A preview of Gnome 2.6 is out, and I have to admit that its looking cuter with each release. The bulk of the changes focus on Nautilus, which has gone 'spatial', I can't say that the concept thrills me, my favourite file manager of all time (not counting the command line) is still winfile.exe. Its been a long time, but I think the only reason I gave it up becuase the version that came with Windows 95 couldn't cope with long file names. When I started using explorer.exe I made it a point to turn off the "New window whenever I open a folder" option, and to make sure the "Up one level" icon was in place on the toolbar. These days I use the command line for most of my file management, even on Mac OS X.
Template support is equally unthrilling, mainly for the above reasons. On the other hand, it might be worth putting together a bash script (or finally getting around to moving to zsh) and coming up with a nice command line template system.
<code>brain@david:~/someproject> ls ~/.templates/
html.tpl perl.tpl xhtml.tpl
brain@david:~/someproject> t html index.html
It should be pretty simple, just a tiny bit of cp with tab completion. Its the tab completion that will be tricky, mainly becuase I haven't tried writing anything that uses it before.
Metacity and the window list has got some features that I already enjoy in Openbox. ACME has been merged with keyboard shortcuts in preferences, but my keyboard doesn't have multimedia keys on it anyway (on the other hand, its build very solidly and could stop a truck). The wallpaper selector has been improved (I change my wallpaper about once every couple of months, mainly becuase I hardly ever see it through all the windows I have option, feh is enough for me there), and its now easier to change your keyboard layout (fantastic for people who need to work in multiple charactersets, but useless for me).
The GTK File Selector has had an overhall: yes! yes! yes!. It does rather need it, however I am a little dubious about hiding the text entry widgit by default. I tend to type my paths and use tab completion to get about. Oh well, I'll have to try it to see how it works out.
GEdit is not GVim. 'nuff said. The help browser has been improved, but its the help itself that concerns me. It isn't often that I need to dig into help files, but when I do I all too often see placeholder text. The Epiphany web browser sees some more improvements, I might give it another try. Last time I was sent running back to Mozilla (although I now use Firefox).
Applets see some improvement, games meet SVG (so they should look quote cute now), the archive tool learns about RPM (insert more command line bigotry here), the improved character map might be useful on those rare occasions when I need to deal with accented letters, GPDF has improved (just so long as it can cope with the New Frontier ebooks - so far I haven't found anything except Acrobat that doesn't replace chunks of text with white space),and Gnome now includes Dasher (I'm still waiting for the Palm OS port of Dasher).
Conclusions? I'm likely to have another go at converting Dad to Linux, this time with Gnome 2.6, it is looking even more newbie friendly then ever before, but I'm not likely to use it (as a desktop environment) myself. A new file selector is needed, but I'm not sure that this is the way to go. Now I just have to wait for a release and then try it out (my life is way way too busy right now to spend time installing the beta).
Why aren't you using Linux?
Contractor UK asks Why aren't you using Linux?, and then go on to give a very brief overview of open source software. For some reason they feel the need to quote the names of most pieces of software (my grammer isn't fantastic, but doesn't that suggest slag rather then a proper noun?), and made some mistakes (GIMP is not a media player, it is an image manupulation tool, maybe someone lost the paragraph on GIMP and the begining of the paragraph on mplayer).
Lets take the last section:
Some problems do exist though. Mainly that users have to learn a new operating system from scratch.
Which isn't true, there is a lot of overlap between any WIMP system, so you only have to learn about what has changed. The basics are still the same (click on a file to select it / open it, drag a file to copy / move it, etc).
Also, some rough edges remain due to the system’s relatively young age.
Fair point, but I can't say I've ever found a system without any rough edges.
Certain hardware is not supported and certain commercial software programs are not supported.
The same applies to any OS.
There are also some problems in networking Linux with Windows systems.
Like what? Samba even does Active Directory now.
Its somewhat depressing that a piece of advocacy could have so many errors in it, given the size of the FOSS community I would think that it would be quite easy to get a few eyes to proof read such documents to iron out these niggles. I note that the Advocacy mini-HOWTO doesn't mention anything along these lines. Perhaps it should, I've emailed the maintainer for his thoughts on the matter.
Shakespeare in XML
Marked up Shakespeare, how cute. Now we just need some nice style sheets for them.
Well, using Advogato was a nice idea, but it rather limits what I can include (one entry per day and no headings being the big problem for me). So new plan time! Find a suitable blogging system, using it for blog.dorward.me.uk and then export to Advogato using xmlRPC. In the meantime, Advogato will make a decent place to source the data from using Rawdog.
While we're on the subject, I threw together planet.us-lot.org, since community blog aggregators are all the rage at the moment. Odds are that most of the content what would interest people here will be reproduced here and at my blog anyway.
Keith Devens is annoyed with MySQL for not supporting subqueries, which is does, but only if you use 4.1 or newer. Then you run into the new license which some people dislike. On Friday I hit a similar problem with new features being added; the development system I was working on had a version which supported the OFFSET keyword, but the target system didn't. It was resolved by changing "<code>LIMIT $limit OFFSET $offset</code>" to "<code>LIMIT $offset, $limit</code>", once I tracked down the syntax. It was a tad close to the deadline for my liking though.
Messages The User Doesn't Understand
Wil Wheaton likes watching make output scroll by even though he doesn't understand it. This is a theme I've seen a few times, and I know I like seeing Linux kernel/init messages then an anonymous blob doing a KITT impression.
OK, so I understand most of the messages, but even back when I was a DOS newbie I liked knowing that something real was happening, and if something went wrong - well I could see anything obviously different about the boot process. I could (shock) look in the manual to see what the messages mean. Nowadays I could use Google and probably find a solution in minutes.
Once I tried a Linux distro that used bootsplash (or something like it) to hide all the messages. I got really concerned when a boot took much longer then usual. It later turned out that it was running fsck. On my normal system I would have been able to see that it was running fsck and just been frustraited at the wait, rather then worried.
I don't know where I'm going with this, but its good for thought. Simple isn't always user friendly. Or maybe its lack of progress that's the problem. If you can see a bar moving towards 100% then that's good. If the bar hits the end and then starts again, then what?
OK, time to stop waffle on this subject (point out the related article about the newbie friendly command line) and move on to ...
Received a nice letter from the DVLA today, but lets start from the beginning. Dad recently bought himself a new car, its a nice car, and I could't afford it, or the insurance on it. However, there was a little mistake at the dealership and somehow the car has been registered to David A instead of Mike C. Most likely due to somebody picking the first name out of those listed living at my address (I am looking for a house of my own) instead of taking the name written on the form in front of them. Oh well, it will take some time to get this mess sorted out I think.