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#1 OFFLINE   saturnian

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Posted 26 February 2018 - 10:07 PM

I've probably mentioned some of this here before. I have various DEs and WMs installed on various computers. I might be using any one of them on a given day. Today, I happen to be using GNOME Shell. The others I have right now: Xfce, KDE Plasma, LXDE, Openbox, and Fluxbox. I've used some others in the past, including AwesomeWM, Enlightenment (E16 and E17), Cinnamon, IceWM, Window Maker, and of course the old KDE 3 and GNOME 2. Maybe a few others that I'm not thinking of at the moment.

I enjoy them all. Each one seems to offer something not found in the others. I really don't understand the hatred that some have for any one DE or WM. It kinda seems like my favorite is the one I happen to be logged into at the moment. For me, there is no "best" desktop for Linux; they're all fun.

They're all free to use, too! :)

#2 OFFLINE   securitybreach

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Posted 26 February 2018 - 10:17 PM

Well for instance, the Gnome developers actively remove features and dumb down the environment as much as they can and release buggy versions. I do not use windowing environments and have not for probably a decade but I see the issues posted by a lot of people all day every day in my community and various other locations. Besides that, I have no issues with whatever tool one wants to use on their system. I just really liked gnome back in the 2.x days but it has all gone downhill since then IMO.
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#3 OFFLINE   saturnian

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Posted 26 February 2018 - 10:26 PM

View Postsecuritybreach, on 26 February 2018 - 10:17 PM, said:

I just really liked gnome back in the 2.x days but it has all gone downhill since then IMO.

And this, I guess, is why folks say things like "different strokes for different folks." I could get along fine with GNOME 2 but I much prefer GNOME Shell (so I haven't even bothered to try MATE!).

I should also add that whatever DE/WM I use, I tend to add the same handful of apps. For example, I really don't use the default file manager and text editor much; instead, I use mc and Double Commander, and Geany.

#4 OFFLINE   securitybreach

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Posted 26 February 2018 - 10:28 PM

Well I only use i3wm on all of my machines. Well that or tty with gnuscreen.
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#5 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 26 February 2018 - 10:35 PM

I've jumped around a bit but I keep coming back to GNOME as my choice of desktop. Maybe it's because that was the first one I used back in the 2.X days. I don't mind GNOME 3 at all as I don't customize that much. I like many of the GTK apps too like Rhythmbox, Abiword and Gnumeric.
For lower powered or older machines I like Xfce. It doesn't require a lot of tweaking to get a nice display and distros like MX-17 do it right. It was also an easy desktop to set up in Arch Linux.
Plasma is lovely but I just don't see any reason to use it in preference to GNOME. That said if you are an old KDE 3.X user that got turned off by KDE 4.X you really owe it to yourself to try Plasma.
The grandkids and other Windows refugees around here like Cinnamon so I keep that going on my main Linux driver.
I have a live and let live philosophy too. I don't see any reason to slag any Linux user for their choice of interface. They can use the console even.
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#6 OFFLINE   saturnian

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Posted 26 February 2018 - 10:41 PM

View Postraymac46, on 26 February 2018 - 10:35 PM, said:

That said if you are an old KDE 3.X user that got turned off by KDE 4.X you really owe it to yourself to try Plasma.

Bet others would disagree with that! I like Plasma, though. For low-spec hardware, I can turn off all or most of the fancy effects and I'm good. I like that desktop cube action, though!

#7 OFFLINE   sunrat

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Posted 26 February 2018 - 10:47 PM

What I use is the best! Everything else is dumb. :devil:

@saturnian - funny that you mention the cube. I use Plasma 5 as main DE and that's one thing I've never used or even desired to.
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#8 OFFLINE   saturnian

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Posted 26 February 2018 - 11:06 PM

Gotta love it. I don't know why I like that cube so much. Well, I'm always using different virtual desktops and I like when I switch desktops with the cube effect turned on, but normally I don't use the cube itself for switching. However, in Kubuntu I have it turned off and I find that I don't really miss it -- without that effect, it's really about the same as switching workspaces in something like Xfce or Openbox or whatever.

One thing I really miss from the old KDE, different wallpaper setups on different virtual desktops. I keep holding out hope that that feature can be brought back. Xfce has done it nicely for its workspaces.

