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Old 02-15-2019, 03:58 PM   #1
gilius
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Question Finding the best Linux Desktop GUI to replace Bash?


When choosing a distro and GUI, presumably the choice is based around the theme, whether it's lightweight or heavyweight, positioning of buttons and other cosmetics?

For me I see things differently:
The GUI in essence is to replace some of those tasks we do via command line.

So my question is really quite simple: which distro/GUI can replace the most command line functions above all others? And is there a limitation?
(I'm particularly interested in which distros/GUIs can handle the most technical file operations and permissions, and which has the most settings?)

Last edited by gilius; 02-15-2019 at 04:01 PM.
 
Old 02-15-2019, 08:11 PM   #2
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"The GUI in essence is to replace some of those tasks we do via command line" In some ways I'd agree with that. There are some ways for one to make a mini gui program work like some command line sequence if they wanted.

For most home uses I'd think that the configuration programs would support almost any common task. For example, Suse/OpenSuse might use yast or yast2 to configure. https://en.opensuse.org/YaST2-GTK has a screenshot of the types of tasks one can do. Almost every major disto has these configuration programs and there are plenty out there to assist common tasks.

Is there a limitation? Well, maybe. I'd think that the most technical users would simply prefer to use command lines or scripts they have. When you say the most technical file operations then I'd have to ask exactly what you mean.

For the most part Linux is built on a command line. Commonly it is bash but more exist. BeOS was actually created with a gui in mind and then added a command line.

I'd look at things like Centos, Fedora, Debian/Ubuntu, and OpenSuse (or even a BSD) for generally the most supported distro's.
 
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Old 02-15-2019, 09:57 PM   #3
hydrurga
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On the desktop environment side of things, any one of Plasma, MATE, Cinnamon, Xfce should do the trick. There are no doubt others (which I personally haven't tried), but I would advise you to steer clear of any GUIs where the developers have dumbed down the desktop environment in order to appeal to a lower common denominator, or GUIs with a smaller history, userbase or developer-base.

Apart from that, go with a distro with as large a package base as possible. This will allow you to find more GUI software to do stuff that may normally involve the command line. To fill in the gaps, you may need to end up building the odd GUI package for your system if there is not a package available for it (except, of course, that would mean some command line usage ).
 
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Old 02-16-2019, 05:06 AM   #4
fatmac
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Take a look at AntiX, comes with a Control Centre that allows you to do most things a normal user would do.

https://antixlinux.com/

EDIT: You might also consider tmux
https://www.hamvocke.com/blog/a-quic...guide-to-tmux/

Last edited by fatmac; 02-16-2019 at 05:17 AM.
 
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Old 02-16-2019, 07:46 AM   #5
ondoho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gilius View Post
which distro/GUI can replace the most command line functions above all others?
none. as long as Linux still builds on top of an underlying command line system. absolutely impossible.
Quote:
I'm particularly interested in which distros/GUIs can handle the most technical file operations and permissions
now we're getting somewhere.
that would be a filemanager's task, mostly.
fwiw, i use spacefm and it comes pretty close to answering that part of your question (but then, so do a few dual pane managers).
it is not part of any particular distro or gui.

btw, technically speaking a terminal emulator like xterm or gnome-terminal is part of the gui. very much so.
 
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Old 02-16-2019, 11:30 AM   #6
DavidMcCann
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I think you want a full desktop, not a window manager. To some degree though, it's less a matter of the desktop than of the distro: CentOS Xfce and Xubuntu do not have the same tools, for example. So for the firewall, Red Hat distros have a very simple "tick the box" approach to access ports that doesn't require you to write rules as you would in Debian distros, even Ubuntu. But most will have a GUI control for things like users and groups, while a file manager will take care of permissions.
 
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Old 02-17-2019, 07:00 PM   #7
gilius
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Thanks for the replies.

I done a bit of research and something seems terribly amiss with all these Linux distros out there! They all seem rather similar to me with only minor cosmetic differences or choice or preinstalled apps. What's even more disturbing is that I found out they are all based on only Debian, Slackware and Red Hat for the most part!?

All distro reviews on Youtube seem very superficial, concentrating only on the desktop appearance and choice of apps. I would have expected them to be comparing the properties window of a file or folder, or info/features about installed drivers and how that compares between different distros/GUIs. For example, you might be able to select multiple files and propagate permissions to subfolders in one distro but not another. Or one distro may feature OS disk encryption. What are different distros like for Users and Groups? Do any distros preview photos and videos when you click on them? Do any have problems working with Drop Box? And so on and so forth.

