Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
KDE Open Source News

Are Open-Source Desktops Losing Competitiveness? 663

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-enough-squabbling-over-rounded-edges dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Peter Penz has been a user of KDE since version 1.2, and he led the development of the Dolphin file manager for the past six years. Now, he's quitting KDE development and handing off Dolphin. His reasons for quitting KDE development are described in a blog post. Penz speaks of KDE losing competitiveness to Apple and Microsoft due to increased complexity and other reasons. 'Working on the non-user-interface parts of applications can be challenging, and this is not something that most freetime-contributors are striving for. But if there are not enough contributors for the complex stuff behind the scenes and if no company is willing to invest fulltime-developers to work on this... well then we are losing ground.' Are open-source desktops losing?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Are Open-Source Desktops Losing Competitiveness?

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @03:48PM (#40456871)

    *nix users have been moving to OS X on the desktop for a long time. If you defend the X desktop in a lot of circles where it would have been popular in another time, prepare to be mocked, ridiculed and told to just "buy a Mac".

    Under these conditions it doesn't surprise me that KDE is stagnant. Fewer people are interested in it these days.

    - Still an X11 user when I have the choice.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by h4rr4r (612664)

      OSX would be better if it had more Xisms. For one the only competent focus follows mouse I could find costs money. The lack of middle click paste is also very annoying.

      • OSX would be better if it had more Xisms.

        I guess that's why OpenDarwin was so wildly successful, right ?

      • by gullevek (174152)

        Focus follows mouse does not work in OS X because the menu bar is separated from the application. But it works in application. Eg I can scroll a browser window even if it not in focus, or input stuff in a terminal window. Works fine.

        And the middle mouse paste? I don't miss that at all, got used to use cmd+c/v. Middle mouse is show all windows of this app, wonderful thing, couldn't live without it.

    • by Githaron (2462596) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @03:55PM (#40457009)
      I hate the global menu bar in Mac. I want my menus as close to my mouse as possible.
    • by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @04:10PM (#40457227) Journal

      Don't worry. We'll get our chance to ridicule Mac users when Apple does something stupid with OS X. The lack of software freedom will bite them eventually.

      • by exomondo (1725132) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @07:02PM (#40459837)

        Don't worry. We'll get our chance to ridicule Mac users when Apple does something stupid with OS X. The lack of software freedom will bite them eventually.

        LOL! Yeah you just keep thinking that, it's been well over 2 decades and even the significantly more locked down Microsoft Windows still hasn't done anything that has caused its users to abandon it in favor of free OSes. If through all that unloved Microsoft has done isn't biting anyone in the ass hard enough to change then I don't see it happening to Apple either.
        You can keep trumpeting software freedom and that the YOTLD is coming, but i'm certainly not seeing evidence of change, in fact the popularity of iOS suggests the opposite is true.

      • Sure you'll get to ridicule us and then we'll all move on to something else that works and Linux desktop users will still be a small and diminishing minority because it's all ideology first and usability second. When the choice is between open and better, the latter will always win.

        • by walshy007 (906710) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @01:23AM (#40463699)

          When the choice is between open and better, the latter will always win.

          #define "better", to me, kde is far more functional than os x, I recognize others don't think the same but they likely aren't using it in a similar fashion as to what I am. Without criteria defined there is no such thing as "better".

          To some users, windows has better usability for them than os x because different is seen as unwanted. Familiarity is weighted into it. I imagine this mostly comes from people adjusting their workflow to that which their present environment allows, once you have it fine-tuned people rarely wish to change.

          My usage of UI is quite simple, I want to be able to hit alt-f2 and type a program name to run it, and have a bar at the bottom for quick selection of the various windows I have open. My entire workflow never uses a double click ever even in file managing situations with konqueror. Once you run single click for all double click seems awkward and superfluous. Do others have different needs than I? of course, but I would hardly call my UI preferences "worse" than others.

          Long story short, to some people, OS X has a crappy interface, to some, windows has a crappy interface. All depends on your criteria and means of working.

          • Yep exactly.

            OS X and win7 both have a fine UI if you are of the point and click variety. Of users. Most power users and devs though know very well what's behind their DEs and WMs and only want effective access. There nothing beats custom configuring Mutter or writing extentions for xmonad.

            The thing is, I really understand the fact that they (common consumers) are outnumbering devs and ubergeeks in the thousands and for those people even switching from Win7 to OS X (which pretty much are the same UI) is diff

    • by jedidiah (1196) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @04:15PM (#40457311) Homepage

      I really don't see the great appeal of the Mac desktop. While some complexity is hidden, other things are crippled to the point of being not useful. If you have demanding requirements, you may find yourself right back at the console.

