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Silicon Graphics

Indigo Magic Desktop, Now On Linux 120

xynopsis writes: "Based on the Indigo Magic Desktop on Irix, this Linux version contains a new window manager called 5dwm, an enhanced Motif library that supports the Irix look and feel, and widget sets specific to SGI. IMD goes further than those "themes" available that simulates the Irix desktop experience by allowing applications written in Irix to be ported to Linux with little modification in the GUI front-end. Linuxworld.com recently interviewed its creator, Eric Masson, who is single-handedly porting this great Unix desktop to Linux." Quote: "The first major difference between GNOME and IMD is the low-level API being used. In the case of GNOME it's GTK+, originally developed for the popular GIMP application, whereas for IMD it's Motif, a much more mature and standardized API ... "
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Indigo Magic Desktop, Now On Linux

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  • I always thought the desktop was kind of clunky.

    Everyone I know -- including myself -- thinks this when first moving from an MS-Windows system to 4Dwm. (I don't know what the differences are between 4Dwm and this new 5dwm, so I'll stick to what I know.)

    Then we all just eventually realize that we've fallen for Microsoft's trap: we've been trained to believe that the MS desktop and wm behavior are how a computer should behave. Once we get ourselves over that hurdle -- for example, right clicking on an object directly doesn't work, one must left click to select, and then right click to get the menu, which does come in useful occasionally -- we fly.

    Still, I agree with you about KDE2. I like it better than 4Dwm, modulo the two or three annoying nonfatal bugs.

  • Wow, yeah, completely brilliant. Let's also implement bash on a pci card so my shell can be sooo much faster. Have you tried blackbox as a wm? Without having a system to check right now, I would hazard a guess that it uses less system resources than an instance of bash (at least the same ballpark). Sawfish (which you mentioned) is another good choice, just don't run GNOME. Or if you're really worried about it, run twm.

  • Would you jump if Linus told you to?

    Of course not! Who do you think I am? I'd first ask him how high he wanted me to jump, and then do the actual jumping. Jeez....
  • Houdini on Linux isn't for general sale yet. Last I heard they were still sorting out OpenGL support problems (as in there aren't very many opengl implementations for linux that are good enough), and MIDI support (MIDI controllers are popular for controlling variables). That said, they are releasing the Linux version of Houdini to some of their established customers. Likewise, Softimage says that their linux version is currently being beta tested by some of their established custommers. I don't really know anything about the Maya linux port.
  • the 3D companies are probably asking themselves right now if the artists that use their products are the type of people to use Linux. I think that 3D artists are the most likly to use Linux with the exception of the fleets of hackers who already do. If you have ever used a powerful 3D application you know that they are very complex. Learning Linux is a small price to pay for reliability a magnatude higher than NT.

    I wouldn't worry about that part... the same 3D artists who've been using IRIX for years won't have any problem with Linux. From the animation user's POV, they're identical. The students where I work are 3D animators - we have a bunch of IRIX machines and one of our servers runs Linux - they can't tell the difference. To me, the sysadmin, there are differences, but for what they need to do - if they know one of the two, they know the other.

    On the other hand, people who have only used WinNT find the transition to any UNIX a little frightening. But there's such a long history of IRIX in the 3D world, that most 3D artists are at least used to the idea.

  • Partially right - Mozilla uses it's own widget set for drawing buttons, boxes etc. in web pages, and it uses it's own setup - XUL (I believe) to create the surrounding application - eg menus, buttons etc. However Mozilla uses GDK for drawing it all to the screen, rather than xlib or motif etc. GDK is what GTK uses to draw, and it's sorta part of GTK.
  • Your post is not flamebait. The moderator is clueless. 4DWM is worse than Win3.1. I won't use it for anything more than launching an xterm.
  • I'll leave the other responders to comment about Houdini, Maya, and the rest, but the GIMP development is near and dear to my heart.

    It turns out that the big visual effects production company Rhythm and Hues (R&H) and compositing software developer Silicon Grail have each contributed the time of one programmer toward the task of extending GIMP to 16-bit-per-channel images. Way to go, John Hughes and Ray Feeney!


  • Now that I've got harware opengl support, and the ability to run a window manager that is as beautiful and functional and simple as 4dwm on my FreeBSD box, all of a sudden my SGI Indigo2 looks like it might not be my best box anymore...it almost makes me cry. But chances are, I'm wrong. while my FreeBSD box might be able to look like an IRIX box, it certainly won't perform like one. For one, running an OpenGL app on XF86 is risky--they seem to bring down XF86 like 1 out of 4 times, and my IRIX box (of course) never fails to perform the required task(albet at a more civilized pace, at least until I upgrade it)...


  • I'm sorry guy. The supposed moderator is full of crap. I went through your most recent posts and I don't don't see any that can be called obvious trolls. They may push a few clueless losers buttons but they are reasonably informative and offer an interesting opinion. If that equals flamebait to the moderator he needs to get out more because he doesn't have a clue.
  • Try TkMan [sourceforge.net] - integrating texinfo and man into a single (quite nice) Tk front end. Formats pages better than xman too, typically. Oh, with full-text search if you want it, via swish.
  • by Rahga ( 13479 ) on Saturday February 03, 2001 @10:11AM (#459453) Journal
    "for IMD it's Motif, a much more mature and standardized API ... "

    Standardized? Oh, you mean managed by an actual company and sold for $149. I fail to see how it is more mature and "standardized" than Visual Basic.

