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mgnut57
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 1:34 am    Post subject: Alternatives to Gnome? Reply with quote

A couple of days ago, I posted a question about how to block installation of Gnome3. After consideration, I think that this is really only a short term fix.

I took a very quick look at Gnome3 in classic mode (a RHEL 7 beta installation) and decided that it had nothing to offer. It was like using the toddler-toy version of Gnome 2. Tracking down plug-ins to restore previous behaviour seems like poor use of my time. Plus, the plug-ins may get broken by future updates to Gnome.

So .... what are the alternatives? I use custom buttons in the top panel a lot. These custom buttons (and other, such as screenshot) save me a LOT of mouse and keyboard activity. I also use the desktop-switcher to group task-related windows into virtual desktops. Having a calendar in the top panel is very useful.

Obviously, Mate is a candidate. It would be nice if Mate was in the official portage tree.

What other desktop environments should I try? KDE? XFCE? Enlightenment?

Looking at screenshots on Wikipedia, XFCE looks quite like Gnome2,
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1clue
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 2:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you want a highly customized environment, you might try fvwm.

Don't hate. It takes a bit of fiddling, but it's as customizable as anything.

A lot of the modern "desktop" features are missing, but if you want a separate button or hotkey for everything then this is worth consideration.
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GabrielYYZ
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 2:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use KDE but, since you like GNOME 2, i wouldn't recommend KDE for you. You could try it, though, might even like it.

XFCE is a very good alternative. i've used it a couple times (different installs) and i would use it again if, for some reason, i couldn't use KDE.
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Logicien
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 3:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

XFCE give everything a desktop environment ask for. It is complete, light, intuitive, stable and powerfull. It is Gtk based who is compatible with a lot of applications. XFCE window manager have some basic 3D effects. I can use XFCE with Compiz window manager, understanding some important Compiz tricky points with any desktop environment it can work with.
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lovelytux
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like xfce4 too. It's running very well since years. Install updates without problems. I conduct it with xorg and that is very, very fast, I'm satisfied. Xfce4 hasn't problems with two grafikcards an two screens. It is running reliable and it is true. Gentoo has now problems to server xfce4. There is a easy way to installl it.
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mgnut57
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 5:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

lovelytux wrote:
Gentoo has now problems to server xfce4. There is a easy way to installl it.


Sorry, I don't understand. Are you saying that XFCE is not well supported in portage?
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Anon-E-moose
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like xfce also, I used it for a while, till it started needing gnome underpinnings to work properly.

And since it's gtk based, I'm not sure if it will stick with gtk2 which won't be updated very much
or try and rewrite to use gtk3 which means they will be stuck on the gnome treadmill, as gtk3
is a constantly moving target.

There are other alternatives, and threads about them just look.
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xaviermiller
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In decreasing weight : xfce, lxde, razor-qt, fluxbox, openbox
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Anon-E-moose
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 11:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use lxde myself, and like it well enough.

It's based on gtk2 and when they looked at porting it to gtk3 it would have been a rewrite.
So they talked with qt-razor and they are both teaming up to produce lxde-qt
and lxde (gtk2 ver) and qt-razor will not be updated much anymore.

They both use openbox underneath.

The above is based on my reading several things from both de's on their respective websites.
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xaviermiller
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 11:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yep : a fusion of lxde and razor-qt, using QT as GUI framework will be a good small DM :)
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1clue
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use Xfce too, mostly for quick and dirty Xubuntu images where I don't want to spend any time on it but need a gui.

You originally mentioned customization though, and I don't think Xfce really has it.

I don't like lxde. Can't really say why, other than that between Xfce and Lxde there's not all that much apparent size difference and quite a bit of usability difference. I can't really give details, it's been so long since I tried Lxde.
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Logicien
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LXDE have less features than XFCE, but it work better with Compiz because of that.
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Chiitoo
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been mainly using KDE since 2010, when I first started with Gentoo (and Linux altogether), and Enlightenment (e17) on the side, on laptops and other machines, which I might switch have switched to completely if I were not so used to KDE.

I don't exactly have much bad to say about KDE, even though I tend to remember version 3 being faster and better in ways, but I may remember wrong. I will say that I don't quite appreciate consolekit, polkit, nepomuk and friends, but for the time being I've still managed to keep them away.
In any case, I'd suggest anyone to try it out though, as I believe it's the only way for one to know whether they like it or not.

Same goes for Enlightenment. It feels quite 'snappy' and offers some eye-candy, too, if one wants some.

As for real(?) Gnome 2 replacements, there is this:

Code:
* gnome-extra/cinnamon
     Available versions:  1.8.8.1-r1 {+bluetooth +networkmanager PYTHON_SINGLE_TARGET="python2_6 python2_7" PYTHON_TARGETS="python2_6 python2_7"}
     Homepage:            http://cinnamon.linuxmint.com/
     Description:         A fork of GNOME Shell with layout similar to GNOME 2

I haven't exactly used it, but I recently installed Mint with Cinnamon along with their other options to a test-box for someone used to Windows to try out, and it didn't look/feel bad to me (and I never really liked Gnome much). Much better than Unity fer sure, but that's me...


Try 'em all I'd say!
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HerrSchafer
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll give Cinnamon a try.

