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arctic

Which way to go for linux/comp-systems?

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Since i am something of a computer veteran (started with an amstrad cpc464, then switched to amiga, xt/at, 386, 486, ppc, 586), i do think a bit about the direction, computer programs/computing go(es). So here is my last thought or question.

 

a long time ago, in a computer-envrionment far, far away, programs used to be minimalistic. we worked with bash commands, we wrote our thesis', articles, letters with programs like word for dos, we didn't really use much of a top-notch-graphical desktop. yeah, it was partially due to the fact that the hardware was not as "powerful" as it is today and thus, we had to work with less options, but we nonetheless completed our tasks. and did it take more time? not really, because the process of developing our work in mind before using the comp was imho a logical approach to work. now, we have programs that have more and more options, but until we know all these options, it takes a lot of time. and: we get lazy. yes, lazy. most people write a letter, a program, a whatdoiknow, but they do not think of a real project plan to follow. lots of work is done by doing it in any thinkable way, and then, if things fail, we start (or try) to fix it. the result is the same amount of time (or even more) spent on a project.

 

today, we use hardware that actually is "too powerful"for most everyday tasks. what do we need a 128mb graphics card, if we only write papers? what do we need a subwoofer-supporting sound card, if we already have a hifi next to our television? what do we need a 4 ghz processor, if we can equally do it with a 80mhz processor? :juggle:

 

yes, we need some of this stuff, because our desktops are peppered with eyecandy. sure, we like to see something beautiful. but is a computer not in first place a working-machine? the question is: why do we have these bloated desktops? because of windows? because of apple? because we want them? it could be, but who knows?... what we have is software that uses lots of memory etc. and before we get a bug-free program, a new desktop gets published (look e.g. at microsoft) and all the bug-stuff is back again.

 

sure, eliminating bugs is some kind of fun, but only for those, who actually know how to eliminate them. for the average user, they are simply frustrating. in 20 years, i have never seen a program that is completely bugfree. the question is: do programmers want bugs to exist or are they living in a microcosmos that lets them forget the average users problems? :unsure:

 

so, what now? should future linux-desktops stop bloating like microsoft desktops and instead give the average user a completely bug-free desktop environment that is fast and flexible or do linux programmers have to battle the "innovations" of other operating systems? how about a new install option: minimalistic surrounding for those who want it (even more reduced than fluxbox etc, e.g. not using windowing at all) and the current install option with all its eye candy for those who want it?

 

i sometimes wonder if the progress we make with computing/programming is really a progress. and what do you think?

:joker:

Edited by arctic

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One thought:

I think that when Longhorn comes out, a machine half as powerful as the machine Longhorn is running on (and much cheaper) will still be able to run Linux just as fast. And on a machine with the same specs, blindingly fast.

 

The constant hardware race is annoying because at the moment it doesn't really add much extra value.

 

I doubt there will be many innovations that can convince people to keep buying or upgrade. Most people are OS-agnostic and application-centric. People working with computers care about the applications and the tasks they can handle.

 

And I think people like KDE and Gnome team are already trying to make "a completely bug-free desktop environment that is fast and flexible" (and easy to use).

 

I'd say Linux is about on the right trick right now.

 

And as a final comment: eye candy not only has artistic value, but possibly also has a practical use. E.g. gradients and things to make things more smooth and easy on the eyes, shadows etc. to draw attention to or away from a certain spot, ... and like stated on dozens of threads in this forum, you can use any WM you want.

Edited by Darkelve

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Bloat is, I think, in the eye of the beholder. I do think we still need the heavy desktops like KDE and Gnome. If we are to win the battle for the hearts and minds of Windows users we must show them something they will be able to use intuitively. Do I use these DMs? No. But when I first installed here I did put them on to give my wife an interface she would be able to use easily. Then I showed her lighter and faster ways to do things.

 

My 2 cents is that we leave that sort of thing there - all the bloat you can imagine. After all, we do not have to installit and it will give people new to *nix something they can teeth on. Saves us from looking like zealots who do not give a damn about the average user as well. Which in turn will bring more converts.

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????????????????????????????????????????????????

? ?

?Does that mean if we use kde or gnome were still teething?

? ?

?????????????????????????????????????????????????

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i think the distro should make the n00b install, where it installs one desktop. from this point, the n00b should have the choice as to which packages they want installed, with out knowing that they are packages. they could be asked if they want gnome office (if they go with gnome) or koffice (if they go with kde) or openoffice, and a choice of media palyer/s.

 

we could still offer more control to the more experienced user on install.

 

 

by going this way, we make the bloat up to the user and make it simple for the n00b while powerfull and flexable for the experienced.

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Customization.

 

The one-size-fits-all approach is not winning more market anymore - not the embedded market and server market.

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bugs are an inevitable part of programming. progammers are human, they make mistakes. i don't think Linus and his crew like it when there's a bug that they have to figure out and they know that as soon as the word spreads they'll be ripped to shreds by the media and the community. I know I wouldn't enjoy that.

