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 Post subject: Hello World! | my current understanding about the ideal OS
PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 12:17 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:15 am
Posts: 117
Hi all,

I will get a new HDD for Christmas, & tried to figure out the ideal OS (for me). So here are my points. (sorry for lenght of text)
** OS core selection **

1. It should be stable (including protection from viruses etc.) and efficient (resource friendly, fast and good TCO).
Linux rulez here.

2. The OS is basically an API with some basic tools to run compatible applications. It's not useful without apps.

At the moment I don't really need propierty software that doesn't run on wine, so any efficient linux distro with access to debian/ubuntu/mint or similar repos is ok. AntiX is efficient and connects to debian testing repos. Other promising distros were Galpon MiniNo, Swift Linux, Slitaz, Descent|OS, Lubuntu. I excluded Slitaz for screen size support & repository size. Considered DSL as outdated. After installing all of them to HDD on virtualbox (512 MB RAM, 16 MB vram shared), finally decided to go with AntiX.

BTW, RAM usage after first boot was: AntiX 40 MB (icewm+rox), Bodhi 32 bit 111 MB, Swift 43 MB, Galpon Minino 64 MB (full DE), Slitaz 30 MB, Connochaet OS 37 MB, Chrunchbang 73 MB, Decent OS 220 MB ( 205 MB after killing docky & launcher). IIRC Lubuntu was around 110 MB (but boots slowly), Salix+fluxbox 50 MB, Zenwalk 7 + openbox 89 MB, Snow linux 107 MB, Debian+XFCE 140 MB, and my host system is Ubuntu 12.04 + MATE, around 195 MB (after reconsidering running services, 1 GB RAM, 2 GB swap).

** GUI selection **

3. Switching between applications is faster & easier with a taskbar.The alt+tab method is inefficient with lots of apps running. Alt+tab & clicking would require two hands. So I need a taskbar. -> discarded unity/gnome3 with default settings

4. I regard eye candies as obstacles. They move away my focus from doing my job. It's ok to look professional, but only without slowing down the machine. -> discarded kde with default settings

5. Application management- starting apps: the fastest way to start an app is to use an assimetrical search tree.
Example: A simmetrical tree with 10 nodes per level and 4 levels enables to select between 10^4=10000 app, and all of them is just 4 clicks away. The average time to start an app is 4 clicks. An assimetrical search tree with direct launch icons and nodes mixed on every level gives an average access time below 4 clicks. Obviously the most frequently used app launchers should be placed on level 1 of the search tree.

Possible realisations of this assimetrical search tree:
- desktop icons, docks, task panel icons, tiles (in tile based DE's) and the find menu for level 1 app launching
- launcher menu with subfolders organised in categories & subcategories

So I need an organised app launcher menu & some icons & possibly a find menu.

6 a, creating new documents:
A method: right click -> window manager menu, start the related app, 'new item', navigate to target folder, create new document.
B method: Navigate to target folder, right click-> file manager menu, create new document with object type, click to start

6 b, starting apps
A method: right click -> window manager menu, start the related app,
B method: right click brings up file manager menu, so Navigate to start menu, start app
C method: click on desktop/dockbar/panel icon if visible, hide all window and retry if not
D method: type in search phrase to 'intelligent' app finder/launcher menu

Now method B to create document requires only the navigation to target folder, so the file manager menu is faster. However, starting apps without creating documents is faster with method B and the window manager right click menu. (or method C, if the icon is visible).
Method D comes handy when I don't know exactly what I want, or there is no icon/menu entry.

So here is a critical point: I can select ether window manager or file manager right click menu. Yes, XORed.
Both are winning efficiency race in different tasks. During the last 16 years, I got used to go with file manager right click menu. The best way would be an integrated right click menu. Unfortunately, right click on AntiX desktop empty area doesn't bring up file manager options (create new file with type x.y and so on..), but the wm menu. A fully integrated wm+fm right click menu would be great. (iirc right click on icons brings up the fm menu)
After some testing I decided to go with fm menu. So I need Anti-X with X. :)
/ BTW, the app finder/launcher menu from Unity could be great, but it doesn't handle acronymes. The search term 'system upgrade' should retrieve hint for terminal + apt-get upgrade and the update manager. But without an acronyme database and spell check, it's almost useles./