    Sure, Gtk sprang from the loins of Gimp. But I fail to see why people continue to believe that just because Gtk+ started out to fill a specific purpose, that nowadays it is completely incapable of doing it's job, which is to provide a capable graphical toolkit.
  • Actually it's more the wierd delays between action and reaction.

    WM behaviour is fair game - that's what WMs are all about. I never have been much of a fan of mwm/4Dwm, but it can be tweaked to work more how I'd like. On the third hand, I have found that I haven't gotten around to spending that usual afternoon with .Xdefaults doing that, because it does work well enough. I mostly use it a display for other random boxes at home (netbsd, freebsd etc) because it has such a nice monitor and keyboard. The thing is old/slow enough to be annoying for doing actual work on.
  • It may be mature, but realize that things that are mature often become old, as well. To most people, Motif looks like arse. It also lacks a lot of the features that GTK+ and such enjoy.

    Personally, I'd say that GTK+ is more standardized, in a sense. More desktops use it than motif, by far.


  • I'm not sure I see the availability of a ubiquitous GUI tool for Linux, but someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

    The Athena widgetset is part of the standard X11 distribution, but it has the unfortunate side-effect of making your apps look like they escaped from a 70s research lab.

    As I understand it, what 'real commercial developers' use is something like XDesigner and Motif, which gets you an environment a lot like VB in many ways, and an app that will run on any (CDE based, anyway) relatively current commercial unix system. Motif is now free, so it ought to start appearing as standard in linux distros, if it hasn't already (I haven't upgraded my linux box in a year or more).

    I used XDesigner briefly at college, about 8 years ago, and it was pretty funky stuff - I guess the nearest to it for linux/free things would be Glade.
  • All the stories in the news concerning UNIX and GNU/Linux with respect to GUIs has been talk of GNOME being ported to standard Unix platforms (Sun and HP). Mostly, these moves are profit-motivated; Sun and HP hope to win marketshare by "embracing open-source" (if i hear that phrase in another press release or news.com story, i will go insane). SGI providing their desktop environment for GNU/Linux and other free systems is just another of SGI's moves to improve the viability of these free software systems. Obviously, profit is their ultimate goal, but they are not hoarding their proprietary technologies as much as the other companies are, while using select free software to win brownie points from the free software community. Even if people don't want to use it, it is great that SGI is making so much of their amazing technology free software. It's a shame they have gotten such a bad rap recently and are having trouble making money because SGI is one of the most amazing computer companies in existence. Their systems simply rule and they are one of the only companies i see who makes a real effort to advance free software. SGI deserves the support of the users it benefits.
  • So Houdini can be bought for Linux? (not that I have the money). I thought it was "in the works" like Alias/Wavefront's Maya (which is sure to turn some heads)
  • Which brings up the question of when Linux vendors will takes steps to deal with the horrible documentation format problem on most distros.

    (Translation: I don't care what format GNU wants to use. I got this shit from you, so you fix the problem. I just want man to work.)
  • > Themes are supported (and Windows was the first OS to really allow this anyway).

    Bzzzzt. The Mac had themes before windows even got useable (post-3.1.)

    Every GUI out there seems doomed to repeat the theming thad. Ah... fad.


  • man.. i got many workstations at work, linux boxes, bsd boxes, even nt (mainly for reading mail under notes.. ;) ) but all of 'em are somwhere under some tables.. got not even a keyboard plugged to it.. had a old indy and exported every display to it.. cause when you started usin' iris once there's nothin' else on this planet to work with... look, feel, and efficienty of this one is unforgettable..
  • I just observed in the comments that most people lumped Qt in with Gtk, etc as part of the non-professional alternatives to Motif.

    Excuse me? Gtk is a typical open source project where developers get to it when they can get to it. Qt on the other hand, is a professional toolkit. It is created by a company [trolltech.com] that spends all of their time working on it. The Unix version also happens to be GPL.

    IMO this makes Qt an extremely viable alternative to Motif. In fact, Borland thought so too: just look at Kylix. Qt is not "just another toolkit."

    Has everyone forgotten that?


  • by Pont ( 33956 )

    Real Soon Now, I hope.
  • My name is Indigo Magic Desktop. You killed my father. Prepare to die.

  • Are you seriously proposing that left-clicking, then left-clicking again should have a different behavior than right-clicking alone? Sounds like a usability disaster to me.

    Clicking to select or point is the only intuitive thing about using a mouse. Everything else, from click-and-drag to double-clicking to right-clicking, is just what we've learned to do. It's completely arbitrary.

    For example, what if the way the UI worked was that you left click a file icon then right click an executable to use that executable to open that file? It's definitely easier on the hands than clicking on the file icon and dragging over the executable icon until the executable highights, then releasing it. This is assuming that for some reason double-clicking the file icon would not open the correct viewer/editor.

  • by redhog ( 15207 )
    FInally someone who admires OS/2's PM/WorkspaceShell! Someone should make a clone for Linux using Gtk/GNOME, instaed of that uggly Explorerish Nautilus!
  • Many apps are already ported or in the works. Houdini was ported over a year ago (maybe close to 2 years). Photorealistic RenderMan from Pixar is available for Linux. The compositing package Shake (from Nothing Real, and being used in Lord of the Rings) is available right now. Rastrack and roto from Hammerahead are available for Linux (used in X-Men among other movies), Jig from Steamboat Software started on Linux.

    Pixar's products supported platforms [pixar.com]
    Nothing real [nothingreal.com]
    Jig [steamboat-software.com]

    As far as apps in the porting process, Maya is being ported to Linux (should be ready for SIGGRAPH) and the batch renderer is already available, Softimage XSI is being ported (a beta was shown running under RedHat 6.2, last SIGGRAPH users meeting).

