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KDE And Gnome Cooperate On Interface Guidelines 317

An anonymous reader submits "Competing infrastructures may foster improvement in each desktop, but the Gnome and KDE hackers still know how to work together when needed. The Free *nix desktop has been improving quickly. Red Hat's unified desktop was controversial, but obviously the right decision for regular users. Now that KDE and Gnome have decided to combine their Human Interface Guides, it can be done right--by the developers themselves. Note: they also want to involve 'people working on other non-KDE non-GNOME HIGs.'" Update: 02/03 20:19 GMT by T : Apparently not everyone's browser can read http://freedesktop.org, so the initial link up there now sports a "www" as well. And it's .org -- sorry.
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KDE And Gnome Cooperate On Interface Guidelines

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  • by leviramsey ( 248057 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @03:37PM (#5216986) Journal

    Presidents Bush, Chirac, and Hussein were found making out in a hot tub.

  • by OpCode42 ( 253084 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @03:38PM (#5217005) Homepage
    We're losing sight of what the most important issue is here. Should a unified desktop be called GNODE or KNOME?
  • Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DwarfGoanna ( 447841 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @03:41PM (#5217025)
    People wondered what impact Apple and their interface would have on the other 'nixes. I am pretty stoked to see what comes of this. We could be looking at the golden age of desktop 'nix right around the corner. If KDE/Gnome can just come up with something unique and useful , and chuck the Win98-ish crap....
    • Re:Well... (Score:5, Informative)

      by ajs ( 35943 ) <ajs AT ajs DOT com> on Monday February 03, 2003 @04:43PM (#5217571) Homepage Journal
      If KDE/Gnome can just come up with something unique and useful , and chuck the Win98-ish crap

      This is exactly the opposite direction from what is being done, and for good reason. Right now, the focus is not on re-inventing everything, but figuring out where the common elements of GNOME and KDE's HIG's can be merged, and also where they are unique. Then an effort to merge those last chunks can procede by actually changing the two where appropriate.

      Also, you may not realize just what an HIG is. It actually has very little to do with what you *see* so much as how you see it. Check out the GNOME HIG [gnome.org] for more details. This specifies things like what buttons you should put on an alert dialog; when you should use modal vs non-modal windows; default keyboard shortcuts and menu names; etc.

      If all you want is a more BeOS, MacOS, etc. looking desktop, or even a totally unique look, you can do that within the constraints of the HIG of either GNOME or KDE.

      From the announcement:

      Having a shared document will also allow us to start looking at commonalities between the documents and perhaps create common chapters or sections on basic guidelines and lessons that are desktop and toolkit-independent (e.g., accessibility and internationalization tips, general usability principles).
  • Microsoft!! Look at the beauty of XP. MS Linux:) [tuxfiles.org]
  • uniformity is good (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    One of the thing that is really bothersome about Linux Applications is that they all operate differently. Dialog boxes are arranged strangely, different Window Managers put different buttons for managing different windows in different places. There are way too many save and open dialog boxes, with more appearing each time a Developer writes a new Linux Application.

    The situation is quite a bit better if you settle on KDE or GNOME. Each one has user interface guidelines. The problem is still pretty acute, though, since neither one ships only (or even mainly) with programs that conform to their respective user interface guidlines! And of course most third party applications conform to the guidelines in the same way that Krap and Garbage conform to the formal dress guidelines for a wedding.

    It is very encouraging that KDE and GNOME are working to standaradize their guidelines throughout Linux. It would be a lot better for the two if Applications from one didn't look like they fit into the other, but at least familiar buttons, dialogs and shortcut keys would operate in the same manner. This is almost as encouraging as it was discouraging when Apple decided to throw away their excellent interface guidelines and develop new and bad ones for OS X.
  • NOOOOO!!! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 03, 2003 @03:42PM (#5217037)
    What's next, vi & emacs developers frolicing in the fields after a nice picnic? Then what? What fuel have we then for the flame wars?!?
    • by bob670 ( 645306 )
      We can always crack on Red Hat for trying to make money=)
    • by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @03:51PM (#5217124)
      "What fuel have we then for the flame wars?!?"

