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Linux Mint 12 Released Today

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the fresh-tux dept.

GNOME 396

An anonymous reader writes "Linux Mint 12 was released today. It includes the new 'MGSE' (Mint Gnome Shell Extensions), a desktop layer on top of Gnome 3 that makes it possible for you to use Gnome 3 in a traditional way. MGSE's Gnome-2-Like experience includes features such as the bottom panel, the application menu, the window list, a task-centric desktop and visible system tray icons. MGSE is a 180-degree turn from the desktop experience the Gnome Team is developing with Gnome-Shell. At the heart of the Gnome-Shell is a feature called 'the Overview': 'The Shell is designed in order to minimize distraction and interruption and to enable users to focus on the task at hand. A persistent window list or dock would interfere with this goal, serving as a constant temptation to switch focus. The separation of window switching functionality into the overview means that an effective solution to switching is provided when it is desired by the user, but that it is hidden from view when it is not necessary.' The popularity of Mint 12 with MGSE may be an excellent barometer as to whether users prefer a task-centric or application-centric desktop."

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396 comments

Interesting, but (5, Interesting)

ksd1337 (1029386) | more than 2 years ago | (#38177986)

will it offer any benefit over just using GNOME 2?

Re:Interesting, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38178016)

Maybe security updates? Other than that, I can see no reason.

Re:Interesting, but (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38178402)

Other than that, I can see no reason.

Of course not. You're a Waggener Edstrom employee posting on behalf of Microsoft.
http://waggeneredstrom.com/clients [waggeneredstrom.com]

It's part of your role to disseminate misleading propaganda pretending your client' competitors aren't improving much faster than your client.

Monitoring conversations, including those that take place with social media, is part of our daily routine; our products can be used as early warning systems, helping clients with rapid response and crisis management.
http://waggeneredstrom.com/about/approach [waggeneredstrom.com]

Re:Interesting, but (2)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178044)

No, but since Gnome 2 isn't being developed any more, there's not much choice if you don't want to use a crappy interface which tries to hide some of the most important tools from users.

Re:Interesting, but (1)

ksd1337 (1029386) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178072)

What about MATE? I thought that was a maintenance fork.

Re:Interesting, but (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38178100)

It's an option in Mint 12, actually.

Re:Interesting, but (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38178238)

http://www.linuxmint.com/rel_lisa_whatsnew.php#mate

Re:Interesting, but (2)

Kevin108 (760520) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178264)

It is an option but the font rendering is on par with FVWM so everything looks like Windows 95. LXDE is a better choice.

Re:Interesting, but (4, Informative)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178722)

1. Font rendering in anything Gnome is all done by freetype regardless of the toolkit libraries.
2. fvwm is a window manager.

Re:Interesting, but (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178274)

tools in a DE is problem #1 with DE's, if I want tools I will install them, not hope KDE or GNOME shoehorns some shitty implementation of it

Re:Interesting, but (5, Insightful)

Tr3vin (1220548) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178062)

Security updates and support. I'm not the biggest fan of GNOME 3 or Unity but what Mint is doing isn't bad. Ubuntu had driven me away to OpenSUSE powered by KDE, but I found that I didn't like a lot of the KDE apps. Mint has made GNOME 3 more usable for me, and has really simplified some of the configuration and setup that was a pain in OpenSUSE. I run it on a MacBook Pro for compiling / cross-compiling programs and unlike OpenSUSE, everything just worked right out of the box. So far I am very pleased with it.

Re:Interesting, but (5, Informative)

Clived (106409) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178532)

Same here. I loaded Mint 12 with Gnome 3 today. The option to use the Gnome 2 seemed like a waste of time. I like Gnome 3, use it on a Fedora 16 laptop. On Mint, everything worked right out of the box, including samba. Good stuff

My two bits

Re:Interesting, but (4, Informative)

drb226 (1938360) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178578)

I think "works right out of the box" is the main goal of Linux Mint. Definitely recommended for newbies, and for those of us who care enough to want Linux but don't really care enough to set up all of our own custom configs. Not that Mint isn't customizable.

Re:Interesting, but (2)

datavirtue (1104259) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178728)

For newbies or people who want to get something done, like you know, build software. I love hacking on stuff (slack is actually my favorite dist), but when I'm wanting to bang out a new release or read slashdot it just needs to work without a bunch of dinking around. I have been using Mint 11 with Gnome classic (selectable on the login screen) and my only complaint is that bar-code scanners do not work and the printers don't just appear when attached (Star TSP100 futurePRINT receipt printer). Other than those issues (and trouble getting Wine to run World of Tanks) I have no complaints, it is a joy to use. I have been running XP under VirtualBox and it runs super fast.

Re:Interesting, but (5, Interesting)

cynyr (703126) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178620)

Since you seem to like switching distros rather than window managers/desk top environments, try Xubuntu. All the "goodness" of ubuntu, with all the goodness of XFCE (kindda like Gnome2 but not on life support and without all the crap baked in).

Re:Interesting, but (5, Informative)

mysidia (191772) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178066)

will it offer any benefit over just using GNOME 2?

GNOME 3's other improvements [gnome.org], performance, desktop search, themes, enhanced user interface layout engine ?

GNOME 3 is not just GNOME 2 with a few panels removed and window switching changed around.

Re:Interesting, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38178198)

As if themes and desktop search only came along with gnome3 - like steve jobs coming up with touchscreen phones...

