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Old 12-28-2012, 07:14 PM
David30 David30 is offline
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Default Default desktop environment debate
If FreeBSD/PC-BSD created and used THEIR OWN desktop environment, by default, (but still allowed the user to choose the others), it would save so much mess and make it easier to support newcomers.

Briefly, here's why:

Newcomers are highly unlikely to change the installed desktop environment - especially those less knowledgeable about the operating system. With one desktop environment, newcomers are not confused by "terms" like KDE, GNOME etc and you are only worrying about one desktop environment in use when providing technical support, unless of course the newcomer goes out of their way to change it, which in practise is very unlikely.

I get the feeling that these Linux desktop environments are being "forced" to work on PC-BSD and certain things are broken e.g. making Chromium the default web browser on GNOME 2.32.1 is not working.

It makes sense for the FreeBSD people to make an entire GUI tailored for their same operating system.

Before anyone reminds me that I have mentioned this elsewhere - I thought it best to create a new thread about this very subject and see what other people think.

This would be a "win win" for PC-BSD.
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Old 12-29-2012, 11:53 AM
purgatori purgatori is offline
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The problem is that you're assuming that this new hypothetical desktop would be better than the current default -- i.e. KDE. I don't see any reason to think that would be the case.
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Old 12-29-2012, 12:17 PM
David30 David30 is offline
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Originally Posted by purgatori View Post
The problem is that you're assuming that this new hypothetical desktop would be better than the current default -- i.e. KDE. I don't see any reason to think that would be the case.
KDE is the default now ONLY when the computer has the hardware resources, otherwise the installer defaults to the less demanding desktop environments.

KDE is much heavier on resources and superfluous.

A desktop environment should not demand high resources just to allow the user to interact with the computer; look at Unity 3D in Ubuntu!

To end all this mess, I can't see why end users don't have ONE default desktop environment, that's not only very lightweight, but also works in harmony with PC-BSD and the underlying FreeBSD?

Have you tried the ReactOS operating system (a Windows clone) in VirtualBox? My point being: the ReactOS GUI/desktop environment/shell is incredibly fast (when it works lol), but it is FAST because it is very light on resources. No fancy animations or other unnecessary "features".
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Old 12-29-2012, 12:51 PM
purgatori purgatori is offline
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Originally Posted by David30 View Post
KDE is the default now ONLY when the computer has the hardware resources, otherwise the installer defaults to the less demanding desktop environments.

KDE is much heavier on resources and superfluous.

A desktop environment should not demand high resources just to allow the user to interact with the computer; look at Unity 3D in Ubuntu!

To end all this mess, I can't see why end users don't have ONE default desktop environment, that's not only very lightweight, but also works in harmony with PC-BSD and the underlying FreeBSD?

Have you tried the ReactOS operating system (a Windows clone) in VirtualBox? My point being: the ReactOS GUI/desktop environment/shell is incredibly fast (when it works lol), but it is FAST because it is very light on resources. No fancy animations or other unnecessary "features".
I don't use KDE myself, and am generally opposed to its voracious appetite for resources (though this can be tamed somewhat through the tuning of various settings), BUT even conceding that only makes me amenable to the notion that the PCBSD should adopt some other pre-existing desktop environment as the default: e.g. XFCE.

Creating a full-featured desktop environment is a massive undertaking, and there are already a number of projects out there (including Gnome, KDE, XFCE, LXDE, etc.) which cater to different user preferences and hardware targets. The truly "superfluous" thing would be for the PCBSD team to create a new DE that may, or may not, be as good as existing alternatives -- the aforementioned Unity 3D being a great example of just how badly such attempts can turn out.
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Old 12-29-2012, 01:35 PM
David30 David30 is offline
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I believe it would be a good thing to create a new desktop environment from scratch for FreeBSD and PC-BSD. End users like me find it too frustrating to battle with different desktop environments and find each one has too many annoyances. Just a few examples...

You can't set Chromium as the default web browser in GNOME on PC-BSD 9.1
You can't turn off "tap to click" in LXDE on laptops/netbooks.
KDE is very slow and buggy in areas (its file manager constantly pukes when I access my mp3 folder for instance)
LXDE mouse pointer speed cannot be set fast enough for big displays over 22"

I could write forever about the annoyances I've come across with this GUI mess! GNOME seems to be the best trade-off between annoyances, speed and ease of use.

I believe MS Windows and other commercial operating systems have always had the advantage of having just one desktop environment for years. Yes, Windows 95 had a brand new desktop environment after Windows 3.1 - but it has otherwise stayed the same up to Windows 7. At least every Windows user has the same desktop environment which works with Windows and not against it. I've not used Windows 8, so I can't comment on it.

