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Lloydb39
March 8th, 2015, 01:53 PM
Everyone seems excited about the new Gnome 2. I use Unity and never have understood why some people hate it so much. It seems pretty easy to use to me. Nothing against Gnome 2 but can someone explain why it is better than Unity?

buzzingrobot
March 8th, 2015, 02:05 PM
Gnome 2 is not new. It's actually dead. Gnome 2 was a leading Linux interface for several years. The Gnome developer community decided to stop development and maintenance of it in 2011 in order to prepare and deliver the Gnome 3 interface. Gnome 2 had been the primary Ubuntu interface for a long time. When Gnome 2 was no longer maintained, Canonical, like every other distribution that had been using Gnome 2, had to move to a new interface. Canonical chose its own Unity interface.

After the demise of Gnome 2, some developers began to adapt and modify the Gnome 2 code (a fork), i.e., fix bugs, ensure it worked well with current libraries and applications, etc. This became the Mate project a couple of years ago. The Ubuntu Mate team has delivered a number of releases and has now successfully complied with the procedures Canonical establishes for acceptance as an offical Ubuntu variant.

The traditional panel-and-menu design of Mate, which is essentially the same as Gnome 2, appeals to many people, and, of course does not appeal to others. Whether one interface is better than another is almost entirely a subjective issue, depending on individual tastes, habits, and preferences.

oldrocker99
March 8th, 2015, 02:41 PM
I started using Ubuntu with 8.04, which did have the Gnome 2 interface. I quickly fell in love with it; of course, having been an Amiga user back in the day, I was already used to top menus. I admire Unity, but there are things about it which, well, annoy me. Gnome 3 is horrible by comparison (all of this is my own opinion). When Mint introduced MATE, I was delghted. I do find Mint, after my Ubuntu usage, to be a little annoying as well. I used a PPA to install MATE on 12.04 and have been using it avery since. MATE is more lightweight than Gnome 2, by the way, and works very well on low-power machines, like the 2007 Lenovo 3000 N100 I'm typing this on.

Of course, we're all Linux users, and we have the freedom to choose which desktop we like the best and even choose which of several desktop we want to boot into, without being stuck (and that is the word) in the interface that is decided "that people will like, maybe next time" by Some Other Company's OS.

Daletec
March 9th, 2015, 12:12 AM
I use XFCE when I need performance and KDE when I'm just surfing, emailing, general office stuff, I like the eye-candy. It's the beauty of Linux, choice and freedom!

vellon
March 9th, 2015, 12:12 AM
MATE is more lightweight than Gnome 2, by the way

Interesting. I've never heard this claim before. MATE is a fork of Gnome 2, so do you have details of the changes made to make MATE lighter?

grahammechanical
March 9th, 2015, 02:49 AM
I am excited about Ubuntu Mate being approved as an official flavour of Ubuntu not because I hate Unity and am infatuated with the old gnome panel look. I don't and I am not.

It is Ubuntu to be welcoming to others. FOSS = Variety = Choice = Healthy FOSS community.

Regards

sffvba[e0rt
March 9th, 2015, 05:34 AM
Interesting. I've never heard this claim before. MATE is a fork of Gnome 2, so do you have details of the changes made to make MATE lighter?

Not sure if MATE uses Compiz but if it doesn't that could potentially make it "more lightweight" / quicker...

deadflowr
March 9th, 2015, 06:01 AM
Not sure if MATE uses Compiz but if it doesn't that could potentially make it "more lightweight" / quicker...

Not by default.
I think it uses a metacity fork (https://github.com/mate-desktop/marco).
But they have made strides to make Mate compiz compatible.

It's pretty light as is.
But I'm probably used to carrying a ton of fat, so...

mastablasta
March 9th, 2015, 11:15 AM
Everyone seems excited about the new Gnome 2. I use Unity and never have understood why some people hate it so much. It seems pretty easy to use to me. Nothing against Gnome 2 but can someone explain why it is better than Unity?

some people hate things they do not understand.

on the other side Unity is not a persona and to have such strong emotions as hate a thing is kind of strange to me anyway.

just use what you like. some people use only terminal and wouldn't change it for the world.

