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HEMMLine 05-27-2007 09:23 PM

An ideal WM
Hi all,

I was moseying round on the internet today and I came across a site that had a fantastic flash interface. It made me wonder why no Linux project has sort to develop a WM based on flash as the idea makes so much sense! What do you guys think?

I’d love to kick off a project based on this idea but I wouldn’t know where to start. After looking hard for some information on the subject I’ve come to the conclusion that it might not even be possible. If anyone has any expertise with this kind of thing or knows where I could get some info from I'd really appreciate it!?
I'd also like to know how many people like the idea so just let me know what you think!



PatrickNew 05-27-2007 09:53 PM

Check out Enlightenment, also known as 'E'. Not sure of their home page adress, but just google them.

mitchell7man 05-27-2007 10:16 PM

As far as i know and i dont know much, flash runs off of a flash program, of course your talking about making your own equivalent to flash, which would work in the underlying of the OS with or as a Windows Manager?... sound s like to much work for one person. I have beryl and it has many cool effects, but as far as i know there is nothing like a Flash Windows Manager.

HEMMLine 05-28-2007 09:44 AM

Yeah, I've got enlightenment running on my arch install at the moment and it is pretty cool. The reason I'm thinking flash though is because there would be a seamless integration with the web. Not only that but the interface could theoretically be extremely fast and infinitely pliable, you could create your desktop environment just like you would a web page. Also, being a web based desktop you could also have it as a remote service with no overhead unlike vnc. I guess it would be a lot of work but it might be worth it if I could get enough people interested. I think the way it'd work is to use a browser engine as the wm backend and flash player as the display engine.

The more I think about it the more it makes sense. Surely I've convinced you??

frob23 05-28-2007 10:46 AM

I detest flash and often refuse to visit pages that use it. It's buggy, resource hungry, and closed source (and certainly has no love for Linux of other free *nixen). Even if it was possible (which I highly doubt), I don't see how it would be a good idea.

HEMMLine 05-28-2007 11:03 AM

Ok I guess I haven't convinced anyone! Maybe your right frob23 but I would have to challenge the resource hungry part as your thinking about it on the web not on your pc. What would take 10s to load over the internet would load in milliseconds locally. As for the buggy part, I think bad web designers in most part are responsible for that. Your right about the closed source part though but as the Linux community is so good at reverse engineering I’d say that’s just another hurdle. Guess there is no interest anyway!

frob23 05-28-2007 11:11 AM

Consider how you said it would run yourself... with a web-browser as a backend and it as a display engine... that alone suggests a very resource hungry WM in my book. Flash, even locally, is resource hungry and not very responsive. And it, in my experience, is a lot harder to configure and personalize than a standard WM. You would end up reinventing the wheel repeatedly -- just to get to the point where it could be compared to a regular WM. And it would be huge at that point.

I guess every single web designer on the web is bad because I've never seen a flawless site with flash on it. Of course, by my definition, once they decided to use flash they crossed the line to become bad web designers.

The reverse engineered version of flash... it's usable. But has even more stability problems and performance issues (in my experience) than the closed one. It could be improved but that alone is a full project...

HEMMLine 05-28-2007 12:34 PM

Ok I give up, I was merely trying to install some interest in the idea. As I know very little about implementing the whole thing it is impossible for me to convey the benefits if there are that many. I just like the thought of a very pliable gui. If you look around on the web there are some interesting projects that sort to create a web based OS gui but for delivery through a browser not as the actual OS front end. A good example is eyeOS. It seems to me that over the coming years there'll be a shift toward a more internet based front end to bridge the gap between personnel and non-personnel computing. Adobe has just lunched some web based apps, Google are building an empire and I’m sure there are lots more I don't know about. Does the idea not excite anyone??

Ha1f 05-28-2007 12:51 PM

im just a bit confused here. tell me if i have this right:

you want to start X, with a browser backend (likely xulrunner), and then start the web-based wm over top of this?

some issue that spring to mind off the bat are getting the the gtk/gt gui libs ported to flash. just doesnt seem plausible. you site eyeOS, but that has a ton of apps specially written for it. that kind of limits the user, though, it would be an interesting feature and a new way of "browsing a site" i guess.

HOWEVER, since the internet _is_ now an important staple in pretty much everyones life (esp *nix-ers), I would be interested in seeing a web-heavy wm, that had alot of interfaces with the internet. like, auto updating, weather, information on software updates, and obviously widgets. this could eliminate the need for heavier peices of widget software like super-kramba or whatever its called and gdesklets.

slackhack 05-28-2007 01:00 PM

maybe because flash sucks? just my opinion. ;)

b0uncer 05-28-2007 01:17 PM

It's certainly a resource hog if you compare it to some of the light window managers available today. KDE and Gnome do the heavy work, and I doubt that you could make anything much better in a very short time, and if you consumed a lot of time you could just as well invent something really new, not just recycle closed source. Lighter is better if you ask me, and Flash is worse. I curse the websites using flash; they slow things down considerably, and those sites built on top of it seem to be either difficult to update (they're always old) or don't work well (difficult to create) or just take two or three years to load (five minutes...24% ready..).

It might be faster locally but then again, so is Java. And I haven't seen too many successful Java windowmanagers around, though I think Java could be just as easy or difficult to use as Flash is. Just more capable.

HEMMLine 05-28-2007 01:50 PM

im just a bit confused here. tell me if i have this right:

you want to start X, with a browser backend (likely xulrunner), and then start the web-based wm over top of this?

Yup that’s what I’m talking about. And yes there would be a huge problem trying to port gui libs to flash which would probably not be worth while. Is there not an easier way to achieve this?

At the moment I'm doing some heavy research to find out what people most want from there home computers (I'm talking simple end users not Linux guru's). The overwhelming answer so far is that they would ultimately want a computer which incorporates all media functionality, with the option to do work based tasks, all reachable through an interface very much like a DVD recorders "Simple". While I love Gnome, E17, KDE, blackbox they all seem to try to copy what most are used to. The Linux community seems to develop distros and wm’s no the basis that it should look and act like MS windows or OSX. I think that’s a mistake, why would you go for the wannabe when you can have the real thing? If Linux was to be its own OS and provide a unique way to interact with the computer then there could be real scope for it to steal market share in the future.

Anyway, that aside... Maybe I should take a hint and forget Flash as a front end. ;(

Ha1f 05-28-2007 09:58 PM

well take a look at beryl and compiz or e17. theyve got alot of effects, which would probably be the only advantage you could take away from flash. you could probably have some badass pyshics effects. but if your looking for awesome integration with media and such, you probably want a DE.something you might want to look into is a gl based DE. with that you could a) reap the graphical benefits you might have gotten from flash (sexy liquidy physicsy effect *DROOL*), and b) integrate with written specifically to go with the DE. i guess you could just use beryl as the WM for it. On the other hand, you could just write a heavy WM that did all that. just add a new gl wm to the list (there the next "big" thing, so its only a matter of time until we have like 20 million).

as for flash, if say drop it. i understand the idea, but flash gives nix-ers so much hassle its just not gonna fly. plus, the freebsd-er (i.e. me) couldnt use it natively since we dont have (and wont have for a VERY long time) flash.

a well integrated 3d window manager though, would definately get you a ++.

phantom_cyph 05-28-2007 10:37 PM

Another vote for Enlightenment here....I just installed it and set it up in less than half an hour and it works great. I like the virtual desktops/monitors as well.

mitchell7man 05-29-2007 08:33 PM

Beryl! Thats what i got its sweet!

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