Re:Interesting, but (5, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178216)

And the 'performance' of having to move the mouse all over the screen, switch to a different overlay display, move the mouse all over the screen to click on an icon or take your hand off the mouse to type in the name of the application you start is not an improvement over Gnome 2.

Re:Interesting, but (5, Interesting)

datavirtue (1104259) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178758)

Agreed, I tried to use the keyboard in Unity and was totally appalled. It is a total brain drain to use the mouse for everything. Hell, in Windows 7 I can burn through tasks with the keyboard--actually have to since everything is absolutely buried in the GUI anymore. We'll see how bad that is screed up with 8 though.

Re:Interesting, but (3, Interesting)

Kevin108 (760520) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178282)

Gnome 3 is trying it's best to be a tablet's GUI. The desktop users are being tasked with beta testing that in lieu of maintaining a more traditional and usable interface.

Have you actually tried to use GNOME 3? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38178336)

In all honesty, have you actually tried to use GNOME 3?

I've used all sorts of desktop environments over the years, and GNOME 3 is by far the worst I've ever used. I'm not even joking when I say that CDE from the early 1990s was easier to use, more efficient to use, and provided a much more enjoyable user experience.

If there are performance improvements in GNOME 3, I sure as fuck didn't experience them. It was noticeably slower on my system than KDE 4 is. It wasn't just one or two apps, either. Everything about GNOME 3 feels so much slower.

The desktop search is useless, just like it is on Windows and Mac OS X. It's a stupid paradigm. It takes the worst of shell auto-completion, and tries to make it act like a web search engine, with spectacularly shitty results.

The themes support is a step backward. It has only made it easier for theme designers to use crap like gradients, curved corners and transparency. While these may help make GNOME 3 more hipster-compatible, they do absolutely nothing to make the resulting UI more effective in any way.

It's also a royal pain in the ass to develop for, although this has always been the case for GNOME. GObject is a pathetic hack. If you want object-oriented C, then just use C++ or Objective-C. But that was apparently too sensible for the GNOME developers.

XFCE is where it's at. It hits that sweet spot between functionality, simplicity, and excellent performance. GNOME 3, on the other hand, manages to be the worst at everything possible.

Re:Have you actually tried to use GNOME 3? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38178400)

XFCE is where it's at. It hits that sweet spot between functionality, simplicity, and excellent performance. GNOME 3, on the other hand, manages to be the worst at everything possible.

That's the conclusion I've come to as well. XFCE really does what I need without getting in my way and trying to dictate to me how I should be interacting with my computer. I only re-examined XFCE after trying gnome 3 and absolutely hating just about everything about it. I was a KDE guy for years then couldn't deal with them and was happy with gnome 2, but gnome 3... sorry, no dice.

Re:Have you actually tried to use GNOME 3? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38178536)

The desktop search is useless, just like it is on Windows and Mac OS X. It's a stupid paradigm. It takes the worst of shell auto-completion, and tries to make it act like a web search engine, with spectacularly shitty results.

It's not useless on OS X and Windows, it works very well for launching applications.

Linux is the one without /Applications or app bundles, or a program menu with entries for nearly ever program worth searching for.

Themes... good lord. Linux is awesome at going nowhere fast.

Re:Interesting, but (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38178556)

performance

Untrue. Most people know better. Try GNOME 3 on a netbook (for example) after using GNOME 2.

I'm not insinuating that the performance is unusable. But to say it performs faster is just sheer misinformation or inexperience. It's noticeably slower and clunky. You'd expect it to be though, because it's doing sophisticated animations, etc. If your video drivers aren't up to the task (which is probably likely, given the fragile state of Linux graphics), you're going to feel it.

The more important issue right now is that it's fairly unstable and buggy. Maybe the GNOME software itself is the cause, or maybe it's the video drivers. I can't really go 10 minutes without minor (yet persistent) rendering issues, and can't go an hour without the shell completely freezing and requiring a restart. (Get used to hitting Alt+F2, typing "r", and hitting Enter.) I'm using GNOME 3.2 by the way.

There's no real benefit to using GNOME 3 yet. The new paradigm they're going for isn't as bad as people say it is, but it isn't a clear-cut improvement over the ways of old either. Some things are better, some are worse. Combine that with the fairly disrespectful way that GNOME 3 was rolled out, and it isn't hard to see where all the disdain comes from. Linux Mint is the only distro I see respecting its users, particularly by creating a path for transitioning via extensions and offering MATE.

GNOME will be in a better position a year from now, I imagine. GNOME 3 will mature, they'll get to implement more of their ideas, and there will surely be a ton of extensions and themes. (This all assumes that video drivers will improve too. If they don't, GNOME 3 will simply never be pleasant to use.)

It's the apps (3, Informative)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178094)

Many Gtk2 apps have been ported to Gtk3 -- Gedit, Shotwell, etc. Getting Gtk3 to run on a Gnome 2 desktop isn't as easy as it could have been.

Re:It's the apps (1)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178630)

> Many Gtk2 apps have been ported to Gtk3

Now if gnome-panel and compiz and the old applets in the system trap could be ported everything would be great with GNOME3.

Re:Interesting, but (3, Informative)

w0mprat (1317953) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178366)

It performs better than Gnome 2 on my netbook (dual core atom, 1gb, GMA3150). It's not necessarily more lightweight but the rendering is faster and that's worth it for a similar footprint. Gnome 2 reveals it's lagginess on low end hardware.

