Linux Desktop Environment Innovation Nonexistent

khess 0 Tallied Votes 913 Views Share

As a current GNOME user and former KDE user, I'd like to know when we can expect some new innovations from either of these desktop environments? I know KDE came out with KDE 4.x just over two years ago but it seems that its popularity has fallen away in favor of GNOME. GNOME only releases new version twice a year and so far they've all generated more yawns than a Ben Affleck movie for me. I like GNOME and have used it exclusively on every Linux distribution that I work with for a few years. The fact that it's installed by default on Debian and Ubuntu have nothing to do with it. I just like it better. Still, I wonder when I'll see something really cool out of it or KDE.

I used KDE for years because it had a slicker, snappier feel to it than contemporary versions of GNOME. It also felt more stable. Since KDE 3.3 or 3.4, I haven't wanted to use it. I switched to GNOME. I tried KDE 4.x, thinking that I might like it better than those later KDE 3.x versions but I didn't.

It's also worth noting that when I used KDE, I always had to install GNOME (or pieces of it) too so that I could use certain applications that I wanted or needed. However, I've never needed to install any part of KDE, since I've made the switch.

But, GNOME has looked the same and behaved the same since I made the switch. The GNOME of 2006 looks exactly like the GNOME of 2010. I'm beginning to realize why I spend so much time at the command line and less and less in the GUI. I've gone so far as to set two of my Linux computers to runlevel 3. I only go into GNOME when I really need to, which frankly, is seldom.

For what it's worth, I thought KDE 4.x was headed in the right direction but I couldn't deal with its instability and weird installation. C'est la Vie. GNOME has never let me down. It's stable. It's pleasant to look at and work with--although it is a bit Spartan.

I'd like to see some front-end innovations for our desktop environments and not just bug fixes. Give me something cool and I'll type 'startx' again otherwise I'll stick with my white characters on a black screen forever.

What do you think of the current state of KDE and GNOME? What kinds of innovations do you think should be added?

cherax 0 Newbie Poster

When I was kid and complained that I was bored, my folks usually told me it was my own fault. Your preference for the commandline suggests that you don't do much with graphics, and probably not very much with website work. Perhaps because you don't use GUI tools very much, then, you haven't noticed the huge number of small improvements in individual programs (graphics editors, screen recorders, GUI utilities, and hardware drivers) that have brought the Linux desktop into its current stable, efficient, highly useful state. Is that boring? Well, there's always new eye candy, if that's what you value. But, if we're talking about real work, then incremental improvements in the actual working programs and utilities are much more valuable.

Not too different from cars, I think. When was the last dramatic innovation in cars? The replacment of the crank by the starter motor and battery? Today's car is vastly more reliable and safe than the car of 50 years ago, but it still has 4 tires, seats, and a steering wheel. What has made the difference is the steady flow of small engineering and design improvements. Boring, perhaps, but that's how you get a better product.

The folks at KDE decided to innovate, and, in the process, seriously broke KDE for a couple of years, and it's still not as capable or stable as the version they dumped. Now, the Gnome designers are going to give it a go with 3.0; here's hoping they don't make the same mistake.

So, if you're unhappy with the current state of the LInux desktop, maybe the solution here is for you to make some specific suggestions for improvement. Make them really big, innovative, and dramatic; no yawns. Remember, if you're bored, it's your own fault.

cherax 0 Newbie Poster

One little thing has always bugged me: when I select from a menu item at (say) the top left of the screen, a dialogue box pops up in the middle of the screen, and I have to move my mouse cursor a good 10 inches to click on "OK" inside the box. Why? Why can't the UI display the box so it's close to where I gave the command? It knows where I am; why can't it bring the work to me, instead of making me chase after it?

I just calcuated that this extra mouse movement, over 25 years, would extend to the moon and back. OK, I just made that up, but, still, it's a lot of extra mouse movement.

Hardly dramatic, but it would sure make *me* happy.

KimTjik 0 Newbie Poster

Certain concepts aren't easily innovated beyond a particular point. Fortunately though the desktop is far more innovative than the boxes keeping the hardware in place.

Some advancements become an obstacle for progress in itself. The mouse nowadays rules the world of desktop, but it's on the expense of injured necks and elbows, and bad habits of randomly clicking oneself through wizards of everything from software to malware. Are therefore tiling window managers moving computing backwards or forwards? Is repeating movements between typing on a keyboard, grabbing for the mouse and writing on the touch screen innovative in a good sense and hence better than simply using a keyboard? It's all connected.

My only point is that innovation should be subordinate to usefulness. There's also a difference between a general desktop and a Moblin type of desktop, optimized or compromised to better achieve its purpose of use.


"I know KDE came out with KDE 4.x just over two years ago but it seems that its popularity has fallen away in favor of GNOME."

