Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×
Corel

A First Look At The Xandros Desktop 441

Gentu writes "OSNews has an exclusive article regarding the awaited Xandros Desktop. Xandros is the company who purchased the Corel Linux source code and rights, so in essense, this is the second generation of the once promising, Corel's Linux. OSNews previews beta 3b and they say that this distribution, along with Lycoris, Lindows (and possibly Red Hat 8), is the one to compete for the purely-for-the-desktop Linux market."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

A First Look At The Xandros Desktop

Comments Filter:
  • by whizzmo ( 239423 ) on Tuesday September 17, 2002 @11:17PM (#4278883)
    When showing off a new desktop, at least put a decent skin on Mozilla.

    I recommend Pinball [deskmod.com].

    Your preferences may differ.
    • Most likely the reason they left Mozilla with the old-style Netscape skin was that a vast majority of us are very familiar with it. I instantly associate that look with Netscape. If you want the desktop to look familiar to Windows users then a Netscape look-a-like browser is a good start.
      • by Ender Ryan ( 79406 )
        I instantly associate that look with Netscape

        That is exactly the problem! Why would anyone think it was a good idea for people to associate Mozilla with Netscape. Netscape used to be decent, but 4.x became a total disaster, devolving into a total bloatware mess, with an ugly interface to-boot. It got lost in a never-ending cycle of bugfixes and new bugs, slowly(quickly?) becoming more and more unstable, and never coming close to implementing any of the newer standards, etc.

        Why the Mozilla developers decided it would be a good idea to have that skin with those icons, and especially making it the default, I don't even want to guess. I consider that to be their biggest mistake. Everything else about Mozilla I really like, except that damn skin and it being the default, it just really upsets me, especially when I hear of people who throw Mozilla away and never give it a second chance JUST BECAUE OF THAT DAMN SKIN! People don't realize right away that they can change that, and they DO NOT want to use something that they think is still Netscape...

        </rant>

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 17, 2002 @11:19PM (#4278894)
    In screen shot 4 theres a resolution switcher ala windows where the hell has this been for the other distros?
    • I used to have my system setup so I could hit control,shift,+ or - and go up or down between my programmed modes.

      Great fun.
    • Even more interesting is the refresh rate switcher. That's certainly a sight for sore eyes.
    • The current RedHat beta also introduces a "resolution switcher"... I agree, it's about time!
    • Umm (Score:5, Interesting)

      by bogie ( 31020 ) on Wednesday September 18, 2002 @01:18AM (#4279353) Journal
      that's been around since Corel put it there in their original Corel Linux. I've been pointing that out to both users and distros for years now how easy it was to change to resolution and refresh rate in Corel linux and yet to this day I've been ignored.

      That's one thing that drives me nuts about the linux distros. Clearly each one of them has one or more features that they do better than any other distro. Yet for each distro they all go their own way and going from distro to distro you end up getting 50 different apps that do the same thing. As another example, why isn't Mandrake's font importer used in every linux distro? It's been around forever and is the easiest way to get your windows fonts on your linux box.Even Debian who just NOW is starting to work on a GUI installer when working gpl GUI installers based on Debian have been around for years. The day Stormix and Corel came out is the day Debian should have been picking the best GPL pieces out and using them.

      Unfortunatly this appears to be the "linux way" at least when it comes to desktop apps and config tools. And Yes IMHO we are reinventing the wheel over and over by not cherry picking and then using the best GPL apps. Is my view oversimplied? Yes. But is foolish pride preventing say Redhat from using some of Mandrake's better GUI tools? Who knows.

      I thought one of the benefits to the GPL was code Darwinism?

      • The day Stormix and Corel came out is the day Debian should have been picking the best GPL pieces out and using them.

        Uhm, Debian is not a business. The only 'customer' worth anything are the people working on the distribution themselves, and for the most part (even now) a fancy gui installer is not a priority.

        When you're buying redhat, or mandrake, or one of those other rpm based crappy distributions, your handing over of money gives you certain rights to moan and bitch about the priorities of development for the distribution, but for things like Debian, or Gentoo, or any of the others that don't even attempt to be a business, submit your code or keep your yap shut.
      • Re:Umm (Score:5, Insightful)

        by evbergen ( 31483 ) on Wednesday September 18, 2002 @03:26AM (#4279729) Homepage
        I thought one of the benefits to the GPL was code Darwinism?
        Oh, and you thought that when an individual of an evolving species picked up a nice feature, all the other members instantaneously picked it up as well and implemented it in exactly the same way? You think evolution happened in a straight line?

        I think what you're seeing is very healthy behaviour. Everyone thinks that he can do slightly better than the other guy who has already done it. Of course, only 5 % will be right in that assessment, but who cares as long as in the end it does improve the state of the art.