Aside from that it's a step back in usability on a laptop.

Does this matter anyway? (1, Insightful)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178036)

I am wondering whether desktop Linux matters in these times. For some it does I am sure, as evidenced on distrowatch [distrowatch.com]. It is the most popular distro now, after pushing Ubuntu to second place.

In my little world though, Linux is inconsequential. I just do not care that much any more.

I [still] employ Windows XP at work, and use Windows 7 in addition to an Asus Eee Pad transformer at home, where I spend most of my time on the net.

I still have to ask the general public whether, desktop Linux still matters. Does it?

Re:Does this matter anyway? (2)

ksd1337 (1029386) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178114)

It does, but perhaps not for the reasons everyone imagines. Linux is great for breathing new life into older systems. For casual users, it can also be quite useful as long as it's set up correctly. Power users are power users; they'll figure out stuff.

Is it ready for the masses? I still don't think so.

Re:Does this matter anyway? (5, Insightful)

jirka (1164) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178144)

Well, there's probably more people using Linux on the desktop now than there were people using computers 20 years ago. 1-2 percent is a LOT of people (millions). If I publish a piece of software and millions of people use it, I'd say it is successful. Who cares about what percentage of the entire market it is. In absolute terms, there is an assload of desktop users.

Re:Does this matter anyway? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38178364)

The first thing I do when I buy a laptop is wipe the Hard Drive and load a linux distro. I never ever boot it into Windoze. I'm not the only one either. Yes we are a small percentage of computer users but 1 percent of Millions is still a lot of people. It's nice to have a non-proprietary option that is actually superior to the Major OS player.

Re:Does this matter anyway? (4, Insightful)

godrik (1287354) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178118)

"I still have to ask the general public whether, desktop Linux still matters. Does it?"

The general public has no clue linux actually exists. But there remain a part of the population (0.1%) that never use anything else than linux. I do not recall when was the last time I used a windows machine for more than an hour. I think it was somewhere in 2006.

Most likely that part of the population read slashdot :)

Re:Does this matter anyway? (2, Interesting)

ksd1337 (1029386) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178202)

The general public has no clue linux actually exists.

Whoa, hold on there! I'm sure if they own an Android or webOS device, they'll have heard of Linux at some point, no matter how small the reference may be.

Re:Does this matter anyway? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38178418)

The general public has no clue linux actually exists.

Not if they've watched The Big Bang Theory ;-)

Sheldon Cooper to repartition his hard drive for a Linux Install:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3u0crR2V5M

Re:Does this matter anyway? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38178660)

The general public has no clue linux actually exists.

Not if they've watched The Big Bang Theory ;-)

If they watch TBBT, they have no clue, full stop.

Re:Does this matter anyway? (4, Insightful)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178134)

Well, the desktop in general, Windows included, is rapidly becoming inconsequential other than for business use. The non-business computer market is rapidly moving to smartphones, tablets and laptops - all smaller screen devices where a traditional screen-real-estate-hungry user interface isn't the best option. This is the market that Ubuntu is obviously targeting with Unity, and Android and Windows also appear to be moving in the same direction - Windows 8 and Ice Cream Sandwich UIs both are geared towards small-screen appliance-type use.

But, that said, there's always going to be a demand for a more traditional general purpose compute devices, for development work if nothing else, and for that use Linux always has been a great option, and only getting better with age, even if the path it's taking is a little uncertain. RIP Ubuntu. Long live Linux Mint!

Re:Does this matter anyway? (1)

ksd1337 (1029386) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178270)

This is quite an interesting phenomenon to me. It seems like with the whole "cloud" business, we're going back to a client-server computing approach; the servers and clients are just a shit-ton more powerful than anything 20-30 years ago.

Re:Does this matter anyway? (4, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178294)

This is quite an interesting phenomenon to me. It seems like with the whole "cloud" business, we're going back to a client-server computing approach; the servers and clients are just a shit-ton more powerful than anything 20-30 years ago.

Don't worry, ten years from now everyone will remember that the thin-client model sucks and we'll be back to building powerful local systems again.

Re:Does this matter anyway? (1)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178432)

I'm not so sure, and I wouldn't really characterize this as a move towards thin clients even if things are becoming more cloud-centric.

This is really about the computer market maturing and computers becoming consumer devices and converging on what the average consumer wants which is to consume (media and app content) and be entertained. The only folks who really want computers vs computer based appliances are hard code geeks and we're a tiny minority.

It's only a recent thing that you can pack enough technology into a small portable package to make a really compelling "internet appliance", but now that it's happened, it's hard to see what would make people want to go back to clunky difficult to maintain desk-bound computers.

Re:Does this matter anyway? (3, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178494)

it's hard to see what would make people want to go back to clunky difficult to maintain desk-bound computers.

That's what they said about X terminals.

Sure, if all you do is look at web pages then a desktop is overkill. But as soon as you want to write a resume, you're fscked if all you have is a phone or a tablet.

Re:Does this matter anyway? (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178640)

But as soon as you want to write a resume, you're fscked if all you have is a phone or a tablet.

The "consumer" solution for this is not a full computer but a Bluetooth keyboard for one's existing phone or tablet.