 

As for "bloat"....I use every last big of my system every day. I often run my memory to the brink, push my processor to full usage, and heat up my video card something fierce. Why? Because I play games and render images. I need the power of my system, in fact I could use more! It's simply knowing what you need to do the job at hand and having said tools.

 

If all you need is word processing, email, and web surfing - go buy an old 750mhz cpu.

 

As for GUI's - a lot of that "eye candy" is functional. I like that in fvwm I can have it set to minimize my programs as small pictures of themselves on my desktop. Why? Because it's so much easier to identify the window I want! I don't have to try to read words, I just look. I think that improves my productivity.

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The answer is to give the user power.

I think we under estimate the average winblows convert's ability to read. If the average distro said ... these are two popualr window managers and you can choose either/or both for KDE/Gnome then mentions flux, waimia et al as more advanced but less resource intensive alternatives then I think you get best of both BUT many many people stick with there first WM/DM and never change.

Linux_learner and Darkelve will know this from a suse thread ...

 

Something over 90% of Suse users in a survey were using KDE...(default)

Now I love KDE but I know full well its well less than 90% of MUBers.

 

bloat isnt just WM/DM... OpenOffice is bloated but it runs OK on my AMD64 3000+ with a Gig of RAM so why not!

 

I find Drak wizards bloat.... like I mentioned on the arch thread ...

 

bloat isnt just about system resources it can be about confusion and masking whats going on.

 

I think Gentoo and Arch are mature distro's ... but they can tend towards snobbism but so what. ....

I support the right of arch/gentoo to be simple and stick to KISS but for the good of linux they should be clear that they are not the easiest for a complete noob to get started on BUT the complete noob will no longer be a noob by the time they install gentoo. (havent tried arch)

 

Its important to me (and I think for linux) to keep certain standards and I don't care if that might be naming utilities after stupid spells or renaming daemons (aka 2 recent threads) both are equally stupid IMHO.

 

As I said on the arch thread ill try arch becuase its meant to be clean... not for any speed increase.

 

Personally I think we (linux) are getting a bit bloated in general... I remember non bz kernels <1.4MB!

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"The answer is to give the user power."

 

Choice is power, you can choose a distro like Mandrake and create a 'lean & clean' install to some point, or you can go hog wild and load it up with everything you can imagine, I prefer somewhere in between these extremes. Or you can go Arch, Gentoo or Deb and really stick to the basics and have to really "know" Linux to get very far. Is either way wrong? Unlike life in the MS world you have an option, a true sense of user power.

 

The point is there are plenty of distros out there, and there really is something for everybody. And has been often noted, many people switch distros for something "deeper" as their Linux experience progresses, something that isn't too painful or expensive given all distros offer a "free as in beer" version. I'm of 2 minds about it, I am capable and lean toward the command line in most cases, but once in a while it's just faster to open Konq and drag some files from one directory to another.

 

"I think we under estimate the average winblows convert's ability to read."

 

Perhaps you spend too much time with I.T. people, an easy trap to fall into when you work in our industry. I work with some capable and enthusiastic people (and some real idiots as well, but mostly the first group) and they can and do devour documentation so they can really "know" how their PC works and what their software does. But they are the tiny minority, and I think the majority of people enjoy the eye candy and extra features we think of as bloat. The vast majority of end users will not go to the command line if they can get the same functionality, even through a slower, more laborious and click-filled procedure, if they don't have to.

 

I almost feel guilty sometimes running gDesklets or SuperKarmba with sysinfo themes when I know I can get the same information from running Top, but damnit if Superkarmba doesn't look really cool, and like you said (and I agree) my PC is over-powered for what I do with it, so is there really any harm putting those CPU cycels to work for fun? I know the moral answer to that question is that we should all be running Folding or Seti clients with that idle energy, but for a few minutes lets just be selfish.

 

And I don't think running a minimalistic (or no) window manager is going to prevent bugs in software, there were plenty of bugs and bad code long before Windows emerged.

 

I get your point, and even agree with it to a point, but the truth is the problem is already solved and you have a choice. And judging by the popularity of Mandy and the traffic and KDE-Look I would say that plenty of people are willing to fight the bugs for the eye-candy, so everyone should really be happy.

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"No non-trivial program is bug-free"

 

and the corollary:

 

"If a program is bug-free, it's trivial"

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????????????????????????????????????????????????

?                                                                                            ?

?Does that mean if we use kde or gnome were still teething?

?                                                                                            ?

?????????????????????????????????????????????????

 

Not at all. If you have the resources to run it all power to you. I don't and have a preference for an ultra clean desktop anyway. My point is really that they allow people with no experience outside windows something to work with in an environment that appears mostly familiar.

