Desktop normalization

Davide Bolcioni davide.bolcioni at
Tue Nov 24 01:54:22 PST 1998

Comments below ...

Rob Current wrote:
> On Mon, 23 Nov 1998, Marcin Krol wrote:
> > Probably E and GNUStep are. However, it is not important which desktop is
> > most popular *right now*.  KDE would be very important even if it were not
> > very ergonomic or aesthetic.
> It's NOT. KDE is ugly as sin.  Following Motif'ish styling clues to create
> an "environment" from which users get the impression of running a "blocky,
> clunky, slow" system.  Even some of KDE's biggest supporters will admit
> that it's "bloated/slow" and the styling is not for everyone.
> If LINUX were to consider KDE it's base, I sware to god, I will go back to
> using IRIX.
> I agree with Alan, and would even go so far as to say, a file somewhere
> placed which included such things as:
> NAME      Large Icon Small Icon         Command Line
> MAIN--
> Netscape netscape.xpm netscape-mini.xpm /usr/local/netscape/netscape
> EMACS    emacs.xpm    emacs-mini.xpm    /usr/bin/emacs
> etc.. Now, little shit like that would be a rocking idea if standardized,
> and slowly all existing windowmanagers could evolve to read the standard
> menu structure that was simple, easy to edit, and be universally read in
> the end.
It seems to me that standardizing the API to such a file, rather than
the file itself, would offer some advantages: the actual file would be
managed by a library, which could handle the interfacing to window
managers, toolkits and so on (could be X resources instead of a single
file, for example) and manage concurrent access.

> But, beyond that, the Window Manager "race" is something that is a
> strength of GNU software in general, and to pick one before any of them
> are mature (with the exception of fvwm and maybe *step), would be a big
> misake.
> X itself has a ways to go, like it or not, user interface is a very
> personal thing, a rapidly developing thing, and something that "isn't
> there yet."
> If one UI was for everyone, people would have never bought Macs, If UI
> mattered to evryone, no one would have ran UNIX over the last 20 years.
In my opinion, X has the potential to give a win-win scenario: provide
the user with the ability to switch window manager, while providing
applications with an API they can rely on irrespective of the window
manager. The second point is not here yet except at the lowest level,
talking directly to Xlib; what we might be looking for is a consolidated
cross-toolkit API (either the common denominator or the superset, I
don't know).

> Starting to lay out some X standards to which all WindowManagers could
> start to conform is a nobal idea.  But, just how much do you want to have
> a LSB?  I mean, it's going to hard enough to get the base down, and keep
> it maintained (as libs versions get newer and basic applications get
> better).
> CDE as the standard, and how that all came about could have killed all of
> UNIX, let's not do that...  Maybe if you feel strongly about it, work
> on/with something to do with a "XSB" where X is the focus, not Linux.
> Believe it or not, Linux has a large user base who run "headless" boxes,
> and just don't care about X at all.
Although this might be true, I suspect the intents of the LSB include
expanding the user base, so the desktop might be the key factor to get
*additional* users. I agree, however, that it would be probably better
to set up a XSB for the task.
> I dunno, I am going to shut up now.
> Ok, done now. (^^But think, that is what emotions your going to envoke in
> millions of people if you choose to pick and push some standard X).
A single standard X would be unwelcome, I concur.

> Out... Rob C.
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Davide Bolcioni
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