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Mandrakelinux Default Desktop Discussion How good is 10.0 out of the box?

#1 User is offline   mousematt 

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Post icon  Posted 20 August 2004 - 12:56 PM

MandrakeMag's discussion about the Mandrake Default Desktop

To coincide with Mandrakesoft's ergonomics and usability survey, MandrakeMag encourages the Mandrakelinux community to discuss Mandrakelinux 10.0 and its "out-of-the-box" KDE desktop experience. :D/>

First impressions matter. As Mandrakelinux marches towards the home, university and corporate desktop, it is important to take the time and make sure it looks and feels suitable for all users. Whilst most home desktop users appear to change their desktop wallpaper as often as their socks - a lot of corporations, schools and universities seem to stick with what comes straight out-of-the-box. My own institution - Murdoch University - in West Australia operates a number of Red Hat laboratories; all with stock-standard RedHat 9 Bluecurve desktops :screwy:/>

Please consider the default, blue, out-of-the-box, Mandrakelinux KDE desktop. If you've forgotten what it looks like then click here. Is it the most attractive or user friendly desktop you've ever seen? How could it be improved? What do you think needs changing, resizing or renaming?

I'm starting this thread because I'd like to see what other people think of the default desktop experience. I encourage everyone on this board and all MandrakeMag subscribers to take part in this thread.

I then plan to collect the comments from this thread and prepare a single document for the Mandrakesoft Interface team to consider.

How can we make every user's first impression of a Mandrake KDE desktop even better? What do we need to add, remove, change, resize, recolor or rename?

Share your thoughts please :thumbs:/>
"Reality is for people who cannot understand economic theory" - A/Prof. Robert LEESON, Murdoch University

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#2 User is offline   mte 

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Posted 20 August 2004 - 02:05 PM

In my opinion it's really good. Simple, plain and very clean. I prefer having the default desktop this way although I did some modifications to look fancier (thus I made a compromise between good look and system resources). But it's better having everything clean at start and then add your own modifications than getting many eyecandies on default desktop and then removing many things.
Maybe just the size of the taskbar and buttons down there.. in my opinion it's more useful if it's set to Normal and for my taste Large is even better.
I don't know about others but I find the Virtual Desktops very useful - so I have set them up to have 4 of them but maybe for start 2 suits more people..i don't know.
I also like to have a Root icon (pointing to /) on desktop in addition to Home and maybe even with superuser rights..but that would be cool for home use, for corporates it's better not to have it..
I like to have a Kwrite icon in the kicker rather than openoffice.
I like to have a mcc icon there, too..
And I don't need the Korganizer run at startup..
Otherwise I really like the menu structure and icons..Just the mouse pointer is too "oldish" and it's the same as few years ago. I changed it into the red theme built in mandrake. I also like transparent menus but maybe it's better not to have the on the default desktop.
What I miss is a setting button called "Put everything back on default" but maybe it's more of a kde thing rather than mandrake's..

Well afterall I think it's better to have simple things at start with possibility for users to modify them than having an eyecandy with lots of system resources at start. I haven't tried other linux distro's but comparing to windowsxp desktop it's just so much better..
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#3 User is offline   arctic 

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Posted 20 August 2004 - 03:02 PM

okay, here goes my opinion.

the important thing is the very first look of a desktop. for corporations, it should be clean, fast, intuitive. yes, the current desktop layout is in the riht direction, but some things are bad, so here come my ideas for further improvement:

1. it is too blue. nothing against blue as a color, but the type of blue for mdk10 was too bright. this color #506294 would be much more eye-friendly for a background image. and the wallpaper is not beautiful at all. it looks as if mandrake never got past the c-64 times of the deep 80's. just look at kde-look.org. there are mandrake wallpapers that do look 100 times better and are suitable for business desktops.