        People should be cautious not to suffer too much from a 'not invented here' syndrome, but reinventing the weel once in a while isn't bad at all if that makes a better mousetrap.
      • Re:Umm (Score:5, Insightful)

        by kigrwik ( 462930 ) on Wednesday September 18, 2002 @03:46AM (#4279793)
        > Even Debian who just NOW is starting to work on a GUI installer when working gpl GUI installers
        > based on Debian have been around for years.

        No GPL-based GUI installer available for "production" meets the requirements for Debian: *mostly* the 11 architectures Debian supports (all spinoffs concentrated mostly on i386), but some other things too, like being able to scale between newbie and guru. Most GUI installers cater to the needs of the newbies, or the ones that don't need absolute control, but some people need more and they can find it in the current installer.

        Debian users have different expectations from Debian software than the users of other distros.

        In particular, NO ARCHITECTURE IS SUPERIOR TO THE OTHERS, it's true for the installer, for X, and for pretty much everything else. So an installer either works for all architectures, or it's not the official installer. See the amount of work done to port PGI.

        I hope that makes it a bit clearer.
      • Re:Umm (Score:3, Insightful)

        by egghat ( 73643 )
        I have to agree wholeheartly.

        Look at PartDrake from Mandrake -- Good tool, noone but Mandrake uses it.
        Look at HardDrake from Mandrake --> Good hardware detection (one of the main problems for Linux), noone but Mandrake supports it.
        Look at apt4rpm --> wonderful stuff from Connectiva, noone but Connectiva uses it.

        This is a real shame.

        But the thing I miss most: Something as userfriendly as Mandrake based on .deb.

        Bye egghat.
    • by G-funk ( 22712 ) <josh@gfunk007.com> on Wednesday September 18, 2002 @01:43AM (#4279427) Homepage Journal
      Unfortunately, the biggest problem with various distros, is most of them suffer from the worst kind of Not-Invented-Here syndrome :(

      We need a distro that just selects the best parts of others (say apt from debian, installer from redhat, etc etc), and start from a "best of breed" (god forgive me for using that phrase) linux and work from there.

    • Jeez, there was a lot of static about this Eugenia person a few days ago in the story about her review of Yast2, and man, now I understand ... how serious can you take anyone using a Voodoo 5 card, for christs sake?!
    • In screen shot 4 theres a resolution switcher ala windows where the hell has this been for the other distros?

      CTRL-ALT-KP_MINUS and CTRL-ALT-KP_PLUS ?
      Been around in X for quite some time.

      Or am I missing something?
  • I'm personally sick of my parents complaining about how slow their computer is, even though they only use it for e-mail and web browsing. I have been wanting to get them off of Windows 98 for a long time now, but since they are so computer illiterate, I have been afraid to. This could very well be the OS that will get the away from Windows. We'll see.

    The point is that this isn't necessarily the right distro for us, but it could very well be for our parents/grandparents/sons/daughters/alien sex fiends.

    As usual, just my dos centavos.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 17, 2002 @11:26PM (#4278937)
    I can see it now--there will be a deluge of posts here from people debating whether Linux should look like Windows, how wildly configurable the UI should be, etc.

    But this completely misses the point. The thing that's keeping Linux off the desktops of all those millions of Windows users is the lack of compatibility with the programs that those users want to run. Got a way to run all of MS Office, including all macros, keyboard shortcuts, etc.? How about Quicken? How about the stack of games the user or his/her kid has at home? How about the one text editor that the user finally found that he or she likes (and without having to spend hours reconfiguring a Linux editor to mimic it)?

    All the pretty UI work in the world won't make any difference at all to users if the system won't run what they think is important.

    • You're absolutly correct. Sort of. Correct me if I am wrong, but doese'nt WINE give emulate a windows environment and allow the execution of many win32 apps? Also, many newbs and kids still in grade school have a shot at starting out on the alterternatives like OpenOffice or the KOffice suite if they are activly developed and contributed to by companies like Corel.

      Inovate, Don't Imitate.
      • You're absolutly correct. Sort of. Correct me if I am wrong, but doese'nt WINE give emulate a windows environment and allow the execution of many win32 apps? Also, many newbs and kids still in grade school have a shot at starting out on the alterternatives like OpenOffice or the KOffice suite if they are activly developed and contributed to by companies like Corel.


        yes.. but its so friggin hard to make a lot of programs work, it isnt feasable to expect anyone not in the scene to do it themselves.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Precisely! It can look like Windows all it wants, the fact is, Linux != Windows, it doesn't run Windows binaries, and there will be an infinite number of places where the "it's Windows, really" delusion/illusion falls flat on its face.

