| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 571, 11 August 2014
Welcome to this year's 32nd issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Most of us want our computers to be easy to use and we also want our computers to be secure. Unfortunately convenience and security are typically in opposition to each other. Making a system both secure and easy to use is often a juggling act involving compromise. This week we turn our attention to projects which want to provide stable, secure and easy to use operating systems. We begin with a review of HandyLinux, a project which is designed for new computer users. In our News section we discuss Ubuntu's push to improve the distribution's documentation, a tutorial on securing FreeBSD and a recommendation from the EFF for people maintaining many complex passwords across multiple computers. In addition, we discuss Linux Mint's plans for the project's "Debian" edition. Plus, in our Questions and Answers section, we talk about what to do when running out of disk space on an advanced file system such as Btrfs or ZFS. We also discuss software back doors and rumours of compromised open source projects. We wrap up this week by covering recent distribution releases and looking ahead to fun new developments to come. We wish you all an amazing week and happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (32MB) and MP3 (37MB) formats
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
HandyLinux 1.6 - a handy distribution to have
The HandyLinux distribution is a desktop operating system based on packages from the Debian project. HandyLinux is, according to the project's website, designed for "absolute beginners" and it appears as though the developers mean both Linux beginners and newcomers to desktop computers in general. The latest release of HandyLinux, version 1.6, is available in two 32-bit x86 builds, one with PAE support and one without. The project's website and the distribution itself primarily support the French and English languages. I downloaded the PAE-enabled edition of HandyLinux and found the ISO for this build is 1.2 GB in size.
Booting from the HandyLinux media brings up a menu where we are asked if we would like to try running HandyLinux in a live environment or if we would like to launch the project's system installer. This boot menu provides each of its options twice, once in French and once in English. Assuming we decide to try the live desktop environment first we are asked to choose our keyboard's layout from a list and then we are brought to a welcome screen. This welcome screen tells us how to access the project's documentation and the application menu. It also explains how to shutdown the computer and offers to show us a tutorial outlining basic controls. I found the tutorial covers such computer basics as how to click on buttons and controls, how to open files, how to play media and how to select, copy and paste text.
HandyLinux 1.6 - the welcome screen
(full image size: 305kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
HandyLinux runs the Xfce desktop environment (version 4.8), an interface which is fast and light on resources. The default theme is flat and comprised of soft colours. Most of the desktop's features, such as the application menu button, task switcher and system tray, are placed at the bottom of the screen. Clicking the application menu button brings up a window in the middle of the display. This window is divided into a handful of tabs. Each tab contains a small collection of software or folders. For instance, one tab features a web browser and e-mail software, another tab contains commonly accessed folders in our home directory. Anther tab contains productivity software, another features games and another features system administration utilities. These tabs each feature only a few application launchers and most include a Help button which opens a web browser and shows us documentation on the available software in the current tab.
There are three things I like in particular about this unusual menu system. One is that it is not at all crowded. The icons and text are big, the categories are few and well presented. Second, there is a documentation button in each software tab explaining what each program does and some basics on how to get started using it. Finally, HandyLinux has not only focused on one-application-per-task, the developers have also placed some of the most popular software in this menu. It is certainly possible to access more software, but for complete beginners the developers have exclusively presented popular software in an easy-to-access fashion.
HandyLinux 1.6 - default application menu and settings panel
(full image size: 500kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
I did not find a system installer in the main menu of the live environment and so I rebooted the computer and opted to run the HandyLinux system installer in English from the boot menu. HandyLinux uses the Debian graphical system installer. The installer walks us through selecting our preferred language, the region of the world where we live and our keyboard's layout. Next we are asked to create a name for our computer and then we are asked to create a user account for ourselves. Partitioning is probably the only potentially difficult part of the installer to navigate. We have the option of either manually dividing up our hard disk or, alternatively, we can simply let HandyLinux take over our disk. Assuming we take the automatic ("guided") partitioning option, HandyLinux sets us up with a swap partition and a root partition, with the latter formatted using the ext4 file system. HandyLinux then copies its files to our hard drive. When the installer is finished we reboot the computer and are presented with a simple, graphical login screen.
Signing into our account for the first time brings up the same welcome screen we saw when using the live environment. When we dismiss the welcome screen another window appears asking if we would like check for software updates. I agreed to perform the update check and was soon shown a simple software updating application. This program basically just shows us a list of available updates and offers us two buttons. One button checks again for more updates and the other downloads available packages. When I installed HandyLinux there were just two updated packages waiting for me and these totalled less than 1 MB in size. These updates downloaded and installed without any problems. In the future, when new updates were available, a small icon would appear in the system tray. Clicking on the update notification icon would launch the software updating application.
HandyLinux 1.6 - updating software packages and alternative application menu
(full image size: 681kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
I tried running HandyLinux in two environments, on a physical desktop computer and in a virtual machine provided by VirtualBox. In both instances HandyLinux ran smoothly. My desktop's display was set to its maximum resolution, sound worked out of the box and my Internet connection was automatically configured. In both environments the Xfce interface was highly responsive. HandyLinux was quick to boot and performed tasks without delay. I found that logging into my account used approximately 140MB of memory, a relatively low amount for a modern Linux desktop distribution.
At first it appears as thought HandyLinux does not feature many applications. The main application menu provides us with some important items such as the Chromium web browser with Flash and AdBlock enabled. We are given the Icedove (Thunderbird) e-mail client, the Skype software phone and LibreOffice. The Minitube YouTube client is installed for us along with the VLC multimedia player, the Quod Libet music player and popular multimedia codecs. We are also given the Xfburn disc burning application, the Shotwell photo manager, a scanning tool, a few games, a calculator and text editor. Finally, we find the Xfce settings panel and the Software Centre package manager. At first this may seem to be the full array of installed software, however one of the icons in the application menu opens a window that provides us with a list of all the installed desktop applications. This list can be searched using keywords and categories of software to help us find more programs.
I also found it was easy to add a traditional application menu to the Xfce panel, giving the user a way to access Handy's full catalogue of software. Some of the other programs available include configuration utilities for handling printers, network connections and user accounts. TeamViewer is available as are an audio disc ripper and the Cheese webcam utility. I also found a PDF viewer, the Synaptic package manager and the GParted partition manager. Java is installed for us, Network Manager helps us get on-line and there is an app for enabling/disabling system services. Behind the scenes, HandyLinux runs on the Linux kernel, version 3.2
HandyLinux 1.6 - Software Centre and application finder
(full image size: 523kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
HandyLinux ships with two graphical package managers, Synaptic and Software Centre. These package managers pull software from the Debian Stable repository with a few items coming from Handy's custom repository. We also connect to a VideoLAN repository which I suspect supplies up to date versions of the VLC multimedia player. Software Centre is the primary package manager and it provides users with a pleasant, friendly interface. We can browse through categories of software or perform searches using keywords. While browsing through items we can click on a package to gain detailed information about the selected software. Installing or removing a program happens with a single button click and we can continue to use Software Centre while it is adding or removing packages.
Synaptic is quite different in its approach. Synaptic presents us with a plain, alphabetical list of available packages. We can filter the list using various controls and search for items. Synaptic allows us to create batches of actions to perform and then locks the interface while these actions are completed. Synaptic is quite fast and flexible, but has a more business-like interface. I mostly used Software Centre during my time with HandyLinux and found it worked well, performing new installations and removing unwanted programs without any problems.
I try to evaluate distributions based upon their stated goals and so my views on HandyLinux are quite straight forward. The HandyLinux project claims they want their distribution to be easy to use, that they want to appeal to beginners. The HandyLinux project is, at times, described as "Debian without the headaches". With regards to this stated goal I must say HandyLinux does very well. The distribution is fairly easy to install, especially if we take the guided partitioning option. HandyLinux has a very simple desktop environment that is virtually void of clutter and very easy to navigate. The distribution has some nice tutorials and a friendly welcome screen to help newcomers get started. HandyLinux ships with some of the greatest gems of the open source community and makes these applications easy to access. The project's documentation is easy to find and helpful. In short, the only way I believe HandyLinux could be easier to work with is if the developers came over to the user's home and operated the computer for them.
HandyLinux 1.6 - the browser's start page with search options
(full image size: 136kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
While HandyLinux is quite easy to use, I feel the distribution avoids falling into two common traps. Often "beginner friendly" distributions either make it harder to perform certain tasks or they enable too much eye candy in order to look appealing. HandyLinux gets around both problems by shipping with the Xfce desktop and disabling visual effects. This leaves us with a clean, responsive desktop environment. Customizing Xfce to add in a traditional application menu is straight forward. Likewise, adjusting the layout of the desktop or changing the appearance is fairly easy. Under the hood, HandyLinux is Debian Stable with very few adjustments. This means we have access to the huge catalogue of software in the Debian repositories and can access all the tools and command-line power provided by the Debian distribution.
What my time with HandyLinux really boiled down to was the distribution was very easy to use while the novice-friendly features did not get in my way. HandyLinux assumes we have no experience with computers, going so far as to explain copy/pasting text in a tutorial and telling us how to use the video player. However, the flexibility and power of Debian is always under the surface, always a click or two away. The distribution is very fast, ships with a great default collection of software and is one of the easiest to use operating systems I've had the pleasure to try. Plus, HandyLinux will be supported for about another two years or more, making it a good, stable option for friends or family members who call on you for tech support.
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Hardware used in this review
My physical test equipment for this review was a desktop HP Pavilon p6 Series with the following specifications:
- Processor: Dual-core 2.8 GHz AMD A4-3420 APU
- Storage: 500 GB Hitachi hard drive
- Memory: 6 GB of RAM
- Networking: Realtek RTL8111 wired network card
- Display: AMD Radeon HD 6410D video card
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar)
Ubuntu seeks documentation writers, FreeBSD releases updated package manager, Mint's Debian edition to be based on Debian "Stable", Debian re-opens default desktop discussion, EFF recommends new password manager
A very common complaint about open source software, or indeed any software, is the lack of proper and complete documentation. Both new and experienced users benefit greatly from correct and detailed documentation. With that in mind, the Ubuntu project is putting out a call for volunteers to help polish and extend the project's documentation. If you would like to give back to the open source community and have been looking for a way to help, you can visit the Ubuntu wiki and join in the documentation writing process.
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We want our computers and operating systems to remain just that: ours. We do not want our computers giving away our secrets or becoming spam-spewing bots under the control of someone else. For this reason security is important and the twisteddaemon blog has some good tips for keeping systems secure. These steps mainly focus on FreeBSD, but most of the tips can be applied to Linux distributions as well: "I like the warm and fuzzy feeling of snug blankets and a secure computer. So all of these suggestions are related to security. I would recommend these to anyone that is playing around with a FreeBSD install which will connect to the internet."
