View Full Version : Your ideal DE

December 9th, 2011, 06:25 PM
I have this feeling that if it weren't for this recession, we wouldn't have so many laid-off programmers trying to reinvent opensource projects that were almost perfect before the wrecking ball arrived. [#oped] For me, gnome 2 was almost perfect were it not for my panel applets loading in different order at every boot.

We all know what happened since then, some people love it, most hate it. Developers decided they preferred new users to a new approach, and users splintered to other distributions. (what they might not realize yet is that those power-users leaving are also the ones designing apps for the most popular DE's, which might well endup being XFCE/LXDE now rather than the old gnome/KDE debate).

So my question is, how do you envision your ideal DE? this could be how you saw gnome evolving, or an entirely new concept from scratch. At this point, with the options we have so far, im open to all sorts of other ideas :-)

December 9th, 2011, 06:32 PM
Not a support request.

Thread moved to The Community Cafe.

Simian Man
December 9th, 2011, 06:38 PM
KDE is the best one by far.

December 9th, 2011, 06:47 PM
Not a support request.

Thread moved to The Community Cafe.
Sorry, too many subforums to chose from :p

KDE is the best one by far.
Ok :-) But why?

December 9th, 2011, 06:49 PM
My ideal DE would be a set of highly customizable components which are tied together with a simple scripting language and a clean, consistent, well-documented API.

Sort of like plasma meets awesome meets emacs.

December 9th, 2011, 07:26 PM
I mention this because I hope someone will say "Hey, that already exists!".

My perfect DE would allow me to group windows by tasks and then allow Tomboy (or some other notes system) to "bookmark" those windows. For example:

Tomboy Window - "Graph SNMP stats - Ticket #123"
Firefox Window - "ZenOSS, RRDtool manual, Google"
Terminal Window - "Well, a terminal"
PDF Window - "ZenOSS manual"

All these windows open on one desktop. Tomboy (or whatever) knows what windows are for this note. One click/command can minimize anything that related to this task. If I have to leave this task for a week, when I come back to the Tomboy note, I click some link, and all these windows open again, as close to where I left off as possible.

I waste too much time trying to get back up to speed on projects I've put off, or couldn't work on. Opening Tomboy, reading my notes, then clicking a link to put everything back would be a massive score for productivity.

December 9th, 2011, 07:37 PM
Although I've been using Ubuntu the last 3 years (almost), I think that KDE is the best one.
KDE is super slick and super customizable. Also it comes with some apps like Dolphin that I like so much more than some apps that come with gnome (such as nautilus).
The reason I'm staying with Ubuntu and gnome is actually because I love the Unity thing and I am developing for this OS specifically, because it has largest community and so more users available out there, there's no point in creating apps for the minority (but even if the majority of users is using Windows, I hate this OS and also (racist???) dumb people).

To make it clear: KDE is the best DE and it couldn't be better for me.

December 9th, 2011, 07:46 PM
The question is not "What is your favourite DE". If it was it would go straight into Recurring Discussions.

The Question is

how do you envision your ideal DE?

Keep it on topic please

December 9th, 2011, 07:55 PM
Pretty much what Xfce is right now, for the most part. I would like the desktop to be widget based like KDE, but still keep things light. Other than that it is specific applications and applets that I would like to see improved, and not really the DE itself.

I would like more functionality out of the task manager/window list on the panel (Win7/DockBarX like). I would also like an improved applications menu with a filter box for the applications. You can currently get these things with Gnome applets with using Xfapplet, but I would like native Xfce applet support.

Thunar with tab support would be awesome too, but I know they have no intention of ever doing that... I can live with this though.

December 9th, 2011, 08:39 PM

I think you are making an untrue assumption, both the gnome-shell developers and Unity developers are employed by RedHat and Canonical respectively. They are working on the desktop environments at the behest of the companies they work for.


December 9th, 2011, 08:43 PM
Long self centered rant:

I prioritize ease of use above everything else. This is why I love expose on OS X and similarly scale on compiz. It's also why I use Gnome Shell now because the behavior is completely built into the system. The way I can type and bring up the program I want is also a feature I really like.

After ease of use, I like to stick to defaults. I do not like to spend hours customizing my desktop and especially as a Linux user, it's likely that I'll install an updated distro in a a year or less anyway. This is where KDE falls for me, because the customization is too conspicuous and it is easy to completely mess up the desktop without meaning to.

I am willing to learn new ways to interface with my desktop, which is why I was not outraged with the move from gnome panel to gnome shell, at least to a point. For me the way to interact with Gnome Shell solved issues I didn't know I had in Panel. I can now comfortably have many windows open because I can get the one I want quickly and efficiently. This made the payoff of learning the new system great enough to be worth it. On the other hand, some solutions in Shell solve problems I never had. The removal of the shut down option in the menu by default is one of them. If I want to turn off my computer I turn it off, I don't suspend it. This represents needless learning to me - a need to mechanically hold alt every time I want to shut down my computer.

Ease of learning is not such a big priority for me because I use my desktop every day. Unlike an airplane ticket kiosk, I don't need to be able to learn everything about my desktop immediately while there are all sorts of other things I need to think about. If I can be sure that I won't destroy the configuration need to learn how to get back to defaults (the way KDE does) then I am happy.

Aesthetics are important. I don't like the conspicuous bubbliness of KDE (I find it tacky). Gnome Shell is currently very ugly and I think Ubuntu's ambiance theme looks nicer. However usability (and general software stability) is more important, so that's why I use Shell in Fedora.