      Frankly, I'm unsure that sending someone who is used to Windows this distro is any good -- they get confused, think Linux is just like windows, find out it doesn't quite work like they expected, doesn't run half their programs, emulates the other half with half-assed versions from vendors that truly don't give a shit, and then decide that "Linux sucks."

      When I switched to Linux from Windows 2000, I ran Blackbox with bbpager and the "operations" theme. Was it entirely different? Yes. And no shit, it's a different OS, with differing apps. What did you expect?

      Xandros claims to target Windows users. But if you really want Windows, go run the real thing, please! If (when) you're truly ready to try something different, cast away your previous ideas about what a computer can do and how it should respond to you, and try out a different way of interacting with your machine!
    • by Sanity ( 1431 ) on Wednesday September 18, 2002 @01:20AM (#4279356) Homepage Journal
      If the initial theme is good - nobody should need to change it. I recently installed the Redhat 8.0 beta, and decided to stick with the default theme which is attractive and consistent, my only minor gripe being that it would be nice if they found a matching theme for Mozilla (they managed to do this with Xmms).

      I have long believed that the obsession with themability is a huge red-herring, and is totally unnecessary in a desktop OS. Select an attractive consistent theme for the various themeable applications, and 99.9% of users won't need to change it.

    • I think the point is to make something presentable. If it runs everything the user wants, but behaves like Win95 I don't think the end user is going to be as happy either. There are alternatives to many apps out there that are pretty decent. And really, most home users, the desktop sitting there in the family room user, probably don't care much about full macro support for their word processor. That's businessy stuff. They want something that will let them do what they need, most likely web and email with some light word processing and maybe some other stuff. Important stuff like solitare or minesweeper.

      That said, the screenshots on that page looked absolutely god-awful. I wouldn't let that theme sit there for a second. I personally don't care if it looks like windows or not, but the screenshots looked like the desktop was a cold, lifeless thing, not something I would want peeking out around my apps. If you're pushing pretty UI work like you say won't make a difference, at least do that well. I think that without both usability and a bit of aesthetics you're going to lose users. Not many Joe-users I know want to their desktop to look like its going backwards, regardless of how progressive it may really be under the hood.

    • LOL, that's a good pick of apps you've got there.



      Codeweavers/Transgaming Wine does every single one of them. It does Office, it's in beta testing for Quicken, it plays games, and it runs TextPad which is imho the best Windows text editor.



      Windows compatability gets better every single week. Just read the kernel cousins!

      • Windows compatability gets better every single week.

        Does Microsoft give Office technical support for WINE installs?

        Why run it in an emulator at all when you could run the real thing?

        If you're willing to shell out for the Office suite, why aren't you willing to buy or use the OS?

        And Win2k *is* stable.

        • Hmm, obvious troll, but here goes anyway, just in case someone that's not already totally cynical about these issues is reading...

          Does Microsoft give Office technical support for WINE installs?

          No. But it doesn't charge for it either. If you want the benefits of *nix without the enslavement of The Microsoft Way, and you *must* have 100% compatibility with your colleague's MS apps, it's a no-brainer. (Anyway, have you personally ever actually tried to get any of the 'support' that's offered with MS consumer products?)

          Why run it in an emulator at all when you could run the real thing?

          Just because you must run Office for some reason doesn't mean you have to pay for software that you don't want or need, particularly when that software is deficient in ways that are significant to you.

          If you're willing to shell out for the Office suite, why aren't you willing to buy or use the OS?

          Why would I buy a product that I don't want, and that can't do the job I want satisfactorily? Would you buy an Intel web-cam just because you've got a Pentium CPU on your mobo?

          And Win2k *is* stable.

          If by that you mean that it's more stable than its predecessors then yes, there's no doubt at all. If, however, you mean that it's capable of staying up under load for months or years at a time, of having its major services patched on the run without a reboot, and of having its source-code analysed line-by-line by a customer until an unreported bug is found and cured... well... do I have to draw a picture for you?

          • Maybe I *am* cynical. Or maybe I haven't been brainwashed that WINE on Linux is the universal panacea :-p

            This story's about *desktop* installs. Win2k makes a very good desktop. It does everything you'd expect of a desktop machine. You can get all the usual suspect GNU utilities ported to it. I don't need my desktop to stay up under load for months or years. I can patch almost everything without reboot, barring a handful of shared libraries or in-use drivers. I know it runs Office as well as anything because Microsoft will have QAed Office on it. I don't expect to have to trawl through the source line-by-line if there's a problem - that's why people pay MS for their software. It's not commercially sensible that I have to maintain the source of the OS I'm using in work time when we can shift that burden for a few hundred bucks a seat.

