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Gnome 3, first impressions

The blog entries related with Gnome 3 are increasing every day so I wanted to try Gnome 3 for some time. After seing this web page which offers a live CD image, I immediately tried it:

http://www.gnome3.org

One of the things I like about Gnome is that whenever you try a Linux distribution using Gnome as its desktop you feel like using that particular distribution. When you are using Ubuntu, you feel like using Ubuntu, when you are using Fedora you feel like using Fedora. But for KDE, you feel like using “KDE” not that particular distribution. This is partly that Gnome offers a “standard” desktop at its best and doesn’t get on your way with “pretty” features which it thinks are useful but actually are not.

I guess, this is changing with Gnome 3 and this is the biggest concern of me about it. We will have a feeling of using Gnome 3 not Ubuntu or Fedora or anything else. But I should also add that I’m not certain about this.

The thing I most like about Gnome 3 is that the team wants to implement the desktop we will use in the future. That is the desktop we will be using maybe for twenty years from now on. So they make several serious decisions and try ideas that has never been tried before or has been tried and proven itself but not as widely used for now. This is a very brave direction to go for a desktop which is one of the two major players on Linux market. But there is a safety net for Gnome users, which is Xfce 🙂 Xfce is also a very good “standard” desktop which feels a lot like Gnome, so whatever Gnome turns out to be, the users will always be able to switch to Xfce.

To return to the main idea of this entry, my experience with Gnome 3 was not bad. I liked the quickness of it. I liked the activities idea (it is somewhat like Windows 7’s new taskbar but felt better. One concern is that if I have a lot of documents open, would the classic taskbar concept be quicker? Think that I have an e-book open which teaches programming so I type sample programs as I read. I need to swich between these documents quickly. Opening the activities pane is one more step instead of directly clicking the document on the taskbar.

The desktop’s look changes a lot with Gnome 3 that the applications on it look like GNUstep applications on current Gnome. I think this will change in time in the right direction. If the ideas of this new desktop are good for the future then this should be tolerated for some time by the users. But one another concern of me is if Gnome applications adapt themselves for this different desktop than will they look more alien on other desktops like KDE? For example, will using Pidgin on KDE provide a worse experience? Or vice versa, using a program in Gnome 3 like Firefox or OpenOffice which does not use the standard Gnome guidelines for its development? Maybe this might create a more diversity between the applications for Gnome and for others.

There are animations here and there which are necessary for the user to understand what is going on, which is a good thing. They are not the smoothest but ok considering that I was using a live CD and probably not the best video driver and probably not the best computer (a computer which cannot run KDE 4 well). A quick note, some animations are a little slow, for example, the animation for the about dialogs.

I would suggest changing the theme of the live CD as it is a little fancy with those icons, colors, too big fonts and too big title bar buttons etc. so that the first average impression of people improves 🙂

Filed under: Linux, ,

Got my Ubuntu shirt today!

Got my Ubuntu shirt today!

The details for those of you who want to order similar merchandise oversea: I ordered the t-shirt on March 31st so it arrived within 2 months from Great Britain to Turkey (I was told that it might take 2 months to arrive when I was ordering, so no problemo). The delivery took approximately 11$. I didn’t pay anything except for the t-shirt (~$12) and delivery (~11$). The print quality (is print the right word?) is good. The packaging was a little weak but t-shirt wasn’t damaged.

Can’t wait to wear it 🙂

Filed under: Daily, Internet, Linux, ,

An observation about KDE and Gnome applications

KDE has done a big improvement for its look with 4.x series. In 3.x series time I used to say that choosing KDE over Gnome because of its look cannot be true. KDE 3.x looks ugly, PERIOD! But 4.x looks pretty good, pretty chic. I never coded with Qt but I can tell the reason that if a Qt application looks bad on 4.x it is mostly because of the developer himself. KDE still does not look as good as Gnome applications, though. Also from the point of view of user experience with GUI, it is not even close to Gnome!

But there is something which makes KDE applications preferable over Gnome applications. Most KDE applications tend to work correctly when it comes to the basic needs of the user from the application. They do the job which they supposed to do, right, and suck at the other details (almost at all other details). In contrast, Gnome applications are very good at every other thing but suck at the very basic function it is supposed to do. I saw this again when I was trying feed readers and decided to write this entry. I tried 3 or 4 feed readers and 2 of them worth mentioning. I first tried Liferea which is written with GTK+ and then some other feed readers which are written in GTK+ again but were in so early development stage and useless… And lastly Akregator which is written with Qt for KDE. I stayed with Akregator although I hate running KDE applications when working with Gnome. Here is why:

The bad things of Akregator (some of them were configurable via settings, but still…):

– It sorts the articles in alphebetical order by default. Who in the world would use his news reader to read news in alphabetical order? This can be changed easily but I am pointing out the fact how KDE application developers’ brains work.
– When closing and then opening from tray icon you have to maximize it manually every time.
– The tree view widget shows a scrollbar on the bottom although it is not needed and you can change its position too (I’m saying, it is not even disabled!).
– It mentions KDE, too much. I’m using Gnome not KDE. And even if I was using KDE, I would like it to mention the operating system’s name (Ubuntu for example) not the desktop environment’s name.
– Why would I need “About KDE” in every application? There should be only “About AppNameHere”.

These were the annoying things I saw in first 5 minutes of usage. Now, the good thing of Akregator (Yes, just 1):

– It marks the news as read correctly.

The good things of Liferea:

– Its user interface is almost perfect.
– Every widget is in the place I would want it to be.
– It has all the configuration I would ever want to change. And the default settings are almost always good as they are.

The bad thing of Liferea (Yes, just 1):

– It shows some of the news I read, over and over again as unread. Once, it marked all the news in a feed as unread and I couldn’t mark them as read ever.

And that just 1 good thing about Akregator was important enough for me to use Akregator. When reading news, marking the news you read correctly is so crucial that I can ignore all the bad things about Akregator and all the good things about Liferea.

You can apply this situation for not all of the applications but a lot of them. I think, Gnome application developers should more concentrate on making the application fulfill the basic job it supposed to do and then add the other small details which make the user even happier, in time.

Filed under: Linux, Programming, ,

Pardus

Did you tried Pardus? It is a GNU/Linux distribution not as well known as Ubuntu or Fedora but a really serious 3 year project developed by Turkish National Research Institute of Electronics and Cryptology (UEKAE), which is under the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK).

They just released their third major version, Pardus 2008, so I thought, it might be good to mention about Pardus for people who does not know it.

For me, I’m not a KDE guy and like Gnome distributions better but if you like KDE then I might suggest Pardus. It uses a different packaging system named PiSi. I don’t know if it has a GNU Smalltalk package, even Ubuntu does not have an up-to-date one, nevertheless they suffer from not having as many contributers as other distros and the package number is not as much as others.

It has some other different programs for doing things written for Pardus itself. With this and having their own art team, Pardus distinguishes itself from other distros. Pardus team uses Python and Qt for their coding extensively.

You can get more information about Pardus from:

Pardus official site:
http://www.pardus.org.tr/eng

Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pardus_(operating_system)

Filed under: Linux, ,