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Interview: Xandros and KDE

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the gimme-a-k! dept.

KDE 206

Fabrice Mous writes "The Xandros Desktop OS is known for their intuitive graphical environment that works right out of the box. Their polished desktop product is based on KDE. The KDE News website had the privilege to talk to Rick Berenstein, Xandros Chairman and CTO and Ming Poon, Vice President for Software Development about Xandros and their products and the relationship between Xandros and the KDE project. Without further ado ... enjoy the interview!"

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206 comments

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FP?? (0, Offtopic)

Tom2K2 (591508) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084187)

oh my god... my very first post?? is this possible? Damn I suck.

Re:FP?? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084386)

haha, the urge is just too irresistable, huh? good job!

Poon (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084246)

His name is POON!. LOL!

Why is it "intuitive"? (4, Informative)

manavendra (688020) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084248)

I had a quick look at the Xandros OS screenshots, since I hadn't heard of it before (sheepish grin).

Most of it seems to be an exact replica of MS look and feel - the same start button, the task bar, task trays, heck even the colour variations!

Why is this deemed "intuitive" then? Isn't this just another attempt to replicate MS experience on another OS? Or am I missing something?

Re:Why is it "intuitive"? (3, Insightful)

Gilesx (525831) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084285)

"Why is this deemed "intuitive" then? Isn't this just another attempt to replicate MS experience on another OS? Or am I missing something?"

Actually, you'll find that the KDE desktop project in general is very much like this. It's always seemed to strike a rather uneasy balance - the look and feel are mainly based on Windows, yet the icons seem to be more Apple like. This is going to be very confusing indeed for a migrating user.

Re:Why is it "intuitive"? (3, Insightful)

manavendra (688020) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084357)

Exactly my point. I fail to understand this whole OSS need to make a desktop, an interface and file manager that "just looks like MS!". Why is is to?

Or is it that they all accept deep down that MS has an interface that's hard to top?

Re:Why is it "intuitive"? (2, Informative)

randomencounter (653994) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084474)

I suspect it is a failure of the imagination.
The whole "docking bar" concept comes from Apple. MS copied it for Windows95 and bloated it badly, then the KDE people copied it from MS.

Personally, I prefer the active desktop of fvwm/mwm/blackbox where your menus are wherever you don't have a window and otherwise stay out of the way. It is an older concept than the docking bar, and I consider it superior. So good, in fact, that MicroSoft has finally gotten around to copying it.

Re:Why is it "intuitive"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084511)

The whole "docking bar" concept comes from Apple.

Rewriting history a little bit? Where exactly was the docking bar in OS 7 (contemporary with 95)? Are you talking about that little tab thing on the bottom that you could pull out and change your printer without having to go to the chooser?

Re:Why is it "intuitive"? (2, Interesting)

manavendra (688020) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084560)

Maybe MS did copy all its bits from somewhere else - but you have to agree they did something that others didnt - be it packaging, product placement, or just the whole look and the feel.

MS wasn't as big always as it is now, so as and when they came out with newer versions they did make things easier and more predictable (thus familiar) - better than any other competitor.

And if MS copying others was so bad, why is OSS copying it now? Where does that leave OSS then?

Re:Why is it "intuitive"? (1)

molarmass192 (608071) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084573)

Or is it that they all accept deep down that MS has an interface that's hard to top?

That's got nothing to do with it, if they were to copy the best interface it would be OS X's, not MS's. They copy MS to avoid confusing Joe Sixpack MS user when he gets pushed onto Linux. Personally, my desktop doesn't look like Win or OS X, it's built around popup menus and SuperKaramba and it's better (in my mind at least) than either of the aforementioned.

Re:Why is it "intuitive"? (2, Informative)

SoTuA (683507) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084589)

I think it isn't "an interface that's hard to top" as much as it is "an interface that everybody is familiar with".

For instance, if I try to teach two groups of people (one has experience with the QWERTY layout, the others don't know any) touch-typing with Dvorak keyboard layout, the class that is familiar with the QWERTY layout will have a harder time than the class that is seeing a keyboard layout for the first time.

(that's from a mental standpoint, the people who have worked with QWERTY obviously have a better physical preparation at using a _keyboard_)

Re:Why is it "intuitive"? (3, Interesting)

manavendra (688020) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084735)

...as much as it is "an interface that everybody is familiar with
I perfectly agree. But lets stop and think how this "familiarity" was bred, and nurtured. Someone at sometime did came up with an OS no matter how buggy it is, which suddenly made a computer usable to common man. No longer had one to be a geek, or intricate knowledge of what's stored where, or what a filesystem is or how to execute commands or hell! even the notion of "executing" something - nothing was required.

You just bought a computer, switched it on and you have frienly icons that let you play games, or use your word editor or your spreadsheet or pretty much anything that an average Joe needs.

I personally don't care much about what MS copied and from who. Even with all this copy and paste, they glued it all together successfully enough for new users to come on board without too much fuss.

The only thing that brings a tinge of sadness is the attempts to make a system look like MS interfaces. Sure, it would be familiar and would make a user less scared to migrate, but why not think of a better UI? We all rant about things that MS got wrong and the superiorities of *nix over MS - why not apply all that to UI's as well? Hell, there are already so many things that ppl dont like in the newer version - the whole control panel sucks, the start bar leaves a lot desired and everything takes more clicks now than ever before - why not improve on that? Why not think of say, a 3D inteface?

