[olug] The microcosm that says so much

drag drag at bluddclot.com
Mon Mar 8 21:17:52 UTC 2010

Ohh..... KDE vs Gnome religious debate. My favorite! What makes it so
nice is that it matters so little. Like highschool football.

On Mon, Mar 08, 2010 at 09:41:53AM -0600, T. J. Brumfield wrote:
> But what has most people up in arms is the order of buttons on the
> window decoration. People are screaming this is just copying OS X.
> (For the record, I have no qualms copying good design, which is why I
> urged Kwin to adopt the Aero Snap feature, which they eventually did).

Commenters != Most people. I don't think a few people posting in a
article is really represetative of what most people who read the article

> However, all the hate and vitrol isn't necessary. As someone who very
> rarely uses Gnome, it never occured to me that you can't simply
> configure the window decoration buttons how you want.

You can configure the decoration buttons. Goes to show you how much
those posters knew about the subject. ;) 

Use gconf-editor:
/apps ---> Metacity --> General --> button_layout 

The syntax and purpose of the key value is documented in the XML schema
(I think that is right, not too familar with XML) and is displayed by
the gconf editor GUI.

> Then again, Gnome doesn't even ship with a Font Installer. 

mkdir ~/.fonts
cp *ttf ~/.fonts

Gnome will detect the changes automatically. No need to log out or
restart or anything like that. 'Just works'. 

fontconfig for the win.

> I know the
> goal is to have sane defaults, but at some point, shouldn't a user be
> empowered to customize their desktop how they want? 


> Reading the Gnome
> HIG, I see that the Gnome developers feel users are stupid and should
> not be afforded choice. 

Trying to avoid confusing users by displaying too many choices and
forcing them to make choices when they are ill equiped to know what the
choices are and what they do is not the same as thinking that your users
are stupid. 

A Desktop Environment (DE) should be fairly simple and straightforward.
It's a platform to facilitate the use and development of applications
and often times "boring" is kinda the way things should be done. 

You would not like it if your desktop environment used up 90% of your
RAM would you? Well it's the same sort of thing... the DE should use up
the minimal amount of attention of the user. Users only have a limited
amount of time and attention span to apply to their computing
environment... minimizing the time they deal with sub-systems and
configurations maximizes efficiency. 

In other words; People want to concentrate on the applications that
allow them to get their work or other task done. Mucking around with the
window manager gradiants, the size of icons, or the order of buttons is
usually contrary to that and users should not be bothered with that sort
of thing unless they are specifically seeking it out.

> Am I crazy to think I shouldn't be patronized
> by my desktop?

I donno. That sounds more like a personal issue. (Just kidding!)

> If you want to see the difference between Gnome and KDE, I can think
> of no better example than this. With Gnome, you get what you get, and
> you better like it. If you don't, too bad. In KDE, you can have it
> anyway you want.

I don't think that way at all. I am sure that Gnome is just about as
customizable as KDE. It can't do all the same thing, but it goes both
ways. Sometimes you have to do things like swap out Metacity for
OpenBox, but that is why Gnome follows the standards stuff like that. No
big step for a stepper.

I think the major difference is that Gnome is trying to simplify and
make their system as initiative as possible while KDE folks like to
have huge configuration dialogs with massive amounts of buttons and
sliders and whatnot all over the place. Sure Gnome takes it too far, but
gnome is still suited for the power user.

> I'm sincerely shocked that the Linux community (who seems to value
> choice) would prefer a desktop environment determined to limit choice.

I would not worry about it to much. The nice thing about choice is that
it's very democratic in nature. KDE and Gnome are not mutually exclusive
items and it's quite possible to have both installed and runnable on the
same system. So people are pretty much free to choose which one they

> -- T. J. Brumfield
> "I'm questioning my education
> Rewind and what does it show?
> Could be, the truth it becomes you
> I'm a seed, wondering why it grows"
> -- Pearl Jam, Education

-- Nate M: Gnome luser.

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