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Ars Technica Looks At GNOME 2.6 [updated] 336

Posted by timothy
from the standing-in-the-garden-with-a-gun dept.
The Original Yama writes "Ars Technica takes a look inside the GNOME 2.6 Desktop & Developer Platform, due for release any minute now. It builds upon an earlier review of the GNOME 2.5 development series and their own examination of GNOME 2.4." darthcamaro writes "internetnews.com is running a story about the release of GNOME 2.6 today. They actually got a hold of Miguel de Icaza who had some real interesting stuff to say about it and the Linux Desktop in general. 'de Icaza told internetnews.com that a simpler interface has been the goal of GNOME since at least version 2.0.'" Update: 03/31 21:59 GMT by T : sn0wman3030 was one of many submitters to link to the GNOME 2.6 start page, including links to screenshots, documentation, and source downloads.
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Ars Technica Looks At GNOME 2.6 [updated]

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  • Spatial Nautilus (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ultrabot (200914) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @11:55AM (#8725597)
    Incidentally, I'm testing it out as we speak. The Spatial Nautilus is very very annoying - it's much like the default Windows behaviour of popping up zillions of windows that you always have to turn off every time you reinstall Windows.

    Yes, I'm going to go back to kde 3.2.1 Not because of the spatial nautilus that I can disable, but because of the missing "column list" viewing mode in Nautilus. I'm the kind of guy that wants to see as much stuff as possible w/ one glance, without needing to focus my eyes too much.
    • Re:Spatial Nautilus (Score:5, Informative)

      by functor (31042) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @11:59AM (#8725636) Homepage
      O_o

      View menu -> View as List.

      Resize window as needed.

      Oh, look, it's a detailed columnized view.
      • Re:Spatial Nautilus (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ultrabot (200914) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @12:02PM (#8725664)
        Oh, look, it's a detailed columnized view.

        It's not the same thing. I don't want to see the details, I want to see lots of items in a small space.

        Zooming out doesn't do the trick either, because then the file names are under the icons, not right of the icons like in KDE column list mode. If the icon is just left of the file name, you can cram more objects in the same space.
        • Re:Spatial Nautilus (Score:5, Informative)

          by Figaro (20471) <doug.geekzero@net> on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @12:18PM (#8725812) Homepage
          Oh...for that you go to the "File Management" preferences and set "Text Beside Icons".

          You could also turn on "Compact Layout", but that's pretty ugly.
          • +1, informative (Score:2, Interesting)

            by ultrabot (200914)
            Oh...for that you go to the "File Management" preferences and set "Text Beside Icons".

            You could also turn on "Compact Layout", but that's pretty ugly.


            Thanks for the tip, I feel much more at home already :-). Another view mode would have been more intuitive, but what the heck.

            Now, I might even be giving that spatial thing another shot...
            • Re:+1, informative (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Brandybuck (704397)
              Another view mode would have been more intuitive, but what the heck.

              While another view mode would have been more intuitive, it would not have followed the Gnome philosophy of a more intuitive interface. Now isn't that intuitive?

              Seriously, when a desktop starts making things harder to use in an effort to make them easier, there's a serious disconnect.
        • Re:Spatial Nautilus (Score:5, Informative)

          by horza (87255) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @12:25PM (#8725869) Homepage
          Why not use ROX [sourceforge.net]? It works equally well under KDE and Gnome, maximises use of screen estate, automatically switches to small icons at a configurable point, and one click switches between icon and detailed list view. It's also blindingly fast. Seriously, try it.

          Phillip.
          • There is one big flaw with ROX.

            It only supports unicode, and since I use ISO-8859-15, the filenames are a mess.

            If ROX would just support other charsets than UTF-8, I (and many others) would be very happy.
    • I've never tried it, but I can't see why they would do it... I really hated it when Windows used that spatial thing. But, you know, I think the Gnome team would have done a bunch of research before they changed something as significant as this, so I don't think I have to worry about it being unefficient or anything. It's just getting used to it that will be a problem. ;)
      • by squiggleslash (241428) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @01:31PM (#8726629) Homepage Journal
        It's not aimed at you, and you can turn it off - that is to say, you understand the system enough to (a) be able to turn it off and (b) to see no disadvantage in doing so.

