Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
GUI Software Linux

XPde 0.5 - A Linux Desktop for Windows Users 460

Posted by michael
from the sincerest-form-of-flattery dept.
Nissan Dookeran writes "From the website: 'The XPde Team today announced the immediate availability of XPde 0.5.0, a complete rewrite of the XPde desktop environment...XPde aims to recreate the Windows XP desktop environment on Linux in order to allow Windows users to "feel at home" in front of a Linux computer' Full announcement of release here with screenshots here. Might be a good transitional tool for Windows users looking not wanting to give up their eye-candy interface initially. The main page also has a good PDF document regarding legal issues when developing software that emulates Windows functions. A StarOffice version of the document also available."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

XPde 0.5 - A Linux Desktop for Windows Users

Comments Filter:
  • by wmacgyver (555987) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @06:04AM (#8760631)
    hey, it's the secure WinXP release! (duck for cover)
  • Cool (Score:4, Funny)

    by MisterFancypants (615129) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @06:05AM (#8760635)
    This is a cool project. Windows is awesome. It is good to finally see Linux users realizing that the Windows UI is the best one there is and adapting to use it.
    • Re:Cool (Score:5, Funny)

      by horza (87255) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @09:36AM (#8761149) Homepage
      This is a cool project. Windows is awesome. It is good to finally see Linux users realizing that the Windows UI is the best one there is and adapting to use it.

      Think of it as digital methadone, propping up the poor user as they are slowly weaned off being given their daily hit of M$.

      Phillip.
  • by Gandalfar (599790) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @06:06AM (#8760639)
    g1powermac already created a livecd using Morphix [morphix.org] that has xpde5 inside. Just boot it using desktop=xpde5 boot parameter. It will default to 0.4.2 since xpde5 is still lacking some of the features. Sourceforge download [sourceforge.net]
  • by Fr4ncis (763671)
    It's easy to use and very fast! (I tried 0.4) but it lacked essential DE stuff. If they keep up the good work and more developers join the team, that could become a good xp looking-like DE.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Shouldn't that be a Windows desktop for Linux users?
  • by rokzy (687636) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @06:09AM (#8760647)
    if MS can take down "Lindows", they can definitely take down "XPde Professional".

    some of the icons are so similar that it looks like they've changed maybe one or two pixels at most.
  • by UNIBLAB_PowerPC (443101) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @06:10AM (#8760652) Homepage
    Isn't this similar to the reason why Apple took Microsoft to court over the similarities between Mac OS and Windows? Or similar to the reason why Apple took some folks to court because they copied the look and feel of their Aqua GUI?

    I don't mean to piss in anyone's Corn Flakes, but damn ... look at a screenshot [xpde.com] ... Start button is named Start, My Desktop is My Desktop, etc. Watch the headlines here in a week to a month for the cease-and-desist letter from MS to the XPde folks. Makes me glad I have a friend going through law school ... heh.
    • I didn't know Microsoft owns the words "Start", "My" or "Desktop".
    • by eclectro (227083) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @06:54AM (#8760759)
      Isn't this similar to the reason why Apple took Microsoft to court over the similarities between Mac OS and Windows?

      Yes, and they lost. So, if Microsft copied Apple (and don't forget Apple copied Xerox), what is wrong if somebody copies Microsoft?

      The only thing Apple gained from the expensive lawsuit with Microsoft is a copyright on the trashcan. So that is the reason you see a different icon for "trash" on all of the different operating systems there are.

      The only caveat is that the Apple vs. Microsoft was fought in the era without software patents. If it had been (like today), Apple most likely would have won.

      Microsoft does have a lot of money that they can cause a lot of pain for someone they don't like. They also have software patents on many things that people would not think of getting a patent for.

      But if Microsoft were to put the squeeze on somebody for making a windows look-a-like, there might be attorneys that would take the case on antitrust grounds.
  • legal issue? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cloudless.net (629916) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @06:10AM (#8760654) Homepage
    Is there any legal issue with this? As I remember Apple always threatens those who reproduce the Mac OS user interface. Would Microsoft do the same?
    • Is there any legal issue with this? As I remember Apple always threatens those who reproduce the Mac OS user interface. Would Microsoft do the same?
      My guess is that Microsoft would want to wait until this is some sort of threat. Wouldn't it generate a lot of bad publicity if they sued Linux for immitating them? A suit would be *good* publicity for Linux, after all, since any publicity is good publicity. (And Linux could always use more of that.)
      • Re:legal issue? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by matticus (93537)
        How would you sue Linux? Can you serve documents to a tarball?
        It seems more and more people try to think of Linux as a corporation, as an entity. You can't sue Linux. You can sue Linux companies, but our friends in Utah show how well that works. The most that will happen is XPde will be C&D'd to stop distributing. But what do they care? They're not making money from it. They will comply, and another lookalike will be squashed, proving the need for a coherent, non-imitating *nix desktop. Remember
        • Re:legal issue? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by MobyTurbo (537363) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @07:59AM (#8760890) Homepage
          How would you sue Linux?
          I meant "Linux" as being the community and businesses involved in making or using it of course. This shorthand should be apparent to anyone reading.
          proving the need for a coherent, non-imitating *nix desktop.
          Yes, I'm all in favor of non-imitation myself - but you must admit that there's a certain class of user that this project would appeal to.
          i'll stick to Windowmaker on my Linux, thank you.
          WindowMaker is a NeXT clone, and Steve Jobs as much as anyone in the business has sued for look and feel; you're lucky that he ended up changing prototypes of OS X's look and feel to appeal to the existing Apple users.

          That having been said, WindowMaker's a fine window manager, but it doesn't appeal to the sort of user this thing addresses. (Though I wonder if it's this sort of user, someone looking for a better Windows rather than a free Unix, that is good for the Linux community.)