            I haven't *needed* to use MS support since 1994. We had a Win3.11 network problem. They were very helpful.

  • No offense... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Wakko Warner ( 324 ) on Tuesday September 17, 2002 @11:29PM (#4278947) Homepage Journal
    ...but why is it that every Linux Desktop Environment invariably looks like Windows 98?

    - A.P.
    • Re:No offense... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by VivianC ( 206472 )
      ...but why is it that every Linux Desktop Environment invariably looks like Windows 98?

      Simple, so you don't have to retrain every secretary in the office on how to find a word processor. A better question might be "Why does every Windows OS look like Apple's from 1985?" Have we really reached the apex of GUI design?
    • Re:No offense... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Foaf ( 1882 )
      like windows 98 but with shittier fonts. Those screenshots didn't exactly scream "use me!".
    • by Zork the Almighty ( 599344 ) on Wednesday September 18, 2002 @02:02AM (#4279479) Journal
      ...but why is it that every Linux Desktop Environment invariably looks like Windows 98?

      Because if you show people an OS with a more efficient interface AND it doesn't crash, they will just freak out. That's why Macs have such a low market share, as soon as people see one, they go running out the door screaming for help.

      I'm sure someone can do something good with THAT...
    • Blackbox looks like Windows? Could have fooled me.
    • Sigh... Why is it everyone thinks *NIX desktops looks like Windows?

      Windowmaker, Blackbox, Enlightenment, XFCE. No comparison. Let's move on...

      IceWM. Okay, there is a resemblance. I suspect it's deliberate. Let's move on...

      The big two desktops on *Nix: KDE and GNOME. What exactly makes them look like Windows as opposed to Mac, OS/2, BeOS, CDE, etc?

      As near as I can tell, it's because they have icons on the desktop, a panel on the bottom, a root menu on the panel, and window decorations with min/max/close buttons. But that's like complaining that Fords look like Chryslers because they both have hoods, trunks and steering wheels.

      Looking at OS/2, Mac, CDE, BeOS, and QNX, I find that they all have those same elements. Some of them had them before Windows did. Some of those elements even predate DOS!
    • yeah... like XFCE :-)

      http://www.xfce.org/snapshots.html#TOP

      Seriously though I agree, this just looks like a bad attempt at copying windows and looks worse than normal KDE into the bargain.
  • Well... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by NamShubCMX ( 595740 )
    I'm not sure I love the look, but it seems I found the distro I'm gonna install on my parents' box...
  • windows 98 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ottothecow ( 600101 )
    looking like windows 98 is fine for someone who WANTS to change and needs a nice learning curve

    but, this is so close that an average user might just look at it and think, "this looks a lot like windows, it must be a cheap knockoff and probobly crashes even more" and then the same person might look at osX and think "this is pretty cool looking and I have heard a lot about this and its nothing like the windows gui, it must also crash a lot less"

    maybe if there was a newbie installer that gave the user a 5 minute or so period in several different gui's in which they were assigned a few simple tasks to complete (open a word proccessor, find some settings, go to a web pate, etc.) then they would have something to base their choice on in a friendly manner

  • by Zapdos ( 70654 ) on Tuesday September 17, 2002 @11:33PM (#4278966)
    "Also, the "About KDE" is not there anymore on the KDE applications, but there is an "About Xandros" in place. "

    They also changed the default look of KDE to be more like windows 98.

  • by prockcore ( 543967 ) on Tuesday September 17, 2002 @11:34PM (#4278967)
    Look at the screenshots. It uses Mozilla instead of Konqueror as the default web browser. They changed all the icons, and, to quote the article, "the 'About KDE' is not there anymore on the KDE applications, but there is an 'About Xandros' in place."

    So where is the uproar from all the KDE devs? Why aren't they making outrageous claims like "Xandros is trying to kill KDE"? Xandros did *exactly* the same things as RedHat.
    • The uproar with Redhat was the removal of the *application* about boxes, not the generic about KDE box. The uproar was about renaming crucial services so that KDE destabilized. The uproar was about significant changes the KDE source without renaming the packages or redirecting the bug reports to KDE.

      There was NEVER an uproar over a new widget style or new icons. Xandros is NOT doing the same thing as Redhat.