In other FreeBSD news, the team which develops the FreeBSD package manager, pkg, has released a fresh version of the powerful application. The new package manager includes new options, better dependency resolution and the ability to install software packages from local files while resolving dependencies using remote repositories.
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Last month we reported the Linux Mint distribution was considering re-basing Linux Mint "Debian" edition from Debian Testing to Debian Stable. This would make Linux Mint "Debian" a more conservative, more stable platform and move the distribution from a rolling release base to a fixed base. Last week a new post on the Linux Mint blog confirmed that, after careful consideration, Linux Mint Debian Edition will be based on Debian "Stable": "After a long reflection and many discussions the decision was made to switch Linux Mint 'Debian' edition (LMDE) from its current snapshot cycle to a Debian 'Stable' package base. The transition from Update Pack 8 to Debian 'Jessie' should be smooth and similar to a traditional UP upgrade, in sync with the upstream 'Jessie' freeze planned for November this year." The distribution's lead developer, Clem, further explained how the new edition will work, stating: "On top of 'Jessie', we'll be doing something similar to what we're doing with 'Trusty' i.e. you'll get security updates and bug fixes from upstream on an ongoing basis with the same filter/policy as in Mint Update and we'll backport popular apps, DEs and Mint tools."
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When hundreds of developers work on a large project it's only natural that consensus is sometimes hard to reach. The Debian project has seen a fair share of heated debates over the years and it looks like a new one is beginning to brew once again. This time it's about the default desktop environment in the upcoming release. For various reasons, Debian has switched from GNOME to Xfce during the current development cycle, but there are developers who would like to see the decision reversed. One of them is Jordi Mallach, the maintainer of a number of GNOME packages, whose blog post published last week provides some interesting reasons: "In short, we think defaulting to GNOME is the best option for the Debian release, and in contrast, shipping Xfce as the default desktop could mean delivering a desktop experience that has some incomplete or rough edges, and not on par with Debian quality standards for a stable release. We believe tasksel should again revert the change and be uploaded as soon as possible, in order to get people testing images with GNOME the sooner the better, with the freeze only two months away."
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Password managers are applications which securely store collections of passwords. This allows people to maintain large numbers of user name and complex password combinations without needing to remember them all. Password managers typically store credentials in an encrypted file for security purposes, but this can cause problems when we want to access our passwords from multiple computers or hand held devices. The Electronic Frontier Foundation posted a solution which offers people the security of password managers with the flexibility to access passwords from multiple locations. The solution is a cloud-oriented password manager called Mitro: "Mitro is distinctive amongst free/open source password managers in that it's architected around cloud storage. For security, the online password databases are encrypted with client-side keys derived from your master password. For availability, they are mirrored across three cloud storage providers." More information on Mitro and how it works can be found on the project's website
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Running out of disk space and software back doors
Out-of-room asks: I ran into a problem yesterday where my NAS, running ZFS, warned me it was out of disk space. I tried deleting a bunch of files, 30 GB worth, but the system still complained it was out of space. Rebooting and checking available space still showed no disk space free. Is my ZFS install broken or is there something special I need to do to free up space? Do I need to re-install?
DistroWatch answers: Since you rebooted your computer and gave the file system a chance to sync, I suspect the reason your operating system is reporting it is out of space is that there are file system snapshots taking up room on the disk. With modern file systems, such as Btrfs and ZFS, creating a snapshot is a good way to maintain older versions of files. A snapshot makes it easy to restore a corrupted or deleted file and it can restore an operating system should a package update prevent the system from booting. When a snapshot is initially created it does not require additional disk space, more disk space is used only when the current file system is changed, diverging from the created snapshot.
What may have happened is your file system ran out of space and you then deleted a bunch of files without deleting the snapshots of those files. The deleted files may still exist in a snapshot (or multiple snapshots) and so they are still taking up space on your hard drive. Another way to think of it is this: Imagine deleting a file from your computer, causing the file to be moved into your operating system's trash can. This gets the file out of the way, but disk space will not be freed until you also empty the operating system's trash can. Likewise, you will need to remove existing snapshots of your file system to completely erase all copies of the files you deleted.
The Oracle documentation has a good explanation on running out of disk space with ZFS and a tutorial for working with file system snapshots. For people running on Btrfs who run into similar problems, the Btrfs wiki documentation has tips for dealing with disks running out of space.
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Checking-for-security-holes asks: I read your review on Deepin in the Weekly of July 28th and the (earlier) interview with the lead Deepin developer. Hardware, phones and distributions from China sometimes raise questions about involvement of the China government in having back doors installed. Strangely these questions aren't raised with US or UK hardware, phones and distributions. Is this an aspect you take in consideration while testing new distributions? Do you, not being in the security business I suppose, hear of such rumours?
DistroWatch answers: I am aware of the rumours that circulate about various computer products and, especially those originating from China. Regarding the distributions I choose to review and what I write about them, I can tell you the primary country of origin of a software product has no impact on whether I will review it. Open source software is, by its nature, international. All Linux distributions contain code from multiple countries and I see no reason to be biased for or against a distribution just because the many components are assembled in one country or another.
I can tell you that my reviews contain only my observations, facts I can gather and my opinions on the experiences I have. I see no reason to consider rumours about which products may or may not include malware without proof. Almost all governments use spy tools and find ways to introduce back doors into operating systems. Those which do not make their own software back doors purchase such tools from companies in other countries. People who point fingers solely at Chinese products and complain about intentional back doors are either ignorant of other governments' actions or simply bigoted. I think it is worth noting that China has been restricting sales of selected closed source products because their government is just as concerned about American technologies as American organizations are concerned about products made in China.
There are always people spreading rumours about governments slipping malicious code into open source projects. When SELinux first arrived on the scene a lot of people pointed fingers at the Linux kernel and the Fedora distribution and suggested these projects were compromised by the NSA. A little while ago rumours circulated that OpenBSD might contain a back door introduced by the FBI. So far as I know, no proof has ever surfaced that the Linux kernel, Fedora, OpenBSD or Deepin contain back doors. Should evidence be found I will report it, but without proof such rumours are idle speculation and should not be used in any decision making process.
|Released Last Week
Jay Flood has announced the release of Porteus 3.0.1, a set of lightweight Slackware-based distributions and live CDs in five editions (with KDE, LXDE, MATE, Razor-qt or Xfce): "The Porteus community is elated to announce the release of Porteus Desktop edition 3.0.1, as well as Porteus Kiosk edition 3.1.1. As usual we have available pre-packaged modules for Google Chrome, Opera, LibreOffice, AbiWord, Skype and printing/scanning software, which can be dropped in place to get out-of-the-box functionality. The 'Development' module will now need to be downloaded as a stand-alone module if you wish to compile additional software in Porteus. Changes in this release include: upgraded to latest LTS kernel - Linux 3.14.15; kernel configuration - added ecryptfs, ipv6 iptables and aloop kernel modules." See the release announcement for a complete list of changes.
Klaus Knopper has released version 7.4.0 of KNOPPIX, a Debian-based live CD/DVD with a choice of LXDE (default), GNOME 3.12 and KDE 4.13.3 desktops: "Version 7.4.0 of KNOPPIX is based on the usual picks from Debian 'Stable' and newer desktop packages from Debian 'Testing' and 'Unstable'. It uses Linux kernel 3.15.6 and X.Org 7.7 (X.Org Server 1.16.0) for supporting current computer hardware. In addition to the 32-bit standard kernel, the 64-bit edition of the same kernel is installed on the DVD edition, supporting systems with more than 4 GB of RAM and chroot to 64-bit installations for system rescue tasks. In the DVD edition, the bootloader will start the 64-bit kernel automatically if a 64-bit capable CPU is detected (unless manually specified otherwise). New, experimental version of 3D window manager Compiz 0.9.11.1. Partial integration of systemd...." Continue to the release notes for further details.
Stéphane Graber has announced the release of Ubuntu 12.04.5, a new set of live and installation images that include all recent security and bug-fix updates for the project's older LTS (long-term support) release, supported until April 2017. From the release announcement: "The Ubuntu team is pleased to announce the release of Ubuntu 12.04.5 LTS for its Desktop, Server, Cloud and Core products, as well as other flavours of Ubuntu with long-term support. As with 12.04.4, 12.04.5 contains an updated kernel and X stack for new installations on x86 architectures. As usual, this point release includes many updates, and updated installation media has been provided so that fewer updates will need to be downloaded after installation. Kubuntu 12.04.5 LTS, Edubuntu 12.04.5 LTS, and Ubuntu Studio 12.04.5 LTS are also now available."
Chih-Wei Huang has announced the release of Android-x86 4.4, an unofficial port of Google's Android mobile operating system to Intel and AMD x86 processors: "Android-x86.org is glad to announce the 4.4-r1 release to public. This is the first stable release Android-x86 4.4 (KitKat-x86). The 4.4-r1 release is based on the Android 4.4.2 (KitKat-MR1) release. We have fixed and added x86-specific code to let the system run smoothly on x86 platforms, especially on tablets and netbooks. The key features include: integrate FFmpeg as the stagefright plugin to support more multimedia files; use the latest long-term stable kernel, version 3.10.52, with more drivers enabled, most netbooks can run Android-x86 in the native resolution; OpenGL ES hardware acceleration for AMD Radeon and Intel chipsets; enhance the installer to support upgrade from previous versions...." Read the full release notes for more information and known issues.
Android-x86 4.4 -- the app launcher screen
(full image size: 951kB, screen resolution 1221x1000 pixels)
Slackel 1.0 "Fluxbox Live"
Dimitris Tzemos has announced the release of Slackel 1.0 "Fluxbox Live" edition, a Slackware-based live CD featuring the lightweight Fluxbox window manager: "Slackel 1.0 Live Fluxbox includes the latest 3.14.13 kernel and the latest updates from Slackware's 'Current' tree. Slackel is based on Slackware Linux and Salix. The project is distributed as two live hybrid CD images, one for each of the supported hardware platforms (64-bit and 32-bit). They can be easily burned onto CD discs, as well as written on USB sticks of 1 GB of larger. As mentioned, the graphical session is powered by the lightweight and minimal Fluxbox window manager, which is comprised of a single, transparent panel located on the bottom edge of the screen. From this bottom taskbar, users can easily and quickly access the main menu, launch applications, interact with running programs and the system tray area, as well as to switch between virtual workspaces." Read the complete release announcement for further information.