I tried a variety of DE's and WM's on AntiX 12 installation with in virtualbox (512 MB RAM, 16 MB vram shared, 1024x768, 1 GB swap). RAM usage, idle:
Fluxbox 33 MB, measured with Conky (32 MB without Conky)
icewm+rox 40 MB (conky),
LXDE (light) 63 MB (htop) (with metapackage installer)
LXDE (full) 65 MB (htop) (apt-get install task-lxde-desktop)
XFCE (light) 76 MB (htop) (with metapackage installer)
Enlightenment (E17) 88 MB (htop) (I don't like the default config)
Gnome3 fallback 94 MB (htop, but not usable- no desktop icons..)
MATE 108 MB
Cinnamon(Mint DE repo, compositing/update check off) 118 MB
Gnome3 – won’t start, not supported 3D vcard
Unity – don’t want to try again
KDE (light) 177 MB (htop)

Most likely I will go with LXDE full, XFCE or MATE. LXDE lacks some customisation options but resource friendly, Mate uses more RAM but it's my current default and easily customisable, XFCE is too in the middle..
After uninstalling gnome3+Cinnamon, I just realised, that the default icewm+rox disappeared. I want it back, so i will start another virtual machine with clean installation for further testing- still have some days, until my new HDD arrives.

Thank You for reading.


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 Post subject: Re: Hello World! | my current understanding about the ideal
PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 9:04 am 
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Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:29 am
Posts: 182
Quote:
Application management- starting apps: the fastest way to start an app is to use an assimetrical search tree.
Example: A simmetrical tree with 10 nodes per level and 4 levels enables to select between 10^4=10000 app, and all of them is just 4 clicks away. The average time to start an app is 4 clicks. An assimetrical search tree with direct launch icons and nodes mixed on every level gives an average access time below 4 clicks. Obviously the most frequently used app launchers should be placed on level 1 of the search tree.

Across the various "desktop linux" distros, the "applications menu" (aka "Root Menu") is far from ideal. Except for ubuntu "jumplists", none of the menus are easily customizable. You can't even "right click}properties" to find the name of the executable invoked when "network settings" or "paint" or whatever is clicked. Some menus don't even display a "hint" when you hover an item. How is a new user supposed to know what will happen if the menu entry labeled "palimpsest" is clicked??? Given the inflexibility of the menu provided by a particular DE, most users seem content to rely on customizable "dock" widgets. IIRC, mate has a trays+stacks panel applet available...

Just yesterday I found this:
https://developer.berlios.de/projects/xfce4panelmenu/
Wow! I wonder why this little gem (from 2005) wasn't further developed?
Quote:
So I need an organised app launcher menu & some icons & possibly a find menu.
Check out the screenshots on the berlios project page; this alternate menu accommodates multi-column organization.

For a "finder", I can't recommend a perfect solution.
If you're running a compositing display manager, an app named "kupfer" may suit you.
(Why it depends on compositing, I have no idea)
I don't care to install "zeitgeist" or whatever else most of those finder applets depend on.
The closest I've ever gotten in setting up a "finder":
xfce 4.8 panel + xfapplet + "gnome do"(?) renders a "superbar" finder

With a "finder", I believe you're still limited to finding anything other than words contained in the
Comment=
lines of the various .desktop launchers
unless you install a "backend" indexer (beagle, tracker, nepomuk, recoll)

IIRC, the "catfish" search util will utilize the beagle index.
For me, tracker and nepomuk are out-of-bounds, duw to their boatload of dependencies.

I've been using an indexer named "recoll". Although it's intended to index content of ~/home
I set it to index the entire filesystem (except for a few exclusions like /proc, etc, /mnt )
and it finds EVERYTHING.
(even words within a page of a PDF which was an email attachment, and now resides inside a "old emails backup" tarball)
Although using recoll suits me perfectly, many people would probably be put off by having a database index which consumes multiple gigabytes of drive space ~~ especially if they wind up including the db index path in their backup.

Quote:
file manager right click menu. The best way would be an integrated right click menu. Unfortunately, right click on AntiX desktop empty area doesn't bring up file manager options (create new file with type x.y and so on..), but the wm menu. A fully integrated wm+fm right click menu would be great
If you have "spaceFM" file manager installed, visit its preferences and checkmark "capture desktop right clicks" (or similar wording). Read the spaceFM documentation, especially the section describing "design mode" ~~ it provides very powerful functionality!

