A fifteenth chance for GNOME

Okay, I don't really know how many chances I've given GNOME, but I've tried to switch to GNOME as my default desktop many times. I always ended up switching back to KDE (to be fair, I use other window managers, too, such as Fluxbox, which is one of my favorites). Thanks to the rumors that Xgl/Compiz/cgwd worked best on GNOME, I gave GNOME another shot. As it turns out, the rumors are false. These 3D desktop enhancements work fine under KDE. But I've really been enjoying my GNOME experience despite the fact that there are still things about GNOME that I dislike. Granted, I can credit Ubuntu's default settings for GNOME as some reasons why I'm enjoying it more. But it's still a better desktop than I recall from the last time I used it.

I haven't changed my mind about many of the complaints I have about GNOME. I won't twist the knife in GNOME fans by reiterating them here. If you're truly interested in specific complaints, post a comment and I'll be glad to discuss them. Otherwise, let's just say that those things I don't like about GNOME are tolerable enough that I can overlook them.

Here are a couple questions for GNOME fans. I redefined the key bindings for various programs to mimic the KDE defaults, including the key bindings for the GNOME terminal. It isn't that I can't get used to new key bindings. I simply find it easier to type Shift->Right than Control-PageDown to switch tabs in a multi-tabbed terminal.

Here's one question: Is there a simple way to get the default terminal emulator to remember the way I've resized the window? Also, I would love to get it to stop asking me if I'm sure I want to close all open tabs when I'm done using it. Again, this all falls under the category "tolerable". These minor quibbles aren't enough to give up on GNOME (I could simply use another terminal program in this case, anyway). But if you know the answers, please share.

The point is that I'm using GNOME as my default desktop now, and I intend to continue using it until I've reached a point where I have either decided to stick with it, or I feel I've given it a fair enough chance that I'm satisfied that I have good reason to prefer KDE.

But as I consider myself a "new" GNOME user, since it's been a long time since I've used it at length, here's your chance to tell me all the great things about GNOME that I should discover while I'm giving it this chance. GNOME fans, unite, and clue me in!

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thank

ongan's picture

Thank you for your files

Fine was a work and

lahmacun firini's picture

Fine was a work and full-time. Thank you.

resim paylas

Anonymous's picture

I like to post this comment .It helps a lot.The one thing I do know for sure, if that day comes, is that when it's wedding cake cutting time, I will NOT make the same mistake I witness at every wedding. I will not be serving Champagne with dessert, but rather the slightly sweet and fizzy dessert wine,..

Thanks and Regards

Your site has very nice,

Acer Destek's picture

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Acer Destek's picture

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Buz

Buz's picture

possibility of sharing and social solidarity at a level just fine thank you.

Really good!

burock22's picture

i used gnome and kde.. but i like gnome cause it is very easy..

i think everybody will use gnome.. thanks :) you will see

thats good

Anonymous's picture

"he point is that I'm using GNOME as my default desktop now, and I intend to continue using it until I've reached a point where I have either decided to stick with it, or I feel I've given it a fair enough chance that I'm satisfied that I have good reason to prefer KDE." thats good

tül perde

perde's picture

You don't 'need' either Gnome nor KDE and can use both simultaneously. I have no bloated "desktop environment". I use only a window manager, Fluxbox (which can easily remember what desktop I want a certain app on, as well as what dimensions I want its window; it lets me totally customize all key bindings). I do use some Gnome applications, like Evolution, and some KDE applications, like k3b. It doesn't have to be either/or.

Yes, there is now a print

bedava chat's picture

Yes, there is now a print dialog in GTK+, which will be used throughout GNOME in 2.18.

thanks.

graffiti's picture

hat's what I finally did. I knew about that one (and I could probably even set it in .Xdefaults) but I was wondering if there was a way to make it remember the most recent size. You do that with Konsole by selecting "Save as default" from one of the menus.

I just cant get past those

key ödemeleri's picture

I just cant get past those icons and unorganized (IMO) toolbars.

nice post

Michaela's picture

Gnome used to be really good, but nowadays its very slow and not very reliable. Shame.

Use Windows

Anonymous's picture

They all suck - use Windows. No I'm not being a troll here, but both KDE and GNOME are REALLY slow with awful libraries (GTK and QT).