Even netbooks have that much real estate (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178334)

smartphones, tablets and laptops - all smaller screen devices where a traditional screen-real-estate-hungry user interface isn't the best option

I agree with you as for pocket-size devices such as phones and pocket tablets, and to a lesser extent for larger finger-driven capacitive tablets, but not so much for netbooks. The traditional desktop interface is designed for screens at least 9 inches diagonal VIS, like the old black-and-white Mac computers. Netbooks and larger tablets happen to have that much real estate.

This is the market that Ubuntu is obviously targeting with Unity

I agree with a few Unity design decisions, such as putting application launchers and the window list in an autohidden panel at the left, and have replicated them on my Xubuntu installation. I disagree with others, such as the dock extending all the way up to cover the web browser's back button, the typing-driven application chooser (which usually ends up starting a spreadsheet when I want a calculator) and the extra click needed to open the list of applications by category, the inability to start a new instance of an application without plugging in an external 3-button mouse, and the mystery-meat navigation that hides the menu bar.

But, that said, there's always going to be a demand for a more traditional general purpose compute devices, for development work if nothing else

But how much extra are device makers going to charge for "more traditional general purpose compute devices" that aren't cryptographically locked down from being capable of "development work"? The debug consoles used by video game developers already cost one or two orders of magnitude more than retail consoles. Will students, hobbyists, and startups still be able to afford a general-purpose computer of their own?

Re:Does this matter anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38178668)

The non-business computer market is rapidly moving to smartphones, tablets and laptops - all smaller screen devices where a traditional screen-real-estate-hungry user interface isn't the best option. This is the market that Ubuntu is obviously targeting with Unity

You have misdiagnosed the problem. It's nothing to do with traditional interfaces being "real-estate hungry" and everything to do with them not working well on touchscreens. They work fine on small-form-factor laptops. Screen real-estate was only ever a problem on 7" netbooks, which haven't existed in any meaningful way since Microsoft killed the netbook concept and everyone discovered that they preferred 10" ultraportables anyway.

So, Unity is designed for touchscreen devices. But those devices don't run anything like Ubuntu! The market is owned by Android and iOS. You can't compete in that space with a general-purpose desktop OS; that's why Google built Android in the first place instead of just doing something like Ubuntu!

Seriously: Ubuntu is targeting a "market" that doesn't exist. I suppose it might come into existence if Windows 8 is a success, but if Windows 8 is a success then the market that comes into existence will already be dominated by Windows, just like the desktop market that Linux has consistently failed to break into for years. In other words: good luck with that.

Re:Does this matter anyway? (5, Insightful)

monkeyhybrid (1677192) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178138)

To the general public? No, I doubt desktop Linux matters much at all. For those of us that prefer to use a free, open, secure, stable and efficient OS though, it matters quite a bit.

Re:Does this matter anyway? (0)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178318)

"...stable and efficient OS..."

I am not sure about that!

Stable: I found that my Fedora Linux installation was prone to crashes due to what some in the industry called 'half-baked' software, (read `desktop').

Efficient OS: Depends on who you talk to. For example, folks I worked with had their Linux installations eat up about 4GB of space. On the other hand Windows 7 installations, with the same functionality, took up more than 20GB of disk space. To those, Linux installations were more efficient.

But some will swear that Linux is inefficient especially for systems that employ Ext3 and have to handle large files. This is fact. I do not know how present file systems handle large files, but all goes to drive the point that it all depends on who you talk to.

Re:Does this matter anyway? (3, Insightful)

mattcsn (1592281) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178420)

A Fedora final release is a RHEL public beta, no more, and no less.

Re:Does this matter anyway? (4, Interesting)

monkeyhybrid (1677192) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178634)

I can't comment on Fedora, having not used it seriously for a few years now, but from my own personal experience of using various Linux distros over many years, it beats Windows hands down in terms of stability. But then, that's pretty anecdotal as I'm just going by personal experience. Maybe I've just been very lucky and you've been unlucky?

As for efficiency, maybe I should have worded that differently as I actually meant in terms of my work flow. This is going to be different for everyone but for what I do on a PC, GNU Linux allows me to get more done in less time. Having said that, on the same hardware (dual boot), general file and network operations amongst other things are definitely quicker than my Windows install.

I'm really not trying to do a 'my OS is better than your OS' although it probably does come across as that. The point I was originally trying to make is that different people have different requirements and preferences and we choose different tools for the job based on them. I really can't imagine myself being as productive using Windows than I am in Linux but I know many people who would have exactly the opposite experience.

Choice is good.

Re:Does this matter anyway? (3, Interesting)

yelvington (8169) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178242)

I still have to ask the general public whether, desktop Linux still matters. Does it?

Honestly? The only reason for a "visible" operating system is local storage, mostly of photos, and "edge case" applications that have not yet been implemented as web apps. As for which is best ... Windows can die in a fire, OS X is bouncy happy joyful brain-dead moonbeam cultware, and both Unity and Gnome 3 are headed straight for hell.

I want operating systems to just leave me alone. Stop annoying me. Stop moving my stuff without my permission. Stop demanding that I upgrade and reboot. Stop messing with the menu that I customized just because some designer says so. Stop breaking things that work, Ubuntu. LEAVE ME ALONE.

I spend almost all my time in a Web browser -- specifically, Chrome. Pretty much everything I do daily is already better on the Web.

I should be running ChromeOS. I can't bring myself to switch to a Chromebook, but not for rational reasons. If you believed the arguments people raise against the Chromebook, you'd think we all lived half our lifetimes in airplanes that don't have wi-fi. You know what I do when I get in an airplane? I put in my headphones and close my eyes.

