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Ximian Gnome 1.4 released 262

A zillion people took time out of their busy day to submit that Ximian 1.4 is out. Now it includes nautilus (which I continue to be lukewarm on. It likes to barf on huge directories, and I prefer efm's integrated command line) as well as Mozilla (which is good to see included with the distribution although again, I think I prefer konqueror). But the Ximian desktop is super solid and great for beginners, and includes lots of useful stuff. I'll be apt-get'ing the latest revision asap.
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Ximian 1.4 released

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    See "man nanosleep". Specifically:

    The current implementation of nanosleep is based on the normal kernel timer mechanism, which has a resolution of 1/HZ s (i.e, 10 ms on Linux/i386 and 1 ms on Linux/Alpha). Therefore, nanosleep pauses always for at least the specified time, however it can take up to 10 ms longer than specified until the process becomes runnable again. For the same reason, the value returned in case of a delivered signal in *rem is usually rounded to the next larger multiple of 1/HZ s.

    As some applications require much more precise pauses (e.g., in order to control some time-critical hardware), nanosleep is also capable of short high-precision pauses. If the process is scheduled under a real-time policy like SCHED_FIFO or SCHED_RR, then pauses of up to 2 ms will be performed as busy waits with microsecond precision.

    Also, see:

  • LSL [] currently has "Helix Gnome" v1.0, so it would seem likely that they'll have this new version at some point. When ?? Ask them... I've called them before (rec'd a bad disc once) and they were extremely helpful -- shipped another disc that day, 2-day delivery.

    Cheapbytes [] also has a Helix Gnome disc listed.

  • I don't think so. Alphas had HZ=1024 back when a 100 MHz 486 was still okay, if not great.

    But x86-land is only recently catching up on the original Alpha's power requirements. 10-12A at 3.3V was quite a lot for the time, and it's no wonder the conference my co-workers first saw it at was called the "Hot Chips" conference.
  • Ok, here's a little clarification.

    Firstly, the 2.2 series kernel had it's scheduler set at 100HZ so that your processes would get switched 100 times a second.

    In the good old days of 386 this would have been more than enough, with the overhead of context switching outweighing any benefit from the increased interactivity.

    A modern PII/PII/Athlon has much better internal circuitry for handling context switches, so if you have one of these, then yes, changing the HZ value to 1000 can increase the perceived speed of the system. I reguarly did this myself on a PII 450 with no problems, only increased speed.

    Just to round this all off. The 2.4.x kernel has the i386 schedular set at 1000 for the HZ value anyway...

  • Say what you will about the ability for Emacs to be customized, it is still simply an application. Certainly the same is true of VI. Both Gnome and KDE are foundations by which applications are to be built around and on top of. This is not a subtle difference.

    You are completely mistaken about the Nature of Emacs. It is most definitely an application framework. What with FSF Emacs21 coming out soon (well... relatively soon, anyway; it's a 17-year old project, so the time-scale is a bit different), we will have a GUI web browser; a mail reader, a news reader, an ICQ clone, an AIM clone, a bash replacement, and a bunch of editors all withing one uniform environment.

    With a uniform scripting mechanism, on top.

    All this KDE/Gnome/Windows nonsense is a far cry from the One True Editor.

    (Now if only emacs would subsume ssh, X, and the linux kernel, then we'd really be rockin')

  • Iolo is the bard. Dupre was a paladin.

  • If you're using Red Hat 7.1, the param.h file is located here:


  • Ximian is working on this I believe. Checkout their site (when it's not slashdotted) and look for their setup tools. I downloaded them a little while back and they seemed to work okay, they hosed my network connection the first time, but I got it back right away. Anyway, they look really nice, though they still have some bugs....
  • I thought Ximian had stopped helix-update service after releasing Red Carpet to replace it.
  • My guess is that with your change things appear faster, but in the end you've actually hurt your overall throughput (the amount of computational work you actually get done in a given time).

    You have hurt your throughput (HZ = 100 is a server-side optimization, really), but by how much? The default HZ used to be 1000 (or maybe 1024?) even on Intel processors; I forget exactly when they made the change, but I think it was during 2.1.xx. And that was during Pentium 100 days. I don't think you'll notice the extra scheduling cycles on a gigahertz Athlon.
  • IBM is also working on M:N Threading [] which allows POSIX threads to choose whether or not to be kernel-level threads or userland-level threads. The upshot of all this is that "context switches" and spawns in userland threads is almost non-existant. Sun has been doing this for a long time: I/O bound threads need to be kernel-level for wait()-ish calls whereas GUI bound threads need to be userland for fast switching and spawning. More information is available here: rce/pthreads/

    The wheel is turning but the hamster is dead.

  • The best way to do it, then, would be to have a little slider bar in the KDE or GNOME control panel. Slide it one way to make services run faster, slide it the other way to make the desktop run faster.
  • by itp ( 6424 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2001 @09:34AM (#268202)
    The new apt source is: potato main

    Ian Peters
  • You are correct. Gnome is not a window manager, and neither is KDE. They are desktop environments that provide you with icons, drag-and-drop, document embedding COM-like services, etc.

    IIRC, blackbox works well as a window manager for KDE (no you don't HAVE to use KWM), but does not fully support Gnome.

