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"appreciation" of Linux desktop function

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April 30, 2012 1:12:37 PM

Gentlemen:

Casually running Linux since 2003; current "production" Ubuntu_10.04LTS on home_built legacy AMD 965 system: 27.5" Hanns monitor. No gaming or smart-phone, but digital camera, printer & scanner .

My question : does there exist an "appreciation" ... verbal and/or graphic .... mapping the structural and nominal expressions of Linux distro desktops to the actual tasks casual Linux users most usually perform on those systems?

May I admit I have never really got over the (1990s) **trauma** of individual applications depending on **system** resources instead of carrying with them their entire needful chandlery of software functions .. in principle I dislike system dependency for anything except gatekeeping and physical **power**!

Truth is I'm buried. The recently introduced novel Linux GUIs (Unity/Gnome-3/4, Matey ...) make choice of a Linux distro --- say nothing of declaring total frustration and leaving for the DARK SIDE --- a dicy matter. Most discussions of new Linux desktops are so jargon-encrusted that I cannot understand the implications ... let along the specific tasks ... assigned to various "features?" of the desktops. Thus my desire for a clever guide providing the crucial connections between =my hand-eye-mouse-keyboard behavior and the underlying software structures that support the computer response.

I do NOT want a book ... I want a single sheet (fold over perhaps) detailing the connections as you could imagine a physiology sheet for the human body commenting body parts/systems to everyday human activity. Of-course it will be selective it what is shown ... all true things are. I want to be able to look at that sheet and immediately tell what software sub/meta system is responsible for my ability to mouse-a-URL , choose a file or type a word. Only then I speculate can I rationally choose among the various offered and touted Linux GUI environments.

April 30, 2012 6:05:46 PM

I know this is not exactly what you were asking for but these attachments may help.





Also if you upgrade to ubuntu's new 12.04 LTS (which you may have already done) you'll be using their unity interface which makes it easy to find applications already installed
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April 30, 2012 11:26:43 PM

Sir:

Thanks for your reply. Yes, I already keep a notebook beside my Linux box with most of the CLI typography listed on those two pages. Every blue-moon I use one ... and sometimes even stranger inputs, such as the obscure **hieroglyphic** I discovered on a BLOG which allowed my EPSON scanner to automagically function ... please note there was no issue of understanding what I was doing ... just typing the NEEDED "nonsense" alpha-numeric string into the assigned file.

I have enough experience running Linux systems that I can luck out doing that CLI stuff. But, I am asking for a basically different **cheat sheet**. I want to see how components of the various WYSIWYG Linux display software **layers** generate task-specific behavior .... I do note there are several perhaps convoluted layers to such GUI interface --- so much the worse for usrland --- but THAT information will allow me to choose the Linux version (Ubuntu, SuSe, Debian ...) must likely to be the most useful long-term computing companion ... my own personal "friend in the business.

No no no I refuse the arrogant and specious and time-wasting request to **learn Linux** ... I've written a few hundred-thousand lines of C-code and looked after an old-tyme SGI mini. Been there done that, but no longer whatsoever! That is a task for childhood mutants not retired , technically unsupported adults with actual and crucial non-trivial non-computer tasks to perform using this tool ... a computer.

You see what I need and why I need it. Too much blab. I would say so.


nhasian said:
I know this is not exactly what you were asking for but these attachments may help.

http://files.fosswire.com/2008/04/ubunturef.png

http://files.fosswire.com/2007/08/fwunixrefshot.png

Also if you upgrade to ubuntu's new 12.04 LTS (which you may have already done) you'll be using their unity interface which makes it easy to find applications already installed

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a b 5 Linux
May 1, 2012 1:07:12 AM

It sounds more like you want the API / Class descriptions and are looking at this more as a programmer than as a user. I don't think I've ever come across quite what you describe in terms of an 'interaction list' and I'm not sure how that would drive your software choices. You can see in SW descriptions if they use a given framework such as QT, KDE etc and most distributions tend to go with one framework and select the applications that are built on that to reduce dependency. You could use a debugger and trace through calls if you really wanted but life is short.

As I don't think what you're after really exists maybe if you give us some examples of specific issues you face and how the information would seek would drive your choices we can make some suggestions and better understand the problem.
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May 1, 2012 8:00:43 PM

AV:

I've certainly done a pathetic job explaining what I **THINK** I want. Let me try again by example.