DEFT Linux 8.2
Stefano Fratepietro has announced the release of DEFT Linux 8.2, an updated build of the project's Lubuntu-based distribution featuring a collection of open-source utilities for digital forensics and penetration testing: "Hello, it's hot here in Italy as well as in other countries, and a lot of people are on vacation, but only now – I'm sorry for that – I found the time to fix the known issues of DEFT 8.1. DEFT 8.2 is the latest release of DEFT 8. What has been fixed? Fixed a bug that under some conditions prevented the system to be installed; fixed the DNS bug in resolv.conf; fixed a bug in the apt-get sources.list; improved device recognition in live mode; updated all packages to the latest Ubuntu release available for 'Quantal'. The next release, DEFT 10, celebrating the first decade of the DEFT project, will be presented during the fourth edition of DEFTCON. Enjoy your holidays! Enjoy DEFT!" Here is the brief release announcement.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
DistroWatch database summary|
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 18 August 2014. To contact the authors please send email to:
- Jesse Smith (feedback, questions and suggestions: distribution reviews, questions and answers, tips and tricks)
- Ladislav Bodnar (feedback, questions, suggestions and corrections: news, donations, distribution submissions, comments)
- Bruce Patterson (feedback and suggestions: podcast edition)
1 • Debian Default Desktop (by kc1di on 2014-08-11 09:45:36 GMT from United States) |
I know there will be heated debate about changing the default desktop from Gnome to XFCE. But do believe it's the correct move for them to make. reguardless of the Gnome people. I still find Gnome Desktop not productive to use. Where XFCE is easy quite configurable and snappy. Gnome3 on my machines has always been slow and just not natural to use. I'm old school and you can't teach old dogs new tricks (can you :) . I like XFCE :)
2 • Backdoors? (by Snazzy on 2014-08-11 10:04:42 GMT from United Kingdom)
No.1. - Agreed.
Concerning backdoors, embedded code, proprietary firmware of doubtful purpose, this discussion has abounded since the dawn of time, as Jesse points out. There were very serious allegations about the MS server farm next the Hanford 'secret' nuclear facility. Most likely it was not, as alleged, just harvesting data to 'improve users browsing experience'. Notwithstanding, ever since Colossus (yes, it was first and it was British), intelligence agencies like GCHQ, MI5/6, NSA, FBI, CIA and the PRC buildings' occupants regularly flashing across our TV screens, have been collecting information about all of us. Whilst intelligence keeps us safe from despots, psychopaths and fanatics, the more insidious aspects of industrial espionage and media hacking, however reprehensible, are inevitable consequences of such a rapidly advancing technology. As for spamming, phishing and scamming, it might be argued that we deserve all we get? Since when have crooks been as stupid as their screen portrayals? Did I forget to mention city wizz-kids? Awareness and education have to be the watchwords.
3 • Debian & GNOME (by dragonmouth on 2014-08-11 11:09:16 GMT from United States)
Since Mr. Mallach is a GNOME package maintainer, his self-serving opinion is to be expected. For my part, I find both GNOME and XFCE offering "a desktop experience that has some incomplete or rough edges".
4 • Debian escritorio por defecto (by César on 2014-08-11 11:26:49 GMT from Chile)
Well, is obvious for a package manager of Gnome his "OK" for Gnome3 instead of XFCE or another desktop environment (or window manager). But, and the Mate Desktop???, because now is in the Backports, i think is a very really nice option, works fine and don't need large RAM (like others).
Saludos desde Santiago de Chile.
5 • Debian de (by ben on 2014-08-11 11:39:30 GMT from United States)
In my opinion gnome 3 is far more limited, productivity wise and has way rougher edges than xfce. I think xfce is the best choice for debian, however it could have a nicer theme and icon set applied, simply so it doesent look so archaic. On top of that thunar beats the new nautilus hands down. Either way, its easy to switch to a new de, but gnome has so many pieces that it takes a huge amount of time to clean it out.
6 • Debian Default Desktop (by Marqoo on 2014-08-11 12:07:35 GMT from Netherlands)
Although I like Gnome 3, the choice of Debian to use Xfce as the default desktop is a logical one. It uses less resources, it has a more traditional way of working (especially for those who never used anything else but Windows), and... to be honest: Xfce looks appealing too, but in another way than Gnome does.
The biggest problem of the Gnome desktop is that, to configure things the way the uses wants to, if you want to change anything to your liking, it's very hidden in the system. And on top of that you really need to study how to change them. If you are already get used to that way of working, you get a wonderful clean desktop. But the Gnome developers should beware of the fact that most people just want to get things done with ease, without asking someone how-to or read manuals or online instructions.
I really like Gnome as a desktop environment, but only because I took the time to find out how everything works. But lots of people don't have the patience to find that all out. Xfce does look familiar, and is a very okay desktop too.
For some people (mostly those who are unexperienced with Debian) can't handle "another headache" on a "already difficult" distro. So from that point I totally understand the choice to switch to Xfce as the default desktop. Just to make it more accessible to new or novice users, and to stay more "out-of-the-way" for the experienced users...
7 • Debian vs Gnome (by Anonymous Coward on 2014-08-11 12:43:28 GMT from United States)
Now the Gnome devs are starting to look pathetic and desperate.
8 • Debian Default Desktop (by G. Savage on 2014-08-11 12:47:42 GMT from Canada)
XFCE is simple, clean and gets the job done without drama. For the purpose of a base distro, it seems the appropriate choice.
9 • Handy Linux (by cykodrone on 2014-08-11 13:02:57 GMT from Canada)
Too bad it doesn't come in x86_64.
From the DW Handy Linux page distro description: "a custom start menu", "start"? Really? Be careful or an army of MS lawyers might come knocking on your door, lol. I personally have 'deprogrammed' myself from using names and terms found in MS operating systems.
10 • RE: Checking-for-security-holes (by Kroy Ip on 2014-08-11 13:15:34 GMT from Canada)
> I see no reason to be biased for or against a distribution just
> because the many components are assembled in one country
> or another.
I am sure you'll find my lack of faith disturbing ...
11 • Debian - Gnome vs XFCE (by vw72 on 2014-08-11 13:36:51 GMT from United States)
It is obvious that some people like Gnome 3 and others XFCE. The devs need to leave the emotional aspect out and ask the question of "What does XFCE provide that Gnome doesn't (particularly the Gnome classic mode)?" Next they need to ask "Which of the two furthers the goals of the Debian distribution?"
Put differently, is there some technical reason Gnome no longer works for them and XFCE provides a better experience? On the other hand, have they been using Gnome until now only because they have always used Gnome?
Finally, the reason for changing to XFCE because it provides a more traditional interface is a red-herring. More traditional to whom? The interface paradigm for XFCE (and Gnome 2) is now over 20 years old. For people born in the 1990s and later, it is not the traditional interface.
Gnome realized this and whether one agrees with their changes or not, they have tried to remain relevant (KDE also, and even Ubuntu's Unity). Debian has a reputation of being very stable, but outdated packages. The reputation may not be warranted, but using an outdated interface paradigm will not help correct it.
12 • @11 - Gnome vs XFCE (by Hoos on 2014-08-11 14:22:50 GMT from Singapore)
"Put differently, is there some technical reason Gnome no longer works for them and XFCE provides a better experience? ..."
Yes, it uses too much resources graphics-wise, such that I cannot run it on my computer.
If KDE 4, the desktop environment often described as huge, bloated, too much eye candy, etc, can still run on my old PC and old graphics card with some basic effects activated, I fail to understand why Gnome 3 cannot be made to do the same.
KDE when first installed on my computer tends to have the the desktop effects turned off by default because of my old graphics card. BUT IT WORKS. The DE is written such that the desktop effects aren't integral to its basic operation.
And when I try to activate effects that cannot work on my machine, the activation simply isn't carried out, a pop up message notifies me, and the DE just continues working without the effects.
I won't begrudge Gnome developers their different interface for Gnome3, because it can look quite attractive, but surely they could write their programs so that the DE's level of effects can scale down and still work with older graphics cards?
Compiz, Pantheon, even Deepin's new DE (slowly but that is more a lack of RAM than graphics card) can run on my machine as well.
Since users with less graphics power are cut off, I can understand why the default DE for Debian is XFCE. Increases the pool of potential users.
13 • CD Image (by Jason on 2014-08-11 14:41:38 GMT from United States)
The issue is that Gnome no longer fits on the first CD image, XFCE does, so it makes sense to put XFCE on that, and someone who needs to install from CD probably is putting pointing towards XFCE. With a net install, there is no reason not offer the user to select from any desktop install they prefer. With the wide variety of desktops Linux users are now using, it no longer makes sense for a large targeting distro like Debian to have a single official desktop.
I will say though, many people install debian because it's not been bloated but easily works on older machine, XFCE works far better for this purpose than Gnome.
14 • XFCE not maintained (by Fred R on 2014-08-11 15:05:13 GMT from France)
XFCE is not more maintained. Last entry on their website is 4.10 back in April 2012 ! More than 2 years ago.
Xfce 4.11 is not official, even if released with Xubuntu. But patches for Xubuntu are not backported upstream...
Some Xfce options (energy saving for example) are set in different locations...
I used to love Xfce, but now I am using Mint Cinnamon, and can concentrate on my work only !
The choice of the default Debian DE is tough, as none of the official DE provided by Debian is OK: Gnome3 (complicated), Xfce (outdated, not maintaned), LMDE (to simple), KDE (as some GTK apps needs to be used for non KDE apps, this brings lots of qt, kde, gtk libs to be loaded...)
That's the trick, only Mate (previous Gnome 2 default) or Cinnamon are usable..
15 • Debian 8.0 Gnome vs Xfce (by Robert Schhiele on 2014-08-11 15:24:22 GMT from United States)
If I were a Debian developer, which I'm not, I think the overriding concern for me would be to provide a system to users who simply accept "as-is" or "default" choices during installation which can run and run well on the widest possible variety of hardware so that "newbies" are likely at least to end up with a usable, responsive system whether their hardware is new, old, or somewhere in between. To me, that eliminates DEs which require graphics acceleration to run well, or to be fully-featured, and that would include Gnome3. Sure there's the "Classic Gnome" to which systems without graphics acceleration will default, but that's hardly fully-featured in terms of modern DEs. It is, in fact, merely a stripped-down, fallback mode which Gnome developers, based on some things I've read, seem unsure they even want to keep as a part of Gnome; and it certainly isn't something on which they've showed the slighest interest in building and improving.