You need a 1Ghz processor to make a Linux desktop run at a similar speed to Windows on a P100.

The thing that REALLY irks me is that simple things like browsing the network neighborhood from applications is now only becoming available (eg OpenOffice in Edgy) when it has been an option since friggin Windows 95 from Microsoft.

Open Source developers are also a bunch of arrogant arseholes who don't listen to the public and have the worst case of "Not Invented Here" syndrome ever.

Now before you tell me that I can use a light-weight window manager, what happens when I install a GTK or QT app? I'm once again installing all those stupid bloated libraries that make Java look fast! And once again I could get more functionality from a Windows 95 desktop and more speed with less resources (can you say 16MB??).

Sure Windows is insecure but you can run third party apps with them (just as long as they don't use GTK or QT - these libs blow even more on Windows). Not that I'd suggest Win95 but even Win2K is faster if you keep it clean.

I won't even go into how slow rubbish like Cairo and redrawing under X is or the lack of encryption on things like NFS and X (so much for secure remote desktops)... and no I can't be arsed tunneling it through SSH.

Linux/Unix makes a good server and THAT IS IT - the desktop blows!

Use windows are you retarted

Ben's picture

seriously run windows. at least know wtf you are talking about. a unix box can process 4 times the information per hert than windows can. He is probably trying to run to big of a distro. He needs xubuntu. and what do you mean you can't install 3rd party apps on linux? do you think the same person wrote everything? seriously stick with your windows 95 on your 16 megs of ram and shut your poor @$$ up. atleast try to be helpful.

oh and it is all open source. if you want a feature you can add it yourself. and does ms listen to what you want in software? when was the last time they called and asked what features you want? your stupid.

Use Windows

Anonymous's picture

What I mean is that sure can run 3rd party apps on Windows to fix any old security holes in the native software.

If you read my post again, I never said you can't install 3rd pary apps on Linux - I don't know where you got that from. Although, now you mention it, the RPM vs Deb issues and bloody dependancies once again highlight the awful "Not Invented Here" syndrome of Open Source - so while there are plenty of 3rd party desktop apps (most slow and bloated) installing them just plain sucks.

As for processing 4 times the information per hert, that is irrelevant. Regardless of what the kernel can do, if the apps on top of it are slow then the system is slow (this is why I said Open Source is great for servers but crap for the desktop). It really says something about the crappiness of the APIs and Libraries if it feels slower than Windows on an old box when run on modern hardware on a system that allegardly can execute instructions 4 times faster!!

You mention Xubuntu - you moron, what happens when you start to install apps? They are most likely to be GTK or QT based and the bloat comes back!

Finally, yes open source does allow me to add it myself and that is what everyone has done - hence part of the reason everything is sooooooo bloated! If I wanted to have my features added (ie speed), I would have to rewrite the entire desktop framework so it wasn't libraries calling libraries calling libraries, talking to sockets, making system calls just to do the simplest thing. Don't really think I have time to do that!

KDE vs GNOME

Anonymous's picture

I just read your post here, and if someone could please tell me the basic differences between the two, and which is better? I am completely new to Linux.

Just pick which ever one you

Ben's picture

Just pick which ever one you think looks cooler and go from there. It is a matter of personal choice, with linux you have freedom. if you decide you do not like one in a few weeks, get the other.

I like the programatic customization ability

WilliamMcVey's picture

I haven't a clue whether GNOME is better than KDE in this respect, but I like that I can configure all of my primary customizations for Gnome with a simple shell script that calls gconftool-2. You can see my configuration script which programatically tweaks the Gnome default configuration to my preferences.

It doesn't do quite everything (no panel configuration) yet, but it certainly does remove a lot of the time it takes to "tweak" a new account into a comfortable environment that I can be productive with. For that matter, you may be interested in checking out the new-account script on the same repository for quickly syncing a new homedir from a subversion repository.

P.S. Do you have a comprehensive list of frustrations with Gnome that you could point us to so that we can help you out?

List of frustrations

Nicholas Petreley's picture

I've been meaning to compile such a list for a long time. I'll get to it as soon as I can and write it up as a separate blog entry. Thanks!

why switch!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous's picture

Okay, I don't really know how many chances I've given GNOME, but I've tried to switch to GNOME as my default desktop many times. I always ended up switching back to KDE.......