2. the mandrake windeco-style is also by default too blue. blue on blue... how silly. give it another, maybe good contrasting color. and don't use the round buttons, they are very unfriendly for older people. i heard several times that the buttons of that design are too small. the square button version was much better. and talking of buttons: add some space between the maximize/minimize and the close button. thus a back click can be avoided. (very important for a business desktop imho)
and: please change the font at the top of the windeco. make it bold and get rid of that unnecessary shadow effect.

3. the mandrake bookmarks should be grouped together in a folder and they should NOT be in every browser-window. that wastes space and... come on... who is clicking on the mandrake bookmarks day after day? especially in business or at university? better put some USEFUL bookmarks or bookmark-folders there.

4. buttons on the kicker-bar: i doubt that the console button is of any big value for a business desktop. could be removed imho. the k-menu-star: why does it have this ugly color in the background? why didn't they keep the kmenu-icon the way it was, using the original k-menu-icon and not this irritating star? a first time user might think that this star-button is a bookmark to mandrake. change it to the good old button again. please. and add some space between the menu-button and the other ones.
also, i would suggest, adding buttons for spreadsheets, presentations and kontact there (nobody will try the kontact-linking on the right side ... only by incident).

addendum: i have uploaded a picture, showing my ideas in the "show off your desktop" thread, if you are interested. link is here: (and yes, there seems to be a bug on the coloring of the konq-window...)
http://mandrakeusers.org/index.php?act=Att...ype=post&id=950

This post has been edited by arctic: 20 August 2004 - 03:12 PM

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#4 User is offline   TopDog 

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Posted 20 August 2004 - 03:56 PM

Given MandrakeSofts ambitions as a distro, I guess we should discuss this from a businessusers view, not the freaks we are, as said before :P/>

With that in mind, I really like the default theme, except from the wallpaper. As said before, too much blue. And the wallpaper doesn't really look that great either. One more thing. I like the default theme better with squared buttons (min/max/close). It looks more professional.

Personally I only use two Virtual Desktops, never felt the need for any more.

The star that replaces tke "K" is a good idea but it doesn't really look that good. It needs a makeover to look more "KDE-ish" if you know what I mean.
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#5 User is offline   Darkelve 

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Posted 20 August 2004 - 04:19 PM

Quote

But it's better having everything clean at start and then add your own modifications than getting many eyecandies on default desktop and then removing many things.

Agreed.

Quote

Maybe just the size of the taskbar and buttons down there.. in my opinion it's more useful if it's set to Normal and for my taste Large is even better.

Same here; I would at least make it "normal" - it is also important I think to be able to clearly 'recognize' what the icons represent, which is easier when they are larger. Plus it is more difficult hovering (puttting your mouse over it) over an icon when they are very small.

Quote

the k-menu-star...

I always wonder: why does it not just say "menu"? That's what it is, no? I mean, the button being called 'start' in Windoze is bad, but a large 'K' just does not 'mean' anything.

Quote

I like to have a Kwrite icon in the kicker rather than openoffice.
I like to have a mcc icon there, too..

ditto

Quote

I don't know about others but I find the Virtual Desktops very useful - so I have set them up to have 4 of them but maybe for start 2 suits more people..i don't know.

SuSe actually has two. I think this is best since it will be a bit less complicated. I do think they have to be on the desktop by default, so they can be discovered faster. Later, they can still customize it to have more, or rename them, or do stuff

On the Window decoration:
I think the 'rounded corner' decoration falls a bit short, IMHO (e.g. the stupid holes at the top right and left corner - does not look very 'rounded' to me). the 'Mandrake Squared' or 'Plastik' window decoration is much nicer, since they are clean, beautiful and probably feel more 'natural' for people converting from windoze. Mdk squared could even be better in this aspect, since it is very clean and quite large by default.

About the shadow effect: I really like that, but I wish you could customize it more easily for different backgrounds.

About the icons: the icons by itself are nice, but I think it would be wonderful if they would all share more or less the same proportions. Further, some icons (like the volume icon - which is ugly to me) do not fit in with the rest. To make matters worse, when installing certain applications, no icon (for your iconset) for that app. is available... icons are tricky to get right... beautiful and *complete* iconsets would prove very helpful. Don't like the 'start new session' icon either, looks too childish.

