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Free Desktop Environment


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technoshauntechnoshaun
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Description:

Base Specifications for the Free Desktop Environment

1. Any Desktop Environment needs a set of standards to determine the development path it will take. This specification is currently a rough draft of ideas and concepts. This is a beginning phase draft designed for interested parties to begin conception of a new Desktop Environment.

2. The following however, are base requirements for this DE:

Must follow and use all Open Desktop Specifications
Must use Compiz-Fusion for 3D, desktop effects and animations
Must use Emerald for theme Decorations
Must be OpenGL compliant
Must be user configurable to create the look, style and layout they desire
Must be user friendly but allow for advanced options for power users
Must not use any other Desktop Environment's tools and confguration applications
Development of tools to ease the creation of themes, including cursors and icons
Include integration with WINE using links to library files that handle the functions required to run the desired programs
Must fully Comply with Fitts' Law
Must be portable to work with any windowing system such as Xorg, Wayland, Xfree2k and others.

3. This DE needs to incorporate ideas and features found in Gnome, KDE, Xfce, LDE and all other DE environments used by *NIX systems. These features need to be properly evaluated for their usefulness and ability to enhance the Free Desktop Environment not just add features. If the feature does not add quality and desired ability then another solution or method needs to be utilized instead.

4. The DE must look at several sources for inspiration, ideas and concepts. Not only from DEs but from distribution specific implications of tools, layouts and designs as well.

Members:16
Comments:126
Created:May 23 2011
Changed:Jun 13 2011
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 How far?

 
 by scorici on: Jun 14 2011
 
Score 50%

I know it's very too early but how much the FDE will contain? File manager, panel, GUI configuration tools and .... ?!
I know the other DE's contain a web browser, IM client, cd burner, text editor...
I just want to know if that will be let to the user to pick his/her favorite tool or it will be integrated in the DE.


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 Re: How far?

 
 by theiotku on: Jun 14 2011
 
Score 50%

I think it would be reasonable to focus on not reinventing the wheel, in the very beginning anyways. The way I see it get the basics done right before digging to deep into areas that already have fully functional programs.

That said, once the basics are inline and functional (most important part) projects can be started or forked if existing ones aren't up to the standards intended.

It all depends on need and even more importantly manpower.

Just my 2 cents of course. :)


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 Re: Re: How far?

 
 by technoshaun on: Jun 14 2011
 
Score 50%
technoshauntechnoshaun
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Shaun Marolf 12

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Well since our DE is about flexibility the main focus is going to be on core stuff for awhile and that starts with the file manager for obvious reasons. Then we get into the shells and launchers next. Once we get base stuff down so we at least have a functional front end then we get into the configuration tools. That is going to be the largest development phase since we all agree that in the end its about not dumbing down but allowing complete control to the end user. Just getting the configuration tools for look, appearance and DE functions up is going to be a lot of work. Then we get into hardware controls and trust me there is a lot there we have to address correctly. And making sure we get the right options in all of that...

This isn't an overnight project and I do believe with the communication we have going it will get done. But development hasn't started yet since we're still on the hammering out phase but we are focusing on the File Manager at the moment.

Fortunately we already have a Windows Manager base to work on with Compiz-Fusion and that saves a lot of effort there.


It isn't about it being free. Rather, its about the freedom it brings.
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 Re: Re: Re: How far?

 
 by novomente on: Jun 14 2011
 
Score 50%

OK. In the very beginning we can think about all the features the FM will have in the final release. Then to start development we can think about basic features (minimalistic from final release) and then start development of the minimalistic FM with respect to the final release features.

I mean to think about the development structure (functions, libraries, main code) of the minimalistic FM with looking ahead to the final release features. Then when minimalistic FM is ready developers can focus on DE stuff while further development of FM can be left for later times.

I think it is very importatnt to base the FM code on well thoughtout technology and coding structure.