  • My experience (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dunkelzahn (106055) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @06:10AM (#8760655) Homepage
    I tried this out one night when I was planning out a desktop for a person I knew who wanted to try out Linux. On a visual level, it was very well put together, and one could forget they were in Linux until one tried out the control panel, or wanted to get any work done. Menus and things still had to be assembled manually also, which didn't mean too much to me, as it was still 0.31 at the time. It wasn't ready for my friend's system, and I ended up putting Gnome 2.2 on there which they were more than happy with. I'd say this project definitely has a future, from what I see their mock-up of the Win2K desktop was pretty right on target, behaviors and all. The lack of some key features are what kept it from being ready, but I imagine much of it will be dependent on the distribution, placing icons in the start menu, etc when one installs a .deb, .rpm, or runs an emerge.
  • Eye Candy? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Biotech9 (704202) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @06:13AM (#8760658) Homepage
    If XP has eye candy then I'm superman. The first thing I do on any install is take away that snot green interface and replace it with the classic interface.
  • Migration? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by landrocker (560567) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @06:14AM (#8760661) Homepage

    I think that one of the areas that linux can really beat windows given enough effort is with it's desktop environments.

    Given this, wouldn't it be better for people migrating from windows to become acustomed to the more powerful desktop environment of linux, rather than one which sacrifices some good features for the sake of making windows users feel more at home?

    Also, if you shroud the differences between windows and linux behind a look-alike gui as soon as something goes wrong, or the user trys to install something the os will likely throw up a very un-windows like error, which will most likely confuse the user, leaving a sour taste about linux in their mouth.

    You may claim my $0.02 via Paypal or Direct Credit

  • by MachDelta (704883) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @06:14AM (#8760662)
    Might be a good transitional tool for Windows users looking not wanting to give up their eye-candy interface initially.
    Initially? Why initially? What about the millions of computer users out there that don't EVER want to give up their "eye-candy interface" ?

    Man, the more I watch the Linux world from the outside, the less i'm beginning to believe in "the revolution". It would be funny if it wasn't crushingly dissapointing - Two sides that "just don't get it".

    *Sigh*
    • you're assuming that xp eyecandy is the ultimate eycandy.

      there's lots of useless eycandy for nix, as there is for windows as well.

      (just helped install litestep + a theme of their choosing to both the guys I share the kitchen with, as they had gotten fed up with the standard win xp look)

    • by Angostura (703910) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @08:59AM (#8761050)
      Absolutely. Just love the condescension implied by that sentence. I, of course an an OS X user. But presumable the author believes that once I'm sufficiently clueful I will start prefering VI to these crappy old GUI editors I've been forced to use.
  • non x86? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Njovich (553857) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @06:18AM (#8760674)
    I liked the last version much, even though it was far from complete. But IIRC it was based on Kylix, and there was no good way to run it on any other architecture than x86.

    So can I run this completely rewritten version on our Sun boxes?
  • Mirrors (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 04, 2004 @06:20AM (#8760677)
    Mirrors

    xpde.qadram.com
    xpde.holobit.net
    xpde.tech-critic.com
    xpde.abenks.com
    xpde.debian.co.nz
    toxic-systems.de/xpde
    xpde.linuxring.hu
    xpde.gaesi.org
    xpde.jt-webservice.de
  • by broothal (186066) <christian@fabel.dk> on Sunday April 04, 2004 @06:21AM (#8760678) Homepage Journal
    I have mixed feelings about this. At first I thought "if linux is better than windows, why try to be windows". But then I realised, that this is exactly what I'd show people whom I wanted to convert to linux. For most people, the GUI is Windows. They don't know about kernel stuff or hardware compatibility issues (if it works). If they saw this, with a properly wordes sales pitch "free, no viruses, cool geek factor" etc, I think a "sale" would be easier.

    I do have concerns about the legal side of the project, but other posters has already made good comments about that.
    • If they saw this, with a properly wordes sales pitch "free, no viruses, cool geek factor" etc, I think a "sale" would be easier.

      I think you'll probably find that most people really don't want to be thought of as geeks. Sure, we've taken on the label with a kind of pride, but we're not most people.

      That said, I agree with you about the GUI. One of the reasons I stopped using Linux (after having used it in some capacity for about 4 years) is that, to my eyes, XP is just prettier. Also, I was doing stuff (.n
      • by polyp2000 (444682) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @09:41AM (#8761172) Homepage Journal
        I detect a smidgen of trolling going on here dude....

        That said, I agree with you about the GUI. One of the reasons I stopped using Linux (after having used it in some capacity for about 4 years) is that, to my eyes, XP is just prettier.

        Seriously though if you have been using linux for around 4 years you must have seen many many cases where Linux can look soooo much nicer than XP's fisherprice look and feel, sheesh!

        I've got mine set up to look like OSX Panther

        here [blackapology.com] is a screenshot! how subjective is that ? And personally if I had to stare at those garish XP colors all day i'd imagine my eyes would hurt pretty bad.
    • In other news, Ferrari announced the introduction of a Ferrari that drives just like a Volkswagen. This will allow Volkswagen drivers to feel "right at home" behind the wheel of a Ferrari.
    • But then I realised, that this is exactly what I'd show people whom I wanted to convert to linux. For most people, the GUI is Windows.

      I always wondered why we try so hard to be like something that everyone is switching from. I mean If they don't like the old product, why spend all the resources duplicating it.
      Give them something easy, refreshing, new, cool, exciting. You don't do that by copying everything from someone else then wonder why they call you up with "IE wont load".

