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Is there any GREAT graphics programs for Linux?

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Here's a great link for anyone fed up with the GIMP's UI:

 

http://plasticbugs.com/index.php?p=241

 

Steve Moschella, of Plastic Bugs, has taken the core GIMP and reworked the UI so that it looks much more like a conventional application (in this case, Photoshop). A RPM is available too at codemills.com, although I haven't had a chance to download and test it on MDK 10.0 yet.

 

Edit: On the codemills blog, Brent Shellenberg says "The RPM installed just fine in Mandrake 10.1 (powerpack). No dependency issues at all. Cool." But remember, your mileage may vary...

 

Edit 2: The RPM has been taken down due to bandwidth issues. It is apparently available on bitTorrent though.

 

Sean, that sounds interesting. I've downloaded the source and will see if I can compile it under Windows (long shot?). Thanks for the info.

 

@Iphitus, the point is well made about us being ex-shoppers, but I'm sure there have been many more switchers who never batted an eyelid at the culture-shock factor. It's just us bolshie troll bastards that can't resist whingeing :evilmod::jester::banana:

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OK, I'll open this up into a proper religious debate...

 

The GIMP's user interface is unutterably dreadful.

 

yup, though not for the reasons you think it is.

No, not because it's inherently awful - if you did nothing but use the GIMP all day, you'd adjust quickly and you'd be fine. But the trouble is that everything is different from every other applicaion, for no good reason that I can see.

 

I use it occasionally, and although I don't expect to remember exactly where the "cubism" filter is, I certainly shouldn't have to re-learn where the "save" command is every time. On all other programs I use, it's in File > Save or Save as... I can access it via the keyboard as Alt-F S or Alt-F A. On the GIMP, it's in the right-click menu, and this confuses me every time.

 

Again, you may say, "you will get used to it". My reply is "Why should I have to?"

 

Jacob Nielsen, web usability guru, sums it nicely in this page: http://www.useit.com/alertbox/991114.html. He's talking about webpages, but the following quote applies to applications too:

 

If 80% or more of the big sites do things in a single way, then this is the de-facto standard and you have to comply. Only deviate from a design standard if your alternative design has at least 100% higher measured usability. [...] The fact is, no website is seen in isolation: users come to your site expecting things to work the same way they are already used to.

The GIMP is a superb program, but in my opinion its power is much less accessible because its user interface sucks.

 

Right-o, let the flamewar commence...

 

but from the simple fact of the multiple top level window interface.

put it all in one box peoples!!!

forget this interface that can be on 15 different desktops simultaneously!!!

it's as bad as both vi and emacs. ( antiquated alien application logic and command structure )

[ ooooohh the other holy war ] :devil:

but then photoshop needs to do something to fix thier interface also, so don't be thinking that it's worth using. it's not.

 

 

the best interface is versions 8 and 9 of corel's photo-paint.

Edited by Jaqui

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... it's as bad as both vi and emacs. ( antiquated alien application logic and  command structure ) [ ooooohh the other holy war ]  :devil:

Ahh. In the emacs-vs-vi holy war, the only winning move is not to play. I use kwrite almost exclusively - in addition to folding, syntax highlighting, being configurable enough for me, etc., it has those new innovations "the mouse pointer" and "the menu bar".

 

The vi vs emacs holy war is as pointless as arguing whether the Ford Edsel or the Chevrolet Corvair is the better car to buy this year.

 

Of course, now I'll get both sides of that debate flaming me. Oh well...

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I agree with you. Emacs is any good only if I need to edit a file with no X

Haven't used vi really

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I find both horribly counter-intuitive. I don't know why someone hasn't offered a console text-editor that functions more like, say, this quick reply box here. Just a cursor, arrow keys, type text or delete/backspace. What more does one need for emergency configfile-editing?

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Just a side note, go have a look around the GTK applications on your desktop.

 

None of them have MDI.

 

Except the new acrobat reader, they created their own widget to do that.

 

In other words, GTK doesnt have an MDI widget.

 

IMHO, thats a good thing. I would much rather change between my documents on the task bar, rather than using a 'windows' menu up the top.