    Also several studios have worked on porting there on stuff to Linux or enhancing Linux apps. Most notably, the work that Rhythm and Hues have done on the Gimp, and studios like PDI porting there stuff to Linux, and Hammerahead among others:

    Gimp for film [gimp.org]

    So it's allready happening.

  • Have you tried Tcl/Tk? If you're on a Unix box:
    1. Type 'wish' - you should get a '%' prompt.
    2. Type label .x -text "Hello"
    3. Type pack .x The window now has "Hello" in it, and has shrunk to fit.
    4. Type pack .x -pady 200 The window got a lot taller - this is like cellpadding in html

    Tcl/Tk is pretty portable among Unices and available for Windows as well. If run on Windows, it looks like a native application. I prefer Perl::Tk which gives you the same GUI with the power of Perl. But this is not as easily portable because not every machine has the Tk module.
  • A lot of people may rag on IRIX, but for those of us who us it at work, this may be a godsend. Those machines are expensive as heck, and Exceed can't handle every application. Plus the option to port IRIX apps to an OS with excellent Java support is so awesome it makes me want to cry.
  • I was meaning the whole package - the Interactive Desktop Applications (ie toolchest/etc) aren't available yet:

    Please note that the previously scheduled release (01/01/2001) needed the ViewKit Runtime library to run.... So I've decided to re-write an optimized version of toolchest w/o the ViewKit lib which will be available by end of this week. I'm very sorry about the delay, but I can't release it like this... The toolchest application must be very small, fast and only based on pure Xlib and Xm
  • Nope, still ugly:



    - - - - -
  • Instead you should learn to think for yourself, and hack for yourself!
    Well, that's a stupid idea. Because the minute the person learns how to do that, they come up with yet another stupid GUI toolkit for *NIX.
  • this is exactly why osx has such a good opportunity to succeed. since there is essentially an open base upon which a "closed" and well supported interface--like irix--is placed, companies will have the opportunity to create "services" for customers. now if linux had a good "novice" interface, for products like the sony ivilla, it could compete with m$. the advantage of linux is that one does not need to reinvent the wheel for every necessary service, and the open source facilitates clean code, but somebody needs to facilitate the user.
  • Nah, it's java support is great for server side processing. They have a beta of JDK 1.3 and JDK 1.2 is quite stable. I haven't found any problems with it yet. For doing general processing, seems to be quite fast. Our company just recieved our Origin 3200 and it's quite fast. A bit cheaper than a Sun/HP machine in the same class. Depends on what you are doing with it though to determine if it's worth it or not.

    Sometimes a cluster of Intel based machines just isn't as cost effective in the big picture.

    Would you like a Python based alternative to PHP/ASP/JSP?
  • running an OpenGL app on XF86 is risky--they seem to bring down XF86 like 1 out of 4 times, and my IRIX box (of course) never fails to perform the required task

    Huh? 1 out of 4 times? Maybe it's your code, your implimentation of OpenGL, BSD?? Who knows... I have quite a few programs that run w/OpenGL on Intel hardware and I have no problems at all.

    FUD man...

    Would you like a Python based alternative to PHP/ASP/JSP?
  • If I had mod points today you could've had them all; that's the best "Funny" post I've seen on /.
  • Maybe is not perfect, but I always got the feelling of this desktop being much faster than KDE and Gnome, which, IMHO, have grown so much they became bloatware. Being based on Motif gives it stability, not that GTK/QT are bad but I've never seen 4dwm/Toolchest crashing, while KDE/Gnome did daily for period of time I tried them before doing a pkg_rm on both and restoring WindowMaker. Ever tried a remote Gnome session over a 10Mb/s net? Compare with the speed of 4dwm.
  • Uhhh, its not the BSD implementation of OpenGL thats the problem there son. It's X.
  • Imagine Open Motif and Indigo Magic Desktop 2 years ago. Certainly KDE would have died and GNOME hasn't even born. Because we would have a standard, an undisputed standard: Motif.

    But now? Irix is dead, Motif is dead, CDE is dead. OK, Indigo Desktop is pretty, but hey, it's a dead man walking.

  • Well, obviously I didn't consider them problematic, but you never know. It's always good to consider the possibility that you are incorrect in your thinking.

    However, I think the AC who responded wasn't the person who moderated. If it was.... Well, there's always M2.
  • Take a look at this IRIX Theme [themes.org]. You'll find it l33t0. A rather full E theme of IRIX's desktop. Has over 100+ original icons etc.
  • Yes, but not much and 4Dwm is no more functional than MWM - no maximise height only...

    The really nice thing about IM is the zoomable vector icons and this don't have them :(

  • Or please tell me how to manage a XmList with 10.000 entries in an efficient manner

    Well, for one thing, if you are trying to put 10,000 things into a list, you probably need to redesign your interface.