      I like gnome and thi
  • by heironymouscoward (683461) <heironymouscoward.yahoo@com> on Sunday April 04, 2004 @06:24AM (#8760685) Journal
    Very few people have made a conscious choice for Windows and its UI, and few people will really base their future decisions on this.

    95% of the angst most people feel from using Windows comes from one single thing: security. I find it remarkably easy to switch people to a distro like Xandros by telling them: it is safe and will protect your photos and documents from viruses, trojans, and worms.

    All that is needed is a reasonable level of compatibility so that people can continue to make their documents & spreadsheets, download their photos from their digital cameras, and email their friends.

    Not a single person ever says: "but it looks nothing like Windows!" - the only counter objection is that "certain things do not work".

    Emulating XP safely may be an intellectual challenge but it is not part of the Linux sales argument. Distributions like Xandros - which install easily, and handle smoothly - are.
    • I don't agree. You are talking about 95% of 5% of the possible switchers. the other 95% of possible switchers will occasionaly ponder 'hum, maybe I should give this linux thing a try', and then bail out when they can't find the start menu->control panel->display properties. Or start->programs->accesoires->calculator.

      I know quite a lot of users that I would like to convince switching to linux, but I won't bother because I know they will give up frustrated becaus ethey don't feel at home a
    • You're forgetting that to your average user "Not a single person ever says: "but it looks nothing like Windows!" - the only counter objection is that 'certain things do not work'" means things don't work the exact same way they're used doing them. The application can have the exact same functionality, but because the shortcut's not in the same place, or the name of a function has changed, it no longer "works."
      • by tverbeek (457094) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @12:25PM (#8761842) Homepage
        True. A significant minority of computer users learn to operate them by rote. They start with cheat sheets written by friends or coworkers telling them to "click Start, click Programs, click Microsoft Office..." Give them a different machine (even one with the same core OS but different configuration) and they're lost. They hate that, and they blame the computer.

        Power users can suffer from a similar problem. They might know their OS and apps well enough to operate them blindfolded, and have tweaked them to ultimate efficency. So if the menus are different, or the keyboard shortcuts changed (or worse, not available), then the OS "doesn't work". When I (a DOS/Win user) was required to get familiar with Mac System 6 many years ago, the inability to access pulldown menus with the keyboard led me to dismiss it as deficient. When I started experimenting with Linux, I muttered some very unkind words when I couldn't find anything comparable to AUTOEXEC.BAT (DOS), the Startup submenu (Windows), or Startup Items folder (Mac) folders (just an arcane init system in /etc/rc.d/). When OS X came along (finally fixing the "broken" pulldown menus) I was frustrated that none of the new window-control buttons equated to Maximize. Now, I've mostly gotten past this stuff, by simply accepting that the different OSes I use behave differently, and that I have to give up some reflex-based efficency for versatility. But the obstacle to acceptance was still there; I just got over it.

  • by iceco2 (703132) <meirmaor&gmail,com> on Sunday April 04, 2004 @06:25AM (#8760689)
    In my expirience with advocating GNU/linux there is enough Linux hype going around to convince some-one to take a look, and the KDE/Gnome desktops are in themselves easy on the eyes. The problem is to convinvce someone to work at learning the new system.
    GNU/Linux is diffrent then windows! I hope it will always remain so, but when talking about user friendlyness the problem isn't with switching windows or what your icons look like, it is more about setting up programs.
    In the GNU/Linux world people still open a text console on a every day basis, Somw of us find it the more convinient way of managing the system.
    I have several times tried using some automatic configuration tool(usually by Mandrake) and quickly found myself opening emacs in a split window with a man page and a config file.

    In many cases the problem is with the GNU/Linux gurus not being able to help with GUI tools. On several ocasions my brother came to me with linux questions how do I do this or that and I knew my way of doing it(Typing in a console window) but I knew very little of which GUI tool will do the job and how.

    These are the major issues in GNU/Linux UI

    Me
    • Have you ever mentioned this to someone involved with Mandrake? Idealy it seems like this is one of the main things they'd be interested in hearing about, given their focus on trying to remove the need for command line use if the user dosn't want it. Though I recognise that the ideal isn't always reality, and companies don't always behave in the most logical manner.
    • In my expirience with advocating GNU/linux there is enough Linux hype going around to convince some-one to take a look, and the KDE/Gnome desktops are in themselves easy on the eyes. The problem is to convinvce someone to work at learning the new system. GNU/Linux is diffrent then windows!

      Of course GNU/Linux is different than Windows. It contains no graphics and no desktop: just a console to enter commands and a few basic programs/utilities.

      I can happily inform you that KDE 3.2.1 runs just fine on Op

  • Wohoo! choice! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Alkonaut (604183) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @06:26AM (#8760693)
    What desktop linux needs is ONE desktop to replace them all. That is; one set of widgets, one way of doing everything, and one interface for developing gui apps for linux. This kind of dictatorship works dandy at the core level of linux, and needs to be extended to include the GUI, or the "linux desktop" will remain a flamewar of competing technologies, each trying to copy what the "top-down" managed software is doing.

    As long as there is choice, there will be no breakthrough. One more choice won't help either.

    Sure, starting in various ends will perhaps give a Darwinian process of development, but now with a plethora of applications developed on the different desktops, incompatible with eachother, there will be no survival of the fittest. All the desktop technologies seem doomed to live side by side forever. sigh.

    • It's idyllic, but that's really not that realistic...

      When I started using Mandrake, I thought the clean polish of the Keramic and Galaxy themes were just fantastic. I played around with all the different themes and widgits I could find, but as time went on, I just wanted that good ol' Redmond look'n'feel. Sad to say it, but my Linux box looks and acts pretty much like a Windows 98 machine.