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 Profiles

 
 by novomente on: Jun 14 2011
 
Score 70%

Maybe there should be Profiles in the FM as seen in Gnome Terminal. Each profile have different layouts and other settings. Profiles like Minimalistic (with menubar and navigation through folders in menubar), Default (Linux distribution default), Normal (application default layout) and also Commander (profile which makes the FM to look like Free Commander) etc. All layouts will be fully customizable and user can add or remove layouts and reset layouts to the defaults etc.

BTW profiles can help with development because developers can view many layouts in a few mouse clicks.


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 Re: Profiles

 
 by technoshaun on: Jun 14 2011
 
Score 70%
technoshauntechnoshaun
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Shaun Marolf 12

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Great idea. We can set profiles that mimick Dolphin, Nautilus and a couple of others. And your right it will help the development.


It isn't about it being free. Rather, its about the freedom it brings.
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 File Manager Specifications (so far)

 
 by technoshaun on: Jun 14 2011
 
Score 70%
technoshauntechnoshaun
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Shaun Marolf 12

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File Manager Specifications for Free Desktop Envinronment:

Base file manager must be minimalistic in nature.

Plugins and add-ons will provide additional features and elements to the file manager and only those specified to help maintain a small system footprint.

Will use profiles (both pre-defined and user defined) to allow simplicty in setup and configuration by turning on the features and settings specified in the profile configuration file.


It isn't about it being free. Rather, its about the freedom it brings.
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 Re: File Manager Specifications (so far)

 
 by Padster on: Jun 14 2011
 
Score 50%

Sounds good :)


101010
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 Development Map for File Manager

 
 by technoshaun on: Jun 15 2011
 
Score 50%
technoshauntechnoshaun
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Okay lets discuss the development map for the file manager. Where should we start and what needs to be done in the main development as well as along side the additional development (with the understanding that the main development branch has to happen before plugin, profile and add-on development can move forward.)

We are going to need lib files to support the plugins, profiles and add-ons plus look at how we want to work the hooks for them in the main program.

We also need to find developers to start getting things done.


It isn't about it being free. Rather, its about the freedom it brings.
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 Hello :)

 
 by user333 on: Jun 17 2011
 
Score 50%

I'm interested in helping if I can!

I'm no developer, so I can't really tell you what to do, but I think that it would be important to make a big distinction between the environment and the front-end interface. This would make it easy for new shells to be created, and make the code easier to service.

Also, just so I get everything straight, please tell me if I'm right or wrong on these points ;)

-This desktop environment is a "new" environment rather than simply another shell, not just a modification of Gnome, LXDE, KDE, etc.

-It is essentially going to be an environment that fills in the gaps the compiz doesn't cover, and then works from there


Here is the single most important thing you can ever read:
[url]http://contenderministries.org/romanroad.php[/url]
If you agree, put this in your signature too ;)

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 Re: Hello :)

 
 by technoshaun on: Jun 17 2011
 
Score 50%
technoshauntechnoshaun
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That's probably the best summation on it at the moment. Since Compiz is a Windows Manager we pretty much all agree that we need to build a Desktop Environment thats made for it.

Though we will take concepts ideas and other aspects from Gnome, KDE, Enlightenment, Xfce and all the others, it will be separate from them and stand alone.

The biggest thing is developing it to be as customizable as possible so the end user has complete choice over the layout, style and operational options.


It isn't about it being free. Rather, its about the freedom it brings.
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 Fork of Gnome-Panel

 
 by novomente on: Jun 22 2011
 
Score 50%

I'm not sure if I know what realy means the Desktop Environment in developers point of view because I'm not experienced developer. But as far as I know, it is "the thing that makes operating system nice in eyes and easy to use". :D

Well it's very unprofessional view. But the DE consists of libraries and programs which makes personal work with computer more ergonomic, I think.

