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1 • Poll (by DaveW on 2017-11-06 00:17:18 GMT from United States) |
I don't know how to vote on this poll. I like familiar distros, but familiar as in Mate or Cinnamon. So which of the available choices would be right?
2 • Poll (by arnold on 2017-11-06 00:23:59 GMT from United States)
Anything that works as Gnome 2.
3 • Solus snaps (by Justin on 2017-11-06 00:48:59 GMT from United States)
Snaps already work fine on Solus, the change will be it working inside the Software Center.
4 • Poll (by OhioJoe on 2017-11-06 00:50:57 GMT from United States)
I like distros that allow the end user to customize everything. If it is impossible or too hard to change the default to what I like, then I move on.
5 • Poll - Their Own Look? (by 4orbs on 2017-11-06 01:05:33 GMT from United States)
No strong preference for me, but I do appreciate a distro that attempts some unique decoration or style... even if I don't wanna use it for my own PC. My opinion is that newbies to Linux should try a vanilla version of one of the desktops first. Most of them would probably quickly realize that they don't need much beyond a simple theme change using the control panel. For those who truly need a Win or Mac feel, it's available.
6 • 4M Linux (by Winchester257 on 2017-11-06 01:15:49 GMT from United States)
I am interested to see how a 32-bit 4M Linux 23.0 managed to get Skype for Linux 5 integrated into the distribution.
The last I checked,there was only a 64-bit Skype for Linux 5. Unless the latest Windows version works in WINE ?? Most recent versions did not work well under WINE from what I read. Maybe just the web-application??
Either way,I am just curious. The latest Wire Desktop Chat seems just as good as Skype. It works well (with a wired connection,anyway).
7 • Re: BeeFree (by eco2geek on 2017-11-06 01:19:47 GMT from United States)
After playing with BeeFree I noticed a couple things.
One possible reason BeeFree put "Stark" in for the name of the menu is that the menu is, in fact, named the Stark menu (similar to the "Whisker menu" for Xfce, or the "Brisk menu" for MATE). Its project page is here:
BeeFree also offers what they call a "professional" version for download, although it's still in beta. IIRC it includes WPS Office, CrossOver (for running Windows applications), and FoxIt PDF Reader, pre-installed.
Funny thing is, in playing with both versions, I always seemed to end up changing the look and feel of the user interface so it more completely resembled Linux Mint.
8 • System lockup (by EarlyBird on 2017-11-06 01:38:15 GMT from Canada)
Another possible way to "unstick" a frozen system:
If running in X when an application causes a freeze, but the keyboard still responds, is to exit X via Ctrl-Alt-Backspace. Then you will be left at a console where you can "startx" again.
If your system is setup to automatically start in X, (which mine isn't since I spend a lot of time at the console), this will PROBABLY still work (I haven't tested that). You MIGHT also (if keyboard works and there is still a bit of memory left, be able to log into another terminal (CTRL-ALT-F2) to issue some commands before memory is exhausted and nothing responds.
9 • Desktop environment that looks familiar? Yes (by LiuYan on 2017-11-06 02:22:26 GMT from China)
Maybe I'm conservative, I choose desktop environment that looks familiar.
In someway, imitating is how the world works, like children (not just human children) imitating their parents -- it works.
However, developing new look and feel will bring new ideas to the world, it just need time to bat with others to acquire a seat (or dead).
10 • Look alike (by rooster12 on 2017-11-06 02:22:27 GMT from United States)
Like bare distros that just work, no wallpaper, or anything really. Give me a terminal and take care of what I need. Startx is best too!
Guess I'm a netinstall freak!
11 • Preferences in look of distros (by Bobbie Sellers on 2017-11-06 03:28:30 GMT from United States)
Well I prefer distributions that use KDEs' Plasma though not so much with KDE Plasma
12 • Magix SysRq (by albinard on 2017-11-06 03:39:57 GMT from United States)
That function is not a default for many Linux distros, particularly not the *buntus, and will have to be separately enabled in a lot of cases.
13 • Preferences in look of distros continued (by Bobbie Sellers on 2017-11-06 03:45:39 GMT from United States)
Well I am tired and hit the wrong key so I did not finish my thought.
I like KDE's Plasma but not so much Plasma 5 but will stick with it for as long as
it takes to replace all the facilities of Plasma 4.14.18. Then likely I will stay with
it as I like the programs that come with KDE's Plasma desktop environment
such as KWrite and Kate, Dolphin and K3b. Next ot KDE's environment I
would rate Mate first then most of the others but on my test machine
I am using Trinity DE which is a fork from the old KDE desktop environment
3.5.9. I find it a bit of a overly complicated DE but it preserves all the
functionality of the old 3.5.9.
On the other hand if some one is new to Linux I will offer them a distribution
like Zorin or Lubuntu which seem easier for new users.
I don't much care for the functionality of the present Gnome. Cinnamon or other
attempts to produce a Window- like environment except as noted for people
coming to Linux from Windows. Zorin looks the best of these.
I started with a Commodore 64 then a 64/128 with the native programs and
utilities, CPM and GEOS, then the Amiga OS which taught me a great deal,
XP briefly, then Mandriva with KDE, Gnome 2.4, Windows Vista and Windows
8.1 all the Windows used no more than necessary to make room for the Linux
Then tonight at the SF-LUG meeting i provided, a hopefully new
Linux user, copies of Knoppix and of Debian 9.1 because with
a friend using Linux he had developed preferences. I hope this
works out for him.
14 • Desktop environments that look like other operating systems (by Terry on 2017-11-06 04:56:13 GMT from United States)
If it brings Windows users over to Linux then that is Good!
For those of us who are no longer noobies and have distro hopped for quite a while looking for the ideal Linux OS for our needs then it has gotten to the point where we are looking for something original, fresh and unique and works.
Now days it seems all these new Linux OS's are all using the same base OS and just slightly modifying or making some scripts but it's the same engine underneath.
15 • Familiarity breeds contempt (by azuvix on 2017-11-06 05:40:56 GMT from United States)
"Neither" probably would have been a better option in my case. I haven't been particularly satisfied with any GUI developed in the last several years (though XFCE seems to be "close enough" if the choice is forced). There is always at least one major thing I don't like that taints the experience every time I log in. The result of this is that I almost never stick with the stock distro look and feel, but I certainly wouldn't like it any better if it resembled Windows or anything else.
Actually, the more minimal the GUI and the more choice the distro offers, the more I appreciate it. That is one of the reasons that Gentoo pulled me in, because it gives you no recommendations at all on how your operating system is supposed to look and behave - that's up to you.
16 • we missed SLAX ....!! (by Nemrut on 2017-11-06 06:31:47 GMT from Canada)
Thank you DW for breaking the good news about SLAX, ..... which i fell in love with at first use when it tried it years ago ...
And most importantly many thanx to its its highly creative sole developer Tomas, and hope he will not forget to add the USB persistent feature as he had done with the previous Slax editions
17 • Re: 4MLinux (by zk1234 on 2017-11-06 06:33:28 GMT from Poland)
It's just Skype for Linux run directly (and not via Wine). Skype uses the Electron software framework, which is portable like, for example, Java. All you need is a strong cup of coffee, a little bit reading on how Electron works, and you should be able to pack Skype for 32-bit system :-)
18 • linux tricks (by frimical on 2017-11-06 09:05:27 GMT from France)
'b u s i e r' , the reverse of 'r e i s u b' , is way easier to remember than 'raising /rose elephant ... trallalla...' and more meaningful according also to the state of the computer at that moment: "busier than ever..."
19 • Desktop Environment imitation & Heavy applications. (by Alexandru on 2017-11-06 09:18:00 GMT from Romania)
The whole point of desktop environment imitating some other OS look and feel is to make a user seem in home when he switches from that OS. I consider this point invalid for several reasons:
1. Every OS changes their look and feel with new releases. There is absolutely no point if Linux tries to mimic some Windows interface (for example) much more than Windows 10 tries to look like Windows 7 or Windows 7 like Windows XP or Windows XP like Windows 95/98 or Windows 95 like Windows 3.1.
