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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."
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XPde 0.5 - A Linux Desktop for Windows Users

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  • by Fr4ncis (763671) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @06:07AM (#8760641) Homepage
    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 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.
  • 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?
  • 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.
  • 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*
  • by rokzy (687636) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @06:14AM (#8760663)
    yes but when the official project purpose IS to copy the "look and feel", then MS doesn't have to prove their intent, which is the hardest part.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 04, 2004 @06:16AM (#8760666)
    Remember the Microsoft vs. Apple lawsuit, that Microsoft won. It basically means that ripping off your competitor's "look and feel" is OK. Microsoft set the legal precident precident for this; if they have it invalidated, Apple will no doubt want to revisit its case.

    The issue with Lindows is the similarity to a trademarked name (though I agree that trademarking a common word is insane).

    If Microsoft can convince a judge that it owns the letters 'X' and 'P' (as opposed to the trademark 'Windows XP'), then the project will have something to worry about.
  • by Ralph Yarro (704772) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @06:18AM (#8760671) Homepage
    Pretty much all window managers-themes look /horrible/ on linux, this looks nice and might just make it more attractive for people to switch.

    Might encourage them to try it but it also makes them less likely to stick with it when they find thing don't work quite right. A different appearance helps people with the learning experience because they have visual cues that things ARE different. Mimicking XP's appearance will mean they're constantly caught off guard by small differences, and they'll find that harder to cope with than bigger differences would have been.
  • 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.
  • Re:Cool (Score:1, Insightful)

    by eclectro (227083) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @06:23AM (#8760682)
    It is good to finally see Linux users realizing that the Windows UI is the best one there is and adapting to use it

    No, I would not say that. I also think a lot of Mac users might disagree with you.

    The thing about windows is that everybody has learned to deal with all of its crazy "idiosyncracies", not that it is any better.

    Taking advantage of this will help people realize that there are alternatives to the hegemony of windows, which will make computing more secure, cheaper, and better for everyone.
  • 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.

  • 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...
  • Re:Wohoo! choice! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by no longer myself (741142) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @07:06AM (#8760788)
    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'd use, then I'd probably start looking for a utility to get back to the way *I* want it to look.

    Some think it's ugly... I think it's comfortable. Let the users keep their choices, and if you want your box to look like XP, then more power to you.

    You just can't tell people they have no choice. They will ignore you and choose another person to which they will listen.

  • 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
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 04, 2004 @07:18AM (#8760816)
    All your bullet points are valid. I believe the two most important are a unified desktop and hardware support. KDE and Gnome look "good enough" now, but that's not the point.

    What needs to happen for a unified desktop is for IBM and Novell to come together in some sort of concensus. Others will follow. I wish IBM would just buy trolltech and be done with the licensing mess because KDE is a more mature desktop and the programmers framework is much better, but if it comes down to it choose Gnome and be done with it. ISVs need one api to target and unfortunately even though QT is definetely a better toolkit it has licensing issues. I wish IBM or Novell or somebody would put some more effort into Gtk+ because these redhat guys and joe random open source hacker isn't cutting it.

    Hardware support - Well, until there is some sort of plug-n-play mechanism and the hardware vendors actively support linux then forget about it. this is actually a harder problem then the unified desktop because until linux gets some magic percentage of market share many hardware manufacturers won't give a shit. I was lucky enough to get support for my realtek 8180 wireless chipset but forget about running any kernel over 2.4.21 unless you want to use one of the windows wrappers. not ideal

    As far as your other issues
    Easy installation - Well, if you're talking about installing the os then it really is easy these days....seriously. You must have had a bad experience. You mentioned Knoppix which is usually pretty good at hardware detection, but if you're running off the CD then performance isn't going to be hot. Redhat, Suse, Mandrake all have good installers that are just as easy as windows

    High Performance drivers - I guess you mean your video card drivers. Well, no they're not as good as the windows counterparts, but ATI and Nvidia drivers are pretty darn close.

