Re: [Nautilus-list] Nautilus vs. xpenguins

On Mon, May 28, 2001 at 12:05:35PM -0400, Havoc Pennington wrote:
> There's obviously a tradeoff. FWIW we'd decided to take the Nautilus
> approach for gnome-fm before it ever became Nautilus - I don't
> remember all the reasons unfortunately. Maybe someone else does.

Perhaps ease of coding?  Shaped windows are pretty horrible, and require
knowing unhealthy things about X.

But I'm not criticizing Eazel or Nautilus, I'm criticizing the (IMHO)
dubious user-interface consequences of the design decision. :-)
> All the problems you mention can be worked around eventually, apps just
> have to be desktop-aware. They can be aware of the "desktop manager" in a
> gnome/kde-independent way using the WM spec.

I can see two problems:

  1) Until this is fixed, lots of existing applications (some of which have
     worked for nearly two decades) break.  And they do so in a confusing,
     unfortunate manner.  This is a very poor user experience.

  2) Making an application like xmatrix "DM-aware" is pretty painful.
     You'd have to overhaul half the application to support clipping
     regions, new WM protocols, etc.  If you didn't, it would simply draw
     over the desktop icons.  And of course, you'd have to make the entire
     system of clipping regions independent of Gnome and KDE.

     But the gmc approach gets clipping and other niceties for
     free--because the icons float over the actual root window, X handles
     all the details.

     And people really *do* want to run this stuff.  Macintosh users paid
     good money for Before Dark, which basically did nothing but run a
     screen saver on your desktop.

I argue that current desktop drawing code in Nautilus is straight-forward
and easy-to-implement, but basically wrong.  I pretty sure the ICCCM won't
back me up on this issue, but there is an accepted standard for sharing the
root window gracefully, and lots of applications already support it.

I'm not saying that anybody should feel compelled to fix Nautilus; merely
that the current behavior is annoying and has dubious UI consequences. :-)


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