So can anyone find a video that discusses those aspects? And since the GUI is an "add-on" for many distros, what are the fundamental differences happening below the hood that means developers have created a graveyard of old Linux distros? Is simply the changing of the layout and choice of apps causing them to re-brand and re-release a whole new distro over some minor cosmetic!? There can't be any genuine reason to have hundreds of distros out there that seem to all be doing pretty much the same thing, and then they all come with a choice of the same old L or X lightweight GUIs. Can somebody please explain?

And why are the developers "forking" Debian and Ubuntu so much instead of starting a whole new root and branch....? If a developer really wants to revolutionize the desktop experience then surely he/she needs to start from scratch and look at the fundamentals instead of adapting an existing distro?

How comes MAC OS succeeded where many distros have failed? Why are developers making mock-ups of MS Windows, i.e. "launchers" in the Android world, instead of trying to almost, emulate Windows 10's actual design? Surely that would be the ultimate Linux Mint-esque distro?

So does everyone just pick a distro based on aesthetics before downloading the same file manager and add-on tools, etc? I want to know how one distro is truly sophisticated over another distro, and I am not finding any answers at all on Youtube.

Last edited by gilius; 02-17-2019 at 07:02 PM.
 
Old 02-18-2019, 01:31 AM   #8
ondoho
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I like your X-ray vision!
Sharp and unforgiving.

Quote:
They all seem rather similar to me with only minor cosmetic differences or choice or preinstalled apps. What's even more disturbing is that I found out they are all based on only Debian, Slackware and Red Hat for the most part!?
this is mostly correct. I wouldn't say "all", and I wouldn't say that CentOS is based on Red Hat (it's a 100% compatible rebuild).

Quote:
All distro reviews on Youtube seem very superficial, concentrating only on the desktop appearance and choice of apps.
again: mostly correct, but not "all". and not only on youtube. but certainly worse on youtube.

have you tried distrowatch already? one can even search by packages installed, and many other parameters. they also have reviews, links to the distro's own website and external reviews.

Quote:
There can't be any genuine reason to have hundreds of distros out there that seem to all be doing pretty much the same thing, and then they all come with a choice of the same old L or X lightweight GUIs. Can somebody please explain?
i agree. Many of them are vanity affairs.
I weed them out by looking at how long they've been around (10 years at least), how constantly developed. and if it's recognizable as a mostly-one-man-project i don't use it either.

Quote:
And why are the developers "forking" Debian and Ubuntu so much instead of starting a whole new root and branch....?
debian is very, very stable and in a way designed to be built upon.
not sure one can call that a fork in the strict sense because many of these distros still rely on the original debian fully.
i can't say much about ubuntu, but it is based on debian itself, and basing yet another distro on a distro that is based on another distro seems like madness to me. Nevertheless Linux Mint, which does exactly that, is very popular and seems stable enough.

Quote:
If a developer really wants to revolutionize the desktop experience then surely he/she needs to start from scratch and look at the fundamentals instead of adapting an existing distro?
you just said "Desktop experience" yet further up you were complaining that most reviews are too superficial; a distro is much much more than just its desktop, something many so-called-distro-developers seem to ignore.

Quote:
So does everyone just pick a distro based on aesthetics before downloading the same file manager and add-on tools, etc?
no. i already refered to a truly good filemanager earlier. my distro is archlinux which follows a totally different approach.

Quote:
I want to know how one distro is truly sophisticated over another distro, and I am not finding any answers at all on Youtube.
quoted for truth.
 
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Old 02-18-2019, 06:03 AM   #9
fatmac
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Quote:
So does everyone just pick a distro based on aesthetics before downloading the same file manager and add-on tools, etc? I want to know how one distro is truly sophisticated over another distro, and I am not finding any answers at all on Youtube.
Most of what is on Youtube is from ex MS Windows users, & they tend to think aesthetics over function.

There are really only a handful of real distros, these are the base of what you are seeing, the main differences are in the way that they manage extra software, their package managers, otherwise, Linux is Linux.

Many people don't want to install from scratch, so you get all these variations, to assist them to have a 'distro' to their liking.

If you want 'consistent' - take a look at the BSD family.
 
