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Nerdy mini-rant/rambling - The tissue of the Tears of Zorro [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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Nerdy mini-rant/rambling [Nov. 26th, 2006|03:58 am]
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[music |Tool - Lateralus]


I always knew there was a KDE and Gnome divide. I thought it was just about interfaces, but I learnt over the while that it was to do with other things as well. There's a whole Philosophy thing going on. I.e. you have the KDE Philosopy and the Gnome Philosophy.

Thing is, when I started out I liked KDE. I still do. Some people accuse it of being far too like Windows, and that anyone who likes it is into it solely because they haven't cut the Microsoft umbilical cord. Actually I like KDE for another reason, and one that you won't find in windows. Choice, and lots of it. If you want to dig around options, you can do so. You could probably even make a day of it. It's the Everything But the Kitchen Sink Philosophy. In other words, if there's something you don't like then the chances are that you'll find some option to let you do it. That's what I like about it. Also when I was starting out, Qt-based apps looked a lot nicer on the eye than those based on GTK (and GTK 2 was still in its infancy - I remember SuSE not really having it).

Gnome, other than looking different, has a different philosophy. It seems to be a Less Is More Philosophy, or something. Or a KISS (Keep It Simple ,Stupid) Philosophy.

By the way, I'm sitting on GNOME typing this up. There are a few reasons why I'm on GNOME right now:

  • It's what's installed on my machine, right now.

  • Compiling KDE is going to take a LONG time.

  • The reason it's on my machine is I wanted to see what's so good, etc etc.

  • We use it in work. So when I was compiling gentoo, I knew this and decided the headstart would be a good thing. (I actually use JDS (Java Desktop System, Sun's ownbrand version) which is based on gnome)

  • I think I remember that on the installation LiveCD I could only get KDE by downloading it, and there were complications on that front.

  • When I finally get XGL working, it's probably gonna be on gnome (it's apparently easier)

Overall, the interface is nice, and it's clean, and after a few months I'm well used to the interface. My problem is with their Philosophy. I'm used to the KDE tweak-candy. I'm used to the ability to set up different wallpaper on each desktop. I find it quite useful to have my desktops with different wallpaper - I can tell which one I'm on easily enough. But overall, it's not the desktop I have problems with, it's the games.

I have to play their games according to how some programmer likes to play it. That's not a bad thing, but worse is that there USED to be ways to tweak the settings. There's this little game called Robots, and you USED to be able to tweak the rules, so you could make it as easy or as hard for yourself as you wanted. Like how many collisions give you bonuses and the like. Looking at my current version, that just disappeared. As far as I can tell, there's no real reason behind it, except to take away choice.

The same with their solitaire game - In the basic mode I can only go through the deck 3 times. Sure, that's the standard on vegas in the windows version, but it's a challenge I don't always want. So why can't I turn it off?

There are other functional regressions that I'm missing - I'm missing the features that were there, but are being deleted. I can understand how this is the gnome philosophy in action - striving towards simplicity, taking out the branches/choices so as to streamline things - but I just don't like it.

I also realise that there's the Open Source philosophy, that I'm free to change something and use it that way, but for all intents and purposes that tends to be a moot point when it comes to anything more than the very basic of changes unless I'm considering actively developing for the project. Similarly, I can go to Maplins, buy an acid battery, open it and pour it all over my face in order to remove a pimple: The option's there, and while I'm sure there are some people, outside of a Chuck Palahniuk novel, that avail of it, it's not a very common activity. In short, that's choice but in a very extreme manner. Also the choice would lie at (re)authoring-time, or at the latest, compile-time. I want my choices at runtime.

So, I guess I do have choice, just in the wrong places. But overall, I find gnome's philosophy sucks isn't for me.

[User Picture]From: nanocreturns
2006-11-26 11:32 am (UTC)
It's funny, my brother Michael (who recommended KDE to me) always explained GNOME as being Mac-like. The funniest thing is his office which has a Windows PC for playing games on, an iMac for playing around with graphics and music and t'internet, and a laptop running Unix of some description for his real work. I think he has a seperate firewall server running FreeBSD. He be big geek. He's also a Network Administrator by profession, and spent almost as long in UCD Compsci as Chewie did in UCD Eng (He got his BSc on time, but faffed around and never submitted his MSc)
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[User Picture]From: ebel
2006-11-26 08:36 pm (UTC)

I also realise that there's the Open Source philosophy, that I'm free to change something and use it that way

I hate, hate, hate that tripe that masqueares as an excuse. That's not an excuse, because it's complete ridiculus to think you alone can figure out how a massivly complicated project like GNOME or KDE work and manage to figure out how to make it do what you want.

It's a stupid excuse for people who don't listen to their users.
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