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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Makes you wonder how much he

Anonymous's picture

Makes you wonder how much he actually uses it - this is the most simple thing to configure. Dont' ya just love it when someone posts without looking properly.

It's an easy mistake to make going from KDE to GNOME

Nicholas Petreley's picture

Don't rag on the person because he didn't find the config dialog. It took me a while to find it, too. Explanation above.

Seriously, this is in the

weeeeeee's picture

Seriously, this is in the worst possible spot. I actually found this thread by searching Google to find a way to not group tasks. Thanks!

GNOME and KDE

KRiSX's picture

hey all

just wanted to throw in my 2c worth... i have been a KDE fan for a while... every time i used GNOME i ended up switching back to KDE and after reading this article i decided to give it another go...

and i have to say it does feel more "stable" and "polished"... sure KDE looks better... (standard)... but GNOME feels like it is far more solid and professional... except for desktop icons... they are utter crap and a pain to manage compared to kde...

but thats just me... i'm going to keep using gnome for a while... and see how it turns out...

with some mods it can look quite nice too ;)

gnome and kde

ph0b059's picture

I'm just amazed everytime I hear someone says KDE looks better. Because they're so different (default) I guess that just proves that people have vastly different tastes.

The "more stable and polished' is the reason i prefer GNOME. KDE looks like a kids toy to me. The icon styling in particular. And a very unorganized toy at that.

I certainly respect anyones decision to prefer the KDE look, I just wish there was a way that I could understand it.

I'm not trying to troll here. Amarok is superior to any other music manager/player on any os, including itunes. And the new kde start button is much better than the gnome ideas floating around.

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

dan

Look of KDE vs. GNOME

Nicholas Petreley's picture

I reconfigured both such that they look almost 100% identical. So I don't see why anyone would shun one or the other because of the way they look by default. Frankly, I don't like the default desktop for either (although that depends on the distro, too).

gnome and kde

ph0b059's picture

Gnome Terminal - Keep Size

Michael Biddulph's picture

put say "--geometry=105x30" in the properties after the command under the button on the panel.

gnome-terminal --geometry=105x30

or whatever geometry works best

Michael

Easier way

Anonymous's picture

I'm on Windows right now so I can't check, but if I remember correctly, you can change the terminal size persistently by editing the terminal profile. I think you have to click on "Edit", then "Profiles" (or "Current Profile"). You can also define multiple profiles: newly created terminals use the default profile, then you can switch by clicking don't-remember-where in the menu.

Easier way -- not

Anonymous's picture

I checked last evening. I was wrong. You can't set the terminal size in the profile.

Thanks!

Nicholas Petreley's picture

That'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.

Thanks, though. We were thinking along the same lines.

GNOME advanced configuration

Milton's picture

Hi. When you don't find a configuration option in a GNOME program, use gconf-editor and you will discover a lot of tweaks that are not present in the application interface. I think this is a very good way to hide the "unnecessary" configuration options.

For example, to tell gnome-terminal not to ask "Are you sure you want to quit?" when you are using more than one tab, uncheck the option /apps/gnome-terminal/global/confirm_window_close

I didn't find a key to set the default window size. You know why you want to do that, but with GNOME I am not in the habit of try to tweak everything, as I did before. Now I think I do everything in a simple way, thanks to GNOME.

Thanks!

Nicholas Petreley's picture

I found the setting in gconf-editor and unchecked it. Thanks very much.

So what's wrong with KDE

Mirko Knefler's picture

So what's wrong with KDE that you keep trying to switch to GNOME?

Nothing

Nicholas Petreley's picture

Nothing's wrong with KDE. I get a lot of grief from GNOME fans when I complain about it. So I keep trying it again and again to make sure I'm not giving it a bum rap. Besides, I like trying window managers and desktops. I like to see what's out there, and what ideas people have. One I used to like a lot is Ion. Very strange WM, but I thought it was cool. I haven't used it in years, though, so I have no idea what it's like now.

Other options

Anonymous's picture

I know this is all about GNOME and I don't want to start the standard desktop flamewar but I was just wondering if you're tried Xfce recently. The latest version is 4.4 beta 2 and, with the exception of the missing CDE compatibility mode that made Xfce my primary desktop since version 1, 4.4 is quite spectacular.

Since I've used Xfce for so long I have found that the differences between GNOME and KDE to be minuscule and insignificant. It's like they are fraternal twins.

Xfce

Nicholas Petreley's picture

I have it all installed (it's several packages, I think), but I haven't tried it yet. I'll be sure to try it this week or next. Last time I tried it it looked almost exactly like CDE, and it had a fairly lame file manager. I'm sure it's quite different by now.

Well...

Morten Juhl Johansen's picture

I think Xfce is easy on the eyes. My own desktop is here.
The current file manager is, well, extremely weird, but with the Xfce 4.4, we will se the new Thunar file manager - visually, it seems like lightweight Nautilus. It is very nice. Also, extending the built-in calendar is going to be good.
Xfce is not too fast when starting up, but it runs very smoothly. I have used a lot of DEs and WMs, but this is the best compromise between features and speed I have found so far.