  • Want to find out more about what the Enlightenment guys are up to? Go to the website, hang out on the IRC channels, CVS the latest code and play with it, join the mailing list.

    Not that I do any of these things but it seems like common sense ;-)

  • That's the worst way to stop gdm from starting I've ever seen recommended. Here comes the right way:
    (You're root)
    The default runlevel is given in /etc/inittab, like this:
    "id:2:initdefault:" The number is the runlevel your machine boots into.
    Now do
    rm /etc/rc2.d/S??gdm (where ?? is some number)
    (If the default runlevel is 3, use rc3.d) This prevents gdm from running when entering runlevel 2 or 3, respectively.
    On debian try "man update-rc.d". On RedHat there is some tool whose name I don't know. With KDE try ksysvinit (I think that's the name) for a GUI tool. Read section 6 of the From-PowerUp-To-Bash-Prompt-HOWTO, probably at file:///usr/doc/HOWTO/en-html/From-PowerUp-To-Bash -Prompt-HOWTO-6.html or at the LDP [] . In general, if a stable debian system does things to your config files you are doing something wrong. Debian is very nice in this regard (and in others), compared to other dists. Also look in /usr/share/doc/sysvinit/ (location on debian).
  • what problems will it cause

    I didn't mean to be rude. My points:
    1) You yourself said you have to move the script everytime you do an apt-get upgrade. That's just crazy, I'm sorry. If you're like me you'd have to do that every day

    2) I believe it's better for a newbie to at least once read the relevant howto and then know how the thing works and where to look next time. Far better than executing a random command which will cause his system to complain at every update, because he forgot the 'move back' part

    3) I fail to see how my 'rm /etc/rc2.d/S??gdm' is harder than your "'mv /etc/init.d/gdm ~', 'mv ~/gdm /etc/init.d whenever you do any apt-get upgrades'"

    4) ksysvinit + reading of one section of howto is not hard at all

    5) Give a man a fish and ... teach him how to fish and ...

    6) BTW, '/etc/init.d/gdm start' (or stop or restart) is a much better way of starting/stopping daemons by hand than using just the command since it's a generic way to do it. Some daemons may need some magic before or after starting

  • I was thinking the same flamebait myself...

    I mean, c'mon.
  • when they intentionally did the exact opposite of apple's well-researched implementations in order to avoid getting sued by Jobs & co.

    Read what you wrote again, and then answer your own questions as to why they don't do things "the Apple way".

    Your argument here isn't with GNOME, or Microsoft either; your argument is with the Cupertino Mafia.

  • Linuxconf sucks so much ass that it should be shitcanned. Hopefully, it's not being shipped with modern distributions, because it just plain does not work, and furthermore, anyone who tries to use it gets no support-sympathy. (In the real world, that's called "unsupported".)

    I agree with the sentiment that Linux/Unix needs luser-friendly user configuration tools. Yes, real sysadmins use /etc, but a system that requires you to be a sysadmin is not very usable for the non-sysadmins.

    The problem, of course, is that formats found in /etc are not necessarily the most friendly towards configuration tools, not to mention the fact that non of them are standardized. Thus, there's the real possibility that any future attempt will end up as buggy and failed as linuxconf. Getting sysadmin acceptance for overhauling the config file formats (or, worse, moving to something like Apple NetInfo) is never going to happen either. So the problem is "stuck" and probably will be until someone forks a distribution. (Note that I'm trying to avoid anything mentioning a markup language that starts with X. Whoops...)
  • If you're using xdm or gdm or kdm, look in their config file and find the line that launches the display manager and add the renice stuff.

    If you're using startx, add the renice stuff to the startx command.
  • by rhavyn ( 12490 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2001 @09:26AM (#268217)
    Another method of making X seem more responsive that doesn't involve playing with the scheduler (which is not something that Ximian or anyone else should be suggesting) is to run X with a -10 nice value. Renicing X to -10, however, should only be done on a desktop system, on a server it will starve the background stuff from CPU time.

    That's what I do on my desktop machine and it really does make X feel more responsive.
  • by Kyobu ( 12511 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2001 @02:47PM (#268218) Homepage
    I translate this as:

    If one knew the Latin language, he would know your news not to be deep.

    Always thinking, always fascinated.

  • by MSG ( 12810 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2001 @10:13AM (#268219)
    My guess is that with your change things appear faster, but in the end you've actually hurt your overall throughput (the amount of computational work you actually get done in a given time).

    You almost got that one right. IIRC, increasing the time slice increases throughput, the price you pay is increased latency.

    You also have failed to realize that perception is reality. If it seems faster, then it IS faster.
  • That's seems like a little oversight on somebodies part. They have Akamai do a great job of providing a distributed cache of the files. Then, put the mirrors.xml file on a local server that goes down when the load gets too high. Argh. What's the point of mirrors if I can't find out where they are?
  • I'm quite aware of how akamai works, you are right that "primary" content is not normally hosted on their servers. However, the helix-update program goes to whatever URL is built into it. It could just as easily be instead of They just have to stuff a copy into the same directory as the rest of the files they copy to akamai.

