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Gnome 2.14 Review 208

Posted by Zonk
from the tiny-little-feet dept.
An anonymous user writes "Linux.com (a Slashdot sister site) has up a review of Gnome 2.14. The piece touches on usability improvements, as well as the new administration and configuration tools included with this release." From the article: "GNOME 2.14 continues the steady improvement visible in the last few releases. It is an incremental upgrade, consisting largely of tweaks and the filling in of gaps in functionality. If few of these changes are major by themselves, the overall result is welcome. Perhaps the best way of looking at the release is not as an end in itself, but as a milestone on the road to desktop usability in free operation systems. From this perspective, GNOME 2.14 is a sign that much of the journey is already over -- and that the remaining distance is less than many observers think."
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Gnome 2.14 Review

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  • by suso (153703) * on Friday March 17, 2006 @11:10AM (#14942121) Homepage Journal
    I think the Software Oscar this year should go to whoever took the time to fix the slowness that is Gnome Terminal. Maybe they even fixed it so that international characters in mutt don't screw up too. But maybe that's hoping for too much.

    Here's to being one step closer to switching from aterm. Not that I don't like aterm. But, ya know. And don't anyone say Konsole damnit.
  • by nizo (81281) * on Friday March 17, 2006 @11:25AM (#14942235) Homepage Journal
    But what I want to know is do you get an hourglass after you click an application shortcut on your desktop? Nothing confuses a n00b like clicking on something and having zero feedback (did I click it only once or is it just taking forever???)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 17, 2006 @11:45AM (#14942435)
    Some of the KDE fans among us though seem to be starting to dislike GNOME more and more.
    Speaking as a KDE fan myself, some of it is jealousy - GNOME is *THE* desktop at the moment, and all of the major distros are drifting further and further towards it, and all of the big players (IBM, Google, Redhat etc) are simply hurling money at it while KDE developers are left out in the cold - which is a shame, as in may ways GNOME is playing functional and technologically catch-up to the already functional and technically advanced KDE. There is also the feeling that the GNOME/ Ximian guys are playing a very political game and being very vocal and really selling themselves hard at businesses, rather than competing on merits. Then again, this is a pretty empty complaint as KDE could do the same thing ...

    It goes both ways, though - I spend a lot of time on the Ubuntu forums, and KDE receives more than its fair share of either contempt or shallow dismissal.

  • by alucinor (849600) on Friday March 17, 2006 @11:58AM (#14942583) Journal
    The Gnome development process seems to be more top-down than KDE's. The devs integrate a collection of unintegrated components from the g-world, which are all pretty much independently developed, in constrast to KDE's QT libaries, which come from a single company. The rules of this integration are the Gnome frameworks, which are either literal code, as with the Gnome libraries themselves, or conceptual rules, like the HIG. From this top-down perspective, the devs assemble a variety of tools from the open source world into a desktop environment.

    With KDE, a more bottom-up approach is taken: the integration has been done at the level of the core libraries, QT, as well as the core KDE libraries that build on top of that. Above this level, things build in a sporadic nature that some would argue is more healthy for open source development (such as Linus Torvalds opined a few months back).

    All in all, I welcome both Gnome's top-down and KDE's bottom-up approach to integrating the components of a complete desktop environment. Since KDE's integration does come from the bottom, KDE feels more integrated to me on the architectural front, whereas since Gnome's integration comes from the top, it feels more integrated in the look & feel, menus, etc.

    Both projects have a lot to learn from each other; therefore, a lot to share. But really, the big experiment is to see which way builds a more successful desktop, or if the different models just result in desktops that serve different needs or different kinds of users.
  • by Lobais (743851) on Friday March 17, 2006 @11:59AM (#14942594)
    Okay, they've removed possibility to change the sounds of the gnomegames from the "sound preferences" dialog, but really who need that? Instead they've added possibility to change which soundcard you wanna use. To me that's much more useful.

    You are also right, that the new screensaver dialog is not as advanced as the old one, but that's not because anything has been removed, that's simply because it is a whole new screensaver, native to gnome, enabling gnomeprogrammes to interact with it, and making it translatable. I'm sure more features will be added in later versions.

    Personally I really look forward to use the innovative Deskbar Applet, which I think the review forgot to tell about.
  • Yep (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tony (765) on Friday March 17, 2006 @12:17PM (#14942790) Journal
    Although it's not available from the Preferences settings, you can turn it on using the Configuration Editor (usually found in the "System Tools" menu). In the configuration editor, go to /apps/nautilus/preferences, and check the box for 'always_use_location_entry'.

    I felt that method of advanced configuration was lame at first, but I'm getting used to it. I kind of prefer it over having every configuration item listed in the preferences dialog.

    Anyway, that's how you turn on the location bar.
  • by cortana (588495) <samNO@SPAMrobots.org.uk> on Friday March 17, 2006 @12:47PM (#14943056) Homepage
    I think this stems for the reason for the creation of the various products, and the re-invention that Gnome underwent for version 2.0.

    The KDE project started off as a modern/nice looking replacement for CDE. The problem was that it used QT, which was only available under the a crappy license[0], the QPL, that made it impossible to distribute KDE in binary form. The GNOME project was started to provide a Free alternative to KDE.

    At this point, GNOME's only reason for existing is to be a free alternative for KDE. GNOME has no overall vision or direction, so it ends up being pretty similar.

    Eventually, Trolltech made QT available under the GPL as well as the non-free QPL; perhaps in response to GNOME's rising popularity.

