I am developing a deep and abiding hatred for Gnome 2.

I am just amazed at how pathologically broken it is, and I'm well accustomed to some pretty pathological brokenness.

MacOS X is sounding better every day. At least then I'd be being fucked over merely by a soulless megacorp, rather than a bunch of teenagers who think my desktop is their learning experience. Is that an improvement? I can't decide, but I think so.

It couldn't be too hard to port xscreensaver to Cocoa, could it? Maintaining both branches would suck, though, so if I switched, I'd have to orphan the X version, since I'm sure as hell not writing a "compatibility layer". So throwing that switch is a big step.

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Current Music: Lard -- Hell Fudge ♬

22 Responses:

  1. ivorjawa says:

    I think it'd be rather easier to maintain a compatibility layer for just the GL screensavers. Many of them have already been ported to OS X: http://www.epicware.com/macosxsavers.html
    As I understand it, there's a general shell for the GL savers, which could be easily maintained for both X and OS X.

    Cocoa is, by a couple of orders of magnitude, the best programming environment I've ever used.

  2. spot says:

    Out of sheer curiousity, would you go into detail with the issues that you have with Gnome 2? We (Red Hat) usually care to hear about these sort of things.

    • What problems are you having with gnome 2? My only beef with it so far is the font issues I ran across and haven't really spent a lot of time looking in to.

      <lj user="spot">; this wasn't really directed to you, just trying to topic thread.

    • jwz says:

      We (Red Hat) usually care to hear about these sort of things.

      Well, see, that's BS. I mean, I'm sure you think you care about it, but I've been filling up your bugzilla and bitching to the responsible parties privately for years, and frankly I'm just sick of it. When things get fixed, they only get fixed until the next from-scratch rewrite half a year later, and then it's two steps forward, six steps back.

      I could take the time to make yet another laundry list for you to denigrate or ignore or "worksforme", but frankly I'm just sick of it.

      You know what's my favorite bug resolution? "It's been nine months; assuming this is fixed in version N. Please reopen if not." I can't tell you how many times I've seen that.

      So what I'm really curious about is how much and in what ways OSX will drive me crazy, because I really want to hear "it's all sweetness and light, you should have bailed on the broken fucking Linux peanut gallery years ago."

      • vincel says:

        There's no Cocoa port of XEmacs, AFAIK it's not even on the horizon.

        There is a port of XFree86, and you can compile and run X applications to run rootless (applications like XEmacs can share the desktop with native applications, without X taking over the screen), but believe me, it ain't pretty.

        You can of course just run emacs in a tty, but that's pretty tiresome too.

        • jfpoole says:

          There's a Carbon port of XEmacs 21.5.9 available, but it's sluggish enough that I'd rather just use emacs.

          • confuseme says:

            Last time I checked, this port was just running XEmacs in text mode, with some hooks to make the mouse set the point, and it didn't even let me use the option or command keys as meta. XDarwin is the only reasonable option for serious XEmacs users on OS X.

            Having to use XDarwin (which is slightly flaky) to run XEmacs and xchat was the biggest problem I had during the two months that I spent using OS X at work.

            I was also irritated with how hard it was to escape the Project Builder / Interface Builder IDE when writing GUI apps. On the other hand, Interface Builder is orders of magnitude better than glade.

      • jcurious says:

        Background: early macos user (circa mid 80s) switched to linux 94ish got Mac (OSX)933Mhz box couple of months after it came out

        Your locked into Aqua... (except for things like Xdarwin... which feels like a hack.. feels like it doesn't realy belong.. kinda quirky in how it interoperates... even with oraborosx... if there is some behavior of Aqua you don't like... you gotta try to either make your own hack or buy some shareware hack for it.. (opensource improvements are only just now starting to make inroads)

        New Filesystem.. case-insensitive yet case-ack filesystem:
        touch file
        touch File
        doing the above will simply recap file to File (and update time)

        Open File Dialog box: sucks
        the columns in the dialog are not expandable.. when dealing with things like mp3s that are named like: tori-amos-blah-live.mp3, tori-amos-moof-live.mp3, tori-amos-foo-live.mp3 will look like:
        you can 'hover' over the name to get the full name.. but dealing with a long listing is rather irksome.. most mac usuers tell me to just drag/drop or whatever other workaround... however if your dealing with a program that doesn't claim it can handle mp3s your mostly sol

        the system seems slower.. though this is greatly improved with 10.2.x

        mozilla on mac osx lacks the ability to use MS media player as a plugin.. and I belive realplayer as well..
        here is the bug for MS media player...
        (basicly there is a work around [I haven't tested it] that hasn't shown any sign of moving into the tree)

        anyways.. here are a couple of other intresting reviews:
        http://www.birdhouse.org/macos/beos_osx/ (part 1)
        http://www.birdhouse.org/macos/beos_osx/redux.html (part 2)

        aren't you glad you asked ;)

        just remeber all OSes suck.. some just suck worse then others..