      If someone were to come along and make me use a "different" desktop because that's what everyone else has decided we

    • Re:Wohoo! choice! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jesterzog (189797) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @07:38AM (#8760857) Homepage Journal

      What desktop linux needs is ONE desktop to replace them all. That is; one set of widgets, one way of doing everything, and one interface for developing gui apps for linux. This kind of dictatorship works dandy at the core level of linux, and needs to be extended to include the GUI. [..] As long as there is choice, there will be no breakthrough. One more choice won't help either.

      It's a cute idea, but like another response to your post I also don't see it as realistic and in some places I completely disagree with what you've said. Someone else might elaborate since I'm not an expert on kernel development, but I also think you've missed some important points about how things work.

      Linux can have a dictatorship and "one way of doing everything" at the kernel level, because by definition the kernel is linux. If someone were to fork the kernel and do things differently, it wouldn't be linux any more. Similarly, if someone forks emacs it becomes something else. If someone forks X11, it becomes something else. And so on.

      Nobody's seriously and successfully forked the linux kernel for one reason or another ... or at least if they have, it's not called linux anymore. But there are several other kernels in existence that are available and work significantly differently. Even if nobody bothers to fork the linux kernel, some people may go and work on the BSD kernels, for instance, because they prefer the design.

      In essence, as long as enough people disagree about the best way to do something, there will be a fork. It happens with nearly every application available as much as, if not more than, it happens with kernels.

      Desktops are a huge area of disagreement. The design of them is mostly about usability, and we're still in infancy when it comes to understanding the best ways to do things. ACM has only been running HCI conferences since the early 1980's, and since then researchers have figured out that designing good desktops is very difficult. Putting rules on it might make it slightly easier to be compatible with or learn, but placing draconian enforcement on a policy that isn't known to be good is more likely just to leave us with another crappy desktop.

      Windows is a crappy desktop from a usability perspective. Personally I prefer to avoid KDE and Gnome, both of which seem to want to mimic Windows in most ways, including most of it's bad features. For a linux desktop I prefer WindowMaker, which also isn't perfect, but is has several features that I just like. Having the option to switch and still have all of my X applications work is fantastic.

      • Mod parent up! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by FooBarWidget (556006) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @08:06AM (#8760899)
        Exactly. There's choice on the desktop area because people disagree! Forcing one implementation down everyone's throat will make about 50% of the userbase unhappy. Do you really want to pay that price just for the sake of avoiding potential confusing?

        The top parent post is yet another example of critics proposing the wrong solution to a problem.
        What we need is interoperability and compatibility. Don't try to make a dictatorship, encourage effords like Freedesktop.org [freedesktop.org] instead.

        Luckily interoperability is improving more and more. I don't know about KDE but both GNOME 2.6 and ROX have adopted the Freedesktop.org MIME standard. All desktops have already adopted the Xdnd standard quite a while ago. KDE 3.0+ has adopted the clipboard standard. GNOME 2, and I believe KDE 3.2 too, have adopted the menu vFolder standard. This list goes on and on.

        What people really want is to be able to write software that can integrate in every desktop. They want to write for one standard and work anywhere.
        That's exactly why we need interoperability and compatibility, not a single implementation.
        • Re:Mod parent up! (Score:4, Insightful)

          by demachina (71715) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @12:36PM (#8761910)
          You can dream but as long as Linux geeks continue the UI religious wars you are going to end up with an ugly hodgepodge of applications that look inconsistent and behave inconsistently.

          Now we have this wonderful prospect that Miguel de Icaza has declared all existing toolkits obsolete and is presumably going to develop a new one from scratch and start a religious war in the Gnome/GTK camp when he decides he wants to switch existing apps over with all the devastating consequences. The one plus here is KDE will just ignore him and maybe he will sufficiently screw up GNOME for a year or two so that GNOME will fall behind and fail and then we can unify on one desktop.

          Just do what I do and try to run OpenOffice and Evolution on a KDE desktop. It puts a massive suck on memory because there are three sets of software doing all the same things but differently. You have to shift gears everytime you move between them because everything about the UI's in each is different. I have utter contempt for people who complain they don't like the "look" of KDE and GNOME. The "look" is insignificant compared to consistency.

          I don't even consider using Mozilla because then I would hate the massive inconsistency so badly I would just give up on a Linux desktop. Konqueror has its quirks but its really important that its small, light, fast and fits with the rest of the desktop. I'll drop Evolution and return to kmail as soon as the HTML editor in kmail works. I need to start evaluating koffice to see if I can get off OpenOffice or I need to buy a whole bunch more RAM. The time it takes OpenOffice to load is reason enough to want to get rid of it. KDE is using some major tricks to get apps to load quickly and to circumvent the major overheads in dynamic linking. When you load OpenOffice you benefit from none of this so you wait an hour for it to load.

          Let me spell it out for you. Mac OSX and Windows have a consistent look and feel, all the applications behave consistently. This is especially true of OSX. Thats why ordinary people like it so much. If you use one app you can switch to another and use it with equal ease. This consistency is a hundred times more important to users than all the "innovation" you see in Linux applications. If you want Linux to win on the desktop the application suite HAS to be consistent, and I mean really consistent, as in how menus are laid out, how accelerators are defined, how tools work, how things look etc.

          If you want Linux to continue to fail on the desktop just stay the course. You might win some enterprise support because big companies want free. You don't have a prayer with most average users with the current state of things.
    • Re:Wohoo! choice! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by FooBarWidget (556006)
      How does this one more choice hurt Linux? XPde is not included in any distribution. Saying XPde will hurt Linux is like saying LiteStep will hurt Windows because it provides choice.