  • If I had to sit in front of an SGI workstation for 8 hours a day,

    Heh. I *do* sit in front of an SGI workstation for 8 hours a day, and let me tell you: it's easily the best development environment I've used. And I have a PC running Linux sitting right next to it; plugged into the same monitor. :)

  • Will you please come down from your ivory tower and talk some specifics? The Windows UI is absolutely kick-ass from the clicky point of view. People are used to (in real life) of pointing (or touching) things and being able to do different things to them. The left-click signifies grabing onto the object, and the double-click signifies tapping the object (kinda like hitting a button). The right click is probably the best part of the Windows UI (and something that ALL other desktop environments don't do enough of) because it gives a context menu. Humans like context. Our language is more simple because of it, communication is faster, etc. The context menu essentially allows the user to choose from a list of actions larger than the number of buttons on the mouse. Your left-click/right-click thing is not only unnatural, but innefficient (you have to FIND the other executable). However, right clicking and opening an "open-with" context menu is the most efficient thing that anyone's thought of.
  • Do you know what your talking about/asking? Windows is an operating system, providing (too damn few, IMO) useful services to programmers and users. Motif is a set of libraries implementing stuff used in GUIs on X11, as well as some standards for look and feel. This includes widgets, gadgets, IPC, resource management, etc.

    You don't 'customize' widget sets -- you customize applications, for instance your window manager. Adding new context menus in (finally) Windows 2000 is a customization of the Windows Presentation Manager, or whatever they call their window manager these days. This option is a nice addition to Windows 2000, but it represents a tiny part of what you might want to customize, and doesn't hold a candle to the customizeability of any window manager I've used under X11. Can you change the bindings on the keys and mouse? Can you change the location, shape, and contents of the title bars? The KDE window manager (kwm?) is okay, and evidently very flexible even though that flexibility isn't exposed through the gui configurator (or wasn't the last time I used it).

    When you say you've used Motif, I expect you mean the Motif Window Manager, or mwm. Although this is the default wm on a lot of workstations, I don't actually know anybody that liked it. And the scary 'managability' that you mention probably comes from generality. fvwm is much nicer, IMO, for configuring, and the newer Gnome stuff is pretty easy through the fairly extensive gui configuration programs (but editing textfiles is still the most powerful).

    Pure functionality is an interesting term, since it implies some sort of objectivity. I think what you must mean is "The Windows and MacOS window managers are my favorites". Neither one of these supports multiple virtual desktops, AFAIK. Neither one has the variety of applets and monitors that are available via KDE or GNOME or FVWM. And neither one provides decent command-line interfaces -- you can't resize the DOS prompt, no tab completion, no shell language worth speaking of, they don't even install doskey by default. No wonder Windows users are afraid of command line interfaces, the one provided by Windows is so bad!

    I have no idea what you mean by "On PDA's, PalmOS follows a close second" -- second to what? Windows on PC? Again, I expect you're talking about window managers, not widget sets or operating systems. And comparing PDAs to PCs is stupid.

    Overall, you sound a little confused about the structure of your operating environment. Linux in a nutshell: 1) kernel, 2) shell, 3) X11, 4) window manager. I can't really do Windows in a nutshell, because I'm really not that familiar with it. But I think it's all one big tangled ball of twine, which in Linux would be something like: 1) kernel+shell+X11, 2) window manager, 3) other parts of shell and X11. If you want to pick a fight, try to argue that the Windows model is better for security, stability, or performance.

    Oh, and OS/2's Presentation Manager kicked Windows' and MacOS' window managers collective asses! =-)
  • Exactly *what* is that supposed to mean? BeOS is nothing like UNIX. About as much as NT is like UNIX.
  • Wait... I'm not done yet. Are you implying that BeOS is somehow *not* innovative? That somehow the speed, the technological tricks, the pervasive use of messaging and its attendant benifets (apps work seamlessly together, common systems such as contact databases are shared through standard APIs, alls apps are automagically scriptable, drag and drop actually WORKS, etc), the ease of use, etc, is less innovative than anything GNOME or KDE have managed to spew out? Aside from Rasterman's EVAS and some other fringe (relativly) projects, I have yet to see anything as innovative come out from any Linux projects. Refined? Sure. Tweeked? Why not. Evolutionary? Maybe. Innovative? Hell no.
  • Because the practice of using different toolkits on the same machine should be stamped out with extreme prejudice! It boggles the mind that Linux-lusers, all caught up in their self-rightous jihad to have as many different toolkits as possible, under the excuse of fostering competition, never realize what the best way to foster competition is. Open STANDARDS. There needs to be ONE (uno, un, ack, 1 25^0) standard API. Toolkits should serve as a back-end to that API. Then toolkits can compete based on quality/speed/stability alone, not the artificial bounds of software base! It takes power away from the evil software developers and puts it back into the hands of the USER! THAT is real freedom!
  • Shouldn't there be a more unified standard for GUI's? I mean, there are so many different ones out there that it's so confusing, and sometimes incompatible. If Linus would sanction one API that would have the advantage over tha others, most people would have less problems.

    However, some API's are better than others for certain tasks (portability, scalability, speed), but I'm sure there's one out there that'll do the trick.

  • Strange the guy using Motif. I thought it is dying... Isn't it??

  • I run a 333 celeron with 64 mgs and I find KDE2 to be nicy, shiny and well designed, but really slow. Its to candy, its slows the whole process. Granted I have not upgraded in a while, so perhaps its been tightned up, just an FYI.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    "whereas for IMD it's Motif, a much more mature and standardized API"

    he forgot to add "really ugly" to that.
  • The problem is is that some people want their desktops to look very slick and spiffy. Others want only functionality. And people make these different desktops. It's not something that is likely to happen.

  • Meanwhile most of the commercial Unix vendors are busy switching to a GNOME/Nautilus desktop very soon so it's not got long to live there either.