WTF!!!
STOP BITCHING......
If you like KDE why the hell are you trying to switch to GNOME. Stick with KDE it's still a relatively good Desktop Environment to use..

why switch!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous's picture

Okay, I don't really know how many chances I've given GNOME, but I've tried to switch to GNOME as my default desktop many times. I always ended up switching back to KDE.......

WTF!!!
STOP BITCHING......
If you like KDE why the hell are you trying to switch to GNOME. Stick with KDE it's still relatively good Desktop Environment to use..

New Approach

Anonymous's picture

Hey Nick, I like your new flame-retardant approach. It's so much better than the almost universal (and tiresome) practice of flaming at the slightest provocation seen on so many other forums.

Now if the rest of us can just leave the trolls as leaf nodes, this will be really fine.

I prefer Gnome

j_king's picture

It's minimalist and fast. I like the ctrl+pgup/dwn to switch tabs, ctrl+alt+tab to switch apps, ctrl+alt+left/right to switch desktops, and ctrl+alt+shift+left/right to drag the focused window to another desktop.

I prefer nautilus to konquorer (sp?) -- It's minimalist and intuitive. It doesn't double as a web browser. It has nice default hot-keys. You can bookmark important "folders." I like the little history bar it creates for jumping back along the path quick.

I don't really use any desklets because they suck completely (compared to OSX's dashboard or the newly dubbed "Yahoo Widgets"). I use a minimal set of applets.

I also like the way Ubuntu has gnome configured the supermount to add a desktop link to a cd in my cd tray. Mime-types are also stunningly easy to configure in nautilus now that I think about it.

I also perfer building apps using GTK2 and Glade. Much nicer to work with and fewer licensing restrictions. Some say Qt is superior despite being proprietary, but I fail to see in which ways it is at this point. Verbosity in the code? Render time? Who can tell?

Well, those are the little things I like about Gnome. I used to use KDE, but not anymore. KDE is just too "busy" looking for me. I find Gnome's minimalism to be more intuitive and useful.

I agree... Thanks for the

Anonymous's picture

I agree... Thanks for the key tips, btw...
I've always used KDE, and I found it very busy too...
Ubuntu made me a Gnome user, I found Gnome more polished...
I use Glade+PyGtk and "I'm loving it"!

GNOME's faster

Anonymous McGee's picture

I'm struggling to think of ONE app that runs faster on KDE than it does on GNOME. Pretty much unless its built into KDE to start it will run slightly slower. LOtsa Lotsa Overhead with KDE apps, just check out KDevelop sometime and it should make sense. That being said i STILL use kde.

Configuring Gnome Terminal

Darren's picture

I use gnome terminal, and find it very important to configure it to match my own habits. Here's my own mini config, which might solve some of your problems. Hope it helps. --DJS

HOWTO Configure Gnome Terminal
==============================

Starting Gnome Terminal with size, location and a set of tabs
-------------------------------------------------------------

Make an icon on the gnome panel, and in the "Command" field for that
icon, use (without the chevron):

> gnome-terminal --working-directory=%f --geometry 78x20+526+429 --tab --tab --tab --tab

...or alternatively, just store this kind of command in an alias.

Turning off the exit checkbox
-----------------------------

When closing Gnome Terminal when multiple tabs are open, we always get
aksed for confirmation. This is annoying, and can be removed.

At command prompt, run:

> gconf-editor

In the key browser open the folder "/apps/gnome-terminal/global"

Inside there should be a key called "confirm_window_close". Uncheck
it, then exit (File | Quit). Try Gnome Terminal again to see if changes
have worked.

Hi friend

gootoo's picture

Hi friend
can U tell me how to set the gnome-terminal's font?
Thank you :)

keeps crashing

Stolennomenclature's picture

Ive tried KDE on numerous occasions. It usually looks better than Gnome (easily fixed with a new theme though), although perhaps rather cluttered.

I cant get passed the fact that I have never had it run for more than a couple of minutes without at least one of the apps crashing, often when its closed. In contrast its rare (and increasingly so) to have Gnome go down.