      BSD is dying.
  • by amigaluvr ( 644269 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @03:44PM (#5217047) Journal
    Best Fit is when something is made so that it is as good as it can be, not when it is weighed down by things that are unnecessary

    The idea of human interface guidelines is restrictive from the start. Nobody know's better than the coder who codes and application how it should work. Having guidelines written beforehand that should say how it works doesn't make complete sense.

    Look at apple and their rejection of tabbed browsing. Thats something that has adapted from systems that work well, yet they're saying "no not on our turf".

    Then turn around and the apple web site is all tabbed anyway. Websites have better interfaces as they are made to fit each purpose.

    Each application needs freedom. Having them all with exactly the same system is like a monoculture.
    • This is true, it almost breeds monoculture... a mono-techno-culture. On the other hand, usability concerns are real. If you're a technician assigned to debug/setup/repair some piece of equipment, you have billable hours. If you spend too much time going through a clumsy interface the client is loosing money.

      Seconds saved for one task, for hundreds of technicians, for thousands of hours worked equates to big money.
    • by Dan Ost ( 415913 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @03:52PM (#5217138)
      I don't agree.

      In my experience, the coder is the last person
      who should be designing the user interface for just
      about anything beyond command line tools.

      Let the coder design the interface between the
      code and the UI, but let someone with more
      relevent training and experience design the UI.
    • by sporty ( 27564 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @04:08PM (#5217254) Homepage
      Best Fit is when something is made so that it is as good as it can be, not when it is weighed down by things that are unnecessary

      There's a problem with best-fit. Sometimes, you wind up with two interfaces on two different systems, that use similar widgets, but do totally BAD things. For instance, a simple good thing.

      I hit google.com, the cursor is defaulted to the search box. It speeds up my day by a fraction, but I like the convienence of not having to tab a bunch of times. Well, i never counted, because I noticed the behavior.

      Now for a bad one. My school uses something called WEBSIMS. You login, you can see your bill, and register for courses. It's a type of middleware. The one thing it does that pisses me off, only because it is the odd-man-out, is when I finished typing in my fixed-length id number, it auto tabs to the password field. I usually fill out forms, hitting tab to go to the next field. It makes for quick input for me, since I'm a touch typist. Now when websims login page does that to me, i wind up hitting tab, and going not to the next field, but to a button. Great, now i have to shift-tab or use the mouse. It's annoying since it's unexpected behavior.

      Guidelines are good. They get people to do things consistently, so menu's, buttons and widgets are used in some similar fashion. Some guidelines don't work out. Apple's no-tabbed-browser is just one thing they stick by. Nothing wrong with that. They just don't use MDI very often, if at all. That's their rule, you don't have to follow it, but for the sake of consistency, it's advised not to.

      Having your systems all behave in similar fashions isn't a monoculture unless they all do the save behavior in the same fashion down to a tee. Guess what I'm saying, it's not so black and white. Restrict some things but give enough freedom to do things right.
    • Nobody know's better than the coder who codes and application how it should work.

      I would have to disagree. Much software (and especially free software, seem to have interfaces that leave something to be desired. The coder knows the program, and appreciates the project from a very functional point of view, but they tend to lose sight of the usability of the interface.

      I'm not saying that coders aren't good at designing human interfaces, but from my experience it's often more beneficial for someone else altogether to design the HI, from the perspective of an "outsider."

      • No kidding. Look at Open Office on Mac compared to Office X on Mac. Microsoft completely integrated into the style guidelines, and the Open Office stuff looks like some ancient OS/2 or Windows 3.1 app.

        I am a developer, but I think that UI design should be handled by artists. When coders do all of it, you get things like twm and Win 3.1, not things like Enlightenment, Aqua, and Win XP.

        Of course, some people like that kind of thing, I guess.


