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Thread: Desktop Environment Preferences

  1. #1
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    Desktop Environment Preferences

    Hi all!

    I've been using Linux solidly now for around two years. The first distribution I tried was Linux Mint (as a user familiar with Windows, it "just worked", with no need to change anything - barely even the need to use the terminal), before migrating over to Ubuntu (I figured since I now had a little more experience, and knew Mint was based on Ubuntu, it would be sensible to try Ubuntu - and move "closer" to the source).

    Coming from Mint, which never had the unusual Unity/Dash interface, Ubuntu was something of an uphill struggle to learn to use - I hated it. Eventually though, I discovered KDE, and I'm now a confirmed fan, running Kubuntu 12.10 - this has reaffirmed my love of Linux . The whole having a menu that you can browse through and doesn't randomly disappear, and is at the bottom, where I expect it to be by default, is comforting. The ability to customise everything is also nice - I've read stuff suggesting that there is no where near the same level of this in GNOME/Unity? I'm thinking of a blog post by one Mr L Torvalds in particular...

    Originally, I was dual booting. A few months back, I scrubbed my PC clean of Windows completely though, and haven't looked back. However, I do still feel a lingering sense that I'm using KDE not because it is best, but because I've been sort of..."socialised"? by Microsoft. And I really resent that, having left Windows, wanting to get rid of any kind of software coercion!

    So, my question to the forum is: what do people use? How popular is each desktop environment, and what makes it so? For instance, "I use Unity because that's what's installed in vanilla Ubuntu" doesn't really strike me as a "fair" reason, not when I'm trying to get to the bottom of what is the best DE.

    Also, before it comes up in a reply, I do understand that objectively trying to find the best DE is a little bit of a wild goose chase - obviously personal preference is a major player here. I still think it'd be useful to canvass opinion, however, to weigh up and conclude for myself where I should be heading, and if I'm right sticking with KDE.

  2. #2
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    Re: Desktop Environment Preferences

    Quote Originally Posted by ArminasAnarchy View Post
    Coming from Mint, which never had the unusual Unity/Dash interface, Ubuntu was something of an uphill struggle to learn to use - I hated it. Eventually though, I discovered KDE, and I'm now a confirmed fan, running Kubuntu 12.10 - this has reaffirmed my love of Linux . The whole having a menu that you can browse through and doesn't randomly disappear, and is at the bottom, where I expect it to be by default, is comforting. The ability to customise everything is also nice - I've read stuff suggesting that there is no where near the same level of this in GNOME/Unity? I'm thinking of a blog post by one Mr L Torvalds in particular...
    ...

    I personally use Unity because it saves screen space and it makes finding things faster.
    Last edited by zombifier25; December 27th, 2012 at 08:30 AM.

  3. #3
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    Re: Desktop Environment Preferences

    Makes things faster - wut?

    I REALLY felt slowed down and lagged by Unity. It just seemed to make no sense, and not being able to see things and browse through programs etc. without going to full screen (on KDE, the menu is confined to the bottom eighth of the screen or so) is just...eugh.

  4. #4
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    Re: Desktop Environment Preferences

    Quote Originally Posted by ArminasAnarchy View Post
    Makes things faster - wut?

    I REALLY felt slowed down and lagged by Unity. It just seemed to make no sense, and not being able to see things and browse through programs etc. without going to full screen (on KDE, the menu is confined to the bottom eighth of the screen or so) is just...eugh.
    When I want to launch an app, I simply press Super, type in part of the name, and press Enter. To do the same thing in GNOME Classic, I have to navigate a hierarchy of menus to find it.
    The Unity Launcher is very generous concerning shortcuts, so I can just pin my most used apps on it. It's in fact almost identical to Windows 7's taskbar. Also, it's on the left, which may seemed illogical at first, but soon makes more sense (to me at least) that at the bottom because most of the UI's most useful elements are concentrated on the top left, instead of top and bottom. I think people is dissing this simply because they're used to the taskbar being at the bottom.

    Of course, this is my own opinion, and like what you said, it's your own opinion that matters. You really like KDE, it do has some advantages over Unity, and I respect that. So why do you care about other people's opinions?
    Last edited by zombifier25; December 27th, 2012 at 11:01 AM.

  5. #5
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    Re: Desktop Environment Preferences

    When I want to launch an app, I simply press Super, type in part of the name, and press Enter. To do the same thing in GNOME Classic, I have to navigate a hierarchy of menus to find it.
    No, you don't have to, you chose to. The main menu can be customize to meet your needs with alacarte or a dock can simply be installed.

  6. #6
    iMac71 is offline Gee! These Aren't Roasted!
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    Re: Desktop Environment Preferences

    Before of installing Ubuntu, I was an Apple user, hence I was habituated to have a dock where to place the most used applications.
    This is the reason for which I prefer Unity between all the desktop environments.

  7. #7
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    Re: Desktop Environment Preferences

    I prefer Unity. Dash and the HUD are huge productivity wins, the Global menu is nice, and it looks nice. Unity is the main reason I use Ubuntu at all, otherwise I'd likely still be using SUSE.

  8. #8
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    Re: Desktop Environment Preferences

    Quote Originally Posted by ibjsb4 View Post
    No, you don't have to, you chose to. The main menu can be customize to meet your needs with alacarte or a dock can simply be installed.
    Before the switch to Unity, I was using Synapse and DockBarX. Exactly like Unity and exactly like Windows 7, that means a few pinned apps, plus a search tool for unpinned ones (and files and locations and so on.)

    I remember organizing menus. That was time I spent doing a thing. But I really was surprised over the holiday when I used my brother's old 10.04 machine and found myself fairly confused by the old Gnome 2 main menu. What I needed was a specific application, but I had to guess where it was filed to get to it. It sort of took me a second to convince myself that there really was no search and I really was just going to have to guess.

  9. #9
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    Re: Desktop Environment Preferences

    Quote Originally Posted by Copper Bezel View Post
    I really was surprised over the holiday when I used my brother's old 10.04 machine and found myself fairly confused by the old Gnome 2 main menu. What I needed was a specific application, but I had to guess where it was filed to get to it. It sort of took me a second to convince myself that there really was no search and I really was just going to have to guess.
    That can still happen to me with installed GUI app's (or anything with a launcher) that are not often used. So I setup a shortcut that leads to /usr/share/applications and can be placed in the panel, main menu or nautilus.

  10. #10
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    Re: Desktop Environment Preferences

    In my opinion Unity beats out menu browsing due to the search pulling up documents and files along with apps, where as menus just list apps. Those programs I use 99% of the time are on my Launcher anyway, I don't search much for anything.

    Unity can also be used to search for items on the web as well, and some of the lenses are rather interesting (wikipedia and youtube lenses especially). Come to think of it, what would the internet be if you couldn't just search for what you wanted and you had navigate to websites using an endless series of drop down menus?

    I will admit Unity is easier to get used to if you know the names of your apps, however if you don't know the name of the file, the search seems rather intuitive (typing "email" will pull up the thunderbird mail app, and "game" will pull up nearly every installed game on the system for example).

    If you are the type of person who installs more apps on your pc than you can remember, or are a hunt and peck typist, a menu system is probably better.

    You may notice, even Windows8 has taken a step away from traditional menu systems.

    In the end, Ubuntu is great, you can choose which ever desktop environment and search method you like best.
    Last edited by Petro Dawg; December 28th, 2012 at 02:45 AM.

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