 

MDI is a bad thing, it's the programs trying to manage windows for themselves, thats a no no, the job of managing windows is for the window manager.

 

iphitus

Edited by iphitus

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MDI is a bad thing, it's the programs trying to manage windows for themselves, thats a no no, the job of managing windows is for the window manager.

 

I'm grudgingly getting used to the SDI-only thing, but I still don't like it. If it's the window manager's job, then it's failing.

 

I do some development work at home, and am constantly frustrated by things. It's a bit like having a nicely organized toolbox at work, but a only a sack at home. I can't organize things the way I want and expect them to stay there.

 

Imagine I have 12 Java files open (using KEdit), and XMMS running, a couple of terminals open, and a couple of images being edited in GIMP. (That's more-or-less the state of my desktop at about 10pm yesterday.)

 

How do I:

 

- Make sense of the toolbar now it has 18 windows on it?

- Make sure that none of the GIMP windows ever overlap the tool palette?

- Switch quickly between the Java windows only?

- Search and replace for the same expression in several Java windows?

- Get the same layout of windows (and constraints on their positions) next time I open the program?

 

These are all things I can do with Programmer's Notepad and Paint Shop Pro on Windows with no problem at all.

 

Anyway, just the opposing view. MDI is good. Whether this is managed by the WM or the app, I don't care.

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Well said dammit!

 

If you told me the WM could be configured to group all the windows of a certain Application together - functionally I mean, so a single Alt+Tab would bring them all up together - then I would consider it to be 'doing its job'.

 

The closest I can get to such functionality under X is to open Gimp in a different Desktop, but that paradigm on a single-user system seems as bogus to me as MDI does to you, Iph. (And of course it doesn't help me on Windows, where I still do most of my dev work.)

 

You might say that Firefox using tabbing is also usurping the WM's job in this way, but I haven't heard anyone complain about this yet.

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Firstly, ive been using linux for nearly 2 yearsnow, and i've grown to like SDI, mainly because it gives me more control, via my WM how things are done. Scriptable WM's like Ion, are a delight to use as they provide the ultimate level of control over how my windows are managed. They work how I want them to. Any MDI based interface within Ion or similar window managers are generally an annoyance.

 

 

- Make sense of the toolbar now it has 18 windows on it?

Make less items.

 

How do I do that? I usually start different programs on different desktops. For me, the toolbar only reflects the items on the currently visible desktop. Switching desktops isnt really an irritation either, I have them bound to F1-F4, and I tend to use the keyboard a lot.

Even then, if i didnt have multiple desktops, XFCE groups them, so i'd only have 4 or 5 items on my taskbar.

 

- Make sure that none of the GIMP windows ever overlap the tool palette?

File > Preferences > Window Management > Hint For the toolbox > Keep above

 

That tells the *wm* to keep the toolbox above. If you want to make it smaller and reclaim more space for images, go preferences > theme > small.

 

- Switch quickly between the Java windows only?

I put all my code windows on another desktop :)

Even if i put them on the same desktop, XFCE groups all the apps that are the same on the toolbar, so i click up there, and use the drop down.

 

However, it would be awesome if a wm implemented an alt tab between existing instances of a program, ie alt tab between text editors only.

 

- Search and replace for the same expression in several Java windows?

Well... I wouldnt have a clue, there is a shortcoming:)

 

Although, surely, this isnt what you do most, and you wouldnt be doing this extremely frequently. It's more of an occasionall thing. Even then, if i were in this situation, i'd pull down a command line and use sed and some good ole bash.

 

- Get the same layout of windows (and constraints on their positions) next time I open the program?

In fluxbox you can right click the window and tell it to remember. For other WM's theres the Devil's Pie. http://www.burtonini.com/blog/computers/devilspie

 

Again, this has never been too much of an issue for me. Most applications I use, do remember it, gimp remember's it's toolbox's location, as does gaim and xchat. I think firefox does as well.

