TCLUG Archive
[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [TCLUG:4588] Gnome

Neal Tovsen wrote:
> Sure! I'm not an expert, and may not be able to give the detail you're
> looking for, but I've used KDE since just before 1.0 came out last summer
> some time. Here goes...

Sounds like a few months after I tried it.  Granted, I didn't go
very far with it...

> > > 1) Gnome is Window Manager-agnostic.
> KDE is also window manager agnostic, though I don't know if any wm's other
> than KDE's own kwm are working towards "compliance". The KDE FAQ says there
> are, but doesn't list any names.

I think GNOME has gone to greater lengths to define a good set of
non-intrusive WM hints to make it easier to become a
GNOME-compliant WM.  IIRC, KDE expects quite a bit more
functionality from its WM(s), which makes it harder to adapt
existing WM's to support all its features.  This leads to tighter
integration, and no doubt contributes a lot to KDE's stability
and drag & drop support.  But it also leaves KDE with a smaller
WM selection.

> > > 2) Pixmap theming support, although that's more of a GTK+/QT
> > > issue than GNOME/KDE.
> I'm not quite sure I understand what you mean by this, but if it's what I'm
> thinking of, I don't think KDE does it. The only "themes" really available
> are analagous to Windows 95's ability to change window and desktop colors.
> This is one thing I think would make GNOME much cooler, though it is
> admittedly eye-candy.

I noticed awhile back that the so-called KDE-themes were
essentially a combination of window decorations (i.e. WM
territory) and toolkit colors (like you mentioned).  GTK+, using
pixmap code written by the Rasterman himself (oooooh!) allows you
to customize the appearance of the GTK+ widgets with as much
flexibility as window decorations.  You can give all your menus a
marble background, make your scrollbars into wooden rods, etc.

The default pixmap theme is at  A bunch more
themes are at

> > > 4) You can embed live applications (applets) into the panel
> > > (which is not really a task can use the gnome-pager
> > > with a GNOME-compliant WM for that).  For example, there's a mail
> > > notify applet, a little modem-dialer app, a drive mount tool, a
> > > CD player...even a couple games.
> The kwm has both a panel at the bottom, which appears to be similar to the
> gnome or perhaps CDE type of thing, and a taskbar at the top with buttons
> representing each open application (ala Win95). You can also imbed programs
> such as the modem tool, a post-it-note-type tool, CD player, etc. into the
> kpanel at the bottom.

Oh, that's cool.  I didn't know KDE supported embedded apps. 
GNOME doesn't really have a taskbar, per se.  It's really another
applet for the panel, called the gnome-pager.  You can have
multiple panels, so if you wanted to mimick the KDE setup, you
could put your menus and embedded applets on a panel on the
bottom, and just the gnome-pager on a panel on the top.  You can
also create "corner panels", which don't stretch the entire
length/width of the screen.  If you only have a couple applets on
a corner panel, it only takes up an inch or two of edge space.

> > > 5) Anti-aliased drawing canvas, capable of arbitrary rotations,
> > > etc.
> Hmmm...don't know 'cause I haven't looked. There is a paint program, but I
> don't think it's very advanced. Isn't that what the gimp is for?

You could use the canvas for just about any app where you need to
draw directly to the window.  The GNOME spreadsheet uses it to
draw its cells.  I think print previews would use it also.  If
you wanted to create a game in GNOME, you could just blit your
graphics directly to the canvas.  I think there may be plans
afoot to merge the canvas into GTK+, but probably not before GTK+

> My turn:
> 1) One of the coolest things about KDE is that it uses little files called
> kdelinks to represent icons. At first glance, they're kind of like Windows
> 95 shortcuts, and can be used that way, but they have more functionality.

The GNOME file manager (gmc) also supports desktop icons, but
it's still a bit buggy.  Sounds like the KDE system is more
flexible.  GNOME's a little underdeveloped in this area,
unfortunately.  Perhaps that's another thing that's offloaded to
the KDE window manager.  Since GNOME can't rely on the WM for
this, it has to resort to less direct methods.

> The drag-and-drop functionality is pretty good, IMHO.

GTK+ 1.1 added a bunch of drag & drop support, so it's still
pretty new.  Although I must say, I was impressed by it.  Running
a SCO X server in Win95, I was able to drag a file from the GNOME
file manager, across the Win95 desktop, and drop it into a GNOME
editor (gedit) to open it.  Of course, after every 2 or three
drags, the file manager would crash, but that's another story... 

> 2) The thing I've been most impressed with about KDE is that it is solid.
> I've never crashed it. The one time I compiled from source, both Qt and KDE
> went very smoothly (though they took forever on my 486!).

Yup.  GNOME still has a ways to go in both departments, stability
and installation.  It's looking pretty good, though, considering
how many library dependencies GNOME has.  I think that's the main
problem right now: getting all the supporting infrastructure
properly in place.

> 3) I've never had to edit a text file to configure KDE. All the GUI
> configuration is available and works properly (well, almost all of it!).

GNOME is making good inroads here, too.  Enlightenment, too. 
This is one of the keys to making a user-friendly desktop.

> 4) kdm - KDE includes what is either a replacement or a wrapper for xdm.
> Once xdm is configured, kdm adds the ability to display a list of users that
> I can log in as, and as administrator I can tell it which users to show and
> which to hide. I also have a drop-down list of available window managers, so
> I can run GNOME, Windowmaker, kwm, etc. I'm having trouble getting xdm to
> re-spawn properly, but it looks cool so far!

In my experience (i.e. based on the email on gnome-list) GNOME
has had some trouble with gdm.  It seems tough to get things set
up right.  Of course, I may be wrong about gdm.  I'm only going
on second-hand gossip.  (c:

> In conclusion, from what I understand, GNOME might have more potential.
> There's probably only two real reasons for that:
> 1) Supports many programming languages (BIG advantage!)
> 2) Has the ability to look way cooler (Enlightenment...'nuf said).

I would also add that GNOME's widget set will always tend to be
richer, because their toolkit is open source, and can mutate at
will (whereas qt is still subject to Troll Tech's
wishes...correct me if I'm wrong).  Also, the underlying
architecture will play more of a role in the future, when the two
competing office suites (KDE vs. GNOME) grow and mature.  GNOME
seems a lot more flexible in what it can do, and where it can go,
than KDE.

> No matter what they claim, KDE is a blatant Windows 95 rip-off. But you know
> what? IT WORKS!! KDE only needs just a *bit* more polish before it's ready
> to actually be competitive with Windows and Macintosh on the desktop.

Yep, there's no disputing that.  KDE is stable, and it works. 
GNOME is mostly stable, and mostly works.  (c;

> I think I'll play with GNOME a little tonite. I think it'll be cool to be
> able to run apps from both. Then I just need to decide which wm is better at
> the moment.

I think they just released 1.0.2, so make sure you get the very