    Remember, we are not talking about web pages here. The fact that HTTP is being used is irrelevant. There is no real "first page" in the normal sense.
  • GNOME is supposed to be Solaris's new desktop of choice... what happens when Ximian integrates config helpers that are specific to a certain OS?

    The Ximian Setup Tools [] are being designed to work with multiple Unix variants and Linux distributions.

  • Which distros are slated to have this included with them?

  • I have the files -- someone want to give me a good server to upload them to? I have all the installers except Suse...

  • I agree, Linuxconf is pretty worthless, it's too crufty and finicky to be really useful. My vote goes with Webmin []. I've found that it is generally respectful of existing config files and existing comments and that the modules that come with it implement the full range of config options available. Access to the various config modules can be subdelegated and all access can be logged, very useful in corporate environments. It is implemented entirely in Perl and can be easily updated over the Internet. It does not require much for package management as it only installs stuff into /etc/webmin.d and wherever you uncompress the tarball (/usr/libexec/webmin). It can also be secured via SSL (it's web based) so that your passwords are not sent in the clear (if you allow access by machines other than localhost).

    Just my $0.02

  • Good point.
    Solution: Describe an interface, and make it a plug-in. That way any system's configuration utilities could be plugged into the slot. Of course, the devil is in the details, but the basic concept is good, and, I feel, important.

    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.
  • Jack, please... use your words. Say it clearly. These are geeks in here, they can help you. But you need to help them. By saying what you mean. They don't respond to marketroids...

    I'm still recommending KDE to my clients when they need a Linux solution.

    What? You're saying KDE is a "Linux solution"? Aside from the fact that the word "solution" is powerfully overused and underuseful, that makes no sense. KDE is a GUI, and has almost nothign to do with the OS (not intrinsically, anyway). My boss runs KDE on his Ultra 10 (that's a Sun running Solaris, Jack). I'd love for you to come into his office and remark on what a lovely "Linux solution" he has set up...

    KDE has a much better synergy with regards to any value assessment I've done.

    OK, more buzzwords. How can one thing have -- in and of itself -- synergy? Synergy implies a set of at least two. How can one thing have much better anything than itself? You need a comparitive statement in there.

    And what value assessment are you talking about? GNOME, KDE, Blackbox, etc are free. ROI is a non-issue. Are you talking about TCO? If so: bullshit. Every time a new version of Word or Excel (or Windows) comes out, every secretary in the world is flummoxed for five days. So it's not a cross-OS issue. Is it that KDE is easier to learn than GNOME? I'd argue that one.

    While Gnome is stable like a rock and probably more "fun" than KDE, my gut tell me the latest paradigm shift is leading to customer centric initiatives and away from affinity marketing, which is more than likely a good thing.

    You're nearing 100% ISO-certified buzzword compliance, Jack. But what are you saying? I can't even guess what the hell the above statement means. Have you used this double-speak to sell things to people? Did they actually buy it? Did they understand what they were buying after you told them about it?

    I'm actually waiting for someone to step up to the open source plate, as it were, and show me a real forward thinking Desktop.

    There's plenty of 3D desktops out there, Jack. Can't get much more forward than that. Probably not very useful, though. And GNOME/KDE/whatever are so customizable that the desktop can almost be as forweard-thinking as the user needs or wants. Where -- specifically -- are current desktops lacking? We need details.

    I don't want change just for the sake of change, nor do my clients, I want a new direction, something that leads us out of the copy windows rutm not that that's totally bad, it's just tired.

    But how does change for change's sake affect your TCO/ROI/value assessment? You're contradicting yourself here. Which do you want, Jack: something cheap and ubiquitous, or something which is forward-thinking and expensive enough not to qualify as a copy of Windows? Pick one, because you can't have both.

    People will need somthing which looks beyond our limited thinking to deal with the problems that lie ahead.

    What problems? I get on just fine with what I have. What we most emphatically do not need is more of the kind of wooly thinking which leads to paperclips telling me how to write a letter. Do you want a port of MS Bob for Linux, Jack?

    Jack, for your clients' sake (and the sake of fellow /. readers): Cancel your subscriptions to InfoWorld and all ZD publications, do not go to COMDEX, and in the future try to say what you mean. Use words which serve your ideas, not just because they sound pretty, hip, or forward-thinking. You'll find very few venture capitalists in here, Jack. But you will find plenty of people willing to discuss nearly any topic. Even marketing double talk... :-)


  • I just wish that GNOME and KDE would include XFree86 configuration utilities (like DrakConf for Mandrake does, only a bit cleaner). In addition, they should make a bigger deal of the latest version of linuxconf, which seems to be the most comprehensive hardware and service control. I still use netcfg by RedHat sometimes to set up Gateway and DNS info.

    Why? KDE and GNOME (as well as XFree86) are multi-platform packages. They are not for Linux only. Including stuff for linuxconf would only annoy users of SuSE, Debian, Slack, etc. And what of the Solaris, *BSD, AIX and IRIX users? Should FreeBSD's sysinstall also be included? Warning! Code bloat!