        • by dmaxwell ( 43234 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @05:22PM (#5217950)

          Work is underway to give OpenOffice first a Quartz interface then a full Aqua interface. The current OpenOffice for the Mac depends on X11 and is clearly labeled as a "Developer's Pre-release".

          OpenOffice on OS X only exists in it's current form so that the backend code (common to all ports - filters and so forth) can be debugged insofar as the non-GUI parts don't like Darwin. Once the core is solid and clean on Darwin then it will get an interface that is more pleasing. If they had to make a native interface for it before doing anything else, it would take much longer for a solid OS X port. The roadmap is here [openoffice.org].

          You're larger point may be valid but the OSX port of OpenOffice (as it currently stands) is not a valid example.

    • Nobody know's better than the coder who codes and application how it should work.

      Yeah right, so we should just let everyone make their own decisions on what order menus go in? Or perhaps you'd like to go back to early GUIs (kinda) like Windows 3.1 in which every applications file dialog was different.

      Sorry, most programmers don't have a hot damn clue when it comes to users. We're too far removed from the average luser's problems.

      All it took for me to have to 'help' lots of users in some environments was for some application to have something 'relocated' because the programmer knew best.

      Users don't want clever, they want consistent, move one item in a menu because you 'know better' and you render your application unusable to the vast majority of users.

      Guidelines should be negotiable, but Apple who's really always had a leg up on the competition has consistency from what little experience I have with them above all else. At least in the basic things like where things are in the interface.

      Once the platform has established an idiom, if we're too dumb to figure it out as programmers or think we know better, we need to be slapped down.

      Yes, I'd agree about _some_ websites. However, I've seen enough that cause me trouble to say that that freedom is a bad thing. ;).
    • by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @04:23PM (#5217372) Homepage
      I highly recommend that you:
      1) Spend some time training end users how to use basic tasks such as GUI stuff (copying files, moving windows) then try office apps (word processors, spreadsheets) and you will be amazed. Alternatively, take a good course on user interface design [umbc.edu], or Medical Informatics [umbc.edu]. The average user cannot recognize something as a check box, unless it the same as the ones they know. Even bits of shading and color can make them unable to recognize the screen as anything other than colors. It just "looks to complicated" and they turn off their brains.

      Apple realized this long ago. MS hasn't (hence, Windows XP was born). There are a great many articles available at the ACM [acm.org] Digital Library [acm.org] regarding user interface design and experiments. There are certain user interface rules are that pretty much accepted as fact, since they have so much research behind them. Apple is very consistent at following them, which is why people think Apples aer easy to use, even though most techies look at them as really being the same. It's the subtleties that we don't see. A quick list from my memory:

      - Dynamic menus are always slower than static menus
      (You know the rearranging menus in Office 2000/Windows 2000?)
      - Vertical scrolling is easier than horizontal scrolling
      - Multimodal interfaces are faster if they are properly paired
      (Ex: Keyboard=okay, Mouse+Keyboard = excellent, Joystick+Keyboard=bad)
      - Consistency is more important than feature set
    • From a development point of view you may be correct. From a user's viewpoint you are dead wrong. It doesn't matter if your project has a wonderful UI, if it is different from the way everything else works, the user ends up wasting time learning how to do things your way.
      Consistency in the UI makes ALL programs easier to use. rather than the current smorgasbord of the linux desktop, where inevitably, you spend the first hour of using a new program figuring out how the damn thing works.

      In contrast, on the mac, I KNOW that certain items are always going to be in the same place. muscle memory tells me how to save a file etc. Linux's command line functions have a similar consistency. How many times have you typed 'somecommand --help' without reading a man page to discover that it would work. How would you like a program that used '--options' instead. I'd be irritated.These little things add up over the course of a work day.

      'Best Fit' has to be applied to the user experience as a whole, not just any one single application.

