What I miss from that times — keyboard layout switching worked reliably and happened instantly. Now it causes loss of focus in current window, long delays (so after pressing “switch layout” keybinding, few typed characters are still in old layout), few keybinding choices such as only ctrl+shift and alt+shift. It’s painful now in all distros and I’m not sure if old functionality (built in into X server I think) can be still used.
Also both latest Gnome and KDE have terrible UI. Gnome tries to treat desktop as tablet computer and KDE has Vista-era shiny plastic look.
This is why I’ve stuck with xfce for so long. I am a bit concerned now that xfce is going to gtk3, I fear it will end up more like gnome 3 than xfce.
I think that’s unlikely. Most things are already ported to Gtk3 and they look exactly like they did on Gtk2.
I don’t understand the hate for Gnome. When you critique Gnome’s UI are you comparing it to the high water mark, best desktop UI you’ve ever experienced, or the the latest iterations of macOS and Windows? Gnome isn’t developed in a vacuum, it is competing with the mainstream commercial desktop environments, which means compromises that negatively affect highly technical users, but results in a product that in some dimensions of UI may still be better than Windows and macOS, which is impressive IMO.
I only dislike its desktop elements, mostly top menu, which consists of strange menu item in left corner and clock in center. There is too much unused space around clock. This is bad UI decision originally implemented on iPad, which has standard mobile phone status bar on top (it originates from “feature phones”, not even iPhone).
GTK3, however, is great (at least on Linux) and I like settings dialogs and Gnone apps.
I appreciate that Gnome is at least trying to do something other than the “yet another Windows 95 clone” that the X11 world is fixated on. (unless it’s a tiling WM…. I wonder UX-oriented desktop oriented around tiling would be like…)
I’m comparing it to Gnome 2 and XFCE, and it fails terribly in this regard.
XFCE is well-liked because it doesn’t try to abandon its user-base in favor of chasing some mass-adoption unicorns.
If mass-adoption of Linux on the desktop ever happens, it will not be caused by Gnome 3 displaying fewer options in their GUI.
Ah I definitely felt similarly when moving from Gnome 2 to Gnome 3. Once I got used to Gnome 3 though, I forgave Gnome. The spotlight is better than macOS. The built-in tiling is good enough. The default Debian themes are classy. The animations are classy and smooth even with integrated graphics. It never freezes or crashes. The best part is all these batteries are included so Gnome requires very few user choices or customization.
I use GNOME 3 on my Linux machine, but I can’t say that I am happy. How do you live without menus? Or system tray icons (to e.g. Dropbox, Keybase)?
I know that there are some extensions that bring these things back, but they tend to reduce stability of GNOME. And with Wayland bugs tend to crash gnome-shell/mutter and log you out of the session completely.
I wonder who they are targeting when they are removing features that have been part of the WIMP paradigm for more than three decades? No one wants big innovation on the desktop, just provide a robust, predictable desktop environment that is up to date with the latest standards (Wayland, Vulkan rendering, etc.).
(Of course, it’s their project and they can do whatever they want to do with it, I just don’t understand the philosophy.)
I use spotlight for everything, it’s brilliant :/
KDE has Vista-era shiny plastic look.
KDE has Vista-era shiny plastic look.
That’s much easier to solve (through the thousands of available themes) than this “Gnome tries to treat desktop as tablet computer”. For example, my own KDE setup looks like this: https://i.imgur.com/8eAze8v.png
Does it crash often? Last time used it it crashed periodically (but that was few years ago).
I haven’t actually had a crash in over a year. It’s become much more stable in the past few months, no more flickering when adding/removing monitors quickly either.
I used Linux every day for years on multiple machines for work, in the 90s with GUI etc. Didn’t have any of these problems.
Having multiple machines might have been part of why your experience was good.
I remember triple-checking every config and then rebooting with fingers crossed. Because if my computer didn’t come back up, I didn’t have access to another one, so I couldn’t look up how to fix the problem…
I only had 1 at a time.
What distro were you using? On what hardware?
There was a place we went in Chinatown that sold generic beige towers. I have no memory of what was in them except they were inexpensive.
I used a couple of distros. First Caldera, the RedHat. Used Slackware for a bit but RH was less fiddly to set up so I usually used it. Added bonus w RedHat was that it was our “production distro” in the later years.