      We don't need one desktop to replace them all. We need different desktops to be interoperable.
      Nobody in Windows land complains that there's more than one widget set (MFC vs VCL vs Qt vs pure Win32 API vs resource controls vs .NET WinForms vs whatever weird toolkits Photoshop, Norton AntiVirus, ZoneAlarm, etc. use), or that there
    • Re:Wohoo! choice! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by nathanh (1214) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @07:54AM (#8760885) Homepage
      What desktop linux needs is ONE desktop to replace them all. That is; one set of widgets, one way of doing everything, and one interface for developing gui apps for linux...

      As long as there is choice, there will be no breakthrough. One more choice won't help either.

      Having programmed in the Windows environment, I know there are multiple competing widget sets there too, so I know your argument is fundamentally wrong.

      But even assuming you're right. Assuming that Linux will never "breakthrough" without a single unified widget set. A single desktop. My question is... so what?

      Does it matter? Who cares if Linux never gets bigger than this? It rocks pretty mightily right now. I'm really happy with it. I got started with Linux so I could get UNIX@home. Ok, admittedly I already had UNIX@home (Interactive) but Linux was simply better. So I was happy back in 1992.

      Everything since then has been gravy. If you had told me in 1997 that I'd be playing 3D games and using state-of-the-art word processors on Linux, I'd have laughed at you and gone back to nethack and LaTeX. But now I'm sitting in front of a GNOME 2.6 desktop typing into a modern web browser. I'm in utter disbelief that it's this good. I would have been happy with command line UNIX! This is way more than I ever expected.

      So does it matter if Linux doesn't take over 100% of the market? I say it doesn't matter. I think it will happen anyway, but I won't cry if it doesn't. Linux rocks already. I'm content. Aren't you?

    • Re:Wohoo! choice! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Kjella (173770)
      It's real easy for the Linux kernel - you may benchmark algorithm A vs. algorithm B, or by flexibility, extendability and whatever. Usually it's very easy to say that choice A > choice B or at the very least, that property X of A > property X of B.

      Which is the best set of widgets, the best way of doing anything, the best GUI interface? The last one you might get most people to agree on, the first two are impossible.

      Depending on intelligence, skill, experience, work organzation, ability to multitask,
    • Choice is critical (Score:2, Insightful)

      by petrus4 (213815)
      >As long as there is choice, there will be no
      >breakthrough. One more choice won't help either.

      Are you insane? Almost the *entire* reason why Windows is as much a security nightmare as it is, is because of it's homogenous nature. Sure, maybe it makes life a lot easier for end users, but have you ever stopped to think how much easier it makes life for virus writers and crackers as well?

      Having only one system has it's pros and cons, the same way having choice does...but from where I'm sitting, choi

    • Re:Wohoo! choice! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by xchino (591175) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @08:50AM (#8761028)
      This is absolute crap. Every time a story like this someone comes along and posts a "What Linux needs is Unity!!" post, acting as if they were some sort of prophet sent to lead Linux to the promise land.

      "What desktop linux needs is ONE desktop to replace them all. That is; one set of widgets, one way of doing everything, and one interface for developing gui apps for linux."

      Why does Linux need this one singular desktop? Who is going to benefit from lack of choice? Do you really expect developers to give up their choice in what to develop with, just because you think it will help more people adopt Linux. Where on kernel.org do you see that goal of "Get everyone off of windows and onto a Linux Desktop"? Where on KDE's site do you see the goal of "Being the ONE TRUE Linux desktop." I like having a choice in my desktop, and I like having a choice in my development tools.

      "This kind of dictatorship works dandy at the core level of linux, and needs to be extended to include the GUI, or the "linux desktop" will remain a flamewar of competing technologies, each trying to copy what the "top-down" managed software is doing."

      First off, this isn't the kind of dictatorship that is used in kernel development, the "top-down" management you speak of doesn't exist. Linus doesn't decide by himself the roadmap for the kernel, he doesn't dictate what the developers should use, or how they should code, he just makes sure that anything put in the kernel is quality.

      "As long as there is choice, there will be no breakthrough. One more choice won't help either."

      That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. As long as there is a choice, there will be no breakthrough? Perhaps we should all ditch Linux, OS X, BeOS, BSD or whatever else for Windows, because having a choice is apparently bad for innovation, and as long as we choose to fight over what OS to use, there wil be no breakthroughs.

      " but now with a plethora of applications developed on the different desktops, incompatible with eachother, there will be no survival of the fittest. "
      Where the hell is all this incompatability you speak of? Right now I'm running fluxbox with several KDE and Gnome apps open. They don't tell me "Fuck you, I'm not gonna work if you have those other guys' libraries installed!". And please explain how having less choice would contribute to survival of the fittest? If there's only one desktop, with no competition, what pushes it to be the fittest?

      "All the desktop technologies seem doomed to live side by side forever. sigh."

      That's funny, because they've all grown and improved drastically over they years, despite the thousands of people like you telling them they are going about it wrong. Gnome just released another version, with tons of improvements, but I guess they might as well not have, since their software is doomed to stagnate.

      Serious people. stop whining about what Linux needs. Everyone's needs are different, and the fact that it gives us a choice is where the real power of OSS lies, and it's what truly gives us what we need. If your goal is to get Linux on every desktop, great, go for it, but don't try to bend the world to your whim at the cost of taking away my choice, or else we all might as well have statyed with MS.

      Choice is good. Period. Dumbing things down on a development level is a horrible idea, dumbing them down on a distro level is smarter.
    • Man, I am getting really really tired of all these "what linux needs to break through" and "Why Linux will never beat Microsoft" posts lately.

      What you people don't seem to realize is that Linux is not about "beating Microsoft". It's not about "marketshare". The majority of Linux developer don't give a flying rats ass about that.

      When you start developing an Open Source program, 99.999999% of the time it is because you're scratching an itch. That basically means, you're writing it for fun.