Difficult to say. KDE4 with hindsight was released as a stable 4.0 too early, but since then mindless bashing has continued building up the impression of it being unstable and loosing popularity. Neither Gnome or KDE is my cup of tea, but since I use KDE4 at work I know for sure that rightly packaged, something several projects do, it has been good and stable for a considerable time. I remember that some less important plasma features crashed during the 4.1 release, but it didn't affect the total stability. Unfortunately if a myth is repeated enough times it becomes accepted as common knowledge.

ruel24 0 Newbie Poster

Innovation? Are you kidding me? Ever notice how Vista looked eerily like KDE 3.5.x with some Compiz elements? Notice how Win7 looks eerily like KDE 4.x.x? Who's really innovating, here? KDE 3.5.x and Compiz were out before Vista, and likewise with KDE 4 and Win7.

I know the interface uses the same conventions, but that's a good thing. That promotes familiarity.

eldergeek 0 Newbie Poster

As a current GNOME user and former KDE user, I'd like to know when we can expect some new innovations from either of these desktop environments?


Please, be careful what you wish for. I love KDE but I hate kickoff. Everything works, and I have no trouble finding my way around; now leave it alone. Improve the software? By all means but exercise some judgement. For example, if they make any more "improvements" in Konqueror I may become frustrated enough to try running Windows Explorer under wine.

onehiccup 0 Newbie Poster

'Linux innovation non-existent'??? Listen to yourself. You say that you spend most of your time in the command line and seldom in GNOME so how can you comment on the progress or innovation of GNOME or KDE?

Take a look at GNOME Shell for example. If you'd done any kind of research before writing this ridiculous article then you would have quickly come across GNOME Shell. I'm not a big fan of it in its current state, but whether you like this interface or not, it's undeniably innovative.

I agree that the look of GNOME hasn't changed a great deal over time but it has been refined so much under the hood that it has become a joy to use, so why mess with it? If you just want to make it look a bit different then try some new appearance themes or mess around with Compiz.....simple.

To quote the GNOME website...."GNOME understands that usability is about creating software that is easy for everyone to use, not about piling on features."

What innovation's do YOU suggest for GNOME or KDE that would make YOU type 'startx' again?

khess 95 Practically a Master Poster

I use GNOME a lot. I use the command line and vi to do my web development in PHP and anything server-related. Here's what I'd like as a innovation:
a little command bar/field at the bottom of the screen where I could type in a command and get a response as if I were at the command line but without having to open a terminal window. And it would save some of my recent commands in history so that when I start typing it would allow me to quickly reuse another command that I use often.
That would be coolness. And I want it to be named the hessbar or kencmd or something in honor of me, it's inventor.

You didn't think I had any ideas, did you?

AdamWill 0 Newbie Poster

khess: right click GNOME panel, click 'Add to panel...', click 'Command Line'. Been there for years. Best not complain about the current desktops being stagnant if you don't know all their features yet. =) deskbar-applet is a more sophisticated version of a similar idea, as well.

It's a bit odd to complain about a lack of innovation then say you don't use KDE 4 because you preferred KDE 3. Surely that's because there was, well, innovation? Even though you didn't like it, it's still innovation.

You also managed to entirely miss the fact that GNOME's 2 series is coming to an end, and GNOME 3.0 will arrive probably within the year, featuring an entirely new interface - gnome-shell. . It's *really* worth doing a bit of research before writing this kind of article. You might also have come across Nepomuk, which will make a significant difference to the desktop experience in both KDE and GNOME in future.

sheldonross 0 Newbie Poster

@khess Try developing in Kate, it has a console built right in and offers exactly what you're talking about.

khess 95 Practically a Master Poster

@AdamWill - I don't have the Command Line option available for my Ubuntu 9.04, Ubuntu 9.10 or my Debian 5 system. And I'm sure it's not exactly what I'm describing.
Anyway, I know about GNOME's new version coming out. I've written other articles on GNOME. I just don't want it to be another KDE 4 disaster. And innovation is a loose term. When I think of innovation, I think of something useful that works...I mean, Thomas Edison patented concrete furniture isn't practical now is it? Innovative maybe, useful no. You see? I do my research.

And, by the way, I doubt that anyone knows *all* the features. I certainly don't profess to.

billywright 0 Newbie Poster

KDE and Gnome are good examples of "community" software, which like the Soviet Union, is non-innovative and low-quality. I've watched both projects break their own desktops consistently since 2000. Gnome was long ago infiltrated by Microsoft whores, and its founder is a Novell / Microsoft employee. Microsoft has a $50 billion checking account and they pay people to stop competition (think about it).

rajiramshrar 0 Newbie Poster

Gnome is the worst retarded desktop with HELP and CANCEL and OK buttons all reversed. How to do it? How to delete Gnome?

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