      Why don't you actually find out from the KDE developers what their beef was instead of blindly accepting Redhat's second hand perception of what their beef was.
  • Corel Linux SE was a nice distro and it was easy to connect to windows networks. After seeing the shots here, it seems the changes are minimal physically. It's still at beta though, and it can't even be compared with something like Lycoris. However, how will app installation be? That's the big waterloo of Introductory linux desktops.
  • Unrecognizeable KDE? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by phatvibez ( 518108 )
    I HATE when distro's like this totally change kde to the point where it is unrecognizeable...it's stupid and there is no point...face it! you are not running windows you are running Linux...I can imagine kde loses a LOT of functionality when they do this which is also another downside. KDE by itself, especially in 3.x is awesome and can get by on it's own without being totally wrecked like this.

    they should help kde by helping to add functionality, features, useabilty, squashing bugs, etc...not doing something like this that is totally unproductive.
    (but they won't...didn't corel and the kde community have beef because corel didn't give back any of it's changes to KDE?)

    if they want to make a distinction between themselves and other distro's do it with your wizards, config tools, hardware support, installation, updating features, etc.
    this is much more productive.

    most of the "new" features in xandros, for example the showing of your
    mounted drives and such, are easily done (and probably better) without totally wrecking KDE.

    there just isn't a point to trashing kde to make it look like windows, add functionality is one thing...totally changing it is another

    on top of that they introduce an unnecessary learning curve for people who want to then explore other linux distro's
  • by htb ( 102691 ) on Tuesday September 17, 2002 @11:54PM (#4279052)
    This just might be the one, but I still can't figure out why, after all these years, there hasn't been a 100% graphical distro available.

    I'm not talking about ditching the CLI, but there should be a distro that focuses entirely on the GUI and GUI-based tools rather than requiring vi/emacs-esque configuration. I'm talking DHCP and routing configuration, firewall rulesets, you name it. I'm talking about an OSX-like distro for linux. I still haven't seen one that even comes close, and I'm running just about all of 'em.

    Let's face it, linux has suffered in the desktop market for just this reason. Yes, most linux users are very proficient and some would prefer to use the shell for everything, but I know many many powerusers who just want to focus on their work, not on hacking out scripts and config files to get a lan up and running.

    The argument against a graphical distro has been in favor of supporting old hardware, and that's fine- go grab debian or something. But nowadays, most folk have more than enough processor and graphics power- why not throw them a distro too?
  • by dbarclay10 ( 70443 ) on Tuesday September 17, 2002 @11:57PM (#4279065)
    Seriously. I've been seeing this more and more. NewsForge and linux.com, in particular, are pretty bad for this.

    You see a review, and it says something like: "the big players in the Linux "purely-desktop market" are Lycoris, Lindows, ELX and the much awaited Xandros".

    Good god! Mandrake, anybody? What they really mean is "the big players who may actually give us money to review their products are Lycoris, Lindows, ELX, and Xandros".

    Absolutely pitiful. I see gobs and gobs of sites reviewing commerical *nix software these days, COMPLETELY IGNORING the more stable, mature, full-featured, robust, and easier-to-use open source/free software alternatives.

    OSNews hasn't been as bad for this, in my experience, but I'm going to be watching very closely from now on.
  • by mbourgon ( 186257 ) on Tuesday September 17, 2002 @11:58PM (#4279069) Homepage
    1) Work on those taskbar icons. Y'all can do better.
    2) PLEASE let there be an easy "Internet Sharing" wizard.
  • by '57 ( 609486 )
    I just wanna know if Xandros will have the cute little plastic Tux included in the box like Corel did!
  • by krokodil ( 110356 ) on Wednesday September 18, 2002 @12:32AM (#4279201) Homepage
    http://www.xandros.com/linux.html :

    As a software company in the Linux space, Xandros benefits from and recognizes the phenomenal contributions of the following groups (to name a few): The Linux Kernel Archive, The GNU Project ... Slashdot .

    I wonder what Slashdot contribution is: first posts of idea bewoulf clustering?

  • Why Win9x style? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by gotr00t ( 563828 )
    One of the very minor reasons why I switched to Linux some time back was because I didn't like the look of M$ Windows. It was ugly, blocky, and generally gave me hardly any options to customise the widget and window decoration, which is what I like about KDE. It allows me to do that, plus a lot more stuff which Windows dosen't even hint at. Purely at a desktop OS stance, I feel that they made a bad choice going for the Win9x look, as it looks repulsive and just gives a bad feel to the distro, as it appears to be a cheap ripoff. Many people have labeled KDE a Windows Desktop clone, which I do not believe, as it is FAR superior to the Windows desktop. It supports applets in the panel, and the panel looks much better when it's in normal mode, and not small mode (like in the screenshots). This distro only heightens their claim. A good solution is not to try and clone the Windows desktop, but rather to make something better than it.
  • by mkldev ( 219128 ) on Wednesday September 18, 2002 @12:54AM (#4279274) Homepage
    I'm probably going to get modded down for this, but.... :-)

    It occurs to me that what the Linux community needs is not another hacked-up KDE knock-off, but a real ground-up GUI. By GUI, I don't mean an X11 WM, I mean a complete GUI. Some lessons can be learned from Mac OS X's graphics system.