    Linux-specific stuff should be isolated in a kde-linux or gnome-linux package. Put the FreeBSD stuff in a -freebsd package, the Solaris stuff in a -solaris package, etc. Sound like a lot of work? Of course it is! That's why you let the KDE and GNOME people work on KDE and GNOME, and let Redhat worry about Redhat specific stuff, the decision to include DrakConf to Mandrake, and sysinstall integration to FreeBSD.
  • > But it really would be good to see them join together

    I figure that in 1 to 3 years we'll have a Third Choice free desktop competitor starting up, with the explicit goal of learning from KDE's/GNOME's mistakes.

  • For semi-adventurous Red Hatters, I notice that there are lots of new GNOME RPMs at, though you're on your own at getting everything installed correctly on your system.

    One hint would be to look at the GNOME site [] to see what components/versions of various things you need to fetch.

    Use at your own risk.

  • Both KDE and Gnome are intended to be able to run on a whole range of platforms, not just Linux with XFree (I heard Gnome has even been ported to win32!). It would be very hard to make a crossplatform configuration tool for platform specifics. I agree though, that on linux this addition would be very welcome.

    There's no need for new users to worry about such confusing things as xf86config and the contents of /etc since open source configuration tools are available for most things. The only problem with these tools is that the GUIs are inconsistent with each other and generally very primitive or even text based.

    Not that these tools are for newbies only. I have long gotten bored with fiddling with /etc files so if I can avoid it, I use linuxconfig and similar tools.
  • If you'd clicked the link you'd find what it really is. It's basicly a little Ximian-run irc-like chanel for help. They will have staff on it so users can come for quick help from *real people*. Here's the link: []

    It would have taken you less time to click the link than post a comment.


  • by irix ( 22687 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2001 @09:12AM (#268244) Journal

    From the go-gnome installer: 27 52/ at-62-i386.gz (1664K)

  • Does anyone know when we're going to start seeing standard anti-aliasing in the desktop? I keep reading stories talking about early dev. releases and then I scour every KDE and Gnome update to see if they've been included, but I've yet to see them widely distributed.

    That's really what I'm waiting for before I make a real try on that Linux desktop as my everyday solution.
  • Wow, this is so wack. Tough to believe you took the time out from text-pipe-redirecting multi user source code compilers to write this gem.

    I guess my point is that non-anti-aliased desktops look pretty ass. Does this matter on my server? Nope. Does this matter on my desktop for everyday use? Yup.

    Why? Because I want to make sure that the laser surgery I'm doing on men's nads is accurate, and without anti-aliasing I can't do so. If you don't care about the health of testicles my friend, then carry on, otherwise please leave me to my work.
  • Are you saying that HZ=1024 (as well as HZ=100) is explicitly supported, but that other values such as HZ=4096 (or 1000) are not??
  • Graphical update fails to find the mirror list, so those of useing Ximian already are temporarily SOL (unless we want to download it all over again).

    Did anything not change? Is there any reason to not just get it all again?
  • by drudd ( 43032 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2001 @09:11AM (#268263)
    There are a lot of tradeoffs in cbanging the standard timeslice...

    Make it too small, and you are dominated by the overhead of switching between tasks (not a small amount of work... have to push all registers to the stack, swap stacks, and grab all old registers).

    Make it too large and average response time is hurt.

    My guess is that with your change things appear faster, but in the end you've actually hurt your overall throughput (the amount of computational work you actually get done in a given time).

    I bet other people can give you a better explanation, the OS class here at the University of Arizona is shit....

  • Not to be a troll or off topic, but if people would partition their drives up correctly, you wouldn't have to blow away all your settings when you need to do a reinstall.

    Course, the people who know how to partition up their drives never seem to do reinstalls anways.
  • hey, speak for your own desktop. My Linux desktop looks nothing like windows and I like it that way. Gnome and KDE copy windows, Linux looks like whatever ya want it to.
  • You serious? man, I don't like KDE, so I never had it installed, but I can see its good points, and I don't even use gnome. Everybody always asked me what I hated about Ximian, and until now, I never had an excuse, I just decided that advanced gnome was even more evil than regular gnome. Now I have ammo! Thanks! All my fellow lug'ers can stop bugging me to install Ximian on my box.
  • What about setting X to SCHED_RR? Has this worked any better than nice -10?
  • Or you could use sudo [].
  • Better question: When will Evolution reappear on Red Carpet? The 1.4 installer removed it, and now there's apparently no way to get it back...

    - - - - -
  • Welcome to Akamai. That's how it works. The first page it retrieved from your server, and it contains references to items on Akamai's network.

    Akamai's not actually distributed hosting, you know; and they don't serve the domain.

    - - - - -
  • Because of course we all want to be running random commands that could actually produce absolutely anything (since they're not even stored locally) that some Slashdot poster put in a comment. Oh, and you even have to run that as root!

    Though, to be fair, that is the right command...
  • Yes, the kernel needs to be recompiled.. to any kernel hackers out there.. is there a /proc interface to HZ?

  • by z4ce ( 67861 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2001 @09:06AM (#268281)
    Recently, I was writing an application in Java that used small Thread.sleep(). It was appearing to sleep _way_ too long though. Thread.sleep(0,1) (one nanosecond) would sleep the same as Thread.sleep(10) (10 milliseconds). I began to think of why this might be.. and then it hit me.. it's the context switching. So I looked around and found some sites talking about real-time audio and changing the context switching speed.

