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Inside Ximian 203

An anonymous reader writes "Linux and Main is running a story of a visit to Ximian headquarters and a talk with Nat Friedman, Miguel de Icaza, and Jon Perr about GNOME2, Ximian 2, and getting Linux onto the corporate desktop. Interesting and funny, with lots of details about the place and the guys."
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Inside Ximian

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  • by lakeland ( 218447 ) <> on Tuesday September 10, 2002 @04:51PM (#4231608) Homepage
    I've often wondered why people bother with ximian. Are the packages it releases any better than the ones released by gnome itself?

    Sure, it has a pretty autoupdate feature, but then so does debian and mandrake, and it can be added to redhat, .... And if you install it then your installation seems to be not quite compatible with a standard gnome install.

    I can see why people would install gnome2 over kde3, although I personally prefer kde, but why would you install ximian gnome over normal gnome?

    Is it yet another linux company that is going to crash and burn once it runs out of VC? Just what is there to encourage people to pay them money?

    Corrin (sounding really like a troll...)
  • by afidel ( 530433 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2002 @05:12PM (#4231772)
    two words: ximian connector This is a killer app for us as we are (unfortunately) transitioning to a unified messagin/calandering system based around exchange. While imap will work for messaging something like connector is needed for calandering.
  • by Skuld-Chan ( 302449 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2002 @05:23PM (#4231842)
    I don't think so really and they really only work on redhat variants. I've found that on debian it really trashes dependancies.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 10, 2002 @05:41PM (#4231981)
    [Ximian employee, but I can't find my login/pass ATM.]

    It's an old Sears building, and actually on the National Register of Historic Places. It's also a bit misleading- we've got one quarter of one floor of the place, not the whole damn thing. The picture used in the article manages to crop out that part of the building, even. :) So, yeah... wish we had enough cash to have the whole building. No serious danger of us buying out the Best Buy, the movie theater, or Blue Cross of Massachusetts yet.
  • by BlackBolt ( 595616 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2002 @06:44PM (#4232525) Homepage Journal
    Why should we all use the same kind of UI?

    Because the desktop model is the best one we have right now, just like cars all seem to have four wheels, even though they're all different models and colours, and clothing is all basically designed the same, and music typically follows the same patterns and rhythms.

    When somebody comes up with something more intuitive, 3-dimensional, or whatever, all the OSes will flock to it. But until someone figures it out, this is all we got. See what you can do. I've tried, and it always comes back to the current design, or thereabouts (title bars, icons, etc.). Any variation is usually weaker. I personally think that to evolve from this system, we have to ditch the monitor and get something else.


  • by ajs ( 35943 ) <ajs AT ajs DOT com> on Tuesday September 10, 2002 @07:09PM (#4232775) Homepage Journal
    I've often wondered why people bother with ximian.

    You seem to already know the answer to your own question. However, I will point out that the question in your subject line is not the same as this one. I "bother with" Ximian. I don't usually purchase it unless I have a specific need for media (which I've done once).

    Are the packages it releases any better than the ones released by gnome itself?

    Well, for starters, Ximian is more than just Gnome. Most people install Ximian because it's a little bit more "tuned" than the version of Gnome that comes with their OS (or, in the case of Solaris, because their OS does not come with Gnome by default at all). However, Ximian also includes many third-party programs that are not part of Gnome propper (e.g. Evolution, which is a Ximian app, not a Gnome app, and at least under Red Hat the Ximian version of Evolution is far more recent and less buggy than the one that comes with the OS). In the end, you probably won't up the overall package count on your machine by much when you install Ximian, but the quality of the installation will generally improve quite a bit (I know this is true for Debian and Red Hat; feel free to comment for your own OS).

    Sure, it has a pretty autoupdate feature, but then so does debian and mandrake, and it can be added to redhat

    Yep, it can be added to Red Hat quite easily: install Ximian.

    Just what is there to encourage people to pay them money?