#9 OFFLINE   Dr. J

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Posted 27 February 2018 - 05:51 AM

Personally, MATE has been my favorite DE for quite a while now. I've tweaked around with quite a few of them though, and KDE keeps tempting me, especially since one of my friends keeps telling me about every new awesome feature in KDE Neon.

<rant>
I've recently been messing around with Pop!_OS on the Lenovo laptop, and to be honest, I can't stand GNOME 3. The workflow I could get used to but... where are my Steam and Telegram system tray icons? Oh, that's right... as of the latest version of GNOME I need a third party extension for those to even exist... and now they want to rip out the active desktop too. Granted, GNOME works great for some people, but I'm not one of them...
</rant>

The Lenovo now has Linux Mint Cinnamon on it, which I'm somewhat tempted to put on my main machine, and I've put Lubuntu 16.04 on the little MSI Netbook and decided to leave that there.

Edited by Dr. J, 27 February 2018 - 05:52 AM.

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#10 OFFLINE   securitybreach

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Posted 27 February 2018 - 06:35 AM

View PostDr. J, on 27 February 2018 - 05:51 AM, said:

<rant>
I've recently been messing around with Pop!_OS on the Lenovo laptop, and to be honest, I can't stand GNOME 3. The workflow I could get used to but... where are my Steam and Telegram system tray icons? Oh, that's right... as of the latest version of GNOME I need a third party extension for those to even exist... and now they want to rip out the active desktop too. Granted, GNOME works great for some people, but I'm not one of them...
</rant>

And that is my point...
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#11 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 27 February 2018 - 08:46 AM

I installed the Gnome Tweak Tool. It makes it easy to change themes and icons. That and a few Shell Extensions make GNOME 3 quite tolerable. I changed the Activities menu to Applications and Places. So I guess I have some MATE-like features.
Honestly though for an all-around DE you can't beat Xfce. It works, it's relatively lightweight and you can have a plain vanilla desktop such as I have in Arch or a highly polished one such as in MX-17. It also works great with themes and icons and GTK apps.
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#12 OFFLINE   Hedon James

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Posted 27 February 2018 - 11:14 AM

View Postsaturnian, on 26 February 2018 - 10:07 PM, said:

I've probably mentioned some of this here before. I have various DEs and WMs installed on various computers. I might be using any one of them on a given day. Today, I happen to be using GNOME Shell. The others I have right now: Xfce, KDE Plasma, LXDE, Openbox, and Fluxbox. I've used some others in the past, including AwesomeWM, Enlightenment (E16 and E17), Cinnamon, IceWM, Window Maker, and of course the old KDE 3 and GNOME 2. Maybe a few others that I'm not thinking of at the moment.

I enjoy them all. Each one seems to offer something not found in the others. I really don't understand the hatred that some have for any one DE or WM. It kinda seems like my favorite is the one I happen to be logged into at the moment. For me, there is no "best" desktop for Linux; they're all fun.

They're all free to use, too! :)

I don't understand the venom either.  I've been disappointed in desktops, or features removed from desktops, but they all have their strengths.  If something doesn't suit you (or no longer works the way you want it to?), just move along...there are too many other alternatives that will likely suffice.

For me...Gnome2 was the catalyst that pulled me into the entire Linux ecosystem.  But once I got here, I tried out EVERYTHING I could find...only to return to Gnome2.  And then Ubuntu started shoving Unity down my throat...didn't like it at first, not even a little....but the longer I played with it, the more I realized it suited my "natural" workflow, and the more I liked it.  Then it started to "bloat" and I had a Windows deja vu moment and started to wander again.