For the iconset, I would recommend the final version of everaldo's 'crystal' iconset (I'm not 100% sure, but I think the one Mandrake ships is still the 'beta' set): http://www.everaldo.com/

Also, I liked the 'what do you want to do' menu... I think it was very helpful for desktop users new to Linux. Businesses would be another story of course (however, even then it might be useful)

Agreed about the bookmarks everywhere... it's a pain to remove them all, why not just put them somewhere else, centralized.

Also, 'show desktop' icon should be present by default. People converting will be very used to it and might be frustrated because they cannot find it.

A 'make new link/application/directory' wizard (like Xandros has one) would be useful! More of a KDE-thing I suppose.

Concerning the tray icon and kicker: true transparency will be nice! Now sometimes not everything is redrawn correctly and I get a white box around an icon or other strange things.

To arctic: that screenshot you posted is an improvement already, but I don't like the "gaps" between the icons in the taskbar... is there no way to have them (auto-)align?


That's it for now...

This post has been edited by Darkelve: 20 August 2004 - 04:24 PM

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#6 User is offline   bvc 

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Posted 20 August 2004 - 04:24 PM

GNOME
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#7 User is offline   Darkelve 

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Posted 20 August 2004 - 04:25 PM

Somebody, get that Gnome infidel away from here :P/>

This post has been edited by Darkelve: 20 August 2004 - 04:25 PM

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#8 User is offline   bvc 

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Posted 20 August 2004 - 04:30 PM

:P/>
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#9 User is offline   mousematt 

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Posted 20 August 2004 - 05:55 PM

I post this thread and go out to dinner... it's amazing what can happen in a few hours. This is my first contribution - of many - to this discussion.

Three of my gripes about this default setup:

(1) All of the icons seem way too small - the desktop icons seem friendlier at 48 pixels and the kicker panel is reasonably hard to read at this size.

(2) The default konqueror setup has two very ugly components. The first is the very out of place Konqueror "activity indicator" that looks tacky when compared to the low key, "native" versions in Fedora Core and Xandros.

(3) Why does the home folder have to have the tmp directory in it? Does this folder seem necessary - and whats to tell a user that removing it is not a good idea? Also, wouldn't it be wise to add a few more folders in the Home directory: say Downloads, Pictures, Music etc...

Keep this great thread going... and read MandrakeMag :-)
"Reality is for people who cannot understand economic theory" - A/Prof. Robert LEESON, Murdoch University

Desktop: Soltek Qbic Mini-ITX PC (VIA C3 1Ghz, 512M DDR RAM, Ubuntu 4.10, GNOME 2.8)
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#10 User is offline   Darkelve 

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Posted 20 August 2004 - 06:00 PM

I suspect with the screenshot you are providing, people will forget the 'right-click' menus (contextual menus) of KDE desktop and of Konqueror...

aren't these also important?


And about the /tmp directory: perhaps it's better to 'hide' it (e.g. put a . [dot] in front of it)?

This post has been edited by Darkelve: 20 August 2004 - 06:01 PM

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#11 User is offline   mousematt 

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Posted 20 August 2004 - 06:05 PM

Darkelve, on Aug 21 2004, 02:00 AM, said:

I suspect with the screenshot you are providing, people will forget the 'right-click' menus (contextual menus) of KDE desktop and of Konqueror...

aren't these also important?