Re:Why is it "intuitive"? (1)

SoTuA (683507) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084885)

I completely agree. The problem lies in that making good UIs is way way harder than doing good software.

And my gripes with windows never were with the interface :) Although I felt quite comfy when using OsX...

The copying saddens me too. One thing is to copy what they have gotten right (love or hate it, MS has had years of experience with that) wich is one of the premises that has made Linux great: we copy from Unix (Hi darl! :) what is good about unix... but to make the UI look just like Windows? :(

Re:Why is it "intuitive"? (2, Interesting)

Paulrothrock (685079) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084625)

Or is it that they all accept deep down that MS has an interface that's hard to top?
Or maybe that Apple's is hardest to top of all, and that's why Microsoft is trying to copy it. [pcmag.com]

Re:Why is it "intuitive"? (1)

manavendra (688020) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084968)

Or maybe that Apple's is hardest to top of all, and that's why Microsoft is trying to copy it.
And open source projects are trying to copy MS (GNOME, KDE, Xandros, etc etc)

Re:Why is it "intuitive"? (1)

nathanh (1214) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084661)

Exactly my point. I fail to understand this whole OSS need to make a desktop, an interface and file manager that "just looks like MS!". Why is is to?

It's only an "OSS need" in your imagination. There are 100s of OSS desktops. I'm currently using twm (don't ask) and last week I was using enlightenment (also don't ask). Neither looks anything like Windows. You're looking at one of the many OSS desktops, noting similarities to Windows, and generalising that all OSS desktops are clones of Windows. That's intellectual dishonesty on your part.

Or is it that they all accept deep down that MS has an interface that's hard to top?

It's not even as if Windows invented their interface. It's an obvious amalgamation of UI ideas from NeXTSTEP, MacOS (classic), OS/2, CDE and several others. Saying that "OSS" (and you really mean KDE) is copying Windows is naive. It is rather that Windows and KDE are both copying from 30 years of GUI research and experimentation by 100s of companies.

Re:Why is it "intuitive"? (1)

John Blake (766336) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084694)

I agree completly. I see nothing new in this with the exception of them rearranging things and cleaning up the menu and a few others..I wouldn't pay $90 for it.

Re:Why is it "intuitive"? (1)

Killswitch1968 (735908) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084376)

[blockquote]This is going to be very confusing indeed for a migrating user.[/blockquote] When I attempted migration from XP, icons were not a problem at all. Seriously, a trash can is a trashcan whether it's silver or translucent, either way it's function is obvious.

What is distinctly LESS obvious is how to install programs simply and easily. Attempting such a sisyphean ordeal will no doubt end in scouring the net for dependencies that are dependent on other dependencies that conflict with the dependencies you already have. I had to delete Mandrake after 2 weeks of headaches.

Re:Why is it "intuitive"? (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084539)

I have to wonder if Linux developers have missed the fact that a computer is supposed to run arbitrary programs. It seems that every distro is competing on how much software they can pre-bundle, because it's damn near impossible to do an "easy" install of anything.

To RPM, DEB, Apt-Get, EMerge, Yum, etc. fanboys: Online software catalogues are still bundling. I can't get commercial software out of the online catalogs, can I? And I certainly can't sell my database tools that way. So please don't even start with me, or I'll be forced to type a rather nasty reply. :-/

Re:Why is it "intuitive"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084761)

no mandrake for you!! come back, 1 year!!

Re:Why is it "intuitive"? (1)

gui_tarzan2000 (625775) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084404)

While some may disagree with me, the basic layout for the current Windows "look and feel" was actually in OS/2 back in the early 90's when Windows 3.1 was out.

Re:Why is it "intuitive"? (1)

Fearless Freep (94727) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084544)

My wife, who likes using Windows, didn't like using KDE at all when I was trying to get her to Linux. It looked 'too much' like Windows and yet not completely there that she found it annoying. She acctually didn't better with Gnome and Enlightenment as she wasn't constantly trying to do 'windoisms' that didn't really work. She just accepted it as 'different' and moved on.

Re:Why is it "intuitive"? (4, Interesting)

manavendra (688020) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084317)

heck let me shamelessly reply to myself and throw in another question:

It sure is good to replicate a user's experience of the most widely used OS (if not the most popular), but wouldnt innovation demand doing something that it doesn't already provide? Why not invest the same collective OSS impetus and skill in building a UI? Given the OSS track record, I'm positive such an initiative would not only beat competition, but also come up with an interface that user's will find more easy to use and adapt.

Couple this with the *nix platform, and only then shall we have a wide acceptance and use of the OS that we all so love and promote!

Re:Why is it "intuitive"? (1)

Gilesx (525831) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084596)

The problem in adaption is not when an interface is VASTLY different to what the user is used to - users can actually adapt to new interfaces fairly rapidly. What really throws spanners in the works is half backed clones of interfaces - ie. a Windows 95 interface that looks like the original, but does not FUNCTION the same way as the original - even down to the little thing, as menus not displaying the same options you'd expect to find in the native interface.

In my opinion, this is why KDE are barking up the wrong tree - unless it works EXACTLY like the interface it's ahem... "inspired" by, what's the point? Why not throw the rules out of the window (pun intended) and create a brand new, intuitive desktop environment. Can it really be *that* hard??