Re:Does this matter anyway? (4, Insightful)

epyT-R (613989) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178378)

web 2.0 can suck it until these snake oil 'cloud' asps and coders can ensure access and legal protections for users that prevent abuse. computers are great because they're empowering, but if the new model is to make me dependent on a hierarchy of trolls guarding various bridges, I'll abandon it as quickly as I took to it. if i'm to depend on a tool for livelihood, then I want it stored and executed locally.

City buses have no Wi-Fi (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178686)

Stop demanding that I upgrade and reboot.

In some cases, if you do not upgrade and reboot, a recently discovered security hole in the kernel or a widely used library may result in your machine being compromised. What's the polite way to notify you of this? But I agree with much of what else you have to say, which is why I switched to Xubuntu for the 11.10 cycle.

If you believed the arguments people raise against the Chromebook, you'd think we all lived half our lifetimes in airplanes that don't have wi-fi

I don't fly, but I do live much of my life away from Wi-Fi coverage. Citilink buses in Fort Wayne, Indiana, have no Wi-Fi, and the APs in the shopping center where I wait for the next bus are locked and not for shoppers' use. The only restaurant within walking distance of my employer (without crossing a major highway) likewise has no Wi-Fi. I cope by 1. coding in Python and 2. reading archives of web sites that I've scraped for offline reading.

Re:Does this matter anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38178762)

Distrowatch doesn't measure what the most popular linux distribution is. It just measures what page on distrowatch is the most popular.

Why o why?! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38178112)

Why do people make a big deal about a distro's default desktop? You can install whatever you want.

Re:Why o why?! (4, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178126)

Why do people make a big deal about a distro's default desktop? You can install whatever you want.

Yeah, I could just 'apt-get install gnome-2' on the latest Ubuntu.

Oh, no. I can't, can I?

Most people just want a distro that doesn't suck out of the box.

Re:Why o why?! (0)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178176)

Most people just want a distro that doesn't suck out of the box.

I agree wholeheartedly. I also have to say that all incarnations of Ubuntu sucked out of the box, as far as I am concerned. Specifically, it sucked when it came to multimedia.

I still wonder why it was so popular until Mint routed it.

Re:Why o why?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38178182)

but you can .configure && make && make install, can you not?

Re:Why o why?! (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178368)

getting all the prerequisites and configuration options correct for a desktop manager compile is always a good time, if you have the time. Yes, I've done it, but in the words of a certain sci-fi tv show "bad guy", "oh, the pain........ the pain."

Re:Why o why?! (4, Informative)

steveha (103154) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178540)

Yeah, I could just 'apt-get install gnome-2' on the latest Ubuntu.

Oh, no. I can't, can I?

I believe the problem is that the GNOME 3 libraries don't co-exist well with the GNOME 2 libraries. Given the way Linux handles libraries with versioning, I don't actually understand why this should be such a problem. But in the Linux Mint blog, they said that MATE (the fork of GNOME 2 that is in Linux Mint 12) has renamed all the GNOME 2 libraries so they can install side-by-side with the GNOME 3 libraries with no problem.

It's still early days with MATE. Once they get MATE really sorted out, then it will show up in Ubuntu (either officially or as PPA) .

steveha

Re:Why o why?! (1, Insightful)

ksd1337 (1029386) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178170)

Depends on the target audience. If your goal as a distro admin is to gain more users, then you want to think about what people see when they use your product. Look at what Ubuntu did with Unity; that's about all the proof needed. Sure, an end user can remove Unity and install GNOME 2 or XFCE or whatever, but the point is that a distro is simply a set of choices that some admin has made. They have to be good choices if the distro wants to survive.

Re:Why o why?! (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178342)

the main desktops will have investment of time by the distribution makers to polish and smooth things. Alternative desktops will often have rough edges

MGSE: why all this energy around new DE's? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38178132)

Seems to me that a combination of XFCE and KDE cover about 90% of the bases. XFCE if you want lightweight and minimal footprint, KDE if you want the power-user desktop with bells an whistles and customizable to hell and back.

Why is everyone re-inventing the boat, poorly? There *IS* a loss associated with having too many choices, no matter what some people will tell you. It fragments the market, fragments the resources spent on making each one solid, leads to end user confusion so people go back to the nice simple worlds of OSX or Windows where they don't have to think about such choices.

It's just a huge drawback and detriment to the Linux community to say, "Hey! You can pick from any one of these 68 different desktop environments - of course, every one of them is halfassed and has a crapton of problems because the community is split into tiny little fragments. But hey, you've got CHOICE! If you don't like one of the buggy 68 ones you picked, just pick another! It's all up to you!"

Re:MGSE: why all this energy around new DE's? (3, Interesting)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178152)

Most of us used Gnome 2 because we didn't like KDE or XFCE. Now we don't like Gnome 3 either.

IMHO KDE is too bloated and clunky and XFCE is too cut down. Gnome 2 used to be just about right in the middle.

Re:MGSE: why all this energy around new DE's? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38178466)

I'm right there with you, and just switched to XFCE because the latest version is actually as close as you will get to Gnome 2 feel.

Re:MGSE: why all this energy around new DE's? (3, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178210)

Why is everyone re-inventing the boat, poorly?

Because its easy work and gives people lots of opportunities to argue about inconsequential stuff.