Xfce, on the other hand, is fully functional with or without graphics acceleration, and has a much smaller footprint not only in RAM (which may be limited on some systems) but also in terms of disk space. I will admit that the default Debian install of Xfce looks a bit like a dog, and that I personally didn't find customizing the Xfce DE all that intuitive, but Debian's Xfce developer(s) could do a great deal to insure that the resultant DE comes out looking (and functioning) much as does the OS with which most newbies will have had experience. (Specifically, install Xfce so that there is only one panel, at the bottom of the screen; make that panel default to the screen's full width; and to that panel add the Applications menu, launchers for the most-used software installed with the DE (browser, email reader, etc.), the task-switcher, the system tray, a volume control, and a clock.) Whether Debian's Xfce developer(s) will do anything of the kind, of course, I do not know.
I would, however, add to this witches' brew the fact that AFAIK the only reason Debian has decided to move to the systemd init system in the Jessie release is because the version of Gnome3 they've elected to include simply will not run on the traditional sysv-init system. I have no bone to pick with systemd; I've never used it, but based on what I've read, it seems adequate. However, I do not like the idea of developers of any DE being in a position to dictate how the underlying system is initialized and run. It may well be that systemd is actually better (in some way I've not seen mentioned so far) than sysv-init, and if it is, then were I a Debian developer I would be all for its adoption. I would not, however, change the entire way a distribution boots and initializes merely to satisfy the whims of a bunch of (Gnome) developers who seem not to care in the least about the needs and/or preferences of their own user base.,
16 • i686 vs amd64 (by Fossilizing Dinosaur on 2014-08-11 15:40:12 GMT from United States)
HandyLinux (like eldy?) only serves 32-bit ISOs - where is a discussion of the essential differences between i686 and x64? What little I've found so far shows little beyond marginal differences in speed ...
17 • Debian and ease of use (by Kazlu on 2014-08-11 15:51:14 GMT from France)
Funny how the news of this week are related :) Debian default DE debate, LMDE switching to Debian Stable base and Handy Linux review.
First, I'm an Xfce fan, just so you know it might influence what I'm about to write. I read Jordi Mallach's post defending the GNOME desktop and I think he makes some really good points. Although some sound invalid to me,like "integration": to me that's a con, not a pro. Strong integration means that you have mixed dependancies and that bugs that affect one application may affect its neighbours. I prefer the modular way of Xfce, but I must admit this compromise is a matter of personnal preferences. However "accessibility" is a very good argument and to me it could justify by itself alone the choice of the default DE (it will always be easier do change the DE for someone who is able to see...).
But in the end, most of those arguments go in the way of ease of use... But a Linux beginner is not likely to go for Debian anyway! Unless someone is helping him/her, and in that case this person probably knows how to change the DE or select another one. Debian itself is not that easy to use or to install for a beginner. I installed Debian last week and so far I am very pleased by it, but I'm no stranger to GNU/Linux after years of Ubuntu. The Debian website, the very numerous versions you can download and the complicated explanations that "helps" you find what is suited for you, the installation process and the first steps in the newly installed system lead me to not recommand Debian to any beginner.
That being said, Handy Linux is Debian based and seems very well suited for beginners. I did not try to install it but I spent some time on their website and I was very impressed by it's quality. Being french I can tell you that the documentation in this language is very detailed and yet not too large, so you don't get overwhelmed. It is very rare in the GNU/Linux world: in french language, the Debian documentation is enormous and in text only, so you easily get lost (a beginner will never use a text based web browser...), Mageia's or openSUSE's or Linux Mint's documentations are incomplete... Only Ubuntu has a community maintained documentation that beats it. The review of this weeks seems to confirm that Handy Linux should be very well suited for beginners - as long as they speak English or French. And it uses Xfce! Honestly, you cannot say that Xfce lacks polish when you see what Handy Linux or Xubuntu come up with.
I considered installing Handy Linux myself, but I was looking for something with more options and went for Debian itself. It's just too bad it only exists in French and English, maybe this project will grow. Or maybe people wil easily turn their heads towards LMDE, which may become a wider known "Debian made easy" with Debian Stable base. Probably also a very good option for beginners.
18 • Xfce and Gnome (by David McCann on 2014-08-11 16:01:22 GMT from United Kingdom)
Xfce is certainly maintained. If you look at the Git repository, you'll see the latest changes were made just 3 days ago. The reason why version 14.10 is still official is that Xffe doesn't feel the need to keep compusively changing: if it's not broken, you don't need to fix it.
One of the advantages of Linux is the convenience of workspaces. Microsoft actually tried to add them to Windows XP, but there was just too much incompatible software in existence. With Gnome, you can't see the pager without calling up the menu: if there is a way, it doesn't seem to be documented.
Another problem I can't see a solution to is support for multiple keyboard drivers. If you use two or more scripts, it's very handy to have a visiual indicator on the panel to show the current one. With the last Gnome distro I reviewed (Ubuntu Gnome), I couldn't even get it to switch drivers.
Gnome may be suitable for casual home users, social networking and watching videos, or for office workers who just use LibreOffice and email, but it's too clunky for anyone who makes serious demands on the computer.
19 • Gnome vs. Xfce (by bison on 2014-08-11 16:03:33 GMT from United States)
If Debian is going to make a choice based on what benefits the project, which has been suggested, and seems reasonable, then they should avoid Gnome 3, which is widely unpopular. Xfce is fine, but does not seem to be under active development. Perhaps MATE should be considered.
20 • XFCE has no place - LXDE for lightweight systems (by morgan on 2014-08-11 16:32:49 GMT from United Kingdom)
If Debian go with XFCE can you imagine what a new user would think ? (other than the fact Linux desktop seems a couple of decades behind Windows/Mac)
Really there is little point to XFCE, its bloated compared to LXDE so if you really wanted a lightweight desktop go with a more lightweight one.
Personally I think they should use KDE.
21 • 18 • Xfce and Gnome (by mandog on 2014-08-11 16:48:06 GMT from Peru)
@18 One of the advantages of Linux is the convenience of workspaces. Microsoft actually tried to add them to Windows XP, but there was just too much incompatible software in existence. With Gnome, you can't see the pager without calling up the menu: if there is a way, it doesn't seem to be documented.
Ctrl Alt + up or down another simple command.
Not only that keyboard commands and shortcuts are all configurable in settings + additinal custom in tweak tool And yes its all well documented.
22 • Yawn! Desktop Environments again? (by imageek5 on 2014-08-11 17:41:06 GMT from Brazil)
Windows 8, Unity and Gnome 3 are counter-intuitive, limited functionality pieces of garbage. Gnome "fallback" is somewhat of a hybrid that removed some functionality and customize-ability of Gnome 2 as well and isn't a good option for people who want to get actual work done.
KDE is clumsy and a bit of a resource hog, LXDE wants to fight with me daily and Mate is not usable at all on my modern hardware.
So what's left?
I've been running XFCE for about a year now with no complaints. XFCE works out of the box, respects any changes I've made (unlike Gnome) and actually I think it's plus XFCE's not being actively maintained. That means XFCE won't be broken anytime soon.
Debian made a wise choice to go with XFCE. Stable and bug free. Now if only Debian would focus on doing a better job supporting video and wifi (basic functionality for most folks), as well as ensuring packages in the main repos are actually compatible with the distro Debian would have way more fans.
23 • Gnome vs XFCE (by Ron on 2014-08-11 18:14:49 GMT from United States)
"but there are developers who would like to see the decision reversed. One of them is Jordi Mallach, the maintainer of a number of GNOME packages, whose blog post published last week provides some interesting reasons"
No surprise here, the surprise would be if a GNOME package maintainer suggested something other than GNOME!
I must say that I am quite happy with XFCE. I really cannot judge GNOME anymore because I was so repelled with my first experience with GNOME3, that the first thing when contemplating a newer OS, if I see GNOME mentioned I immediately reject it.
24 • @11 .. "outdated interface paradigm.." (by Az4x4 on 2014-08-11 18:52:49 GMT from United Kingdom)
"..Debian has a reputation of being very stable, but outdated packages. The reputation may not be warranted, but using an outdated interface paradigm will not help correct it."
What, pray tell, makes an interface paradigm "outdated"? Just because newer interface paradigms such as Metro, Unity and Gnome 3 differ from traditional menu driven interfaces like MATE (Gnome 2.x) or XFCE, do they in fact bring something to the table the desktop users actually prefer over what they've had with more traditional user interfaces?
Truthfully the question of what interface paradigm is best can only be answered on an individual user basis. However from the less than enthusiastic acceptance that Metro, Unity and Gnome 3 have so far garnered the balance scale, insofar as desktop users are concerned, seems to have swung sharply in the direction of more traditional interface paradigms, and will no doubt continue to do so..
25 • Debian desktop (by linuxista on 2014-08-11 20:26:31 GMT from United States)
Xfce, while imperfect, seems the best choice. I used Gnome3 for a while, and I found it workable. It's certainly the most attractive UI. As long as it's stable and graphics supported, it's the best choice for highly mouse/touch oriented users who want to surf, etc. It does run heavy with all that tracker/zeitgeist stuff, which I disable. But then they stripped Nautilus of compact mode and 3.12 has a memory leak that has yet to be fixed, so I've finally had enough. I wish someone would release KDE light: No Akonadi or Nepomuk (sp.?), sane low resource defaults w/ most 3d turned off, and preferences dialogs with a few basic choices and an "advanced" option where they present the 10,001 configuration options. Disabling the databases and certain services I have KDE idling at about 350mb of ram. Otherwise, I wouldn't recommend it to a newbie. I wish Xfce had scale and expo functions. Yes, you could enable compiz but my experience is that it's not stable. So, I keep xfce4wm and live with the limitation. I may go back to it and see if I can get it to my liking with keyboard shortcuts. On the whole, however, Xfce is a good choice. It won't dazzle, but It won't drive anyone away either, especially XP refugees. It does all the basics well. It's configurable. It's stable. It doesn't require 3d graphics.
@2: The American government/multinationals might worry about Chinese backdoors, but to normal citizens snooping by their own government/multinationals is the clear and present threat. The Chinese aren't the ones trying to "manage" (intimidate and suppress) dissent in the citizenry of (insert name of western "democracy" here).
26 • Debian desktop (by linuxista on 2014-08-11 21:26:32 GMT from United States)
The Gnome dev blog also states:
Some of our reasons are:
They might have a point on a number of these things which I did not take into consideration at all. Some might be bogus: systemd has no problem with my xfce install. Some don't affect me but might be extremely important for some, such as accessibility, and which should be in the default desktop.