Suppose I wish to make text changes in a text-file; it's part of a book I'm writing. I turn on my computer, get the UBUNTU login screen mouse+type and then off to a GUI. From the top task-bar I chose "applications --> Office --> Word Processor. I then get various screen from Open Office allowing me to choose the particular text file I wish to see and work on. I **burn incense** to-the-muse of story-line and start typing & mousing ... etcetc

Pretty generic computer use I think. But I have no idea how the functional-parts(name??) of various Linux distros generate what I see and respond to my inputs. I wish to chose a distro based on the use of the **MOST STABLE BLOCKS**. Sorry if the teck words are not right .. I don't know them. I don't want to understand at a **fine-grained** level : distinctions that mearly changing C-code.

What differences in **code blocks** exists between the major distros .. which are stable, which fly-by-night. Obviously the "GNOME component has just been ditched by Ubuntu... what does that imply? Which distro uses a more stable CODE-BLOCK to perform the GNOME function(s) whatever that may be? I'd prefer to learn-computer-once and then totally focus on my-own tasks ... just as I prefer to use a single spoken language or gear-shift.
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May 1, 2012 8:50:32 PM

It sounds to me like your goals don't have anything to do with the distro but the desktop environment (DE/GUI, if you will) you're working with, and perhaps the speed of your computer. This really has nothing to do with distro code stability but more the distro's "flavor".

I might be wayyyyy off base. But it sounds to me like you find the Ubuntu DE (Unity/G3) clunky and obtuse, and you find performance ("burn incense") lacking.

Without knowing your actual computer's specs it may be that Ubuntu is a bad fit for your hardware. Or it just may be a bad fit for you and you want something more perky and streamlined. It might be that Ubuntu is fine but you don't like GNOME.

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May 2, 2012 4:29:10 AM

I have 99.5% satisfaction with Ubuntu_10.04LTS ... and by that I include both my own actions and the behavior of my computer system ... and everything in-between ... including the specific activity of Gnome_2.x and Synaptic and Evolution.

I have **NOT** tried the Unity or Gnome_3 ansatz ... neither have I tried FEDORA or SUSE. I have **no interest** in computer novelty -- my primary interest is in a **good enough** computer experience. As a secondary point I wish to make the best use of my current computer hardware as a big-screen monitor and fast quad CPU etcetc ought to "buy" me ease-of-use perks!

I would have posted **nothing** to this forum had Canonical ensured a smooth, uneventful incrementally improved transition between U_10.04 and U_12.04 ... absolutely **NO** learning curve and a few new drivers (LMSENSORS still fails for my MSI-790-gd70 !) and goody-perks thrown in. But, fool Shuttlekok did **NOT** do that ... and I must gofish for an acceptable LINUX experience whether in a new distro or new GNOME-2 workalike while retaining the needed automagic functions of UBUNTU. Clear now?
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a b 5 Linux
May 2, 2012 11:15:05 AM

I hate to say this but you are not going to fit this on a sheet of paper. You're really looking at an intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the Linux userland and a number of desktop environments. It's actually a sign that things are going well in development terms as the end user should be abstracted from the complexity of the underlying code.

As you have a working Ubuntu desktop I'd strongly suggest looking at different window managers (LXDE, Enlightenment, KDE, TWM etc) to get a feel of the different ways things are done from the GUI. In terms of applications give us a list of what you use and we can suggest others that do it in different ways and try to explain the differences, this is not my bag but we do have devs who post here.

In terms of the upgrade experience you should perhaps consider just how far you've moved in one jump. 10.04 is Windows 2000 and you've just upgraded to Windows 8, but you also upgraded every application at the same time. I'd like to see anybody show me a smooth way to do that with commercial offerings from MS or Apple. If you are upgrading from an LTS install I'd always look at a fresh installation. If you stay on the 6 month cycle then each upgrade is reasonably manageable.

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May 2, 2012 12:33:05 PM

AV:

YES! We are finally on the same page. As a casual, but heavy computer usr I am 99.5% satisfied with the entire U_10.04LTS experience. Haven't used a Windows box (except my Uni is a Windows shop!) for fours years and my lecture notes/tests/lab protocols, emails etcetc shift easily between OPEN OFFICE and WORD. Note that the end-usr is current **NOT** abstracted from Linux code as many reviewers have pointed out --- what they see and do with the new GUI is **VERY** **VERY** different that the previous U_10.04 experience. Improvement or regress I want noone of that meme-changing balony!

