Blog Post

I will never bet again – day 1 with GNOME

Well, I lost a bet this week and the result was I had to use GNOME for 1 month. I could easily cheat, but I wanted to go through with it and see what I have “supposedly been missing.” Well after day 1, I have to admit that after listening to Jorge talk about the Dust theme, I have a somewhat pretty lookin’ desktop.

So, I went ahead and installed Empathy to chat with my buds, Gnome-Do because everyone ooh’s and ahh’s over it, and Gwibber, so I can tweet in style. I tried using the Gnome-Do Twitter plugin, but it didn’t work at all for me. Well it worked a little, as in I could see others tweets, but it didn’t like mine at all. Always said it had some sort of authorization error.

I am impressed with the quality of GNOME these days and I have to take my hat off to all of those involved. GNOME still is not for me, and probably never will be, but it is fun from time-to-time to check out the competition. I have GNOME on my home desktop, but the rest of my machines are either KDE 4 (4.1.3 Kubuntu and Trunk with Debian), and WMII (umph!).

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  • Careful now. You might end up like Hobbsee. πŸ˜›

  • ethana2

    What do you mean end up like Hobbsee, Jucato? I see him on irc all the time, but I don’t get what about him you’re referring to..

  • linus b

    After trying ubuntu intrepids gnome desktop I actually switched to it. Vanilla gnome is not my cup of tea, but the ubuntians have really gotten it together. Since nautilus _still_ is braindead I installed qgtkstyle… = happy filebrowsing with dolphin and konqi (pcmanfm is not to bad either).

    But hey, I am mostly using it because it eases my use of my laptop. It bugs me that I can’t really configure some aspects (like the side of the buttons in the window title. compiz won’t allow that). Looking forward to 4.2.

  • solardeity

    Hey Nixternal,

    what was the bet about?

    Well you could be happy that you did’nt bet with using Windows Vista for a whole month .. hehehe

  • Erlend

    So, what was the bet? πŸ˜‰

  • @ethana2: Hobbsee is female, and I believe the reference is in regards to she being a KDE fan who “tried” Gnome, and never looked back.

    @nixternal: First, what was the bet? And second, if you’re not converted to Gnome after day 30, I’ll eat your hat. πŸ™‚

  • @ethana2: Oh she just tried Ubuntu/GNOME for a while… and never came back. πŸ™‚

  • blueget

    @solardeity: On Vista, you can at least use KDE apps…

  • Nick

    Hi. Currently, I’m also using GNOME in a kind of experiment πŸ™‚ I’ve found that it has become much much better since the last time I used it systematically, which was about 2-3 years ago and I really like it after some tweeking. It looks elegant with the Dust theme and Compiz and I have begun to appreciate the simple nature of it, because I really find everything without really bothering to think “now .. how the **** I find feature/program X”.

    I think I’ll stick with it until KDE 4.2 comes out, though I also have the kde nightly builds installed too, hoping that I will find the time to explore and mess around with the code a bit πŸ™‚

  • Erunno

    I’ve actually installed the GNOME edition of openSUSE 11.1 recently and much to my own surprise I currently prefer to use it instead of KDE 4.1. Despite all the bitchig over the years about GNOME’s lack of features and configuration it slowly and steadily grew into a perfectly usable desktop (some will argue that it always was usable but to each his own ;-). Well, usable according to my own standards at least. The application selection is also very nice now. After the horror that is the Amarok 2.0 interface I feel perfectly comfortable with Banshee’s clean interface which suits my admittingly simple needs (couple of podcasts and about 3000 songs) perfectly. Gnome-DO makes using the keyboard fun again, Beagle can index everybody and its mother, Brasero will burn the occoasional DVD. Plus, third party applications like Firefox integrate nicely with GNOME.

    A more openSUSE specific advantage is the visual consistency between the application launcher, control center and yast. While in KDE 4 you have different interfaces for each of these the GNOME team managed to produce a more or less uniform appearance.