    Keyboard Shortcuts - If there is ever a unified desktop that issue will go away. Actually there has been more cooperation, via freedesktop.org, between Gnome and KDE in this regard.
  • Re:I like it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nicodietrich (723545) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @07:31AM (#8760838) Homepage
    > seems even at 6:30 am the site is getting slashdotted but, for one, i like it.

    there are not only americans reading slashdot!

    greetings from sweden (1:30pm),
    nico
  • Re:legal issue? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by matticus (93537) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @07:32AM (#8760839) Homepage
    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, this is not a new problem (coughCDEcough). Until we have one, i'll stick to Windowmaker on my Linux, thank you.
  • Re:Here's an idea (Score:4, Insightful)

    by matticus (93537) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @07:34AM (#8760846) Homepage
    graphics card drivers, network drivers, tv-out, many things that have drivers in windows that don't in linux. this is the only situation i can think of.
  • 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.

  • by FooBarWidget (556006) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @07:56AM (#8760888)
    This is a typical example of critics proposing the wrong solution to a problem.

    We don't need one implementation, we need implementations to be compatible and interoperable! Instead of trying to make a dictatorship, go support effords like Freedesktop.org [freedesktop.org].

    GTK has C++ bindings and QT has C bindings, so it doesn't matter what language you use.

    "The linux people need to understand that ONE half-assed product is better than the choice between TWO superb products."

    What?! Being forced to use one car that breaks down every week is better than being able to choose between two cars that don't break down for years?
    Being forced to use DOS as a server OS is better than being able to choose between Linux and Solaris?
    You are heavily underestimating peoples' intelligence and their ability to choose.

    Again, we need interoperability and compatibility, not a dictatorship.
  • 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.)

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Choice is critical (Score:2, Insightful)

    by petrus4 (213815) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @08:26AM (#8760969) Homepage Journal
    >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, choice has a lot more advantages. An example...I don't like KDE as an overall environment...it's bloated, buggy, and slow. However, there are some individual K apps which I like, and so I use Fvwm with the Gnome dock and Enlightenment, gtk/gnome libs, and K's libs as well. My RAM-resident windowmanager (Fvwm) is tiny, Enl gives me enough eye candy to satisfy without being too huge itself, and having just the libs from the other two systems means that they get loaded in on a single-app basis only, and thus don't cause instability and bloat.

    I can already hear you arguing about how much initial effort that would take to set up...and yes, it does. The effort is spent only once however...and then the system works far better than Windows could ever dream of doing. What you're advocating is that we all accept a single, lowest common denominator, with all of the inherent problems that will bring us. What I prefer is my own setup, and for everyone else to have theirs...that way I can run what I want, and they can do the same.

    Freedom requires effort...and the worst thing anyone can do is advocate that everyone be chained to one thing so that they can also be lazy. There is no way around it. If you want a good result with anything, you need to work.

  • by riskyrik (708727) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @08:40AM (#8761001)
    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 right-away. For instance contributing to KDE or Gnome to augment the 'eye-candy' factor , since this seems to attract people as is implicitly stated in the posters text.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Longhorn (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mcn (112855) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @10:27AM (#8761338)
    I think instead of copying XP interface, we should copy Longhorn instead? I know Longhorn is still 2 or 3 years away, but by the time Xpde goes 1.0, will longhorn be in beta already?
  • by Dragoon412 (648209) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @10:30AM (#8761348)
    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 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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 04, 2004 @11:01AM (#8761456)
    I've been trying to find a reson to completely switch to Linux since 1998 and this DOES NOT provide a reason to do it. (I still run RH 6.1 on an old Pentium 200)

    Why does the linux community insist on continuing to "remake" the desktop? This isn't going to win over users.

    We don't need yet another desktop environment or yet another linux distribution.

    The real questions to ask the linux community need to answer for end users are the following:

    1. Can it run the same games? If I can, will I lose the any features?
    2. Can I buy the same software? If I can, it is easy to install?
    3. Can it use any printer I buy at the store?
    4. Can it use all the same sound cards, video cards, peripherals I can buy for windows?

    Aside from OOo, Firefox, and Thunderbird, the current answer is a resounding "NO" to all those questions. Additionally, when I am purchasing or building new computer, Microsoft does add cost, however, is worth it because I now have compatibility software and hardware available, especially from the gaming market.

    I want to completely switch, but If I do, I can't run Battlefield 1942, I can't run Battlefield Vietnam, I won't be able to run Half-Life 2, my All-in-Wonder card won't have all the features I've purchased. I will lose features I've paid for on my OfficeJet G85. I will have to fix all of my word, excel and powerpoint files to work with OOo

    Instead of focusing changing the desktop, why not work on Open Source projects that make it easier for vendors to port applications to Linux?

