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Free Desktop Environment


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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
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Created:May 23 2011
Changed:Jun 13 2011
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 LXDE Concept

 
 by technoshaun on: Jun 25 2011
 
Score 63%
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Quote: "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."

I like this idea and not only does it make a lot of sense in development but it will help us because I would like to see plugins that utilize Compiz effects for each of these elements. It will be infinitely easier to develop them for separated elements than dealing with several unique elements in a single system.

File Manager Specifications for Free Desktop Envinronment: (updated)

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.

Using LXDE concept operations will be separated where the File Manager does not handle the drawing of Icons on the desktop, instead another program will handle Desktop Icons similar to LXDE's Desktop Icon Manager.


It isn't about it being free. Rather, its about the freedom it brings.
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 Re: LXDE Concept

 
 by Padster on: Jun 26 2011
 
Score 50%

Sounds good.


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 Re: LXDE Concept

 
 by MasKalamDug on: Aug 25 2011
 
Score 50%

LXDE looks nice and I will be spending more time on it. BUT this is not what I was looking for when I joined this group. It is not NEW enough. I am looking for a design effort that goes all the way back to fundamentals - in particular no X11 or X11-based code. If there is anyone out there with similar interests please lets not contaminate this group. Sent me a private e-mail at DKleinecke@gmail.com. Thank You.


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 Re: Re: LXDE Concept

 
 by technoshaun on: Aug 26 2011
 
Score 50%
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I think you miss what is being said here. We're not developing another LXDE but taking the LXDE concept of breaking down certain elements of the desktop system into individual modules (apps, programs, what ever you want to refer to them as) that make development easier. It will also allow developers to focus on one aspect of the desktop while helping to build app hooks to connect them to create the entire DE experience. This has some serious advantages over monolithic DE systems since improvements to an individual module can be done quicker and easier.


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 Re: Re: Re: LXDE Concept

 
 by MasKalamDug on: Aug 26 2011
 
Score 50%

As nearly as I can tell what you mean by the LXDE concept is the old software component dream which is itself an abstraction from object-oriented programming. I would be perverse to disagree. The downside is that it has never, so far as I know, been implemented in anything more than test cases.

Perhaps I should suggest REAL object-oriented programming. A group of die-hard SmallTalk programmer did make a GUI in SmallTalk called, I think, SQUEAK. Maybe we should look at that. I admit all I did was glance at it a long time ago. What I saw was pretty ugly - but it worked.

SmallTalk people (I think there still are some) have been telling us for thirty years that their approach is faster and easier to understand. Maybe they are right.


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 Re: Re: Re: Re: LXDE Concept

 
 by technoshaun on: Aug 27 2011
 
Score 50%
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Well from the looks of things here http://www.squeak.org/ squeak looks to be doing well and is part of the OLPC project. Though I don't think that level of approach is what we need. What we're really talking about here is taking features (not necessarily functions) and have separate programs handle them, such as a desktop manager draw icons instead of the file manager. Does that make more sense?


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 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: LXDE Concept

 
 by MasKalamDug on: Aug 27 2011
 
Score 50%

Look at the situation from a long way away. The programs you are talking about are surrogate objects. Remember that all object-orientation means is "objects exchanging messages". Your programs are objects and the messages are the command lines you send them. Nothing wrong with this per se. But I think it is unnecessarily cramping.

I haven't spent any time on Gnome itself just on GTK+ and Gedit as a sample application. But the coding I see there makes me very unhappy. I see what looks like a lot of good work mostly devoted to creative ways to repair a deplorable foundation. That, and other similar observations, suggests to me that we need to pretty much start over.


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 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: LXDE Concept

 
 by technoshaun on: Aug 27 2011
 
Score 50%
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Which is exactly why I started this group.


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

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 Desktop Environments to look at:

 
 by technoshaun on: Jul 4 2011
 
Score 50%
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Ambient: http://morphosambient.sourceforge.net/

Mezzo: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mezzo_%28desktop_environment%29

etoile: http://etoileos.com/

ROX Desktop: http://roscidus.com/desktop/

EDE: http://equinox-project.org/

UDE: http://udeproject.sourceforge.net/

Desktop Environment Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desktop_environment


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 Re: Desktop Environments to look at:

 
 by novomente on: Jul 7 2011
 
Score 50%

You mean to look at their features for the reason of including some features in our DE?

Or you mean to look at them in the meaning of choose one of the DE and then base our new DE on the chosen one?