At this point, I think I have experimented with nearly every stacking WM available, except perhaps WindowMaker (just haven't gotten to it yet).  I have liked components of everything I've tried....some more than others.  For me, LXDE is a sweet spot of usability.  Extremely customizable without the umpteem layers of customizability, extremely lightweight, and the modularity makes it fairly easy to mix & match components.  I love that I can make LXDE resemble Gnome2, Windows, MacOS, or Unity with very simple re-configurations of the lxpanels...it is probably the simplest DE to re-configure, IMO.  And I LOVE the lightweight nature of LXDE, usually bundled with Openbox.  But when I was introduced to Fluxbox here on BATL (saturnian!), I was able to address everything I didn't like about LXDE!  LXDE and Fluxbox is the PERFECT combo, IMO, and I don't quite understand why Flux isn't the default WM for LXDE?!  But that's JMO...  And I also like PekWM as WM with LXDE, as PekWM is very much like Flux, but with an ever so slightly different feature set and a slightly more complicated way to write config syntax.  So even though Flux>Pek>Openbox, I still like all 3 and I typically have all 3 installed with LXDE and am able to flip between them, usually just to change window decor, as themes are vastly different between all 3, even though I have each configured to mostly "act" in the same manner.

Unfortunately, LXDE has a limited remaining lifespan, as it is still firmly GTK2, with LXQT starting to stand side-by-side with QT underpinnings.  Unless someone starts to port LXDE to GTK3 (which the main developers have expressed they WILL NOT do...it will have to be forked by another for this to happen), LXDE will become a QT environment, LXQT.  I'm okay with that, as LXQT is coming along nicely and is almost ready for primetime, IMO.  In fact, Siduction has an LXQT flavor that is VERY well done.  Future versions of LXQT would do well to take their design/config cues from Siduction.  The only downside to LXQT that I can foresee is that the majority of apps I prefer to use are GTK based, but I currently prefer a few QT apps in a GTK2 system so I'm not sure that GTK apps on a QT system is any worse.

If LXQT disappoints me enough to migrate to something else, I would certainly consider Mate.  In fact, Caja is probably my favorite file manager in its default configuration.  While I also like PCManFM, I usually add "custom actions" to mimic Caja's default configurations.  And I prefer Atril to Evince, as I work with PDFs a lot and Atril is more full-featured, IMO.  Alternatively, I believe the Lumina desktop may also suit my needs & tastes...extremely lightweight and modular, and distro-agnostic, but also QT based.  Probably similar considerations as LXQT, but still an option.  Finally, worst-case scenario, I could also cobble together my own environment with naked WMs, i.e. OpenBox, FluxBox and PekWM and simply have those WMs open desktop panels from the startup script.

These would ALL work for me...simply a matter of good/better/best....I hate NOTHING.  And even more far-fetched, but still possible, new software or new tech could emerge which would disrupt my workflow and perhaps cause Gnome3, Plasma, Pantheon, XFCE, Cinnamon, or any of a multitude of others to be a better fit.  And IF that ever happens, I'm going to be glad that the option exists and is already mature enough OOTB to be a viable solution.  How can anyone hate that?

#13 OFFLINE   saturnian

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Posted 27 February 2018 - 11:19 AM

View Postraymac46, on 27 February 2018 - 08:46 AM, said:

I installed the Gnome Tweak Tool. It makes it easy to change themes and icons. That and a few Shell Extensions make GNOME 3 quite tolerable.

In Debian Stretch, with GNOME, I didn't have to add gnome-tweak-tool -- it was part of the default installation. I'm kinda puzzled by this because I was sure that in the past I needed to add it. In trying to confirm that it came in by default, I checked Synaptic's History to see if I had installed gnome-tweak-tool. Found no record there of my having added it, so then I checked to see if I had added it from the command line. Nope.

Finally, I ran apt search gnome-tweak-tool:

gnome-tweak-tool/stable,now 3.22.0-1 all [installed,automatic]
tool to adjust advanced configuration settings for GNOME

Am I wrong in thinking that the word "automatic" there means that the package came in automatically?

Anyway, it's interesting how we all see things differently. I run GNOME Shell with no extensions enabled, and I get along with that just fine. A few weeks ago, I enabled the workspace indicator extension, but after awhile I realized that I don't need that, either, so I finally disabled it yesterday.

For some reason, I'm quite comfortable with the GNOME Shell setup, while others don't like it at all.

#14 OFFLINE   V.T. Eric Layton

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Posted 27 February 2018 - 03:41 PM

Well, for me, it's like colors. All colors are nice, but GREEN is my favorite. I don't hate the other colors; I just don't like them as much as I like GREEN, particular when it comes in this form:

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#15 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 27 February 2018 - 03:44 PM

Interesting. I am pretty sure I had to add GNOME Tweak Tool when I set up Sid on my Thinkpad last year but like you, I don't remember adding it in when I switched to Stretch recently. It is a pretty useful app so I'm not surprised it's become a default install.
There are a couple of Shell Extensions I really like - one is the aforementioned Applications and Places Menu, and the other is Dash to Dock. So I have those enabled. It's an easy customization with an add-on in Chromium.

