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Mandrakelinux Default Desktop Discussion

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Even if the first thing the consumer does is alter its desktop, the fact is that a first impression is always important. It's what goes on the screenshots in reviews, what the person who recommends to a friend sees, it's what the user sees first. So it has some importance.

 

Absolutely right. This is why MandrakeMag started this thread and why a lot of people seem to be so passionate about it. There's a big discussion about Galaxy and what it means for Mandrakesoft. Did anyone know that it was designed by Everaldo? The creator of the Crystal iconset?

 

I did some googling and found this original version of the Mandrake Galaxy concept. It clearly shows what Mandrakesoft originally wanted. What does everybody think? Is the current desktop there yet?

 

Everaldo's Original Galaxy Concept Piece

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I did some googling and found this original version of the Mandrake Galaxy concept. It clearly shows what Mandrakesoft originally wanted. What does everybody think? Is the current desktop there yet?

 

Everaldo's Original Galaxy Concept Piece

no. the galaxy applied there looks much better, except the fact that the buttons are a bit hard to see/recognize. but i do like the gradient he applied for the original galaxy theme. it is softer, a little bit more elegant.

just an idea: the pager in kde is hard-beveled grey by default. xfce and gnome have it in flat-softgray. i think that it would be better for an overall consistent look to have the kde pager also in a flat-softgray mode... if this is possible at all.

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I don't think it is possible arctic - without changing KDE itself. My own pager has preview disabled and does not display workspace names or numbers: but it still isn't flat like GNOME or XFCE. I'm not sure it is possible.

 

Expect a new design for my Mandrake business desktop later this evening. *Back to study*

Edited by mousematt

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I love Everaldo's work and I love the 2 panel view. I wonder why Mandrake changed it. Perhaps they have been looking too much at Gnome and spatial nautilus :D.

 

That said I agree the fonts should be sharp and it's all very grey. I've never understood why everything needs to be so grey. Look at the deafault style of this forum. It's a very nice blue colour and there is no reason why Mandrake shouldn't use something like that. People don't find computers easier to use because everything is grey.

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Oh man .... where to start. How about with a funny comment. The star. Yes the one in KDE/Gnome that "starts" the menu. You see I live in California, and the yellow star is a registered logo of a chain of fast food resteraunts called Carls Jr. You wouldn't believe the number of times I've been asked if I was running Carls Jr. Linux. (I've since found out the name MDK gave it and no longer have the star. )

 

The weaknesses of the MDK desktop as I see it. ( and suggestions)

 

1. There are more colors in the world than Blue Grey and Yellow.

2. The Mandrake specific Icons where ugly when I first saw them on 7.0 and they really haven't improved. They really have a TWM look to them and having Crystal SVG as the default icon set only makes it worse.

3. The desktop is too flat. It makes Linux look an IBM PCjr in a room full of Amiga's. It needs desperately a feeling of depth. There are a number of beautiful, simple and very Mandrake wallpapers on kde-look.org. My suggestion of one that fits beautifully with Galaxy is this one. Wallpaper 1 or to get rid of the blue and grey Wallpaper 2

4. Follow the theme ... Like making the default in xmms this one Galaxy Xmms Skin

5. Following whatever Red Hat does. STOP Please. Red Hat proved that an ugly desktop would chase away users.

6. Don't look to XP for answers either. (A-La Plastik) Move beyond them and go to the master of beautiful desktops. Mac. Open their "style" requirements and implement them.

7. Different wallpapers on the Virtual Desktops. Many new users don't know what the pager does. If the wallpaper is identical they don't realize they change desktops. Changing wallpapers is a visual clue to the potential here.

8. Go back to the layout of MCC circa 9.2 One of the things that is earning SuSE raves is that they dropped the layout MDK went to and picked up the old MDK layout.

9. The Mandrake specific Icons don't scale well at all. The designs are not "clean" so when you look at them they look "fuzzy" this is really apparent comparing the golden star to icon sets like H3O, or Crystal SVG etc.

10. Make sure that the icons on the default desktop... freshly opened. Never used before, actually Line up.

11. Give the default wallper from release to release the same name. So when a user upgrades they don't have the last versions wallpaper. (please no arguments on upgrade vs fresh install if they keep their /home the problem exists either way.)

12. Code to the UI .... don't make the UI try to fit the code.

 

A business like desktop doesn't have to be flat and dull. Flat and dull doesn't mean it's a business desktop. What makes a desktop (or anything else.) business quality is crispness and cleaness. The fine grained attention to detail that says, "I care". M$ has proved that looking good is often more important than being good. (it sold 95 98 and XP for them. ) Apple proved that you can sell old hardware just by make the desktop sing. The theory is proven. Next step is to make it a part of Mandrakes method.

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Nothing wrong with the colours. Other companies use the same (NS) and it looks perfectly presentable.