Quote:
It should be stable (including protection from viruses etc.) and efficient (resource friendly, fast and good TCO).
Linux rulez here.
Well, for me, winXP SP3 (all unessential "services" disabled) still "rulez". Barring an extended power failure exceeding the capacity of my UPS... I use that PC daily, for several months at a time, without rebooting. Anyhow...

...I don't WANT my linux to be "stable", in the sense of using last year's kernel or several-year-old versions of apps (and DE components) which is what the "stable" repository seems to represent, even with backports. OTOH, I'm not inclined to update "just because" a fresh version of whatever package has landed in my listed repo(s).

Quote:
Most likely I will go with LXDE full, XFCE or MATE
I haven't yet tested the new version of lxsession, but I'm expecting to wind up using slim + lxsession (essentially full LXDE, minus its panel) + xfce4.8panel
...and, maybe, that multipanel xfce menu from berlios.
Although I'm absolutely not a commandline junkie, beyond spaceFM and terminal and Alt+F2 launcher, I don't pay much attention to the "desktop environment"

Quote:
BTW, RAM usage after first boot was: AntiX 40 MB (icewm+rox), Bodhi 32 bit 111 MB...
BTW, my winXP startup is 104Mb, on a 2006 box which shipped with 3Gb ram. Like you said "the O/S is useless without apps". My distrohopping box has 2Gb ram; half the time I'm booting live & using ramfs... yet I've rarely ever found swap being used. So, from where I sit, attention toward "memory footprint is only xyz" seems like a misplaced priority.
Quote:
I tried a variety of DE's and WM's on AntiX 12 installation with in virtualbox (512 MB RAM, 16 MB vram shared, 1024x768, 1 GB swap). RAM usage, idle:
Ah, a memory-strapped virtualbox instance. Okay, I hear ya.


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 Post subject: Re: Hello World! | my current understanding about the ideal
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 1:08 am 
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Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 5:19 pm
Posts: 147
To give one example:
Alt+F2
enter name of application and hit enter.
Done.
Lots of command-prompts come with extra foo, to make your life easy (remembering already used apps, autocompletion, etc).

And yes, i mainly use the command line. Safes me a lot of trouble. It doesn't get more easy than that (and like *run comes with __loads__ of extra foo to make your life easy).
In short: make sure to always start a terminal emulator as the first app and keep it running and have it accesssible from all desktops in the blink of an eye.

I know that pretty much anyone out there thinks that lxde is faster or less ressource hungry than xfce. I don't think so.

To me antiX is close to perfect. Same is for refracta. And else: Well, debian. perfect.


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 Post subject: Re: Hello World! | my current understanding about the ideal
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 9:59 am 
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Posts: 182
Quote:
enter name of application and hit enter.
Done
A new user doesn't necessarily know "name of application" !
(that's why I've grumbled about "menu" devices which don't display hint text onhover and/or package maintainers who omit Comment= line from the .desktop file)

xfce4-panel-menu
i retrieved the source and found that it is "too old" ~~ won't build

Esperbab, if xfce is installed (or if you grab "xfce4-appfinder" from the repository)
that will provide a gui to help you search/find installed apps by name and/or description.


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 Post subject: Re: Hello World! | my current understanding about the ideal
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 6:12 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 5:19 pm
Posts: 147
skiddo wrote:
A new user doesn't necessarily know "name of application" !

And __now__ , as opposed to: later, is a very good time to learn them, and learn them by using a command-prompt.
Else one will stay a "new user " forever.
Like said: Many command-prompts come with goodies which make your life easy.


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 Post subject: Re: Hello World! | my current understanding about the ideal
PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2012 12:56 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:15 am
Posts: 117
scidoo wrote:
If you have "spaceFM" file manager installed, visit its preferences and checkmark "capture desktop right clicks" (or similar wording). Read the spaceFM documentation, especially the section describing "design mode" ~~ it provides very powerful functionality!

I will check this out. The main idea is to have openbox/fluxbox and lxde desktop right-click menu at the same time.

scidoo wrote:
Well, for me, winXP SP3 (all unessential "services" disabled) still "rulez".