Lloydb39
March 9th, 2015, 01:04 PM
OK. I understand all the stuff about choice and freedom and subjective opinions. I was just looking for some pros and cons on each I guess. I've used both, and XFCE, and haven't found a lot of difference as far as speed or efficiency. Just different ways of doing things.

flaymond
March 9th, 2015, 01:15 PM
I just use the Linux interface. The Command Line Interface aka Terminal. I don't really care actually of which DE I use, because everything just look same to me. If you comfortable with Terminal, probably you just use OpenBox or any simple Windows manager to make managing process a little bit easy with GUI. Anyway, I love Cinnamon and XFCE, of course also the 'hated' Unity. I just choose something light-weight and fast, and not too dry and dull to see. Bashing is the best way to get something you don't have on the current DE.

craig10x
March 10th, 2015, 12:24 AM
I've used gnome 3 desktop but have found that unity is just simpler and nicer to use...i think ubuntu went the better way....actually, they tried to work with the gnome developers when they were switching over to designing the gnome 3 desktop but found them rather arrogant and uncooperative to work with....thus, they went their own way...and i think they came up with better desktop overall...;)

PondPuppy
March 10th, 2015, 03:34 PM
As far as the OP's request for differences between Unity and others --

-- well, Unity seems mostly to rely on the left-side application dock and on the application finder. Those are kind of the "top-level" user interface tools, though you can add menus and other stuff to Unity if you want. (I do.)

Other interfaces, in particular Mate, Cinnamon, and XFCE, rely mostly on cascading menus as the top-level GUI tools. Cinnamon also uses the application finder, with the same keyboard shortcut as Unity, and I use that a lot.

Gnome 3 uses a phone- or tablet-style set of panels-and-tiles to launch applications, as well as an application finder, as the top-level GUI tools. I used Gnome 3 only for a short while, and I can't remember now if it has an application menu as part of the default setup or not.

So it seems like OS in general have evolved three major GUI types so far:

1. Cascading menus (Cinnamon, Mate, XFCE, Windows 95 through Windows 7, etc)
2. Application docks (Unity, OSX, various others)
3. Panels of tiles (Gnome 3, Android, iOS, Windows 8 and 8.1)

In nearly all cases, the obvious GUI has alternate tools available -- OSX has the application menu and Finder, Windows 8.1 has a Start Menu option, etc. So what you see on the desktop at first glance is not really descriptive of what is available in the GUI once you start exploring.

None of the interfaces are "bad" in my mind, but some are more natural to me right from the start. For me, the Gnome 3 desktop was less useful than the others... even though a panel of 12 tiles is much like an application dock showing 12 apps, when I think about it. It's amusing that, after all these years and despite the efforts of GUI designers with new ideas, the cascading-menu design is still one of the most popular among users.

vellon
March 10th, 2015, 04:23 PM
Your lack of recent experience with Gnome 3 is showing...



Gnome 3 uses a phone- or tablet-style set of panels-and-tiles to launch applications, as well as an application finder, as the top-level GUI tools. I used Gnome 3 only for a short while, and I can't remember now if it has an application menu as part of the default setup or not.

Gnome 3, like Unity, relies on a left-side application dock and on the application finder (type to search). The "phone- or tablet-style set of panels" is only a fallback for browsing all applications, if you really have no idea of what you are looking for. The "phone style UI" is a common accusation from those who are more familiar with pictures on the internet than with actual usage.




It's amusing that, after all these years and despite the efforts of GUI designers with new ideas, the cascading-menu design is still one of the most popular among users.