    • I have to disagree. First, a good HIG does not constrain you to do the wrong thing for your application, but rather gives you a sense of how best to fit into a particular paradigm. From there, you can do what you need to. A classic example of where this is important is the current trend in "media players" like Quicktime from Apple, WinAmp, XMMS, Microsoft Media Player, etc. They all try to look as snazzy as possible, at the cost of good user interface design. I can't count the number of times I've been at a party where some geek with good intentions put up an XMMS or WinAmp-based juke-box for people to play music with and all of the non-techies would give up after a few minutes because they couldn't decipher the UI.

      If those applications had followed the UI guidelines for the platforms they run on, they could still have had all of the features, all of the great flexibility, but they didn't need to have pseudo-round volume sliders, non-standard title-bars that do application-local window management, context-sensitive menus that don't have commonly-performed operations, out-of-the-box unique font selection, out-of-the-box unique color selection, etc, etc.

      That kind of awful behavior is what makes a desktop unusable (and certainly if more apps go the "branded UI" route, dekstops will become totally unusable).
  • by DenOfEarth ( 162699 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @03:45PM (#5217057) Homepage
    This is just great...I can't believe they want to combine the human interface guidelines into one document for everyone. What's happening to the open source community, people? Let's start a new project aimed at making things back the way they are supposed to be, with a different interface for every window, just like the command line has different forms for every command.

    it's a bummer that sarcasm is so hard to write via text

    • <sarcasm>Oh I know what you mean. It's SO hard.</sarcasm>

      To be honest, getting this comment posting program to display the tags was actually kind of a pain.
    • While command line is certainly different for most of the programs, you still can expect to find --version and --help options working. And that will get you started pretty fast. :)

  • mistaken (Score:4, Informative)

    by Boromir son of Faram ( 645464 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @03:46PM (#5217068) Homepage
    Actually, they are just hosting both of the sets of guidelines on the same site, not agreeing on one set of guidelines for both toolkits. In the end, this is a good thing, because the two widget sets are radically different on a few key points, making agreement on human interface guidelines fundamentally improbable.

    It is a sign; the free desktop guidelines were sent to us to aid in our defense.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    start here [apple.com]

    finally ego's are starting to subside and we are working together. i have dreamt about this for years, a common human interface guide, that will work consistently. i do not need 100 differnt ways to do something.. nor do i need 100 different widget sets. i just want something that works the same way every time
    • But you will certainly get 100 different ways to do something and 100 different widget sets.

      You may also get common user interface standards, but that has little or nor bearing on the above.

      Also, pointing to Apple as an example good HIG is probably not the moral high-ground it once was, given recent software from that company (e.g. the latest Quicktime) pointedly ignores such things....
    • finally ego's are starting to subside and we are working together. i have dreamt about this for years, a common human interface guide, that will work consistently. i do not need 100 differnt ways to do something.. nor do i need 100 different widget sets. i just want something that works the same way every time
      I agree, you don't need 100 different ways to do anything, you only need MY WAY!!!!
  • When I read the overview I thought they were working together to produce a single guideline, however the article talks about multiple guidelines combined into a single reference document.

    At least it will be possible to quickly identify the differences between the guidelines now, but not as much as I hoped for.

  • by CountBrass ( 590228 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @03:50PM (#5217115)

    are the developers.

    They think and know too much about *how* the system is *implemented* rather than how it will be *used* - which is a very different thing. They tend to be function oriented rather than task oriented.

    On the plus side, having UI design guidelines is a good start and at least it gives something that can serve as a basis for discussion.

  • by TheFrood ( 163934 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @03:51PM (#5217122) Homepage Journal
    The article makes it sound like KDE and GNOME are going to share the same set of interface guidelines. In fact, if you read the linked letter, you'll see that they're only planning to co-locate the HIGs for the two desktops.

    The goal seems to be to make it easier for developers to access the different HIGs for the two desktops, not to create a single HIG for both desktops.