    Just because the Window Manager doesn't use Motif doesn't mean the applications don't use Motif. I can't see much incentive for application vendors to switch toolkits. Why should they care what Window Manager their app runs under?
  • Well - there's an authors note on the IMD in his download section, and no files available. Pity - I had an SGI for a while and quite liked their desktop look, but I don't really like the overheads of running Enlightenment.
  • Well, there's gnumaniak [userfriendly.net] which contains updated man pages for a lot of programs. Really, I want to smack RMS every time I get bit by an incomplete man page. It's one thing to have incomplete docs because you're lazy; it's another to do it on purpose because you're trying to herd people towards your wacky replacement for man pages.
  • Motif is no more than a lame an attempt to clone Windows 3.1.


  • by Anonymous Coward
    the more =open= toolkits that are out there, the better. Each can borrow the "useful" parts from the others, which will slowly bring them together.

    Oh really? Is that why the Windows GUI is consistent whereas almost every X application has its own and often ugly widget set?

  • No, it was dead many years ago;)
  • Slashdot is *still* using the old Silicon Graphics logo. The company is now just "SGI" and has changed their logo almost two years ago. The Silicon Graphics "cube" logo was from the days of MIPS-based unix machines and overpriced Windows PCs. These days SGI sells not just unix boxes, but MANY different models of NT and Linux boxes, all with decent prices. Their new logo represents the future and the change of direction. Slashdot doesn't use the old rainbow Apple logo, why keep using the old Silicon Graphics logo?
  • by Mike Greaves ( 1236 ) on Saturday February 03, 2001 @05:53AM (#459503) Homepage
    Amongst *Working* Unix GUI coders, Motif usage probably exceeds that of all other toolkits combined. Can't prove it, but I'm fairly sure. From my experience with Unix commercial CAD/CAM systems: I've never seen one that used *anything* other than Motif.

    Motif has flaws, but on technical grounds, is much more appropriate for "can't fail" applications than something like GTK+.

    If you think that's dead, then you must be a little like the guy driving the dead wagon in the Holy Grail.
  • Because Scott Kim designed the old SGI logo, and he rules! Who cares what logo SGI's using these days -- they're irrelevent.

    http://www.scottkim.com [scottkim.com]


  • I have to agree with you there Justin. Although I'm mostly a perl/php developer I've been fiddling with Qt and GTK+ for a while. Qt is a much cleaner than GTK+.

    Also I like the feeling that porting to windows can be as simple as a recompile!

  • hmm.. last i heard IRIX had exellent Java support even for java3d (albeit not as fast as a sun box or native opengl, but you know that :)

    java.sun.com has links to the IRIX 6.x tardist files
  • by joto ( 134244 ) on Saturday February 03, 2001 @07:12AM (#459507)
    Shouldn't there be a more unified standard for GUI's? I mean, there are so many different ones out there that it's so confusing, and sometimes incompatible.


    If Linus would sanction one API that would have the advantage over tha others, most people would have less problems.

    Yeah, and if Linus would sanction one OS kernel, then all the others would simply disappear, right?

    Seriously, this is complete nonsense. Nobody can dictate what applications I would want to run (or the kernel for that matter). Would you switch mail-reader if Linus told you to? Would you use another windowing system than X if Linus told you to? Would you jump if Linus told you to?

    Luckily, Linus is a sensible guy. I don't understand why otherwise intelligent people like you seem to think of him as some kind of omnipotent god, with the power to do anything he wants. Instead you should learn to think for yourself, and hack for yourself!

  • by Fervent ( 178271 ) on Saturday February 03, 2001 @07:15AM (#459508)
    What's the advantage of Motif over something like Windows? Customizibility? I can add new context menus in Windows 2000. I can program GUI interfaces interweving the standard widgets and my own custom ones. Themes are supported (and Windows was the first OS to really allow this anyway).

    I've used Motif, and quite frankly the managability just scared me. KDE is my desktop of choice right now (although I would like more Linux apps developers to support the available menus).

    In terms of pure functionality, Windows and MacOS are tied at first for me. On PDA's, PalmOS follows a close second (only problem-- limited resolution to draw new widgets).

  • If we start seeing a stock piles [slashdot.org] of these things showing up .... we know why. Cheap HW, free SF ... hmmmm

    until (succeed) try { again(); }

  • I've never been a huge fan of IRIX's window manager. In fact, I've always tried to avoid it (I spend much of my time on sgi's). I remember there was a KDE port that was great. What is sgi doing for there new linux boxes? (We had a demo machine that was running gnome)

  • May I ask whoever moderated my comment to explain what was "flamebait" about it? I expressed my honest opinion about 4dwm. I find it cumbersome to use compared to Gnome or KDE.

    I then expressed what I had done about it (i.e. trying to get Gnome working under Irix).

    I then explained why I don't just run Linux/MIPS: the lack of support for the Indy hardware. This was done to forstall the inevitable comments.

    In what way was this "flamebait"? I never said that Irix itself was bad, just that the window manager wasn't what I wanted.

    Given all the crap posts from trolls, why did you use a valuable moderator point on an honest opinion?

