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Old 06-04-2009, 02:51 PM   #1
allele
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What window managers/desktop environments exist that aren't ugly?


Is there a desktop environment/window manager that isn't ugly?

GNOME = ugly
KDE = ugly

I come from OS X and appreciate prettiness. I need Linux (or BSD) to run on my shiny, shiny Vaio P, but I want to know about the part I'll actually interact with first.

Enlightenment looks not too bad. I remember a couple of years ago I came across a window manager which I thought was Enlightenment, but without any integrated application bloat. I don't get why Linux people like to have a whole pile of software they didn't choose themselves. It's like 'hmm, how can we replace the feel of an OEM distribution of Windows?'

I am actually interested in your justications/explanations of my misunderstanding.

Other than Enlightenment, is Étoilé good?

Please tell me the advantage of entire desktop environments over window managers. With a lightweight wm, there is nothing to make it harder to download and install your own choice of file browser, etc., is there?

I also, being a big newbie, would like suggestions of unbloated, easily customisable but also easy to use and probably with a package management system Linux distros for this small laptop. I would try BSD but am scared of my graphics chip.

Ugliness =
*elements being square; token rounded corners making them look even squarer
*text that looks like it's carved/indented into the screen
*weird, indented-looking lines and text/flat-looking text without decent anti-aliasing or shadows
*the sort of half-3D effect with elements mostly flat and square, but a slight 3D effect, the sort of thing you could create by building up layers of paper on a collage
*unnecessary divider lines
*over the top and badly-done candy-style buttons
*long, over-extended menus, or menus with option names so wide they make the menu excessively wide
*anything themed to look like Windows by default
 
Old 06-04-2009, 03:27 PM   #2
bsdunix
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As you may know, visual appealing is in the eye of the beholder.

Just in case you missed it, this web site has info and screenshots "Windows Managers for X", it may answer some of the questions you have.

http://xwinman.org/
 
Old 06-04-2009, 03:30 PM   #3
pixellany
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When you add up KDE, Gnome, XFCE, and all the straight "window managers", I'll bet there are approximately 1 bazillion themes out there.

For example, try the latest Mint (Gnome by default)---It doesn't look like any other Gnome that I have ever used.
 
Old 06-04-2009, 03:33 PM   #4
Uncle_Theodore
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Quote:
I also, being a big newbie, would like suggestions of unbloated, easily customisable but also easy to use and probably with a package management system Linux distros for this small laptop. I would try BSD but am scared of my graphics chip.
Well... Methinks you should try the LFS distribution. It lets you build only the applications you need and build them in the way you like them to be built.
Then, you should install gcc and emacs. Using them, you can then write a window manager that perfectly fits your standards of not being ugly...

Good Luck.
 
Old 06-04-2009, 05:55 PM   #5
soleilarw
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Gnome and KDE are the most mature ones among the open source window managers. They are also quite good-looking - I didn't regret switching from Mac, not even for the eye-candy. If you prefer MacOSX, then please stick with it and keep supporting Apple by buying their computers and software.

Linux Archive

Last edited by soleilarw; 06-18-2009 at 05:34 AM.
 
Old 06-04-2009, 06:18 PM   #6
XavierP
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There are ways to make your Gnome or KDE or other desktop look just like OSX. You are not limited on Linux to what has come installed, as you are with OSX and with Windows. It sounds as though you have plain vanilla KDE/Gnome installed. Go to kde-look.org and gnome-look.org to see how you can change the desktop to be something that you want to look at. (Personally, I like vanilla KDE).

As to the applications installed, just uninstall them. Every distro comes with a huge amount of software available, you don't have to install all of it.
 
Old 06-04-2009, 06:44 PM   #7
i92guboj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allele View Post
Is there a desktop environment/window manager that isn't ugly?
The beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And, besides that, this question makes very little sense taking into account that 99% of them have no unique look. They can be themed and configured in lots of different ways.

Quote:
GNOME = ugly
KDE = ugly

I come from OS X and appreciate prettiness. I need Linux (or BSD) to run on my shiny, shiny Vaio P, but I want to know about the part I'll actually interact with first.
If you want to use MacOS, please, use MacOS, otherwise you are going to be fully deceived in the long run. MacOSX is also another clone of UNIx, so, if what you want is a UNIX clones that looks like MacOSX, the logical option is to use MacOSX, isn't it?

Any WM can be configured to show a mac-like window border, the widget set is another story: there are widgets sets for both gtk and qt applications that will make them look like mac, but that won't magically change the behavior of all the applications to these of the mac tipical applications. Windows are just bitmaps in your screen, nothing else. The behavior is coded and that can't be "styled".

