Re: GNOME Window Manager

On Wed, May 30, 2001 at 01:32:38PM +0200, Matthias Warkus wrote:
> +++ Tue, May 29, 2001 at 06:54:30PM -0700 +++
> Lion Kimbro e-mails me. Film at 11. Reply right now, after the break.
> > 
> >   Mawarkus,
> > 
> >   Well, here's more evidence that people get pretty emotional about their
> > window managers..!
> Not really.
> >   When I say that it should be invisible, I mean that the user should almost
> > never see any reference or evidence of something called a Window Manager
> > even existing.
> What would be the benefit?

You really don't have much experience with the average user, do you?

Most people that use computers don't care a crap about how they work, why they work, only that they *do* work.  Workplaces have training seminars on the basics of Microsoft Word for crying out loud.

If a user has to, for any reason, mess with any internal workings of the desktop environment, they're usually screwed.  People are often intelligent and resourceful when it comes to their jobs, but most of them are frigging useless morons when it comes to computers.

I'll admit, my original post may have been slightly off kilter complaining about WMs in particular when the *real* problem is the configuration.  Yes, defaults need to be made.  Some people say it is the packagers' problem.  Alright, so now Linux RedHat, Solaris, Debian, and FreeBSD all end up with differing configs and setups.  In comparison to the Windows world, where everything works the way it does on the other computers (for the most part anyways, yes, some configuration is possible).

But, seriously, let's go back to the key bindings, one my biggest annoyances about GNOME.  The WM *does* need to handle things like closing Windows, etc.  GNOME (panel, whatever) needs to handle menu-open requests.  The desktop-manager needs to handle the selecting/manipulating of desktop icons.  So we have, what, 3 programs to configure key bindings for?  Well, GNOME+Nautilus handles two of them, hopefully a common configuration system can be thought up for that.  But what about the WM?  How in the Nine Hells are you supposed to merge the configuration controls for GNOME and WindowMaker, or AfterStep, or even Sawfish?  Well, you **aren't** supposed to merge them.  And the average user shouldn't be using any of those WM's with GNOME.  They are self window managers, and while they may work with GNOME, and may offer additional functionality for the technically inclines such as ourselves, the morons forced to use these systems don't want to deal with it.

Besides, a true GNOME-only WM would offer a lot of benefits besides configuration.  Common look and feel, for example.  Every WM I've seen, Sawfish included, doesn't fit in with GNOME so far as its dialogs (which a basic WM shouldn't be using that often, but still) are concerned.  And every WM offers functionality that duplicates some of the GNOME desktops, in even slight ways.  A smaller, lighter, faster WM would always be a benefit.  It's like including libfreetype in console only apps - it's functionality, memory, and extra room for bugs that you *don't* need.

No one (well, at least I'm) is requesting that the interface between GNOME and WM's change.  Sawfish shouls definitely always work with GNOME, because Sawfish is what I use.  AfterStep, Windowaker, IceWM, Enlightenment, etc. should still work as they do.  But GNOME should be able to function without another of these mini-desktop environments.  And that's *exactly* what they are.  GNOME is comprised of lots of useful programming libraries and such that makes programmers' lives easier, but the users, the ones that actually need a DE over the command-line, don't give a damn about that - they want something sharp and easy to use.  That's why most of them stick with Windows, which isn't know for innovation or power, just a pretty interface.  And that's why those that do use Linux/UNIX, most of them (and this has to admitted, no matter how much I honestly *hate* to admit it) prefer KDE.  KDE has a sharper, more well integrated desktop.

We do *not* want to mimic Windows, or KDE, or any other desktop environment.  But we need to be as easy to use as those other popular DE's.  Step 1 is at least some easy to use configuration and setup tools, for those who need to tweak their desktops (visually impared, left handed, theme-obsessed users).  Step 2 are some basic components, on the outside layer, that actually work together, not just share a set of common libraries.  And step 3 is actually having a desktop that Just Works in an efficient manner for the average user.  Users don't need 80 billion processes, window managers with 90% of the functionality disabled by GNOME, or 'graphical shells' that do everything under the Sun (I won't jump in on the Nautilus topic, because it does seem to be moving along rather well in the intelligent usability area).  Sure, we, the advanced users, love all the extra functionality and toys.

But the users working down the hall on preparing the tax forms, or writing the supervisor's speeches, or handling purchasing, need a desktop that makes their work easier and more efficient.  Not kludge it down with stuff they don't understand, don't want to understand, and (no matter how much some people think everyone should learn the internals of an operating system) don't in any way *nee* to understand.

... My Gods, that was a long rant.  ^,^

Seriously, there is *nothing* wrong with any of the WM's out there.  They just shouldn't be an integral part of GNOME.  GNOME needs to be a desktop that works for the user, not an environment that forces the user to work on it.  Simple, easy, and clean.  Leave the rest for the users that actually want to mess with it.


Sean Etc.

> mawa
> -- 
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