2. Under the hood Linux behaves greatly different from other OSes and making a user think he uses that other OS is somehow like cheating of him. A user who has Windows habits will probably search in internet for the software and expect to find an executable installer rather than use the Software Center in his distribution. The Windows NTFS file system has different strength and weak points compared to Ext4 / BtrFS / etc, Windows memory management (and swap usage policy) is very different from what Linux has to offer. The same is true also for MacOS vs Linux, *BSD vs Linux, Solaris and like vs Linux, BeOS / Haiku vs Linux and so on.
20 • ... & Heavy applications (continuation) (by Alexandru on 2017-11-06 09:26:06 GMT from Romania)
Regarding not responding application there always is System Monitor (if it still can be used), which like top shows which application uses much CPU cycles, memory or just became zombie. Also the user can stop the problematic application here. One more possibility is to hit ALT+F2 (on some desktops), which opens "Run" dialog, write "xkill" and enter. The cursor will switch to an 'X' and the first selected window will be killed. Sometimes it really helps.
21 • Desktop environments that look like other operating systems (by avelinus on 2017-11-06 10:10:22 GMT from Portugal)
Once i was a fun of Zorin desktop. It was user friendly. Now i'm a Fedora Mate user. My preferred desktop always has been Gnome 2 and now Mate. Thatś why i like Mate; looking like Gnome 2. I have some distros installed: Mageia, Kubuntu, Fedora, Ubuntu Budgie and Mate and even kde and they are all tweaked to seem like mate or Gnome 2. I don't like Windows ten Gnome looking gnome classic. from Mac i like the dock. I
22 • Linux looking like Windows? (by Mark on 2017-11-06 11:11:56 GMT from United Kingdom)
Many Windows users have been happy to move over to MacOs which looks and feels very different, so why wouldn't they move to a Linux desktop? As long as the desktop is well designed and easy to use, as they mostly are these days.
I don't know if trying to make Linux look like Windows is going to be helpful in getting users to switch. Even if it looks superficially similar, everything works a little bit differently so the veneer of familiarity will wear thin quite quickly. I would guess it's better if users expect things to be different, so they approach the learning curve willingly.
23 • Desktop looking familiar (by Kazlu on 2017-11-06 11:32:57 GMT from France)
Personnally, I have adopted my own desktop layout anyway, so I just need a desktop environment that allows me to tweak it that way. Many are flexible enough. I am an Xfce user, I like the balance between lightness, functionnality and modularity. So I voted for "distro that develop their own look".
As far as new users coming from Windows (which are the vast majority of computer users), I am a bit more balanced. I will be joining #19 and #22 in saying it may not be a good idea if a desktop mimics exactly Windows... because then people will expect the OS to behave exactly like Windows, which any GNU/Linux OS will not. And then people might be disappointed because "it doesn't work"... So I think any GNU/Linux desktop benefits from having its own desktop style, as long as it is well organised and has a logic, so that people easily find their way. However, it's good to not set everything upside down so that people still have some basis to start with. It's like exploring a new country: you expect it to be different and you have to explore to find your way, but still, gravity is still towards bottom! What I mean is that for user transitionning from Windows, it's better to have at least a panel on the bottom of the screen with an application menu (even if it does not look like Windows' start menu, but it's in the same place), a task bar and some indicators. In my opinion, Linux Mint does a really good job in that aspect.
"Many Windows users have been happy to move over to MacOs which looks and feels very different, so why wouldn't they move to a Linux desktop?"
They are not that many... And if those users should indeed adapt to any (well designed) desktop layout without many difficulties, many people coming from Windows wouldn't find it that easy. Morever, you could do the same reasinong with Android or iOS: many people (way more than for MacOS!) adopted this completely different desktop type on tablets, so why not try something new on a computer? But still, I know several people that use Android but once they have to do some work, they prefer using Windows because they are less disturbed with the desktop. For them, I think a GNU/Linux desktop having at least basic layout similarities with Windows would help.
24 • Zorin opinion pool (by eM on 2017-11-06 11:42:54 GMT from Poland)
I don't think Zorin is more Windows-like than Linux Mint, Manjaro or Xubuntu. It doesn't look at all like MS product and it's poor in quality. Q4OS is better for anyone trying to achieve looks of old classic theme of Win2000. I don't like 1000s distros trying to learn me their own ways. Some of them like elementary, Solis, deepin and Zorin might have some interesting things to offer in the way they look but in the end it's just a toy and when You want to do serious work it's better to stick with big distro with better support and more software in repositories.
25 • Quick tricks to fix (by what_if on 2017-11-06 12:13:23 GMT from Australia)
Thanks, for these tips, please continue providing these helps.. Especially as they are written for some of us, NON-techies. You make them easy to follow & digest with out all the technical jargon..
Again a big Thanks..
26 • Desktop environments (by TheTKS on 2017-11-06 12:30:41 GMT from Canada)
I would put it differently: I like DEs developing their own look *feel*, but there's a place for both. My situation: I'm a non-IT user with a background in a non-IT technical field, who sometimes just wants to get work done, and sometimes wants to tinker - and choose which to do when. A user for <1 year, I have not used most older versions, but tried out several along the way, after ~3 decades of Windows, while also comfortable using the command line. Puppy's assembly of JWM + packages just felt comfortable to use, so I'm still using it as a working distro. Xfce also felt comfortable, easy to use and customize and just get on with my work. It's my most used now via Xubuntu which mostly just works (and is less frustrating to use and maintain than Windows), but I'm also using it while exploring OpenBSD. I have family members who are technical and ones who are graphical arts inclined with heavy emphasis on colour, but all very comfortable with Windows 10 (but then, they don't maintain it or fix it, I do) and not interested in working too hard to learn a new OS, so there can be some surprises but not too many of the kind that leave them baffled (but occasional good surprises are welcomed.) Trying to guess what they all might be willing to try, I'm test driving KDEs via Kubuntu and Slackware (my 2nd most used distro after Xubuntu), Pantheon (via elementary, of course), Cinammon via Mint, various interpretations of GNOME (Ububtu 17.10 and others with straight GNOME3). Have tried Unity (very usable once I got the hang of it and changed the background.) KDEs felt foreign to me at first but I'm getting to like them, except the geometrical candy backgrounds get tiring after at most a few weeks. Not especially liking GNOMEs, but may just need more time to get used to them. So many more to try!
27 • Desktop environments corr (by TheTKS on 2017-11-06 12:35:27 GMT from Canada)
Meant to type "their own look and *feel*", trying to get across that how it feels, how you experience using it, is as important as look.
28 • Desktop Looking Familiar (by dragonmouth on 2017-11-06 13:06:46 GMT from United States)
The poll question is silly. A desktop may look "familiar" but does it work "familiar"? You make make a desktop look like an exact image of another O/S's desktop but try as you might, you cannot make it work like the other O/S. A refugee from Windows can make a distro look exactly like Windows but (s)he will still have to learn and use Linux.
29 • SysRq? (by a on 2017-11-06 13:49:49 GMT from France)
My keyboard doesn’t have a "SysRq" key. Also it has two Alt keys. I also wonder what "r" and "b" are for, since only "e", "i", "s" and "u" were explained.
30 • SysRq (by a on 2017-11-06 13:55:39 GMT from France)
Ok, wikipedia explains it all: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_SysRq_key
When there is no SysRq key we have to press PrtSc instead. Also the "reisub" keys work on a qwerty keyboard only! This should be mentionned…
31 • Just stop changing the UI! (by W7_user on 2017-11-06 14:24:12 GMT from United States)
Graphical User Interfaces reached peak with Windows XP, period. -- That's because all necessarily have arbitrary key or click for any given action. You cannot improve GUIs by choosing other equally arbitrary key or click. -- But you can make worse by adding "features", especially ones rarely used. More than open - copy - move - delete - properties along with Ctrl- and Shift options to select is unnecessary, period. "Features" only cause trouble.