Edited by raymac46, 27 February 2018 - 03:53 PM.

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#16 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 27 February 2018 - 04:08 PM

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This is how my desktop looks in Stretch with the dark theme, Circle icons, Dash to Dock and the Applications and Places menu.

Edited by raymac46, 27 February 2018 - 04:10 PM.

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#17 OFFLINE   saturnian

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Posted 28 February 2018 - 12:04 AM

Nice, raymac46!

That dock at the bottom, I don't like that sort of thing but I know that many other users do. Similar to the macOS dock, looks like.

But you've inspired me to experiment with the Applications menu extension. I'm quite used to going to the Activities overview, though, and accessing my Favorites via the Dash. I've been doing this for so long now that it still seems like the quickest and easiest way for me to get to my Favorites, so I don't know if I'll keep the Applications menu extension turned on, but I'll try it for a few weeks, maybe, and try to get used to it. At the moment, even with that extension enabled, I still find myself automatically hitting that hot corner to bring up the Activities overview! Old habits die hard!

I guess that's how it is when people talk about "workflow." You get used to doing things a certain way, your brain gets wired that way.

Some of you know my style by now, I like to keep things simple:

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Eric kinda summed up how I feel about DEs/WMs with this part:

View PostV.T. Eric Layton, on 27 February 2018 - 03:41 PM, said:

Well, for me, it's like colors. All colors are nice

I'm the same way about music, too. I'm all over the place with it and generally enjoy listening to just about anything. Some stuff I draw the line at, but I'll leave it at that! :)

#18 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 28 February 2018 - 08:31 AM

The dock hides away when you have say a browser running so you don't lose screen space.
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#19 OFFLINE   saturnian

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Posted 28 February 2018 - 08:59 AM

View Postraymac46, on 28 February 2018 - 08:31 AM, said:

The dock hides away when you have say a browser running so you don't lose screen space.

Yeah. Looks like what I saw in the default setup when I installed Antergos with Openbox:

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Wasn't my cup of tea, though, so I got rid of it. I'm pretty sure that I've played around with similar docks before.

Wait, that's the dash to dock extension, right? I enabled it in Stretch just now to take a look at it, but nothing happened and the dash is still there in the overview, only.

#20 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 28 February 2018 - 01:19 PM

Yep. Dash to Dock has an Intelligent Autohide setting you can access within the Tweak Tool.

This is what it looks like right now.

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#21 OFFLINE   saturnian

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Posted 28 February 2018 - 03:09 PM

Okay, I got it to show up, had to go into the settings. Well, my experimenting (the dash to dock and the applications menu) didn't last long, turned everything back off and went back to having no extensions enabled. Even without those two extensions, I've got multiple ways to start apps -- like, there's the dash in the overview, the search field in the overview, and the Alt+F2 keystroke. And at least three ways of bringing up the overview, including using the Windows key. (Shrugs.)

#22 OFFLINE   saturnian

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Posted 28 February 2018 - 03:13 PM

It would be nice to be able to bring up the applications menu with a right-click on the desktop, which I can do in Xfce, KDE Plasma, Openbox, LXDE, and Fluxbox. With Openbox, I can also do that with a right-click on the the tint2 panel.

#23 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 28 February 2018 - 03:25 PM

https://www.hecticge...nu-gnome-shell/
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#24 OFFLINE   saturnian

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Posted 28 February 2018 - 03:32 PM

View Postraymac46, on 28 February 2018 - 03:25 PM, said:


Well, that post is outdated -- have you tried doing that in Stretch? And I don't think it brought up the Applications menu, but a different menu.

#25 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 28 February 2018 - 03:45 PM

You are right it doesn't work any more. No way to do it with Tweak Tool that I can see. If you put the icons on the desktop you get a slightly different right click menu (you can open a terminal) but no applications menu.

Edited by raymac46, 28 February 2018 - 04:05 PM.

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