    I'm deadly serious: please respond, either by email or as an AC post.
  • I've got an Indigo2 running IRIX 6.5 (which i've installed from scratch). It's very easy to install and administer (but i'm only talking about basic stuff here, like changing monitor resolution, network settings, adding users and stuff like that). Managing installed components is also very easy. I'm not a fan of very fancy desktops, so it suits me fine. I like the look of the window borders (i use CDE on the sun-box at work). The only thing missing is the front and open buttons (like on sun), but when i mapped the previously useless capslock-button everything was fine :)
  • by be-fan ( 61476 ) on Saturday February 03, 2001 @07:30AM (#459513)
    Umm, it would be stupid to implement each toolkit into a graphics card because the toolkit does a lot more than drawing. GNOME, for example, as an entire application API. This means that the graphics card would go from being an ASIC (application specific integrated circut) to a general purpose CPU, since most of the toolkit code is just like regular application code. Also, the end result would be slower since most graphics cards run at a measly 200MHz and have only limited on-board resources, and aren't designed to run regular code, but do a very specific drawing task. Then, the fact that the graphics card is really a data-processor, rather than a command executer, would hurt performance. Lastly, apps constantly call toolkit code, and if that were on the graphics card, you'd have to access all app data over the AGP bus, which is a lot slower than the CPU accessing it over the system bus. What would make more sense, and this is what I think you were getting at, would be a graphics card that implemented something like Quartz into hardware. That way you could get all the nifty eye-candy, without the CPU cost.

    PS> You can get he benifets of having another processor doing toolkit code by getting an SMP machine ;)
  • Motif, *in a Linux context*, is dead, buried, and irrelevant, due to their going open 3 years too late. The only Motif application in common use on Linux is Netscape 4.x, and Netscape 6/Mozilla have already switched to GTK+. Meanwhile most of the commercial Unix vendors are busy switching to a GNOME/Nautilus desktop very soon so it's not got long to live there either.
  • I just bought an old Impact2 to use as the graphics are what I need, not just "another" desktop. If the underlying power of Irix
    were there, it would help. Just the sound on the Imapct2 is better than anything on a PC today.
  • Hahahaa no, I was being sarcastic. Be is excellent, I have it on dual boot. But it was a startup that took some time to catch the public eye, right? It was just another OS until everyone realized it's cool abilities for realtime media.

    Linux is just as innovative. Don't start a holy war, be-fan, because the only one that matters on /. is the one against Winblows.
  • Why do you want to smack RMS? I don't download my shit from gnu.org, I download it from RedHat (for example). I could give a shit if GNU put out their docs in MS Word v2 format - it's the Distributor's problem to put a fucking working help system in place for their "distribution". This is why they are there, is it not?
  • YOU ARE CORRECT BUT the name of the thing is "Indigo magic desktop".

    Sorry, it was just a joke, I wasn't going for realism. ;)


  • It could be Utah GLX...it is still beta. Even when I compile and run simple examples(such as the ones provided with Mesa) sometimes it crashes. I know it's not the code, as I've been doing OpenGL development(for fun and pleasure) for the last year and a half, and the code looks clean. And I'm pretty sure it's not me-I've configured it according to the advice on FreeBSD.org and Utah GLX's home page.

    either way, IRIX's OpenGL support rocks hardcore compared to XF86 3.6...maybe not 4 though as I haven't installed it yet.

    fud me
  • Just because it's different than microsoft doesn't necessarily make it anti-microsoft. If you concider the fact that requiring one additional click also frees up directly right clicking an object, it adds more functionality.

    But that's just my opinion...

  • Why do you want to smack RMS?

    Because he's diverted the energy that should have gone into man pages towards 'info'. Because he ought to know better than to break a good and widely accepted standard. Because I greatly like and respect RMS, and this decision shows him at his worst.
    ...it's the Distributor's problem to put a fucking working help system in place...

    You definitely have a point. Linux distributors don't seem to take responsibility for their OS the way other Unix makers do. However, isn't Red Hat still losing money? Maybe for the slim margins they make they can't afford to pay much attention to each package. I wonder if the vendors could pool their resources - split up the man pages proportional to sales or something?
  • AFAIK, DFM is supposed to at least be inspired by the Workplace Shell. I can't say how good an imitation it is, since I haven't used OS/2, but I think it's supposed to be a partial imitation. DFM is available at http://dfm.online.de.
  • Oh really? Is that why the Windows GUI is consistent whereas almost every X application has its own and often ugly widget set?

    UH, actually yes, that is the reason anyone using Windows has no way to customize it to suit thier own needs and style, much beyond changing the background. Linux has always been about the freedom of choice, if I don't like a Window Manager, fine there are many others out there to choose from. Windows has always been about Microsoft and what Microsoft thinks you want and need, if you don't like the way it looks your only choice is not to use Windows at all.

    Jesus died for sombodies sins, but not mine.

  • But if I understand correctly, toolkits compete somewhat on the basis of API. I'm passing on hearsay here, as I've never programmed for any of these toolkits. Elsewhere in this thread, someone says the Motif API is better designed and more consistent than the Gtk API. It seems like OO programmers prefer Qt to Gtk.
    Meanwhile, I still don't see commercial software developers spending millions to port their Unix apps from one toolkit to another. For example, I use Meeting Maker at work. It uses Motif. To the people who make the purchasing decision, the choice of toolkit is not even on the agenda. So unless MM rewrites from scratch for some reason, I don't see them changing.
  • Coupla bits o' info: Houdini was ported some time ago (a year? maybe more?). The latest linux journal has an entire article on how some folks ported a large Irix-based system to Irix (or something like that, maybe it was moving parts of the system to linux, but I do recall a section on prting irix code to linux). Sorry if this is hyperlink poor, but I just woke up... :)

    Fuck Censorship.
  • They do compete somewhat on API, but at some point you just have to standardize the thing. Take OpenGL for example. One reason it has been so damn popular is because it is a standard API which vendors can write their own implementations for. Some people (me) don't like their lack of object orientation. Still, I appreciate the consistancy and universality of the API. You can achive this standardization two ways. First, you can decree that there will be one API with one implementation. This is essentially what Win32 and Direct3D are. Or, you can say there will be one API, that anybody can write an implementation for. (POSIX and OpenGL). The third way is just as bad as the first, where you setup a free-for-all of competing APIs. The second way is the One True Way (TM).