Re:Why is it "intuitive"? (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084620)

It sure is good to replicate a user's experience of the most widely used OS (if not the most popular), but wouldnt innovation demand doing something that it doesn't already provide? Why not invest the same collective OSS impetus and skill in building a UI? Given the OSS track record, I'm positive such an initiative would not only beat competition, but also come up with an interface that user's will find more easy to use and adapt.

1) I don't think Xandros is claiming any great "innovation", just superior packaging and presentation.

2) What in the open source track record makes you so positive that original breakthroughs in UI are going to come from that route? Or, for that matter, from anyone but Apple?

Re:Why is it "intuitive"? (0)

manavendra (688020) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084776)

I don't think Xandros is claiming any great "innovation", just superior packaging and presentation
Oh, I didn't know that. I just read the claim of intuitiveness in the /. post. Apologies

What in the open source track record makes you so positive that original breakthroughs in UI are going to come from that route?
The innovations at Apache for example, and a whole list of other open source projects that I cannot live without

There is innovation. (1)

FreeLinux (555387) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084647)

In case you hadn't noticed there are numerous desktop environments out there for Linux. Some/many of these DEs are nothing like Windows and have clearly stated that they will never implement Windows look and feel or features. The fact is that there are DEs that are very Windows like and there are many others that are not. Some of those are very unique and innovative.

Yet, we see a recurring theme of desktops that are Windows like. This is "market" driven. The fact is that the vast majority of PC users want a Windows like desktop. People are exercising their choice by choosing the desktop that they like best. Developers are not stupid, not always anyway. Many of them are simply acknowledging the demand for a particular type of desktop and are catering to that demand.

You have a far greater choice of desktops with Linux than with any other operating system. You can choose any one that you like. The fact that most people are choosing a Windows like desktop would suggest that either that is what they are most comfortable with or perhaps, Microsoft's years research and development have indeed provide a very good desktop design.

Open Source is supposed to be all about choice. What have you against people exercising thier choice?

The Humane Environment (3, Interesting)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084710)

Bing! http://www.jefraskin.com/ points to a user environment which, although unfamiliar, is much easier to use. For example, the system NEVER discards your keystrokes. If you're pointing at a piece of read-only text (e.g. somebody else's web page), typing at it forces the cursor to slide over to the end of the read-only text. So if you just walk up to your machine with somebody's phone number in your head, you can just type it in without caring what context you're in.

For another thing, you never have to save anything in The Humane Environment. It autosaves (with undo!) for you.

For another thing, you don't have to start programs in THE. You access your data, and it takes care of starting the program that manipulates the data.

We can do this all, and we can do it long before Longhorn comes out.

Re:Why is it "intuitive"? (1)

sn0wman3030 (618319) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084960)

an interface that user's will find more easy to use and adapt.

That's exactly what GNOME [gnome.org] is.

Jef Raskin says "don't say intuitive" (4, Informative)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084558)

Jef Raskin says, in The Humane Interface, that people misuse the word "intuitive". In the context of user interfaces, they mean "familiar".
-russ

Re:Why is it "intuitive"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084686)

What are you talking about?

The start button is customizable just like everything else in KDE, besides, it's for the desktop, and its' purpose is those who are transferring AWAY FROM WINDOWS. Therefore do you really think they want to make it completely different? Not exactly a smart move is it?

Re:Why is it "intuitive"? (1)

naelurec (552384) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084764)

I see it as a kog in migration. It goes something like this:

Phase 1: All Windows w/Windows apps, no FOSS
Phase 2: Windows w/some FOSS (mozilla, gaim, OOo)
Phase 3: Linux w/Windowsish interface w/FOSS and perhaps Wine or similar ..
Phase 4: Full FOSS desktop with native apps

While I currently have a full FOSS desktop, many people I work with (sys admin) are around a Phase 2.. Its getting close to moving many of them to a phase 3 setup .. When that time comes, they will already be familiar with the mozilla icon, openoffice, gaim, etc, so besides some minor interface differences, they will be able to compute with ease.

After they use a FOSS desktop (KDE, Gnome, whatever..) then that will define the upgrade path they take.. they will start tapping into rich features of the system (on KDE -> all the added QT goodness, ioslaves, dcop, accessibility features, etc..) and be able to customize it to make them more productive.

At (4, Insightful)

AbbyNormal (216235) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084254)

$90 a download, I'm not sure really what they have that other distributions don't? I think they have simplified a few processes (look and feel of the desktop) a little for the average user, which is fantastic, but most of which is in some form or the other on other distributions.

Re:At (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084331)

There's an excellent review about what they offer that they believe makes it worth the money here [tinyurl.com]

Re:At (3, Insightful)

stomer (236922) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084340)

CodeWeavers CrossOver Office and Plugin makes it able to run any Windows compatible applications on Xandros Desktop.

That alone could justifiy the cash for the average user to be able to make the switch.

Not for me or you, possibly, but for the average joe, compatibility is key.

Re:At (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084542)

Except I can get real Windows for $75. Why would I pay more just to do crappy emulation?

Re:At (1)

stomer (236922) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084640)

One Word - Sasser

Re:At (0)

zerocool^ (112121) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084811)


Grandparent, Paraphrased: "At $90, what does it offer that other distros don't?"