I like Gnome 3, but I had some problems with systemd and I choosed XFCE: light, high customizable and with many features/plugins.
I also saw cinnamon at Mint and like it!
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creaker
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If hardware is not a bottleneck, I would suggest to try KDE. It is the most stable, mature, customizable and fast from what I've tried (in comparison to XFCE, GNOME2/3, Mate, E17).
Regarding to mentioned "special buttons", it much more easy and more predictable to do such a things with plasma panel than with GNOME/Mate/XFCE panels.
I never understood why these DEs are considered as lightweight. From my experience, they consume 100-150 MB of RAM is less than KDE. But it's their only advantage over KDE, if it can be considered as an advantage at all. May be it mattered ten years ago, when we had 256Mb RAM, but now it became as 4-5% of average 4Gb memory amount.
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Princess Nell
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cinnamon was on my shortlist, but after all, it's just a replacement of Gnome shell, and if you go with Gnome 3, you're still stuck with undesirables like systemd. Now I'm testing xfcs and mate.
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trigggl
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 11:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just switched to xfce. I like it well enough. I'm starting to like it more than Gnome2. I like how configurable the panels are.
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Naib
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 11:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Princess Nell wrote:
Cinnamon was on my shortlist, but after all, it's just a replacement of Gnome shell, and if you go with Gnome 3, you're still stuck with undesirables like systemd. Now I'm testing xfcs and mate.
cinnamon has nothing todo with sysd thats only the piss poor support gentoo dev's have provided it and the lack of any decent ebuilds...
Cinnamon forked all the gnome3 libraries/packages they needed and kept it as light as possible
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RazielFMX
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 1:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was a pretty big fan of Gnome 2, and did briefly flirt with XFCE. Ultimately, I decided to give KDE 4 a try and haven't looked back. Even on the old 4GB Core 2 Duo machine I used to run it on, it was fast and pretty. On my new build (i7 16GB RAM) I have they eye candy cranked up (the high res very high cpu option) and it is a fabulous desktop experience.

Part of my decision to switch was I was interested in more and more tools that were QT based and had no desire to move to Gnome 3, so KDE was a natural choice.

I use Calligra as my office (which integrates beautifully with KDE), chrome with GTK settings (basically, I emerged oxygen-gtk then had KDE spit out a .gtk-2.0 file).

It is a bit heavy if you are looking for something minimalistic, the myriad of nested configuration menus takes a lot of getting used to (it still takes me a bit to find obscure options and I've been using KDE for over 6 months) and is the opposite of minimalistic. However, I find KDE gives the customizability I felt gnome was losing.

I am also a big fan of Dolphin (which is KDE's file manager).

I would like to point out this is one of my two work computers (I run Windows 7 and Gentoo, connected with Synergy) so a full DE was something I wanted (which is why I didn't go back to fluxbox, for example).
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 1:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you don't mind getting radical, i3 may be worth your time to investigate.

It replaces buttons with keyboard shortcuts. You can also configure apps to start on specific virtual desktops.

I still haven't found a replacement for the tried and true way of finding the best desktop environment: install a bunch and see which ones you like.
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Logicien
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I experienced some problems with Kde. It ask me to fill a bug report more than a time after Plasma crash.

I must say that I hate the task bar, leading with it's configuration tool. A bad piece of software. You must make an horizontal scrool marathon to be able to view all the applets. Try to put an applet in the task bar with the mouse, it's far from being easy. I have not been able to change the color of the task bar for the one I want.

When I resize the task bar to it's minimal size, the icons do not resize proportionally. They are taller than the task bar. It is not easy to change the color of the desktop icon names.

Even if I like a lot of things in Kde, Kde do not give me the best control over my desktop.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

xfce4, its like gnome 2 but light on resource consumption.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 2:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

trigggl wrote:
I just switched to xfce. I like it well enough. I'm starting to like it more than Gnome2. I like how configurable the panels are.

High customizable... That's what I like in a DE.
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1clue
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Doctor wrote:
If you don't mind getting radical, i3 may be worth your time to investigate.

It replaces buttons with keyboard shortcuts. You can also configure apps to start on specific virtual desktops.

I still haven't found a replacement for the tried and true way of finding the best desktop environment: install a bunch and see which ones you like.


That's really cool. I hadn't heard of i3 before. I'm gonna try it out.

Thanks.
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Chiitoo
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Logicien wrote:
I experienced some problems with Kde. It ask me to fill a bug report more than a time after Plasma crash.

I must say that I hate the task bar, leading with it's configuration tool. A bad piece of software. You must make an horizontal scrool marathon to be able to view all the applets. Try to put an applet in the task bar with the mouse, it's far from being easy. I have not been able to change the color of the task bar for the one I want.

When I resize the task bar to it's minimal size, the icons do not resize proportionally. They are taller than the task bar. It is not easy to change the color of the desktop icon names.

Even if I like a lot of things in Kde, Kde do not give me the best control over my desktop.

Here is an image of how my task-bar-panel-thingy may or may not look like. I do attest to that the panel may be, or at least used to be sort of... peculiar to adjust, and I try not to touch it once I get it right. ^^;

As for the colour, yeah, it can be changed, although I remember being puzzled about it myself, too. I had forgotten how I did it in the past, and am not sure that I can recall it now. I believe you want to customise the Panel Background under Desktop Theme under Workspace Appearance under System Settings (and some of their colour might have changed via the colour selection of the System Settings, maybe).

I do feel it's quite highly customisable indeed, although it often took me a while to realise how I can do some of those things.

But meh, that's me!
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