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 Re: Re: Desktop Environments to look at:

 
 by technoshaun on: Jul 7 2011
 
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ideas mostly.


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 command line in location

 
 by novomente on: Aug 25 2011
 
Score 50%

I would like to suggest new feature that enlighted me: A command line in a location box.

When you browse through folders, than the path buttons will show your location. There is a special button to edit the location as a text. So for example, when you are at "/home/Place-Holder/" location and you press the edit button to edit a location, all path buttons changes to a text box, within it there is a path written in a text format (ie. "/home/Place-Holder") inside which you can write a command.

There should be an option to choose a file (I mean file, not folder) which will show in the end of a text location. So if you are in this location: "/home/Place-Holder" and you select in a file manager window a file (for example "README.txt") it's name shows in a location in the end (for example "/home/Place-Holder/README.txt"). Then with the command line in a location feature you can just add a command to the beginning of a text and press enter to initiate it (for example: "gedit /home/Place-Holder/README.txt").

as seen here:
http://novomente-activities.blogspot.com/2011/08/command-line-in-location-box.html

that is the idea.


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 Re: command line in location

 
 by Padster on: Aug 26 2011
 
Score 50%

Interesting idea. Not sure how many people would use it, but it's a neat idea and would add some additional functionality.


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 Re: command line in location

 
 by technoshaun on: Aug 27 2011
 
Score 50%
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And could save a lot of hassle and keystrokes as well.


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 Handling File Manager Plug Ins

 
 by technoshaun on: Aug 27 2011
 
Score 50%
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Okay before everybody flies off the handle on this read the whole thing first.

I have thought about this and considered a few things about the methodology of installing, updating and setting preferences on plug ins within the proposed file manager. Here's my thought on this subject and see what everyone thinks.

Firefox's methods of handling add ons, plug ins and extensions is probably one of the best ones out there. Its simple, convenient and well organized. Now I'm not saying we should base the File Manager on Firefox. I'm a bit crazy, not stupid. However, following the methodology they use in handling add ons, plug ins and extensions can prove advantageous and simplifies a lot of interfacing issues. Another advantage is we can centralize the add ons, plug ins and extensions like Mozilla does and not force the end user to rely on packagers for their distribution to get them.

So what do you guys think?


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 Re: Handling File Manager Plug Ins

 
 by scorici on: Aug 28 2011
 
Score 50%

Firefox system of handling add-ons is good but it has a down side that we must overcome ! It only installs add-ons locally in your home folder and not system wide for every user. So a single user can install add-ons just for himself from the web or whatever but if you want to install it system wide then you have to do it through the package manager of your distro when it will be tested and incorporated in the repo.
This is what I think about it.


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 Re: Re: Handling File Manager Plug Ins

 
 by technoshaun on: Aug 29 2011
 
Score 50%
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I think we can set it so that plug-ins must be installed globally (requiring the correct admin level PW whether su or sudo type, dependent on how the distribution works) but the user (especially on multi-user systems) decides if he wants to activate it on his/her account.


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 Re: Re: Re: Handling File Manager Plug Ins

 
 by MasKalamDug on: Aug 29 2011
 
Score 50%

Consider files. Here's a simple version of what we want:

There are things that are file "names" (unique identifiers) that are, say, 16 byte clusters. There are simple structs I would call File - they have two members - a memory location and a byte count. Assuming only one file system there are three functions. One is a get-set pair

File get_file (FileName)
void set_file (FileName, File)

These read in and read out files. The third function gives a new FileName. I destroy a FileName by giving it zero length (using set_file).

There are two much more elaborate things - one of each side of this interface. For our present purposes we can ignore how this interface is implemented - that's not a desktop matter.

The File Manager aspect is there to allow humans to manipulate the very unfriendly FileName system.

This is still uncooked. Are there reasons the simple model will not work? If there are what is the minimum expansion that will do what is needed? You will notice that compatibility with existing software is of no interest in this kind of discussion.


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 Re: Re: Re: Re: Handling File Manager Plug Ins

 
 by technoshaun on: Aug 29 2011
 
Score 50%
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The base file manager itself is going to be very simplistic. No more than the required functions needed to make it useful. The plug ins are the key to adding features and additional functions, up to and including layout options. So while getting a simple file manager developed shouldn't be to hard for the developers its how it will handle the add ons that makes an important difference. While we're not doing anything revolutionary here, we are starting from scratch. So its vital that we have a clear development path on what the file manager is going to do with the add ons and how they are installed to add the features.