Parent: CodeWeavers CrossOver Office and Plugin makes it able to run any Windows compatible applications on Xandros Desktop. That alone could justifiy the cash for the average user to be able to make the switch.

Wait, what?!?

Number one: I was thinking about looking into this desktop, based on the pretty screen shots I saw. I've never enjoyed KDE, and I've been a fan of Gnome, and Ximian when I can get it, but this looks to take KDE and make it pretty nice. But, not for NINETY freaking dollars. It's just a tweaked KDE, right, like, with the crap taken out of the menu, and all pretty?

Number two: You're telling me that the reason that it's worth $90 is BECAUSE IT RUNS SOME WINDOWS APPS? You're fucking kidding me. Windows only costs $100. You're telling me that you think users should switch away from the 900lb microsoft gorilla in order to get the freedom (speech) and the freeness (beer) that Linux offers?!? And THEN you tell me that you think users should pay 90% the cost of windows, in order to be able to run a few select windows apps, because they will still need them in order to switch?!?

I'm sorry. I wish linux was good enough for the average user, too, just like everyone on slashdot does. But, the fact is that it's really not there yet. And to any windows user with any sense, what you just said sounds suspiciously like a good reason to STAY on windows. If it's only 10% cheaper, and not all your games and apps will work, plus your desktop is somewhat unfamiliar, plus it's generally not as professional and not as good, then why switch?

No, no, no.

If you want a desktop for the world writ large, one that will be more attractive than windows, it needs the following attributes:

1.) Free (speech)
2.) Free (beer)
3.) Pretty
4.) Functional
5.) Familiar
6.) Easy to use, without insulting power users
7.) Cross system compatability for apps
8.) Games

We're getting close, but we're not there yet.

~Will

Re:At (1)

iangoldby (552781) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084487)

I think one of the most telling points in the interview is their comment that KDE needs a unified media player. (Presently, there are various players that all behave slightly differently, with overlapping functionality etc.)

Their philosophy seems to be that choice may be good, but something that Just Works is even better.

Re:At (1)

coldmist (154493) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084938)

$90 is for the Deluxe edition, with Crossover office and a 350 page user guide

The standard is $40, but doesn't come with Crossover.

How much was a different boxed distro again?

Already /.'d (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084265)

Mirror available here [tinyurl.com]

Mod parent up (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084293)

original site is crawling, mirror is extra-fast.

Re:Already /.'d (2, Informative)

rylin (688457) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084330)

*Chuckle*
Whoever modded it informative deserves to be shot.
Ok, you might not read the article
but ffs, check the fscking links if you're gonna mod it informative? :P

(Oh and, why was ol' tubby censored?)

Xandros (4, Funny)

DotDavid (554558) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084269)

I went to Xandros once, then clicked my heels and ended up back Gnome!

Re:Xandros (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084623)

>I went to Xandros once, then clicked my heels and ended up back Gnome!

Is this Gnome your home planet?

Stop confusing intuitive with familiar (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084270)

There is nothing "intuitive" about Windows-based interfaces.

They're merely familiar!

Re:Stop confusing intuitive with familiar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084478)

There is nothing intuitive about any GUI out there if you go by the strict definition. I have never seen a total newbie sit down in front of any machine and just know how to use it.

Re:Stop confusing intuitive with familiar (0, Redundant)

manavendra (688020) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084525)

Ok, this is a pure rant, so mods! please mark it that way.

I'm so glad at least one other person has responded to the "intuitive" aspect. So, there is still hope that others believe such interfaces are not intuitive after all - perhaps easier to use, or just familiar

It'd have been sweeter though, if the person accepting wasn't an "Anonymous Coward"...*sigh

Re:Stop confusing intuitive with familiar (1)

anonicon (215837) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084567)

"The only intuitive thing in the world is the nipple, everything else is learned."

That said, expecting most people to delineate the difference between intuitiveness and familiarity in a PC-based GUI is a grand act of self-delusion. I mean, how many people don't know the basic difference between there, their and they're, as well as how to use them?

As for familiarity, I don't think emulating Windows is a bad idea when your other options are the CLI or a UI standard that doesn't exist amongst Linux vendors.

Re:Stop confusing intuitive with familiar (2, Insightful)

Alomex (148003) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084602)

Such statements only hurt OSS. There's plenty intuitive in Windows, and the sooner we duplicate those the better we are.

By the same token, there is plenty that is non-intuitive too, so we should steer away from those.

As they say, know thy enemy. That is the rational think to do.... hey wait, this is /. never mind.

Real world vs. fanboy fantasies (0, Troll)

Mike Bourna (748040) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084302)

Keep dreaming, but LinuxOS has no place on the corporate desktop, not even if you try to emulate Windows with the Xardos patch. GOME failed, KED failed, why should this succeed? There's no innovation.

Even if the Windows desktop is both stylish and functional, you need more than that to succeed in the corporate world. I will now list a few facts and figures for you all to ponder.

I am what most people would consider a highly trained technical professional. Unlike most people who spout off at this site, I have the certificates to prove this, and furthermore they're issued by the biggest software company in existence.

I know how to tell facts from marketing fluff. Now, here are the facts as they're found by SEVERAL INDEPENDENT RESEARCH INSTITUTES:

Expenses for file-server workloads under Windows, compared to LinuxOS:
  • Staffing expenses were 33.5% better.
  • Training costs were 32.3% better.