    To bring some final words to my incoherent rambling: While KDE has been fighting with KDE 4 for the past 3 years the GNOME developers used the time to iron out their desktop experience and it shows.

  • I’ll bet you that you make another bet.

    In 5 years KDE and GNOME will combine or something anyway. πŸ™‚

  • froofroo

    As we all confess:

    I am also a recent “convert” since Intrepid and I really like the Gnome desktop. I still stick with things like Krusader and KTorrent which both (more or less) perfectly integrate with the QGtkStyle.

    I must admit that I dislike quite a few design decisions of KDE4 and some of its applications (though I respect them and the work put into it). *I* really don’t see any perspective in Plasma as a Kicker replacement for now and things like Konsole gone so slow they are unusable and *I* don’t like the look of Oxygen. Amarok 2 does not fit *my* expectations of how a media-player should look like. And all in all everything is still unpolished. Finally since Kubuntu 8.10 does not provide a KDE3 desktop any more and I needed to reinstall my system after some days with Kubuntu 8.10 I gave Ubuntu 8.10 a try and I stick with it for now.

    I hope 4.3 will make me switch back to KDE again. For 4.2 *I* don’t see any of *my* problems solved. So continue you great work, I know you can do it! πŸ˜‰

  • Good that people try the coopetition from time to time. As a GNOME user I need to get my hands on KDE 4.2 to see how things are going when it comes out.
    For applications, I use both GTK+ and QT apps (ie. both Inkscape and Scribus) in my workflow, and the qgtkstyle project looks promising.

  • The bet was a heads up poker challenge between myself and a good friend of mine who is a GNOME fan. He beat the crap out of me, so now here I am. If I do not use GNOME for 1 month, then I have to pay up all of the money I lost at the table, which comes out to about $2,500.

    Now I have used GNOME off and on for many years and it has always been on my desktop, however 99.9% of the time, I never booted into it. I have always liked GNOME, even though I played it off, quit well I might add, that I hated it πŸ™‚

    I have been lucky enough to witness the beginning and the growth of both KDE and GNOME since the mid 90’s. The reason I stuck with KDE at the time was the fact I enjoyed coding in C++ over C, and I really love the Qt toolkit. On the user side, I could do either to be honest. Another reason I didn’t go with GNOME back in the 90’s is because I was rebellious against the whole “GNU” thing. Back then I thought like many do today, and that “If it freakin’ works who cares, if it allows me to get my job done who cares…”

    I have so much time vested in the KDE community that I have a very strong bond with many people that would be hard to break if something better were to come along. I am not saying GNOME is better, and I am definitely not saying it worse. I really think both are pretty much on an even playing field, even if both do quite a few things much different. I never thought GNOME could be secksy, but boy was I wrong. After hanging in Michigan this week with the Muggers and seeing Jorge Castro’s setup, I was actually wowed a bit.

    Right now I am trying to go through and find all of the hot GNOME apps everyone loves so much to try out. I just installed Banshee 1.4 which I had the honor of meeting the lead developer a month or so back since he lives here in Chicago. The presentation was wonderful, and so is the application.

    I am a fan of Empathy as well and really love Tomboy. On the flipside I dislike Nautilus and Pidgin. Thankfully Empathy covers for Pidgin big time. I want to do this entire month without using any KDE based applications in my GNOME environment. Also I am still running KDE 4 on my work stations, but at home it is all GNOME baby! πŸ™‚

    If you all have suggestions on what I should try and what I should look at, let me know. Help make it even more fun for me πŸ™‚

    Oh, another thing. This one is for Hobbsee since someone up there brought her up. I do use Vista on my desktop as well, just so I can play Call of Duty πŸ™‚ And Vista just for that purpose is fine, plus it was free to me.