I only use my desktop pc for net surfing and playing some really old games. (heroes3 ..) One big advantage of a lightweight linux vs. WinXP on old hardware, that I don't need a realtime virus scanner on linux. So I have more memory and cpu power to do something.
Today I had to clean and speed up my friend's desktop with WinXP. It seems, that the AVG antivirus center has slowed down the web-surfing.
.. I will try this "xfce4-appfinder".

nadir wrote:
To give one example: Alt+F2 enter name of application and hit enter. Done.

I know about alt+F2, but auto complete is not always working: 'gksudo -s synaptic' will not start ' gksudo -s synaptic-pkexec'. Starting 'alt+F2 fir' with autocomplete is really fast, may beat click on firefox icon on launchpad, but 'alt+F2 xboard -tc 20 -firstChessProgram "phalanx -e9 -s+" ' would loose against doubleclicking a chess icon. Clicking on icons can be interpreted as an alias of the underlying command. It is also possible to set up aliases for the CLI, but managing the .bash_aliases is probably not faster, then managing icons. Of course, you are right, that new users learning only the gui way will always use the gui way, even in cases, when cli is actually better.
An example to combine cli with gui way: I have an icon wich runs 'gksudo "gnome-open %u" '. If I want to edit a text file as root, I just drag it to the icon. Much faster, then 'gksudo gedit &' + file open menu.


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 Post subject: Re: Hello World! | my current understanding about the ideal
PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2012 1:18 am 
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antiX comes with wmii and dwm, so widows key plus P in wmii for example opens the 'dmenu' and start typing with tabs chess might get what you want quicker. I'm sure 'dmenu' can also be set up to use in icewm/fluxbox/jwm as well.

Now, of course, for absolute noobs to linux that don't know the names of the apps, well it is sure a learning curve whichever DE/wm is used, especially since we offer so much choice. eg Play mp3 music. Should that open xmms (it does by default in antiX when you click on the mp3 file) or moc? or mplayer? or goggles?

_________________
Philosophers have interpreted the world in many ways; the point is to change it.


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 Post subject: Re: Hello World! | my current understanding about the ideal
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 10:45 am 
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Quote:
And __now__ , as opposed to: later, is a very good time to learn them, and learn them by using a command-prompt.
Else one will stay a "new user " forever.


Reminds me to mention:
Most distros lack a graphical manpage viewer.
By including one, that would pique a new user's interest "wow, lookit alla stuffs that's already built in!"

roky, here's an example pain point (point of confusion):
User is NOT new to linux, but IS new to a given distro.
xfce4-taskmanager vs lxtask
Launchers for both of these are labeled "Task Manager"
-=-
In earlier use, user "took the time to learn the name"...now, when he types Alt+F2 } lxtask
nothing launches.

repeating my earlier point: user needs to see both executable name AND generic name / description

Further compounding the confusion, a user has to "deal with" name vs genericName vs icon due to differing default iconsets across various distros. Grrrr


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 Post subject: Re: Hello World! | my current understanding about the ideal
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 2:41 pm 
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Posts: 117
I have spaceFM installed, but the 'show WM's menu when desktop is right clicked' options would not bring up FM's menu and WM's menu at the same time.
XFCE-appfinder: it has a find menu, but without an acronym database and spell check. Good enough for me, but probably not for beginners. (search for 'firefox' doesn't bring up iceweasel, etc.)

This morning Skidoo wrote:
xfce4-taskmanager vs lxtask
Launchers for both of these are labeled "Task Manager"

Yes. After upgrading from Ubuntu 10.10 to 12.04 to get back access to repo's, I hardly tried to like Unity. After a few days I decided to switch to something else. I tried fluxbox/icewm/lxde/xfce/kde/mate/cinnamon/gnome3/enlightenment/.. (~ 17 DE or WM in total) and now I have at least 5 task manager without top/htop (luckily, the inconsistent hungarian translations mirrored back to english are 2x task manager, 2x system watcher, 1x system monitor), 2 gnome configuration editor etc.