Excellent point. If I can think of a way to show both the right click and the Mandrake menu at once... I'll happilly change the pic.
"Reality is for people who cannot understand economic theory" - A/Prof. Robert LEESON, Murdoch University

Desktop: Soltek Qbic Mini-ITX PC (VIA C3 1Ghz, 512M DDR RAM, Ubuntu 4.10, GNOME 2.8)
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#12 User is offline   Darkelve 

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Posted 20 August 2004 - 06:14 PM

Take two screenshots and cut&paste in Gimp? e.g. using your virtual desktops

This post has been edited by Darkelve: 20 August 2004 - 06:14 PM

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#13 User is offline   arctic 

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Posted 20 August 2004 - 08:29 PM

Quote

And about the /tmp directory: perhaps it's better to 'hide' it (e.g. put a . [dot] in front of it)?

excellent point. and there should be more folders. suse e.g. has by default a document, one pictures and one video folder in /home. this is very useful. also, there could be an icon in the kicker, linking to these folders (like suse has).
as you can see on my screenshot, the panel is at 38 pixels. thus, the icons are bigger but not as much space is wasted as with the "normal" mode.
to darkelve: yes, the icons in the kicker can be aligned in any other way, thus eliminating the "gap". it was all just made in a hurry, so i didn't take the time to align them properly... call me lazy... ;)/>

edit: just a question: maybe the nuvola iconset is of better use than the crystal? i think it even has more icons than everaldos icon set. i will work on my desktop idea and add further screenies. :)/>

This post has been edited by arctic: 20 August 2004 - 08:33 PM

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Posted 20 August 2004 - 10:10 PM

Actually, the "GNOME" post has some points: the gnome menu is the mandrake star plus the text "Applications" to the right (it also separates "Actions" into another menu, which could be a bit unintuitive, or not). It also has a button for "showing your desktop" in the task bar.

Frankly, I do prefer GNOME over KDE. But let's continue sticking to the point.

- I find the KDE's "Start new session" rocket icon completely unrelated to its meaning. Appropriate icons? I can't think of the GNOME one right now :)/> but I'd prefer something resembling the KDM screen.

-I like the way GNOME splits the task bar between an applications bar at the bottom and a menu bar / tray at the top. Even if it means my 1024 x 768 screen looks a bit crowded.

-I agree with a previous poster (arctic?): the buttons for "Close", "Maximize" and "Minimize" in "Galaxy 2" are not the best: the icons inside the circle look a bit off-centre and "cheap". My favorites are the Plastik style ones.

-Let's not turn this into Linspire, adding root folder icons in every user's desktop. As in Mac OS X, the root user is a tool that should be used the least possible. Do add links or folders for "My pictures", "My docs", "My microsofts" :)/>

-Why the space to the left of the "K menu"? It's much easier to click if it is at the very angle (you don't have to aim, just scroll the mouse).

-Personally, I find the icons too "playful" and "childish" (no offense meant to anyone). As I said, I like GNOME best, partly for this.

-The "Personal" icon in the menu should go with "Actions", as in "Open your personal folder" and not in "Applications".

- I like more the plain clock than the "Digital" one. But it still looks too plain.

-I tend to put my wastebasket to the lower right, away from the "Home" icon. If possible, I'd have a column to the top left just for user folders (Home, My docs, My pics, My songs...) to the left; devices to the top right, waste bin to the low right, and the user free to put his stuff in the remaining space. In the original pic, the icons aren't even organized by importance: at least, "Home" should be first, then welcome, then floppy and CDs, and bin last.

-I like what you did with all the Mandrake bookmarks in a folder on the bookmarks bar in Konq, it looks way cleaner.

-I really liked the dark blue textured background used for Mandrake 10 community ed.
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#15 User is offline   arctic 

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Posted 21 August 2004 - 12:10 AM

okay, here is a new preview-version testing nuvola icons and some of your suggestions. i do think this looks better now. i also added some additional folders to the /home folder and added a link to the different folders in the kicker. notice that the temp folder was hidden.
i am still unhappy with the window decoration. the coloring of the mandrake theme is very difficult. most color combinations look dull, dark or too bright and i must say now, the best thing would be to use plastic or other decoration instead of the galaxy theme. sorry, but the coloring makes galaxy unusable. :unsure:/>

http://mandrakeusers.org/index.php?act=Att...ype=post&id=951

what about the background? darker, lighter, other color, other picture? no picture at all? any suggestions? B)/>
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