GNOME and the way forward
Posted Aug 18, 2005 3:49 UTC (Thu) by rknop
Parent article: GNOME and the way forward
The Unix way of doing things worked well in a different era, when users were clueful, systems were small
I must be from a different era.
I used to use GNOME, but I found that as it got more and more "user friendly" (or so the assertion was), it was becoming more and more "geek hostile."
As a clueful user, I found GNOME harder and harder to get configured the way I wanted to. I got sick of poring through config applets and menus trying to find the right button, I got sick of gconf making it difficult to log into two different computers that shared the same home directory at the same time, I got sick of the configuration every so often geting so screwed up that the only option I had was to remove all the dot files in my home directory, I got sick of not knowing which files to copy or edit in order to save or update my configuration.
FVWM -- FVWM is geek friendly. Configuring it is *NOT* user friendly. You have to figure out the fvwmrc file structure and edit it. But if you are good at that sort of thing... sheesh, it's so much nicer to deal with than GNOME or KDE. It does what you tell it to, it's easy to know what files to back up to preserve your configuration, it starts up really fast and doesn't run a lot of cruft, it doesn't care if you have two instances running at once sharing the config directory... and it works without pain on 550MHz (or even 266MHz) machines (which I still use, and which are getting kinda noticably slow for KDE and gnome).
As long as geek friendly stuff like FVWM ,stays around, I guess I don't really personally care what GNOME does. Except when I need something out of GNOME... for a while, I couldn't figure out how to get evolution to run without the gnome panel gratuitously starting up. And, evolution seems to want to run this data server which has gotten in the way of my keeping my calendar file synced on different computers. (I have my whole home directory in Subversion, 'cause I'm just that much of a geek.) I'd love to find something that works well enough and is lighter weight than evolution I could use... and which could import the data out of evolution, but I haven't really tried to do so yet.
I do have to admit I avoid running GNOME or KDE applications, becaues they do want to start up gconf and all sorts of other scary background processes that may not even be relevant to the program I want to run. That kind of thing... well, OK, the Unix Way may be the Old Way, but there's something to be said for not over-integrating. Just because HTTP is newer than NNTP doesn't mean that web forums are the best way to do message groups; older isn't always worse.
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