      Perhaps there are more things you can BUY for MacOS, but Windows is much better in that respect.

      Buy a Mac? Why bother?

      • by 0racle (667029) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @05:01PM (#40458161)
        That OS X has a UNIX console is one of its strengths when talking about UNIX professionals moving to OS X so I don't know why you're holding it up as a negative.

        I have used OS X as a Linux Administrator before I missed 2 things that made me get a Linux box at work - middle-click paste and kde io-slaves (fish:// in Kate, so really I missed Kate). However, I never considered OS X 'crippled to the point of being not useful.' Assuming you're not just trolling, what exactly was wrong with OS X for you.
        • by causality (777677) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @05:29PM (#40458563)

          That OS X has a UNIX console is one of its strengths when talking about UNIX professionals moving to OS X so I don't know why you're holding it up as a negative. I have used OS X as a Linux Administrator before I missed 2 things that made me get a Linux box at work - middle-click paste and kde io-slaves (fish:// in Kate, so really I missed Kate). However, I never considered OS X 'crippled to the point of being not useful.' Assuming you're not just trolling, what exactly was wrong with OS X for you.

          I don't personally consider OSX to be crippled. I do wonder one thing, though.

          As someone very satisfied with Linux, what would OSX offer me? Any "Unix professional" can handle Linux. This isn't someone who is afraid of the command line, or of making technical decisions. That alone destroys most of the appeal of OSX (a system that has worked beautifully for several non-techies I know who didn't want to deal with those things). For me, moving to OSX would mean gaining nothing I don't already have, plus having to pay a premium for it. I also very much value software freedom as implemented by the GPL, and I don't believe Apple is willing to negotiate on that one.

          What would possibly make me consider OSX? I assume I am well outside of their target market, but I am willing to consider your answer.

          • by countach (534280) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @06:30PM (#40459425)

            I can tell you why I gave up on Linux. I used it for a really long time, starting from kernel 1.0.

            1. Breakage. I got sick of every software update from Redhat or Debian or whatever arbitrarily breaking a bunch of stuff. You might have spent a whole day figuring out how to get printing to work with your printer etc, then they'd swap to a new version of lpd or something and you'd have to start again. Even for a tinkerer, this eventually gets old. The big vendors do better in smoothing things over with upgrade paths.

            2. Hardware support. Shopping for hardware is exhausting when you've got to spend days of research trying to figure out what hardware works, and even then you make mistakes, and/or are disappointed when it doesn't really work right. This problem is even more acute with the general trend towards laptops.

            3. Speed of change. Often free software just evolves too quickly in directions that are questionable. I haven't followed KDE for a long time, but I'm hearing voices that this happened with KDE. Just when you learn some software and come to deal with it, the whole thing changes completely from under you. Yes of course, the big vendors do this too, but nowhere near as often, and not as arbitrarily.

            4. KDE vs Gnome. I've never bought the "choice is good" mantra. Linux is too small to support 2 different environments. Any enthusiasm I had for developing for Linux was squashed by the continual doubt in my mind about which environment I should develop for, or which one would survive. I'm surprised one or the other hasn't died by now. Having an overlord to make tough decisions in this area would be good IMHO.

            I think free software ws always at its strongest when it is copying an already existing design, like the kernel itself. When it goes its own way, with hundreds of developers, it can lose its cohesiveness. I think without a corporate benefactor to pay for a lot of development, it would be better off copying OSX. Not because OSX is the last word in OS but because at least it is well thought out, and lots of people know how to use it.

            • by dudpixel (1429789) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @11:39PM (#40462867)

              You could've just shortened it to this:

              I've never bought the "choice is good" mantra.

              and that is why a mac is what you need.

              Great for people who don't want choices, but it sucks for those who do.

