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The experiences of an Australian student who uses Linux.

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Desktop environment and window managers application menus are pathetic

Posted 04-02-2010 at 07:39 PM by William (Dthdealer)

When I used to use a Windows machine, I became sick of its menu system. It takes several clicks to get to the 'all programs' menu and applications spam it with entries when they are installed. On the other hand it was easy to organise the contents of the menus, as they were just the contents of the "/Document and Settings/Username/Start Menu" and Allusers directories.

Soon however I started using blackbox ( BB4win ), and the Windows menus became even less attractive. As an alternative I started using an amazing piece of software called Asuite as my application launcher. I bound the keys Ctrl+Alt+V ( ergonomic on my keyboard ) to pop up my application menu where ever my mouse cursor is.

All was harmonious.

After being sick of Antivirus daemons hogging my CPU and a ridiculous software firewall nagging me every five minutes to buy the full version, I eventually decided to try linux. Many years ago my brother had tried RedHat on his computer. He then devoted the rest of his life to hating free lesser software.

I on the other hand loved using that computer. Even just using the menu to launch Gnome Robots was fun.

Somehow I came across Ubuntu. It was ridiculously easy to install parallel to Windows XP, and I went through stages of switching between it and Windows.

When I first picked up Puppy Linux ( at the advent of 4.0 ) I deleted my Ubuntu partition and installed puppy on my USB stick. The computer only now had Windows on it, which I used to play Counter-Strike among other games. Eventually I realised what an idiot I was to remove Ubuntu, which led to me re-installing it.

Late last year I bought an Acer ASPIRE 5536 laptop. To this day the Windows installation has been used a total of three times. The first to download and burn the Ubuntu ISO and the rest to compare things with my Ubuntu installation ( see my current battery and temperature problem ).

Here I finally noticed how inefficient DE ( desktop environment ) menus were, with re-arranging their contents a very difficult and slow process with a buggy tool. The gnome tool ( of which I have forgotten the name ) takes three seconds to move an entry, and you can't move more than one at a time. Worst of all it moves your location to where you have moved the item, making you switch back and forth to categorise a menu into submenus.

Grrr

This was especially annoying as I had Simon's portable game collection with about two dozen separate games which I wanted to put into one folder. It took ten minutes to move them all.

I then took a pounce at WindowMaker and FluxBox which used a pre-categorised menu system. Although menu application's locations were inconsistent ( a lot of video utilities were under the 'Graphics' submenu rather than the 'Video' one ).

Today I'm using a Debian system with Fluxbox. I have no idea how to re-arrange the contents of my menus with my fluxbox menu file just containing a reference to another configuration file.
Code:
[begin] (fluxbox)
[include] (/etc/X11/fluxbox/fluxbox-menu)
[end]
Ah! Simply enough eh! But if I copied that to my home directory, what would it contain? A static version of everything, meaning when I install a new application it will only be in the /etc version, not my local one. I'd have to manually update the version in my home directory.

Where has the simplicity of drag and drop gone?
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