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Old 02-18-2019, 01:46 PM   #10
gilius
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Thanks for the latest replies! I'm beginning to make sense of the Linux world and am now able to formulate some better questions, but there's still so much I don't understand:

If all Linux distros were installed as "minimal", i.e. without any software/apps, what functional differences would exist between them besides the aesthetics?

I would also like to know through examples what the following is responsible for:
1) Kernel
2) Distro
3) Desktop environment

If a dev/vendor forks a distro, what can he change exactly? And is he required to make any changes to the kernel?

Does the kernel exist in as many variations as per the distros? How can the kernel handle different architectures - separate one for each?

Based on examples, what is the dev/vendor able to change in the Desktop Environment?

How can the same Desktop Environment differ across multiple distributions?
Click image for larger version

Name:	X_window_system_desktop_environments_timeline.svg.png
Views:	19
Size:	112.1 KB
ID:	29853

Last edited by gilius; 02-18-2019 at 01:47 PM.
 
Old 02-18-2019, 01:56 PM   #11
ondoho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gilius View Post
Thanks for the latest replies! I'm beginning to make sense of the Linux world and am now able to formulate some better questions, but there's still so much I don't understand:

If all Linux distros were installed as "minimal", i.e. without any software/apps, what functional differences would exist between them besides the aesthetics?

I would also like to know through examples what the following is responsible for:
1) Kernel
2) Distro
3) Desktop environment

If a dev/vendor forks a distro, what can he change exactly? And is he required to make any changes to the kernel?

Does the kernel exist in as many variations as per the distros? How can the kernel handle different architectures - separate one for each?

Based on examples, what is the dev/vendor able to change in the Desktop Environment?

How can the same Desktop Environment differ across multiple distributions?
Attachment 29853
all excellent questions.
answering them in full detail would fill several books.
I have to ask: what did you do to get answers to these questions? How are your searches coming along? Somebody has probably filled a wiki with these things, and it could be much better than any casual forum answer...
 
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Old 02-18-2019, 02:33 PM   #12
gilius
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ondoho, I am finding it very difficult to get a proper overview right now. Just bits and pieces I learnt from combining the opening chapters of my book, Linux Administration, with a single Youtube video:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Linux-Admin...0521421&sr=8-4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbiKoL9o7jU

The above was the most useful video - all the rest I watched were of no benefit whatsoever - so what would you recommend I check out?

I just purchased this book today from a book shop, so I am hoping it will fill in a lot of gaps:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/How-Linux-W...0521514&sr=8-2
The bootloader/grub part looks better explained than in Linux Administration. If you asked me to explain the Windows bootloader I bet I could teach/transmit this to a novice in a meaningful way.

You guys don't need to write a book to explain the answers to my previous questions, as I only need a few examples through comparison to grasp the concepts. I can then go off and drill down deeper with my own research; I just need to grasp the bigger picture right now.
 
Old 02-21-2019, 01:15 AM   #13
ondoho
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i understand your frustration.
to my defense, a user of $PROPRIETARY_OS would have even more difficulty when asked "What is an operating system?".
and hardly any user knows everything that is happening inside their machine.
It's a little like asking a fish what water is.

but i wouldn't worry about it, just start using one and get a feel for what matters to you.

the biggest difference compared to $PROPRIETARY_OS probably is abundance. because of the GPL.

This is what distrowatch describes as "major" distributions. i recommend to browse that site for a while; not only the distro sections.
This search has some more results for you.

My personal quick take:

Quote:
Originally Posted by gilius View Post
If all Linux distros were installed as "minimal", i.e. without any software/apps, what functional differences would exist between them besides the aesthetics?
no aesthetics.
since this is the wild & free land of GPL abundance, there can be only one answer: go to each distro's website and find out what they have to say about themselves.
but it might be easier to just use a few and read what people have to say on places like these, or linux podcasts etc.
the differences are definitely there, and matter a lot.

Quote:
I would also like to know through examples what the following is responsible for:
1) Kernel
2) Distro
3) Desktop environment
1) connects to the hardware
3) provides just that, desktop meaning graphical desktop.
2) holds everything together
you're actually missing a big point here: there's a LOT going on between kernel and DE. The whole command line interface, system administration etc. etc.

Quote:
If a dev/vendor forks a distro, what can he change exactly? And is he required to make any changes to the kernel?
everything?
did i already mention we live in the wild & free land of GPL abundance?

Quote:
Does the kernel exist in as many variations as per the distros?
i think most distros compile their own kernels for various architectures, so the answer would be definitely YES.
Quote:
How can the kernel handle different architectures - separate one for each?
yes, compiled separately.
internally, i have no idea.