            • by lister king of smeg (2481612) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @11:40PM (#40462879)

              4. KDE vs Gnome. I've never bought the "choice is good" mantra. Linux is too small to support 2 different environments. Any enthusiasm I had for developing for Linux was squashed by the continual doubt in my mind about which environment I should develop for, or which one would survive. I'm surprised one or the other hasn't died by now. Having an overlord to make tough decisions in this area would be good IMHO.

              well they both can run the others programs just fine so just flip a coin or choose which ever is easies for you to program in or has best libraries for what you want to do. there is a good reason that there are two major desktops it is the same reason that the US has two major parties because not everyone agrees. what would be best ideally is if people realized that it is not a all or nothing deal. i can have gnome desktop and kde apps. that the way my computer is i have a mate desktop with a kde terminal emulator, a gnome text editor and apps from half a dozen other projects. the linux desktop has a problem of not knowing where to go right now. but that is true of computers in general right now look at windows, they cant decide what the hell they are. consumer compututainment has just met a new potentially disruptive technology and no one other than apple seems to have an idea of what the hell to do about it.

              so let me summarize what i think computing need to figure out.
              1. the family of libraries and desktop environment don't matter. what matters is license and how well it works for your purposes.
              2. different form factor require different interface paradigms and environment libraries can stay the same just change who you use them. this is where kde is excelling right now multiple environment one for touch one for desktop.
              3. just because an idea is old does not mean it is bad or needs replaced. the desktop paradigm didn't change for so long not because it was we all worship windows 95 but because the windows 95 gui engineers finally figured out the best type of interface for the form factor. they tried other styles that hadn't worked see bob or windows 3.11, but wimp (windows icons menu pointer) was best. and still is for the desktop.
              4. desktops make data and consume it, tablets only consume it don't try to change the nature of the beast you will fail.
              5. experimentation is good and can improve anything do it slowly or every one will hate you when you f*** up and you will, and make it fixable see gnome three unity windows 8. not fixable not really the fixes are awkward and halfa**ed.

            • by walshy007 (906710) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @01:35AM (#40463775)

              I think free software ws always at its strongest when it is copying an already existing design, like the kernel itself.

              I'd like to know of another completely open design (source) kernel that has anywhere near the level of advance as linux does.

              Linux is often the first kernel to have quite a few things, it's the experimental testbed of choice for new ideas and thus isn't really "copying" anything in a lot of ways. Sure it's posix compliant, but that is just an interface, not a design.

              Linux is too small to support 2 different environments.

              I'm surprised one or the other hasn't died by now.

              So obviously, it's usage is big enough to support two environments, and in actual fact, many more.

              I've never bought the "choice is good" mantra.

              Survival of the fittest only functions when there is choice. What constitutes fittest depends upon the fitness criteria, which changes from person to person and so it makes sense to have choice as different people need different things.

              Having only one choice is an evolutionary dead end and is a rather silly thing to strive for.

              Hardware support. Shopping for hardware is exhausting when you've got to spend days of research trying to figure out what hardware works, and even then you make mistakes, and/or are disappointed when it doesn't really work right. This problem is even more acute with the general trend towards laptops.

              As a general rule, if you buy hardware 6 months to a year old it will work from the get go in your distro of choice, unless it's very obscure hardware. But most mainstream parts function.

          • by micheas (231635) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @02:15AM (#40463989) Homepage Journal

            Warning:This is a rant from someone that has spent a lot of time at the command line for work for far too many years. If seeing 'sed -i' doesn't make you ask "BSD or GNU?" you probably won't find much here that you agree with.

            Well if you want the nostalgia ancient versions of the gnu utilities, OSX is great.

            If you want the set time function to be the easiest way to check the time in another city it is great.

            If you want window resize to only happen if you grab the lower right corner OSX is great

            If you want applications to stay running despite all the windows being closed it is great. (I understand why one would want that behavior, but from experience most mac users don't get that closing the windows doesn't close the app and reboot in order to free up the memory from all the open applications.)

            You get the joy of a weird user land that is a mixture of old GNU utilities and BSD utilities so you get to keep typing COMMAND -v to remember what you are using. Also most server scripts assume that RHEL and Debian stable are the oldest GPL things that they have to support so you get the joy of either porting the scripts or installing a new userland that uses current software.

            You will get the joy of having your drop down menus on the other monitor if you have a two monitor setup.

            You get to pay top dollar for low cost Chinese goods. (There is high quality Chinese manufacturing, but Apple sure isn't going to pay for it, when they can get an iPhone built for $20 plus materials.)

            On the upside you will be able to run Adobe Creative Suite

            On the serious upside, you can pay $100 a year to become an iOS developer download xcode and install any software you want on your iOS devices without rooting them or otherwise trashing the iOS security (really, from a *N*X persons perspective it's the only reason I can think of to put up with all the other stuff)

            • In 2004 I switched fro Windows to OS X. Like many switchers, I still have to use Windows occasionally for some painfully unavoidable reason, and it is always painful. The same reason I switched (unix under the hood) continues to be the reason I prefer Mac OS X. For decades I wondered what my eventual "Workstation" would be, a Sun, a MIPS...? When the 8-core 3.0GHz Xeon Mac Pro came out, I got the workstation I had always dreamed of. I still do a lot of development using command line tools, and I use GNU too
        • by MasaMuneCyrus (779918) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @07:24PM (#40460109)

          Things I very much do not like about OSX.