They compared Microsofts IIS to the Linux 7.0 webserver. For Windows, the cost was only:
  • $40.25 per megabit of throughput per second.
  • $1.79 per peak request per second.


Application development and support costs for Windows compared to an opensores solution like J2EE:
  • 28.2% less for large enterprises.
  • 25.0% less for medium organizations.


A full Windows installation, compared to installing Linux, on an Enterprise Server boxen:
  • Is nearly three hours faster.
  • Requires 77% fewer steps.


Compared to the best known opensores webserver "Red Hat", Microsoft IIS:
  • Has 276% better peak performance for static transactions.
  • Has 63% better peak performance for dynamic content.


These are hard numbers and 100% FACTS! There are several more where these came from.

Who do you think we professionals trust more?
Reliable companies with tried and tested products, or that bedroom coder Thorwaldes who publicly admits that he is in fact A HACKER???

--
Copyright (c) 2004 Mike Bouma, MCSE, MCDST, MS Office Specialist, widely respected Amigan

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document
under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation;
with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover
Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU
Free Documentation License".

MOD PARENT DOWN (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084675)

This is the biggest troll I have ever seen

Xandros is just Debian with KDE and Codeweavers (0, Flamebait)

darthcamaro (735685) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084310)

You don't need to buy it. Just compile Debian Sid and buy Codeweaver you really need the Microsoft 'familiarity'. It's alot cheaper and Codeweaver actually develops 'stuff' and support WINE. Unlike Xandros that just resells stuff and doesn't give back to the FOSS community.

Re:Xandros is just Debian with KDE and Codeweavers (3, Informative)

iangoldby (552781) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084422)

Do you not consider submitting bug fixes back to the KDE team giving back to the FOSS community? Read the article.

Ah Cmon (-1, Offtopic)

AbbyNormal (216235) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084311)

Ming Poon on a Slashdot article? I feel for the guy...I really do.

Re:Ah Cmon (-1, Troll)

AbbyNormal (216235) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084366)

Offtopic? Cmon moderators it was a joke on the amount of childishness that is often present on Slashdot. Sheesh.

switch users (3, Interesting)

brysnot (573631) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084322)

One of those screenshots shows a dialog to switch users. Has that been incorporated into any other distros desktop? I love that feature of XP. Makes it easy to share a single computer with the wife.

Re:switch users (1)

aug24 (38229) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084591)

I just start my gf's gui on tty7 and mine on tty8 (there's prolly a better way to put that!), then switch between them by hitting ctrl-shift-f6/7.

The only difference is that I don't have to move my hand to the mouse to change ;-)

Justin.

Re:switch users (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084687)

you could run multiple X servers, so your desktop could be display 0 and accessed with alt+F7 or ctrl+alt+F7 from X, and your wife would have a desktop running on display 1 and accessible through alt+F8/ctrl+alt+F8

to run an X server on a different display simply run startx -- :1

Re:switch users (1)

pebs (654334) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084708)

I don't know if there's an easiser way, but you can start a seperate X server on another display (e.g. "startx -- :1") from her account, and then use CTRL-ALT-F8 to switch to it, and CTRL-ALT-F7 to switch back to yours.

Maybe with a little work, it could be easier (an icon on the desktop?). But if you could teach her to press CTRL-ALT-F8 (or bind that to something else) I think that would be easy enough.

I actually saw somewhere where this guy attached two sets of monitor/keyboard/mouse and had two seperate desktops running from one machine. That required some source code modifications, though.

Re:switch users (1)

twener (603089) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084808)

SUSE 9.1 has it too. Plain KDE only offers a "Start New Session" menu entry if properly configured, but no user switching (you have to use Ctrl-Alt-F7, Ctrl-Alt-F8 etc.).

Re:switch users (1)

linuxpoweredtrekkie (659492) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084818)

Yes, in KDE (since 3.1 i think) there is an option in the menu to "Start new session".
This basically starts a new X session which you can log into, and you can switch between with ctrl-alt-f7/f8

The only intuitive interface is the nipple (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084333)

...after that, it's all learned.

-- attributed to Bruce Edigar

konqi (3, Interesting)

Krafty Koder (697396) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084341)

sorry xandros , but kde without konqueror just isnt kde. i'll stick with mandrake...

I just do not get it (5, Insightful)

geneshifter (411883) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084350)

Why the heck are we still focused on emulating windows right down to the exact contextual menus? Why not try to strike out on a new path.

I use OS X and I love it, but I also love mu Suse and I have always thought that a good GUI (ahem...not like windows) could launch linux into the stratosphere. Why spend time and effort "creating" a GUI that is already in use???

C'mon, don't waste your talents for another second!

Re:I just do not get it (1)

Krik Johnson (764568) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084476)

That is Xandros's diceision. Other distros have their own ideas. KDE in its raw form does not look like Windows at all.

Re:I just do not get it (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084577)

Well, default KDE has a taskbar, with a menu and a system notification/applet area. If that's not all-but identical to the Windows Taskbar/Start Menu/Systray setup, I don't know what is.

Re:I just do not get it (1)

Krik Johnson (764568) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084679)

Windows dosen't have virtual desktops or applets on the taskbar, plus KDE uses Keramik for its default interface which looks nothing like the luna interface in Windows.

Re:I just do not get it (2, Informative)

AbbyNormal (216235) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084494)

"..effort "creating" a GUI that is already in use??"