    Point 1: Dump X11 entirely. It's a lot easier to write libraries to display X11 apps in a different environment than it is to make X11 into a modern graphics environment. Its development began 18 years ago (released 14 years ago), and frankly, its age shows, both in performance and in functionality.

    Point 2: OpenGL compositing a la Quartz Extreme. Windows become patterns mapped onto a plane. 3D graphics are tightly integrated into the same screen model.

    Point 3: With the exception of bitmaps (which you map as a pattern), draw all the 2d windows using 3d primitives, say as a variant of splines that have thickness, located just in front of a 2d plane.

    I'm not sure how hard this would be, but the basic thinking behind this idea is to take a traditional PDF or PostScript-style bezier curve model and map it into 3d primitives so that it can be rendered in hardware.

    I suspect that such a design may go farther than is practical given current graphics hardware speeds, but if someone were to write such software, eventually the hardware would catch up and such a thing would then become practical, assuming it isn't already.

    Point 4: Do not use a client-server model. It made sense in 1984. It doesn't make sense in 2002. Most people don't have graphical terminals connected to big centralized servers these days. A client-server model can easily be grafted onto a local model if it is designed correctly. By contrast, local communication via a client-server model tends to cause a speed penalty.

    Before you ask, no, I don't have the time to design such a system, and it would be a conflict of interest if I did. That having been said, I certainly think it would be cool if someone pulled it off.... :-)

    • by rhysweatherley ( 193588 ) on Wednesday September 18, 2002 @02:45AM (#4279611)
      Those who don't understand X are doomed to re-invent it ... poorly.

      Point 1: Dump X11 entirely. It's a lot easier to write libraries to display X11 apps in a different environment than it is to make X11 into a modern graphics environment. Its development began 18 years ago (released 14 years ago), and frankly, its age shows, both in performance and in functionality.
      X11 has great performance. Unfortunately, few toolkits use it well. It works best when you think of it as a stream: you send asynchronous requests to the display server and it handles them, responding with asynchronous events. As soon as you make a request to the display server that requires a synchronous response, performance is gone.
      Point 2: OpenGL compositing a la Quartz Extreme. Windows become patterns mapped onto a plane. 3D graphics are tightly integrated into the same screen model.
      Point 3: With the exception of bitmaps (which you map as a pattern), draw all the 2d windows using 3d primitives, say as a variant of splines that have thickness, located just in front of a 2d plane.
      Berlin was doing this. Ain't exactly taking over the world at the moment. 99% of all apps don't require anything more fancy than 2D drawing primitives and a few icon pixmaps. For every canvas-based, client-side, anti-aliased app I've seen, I've seen 10 boring apps written by people who understand X11 that perform 10 times better.
      Point 4: Do not use a client-server model. It made sense in 1984. It doesn't make sense in 2002. Most people don't have graphical terminals connected to big centralized servers these days. A client-server model can easily be grafted onto a local model if it is designed correctly. By contrast, local communication via a client-server model tends to cause a speed penalty.
      Client/server is fundamental to the design of both Unix and X11. Try this: administer your parent's Windows or Mac machine from your home 100 miles away, as though you were sitting right there. Can't do it? Now try this: install Linux. Ssh in and type linuxconf. There's a reason why this works in Unix systems: clear separation of client from server.

      The speed penalty only happens because people don't use X11 asynchronously, or they try to use it in raw bitmap mode instead of learning what all those pesky XDrawLine, XDrawString, etc functions do.

      • > X11 has great performance. Unfortunately, few toolkits use it well. It works best when you think of it as a stream: you send asynchronous requests to the display server and it handles them, responding with asynchronous events.

        Asynchronous request are good for performance, but bad for responsiveness.
        A Berlin-like scheme where the server can show the pop-up etc should have better responsiveness.

        > 99% of all apps don't require anything more fancy than 2D drawing primitives and a few icon pixmaps.

        What's your point ?
        The idea is to be able to have real transparency, independency of resolution GUI not especially fancy effects.

        As for Berlin not taking over the world: why are you using Linux?
        It is not currently taking over the world!

        > client/server is fundamental to the design of both Unix and X11. Try this: administer your parent's Windows or Mac machine from your home 100 miles away, as though you were sitting right there. Can't do it?

        AFAIK remote GUI can be done in Windows with VNC, so it shows that you can have fast,responsive local GUI and remote GUI at the same time.
        Just don't use X11.

      • X11 has great performance. Unfortunately, few toolkits use it well.

        Could you please tell us which toolkits use X11 well - this would be very useful for future reference.