    • Having a shared document will also allow us to start looking at commonalities
      between the documents and perhaps create common chapters or sections on basic
      guidelines and lessons that are desktop and toolkit-independent

      The end goal of all of this is to create a single HIG for both desktops.
  • by teamhasnoi ( 554944 ) <teamhasnoiNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Monday February 03, 2003 @03:51PM (#5217131) Journal
    As a mac (os X) user at work and a XP (GASP!) user at home, this news comes none to soon. This is what will get linux ready for dumbasses like me to use on the desktop.

    I love how everything in OS X seems to be well thought out; XP on the other hand, may have been assembled after the MS Christmas party, you know the one where Ballmer dry humped Bill's leg and everyone laughed, got fired, and re-hired in the same night.

    I hope that linux can get moving with the standardized (yet infinitely customizable) interface. Maybe throw in those spiffy vector icons (eye candy!), some way to never visit the CLI if I don't want to, and a way to make configuration eaiser.

    But I digress. A standard desktop will only encourage linux. Those who want to run the u1tr4 l33t desktops can still do so, and the people who just want an easy alternative to windows will have one. Or buy a mac :)

  • Desktops.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by grub ( 11606 ) <slashdot@grub.net> on Monday February 03, 2003 @03:53PM (#5217150) Homepage Journal

    So for many, many months I was using my OpenBSD machine thinking "Man oh man this looks like Windows. It even has a Start menu." Everything worked exactly as a Windows machine except for pokey games and the slight lags I'd notice once in a while.

    My dream was shattered when I realized I was just VNC'd to my Windows machine.
  • by PRR ( 261928 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @03:57PM (#5217172)
    Since the Bitstream people were kind enough to be the first to donate a good TTF for use with Linux, would it be likely that Gnome/KDE would standardize on Bitstream Vera as the default (true type) font for their desktops?
    • Yuck. TT fonts suck. There is no point standardizing something that really should be a user option. There is actually a danger in doing that. Wheras before the app designer had no clue what font the user was going to use, and designed accordingly, if you standardize it (like on Windows) then app developers get lazy and people who have much nicer looking fonts (me) get screwed over.
  • by thatguywhoiam ( 524290 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @04:00PM (#5217190)
    But this seems as good a place as any...

    I'm a graphic designer who's done a lot of interface design, as well as being an avid follower of human-computer interface trends and issues.

    Does anyone have any suggestions as to how someone like myself would help contribute to an Open Source project? While I am not a programmer by any means, the interface is definitely somewhere that can use some help in all the Linux distros I've seen and used.

    Also, being a Mac person, I don't really know which direction to turn in; i.e. does Gnome need help? Debian? etc. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    • If you want to give feedback, or help out with design an interface, you could join a mailinglist of Gnome or Kde, I assume both projects have mailinglists for this.
      You could also join the mailinglist of a distro, and see if the installer, or the config utilities need some suggestions. I'm not sure if the debian distro would be a good choice, most of their tools are not graphical, but of course they have an interface.
      Maybe the best thing is to just join a mailinglist of a project with which you can feel attached. If you like Gnome, and have something with it, it will make it interesting for you. As a mac person, Gnome might be that for you, the Gnome2 interface is modelled more after the mac than the Kde interface.
    • by Roberto ( 1777 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @04:14PM (#5217301) Homepage
      Well, you can do it like this. I will give a KDE example, because I am more familiar with it.

      a) Start using KDE
      b) Find an app whose UI you think needs work
      c) Politely contact the app author, offering your help
      d) Don't barge in saying "hey, fool, this is how it's done" ala Eugenia Loli-Queru from osnews.com
      e) Try hacking a better UI through Qt designer (it's pretty easy, and if you are lucky, you won't even need to rebuild the app).
      f) Volunteer to take bugreports regarding UI for that app
      g) Don't propose changes that would involve huge refactoring and throwing away of code. If you do, noone will care, and you will be frustrated.