        Most people have difficulty understanding the file system and how to find their information. I'm constantly amazed at how many people, for instance, do not even realise their files are laid out in a hierarchy on their systems (usually finding out that they've had their system set up for them by a "helpful" "expert" who's turned on browser mode.)

        A spacial navigator is one of the few widely used systems that makes file system navigation intuitive. There are several reasons for this.

        To begin with, it is immediately obvious that the system is hierarchical. This is not the case with the "browser" metaphor unless "browser" is combined with something else such as Window's File Manager/Explorer tree views on the left. A directory contains other directories (or folders contain other folders), they're not "links".

        Secondly it helps with memory. Open a folder and it's where you left it. The icons are where you put them. You remember details like that. It's always easy to find the file you want if you know it's on the bottom left, or top right. You remember instinctively that the folder you just opened is the right one because it appears where you left it. A "browser" environment doesn't do that, you end up traversing through multiple directories that all look the same, and you need to do a fair bit of reading before you know where you are.

        The major reason "experts" see it as a problem is because it tends to result in quite a few windows being open. This, really, is pretty trivial compared to the benefits for an inexperienced user. Additionally, better systems make it easy to manage those windows. In Windows, for instance, you can shift-click the close button on a directory window, and it and all the parents will close. Unfortunately this hasn't been replicated elsewhere.

        OS/2 used to have this nice system where opening a drive would open a window that represented all the directories on the drive, in a sort of tree view. You could then open up branches of the tree to find the directory you want, and open that window directly.

        Macintosh has a neat feature where if you're dragging files around, while you're still holding them you can hover over folders and they'll temporarily open, so you can move them without opening any additional windows.

        It sounds to me for the most part a good thing that Nautilus has a spacial mode and that that mode is default. What's needed now is:

        1. The "experts" need to understand the reasons for it rather than the kneejerk reactions we've seen here.
        2. It obviously needs tuning. Apple, IBM, and Microsoft have all come up with sensible optimizations to reduce the "lots of windows" burden.
        3. Improvements in GTK should be considered so that screen space is used more efficiently. More intuitive and automatic workspace management would help (such as the Amiga's launching of apps on new workspaces), the option of top-of-screen menus (which aids muscle memory too) would also help.
        It's a good thing. I'm glad they've done it. For once, GNOME is getting ready for the desktop.

        Next stop: File metadata?

    • I'm the kind of guy that wants to see as much stuff as possible w/ one glance, without needing to focus my eyes too much.
      What, the partially sighted kind of guy?

      Have we become so lazy that flexing a lens sounds tiring?

    • Re:Spatial Nautilus (Score:5, Informative)

      by Shillo (64681) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @12:17PM (#8725794)
      > The Spatial Nautilus is very very annoying - it's much like the default Windows behaviour of popping up zillions of windows that you always have to turn off every time you reinstall Windows.

      Double-middle-click (or double-right-click, I'm not sure) on a directory closes the current window and pops the new one. This de-annoyifies Nautilus quite a bit. :)

      --
      • by drivers (45076)
        Double-middle-click (or double-right-click, I'm not sure) on a directory closes the current window and pops the new one. This de-annoyifies Nautilus quite a bit. :)

        I was disgusted when I read that in the article. That is rediculous. Expecting users to get used to using an alternate button just for their app... and if you happen to be thinking about the task at hand instead of the UI you'll end up making mode mistakes. Who let this through? Aren't there UI standards in projects like these?
        • Users don't *have* to use that button. It's not a mandatory feature so you can't end up making mistakes.

          And there's also Ctrl+Click.
          • Users don't *have* to use that button. It's not a mandatory feature so you can't end up making mistakes.

            Yes but the article and the previous post indicated that the left button behavior was annoying and so most people would want to use the middle button instead... so now you have a situation where which button to use depends on which app you are using.
        • Expecting users to get used to using an alternate button just for their app...

          How's that any different from learning the commands on vi? or the keystrokes of emacs? or the middle button opening a new tab that was pretty much only in Mozilla (and maybe Opera) back in the day?

          I've effectively "taught" myself to middle click on links in only a few days when I started liking the tabbed browsing of Mozilla. Of course, when I go in IE every once in a while I'll vainly attempt to middle click on a link thinki

          • Re:Spatial Nautilus (Score:3, Interesting)

            by pyros (61399)
            here's a gconf key that let's the user default to the old browser-type view

            I believe my last test install of Fedora Core 2 had an option in the Desktop Preferences -> File Manager application. Anyone know if that was an upstream change? Or are non-Fedora users going to have to use gconf?