        I've seen 10 boring apps written by people who understand X11 that perform 10 times better.

        Again any examples - preferably open source - I would like to try them out and see how they work?
      • The problems with X that people have are really not the fault of X11, but instead XFree86.

        Want to know the number 1 reason a Linux box freezes? XFree86 !

        Ever seen X-win32, or other X servers for Windows? That's what I want on Linux. What this gives us is an abstraction of display layer and X server, which means that X would probably never have the power to bring the system down.

        Instead, the graphics / display layer would be handled by DirectFB (http://www.directfb.org/). I can go on about the many reasons why this is a better model:

        1) With the Linux Framebuffer (and DirectFB), we use the kernel for our graphics driver, which is something we should have been doing all along. Ever tried to combine XFree86 and svgalib? or the framebuffer? It's shaky ground, and most often results in a loud *BOOM*. With the kernel managing all of your video and actually knowing what the hell is going on means much better video stability.

        2) On a similar note, DirectFB also uses whatever mouse you have setup in your kernel. No config files, it just works.

        3) The Linux Framebuffer does not require root access to use. Rather, you just chmod your /dev/fb device. Easy! Why are we running around with XFree86 as setuid root?

        4) Applications can access the local video directly for fast graphics access, and if they want they could use X also. This is the opposite of the current design, which is that you are always remote and you have to "ask" for local priveledge. Does anyone else find it totally backasswards that Quake requires X11 to run?

        In short, don't dump X. But I say reorganize this whole display layer mess. We really can have our cake and eat it too. Just look at X-win32... and MacOS X....

        DirectFB is really looking cool. I'm actually using it right now for my X display (and I'm only running X apps, so I'm not really gaining any accel at the moment). All in all, the DirectFB desktop is still not yet ready for prime time, but I'll be waiting :)
    • I agree with most of your points except about client-server. Client-server is actually one of the fastest ways to get things done because it is naturally multi-threaded. Check up on what the most advanced graphics cards have on them before you say that client-server is obsolete (hint a "graphics processer" which is (in X terms) a SERVER!!!)

      Basically a correctly designed client/server requires many ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE fewer context switches to get data on the screen. Not a measly 2 or 3 like people claim kernel servers give you, I'm talking about a reduction of 10000 times in system overhead. The reason is that it is trivial to batch requests together.

      The known problem with client-server is latency. This has to be addressed anyway if you want any kind of remote interaction, even if it is supposed to be an add-on like VNC. Also everybody doing network programming is well aware of latency, and latency between the program and the screen ain't so bad if there is also latency between

      The other problem with X is incredibly bad design such that many of the calls require a round-trip synchronization with the server. If you want to draw in arbitrary color c you must send c to the server, wait for it to respond with a "color cell" n and send n as the current color, and then you are ready to draw a thousand line segments in that color. But if you want to draw 1000 line segments in different colors, suddenly you have 2000 times more system overhead than before! Of course you could cache the colors, but that just shows the bad design of X so that you have to write complex stuff on the local end to talk to it. Any sensible design would take the original color c directly to set the color. (of course my description is simplified, but X is loaded with this crap).

      PostScript was originally designed to be a 3-D system with perspective projection (I'm not sure if they intended to do depth buffer, probably not). 3D projections should not be much overhead if you have a bit that detects it so you use the 2D pipeline when possible. Some hardware will do a 4x4 perspective matrix multiply as fast as a 2x3 PostScript matrix, so it may not matter.

      Variable-width splines are best handled at the near end. A more efficient communication would be to send the outline of the resulting fill area.

      Pixmaps (what I think you meant by "bitmap") should be 3D as well, drawing them should be transformed through the 3D projection so that each pixel is a 1x1 square in the input coordianate space with z=0. All 3D graphics hardware can do this easily, it's what texture mapping is.

      "Windows" could be off-screen images that you draw, using the normal graphics, and these are then mapped through 3D transformations and comped on the screen, giving you not only overlapping with transparency but the ability to distort windows arbitrarily without messing up programs that assumme they can read the bits back.

    • Your heart is in the right place, but there is something fundamental that you are missing. A GUI can only be as clean and understandable as the information it is trying to convey. Putting a pretty GUI on linux just serves to point out how totally non-intuitive most of Linux is for the home user.

      I think it is time for a radical fork. Desktop Linux.

      Desktop Linux would put everything you would normally find on the first level of your hard drive into a "system" folder in a "linux" folder. That linux folder would also hold the configuration and kernel utilities that are normally hidden from anything but a command prompt call. It would assume root status for specific actions of the local user if prompted by dialog box, and would auto-mount any drive it was given. There would be no remote administration utilities. A more crash-resistant low level format for the hard drive would have to be chosen, as would many, many little utilities. Nothing would require the command line. And of course, (the impossible) binary compatibility with existing Linux apps would have to be preserved.

