Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Xroach for the new millenium

Remember Xroach? It was a "cute" screen toy with pests rushing around in the screen, hiding under the windows, and you had to click on them to squash them.

Well, here it is, reloaded! The new version features new flashy vector graphics, it's freedesktop standards compliant, and has been released in secrecy, under the code name libnotify-0.3.0/tests/test-xy-stress.

Note that it isn't shown in its full glory, because my Cairo install is somehow screwed; there should be a nice sky-blue gradient there, for your viewing pleasure, while you're squashing the monsters!

Yeah, I'm looking at the fun side of some people'w hard work, but, seriously, it's cool. Go try it out and play with it (not squashing dialogs - i mean download, compile, test, use, report bugs, squash some in the progress if you really want the squashing bit ..)


This is cool.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

GNOME vs KDE - the history

With all the fuss surrounding recent Linus' rant about GNOME, a bunch of "KDE rulez, GNOME is for idiots" (and vice-versa) arguments sprang again. Personally, I'm a satisfied GNOME user, but I also understand why some of my friends choose KDE, and why they like it. We have different preferences. This is good. Choice is good.

So this post isn't about that: it's about the history. The flamewars reminded me of my first contact with Linux GUI environments. 'twas in the time of fvwm1, xterms, when men were real men, women were real women, and small furry .. err, when NCSA Mosaic was still usable. Then, everyone agreed GUI on Linux sucked - bigtime. Smart people began working on a solution, sometimes coming to an extreme.

Sometime after, I heard about a cool new project, which aimed to be a free alternative to CDE. For a lack of a better name, and in spirit of CDE naming, it was named Kool Desktop Environment (they couldn't be Cool Desktop Environment, for obvious reasons :). I was excited to see this project (I learnt about it at the time of the first release, I believe), and if I knew more about C/C++/Linux programming I'd probably try to get involved... but I did not, I stayed in the CLI.

As for GNOME, I haven't noticed it until it was already a popular environment. I've used Linux oblivious to any GUI progress, until I replaced my old 15" CRT with an LCD monitor a few years ago - the text mode sucked, so I switched to X. I looked at what KDE and GNOME looked (& felt) at the time, decided I like GNOME better, and I still haven't changed my mind.

Anyways, enough with the nostalgia. I've googled a bit, and came up with several screenshots of early GNOME (from here, the official GNOME site, O'Reilly and Wikipedia) and KDE (from the screenshots page on the official KDE web):

KDE had a head start in 1996. This dates from 1998, I believe before the first release. Compare with its model.

A bit after KDE 1.1 release, GNOME shows off its 1.0, in 1999. KDE 1.1 looks polished here (already better than the original CDE, IMHO):

In 2000, KDE 2 adds more applications and features and shiny stuff. GNOME 1.2 improves a lot, but is clearly a KDE lookalike:

2002 brings improvements in toolkits, KDE 3 looks more shiny & polished than ever, with lots of applications. GNOME upgrades to GTK+ 2 and gets more apps:

In 2003 the paths diverge. KDE 3.1 and GNOME 2.4 have different visions and different goals, and that shows. The default icon teme as we know it today is set around this time (at least the screenshots would suggest that):

The present: KDE 3.5 with the "Conquer your Desktop" slogan, and GNOME 2.12 with the goal "Just Works[tm]". Both desktops are very mature, a lot of hard work has gone into them, and both are pleasure to use - just, to different user bases:

If you're still reading this, congratulations! As a small easter egg, I present you with a proof of how great open source community is: there's a scratch for every itch ;-)

Friday, December 09, 2005

I'm so 2.0

I'm talking about Web 2.0, of course. The new buzzword. The cool thing of the year. And I'm in.

How did I came to this? It began with small steps: First I switched to GMail because it was way cooler than any desktop mail reader, and it was accessible from anywhere. Much later, I started writing this blog..

..and finally today I switched web page from ol' PHP scripts to a wiki. And not just any wiki, I'm using TiddlyWiki. It's an amazing piece of software, an entire Wiki in just one HTML page. Awesome (and terrifying, if you happen to look at the source :)

And just to show how serious I am, I also switched my personal photo gallery to Flickr, and I'm tagging this post for Technorati.

Brave new world...

PS. Oh, just to assure you I'm not going insane - no, I would not like a web-based office suite :-)

Update: In a surprising twist of destiny, I saw how my blog looks like under IE, and decided to do something about it. I'm lazy, so I picked one of Blogger templates. I even like this new look better.


Friday, December 02, 2005

Ubuntu is ...

... an African word meaning "I have better things to do with my life than configuring Slackware all day".

Or Gentoo, for that matter.

This isn't a flame bait; I've been a Slacker for many years, and I have much respect for those two distroes. I just subscribe to the Ubuntu way.