With the above in mind, my ideal desktop today (because who knows what the future holds) would be Gnome Shell, with the useless and confusing bits taken away and a nicer looking theme. By confusing bits I mean, don't hide the shut down option, don't make indicators have the weird accordian behavior, arrow keys should work intuitively in the shell interface etc.

December 9th, 2011, 11:49 PM
My ideal DE would be one that is modular, that everyone uses. Where people who require a lot of features, like indexing can have a DE like KDE. But people who want a fast, lightweight DE, can simply compile the same DE without those features you feel are uneccassary.

Basically, my ideal DE is one, where a simple configuration is the difference between ultra low fat Xfce, or feature laidened KDE.

The reason for this, is because although I love freedom of choice as much as the next guy, I feel the Open source community is starting to move over the line from diversity into fragmentation. And its starting to feel as though there is no easy way to mix and match features between DEs. They all open their source code, but KDE devs developing plasma doesn't help gnome guys if they want plasma widgets. And Gnome guys developing integrated IM straight into the DE, doesn't help the KDE guys who want a slick IM'ing experience.

At the end of the day, what I want, is to not feel like I have to choose a "side" in who I want to develop for. Who gets a native experience from my app, and who has to download a ton of extra libraries. Eho gets a native looking app, and who has to bear with the menu buttons not being quite right.

December 10th, 2011, 12:03 AM
KDE is the best one by far.

I agree, but it seems that things like Compiz and Emerald aren't supported anymore in favor of Kwin.

Compiz and Emerald just look better...

December 10th, 2011, 12:10 AM
Some *nix compatible one akin to the Ironman system :popcorn:

Telengard C64
December 10th, 2011, 01:03 AM
My ideal DE would be a set of highly customizable components which are tied together with a simple scripting language and a clean, consistent, well-documented API.

Sort of like plasma meets awesome meets emacs.

Sounds awesome indeed :)

I want a desktop that doesn't put unneeded crap in my way. All I need to see on the desktop:

applet tray/widget
notifications widget

I want a desktop that doesn't try to do too much. I don't need:

a daemon indexing the contents of every file on my disk
a blogging client
any kind of social networking integration (Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ should just go away!)
animated characters trying to guess what I'm doing (Clippy anyone?)
document caches
MRUs (unless they are opt-in rather than opt-out)

Please give me sensible defaults (maybe even conservative) and make everything highly customizable. For GUI elements I'd like a GUI interface for customization, but please store my settings in a plain text file (compressed if necessary) so I can easily configure by hand when needed.

Enough blather from me for now :)

December 10th, 2011, 01:15 AM
IN a word; 'Weird' ; the weirder the better.

It makes me feel more special; and I like working out "how the **** am I meant to use this thing?"

To date, I have tried e17 and DWM; DWM was pretty good as you had to recompile to reconfigure. :) e17 was cool because the effects were awesome and the keybindings were mysterious. Maybe a sort of hash of those, with integrated vim. (can't stand emacs).


I don't want anything on my desktop. Just gnome-do. And the cool email and chat notifications from gnome-shell.

December 10th, 2011, 01:01 PM
Hello All

I don't think my workflow suffers from any big bottlenecks in any of the current desktop environments. I just do Web, e-mail, LibreOffice and some mathematics packages (pyxplot, R &c). And a bit of music and some photo management. Hardly rocket science. I like keyboard shortcuts. Alt-tab and crtl-alt-arrow get me most places in most DEs.

I'd like to see an implementation of Jef Raskin's ideas, see


for a summary, especially the zooming interface part. My desktop could be a mind map of whatever I'm working on then. Click on a bubble and get a desktop with the tools needed for that bubble. Finish that and go back to the mind map.

Mad enough for ya :twisted:

December 10th, 2011, 04:46 PM
for a summary, especially the zooming interface part. My desktop could be a mind map of whatever I'm working on then. Click on a bubble and get a desktop with the tools needed for that bubble. Finish that and go back to the mind map

Zooming interface...Oh yeah. I love the superkey scroll zoom of CXompiz and wish all desktops used this as standard..And the flaming mouse.
One or two bars with vertical stacking tabs..Nestled menus (like Gnome 2).
Plays nice with Compiz..Can customize to one's heart's content,from 3 D buttons to Steampunk to docks,whatever suites your fancy.
Say you choose Steampunk,docks and everything else would have that theme.
Each virtual desktop can be customizable so they look very different...Title bars,colors,backgrounds,etc all look different on each virtual desktop. No big,gaudy icons.

December 11th, 2011, 07:12 PM
My ideal DE would be somewhere between XFCE4 and gnome2, with universal themeing for all apps. What drives me nuts about XFCE is that some apps written with other libraries appear quite "ugly". Gnome 2 was nice in that respect, but it loaded way too much "stuff" that you could just run once in a blue moon without slowing down your boot process.

My De would be quite modular yet very basic to begin with.

1st you have the desktop:you want icons? --> if yes: Do you want launchers, or just active apps (like XFCE)
Then your panel: None, panel, dock [self-explanatory]
none: for those who prefer keyboard shortcuts
panel: for those who prefer 2d
dock: those who like 3d
after that, users would be asked to approve each and every daemon and module that is to be loaded at startup.

Of course, if i had to produce my own distro, id find some way to come up with a GUI to customize the kernel at (before) install :-)

December 11th, 2011, 09:42 PM
For me it'd be basically LXDE being a little bit more fleshed out

December 11th, 2011, 11:14 PM
somewhere between gnome 2 and KDE and OSX.

December 12th, 2011, 12:47 AM
for me, a DE needs:

To be stable

To look as slick as possible

remove the need for the terminal as much as possible (even though, im quite comfortable with it, pointing and clicking is just faster usually)


so with that being said, i use kde