Re: Direction 2.x is heading

Kurt Fitzner <kf_bulk excelcia org> writes:


> First of all, I'm completely shocked at the window manager decision.  One
> writer posted, and I wholeheartedly agree, that Gnome has drifted far from its
> roots indeed to cease to encourage choice in window managers.

I didn't follow the discussions at that time, but switching window
managers is really not something you do often. And hopefully you would
agree that it is not something your mom should have to look into. So
it is no place in the GUI; knowledgeable people should be able to
switch with something like

  killall sawfish && sleep 2 && metacity

(I don't know if that still works).

> The change that has been made is not so much a change in functionality, but a
> change in emphasis and focus.  The "dumb it down" type changes that I'm seeing
> in Gnome is particularly dissappointing in a Linux package.

But wouldn't you agree that the new interface is much cleaner? It's
attractive even if you are a power user.

> So, when neither Afterstep nor Windowmaker would work with Gnome 2.2 (the
> session manager started the window manager, but froze there and would not
> start anything else when I set the WINDOW_MANGER var),

I hear about people having trouble using other WMs than Metacity. But
it really isn't the fault of Metacity. WMs need to support the new
standard specs to integrate properly. It's the same with KDE. The root
of the problem is bitrot and lack of hacking.

I don't know if that's the problem here, though. Perhaps you need to
set a setting in GConf; the Sawfish people here probably know what to

> I decided to redo my docked applets with Gnome panels and give the
> new window manager a try. Of course, you see where I'm going with
> this. After searching around for the 'swallow app' function for a
> while, I grepped around the net for that too and found a friendly
> little entry dated March 28, 2002 in Gnome Panel: "kill all traces
> of swallowed apps". Oh lovely. Swallowed apps are absolutely vital
> to my desktop. And you know, while your "surveys" may tell you that
> "hardly anyone uses them", I challenge the maintainers to get a
> random sampling of 100 linux desktop screenshots available on the
> web and see what percentage doesn't have a swallowed app.

I think I have seen perhaps one or two screenshots with a swallowed
window among all of the screenshots I've seen since I started using
Linux 3-4 years ago. But YMMV, it probably depends on what subscene
you belong to. And it doesn't help you. But there's noone else than
you to do help that situation.

> I grabbed the March 28th and March 29th 2002 Gnome Panel versions and diffed
> them to get the changes for the app swallowing, but patching that back in to a
> years worth of changes in panel is daunting.  Maybe I'll "vote with my code"
> as someone suggested and write an applet.

If you made an applet that had the swallow functionality, some people
would probably find it useful. See, the problem is bitrot and lack of
hacking. :-)

> Maybe I'll "vote with my feet" as this change in emphasis from
> flexibility and choice make me feel like doing. I honestly haven't
> decided yet. Luckily I did a full backup before I updated to the
> latest Slackware Beta, so I'm back to Gnome 1.4. With the direction
> Gnome is going, though, what the heck makes it any different from
> KDE any more?

I don't think it's fair to say that Gnome is heading the same
direction as KDE. On the contrary.

> I urge the developers and those steering Gnome to bring it back to its
> roots.  Embrace the other window managers and treat them as the valued
> partners they were at one time.  Take the top 10 or 15 and email the
> maintainers.

The reason no developer has done that must be because no developer
cares. Because no developer use these WMs. But in fact you can help.
Email the maintainers yourself and point them to:

You can't really hold people here responsible for WM x's lack of
standard compliance.

> Tell them that window manager selection is going to be an integral
> part of 2.4,

I'm pretty sure it won't, not with control center GUI. But there is
really no reason why it shouldn't be easy to switch WM. Someone just
needs to think about it and find a good solution.

It is a FAQ. If someone would do it, most people here would be happy,
I think.

Ole Laursen

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