      And most everyone

    • Re:Wohoo! choice! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by LinuxRulz (678500)
      What desktop linux needs is ONE desktop to replace them all.

      I think you don't get it. This is not a question of choices; it's a question of education. I'm administrator of a lan at my cegep called(clubinfo). we have some good machines on XP and had some old crashin ones on W98. When I arrive I replaced all the w98 ones by some xpde ones. And even if XPDE is not complete it's no problem.

      The thing is: students can use any machines without knowing the difference. The menus, progs and windows are the sam
  • I like it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gargan (4764) * on Sunday April 04, 2004 @06:29AM (#8760699) Homepage Journal
    seems even at 6:30 am the site is getting slashdotted but, for one, i like it.

    i know microsoft is the devil and all that, but i've grown accustomed to the XP interface at work. i use SuSE linux at home, and i like it. however, at work i use xp and find its interface better in many ways.

    if only we could integrate all the hardware settings into the main gui like xp does for display settings and such, then linux would really take off with a window manager like this.

    there's also a lot to say for copying OS X, or developing our own little gui interface altogether, but that's another post...
  • Uh-oh! (Score:3, Funny)

    by bj8rn (583532) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @06:32AM (#8760710)
    Does this mean that for "Windows users", Tux will be replaced with Tinky-Winky [amazon.com]?
  • by staili (200478) <resilar@myrealbox.com> on Sunday April 04, 2004 @06:33AM (#8760711)
    I mirrored the screenshot:
    Screenshot [phnet.fi]

    A shot of the 0.5.0 release, the rest of shots are from the previous release.
  • The main page also has a good PDF document regarding legal issues when developing software that emulates Windows functions.

    Just because something's utterly legal doesn't mean a megacorp isn't going to sue you into the stone age for potentially hurting their bottom line.

  • by SoupIsGood Food (1179) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @07:17AM (#8760812)
    I really don't see the point. People claim that users will be "comfortable" with a Microsoft work-alike, like aping Microsoft's interface will somehow ease the path for regular users.

    Fast flash: Microsoft breaks all of their UI conventions with every major rev. Everything from the start menu to common control panels to file managers are all wildly different from one rev to the next. A slavish adherence to Microsoft standards will only put you behind when they move on to the next mediocre interface, wasting a lot of effort that could be geared towards making a better, friendlier, easier-to-grok-than-Microsoft interface that "Joe User" will take to like a fish to water. Kinda like, you know, how Apple does with the Macintosh? And no, this does not mean to mimic the MOSX interface. Get creative and think everything through to the logical end, and you'll be all right. See the earlier article on ROX.

    Aping Microsoft won't steal users, it will just confuse them when stuff breaks because it doesn't precisely match up with the way its Microsoft analogue works.

    SoupIsGood Food
    • "Fast flash: Microsoft breaks all of their UI conventions with every major rev. Everything from the start menu to common control panels to file managers are all wildly different from one rev to the next."

      Fast flash: You're wrong.

      The taskbar still does what it has always done, it's still at the bottom of the screen, the start button is still in the lower left corner, the start menu still contains links to the control panel, shut down, and printers...

      Of course they have changed some of the interface! They'
  • How the hell did they manage to clone the registry into this? Or maybe a better question is; WHY create a clone of something that only power users actually use, which does totally not reflect the inner workings of the OS, and, even in the case of an OS that actually DOES use a registry (windows), is the number-one user-unfriendly admin tool ever made?
    This fake-linux-registry is going to confuse people while enabling them to bugger up their system without having a clue what happened.
  • by flappinbooger (574405) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @07:22AM (#8760821) Homepage
    I've used windoze on my machine since win3.1. I've done the 3.11 thing, 95, 98, 2000 and now xp. I'm an engineer and did tech support for my department. I grew up with computers, I remember playing with a sinclair when I was like 6 or something.

    I tried redhat 5.2 when it was current, got it installed as a dual boot, got X configured manually, got on the internet with it. Couldn't do anything else, thought it was a neat thing but not of much use, and removed it.

    Tried redhat 7.2, and while the install was SO much easier, I simply didn't have the patience and time to learn how to recompile the Kernel, compile my apps, and become a command line wizard just to get anything done. (I knew a bit about the command line, I had used sun boxes at work for CAD)

    Flash forward to this year, I seriously wanted to get linux to work, I want to have a fast, streamlined system with lots of good, free software. I installed Mandrake 9.2, and I *am* seriously impressed with this thing. I got so much of it working, the way it handles the rpm's is great, the desktop is great, the install was great, but why am I still using windows?

    I can't figure out how to maneuver around X to update my video drivers and I can't get Firewire working. My goal is to have a killer video editing machine, and I gots to have firewire. The hoops I jumped through to get the video capture software working was dependency hell, and in the end I couldnt get the 1394 subsystem working.

    Again, I don't have the time, I can install windows and have it all in just a couple hours. Maybe later... I promise, I will try again. I AM a power user. I AM competent enough. I HAVE programmed. I just don't have the patience and time to have to make things work that take a SINGLE CLICK and work OUT OF THE BOX in windows. Here's my point: Either give me to a single, difinitive guide that explains these problems or make it as easy as windows. I WANT To use linux, and I'm not alone. Help us.
    • Just get a modern Mac running Panther - you get the best of both worlds - things work with one click AND you are running a *NIX.

      BTW it is also the best platform for video editing. If that is what you want, buy one. If you are unsure, at least get a demo from somewhere before you start spending money on PC hardware.
    • by BlueLightning (442320) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @10:50AM (#8761409) Homepage Journal
      I'm a Linux developer (as in I write code for a Linux software package - nothing mainstream, and not really desktop, though it's designed to help build end-user interfaces). I apologise in advance for the length of this rant, but I've come to a few realisations lately.