General Acceptance and ease of use for people new to Linux? If a corporation could easily just drop this into place, without having significant training to their end-users, this could be conceived as a Godsend. I'm not suggesting that Linux needs to conform or try to take over the entire desktop market, but for the majority of linux users who would LIKE to see Linux run in their workspace (officially), this is definetly the way to go. Hook-em then wow-em.

Re:I just do not get it (1)

Fearless Freep (94727) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084597)

Windows 95 did not look like Windows 3.1. Even MS knows that they way to user acceptance is not imitation of what everyone is already using.

(Ironically, Win95 looked more like other, less popular,desktops)

Re:I just do not get it (1)

Alomex (148003) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084571)

Why the heck are we still focused on emulating windows right down to the exact contextual menus?

For one because however quirky they are still better than what Linux offers.

As well, we would be better off first fully catching up to Windows/MacOS and then striking off on a better path. That way OSSers get to benefit from somebody else's efforts, just like Microsoft learned from others.

C'mon, don't waste your talents for another second!

Actually what you have is a severe case of NIH syndrome.

Re:I just do not get it (2, Insightful)

abelsson (21706) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084658)

I've noticed that all those people that cry "But they're just emulating windows" never make any concrete suggestions on how a superior desktop would look like. Just a thought..

Re:I just do not get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084945)

A superior desktop should be 3D, with full 3D applications running inside it side by side.

That's progress and innovation.

Yes, I know people say that that has been tried before. Sure, yucky implementations have been tried. I want to see a classy, polished implementation. Imagine a 3D OSX.

eesh, not this again (2, Funny)

andih8u (639841) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084665)

If you're going after a market dominated by Windows, you try to make it look like Windows. People aren't terribly good with new and unfamiliar things. Don't believe me? Try standing sideways in an elevator while everyone else is facing forward. People around you will get uncomftorable...the same way they will if there's not a "start menu."

Re:I just do not get it (1)

pebs (654334) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084756)

How about just emulating OS X instead?

Mirror (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084387)

mirror here [shorl.com]

Dreadful Interview (3, Interesting)

Finuvir (596566) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084397)

Why do people have such difficulty conducting interviews properly? They ask "Could you tell us somewhat more about the work that Xandros has done to integrate KDE in their products?" and the answer has all this stuff about XFM. Then they completely ignore the talk about XFM and move on, only to come back and ask "In the Xandros Desktop OS there is an application called "Xandros File Manager"[XFM]. Can you tell us a bit more about it and the technologies it support?" later. Did they just write down a list of questions and not probe the interesting answers?
Okay so maybe they just sent a list of questions and published the list of answers they were sent back, but they really should have tried to integrate this stuff into a decent flow. It reads very badly.

Re:Dreadful Interview (1)

Seanasy (21730) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084937)

I think most tech journalists consider an interview to be a list of questions that you e-mail to someone. Then you print their answers with the questions. Of course that's not really an interview at all but an outline for an article that you want someone else to write. Unfortunately, the idea goes almost unquestioned in tech news outlets *cough*Slashdot*cough*.

Something I've noticed with techies: They're very demanding about getting technical things right and go to great lengths to be accurate. They're most eloquent when discussing technical matters. When it come to things outside their domain -- journalism, graphic/ui design -- they settle for the path of least resistance. I suppose that's natural but what bothers me is that they don't seem to recognize that they're not so good that those things. It's the reason the journalism sucks and the desktop interfaces are derivitive and unimaginative.

Of course that's a gross generalization but it definitely applies to this interview in more than one respect.

So it goes.

NT Domain Authentication? (3, Interesting)

discogravy (455376) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084400)

I have heard that Xandros is the only linux distro that does NT authentication and that it is some non-free component ... if any users can confirm or deny that (and how well it works), I'd be happy to hear about it.

Minge Poon (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084415)

Why be redundant?

MFC vs. GTK+? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084420)

OK. I admit to liking QT a fair amount. However implying (as CTO Ming Poon does in the interview) that programming with GTK+ is worse than programming in MFC says alot about their attitude IMHO. People who think that a C API is inherently inferior to a C++ API are obviously clueless. Personally, I would even choose Win32 over MFC.

I use Xandros (3, Informative)

smacktits (737334) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084470)

...and I love it. With the possible exception of Crossover Wine, which seems to be a bit flaky, I have no complaints other than the really nasty window skins and colour schemes.

It's true to say that it might be confusing for a new user. As always, when switching from an OS you've used for years you will find things difficult if you're not used to Linux.

I personally have had few problems with it. It detected my monitor, LAN card, all my hardware. Something even Redhate failed to manage.

Of course, it's not FreeBSD. But hey, it's a start...

Ming Poon?? (-1, Flamebait)

ValourX (677178) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084493)

"Say, what kind of a name is Poon, anyway?"

"Comanche Indian."

Re:Ming Poon?? (1)

ValourX (677178) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084626)

Flamebait??? It's a joke you morons. Didn't you ever see "Fletch?"

-Jem

Microsoft BOB (2, Funny)

Omega1045 (584264) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084532)

When is a Linux distro going to finally try to emulate the look and feel of Microsoft BOB [toastytech.com] , a truly intuative GUI?!?!?! Jeeesh!

