Broken? My Debian GNU/Linux Desktop Is Not Broken

“I didn’t realise just how broken the F/OSS desktop is. The straw that broke the camel’s back was the file manager replacing type-ahead find with a search but (to seemlessly switch metaphor) it turns out I’d been cut a thousand times already. I’m not just on the other side of the fence, I’m several fields away.” This is a strange comment coming from a Debian Developer. I use Debian GNU/Linux for my desktop and it’s not broken. Typeahead works for me but then I use XFCE4 desktop and the Thunar file-manager. So, why is this guy saying he’s going to MacOS because GNOME doesn’t work for him? Wouldn’t it be easier to switch to XFCE4 than to switch to MacOS (having to buy a new machine and all)? Well, he writes that he already had a Mac for work. I guess he didn’t need to buy one but it’s still silly that a Debian Developer feels he needs to stick with GNOME. There are a bunch of desktop environments in Debian GNU/Linux.
task-desktop - Debian desktop environment
task-gnome-desktop - GNOME desktop environment
task-kde-desktop - KDE desktop environment
task-lxde-desktop - LXDE desktop environment
task-telugu-desktop - Telugu desktop
task-telugu-gnome-desktop - Telugu GNOME desktop environment
task-telugu-kde-desktop - Telugu KDE desktop environment
task-xfce-desktop - Xfce desktop environment

The Debian desktop is not broken just because the GNOME desktop is broken. Further, if I need/want to search for stuff, I have a bunch of ways of doing that in Debian. I love to search for data with Swish-e or Recoll and I like to know exactly where to find an icon for my favourite applications.

See jmtd → log → Mac.

See also Bug 680118 – Triggering directory search by type-ahead breaks keyboard navigation

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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4 Responses to Broken? My Debian GNU/Linux Desktop Is Not Broken

  1. luvr wrote, “I just don’t “get” it” of GNOME 3.

    The idea is supposed to be that one has millions of files and thousands of applications so one should search for everything… That might eventually be true but I am a power user and I have a small number of applications that I use heavily and a dozen or so that I use occasionally and I have 2 million files on my PC. It’s like a car. When you need to apply the brakes, you don’t want to have to search for it. Neither do I want to search for an application I use all day everyday. Searching for files makes sense and I have multiple ways of doing that: find/locate, SWISH-e, APT, which, lsof, and Recoll. It’s all good. XFCE4 works for me the way I want it to work, helpful when I need help and getting out of the way all the rest of the time.

  2. dougman wrote, “Recoll is just awesome!”

    I agree, as long as the indexing is done gently or at off-peak hours. I like that I can use search terms to point to different parts of my file-system and that I can also index just certain parts. That really avoids wasting time/resources. You need a little RAM and storage to make it usable but that’s pretty easily covered these days. It certainly is easier to use than Swish-e but Swish-e might scale better and be faster. I rely on Recoll for my index of US DOJ v M$ stuff. I just ask for .txt files and up they pop. I hardly use .txt for much else. Too bad it’s not a web application. One can do pretty well by putting files on a server and creating a low-security user that anyone can connect to: ssh -Y easy@server "recoll". That’s pretty good for an organization with a collection of stuff everyone needs. It saves everyone indexing stuff over the LAN… SWISH-e does a good job as a CGI or PHP script.

  3. dougman says:

    XFCE is really nice. I ran it for a year, but now use Cinnamon in Linux Mint.

    Recoll is just awesome!

    This dev. seems butthurt over something, and whining over it?? Lol. Just fix what is supposedly broken and carry on….but no, lets use a MAC and bitch about it. Makes one wonder if he did not get a small amount of cash to post this.

  4. luvr says:

    Granted, if you equate the “F/OSS desktop” to the GNOME 3 Shell, then you won’t have much choice but to call the F/OSS desktop “broken.”

    Until recently, my main Operating System had continued to be Ubuntu 10.04, with the all-but-broken GNOME 2 desktop—even though it is no longer supported for use on the desktop. One of the latest sets of updates (of the server packages, such as the kernel), however, introduced numerous problems with the desktop—mainly with various applications crashing or locking up. Thus, I am looking for an alternative now.

    Just so I could form an informed opinion, I decided to give GNOME 3 a try under Debian 7 when that came out. No matter how hard I tried, GNOME 3 just didn’t work for me—I just don’t “get” it.

    Unity under Ubuntu 14.04 kind of works for the simplest of use cases, but isn’t really up to the job on a traditional desktop—which remains my main system, at least for now.

    I also tried out KDE4, under openSUSE this time (not that I could ever see myself migrate to openSUSE, but it has always had the best KDE implementation available, and I wanted to test it under the best possible conditions). While I wouldn’t call KDE4 “broken,” I don’t really feel it’s for me—I’m not all that into all that “widgetry,” and I don’t think I would have much use for that “Semantic Desktop” thing that appears to be so central to the KDE4 experience.

    Once I determined that GNOME 3 Shell didn’t work, I decided to replace it with the LXDE edition of Debian 7. In principle, LXDE seems to be fine, but it presents a few issues that I find annoying—for instance, its pcmanfm file manager does not sort the files and directories, and the menu option to request the sort does not seem to work for me (I need to manually edit some configuration file to get a sorted view).

    I also tried MATE and Cinnamon under Mint, but I decided that I wouldn’t go for Mint—which feels more like an Ubuntu that doesn’t want to be called “Ubuntu.” I might have liked it better if it were just a repository on top of Ubuntu.

    I’m also testing XFCE under Slackware, and I find both XFCE and Slackware fun to use. XFCE is certainly the most pleasant desktop environment for me; whether I’ll keep Slackware as my main system, or will eventually opt for Debian instead, I haven’t yet decided. I’ll definitely keep using both.

    I’m currently in the process of replacing Ubuntu 10.04 on a fairly old laptop for acquaintances, and I selected Debian 7 XFCE for it; that will probably be my system of choice whenever I get a question to revive an old computer.

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