Just a few days ago I installed Gnomebaker and K3b CD burning apps on my Debian distro, to experiment with a new DVD burner. Lo and behold K3b crashed, whearas Gnomebaker worked reliably.

It seems I must be unlucky since no one else seems to mention this on the web. Maybe I have a KDE unfriendly computer.

This is definitely a YMMV thing

Nicholas Petreley's picture

I have the opposite experience. Occasionally, when a distro updates to a new KDE, some apps will crash at logout for a while. I get the crash dialog when I exit KDE, that is. That lasts for about 2 weeks until the distro gets it right.

I have far more problems with GNOME and GNOME apps. It has gotten to the point where I'm afraid to open up the themes dialog, because some of the changes I make to the themes start crashing applets left and right. This is true no matter how long I've been running GNOME, and no matter how long the distro has been updating it. I've tried killing gconfd-2 and deleting the gconf and gnome directories and starting from scratch, but it never solves the problem for good.

Man, try Ubuntu, Its very

Anonymous's picture

Man, try Ubuntu, Its very stable.

My Gnome must-haves

Brett Johnson's picture

Hi Nicholas,

I'm glad you're keeping an open mind and trying GNOME again. I've been using it for quite a while, and here's my list of GNOME must-haves:

First, my favorite gnome-panel applets:

1) beagle and deskbar (apt-get install deskbar-applet).
2) "Weather Report" from the gnome-applets package.
3) tomboy
4) hardware-monitor
5) mail-notification -- unfortunately, you need to reconfigure and recompile this one for it to be useful, as the debian/ubuntu version has SSL disabled "because of a license issue".

As far as applications go, I use all the usual suspects (Firefox, Evolution, Gaim, OpenOffice.org, etc...). My favorite music player is currently quodlibet, but Banshee is pretty nice too. f-spot is a pretty nice GNOME photo manager, and sound-juicer is a dead-simple CD ripper. Totem-gstreamer works very nicely as a video/DVD player, as long as you install the newer 0.10 gstreamer plugins (apt-get install gstreamer0.10-plugins-/* -- and be sure you have the multiverse repository enabled in /etc/apt/sources.list). For burning data CD/DVDs, I've taken to simply using Nautilus. You can create the disk image from a collection of files using the "CD/DVD Creator" (it's in the "Places" menu, or its URL is "burn:///"). Oh, and BTW, to add locations to your "Places" menu, simply add the location as a bookmark from nautilus (that's wasn't obvious to me). For burning a pre-existing CD/DVD ISO image, simply browse to the image with nautilus, right-click on it, and select "Write to disk...".

Anyway, that's all I can think of in a few minutes. I hope it's helpful :)

That is helpful!

Nicholas Petreley's picture

There were a few things in there I didn't know about, thanks!

Confusion

CodeGirl's picture

"I use other window managers too, such as Fluxbox"...implying KDE/Gnome are window managers? they aren't. they're actually conglomerations of a bunch of things including libraries, window managers and default applications. Don't feel bad about not knowing that; I didn't know it myself until about 4 years ago (I've been using Linux/XWindows for about 12 years).

You don't 'need' either Gnome nor KDE and can use both simultaneously. I have no bloated "desktop environment". I use only a window manager, Fluxbox (which can easily remember what desktop I want a certain app on, as well as what dimensions I want its window; it lets me totally customize all key bindings). I do use some Gnome applications, like Evolution, and some KDE applications, like k3b. It doesn't have to be either/or.

Most of the problems you mention are not problems with Gnome/KDE themselves but moreso with the window managers that are used by default (Metacity for Gnome and I-dont-know-what for KDE). It is possible to use Fluxbox as your window manager and still have all the Gnome eye candy.

Why not pick and choose the best apps from each and use a desktop-agnostic window manager?

By the way...

Nicholas Petreley's picture

Most desktops/window managers are agnostic about the apps you use. They're all "theoretically" agnostic, but you can run into problems.

I do find it a tiny bit annoying that KDE apps (or at least the first one I launch) take a while to load in GNOME (thanks to the fact that they have to start support services, just like GNOME apps do when you run a GNOME app in KDE). It isn't so bad that it's worth complaining about but it is worth mentioning. The trouble is that I'm hooked on some apps like Kjots. GJots2 works well enough but I just don't want to take the time to copy over my data. If Gjots2 could import my Kjots data in one quick operation that would be fine, but I don't want to copy everything over little by little unlss I know I'm going to stick with GNOME.