      • There's definitely some sweetness and light. It's a pleasant enough environment to work in, the core system works harmoniously, as long as you don't, say, breathe on it too hard. If I had the money, I would probably be using a Mac right now.

        Of course, that's because right now, I'm currently working in Painter and using Windows makes me feel dirty.

        Things That Will Annoy You about OS X (abridged):

        • Pressing what should rightly be the CTRL key turns Caps Lock on. Fortunately, this can be fixed.
        • Unfortunately, fixing it just will just infuriate you more, since C-a selects everything, and all the other UNIX gestures (C-e, C-k) do god only knows what. It took me months to get used to it; I'd start to get the hang of it, then I'd use Unix for five minutes, and I'd spend the rest of the day selecting all the text in my editor and replacing it with the letter 'k'.
        • Use graphical applications remotely, quickly, and easily! Depending on your definitions of ``quickly'' and ``easily''. Admittedly, I've never tried Timbuktu on OS X; the versions I've tried on OS 9 and Windows, however, give me little hope. Trying to use VNC made me long for the speed and simplicity of X, which can't possibly be a good sign.
        • You get one mouse button. You will, undoubtedly, plug in another mouse. You will then select some text, go into another window, and click the middle button to paste the transient selection. You will find that this does not work very well. You will, nonetheless, continue to do it for months.
        • The Dock makes a pretty screenshot, but it's spectacularly worthless as a UI element. It's nowhere near as functional the Gnome panel, or even the Windows taskbar (yes, I am aware of the dire nature of those statements). If you have more than about five windows open, it becomes a giant clusterfuck of indistinguishable pictures. When you minimize playing videos, they (by default) keep playing in the dock. This does not help the visual clusterfuck. (Not to mention the fact that whenever you do minimize a window, you'll invariably sigh, raise the window again, pause the video, and skip it back a few seconds).
        • The Apple menu a bit of a waste. It sits sedately in the corner of the screen, and so is less obviously annoying than the Dock. It's barely used, though, so there's a perfectly good screen corner, wasted. You can hack this, but every time you do so, you're getting closer and closer to being fucked by a desktop assembled by a soulless megacorp, and hacked to bits by teenagers. Also, Apple has decided that There Can Only Be One (Macintosh UI), so expect these hacks to break constantly.
        • OS X uses filename extensions. Most Mac users either don't know what filename extensions are, or they hate them. Therefore, OS X tries to hide the fact that it uses filename extensions. It does so in a way that cannot be turned off, and is thus far, far more annoying than Windows. Sometimes, the name of the file in the Finder matches the name of the file on the disk exactly. Sometimes, the extension is stripped off. Sometimes, a file will appear in the Finder with one file extension, secretly hiding the fact that it has another extension on-disk. Figuring out what happens when is deep magick; if Finder doesn't understand the data types, you'll never know that File.foo is really called File.foo.bar.
        • At the end of the day, you're using BSD with a lickable candy coating, and I somehow suspect that after a while you won't give a crap about the candy.

        If you aren't quite ready to give up on the Linux peanut gallery, you might consider giving up on Red Hat. Gnome's been very well behaved since I ditched Red Hat for something better.

      • alanj says:

        The filesystem is still case-insensitive. It still supports resource forks but not in a way visible to the POSIX API, so advanced unix features like "cp" will silently corrupt data if you're dealing with files created by Mac applications that still use resource forks.

        Aqua is inflexible. I don't need the pathological customizability offered by X and its window managers, but there are stupid basic ways in which the Aqua desktop could be more usable, isn't, and can't be changed. It's frustrating. It also has nothing even close to X's remote-execution transparency.

        There's no native emacs, or at least nothing with a legitimate claim to being out of alpha, if that. I doubt there will be for a long time. Running X applications isn't too bad when using OroborOSX on top of XDarwin, but I can't call it good, either. It's very clearly a second-class citizen.

        You're limited to Apple hardware. Right now their laptops are great and their desktops have lousy price/performance, and forget about picking up a $500 box with all the power you need and lots of choices for components, because it just won't happen. Next year, who knows. Maybe the Power4-Jr will kick ass and all will be happy. Maybe they'll be even more hopelessly behind. Two years from that, consult your crystal ball. But you're stuck with them, good or bad.