What I'm trying to say is that if we are goning to make our own DE, it is a lot of work to do and there are still a couple of us. I just started some forum threads on linux forum servers asking something about features the new DE must have and to inform that there is a group here (FDE group) which is possible to read and join. I hope some future contributors and developers will join us.

Few months before FDE group was started I was reading the web and forum-ing and communicating about KDE, Gnome-Shell and Gnome3 and about features and functions the new possible desktop should have. Only few new features were noted there. All the huge commentary was about the old good well known features already done by KDE, Gnome2, XFCE etc. to be in the new DE.

I was also Googling for forks of other desktop environments. I found a fork of KDE3, GNOME2. But what enlighted me was one comment talking about fork being waste of time when there is well working KDE4 and done GNOME3 recently. He was talking about everybody having a problems with and complaining of Gnome-Shell. "Why everybody fork whole GNOME?", he asked. "Why not to fork only gnome-panel?", he continued.

And that is the point of this comment. To do complete DE is a lot of work to do for a few of us (hope some join us :) ). But to fork gnome-panel using gnome3 (gnome-panel from fallback mode) and optimize it for our and FOR USERS' needs is:

- less work to do than creating whole DE (many DEs are already done)

- solve many complaints about Gnome-Shell

- is for users' needs - remeber what I said about new features (people don't need a big changes, they need only polish of old well working functionalities, add a few new features and that's it)

- solve the problem of some linux distributions (Ubuntu solve it with controversary Unity) - LinuxMint is still searching for alternative for GnomeShell and I think many distribution will search for an alternative

- etc. (which I can't name right now)

We can just use gnome-panel and GNOME3 libraries and turn it into the DE build on basis this FDE is about (see the description of this group). We only need to polish it, add those new features people ask for, optimize it for compiz and other things etc.

What do you think?

Because I am not developer and can't see things in developer's point of view, please feel absolutely free to critisize this comment. I just ask you to think before the critisizm.

Note (links to forks of KDE3 and GNOME2):

KDE: http://www.trinitydesktop.org

GNOME (not in english): http://matsusoft.com.ar/redmine/projects/mate

GNOME (arch discussion): https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?pid=952004


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 Re: Fork of Gnome-Panel

 
 by scorici on: Jun 22 2011
 
Score 50%

An excellent point you made right there. I think that individual apps are more important than the DE itself (but the way these apps come together is very important for the DE), it's in the concept of modularity, in the philosophy of UNIX/Linux (for example an archive manager is not needed to be developed because xarchiver is out there, no need for file-roller from gnome or ark from kde, same goes with other apps). I was totally fine with nautilus2 and I hate the new layout of nautilus3, same with gnome-panel. There a plenty of text editors, image viewers, web browsers... etc to complete the DE. The point is that the user needs the key elements to start with:
for me is the gnome-panel like you said, a fork would be great. There are some file managers out there... but if it would be developed a new one would be perfectly fine with me. Also a theme manager is needed to handle gtk2 and gtk3 apps/ themes.
Your point is right, it's not needed to reinvent the wheel, we just need to find out what components are most crucial to this new DE. Right now the focus is at the file manager, but a road map might be needed (this should be discussed) for the future. I say this as a non developer (sadly, because I can't contribute with the coding effort).


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 Re: Re: Fork of Gnome-Panel

 
 by technoshaun on: Jun 24 2011
 
Score 50%
technoshauntechnoshaun
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to okay it needs to be noted is that a de has to have at least two tools. One is the file manager. Keep in mind that the file manager does a lot more than just allows you to browse for files and folders. It draws the icons, inluding those on the desktop, and in gnome's case the actual desktop. Though in our case the wallpaper will be handled by compiz. With the file manager libraries we then can build shells and launchers. The reason (at least one of them) is that we avoid inheriting problems like bonobo.


It isn't about it being free. Rather, its about the freedom it brings.
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 Re: Re: Re: Fork of Gnome-Panel

 
 by novomente on: Jun 24 2011
 
Score 50%

OK. So I understand it that you something like to agree. I'll also wait for Padster reply, because he will develop the things in FDE too and can add some critisizm from developers point of view.