MS Bob for Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084585)

It has already [murl.net]

You're all missing the point !! (3, Insightful)

Qwavel (733416) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084594)

Many of the posts here are slagging Xandros for trying to look like Windows and are questioning the idea that this makes it intuitive.

Maybe you are all just trolling, because I find it hard to believe that you haven't seen the desktop numbers (or at least heard about them). Almost everyone uses Windows on the desktop, except a few who use the Mac (with MS's full blessing).

The purpose of the Xandros distribution is to appeal to Windows users. It is supposed to be intuitive to Windows users, not Linux users. 'Lock-in' really exists and it is really important: it is very difficult to switch to another OS if you've only ever used Windows. It's not a matter of which is better, it's a question of familiarity.

I personally would like to see more Windows users using Linux (in any form), and I would especially like to see a small dent made in the MS monopolies so I'm glad to see Xandros working on this.

Now, if you want to slag Xandros, there are lots of better ways to do this. Most importantly to me, they don't seem to contribute much back. People are attacking Red Hat a lot these days, but take a loook at the amount that Red Hat contributes to important OSS projects (eg. GCC). Xandros does not. But that is their right - they are not breaking the GPL or anything (to the best of my knowledge). By the way, Dream Weavers (which is included in Xandros and shares some ownership) is also an excellent contributor (to Wine).

It also seems to me that their product is way over priced, but I guess I don't know what their strategy is.

Re:You're all missing the point !! (1)

Fearless Freep (94727) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084691)

> It's not a matter of which is better, it's a question of familiarity.

Win95 did not look like Win3.1. Even Microsoft realized that just imitating what was popular wasn't really needed if you could give enough else that was improved.

Ironically, Win95 bore a stronger resemblance to other, less popular, GUIs at the time (Mac and OS/2) than it did to what was already accepted

What they provided in Win95 was a much better product that was worth the changes in Look/Feel for people to adapt

"works right out of the box", my left nut... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084629)

I had to install Xandros on a professor's new laptop and desktop. Selected the packages I wanted installed, clicked "Install" only to have it fail with the error "bad package". No indication which of the dozens of packages I had selected was bad. I ended up installing the systems six packages at a time so when I got an error I could uncheck them individually until I found the bad one.

What a pain in the ass. Naturally, after all that the modem in the laptop didn't work (driver version was too old), neither did selecting the proper resolution for the flat panel using their display control panel (no matching modeline). I fixed the XF86Config file, only to have Xandros overwrite it on a subsequent boot.

For his money and my trouble, he basically got an old Debian sid snapshot with an XPesque Playskool theme, plus the CrossOver plugin. Big whoop.

Nice graphics (1)

Alomex (148003) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084646)


I don't know how this thing actually works in practice, but if the quality of their graphics is an indication, I'm optimistic. I had a quick look at the screenshots and my immediate reaction was "at last a linux GUI that doesn't hurt my eyes".

should be: '..product is based on Linux,' not KDE? (1)

linux_author (691402) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084677)

- just a nitpick... besides, what's the proper usage: "I use Linux," or "I use a Linux-based OS"? :-)

great quote (2, Funny)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084695)

Rick Berenstein: 2004 will definitely be the year of the Linux desktop
Sounds somehow familiar, can't quite put my figner on it.

frist p5o7 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084698)

don't want to feEl

Intuitive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084721)

Just curious: I looked at this screenshot. [xandros.com]

In the phase "create new session on screen X" what do they mean by 'session' and 'screen'? Is screen in the sense of display:screen as in :0.0 and :0.1? Or is a screen a different virutal desktop? Is a session a particular user's login session? Why not just call it "login as a different user" instead of "create a new session"?

And "lock current screen when switching" is ambiguous too. How can I both lock this screen I am looking at and still use it? (assuming a more nieve user)

Xandros has issues - but it works for me (4, Interesting)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084723)

Since all the comments above me are from people who say that "Xandros is no more than Debian + KDE + Codeweavers, just go compile your own", I figure I should add something.

I moved one of my machines to Xandros 2.0 last December. It was my first machine to move from Windows 2000. I hadn't switched until then for a few reasons:

1) While I can figure out technical things, I want some basis of familiarity to start with. Most Linux operating systems are completely foreign. I had previously installed Debian once, but I had no idea what to do to make my sound work, and no real way to find out without wasting weeks of my free time on my own, or going to a newsgroup to get unhelpful advice.

2) I had been very nervous about making an -insecure- Linux box. Back in college I had a SGI workstation with Irix. I learned a good bit about the OS, and even reinstalled it once from scratch. I didn't learn until it was too late, however, that buried somewhere back in section 6 chapter 7 page 35 of the documentation was a list of default accounts with no passwords! The machine was exploited. I waited until Xandros 2.0 so I would have a Linux operating system with the simplicity of Debian updates to keep it secure.

Xandros 2.0 has worked very well for me. A few accomplishments:

1) In four years, my wife and I have not been able to get Windows networking to function on our six computers. Her second machine could see my second machine in the workgroup, while my second machine could see her primary machine. None of them could see anything else, even though they were all in the same workgroup and even attached to the same hub, with all of them set up the same way. We used FTP to transfer files, and moved the printer cable manually. With Xandros, I set up a fileserver with (almost) a right-click and "share this folder". Amazingly, even now when the machines can't see each other, they ALL see the server. Samba does a better job of Windows networking that Windows does!