Caldera was the one that cost me two gigs. Worked nicely on friends’ machine, though. And it was $20 vs $100+ for Windows. I could at least see the potential.
How’d it cost you two gigs?
EDIT: It was a good way to learn I better really understand shit myself, esp recovering it, before putting it on my machine. :)
Yeah, all of that is true when I was using Slackware and Gentoo. The good old days… All problems were solved when switching the Red Hat 7.1 (released in 2001) and installing it as the only OS on my laptop. Even WiFi worked out of the box. I never looked back.
I’m too young to remember the 90s, but the 2000s, with the golden age of Compiz/Beryl/Emerald with their desktop cubes and burning wobbly windows, were pretty awesome. And all distros worked out of the box on my machine back then (Athlon XP, Radeon 9250 Pro)
All those 3D window managers just caused my machine to lock up.
Oh man, I spent so much time trying to get dual monitors to work reliably back then.
When I tried Linux in that period, only one person in the area knew how to do it. A “reputable” guy known for hacking a lot of stuff. The install was on 2GB of a maybe 3GB hard disk. The Windows installation stayed there after the shrink. Good. The Linux install on the other hand he couldn’t get working with my hardware. Then, when time to delete it and unshrink Windows, the partitioning tool kept failing to do it. That was the only one he had for Linux. The shared, family computer also had a lot of peoples’ apps, data, and settings they didn’t have backed up and didn’t want to redo. So, the broken, 2GB install just sat there for some time time using two-thirds of the disk.
Took a while for me to mess with Linux again. When time to upgrade, we went with Windows 2000 Pro instead so I’d have a solid OS that actually worked. :)
Bummer that sound is still messy. There still doesn’t seem to be a single competitor to Equalizer APO/Peace on Windows that doesn’t have sound quality issues or requires you setting up a convoluted Pulse -> Jack -> Alsa configuration.
About 1/3 of the time that I get on a conference call at work my audio and/or microphone doesn’t work. I have to close chrome, disable my audio, enable the microphone, and then enable sound+microphone. I can’t jump from disabled to sound+microphone, and I need to pause for at least a second or two before I change each setting or it doesn’t fix it.
It’s stupid and takes me about an extra 2 minutes every single time. :/ I still can’t in good faith recommend Linux to anyone that’s not already familiar and using it.
Ah, this brings back memories. When I was trying to get my sound driver working back then, I recompiled my kernel so many times that I dreamed of the text scrolling on the screen.
Same. I got good at recognizing the patterns and had a pretty good idea when it would fail. I called it “zen compiling”.
Still a better desktop than almost any of the alternatives.
I used to charge $500 to install linux for people back then. I’d replace Novell Netware like people eat pancakes. Samba was amazing.
I didn’t use Linux on the desktop in the 90s, but in the 2010s, and the experience is only somewhat better. The problem is that while most things just work most of the time, there’s always one or two things that don’t work right, and nobody knows how to fix them. In theory, everything is open-source and could be fixed, but are you prepared to spend months diving into several codebases to troubleshoot something? It’s okay for a hobby system, but I find these days, when I get home, I just want to fool around on the web or watch some videos and not have to worry that the next upgrade will trigger a wave of debugging. Windows can do that, but I don’t trust Linux to be able to.
I remember the day Linus posted about his kernel to the minix-list, oh .. what a joy it was. I’d just joined the minix-list, as I was looking for something to run on my brand new 386 that wasn’t DOS or CP/M or Quarterdeck Desqview and so on .. I needed a real OS. Which is what I thought Minix was (and to be fair at the time it was a pretty decent option…)
But then, along came Linux, and I proceeded to spend a week getting it installed. First I didn’t have enough RAM, then I needed another disk, then my VGA card wasn’t quite up to scratch, and then .. I had to get networking. Well, a month later I finally had a working “Unix-like” workstation on my desk that wasn’t a Sun or MIPS machine .. what a joy to behold! Then, another month later I finally got X-windows and multiple xterms, and by then I was hooked!
My first distro love was Yggdrasil, as it came out of the box with everything needed to turn a PC into an X workstation. First bootable floppy experience! Booting off the CD: awesome!
Been a happy Linux user - and developer - ever since. These days, all the pain is gone: whenever I get a new machine, I put Ubuntu Studio on it, step back, and come back to a fully working, prepared and operational multimedia/content-creation capable desktop. My, how far we’ve come!