 

I like the star. It looks French (same as the Michelin puppet, a bit weird but fun. A pity they had to drop the wizard for legal reasons). It can't be helped that in some markets people associate it with other products (lucky not with an obscenitiy :D ).

 

If a 2D desktop is easier to use then a desktop with 'depth' I don't know but I guess it's a factor. Personnely I like a 3D look but I can understand older people finding it more difficult. Still a 2D look doesn't have to be ugly (look at the link)

Edited by devries

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The Mandrake specific Icons don't scale well at all. The designs are not "clean" so when you look at them they look "fuzzy" this is really apparent comparing the golden star to icon sets like H3O, or Crystal SVG etc.

hmm.. especially the kontact icon can be improved imho.

Different wallpapers on the Virtual Desktops. Many new users don't know what the pager does. If the wallpaper is identical they don't realize they change desktops.

agreed, but what kind of wallpapers should be there then? it will be hard to create a coherent look with different wallpapers, because, if they look to similar, users won't note the difference. if they are too different, the galaxy-look/feel will be destroyed...

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Calm down guys!

 

I'd guess that we're talking about what a new user probably an ex Windows user expects or needs to see on his desktop.

 

My Computer equivalent.

Network Places / Connections

If you have a Windows partiition that should turn up as well.

Label the Kmenue button as Menu or Start.

 

Reusability and familiarity are important marketing concepts!

 

From a personal perspective I like it. It's clean, tidy, fairly attractive and easy to manipulate.

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I don't think it is possible arctic - without changing KDE itself. My own pager has preview disabled and does not display workspace names or numbers: but it still isn't flat like GNOME or XFCE. I'm not sure it is possible.

ha, it is possible... i just remembered that at kde-look.org, there must be in the "kde improvements" section a mandrake-rpm for a program, called kicker-pager that lets you control the style of the pager. e.g. traditional way, flat design or backgound picture in it. this could be included in mandrake. ;)

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The Mandrake specific Icons don't scale well at all. The designs are not "clean" so when you look at them they look "fuzzy" this is really apparent comparing the golden star to icon sets like H3O, or Crystal SVG etc.

hmm.. especially the kontact icon can be improved imho.

 

One of many.

Different wallpapers on the Virtual Desktops. Many new users don't know what the pager does. If the wallpaper is identical they don't realize they change desktops.

agreed, but what kind of wallpapers should be there then? it will be hard to create a coherent look with different wallpapers, because, if they look to similar, users won't note the difference. if they are too different, the galaxy-look/feel will be destroyed...

 

How about an embossed "Desktop2" in the upper right hand corner? (for the terminally inept.) But seriously they only need 2 wallpapers. The two I suggested from KDE look would do (and there are a number of them there that do fit.)

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Calm down guys!

 

I'd guess that we're talking about what a new user probably an ex Windows user expects or needs to see on his desktop.

 

My Computer equivalent.

Network Places / Connections

If you have a Windows partiition that should turn up as well.

Label the Kmenue button as Menu or Start.

 

Reusability and familiarity are important marketing concepts!

 

From a personal perspective I like it.  It's clean, tidy, fairly attractive and easy to manipulate.

 

Where I agree that your points have merit. You are starting to run into the problem that WinCE had. (BTW WinCE is probably the best OS out of Redmond. Stable as heck, lightweight etc.) But the problem it had was that it looked tooooooooo much like Windows the full version. So people expected it to do exactly what windows did. Unfortunately in 32 megs of space you can't do what a 1Gig OS can do. Since Linux (thankfully) isn't windows you need to be careful... Besides Windows really is ugly. :cheesy: Linux isn't Windows in the way the user and the OS interact.

 

Besides ... if we are always following M$ doesn't that doom us to the #2 spot? We won't win over windows user by being like windows. If I tell a Windows bigot that Linux is "Just like Windows" ... I've lost them immediately. But if I tell them "Linux can allow you to be more productive than Windows" I get their attention.

 

So for the group let me ask. What does the windows UI do wrong, and how can we do it better?

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Guest Adriano

Right now, as of Win XP, it still doesn't enforce itself. It's supposed to be a true multiuser OS, but some programs still do not work as expected (e.g. Winamp still has to be installed individually by each user in order to work: The expected behaviour is the admin installing it and each user having a winamp folder in their "Documents and settings" private folder).

 

If you have a desktop especially planned to hold important and frequently used icons, why does Win have to add crap into the "Start" menu? Just add the icons to the desktop, one mouse movement and click closer. If I routinely use Acrobat, just show the icon on the desktop, in a "special" area, so it's immediately visible. Perhaps in a quickbar (The Mac OS X Dock, maybe?) to avoid hiding it when a window is maximized. Not in the menu, where it creates confusion (before XP, it was easy to find your programs in the start menu. Now it's harder).

 

Anyone who has worked with Windows Explorer knows how hard it is to use. Konq and Nautilus copy some of its flaws, like making it very hard to drag n drop files between two folders with lots of files (try it, you'll see what I mean). But, since "multiuser-ness" is a new thing, duct-taped into XP, you have long-named folders (not "home/adriano" but "Something\Documents and Settings\Adriano"). Things go to where they are supposed to. Sometimes.