I started a new, clean installation on virtualbox to record every modification to AntiX 12. I would like to play with MATE, XFCE and the default wm's, but it seems, that default WM's are configured in ~/.xinitrc, while MATE is configured in /*etc/X11/Xsession.
On Ubuntu 12.04, the same MATE environment is around 195 MB: Image

With the original 'login_cmd exec ..' line in slim.conf icewm is working, MATE isn't. After changing that line to 'login_cmd exec ck-launch-session /bin/bash -login /*etc/X11/Xsession %session', I get an error message, and MATE is running instead of icewm. After installing lightDM now I can login to MATE, fluxbox, jwm, dwm, wmii, but icewm/rox-icewm is missing. JWM is really nice, even has a taskbar. Fluxbox: as usual. Wmii: I have found windows key+p to start programs. dwm: no idea how to use, have to read the manual. :)
Any help to add icewm+rox to Xsession sessions is appreciated.


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 Post subject: Re: Hello World! | my current understanding about the ideal
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 11:00 am 
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Quote:
spaceFM installed, but the 'show WM's menu when desktop is right clicked' option

Same here. I've tried enabling that option for spaceFM in various desktop environments and, so far, it has never worked for me.


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 Post subject: Re: Hello World! | my current understanding about the ideal
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:41 pm 
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I'm writing this from my freshly installed 'MantiX' (MATE desktop on AntiX). Deviations from my checklist:
- After installing MATE, Slim started, but didn't appear on screen. I had to go to terminal 1 (ctrl+alt+f1), login as root and run startx or lightdm to get a GUI. Same problem occures with lightdm/kdm. This problem never occured during virtualbox simulations. OK, I have skipped the installation of xfce/lxde/kde wich I did on vbox. Just installing xfce full with metapackage manager, just for sure.
- network connection lost after first restart. Had to reconfigure. Now it's working.
- Icewm+rox is still missing from lightdm menu
- AMD has dropped support to my videocard, so I had to create my own xorg.conf . Now It's running fine at 1360x768. ( cvt and xrandr is great)
- tried to copy the old system to new hdd sys2 partition, but copy process running on live cd failed. A few years ago it worked with an Ubuntu live cd.

The new HDD is much faster, but my old motherboard is slower than i thought. Maximum 'move' speed is around 46 MB/s on IDE3 channel with onboard sata1 emulator chip. (Abit Ku8 motherboard) The old one is around 20 MB/s. Will try to overclock the FSB+IDE channels to ~167 MHz to get +25% speed. Also AntiX uses more RAM on 1 GB, than on 512 MB in virtualbox- it's absolutely ok, I've just forget about it during vbox testing. (105 -> 150 MB with MATE) It will take a few weeks to move everything to AntiX (my most favourite 250+ apps with settings :)
Thanks again to make this distro.

** UPDATE: After installing XFCE with metapackage installer, lightdm is miracolously working out of the box. I really would like to know, what DID XFCE install process, that was missing from MATE manual install.


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 Post subject: Re: Hello World! | my current understanding about the ideal
PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 4:55 am 
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Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 5:19 pm
Posts: 147
Quote:
skidoo wrote:
Reminds me to mention:
Most distros lack a graphical manpage viewer.
By including one, that would pique a new user's interest "wow, lookit alla stuffs that's already built in!"

Oh ! Good point.

anticapitalista wrote:
Now, of course, for absolute noobs to linux that don't know the names of the apps, well it is sure a learning curve whichever DE/wm is used, especially since we offer so much choice. eg Play mp3 music. Should that open xmms (it does by default in antiX when you click on the mp3 file) or moc? or mplayer? or goggles?

Yeah, sure.
1) Yup. One will have to learn, this way or that way. antiX was of the first distros i ran into when i started with computing. It didn't look very difficult to me, but i have choosen others (probably cause they had compiz enabled ...).
2) While the amount of apps i find in antiX sometimes are confusing (i really only know a handful of gui-apps at all), it is a perfect way to check what all is there (for me and for what i am looking for).

I wouldn't say it is not suited for beginners, though. In fact i gave it to several "noobs", and not one of them has complained bout it not being easy enough (i didn't say any would still be using it. For the bigger part i simply don't know if they do or don't ).

I still think that the cli often is the most easy way to do things (because if i use a different environment the cli is still the same. If there is a different SHELL i am in trouble ... grml comes with zsh, to give an example).

(PS: If someone asks me if i can show him Linux at all i usally take antiX, because i can be sure that it will boot and work. That safes me from having to plug and unplug, boot and unboot one CD/distro after the other).


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