I'm going to migrate to a RAID 5 config in the near future, which should speed up disk reads. Maybe it'll boost the speed enough such that running that first KDE app will go faster.

RAID 5 for preformance?

David's picture

I've been down the RAID benchmark path, and if you truly want fast disk performance, forget RAID 5. It's lack lustre at best unless the system has a very fast RAID card. Most SATA, PATA RAID cards don't fall into the very fast category. The fastest disk performance I've ever gotten with RAID is RAID 10. You'll need four drives, and you're only going to get half the total capacity of all four drivers. However, the performanace is unbeatable, and there's a potential for two drives to fail and the RAID to continue. First, create two mirrors using two drives each. Then span across the mirrors. You won't be disappointed.

RAID card

Nicholas Petreley's picture

Yeah, I thought about using 10, but RAID 5 should give you good read performance because data is still striped across the disks. The performance bottleneck with RAID 5 is writes. I plan to use a 3ware 9550SX with a battery add-on so that I can set write-caching without the risk of losing data. It's pricey, but it's supposed to be a really fast RAID card. To me, it's worth the price, because I've spent way too much time recovering from drive failures, which usually occur right before a deadline, and when I don't have a recent enough backup to make it easy to recover the lost data. So I finally gave in and bought this card, and 5 drives (one spare). By the way, I was really surprised to see how cheap decent SATA 3.0 Gb/s drives are these days. You can get a decent 250 GB drive for $70+ now, and I don't even need that much storage (250 x 3 in a 4-drive config).

I might try RAID 10 first, anyway, and compare the performance to see if it's worth losing the extra storage.

Just for kicks, I used the alternate Ubuntu installer to set up a software raid system. It's very confusing to set up the first time, but it's not hard at all once you get the idea. It's great for a RAID 0 system where you're not that concerned about losing data. But along the way I learned that all the motherboards I know of that advertise that they have RAID capability on the motherboard really don't have hardware RAID at all.

Launching KDE apps in GNOME

Robin Munn's picture

This may be using a sledgehammer to swat a mosquito, but perhaps you could add a KDE app -- perhaps Kjots -- to the end of your GNOME session startup list. (System->Preferences->Sessions, then click the Startup Programs tab). It would then cause many of those support services to get triggered when you login, and so starting a KDE app later on will appear to be faster.

Of course, it also means your login will seem slower, and you'll have more background processes running using up RAM, so there's a tradeoff involved. But it might be worth trying.

Window managers

Nicholas Petreley's picture

There was a time when I didn't know the difference between window managers and desktop environments, but that was long ago. I simply mis-worded the comment. Check out my XGL/Compiz instructions for Ubuntu and you'll see I dedicated a section to explaining why you can't use cgwd/compiz with Fluxbox and other window managers -- that's because cgwd IS the window manager. ;)

Actually, most of what I dislike about GNOME are the built-ins like the file picker, and the fact that they've stripped it of features that I find useful. But that's another story.

Devil's Pie

Anonymous's picture

Would Devil's Pie be any use for the gnome-terminal sizing?
http://www.burtonini.com/blog/computers/devilspie
Not that I use Gnome, I'm too addicted to KDE.

Devil's pie

Nicholas Petreley's picture

Thanks - I will try it. What I really want is for the window manager to remember the last size (and maybe even positition), but Devil's Pie sounds pretty neat (I checked the web page).

Gnome-terminal

pachi's picture

A very convenient way to navigate through gnome terminal tabs is using Alt+number. Alt+1 goes to the first tab, Alt+2 goes to the second one, and so on...
You can handle a lot of tabs that way in a very quick way.

Have they fixed...

JohnBoy's picture

I originally switched from Gnome to KDE back in 2001 because the File and Print dialogs were so much better in KDE. I've seen the mess they made of their new file dialog, so I know I won't be switching back because of that, but have they gotton any closer to a decent/unified print dialog yet???

John.

Yes, there is now a print

Bruce Cowan's picture

Yes, there is now a print dialog in GTK+, which will be used throughout GNOME in 2.18.