      That is about it.
    • Mike Harris of Red Hat mentioned that the XFree86 project is looking for a designer for good alpha blended mouse pointers. I don't know if this is still the case.
    • by CoughDropAddict ( 40792 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @04:50PM (#5217646) Homepage
      I'm a graphic designer who's done a lot of interface design, as well as being an avid follower of human-computer interface trends and issues.

      You are a precious resource!

      Does anyone have any suggestions as to how someone like myself would help contribute to an Open Source project? While I am not a programmer by any means, the interface is definitely somewhere that can use some help in all the Linux distros I've seen and used.

      I'm an open-source author, and my experience says that some projects care about this kind of stuff and some don't. By and large I think you'll find that the software that is part of the major desktops (KDE and GNOME) is developed by people who are much more in tune with this kind of thing. They have a vision of a slick, easy-to-use, well-integrated desktop, and usability is important to them.

      More independent apps can go either way: sometimes it will be a small group of developers and users who are happy with things the way they are and fairly resistant to usability improvements. Mplayer is a good example of this. They are most concerned with the raw power of the program, and don't care much that there is no GUI support worth mentioning, and they expect you to be compiling from source. If you ask questions they'll tell you "man mplayer, it's all in there." There's no point in approaching a project like this, they're just not concerned with UI or usability issues and your suggestions will fall on deaf ears.

      Other times independent projects are concerned with usability, and the project I work on, Audacity [sf.net], is one of them. UI issues are frequently discussed, mockups created and refined. We are receptive to UI suggestions.

      So my advice would be to find a few applications that interest you that you think would be receptive to suggestions. Come up with a few ideas for improving these applications, and approach the developer list with them. Maybe create mockups of your ideas and link to them from your email. Gauge the response to determine whether you think you would work well the the developers or not, and if so you're started!

      Also, being a Mac person, I don't really know which direction to turn in; i.e. does Gnome need help? Debian? etc. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

      Hmm. Plain old non-developer users are most likely going to be using KDE and/or GNOME (and their associated applications), so Linux usability in general is most greatly increased when these applications become more usable. On the other hand, both of these projects already have a pretty good handle on usability, and have somewhat firm ideas about their plan for how they will achieve usability. So you would probably encounter more inertia approaching applications like this, and you would have to become more deeply involved to really be able to accomplish anything.

      I'm just making this up, but probably the applications that could use the most help are KDE or GNOME applications that are farther from the core of these desktops. Don't look to Abiword, Galeon, Kword, or Konqueror. Look for lesser-known but promising applications that have a good technical basis (programmers who know what they are doing) but not much thought into the UI yet.

      Another strategy is just to use Linux for a while and see what you are drawn to. If there's something that nags you about the interface to a program you use regularly, bring it up to the developers and propose a solution.

      I hope you manage to find a project that can use you!
    • Check out the GNOME HIG [gnome.org] and the effort linked to by this article to combine with KDE's interface guidelines. Certainly those are good places to start.
    • Please do submit this as an ask-slashdot. I'm in much the same boat, but with little training. I'm just very graphical, very interested in humancomputer interfaces, and it's just one of those things I'm known to rant on quite a bit by people who know me :).

      I'd love to see the concept of good UI design kept in the forefront of the minds of the OSS community.
    • There's a reason why there's a such dearth of people doing usability for open source software.

      In general, both GNOME and KDE developers usually do an excellent job of chasing away people with UI design abilities. There's this attitude among the developers that HCI is a far less important endeavor than, say, something technical like programming. And the developers will let you know it every step of the way. The developers also tend to have the attitude that principles of cognitive psychology (the things you need to exploit in an interface to make it very usable) are a load of bull or nothing more than just one person's opinion. It won't matter how many journal issues you might cite. You can't reason with people who think that Fitts' Law is a TV show about lawyers.

      Also, if you're a mac person, it's really going to annoy the hell out of you that GNOME and KDE developers refuse to believe that microsoft is capable of making really bad UI design decisions. One of people in charge of this new-fangled GNOME/KDE truce told me that Microsoft UI design incompetance was "a myth". Guess he never saw multi-row tabs.