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I work with some capable and enthusiastic people (and some real idiots as well, but mostly the first group) and they can and do devour documentation so they can really "know" how their PC works and what their software does. But they are the tiny minority, and I think the majority of people enjoy the eye candy and extra features we think of as bloat. The vast majority of end users will not go to the command line if they can get the same functionality, even through a slower, more laborious and click-filled procedure, if they don't have to.

Yes, many people enjoy the eyecandy and that is understandable. but: i also know many people, especially older people who are somewhat scared by all the eyecandy, all these cute icons, the fancy wallpapers, toylike window decorations. it is, simply said, too much for them, they have problems in "orientation", when confronted with something like kde, gnome, windows or whaddoiknow.

 

of course, you can set up a desktop e.g. in kde that only shows you an icon for web-browsing, one for e-mail and one for writing documents. but not all people have someone by their side that will set up these things for them. a computer is for many persons, age 50+ something strange, unfamiliar. so, the less optical disturbances, the better. if you drive in car on a highway from berlin to paris, you want to find paris at once, looking at a sign, telling you "paris: straight ahead" and not "drive to hannover, then look at the little citys along the way, they are worth a visit, then head on to cologne and ... ah... there brussels... beatuiful... and the normandie... where did you want to go to?".

 

i asked myself, if there could be something done e.g. about folders. if you open a graphics-program, the default folder should be e.g. /arctic/pictures, for documents /arctic/documents, for email-storage /arctic/mail. but this is not always that way. we have many folder trees that are disturbing and irritating many people. i remember my mom, when she first had to work with an e-mail client, she simply didn't know, how to find the documents for upload, because the mail client (in windows) started in some cryptic /programs/mozilla/... folder and there was no way to change this.

 

i dunno, maybe the folder-trees and the linking of programs to folders should be redone = be more simplistic. but will this be possible? i doubt it.

Edited by arctic

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Yes, many people enjoy the eyecandy and that is understandable. but: i also know many people, especially older people who are somewhat scared by all the eyecandy, all these cute icons, the fancy wallpapers, toylike window decorations. it is, simply said, too much for them, they have problems in "orientation", when confronted with something like kde, gnome, windows or whaddoiknow.

 

of course, you can set up a desktop e.g. in kde that only shows you an icon for web-browsing, one for e-mail and one for writing documents. but not all people have someone by their side that will set up these things for them. a computer is for many persons, age 50+ something strange, unfamiliar. so, the less optical disturbances, the better. if you drive in car on a highway from berlin to paris, you want to find paris at once, looking at a sign, telling you "paris: straight ahead" and not "drive to hannover, then look at the little citys along the way, they are worth a visit, then head on to cologne and ... ah... there brussels... beatuiful... and the normandie... where did you want to go to?".

 

i asked myself, if there could be something done e.g. about folders. if you open a graphics-program, the default folder should be e.g. /arctic/pictures, for documents /arctic/documents, for email-storage /arctic/mail. but this is not always that way. we have many folder trees that are disturbing and irritating many people. i remember my mom, when she first had to work with an e-mail client, she simply didn't know, how to find the documents for upload, because the mail client (in windows) started in some cryptic /programs/mozilla/... folder and there was no way to change this.

 

i dunno, maybe the folder-trees and the linking of programs to folders should be redone = be more simplistic. but will this be possible? i doubt it.

 

Arctic, what you are asking for is an appliance, not a computer. I agree with this to some extent, my parents need a basic terminal for email, web surfing, pictures and word processing. Anything above that is a complete waste on them and I spend a good deal of time making sure things are simple for them. They simply won't click on things "just to see what they do". You can clearly blame this on MS who worked hard for the last 10 years to kill off any "appliance" or "net PC" that came up to keep their Windows and Office revenue high.

 

You can't bury the file system on a full blown computer, so unless you want to set up a machine in kiosk mode you have to live with it, and clearly it isn't for everyone. I think MS and their continuos march to dumb things down is a big part of the problem, what we need are computers and net appliances, can the market and Linux being free finally create this market?

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Arctic, what you are asking for is an appliance, not a computer.

yes and no. sure, i am asking for a simple way to do things, but must i cripple down a computer system, in order to make it usable for older people? if there were not so much possibilities of bloating systems due to the hardware we have, all would imho be more reduced to the stuff we really need and we would think more of how we construct an operating system, given the limited resources.

 

right now, we tend to program everything the way we like, as long as it works, because with the current technology, it doesn't really matter if one app uses 10 or 30 mb ram. we have enough hardware resources, we can write a "not so clean" code for programs and nobody will cry "foul, you wasted 5 mb ram". i still think that programmers and user got lazy due to the constant "technological progress" we make.

 

yes, some might state that they constantly need all the power their comp has. but for what? most have to agree that they need that power for gaming. boooh! that is no reason for defending bloated and thus complicated systems imho. and rendering images? i have done that on less powerful computers. okay, it might take 2 hours longer, but what the heck? if it takes some more time, then let it and drink a coffee or read a book in the meantime. there are better things to do in life than working faster and faster and faster and faster and ...

;)

Edited by arctic

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