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Saturday, September 25, 2004

The Gaps Keep Gettin' Bigger

I keep waiting longer and longer to post again, don't I? Ah well, this started off as an experiment, and I suppose that experiment will end when I wait an infinite time before posting again.

Regardless, time for some geek stuff.

I got NX working a few weeks ago. What a stunning piece of software that is. I can run my computer from here (alpharetta) with negligible lag. Move over VNC, NX is beating the s**t out of you on Linux.

Meanwhile this week I emerged the X server, release 6.8.1 and decided that I am officially addicted to drop shadows on my windows. Absolutely gorgeous. Not to mention the transparency and the window fading, which are handled with such extreme elegance that it's just.... ahhhh... I love Linux. And now I'm beginning to think the XFree license change may have been the best thing to happen to the Linux GUI community in a very long time. Finally things have gotten moving, improvements are really happening. Sure, we're still a step behind Mac OS, but that's almost a requirement of being in the computing world - Apple does the cool stuff first :). I don't think I could give up the world of Free Software for Mac OS, however. I've just begun to believe in it too much..

And that's the other thing. After a bit of reflection, I've realized that Free Software is truly the way to go. Okay, I realized this quite some time ago, but it gives me something to say :-p. Microsoft is scared shitless, whether they show it or not. Sure, Linux won't take over tomorrow, or next week, or next year, or quite possibly not even in the next five years. But that doesn't matter. The inevitable fact right now is that it will take over, some time. We'll see when that is.

Meanwhile, KDE continues to become a more and more excellent desktop environment. Every side has their zealots, and I am trying as hard as I can to keep an open mind, not bash the GNOME folks, and not become a KDE zealot. But I'm seeing a widening gap between the two, and GNOME is, in my eyes, losing. Naturally, that's for my preferences. There are still things that GNOME handles better, namely simplicity. Sure, KDE isn't as simple. But you know what, the sheer power it gives me, at my fingertips, without adding any editing, just makes me happy.

On top of that, I think KDE could do one thing that would turn the tables on this whole simplicity thing in a few moments. Add a setting in KConfigXT specifying whether a certain option is for everyone or for more advanced users. And then have one place, in the KDE control center, where you check or uncheck 'Show Advanced Options'. Bam. Have it unchecked by default, and by default KDE is as unconfigurable as GNOME. Need more configurability? Check the box, and bam, all the power is there, once again available through a GUI instead of a text file. That would be one of the more brilliant things KDE has done so far, I think. Also, one more thing. Make sure, at the end of simplified dialogs, that you mention the fact that there is a place in the KDE control center where more options can be activated. That way no one thinks those are all the options available.

If KDE does that? I may even become a zealot :). Nah. I hate to do that. Free Software is about choice, and that's why I have both desktops installed on my computer. Whoever prefers GNOME who may need it at some point is free to use it. Right now, that's nobody. I have no GNOME users that I know. But does that mean I should shut them out should one ever show up? No. GNOME has its advantages. So does KDE. It'll always be that way. And so it should be. So it should be.


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