    PS> I much prefer Win32 and D3D to POSIX and OpenGL, but guess which one I program in?
  • Thanks! I'm going to look into what you're suggesting with XDesigner/Motif.
  • Well, there are cards already that have the entire OpenGL pipeline in silicon. Most workstation cards do, for example the 3dlabs Oxygen series. I think that with the addition of T&L the current gen of gaming cards comes close to full opengl-in-silicon if not completely attaining it (NB: these cards of course are not optimized for professional opengl work since they typically focus on speed over correctness).

    Also, AFAIK most graphics cards today DO have operations to supprt windowing environment primitive drawing acceleration (things like quick rectangles, etc.). It's my impression that usually these are tailored to support the Windows GDI. Still I suspect that an enterprising wm author for another system could take advantage of common tasks if they had access to the asm calling specs.

    You're definitely right about the more is good thing. Let a thousand different flowers bloom! :)

    Fuck Censorship.
  • Well the other poster replying is definitely right on the standard point (I've yet to see a commercial unix that didn't come with a motif runtime). On the price point, you do realize that you can get both the runtime and development packages for the latest Motif for free? I can never remember if it's www.openmotif.(com|org|net?) or www.motifzone.(com|org|net?). Sorry to be so fuzzy-headed about the URL, but I know it's there.

    Heh. Actually I was annoyed enough with my lack of memory to go check and all of the URLs above (both openmotif and motifzone, each with all three gTLDs) work. So "quitcherbitchin" as my mom would say, and go download the stuff... ;-)

    Fuck Censorship.
  • I got Gnome and E running on my Indigo2 (bad quality screenshot here [foottit.com]). However, I found it pretty slow and clunky compared to 4DWM (4DWM screenshot here [foottit.com]. I got it running from the tardists downloaded from freeware.sgi.com - you need to download a lot of freeware libraries to get it going, but the tardist installer should iform you about dependancies.

    That being said, I actually like 4DWM and the SGI desktop environment as a whole. It is very stable and I find it provides me with everything I want when coding on a *NIX system.

  • Because, if you haven't noticed, the new SGI logo sucks.

    Ask yourself where the CEO at the helm of SGI when they changed the logo now works.

  • by donglekey ( 124433 ) on Saturday February 03, 2001 @09:17AM (#459536) Homepage
    I am surprised that no one has mentioned this yet. If porting Irix applications is easy, Linux is about to get a huge huge push. I know that there have been articles and rumors about middle and high end 3D applications coming to Linux, but I haven't seen any actually materialize yet (feel free to prove me wrong because I may be). All the big players in 3D except for 3ds MAX (Tom Hudson!) are available for Irix - > Softimage , Maya , Lightwave , Houdini and a whole host of compositing and motion capture programs. If porting those to Linux is trivial then ports will be all the more likely.

    Now you may think that it's not going to happen because "Linux people aren't the type to pay for software at all, let alone software that costs thousands of dollars." This is the wrong way to look at things, the 3D companies are probably asking themselves right now if the artists that use their products are the type of people to use Linux. I think that 3D artists are the most likly to use Linux with the exception of the fleets of hackers who already do. If you have ever used a powerful 3D application you know that they are very complex. Learning Linux is a small price to pay for reliability a magnatude higher than NT. Linux drops out the cost of the OS too of course, and when dealing with Irix, that can add up. All those computers in the render farm no longer have to eat up licenses.

    Now you may also think "That's great if a niche market uses Linux but I don't think it will make a huge difference." Think about this then. Photoshop is the standard imaging tool, hands down. Now if Linux takes a chunk out of the graphics market, guess what sweet application could replace it while saving $600 for every computer its used? I shouldn't have to say it, but the Gimp would shine. Graphics studios of any magnatude have armies of programmers on hand, sometimes more programmers than animators. Think what they would do if they got their hands on an open source program like The Gimp that lets them not only script simple tools very easily but extend the very program itself. If they played nice with others then the Gimp could get alot better, really fast. And how many other programs could make headway at the same time?

    I know that this might seems like a jump in logic from having an Irix wm ported to Linux, but if Linux can make headway in the graphics market, cool shit will happen. The graphics scene doesn't care what everyone else uses for the most part. Studios of something of a blackbox alot of the time and if one tool works better for them, but no one else uses it, it doesn't matter. So Linux wouldn't even be a difficult transition when compared to what the average buisness would have to do to put Linux on desktops.
  • What the hell? How did this get modded up to +3?

    What's the advantage of Motif over something like Windows?

    I was going to give this guy the benefit of the doubt and assume he meant "Win32" until I read the rest of the post. I don't think he understands what the difference is between a widget toolkit (GTK+, Motif, GUI portion of Win32 API), an operating system (Windows, MacOS), and a desktop environment (KDE).

    Themes are supported (and Windows was the first OS to really allow this anyway).

    I can't decide if this is complete native cluelessness, or a plain and simple flamebait/troll. Really, not one of the UI toolkits "allows" or "disallows" theming - some just make it easier to do than others - and quite frankly, theming in Win32 is a fscking nightmare, messing with crappily documented non-client area messages, superclassing windprocs etc. If anything they tried hard to make it NOT themable (apart from the plus pack allowing you to set some colours, fonts and a background picture, that doesn't count, you aren't changing the UI.)