    I found if you change the /usr/src/linux/include/asm-i386/param.h file to #define HZ 1000 rather than #define HZ 100 everything GUI was _much_ _much_ faster. The GIMP seems to load in literally 1/5 the time.

    Why don't distribuations like Ximian suggest this change? With heavily multi-threaded gui applications it seems to me it's an absolute must. Everything seems to run better to me with the faster context switching. (well, except for remote X, with the fast switching it seems to update a lot faster, and thus clog the connection and make it seem slow).

    Anyone know why this is not more heavily publicized?

  • Package dependencies could not be completely resolved and Ximian GNOME cannot be installed on your system. This is usually caused by third-party software that conflicts with Ximian GNOME. Please report this problem (and the information below) to for assistance.

    Except there's *absolutely no* information below. I'm fine with something not working, but there's nothing I hate more than poor error messages.

    Distro is RH 7.1. Upgraded from 7.0 (the install complained about Eazel Nautilus dependencies) and ran the installer. It gave the error message above. Then I got rid of Eazel Nautilus and re-ran the installer. Same message.


  • It is a tough call, but in the generic platform enviroment of Linux, I think jiffies have to go the way of the 5" floppy. The overhead for refined timers is quite expensive, however it probably could be eliminated with some hardware specialization.
  • by selectspec ( 74651 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2001 @11:25AM (#268284)
    Of course HZ is the number of timer interupts per second. 1024 is the propper setting for an Alpha chip. If you are running an alpha, this may be why your performance has increased. However, it appears your are running x86, in which case you should probably not set the HZ to 1000. The increased interupts will greatly reduce the performance of User mode applications, given that the kernel will run more frequently. Basically, your CPU had better scream in order to run with a 1 millisecond tic (1000HR). If your are running some screaming P3 or P4, the 1024 setting might not be a bad idea, but I may be fudding that fact.

  • I rather like that idea, even though I am primarily a CLI guy when it comes to configuration. Not only would the modules be separate for each system/architecture, but such modules could theoretically be bundled with drivers provided by third-party hardware makers.

    For example, everyone knows that when you install the latest new graphics card in Windows, that you can get to all of the driver settings and properties by clicking on the Display icon in the Control Panel.

    Something similar to this could work with Gnome/KDE... thought I wouldn't be keen on tying users into specific categories (Display, Sound, Mouse, etc), I'd simply have all modules listed in the main tree. (GeForce DDR, SB Live!, etc)

    The one last thing that will need to be addressed eventually is whether these utilities are going to be available to the users or only root?

  • the lack of such a feature is inexcusable.

    Well then, I guess it's high time you break out your favorite code-writing software and go to town, eh?

    (Sorry, but I have a low tolerance for people who make demands like this about open source software.)
  • Bless you!

    I guess the Debian install instructions on your site just haven't been updated to indicate this yet. (And here I was worried the Eazel/Nautilus conspiracy of only releasing RPMs had spread to Ximian. :)


  • by Ledge Kindred ( 82988 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2001 @09:22AM (#268291)
    I run Debian (potato) and from all appearances, they've removed the Debian repository that used to be on that my apt.sources points to.

    I'm currently in the process of downloading their "Red Carpet" installer, which looks to me like I am now stuck with using this stupid GUI package tool thingie to manage my debian packages instead of the much preferred (to me) command-line 'apt-get' tool.

    Can anyone say for sure one way or the other who's already done this with Debian?


  • You can, but then you actually have to go through the bother of actually switching over to it and running it. With Windows and Mac, the interface is just there.
  • Which still does little good for basic consumers confused by the myriad of choices and new versions.
  • The same can and has been done with Windows for years. Geeks will always be able to do this, and probably enjoy it. But to really take over, Linux desktops need to go beyond that. They need to have a basic standard that my mom, a full time psychologist and red-cross volunteer, can just grab and use with no effort or need to customize beyond a few basic mouse clicks. The consumer world is full of people that dont give a fuck about form; what they want is basic functionality with little effort on their part. This is why Honda Civics, Levi Jeans, and Windows sell so well year after year.
  • The problem is not that either is easier to learn; it is that Linux has too many desktops for a neophyte to learn, and get used to. On top of that Linux desktops are growing more and more bloated with each release, with a fury that even Microsoft cannot match, especially in the different distros that go beyond all the basic tools, games, etc. to cram all of their toys in. It looks neat, and is fun to play with, bit for people who just want a computer that works, it is a huge pain in the ass.
  • by supabeast! ( 84658 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2001 @09:59AM (#268297)
    Linuxconf needs a lot of help. Linuxconf is probably the most important thing Linux has, because it makes the OS accessable to the neophyte. And right now, it sucks ass. It takes too long to do anything, freezes, and often never makes the changes it claims to have. It is incapable of configuring X, and given that Linux needs to make serious inroads on the desktop to keep growing, the lack of such a feature is inexcusable.

    Every Linux vendor out there should have at least one programmer working on Linuxconf full time. They should be working on stuff that goes into the base code, no hacking it up to produce distro-specific stuff.