In the meanwhile I would like to note here some feature which one linux user left on one of my forum thread started on linux forums (links to forums at the bottom of this comment). The feature is for file manager handling the desktop and souds like this:

"I would want a desktop that lets me arrange icons into groups or lines in the order I want, then align them to a grid to keep everything neat and in line and column. I don't like it when I want to rearrange icons and the system insists on returning them to their original position or alphabetizing them. It should give me flexibility to run icons left to right in rows like puppy, top to bottom, or any combination I choose."

And I am adding this kind of feature for launchers and panel widgets on the panel. Group widgets and launchers and possible move the whole group by capturing the group handler or by pressing right mouse button inside the group and choosing "Move group". I have also more ideas on panel but will wait till we work on it.

Links to forums:

http://www.linuxforums.org/forum/coffee-lounge/179852-free-desktop-environment.html

http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/showthread.php?p=4389294#post4389294


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 Re: Re: Re: Re: Fork of Gnome-Panel

 
 by Padster on: Jun 24 2011
 
Score 63%

Sounds like a good idea.

And about the gnome-panel fork, I guess we could do the FM and panel, to start with. Then maybe see where it goes from there.


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 Re: Re: Re: Re: Fork of Gnome-Panel

 
 by technoshaun on: Jun 24 2011
 
Score 50%
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Panels we can fork and work on:

fbpanel
fspanel
hpanel
ltpanel

This is a list of panels that are minimalistic that we can use as bases. However, until we have the File Manger and the new associated libs forking and developing of the panel is going to be an issue. We can't bring the two together as part of a tool set until we know how we're going to handle base stuff in the File Manager.

Also keep in mind that the Panel will only be one of our options. Other shells and and launchers will also have to be developed to make the system customizable.


It isn't about it being free. Rather, its about the freedom it brings.
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 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Fork of Gnome-Panel

 
 by scorici on: Jun 24 2011
 
Score 50%

What about lxpanel, or xfce4panel? Anyway the file manager generally has many functions like: handles desktop icons, draws wallpaper (but in this case is not needed since you said that compiz would take care of that) mounted drivers etc..
Nautilus (to heavy) can do this as well but from the existing file managers I personally like pcmanfm, it's useful for a window manager it can be put in a autostart.sh file like this:
pcmanfm --desktop -w /path/to/image/file &
and this means that it would draw the desktop icons an the set the wallpaper in the background.
Rox can also draw desktop icons but it's a very minimal fm.


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 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Fork of Gnome-Panel

 
 by novomente on: Jun 25 2011
 
Score 70%

Sounds interesting too. Lxpanel is from the LXDE, I suppose. That reminds me another idea written by a user from forum thread. The idea is like this:

"Might I suggest a layout similar to LXDE, ie components that can be run individually? The components could probably be broken up the same, too: panel, window manager, file manager, login manager, etc."

To the file manager. We could make a library and on that library we can build a File Manager (for browsing files) and separated desktop icon manager (for desktop icons). So the library is loaded to the memory when user logs in and the desktop icon manager is loaded only when in use on the desktop. The file manager is loaded quickly when started from launcher.

I must mention the Activities feature from KDE. This feature allows to set the desktop to behave different ways. You can set the Activity to have desktop icons, or to have gadgets instead of desktop icons or another desktop shell. Also each Activity have some settings to change.

I have better idea than activities. But it's a more complex idea and needs to be think about more. It allows to change whole desktop (panels, launchers, gadgets, background and many settings etc.) in one mouse click. In that click you can also start many applications. You see how complex it is? I think about it more and then explain it to you. The idea is almost done and is very easy to use.

The idea goes well with the point mentioned by the forum writer. Make the file manager, desktop icon manager, panel etc. separated components, that can be run individually.



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