      I feel for you, I really do. And I think one of the previous posters is right - as Linux developers some of us spend so much time at the command line that we don't know how "normal" users expect to be able to do things. I've done a few installfests, and personally I feel embarrassed when I have to go to the command line in order to change or fix something, particularly when it's a feature that should be available from the GUI (or is but doesn't work). End users just don't "get" the command line like we do - they don't understand the power, and mostly they neither want nor need it. Like it or not, this isn't going to change.

      What we need to do is start listening to the users. Believe it or not, some of their complaints are actually genuine. Of course, sometimes we also need to educate them in the new ways that Linux offers of doing things. There needs to be a balance between these two, and this is not a balance that is always struck in the Linux community.

      Linux usability needs work. I never realised how much until I started to think about how much time I spend just getting things to work in Linux. The other day I needed to scan and print a few photographs. I had had it working properly before, but when I tried it this time, neither XSANE nor Kooka (which I believe relies on SANE anyway) would play ball. In the end I realised I didn't have enough time to screw around figuring out why the scanner didn't work, let alone the printer which I had previously set up fine in Windows. I rebooted into Win2K and did the work in a snap. Me! A dyed in the wool Linux person, full-time home Linux desktop user and Linux developer, who nearly lives Linux, had to reboot to Windows because he couldn't be bothered to set something up. I am truly ashamed.

      Personally I don't believe XPde is really going to solve anything. Sure, it might attract a few more users, but to get lots more and get them to stay I believe we have to improve in the following three areas:

      1) Help people, and don't try to push them into something that they're not comfortable with. Don't get them to try installing Gentoo if they'd be better off with something like Mandrake (as examples). Learn how to use the GUI tools yourself instead of the command line, so you can show users the right way. Show them the good things in Linux. DO NOT MENTION how crappy you think Windows is. Listen when they complain about something - try to work out the message they've got, and if it's worth considering, see if you can pass it on to the right people (eg. if it's KDE, file a proper bug report at bugs.kde.org).

      2) Stop the infighting. There's no need for it, and it only hurts. If you're an XYZ user, don't go to the ABC forums (or comment on an article that's solely about ABC) blathering on about how much better XYZ is, or even worse, how crappy you think ABC is.

      3) For developers, follow up on #1. As creators of end-user software, we need to seek out these things that are hard and make them easy. I'm not saying nobody's doing this - you only have to look at the latest releases of both GNOME and KDE to see that people really are taking notice. We just need more people, and we need them focussing on solving the right problems.

      For my part, when I have gotten a little further ahead on my project I hope to be able to have time to contribute more to desktop Linux projects. For now, I try to write clear, concise and non-duplicate bug reports if I find a problem, help new Linux users where I can, and make a few donations here and there.
      • We shouldn't be so hard on ourselves. Look at the grandparent post's wording again. He was impressed by Mandrake, not disappointed. From what it sounds like to me, his problem had nothing to do with usability, but rather everything to do with driver support, which is completely understandable. What we need for him to be able to try it again is to make sure that the next release of Linux that has tries addresses these issues. That means we need hardware manufacturers to throw us a bone.

        1) Don't you thi
    • Mandrake isn't for power users, and it has no UI's for a lot of Hardware setups, Try SuSE, though it's probably not for power users either it has a lot of UI's mandrake doesn't have. I was surprised with the joystick UI, I got a analog digital joystick that you have to hand stands to get to work in windows to work perfectly, I couldn't even get Mandrake to see the joystick port. SuSE also has a lot of hot plug support, a lot of this is broken in the 2.6 kernel but when 9.1 comes out this will hopefully be f
  • There is already Lindows.....which must have an XP and then there is the KDE.
  • by shish (588640) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @08:00AM (#8760891) Homepage
    Since when was XP eyecandy? Looks like they haven't looked at enlightenment [enlightenment.org] recently... You get multiple desktops *overlapping*, the bottom of the screen ripples and waves with a watery reflection of the windows, windows slide in smoothly rather than just appear, the list goes on!
  • Nice idea .... but (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hattig (47930)
    Whilst the idea of making something familiar to people switching from Windows is all very nice and that, there are some issues:

    1) It doesn't need to be exactly analogous in order for someone to know what is going on. Windows users appears to handle the change from classic interface to XP interface without suddenly dying!

    2) I can see that they have recreated some of Windows' worst aspects as well in the name of familiarity. I saw the old 16-colour drop down box in one of the screenshots, surely a relic fro
  • by SLi (132609)
    That's an interesting idea.

    Now someone should write a clone of COMMAND.COM for Linux, for as we all know it's The Superior Command Interpreter(tm).
  • Sure it may look like XP, it may even ACT like XP, but when aunt martha wants to upgrade Real (or Winamp, or Internet Explorer, or Mozilla, or Flash) she's gonna pick the XP version to download and the app will fail.

    She'll either call her service technician (you), or take it to CompUSA, where the tech will blow a gasket trying to figure out why his windows based diagnostic tools don't work.

    I'm not saying there aren't linux equivalent apps for most windows XP things, but there isn't a 1 to 1 correlation, and the Devil is in the Details.

    Case in point: I got my mom an iOpener one year. It worked well, it did what she needed, but she always felt there was stuff she couldn't do because the device couldn't accomodate 100% of the things her church buddies could do. (Quicktime? Windows Media? Get infected with Gator?)