Gnome Features

myric's picture

I have used Gnome for a long time for philosophical reasons, ever since it wasn't that good. Remeber Redhat 5.2?

Well I share some of your gripes, and I agree that sometimes they take out too many features in the name of simplicity.

That being said, I really love nautilus. (The Ubuntu default of openning every window as a browser rather than the Macesque "each click opens a new window" thing is one of the things I always turn on.)

To turn off the spacial, screen cluttering madness:
In a nautilus window:
Edit->Preferences-> check "Always open in browser windows"

Then it still remembers wheter to open icons or lists, but does it in the window you already have open.

In Ubuntu, they don't put links to your "home directory" or "file system" on the desktop by default, but if you wish, you can drag them there from the "Places" menu.

I LOVE the icon previews. It's great for working with pictures, but other files now have previews such as PDF files. Theres no more appripriate icon than a small picture of the first page of the document. I'd love to see the same thing for say Open Office, postcript, even dare I say MS Office files. (Which I may find time to work on if nobody else does it.) I also have a bunch of pictures of my family on my desktop which I can glance at without openning them. Cool.

Gedit's utility as a code editor has improved a bit. It now does syntax hilighting for a variety of file types. You can turn on a couple of neat feature like highlighting the current line and line numbers which help in sorting out error messages. Plus it doesn't take 2 minutes to open like most IDE's. Do I really need to wait 10 minutes for eclipse to do its thing each time I edit a file just so it'll tell me I've misspelled a variable name? (Gedit is ok assuming you don't or can't use vim or emacs.)

The fact that cd's and pen drives open up by default is cool. I always liked that about MacOS. Maybe KDE does that by now too though.
(Nautilus was written originally by people formerly from Apple BTW so the reference to apple's behavior is appropriate.

XGL is cool if you can get it working, but causes problems with my 3d apps and games and such... But eye candy is fun.

Anyway that's what I like about gnome off the top. I like applets too and I like the feel of the Gnome ones better than KDE's so check them out for sure.

If you like themes, the archive can be dragged into the theme window, just like KDE. Thought I never had any luck with the KDE app to do the same thing. Gnome at least tells you whether it worked or not.

Though not strictly a part of gnome WM the program DIA is a pretty good replacement for Visio. I only recently discovered that.

Anywho, there's my two cents...

KDE Features too...

ki6amd's picture

"I LOVE the icon previews. It's great for working with pictures, but other files now have previews such as PDF files. Theres no more appripriate icon than a small picture of the first page of the document. I'd love to see the same thing for say Open Office, postcript, even dare I say MS Office files. (Which I may find time to work on if nobody else does it.) I also have a bunch of pictures of my family on my desktop which I can glance at without openning them. Cool."

KDE does this too, but also for audio files, not videos yet (that I know of).

"Gedit's utility as a code editor has improved a bit. It now does syntax hilighting for a variety of file types. You can turn on a couple of neat feature like highlighting the current line and line numbers which help in sorting out error messages. Plus it doesn't take 2 minutes to open like most IDE's. Do I really need to wait 10 minutes for eclipse to do its thing each time I edit a file just so it'll tell me I've misspelled a variable name? (Gedit is ok assuming you don't or can't use vim or emacs.)"

See KEdit & Kate

"The fact that cd's and pen drives open up by default is cool. I always liked that about MacOS. Maybe KDE does that by now too though.
(Nautilus was written originally by people formerly from Apple BTW so the reference to apple's behavior is appropriate."

Welcome to HAL and the article LJ featured in October'05 "Project Utopia" by Robert Love.

Okay, I did learn that Gnome is catching up, but I doubt I'll give it another chance. And honestly who cares? I don't have anything against Gnome, but people who argue over window managers bother me. Much like people who /var/rant > /var/rave! Quit complaining start fixing it yourself. The reason most of us moved to Linux in the first place was so we had controll of our OS, not the other way around.
Linux (GNU too) is great not because it's not Microsoft, but more because I can make it my own. If I don't like HAL I can remove it, If I like one office product over another I can use it. The reason Linux is great is because of choices. Not because one program/app/etc is better than the other, but more because one comes preconfigured the way "I" like it, or is easier to reconfigure than another. Confusing, maybe, but so is a foreign country, and many of us want to experience that, if we haven't already.

Gnome features

myric's picture

He asked for gnome features. I like gnome and those were cool features that came to mind.

If yuo like KDE use it. If you like windows whatever(though personally using windows makes my skin crawl). I use gnome because I like gnome.

MMmmmm, Free beer. You should drink Michelob... No that stuff is crud, you should drink Sam Adams. Too expensive, you should drink Beast because it's cheap... Free beer's free beer. Drink whatever you like.

KDE does this too, but also

Anonymous's picture

KDE does this too, but also for audio files, not videos yet (that I know of).

http://www.kde-apps.org/content/show.php?content=41180

I stand corrected!

Ki6AMD's picture

http://www.kde-apps.org/content/show.php?content=41180

Proof positive that KDE never ceases to amaze me. Not that I would actually use this, but if you like GUI addons they have it.
My personal opinion for which WM to use is not based on looks however, but usability... Can I change permissions easily? Is navigating for a particular app going to have me opening too many windows? Will I have to dig through TONS of stuff to change the one setting that is bothering me? and lastly... Do I actually have to spend my day reconfiguring if an update changes all my settings?

