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Pencil, Pencil, and Pencil
Dividing the Linux desktop
LWN.net Weekly Edition for June 13, 2013
A report from pgCon 2013
Little things that matter in language design
Makes me wonder who all those other environments have been tailored for!
Razor-qt 0.4 released
Posted Dec 16, 2011 17:31 UTC (Fri) by dlang (✭ supporter ✭, #313)
Posted Dec 16, 2011 19:20 UTC (Fri) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523)
I wish to know who's still using KDE, for example.
Posted Dec 16, 2011 20:12 UTC (Fri) by boudewijn (subscriber, #14185)
Posted Dec 16, 2011 20:30 UTC (Fri) by fest3er (guest, #60379)
Posted Dec 17, 2011 21:49 UTC (Sat) by wstephenson (subscriber, #14795)
Posted Dec 16, 2011 20:48 UTC (Fri) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523)
As for bugs in Krita, I don't have a will to revisit them. I did list several bugs in KDE itself. I can code just fine, but desktop environments are just outside of my area of interest.
Posted Dec 17, 2011 5:53 UTC (Sat) by jmalcolm (guest, #8876)
Posted Dec 17, 2011 9:00 UTC (Sat) by oldtomas (guest, #72579)
Granted, I felt some sort of unease with this (quite strong) comment, which verges on personal attack.
Still, it expresses frustration with something which is quite real, and thus has the potential to clear the air.
There is some tension at the moment between the "desktop" folks and the "lean and mean" folks (to put somewhat arbitrary labels on that; i'm firmly "in" one of those "camps" -- which one it is will be left as an exercise for the reader ;-).
I hope we can sort out things without hiding the conflicts which arise along the way. If someone manages, LWN readership will, I'm sure.
Posted Dec 17, 2011 16:59 UTC (Sat) by boudewijn (subscriber, #14185)
I am the maintainer of Krita, I have spent ten years of my life working on that application. This person bad-mouths the work I did. When challenged to provide details, he then came up with exactly nothing, despite claiming to have scores more of examples ready. Heck, if this guy had come up with something interesting, I might even have acted on it. Now this Alex claims to have no interest in actually revisiting the issue. I find that extremely bad form, and yes, I take that personally.
I don't mind people criticizing my work. I don't mind people offering suggestions, reporting bugs, or even telling me Krita isn't suitable for their purpose. That's fine, Krita has a specific purpose and therefore isn't all things to all people. But I do despise people who piss on other people's work and then are too lazy or cowardly to back up their claims. I may be old-fashioned, but to me it means that everything else they say starts sounding like a lie, or trolling, to me.
Posted Dec 18, 2011 0:24 UTC (Sun) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523)
I try to do almost all of my work on a small laptop, so Krita's unscrollable toolbars force Krita's window to be taller than my screen which is quite annoying. Other tools (GIMP, Inkscape) have some sort of resizeable toolbars.
Oh, also don't forget the toolbars jumping around when one selects a different tool.
I tried to use a Wacom tablet, but quickly abandoned it. I like to switch between mouse and tablet quite often however Krita doesn't seem to like it. I got hit by bugs when I could paint on a locked layer or couldn't paint on an unlocked layer, or my brush was incorrect after the switch, etc. Sometimes cursor just disappears completely.
A lot of tools are buggy. For example, an ellipse tool leaves a trace of unerased pixels if I move it too much which is very distracting on a tablet.
Then there are color selectors - Krita has like 10^100 of different color spaces and 10^14 of color selectors (Triangle, simple, palette, digital mixer, advanced), but no color selector where I can quickly adjust HSB components, there's 'specific color selector' but only for RGB. I tend to remember exact color values and tweak them a bit when necessary.
Effect layers were quite buggy when I tested them.
Posted Dec 18, 2011 8:56 UTC (Sun) by oldtomas (guest, #72579)
@boudewijn: no, given the evidence, I don't see Cyberax is "badmouthing" or "pissing on" your work. His comments are full of hyperbola (10^100 color spaces? C'mon, Cberax. Do you really know how big this number is? 10^14 color selectors?) -- but he might have a point. Perhaps you could try, for a change, to seduce him to make his point in a way that'd be more useful to you and the improvement of your software?