Re:MGSE: why all this energy around new DE's? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38178348)

Don't forget, in hardware, if it works, don't change it. In software, if it works, upgrade it.

Re:MGSE: why all this energy around new DE's? (1)

wall0159 (881759) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178692)

Or maybe because humans are inventive animals. Things that do not work to our satisfaction we want to improve. That is why we have the phenomenon of progress.

This does not apply to everyone though, and if you are content to use what exists then you are perfectly within your rights to do so. I suspect/hope that would be a minority position on a site like slashdot which espouses tools, inventiveness and technology (although its promotion of simple consumption has increased greatly over the last few years, probably reflecting societal trends).

The power of choice (5, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178590)

> There *IS* a loss associated with having too many choices, no matter what some people will tell you.

There is, balanced by benefits that outweigh the costs IMHO. Having multiple desktops and distributions means we can survive one going mad. Compare and contrast what is happening with GNOME3 and Unity with what is going on in the Windows and Mac worlds. When Win8 ships, those people have no choice, they get a tablet interface and it matters not if they like it or not. Eventually the Mac peeps know they get iOS and there ain't nothing they can do. On the other hand we told Fedora and Ubuntu to FOAD and picked something else. Most fedora users seem to be going with XFCE, Ubuntu users appear to be migrating in mass to Mint. Because we had a choice.

Imagine instead developers had listened to the siren song some people have been singing for a decade now, that GNOME and KDE had long since merged into one 'perfect' desktop, the small fry had folded up shop and got on board the One True Desktop. Then that One True Desktop caught tablet fever. Our options? All bad.

Right now we have multiple options in every major category of Free Software. Linus goes mad we adopt one of the BSD kernels. We have multiple web browsers, email clients, desktop environments, plumbing layers. About the only part that isn't redundant is X, no real options for that currently, but Wayland is under development.

'FOCUS'?!? (5, Insightful)

grcumb (781340) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178140)

'The Shell is designed in order to minimize distraction and interruption and to enable users to focus on the task at hand. A persistent window list or dock would interfere with this goal, serving as a constant temptation to switch focus.'

Jesus Christ, GNOME! You're not my boss and you're definitely not my wife. So, unless you're willing either to pay me or put out, kindly stop trying to tell me what to do.

Re:'FOCUS'?!? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38178430)

This. GNOME3 and Unity both have a "mommy knows best" attitude. Which is bad in itself, but it's worse when mommy doesn't know best, and won't listen to anyone who tells her she's wrong. Deciding between GNOME 3 and Unity is like deciding which abusive parent I should live with after the messy divorce. I want our old happy family back, without everyone trying to buy my favour with sickly candy.

Re:'FOCUS'?!? (1)

drb226 (1938360) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178518)

So, unless you're willing either to pay me or put out, kindly stop trying to tell me what to do.

Just fork your own version of GNOME then. Given the number of complainers about the direction GNOME is going, I'm surprised no slashdot stories covering GNOME forks have surfaced.

Re:'FOCUS'?!? (4, Interesting)

grcumb (781340) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178708)

So, unless you're willing either to pay me or put out, kindly stop trying to tell me what to do.

Just fork your own version of GNOME then. Given the number of complainers about the direction GNOME is going, I'm surprised no slashdot stories covering GNOME forks have surfaced.

Given the time and opportunity, I would. But if GNOME weren't so condescending in their approach, deciding on my behalf what constitutes a proper workflow, I wouldn't have to.

I do a lot of UI-related work, mostly in web interfaces and business automation. I spend a lot of time creating workspaces that are designed to reflect the needs of the people using them. What I look for in a desktop environment is one that provides me with the flexibility to reformat it to my precise needs for a particular role. GNOME used to be my desktop of choice for exactly this reason.

I don't particularly object to their desire for simplicity - it's one of the main reasons I've used GNOME since its inception. What I do object to, however, is their holier-than-thou decision not simply to hide some features, but to remove them entirely from the UI. To make matters worse, the folks at Canonical seem to have lost their way as well, creating something that's anathema to me: a unified, one size fits all window manager.

I do a lot of different things in the course of my work, from coding systems-level software to UI building and testing to report writing to graphics work (and web browsing and reading and email and...). I can only conclude that anyone who thinks they can provide me with a single, inflexible UI that is appropriate for all of these is not only wrong but willfully ignoring the error of their ways.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm very hard to please when it comes to my working environment. The closest I've ever come to actually liking my desktop UI was on GNOME 2 with Compiz. Now that the GNOME devs have not only turned their backs on what made GNOME good, but actually made it impossible to keep those things, I feel I have the right to bitch a little.

I'll be evaluating Mint in the weeks to come. If they fare well, I'll recommend we go to them when we move from Ubuntu 10.04.

Re:'FOCUS'?!? (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178582)

'The Shell is designed in order to minimize distraction and interruption and to enable users to focus on the task at hand. A persistent window list or dock would interfere with this goal, serving as a constant temptation to switch focus.'

Much of what I do every day at work requires frequent switches between windows.

mint 10 post april 2012 (2)

pmathew (1597155) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178734)

i have been testing various distros after mint 10 ... just trying to find a worthy upgrade ... but always went back to mint 10 ... it looks good ... is very stable ... and why switch for something worse ... mint 12 aint bad but it still cant match mint 10 .. i hope they dont pull the plug on it in april 2012 .. i dont like the idea of running it without updates ..