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 your new DE

 
 by Karmicbastler on: Aug 28 2011
 
Score 50%

Hi technoshaun,

I don't know how this will work. But the background-Idea sounds pretty good. I love Firefox and its handling of add-ons. There you only need to download this add-on, then Firefox automaticly installs it and with a Firefox-restart, the installation is completed. Will this way be also that easy? If so, then this is really a good idea.

And to me it sounds like as if you are creating your own distro and not a DE ;-)

One question: which filemanager will you use??

And we also need a network-manager. I tested LXDE on my machines already, and found out, that the networking-tool included in LXDE did not work for me. My hardware only works with network-manager.
So what do you think, which network-manager we will see in your new DE?

Greetings
Karmicbastler


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 Re: your new DE

 
 by Padster on: Aug 28 2011
 
Score 50%

We were thinking of doing our own file manager.


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 Re: your new DE

 
 by MasKalamDug on: Aug 28 2011
 
Score 50%

With the right architecture it should be possible to install an add-in without even so much as a restart. Provided that's what you want to do. I assume the Firefox people prepare each add-in carefully before they expose them as possible add-ins. If you just let any old person install any old add-in you are asking for disaster.

To install an add-in all you have to do is stick the add-in code in the process and modify the GUI so that the user can use the add-in. I advocate the user being able to do that to allow customization. But I think the security aspects need to be watched carefully.

There is another kind of possible add-in which doesn't even require a GUI modification. This kind would capture an error condition and turn it into a working option. I don't know if this latter kind of add-in is even being written these days. But the concept is straightforward if the architecture allows it.


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 Re: Re: your new DE

 
 by technoshaun on: Aug 28 2011
 
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I agree on the security issues but we can work out those out in the development phase. Probably through a signature system of some kind.

I get that people like the idea of incorporating the Firefox method of handling add ons and that's good. That's a massive step towards getting the development map going and allows us to get the file manger moved towards development.


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 Re: Re: Re: your new DE

 
 by MasKalamDug on: Aug 28 2011
 
Score 50%

The whole matter of add-ins needs to be thought out carefully. I can visualize a situation were there are no real applications at all - just collections of add-ins. It seems obvious that adding-in should be easy and convenient. But I think of it as each individual users customization option.

Scorici raised the question, if I understand correctly, of making an add-in across multiple users. I have never been in an environment where such a thing would even be contemplated. Is this a frequent situation? To my mind it raises so many questions about coordination and control that it is practically a different world.

One way to handle many users moving in lock-step would be to treat them as a single composite user who, so to speak, has multiple personalities and leave the problem of how the multiple personalities interact to them.


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 Re: Re: Re: Re: your new DE

 
 by Padster on: Aug 28 2011
 
Score 50%

Just have it like the GNOME-Tweak-Tool does it. Have it install the addons system-wide, but have switches for all of them on a per-user basis.


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 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: your new DE

 
 by MasKalamDug on: Aug 28 2011
 
Score 50%

I think this is drifting off-topic. I admit to having no experience in an environment of this kind and I probably misunderstand all the issues. Lets all agree that add-ins should be easy and maybe return to this topic later.

I would imagine that how to handle add-ins across a system with many users belongs to the system administration topic and not to desktop design.


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 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: your new DE

 
 by Padster on: Aug 28 2011
 
Score 50%

Well, we're talking about making a whole new DE, so that would include addons and how they are managed, I think.


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 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: your new DE

 
 by MasKalamDug on: Aug 28 2011
 
Score 50%

Of course we are talking add-ins. But, as usual, we would not want to initially provide machinery for management but only such capabilities as a management module would need. I assume we would thereafter add in a single user management tool (doubtless trivial) and perhaps alternatively one or more different add-ins for management multi-user situations.

Note that I assume add-ins to the add-in system. I hope the recursion stops there



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 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: your new DE

 
 by technoshaun on: Aug 29 2011
 
Score 50%
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Unfortunately we just can't mark this as trivial or off topic since add on support is a major factor in any development for any program as has been noted there are certain issues.

How are they installed and who can install the add ons and what affect do they have when globally done.

How is security handled to ensure that malicious code isn't introduced (Extremely important issue)

Should distros handle the add ons or should they me made available in a special add on repository similar to how Mozilla does things (I am for the latter but understand the risks of it as well.)

All of this needs to be discussed and decided before we ever get developers working on the file manager because all these things will impact how the program is developed.


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 Additions and Security

 
 by novomente on: Sep 3 2011
 
Score 50%

Maybe I have some solution on plugins and secu


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