          • - There is no address bar in Finder, so I can't type where I want to go.
          • - No move command in Finder (at least up to Snow Leopard, which is what my research institute uses because Apple basically said "we don't care about long-term support" when it moved to Lion). I have to copy files, move deep into some other directory, paste, and then go all the way back to where I came from (which I can't use the "back" button for because I've gone up and down in directory trees) and delete the files from their old folder. Or I have to open up yet another window and drag the files over. The fact that I can't type a path into an address bar makes this even worse.
          • - You can't navigate via dragging. Sometimes I just want to move files up a directory. Sometimes I want to drag files into a second Finder window, but I forgot that the other Finder window is minimized. I can't just hover my mouse over the Finder icon and then over the minimized window.. I have to let go of all of my files, unminimize the second Finder window, and then select them all again and drag them over. (I heard that a long time ago some OS had a shelf where you could temporarily drag files to and from. That sounds like a good idea.)
          • - If you drag a folder into another folder with an equal name, it doesn't merge, it just deletes the old folder and totally replaces it with the new one. OK, it's a fairly logical behavior, but that means that I can't merge directory trees without the commandline. Worse, if I accidentally screw up and replace a folder I didn't want to, it permanently deletes it. And Command-Z or Undo doesn't work in this case. It should at least ask you twice or mention "WARNING: This will replace the previous folder and remove all files permanently."
          • - As others have said, the single menu bar behavior is stupid. If you like it on a single window, that's your opinion, but the whole concept goes to hell when you have multiple monitors. There should be a way to either duplicate the menu onto all monitors or make the menu appear on whichever monitor currently has an active program.
          • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @08:45PM (#40461089)

            "There is no address bar in Finder, so I can't type where I want to go."

            Yes, you can. Click on "Go" and then "Go To Folder" in the main menu. (Or press Shift-Apple-G.) Type in your destination.

            "I heard that a long time ago some OS had a shelf where you could temporarily drag files to and from. That sounds like a good idea.)"

            Actually this is a prime job for the old dual-pane file manager. There are at least several decent Finder-replacement programs out there that work in dual-window mode. Among the best of them is Forklift. But you might try muCommander. It's free.

  • "No" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @03:51PM (#40456939)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betteridge's_Law_of_Headlines

    This is a really bizarre troll-baiting headline, and based on sample size of 1? By an "anonymous reader" nonetheless. Y U NO require a pseudonym, at least?

  • No problem here (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vlm (69642) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @03:51PM (#40456945)

    My productivity has never been higher using "awesome" at home and work
    http://awesome.naquadah.org/ [naquadah.org]
    Installation was quite painless, apt-get install awesome and its all done, pretty much. It is... awesome

    Oh wait, were they talking about those gigantic slow clunky things that include a kitchen sink and everything? Yeah, those can just go away... please.

    I kind of liked xfce4 also but thats getting a bit too desktoppy. Too much extra junk I'll never use. I want my apps not the desktop environment's selection.

    • by dargaud (518470)
      I tried awesome a couple of years ago. I had 2 problems with it: - with such a stupid name it's simply impossible to search google for any help. Do you think you'll get any meaningful result for "awesome left window split" ?!? - there was simply NO explanation on how it worked whatsoever. When I asked on the mailing list, it was all like "Oh, just edit the config file with your choice of keys and associated actions". What, you mean no default config ? And if there is, where are they documented ? And what ar
  • by dyingtolive (1393037) <brad.arnett@notforhire3.14.org minus pi> on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @03:51PM (#40456953)
    Rest assured anonymous writer, Open-Source Desktops are staying just as competitive in their constant fight to make your favorite GUI just as unusable and obtuse as those produced by Microsoft or Apple. I am confident that, be it KDE or GNOME, you'll have just as frustrating of a time using the latest versions as you would using Metro or OSX.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @03:53PM (#40456979)

    But I spent a bit of time delving into this interface, and I have have now given up my Windows unless I absolutely MUST use it. No more hunting through menus looking for files or software functions. One hot key, followed by a few letters in the name, and up it pops. Wonderful!

    • by MrEricSir (398214) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @03:58PM (#40457067) Homepage

      So it's exactly like Windows 7?