@Cyberax: hey, you might like to express your frustration with a tad less harshness. A bit of sense of humor goes a long way here.
So It'd be cool if both of you see this as a chance to make things better.
Look. I'm (by far) not the "target demoscopics" of applications like Krita. I use them when I have to -- otherwise, I'm the "FVWM" type. I do try to avoid DBUS like the plague. And so on.
Still I do realize that my life is better thanks to the work all those people is doing. I never used Krita (and it's quite possible I never will), but I'm sincere when I say "thank you, boudewijn".
Now I've been admonishing a bit too much. Sorry. I'll shut up now.
Posted Dec 18, 2011 12:57 UTC (Sun) by boudewijn (subscriber, #14185)
* small screens: Krita is meant to be a professional tool for professional painters. That means we optimize for big screens. The minimum resolution to use Krita is 1024x768, and Krita does fit in there.
* Jumping palettes: that no longer happens. Was difficult to fix because we use Qt's docking system, but at the expense of adding optional scrollbars to the tool option palette docker, we managed to get rid of the jumping.
* Wacom tablet issues: all of those have been fixed for 2.4, except for certain ghosting of the brush outline cursor -- https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=289174.
* ellipse tool canvas redraw problems: you are right, I can reproduce that here, but only if OpenGL is disabled. Nobody had reported that as a bug yet, so I added https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=289275
* color selectors: the current set of color selectors has been created from input by professional artists and they haven't asked for an HSB mode. Having a grayscale colorspace mode available for RGB images was much more important for David Revoy. But the artistic color selector offers HSY, HSI, HSL and HSV modes, though, and if that doesn't satisfy you, it's always possible to file a wish in bugs.kde.org -- that helps us keep track of users' requirements.
* buggy effect layers: it's possible, of course, that there are problems there. To fix any problems of which we might be unaware, we need users to report bugs. And note that I've always said in public that I'm pretty easy-going about bug reports. People can mail me with a problem, ping me on irc or enter a bug in bugzilla themselves, that's all fine with me.
Posted Dec 19, 2011 17:11 UTC (Mon) by rahvin (subscriber, #16953)
* small screens: Krita is meant to be a professional tool for professional painters. That means we optimize for big screens. The minimum resolution to use Krita is 1024x768, and Krita does fit in there.
Posted Dec 19, 2011 17:53 UTC (Mon) by boudewijn (subscriber, #14185)
As for accessibility, yes... We actually have huge problems there. We used to have someone on the team we knew enough to make sure that the Calligra (back then, KOffice) apps were properly accessible, but we lost that knowledge, unfortunately.
Posted Dec 19, 2011 17:12 UTC (Mon) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523)
Well, it doesn't fit on Ubuntu 11.10 by default (my notebook is 1366x768). Not a big deal, but annoying.
>But the artistic color selector offers HSY, HSI, HSL and HSV modes, though, and if that doesn't satisfy you, it's always possible to file a wish in bugs.kde.org -- that helps us keep track of users' requirements.
HSV is fine (it's just another name for HSB). But I can't find a way to quickly adjust numeric values of components.
>* buggy effect layers: it's possible, of course, that there are problems there. To fix any problems of which we might be unaware, we need users to report bugs. And note that I've always said in public that I'm pretty easy-going about bug reports. People can mail me with a problem, ping me on irc or enter a bug in bugzilla themselves, that's all fine with me.
The problem is, most users just despair and either work around bugs or just switch to another tool. Especially since a typical release cycle of most Linux software ensures that the bugfix would arrive only in 6-12 months via normal repositories.
Additionally, I personally lack energy to follow through on bugreports. Especially in KDE/GNOME software, since they often end either in flamewars or forgotten. For example, alecs1 had opened a bug about accelerators in KDE that I've mentioned: https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=286375 with the expected RESOLVED:WONTFIX resolution.