  • With the gnome do tweet plugin, you have to save your user/pass in your preferences a good two to three times and restart gnome do to get it working. It’s like duct tape, just keep using it and it’ll stick

  • solardeity

    @ blueget
    Well… you can run KDEapps on Gnome as well……

    $2,500 is definitely not worth using Gnome …… πŸ˜‰ Id rather pay!! ……..
    You lost so why suffer a whole month when it can be over in just a handshake …
    (Im just joking…)

  • An entire month on Gnome? Dude, that sucks. I’ve never been able to tolerate it for more than two weeks. I hate KDE4, but I still use that over Gnome. You need to go to Gambler’s Anonymous before you get yourself into any worse trouble.

  • blueget

    @solardeity: Not if you are forced to use GNOME as part of a bet. Using KDE programs would be cheating.

  • @Cezar: thanks for that tip, I will go ahead and unroll the tape then πŸ™‚

    I love the responses here, 100% classic! I am actually enjoying my time with GNOME right now. I think I am getting a stranglehold on the fonts a bit as well. Just because I have a 30″ LCD doesn’t mean I want 30″ fonts πŸ™‚

    Are there more Gnome-Do themes? The current ones I do not like the least bit. I totally enjoy the lightness though of Empathy, my lord it is good stuff. Banshee 1.4 is kicking some arse too.

  • Cae

    It would be interesting to know what a seasoned KDE user like you use when in GNOME.

    e.g. what do you use in replace of kopete, kget etc.

    Would be nice if you can share your list of preferred apps from a KDE user’s point of view πŸ˜€

  • @Cae: Sure, I can do that.

    I never really used Kopete, as I have been a huge fan of Bitlbee, which allows me to communicate via IM through my IRC client, in which case I use Irssi. There isn’t a better IRC client out there in my opinion and it would take a lot to make me change that.

    Instead of using Amarok, I am using Banshee, which seems to have a majority of the functions of Amarok. I am using Empathy right now in GNOME instead of Bitlbee just to see how it is, and I have to admit it is by far the best GUI based chat client I have come across. I like minimal in some cases, and with a chat client minimal is a must. I hate emoticons and such in the first place.

    Instead of Kate, I am using Vi and/or Emacs. gEdit doesn’t do it for me. Instead of Konsole I am trying GNOME Terminal, but find myself stuck in XTerm most of the time. Instead of KMail/Kontact I am using Evolution. Evolution for Exchange is actually pretty damn good, but otherwise I do not like it the least bit. Never was a huge Mozilla fan nor a Thunderbird fan. In this case Evolution is better than Thunderbird in my opinion. I am missing K3b big time though, Brasero doesn’t cut it.

    Instead of KRunner I am using Gnome-Do, which is a really great utility, just has horrid themes and is ugly every time I hit Super Space.

    Instead of KDevelop I am trying Geany and Anjuta, which don’t even compare to KDevelop. I have always been a huge Eclipse fan so I am still using it.

    Instead of using the Twitter plasmoid I am using Gwibber, which honestly does a damn fine job, plus I also use it a bit in KDE as well, as it has support, which there is nothing for that in KDE yet (that I know of).

    I am really missing Kile as well, the greatest LaTeX editor in the world. I have since then included a plugin in Eclipse that I seem to like a bit. I tried Geany and such, and lets just say, a pen and paper would be better in this case.

    Instead of KMyMoney I am using GNUCash which is pretty much the same. However for some reason, the QIF file exported from online does not work with GNUCash. I have found a few bugs with people experiencing the same problem. Sad thing is, one of the bugs is from 3 years ago πŸ™ With KMyMoney, I filed a bug almost 2 years ago when it had problems with my QIF file, and it was fixed and I had a patch almost a week later.

    Instead of the simple Tasks I am used to in Kontact, I am using Tasque, which I was the original Ubuntu packager for. I enjoy it quite a bit to be honest.