      Seriously though, I actually like Unity's interface quite a bit. What I don't like is the bugginess of Unity (and Compiz) which makes it nearly impossible to use with more than a few windows open. You wind up with windows flying every which way, like one of those cheap video games with a broken physics engine.

    • by vlm (69642) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @04:04PM (#40457153)

      No more hunting through menus looking for files or software functions. One hot key, followed by a few letters in the name, and up it pops.

      There's this crazy thing on my Debian box that works the same way, but its even faster and marginally cooler. The UI is a little different though, you type a couple letters THEN hit the "hot key" which happens to be the tab key and then the enter key if the tab guessed right (kind of like Siri, sometimes it gets it wrong). So its like oct-TAB-ENTER and in instants you're running octave. I believe they call this desktop environment "bash" although theres 80 million clones like csh tcsh dash and even this weird operating system called "emacs" or maybe it was "vi" I don't remember.

      Speaking of octave, it has a fascinating user interface too, where you use that row of digits on that old fashioned keyboard thingy to enter numbers, instead of clicking colorized, styled, fonted, widgeted "buttons" on the screen.

      Its an interesting change of pace, but I do warn that this "CLI" user interface thing is way too new and experimental for all but the newest, most 'leet, early adopter hipsters, like if you only own a iphone 3gs instead of a 4, don't bother with this trendy new fangled CLI fad.

      • by Jeng (926980)

        I would have to say that the majority of computer users use a CLI on a regular basis, whether it be a video game or a chat program.

        The question isn't if they can adjust to a CLI, it is knowing the commands that is the hard part.

  • OEM Investment (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Microlith (54737) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @03:53PM (#40456981)

    Now that Microsoft has thrown sand in the face of their OEMs, perhaps the OEMs won't be so afraid of pursuing and investing in non-Microsoft operating systems. Microsoft may have a legacy, but much of that legacy could be emulated or relegated to VMs if necessary. And here's a perfect example of such an opportunity.

    If anything, now's the time to do it as Microsoft won't be able to punish the OEMs without being blatantly anti-competitive. And it'd breathe some life into the stagnant PC space.

  • Yes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geek (5680) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @03:56PM (#40457019) Homepage

    Of course, by "yes" I mean, "never had a prayer."

    I love Linux. I have a great life thanks to Linux. But Linux on the desktop is complete shit and always has been. Especially now with Gnome 3, Unity and KDE 4 giving the finger to users and designing craptastic interfaces.

    I'm using Cinnamon at the moment just for a semi usable desktop experience. XFCE is also good. But by and large, desktop environments on Linux are a disaster and it's only getting worse with Gnome pushing systemd on us and Fedora fucking everyone by forcing restarts all the damn time.

    I'll stick to server OS's with crappy window managers that I can tweak myself from now on and keep a Mac around for anything desktop related I really want to do. I'm tired of fighting with the fucking desktop environment. I have real work to do.

    Gnome devs and KDE devs pissed away promising interfaces and aren't even taking community feedback into consideration anymore. The best thing anyone says about these environments these days is "It's not as bad as it used to be." or "It doesn't crash every 15 minutes like it used to"

    People like me moved to Linux because we were sick of Windows 95 crashing all the damn time. We laughed at Bill Gates when Windows 98 crashed during a live demo presentation to the world. Now suddenly we have desktop environments that are worse than 95/98 ever were and we're expected to stick around for this shit? Fuck no.

    • Re:Yes (Score:5, Insightful)

      by igb (28052) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @04:20PM (#40457393)
      If you've spent any time around amateur theatre or amateur orchestras, you'll know that the real objective is to provide entertainment for the participants, and the interests of the audience come a long way down the list. If you go along to a concert by an amateur orchestra (and you don't, unless it's your wife or your child playing), then you simply don't have the same expectations as if it's professional, because the orchestra wants and audience so long as it doesn't have to compromise its own interests.

      And so, Linux desktops...

    • Re:Yes (Score:5, Interesting)

      by RabidReindeer (2625839) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @04:39PM (#40457759)

      I never thought twice about the desktop until I upgraded recently. It "just worked".

      Gnome3 is an insult. It's almost totally useless. Half of the basic functions I require to do my daily work aren't even available at gunpoint.

      Cinnamon was better, but the whole screen freezes except for the mouse pointer and the only cure is to kill the desktop and all apps running in it.

      XFCE was closer to Gnome 2 and the screen doesn't lock. But it randomly resets the accessibility and power settings so that on the one hand, hibernation doesn't work and on the other, the keyboard effectively quits working right in the middle of typing things.

      I haven't even tried KDE. I didn't like KDE all that much before everyone hated it.