Probably a generational thing. Those of us who grew up with Windows in the 90s and early 2000s have only known cascading menus until more recent times, when smartphones have taken us in other directions. Naturally, we have a long-ingrained familiarity with menus, and some conflate this with better/intuitive/more natural. It would be interesting to see if younger generations more used to phones and tablets think in the same way.

PondPuppy
March 10th, 2015, 10:02 PM
@vellon -- yeah, you're absolutely right about Gnome 3. Completely forgot the dock, which I didn't use much. I kind of enjoyed Gnome 3 (running with OpenSUSE, I believe), and in the end I used the app finder most. But in the end I moved on.

I don't know... probably there is a generational bias factor. Perhaps there is a tendency among some people to organize things conceptually in hierarchical systems, though. I'm thinking of Linnaean taxonomy in the biological sciences, or the hierarchical arrangement of alphanumeric document outlines. Maybe people who tend to think that way gravitate toward the menus.

Mint, with its menus, is the most popular Linux GUI, according to Distrowatch (a flawed metric, to be sure!) Good points, though, and thanks for correcting me about Gnome 3.

buzzingrobot
March 10th, 2015, 10:26 PM
... Perhaps there is a tendency among some people to organize things conceptually in hierarchical systems...

As I see it, the Overview in Gnome is as much a menu as the things we see in XFCE, Mate, LXDE, KDE, etc. One has larger icons partnered with text labels, the other approach allows the text labels to dominate with less prominence given to the icons. (we still see this intentionally slammed as a "dumbed down" phone approach, which is more than a bit unwarranted.)

The hierarchy of items in traditional menus is predetermined by the developers and packagers. (Although most can be reconfigured by users, I suspect few do.) So, a user must explore, or guess, to determine the location of the menu item being sought. Is it under "System" or "Applications" or "Utilities", etc. Of course, users will eventually remember what is where in the menu, just as they remember if an icon is on the first or second screen of the Overview. More appropriately, in both cases, they'd just position icons for those apps in a panel or a dock, relegating use of the menu for the location of seldom used tools.

Whatever the menu design, though, they all become cumbersome after passing some threshold number of entries. At that point, the user becomes more focused on how to actually use the menu. I think the default menu in KDE is a good example: To avoid fanning large menu sections across the display, users are asked to manipulate the menu in a very non-obvious manner.

That said, I wonder how much this is really a problem for most users. Do we really routinely open more than a small number of applications, making a menu almost unnecessary?

vellon
March 10th, 2015, 10:29 PM
I was with you until you committed the crime of mentioning Distrowatch :) Its page views tell us absolutely nothing about usage. Ubuntu is backed by a commercial entity, has a knack of generating publicity and is just about the only distro known by (a small percentage of) the general public, so it stands to sense that it is used way more than Mint. Browser user string analysis backs that up from what I've read.

Of course, that's not to say that all those users aren't using KDE, Xfce, MATE or LXDE with menus....

QIII
March 10th, 2015, 10:46 PM
Even if one were to assume the DistroWatch numbers meant anything at all, you'd have to add up all the official flavors of Ubuntu - which pretty much beats the pants off of Mint.

DistroWatch numbers are about like counting which brands of laundry detergent are picked up from the supermarket shelf and looked at by customers. They do not represent final purchases.

buzzingrobot
March 10th, 2015, 10:52 PM
I was with you until you committed the crime of mentioning Distrowatch :) Its page views tell us absolutely nothing about usage..

Distrowatch's ranking can be taken as one measure of interest, but not usage: It's a place where people can go to for links to other sites that tell them something about a distribution. While I don't think its organization is always helpful (Mint's numbers collect all of the distributions it releases in one place, while Canonical's distributions are all counted individually, for example), I take it as a reasonably relative ranking of what it says it's ranking. It's usually distro enthusiasts who like to trumpet the numbers as representing usage.

mastablasta
March 11th, 2015, 08:03 AM
OK. I understand all the stuff about choice and freedom and subjective opinions. I was just looking for some pros and cons on each I guess. I've used both, and XFCE, and haven't found a lot of difference as far as speed or efficiency. Just different ways of doing things.