 

Some places a semi MDI, or Tabbed document interface is awesome, for instance tabs in Firefox. And for you, a tabbed text editor would suit you well if you need find/replace multiple documents often. On the other hand, these arent 'pure' MDI applications either, wikipedia for example has them in a different category, more of a middle ground, as these dont have all of the common options of an MDI based UI.

 

But for things like the GIMP, I find MDI more comfortable. You'll find that in many places MDI is being dropped, for example, Microsoft Office is now primarily SDI, and apple's OS'es are almost all entirely SDI. Then again, Apple are design purists :)

 

Personally, I prefer the unified, single method of changing between documents and tasks, via the taskbar or alt tab. It makes life easier just doing it that one way, instead of having to reach over to the mouse to hit the 'window' menu in applicaiton B, or clicking to another tab in application C.

 

oh, and Havin_it, google a little, you'll find a lot of design purists bashing the UI of firefox :)

 

iphitus

Edited by iphitus

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Wow. I see what you mean :shocking:

 

I'd fight them all the way to City Hall. I luuurve tabbing in Firefox (quelle surprise, eh?) and don't find switching from Alt+Tab to Ctrl+Tab much of a pain. I can't say how well other MDI apps reflect this, since I'm quite new to understanding the benefits of the keyboard in a multitasking workflow. (Ouch, bullshit bingo or what?)

 

I guess the thing about the PS/Gimp case is I never thought of the dock and toolbar as separate entities in those terms. Maybe my mind was imprisoned... admittedly it makes no sense to have multiple instances of the tools when you have multiple images open, which I guess would be the fusion of my preferred type of workspace and the SDI paradigm.

 

I guess it's the lack of choice that disappoints. FWIW, I'd campaign just as hard for a Gimp-to-PS switcher's desire to organise their windows in an SDI way. (Honest)

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Make less items ... I usually start different programs on different desktops.

That's an interesting idea. I tend to run MDI programs full-screen anyway, so each one is a bit like a mini-desktop anyway. Using multiple desktops should be a pretty good improvement. Now, how to re-enable multiple desktop support...

File > Preferences > Window Management > Hint For the toolbox > Keep above ... tells the *wm* to keep the toolbox above.

I don't want it above, I want that screen space interdicted for all windows, above, underneath or newly created. Look at the way docking windows work in, say, Visual Studio. My project pane is always on the left, and cannot be overlayed or underlayed by anything. It's not "on top" of the document windows, you simply cannot move windows into that space. THAT's the functionality I'm missing.

 

I hate floating tool windows. To paraphrase Alexei Sayle, I hate floating tool windows more than I hate fascism. Paint Shop Pro's tool options window is a floater now, and I'm constantly having to move the bastard thing out of the way. GIMP has this problem in spades.

XFCE groups all the apps that are the same on the toolbar, so i click up there, and use the drop down.

Same here, but now, instead of just pressing a key to tab between panes, I now have to mouse down, choose from a list of similarly named windows (because they all have the app name in them too) from a pop-up list, and go on from there. Poor substitute, IMO.

Search and replace for the same expression in several Java windows? ... Although, surely, this isnt what you do most, and you wouldnt be doing this extremely frequently

I do it quite a lot. If I decide to change the name of a method, it's defined in one file and used in 5 others. I want to use the same search terms across all open documents in the application.

i'd pull down a command line and use sed and some good ole bash.

Verrry friendly... ;-)

Get the same layout of windows (and constraints on their positions) next time I open the program? ... In fluxbox you can right click the window and tell it to remember.

What about new windows? In MDI apps, they have a well-defined area they are allowed to inhabit. Your toolbars, etc. are in consistent places and are never overdrawn by existing or new windows. As I say - toolbox vs. sack.

It makes life easier just doing it that one way ...

Not necessarily. The way I browse through books on a bookshelf, versus the way I thumb through the pages of a book, are very different from each other. I like to manage related tasks like the pages of a book (bound together, distinct from other books) rather than as a pile of loose leaves.

 

But, thanks for the tip about desktops. That goes a long way toward what I wanted.

 

Edit: Fixed formatting tags - for some reason they all came out as text.

Edited by sellis

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