      HOW can we have so many desktop choices and all of them be BAD???

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @04:00PM (#40457087)

    Yes, I love my Win7 laptops at home, but at work we're all still very comfortable running XP. I have less than no interest in adopting Win8, or even The Ribbon. Meeting increasing challenges of hardware, web standards, etc. is necessary (maybe,) but the thing that XP-7-8 has taught me is that needless complications are needless. Maybe it's time the open source community starts asking *why* a particular change is desirable or necessary to the userbase. (Are you listening, Mozilla???)

    Honestly, probably 80% plus of my Word Processing work I could still do in WordPerfect 5.1, if only there were an OS that could handle it.

    • by Guy Harris (3803)

      Meeting increasing challenges of hardware, web standards, etc. is necessary (maybe,) but the thing that XP-7-8 has taught me is that needless complications are needless. Maybe it's time the open source community starts asking *why* a particular change is desirable or necessary to the userbase.

      What Peter Penz said in TFBP [blogspot.nl] was

      The user interfaces tend to become simpler and easier to the eye, while the functionality of the application itself has increased. Hiding a complex functionality behind an easy to use interface are not known strengths of "typical" developers ;-)

      The complexity of the non-user-interface-parts of applications has increased a lot. Web-browsers are a good example: While the interface got simplified during the last years, the engines showing web-pages got really complex and are ma

  • by Yeechang Lee (3429) <ylee@pobox.com> on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @04:01PM (#40457103) Homepage

    I figured this out on the day in 2003 when I first tried out OS X. I've been using LInux since 1995 and had tried every available desktop: CDE, KDE, Gnome, Enlightenment (The horror .. the horror ...), Window Maker/AfterStep, fvwm, and even older ones like Motif and twm. I'd used Mac OS 7 and 8 in college and hated it, but OS X was a revelation.

    I still use Linux as a server, but for a Unixlike desktop that actually works and runs a lot of applications, OS X is it. Period.

    • by h4rr4r (612664) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @04:04PM (#40457155)

      You like the OSX desktop?
      I hate it. It is like it was designed for children and gets in the way too often. I want focus follows mouse, I want to get rid of the idiot dock bar thing, I want menus on every screen not just the main monitor.

      On top of it, SHIP WITH THE FUCKING GNUTOOLS YOU MORONS. The half baked commercial versions of these tools lack way to many features.

      • by Guy Harris (3803) <guy@alum.mit.edu> on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @04:37PM (#40457707)

        You like the OSX desktop? I hate it. It is like it was designed for children and gets in the way too often. I want focus follows mouse, I want to get rid of the idiot dock bar thing, I want menus on every screen not just the main monitor.

        And others don't. Opinions differ on merits of different desktops; story at 11. "Desktop A rules, desktop B sucks" is, absent data from a broad population of users, a personal opinion, not a statement of fact (regardless of whether desktop A is the OS X desktop or $OTHER_UN*X_DESKTOP and whether desktop B is $OTHER_UN*X_DESKTOP or the OS X desktop); to make it a statement of fact, prepend "for me" and append "your mileage may vary" (and, yes, this applies to you and the person to whom you're replying).

        (But it sounds as if Apple may be killing one thing I really liked about Safari relative to, for example, Konqueror - Safari, at least, had an RSS feed reader built in, so I didn't have to fuck around with Akregator. Note: if you want to defend the separation of RSS feed reading from Web browsing, please explain to me - in a fashion convincing to me; convincing to you, by itself, doesn't even come close to sufficing - why I would not want to read a feed of Web pages in a Web browser. But I digress....)

        On top of it, SHIP WITH THE FUCKING GNUTOOLS YOU MORONS. The half baked commercial versions of these tools lack way to many features.

        To which GNU tools are you referring? Developer tools? They used to ship GCC, but when it went to GPLv3 they decided to put their efforts behind Clang and LLVM instead. I don't know whether the current version of GDB is GPLv3, but they're putting their effort behind LLDB. (They may be "commercial" in the sense of being supported by a vendor, but they're free software.) They never used the GNU assembler or linker; they have their own APSL 2.0-licensed assembler [apple.com] and APSL 2.0-licensed linker [apple.com]; presumably if "half baked commercial versions of these tools" is referring to the assembler or linker, "commercial versions of these tools" means "...commercial assembler and linker" not "...commercial versions of the GNU assembler and linker".