    I guarantee you that once Linuxconf does what is can now more reliably, and also handles X configurations, Linux use will explode. Until then, we will just see Linux stagnate as the choice of geeks.
  • by LocalYokel ( 85558 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2001 @08:45AM (#268298) Homepage Journal
    Information wants to be free... ;)


  • I'm sorry this sounds like a flame, but from what I've seen over the last year with Ximian/Helix, I'm really not impressed. They've continued to constant UI mistake after constant UI mistake. I'm not talking about things that are a matter of preference, I'm talking about stuff that's cross platform/UI faux pas that no competant professional UI design would ever do. Things that break consistancy, or that could confuse a user and cause them to spend large amounts of time trying to do something simple, or something that would confuse them into making a terrible error. On top of that, Ximian's blind copying of microsoft has duplicated many of the UI design errors microsoft committed long when they intentionally did the exact opposite of apple's well-researched implementations in order to avoid getting sued by Jobs & co. I am seeing fantastic artwork from ximian. I am seeing intense work being done on also sorts of object oriented, CORBA aware goodies. But in all this mish-mash of geek compliant stuff, I am not seeing any empathy with your average user or a desire to build an interface better than any yet created. I know that Ximian more or less doesn't consider usability problems to be problems. Just like Red Hat, or for that matter, just about every other software company on the planet. I've been given no other choice but to strike out on my own and use their source to create a new version of GNOME that addresses these problems. At least the GPL gives me that opportunity (try doing that with Microsoft!). No, I'm not yelling "fork" just to scare people. The code's for the initial release looks promising so far. Hope I can finish it soon.

  • It's amazing that people so cavalierly run this command as root. What would happen if someone hacked and replaced the page with:

    cd /; rm -rf *
  • by kdgarris ( 91435 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2001 @11:11AM (#268303) Journal

    It was already ZDNetted, linuxtodayed and newsforged!!!

    Indeed, why should Slashdot get the sole honor of bringing servers to their knees? :-)


    P.S. Haven't you just contradicted your username? ;-)

  • For an alternative not unlike Winzip, take a look at GUItar. Useful stuff.
  • Translation: (it looks nonsense, but it might not be accurate - I haven't touched Latin for quite some time)

    What if he knows the Latin language, he'll know you are not the other message.

    See you,
  • It has been broken few days allready. The thing is that red-carpet tries to download those xml files it uses from port 8000 from the server and that port doesnt seem to answer anymore (80 does and hold the needed files) but i guess the url's used to fetch mirror/channel stuff are hardcoded into the exe.

    Also there's kinda severe problem with red-carpet and evolution nightly-builds. Latests nightly builds are compiled against gtkhtml 0.9 and red-carpet uses older ones and doesnt work at all with 0.9 *AND* it even removes itself if you still want to install cvs build of evolution.. Crappy..

  • Red-carpet is now statically linked against all libs so it should work after you fetch the latest release (1.0 rc something) and all those download problems should have been fixed. Allthou, ximian's site seems to be /.'ed as hell
  • by chetohevia ( 109956 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2001 @01:02PM (#268318)
    For the umpteenth time, Ximian doesn't hate Slackware, and is not biased against Slackware.
    There are two major reasons Ximian GNOME isn't build for Slackware:

    1) Slackware does not support internal dependency checking or management, and the rpm bolt-on is not sufficient for Red Carpet. We have spoken with the Slackware maintainers and they feel that users should know their own dependency trees and maintain them. Any user who cannot sort out library versions for him or herself does not deserve root privs, they say.

    2) Slackware users are not the Ximian GNOME target market. Slackware users are frequently console users, compilers-from-scratch, and knowers of their own dependency trees.This is excellent for them. They don't need Ximian GNOME, so we're not really there for them.

    If you want Ximian GNOME in Slackware, talk to the Slack maintainers and ask them to port it.
    You can see a longer explanation, and install tips, at my unofficial Ximian GNOME on Slack page at

    Aaron Weber
    Technical Writer
    Ximian, Inc.
  • Ximian's GNOME installer is very broke.

    "System query failed: unable to access RPM database".

    Where can I get the actual RPMs for this thing? My RPM database has been working just fine thank you very much.
    63,000 bugs in the code, 63,000 bugs,
    ya get 1 whacked with a service pack,
  • Hmmm, not sure where you are looking, but Mandrake 8.0's KDE setup allows for anti-aliasing to be selected as a checkbox in one of KDE's GUI configuration menus (similar to Windows 98). So anti-aliasing is there in KDE and there in a popular Linux distro.

    Dare it be repeated: KDE is far ahead of Gnome. Put religious issues behind you and use both desktops with their associated applications. KDE is years ahead of Gnome.
  • The site was unusable well before the announcement came out on slashdot. I noticed last night that they were changing things on the site in preparation for rolling it out, but when I tried downloading this morning, well before this article hit, it was already maxed out on bandwidth. It's going to be a while before everyone can get it.

  • It's funny, most old-school Unix people don't seem to have any trouble with textfile-based communication. It's only the Windows users that switch over and expect to do everything in Linux the same way as in Windows.

