Thursday, November 19, 2009

Gnome vs. KDE pt 1

For those who are just joining us, the Gnome vs. KDE argument is one @vmearl and I have somewhat regularly. My opinion is more or less the same as Linus Torvalds', but with less shouting. The article I linked to there is actually biased against Linus' position, so this is definitely not astroturfing.


@dreamrock Man I have no idea, I tried KDE back in January with Kubuntu. My impressions were that Gnome was for power users more.

I suppose forcing users to download a third party app or edit config files by hand in order to do something basic like adding programs to a menu could be considered "for power users," but I see it as needless hand-holding.

In KDE, if I want to make a chance, I right-click on it, and—voila!—I have access to make whatever changes I want.

Admittedly, I haven't used Gnome on a non-Debian-based platform in a long time. However, even on the non-Debian-based distributions I've used, Gnome seems incredibly dumbed down. On one hand, it's clearly copying a lot of Mac OS design ideas (the annoying permanent menu bar at the top being my least favorite element of that arrangement), but on the other hand, they organize the menus in a really bizarre fashion that makes it hard to find things.

It's never clear to me where they put things, and their tools (like network configuration, etc.) seem to be really hampered by a mentality that "Oh, that's too complex a concept for you lowly users. Let us pick the best option for you and let's just pretend there weren't any other ways to do it."

I can work with the command line and make changes that way, but I would rather my window manager not treat me like an especially dumb child. For all their talk about making things simpler for users who don't know how to use a computer, I think they've actually made things a great deal worse.

If you have to send your grandma to the command prompt to do more than the five things the Gnome folks deemed useful and easy enough for the "uneducated hill folk" to understand, you're probably going to have a very upset grandma. And understandably so. After all, sure it was a pain to get Wifi working in Windows, but at least she didn't have to curse the text box with the evil spells to get on the glorious tubes.

Also, have they improved Nautilus yet? The old KDE file manager was brilliant and didn't need updating, but KDE wasn't content with that and replaced it with Dolphin. Nautilus was outdated by NT4 standards when I used it five years go. Ugh, I hate Nautilus so much.


  1. You know, I think the big difference IS that I'm using it on Fedora. Fedora does a lot of its own special configuration, not the least of which is a special menu which for me was basically the same as the one on KDE.

    The panels are removable with right-click. Everything can be moved as one pleases just by right-clicking it. The menu can be edited by right-click (though actually in F12 there seems to be a bug where that option has gone away). Programs can be added using the file browser or just typing in the command. It's all on GUI and it's all very easy. Even in-depth network configuration is accessible from the System menu, and NetworkManager is fine unless your system has special hardware set-up.

    I've not used Gnome on anything else besides Fedora, but if it doesn't have that sort of stuff, yeah that is pretty retarded. :P KDE for me was unstable when I used it in January, and had this weird icon in the corner that I could not get rid of from what I could tell. Gnome DOES make you keep one panel, and I believe that is because it's the only way to properly access the Gnome GUI to add a panel, but you can change the orientation. I am hoping for Gnome to do proper autohide and doubled-up icons, which I admit are serious failings but are not important to me. And I don't know anything about the gnome devel community so maybe they are just refusing, I dunno.

  2. PS: Nautilus seems fine. I never noticed anything missing.

  3. Most of those sound like things that Fedora has added to make Gnome usable. Many props to Fedora for doing that and hopefully the Debian-based distros will follow their lead, but if Gnome isn't doing that stuff by default, Gnome is still screwed up.

    On the subject of Nautilus, have they added filtering to Nautilus?

    That's one of the things that irks me about Windows file managers and irked me about Nautilus when I had to use it.

    It's so simple to say *.whatever in a File Open dialog. It shouldn't be any harder than that in a file manager.

  4. Don't believe filtering is there, no. O:

    I partly just really don't like how KDE says "LOL here's a release that needs beta or alpha testing." It should not be common practice to release a *.0 with that many bugs. But this may be just KDE and Fedora not playing very nice, since Gnome is the default and probably is given considerably more attention. And yes, Gnome should probably do all that by default, but there's a LOT of things Fedora does sanely that the upstream components do not. For example, last I checked everyone else was still using xorg.conf for even basic X11 configurations. ;D