    Granted, that's not all bad - especially the inherent security features, but it IS an issue that will arise.
  • Missing the point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LoocSiMit (760771) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @08:18AM (#8760946)
    The point of the Windows GUI is not that it looks nice, it's that you can do everything in it. If this project provided a functional Add/Remove Programs, Device Manager and Control Panel then that would be a good thing. But it doesn't. To be fair the authors didn't intend it to do anything but recreate the look, but I think that will be counterproductive. It will only serve to make the limitations of a GNU/Linux system in terms of ease of installation and configuration of hardware and software more obvious.

    The day you put the driver or software CD into your machine, click "install" and it Just Works(tm) - your new printer appears with an icon along with the rest, your software appears in the menu, the control panel lets you configure your new graphics card - is the day ordinary folk will switch to Linux.

    The project has set out what it intended to achieve - a Windows XP look-alike. So well done on that front. But I think the authors are wrong if they think the look of the GUI is what's stopping people adopting GNU/Linux for the desktop.
  • OK, they mean well. They want to 'translate' XP to the Linux-platform. Not an easy task. But: while translating they better try to copy also the 'illogicalities' and plain bizar things that float around in the Windows-world : they will have to do this because the regular windows user expects these things to behave exactly like the real XP. (E.g. push 'start' button if you want to stop etc...). All this time , (money?) and resources would be much better spend if they would work on an open source project rig
  • Think Different... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by trboyden (465969)
    This whole idea of copying the Windows desktop is one of the reasons I get turned off Linux. If I want to use a Windows like interface why wouldn't I just use the real thing? People in the Open-Source community do a lot of talking about being innovative but I just ain't seeing it with projects like this. The post yesterday about ROX [slashdot.org] (even though it does copy an older RISC type OS) is at least a fresh idea in the Linux world and I give cudos to the author for trying something different. Sun also deserves c
  • by CAIMLAS (41445) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @03:35PM (#8762895) Homepage
    For a .5 release, I'm surprised it's as incomplete as it is (as far as features are concerned). Several things of note:
    - a complete file browser (file dialogs are lacking)
    - an integrated browser (using khtml wouldn't have hurt too much, would it guys?)
    - a MIME editor
    - no Quicklaunch bar

    The only really noticeable change is that it's a bit faster - and still pretty doggish, I might add. I don't personally notice any UI changes since when it was first anounced on slashdot some (6+?) months ago. Seems either their code is pretty bloaty, or their development suite is crap (Kylix).

    This is certainly a project I'd like to see succeed, as it would make a very good drop-in replacement for a basic Windows desktop for the average user - to the point where they might not even notice the change, if they're already using things like OO.o and Mozilla.

    I personally think that the file manager shouldn't "bother" to impliment things such as Unix permissions, but to abstract them to "Windows standards", if you will (maybe with an option for Unix permissions?).

    I'd say it's VERY VERY important to impliment the Quicklaunch bar and make it so that the taskbar's position is "customizeable" as it is in Windows. Aside from the complete computer retard, it seems nearly everyone has their own "custom" taskbar setup (auto-minimize, double-deep taskbar w/ quicklaunch on top, quicklaunch on bottom, on the left side, on the right, no quicklaunch, multiple quicklaunch, quicklaunch to the right, to the left, etc.)
  • by Angry Pixie (673895) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @08:52PM (#8764854) Journal
    Might be a good transitional tool for Windows users looking not wanting to give up their eye-candy interface initially.
    I'm not sure that's the salient issue. Windows user who are savvy to Linux know about the great eye candy that is available for Linux. Frankly, if it came down to eye candy, projects like Enlightenment offer no advantage over ObjectDesktop [stardock.com], WindowsBlinds [stardock.com], and StyleXP [tgtsoft.com]. And so far, Microsoft's ClearType [microsoft.com] anti-aliasing technology is subjectively better than anything I've seen on MacOS or Linux. Note, this is an admittedly subjective evaluation. I found a Q&A [grc.com] that speaks to the technical quality of ClearType that is beyond my comprehension. The fact is, my eyes have never been happier! I work heavily with numbers and text. Show me how to anti-alias old Linux apps like xv and rxvt, and I'm yours!

    As a longtime Windows user who does appreciate Linux, what keeps me from making the switch are three common issues that I and the thousands of Linux advocates and zealots still haven't resolved:

    1. I, like most Windows users, spend a lot on Windows software. Windows software typically costs about $40-80 online or in stores. That's quite an investment. In order to let go of Windows I would have to write off my investment in software as a sunk cost. But what if I want to keep using that software? What do I do, toss it out? Maybe I should sell it all off on eBay? This is why Linux is an easier sell to first time computer users; there isn't an established dependency. There is a good amount of good software that doesn't run on WINE or any of the WINE spinoffs. Testing to see if my apps will work under Linux can require that I pay good money for Win4Lin or VMWare. WINEX is a gamble since I have to pay before I can try it out, and according to the site, none of what I run works!

    2. I like my a Windows apps. I don't abandon my apps just because there's a new operating system in town. I still use a few DOS and Windows 3.1 apps. I also have MacOS and Amiga apps sitting around. Why should I abandon my favorite apps like MS Office XP or The Sims (I've bought all the expansions) just because there are shiny new alternatives available on Linux? At the end of the day, I bought my computer in order to compute, not so that I can fight a revolution. Being a Stallmanista is kinda cool too, but I want to use what I want to use... ultimately isn't Linux and open-source about freedom of choice?

    3. I need to use specialized proprietary applications like SPSS, and I happen to use some hardware that isn't support under anything but Windows. For some apps, I just can't use an alternative. And for the hardware, I'm not talking about winmodems, I''m talking about video capture devices and software that rely on the current DirectX and DirectShow. It doesn't matter whether an alternative exists, I won't use it for reasons other than stubborness.

    So far, the only solution has been dual-booting, which has its own problems, and purchasing a second computer.

Do molecular biologists wear designer genes?

Working...