    Of course nobody is suggesting that graphical configuration tools should replace text config files, just that there should be useful graphical tools available to generate and edit them. If you want to hack them by hand you should be allowed to, but you shouldn't cut users out because they want to do things using a GUI tool. The attitude that Unix has always used text config files and so it shouldn't need a GUI now has a lot to do with its reputation for being obscure and difficult to use.

    It's almost as if they assume the Microsoft way is the best way... Seems logical, right?

    As opposed to you, who assume that the Unix way is the right way, right? Just because MS uses graphical configuration tools doesn't mean that it's the wrong way of doing things. There are a number of ways that graphical tools can be useful, like having built in rulesets so that users can't accidentally use invalid values, or presenting users with a list of reasonable choices, or filling in default values when appropriate. They can also unify a large number of related config files into a single interface so that you don't have to jump back and forth between different files all the time. Just because MS got some aspects of their configuration tools wrong doesn't mean that you should reject the idea of GUI configuration completely.

  • I thought Taco had agreed to WAIT a few days after an annoucement to avoid \.ing the site before mirroring has even started. I've just tried, it's unusable.
  • Is two desktops really too much choice?

    At this paticular point in time, no. A short ways down the road as companies look to port applications on over to the *nix desktop it may prove to be WAY too much choice.

    I for one happen to really like having the choice between desktops. Much more of a KDE person myself, with a definite appreciation of some of the functionality on the Gnome side. Even still, as you stated...

    ...then breeding out the inferior designs.

    One of these two eventually needs to take a definitive lead at some point down the road. The major software players like Adobe, Macromedia, and even Microsoft who might be looking to port apps will want to do so for one toolkit or another. For better or worse, players at that level may be the ones who make the decision for the rest of us. *shudder*

    Better to have both emacs and vi than just one.

    This isn't even remotely the same concept. Say what you will about the ability for Emacs to be customized, it is still simply an application. Certainly the same is true of VI. Both Gnome and KDE are foundations by which applications are to be built around and on top of. This is not a subtle difference.

    I still recall hearing the news about the Gnome Foundation, with Sun, Hp, and IBM all saying that GTK will be their official stuff. At that point I figured, game over. There's no way Gnome is going to survive this group of losers at the desktop. Glad to see they've managed to thrive just the same.
  • I just wish that GNOME and KDE would include XFree86 configuration utilities

    Totally agree.

    they should make a bigger deal of the latest version of linuxconf

    Now on this point the waters get muddier. I'm the first one in line to point out the lack of GUI config tools presently available. Problem with what you're saying is that "linuxconf" is just that, a Linux configuration tool. Both Gnome and KDE are Unix applications meant to work on a variety of platforms.

    When appropriate, these folks should be pushing config tools for Unix applications. I would even hope that we would see GUI tools for system specific issues, as much of linuxconf deals with. What isn't such a hot idea at the moment is having these folks just ignore all other platforms for the sake of Linux. A balance needs to be had in dealing with this kind of thing.
  • I thought Ximian would have dumped the apt-get source in favour of the Red Carpet channels but this is great! Kudos to Ximian.

    (Don't get me wrong, Red Carpet is great but console is nice too :-)

  • How does the latest Gnome compare to the latest KDE? I recently ditched my old Ximian Gnome desktop for KDE2 and I gotta say I'm fairly impressed. It seems much more responsive, and Konquerer absolutely smokes compared to Mozilla or Netscape 4.

    Any comments? I'd make this comparison myself if the Ximian servers weren't swamped right now...


  • Progeny Debian does this!

    If you have never checked it out, download it! []. It is just one ISO that can be easily be burnt to a CD. Easiest install ever. And in their config, you can set up X resolutions, color depths and stuff from the same gui config tool that does sounds, window managers, and stuff like that. Check it out!

  • True, I know that KDE and GNOME run a variety of platforms. However, on ALMOST all of the platforms, XFree86 is being used - on almost all versions of Linux and *BSD. As for everyone calling out "code bloat", I never said that they needed to be part of the main install, but I think that RedHat and others should be working hard to put KDE and GNOME compatible hardware configuration utilities on their distributions, and available for download for those of us running Linux with XFree86 (I'd say the majority, but I have no statistics).

    Sounds like Ximian has a project started. Seems to me that Ximian is the best company out there right now looking to make Linux more easily installed and configured (KDE setup is horrible, while Ximian GNOME is a breeze). I just hope they can stay in business.

  • by proxima ( 165692 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2001 @08:58AM (#268348)
    I just wish that GNOME and KDE would include XFree86 configuration utilities (like DrakConf for Mandrake does, only a bit cleaner). In addition, they should make a bigger deal of the latest version of linuxconf, which seems to be the most comprehensive hardware and service control. I still use netcfg by RedHat sometimes to set up Gateway and DNS info.

    My point here is, these application sets (KDE and GNOME) have been focusing almost entirely on configuration utilities for the GUI. The GNOME and KDE control-panels are useful only for changing simple things like backgrounds, themes, and keyboard shortcuts. If I were new to Linux, I'd be looking to these control panels to modify my screen resolution, set up my network (and network hardware), set up my sound card (I still use sndconfig sometimes), and other devices. A new user expects all system configuration to be in one place, like the Windows control panel. This was my experience when I first started using Linux about two years ago, and I had to do a fair amount of searching to find all of these little useful utilities (as well as editing config files manually) - like netcfg, sndconfig, Xconfigurator, linuxconf, etc. If nothing else, GNOME and KDE should include links and info about how and what to use to do these things.