    Businesses over a certain size cannot afford to use a desktop which is not maintained by someone else. Red Hat's desktop (and those of the other Linux vendors, from what I've seen) is ok, but generally unusable for anyone who isn't a developer. This leaves the choice of Ximian, MacOS or Winderz for most companies. I think we'll see a lot more MacOS going out onto corporate desktops, but Ximian's share will probably increase the most rapidly for the next couple of years (it's easier to tripple a user-base of 1000 than it is to tripple a user base of 100,000).

    The really interesting gating factor will be what the big Linux Vendors (especially Red Hat, but also Caldera and SuSE), Sun and HP will do with their desktop offerings. Sun could quickly consume the corporate science market, as there's already a big buy-in there. HP could take quite a bit of government seats, as they have some amazingly well entrenched deals with places like the DoT.

    And then there's Red Hat. I see Red Hat eating up the educational niche over the next 5-10 years. There's a lot of software that doesn't exist yet, but these places just can't afford to keep playing ball with MS.
  • by spitzak ( 4019 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2002 @07:34PM (#4233001) Homepage
    Why can't the open source desktop people come up with something innovative and useful instead of trying to build a cradle for all of the MS converts?

    A lot of responses here seem to say "it must look like MS for people to understand it" and assumme that "innovation" means totally different, like some sort of 3D interface. This is not what is needed, and I agree with the original poster in being unhappy with Gnome/KDE's windows-copying.

    Here are some ideas I would VERY much like to see:

    POINT TO TYPE!!!!!! Goddamm it, make it the default. Complete novices learn it very very quickly and it makes it almost impossible to return to a click-to-type system. This is the biggest way to get Linux converts. It also does not confuse Windows users, if when a new window openes or otherwise grabs the focus, you warp the pointer to the window.

    STOP RAISING WINDOWS WHEN YOU CLICK ON THEM. This is one of the biggest problems with the systems today (because both KDE and Gnome and even NT let you turn on point-to-type, even though it is not the default). This stupid behavior, which was eliminated in f**king 1982 by X11 (see X10 for the last version that did this), makes overlapping windows and the desktop metaphor completly useless because it is impossible to refer to one piece of data while working on another. Click-raising is also the reason for monstrosities like "MDI" and "paned windows", which seriously limit the ability to display large amounts of data in a window.

    RESIZE AND MOVE WINDOWS WITHOUT RAISING THEM! Here is a bit of cleverness from X11 history that seems to have gotten lost. If you click a window frame without moving, it raises. But if you move or resize it, it stays where it is! This can be done even if click-raises or click-to-type is left on.

    GET RID OF "LAYERS". This crap appeared with NeXTstep and refuses to go away. I WANT to put a window atop the toolbar. Just let me raise the toolbar by clicking on it. There, that wasn't too hard, was it? The only windows that should be forced to stay above others are "modal dialogs", and the ONLY thing they should do is be forced to lie above the windows they are blocking interaction to, they should have no effect on other applications.

    GET RID OF "APPLIACATION ACTIVATION". There is aboslutely no reason that all windows created by a program have to stick together in a layer. PLEASE make it possible to raise a dialog without raising the underlying window, so I can copy data from another window into it!

    You can try my window manager fltk [] for my attempts to do these ideas. It really isn't hard, in fact the window manager is much shorter than most.

  • by g4dget ( 579145 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2002 @09:26PM (#4233857)
    From a user-interface standpoint, we all pretty much drive the same car

    That's a predictable but wrong answer, and it shows the same blinders that people have when it comes to Windows. Professional cars (trucks, racecars, tanks, etc.) are very different from consumer cars. There is likewise no reason why software for professionals should look anything like consumer software. Asserting that it should is the same idiotic advertising machinery that sells cheap plastic thingies as "professional tools" to consumers who are eager to buy "the real thing".

    And even among consumer cars there is enormous variation: other than the steering wheel and two pedals, all the other user interface elements can be found almost anywhere within reach, in almost any arrangement.

Someday your prints will come. -- Kodak