well XFCE, Gnome etc. use GTK apps as native apps, KDE and Razor QT use qt based applications. but it actually all comes down to a philosophy of what the desktop is trying to achieve. and the differences come from that. how things are done, displayed... basically how the user interacts with computer.

for example some like the desktop to be beautiful with some special effects. for them that would be a pro to using something like Gnome, Unity or KDE. other prefer it more Spartan and fast interpace. they might use something like IceWM.

so I guess it's more depending on what the person wants and how they want to interact with computer. that will decide pro and con for them. something that is a pro for someone might be a con for another one. let's say dash and searches are pro for some as they can find things faster. but windows like start menues or desktop full of shortcuts works best for others.


which is why many will say use what works best for you.


there is one con to using more advanced desktops like unity, kde... - they all need more computing power (in GPU, RAM and CPU terms). so if you have a weaker, old PC you might have to forget about those.

d-cosner
March 15th, 2015, 01:15 PM
This thread has turned out to be one of the most interesting ones I have read in a while on desktop environments! I distro hopped a lot last year, trying a variety of desktop environments and release models. In my opinion, Unity, Cinnamon, Gnome Shell and KDE are all great, they are all sort of new with new ways of doing things. The problem for me was that I kept wanting the latest, greatest versions to get back the features the older version had!

I overlooked the obvious, Xfce! Xfce never took away any features, instead new features were added in a very conservative way. I finally was content with Korora with Xfce but then I started thinking about my upgrade path. I originally had hardware issues with a lot of distros with my hardware and I started to wonder how my computers were going to run with the next release. My HP 655 laptop has a lot of problems with newer kernels...

I kept seeing Manjaro on YouTube and variouse news sites and I started looking for information on it. Manjaro is a stable rolling release that uses tested update packs and they offer a variety of supported kernels. This was ideal for my laptop because reinstalling an os on it is not a pleasant experience at all... Xfce is reasonably light and it runs pretty decent on the laptops cheap E1 processor. I started out installing Manjaro on a spare hard drive on the desktop to try it out.

Manjaro surpassed all of my expectations, no bugs and it was quick and stable! I noticed the improvements in Xfce right away, it was not the final 4.12 packages at first but it was nice. After a week of use I decided to do an install on the laptop. I of course had to switch to an older kernel and I had to edit fstab because of a problem with mounting the swap partition. No big surprises there, the laptop always has some kind of problems because it is a cheap piece of junk...

In the end the laptop ended up running better than it ever has and now has an upgrade path that should be pretty safe. I had not really given Xfce much consideration for years but the more I used it, the more I liked it. Xfce was pretty easy to customize! With the right theme and icons Xfce looks just as modern as anything else! Xfce had all the features I needed and was resource friendly. I went for a Mac sort of flat look with the theme and icons and am pretty content with it. My Xfce set up is not so different than the way Unity is by default other than the traditional Whisker menu.

This is nothing more than my opinion, everyone has their own preferences of course. I just wanted to point out that I had overlooked something very good because I thought that I wanted something revolutionary and new. I have seen a lot of people running Xfce in recent years and now I understand what attracts them too it. Xfce took a conservative approach to development and in doing so they created a feature rich but very stable desktop environment.

If you have a computer that just isn't making the grade with the newer desktop environments don't overlook Xfce! The Xfce 4.12 release has that familiar look and feel with some really nice improvements! I have also found that most any desktop environment can be made to look any way you want it too and my choice was more along the lines of features and stability.

Sorry for writing an essay! Just putting in my two cents on desktop environments. :)

flaymond
March 18th, 2015, 10:42 AM
I overlooked the obvious, Xfce! Xfce never took away any features, instead new features were added in a very conservative way.

Same here. Xfce is a very nice DE. It's clean and very customizeable, and the 3D-scaling also the options is very beautiful. However, other DE are nice too. Depends which one suits you. ;)