      No, I don't think it is possible either, and I rather think the better idea is to help invest in OpenBE or another desktop-oriented Open Source project.

      Linux, not surprisingly, still isn't a desktop-oriented OS project.
  • A note to all Linux interface designers:
    Most users have a trouble enough with one desktop to worry about - stop putting a desktop switcher in the taskbar by default!

    Multiple desktops are cool _if_ you know what you're doing, but even experienced users take some adjusting at first, and if you have trouble w/ computers as it is then the desktop switcher just serves to take up space and scare the sh!t out of you all at the same time.

    that being said I'm psyched about the gui resolution control

  • Hmmm..
    I wonder how many of people feel that way.....
    Here's one more likely: "I hate Windows..I have never heard of Linux".
    Maybe this distribution will help both of these phrases.
  • Sweet! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Erpo ( 237853 )
    When you reboot, everything is in graphical mode, you don't see any kernel or init messages going on, but rather the Xandros logo animating in the screen while loading the OS. I should point out that in the beginning you get three options, to load the OS in normal mode, safe mode or expert configuration mode (just in case something gone wrong you can actually see the text messages from the booting procedure).

    Finally, a linux distro has (by default) hidden those hundreds of lines of text that come up every time the system boots. For the average linux newbie, they do nothing but create confusion and panic. "Was that an error message that just flew by?" "What does that mean?" "Hmm...2645 bogomips? Will I need to remember that later?"...and so on.

    I'm not saying they're not useful; in fact, they can be a life saver. Without all those printk's and init messages, it would be awfully hard or even impossible to diagnose and fix many problems. There's just no reason for them to be there when everything's working properly.
    • You are right. I can find out what I need to know by pressing ESC when Windows 98 boots. One line, saying like "press ESC now to see what's happening" would be fine, and everyone sees pretty clouds.

      Sometimes I watch that UNIX shit go by on the screen and I think that in the old days, no one would ever see that shit go by because the cold electron gun in the display took like three minutes to warm up.
  • by PsyQ ( 87838 ) on Wednesday September 18, 2002 @04:33AM (#4279922) Homepage
    From their "So Secure [xandros.com]" page:

    "Secure means users are less prone to virus attacks and security breeches as well as the down time, damage, and inconvenience they cause."

    With Windows, I always felt claustrophobic below the waistline. Now that Xandros got rid of my pants, I can truly be free again. Thank you, Xandros, in the name of the entire office.
  • If the averege user is ever gonna use Linux it has to be a distribution out there for the newbie. If they use it and later feel the would like something harder/more configurable there are dozens of very good distros to try later on. As a beginners dist i think Xandros seems pretty good and it might even work handy dandy for regular users too.

    No matter what we personally think about these distros they have a huge benefit for us who are a bit more advanced in linux. Something that many übernerds tend to forget is that with comercialism we also get some benefits as a spinoff.

    A bigger userbase gives us better drivers, more comercial apps and overall better support for linux and i cant imagine that being bad. If they fsck up then adios amigos with them and we pick something else to use.

    The diversity of linux is what makes it great and thats something we really should hold precious. Not to the expence of compability. Stick to the LSB and we should be just fine even with thousands of different distributions.
  • .. dear god my eyes hurt!

    Seriously though, couldn't they have come up with better icons than this? Even completely reusing some of KDEs or GNOMEs work would have been better. It just looks horrible.

    I do understand why they have tried to make it as windowsish as possible, but having it look like a very unprofessional unpolished version of Windows does it no good at all imho.
  • It tries to be a windows rippoff, forfeighting all that would make people give up the Windows Platform for Linux!
    Why don't these guys have the gutts to take a perfect linux setup with added usability and all (f.e. Fluxbox WM default behaviour) cool looking Themes and just close the holes that are then left over (crappy fonts on Linux, office package, textmessage bootup and shutdown)?
    Why the hell does everybody in the buisness consider M$ the reference for end user usability (which is - mind you - utter bullshit)???
    Do a mac rippoff if you will - but this grey in grey Win98 copycat? I'm gonna recomend Windoze migrators SuSE 8 Pro as the Linux n00by choice. It might suck as update, but the install is grafical all the way trough to bootup and shutdown and, damn, it may be green but it shure looks cool.
  • Great, another desktop interface for Linux.

    The more the better, right? ...hmm...actually...ahem...I'll go back to OS X now.

    blakespot

"I got everybody to pay up front...then I blew up their planet." "Now why didn't I think of that?" -- Post Bros. Comics

Working...