Seriously Nick, why do you love the flame war inducing topics? Who cares. I want to hear about the latest kernel advances, maybe something on the alsa-bluetooth driver and where it's going. Maybe a new PAM authentication method? Perhaps a HID PAM device instead of covering stuff that we've already gone over like the Nokia 770, Clustering, etc. And if I have to read another on Ruby, Rails, or Ajax I'm going to die, meaning losing another customer. Whatever happened to some of those server side apps? LJ used to mention a lot of server services, but I guess not anymore. I know who cares right? But Nick, don't you have a home server? I do, it's no quad opteron, but it does my exim and apache services fine, along with sync-ing my phone to my Kalendar, KAddressbook, and Knotes. Not to mention handling my iPod's Podcasts, etc. All that running on a P3 800Mhz?

Maybe a special issue on home projects for everyday use, doubtful many people are using asterisk, due to digium's high priced cards, or MythTv, because most people get a DVR when they order their cable/sat service.

I don't use Linux because I don't like Windows, nor will I install Linux on my iPod for bragging rights. I use linux because everything I need works and I change it the way I want.

Yes, videos

Nicholas Petreley's picture

At least some of my videos show what is probably the first frame of the video as the icon. I noticed this when I worked on a cartoon with my daughter. Almost all of the saved files show a frame preview as the icon. Some do not. I don't know why not.

some video files do not show thumbnails

Adriano's picture

I think it has to do with the size of the video, and the fact that it's a local file or not. Sometimes it's busy creating the previews, too.

Or maybe I'm taking the "Only show thumbnails for (local) images below (5mb) too far?

I've noticed that the frame

Anonymous's picture

I've noticed that the frame pulled is a random, non-blank frame. It could just be that I've only had about three videos on my computer, however.

I think you're right.

Nicholas Petreley's picture

Or something like that, anyway. Because I know that some of the video previews are definitely not the first frame.

I can read!!!

Ki6AMD's picture

From http://www.kde-apps.org/content/show.php?content=41180 ..."It catches a random frame from 15% to 70%, checking also how contrasted is the image, and dropping bad frames.
p.s.: Grazie Azzurri ;-)
"

Reading the description always helps too.

I can read better

AdamW's picture

They were talking about GNOME, not KDE. So that was a fairly silly thing to read.

The video frame chosen is randomized for a reason that's clear if you've experienced the problem it avoids :). Take twenty episodes of the same TV show in one folder (er, obviously, these would be very old TV shows which are in the public domain, for any legal eagles reading). If the program just takes the first frame (or, since in many videos that's a blank frame, maybe the 100th) for every video, what do you get? The same frame in every preview - from the opening credits. This looks dumb. Some versions of Windows suffer from this problem (maybe they've patched it by now, I don't know). Picking a somewhat random frame avoids this problem.

You can read better than who?

Ki6AMD's picture

Follow the comments up! They are replying to a comment about the KDE app I mentioned. There is a reason for the hierarchical tree you see in front of you. Yes the original article is about Gnome but if you notice the "submitted by" and indentation of each reply you'll see the whole conversation on the topic.

Or just make your lives simple ...

Linux__Boy's picture

.. and run Xandros. It's so integrated with KDE, and with their "own" XFileManager, Xcontrol_Center and X-Networks (GUI-Apt-Get) your get _all_ of those things you were mentionning :

0) Professional-looking desktop, no frills, no excessive eye-candy
1) Easily customizable Xterm
2) Thumbnail previews for just about any known file type with their FileManager
-> and yes there is a open-circulation (free-download) version, if you want to see/test before acquirying it for real.
(only minor differences is the CD-burning limited to 4x - oh yeah, I was forgetting : it's integrated into the FM, you don't need to add anything in that respect - nice - no ?!)

Only caveats : the mpeg/wmv/DvD playback, you need to add the code from the link on xinehq.de (it's under the FAQ's and easy to follow).

Voilà. Cheers Mates.

PS: I don't mind gnome, my Dad runs it on Ubuntu 5.0x and is doing fine, but it feels weird - nothing is where I expect it and things are not grouped in a manner I can easily adapt to. But since tons of people are - it just shows that Spock was right = IDIC !

Xandros is cool....BUT....

Nicholas Petreley's picture

It took me forever to install it. Granted, I'm using a very recently released motherboard, but most other distros install on this box without the same problems. The biggest problem was that it didn't recognize or load the USB drivers correctly, and that took me a long time to fix. I I couldn't just add the module to the /etc/modules (or whatever file they use). That led to other problems, such as how it hung when trying to discover a USB floppy that doesn't exist. I had to go into the boot scripts and comment out the floppy discovery code to fix that. There were other problems, too. I eventually got it running, but it wasn't easy.

I understand that most people who go for Xandros will probably not be building their own boxes based on newly released motherboards with buggy BIOSes, but I don't see how anyone who doesn't know what they're doing could get it installed on a box like this.

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