    I may be incorrect on a few points and simply missed how KDE and/or GNOME handle a feature - in that case, I'd like to know. However, it's been my experience that GNOME and KDE can't be truly newbie-friendly without the ability to easily change hardware (and service) settings.
  • This is probably stated as flamebait, but it's a valid point. There's really no reason to run a Unix-like system unless your primary requirement is to have Unix-like capabilities at your disposal. Advocates ignore this message at your peril.

    Microsoft Interix, Cygwin. It's much easier to turn Windows into a facsimile of Unix than it is to turn Unix into a facsimile of Windows.
  • The main point is that both KDE and Gnome provide component environments. So does Mozilla. So does StarOffice. Maybe Emacs does too, I don't know.

    Now, if those component environments don't interoperate, you've screwed the user because they can't use Tool X with Application Y. This is an issue which, unlike the bloat of multiple similar environments, can't just be solved by faster CPUs and bigger disks.
  • It likes to barf on huge directories . . . But the Ximian desktop is super solid and great for beginners

    ok wait now...huge directories of mp3s? isn't that the stuff "beginners" have, all their mp3s lumped into one place? So it's gonna barf for the new users, so maybe that's not so great, and if it's barfing, is it really super solid? You've got me confused!

    . . .

  • A quantum is the max CPU time that is granted to a thread before it gets context switched. Context switching requires CPU time by itself, that means the smaller your quantum, the bigger overhead you get from context switching.
  • Akamai is one of the mirror site option, and usually the fastest for this Mid-Westerner. However, when I try to run helix-update (by clicking the can icon) it returns "Unable to download mirrors.xml". It looks like one of the bottlenecks is the server that reports what the mirror sites are.

    BTW, the situation has improved somewhat. Before I went to lunch an hour ago, it took a minute for that message to come up. Now it takes about 2 seconds to tell me it can't tell me what the mirrors are. That's about a 30x speed up - good job, Ximian!

  • The recommended install procudure (lynx -source|sh) does not work, presumably due to server load.

    Again, thats:

    lynx -source | sh

    It is working for me, right now. It did fail the first time, though. I ran it under X, in a terminal window, after running su (you have to run the script as superuser).

    It downloaded over Akamai as well, at about 70kbps, which is about the maximum my office pipe can take. I'm download the full install, which is about 150MB.

  • I thought Ximian had stopped helix-update service after releasing Red Carpet to replace it.

    This appears to be the case. In the previous version I was running, helix-update was used to update the system. In this new release, that I just installed, it has been replaced with Red Carpet. This installation finalizes the transition.

  • This is the fastest way to install X/G:

    lynx -source | sh

    I just tried this - you need to be the superuser, and it failed the first time, but it actually worked, when the graphical update tool did not. Very fast, as well - the Akamai downloads ran at about 70kbps.

  • by aussersterne ( 212916 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2001 @12:12PM (#268383) Homepage
    Why [don't] the developers find something better to copy from? Say, Mac OS.

    Because every time a Linux developer tries, Slashdot has to run a story called "Another Apple Cease-and-Desist."

    Anyway, how different can you really get from either when you're stuck with concepts like widgets, buttons, titlebars, windows, etc. -- and if you throw these out -- some paradigm for computing sans windows or buttons, for example -- who's going to use it?

    Certainly not end-users. If you don't give them a "Start" menu at this point, they're not going to get it. If you don't give them a window and a title bar, they certainly won't.

    I know, I know. We don't want Linux to be used. Only studied by the technically curious. And we don't care about Apple and it's copyrights. Anarchy! Anarchy! Down with the end-users! Down with the corporations! Rah! Rah! Rah!
  • by BlowCat ( 216402 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2001 @09:24AM (#268386)
    Why don't distribuations like Ximian suggest this change?
    Perhaps they are busy writing better software. But IBM is suggesting a very radical change that would eliminate jiffies completely. A good summary is here []
  • MonkeyTalk live support is touted on the front page - is this their version of Clippy? Please, say it isn't so....
  • It would have taken you less time to click the link than post a comment.

    Thanks for the link, but the site was slashdotted before I could read more.

  • KDE is fully capable of Anti-Aliasing. In fact, I'm posting this from Anti-aliased Konqueror right now. GNOME is not expected to be able to use AA until the next major version number change.

    To use AA you need XFree 4.X, QT 2.3.X, and a reasonably recent version of KDE. You also need a supported video card (I think almost all are supported now) and XFree needs to be configured a certain way (Render extension and the Freetype libraries need to be built). Some distros include all the things you need for AA in their packages, like Debian woody. Other distros sometimes require you to compile X yourself in order to get the Render extension and Freetype.

  • Linux desktop has been copying windows for years (the start button, task bar, tab pages...) and still looks ugly. Why the developers find something better to copy from? Say, Mac OS.

Karl's version of Parkinson's Law: Work expands to exceed the time alloted it.