27 • Government snooping and "Backdoors" (by EarlyBird on 2014-08-11 22:05:18 GMT from Canada)
re post 25 as well as other references here to security, "backdoors', and government snooping:
Seems governments have been "snooping" on their own citizens much longer than most of us realize. Limiting ourselves to the past 100 years to keep this "current", have a look at 2600 The Hacker Quarterly, volume31 No 1, Spring 2014 edition. Page 6 - 8 "Lessons from "Sexret" History -From Cable Vetting to Tempora". It seems the Brits have been monitoring EVERY telegraph from day one! Yup, you read that correctly..."telegraph". So this spying actually goes back to 1844. After the war, the US had superior technology, but the British had access to 8000 miles of coastal access point for interception; hence began their cooperation, and the beginning of the big 5 group (USA, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada). They cooperate by spying on each others citizens to circumvent local privacy concerns and regulations (sort of similar to how governments secretly negotiate "treaties" to circumvent democratically designed laws).
There has been a lot published on this, but this was the most immediate reference I could quote on the spot. The upshot is, if a government claims they need a law to "protect" (insert blank here), you can be sure it is NOT to protect you! I have seen figures bandied about on the percentage GNP the USA spends on defence of as much as 41%. Can that possibly be right? No matter what you may think about Edward Snowden, he certainly did us all a favour by lifting the cloak of government secrecy a bit. Seems all governments partake in this behaviour. So yes, BE paranoid about your software. And only elect people who don't want to be elected- otherwise you'll end up with career politicians, retired lawyer politicians, lobbyists, and all other manner of riffraff. As for me, seems I am only a pair of eyeballs to hypnotize, and a wallet from which to extract the contents.
Waiting for the next Carrington event.....
28 • Gnome 3 versus XFCE (by Dale Visser on 2014-08-11 22:08:07 GMT from United States)
I last used Gnome 3 on a VM via Ubuntu Gnome 13.04. It was troublesome for me due to my system's quirkiness when enabling 3D graphics on a VM, which Gnome 3 *requires*. Having been burned by that, nowadays I happily use LXDE on all my systems, though I do boot into XFCE on occasion when using SystemRescueCD for partitioning.
All that said, go and read the Gnome team blog post. They make many good points, particularly around accessibility and release support. The Debian team would do well to at least address this controversy more head on.
29 • Debian & Gnome (by old man Nix on 2014-08-11 22:10:03 GMT from United States)
i agree with #3 Gnome-3.x is too odd for a basic desktop & laptop and seems better suited a tablet or smartphone, if gnome would quit trying to be everything for everybody they would still have a decent desktop system, just when gnome-2.x was getting really good they abandon it and released that abomination as gnome-3.x and that annoyed a heck of a lot of Linux users, either Xfce or Mate fills that void caused by the death of gnome-2.x quite well,
30 • Re #4 / Debian & MATE (by Raphaël on 2014-08-11 22:14:12 GMT from Switzerland)
I would also advise Debian to change to MATE. Compared to GNOME 3, it's very stable and still works on old machines, and compared to XFCE, it feels more complete and straightforward.
31 • Debian - Gnome vs Xfce (by YB on 2014-08-11 22:17:37 GMT from Turkey)
I tried to adapt to Gnome3 and Unity many times, again and again. But, I didn't feel comfortable. I find it difficult to be productive with these kinds of new DE. Gnome and Unity devs should understand that desktop and laptop computers are not used for the same purposes as netbooks and tablets are. Many people have desktops/laptops for business, production and complex tasks while they have netbooks and/or tablets for basic things.
Additionally, I agree with comment #15 on "I would not, however, change the entire way a distribution boots and initializes merely to satisfy the whims of a bunch of (Gnome) developers who seem not to care in the least about the needs and/or preferences of their own user base"
32 • @11 "traditional interface" (by Kazlu on 2014-08-11 22:25:36 GMT from France)
@11 "The interface paradigm for XFCE (and Gnome 2) is now over 20 years old. For people born in the 1990s and later, it is not the traditional interface."
Nonsense: take anyone born after 1990 that has only used Windows up to Windows 7 and have them try Xfce and GNOME Shell. What would be their reaction? I guess most would say something like "this one is easier, at least it has a taskbar and a start menu" (with this vocabulary I have a special thought for #2 Snazzy ;) ). "Traditional interface" generally refers more or less to an interface with a panel containing an application menu and a task switcher or a dock. Every desktop environment born before 2011 fit this description, so people are used to it, whatever OS they use. Then Unity, GNOME Shell and Windows 8's Metro/Modern UI appeared, along with the term "traditional interface" to refer to the style of the ones that existed before. So yes, Xfce is right among the desktops featuring a "traditional interface". That does not make it better or superior to GNOME Shell, that just means Xfce is easier to understand and to master when you come from Windows or MacOS.
33 • Default DE choice (by M.Z. on 2014-08-11 22:30:11 GMT from United States)
One easy solution for those of us who have a Debian system & want to let the Debian folks know don't like Gnome 3 is to install the popcon package. I just installed it via Apper on by Debian KDE system, & it should report back my installed DE & other packages to the Debian folks via a secure anonymous system.
I liked Gnome 2 just fine when I was starting to use Linux, but I really don't think Gnome 3 is a reasonable default choice for any mainstream distro. I find it incredibly clunky by default, & it seems to be getting even worse. I like KDE & think it easily the best choice for a full sized modern DE. Not only does KDE work without 3D acceleration, I think it is actually lighter than Gnome 3 when properly configured. That being said XFCE is also a solid choice & might be better than KDE or anything else as a default for the Debian folks.
I'd also point out that despite the technical merits that the Gnome maintainer points out, both gnome-panel & gnome-shell seem to have gone down in use over them past few months, while KDE & XFCE are climbing slightly. The package gnome-panel in particular seems to be tanking, though I don't exactly know what that means as two separate packages from Gnome were selected for comparison by the Gnome maintainer.
Like 24 pointed out, the new DE paradigms haven't exactly done well for themselves. If there was some sort of demand for a new type of desktop then Windows 8 would have at least sold better than Vista, but it tanked even worse than Vista from what I've read. There really is no reason to think Gnome 3 design paradigms are any better than those of Windows 8 or would look any more attractive to new users, they do seem to be closely related after all.
34 • Holy DE Wars Batman! (by cykodrone on 2014-08-11 23:11:27 GMT from Canada)
The main reason they're CONSIDERING Xfce (nothing is written in stone) is because it will fit on one CD, not a DVD, a CD. Take a deep breath fanboiz and alarmists.
After I got fed up with KDE (nepomuk, aknonadi, PIM, wallet, etc, etc), I DE hopped, not distro hopped, DE hopped, LXDE was OK but some of the configuring was just silly, it's not as well rounded and mature as Xfce. Even old Gnome 2.x was not as completely functional and configurable as Xfce, a lot of the old Gnome 2.x apps (and 3.x) will work in Xfce, I should know, I am using Debian Wheezy Xfce loaded with them.
This isn't about the traditional "Desktop paradigm" (search it, the idea started way back in 1970), it's about fitting a DE that WORKS on to a CD.
35 • Debian Desktop (by jymm on 2014-08-11 23:59:35 GMT from United States)
I don't understand all this change for the sake of change. I also will go with Mate, no matter what OS i run. I love the traditional. It works, why do I have to change? I was a huge Gnome fan, and find the new Gnome has no advantage, and for me a lot of disadvantage. Yet we get this, it's new, so it has to be better. BS!
You can do all the fancy stuff you want, but icons I use the most on the desktop, with all my programs on a menu on a panel, that I can put what ever part of the desktop I want is what I want. As for desktop search, I can easily call up Catfish the few times i need it. I know where my stuff is otherwise. Why can't I just have what works for me?
36 • Backdoors and Debian (by Platypus on 2014-08-12 00:37:07 GMT from Australia)
1. I agree with Jesse. People worried about China but the Yanks, Ruskies and the Poms, everyone who can afford the effort I think people need to be worried about.
2. Gnome 3 I have tried and tried numerous times and in different distros that add after market improvements (like Pinguy). But "IT" is the one that is rough around the edges. It is pug-ugly on a desktop but I'm sure the pimple squeezers love it because they can tweet and go on facebook. That is why after the failure of Deepin 2014, I moved right back to Xfce.
37 • KDE Light? (by Bob on 2014-08-12 00:38:00 GMT from Austria)
I guess something like a "KDE Light" would beat everything else for a good part of the crowd. Not lighter in resources than XFCE and LXDE but far more polished and usable.
38 • debian default DE (by jeffrey jones on 2014-08-12 00:45:46 GMT from United States)
as a Debian user since rel.4 etch i have always been a gnome user, tried other DE's and window managers as well. I seem to always return to gnome. i have 12(yes,12) computers all running Debian testing, some XFCE, some gnome, even 2 net books using lxde. testing has it's share of problems at times, but it is the price for using up to date instead of dated,stable. i can say that gnome upstream fixes come quicker than XFCE. just something to think of.
39 • #15, 32 et al. (by Kubelik on 2014-08-12 01:17:05 GMT from Denmark)
"...merely to satisfy the whims of a bunch of (Gnome) developers..."
Do you really think that was the reason distros like Arch, openSUSE, Fedora, Mageia and now Debian and Ubuntu have switched to systemd?
- By the way Debian is not (yet) meant for noobs.
- "take anyone born after 1990" - Are you exagerating a bit? - Hope so, I almost feel helplesly old:)
40 • Debian default DE and KDE Lite (by Will B on 2014-08-12 04:48:10 GMT from United States)
If Debian asked me to choose between Gnome and Xfce for the default DE, it would be Xfce, no question about it.
I think a KDE Lite version would rock! I do not like all the extra junk that comes with KDE (Neopunk, Bruno or whatever all that nonsense is called) so a Lite version would be enticing. KDE is a tad too glitchy in some areas, though, so I've not stayed with it long. I always go back to my Fluxbox + bbbutton + home-made application menu...it's light, it's fast and doesn't get broken with each release! :-D
41 • Gnome is better for accessibility (by Mohammed on 2014-08-12 05:36:02 GMT from India)
Although I find Xfce better than Gnome 3, Debian SHOULD stick with GNOME for a very important reason - accessibility. If I'm right, GNOME happens to be the most accessible free desktop that's out there.
If we choose Xfce, we would not really be doing justice to users who rely on accessibility.