Quote:
Based on examples, what is the dev/vendor able to change in the Desktop Environment?
everything?
did i already mention we live in the wild & free land of GPL abundance?

Quote:
How can the same Desktop Environment differ across multiple distributions?
obviously because the distro maintainer(s) decided to do things differently.

May i now ask you, what is your focus?
are you already using linux, or are you considering? in what scenario? old laptop, all family computers, virtual server, real hardware server, local or global, or...?

Last edited by ondoho; 02-21-2019 at 01:22 AM.
 
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Old 02-21-2019, 12:04 PM   #14
gilius
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Very poor answers... is that the best you can do!? I haven't learnt anything since I came here...
 
Old 02-21-2019, 12:49 PM   #15
rtmistler
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gilius View Post
Very poor answers... is that the best you can do!? I haven't learnt anything since I came here...
I think you should realize that your fellow members are not here to spoon feed you answers. We're happy to discuss topics, however it also helps if the person asking the questions offers their thoughts, even if they had to do some research.

This is more of a discussion versus a specific problem you are trying to fix. However please realize that one of our first guidelines to everyone asking technical questions is what you have tried. The Linux Questions Project Tools FAQ contains information about how best to pose technical questions and also how to prepare for them. From that reference:
  1. Search before posting
  2. Include what you did, what happened, and what you expected
  3. Only include one item per issue
I'm not saying you haven't prepared, you've said a great deal about desktop environments. Meanwhile you have modified this discussion to ask about Linux distributions development in general and are now asking about the structure of a typical install.

Regarding your retort to Ondoho, please do realize that we like to run a friendly forum and do have some rules one of them being:
Quote:
Challenge others' points of view and opinions, but do so respectfully and thoughtfully ... without insult and personal attack. Differing opinions is one of the things that make this site great.
Which hopefully you can tell is a great guideline to follow when discussing topics.

Regarding the original question as well as the expansions upon it. My personal feedback is that I'm very much indifferent towards the desktop. I very much do not like to fight against one, I do not like to change it frequently, I'm complacent in that I find what works and I stick with it. Meanwhile large changes to user interfaces do happen, they irk me, however I side step them when I can, for as long as I can, and for as long as it isn't the equivalent of doing advanced gymnastics. For instance, say I loved Win3.1 the interface and everything about it. Well it's sort of difficult to find that, and maintain that, as well as get anything done. So I'm not going to maintain a computer with that installed or fight to emulate it, and also search for mimicking software, just so I could stay within some interface I loved.

You mentioned that you felt Apple got it right with the MacOS. Well, have you searched for Linux distributions which have similar desktops to that? I can tell you nothing about that. My opinion is that I really do not like the MacOS user experience at all. I've had to use it and I do not prefer it. I'm fine if you do, however you've only implied that a little bit. So it's unclear to me what exactly you're looking for except open discussion about why things are they way they are.

As far as Linux development. I'm not a distribution developer, however I customize Linux to run on embedded environments. Some are processing engines, some are IoT enabled devices, others are things like cash registers, handheld scanners, or museum kiosks. Therefore these types of systems "do" and "don't" have a GUI. Usually the GUI is highly customized and doesn't have all the utilities and/or applications available to run. They are limited per the product's needs.

Meanwhile, my view on what Linux is, would be:
  • bootloader - not actually Linux
  • kernel
  • RFS - Root File System
That's all you need. The bootloader is what launches the OS and also tells the OS in a common form what features the hardware supports. The kernel is the Linux OS. And it can be built in a wide variety of ways, tuned to be more efficient, limited to not have things like networking, or allow a keyboard. The RFS is the file system that the kernel uses to accomplish it's work. All things in Linux refer to files in the RFS structure as supporting data for many reasons.

We can't actually teach you anything, these things you need to learn either by catching some of the details we offer in response to your discussion, or by looking things up on your own.

To whit; you seem to show a great deal of knowledge about the desktop environment and seem to have studied this a lot. How did you come by this? You performed web searches and looked up information. I will say that I see online videos as a common reference you mention. Everyone learns differently, however it may be beneficial to read Wikipedia pages or information that is not solely on video, if you happen to only be relying on one type of learning method.

Best of luck. I will end by telling you very clearly that if you decide to disagree with people who take the time to respond to you, then telling them that their answers are poor and that you've learned nothing, doesn't encourage them to share much additional information with you.
 
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