            And it's a double middle click,

            Hopefully the Single/Double click option in the same Preferences application applies to the middle-click as well.

      • Re:Spatial Nautilus (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ultrabot (200914)
        Double-middle-click (or double-right-click, I'm not sure) on a directory closes the current window and pops the new one. This de-annoyifies Nautilus quite a bit. :)

        Sounds reasonable if you are using a mouse. I like to navigate w/ keyboard - what's the tactic there?
        • Re:Spatial Nautilus (Score:2, Informative)

          by ultrabot (200914)
          Sounds reasonable if you are using a mouse. I like to navigate w/ keyboard - what's the tactic there?

          Whoops, apparently there is C-S-w to do this. Not the easiest possible combo.

          Too bad it only seems to kill parent folders, not all the folders.
        • Sounds reasonable if you are using a mouse. I like to navigate w/ keyboard - what's the tactic there?

          xterm + bash

          works for me :)

      • Re:Spatial Nautilus (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Ctrl-Z (28806)
        Yeah, double-middle-click is really easy on a scroll wheel. :-P
    • Re:Spatial Nautilus (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @12:39PM (#8726009)
      run:
      gconf-editor

      goto /apps/nautilus/preferences/always_use_browser

      enable this option

      "If set to true, then all Nautilus windows will be browser windows. This is how Nautilus used to behave before version 2.6, and some people prefer this behavior. "

      you get the old nautilus back by default :)
      • Re:Spatial Nautilus (Score:3, Informative)

        by wowbagger (69688)
        First of all, this preference is not there by default. GCONF, much like Window's RegEdit, requires you to know the type of a key if you need to create it.

        So if /apps/nautilus/preferences/always_use_browser does not exist, you have no idea if it should be a boolean, an int, a string, or what.

        Second of all, in nautilus-2.5.6-1 this does not work. I've tried - at least, it does not work if the key is a bool. I have not had the patience to try all possible combinations of type and value.
        • by TrixX (187353) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @04:45PM (#8728986) Homepage Journal

          Unlike the windows registry, each GConf app includes the schema with the keys it uses, including its type and documentation. If that key does not exists, it means it's not supported by your currently installed version of nautilus.

          If it does exists, selecting it at gconf-editor will allow you to see it's value, type, and documentation.

    • Re:Spatial Nautilus (Score:3, Interesting)

      by hattig (47930)
      It is more like the classic AmigaOS (From Workbench 1.0 in 1985 to present) behaviour, which has always been a spatial filesystem view.

      Spatial does not mean "open folders in new window" - it has that per-window location, size, view mode, etc aspect to it as well. AmigaOS also let you locate Icons within each window where you wanted and then snapshot their locations along with the window, so still more advanced, but maybe Gnome will get there 20 years afterwards ...

      Now it only needs an option for the defau
    • It sounds pretty annoying from the article. The dude basically says, "it's this new way of file browsing, where you have just have to get used to double clicking the middle mouse, and then figure out how to go back up the hierarchy, and then hit Ctrl-L if you want to navigate anywhere quickly". Um, yeah, and how is this better than a hierarchical view along the left hand side, with the contents of the selected directory in the right, and a toolbar that auto-completes along the top (i.e. what konqueror def
  • I Like Gnome (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Goo.cc (687626) * on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @11:56AM (#8725608)
    I am a Mac OS X user and I have to say that I think that the UI of Gnome is appealing. If I was still using NetBSD, I would probably run it. (Hell, maybe I'll install YellowDog Linux and give it a try.)
    • Re:I Like Gnome (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bsharitt (580506) *
      I've always found tthe Gnome UI(in the 2.x series) to be quite clean and professional, and it happens that I'm a Mac user too. KDE just seems to be trying to be Windows way too much, although it is improving too.