In the GNOME Classic mode, GNOME is quite easy to use, and I guess it's just as good as GNOME 2 was.
The decision of whether to go for GNOME or Xfce should consider every kind of user.
Xfce can be considered if it can be made to be just as accessible as GNOME is, or even better.
42 • Deepin, not for me! (by Onederer on 2014-08-12 06:26:20 GMT from United States)
I downloaded Deepin, to try it out. I found it strange to use, by the way that it's setup.
It advertised that it could be loaded in a memory stick. I didn't want to waste the space on a 1TB hard drive, so I decided to install it in a 34GB memory stick. Unfortunately, most setups in Deepin, are limited in their capability. Not enough leeway to tweak an application, to one's need.
Deepin decided to only install itself in /dev/sda6 (Windows HD). I wanted to install it in the 34Gb memory stick. However, I just couldn't make it happen.
It refused to recognize the presence of that USB memory stick. That's in spite that the stick appeared along with the other existing storage devices, in the control panel.
I even unplugged the other memory/storage devices to make sure that what I wanted would happen. Nope! It's only focus was the Windows drive. So now, 64-bit Deepin, is sitting in my dust bin. Not ready for primetime.
43 • (by Fossilizing Dinosaur on 2014-08-12 06:57:03 GMT from United States)
DE "integration" - All your OS API belong us ... like systemd wants to own all your hardware API, or (name-your-app-store) wants to own all your software repository (packages)?
(jymm #56) Complexity can be an irresistible temptation to a geek, just like new for any fashionista. Just ignore decades of GUI research ...
or put 4+ "paradigms" on OpenBox.
What if we had more DE-agnostic quality-GUI apps?
(Isn't Razor-Qt KDE-lite? Doesn't LXQT wannabe too?)
Hopefully, someday modular agility and elegance will beat monolithic.
44 • Reinstating GNOME as default (by Microlinux on 2014-08-12 07:46:20 GMT from France)
Jordi Mallach advances "accessibility" as an argument for reinstating GNOME 3 as Debian's default desktop. I'm a seasoned GNU/Linux user who started out on Slackware 7.1 and KDE 2.x. I've been a GNOME 2.x user for years, mainly on Debian and CentOS. I figure the main reason I can't use GNOME 3.x to get some work done must be because I have no disability whatsoever.
45 • @39 "born after 1990" (by Kazlu on 2014-08-12 10:42:33 GMT from France)
I was responding to #11 vw72 who said "For people born in the 1990s and later, it is not the traditional interface." I actually meant "take anyone, even born after 1990", I probably should have written it that way, my bad :)
46 • lightweight KDE (by Kazlu on 2014-08-12 10:52:06 GMT from France)
Some here wish they had a lightweight KDE. As #43 Fossilizing Dinosaur said, Razor-Qt and it's next step LXQt might suit you. If they are not featured enough for you, you may try Trinity, it's a fork of KDE 3.x. Although their main page looks like it's not maintained, their nightly builds page shows buils for Ubuntu Trusty and Debian Jessie. I never tried any of those, these are just ideas.
47 • For Debian a tiling DE better than Xfce (by Alessandro di Roma on 2014-08-12 13:05:08 GMT from Italy)
Dear Debian friends, do you want a tiling Desktop Environment, better than Xfce? Try Xfce plus x-tile 2.5, installed from 'http://www.giuspen.com/software/x-tile_2.5-1_all.deb'. Then go to Settings/Keyboard/Application Shortcuts and assign 'g' to 'x-tile g' as grid, 'v' to 'x-tile v' as vertical, 'h' to 'x-tile h' as horizontal and 'c' to 'x-tile c' as close. Of course you can do it with any OS based on Debian and Xfce, for instance now I'm happy with Antix MX-14.2. Try, then forget DEs and start thinking to applications!
48 • @47, For Debian a tiling DE better than Xfce (by Alessandro di Roma on 2014-08-12 13:19:18 GMT from Italy)
SORRY, READ: Dear Debian friends, do you want a tiling Desktop Environment, better than Xfce? Try Xfce plus x-tile 2.5, installed from 'http://www.giuspen.com/software/x-tile_2.5-1_all.deb'. Then go to Settings/Keyboard/Application Shortcuts and assign 'ctrl-alt-g' to 'x-tile g' as grid, 'ctrl-alt-v' to 'x-tile v' as vertical, 'ctrl-alt-h' to 'x-tile h' as horizontal and 'ctrl-alt-c' to 'x-tile c' as close. Of course you can do it with any OS based on Debian and Xfce, for instance now I'm happy with Antix MX-14.2. Try, then forget DEs and start thinking to applications!
49 • KDE Light (by linuxista on 2014-08-12 14:29:58 GMT from United States)
I think LXQt will be more like KDE ultralight. It's very attractive to me as I am finding more and more for desktop use the openbox, i3, fluxbox ecosystem make more sense, but I was thinking of something in the middle for KDE. Something moderate, focused, attractive, clean (no akonadi or nepomuk), but with all the other advantages of KDE. The problem with KDE seems to be it tries to be all things to all users, and it suffers as a result.
50 • KDE Light (by linuxista on 2014-08-12 14:38:20 GMT from United States)
KDE could take a page out of Gnome's book, but not to the extreme (like Gnome crippling Nautilus). Given it's more of a kommunity thing, it seems KDE doesn't want to offend any kontributors by axing their submissions. But KDE ought to create a "hatchet team" to go through and intelligently remove features and eye kandy that simply overwhelm users with klutter. So as not to offend anybody they kan keep all that stuff as an optional package to download from the repos kalled kde-krap.deb.
51 • @50 (by notsure on 2014-08-12 15:02:59 GMT from United States)
k, well played :)
52 • Desktops (by Dave Postles on 2014-08-12 15:53:44 GMT from United Kingdom)
32-bit versions XFCE to compress to a CD;
64-bit GNOME or whatever for a DVD?
Most people with 64-bit kit would usually have a DVD caddy/drive and sufficient RAM. If you are using 64-bit and prefer XFCE, it's easy enough to download the DE.
53 • desktop size & fearures (by M.Z. on 2014-08-13 08:09:03 GMT from United States)
There are versions of Linux that start off with a minimal install of KDE & give you the option to install a 'KDE full' package. I know for instance that the PCLinuxOS repos have both KDE minimal and KDE full packages. In fact I believe that I've read more than a few reviews that put KDE RAM use below that of Gnome & most other full DEs, which is presumably because there are plenty of KDE centric distros that ship with a minimal install of KDE with the effects turned down or off. Personally I'm sort of a computer enthusiast & I like my desktop to have a touch of flash, as long as I have the resources anyway.
The issue is that Debian anoints one desktop as the default no matter the architecture & offers all others as a separate download. There is good reason to offer a different DE on older 32 bit systems, but I don't think that is what will happen.
54 • Chinese Back Doors (by kilgoretrout on 2014-08-13 14:41:38 GMT from United States)
I agree that all governments have been engaging in unprecedented surveillance of their own citizens and of foreign nationals. That's been fairly well established. However, in all cases except China's, the goal of that surveillance has been primarily for military and political purposes. Only with China, do you find many well documented instances of state supported cyber-crime for purely economic reasons, i.e. hacking into the computers of private companies to illegally obtain trade secrets, IP and confidential business information. Given the greater breadth of the Chinese surveillance objectives, I don't believe it is unreasonable to be doubly suspicious of software or hardware originating from China.
55 • 54 • Chinese Back Doors (by mandog on 2014-08-13 18:35:25 GMT from Peru)
Can you tell me since when has the USA not used cyber-crime for purely economic reasons. Really US citizens need to open their eyes. The USA invented it.
56 • Debian, please (by fernbap on 2014-08-13 19:43:54 GMT from Portugal)
I don't get it. I really don't get it.
Appart from Gnome 3 itself, which is horrendous (i know, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder), Gnome 3 manages to infect everything that was built on top of it.
Zorin used to be a beautifull desktop, now it is ugly.
The best work on Gnome 3 was the one made by Clem. Cinnamon is nice and usable. Of course, when gnome 3 developers started stripping functionalities out of Nautilus (why on earth do that?), Clem immediately forked it in order to keep all the funcionalities working.
However, there is still stuff missing on Cinnamon: exactly what Gnome 3 is unable tp provide. In order to restore everything we were able to do before Gnome 3, we would have to fork the entire Gnome 3 in order to move it in the right direction.
Gnome 3 poisons everything.
So, please, Debian, don't reward it by making it your default desktop. You would be acting against your own philosophy.
57 • Debian and GNOME Shell, again (by Barnabyh on 2014-08-13 21:10:04 GMT from United Kingdom)
That's some cheek to talk of stability issues and rough edges in XFCE in favour of GNOME 3. It may not look as nice and modern in its default bland install but would be the practical choice due to resource constraints and being able to run on *much* less powerful graphics hardware.
This way everybody can have a go at installing the default Debian image and not run the risk of staring at a blank screen.
That's not to say I don't like the G3 Shell, it has been rather nice in Antergos, but it seems to depend a lot on the implementation. Never end up using it for longer though.
58 • KDE light (by linuxista on 2014-08-13 21:25:01 GMT from United States)
@53 : IMHO kde needs to go a bit further than those minimal installs you're referencing. I'm not familiar with them, but if I understand you correctly certain of the package groups are not installed by default and the 3d effects are turned off. I'd bet you still have akonadi and nepomuk working in the background, and the whole interface needs to be cleaned up. What I mean by that is that someone has to go through and decide on sane defaults for all the apps and to cut down the preferences dialogues to just the basic/important options. Then push all the other choices to a secondary dialog behind an "advanced" button. I appreciate what KDE is trying to do, but there is a point of diminishing returns when you present so many options you can't quickly find the one you want. Like I said, they don't have to throw away the GUI configurability, but they should have the courage to decide which are important and push all the rest behind a curtain.
59 • @20 (by Barnabyh on 2014-08-13 21:40:03 GMT from United Kingdom)
That's a good one. But really, there is little point to LXDE, it lacks features compared to Xfce and it's bloated compared to Openbox so if you really wanted a lightweight desktop go with a more lightweight one. Sorry -:) .
60 • Jessie should be cholesterol free (by :wq on 2014-08-14 01:22:36 GMT from United States)
Tl;dr- There are pros and cons to any choice the Debian Project makes in the matter, but I think Xfce (and pretty much any other GNOME 3 alternative, though Xfce is my first choice) is a better choice as the default for Jessie than GNOME 3.