  • by obarthelemy (160321) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @04:02PM (#40457129)

    Apart from drivers/compatibility issues, sucky desktops are what's keeping me away from Linux. Not only are they not very good in theory, they are mostly buggy and not.. play-tested. Honestly, the next-to-latest Unity, KDE, and Gnome were unholy horrors that, as a user, made me not only not want to use them, but also lose confidence in whatever governing bodies are driving features and validating code. My next Linux desktop will probably be lxde or xfce.

  • by JoeMerchant (803320) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @04:06PM (#40457187) Homepage

    Two relevant sayings:

    1) You can't fall off the floor
    2) You can, however, hit rock bottom and continue to dig

  • Love KDE (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheNinjaroach (878876) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @04:09PM (#40457223)
    Am I the only one who loves KDE? I like the desktop. I like Dolphin. I think kio_slaves (if they are still called that) provide enormous out-of-the-box connectivity to nearly every remote system I need to connect to.

    And KWrite rocks.
    • by tangent3 (449222)

      I love KDE. It really should have been the default on Ubuntu.

  • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @04:15PM (#40457305)

    KDE tries to be too much like Windows and actually does it. There are soooo many services, extensions, config files, dot directories (aka crap strewn all over the place) that it's simply become a bloated buggy mess. Gnome/Unity did some really strange and confusing things but in the end ended up being railroaded into the Mark Shuttleworth Agenda and is pretty much a tablet UI on a PC desktop now.

    This is the evolution of FOSS. Things which start to suck tend to get replaced by things which suck less. The open source desktop isn't losing, it's just KDE has jumped the shark and Gnome (Unity) has gone insane. Two of the earliest game changers of the FOSS Desktop. Luckily, people with more time than I have saddled themselves with the task of changing what sucks (Thanks guys/gals) about these two Desktops and we've got some alternatives. You can't do that with Windows or Apple. You get only one and if it sucks, too bad. Buy the next version and hope.

    PS: have a look at LXDE [lxde.org] or Cinnamon [linuxmint.com] for something similar, yet different.

  • by wrencherd (865833) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @04:21PM (#40457425)
    Desktop environments in general are losing ground aren't they?

    In favor of cloud-clients and tablet-specific os's, no?
  • C++ Puts Me Off (Score:4, Interesting)

    by turgid (580780) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @04:24PM (#40457457) Journal

    Given that KDE and its applications are written in and married to C++ (and QT) I'm not surprised that few people want to contribute.

    I know that C++ is the Big Thing and Right Thing in mainstream industry, but it is extremely complex with an enormous learning curve [yosefk.com] and huge demands on development resources, and developer time.

    I, for one, certainly wouldn't contribute to a C++ project for fun. I only do it when I'm paid, and only if I can't avoid it.

    • Re:C++ Puts Me Off (Score:5, Informative)

      by shutdown -p now (807394) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @06:18PM (#40459271) Journal

      The subset of C++ that Qt actually uses is not really that dissimilar from Java or C#.

      As for the FQA, it's largely trolling. A lot of its entries aren't even accurate, and for those that are, the issues are greatly exaggerated. You could write a similar one for virtually any language other than Brainfuck; it would probably be longer for many popular ones, in fact (like PHP or JS).

  • by GrumpyOldMan (140072) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @04:35PM (#40457649)

    I've run X11 since 1989. I started with TWM, then CTWM, then KDE.

    KDE2. was great, KDE3 was fine, KDE4 is bloated. I don't care about eye candy. I don't care about UI guidelines thought up by some hipsters. I don't want widgets. I don't want spinning 3d cubes when I change workspaces. All I want is a desktop env. that works. What I care about:

    - The ability to customize window the window manager enough to map Alt-mouse-1 to move, Alt-mouse-2 to resize and Alt-mouse-3 to iconify. These are hardwired in my brain after 23 years.

    - The ability for the icon manager to work vertically, so I can stick it on the side of my workspace, rather than the top or bottom. Today's stupid widescreen monitors are too cramped vertically, and I begrudge any pixels taken away from my applications

    - multiple desktops

    - multiple monitor support

    - no fancy GL stuff that screws up VLC or mplayer playing hardware accelerated video.

    That's it. That's all. I could give a flying you now what about file managers, widgets, etc.

  • by BlackCreek (1004083) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @04:37PM (#40457705)

    Some 10 years ago, the Linux desktop was The Challenger. The first alternative to Microsoft. The cool OS to use for all the cool tech headed people. All people I knew working in academic research in 'hard science' fields used Linux.

    That moment is gone.

    All the younger cool tech-headed kids I know use Macs. Most people that I know that used Linux in the late 90's early 2000 years have migrated to Mac computers. Actually I can say that with one or two exceptions everyone migrated to Macs.