XFCE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38178156)

I finally gave up on both KDE and Gnome. XUbuntu is fast, functional and pretty, and I've located replacements for everything I need that use only Qt or GTK. I've also switched 2 of my 3 kids laptops, and I think I'll move my small company from KDE to XFCE over time.

Goodbye to all of you that created this mess. And thank you for sending me to XFCE!

Re:XFCE (2)

ksd1337 (1029386) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178218)

LXDE is amazing as well. It's really light and efficient. It's my personal favorite out of all the traditional-look-and-feel desktop environments.

Re:XFCE (2)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178310)

I try and try to like LXDE, but it just feels half assed and mostly broken compared to XFCE, even stupid things in LXDE are a pain in the ass like setting the clock or putting a trashcan on your desktop. I am pretty sure if you have any annoyance (even non consequential) with LXDE its already fixed in XFCE, and its just as light and fast ... and with either as soon as you add one gnome library that all goes down the john.

Since we're talking about Linux Mint 12... (4, Interesting)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178190)

Does anyone know why the default menus are so oddly organized - such as the catch-all "Other" sub-menu being in the middle of the menu, and containing important stuff like the Update Manager and Synaptic Package Manager?

Is this menu organization something Mint is inheriting from GNOME 3? In Mint 11 the system stuff was in some System menu where you more expect to find it.

I was expecting the menu to be cleaned up during the Mint 12 beta, but it's still there know in what appears to be the release version.

Re:Since we're talking about Linux Mint 12... (1)

Anna Merikin (529843) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178596)

I'm a Mint user, not a developer, so this is conjecture and uninformed opinion only --

The use of Synaptic is thought to be too hard for newbies to grasp, so other apps were developed, like the Mint Software Center, or whatever it's called and GDebi. These latter two are what the Mint team expect you to use, so the more comprehensive app is, while not hidden, not so easy to find.

If you use XFCE, you can make your own menu and put Synaptic at the top if you like.

Re:Since we're talking about Linux Mint 12... (1)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178648)

OK, well that kind of makes sense of why the important apps are hided away, but not of the awful placement of the "Other" menu. I assume the menu can be reconfigured if I really want to, but I'm a recent Ubuntu to mint convert and havn't bothered to look into it yet.

I tried the Mint Xfce rolling edition briefly, but there seems to be an annoying bug where the window manager dies (or can accidently be killed during normal use) leaving you with unmovable borderless windows... You can recover by lauching a new window manager (so I've read) but it's a PITA so I switched back to the GNOME edition for stability.

What's wrong with Linux on the desktop: taste (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38178192)

If you have one visionary with great tech skills and average taste, you get an average desktop with hundreds of millions of users - Windows. If you have a visionary with average tech skills and great taste, you get a great desktop with tens of millions of users - Mac OS. If you have a hundred visionaries with great tech skills and varying tastes, you get a hundred different desktops with quality all over the map, each with dozens of users - Linux.

Re:What's wrong with Linux on the desktop: taste (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38178404)

And what's wrong about that?

Re:What's wrong with Linux on the desktop: taste (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38178764)

Nothing, except that the amount of energy and brainpower that is wasted on each of these hundreds of different desktops keeps the Linux community from producing a single, coherent solution that the wider world would find useful. Instead it is 100 smart guys wasting their lives in a mental circle jerk, accomplishing nothing that changes, or is even useful to, the wider world. Go Linux!

I like the enhancements... BUT (3, Interesting)

w0mprat (1317953) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178316)

Mint has "fixed" a lot thats broken by design about the new Gnome. But I have a question to direct at the Gnome 3 / Unity developers. Why the sudden corporate-like totalitarian control over the UI? Is this a misguided attempt to emulate the meteoric success of iOS and Android by just copying the Apple/Google/Microsoft corporate control over how users use the desktop?

I find this another symptom of "Free" software that's open in source becoming more and more closed in run-time.

Re:I like the enhancements... BUT (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38178452)

It's because "open source" is actually run by a cadre of carreerists looks to make a buck off of service and support contracts. Sure, it's open, but there are people out there who you do not hear and see, who are brokering deals, and these widely adopted systems are designed with one goal in mind: ease of administration.

Secondary to the goal of consistency across installed instances during administration, is wide adoption. Wide use translates to credibility, when pitching contracts and negoriating deals.

Re:I like the enhancements... BUT (2)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178472)

Secondary to the goal of consistency across installed instances during administration, is wide adoption. Wide use translates to credibility, when pitching contracts and negoriating deals.

You don't get wide adoption by pushing changes that users hate. There's a reason why so many people have switched to Mint lately.

plus 3, Troll) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38178324)

came as a complete and the striking also dead, its downward spiral. people playing can About half of the prima donnas, and toosers, went out schemes. Frankly resulted in the

What if (1)

inode_buddha (576844) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178476)

What if my apps *are* task-centric? I still with gnome2, but I may very well go with xfce4. I nearly lost it on gnome when they went from 1.x and plain text-file configs. I had spen a long time making it behave exactly as I wanted to, and the "upgrade" broke stuff all over the place.

mint vs. ubuntu (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38178498)

i switched to mint11. i lasted about one day, until the number of bugs in mint overwhelmed me. then i went back to ubuntu oneiric, where the number of bugs, mostly in gnome3, is frightening, but at least more tolerable than mint.