  • 1) kernel+shell+X11, 2) window manager, 3) other parts of shell and X11

    In my experience I would say Windows is more like: 1) Kernel, 2) GDI, 3) X11 + window manager (tangled together), 4) Shell (perhaps differing terminology here) (in Windows, the default shell is explorer.exe, which is that task bar thing with the start menu -> this is just an application and you can change it, but doesn't change the stuff that X would assign to the WM, such as how window pane borders look etc. That stuff is handled in base windproc as "non-client" area messages, so your application can override them (they are very poorly documented), but they are handled in your applications thread - so the main difference a user might feel is that under X, if an application is hanging or keeping its thread busy, you can still move its window around, but if an application is hanging in Win32 (or just keeping the thread busy and not handling messages) then you can't move the window around).

    The GDI layer is probably more the equivalent of X11 actually, and the window manager doesn't really exist - windows are basically managed by the application thread, and the common look and feel for apps stems from that they all derive behaviour from one standard message handling procedure. So it would be like not having a WM loaded in X, and all applications inherit from (say) a special GTK+ widget that draws the window borders etc. Its not a bad overall design *conceptually*, but its a fairly ugly API in practice.

  • Sorry I got carried away. While Linux does have some innovative projects (like EVAS), I would still argue that much of Linux is about freedom (OSS) and incremental quality increases, rather revolutionary ideas.
  • Based on my recent experiences with 4Dwm, here's how to simulate it easily on Linux by using fvwm2.

    1. Enlist a friend. Get them to administer a strong kick to your head. This will make you forget about the extensive customizability of fvwm, and stick with changing a small number of useless settings.

    2. Get your friend to administer another strong kick to your head. This will mess up your vision so that fvwm's window titles and desktop pager appear very large, taking up a disproportionate amount of the screen. It should also affect your motor control, so you have to click twice to change desktops.

    3. A third strong boot to the head may be required to forget all the keyboard shortcuts you have in fvwm. This may have already taken place due to the previous steps.

    If you haven't guessed, I've got a favourite between fvwm and 4Dwm....


  • Actually, one could argue, that *because* Windows does it (hence most people are used to it) it *is* the right way. Using a side-stick controller would probably be more efficient for cars, but everyone knows how to use a steering wheel, so why change?
  • Well, I've tried Irex [themes.org] for E, and it's pretty good (there is a gtk+ partner theme). Also just now while googling for a cache'd page of the very slashdotted 5dwm.org site, I ran across an IMD clone done using FVWM2 [rr.com]. Note that I have only the most cursory user experience with SGIs (too po' to afford one of them on my own :-( ), so I can't comment on exactingly true either one is to the IMD.
    Fuck Censorship.

  • by jd ( 1658 ) <imipak.yahoo@com> on Saturday February 03, 2001 @05:41AM (#459555) Homepage Journal
    IMHO, the more =open= toolkits that are out there, the better. Each can borrow the "useful" parts from the others, which will slowly bring them together.

    This seems to be one more piece to that puzzle, which is great! More power to those releasing it!

    The only thing that's missing, IMHO, is graphics hardware. Actually carving the latest & greatest toolkits into silicon. (No, not as embedded code, with a processor to run it. Actually re-implement the code into actual dedicated hardware.)

    IMHO, the first company (or geek) out with a card that'll handle the X11R6.4 protocol, plus the library APIs from Qt/KDE-2.1, Gtk/GLib-2.0, Gnome, OpenMotif-x.y (or Lesstif), OpenGL (or MESA), and this new Indigo Magic code, will slaughter the market on graphics.

    I mean, who would =CARE= what the video card itself could do, if you already have all those capabilities? More to the point, more than a few graphics cards'll use "softcode" implementations, because they're easy to do and easy to maintain.

    More to the point, by implementing the libraries, rather than a few trivial low-level graphics functions, we might yet see =very= high-powered window managers that don't require half the planet's computing power to get past the splash-screen.

    (I like Enlightenment, KWM, Sawfish, etc, but I'd like them a whole lot more if I could get the same power without the memory & CPU costs.)

  • by Mike Greaves ( 1236 ) on Saturday February 03, 2001 @05:41AM (#459557) Homepage
    And to me, standard Motif doesn't look particularly bad. On top of that, some folks have been recently working on theming Motif. Check out http://www.motifzone.net .

    So "it's ugly" isn't a very sound criticism of Motif anymore. Other criticisms, typically about run-time efficiency or difficulty of the API, are basically false. I found Motif easier to learn, a couple of years back, than GTK+. The API *is* very large, but fairly consistent. And any toolkit API will grow as it strives for more capabilities. This has happened and will happen more to GTK+ and Qt.

    Please remember that *almost* *all* Unix commercial applications use Motif. And it works well for open-source apps too. My favorite: NEdit, can be safely described as So Good I Can Hardly Believe It.
  • I have an SGI Indy with Indigo Magic, and it's not that great... the main things I liked about the IRIX experience weren't really UI related - good online docs (effectively all the manuals in PDF), good integrated multimedia support (digicam etc) and ISDN/PPP support with sensible setup. I always thought the desktop was kind of clunky.

    Of course, the site is already toast, so it's possible that it's a huge improvement, but IM as of IRIX 6.2 is no great shakes. I'd rather have KDE2 from what I have seen of that.

Receiving a million dollars tax free will make you feel better than being flat broke and having a stomach ache. -- Dolph Sharp, "I'm O.K., You're Not So Hot"