      (btw- why is the parent a troll? He's just complementing to DE the article is about)
      • Re:I Like Gnome (Score:2, Insightful)

        to me...KDE while having a lot of features and tweeakables...is way to messy. Gnome on the other hand has decided to go down the road of OS X with an HIG and simpler is better and integration is paramount(and by integration I mean the tools as part of the Desktop environment, not necessarily a modular design like Kparts)
    • You can run GNOME (and KDE too, if you wish) with Mac OS X already with fink [sf.net], if you wish. I don't think they've upgraded to 2.6 just yet but 2.4 is there and with no doubt, soon they'll finish packages for 2.6. Apple's X11 server has a full screen mode where you can start a GNOME session without interference with OS X session and you can switch back and forth between the two desktops. So grab fink, switch to unstable tree and run sudo fink install gnome. It'll take some time because it compiles from the so
  • Looks like a Mac (Score:2, Informative)

    by bwindle2 (519558)
    Does abody else think the screen shots look an aweful lot like Classic Mac OS?
    • GNOME has been looking like Mac since Ximian GNOME 1.4 (not sure what pure GNOME 1.4 looked like, but I'm guessing not much different)
  • Will 2.6 make Sarge? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bjarvis354 (319402) *
    I am excited about the prospect of GNOME 2.6 making its way into Debian Sarge. with gnome 2.6 could be a really powerful desktop for more than a few years...Which is probably how long it will take Debian to release again...And I am sure if 2.6 made it to testing, it would push back Sarge's release date.
    • by gid (5195)
      It's already been said that 2.6 will likely not make it into Sarge.

      Personally I hate it when Debian prepares for releases, it means I have to wait until the release is made until I get new software in sid again. :(
  • As a KDE user.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by armando_wall (714879) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @12:00PM (#8725645) Homepage

    I'll give Gnome 2.6 a try. I find it more appealing as its team releases more versions. Its GTK library is one of my favorites to develop with. But I always got a "something is missing" impression with it (the desktop).

    Besides, I know KDE is free software, but I think Gnome is "more free" for all platforms to use (ducks).

  • What about (Score:4, Insightful)

    by big_groo (237634) <groovis&gmail,com> on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @12:05PM (#8725684) Homepage
    Dropline [dropline.net]?

    Does anyone have any news on this?

  • spatial metaphor? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @12:07PM (#8725710)
    The "spatial metaphor" sounds pretty lame.

    Looks like someone was trying too hard to do something "revolutionary".

    Wow, it remembers the last folder you where in! So does the file browser on freaking xmms.

    Everytime you click a folder it opens a new window? That sucks! Ya it can be avoided with a middle click but why do that in the first place, since everyone is obviously just going to use middle click. I wouldn't say that's a bug but it certainly isn't a "feature" either.

    • Yeah, exactly. I use Gnome myself, but that's the thing happening when you let coders do interface decisions. You usually end up with things like this "spatial view" in Nautilus or, say, the cluttered interface of Gimp. Everyone will complain what an utter bullshit this is, yet the people actually coding it will insist that it actually improves usability, despite the fact that no one wants it like this (other than a handful people, but those are probably the some that also find editing sendmail.cf by hand m
  • Speed of 2.6??? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I wish he would have commented on the speed of 2.6, rather than just talked about what looked pretty or not.
  • I have a linux RH 9 install on a i386 box. I recently upgraded to gtk+2.4 (in a futile attempt to get rhythmbox working).

    My question is: should I bother upgrading to Gnome 2.6 or just stay with the 2.x installation that came with RH9? I fear that attempting the upgrade will ruin my existing gnome installation. Or, at least, all the RedHat specific stuff will stop working.

    If it ain't broke don't fix it?
    • You're right. (Score:5, Informative)

      by FreeLinux (555387) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @12:28PM (#8725904)
      Installing Gnome 2.6 on your Red Hat 9.0 will "ruin" all the Red Hat stuff, in the sense of setting everything to Gnome defaults rather than Red Hat modified defaults. A better option for you would likely be to wait a couple of months for Gnome 2.6 to be integrated into Fedora and then upgrade your installation to Fedora.

      If however you are really keen you could try the Fedora Core 2 RC2 release. Though it is only a relase candidate (RC) it does ocntain Gnome 2.5 which is the beta version for the pending release of Gnome 2.6

      • How much of a pain is it to change distributions?

        I.e. if I upgrade to Fedora Core, will I have to backup all my data, reformat my hard drive, and then copy all the data back?

        I keep hearing that I should switch from RH to Slack | Gentoo | SuSE - so I guess this question applies for them as well.