First off, in case I am otherwise dismissed as a systemd hater, let me state that for Linux I prefer systemd to the current alternatives, though I hope alternatives, whether current or future, to systemd remain viable (and I also recognize that some people will never like systemd). While Linux is by far the most used kernel, Debian isn't just Linux. In that light (i.e. the entirety of the Debian Project's needs, not the GNOME Project's needs), "systemd embracing" isn't necessarily solely a pro. There are advantages and disadvantages to be weighed.
Regarding accessibility, I'm not arguing Xfce trumps GNOME, but the Xfce Project has shown a willingness to improve Xfce's accessibility support when there was interest. As things stand currently, choices have to be made regarding which tasks receive the most attention.
As far as popularity, to truly have a fair sense of the trend, Xfce would need to be default DE for a stable release cycle. I think whatever DE is the replacement stable release default would increase in popularity during a release life span (in this case, Jessie), and whatever DE was the previous stable release default would decrease in popularity over time, though there are factors which will somewhat mitigate that decrease in popularity. For example, Squeeze, and likely Wheezy, will receive some form of LTS support (GNOME, 2 and 3 respectively, being the default DE for those), not to mention that people upgrading their installs will be keeping their DEs, hence GNOME will be upgraded for people who previously chose a prior stable release default DE when that meant GNOME.
"Downstream health", "Upstream health" (I'm including the "Hardware" bullet point with this), and "Community", and relatedly "Localization" and "Documentation", are somewhat Catch-22s I think. At the upstream level, without being the default DE for major distributions, a DE typically won't attract large numbers of contributors, yet if some nebulous metric (how active does active have to be?) of "upstream health" is a determinant for distributions, how does one become the default DE for major distributions without the level of contributions DEs receive when they benefit from being the defaults for major distributions? At the distribution level, if a DE is consistently (let's say for at least two stable release cycles) the default, I expect its maintainership to increase accordingly, but how does one increase maintainership in lieu of being the go-to DE (i.e. the DE face of a distribution)? I also wonder if Debian's switch to Xfce will encourage any other distributions to take a second look at Xfce as part of a default setup. Regarding the community argument (and by extension, localization and documentation), if Xfce is to be penalized for not having "the userbase or humanpower" (and I would add funding to that list) which DEs receive that have been the heretofore (read: historical) defaults for major distributions, how would a DE which is not the default for major distributions match that without the benefit of the spotlight that the heretofore default DEs have received? Unity (shell), which seems to be slowly moving in the direction of becoming a fullfledged DE, is an exception, but it has had the benefit of Canonical's backing; periphery community projects rarely have a corporate road roller spearheading their way towards the mainstream. If GNOME 3 didn't benefit from the established contributor base and financial stakeholders, in the form of companies like Red Hat, that it inherited from the previous (i.e. prior to GNOME 3) momentum of GNOME, would GNOME 3 really have gained these solely on its own strengths if it were an alternative DE to GNOME 2 rather than an "upgrade" for it? There is also some political component to the adoption rate of certain projects (politics in open source, surely not? :p), as well as strategic analyses of the degree to which projects can be "managed" or even moved in-house (or kept in-house if they originated that way), even if that house has open doors.
"Adaptation" is not a great argument. Quoting Jordi, "Debian forced a big desktop change with the wheezy release, switching from the traditional GNOME 2.x to the new GNOME Shell environment." I would say that Debian didn't force this change so much as GNOME necessitated it. The GNOME Kool-Aid was still very strong at that point (and is still quite forceful in the present), to the extent that the GNOME Project could have released Microsoft Bob and Debian probably still would have adopted it. Also, GNOME 3.12 is itself an adaptation from GNOME 3.4. There have been plenty of changes since 3.4; for one, Fallback mode, which wasn't great to start with, is gone (perhaps the GNOME Flashback team will carry on, perhaps not), replaced by the so-called GNOME Classic session/group of extensions, but even GNOME Shell session proper has evolved some since 3.4. I think Xfce still requires less adaptation than GNOME 3, perhaps except for users devoted to GNOME 3, in which case they will install GNOME 3 regardless of what the default DE is.
On the Linux side of things*, in the long run I think Debian (both developers and non-dev users) will mostly be better off with the move to systemd, though I do expect there to be headaches during the stable release user transition process, but I also think Debian would benefit from GNOME not being the default DE for Jessie. I do think GNOME 3.12 is halfway decent (and it's a shame it it or 3.10 isn't packaged in RHEL 7) but compared to the alternatives, I can't justify GNOME being the default in Debian at this time. Perhaps Debian should have no default DE, but since it does, I would prefer it not be GNOME 3 for Jessie. A GNOME release > 3.14 may be the best choice to be the Debian default DE at some point down the road, but the time for GNOME-as-the-default-Debian-DE is not now.
*It looks like Debian GNU/kFreeBSD and Debian GNU/Hurd will be sticking with SysVinit for Jessie instead of switching to OpenRC (or Upstart), and then reassess their options after Jessie's release. I don't know if openlaunchd or GNU dmd would be sufficiently tested (or even packaged) in Debian in time for Jessie+1.
61 • Facts Please. Eyes wide opened. (by Garon on 2014-08-14 11:30:07 GMT from United States)
#55 said, "Can you tell me since when has the USA not used cyber-crime for purely economic reasons. Really US citizens need to open their eyes. The USA invented it."
That's not exactly how it works. Maybe some have done that, but if you make the accusations you have to supply the facts to back them up or the statements carry no weight. I do believe tho that he means government institutions.
62 • @55 gov commercial spying (by cykodrone on 2014-08-14 14:28:47 GMT from Canada)
Tell me one privately owned corporation in the USA that has a 'government office' located right inside their building(s). No, you can't? Gee, that's strange, because in China, MANY so-called privately owned businesses have 'government offices' in their buildings, please explain that, what are they there for? You can go have your foot surgically removed from your mouth now.
63 • Gov't spying (by linuxista on 2014-08-14 15:26:43 GMT from United States)
@61 Why do you get to decide who has the burden of proof? You assert that the USA doesn't use cyber-crime for purely economic reasons unless proven otherwise. Given the record of the U.S. gov't toppling gov'ts around the world for economic reasons (see oil, agri-business, etc.), I would contend that it's extremely likely that cyber-crime for economic reasons is ocurring. If you have evidence that it is not, you should present it.
@62 According to ex-CIA directors Alan Dulles and William Colby, pursuant to Operation Mockingbird the CIA owns everybody in the western media worth controlling. That's sort of like having an office 'located right inside their buildings.' Of course if you believe the mythologies constantly churned out by the "free" press, then things look quite different, I'm sure.
64 • Backdoors (by Kazlu on 2014-08-14 15:44:18 GMT from France)
You trust USA software more than China software? Read that: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/01/world/middleeast/obama-ordered-wave-of-cyberattacks-against-iran.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2&seid=auto&smid=tw-nytimespolitics
Political or economic purposes? What diference does it make? In this example, the original motivation is indeed political, but the worm has spread beyond its target and had economic consequences (and could have had consequences on human lives...). Maybe (just maybe) China has a greater breadth of surveillance objectives, but maybe the USA have more ressources to strike and maybe they use cyber-attacks more often. These are just pure assumptions and no one can use that as a valid argument.
The only way to protect ourselves is to keep away obscure software. What I mean by "obscure software" obviously includes proprietary, closed-source software, *whatever country(ies) it has been made in*. That also includes open source software that few people use and therefore is not or not enough reviewed. Deepin? Based on Ubuntu, an open-source OS that is used by a very large community and that is often reviewed by lots of people. However, one can be a little suspicious about what Deepin adds on top of Ubuntu, I don't know how many people actually read the code... or if it has proprietary software in it. Red Hat? Made in USA, but has a very large community also and lots of reviewers, so I guess it's pretty safe. I have less confidence in one-person made distros and/or distros that include obscure software...
65 • gov spying (by cykodrone on 2014-08-14 16:11:30 GMT from Canada)
The big diff is, in north America, we still have a chance to reverse this scary trend, in China, you get slapped with a trumped up criminal charge and whisked away, never to be seen or heard from again. The Chinese are schizophrenic, it's impossible to be a capitalist communist dictatorship, they make $#1+ up as they go along.
Time to go off the grid, period, f*&% 'em all. Or start a second private internet, something I've been predicting for years.
66 • Good idea :wq (by Barnabyh on 2014-08-14 19:15:22 GMT from United Kingdom)
>>Perhaps Debian should have no default DE...
That is actually a good idea, perhaps the netinstall should be the default image. But that would make Debian a lot more unfriendly to not so experienced users and it's probably a step too far for the project. Shame really.
And thanks for your lengthy, well-balanced consideration of pros and cons.
67 • Android X86 (by cyclone on 2014-08-14 22:35:17 GMT from United States)
Just curious....one question:
Has anybody been successful in booting this OS on a laptop?
68 • spread the Asian love (by techosore on 2014-08-15 04:22:57 GMT from Australia)
Aauu ... don't be so harsh on the Chinese ... surely they are lovely people on the inside. After all, they dumped Windows and have made a few good Linux distros, so they can't be all that bad. Just think, if the US was to dump Windows too, they and the Chinese could become open source best buddies :)
67. Android X86 works on a netbook, but the display is awkward - the phone format doesn't scale up well to the net/note book format.
69 • Let's be fair. (by Garon on 2014-08-15 08:31:43 GMT from United States)
63 said, "Why do you get to decide who has the burden of proof?"
Simple answer is because I'm not the one making the accusations.
Furthermore I don't condone or agree with so called cyber-attacks carried out by governments. It's very doubtful that you'll find any government institution that has clean hands when it comes to politics and economics because control of those two things can be a powerful combination. If someone is going to try to convince me of something it really helps to have some kind of proof otherwise they come across like a person standing on the side of a road holding up a sign that says, "The End Is Near" and that's just the way it is.
70 • Wrong (by linuxista on 2014-08-15 15:29:16 GMT from United States)
@69 Given the track record of espionage, intervention, revelations of Snowden, etc. I'd say the accusers have more than met their burden of presumption. Now the burden shifts to those who blindly defend the pre-digested narratives served up to them by the captured western media. Do you have anything convincing to say beyond the authorities deny it? (Like James Clapper head of the NSA denying collecting info on U.S. citizens in front of Congress until, oh yeah, well anyway.
71 • Handy Linux kernel 3.2?! (by kneekoo on 2014-08-17 05:11:17 GMT from Romania)
I don't know why would anyone deliver a distro with such an old kernel. Version 3.2 can't handle a lot of mondern graphics chips, starting with Sandy Bridge if I recall correctly. So you'd end up without acceleration and poor graphics performance. That's something you'd normally want to get out of the way of the Linux/PC new comers.
