well. OOo especially runs like a cow in the mud - I can't even pay attention to the impressive feature set since it's so unresponsive. I always end up shutting it down and going with Abiword instead.

      I run OpenOffice Ximian, so it's based on the GTK toolset. It actually starts up pretty fast (9 seconds). Microsoft Word (XP) actually grinds to the computer to a halt when launching. I didn't have these problems with Word97, but maybe it's just me...

      There
  • Plead (rant?) for (Score:5, Interesting)

    by msimm (580077) on Monday November 24, 2003 @03:16PM (#7549827) Homepage
    As often as I see stories like this and the tidal wave of resulting comments (and suggestions) it makes me a little frustrated that there is no on site that we can go to give 'Linux' feedback. I'd love to see the number 1 desktop complaint. We are absolutely brimming with comments (some I agree with, some I do not) and it seems like its all pretty wasted. We just end up rehashing our old opinions and Linux distro's keep doing what it is they think they need to do. Isn't that an unnecessary disconnect?

    Give me a site with polls and commented stories! I think as a group we've at least got some interesting rants and I'd love for some of that feedback to be collected in some type of organised manner. Just imagine the flame wars! ;-)
    • Give me a site with polls and commented stories!

      We already have that; now we need to convince the rest of the Linux world that Slashdot is the end-all and be-all of Linux commentary.

      Unfortunately, the next KDE version will ship with the goatse guy as the default wallpaper, but, you win some, you lose some...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 24, 2003 @03:29PM (#7549950)
    I support a fork in Xfree86 because the regime that controls it has dropped the ball. There are many improvements that need to be made that have thusfar been prevented. At the same time I am very afraid that many of the things that were great about X will be lost in all of the commotion.

    My greatest fear is that network transpancy will be lost because because everybody just wants to make X render faster on local hardware. Network transparency is what made X really great in the first place; without that, any replacement is totally worthless to me.

    The second thing that made traditional X great was that it did not confuse its primary job as a graphical interpreter as being the window manager and middle ware. Each piece should separate, distinct, and intermatchable just like the ISO networking layers. Otherwise jobs will become so intertangled that the stack will no longer be cleanly configurable outside of a heterogenous stack of software. This is much like the situation with GNOME and KDE vs everything else is now -- great within them selves but not operable between them. The X server has a particular job to do and its new features should not try to take over what should be down by other parts of the stack

    Don't just throw out the X Resource Database. Before QT and GTK came along breaking all of X tradition, the XRD was a great tool for configuring everything to behave they way that you want it to. Since these rouge widget sets have entered the scene, a vast majority of people have forgotten about what great tools these once were. I am not totally blind that XRD could use some modification but be sure to keep it in the spirit in which these tools were originally created (idea -- maybe using a structure built on an external DB like MySQL wouldn't be out of the question.)

    X may be a very old technology like the first poster stated. Like unix tradition many things were very well thought out when it was created. All to often people are throwing away years of hard thought unix design for the latest fad with not even the faintest thought as to what they might be throwing away. No unix does not walk and talk just like the newer fancer interfaces of today -- there are good reasons for this. Some of these new wiper snappers are turning about and starting to do things the old fashion way because they found out that they were not so bad in the first place. Many of the things which at first seem archaic are actually built on much better paradigms then the newest fads. Advances in technology should be made in consideration of what was done before them. They should extend and enhance what has been done. They should not just throw everything out the window calling it old.

    There are many things that need to be revamp in a new X server but please keep the good things in along with all of the improvements.
  • by bogie (31020) on Monday November 24, 2003 @03:34PM (#7549987) Journal
    This is SO much better than anything I've seen in a long time on OSNews. After seeing "review" after review of what writers do and don't like about every distribution its really nice to see something on such a wide variety of important topics. It's also nice because its just not one person droning on subjectively. Really a nice article and doesn't make me think the site should have been named OSOpinions.com. More factual technology articles and less opinionated ones are the way to go.
  • by skagin (178586) on Monday November 24, 2003 @03:48PM (#7550099)
    Havoc says "When you add drag and drop to an application you have a list of types that you support dragging or dropping, such as "text/plain". Applications simply don't agree on what these types are. So we need a registry of types documenting the type name and the format of the data transferred under that name."

    Isn't this what the IANA media types registry is for? (http://www.iana.org/assignments/media-types/index .html) Why reinvent that particular wheel? Most every system has a file 'mime.types' describing some portion of the IANA media types registry.

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