Yes, I know this is annoying and short-sighted view that's not even quite practical, but it's essentially right.
And yet worse than adding unnecessary is changes with every release. For me, every new GUI became a test of wits, patience, endurance, and then simple fury over unnecessary change. I'm not alone in that. Every week here at Distrowatch are people complaining about Gnome 3 or Unity -- whatever is mentioned! It's possible to make people REALLY dislike GUIs...
And it's possible to make them usable. There's really nothing in between where all use is going to be a delight. -- That's a mistaken notion. -- All GUIs are essentially manual labor, and adequate for the given few tasks is the BEST you can achieve.
New GUIs are made not because studied the problem and came up with brilliant new ideas (that Xerox, Apple, Microsoft didn't after long and highly funded research that literally billions of people now use every day) but because programmers like change and CAN, period. And they've the power to force users to adapt, though with the dropping of Unity, I like to hope we're nearing the end of this insanity.
Just make it work kinda like Windows, then DON'T change it.
32 • Poll (by Tom on 2017-11-06 14:39:31 GMT from Germany)
Distros that "try to look familiar" can quickly turn out to be an empty promise for the novice user because the underlying system IS different. This disappointment can make them abandon Linux altogether. And honestly: What would be more inaccesible for a Windows 7 user: KDE Plasma/Xfce/LXDE or Windows 10? ;-)
33 • Poll (by a on 2017-11-06 14:40:49 GMT from France)
Oh yes, about the poll. I didn’t vote because I want a stable, usable, configurable, tried and true GUI like Gnome 2, LXQt, Xfce or the like, but I certainly do not want something that tries to be a copy of Windows or MacOS.
34 • Post # 24 (by Winchester on 2017-11-06 14:43:21 GMT from United States)
Solus can definitely be used to get serious work done. First off,it boots extremely fast. Second,most of the important software is in its repository. Third,it has rolling updates which have proven to be stable.
Only one time,in almost a full year now using Solus,have I had a problem ..... which was with the lightDM log-in display manager not allowing a log-in. Easily fixed from the command line.
The default Nautilus file manager in the main edition of Solus has proven to be the absolute most reliable file manager for copying files without error. The Nautilus interface is a little bit strange but,a couple of bookmarked locations help,and it gets the job done reliably.
I prefer Gentoo a little bit over Solus but,it is definitely worth having Solus on one partition on a multi-boot system.
As far as Zorin goes,doesn't it have the same software available as Ubuntu?? Ubuntu support information can be applied to Zorin?? Isn't it basically the same with just a different themed Gnome user interface / menu style?? Zorin 9 had a "Windows 7" theme which looked very much like Windows 7. I don't know about the latest Zorin 12 themes but,maybe that theme still could be applied.
35 • Good experiences with various DEs (by Jason Hsu on 2017-11-06 15:16:57 GMT from United States)
I know that this may sound strange, but I've found multiple DEs that I like. I just use whatever DE is the "main" one for the distro. My current favorite distro is SparkyLinux with LXDE. I've also had good experiences with Xfce in MX Linux, LXDE in Crunchbang (though I had to add LXDE, as it only came with OpenBox), and MATE in Snowlinux and Linux Mint Debian Edition. Although the above distros have spoiled me so much that ROX pinboard seems cheap and crude, I have had good experiences with antiX Linux (ROX pinboard with IceWM) and Puppy Linux (ROX pinboard with JWM) and would't hesitate to use them on extremely old and slow computers or as live media.
I can't understand why people dislike the Windows 7/XP/98/95 feel of so many distros. The overall look and feel is what I'm used to. I began using Linux 10 years ago, and having a UI that looked and felt familiar was a pleasant surprise. Since then, Linux has become better and more user-friendly.
While I dislike the controversial Unity interface, it wouldn't have been so controversial if Ubuntu with Unity had been sold as a brand new distro instead of as a replacement for Ubuntu with GNOME 2. Similarly, GNOME 3 wouldn't have been so controversial if it had been rolled out under a new name instead of as a continuation of GNOME 2. The larger and more established projects should be conservative and avoid radical changes. Experimenting should be left to the smaller and newer projects.
36 • Familiar interfaces (by rdaniels on 2017-11-06 15:27:34 GMT from United States)
Not sure what to pick on the poll. Basically what I look for is fundamentally Windows-like (start menu in the bottom left, open apps along the bottom, status/notification area in the bottom right), but done better. I really like KDE the best, and I can get along with MATE, Xfce, or lxqt just fine. I can't stand Gnome, and never bothered to try Unity.
37 • Familiar interfaces pt2 (by rdaniels on 2017-11-06 15:32:36 GMT from United States)
But as far as theming and colors to look like another OS, I could really care less.
I want the desktop to work a certain way, but not necessarily look a certain way.
38 • Looking familiar... (by OstroL on 2017-11-06 15:45:16 GMT from Poland)
Standard want of the majority of computer users; bottom panel (autohiding), a searchable menu on the left bottom corner, logout, shutoff icons in that menu and on the bottom panel and file manager with menus on top bar, file search option, and a clock on the panel. Since the day, desktop was used, this had been the fashion. People got used to it, Linux distros also did the same.
Unity moved that start menu up to the top left hand corner and made it horizontal. People, even got used to that. Gnome is putting large icons in the middle of the screen and demands that we get used to it. But, people won't. So, the extensions such as Dash to Panel, Gnomenu, Arc menu etc. Actually, these extensions give some life to gnome-shell and keep it alive.
If someone likes to have the bottom panel (task bar) on th etop, it can be moved, together with the Menu. Even Windows 10 allows that.
39 • SysRq (by David on 2017-11-06 16:44:12 GMT from United Kingdom)
In a lot of distros, using Alt+SysRq simply takes a screen-shot of the uppermost window!
If you want to have the magic key available, the first step is to alter the short-cuts so that the key-stoke for that is changed to Shift+SysRq. The next step is to see if the SysRq key has been disabled, using the command "cat /proc/sys/kernel/sysrq". If it shows 0, then SysRq will not work. To enable it, edit /etc/sysctl.conf to have the line "kernel.sysrq=1".
40 • @24 - Big distros (by TLewis on 2017-11-06 16:53:21 GMT from United States)
ElementaryOS is a toy? I've used it as a main distro for over 5 years. I've settled on ElementaryOS mainly because it functions flawlessly, it stays out of my way as an OS which lets me get my work done. It has great support and extremely active community. Outstanding documentation which is second to none. I use it for development, connecting to my work using VPN, printing, scanning, multimedia and everything in between with NO issues. Also these toys which essentially are downstream from "Big" distros contain the same security, app updates, and patches as their upstream counter parts. Some of these toys are leaders in desktop innovation and app stores as well and not just pretty skins. Here's to using toys. Cheers! ;-)
41 • @40 @24 Big distros & toys (by TheTKS on 2017-11-06 17:32:10 GMT from United States)
I don't see elementary / Pantheon DE as a toy and I respect what they are doing as a project.
Its esthetic and feel is different from other Linuxes and a good option for some people, as is the pay-what-you-want app store.
It was buggy on my old machine but stabilized through the time I had it there, although it was still slow at the end (Jan to Sep.)
I've now installed it on my newer, faster machine and still use it from time to time, although for my needs Xubuntu and Slackware with KDE, followed by Kubuntu, work better and so I use them more (still new enough with Linux, BSD, Illumos... that I'm still down selecting distros.)
I'm glad elementary is doing what they are doing, because it shows how functional a Linux distro can be while also looking good, while trying out some new ideas, too.
42 • opinion pool (by eM on 2017-11-06 17:32:32 GMT from Poland)
@34 It's hard to compare Solus repos with Arch, Debian or Ubuntu. Too many apps are missing. I'm not into DIY Linux but I understand that for Gentoo user it's not a problem.
