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Old 12-19-2011, 01:30 PM   #1
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LXer: LXDE and Xfce - the other desktops

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GNOME and KDE may be the high profile Linux desktop environments, but they are not to everybody's tastes. Richard Hillesley describes the different approaches taken by a couple of the more prominent alternatives.

Old 12-19-2011, 03:23 PM   #2
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Could have been titled, "An Introduction to Xfce and LXDE For P*ssed Off GNOME and Ubuntu Users." IMHO the most salient points appear, unsurprisingly, near the end of the article.

Originally Posted by Hillesley
The desktop defines the user's relationship with his or her working environment. Usability matters, and users don't like change. But users are inconsistent too. Back in 2005, issues with GNOME's policy of restricting configuration options to enhance consistency and usability provoked Linus Torvalds to write: "I personally just encourage people to switch to KDE. This 'users are idiots, and are confused by functionality' mentality of GNOME is a disease. If you think your users are idiots, only idiots will use it. I don't use GNOME, because in striving to be simple, it has long since reached the point where it simply doesn't do what I need it to do. Please, just tell people to use KDE."

He also said that "GNOME seems to be developed by interface Nazis, where consistently the excuse for not doing something is not 'it's too complicated to do', but 'it would confuse users'", and continued this argument two years later on the Linux Foundation's Desktop Architects mailing list.
(emphasis mine)

Overlooking Linus' emotionally charged words, we can see he's trying to drive home an important point. I think the point is that the Graphical User Interface should be designed to meet the needs and expectations of its users, not necessarily the ideals of its developers.

KDE 4, GNOME 3, and Unity are IMHO all efforts to create a new kind of desktop metaphor. Each project puts its own spin on things, but broadly speaking they all have this goal in mind. IMHO we need these new ideas to force the evolution of the old, tired desktop into something which better addresses the reality of the modern age of computing.

For anyone unhappy with these new-fangled cutting-edge ideas, this really is a good opportunity to explore alternative desktops. There is more turbulence coming to GNU/Linux desktops in the near future, I predict, at least for those who depend on the familiarity and comfort of their old desktop.

As much as I love KDE, and I sincerely appreciate the intentions of KDE 4, I'm installing Lubuntu on a VM as I write this. What about you?

Last edited by Telengard; 12-19-2011 at 03:30 PM.


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