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Re: Window decorations

From: Adam Atlas
Subject: Re: Window decorations
Date: Sat, 5 Oct 2002 22:09:20 -0400

I say, get rid of X altogether and write a new, better modern window system that has a compatibility library for X, and uses GNUstep as the official high-level API, thus getting rid of all window manager confusion and letting GNUstep freely manage windows itself.

$ fortune -m 'X windows'
[Insert 130 lines full of reasons why X sucks here. Or try it!]

"/me ducks."

But seriously, I think some of the appeal of other graphical systems such as Mac OS X and even Windows is that for the most part, everything has the same look and feel. If a novice sits down at a Mac or Windows PC for example, they can be taught a few programs, and then they understand the OS interface, and then they understand the look and feel of other programs also. But on X, there's plain X programs, GTK+ programs, GNOME programs, KDE programs, GNUstep programs, plus different window managers, plus separate themes (if any) for most of the above. If you've seen one Windows interface, you've seen most of them. If you've seen one Mac running OS X, you've almost certainly seen all of them (with the small exception of hackish third party themes). If you've seen one *NIX system running X, you've seen one *NIX system running X.

This of course isn't a problem for programmer-hacker types like us, but not so for anyone below semi-geek status. Consumer-oriented *NIXen won't actually reach the average consumer market until they're at least as easy for new computer users as Windows. (I can't believe I just said that Windows can be easy for new users at all...) But unfortunately, the fact is they're not, and that's why I think a new window system should be written from the ground up to be easy for the newbies, and powerful enough for the geeks and the hackers. Or at least a window system that doesn't have this silly window manager system, and that includes high-level APIs and a desktop environment from the beginning to avoid this arrangement with at least 2 popular but very different desktop environments and a mess of high-level libraries. The whole reason there are all these high level libraries is that X includes only relatively difficult low-level libraries, and the whole reason there are so many window managers is that - well, because X supports window managers. Why should it?

If there were a new window system using GNUstep as an official high-level API, GNUstep could handle all window drawing, and support themes and some customization, but in general have the same feel.

Hmm... this got a little far from the original topic, I guess...

"/me hides under desk."

Any comments?

Adam Atlas

C:\DOS> _

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