@40 It's an unfinished concept. If you install something outside of their preinstalled apps, like major browser: Firefox or Chromium - it starts to look awful.
43 • Poll (by Charles Burge on 2017-11-06 19:25:36 GMT from United States)
I didn't vote in the poll, since none of the options really reflected my tastes. One of the things I really like about Arch Linux is that they leave projects as close to the upstream source as possible. I don't need programs to look a certain way. I just need them to work the way the developer intended them tho.
44 • Windows Subsystem for Linux (by Winnie 4 Linux on 2017-11-06 20:08:23 GMT from Canada)
As of today, fedora, suse and ubuntu are available on Windows store, and WSL - Windows Subsystem for Linux allows developers run Linux environments -- including most command-line tools, utilities, and applications -- directly on Windows, unmodified, without the overhead of a virtual machine. WSL can invoke Windows applications from the Linux console, and invoke Linux applications on Windows.
fedora, suse and ubuntu laid-off some staff and joined the force as MS Advocates to strengthen MS dominance. May be fedora, suse and ubuntu may require activtaion or license serial number in future.
Opensource always remained suckable in open by US Tech Goliath for BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELLION DOLLARS PROFIT.
45 • DEs need more 'out of the way' features (by M.Z. on 2017-11-06 23:51:27 GMT from United States)
"Graphical User Interfaces reached peak with Windows XP, period. ... But you can make worse by adding "features", especially ones rarely used. ...
...Just make it work kinda like Windows, then DON'T change it."
I have to say that while I agree with your premise that making things a bit like windows is a great strategy for most users & is a great default in general, I disagree with the rest completely. I want to be able to try out new features that I haven't experienced before. I really hadn't experienced virtual desktops/workspaces before switching to Linux & I found I loved the feature & didn't want to use windows again in part because (prior to version 10) it didn't have anything like that. If you are set in your way & only want familiar & good enough that's fine; however, I want to be able to try out new features on occasion. There are plenty of people who find them to be a significant improvement.
Personally I think the key is to keep same defaults & keep new features either a bit out of the way, or at least easy to turn off, so that they are more 'there if you want it' & not a 'you must now use it & relearn everything' sort of addition. One instance I don't like is all these window snapping features, which I find far more annoying than helpful. On the other hand there are tons of other little features in Linux DEs that I have found very useful as I've tried them out. I think most user would prefer a balanced approach that lets them try new things at their own pace.
46 • Poll (by Vukota on 2017-11-07 01:16:49 GMT from Serbia)
I did answer that I like familiar UI, but truth to be told I like desktops/UIs that are usable. That means that you can accomplish what you need in a quick and easy way (even if that is accomplished in a new and inventive way). I've seen many not user friendly experiments with all kinds of desktops/OSes, but any more user friendly features (that are making life easier) I accept without problem.
From my standpoint what I like/dislike about current state of Linux desktops is:
- There is no light (meaning fast and not memory hungry) DE that is usable and feature reach at the same time. Budgie was promising, but was lacking in many respects.
- Cinnamon is nice (most things looks and works as you would expect them to), there are no weird bugs like on many other desktops, there is a search box in a start menu that works well (though Windows 10 one seems to be one click closer), there is a nice control panel (better than the one on Os X if you ask me), shortcuts and gestures works pretty well, along with all settings. Bad things is that font (and the task bar line) is always small (can't make it two rows or bigger font/icon size or easy/intuitive zoom when you need) so it is hard to use when working in a touch screen mode or for disabled people. There are no gesture helpers when in a touchscreen mode. Cinnamon is a memory/CPU hog and it does not work on a computers with low memory/CPU power.
- Most of the other (lite) desktops are lacking accessible search for (not few common) applications to launch. KDE is (nonintuitively) complicated and Gnome does not offer much over Cinnamon out of the box (that is why cousin is so popular).
- None of the DEs offers usable UI on touchscreen desktops/laptops while in touch mode (easily switchable not to mention). Windows tiles are good as an idea, but poor as an implementation and without good support. System of icons in Android (and iOS) is not that user friendly and I am surprised that nobody on the Linux side tried to make something better that would at least try to implement touchscreen friendly DE (or at least the one that you would be able to switch to when working in a touchscreen mode).
If someone can disprove my points with valid counterarguments, I'll be happy to learn something.
47 • STAR Linux (by zephyr on 2017-11-07 01:27:41 GMT from United States)
Awesome to see STAR on DW, suggest anyone looking for a Devuan derivative to take a test spin with a truly minimalistic distribution.
Personally use STAR i3 and Xfce, both since the alpha stages of Devuan and not failed once with an upgrade or update.
STAR simply works, rock solid stable.
48 • @44 WSL... (by Vukota on 2017-11-07 01:42:16 GMT from Serbia)
For anyone who likes that his machine gets randomly rebooted may use WSL. As long as Microsoft has that thing (along with mandatory updates) turned on on the versions of Windows I am using, it will be used as rare as it can be.
49 • Annoucements of new softwares via RSS. (by Bill Lee on 2017-11-07 04:28:18 GMT from Canada)
There used to be a BerliOS.de site that kept track of new versions of packages and software. I used to use it as an RSS feed.
The DistroWatch list on the left hand column of the Distrowatch.com page is rather simple [ distrowatch.com/news/dwp.xml ] and I wonder what others there might be.
50 • The Poll - What a Distro Imitates (by Ben Myers on 2017-11-07 06:50:14 GMT from United States)
The answer to the poll depends on who the target for a distro is.
If the intended user knows Linux well, a look and feel like Windows (any version) or OS X may be an impediment.
If the idea is to entice someone to switch from Windows or OS X, yes, if the distro looks like the software the user is escaping from, the closer to the old OS the better.
51 • DEs (by OstroL on 2017-11-07 09:28:15 GMT from Poland)
Actually, the whole problem with Linux distro devs is the neeed to woo Windows users. What they should concentrate on is to make their distro better, so anyone can use it as soon as the user installs it. The DE can be different, but useful. XFCE is the only one out there that appears to do the right thing without fail.
Gnome had nearly killed itself with gnome-shell, and LXDE cannot decide, which DE is better, LXDE or LXQT. No use considering Pantheon as an useful DE, as it gives an ugly look, if you install Firefox, for example. Cinnamon and Mate are concentrating on their own, so that's good news for users. Budgie cannot decide betwenn Gtk or Qt.
52 • @46 DEs (by Kazlu on 2017-11-07 11:48:27 GMT from France)
"If someone can disprove my points with valid counterarguments, I'll be happy to learn something."
Well, I will try to bring constructive suggestions for some of your points :) I cannot be objective though, so in order for you to know my opinion and how I feel about DEs (which of course has an influence in my answers), know that I am a convinced and happy Xfce user, precisely because I found it strikes a wonderful balance between features and lightness.
"There is no light (meaning fast and not memory hungry) DE that is usable and feature reach at the same time."
You seem to enjoy Cinnamon as far as features are concerned. What is your experience with MATE? In my (limited) experience with those two desktops, the features are quite similar between the two. Cinnamon seems a bit more feature-rich and MATE seems much lighter on system ressources, yet both are quite fully featured. The lack of a nice menu with a search function for applications used to be MATE's weak point in my opinion, but there are many nice projects to add a nice menu in MATE. I am thinking of Brisk menu or Linux Mint's mint-menu. I don't know if there is such a menu in vanilla MATE now, I haven't tried it in a while.
"Most of the other (lite) desktops are lacking accessible search for (not few common) applications to launch."
This is not true. First, in many distributions there is an application finder, whatever the desktop, often accessible through Alt+F3 shortcut. Or at least you have the "run command" application, accessible through Alt+F2, that can have auto-completion and help you find your appication. But more importantly, there aren't many desktops now that do not have a searchable menu! I already talked about the MATE menus above, Xfce has the very nice Whisker menu which is now part of the Xfce project and included in many distributions. I even saw a screenshot of LXQt with it's Windows 2000-like application menu featuring a search box! But it doesn't seem to be default, I only saw it here: http://linuxbsdos.com/2016/12/26/fedora-26-will-have-an-lxqt-spin-heres-what-it-looks-like-now/.