Why I prefer KDE

Jeff's picture

I always switch back to KDE after using Gnome for a while because:
1. Gnome doesn't force new windows to actually be on-screen, so with my two favorite apps, freeciv and gimp, new windows popping up are often partially on-screen and partially off. This is merely irritating for an experienced user, but a showstopper for novices.
2. Gnome's taskbar works too much like a Windows default, and cannot be changed, with respect to that irritating grouping of similar windows into a single button. That's one configuration I would like to adjust.
3. Konqueror is a more powerful and more configurable file browser, and it's easier to configure helper apps in KDE than in Gnome.
4. Gnome cannot be configured to cycle through desktops--i.e., from desktop 1 to 4 and then keep going to 1 again.

However, in KDE I sometimes miss Gnome's nice disk-mounter applet and the Nautilus CD burner.

I hope the above are taken as constructive criticism; it's in no way intended as flaming.

I am currently using Ubuntu 6.06. YMMV.

Wrapping workspaces? You can do that....

WilliamMcVey's picture

I was kind of frustrated with the fact that someone had come up with something that GNOME couldn't do out of the box, so I decided to dig into it a bit. The real limitation seemed to be with the metacity window manager. However, since GNOME provides a fairly easy to use interface to window managers to do things like control workspaces (libwnck - Window Navigation Construction Kit), it's easy to override limitations in a particular window manager by calling the API directly. I ended up writing a fairly simple commandline application which will advance or decrement the current workspace, in a "wrapping" fashion. When bound to a keyboard shortcut sequence, this gives a fairly seemless wrapping capability to switching workspaces. Admittedly it's kind of a hack to have resort to this, but it does get the job done.

You can pull the code from my subversion repository (direct download). It depends on python and the python bindings to WNCK.

To use, there are options to the script for going forward (-N), going backward (-P) and going to a particular workspace (-n #). Execute with -h for full online help.

-- William

P.S. I'm still waiting for Nicholas' list of GNOME annoyances.

Windows showing up off screen?

WilliamMcVey's picture


1. Gnome doesn't force new windows to actually be on-screen, so with my two favorite apps, freeciv and gimp, new windows popping up are often partially on-screen and partially off. This is merely irritating for an experienced user, but a showstopper for novices.

I've never seen the behaviour you're mentioning. To test it out, I just launched 50 copies of xterm and not a one of them showed up partially off the screen. Could you describe your monitor/desktop configurations? Could you perhaps be using xinerama where the Xserver only sees one display stitched across two monitors?

Point 2 has already been addressed.

3. Konqueror is a more powerful and more configurable file browser, and it's easier to configure helper apps in KDE than in Gnome.

Again, I can't speak in terms of relative power to Konqueror, and I really don't use nautilus much myself (I'm more of a commandline guy); however, I have written up some smallish plugins for nautilus and it wasn't difficult at all (things like rotate a picture via 'convert'.) You may want to check out http://g-scripts.sourceforge.net/ for example "plugins" to nautilus.


4. Gnome cannot be configured to cycle through desktops--i.e., from desktop 1 to 4 and then keep going to 1 again.

I personally think of my workspaces in term of a grid, so I'm glad my grid doesn't "wrap"; however, you may want to look into 3d-desktop (not as slick as XGL/Compiz, but doesn't require running an alternate X Server), which I know can cycle across virtual desktops.

Taskbar

Nicholas Petreley's picture

I thought the same thing about the taskbar, and that frustrated me to no end. What I discovered (by accident) is that you have to right-click on exactly the correct spot (the vertical bar to the left of the taskbar) to get to the configuration dialog. This isn't true of KDE. You CAN right-click on the vertical bar, but you can also right-click on anywhere in the panel and select configure panel... Taskbar is one of the things you can configure from that dialog.

>2. Gnome's taskbar works

Anonymous's picture

>2. Gnome's taskbar works too much like a Windows default, and cannot be
>changed, with respect to that irritating grouping of similar windows
>into a single button. That's one configuration I would like to adjust.

right-click -> preferences. There are three options, group, don't group, group sometimes.

Cool! Thanks. I had been

Anonymous's picture

Cool! Thanks. I had been looking for this option for ages.

No more grouping - yay!!!

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