        Of course, I have a spare 40 gb drive...so maybe I could just install one or more distributions onto that HD and configure GRUB accordingly?
        • There is an upgrade path from Red Hat 9 to Fedora BUT, if you care about your system at all, you should always make a backup first. Upgrades to other distros besides Fedora will be more tricky with a much greater risk of stuff breaking but, it is still theoretically possible.

          Personally, when changing distributions I would rather a clean install. That's one of the many reasons why keeping your data on a separate partition is a good idea. Then you can switch distributions more easily. You can even set your s
        • Re:Followup question (Score:3, Informative)

          by Queuetue (156269)
          Going from rh (7.2-9.0) to fc1 is just an apt-get dist-upgrade away.

          Here's instructions to do it with yum, I did it just this week with apt (faster, in my opinion.) You should not have to reinstall anything (as long as you stick to rpms), and your home directory will be completely left alone, for the most part.

          Upgrading from RedHat 8/9 to Fedora Core 1 [columbia.edu]

          Also #fedora on freenode is your friend.
  • Oh god... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bicho (144895) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @12:23PM (#8725854)
    ... I don like Gnome that much anymore.
    Besides the panel and the fact it uses gtk, I disagree with a lot of things, like absurdly minimalist configuration options AND documentation AND a regedit-like nightmerish hell with also minimalist documentation.

    Anybody has successfully compiled e17 ? (yes. I am aware its not supposed to be usable/compilable yet)
    I have been waiting for it a looong time, and it seems there is always wan problem or another.

    I remember I compiled once its file system when in e15 or e16 something, and It was really nice.... but haven been able to compile e17 ever.
    Now, that is something I really want to see...
    • Re:Oh god... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sploxx (622853)
      ACK. I'm still using gnome, but that "features are bad" attitude of the developers lets me consider switching back to KDE more and more. I hope they won't make the same mistake...
  • I could to totally wrong on this, but from what I've seen great features are being removed from really cool apps in this absurd strive for a "simpler interface"

    Case in point:

    Xchat used to have this GUI option called "Old Nick Completion" (Its like zsh's tab completion, but for IRC) But now it doesn't. The code for the function is still there, but the GUI option is not. No offense to the xchat guys, but this easily robs people of a great IRC great experience.

    For proof of what I'm talking about:
    • by dalutong (260603) <djtansey@NOspam.gmail.com> on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @01:16PM (#8726443)
      preferences->input box->"nick completion suffix"

      you don't have to click anything. you can just stick that suffix in and pow! works better than before!
      • parent is wrong (Score:3, Informative)

        by phoxix (161744)
        preferences->input box->"nick completion suffix

        Is not the same at nick completion. That only adds whatever you desire to the end of of a completed /nick. (And thanks to some odd Xchat bug, it only works with a single char, though some of the code clearly supports using more than a single char.)

        Sunny Dubey
  • Performance? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Moderation abuser (184013) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @12:31PM (#8725932)
    No mention?

    Not important?

    Preliminary (and subjective) testing indicates that it isn't good when compared to the competition; CDE, GnuStep and having just loaded the current KDE, it looks like that is faster as well. Testing commonly used stuff; Menu operations and such over a LAN.

    Bugger... Anyone know of a platform I can build an objective test suite on, for the various competing GUIs rather than relying on a stopwatch? I've found lots of Java specific and Web specific stuff...

    One of the benefits of Unix I suppose. On Windows you get Windows and so have nothing to compare with.

    • Performance?

      Performance is truly irrelevant. For anyone with better than a 200MHz Pentium, all that really matters is having enough RAM, a fast hard drive, and an accelerated X Windows video driver. GUI performance has been perfectly acceptible for years. Some individual applications surely could use optimization, but that isn't really relevant to a general review of GNOME.

      Also, the only applications where raw performance is really an issue tend to be OpenGL-based or do lots of non-GUI data-crunching
    • Re:Performance? (Score:4, Informative)

      by FooBarWidget (556006) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @01:55PM (#8726937)
      Nautilus is noticably faster. Much faster. Heck, it's so fast that it isn't even funny anymore. Windows appear instantanously. It's faster than Konqueror or even Windows Explorer. :/
  • Nautilus (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iantri (687643) <(iantri) (at) (gmx.net)> on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @12:35PM (#8725975) Homepage
    Excellent.. I firmly believe that the Mac OS 9 Finder is the best file manager in existance.. nothing else even comes close. The speed and ease with which you can organize files is amazing.

