Sunday, 27 February 2011

Keeping up with Fedora 15 and XFCE

Since my last blog post about xfce (to which I switched because gnome 3 is broken by design for me) I've been able to get more comfortable there and even fixed some of the issues as you can see on the next screenshot.



I have to say that I "adjusted" to xfce much faster than I thought I would and I'm even not looking back. Yes, there are still some gnome apps (like the gnome volume control or evince) that I keep using but overall my desktop is pretty much "degnomiffied" now. I especially like how quick things work in xfce when compared to gnome. But here and there I still run by a problem, especially given that I'm on pre-alpha release of fedora ;-) So let's remind ourselves what the current set of problems is.

Thunar lacks tabs. Ok, I can live without two-panel layout (drag-n-drop between windows saves the day), but living without tabs is really pain in the butt. Someone should explain the thunar devs that this is a killer feature that must be present in all modern browsers, be it web browsers, ftp browsers or file browsers. Furthemore, thunar does not seem to be on friendly terms with archive mounter. How the hell am I supposed to access the mounted archive after I mount it?

Window Buttons lacks ability to manually sort the buttons. It surprisingly annoys me a lot when the buttons are ordered differently than I'd like them to be…

Setting up dual head sucks. Not only it somehow refuses to set-up a manually added (but supported) mode, it also does not offer any other layouts than clone.

Java does not work with webkit based browsers ! You know, seriously, there should be at least some minimal regression testing before new java is pushed. I use it a lot, in F14 it works, but in F15 it's broken again. No java in midori, no java in chrome/chromium, no java in epiphany. You know, I really hate that I have to keep firefox only to be able to use java :-(

Either no XFCE or no sound. New gdm does not let you choose session, however startxfce4 from runlevel 3 leaves me with no sound. And thanks to complex dependency chains I'm now unable to update half of my system in order to be able to both use xfce and have sound working. Help appreciated.

Is it plymouth or systemd that's half-broken? Looks like the system is able to boot within about 34 seconds (at leasts that's what systemd messages tell me), however then nothing happens (runlevel 3 without rhgb quiet). Pressing enter gives me tty login. In runlevel 5 (again without rhgb quiet) works ok, but runlevel 5 with rhgb quiet makes the boot be about 1.30 minutes long… Furthermore, boot.log is empty. Nice…

At least, after I updated kernel and xorg packages I got full colour depth displayed again. Feels like Fedora 15 Alpha is close :-D

It feels nice to be almost on the bleeding edge :-)

11 comments:

Jaroslav "Rezza" Reznik said...

Why complete degnomization? If I understand correctly - you are not satisfied with current Gnome shell design but not with apps... I have to admit - I don't understand this one DE, one sort of apps :)
/me as Plasma user using KDE Applications, pure Gtk apps, sometimes Gnome apps, not anymore Windows ones in Wine :)))

Martin said...

@Jaroslav "Rezza" Reznik: Look at it as a figure of speech. What I mostly meant was replacing things too tightly tied with gnome (like nautilus) or apps/services negatively (from my POV) affected by the gnome3 design (like gnome-screen-saver or gnome-power-manager).

What I really try to avoid though is using qt apps in gtk based environment and vice versa. No matter how similar theme you select, they always look too out of place.

Eric said...

Sounds good. Back before I went to KDE, I was really enjoying Xfce as a great GTK-based DE.

Eric said...

I forgot to say that gdm now allowing you to change your session should be considered huge bug! Is that something that's going to change? Otherwise I may go to KDM or XDM

Martin said...

@Eric: I believe the it's not missing by design, but because no-one implemented it yet. AFAIK it's going to be added back again.

Kevin Kofler said...

> New gdm does not let you choose session,

This should be fixed in gdm-2.91.6-9.fc15 which got pushed to stable already. If it's still broken, reopen the bug (or open a new one, the referenced bug isn't really about the same issue), and try another displaymanager, e.g. LXDM or KDM.

> What I really try to avoid though is using qt apps in gtk based environment and vice versa. No matter how similar theme you select, they always look too out of place.

Qt actually uses GTK+ (well, GTK+ 2 still, but so do several GTK+ apps) for drawing if you use the QGtkStyle, so I don't see how it can look out of place…

Martin said...

@Kevin Kofler: Thanks for the heads up, I'll try that out.

As for the qt/gtk thingie. Yes, I can see the theme is same (I actually use one qt app for which there is no equivalent in gtk), but there are still various details like spacing, icons, general UI concepts, font rendering that make it look different and out of place nevertheless. Maybe I'm just oversensitive to these kinds of things, after all there are people that could not tell nodoka from clearlooks apart while to me they look completely different…

nicu said...

For me the biggest drawback to Xfce is, at silly as it may sound, is not having the file content as a thumbnail for things on my desktop. I am lazy, keeping a lot of stuff handy on the desktop and the preview is really useful for finding content.

I am also a "purist" using as much as I can only GTK+ apps (Kdenlive is the exception, being the best video editor I found in Fedora repos)... I can tell from distance the apps look alined and I know deep inside that the startup time is *also* influenced by the need o load in memory yet another set of libs.

Martin said...

Hi nicu. Yup, the thumbnailing in xfce really sucks, at least in rawhide. For me thumbnails are never generated by themselves, but when nautilus generates them they appear in thunar as well, or opening in eog, evince or totem also makes them appear. But none of that work for desktop... Maybe bugzilla time? ;-)

Anonymous said...

I am by no means a Linux expert...but I must say that in using F13-F14, I have discovered more freedom in any other distros!! Trying F15 Beta vie Gnome3, I was incredibly disappointed at the lack of freedom from both the Gnome3 shell as well as with F15! It's also my understanding that there's a new system for networking on around the corner. I hope these changes are for the better!!! I have been ab avid Gnome + Compiz user ,and now I am done with gnome!!! xfce is dependable and lighting fast!! and it works with Compiz

EdF said...

I also was put off by no sound in XFCE. However, I discovered by starting up the "Mixer" program (under the Sound & Video menu item), changing the sound card to be PulseAudio Mixer, then adding the Master control, I was now able to change the volume and get rid of the muting that seems to be the default.