Posted Dec 19, 2011 18:18 UTC (Mon) by boudewijn (subscriber, #14185)
About numerical input of HS(V,B,etc) -- fair enough. Nobody asked for that before, and apparently artists don't need that kind of precision, but it would make a good improvement on the specific color selector. I have created https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=289367.
Of course, you mention how frustrating it can be to file bug reports and see them closed as "won't fix", even if there's a good reason for closing the report, as in the example you have given. I can only say that there are wildly different standards for handling bug reports between projects and even within KDE. Nobody has ever closed a Krita bug report because the discussion has become acrimonious, for example, and most bug reports receive at least a reaction within a week (most often on Saturday, because that's when I sit down and triage.) In other words, it's up to the maintainer, and since I try to be a conscientious maintainer, I would very much appreciate not to be tarred with the same brush as other maintainers who might neglect bug reports.
(This is a fun graph, made by one of our developers: http://i.imgur.com/4qLWK.png. It shows the bugs on the y-axis, and then on the x-axis a pixel for every day that the bug wasn't fixed. It would be more interesting to see when we first came back with a reaction to a bug report, but well, it's just statistics anyway. Draw your own conclusions...)
Finally, I do agree that updates don't land on people's desktops quickly enough. With Calligra we were aiming for a four month release cycle, but there's always more to do, and so the schedule slips and slips. Right now, most professional and semi-professional users actually compile Krita from git master... (Which kind of shows how eager those users are to get the latest features -- and of course, also the bug-fixes we do for them.) This situation is not ideal, but I don't see how it's "brain-dead" either.
Btw, the issue with the ellipse tool leaving traces of garbage on the canvas is fixed.
Posted Dec 19, 2011 23:19 UTC (Mon) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523)
I run XFCE with a single smallish top panel and without window decorations for maximized windows - it's about as small as it gets. I'll send a screenshot later.
And I must apologize, Krita is definitely getting better. I just got unlucky to use it when it has not yet been stable enough. Thanks for all the good work!
Posted Dec 20, 2011 8:45 UTC (Tue) by boudewijn (subscriber, #14185)
Posted Dec 20, 2011 14:09 UTC (Tue) by rsidd (subscriber, #2582)
As an aside -- Cyberax seems to be of Russian origin and boudewijn, I assume, is of Dutch or Flemish origin. The Dutch are among the most polite people I've met. The Russians I know are polite to me, but I've seen Russians talking to one another (in English, because others were present), and the aggression is staggering -- it seems like any moment they will come to blows. Yet there's nothing personal in it -- it's just a vigorous argument, Russian-style. I suspect a lot of personality conflicts, especially online, are merely cultural issues and could be resolved if the people involved met in real life (or, as in this case, made an extra effort to listen to each other).
Apologies if the stereotyping was incorrect in this case.
Posted Dec 20, 2011 22:37 UTC (Tue) by jospoortvliet (subscriber, #33164)
Otherwise, the dutch aren't always so polite - and being one, I know.
We're notoriously arrogant, especially when on holiday. Not sure why THAT brings out the asshole in us... I tend to not have holidays so for me it's hard to say :D
Posted Dec 21, 2011 11:30 UTC (Wed) by mpr22 (subscriber, #60784)
Posted Jan 2, 2012 20:21 UTC (Mon) by jospoortvliet (subscriber, #33164)
Posted Dec 21, 2011 4:15 UTC (Wed) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523)
Posted Dec 21, 2011 4:01 UTC (Wed) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523)
I'm going to try Krita more this week - I've compiled git head, but I haven't yet used it much. But it definitely feels MUCH better now.
Posted Dec 21, 2011 8:19 UTC (Wed) by boudewijn (subscriber, #14185)
Posted Dec 19, 2011 22:59 UTC (Mon) by rqosa (subscriber, #24136)
> For example, alecs1 had opened a bug about accelerators in KDE that I've mentioned: https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=286375 with the expected RESOLVED:WONTFIX resolution.