    However, the GNOME libraries were available under the much more commercial-friendly LGPL. GNOME was therefore chosen by Sun to replace their ageing CDE platform.

    Sun did a lot of work on GNOME's usability and this became the project's focus. This is the point at which GNOME and KDE both have separate directions, and so they diverge. This is also the point that the GNOME/KDE disagreements really heated up. :)

    Of course, this is probably very glib and facile and I'm sure I'll be corrected by someone who acutally worked on GNOME/KDE in the days of yore. :)

    [0] http://www.debian.org/News/1998/19981008 [debian.org]
  • by jejones (115979) on Friday March 17, 2006 @12:52PM (#14943099) Journal
    I'm sure more features will be added [to gnome-screensaver] in later versions.

    I take it you've not read the comments from the developer in bugzilla, where requests for the ability to set options and for full-screen preview are marked WONTFIX. Quotes:

    "My view is that any screensaver theme that requires configuration is inherently broken."

    "I don't think [full-screen preview] solves any real problems."

    Yes, there are valid concerns about random people setting GLtext to display [insert obscenity here] or pointing the slideshow screensaver at their pr0n collection on a computer in a government office or business. That said, that problem has been "solved" in a manner inconsistent with the rest of GNOME. pessulus and sabayon (or however those are spelled) is supposed to be able to set limits of that sort, but the author of gnome-screensaver has unilaterally hard-wired it into police state mode, regardless of how the system administrator (who, for most of us, is us) wants it.

    How much $$$ do you suppose one would have to put up to get a reasonable version of gnome-screensaver forked that allows, under pessulus control, the system administrator to either allow or deny option setting on an individual screensaver basis, allows full-screen previews, and allows the individual user to indicate for each screensaver whether it should be in the pool for random selection for that user? gnome-screensaver is, IMHO, sufficiently fundamentally WRONG that I'd contribute to a fund for a version that does it right.

    Sorry to go on repeatedly and at length about what is perhaps a trivial issue, but for me it's the proverbial last straw.
  • by IMightB (533307) on Friday March 17, 2006 @01:19PM (#14943364) Journal
    I find that I like Gnome overall better than KDE, for productivity... While I think that KDE looks better, and has more "features" I get much much more work done in Gnome. Whenever I decide to try KDE, I always find myself messing around with the settings, trying to get that certain look, seeing if I can make it do this or that. (Same problem with E16/17) With gnome, I tend to login and work...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 17, 2006 @01:25PM (#14943441)
    For years I would switch from KDE to Gnome and back again whenever one of the desktops released a new version. I've settled on certain apps, regardless of desktop: I use KMail and Akregator even on Gnome, for instance, and Firefox even on KDE. Over the past two years I've more-or-less settled on Gnome for a couple of reasons:

    1. It handles USB hotplugging better than KDE (at least on my system), and I use USB devices a lot. This will probably improve over time
    2. KDE just feels cluttered. Gnome stays out of my way and lets me do stuff. This has emerged as a philosophical difference.

    KDE, however, has always been noticably more responsive than Gnome on the same system. It's always annoying to click on the button for the main menu and wait a few seconds while it checks to see if there are any new items. I see it frequently on Gnome and Windows, but I con't remember the last time I saw it on KDE.

    (Posting anon to save my mods)
  • Re:It's faster? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JerkBoB (7130) on Friday March 17, 2006 @02:43PM (#14944107)

    foo@bar:~$ time for a in $(seq 1 10); do gnome-terminal -e "exit"; done

    real 0m2.065s
    user 0m0.396s
    sys 0m0.076s
    foo@bar:~$ time for a in $(seq 1 10); do xterm -e "exit"; done

    real 0m2.211s
    user 0m0.397s
    sys 0m0.077s


    This is 2.12, mind.

    /me shrugs
  • by Bazer (760541) on Friday March 17, 2006 @03:15PM (#14944374)

    The story of my "conversion" is simple : I was looking for a linux distribution for my computer-illiterate mother, and ended up installing Ubuntu , which ships with GNOME . While initially dismissing GNOME as "You can't do anything productive with it", I came to understand that from a usability point of view it was far better than KDE : while having no previous experience with it (apart from a quick go at 1.4 and 2.4), by just clicking where it seemed logical, I got what I wanted. The UI never got in my way, and it felt... strangely perfect.

    Tell me about it.

    I have used KDE exclusively for the past few years but recently switched to GNOME. The first impression was stunning because the default GNOME desktop setup was essentially the same as I configured in KDE but faster.

    I switched a month ago because the sheer number of options I had to change and packages I haven't used in KDE started to annoy me.

    For now I see GNOME gave me more than I looked for (except from disabling history from every application I use. Why the hell can't I turn it off in Nautilus?).

  • Re:XGL (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Arandir (19206) on Friday March 17, 2006 @04:23PM (#14944934) Homepage Journal
    Most of us have at least some sort of NVidia graphics accelerator in our systems

    I sure don't! I got sick and tired of the proprietary driver that crashed my kernel and kept me from upgrading when I wanted to. So I dumped it for a Radeon. It ain't perfect, but at least the Open Source driver works and is stable, and I don't have to say "please, sir" before using it.

    The new XGL and AIGLX stuff looks cools, but what we need much more than that is unemcumbered video hardware. If I need the proprietary Nvidia or Radeon drivers to run the next generation Free Software desktops, you can count me out.

The algorithm for finding the longest path in a graph is NP-complete. For you systems people, that means it's *real slow*. -- Bart Miller

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