YMMV

Re:mint vs. ubuntu (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178508)

I think I started on Ubuntu with 8.04. There seem to be more and more bugs with every new release.

Re:mint vs. ubuntu (2)

suprem1ty (1854894) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178700)

Are you using the LTS releases? I havn't used the 6-month releeases in ages (due to the number of bugs) but I've been using the current ubuntu LTS for months now and havn't really had a problem with bugs at all.

Just one question (1)

ADRA (37398) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178502)

Can I add quick launchers to my bars? I want one-click launchers as a first level task. I don't use desktop icons, because 99% of the time there's something in front of them. I just want a handy way to launch a very commonly used application without digging into menus or typing the exact name into a search box. If you can be more productive than a single click to a fixed point on my monitor, I'm sold.

Re:Just one question (1)

Mr Thinly Sliced (73041) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178772)

If you can be more productive than a single click to a fixed point on my monitor, I'm sold.

I know it's not Gnome/KDE/LXDE/... specific, but I find key bindings work for me.

<ctrl><f1> launches new terminal
<ctrl><f2> launch new browser window
<ctrl><f3> ....

Actually I've got a keyboard with "G" keys (18) that I use (logitech G15) and that works a treat.

Re:Just one question (1)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178778)

Not sure... you can drag (copy) applications from the menu to the top menu bar as well as the desktop, but if you click on the menu bar there's no context menu to add custom lauchers.

Additionally, the menu bar functionality seems very limited. The icons there are (by default) tiny and can't be placed or spaced out. The only form of rearragement that seems to work is dragging icons to the end of the existing icons, which makes for rather laborous rearranging.

IMO it's a bit of a limited menu bar to launch mint 12 with, but hopefully it'll improve with time to bring back something closer to GNOME 2 in functionality.

I like GNOME 3 (1)

Vanieter (613996) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178552)

I never liked having to track every individual window in the taskbar, awkwardly managing launchers and windows and virtual desktops. I find that GNOME 3 is a very usable and simple desktop environment that gets the work done. Much more so than Unity. I am the devil incarnate ?

Re:I like GNOME 3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38178698)

I never liked having to track every individual window in the taskbar, awkwardly managing launchers and windows and virtual desktops.

So.... Xmonad?

GNOME 3 knows best? (5, Interesting)

steveha (103154) | more than 2 years ago | (#38178716)

This link just floored me.

https://live.gnome.org/GnomeShell/Design/FAQ#Why_no_window_list_or_dock.3F [gnome.org]

"A persistent window list or dock would interfere with this goal, serving as a constant temptation to switch focus."

Who wrote this? How did this become the official position of GNOME 3 officially?

On the one hand, I sort of respect that they aren't letting tradition shackle them. They are trying to boldly change things, to make something really new and really better.

On the other hand, they have changed a bunch of stuff and made it worse!

They got rid of some stuff that takes up space; and I always use GNOME on a giant desktop display with lots of room to spare. Even my netbook has a 10.1" screen and I don't begrudge a few pixels for a window list.

They got rid of the window list, it seems, because it is a distraction. But I am used to it being there and I don't notice it when I'm working; whereas with GNOME 3 I have no option but to have a distracting animation of windows flying about and arranging themselves any time I want to change apps. I have to hit the logo key, watch a dazzling display, find the window I want, click on it, and watch it zoom to full size. This is less distracting than clicking on the button for the window I want, and having it instantly be the topmost window? (Answer: no, it's more distracting, not less. At least that's true for me. But GNOME gives no option; this is the new One True Way that we must all use.)

If the GNOME 3 developers ever build a car, it won't have a steering wheel, a brake pedal, and a gas pedal. They will boldly re-engineer the driving experience. There will probably be a miniature replica of the car mounted on a joystick; you will twist the little car right to turn the real car right. So intuitive! Of course those of us with many years of experience, expert car drivers, will not be able to apply our experience; and if we are recommending a GNOME car to our friends, they will ask us "why is this different from every other car I have ever seen?"

The really frustrating part is that this is a total replay of what happened with the "object oriented file manager". Originally, the GNOME file manager worked pretty much the way it works now. Then they decided that this is overly complicated for newbies. There should be only one window for any one directory, and that one window should remember where it opened last and open in the same place, to build a sense of persistence and make the file system seem more like a real place. (This is similar to how the original Mac Finder worked, I believe. But the Finder in Mac OS X doesn't work that way anymore, and I believe didn't work that way when the GNOME guys made this decision.)

In true GNOME style, they didn't provide a convenient option to turn this off; why would you want to turn it off? It's better. And that is why I, and so many other people, first learned how to use gconftool, to find that option and turn it off.

The very next release of GNOME they changed the default back to the original behavior, and never changed it again. But for GNOME 3, they are sticking to their guns.

In some ways GNOME 3 is nice, but I bitterly resent the amount of control the GNOME guys are trying to assert over how I use my computer. I'm going to try Linux Mint 12 on a spare computer and see how I like it. From what I have seen, MGSE is a giant step up over either of Unity or GNOME 3 Shell.

One of the core goals of GNOME Shell is to provide the GNOME desktop with a consistent and identifiable visual identity.

Why isn't the core goal "make the user be happy and productive"? How does this "visual identity" thing help me? Why should I cooperate with this?

P.S. GNOME 2.x is my favorite desktop environment ever. The GNOME guys have really squandered all the good will I used to have toward them.

steveha

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