Was his bug report really about the same issue that you had discussed here? I don't think so. It looks to me like what he was asking for in that Bugzilla entry (which was "more of a feature request" than a bug report, according to him) was for KDE4's SystemSettings to be able to display the global shortcuts registered by non-KDE4 applications (specifically Amarok 1.4, a KDE3 application). I doubt that KDE's shortcuts configuration applet has ever been able to show shortcuts for non-KDE apps (including apps for earlier versions of KDE than the version the shortcuts applet belongs to). Whereas, the way I understand it, the bug you reported here was that KDE4's Klipper registers Ctrl+Shift+Insert as a global shortcut, but that shortcut doesn't show up in the "Settings and Gestures" module in System Settings. So, what he reported in KDE's Bugzilla was completely different than what you reported here.
For what it's worth, I can't reproduce the bug as you described it on my KDE installation. You said that pressing Ctrl+Shift+Insert would "show the clipboard ring", but nothing popped up when I press that key combination. I tried it in a GTK3 application (Audacious), in a GTK2 application (gxine), in KDE4 Konqueror with WebKit, and on the desktop (i.e. with all windows minimized); in the GTK apps, it does nothing, whereas in Konqueror/WebKit it did nothing except for when typing in a textarea, in which case it appeared to treat it identically to Shift+Insert and performed a "paste".
Posted Dec 20, 2011 17:35 UTC (Tue) by alecs1 (guest, #46699)
My request came from the more general concept is that there should always be an utterly powerful application that consistently handles control of keyboard and mouse, which I'l explain here since this is news about a DE:
1) Ctrl+Alt+Del (or another combination) should always be intercepted by a part of the DE and instantly acted upon (because maybe you want to kill that application that has taken control of your keyboard and now is thrashing the HDD and never replying, thus blocking everything). Alt+Tab should have almost as much power. Needles to say, this doesn't happen in KDE at least.
2) Dialogues requiring passwords should uniquely capture the focus at all times. I've seen the GTK implementation of these dialogues (PolicyKit I believe is called this authorization framework) telling me that it could not get total control over the keyboard focus. The KDE counterpart just crashed in the same situation. If not for the exaggerated intrusiveness, my experience with Windows Vista would have been delightful (those always got total focus, with messages I understood and even the transition animation worked). Compare this to: https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=271147, which is just as bad a joke as the "lost+found" thing in the SystemSettings.
3) The DE should know where keyboard shortcuts go. If they go through a KDE3 daemon to Amarok through whatever library, then that daemon should be listed.
In my experience Linux looses badly when compared to Windows when managing misbehaving GUI applications, or taking control over input. In Windows I have Ctrl+Alt+Del for whatever full-screen and custom resolution app. missbehaves; in Linux I pray that it doesn't misbehave because it can: leave Xorg,KWin,Plasma panels in some sorts of corrupted states, because there's no Ctrl+Alt+Del instantly respected (but Ctrl+Alt+F1 seems to generally manager to bring me to a console). Fortunately, over the years at least Xorg and video drivers got their bugs fixed (I think KMS also helps), so at least Xorg doesn't crash that easily.
Posted Dec 20, 2011 17:45 UTC (Tue) by rahulsundaram (subscriber, #21946)
Peter Hutterer from Red Hat is fixing a entire class of such problems.
Will be in upstream Xorg and DE's can take advantage of this.
Posted Dec 20, 2011 18:59 UTC (Tue) by dlang (✭ supporter ✭, #313)
using your example of something that asks for a password, what if you want to access your password safe to get that password?
Posted Dec 20, 2011 19:31 UTC (Tue) by alecs1 (guest, #46699)
I'm not insisting that all password requests should acquire total focus, but those that try to implement such a thing should be consistent and stable. I didn't do an analysis of what needs passwords and what not, but I think all system configuration triggered by GUI and which requires additional privileges should do this grab. The password safe should implement some extra security itself too.
Posted Dec 20, 2011 19:39 UTC (Tue) by nybble41 (subscriber, #55106)
Note that you're still vulnerable to impersonation attacks, since any other program can pretend to be the system dialog and capture your password that way. A reserved, unblockable shortcut key helps, but doesn't entirely eliminate the issue. To block this sort of attack you need some form of secure channel (like a dedicated LED) with which to indicate that the system dialog has successfully reserved the keyboard focus.