Quote:
Enlightenment looks not too bad. I remember a couple of years ago I came across a window manager which I thought was Enlightenment, but without any integrated application bloat. I don't get why Linux people like to have a whole pile of software they didn't choose themselves. It's like 'hmm, how can we replace the feel of an OEM distribution of Windows?'
You install what you want. If you want to install fedora, ubuntu or mandriva you will get a full blown desktop, those a click-n-next distros, designed for persons that do not want to bother themselves configuring things and fishing for packages.

Choose not to install mandriva, and do a custom debian, slackware of gentoo install instead so you can control every single package. You decide. It's all in your hands

Quote:
I am actually interested in your justications/explanations of my misunderstanding.

Other than Enlightenment, is Étoilé good?
I suggest you to visit lynucs.org and look for ideas. Virtually, any WM can look any way you want, so the options are virtually infinite.

Quote:
Please tell me the advantage of entire desktop environments over window managers.
To each his/her own. I use fvwm, not for the lazy. Some people just want to see lots of applications that integrate nicely, those would prefer kde or gnome. That's the OSS spirit: freedom, choices.

Quote:
With a lightweight wm, there is nothing to make it harder to download and install your own choice of file browser, etc., is there?
You can use any application under any enviroment, as long as the required dependencies are met. Of course, there are a few apps that are desktop specific, for example taskbar applets and the like.

Quote:
I also, being a big newbie, would like suggestions of unbloated, easily customisable but also easy to use and probably with a package management system Linux distros for this small laptop. I would try BSD but am scared of my graphics chip.
The look can be customized in any distro the same. So I don't know what to suggest you since the look is the only need you've mentioned. If you have further requirements, let us know so we can give some suggestions.

Quote:
Ugliness =
*elements being square; token rounded corners making them look even squarer
*text that looks like it's carved/indented into the screen
*weird, indented-looking lines and text/flat-looking text without decent anti-aliasing or shadows
*the sort of half-3D effect with elements mostly flat and square, but a slight 3D effect, the sort of thing you could create by building up layers of paper on a collage
*unnecessary divider lines
*over the top and badly-done candy-style buttons
*long, over-extended menus, or menus with option names so wide they make the menu excessively wide
*anything themed to look like Windows by default
These are all theming issues. You just need to get some fun theming your window manager, your gtk engine and your kde themes and icon sets. For the effect part, e17 can do some basic stuff. But if you want real 3d acceleration in your desktop then you want compiz.
 
Old 06-05-2009, 10:40 AM   #8
malekmustaq
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allele View Post
Is there a desktop environment/window manager that isn't ugly?

GNOME = ugly
KDE = ugly

I come from OS X and appreciate prettiness. I need Linux (or BSD) to run on my shiny, shiny Vaio P, but I want to know about the part I'll actually interact with first.

Enlightenment looks not too bad. I remember a couple of years ago I came across a window manager which I thought was Enlightenment, but without any integrated application bloat. I don't get why Linux people like to have a whole pile of software they didn't choose themselves. It's like 'hmm, how can we replace the feel of an OEM distribution of Windows?'

I am actually interested in your justications/explanations of my misunderstanding.

Other than Enlightenment, is Étoilé good?

Please tell me the advantage of entire desktop environments over window managers. With a lightweight wm, there is nothing to make it harder to download and install your own choice of file browser, etc., is there?

I also, being a big newbie, would like suggestions of unbloated, easily customisable but also easy to use and probably with a package management system Linux distros for this small laptop. I would try BSD but am scared of my graphics chip.

Ugliness =
*elements being square; token rounded corners making them look even squarer
*text that looks like it's carved/indented into the screen
*weird, indented-looking lines and text/flat-looking text without decent anti-aliasing or shadows
*the sort of half-3D effect with elements mostly flat and square, but a slight 3D effect, the sort of thing you could create by building up layers of paper on a collage
*unnecessary divider lines
*over the top and badly-done candy-style buttons
*long, over-extended menus, or menus with option names so wide they make the menu excessively wide
*anything themed to look like Windows by default

Hey it seems you lack true taste for Beauty, all that you know is about UGLY or Ugliness.

True Aesthetic sense is a gift. A rare gift. It has nothing to do with shiny shiny what ...

Let me advise you to try Mint 7. Just be sure you have installed correctly the graphic drivers.

Your queries can be easily answered by http://www.google.com/DoItYourself_lazyMan

Hope this helps.
 
Old 06-05-2009, 10:56 AM   #9
noctilucent
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The command line is the only truly beautiful interface.
 
Old 06-05-2009, 01:12 PM   #10
Quads
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Ugh, I personally think OS X is uglier than sin. However, I read a page somewhere out there about how to make KDE 4 look exactly like it, and I mean like a carbon copy. I can't imagine anyone wanting to do that...why ruin KDE? But if that is your style well, it didn't look very hard to do.

And just a note, I don't see how you can say KDE is ugly...you can make it look however you want. Get it running with compiz, get emerald running, and you can make it sleek but simple. I've never used gnome, but xfce is the same way, and many people like it even better.