Then there's the debate about Wayland replacing X on Linux. Would Wayland prevent Linux apps running on PC-BSD? Wayland is meant to make graphics much faster?
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Old 12-29-2012, 01:53 PM
thnewguy thnewguy is offline
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I don't think you realize how many developer hours a good desktop environment would require. It could take dozens of developers many years to bring a good desktop environment to the table. Who is going to volunteer to do that? Especially since we already have so many great desktops to choose from? As it is the PC-BSD team has done a good job at making each environment look and feel consistent. There really isn't any reason to create yet another desktop environment.
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Old 12-29-2012, 05:54 PM
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/usr/local/bin/twm

[SERIOUSLY]
To echo @thnewguy's point: what are the specifications? Who will do the work? How long will it take? Will it be backwards compatible?

Those questions don't even begin to scratch the surface....

[Off-topically]
Happy Holidays, everyone!
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Old 12-29-2012, 07:11 PM
Cobalt Cobalt is offline
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I can't see any reason to create a new desktop environment. XFCE, KDE, etc. aren't made specifically for Linux. If there's a problem with some part of the environment in FreeBSD/PC-BSD, it's due to a porting problem.

Besides that, desktop environments are HUGE projects. They require a massive amount of work. Reinventing the wheel isn't a good way to spend one's time.
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Old 12-30-2012, 11:05 AM
purgatori purgatori is offline
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Originally Posted by David30 View Post
I believe it would be a good thing to create a new desktop environment from scratch for FreeBSD and PC-BSD. End users like me find it too frustrating to battle with different desktop environments and find each one has too many annoyances. Just a few examples...

You can't set Chromium as the default web browser in GNOME on PC-BSD 9.1
You can't turn off "tap to click" in LXDE on laptops/netbooks.
KDE is very slow and buggy in areas (its file manager constantly pukes when I access my mp3 folder for instance)
LXDE mouse pointer speed cannot be set fast enough for big displays over 22"

I could write forever about the annoyances I've come across with this GUI mess! GNOME seems to be the best trade-off between annoyances, speed and ease of use.

I believe MS Windows and other commercial operating systems have always had the advantage of having just one desktop environment for years. Yes, Windows 95 had a brand new desktop environment after Windows 3.1 - but it has otherwise stayed the same up to Windows 7. At least every Windows user has the same desktop environment which works with Windows and not against it. I've not used Windows 8, so I can't comment on it.

Then there's the debate about Wayland replacing X on Linux. Would Wayland prevent Linux apps running on PC-BSD? Wayland is meant to make graphics much faster?
That's the whole point of having multiple desktop environments/window managers, though: if one doesn't suit your needs, find one that does. I would hate to be stuck with Gnome as the only option (especially now, with the advent of Gnome Shell), just as I do not like being stuck with the Explorer DE/Aero/Whatever Win8 is using under Windows.

Different users = different needs. In general, I prefer minimalistic tiling window managers, because they suit my preference for a keyboard-driven interface. Other users like the comprehensiveness and eye-candy of KDE4 (and not everyone runs into the same performance issues you have, by the way), while others just want a more basic GUI, like LXDE or ROX Desktop. Still others want to be able to customize everything to the utmost degree, and basically create their own DE; a demographic that FVWM caters for.

Given that the PCBSD team have chosen KDE as the default, they would have to create an alternative that was similarly full-featured. Could they do better than KDE or Gnome? Maybe... maybe not. Even if they could, I'm sure there would still be elements that some users identified as problematic.
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Old 12-30-2012, 12:24 PM
David30 David30 is offline
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This debate is getting interesting.

I had nothing but trouble with KDE and I have since removed it by going into the Control Panel > System Manager. Even minor annoyances and confusing things will put users' off forever, such as the issue of either single-clicking icons or double-clicking icons in different areas of KDE.

Think more about newcomers and having a default no-frills desktop environment that has the basic tools for the job. No overblown desktop environment that is too complicated. One that gets the basics right. Having more than one desktop environment pushes newcomers away. I see plenty of people struggle with even the basic things in MS Windows! This is why I know how newcomers really see computers and where usability is bad and too complex. Such newcomers won't understand other desktop operating systems, unless the interface is simple and self-explanatory.

I don't have much time right now, but I will post this link too. I can't remember if I've posted it on here before. Lots of good info about computer and GUI annoyances, along with pictures (I still remember using the OS mentioned ):
http://productsdb.riscos.com/admin/ros_test.htm
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