    Nice to see this interface ("spatial whatever") being put to proper use outside of the Mac.

    • Hear, Hear! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Senjutsu (614542) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @02:09PM (#8727076)
      I think this is great news, as I'll finally have a file management program that works the way *I* want it to work. I'm really surprised at the amount of hate this is getting; you can just turn the option off if you don't like it, people.

      Prior to this it too often seemed like all the serious file managment options boiled down to: "You can have a file manager that works however you want, as long as it's some minor variation on Windows' browser metaphor".

      Choice is a good thing.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Having a new version of GNOME every 6 months strikes me a perfect compromise between adding new features and improving exisitng architecture. The bottom line is that these last few releases of GNOME have felt consistently polished.

    So far, I love using the latest 2.6 (ok, strictly speaking: 2.5) version. Even sweeter, the 2.8 version is already promising to be a significant improvement with new applications and better infrastructure!

    Thanks and great job GNOME developers and testers!
  • by s3nns (767062) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @12:46PM (#8726102)
    Since switching to OS X, the spatial Finder is the only thing I've found myself missing from the Classic OS. Although OS X's Finder is sucking less and less with each revision, I still don't think it comes anywhere near the usability of the old Finder. (YMMV, of course. Old habits die hard.)

    Nautilus seems to get it incredibly right, though. Although I've yet to use it for myself, Nautilus seems to immitate all the right things from the spatial Finder of old. (I haven't actually used Gnome since version 1.4, but I'm tempted to take another look.)

    Kudos to the Gnome team, it's looking better and better with each release.

  • by Mjlner (609829) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @12:50PM (#8726151) Journal
    Seriously though... It's been tried on both the Mac and Windows and the conclusion has been almost unanimous: sure, it's nice for newbies to copy ten, twenty, maybe even fifty or so files, but it doesn't scale. It simply isn't practical for large amounts of files, which Apple noticed in time for OSX. Besides, had the Gnome team read "About face", they would know that UI design isn't all about catering for newbies.
    • OTOH, if you are managing large amounts of files and you are not a newbie, the command line will probably be much better.

      So maybe catering for the newbies is right...
    • It's been tried on both the Mac and Windows and the conclusion has been almost unanimous

      Whose conclusion has been almost unanimous? You never asked me.
      Please don't call the MS's lame-asses attempt at copying the Mac interface aka Windows 95 "spatial". It is not. In fact, I had trouble swtiching from Win 3.1 to Win95 because MS screwed things up by taking a crufty filesystem, tacking on a couple of layers of recursive abstraction, and then removing the File Manager and replacing it with explorer, which cou
  • by bogie (31020) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @01:06PM (#8726337) Journal
    First off for a minor update it seems totally nuts to jump to a completely different paradigm for file management. Its just wrong throwing this out to users who are used to the other way of handling files for years. This should have been done at 3.0, not at 2.6. Second, the old behavior should STILL be default. The spatial setting should be secondary but let the user know he/she can try it. You don't just switch the way things have been in such a major way with no transition period. That's the thing about Gnome they seem to just make major changes to the way you interact with your PC between releases without any notice.

    Another example that comes to mind is the way they up and switched the "Yes" "No" "Cancel" dialog out of the blue. Right now the way Gnome does it is just bass ackwards to the way 95% of the world is used to. Sure I'm used to it now, but any Windows or KDE user who tries out Gnome will find themselves clicking on the wrong button because Gnome has it backwards. That's what happened to me after getting used to the old Gnome way.

    The people in charge at Gnome just don't seem to want to ever settle down and let people get comfortable with the way they interact with the OS. Next release the File Selector will probably be further modified and you'll have to relearn they yet again. It just seems that there is all of this talk about Gnome and their superior HIG methods yet the things that shouldn't be changing get changed with every release. Pick a file selector, pick a file manager setup, pick a file confirmation dialog and stick with it, Forever. Stop changing the basic ways in which we interact with the OS with every release.
    • by FooBarWidget (556006) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @01:58PM (#8726967)
      The right-to-left order is used to MacOS X. As everybody knows, everybody on Slashdot worships MacOS X, and always praise it for being the most userfriendly OS ever.