 

Providing administrator and common user accounts and choosing the wrong one as default must be another tick in the list: not only Linux, but Mac OS does this right... It ain't that hard.

 

Offending me (maybe not everybody, but surely me) by implying I am an idiot or a 4-year-old with their Fisher price interface was a bad one. Anything looks better than "that". The first thing I do when installing it for my brother is return to the "old" settings. I guess this is part of why I have a pinch of dislike for Crystal icons: as I said before, they look too "cute" to me, and may remind me subconsciously of this insult. YMMV, of course.

 

A long rant about computers and MS and my aunt followed. Fortunately, I controlled myself.

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yes, the icons in kde are driving me crazy. the crystal-icons remind me of children-stuff. they would blend well with winxp-deco-fisher-price-design imho and the mac icons should not be used for logical reasons (although they do look great). :P sadly, i have to state that the win98 icons were one of the best for everyday use. apart from gnomes suede and bluecurve icons. right now, there is a variant of bluecurve in work for kde (called krystalcurve) which is very beautiful and good for everyday work, but it is not completed yet and might take one or two years till its final release.

 

i hope it will once become the kde default-icon set. we urgently need good and not too brightly colored kde icons that can easily be recognized even if the taskbar is set to "minimal".

 

when i think of windows biggest strength, it was the understatement-desktop they had till win98. sometimes, less is more. apart from that i do not know any advandtages/plus points of windows (the plus points were adobes software, but credit goes to adobe, not to windows ;)).

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Hey, why are we talking Windows now? I don't think doing that too much is very productive. Let us concentrate instead on what is available/possible with the current Mdk/Kde-desktop.

Edited by Darkelve

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Oh man .... where to start.  ... for brevity

The weaknesses of the MDK desktop as I see it. ( and suggestions)

 

    1.  There are more colors in the world than Blue Grey and Yellow. 

Yep thats simple but you got better points... so moving on

    2.  The Mandrake specific Icons where ugly when I first saw them on 7.0 and they really haven't improved.  They really have a TWM look to them and having Crystal SVG as the default icon set only makes it worse.

Yep its like they personalised it badly... this really gives a feeling of being inferior.. just leaving a KDe default would be better... Ill agree to the scaling now too.... yuck!

    3.  The desktop is too flat.  It makes Linux look an IBM PCjr in a room full of Amiga's.

Yep once again plenty of choice but they choose the retro look!

    4.  Follow the theme ... Like making the default in xmms this one Galaxy Xmms Skin 

 

    5.  Following whatever Red Hat does.  STOP Please.  Red Hat proved that an ugly desktop would chase away users. 

Yep once again if they had chosen a scheme and stuck with it instead of there own very amaturish one!!!

 

    6.  Don't look to XP for answers either.  (A-La Plastik) Move beyond them and go to the master of beautiful desktops.  Mac.  Open their "style" requirements and implement them. 

Plenty of better stuff and I agree on the expectations too. Why copy XP when linux doesnt work like XP?? (thank goodness)

    7.  Different wallpapers on the Virtual Desktops.  Many new users don't know what the pager does.  If the wallpaper is identical they don't realize they change desktops.  Changing wallpapers is a visual clue to the potential here.

Well even the same one with DeskTop1-4 actually labelled giving the noobie the visual clue thay have mutli desktops and can change em!!!

8-9 Covered already...

    10.  Make sure that the icons on the default desktop... freshly opened.  Never used before,  actually Line up. 

LOL ... sometimes the obvious

 

    11.  Give the default wallper from release to release the same name.  So when a user upgrades they don't have the last versions wallpaper.  (please no arguments on upgrade vs fresh install if they keep their /home the problem exists either way.)

 

And about another 1001 other stupid oddities making work for upgrades (and yes clean install with same home)....

This is one of the worst areas for me... the work you have to do after an 'upgrade' be it making it pretty again OR recompiling a kernel to get hardware working again!!

 

    12.  Code to the UI .... don't make the UI try to fit the code. 

 

This is IMHO the most relevant... the whole general crappyness is becuase Mandrake have tried to make the same look 'n' feel across Gnome/KDE and even ICE.. and it just results in the lowest common denominator of each ...not to mention stupid hacks (yellow star included) ...

 

Criky... keep the wallpaper but don't impose icon sets or menu's ..

I hate the Mandrake menu with a vengence... its the first thing I turn off... I want different menu's in different desktops... becuase I use different WM/DM for different functions... (OK mainly minimalistic and KDE) but mostly this just confuses users... the DM/WM look the same so the user expects them to act the same...

 

90% of the crappy look could be fixed if MDK had started with the maxim of if it isnt broke dont fix it!

 

Id say choose a DM/WM and use it... not try and tame it

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