In short, if you want a carbon copy of os x why not run the real deal. If you want something that looks good start with kde and do what you want with it.

Oh, and don't tell me you can't get os x running on that laptop. As long as its an intel, you can get it running, I've seen articles all over where people have done it.

Last edited by Quads; 06-05-2009 at 01:13 PM.
 
Old 06-05-2009, 04:48 PM   #11
John VV
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would you call this "ugly" it is my theme running gnome
http://www.imagebam.com/image/f68ea038066177
http://www.imagebam.com/image/d4793738066178
 
Old 06-05-2009, 06:11 PM   #12
rysiekmus2
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Hi Allele,
In fact I do think this is a good question you raised. Now thanks to the politeness of some of us look at all the possibilities people post, we all may benefit from the answers posted by those who know how to do this and that. After all you can change a couple of things in any X-Window environment. I would agree KDE could be ugly, but it also depends on the distro you pick. I changed my mind when I installed Sabayon Linux. Check the Live DVD and see for yourself.
I use KDE and I think it's very good as long as we don't expect too much. I often go into Apple shops and play around a bit with the Mac OS and..... personally I don't like it. Not the looks, but the way the menus are configured.
In my linux I also discoevered different fonts and believe me, if you fiddle around for a while, you too will be surprised. Also make sure you have a good graphics card, I bought a better Nvidia graphics card to replace by rubish on board card and that makes the difference too.

As for my KDE environment I first change my color theme to Digital CDE. That's in the Control Centre - Apearance and Themes.
I then change my fonts, here are mine (Control Centre - Apearance and Themes - Fonts):
- Genereal = Comic Sans MS 10
- Fixed Width = Courier New 10
- Toolbar = Arial 10
- Menu = TImes New Roman 11
- Window Title = Arial 9
- Taskbar = Arial 10
- Desktop = Sans Serif 10
Now most important in that same manu Use Anti-Aliasing, click on Configure and change Hinting Style to Full. Most Linuxes set this to Medium, save your changes and restart your X-Windows - press CNTRL+Backspace, login back again and see what you get.

Next change, Control Centre - Apearance and Themes - Style - check out Widget Style = Keramik. A really nice one, I love it.
Next change, Control Centre - Apearance and Themes - Windows decorations to Polyester
Next change, Control Centre - Apearance and Themes - Icons , change to Slick Icons, much much better that the default.

One remark, with the Color scheme Digital CDE you will have problems in your web browsers, not all web pages like that and you may see that some of the text will not be displayed, choose another Color Scheme if you like.

I hope this helps.
Richard
 
Old 06-05-2009, 06:16 PM   #13
rysiekmus2
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Try to do the same in Amarok if you are using it for listening to music.
Settings - Configure Amarok - Appearance - change the fonts to Comic Sans MS 8.
Change your Colour Scheme to custom and use Yellow for Foreground and Dark Green for Background.
Select a style to d_u_s_t_blue.
 
Old 06-06-2009, 01:12 PM   #14
allele
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle_Theodore View Post
Well... Methinks you should try the LFS distribution. It lets you build only the applications you need and build them in the way you like them to be built.
Then, you should install gcc and emacs. Using them, you can then write a window manager that perfectly fits your standards of not being ugly...

Good Luck.
If in about ten years I am able to write a window manager, will do ... in the meantime thank-you for telling me about LFS, which I'm also not ready for but I like the idea of.

Quote:
Originally Posted by i92guboj
The beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And, besides that, this question makes very little sense taking into account that 99% of them have no unique look. They can be themed and configured in lots of different ways.
I actually think there is something very same-y about most Linux screenshots I see. They can have wildly different themes, but similar depths, amounts of shadowing, jagged pixelation ... I don't really know what the difference is (other than the well-paid graphic artists individually colouring every pixel in commercial stuff like Aqua) so am probably explaining it wrong, but I rarely see anything that looks polished or well-coordinated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by noctilucent
The command line is the only truly beautiful interface.
I almost agree ... but I don't think it's the most efficient (when, say, I spend a lot of my time flipping between web browsers) or me-friendly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quads
Oh, and don't tell me you can't get os x running on that laptop. As long as its an intel, you can get it running, I've seen articles all over where people have done it.
With GMA500 graphics? Please link.

I only really meant to use OS X as an example. Lots of things about it annoy me, and I like that with Linux I can eventually figure out how to change stuff.

Thanks everybody for your suggestions.
 
Old 06-06-2009, 01:19 PM   #15
allele
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John VV View Post
I would to some extent: apart from the fact it's chaotic, which is just the way you've arranged your screen, the colours of the lines dividing things run into each other horribly and there is no appearance of depth or distance, so basically: it is hard to differentiate between one area of the screen and another. If their functions are all very fluid in your workflow, I can see how that would work, but for me, it looks confusing.
 
  


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