72 • XFCE Has Rough Edges? For Debain. Accounding to Gnome 3 Devloper. (by JD on 2014-08-17 05:22:37 GMT from )
WOW At That Debian Gnome 3 Developer saying XFCE has Rough Edges, The Irony. Now if he would just convince his fellow gnome 3 team to stop being so stubborn and listen to the community....
XFCE does need a little love and configuration though by defualt it's kind of not as nice as it could be The way debian does it is vanilla and things arent setup to work as well as they can. that being said, so in gnome shell kinda. I think they should just use MATE or Cinnamon :D or Unity!
73 • xfce (by imnotrich on 2014-08-17 08:17:12 GMT from Brazil)
Silly me, I had previously posted that xfce allows the user to make various customizations and settings, then respects those changes.
Turns out I was wrong.
XFCE will not let me use one of my photos as desktop wallpaper.
Another annoying thing Ubuntu Studio does (which may or may not be xfce)?
When I boot up, Skype is always running in the background. Even when I tell it NO. I normally use Ekiga, and because Skype is running that causes conflicts with the half baked Pulse implementation and my Plantronics usb headset.
I abandoned Skype for Linux years ago as my primary voip solution because Skype then (as now) isn't compatible with Pulse, plus it would take upwards of 28 days for Skype to notify me I had a voice mail. More recently I'm able to get skype working again but that does NOT mean I want Skype on every boot.
Microsoft just wants to worm in on my bandwith.
74 • @ 73 XFCE (by kc1di on 2014-08-17 10:39:09 GMT from United States)
Which version of xfce are you using on which distro. I find that it works perfectly on xubuntu :)
75 • @73 Xfce Wallpaper (by cykodrone on 2014-08-17 15:14:21 GMT from Canada)
As root copy any compatible pic(s) to /usr/share/xfce4/backdrops, this solution is readily searched and available all over the internet, assuming you have internet to come here and post. Now right click the desktop in your user account, click 'Desktop Settings', give the pics a second to load, you'll see yours. Ease up on the Xfce FUD please, nobody is buying it. I've tweaked Xfce 10 ways to Sunday and have had ZERO problems.
Also, you may have a Skype launcher in a hidden 'autostart' folder, again, easily searched.
Here's an idea, try Mint 17 Xfce, it's n00b friendly and all the nonsense has been removed. You don't sound ready for Debian Xfce, which is the cat's meow.
76 • PiSi finally; Handy for the truly-new-be (by Fossilizing Dinosaur on 2014-08-17 15:46:29 GMT from United States)
PiSi: I'm finding the PiSi Linux KDE version 1.0 (from torrent) a rare gem on my test box.
Handy: (do I hear geeks whining and carping?) if "names and terms found in MS operating systems" are clear, accurate, generic, and not _owned_ by Microsoft, they may be the best choice: early prevention of confusion (marketing or FUD) serves the entire community.
Choice of initial kernel (3.2, 2012/01/04) may maximize compatibility with the most hardware; the target audience may prefer thoroughly pre-tested. Further, Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge were introduced in v3.1; the "problems" you remember (partly) may have occurred with bleeding-edge distros; DebIan Stable is.
Besides, a kernel update (with fallback entry in boot menu) should be a reassuring and educational experience.
77 • @73: Issues with Xfce (by eco2geek on 2014-08-17 19:57:56 GMT from United States)
> Ubuntu Studio ... (which may or may not be xfce)
The current version of Ubuntu Studio (14.04) does indeed run on top of Xfce. You couldn't tell? Clicking on "Ubuntu Studio Information" > "About Xfce" from the main menu wasn't a clue? :-)
> XFCE will not let me use one of my photos as desktop wallpaper.
Sure it will, unless there's something wonky with the photo. Find the photo in Thunar (that's the name of the file manager), right-click on the photo to bring up a context menu, and click on "Set as wallpaper" in the context menu. (There are several other ways to do it, but that's probably the easiest.)
> Another annoying thing Ubuntu Studio does (which may or may not be xfce)?
> When I boot up, Skype is always running in the background.
Skype isn't even in the default Ubuntu repositories. You had to go find and install it yourself. So blaming Ubuntu Studio for its behavior is silly.
In any case, if it's usually running all the time, you might be able to disable it by looking in the "Settings Manager" > "Session and Startup" and clicking on the "Appication Autostart" tab and seeing if it's listed there. Uncheck its entry if it is.
78 • Xfce rough edges (by linuxista on 2014-08-17 20:24:53 GMT from United States)
Xfce could use some attention in at least the following areas: If you want a vertical panel a lot of the applets don't adapt properly (font size on clock, pager applet). I recently discovered that Gnome3 is much better than Xfce w/re keyboard shortcuts. In fact, Gnome3's not too bad in this regard at all. Xfce is much harder to work with in the limited actions offered, a not very human readable config file, and a buggy GUI that won't accept the shift key as a modifier. And it appears this bug is long-standing.
I know a lot of people really, really hate Gnome3 because it "gets in the way of my workflow." Aside from crippling Nautilus, the only thing I can figure is that some users are highly attached to a taskbar. For me I'd rather have a built in expo/scale mode, but I've always wondered what these tremendous obstacles to functionality are. Anybody care to flame?
79 • @78: More Xfce, etc. (by eco2geek on 2014-08-18 04:22:50 GMT from United States)
Xfce 4.10 comes with a Settings Editor that largely resembles gconf-editor and dconf-editor, so there's no need to mess with raw config files.
As far as "won't accept the shift key as a modifier" goes, I just set Shift+F2 as a shortcut to start Firefox, and Shift+F3 as a shortcut to start Chromium. Doesn't seem to be a problem using the shift key in shortcuts.
As far as the rest, instead of beating a dead horse, how about an interesting Ars Technica article on KDE 5 which touches on the subject of the future of the Linux desktop environment:
80 • Rough edges @78 (by fernbap on 2014-08-18 04:57:02 GMT from Portugal)
"For me I'd rather have a built in expo/scale mode"
So do I. That's why i use MATE.
I have expo/scale mode AND a taskbar. Or not. Or not have expo/scale mode.
Or have a dock. Or not.
See? And you thought Gnome 3 was bringing something new...
81 • @71: Handy Linux kernel (by Kazlu on 2014-08-18 07:43:49 GMT from France)
Easy: Handy Linux is based on Debian Stable. Handy Linux 1.6 corresponds to Debian 7.6, which ships with the Linux kernel 3.2.
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|• Issue 598 (2015-02-23): Netrunner 14.1, Vivaldi web browser, Debian election, Cinnamon improvements|
|• Issue 597 (2015-02-16): MakuluLinux MCDE 2.0, Ubuntu phones launch, m0n0wall ceases development, live Linux updates|
|• Issue 596 (2015-02-09): ArchBSD 2014.09.04, encrypted e-mail, Fedora upgrade stats, FreeBSD's support policy|
|• Issue 595 (2015-02-02): ExTiX 15.1, Destroying encrypted data, openSUSE election, OSDisc statistics|
|• Issue 594 (2015-01-26): KaOS 2014.12, Commercial distros, Snappy Ubuntu, PackageKit fixes|
|• Issue 593 (2015-01-19): ReactOS 0.3.17, Unity on Mir, Bluetooth support, openSUSE election|
|• Issue 592 (2015-01-12): Mint 17.1, load averages, binary logs, GNOME Software|
|• Issue 591 (2015-01-05): Manjaro 0.8.11, systemd, Devuan, Torrent Corner|
|• Issue 590 (2014-12-22): Fedora 21, Ubuntu phone, expanding ZFS storage, Able2Extract|
|• Issue 589 (2014-12-15): Parsix 7.0, Ubuntu "Snappy", PC-BSD upgrades, How Linux Works|
|• Issue 588 (2014-12-08): PC-BSD 10.2, rolling-release Ubuntu GNOME, Bitrig, systemd|
|• Issue 587 (2014-12-01): Trisquel 7.0, Kubuntu 14.10 "Plasma5", FreeBSD on 64-bit ARM, Jolla and UbuTab|
|• Issue 586 (2014-11-24): Scientific Linux 7.0, Debian and systemd, Ubuntu MATE, application-level firewalls|
|• Issue 585 (2014-11-17): openSUSE 13.2, PC-BSD's "roles", MATE + Compiz on Mint, cleaning package cache|
|• Issue 584 (2014-11-10): OpenMandriva 2014.1, Debian freeze, trickle, systemd and boot times|
|• Issue 583 (2014-11-03): Ubuntu 14.10, ownCloud, Kylin interview, The Book of PF, Elive's commercial ways|
|• Issue 582 (2014-10-27): GhostBSD 4.0, Tumbleweed and Factory merge, systemd and fork of Debian|
|• Issue 581 (2014-10-20): SparkyLinux 3.5, Fedora's graphics stack, Debian and systemd, OpenBSD 5.6|
|• Issue 580 (2014-10-13): Rolling releases, Arch as best distro, GNOME on Wayland, MINIX 3.3.0|
|• Issue 579 (2014-10-06): PC-BSD 10.0.3, Debian's Jessie freeze, setting up home server|
|• Issue 578 (2014-09-29): Calculate 14, Debian's default desktop, Shellshock vulnerability, practical Tiny Core|
|• Issue 577 (2014-09-22): SymphonyOS 14.1, FreeBSD drops pkg_add, MINIX on ARM, GNU screen|
|• Issue 576 (2014-09-15): PCLinuxOS 2014.08, Mint's documentation, Debian's hardware database, CDE|
|• Issue 575 (2014-09-08): Porteus 3.0.1, Fedora's blivet-gui, Red Hat's Docker, systemd|
|• Issue 574 (2014-09-01): Ubuntu Kylin 14.04, Haiku and Linux kernel, Wayland support, Lumina, Bash completion|
|• Issue 573 (2014-08-25): SolydXK 201407, VPN gateway with FreeBSD, Ubuntu MATE, Raspbian, trusting binary packages|
|• Issue 572 (2014-08-18): ZFSguru 10.1, Fedora's Flock, beta installer for "Jessie", Ubuntu Core, rolling releases|
|• Issue 571 (2014-08-11): HandyLinux 1.6, LMDE update, default desktop in "Jessie", running out of disk space|
|• Issue 570 (2014-08-04): Neptune 4, Kubuntu's KDE Plasma 5, FreeBSD and UEFI, Linux servers|
|• Full list of all issues|