      One thing you want to do is to look at the first year and a half of the "gnome-gui" [gnome.org] list (that was the main gnome usability list for awhile) versus the GNOME usability [gnome.org] mailing list of today. Notice how the first year or two of the old mailing list had people from a wide variety of UI design backgrounds who brought really good usability ideas to the table. Over the last several years, the GNOME usability movement has degenerated into a "hackers good ole boys club" consisting of a bunch of linux programmers who seem like they'd rather be spending their time in vi writing bash scripts.

      Until there's a good direction to turn to, a distro or open source project that actually values the input of usability folks, you're probably best off staying where you are. The current batch of projects and distributions are committed to shooting themselves (and their end users) in the foot.
  • by chrysrobyn ( 106763 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @04:05PM (#5217227)

    Please note the corrected URL points to www.freedesktop.org, while the old one was freedesktop.org, NOT freedesktop.com.

    If we can't keep the org/net/com/new TLD of the day straight, how can we expect others who just want it to work to keep it straight?

  • by stevenj ( 9583 ) <stevenj@@@alum...mit...edu> on Monday February 03, 2003 @04:05PM (#5217235) Homepage
    A hint to the Slashdot editors, who somehow managed to forget to proofread their post and URLs for the first time in memory. What is happening to Slashdot's high journalistic standards?
  • Error in correction (Score:3, Informative)

    by wowbagger ( 69688 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @04:07PM (#5217247) Homepage Journal
    The URLs ares
    freedesktop.org [freedesktop.org] and www.freedesktop.org [freedesktop.org]

    not freedesktop.com [freedesktop.com] and www.freedesktop.com [freedesktop.com]

    which seem to be placeholders for a domain squatter.

    • freedesktop.org does not exist. If it works for anyone, it's because their browsers are adding 'www.' when they find that it does not exist.
      $ host freedesktop.org
      freedesktop.org has no A record (Authoritative answer)
  • by thinkliberty ( 593776 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @04:12PM (#5217282)
    http://www.freedesktop.org/ Website hosted by Red Hat, Inc. Is this a cry for help? They need to fix the abomination that is blue curve?
  • The link at the end of the story that points to freedesktop.com should probably point to freedesktop.org [freedesktop.org] (or even www.freedesktop.org [freedesktop.org] since the non-www version seems to cause trouble for some people). Unless, of course, slashdot really meant to provide some free advertising to the lucky folks at freedesktop.com.
  • by fobbman ( 131816 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @04:14PM (#5217303) Homepage
    "Update: 02/03 19:56 GMT by T: Apparently not everyone's browser can read http://freedesktop.com, so the initial link up there now sports a "www" as well."

    Appreciate that. I'm stuck with this low market-share browser [mozilla.org] that couldn't handle the URL. Appreciate the bone.

  • by Eric Damron ( 553630 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @04:15PM (#5217313)
    This can only be a good thing for both desktops. It will also make life easier for programmers who wish to support both desktops.

    It shows that KDE and Gnome can have healthy competition while at the same time, work for a common goal, unlike unhealthy competition where one tries to be incompatible in the hopes of gaining an advantage. It is too bad that some proprietary companies don't understand the long-term benefits of healthy competition verses unhealthy competition.

  • How much was /. paid for this ad? :-)
    Update: 02/03 19:56 GMT by T:Apparently not everyone's browser can read http://freedesktop
  • by John Harrison ( 223649 ) <johnharrison@gmail. c o m> on Monday February 03, 2003 @04:25PM (#5217386) Homepage Journal
    freedestop.com is not freedesktop.org
  • browser? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Lxy ( 80823 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @04:28PM (#5217399) Journal
    Too bad Timothy has no idea WTF he's talking about.

    Apparently not everyone's browser can read http://freedesktop.com

    Not only is freedesktop.com -NOT- the site in the article, but the browser has nothing to do with it.