    If porting applications isn't feasible, why not simply continue to focue on what Linux does best... run servers.

    I've head the Microsoft basing since the early 90's and the rhetoric is getting old along with the Linux promise to take over the desktop.

    Without portability of software, the promise of beating Microsoft on the desktop will continue to come out the other end of a Crack pipe.

  • 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.
  • by po8 (187055) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @12:51PM (#8762002)

    The concluding sentence of the legal paper by the XPde advisor is this: "Trade mark and trade dress are areas of potentially serious legal risk for XPde and similar projects but is beyond the scope of this analysis."

    IANAL, but trust me when I say that trademark and trade dress are...complicated. I strongly suspect that the reason the analysis of these issues is not public is because the case is much weaker here, and they don't want to help Microsoft in a potential lawsuit.

    In the short term, it's not clear that Microsoft would want to sue. After all, XPde is essentially free advertising for MS, and is probably not cutting into their sales all that much. Having visible but not dangerous direct competitors is good for MS: it helps them disclaim their monopoly status.

    The problem is that trademarks must be defended, lest they fall into generic status. This may be enough incentive for MS to put a suit together sometime. I wouldn't want to be a US member of the XPde team: their international status is going to help them come the day.

  • 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.)
  • What a troll! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by grolschie (610666) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @08:20PM (#8764714)
    Every point you raised is redundant:

    * Unify the desktop

    Linux is about choice. Gnome and KDE are easy enough to pick up. Choose one. Learn it. It's not that difficult.

    * Easy installation.

    SuSE is easier to install than XP in my experience. It can also auto setup a dual boot system and resize NTFS partitions automagically.

    * Hardware support that JUST WORKS.

    NVidia graphics drivers JUST WORK when you run the installer. Some dists will auto-install all hardware drivers, and even download them if they are not allowed to re-distribute them. Again, SuSE and others have mastered this. It's not a distributions fault if a hardware manufacturer doesn't want to provide drivers. In many cases, people are left to reverse engineer them.

    * System updates that JUST WORK when vulnerabilities are discovered.

    Debian's APT will do this for you. SuSE has it's own updater. Others do to.

    * High performance drivers.

    I have tried both ATI and NVidia drivers on Linux and Windows (dual boot system). Both perform exceptionally well. The NVidias had a higher framerate under Linux for me. If your hardware isn't supported, ask your hardware vendor why they haven't provided a driver.

    * Keyboard shortcuts that work - shared desktop clipboard that is as easy to use as Windows. click, select "paste". Simple.

    Choose your GUI and learn it. Simple.

  • Re:Cool (Score:2, Insightful)

    by beanlover (710167) on Monday April 05, 2004 @08:54AM (#8768066)
    I am sure you were trying to be funny with a bit of actual truth in there.

    I am someone that was addicted to DOS way back when Windows 3.1 came out. I hated the fact that every time I wanted to actually do something productive I had to drop to a DOS prompt to do it. I could have done it in Windows (when it didn't crash) but I knew how to do it in DOS already and it wasn't a problem to drop to DOS and do it quickly, then return to Windows.

    Enter Linux to my world...I love the idea of getting away from MS completely...tons of good stuff out there for Linux (at least for what I do) and it seems like the gap between my abilities and my wife's abilities is narrowing due to the hard work of Linux programmers everywhere. Once I can get my wife trained to do what she needs to do on a Linux box we will switch.

    HOWEVER...there are plenty of things on Linux that I am unsure about and even uncomfortable doing. Why? Because I don't understand exactly what I am doing...I just want X to work with Y and read some post on some forum that says try Z to make it work. If that doesn't work does that hose my pc? What if it doesn't boot? Do I post under that thread and wait for the 16 "gurus" to get there "you st00pid newb!" responses out of their system before helping me (this doesn't happen every time...but the PERCEPTION that it will happen is there regardless...perception is reality)? This is the first promising release of a desktop for Linux that I have seen for someone, like me, that uses Windows on a regular basis but wants to switch to Linux...something I am familiar with! Take away the cryptic crap (again...perception is reality to those of us without experience...that is why marketing reigns supreme where knowledge is limited...which is what Linux is really up against) and wrap a nice GUI around it until people like me start to feel comfortable with how things work under the hood. Then we can start to venture out, tinker and tweak directly, and stay with Linux from then on.

    Keep up the good work you guys...I will be downloading it as soon as I get home.

    B

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