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    Looking at pictures: Oh, that brings me back to working on SPARC workstations in the late 90s

    Raymii: “You can run it on modern linux”

    me: “Hmm, no thank you, nostalgia’s not worth that kind of pain”

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      The feeling it still evokes in me is “expensive”. 100% of the machines I saw running it back in the day had gigantic (for the time) Trinitron monitors and just looked… “very official.”

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      I think CDE is beautiful in a brutalist sort of way, and very nostalgic having grown up with SparcStation workstations, but when I compiled it on Manjaro on my Pinebook Pro it really feels slow and dated. I want to love it, but I can hardly even use it.

      Customizing the panel and menus is a chore I haven’t figured out much about. The default .desktop launchers for other DEs don’t show up because CDE uses a different launcher format.

      I could go on. It’s not horrible or unusable, but it’s slower than any other DE I have installed, and it feels like a chore to use.

      I also tried NsCDE, which reminded me of everything I dislike about CDE and had a number of issues on its own: it’s even slower, less documented, and it would crash often and hard.

      At the end of the day I am running CDE on a very quirky platform anyway; some of my experience is tainted from that. But if KDE Plasma runs faster on the same hardware than CDE, I can’t help but assume something is wrong.

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        I was one of the people pestering “The Open Group” about making CDE open source.

        I have no illusions about its future though: it’s a historical artifact, and it’s probably better to just keep it buildable on modern systems. Any attempt to “make CDE great again” should start with rewriting it from scratch, or rather creating a new DE on the same design principles.

        Also, no idea why it’s tagged “games”. ;)

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          Also, no idea why it’s tagged “games”. ;)

          Because we’re compiling “GENERIC TETRIS” from 1992 😁

          Someone on Reddit pointed to a modern variant, a sort of rewrite: https://github.com/NsCDE/NsCDE/

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            I tried this, and it was less usable than old CDE… Also they seemed to spend a lot of effort rewriting some of the weirder things about CDE that I doubt are particularly useful to have in 2021.

            I’m also a little annoyed that the desktop would crash if I tried to make a change in the settings window (which is also far too much of a CDE settings clone… I’d like to be able to set an image as my wallpaper as opposed to a 1-bit pattern… and for that matter it would be really nice if the settings window would let me apply anything without crashing on me…

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          But if KDE Plasma runs faster on the same hardware than CDE, I can’t help but assume something is wrong.

          I feel like it’s probably that there are compiler optimizations that you’re missing out on. I’ve never used CDE myself, but I know that (1) it’s old (and so therefore should be less resource-intensive) and (2) Plasma is relatively heavy (compared to XFCE/LXDE).

          …or, felt like it. After looking through the wiki page section on software tuning, I now suspect that the problem is lack of video acceleration or concurrency on the part of CDE. Older software is generally less resource-intensive, sure, but it also tends to use less of the hardware features that we’ve developed over time - the above, as well as SIMD instructions and newer kernel APIs.

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            I was going to chime in with the same thing. I don’t know anything about either desktop environment, but I can only imagine that CDE is written like it’s running on a single-core machine with no hardware acceleration. Whereas I’m confident that Plasma uses OpenGL and I’m assuming it also uses concurrency and/or threads and/or separate processes to communicate between different parts of the desktop.

            Plus, there are people who will claim that Plasma now uses less memory than Xfce on the same machine. I doubt that’s true in general, but even if it could be true enough for someone to grab a screenshot at one moment in time, that’s pretty good for Plasma!

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          I find the nostalgia for CDE amusing - it was the worst kind of design-by-committee baroque that everyone loves to hate. Usage of it was a sign your vendor had basically shrugged and gave up on workstations. OPEN LOOK and what SGI had were much nicer.

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            Good lord that’s hideous. I’ll never understand how somebody can use a system with such mangled text of their own free will.

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              I wonder if the images are scaled or if that is part of the font. I use some old bitmap fonts myself and they look great…

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                The screenshots are scaled to fit your screen. Text looks absolutely crisp here.

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                  No, the scaling has no impact, the text is simply awful.

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                    What do you mean then by awful? Do you have a picture showing what you mean?

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              When CDE was removed from Solaris Express (it was never in OpenSolaris), I was very pissed, but I ran the old CDE binaries on OpenSolaris for a good amount of time.

              XFCE started as a CDE clone, but very few people remember that today: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zr2loh51-Eg&t=730s.

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                It looks interesting, I love interfaces where the design language is both consistent across all applications and excellent at signposting “this is clickable”, “this is draggable”, “this is a scrollable content area”. Modern operating system UI is awful on all accounts even if it is more pretty.

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                  Are any of options on distrotest.net using CDE? I couldn’t find any. I want to experience that IRIX in 1999 nostalgia.

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                    I compiled/installed it from source and didn’t run into too much trouble. Happy to answer any questions you have.

                    It’s not quite like IRIX (even if it looks similar in some ways).

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                      For the true SGI IRIX experience, have a look at Maxx Interactive Desktop.

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                      The OS/2 Warp 3 and 4 desktops borrowed a fair bit from CDE. A lot of people loved those. I wonder if there would be any interest in trying to scale up CDE into something like the Warp 4 Workplace Shell?

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                        I think people liked Workplace Shell for its extendability and scripting.

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                        Was this influenced by windows or mac’s system? It seems like all had the ‘programs minimize to the desktop’ but I assume that comes from Xerox? You can still see that same color scheme and see if the chrome in Java’s toolkits.

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                          I’m surprised this wasn’t just apt install cde

                          For retro UIs I still like using, I prefer the next step look and feel (eg via window maker)

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                            There is a distro with packages, I’ve not tested it but here are instructions: https://www.reddit.com/r/linux/comments/jv7zra/guide_the_easiest_way_to_install_cde_common/

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                            @raymii inspired from this post I made my xfce like this https://youtu.be/ML2sBNO1aug