Posted Dec 20, 2011 20:15 UTC (Tue) by rqosa (subscriber, #24136)
> The DE should know where keyboard shortcuts go. If they go through a KDE3 daemon to Amarok through whatever library, then that daemon should be listed.
But, even assuming it's possible for some applet to get a list of keyboard shortcuts for all currently-running X clients from the X server, then that applet wouldn't be able to change the shortcuts because it's up to each individual X client to determine its own shortcuts. The "Shortcuts and Gestures" module in System Settings is supposed to be able to (permanently) change the shortcuts, and there's no way to do that in general for all X clients, so it only deals with shortcuts belonging to KDE apps.
(Another potential problem with trying to display and/or change shortcuts for all X clients is that the client that receives the key event may not be the same as the application that acts on it — for example, (if I understand correctly) KDE 4 has a daemon called "kglobalaccel" for receiving global shortcut keypress events, because KDE 4 also supports Mac OS X and "for OSX
you have to have an app running to catch events at the global level".)
Posted Dec 20, 2011 20:06 UTC (Tue) by rqosa (subscriber, #24136)
Posted Dec 17, 2011 16:48 UTC (Sat) by Pawlerson (guest, #74136)
Posted Dec 19, 2011 13:50 UTC (Mon) by sciurus (subscriber, #58832)
Could you be more respectful of other peoples work, please?
Posted Dec 17, 2011 22:26 UTC (Sat) by boog (subscriber, #30882)
Well, I still use KDE. And I don't think I'm alone. You can get some feeling for the relative use of kde and gnome in Debian using popcon (http://popcon.debian.org). Of course it depends on the particular packages you choose, but comparing evince and okular, for instance, shows that kde is running at about 25% of gnome, which I don't think is too shabby for the non-standard desktop.
Posted Dec 18, 2011 0:50 UTC (Sun) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523)
Posted Dec 18, 2011 11:14 UTC (Sun) by boog (subscriber, #30882)
Posted Dec 18, 2011 23:25 UTC (Sun) by ballombe (subscriber, #9523)
Posted Dec 18, 2011 1:13 UTC (Sun) by ralphdegennaro (subscriber, #35718)
Posted Dec 22, 2011 8:39 UTC (Thu) by edomaur (subscriber, #14520)
Mostly, KDE4 is better for me than most off the other desktops, but I would like more keyboard navigation like in Awesome :-)
Posted Dec 18, 2011 21:38 UTC (Sun) by robert_s (subscriber, #42402)
here's a holiday truffle, troll
Posted Dec 19, 2011 23:51 UTC (Mon) by bkoz (guest, #4027)
I use KDE. Razor-qt looks cool, thanks LWN. I'll have to try it over the holidays.
Perhaps the best thing about the current established GUIs for linux/android/mac shifting around is that some people (non-trolls) are more willing to experiment with new offerings, and actually think about what works for them in terms of visual interface.
1. android 2.x vs. ice cream sandwich. ICS!!!! TKO!!! ICS is awesome. And twice now when I told non-techie friends that I had ice cream sandwich they seemed real interested, at least until I told them it was for their phone.
2. lion vs. snow leopard. Snow leopard! WTF is up with pulling samba?
3. GNOME classic vs. GNOME new: GNOME CLASSIC!
4. KDE 3.x vs. KDE 4.(>3): KDE 4.(>3)!!
Posted Dec 19, 2011 9:08 UTC (Mon) by ssmith32 (subscriber, #72404)
(Ok, Ok, I'm typing this from Gnome 3, tweaked enough to look like Gnome 2, so I guess, it's not sooo... bad)
It's fun to take a particular set of qualities to the extreme and see what happens, but I think most DE's look for a nice balance.
Posted Dec 19, 2011 9:13 UTC (Mon) by ssmith32 (subscriber, #72404)
Especially a lightweight one! KDE is fun, but usually ends up bugging me with some random part that hogs the CPU (changes depending on the release, I've tried an old 3, and whatever Kubuntu ran a year or so ago)
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