Which Desktop Environment?


OMG!Ubuntu is running a poll on what desktop environment linux users are using

The results are actually quite surprising on two counts…

  1. Gnome 3 is actually quite high with over 28% of the vote (over 4000 users). Even though you have to install it separately in Ubuntu 11.04 and 11.10.
  2. Gnome legacy is surprisingly low (lower than XCFE and KDE) for all the fuss about moving forward…
I know its not anything scientific but its a good sign… not quite sure what it says about Unity?

Revolutionising your desktop one step at a time

Desktop Agosto 2011

Recently I’ve had the joy of taking the tram into work everyday. I keep meaning to buy a monthly pass but having to get a photocard done at the GMPTE (greater manchester transport, like TFL is to London) but forget. Anyway some people may have noticed I’m tweeting a lot of links and passages from my Kindle. This only works due to the wifi hotspot on my rooted HTC desire, because of course the Trams don’t have wifi but have the advantage of being above ground and crossing Manchester City centre.

One of the posts I read via Linux Magazine was about the design choices going into the next generation desktops.

The post talks about the outrage by different communities involved with the next generation of desktops.

This is something I feel very strongly about because of my disdain of Ubuntu’s unity desktop. I understand some of the reasons which make it opinionated software but it doesn’t mean I have to like it 🙂 So I switched to using the very much beta Gnome3 desktop which is a breath of fresh air but also has problems (even on my new thinkpad x220).

At work I tend to switch between the two because I’m driving a 24″ full HD display along side my laptop screen, so keep logging in and out for reasons I’ll explain another day.

In the post, it talks about how Gnome3, Ubuntu Unity and KDE4 have had problems because they all have made some difficult changes. But to be honest this is consistent with Microsoft Windows 8’s move into Metro and OSX’s move into a more iOS type platform. All are tricky and full of people upset and confused.

To be honest they could all learn from the points of the post…

  • Don’t change too much too quickly
  • Build user testing into each stage of the development
  • Whenever possible, leave legacy features in place
  • Don’t impose work-flows from above
  • Beware of designer fads
  • Don’t view function and aesthetics as separate
  • If a design is too noticeable, then maybe it’s too clever to use
  • Talk to your readers as you work
There all valid and good points. I’m sure most of the linux desktops are doing most of these. Interesting point however is the tension between
opinionated software and the last point talking to the users of your work. Being too proud or too precious will ultimately put you in a worst position overall in my book, but I’m sure others would totally disagree…?

Gnome Launchy

Pidgin in Gnome Do

So I've wanted something like quicksilver for a while and I found launchy when I was on Windows but I couldn't find anything for gnu/linux. Till today when I found a few. Gnome-Do, Gnome launch box and Katapult.

I stuck with Gnome-Do because its smooth, the plugin support is pretty good and I love the blog of the developer (see quote later). I do kind of wish for the smaller box style of Launchy instead of the boxes of quicksilver but you can't have it all. Oh it would also be great if the background dimmed a little. You know add a little compiz-fusion power to the whole thing.

On a personal note, I have used Mac OS X, FreeBSD, and Linux exclusively for the last seven years. I don’t use Windows because it lowers my quality of life. I haven’t tried Vista. I recently made the switch from OS X to Ubuntu after realizing that all Steve Jobs wants is for you to shut up and buy a new iPod; don’t you dare criticize his taste or the way he treats third-party developers like dirt. Also, I’m fairly confident that propriety software has no future. Yes, I am aware that proprietary software has a multi-trillion dollar past and present, but this implies nothing about the future.


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