On the Desktop
Linux in the news
All in one big page
See also: last week's On the Desktop page.
The latest poll from the KDE.com gives people a chance to vote on what feature they would most like to see in KDE soon. "I just installed Linux Mandrake 7.2 (until my SuSE package arrives), and after upgrading to KDE 2.1.1, I feel that a KDE port of the configuration utilities could bring a huge amount of polish to this distribution. A KDE interface to Linuxconf might be a good start. Others would however prefer a KDE installer, and some simply think that KDE should be faster and/or less of a memory hog. Here's your chance to cast a vote and voice an opinion".
The answers are coming in on the poll and KDE dot News reports that the area of greatest concern for KDE 2.2 is speed. The report includes suggestions for C++ program speed improvements from KDE developer Waldo Bastian.
This discussion on speed brings some interesting questions to mind. Some of us (but not all of us) at LWN still use the ancient, but reliable FVWM window manager for our daily needs and tend to work with KDE and GNOME only for testing purposes. Some of us are also running relatively old (300 MHz and slower) CPUs. Older hardware tends to amplify the effects of slowness.
It would be interesting to run a speed test of FVWM, GNOME, and KDE on what these days is considered a slow machine, for example, a 200 MHz or even a 120 MHz Pentium if one can be found. Non-scientific, but real-world experience shows that FVWM is the fastest environment and, at least last year, KDE tended to be a bit more snappy than GNOME. The standard disclaimer that KDE and GNOME are much more than simple window managers such as FVWM applies as always.
An interesting phenomenon of moving to a slower machine is how sluggish everything feels. Try working on a faster machine for a few weeks, then go back to the slower machine. What used to seem normal now feels very slow and unresponsive. Perhaps the KDE and GNOME developers should consider this approach for optimizing performance if they don't already do so.
Of course, with the slowdown in the tech economy, good deals are to be found on fast machines. The most practical solution for most people may well be to get a new motherboard with a 1.3 GHz CPU, install the latest KDE or GNOME, and not worry about small differences in window system performance.
This week's GNOME Summary. The GNOME Summary for May 5, 2001 is out. It includes brief coverage of the May 1 GNOME board meeting, the GNOME Packaging Project, and more.
GTK+ 1.3.5. A new beta of GTK+ (and dependent libs) is now available. This beta has a draft of the new default look and adds a dependency on the Accessibility Toolkit (ATK). Installing the beta won't affect your stable GTK+ version and RPMs are available. So install it, break it and report bugs.
Ximian GNOME 1.4: The Monkey Has Landed (LinuxPlanet). LinuxPlanet also takes a look at Ximian's package. "Ximian has also added a pair of applications unique to the company's release: MonkeyTalk and Red Carpet 1.0, both of which we'll look at further on in this review. Briefly, MonkeyTalk is a help application that connects users with a live chat session in a stripped-down version of the IRC program xchat; and Red Carpet is a package management tool designed to ease software installation and removal."
Miguel de Icaza: Can't We All Just Get Along? [A Response to Dennis Powell] (LinuxToday). Miguel has put out his response (via LinuxToday) to Dennis Powell's article in the LinuxPlanet. "As with anyone who has questions about what we are trying to achieve or how we are doing things, I'd like to address and bring clarity to some of the issues surrounding GNOME and Ximian in Dennis' column, especially as they regard the control of GNOME, the role of my and other companies".
GNOME 1.4 reviewed (C|Net). GNOME 1.4 is reviewed by CNet. They like it, for the most part. "Linux (and Unix) users will find that GNOME 1.4 offers an effective and stable environment. GNOME 1.4 setup is hampered by its sheer size and download time, but current GNOME users will find this upgrade more than worth the effort."
Release of a new set of XML/XSLT libraries. Updated versions of both libxml and libxslt have been announced. They promise bug-fixes, speed improvements and full readiness to handle the GNOME project documentation formatting needs (note that KDE is also reportedly deploying the libraries).
People Behind KDE: Werner Trobin. Werner Trobin, a member of the KOffice team, is interviewed as part of the continuing People Behind KDE series. "How and when did you get involved in KDE?
About three years ago I installed Linux for the first time and started to use KDE. As I already did a lot of programming before on DOS/Windows I tried to play with some toy applications and enjoyed it. After reading Kalle's article in the c't archive (yes, *this* Kalle article) I decided to do some KDE program as my final project on school (with another guy from my class). Fortunately our teachers agreed and so it all started."
Nautilus 1.0.3 is out. As announced on Gnotices, Nautilus 1.0.3 is out. It has a number of performance improvements, and a few new features, like a news sidebar.
Mozilla 0.9 released. Mozilla 0.9 has been released. There are a few new features (such as automatic proxy configuration), but most of the work appears to have been in the area of performance improvements.
Fer de Lance - Truly Intelligent Multimedia Browsing. The dot (dot.kde.org) is covering the Fer de Lance project. This project aims to properly integrate GIFT's technology in Free Software desktop environments and browsers.
Defenestrating Windows (LinuxDevices). LinuxDevices founder Rick Lehrbaum discusses his experiences in moving from Windows to Linux on his daytime work machine. "It all started back in December of '99. Since I was going to be running a Linux-related website, it only made sense to try to do my work on a Linux-powered desktop computer."
Section Editor: Forrest Cook
May 10, 2001