[ubuntu-studio-devel] DEs and how they relate to media production use

lukefromdc at hushmail.com lukefromdc at hushmail.com
Wed May 28 03:58:38 UTC 2014

I have found that for  video editing and news audio use nothing seems to beat the basic 
Win95 taskbar concept extended by multiple workspaces. GNOME2, MATE, Cinnamon  
LXDE,  XFCE, and even IceWM all support this concept and thus are essentially used 
the same way once set up. 

Honestly,  nothing has come along that is more functional to me than  US Hardy's 
GNOME 2 with Compiz enabled and a 4 workspace grid or cube.  GNOME 3 is pretty
but hard to use for someone used to a traditional desktop, Cinnamon is gorgeous with 
the GNOME theme and works like  the old GNOME 2 did but is heavy , XFCE is just 
enough different from GNOME2 to interrupt the workflow until you get used to it. 
Differences between Thunar and old style Nautilus are behind a lot of that. 

Now for the bad news:

GNOME/Red Hat, Unity/Ubuntu, and KDE  will all be handling the X/Wayland/Mir issue on their
own schedules, so this  is about to get messy for everyone else, especially those of us who
favor any DE other than the Big Three, like 2011 but worse.

As an example, if I had been sucessful in developing a metapackage to install Cinnamon 
with the US themes without a lot of hand configuration and in some cases rt kernel bugs, 
that work would have just been obsoleted by an  upstream response to the Mir/Wayland 
transition. Mint is "pinning" Ubuntu at 14.04 and will not use the rolling releases, staying  
with 14.04LTS  until 16.04LTS and relying on backports of end user applications.  What do
you want to be they won't be the last to throw in the towel and do this?

As for me, I am keeping  Cinnamon set up to look and work like GNOME 2/Compiz in
UbuntuStudio Hardy did and will pin whatever I have to between LTS releases to keep it.
I do in fact now have debs for my themes and icons, but am not sure they are up to 
standards for redistribution thus have not set up a PPA.  I have the legacy theme packages
ported to GTK3 with some customizations I've used since 2008, plus systemd, a working dracut
with systemd in it,  multi encrypted disk unlocker both for initramfs-tools and for dracut,
and even a Plymouth theme using the KDE3 "soft-green" background image as on my desktop. 
The systemd, plymouth, and dracut stuff use some binaries  harvested out of  Debian Unstable 
packlages rather than locally built.

All of this grew out of what started as UbuntuStudio Hardy back in 2008.

On 5/27/2014 at 9:19 PM, "Len Ovens" <len at ovenwerks.net> wrote:
>And some personal feelings as well.
>In the past I have tried lubuntu, xubuntu and KDE as they relate 
>to use 
>with the studio metas. I tried unity and gnome shell, but was not 
>able to 
>evaluate them well as they seemed to require more than my system 
>had to 
>offer. They seemed "exclusive" to those who could afford new and 
>fast HW. 
>Even my new laptop found it could not keep up with the 
>requirements. In my mind this continued to make xfce the DE to use.
>I have used Linux for about 20 years now and started with 
>slackware back 
>when the default boot was text only and X was a play thing that 
>more memory than most people could afford (I can get a whole 
>system for 
>what 16MB of Ram cost then). The WM at the time was TWM and then 
>was the first modern style DE with a menu that did not have to be 
>by hand (or as was more aften the case, came with anything you 
>might load 
>so that the menu looked full, but many selections didn't do 
>anything) but 
>rather updated itself as SW was added. Effects became common and 
>gnome came along. There was a point that KDE started to use more 
>cpu than 
>I had and getting to "artsy and effecty" for me and so I started 
>gnome. I had a tape based studio with an Atari that I did 
>sequencing on... 
>the PCs didn't have anything as good or stable. I moved to 
>AudioSlack when 
>it came out with the hope I could record audio, but the SW wasn't 
>there yet and sub GB drives were still normal too. I tried other 
>distros too. but found nothing better at the time. Somewhere in 
>the early 
>2000s (2004 maybe?) I bought what was one of the better 
>cards. and not too long after installed some different audio 
>distros to 
>try again... with some success. I don't know when I first started 
>UbuntuStudio maybe 2008-2010ish after a move to another city. I 
>had done 
>very little with my computer for a few years and liked the newer 
>happening in audio.
>Anyway, I like some of the features of the newer WM/DEs I have 
>tried a 
>modern version of FVWM, which is still being developed. It is fast 
>light there is not doubt, but it takes a lot of hand tweaking of 
>files to do anything.
>There has been a trend in linux distros not too long ago to 
>include as 
>many apps as possible. I am guessing there were two reasons for 
>this: To 
>show off how many free apps there are in the linux world and 
>because it 
>used to be hard to install stuff. Audio distros went through that 
>too but 
>there are now so many apps available there is just not enough 
>room. So 
>people have to be more picky.
>things seem to be swinging the other way now. Many distros are 
>bare. The installation tools are easy to use and really, most 
>people use 
>about three applications for everything. So unity, gnome shell, 
>xfce-wisker and some of KDEs new environments are right on target 
>for most 
>I am noticing also, a simplification in the settings area. Many 
>normal X 
>settings are hidden. focus follows mouse cannot be set from the 
>screen as an example. Having more than one workspace (FVWM was 
>set up with at least 3 sets of 4 screens) is there, but hidden and 
>really set up... most users find it confusing.
>Linux is crossing over from a desktop made for development, to a 
>made for the end user. I think this is the right path. In the end 
>it will 
>bring better working hardware drivers to Linux.
>However, things are more tricky for distros like UbuntuStudio and 
>development based distros. There are desktops around that still 
>have all 
>the things that make development nice, but we have the task of 
>creative tools work well with the latest desktops too. They are 
>not going 
>away and it is the direction all DEs are going. The xdg based 
>menus seem 
>to be on their way out to be replaced by panel menus, lens based 
>and search based menus. (aside from the show everything as icons 
>deal that 
>android and win8 have chosen)
>We have talked about workflow based applications in the past and I 
>we were on the right track. I think it is what will fit in with 
>the new 
>DEs that we are seeing. Remove the clutter of the workflows not in 
>use and 
>present only the applications needed for one workflow at a time.
>What I am saying is that we can just map our applications over 
>into some 
>DEs (LXDE, xfce and KDE), but others we can't really. I have tried 
>adding an applications menu to unity and it does work, but it 
>hacky and 
>takes away from that DE. We need something better. There are add-
>on menus 
>for gnome shell too, but I have not been impressed with their 
>quality so 
>far... they are also a hack right now.
>Len Ovens
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