    Now what I do not like is everytime I go to log in to a server with SSH, I get this stupid GUI popup wanting my password and wanting to store it. I hate popups like this that take focus from where I want to work. In the Window’s world, they are equivalent to Vista’s “Are you sure you want to do that?” popups.

    Instead of using Gwenview or Digikam, I am using f-spot, which isn’t to shabby. It is a lightweight Digikam I think, very stable and somewhat fast. To me, Digikam cannot be beat for managing my photos. It has a ton of options and is blazingly fast. It also seems to work much better with my camera as well. I can copy 200 photos from my camera in Digikam in about 30+ seconds. I attempted with Gnome & f-spot, and after a minute I was just about half done.

    I also really really like all of the options GNOME has with the date/time stuff in the panel. Actually has more features than the KDE version, who would have thunk that! πŸ™‚

  • Heni

    Interesting blog. I am a Gnome user and from reading the comments I can only laugh. Whether you are on Gnome/Explorer/KDE/OSX you can find application that rivals each other. No need of you guys to try to justify your usage of KDE by expressing that X application is superior to the Gnome equivalent and so. It all boils done to preference.
    I feel that Kopete is a catastrophe for example. At the same time I prefer Dolphin over Nautilus (not that I would use it in a Gnome environment).
    Some applications you wont find a equivalent, for example Skype (Qt).
    I am looking forward to KDE 4.mature as much as Gnome 3.mature.

  • I’ve been using a GNOME desktop on a RHEL box at work and its a _constant_ frustration of, why can’t I do this? where is that option? why doesn’t it ask for a password when trying to mount this samba share, instead creating a dead ‘link’ on my desktop? why can’t i run sshfs in the filemanager? everything I try to do forces me back to the command line, which i like but don’t want to do with everything.

    KDE all the way baby.

  • It just shows that nixternal is susceptible to jedi mind tricks. πŸ˜‰ This is not the desktop environment you are looking for…

    I used to use gnome a lot when it was in Slackware. But ever since Patrick removed it, I have not missed it the slightest bit. Gnome might have made great leaps and bounds from those days, but I still have a major problem with it… I like to build my own packages on my Slackware-based systems. I normally don’t mind dealing with a few dependencies here and there, but trying to build Gnome from source is like having a 24 hour root canal performed without novacaine. Actually, that 24 hours was only for the gnome libs, not even the desktop itself… and all to use a silly accounting program… I since then decided it was more productive to run Gnucash from within a virtualized (using kvm) Windows install…

    I’ll not be playing poker, and if I was you I might have actually just paid out the $2500 to avoid having to switch my environment…

  • BobCFC


    For music try Songbird, it has come along way recently including an interface redesign.

    I find the KDE icons look great at large sizes but hard to see at 24×24 or 16×16 when in a panel or list, OSX has the same problem. Gnome icons have a black outline like a cartoon and look great at small sizes.

    Sounds silly but we stare at fonts and icons all day it matters a lot to me.

  • Benoit St-AndrΓ©

    Funny that Gnome-Do thing.

    Katapult is doing the exact same thing, but it seems it hasn’t been ported to KDE4.

    Krunner seems to do roughly the same thing, but not as good looking as Katapult / Gnome-do are. πŸ™

  • I’ve been looking at Quicksand. Hopefully a few more alternatives will pop up to krunner, katapult pretty soon. Gwibber has an independent backend doesn’t it? Could roll a KDE client with a plasmoid thrown in πŸ™‚

  • Hobbsee

    Hey there Vistalover!

    Glad to see another one over to the dark side! Going to return at all?

    I keep looking into KDE4 – but just wonder if there’s any point in learning the whole new version, when GNOME has some very nice stuff already, and probably better support too!


  • @Hobbsee: nah, I am going back. Like I stated earlier, I have way to much vested in KDE and it would take more than the current release of GNOME to switch me away from that. GNOME is good, but KDE is where my heart and mind are.

  • So how was your stay? Any final thoughts as Gnome 3.0 rolls around?

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