      That aside, GNOME is actively moving away from the "Cancel/No/Yes" button order. They've been doing that for years now if you still haven't noticed. :/
      Instead, buttons now have explicit action verbs, like "Cancel, Don't Save, Save", just like in the much-praised MacOS X.

      "but any Windows or KDE user who tries out Gnome will find themselves clicking on the wrong button because Gnome has it backwards."

      Which further proves that "Yes/No" is braindead and should be replaced by action verbs.
  • by Garg (35772) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @01:16PM (#8726440) Homepage
    "GNOME is turning into something that is really pleasant to use," he [de Icaza] said. "I can happily say that GNOME 2.6 is up to the level of MAC OS X usability."

    Suuuuuuurrre it is. And I've got a bridge to sell you cheap.

    Don't get me wrong; I hope he's correct. If so, Linux will really start to make some serious inroads on the desktop. But unless 2.6 is really a quantum leap, I don't think it's true.

    Mac's are still the all-time usability champs. You can take people who are deathly afraid of computers and they can use a Mac after a short while. So I'll believe it when I see it.

    Garg
  • by ericdfields (638772) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @01:32PM (#8726646) Homepage

    The majority of the posts I'm seeing that are 'anti-gnome' stem from the sheer fact that all of you out there are more than just computer users; you are programmers, devleopers, engineers, students, enthusiests, etc. Gnome is not directly targeted toward you.

    The Gnome Desktop is very forward looking, as what it does is based on the assumption that Linux On The Desktop will be truely realized one day, and it is preparing to meet the needs of those future (read: not yet existing) Linux users. That isn't to say that Gnome can't be used by any contemporary Linux user with an advanced computer knowledge, it's just not made tailored to you guys. Play around with it. Get to know it a bit more. Then customize to you're liking. Gnome can work however you want it to. That's one of the more beautiful aspects of it.

    As for the so-called lack of intuitiveness, this is just plain false. Gnome is as intuitive as a never-used-a-computer computer user can experience (without violating any patents!). Beacuse realistically, the _user_ needs only their home directory with a few sub directories (Documents, Pictures, Music, Movies, etc.). You don't need more than a window or two to manage them. That aforementioned Linux _user_ of the future will appreciate how easy it is to drag and drop between these folders in multiple windows. For the rest of you, it's your duty to discover that parent folder widget as well as the "Browse Folder" option in the right-click menu (i think that's where it is).

    In reality, the future linux user (and really all users) will only need to access files as items in a niche program like Rhythmbox or OpenOffice/AbiWord which specifically deal with a particular document type.

    I agree that maybe nautilus-cd-burner doesn't jive well anymore. Something along the lines of Mac OS X's 'Burn to CD' radioactive icon is needed somewhere, or something. Thse sorts of things are minor, however, since the Gnome desktop is still not in its future where Linux is mainstream, they still have time to figure out how to manage this issue. In the meantime, chill out, or invest time in compiling k3b.

    Slashdot seems to be full of impulsive radicals who vehemently stick to their OS/DE/Apps of choice, and are quick to insult anyone or anything else that's not their favorite. It's a strange sort of application bigotry. Of course, ignorance plays no part in bigotry...

  • The feature that keeps me using KDE instead of GNOME is ALT-Click. In KDE, if you ALT-Rt.click on a window, you can resize by moving the mouse. It is much nicer than having to find a 2 pixel wide bar and clicking on it. Combine this with ALT-Lt.click to move any window without having to catch the title bar, and window management becomes much easier and quicker.
    • Alt-left click moves the window for me in gnome
      alt-middle click lets you resize it
      alt-right click brings up the window menu.

      This is using the metacity that comes with gnome 2.6
  • GnomeMac, KDEWin (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mst76 (629405) on Wednesday March 31, 2004 @02:36PM (#8727363)
    Although it isn't completely clear cut, it seems that KDE takes a lot of inspiration from Windows Explorer (yes I know it does a lot more), while Gnome seems more like MacOS Finder (but isn't as good yet). I guess the majority of computer users (including the /. crowd) comes from a Windows background, which may explain why they feel more at home in KDE than Gnome.

He keeps differentiating, flying off on a tangent.

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