        Similarly, Apple can fuck you over in any number of ways on the OS side of things. In the past they've shown tremendous capacity for both good and evil, for both intelligence and mindblowing stupidity, and who the hell knows what the future will bring, and you're stuck with them.

        Having said all of that: I'm typing this on a TiBook, and have zero desire to return to Linux. It's pretty, it's smooth, the dev environment is elegant, I have most of the power I expect from a real OS, the laptop hardware is sweet, and almost everything Just Works. I've lost patience for spending hours struggling with stupid shit that should Just Work.

        I'd feel a little more torn if I were developing graphical apps and would be limiting the audience for my work to only Apple customers if I switched my target platform. On a user level, no hesitation.

        • jwz says:

          Unlike the majority of the Unix peanut gallery, I consider a case-insensitive, case-preserving file system a screaming feature, not a bug. If you have two distinct files which differ only in case, you're a pinhead and deserve to lose.

          • alanj says:

            I have about 50000 files in my home directory, and I didn't choose the names for most of them. Most of them were created by various Unix software packages, which assume Unix filesystem semantics, which includes case-sensitivity. Using such packages with a case-insensitive filesystem means that once in a while I'm going to get random errors, and once in a longer while I'm going to lose data.

            I agree that filesystems ought to be case-insensitive; but in this case it breaks promised Unix compatibility, and it breaks tools that they ship with the OS, so it's a bug.

  3. teferi says:

    rewriting XScreensaver to use GNUstep would solve the compatibility problem; it's API-compatible with Cocoa, and has several X backends.

  4. vordark says:

    My personal observation is that Apple gets one development environment/API/methodology right every ten years. Maybe writing for Cocoa won't suck right now...

  5. ivorjawa says:

    I was writing a screensaver on Linux, and it was like, BEEPBEEPBEEPBEEPBEEP, and then, like, GNOME crashed for the 14th time today.

    It devoured my source code. And then I had to write it again and I had to write it fast so it wasn't as good.

    When I finally recovered my source code, I found that those damned GNOME kids had changed the screensaver interface for the 5th time this week. It was kind of ... a bummer. Those GNOME fuckers are worse than the frat boys!


    I'm Jamie Zawinski, and I own a night club.

    • ciphergoth says:

      Of the arguments given against GNOME here, one really stands out. If someone said "I'm switching from GNOME to KDE/OSX because Wanda the GNOME fish swam across my screen today", I'd say "OK, fair enough, I can understand that".

      Is that stupid bug still present? Can we personally give George Lebl a daily kicking until it is removed?

  6. ronbar says:

    ...from a user perspective, anyway. I have no idea how it is to program in, but based on the quality of the built-in widgets and dialogs, the mostly-completeness of the documentation, and the number of pretty good quick-and-dirty KDE apps (that actually work!) I've seen, it's gotta be better than GNOME.

    Nothing drives me more insane than trying to find a file in the GNOME Open or Save dialogs. The KDE dialogs are at least a hundred times better.

    • jwz says:

      My limited interactions with the KDE developers have been... less than positive. Also, I immediately distrust anyone who thinks writing in C++ is a good idea.

    • gile says:

      They're all fucked beyond possible use, but just in different ways.

      GNOME has the GPL and rewrite-happy teenagers rammed up it's arse. KDE has wannabe graphics designers and C++-loving morons. You lose on either route.

      Show me a fast (and quick-loading) KDE program. Show me a usable (and consistent) GNOME program. It's not possible.

    • mhat says:

      Last I checked cut & paste from KDE to Non-KDE apps still doesn't work. That alone makes KDE pretty fucking worthless to me.

  7. lokimon says:

    I have a deep and abiding hatred of anything with more DLL dependencies than win3.1. Hence Gnome, 1 or 2, is out. Have you ever actually built that from source?

    ./configure --prefix=/opt/gnome && make && make install on about 70 packages, spending an hour between each package to track down the dependency that it's h0rking on, compiling that, complete with a couple recursions -- that one breaks on another, so I get to track down that dependency, ...

    And at the end of it all, my /opt/gnome was almost a gig... When I asked about that on irc.gnome.org #gnome, I met the most useless lusers I've ever found on irc, which is pretty impressive. The sort that thinks compiling is a black art that only Alan Cox is qualified to do.

    DLL hell, bloated, expensive in terms of resource usage, and no support... I can't speak of OSX, but pretty much anything is better than Gnome.