That said .... I intend to HANG-ONTO U_10.04LTS till the last bloody EOL next April. I see no need, nor have any desire for a **novel** GUI experience ... I am happy with GNOME.2. Open Office_3.2 , Synaptic and Evolution. I know where my Windows and tabs and workspaces go; the menus are clear ( only missing a few "invisible programs?!) . In fact the entire current UBUNTU APPLICATION/PLACES/SYSTEM GUI system is completely satisfying to me ... I wish no change at all ... I will tolerate damm-little change at all beside polishing usrland **patty-kake** interactions and generating the few missing **drivers**.

And **NO** I do not own a smart-phone/pad/pod/pook and have no intension of buying one. Squintsville is not for me and mouldy, dusty dead-tree-books smell and feel like a flowered country meadow.

**BTW** Both my new dataloggers are Windows-centric ... it's the kind of hairy application lacunae that even among engineers and scientists keeps Linux desktop use at 1%!
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a b 5 Linux
May 2, 2012 3:40:29 PM

Invisible programs? I'll take a stab in the dark that you installed an application that is not native to GNOME and therefore does not just appear in the menu item list. You can add them manually, create a desktop shortcut or if you know the name just run them from a console.

Don't take this personally but it does sound like you chose just about the worst Linux distribution for somebody that does not like change. Ubuntu is bleeding edge, 6 monthly updates with big changes in each one. From everything you've been saying I'd suggest going to Debian Stable which is far slower moving and tends not to force new paradigms onto its users.

At the end of the day change comes to all of us. XP is now EOL and the Vista box I'm typing this from is security updates only as of this month. You've had two good years with an OS that cost you nothing, that to me seems like a rather good deal if it allowed you to do what you wanted.
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May 2, 2012 6:08:52 PM

AV:

Points well spoken ... you say I should "count my blessings" with 2+ years ( actually since 6.06LTS) and move on. Fair enough. Interesting .. in-the-day I bought RedHats $60/yr admin service for RH_6 ... only to have them after 4 months pull-the-rug out and refund my money!!

On my production box I will hang-on to U_10.04 till the bitter end -- next April. But, then comes the point of my original post. How does modestly competent usrland make a rational decision concerning a **VERY** complex issue. Knowing exactly what named_Linux-feature produces what usrland ability is a reasonable ... if impossible desire. As I blundered with dumb luck into Ubuntu_6.06 ... then I wish to blunder so successfully again!!

I have a "back-up" legacy Linux system .. M2N+AMD5400... running U_10.04 also; the **cold turkey** plunge would be to follow your HINT and try installing (gawdsakessavemypoazz) raw unfiltered moon-howling DEBIAN and then assembling & configuring a system to my own liking.
That task is so far beyond my current comfort level that I am not sure how to express my concern for utter and complete and throat-cutting failure.
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a b 5 Linux
May 2, 2012 6:27:03 PM

It's really no way near as hard a task as you think. You can install SW in Ubuntu? You can install it in Debian!! Ubuntu is built on Debian, people complained that Debian was to slow to adopt new features and Ubuntu was born. It's the natural home for your desktop.

I'm off out shortly but I'll dig up some guides. It will likely expose some of the information you have been seeking as you go, teach me something in the process and leave you with a system that matches your needs. Sounds like a plan to me :) 
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May 3, 2012 3:02:05 AM

Then again, prudent men are cautious skeptical men. There's the terrible curse laid upon **all** *nix.like systems by their earliest "outside" observers :

http://www.cs.washington.edu/homes/weise/preface.html


"I liken starting one's computing career with Unix, say as an undergraduate, to being born in East Africa. It is intolerably hot, your body is covered with lice and flies, you are malnourished and you suffer from numerous curable diseases. But, as far as young East Africans can tell, this is simply the natural condition and they live within it. By the time they find out differently, it is too late. They already think that the writing of shell scripts is a natural act."

Ken Pier, Xerox PARC
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a b 5 Linux
May 3, 2012 11:38:01 AM

Really? I started my journey by preparing a large cup of coffee and firing up a cigarette. It worked for me, although I'd recommend that newbies also consider growing a beard and buying a pair of sandals.
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May 3, 2012 1:40:20 PM

Yes yes you portray *nix thru yourself in the most humane and approachable way. But an adult must judge broadly and plan for the worst case. Thus this series of posts vis Linux accessibility, and my request for a transparency to usrland Linux-system-function that evidently does not exist.