"None of the DEs offers usable UI on touchscreen desktops/laptops while in touch mode (easily switchable not to mention)."
I don't know for the "easily switchable" part since I didn't try them. But GNOME seems quite nice for touch screens. KDE and LXDE have fullscreen launchers that also seem to do well for touch screen, although an application launcher does not makes a good UI...
53 • Poll (by Nathan on 2017-11-07 13:03:39 GMT from United States)
The issue with the poll is the phrase "would you prefer distributions develop their own look and avoid familiar-looking interfaces". Yes, I always prefer distributions to innovate and develop their own look; that's the whole point of the "fork" button on Github, and arguably one of the greatest benefits of open source in general.
On the same token, I'm never in favor of avoiding familiar-looking interfaces for the sake of avoiding them. As they say, steal from the best. Now, that does NOT mean that you should copy a Windows XYZ workflow even if it doesn't integrate with your distro's goals. But, if the best solution happens to be oddly similar to Windows XYZ, then I'd say congrats to Microsoft for designing a decent UI. Steal it.
54 • New software (by Jesse on 2017-11-07 13:16:02 GMT from Canada)
@49: If you are looking for a more wide-spread list of open source software releases, you may find our Headlines page useful. It covers hundreds of FOSS project releases with links to release announcements: https://distrowatch.com/dwres.php?resource=headlines There is an RSS feed button at the top of the page if you want to receive notifications.
55 • Poll misses (by Somewhat Reticent on 2017-11-07 16:57:56 GMT from United States)
In some Linux distros (and other OSs), you can have it both ways; in a few cases, quickly switchable.
Of course, the Xerox Sparc-Station GUI was developed for a keyboard-and-mouse; touch-screen tech came later. Wisdom has yet to take over on that point, but research continues. On "smart" devices, frantically.
56 • desktops (by Tim Dowd on 2017-11-07 17:19:48 GMT from United States)
I have two older computers in my high school classroom, both running Debian Jessie with the MATE desktop. My 15-19 year old physics students use them to run the open source physics program Tracker, which lets them analyze videos they've recorded frame by frame as a way of understanding motion.
The only instruction I ever have to give kids is that the thing in the upper left that says applications is like the start menu. After that they're completely comfortable interacting with the system, regardless of whether their background is Windows or Mac. The bottom line is that these systems all work in basically the same way at this point. So I would say the focus should be less on emulating a particular system versus having a usable system that makes intuitive sense and then gets out of the way so you can get work done.
I think my kids are a good example because they're not looking to switch to any operating system, they're interacting with these computers as complete newbies with no interest in making a switch, but they don't struggle at all. To a large extent at this point, computers are computers to most people.
For me, MATE is exactly what I'm looking for, and although I don't play with Ubuntu MATE's mate-tweak package because I like classic GNOME2, it seems like a neat tool to help people preserve the workflow they're coming from. But at the end of the day as long as your desktop isn't actively annoying you, it's probably ok for most people.
@46 i'd like to echo @52's comment: MATE is a good balance between full featured and lightweight.
57 • @45: Well, you complain about GUIs while TRYING to disagree. (by W7_user on 2017-11-07 18:46:00 GMT from United States)
Pretty much everyone agrees on a few broad points as okay, but REALLY HATE "features".
"I want to be able to try out new features" -- Did, and found infuriating. New/more isn't necessarily better.
So why isn't there a GUI that provides just the basics while -- as you want -- being able to remove "features" or modify details? For instance, in OS/2 of 1993, a settings page was provided to adjust window border width -- instead of the current craze for one or two pixel wide borders, NO way to change -- and dozens of other details.
By the way, I'm usually irritated with XP and W7 GUIs (especially animations in the latter): part of my point was that's inherent in GUIs. Arbitrary and irritating is best they can be. Fewer options reduce the problem. More get to infuriating and unusable.
Every Linux programmer should be familiar with all versions of Windows for BAD example and why simpler is better. -- But programmers don't seem to design for actual USE! Only for show. Gnome 3 and Unity are proof. Put immense amounts of time into those while NOT listening to protests. WHY?
They keep adding features that I never use, clutter up the menu, and find hazardous. But you can't automate anything in a GUI: for instance, a simple "copy if time stamp is newer" would handle near all my backup needs. (Filezilla works well for that once find the right settings.)
Then, I wonder why these graphical shells TAKE OVER so much that all of the distro must be custom tailored. It's rare to find a distro that provides on-the-fly options. Yet they can be simple enough that Windows 3.1 was adequate (in 4 meg on disk), yet are now vast!
58 • @52 (by Vukota on 2017-11-07 18:58:51 GMT from Serbia)
Yes, I enjoy cinnamon desktop as that is the only Linux desktop that I never wondered how to do anything I needed to do (everything was where I expected it to be and visually immediately accessible, no google, no hidden shortcuts, no 10 clicks and scrolling, no weird behaviors and gestures), but still ti is not perfect desktop and always usable. Good thing about it is that it looks and works almost the same on every distro I saw and all of them have all options you may need on any desktop in a control panel that is easy/intuitive.
I saw some screenshots of Mint-menu and wondered how did I miss it (even though I tested it in the past). You are correct, it seems to be liter than cinnamon, but not many distros ships MATE well configured. Brisk menu I only saw on Solus looking nice (any other contender?).
"First, in many distributions there is an application finder, whatever the desktop, often accessible through Alt+F3 shortcut"
Well, right there is your problem. How am I supposed to know that I have to press a "monkey" key (or do other monkey thing) to get the behavior I need. How do I do that on touch screen when I have only on-screen keyboard turned on?
Whisker menu, I definitely missed. Will look for a distro that has it by default installed and configured, though don't recall rest of the DE settings were easily accessible/organized on XFCE. If you can disprove me there, I may feel in love with XFCE again.
About touch friendliness it is not just about launchers. In example on Mint, scrollbars are tiny/auto hidden by default, so you can not use them to scroll. When you have mouse it is easy, but without it, you are out of lack. Touch screen demands that you can do things with the finger and that any drag, scroll, click, gesture, you can perform with the finger and not some weird and precise mouse or keyboard combination.
59 • Desktop design - There is no one size fits all (by M.Z. on 2017-11-07 20:12:06 GMT from United States)
'...Well, you complain about GUIs while TRYING to disagree.'
I'd call not liking all new features a point of empathy, not some sort of display of weakness in the overall argument. I'd also point out that I turned off all the features that annoy me most fairly easily in my preferred DEs.
'..."I want to be able to try out new features" -- Did, and found infuriating. New/more isn't necessarily better.'
That's fine, if you want static & simple there are surly DEs in Linux that are tailored to that use case, perhaps Trinity or Mate?
'So why isn't there a GUI that provides just the basics while -- as you want -- being able to remove "features" or modify details? For instance, in OS/2 of 1993, a settings page was provided to adjust window border width...'
You can easily remedy that instance you describe in KDE. Goto 'System Settings > Application Style (in the top grouping under Appearance) > Window Decorations (on the group of options on the left) > Border size (on the bottom of the Theme tab). Right there you have 9 options ranging from 'No Borders' to 'Oversized'.
'...part of my point was that's inherent in GUIs. Arbitrary and irritating is best they can be. Fewer options reduce the problem. More get to infuriating and unusable.'
Don't you find it somewhat ironic to request fewer options after complaining that DEs need to give more window border size options? I think the truth of the matter is that some people have a hard time finding which DE option is right for them & provides the mix of features & settings they want. That being said I also think that there are very few users who couldn't find something very good for them in Linux given the sheer volume of options available. Finding the right one could obviously be trickery though.