2) I have an old HP scanner. The HP driver for it blue-screens Windows 2k on boot, and they never provided an updated driver. I haven't used it in two years because of this. When I used Xandros Networks to install their scanner program (Kooka) and then plugged in my USB scanner, it just -worked-. (The first day.)

3) I have several Windows applications running well in Xandros with Crossover Office, including Excel (didn't like OO.o), tax software, GURPS character creator, etc. This helps build hope that I could leave Windows entirely one day.

Now, that said, there are some things that have gone wrong:

1) That Samba share worked great for all the Windows users, who could great and modify files in the shared directory with ease (when I had permissions set correctly in the graphical dialogs). To get my user on the Xandros machine to be able to also create and modify files at the same time, I had to dig through the Xandros support site and the Samba online docs to find the right setting to make in a config file.

2) The mouse in Xandros was "sticky". The cursor wouldn't move until I had moved the mouse a certain amount, and then it "jumped". This made it VERY hard to do things like resize columns in Excel. The fix was adding a "resolution" line to the pointer's configuration, which again I had to go to support forums to find. I have no idea why this wasn't configurable from the control center.

3) After using my scanner the first day, two days later it completely didn't work. Again, after digging around on support sites, I found the solution - it was a permissions problem. (Why did I have permission the first day but not on later days? I have no idea.) Anyway, it works fine again now, and I was even able to help some other folks who had the same problem.

In summary - Xandros 2.0 has a market. Maybe it's not a market for most Slashdot readers who work in IT or are in college or high school and grew up with Linux and PCs. But it has a market for this electrical engineer who grew up with Commodores but likes Windows as little as you do.

Oh, and I don't care that it's not free as in speech or beer. I just want options in my OS without worrying about lock-in. If Xandros does piss me off too much, I can always move to another distribution, and everything will still basically work the same way.

Which begs the question... (2, Insightful)

Colonel Angus (752172) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084820)

...will any Linux distro forego familiarity and try to revolutionize a new desktop? People are familiar with Windows, but, as stated here, is it really that intuitive? Not unless you've used it for some time. So why not develop the next gen desktop and trump MS. I know IceVM and the like are vastly different, but I don't know how Joe Sixpack would adapt to the interface. Who knows, maybe he would... but I would definitely like to see some innovation in the desktop as it has been untouched for decades, really. Christ, I remember GEOS on the C64 that was an 8bit, 64k version of today's desktop. End of rant... informative or not...

As a Xandros user... (4, Informative)

ites (600337) | more than 10 years ago | (#9084842)

I can say why it's easily worth the price tag.

1. On every PC we've installed it on (about 10 in our company) it just worked, with the exception of a notebook that had some CD hardware problems.

2. It installs smoothly and gives you a good set of applications without overloading the UI.

3. It has an excellent one-click GUI update manager that is based on apt and is compatible with it.

4. The Xandros File Manager really _is good_. Whatever file you have, you click and the 'right' thing happens. Want to burn some files to CD? Selected them, right click and select "Burn to CD"... Want to unpack a zip file? Right click, choose "Unpack". and so on.

5. It is stable.

Overall Xandros gives you the feeling that you are driving a luxury car. Smooth, highly polished, and incredible attention to detail.

6. It is Debian: want to add something? Find the sources, unpack, build, install.

Now the poor points:

1. Slow release cycle, annoying if you're a thrill seeker. With one release a year, Xandros gives you reliability over performance and gadgets.

2. Not free. You can't just copy it and share it. I believe Xandros is preparing a free version.

3. The Windows support is flaky and not something you should bet on. It's better just to migrate to Linux/portable applications such as OOo over time (it took me about 6 months to migrate, switching one application at a time: office, media players, browsing, streaming, agendas, and finally email.)

I've tried many different distros, but I'm not willing to spend much time installing, or learning the details. It has to work quickly and smoothly. That's what Xandros does.

I bought Xandros (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084852)

And it's the first distro I've ever bought 'officially'.

I'm mixed about it. I wanted an easy desktop but I also want to be able to config "some stuff". Like, I wanted to be able to upgrade kernals, or upgrade to kde 3.2 etc, which I couldn't.

I suppose it wasn't really aimed at me, but for the average windows user it is fantastic. Amazing hardware support (minus USB) easy installation, looks great (you CAN have Gnome in it, it's a matter of "apt-get install gdm" and "apt-get install gnome-desktop") also the software is easy as pie. You have their GUI interface to apt-get, meaning you literally click and install or click and uninstall. This is also true of patches, select patches, then click the patches to install.

Setting it up with Samba was amazing, it detected it all by itself with my other Windows box, config'd great with my router and modem.

It's also not a bloated Redhat box, it runs fast, this was on an AMD XP3000+ 512ddr, 64mb gfx but there was no sluggish behaviour at all.

The worst thing was their own servers, though. Their own xandros-compiled database of applications was very limited, which meant I had to rely on Debian-based programs a lot of the time, or compile myself, but then I suppose I was going for slightly more obscure programs (though I don't consider amsn and gaim that obscure.

In all, if you want a Linux desktop that you're not going to want to touch much (just for office, web, email etc) then go with Xandros, if you're like me and want that little bit more power, like being able to choose to upgrade the kernal when you like and updated WM's then give it a miss.

Frist psNoT (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084894)

more expensive than windows xp? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9084918)

standard home user edition $129. well, why dont people just use windows directly?
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