    $ ping freedesktop.org
    ping: unknown host freedesktop.org
    $ ping www.freedesktop.org
    PING freedesktop.redhat.com ( from

    Under Timothy's logic, my version of BASH can't read it either. I'd better upgrade to Windows Explorer or something more "standard".

    It's a server config issue. Whoever admins freedesktop.org (Redhat apparently) doesn't understand Apache config well enough to allow requests for http://freedesktop.org. Is it you by chance?
    • Apparently not everyone's browser can read http://freedesktop.com

      Not only is freedesktop.com -NOT- the site in the article, but the browser has nothing to do with it.
      Mozilla has a feature where it guesses that a www is missing from a user-typed URL when a hostname doesn't resolve. IE, Netscape 4, and Opera 7 for Windows all don't have this feature.

      Mozilla also has a bug (159742) where the same guessing triggers if you click "open link in new window" on a link in a web page, which might explain how the incorrect link in the submission got past the editors.
    • Actually it was whoever set up their dns. They didnt tell it to send port 80 requests to the root domain to freedesktop.redhat.com.
  • Second hand crap.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by XaXXon ( 202882 ) <xaxxonNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday February 03, 2003 @04:30PM (#5217420) Homepage
    I've got a friend of mine -- who should really be commenting on this stuff himself, but seems to have fallen from the face of the planet -- who is (was?) highly involved in some Gnome development.

    He was always talking about how SUN funded all these usability studies on Gnome and basically neudered it. They basically LCD'd (lowest common denominator, not liquid crystal display) the whole environment. This is part of the reason that KDE looks like crap under RedHat -- since all the cool stuff was taken out of Gnome, and RedHat wanted Gnome and KDE to look very similar, guess what happened to all the KDE features... *poof* gone.

    It really seems like KDE is doing the right thing.. and this is painful for me to say, being a big RedHat fan (while it's unrelated, I work right down the street from them), but I really feel like they're stuck in a common big-business problem of "Well, we dumped all this money into it, so we can't stop using it or we'll look really dumb."

    I agree on unifying the desktop.. but man, RedHat did a job on KDE.
  • No-one's browser should be able to read "http://freedesktop.org/", since no nameserver returns an A or CNAME record for the domainname "freedesktop.org"

    Can someone explain why a browser would be so broken that it would return a page for a domain that simply doesn't exist?

  • by vlad_petric ( 94134 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @04:38PM (#5217518) Homepage
    I'm just wondering why they don't start by uniting the sound systems ... having two interfaces is not so bad, as long as they interoperate reasonably well. And by that I mean the very basics, like clipboard and sound. Uniting the sound API shouldn't be that hard, and moreover should reduce the nuissance of killing/restarting artsd everytime I want to use sound within a gnome application .
    • Some sound cards have multiple dsps. I believe the Soundblaster Live! has one super dsp that can be multiplexed into a number of devices. Perhaps a Live user can elaborate. I use an ES1373 based card in my home rig that has a full record and playback dsp0 and a playback only dsp1. I usually have artsd running on dsp1 (I don't use any apps that record through arts) and I leave dsp0 open for whatever. The ES1373 helped with my hassles in that regard quite a bit.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    A few stories ago (on /.) librsvg was mentioned, and how great the gnomedesktoplooks with it. We might be ready to start building icons, widgets, themes, ... for svg,itwilllook great,but it could be better...

    How about putting KDE's and Gnome's heads together to think how to create themes, icons, ... and store them in the file system (think about config files too here) so both KDE and Gnome can use a common base of SVG themes.

    We're all (both KDE and Gnome) just starting to get SVG working, get it done right now!
  • I have just one request for whoever is going to tackle this task (and it won't be an easy one):

    Please stop copying windows.

    Just because windows does it doesn't mean it's not total garbage. Go to Nextstep, to Apple for examples. Copy from the people who know what they're doing. Take the good parts from windows and leave the crap behind.

    We will all thank you so much. If we wanted windows, we'd be running it.

The greatest productive force is human selfishness. -- Robert Heinlein