60 • @58 DEs (by Kazlu on 2017-11-08 08:37:18 GMT from France)
"Well, right there is your problem. How am I supposed to know that I have to press a "monkey" key (or do other monkey thing) to get the behavior I need. How do I do that on touch screen when I have only on-screen keyboard turned on?"
You're right, I said it like this because that's how it was introduced to me on some documentation. The software is accessible through the application menu, typically under the name "application finder" or something like that. Once you find it, you can set it as a shortcut on desktop or a launcher in a desktop panel (I did that before Whisker menu came in).
"don't recall rest of the DE settings were easily accessible/organized on XFCE."
In the standard Xfce application menu, you have a "settings" field to access a kind of "settings centre" for Xfce's settings. Whisker manu added a dedicated icon on a corner of the menu, close to "logout" icon. I can't speak for settings organization though, this is more subjective. But I think it's okay, particularly since you have a search box to help you find the setting you want. Some distros add OS settings in this setings centre. MATE (and Cinnamon IIRC) have a similar concept of settings centre, with many more settings.
61 • Application Search (by Winchester257 on 2017-11-08 13:12:25 GMT from United States)
The "Trinity" desktop menu has an application search.
I have PClinuxOS Trinity .... the "Big Daddy" community edition iso installed on one of my partitions. It's great if you take a little bit of time to customize the look and appearance. Maybe not the lightest implementation of the Trinity Desktop (EXE GNU/Linux or Q4 OS might be more light on RAM) but,it is not a problem for me with 3 GB of RAM.
The biggest problem for me with PClinuxOS Trinity is settling on a file manager. I don't like Konqueror as the primary file manager. I was using PCmanFM QT but,after a recent set of updates,it will no longer currently launch. I am probably going to go with the SpaceFM file manager under that distribution until PCmanFM QT is fixed with an update.
As far as XFCE with the "Whisker Menu Plug-In" goes, MX-Linux definitely has it. Maybe (not 100 percent sure on the following as I haven't used them in some time) Korora XFCE, Porteus XFCE, Mageia XFCE, Voyager Linux and / or ZenWalk Current are worth looking into for the "Whisker Menu Plug-In".
62 • @ 59: "there are surly DEs in Linux"! (by W7_user on 2017-11-08 13:18:12 GMT from United States)
Surly, eh? Good pun because TRUE. New (non-Windows XP) GUIs demand rigid compliance with arbitrary ways.
Anyhoo, my point was that you DO agree that at least some "features" aren't desirable.
I'll restate: WHY can't apparently intelligent programmers figure out that:
1) new isn't necessary?
2) the new is in fact worse?
3) I'm not using the GUI to play with the GUI, but to do actual tasks?
4) resistance to adoption should be heeded; even Microsoft has had to trim.
>>> "Don't you find it somewhat ironic to request fewer options after complaining that DEs need to give more window border size options?"
NO, I want a GUI which is USABLE without my modifying details! There's now good outline of what "usable" means, and it's NOT thin borders that waste my time to locate. There's a useful minimum to sizes. Or when I have to look through dozens of options in a right click menu for one of the basic five -- that change order with "context" -- that's again just wasting my time. And then there's the absolutely horrible color scheme, of literally pale gray on white, wasting my time just trying to see a progress bar. I could go on -- but didn't! Moved to Windows 7, and it's a delight in comparison.
Never saw the options you list in KDE version that I used, but when simply copying over already existing files, it put a "Write into" with TWO check boxes, and to make it exciting, those jump away for further rendering timed exactly to my speed, simply bad design. -- Then a nearly identical "Overwrite" dialog pops up, making FOUR boxes that I must check EVERY time do a frequent task. -- I looked for a setting so long as patience allowed, tried web search, then gave up. -- And eventually went to Windows 7 that has one pop up in that case, with one button to click, which is the RIGHT way, and there's likely a Registry entry to avoid even that query.
63 • Post # 62 (by Wichester on 2017-11-08 14:05:17 GMT from United States)
There's more in the world of GNU / Linux if you don't like KDE.
Windows 7 is a delight for those who like security risk.
I have found your problem to be extremely rare in experimenting with upwards of 40 different Linux distributions. I can't recall multiple "overwrite" dialogs , not recently,anyway. It should not happen if you are overwriting files in your home directory. If you are overwriting system files outside of your home directory,just launch a file manager with root permissions OR use the command line.
There are obviously countless color schemes and themes to choose from among the wide selection of user interfaces available in the world of Linux.
I have never wasted more time than I did when I used to use Windows ..... just trying to make sure the system was as secure as possible and everything was updated (including necessary third party software). Time wasted that could have been spent actually accomplishing something. Probably the main reason that I switched to GNU / Linux operating systems.
64 • @62 Thats not how it works anymore... (by curious on 2017-11-08 14:58:37 GMT from Germany)
You state: "I want a GUI which is USABLE without my modifying details!"
That is very understandable. But given the wide range of users (with differing tastes!) and the wide range of display (and pointing) hardware in use, there is no longer any "one size fits all" solution. For example, many devices today support resolutions greater than 4k, but there are e.g. still plenty of projectors/beamers in use that cause a switch to the 1024x768 "standard" resolution. Settings that work well for one case will be annoying for the other.
So, almost every user will have to make certain adjustments to a GUI if he/she wants the best possible experience. The best one can hope for is the combination of the mythical (as in hardly ever found) "sane defaults" (that will sort of work for most cases) with maximum user configurability - without having to install extra "tweak tools" or mess with cryptic, un- or badly documented config files.
And your Windows 7 example won't fly. I sometimes have to use it at work, and while that GUI is better than what came after it, I still found that I had to modify details to use it effectively - like with any other GUI.
65 • @ 62 about DEs and devs (by OstroL on 2017-11-08 16:51:54 GMT from Poland)
>> I'm not using the GUI to play with the GUI, but to do actual tasks <<
The DE devs think that we users do nothing else than just looking at the DEs.
66 • OS & Desktop stuff (by M.Z. on 2017-11-08 19:52:58 GMT from United States)
"I have never wasted more time than I did when I used to use Windows ..... just trying to make sure the system was as secure as possible and everything was updated (including necessary third party software)."
I found the same as I transitioned from Windows over to Linux fully. All I seemed to do on Windows was waste time with virus scanners & security updates for third party apps that could have all been updated simultaneously with the main system in Linux. Eventually I just gave up on Vista completely.
"... I can't recall multiple "overwrite" dialogs , not recently,anyway."
Same here, & I've tried a fairly decent number of distros myself. Of course I know how to use 'su -' & 'sudo' & know when I might want to log into something like PCLinuxOS as root for a few minutes.
"Windows 7 is a delight for those who like security risk."
I have to disagree with that a bit. There were massive security problems in many versions of Windows prior to Vista; however, from everything I've heard about the releases since then MS has had decent security. Fedora & many other distros do seem to have far better security overall, but I'm not convinced that the MS problem isn't more about it's profile as a prime target rather than any risk built into the OS proper. Still the combo of several different great security tools that different distro use like AppArmor & SELinux, & the relatively low profile of Linux on the desktop mean better security overall on desktop Linux.
"...For example, many devices today support resolutions greater than 4k, but there are e.g. still plenty of projectors/beamers in use that cause a switch to the 1024x768 "standard" resolution. Settings that work well for one case will be annoying for the other."
That hints at some interesting hardware examples I hadn't really thought of. There are certainly lots of little things that good configuration options can fix when sane defaults can't.
"There are obviously countless color schemes and themes to choose from among the wide selection of user interfaces available in the world of Linux."
I will admit that I have disliked some of the color schemes I've come across in Linux, but as with your example they are easy to change. That's one of those little 'duh' type things that the vast majority of user should be able to figure out.
"And your Windows 7 example won't fly."
I agree with that wholeheartedly. I suppose Win 10 was sort of passable when I used it a bit. Overall though I miss KDE & Cinnamon a lot when I get stuck with Windows. If you're backward & hate progress that's fine for you, but I for one love a lot of the features & tech built into modern Linux desktops & don't want to be stuck with a lesser DE on some old version of Windows.