Only saying that my fears are well documented and accepted within the professional computer community. *nix is "not nice" ... profoundly not-nice and in fact may be virulently and destructively anti-human. I have written huge amounts of both C-code and BASH-script and they both partake in the virtues of a poisonous snake. Mind-fyucking combinatorial explosions and emotional threats abound. Of-course so dangerous also the inside of a nuclear reactor, yet humans judge (most) the benefits of electrical power to outweigh the risks of radioactive poisoning.

So with *nix. So with Debian. Ubuntu OTOH has attempted to enclose the combinatorial and syntactic horrors of *nix within a usrland friendly visual **eggshell** ... humans are at base visual not logical creatures ... yes yes I know about 8000BC proto-Sumerian counter chips! For me -- since U_6.06 -- Ubuntus efforts have proven successful ... excellent thru U_10.04. Now ... to believe others who have looked ahead of me, Ubuntu dashing of toward the iPOD crowd has thrown me under the bus. What now? To protect myself must I open the eggshell Ubuntu had formed and allow the *nix monsters within to escape .. attack me ... destroy sanity of normal folks? Mebby so.

I appreciate your concern and will observe and study/research in-good-faith any tutorials/appreciations/first-person-exploits you can point to for Debian. Perhaps it's the only real solution (other than buying a Mac!) ... that frees me from arbitrary developer behavior and perhaps there are **mediated?** levels of functioning whereby a complete usrland Debian system may be assembled.
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a b 5 Linux
May 3, 2012 2:14:50 PM

nss000 said:
Only saying that my fears are well documented and accepted within the professional computer community. *nix is "not nice" ... profoundly not-nice and in fact may be virulently and destructively anti-human. I have written huge amounts of both C-code and BASH-script and they both partake in the virtues of a poisonous snake. Mind-fyucking combinatorial explosions and emotional threats abound. Of-course so dangerous also the inside of a nuclear reactor, yet humans judge (most) the benefits of electrical power to outweigh the risks of radioactive poisoning.
Excuse me if it sounds rude, but if you think this way then you must be a little crazy to use a Unix-like operating system. Why not use Windows or OS X (OK, I know it's Unix, but it hides it well for the casual user)?

Why do you persit with something that you describe as "profoundly not-nice"? There are alternatives. Are you some sort of masochist? Or if you must use Linux, why not stick with the version you are happy with? What's the point of upgrading to something you don't like?

These things are not forced upon us. We have free will and we can make rational choices.
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a b 5 Linux
May 3, 2012 3:50:35 PM

I'm starting to think an upgrade to Prozac 25mg might produce the best results...
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May 3, 2012 5:18:34 PM

nss000 said:
Yes yes you portray *nix thru yourself in the most humane and approachable way. But an adult must judge broadly and plan for the worst case. Thus this series of posts vis Linux accessibility, and my request for a transparency to usrland Linux-system-function that evidently does not exist.

So with *nix. So with Debian. Ubuntu OTOH has attempted to enclose the combinatorial and syntactic horrors of *nix within a usrland friendly visual **eggshell** ... humans are at base visual not logical creatures ... yes yes I know about 8000BC proto-Sumerian counter chips! For me -- since U_6.06 -- Ubuntus efforts have proven successful ... excellent thru U_10.04. Now ... to believe others who have looked ahead of me, Ubuntu dashing of toward the iPOD crowd has thrown me under the bus. What now? To protect myself must I open the eggshell Ubuntu had formed and allow the *nix monsters within to escape .. attack me ... destroy sanity of normal folks? Mebby so.


I'm not sure if you're just a little crazy or a troll. :heink: 

Ubuntu has gone into an area you don't like. A lot of us don't like it. But it's the developers' prerogative and they're trying to make it very mainstream, which isn't necessary a BAD thing either. Mourn it. Move on. Go over to distrowatch.com and choose something else to use.

Nobody has thrown you "under the bus"- that's crazy to say. It's an OPERATING SYSTEM. The only way it could throw you under the bus is if someone used it to power a robot or mechanical device to slap you under a bus.

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a b 5 Linux
May 3, 2012 6:08:31 PM

^ That
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