    [...]

    Personal annecdote:

    Started using Linux in 1995. Worked as a Linux sysadmin when I was a student. Use Android phones and installed OpenWrt in my router (previous one ran Tomato). Own a Linux NAS (Debian based). I have a LWN.net subscription. My work computer runs RHEL. My parents computer (I bought it and maintain it), runs Ubuntu.

    When my wife needed a new laptop, I bought her a MacBook Air. Not a chance I would inflict Gnome/KDE/Whatever on her.

    I have a kid, little spare time and a fair amount of disposable income.

    With the Linux desktop:
    - Do I have a polished, easy to use, easily discoverable video editor? No.
    - Polished, high quality photographic manager and processor for Linux (Like say, Adobe Lightroom)? No.
    - Something easy to use for creating good looking family photo albums for printing? No.
    - Decent priced PDF editor for filling in PDF files? No. (sorry, I am not buying Acrobat for that).
    - Does my kick-ass Lenovo work laptop running certified RHEL has the fan on at all times? Yes.

    If I went out of my way to find sort-of-good-enough alternatives for these things, could I do it? Probably.

    Do I want to spend my time doing that? No.

    The question on my mind right now, is which configuration of the new Retina MacBook Pro to order.

  • by edmicman (830206) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @04:40PM (#40457769) Homepage Journal

    I dabbled in Linux for awhile, then switched full time to Ubuntu some years back. I wanted to run some specific games and switched to Windows 7 for awhile, until the hard drive crashed and am now back on the latest Ubuntu. I went from Unity to plain Gnome3 and now am on Cinnamon. And yes, I think the open source desktops are losing competitiveness. I personally think at this point in time OSX is the only one keeping things together. Windows 7 is actually very nice but Windows 8 looks like a train wreck. But for Linux it seems like your choices of desktop environments are either stuck in Win95-era or prior feel, or you have a "modern" DE that's half-assed at best and takes a ton of work to make it usable.

    Speaking mostly for Gnome, but the colors, themes, icons...they always feel like they're missing that extra polish or something that you get from the commercial OSes. Everything just feels...clumsy. It may work, but it just isn't polished. And while I appreciate pushing new innovations both Unity and Gnome3 seem to be halfway there at best, leaving sort of mostly working setups.

    Thing is, with Compiz and the wobbly windows stuff, it actually looked pretty sharp. Honestly, I think the more things I try the less I know what I want, just that what I have isn't exactly what I'm looking for!

    Just my $.02.

  • by chrishillman (852550) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @04:51PM (#40458021) Homepage Journal
    I actually came back to Linux under this Gnome 3 controversy and really don't mind it. The reactions to this post are as predictable as the post itself, a developer gets sick of providing something for nothing and has a public rage-quit, the self-hating Linux users cry out "why do people hate Linux".

    None of it is true!

    I formatted my Windows 7 laptop and joyfully have Ubuntu 12.04 on it. My son's Window 7 netbook was running slow and as an experiment I put Ubuntu 12.04 on that , he loves it. He has less problems than he did under Windows 7. Everyone is accustomed to an "app store" in their phones and Linux is the only OS out there that really has the same type of resource.
    There has never been a better time for Linux on the desktop! With Windows 8 about to mess everyone up and a leaderless Apple (let's face it)... Ubuntu, Mint and a dozen other distros are fantastic! Ausus' latest EeePc netbook is currently shipping with Ubuntu because of Windows 8 being a mess.
    Linux on the desktop is the best option right now.
  • by bmo (77928) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @06:55PM (#40459751)

    Should an editor who headlines an article with a question mark be impaled with a pine cone?

    Just asking a question.

    --
    BMO

  • by SalsaDoom (14830) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @03:02AM (#40464231) Journal

    Frankly, I love my Linux desktops better than any Mac or Windows nonsense. I find Windows's gui insanely bad and frustratingly limited. You guys who don't like 'em can go away if you like, no one will miss you anyway. I like all of them, Unity, Gnome3 and KDE4 just fine. I think they are different but all great in their own ways. Gnome3 and Unity might not be popular with some people but they are innovative. Whether you like that innovation or not is your own opinion.

    KDE4 gets solidly better and better with each release. So some Dolphin developer decides to throw a hissy fit and leave, honestly, whatever. I personally have not seen this great exodus of Linux users to OSX, nor do I hear "normal" non-fanboi people fawn over OSX all that much.

"The only way for a reporter to look at a politician is down." -- H.L. Mencken

Working...