67 • a desktop that mimics another OS's desktop (by woodsmoke on 2017-11-09 03:50:30 GMT from United States)
I, personally, think that you missed an opportunity with the questions on the poll.
In the tease you mention Linux distros that mimic Windows(tm) desktop.
I, personally, again, think that "Linux" NEEDS at least a few distros that are heavily tweaked and not commercial that really do mimic the Windows(tm) desktop insofar as it can be done and not trespass on the sacrosanct trademark, patent and copyright laws of the U.S.
To that end, I would gently suggest that it would have been of some value to have an option something like:
I could personally care less but think that there "should" be at least a few distros that mimic Windows(tm) to bring in new people to the world of Linux.
just a thought, of little worth, for a possible future poll.
68 • Donation to void (by MP on 2017-11-09 12:00:31 GMT from Germany)
Glad to see the donation to the void project, they really deserve it!!
69 • desktop (by Pat Menendez on 2017-11-09 12:57:57 GMT from Canada)
To me, we Linux users left windows because it was unstable, not secure, a pain in the butt to use. This begs the question why anyone would want to use a distro that tried to imitate that mess. No one has fallen so far in this as KDE's new plasma 5, (windoze 10 for Linux). KDE is working with MS to get Linux programs working in windoze and creating a windoze installer for KDE! I don't care how hard anyone works to create a Linux distro that looks and acts like windoze! It won't run windoze programs. It won't have equivalent hardware drivers (printer, scanner), etc. If you want your computer to look and act like windoze, be as buggy as windoze, be as awkward to use as windoze, buy and run windoze. In the Linux galaxy of desktops we have a lot of choices, some dictated by the hardware it is intended to run on. Whether the goal is to create a desktop that is simple and straight forward (basic) or one that is satisfyingly customizable, trying to make the desktop something it is not and can never be is pointless. So long as you have a "classic start menu", that is sufficient for anyone to navigate. There are several Linux desktops with start menus massively more useful and intuitive than anything windoze ever imagined! Rather than waste time and resources trying to imitate something much less capable in every respect, use that time and resources to create GUI system tools or port tools like Mandriva's GUI configuration tools to Arch or Debian, or improve hardware drivers, things that would advance Linux on the desktop. If a color printer or scanner don't work in Linux, it doesn't matter how much the desktop looks like windoze it won't do the job. If the graphics or media program needed to get the job done doesn't exist in Linux, it doesn't matter how much the Linux desktop environment looks like the latest offering from Redmond! Tying up manpower and resources to reinvent the wheel with just a different theme or wallpaper describes pretty well why Linux is no closer to gaining serious market share. Until people start working together, putting aside their egos and uniting for the common purpose, Linux is destined to largely remain a hobby OS to play with in your spare time. So long as we have no choice but to turn to Bill Gate's OS to run programs capable of doing, not some of but ALL that we need to do, the resources and brain power scattered across the 306 active distros listed here will continue to hold Linux back. For example, I have 36 distros just using XFCE downloaded and tested. There are likely several more. What a waste of manpower and resources when my scanner and color laser printer either don't work at all or don't work worth a crap in Linux. So what if I can do the work in Linux but have to boot into windoze to scan or print it! Dollars and brain power are simply being squandered because ego wants their own theme or wallpaper rather than to cooperate for the big picture. Linux has so much to offer but is being held back from being practical for real world professional use. The efforts of people trying to reinvent the wheel has resulted in 570 distros either dormant or discontinued, which makes a lot more dead distros than active ones! That is a lot of people needlessly burned out or disillusioned. Getting universal packaging is a great step forward. There is progress being made! There are people working together to move Linux forward. Let's rally behind these dedicated people and support them.
70 • @69 desktop (by Kazlu on 2017-11-09 14:23:18 GMT from France)
I agree with you when you say we need better hardware drivers more than Windows-like desktops. However, your vision of the GNU/Linux (I'll just write "Linux" from now on) world is erroneous, as for many people and as for me a few years ago. So please allow me to tell you more:
Linux is not one big company with thousands of developper employees around the world. There are people paid by some companies to work on Linux or software for Linux, bust most people that provide code for Linux do so outside of work, on their free time. So why do they commit time for this? Because they enjoy this. They do what they want to do and share their developpements with the community. Turns out there are many people just working on desktop arrangements. But nobody can do anything about it: You cannot just ask them to work on the Linux kernel instead, that is absolutely not the same thing and that does require other skills. Plus they probably are not thrilled by working on the Linux kernel. Would you trust code committed to the Linux kernel by people who used to design desktop menus? I wouldn't :)
Of the 306 living distros on distrowatch, all do not have the same number of people behind them. If Debian, Ubuntu or Arch have large communities, most distros are based on others, sometimes they are only respins, meaning one person is all it takes to make a distro and it only relies on the work made by the mother distro. You cannot set Debian and Makulu on the same level as far as resources are concerned :)
You say that there is a "a waste of manpower and resources", that "Dollars and brain power are simply being squandered". Some people are paid to work on Linux, probably a good part of them to the underlining system, but for people working on desktops and especially people making their respin distros by reconfigurating the desktop of an existing distro, there are no dollar spent. There is no waste of resources, there are no swappable resources between desktop and driver software because there are no resources to begin with!!
71 • @69 more about drivers (by Kazlu on 2017-11-09 14:26:05 GMT from France)
Working on drivers is whishable... but not always possible. Normally, drivers are provided by the manufacturers. Usually, the manufacturer has a driver for Windows, but does not give a shit about Linux. And since the driver is closed source and the specifications of the equipment (printer, scanner...) are not public (business secrecy, protection against industrial spying), there is no way to port the driver or to create one simply for Linux. You can only do it by reverse-engeneering: trying to send some bits of information and see how the machine responds. This is awfully boring and not many people are ready to do this on their free time! Some other manufacturers play nicer and provide drivers or documentation to write drivers for Linux. Anyway, the manufacturer decides how well the equipment works for a given OS, not the OS itself. Windows does not work on printer drivers. Your equipment does not work with Linux? Blame the manufacturer. Or, when ou have to buy a new equipment, check if it supported well by Linux, or at least if the manufacturer is known to play nice with Linux.
Finally, Linux will have a larger market share when there will be enough money for big companies to earn if more people use Linux. It's already true for supercalculators and servers, where Linux is dominant because it has serious technical advantages (and maybe because of the price?). It's already true for mobile phones and tablets, where Android is dominant and Windows is marginal. Desktop computers is the only remaining Windows stonghold. Windows quality is falling, Linux distros' quality is rising. More and more people may be fed up with Windows and switch to Linux in the future, maybe more in the professional world if Windows is an obstacle to productivity. When people and companies will be more and more numerous to ask for Linux compliant equipment, then, and only then, manufacturers will give more attention to Linux. And you shall have those drivers.
72 • Regarding Post # 66 (by Winchester on 2017-11-09 16:01:48 GMT from United States)
"I have to disagree with that a bit. There were massive security problems in many versions of Windows prior to Vista; however, from everything I've heard about the releases since then MS has had decent security. Fedora & many other distros do seem to have far better security overall, but I'm not convinced that the MS problem isn't more about it's profile as a prime target rather than any risk built into the OS proper. Still the combo of several different great security tools that different distro use like AppArmor & SELinux, & the relatively low profile of Linux on the desktop mean better security overall on desktop Linux."
Perhaps Windows is not AS security porous as it once was but,I believe that it still is not that great security-wise for a variety of reasons.
One reason is its profile as a prime target .... there is much more malware out there written to exploit Windows systems compared to Linux and BSD's. Another reason is the fact that (from what I have heard) it now tracks your activity. *** Third,it basically compels users to go online and download third party software,usually from unverified sources. *** Fourth,it has a built-in backdoor opening which Microsoft refuses to close. Fifth,I personally just don't trust that it as strong under the hood security-wise as OpenBSD,Alpine Linux, KaOS,or the biggest Linux "parent" distributions,or actually,most any GNU/ Linux distribution which receives regular security updates. No advanced security mechanisms as with Qubes or Whonix. Why place any great level of trust in Windows if security is important to the user and / or desired by the user?? If I ever need it,it will be run inside of a virtual machine.
73 • windows vm (by Tim Dowd on 2017-11-09 17:05:42 GMT from United States)
That's where I run Windows 10 (in a VM) and it does exactly what I need it to (interact with my iPhone.)
In Windows's defense, I think one has to make a distinction between Windows as a home operating system and in an enterprise setting. The things that are most frustrating about Windows for the home user (huge update times, no software repositories, etc) aren't really an issue when you're dealing with centrally managed machines. In my life I've generally hated running Windows at home and only use it in a VM, but really haven't ever had an issue when my computer has been one of a thousand clones.
That's one reason I get really excited about distros like Lliurex, run by the Valencian government in Spain, where they're doing large scale open source deployments in schools. I know that there's tons of enterprise linux deployment, but its cool to see a regional government investing in desktop Linux in large scales. I always check them out when they have a new release, because its a good look at what educational software is available.
74 • Same old, nothing new? (by Kragle von Schnitzelbank on 2017-11-09 17:52:07 GMT from United States)
All complex software has security issues; most websites track activity. Basic security conflicts with basic efficiency, automating updates (for "security"?) automates breakages.
No surprises, same old trolling against favorite scapegoats.
Extremist licensing sabotages robust development. (Bounties, anyone?)
How many fine endeavors have been sucked dry by leeches?
Amid all the noise & confusion, any jewels? (EOMA68, Puri.sm? Redcore, Obarun?)
75 • All things equal.. XFCE or MATE or KDE (by Brad on 2017-11-10 00:41:50 GMT from United States)
I am getting a newer computer:
3.2ghz hexacore xeon
nvidia quadro 2000 @ 2gb ddr5
(got entire system for 249.00, thank Goodness for typos!)
going from Xfce archlinux/manjaro w/
tri-core 2.1ghz amd 8400
6 gb ddr2 ram
256 mb ati onboard
All things being equal, is it "worth" using a light desktop on a FAST computer vs using KDE (heaviest of them all I've read) on a FAST computer? just wondering..
76 • @75 All things equal... KDE vs Xfce (by Kazlu on 2017-11-10 09:22:26 GMT from France)
Well, I asked myself the same question a couple of years ago when acquiring a new computer. For more accuracy, it had a core i7 quad-core @3.4GHz, 8GB of RAM and an nvidia video card I can't remember exactly, I just know it was not extraordinary on the performance side but it still had 2GB of video RAM. I tried Xfce and KDE on an Ubuntu base. Xfce fan for a long time, I wanted to try KDE on a machine where it could shine. Although I was quite satisfied with the functionnality, particularly the nice options to tailor the desktop and window manager behavior, options were somewhat overwhelming. But most of all, I soon missed Xfce's speed. KDE was usable, but every click, every shortcut needed a noticeable fraction of a second to be executed. Under the same conditions, on Xfce everything happened on a snap. Top-notch reactivity, very enjoyable. I ended un sticking with Xfce and looking further to try to get what I missed from KDE (which was not much) by trying different window managers and searching for a couple of additional apps :)
In short: Yes, even on a fast machine, the difference of reactivity between KDE and Xfce is clearly noticeable. Not to say KDE is unusable; it just depends on your tastes and what matters most to you.
77 • @76 & @75 (by mes on 2017-11-10 11:02:04 GMT from Netherlands)
Stay with XFCE if you are a happy XFCE user. No need for changing to kde.
The difference between xfce will be noticable althought it will be very small.
I am a happy linux neon user (with kde)
78 • @75 All things equal... KDE vs Xfce (by DaveT on 2017-11-10 13:26:39 GMT from United Kingdom)
The light desktop will always be faster even when running on the latest super whizzo fast hardware stuffed with RAM.
I use Xfce or ctwm or the command line depending on what I am doing. Mainly I use ctwm.
The heavy-duty number-crunching I do for music composition runs noticeably quicker from the command line.
79 • DE (by Jim Goddard on 2017-11-11 01:00:26 GMT from Canada)
GNOME and KDE remained most popular for high end machines with heavy resources. While users with low resources have their choices with Cinnamon, MATE, Xfce, LXQt or LXDE.
80 • @75 Kubuntu (by OstroL on 2017-11-11 18:53:38 GMT from Poland)
In idle state it takes only 365MB memory in Kubuntu 17.10 and in Kubuntu 18.04 daily. With Firefox open with 3 tabs and System Monitor, RAM is just 934MB. Try it and see if KDE is faster or not.
81 • Desktop enviroment (by Myst_ on 2017-11-12 04:01:56 GMT from Australia)
Like many, I've long discarded Gnome3 & KDE, due to there hunger for resources. I've been happy with XFCE & recently taken a liking to Lxqt. Yesterday I tried Elive beta,it's DE, is enlightenment, even on older machines it "Runs on 256 MB of RAM and 500 Mhz CPU". I was surprised even in live Mode, how responsive it was. This Os is able to be installed in Persistent Usb mode or as traditional Linux Os.
So if anyone's considering a low resource Distro, for either old or new hardware consider testing Elive, part of the auto install configuration, include most common Linux apps like gimp & libre office, even Wine & VBox. Beta is free to install; current is free in live mode, but if you choose to install, a donation is a requirement.
Hope this was helpful, BTW this one man band,developer, has done incredible job with this distro.
82 • All Things Being Equal... Everything is still a matter of taste (by M.Z. on 2017-11-12 18:43:11 GMT from United States)
"All things being equal, is it "worth" using a light desktop on a FAST computer vs using KDE (heaviest of them all I've read) on a FAST computer?"
All things being equal, any desktop will perform well on the kind of machine you describe. The question of whats 'worth it' is purely subjective & you would be very happy with KDE if you like the ability to turn on additional elements of flashy effects, or if you just like Qt programs & their feature rich options. Frankly I think Gnome 3 might just be heavier in terms of RAM than KDE 5; however, the elements of that desktop which standout have nothing to do with the speed of it's performance & everything to do with very different defaults & design choices.
The biggest differences are ultimately subjective. KDE is very much an 'everything & the kitchen sink' desktop in terms of options/features & many of the Qt programs that look best on it follow a similar approach, while XFCE & Mate, along with Cinnamon, take a middle ground. The biggest differences will come about in features, but the biggest differences in terms of speed will come about on distros that are configured to be light weight to begin with such as Debian.
Personally I multi boot several distros on my main PC & run a separate /data partition to connect my files across distros without causing config problems in the hidden confing/dot files in my various /home partitions. There is a fair amount of extra setup time involved that may not be worth it if you don't like to multi boot or distro hop, but it might be a good option if you want to try distros with different DEs side by side.
I think all of that is debatable. Is Gnome really popular anymore? I have my doubts that it really is in the post Gnome 3 era. Also, I think both XFCE & Cinnamon are extremely popular on machines with all different levels of resources. In fact Cinnamon seems almost precision targeted at users who want a more traditional/configurable PC interface than Gnome provides while still using the same modern Gtk 3 components underneath. The fact that it also tends to be lighter than Gnome 3 is far from being any kind of a deterrent to using it on modern hardware.
"Like many, I've long discarded Gnome3 & KDE, due to there hunger for resources"
Again, that's highly debatable. From little good information exists on the subject it seems to me that KDE is probably the most popular DE choice on Linux, though XFCE is also very popular & perhaps a close contender for the most used Linux DE title. I think the losses from Gnome are due to a number of factors that don't always have that much to do with RAM.
"... if you choose to install, a donation is a requirement."
Good luck to the dev of that distro you like, but you both totally lost me there. I want to give back to Linux projects, but not until I've tried them on real hardware for a decent amount of time.
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