Dorward's Ramblings

Gnome 2.6

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A preview of Gnome 2.6 is out, and I have to admit that its looking cuter with each release. The bulk of the changes focus on Nautilus, which has gone 'spatial', I can't say that the concept thrills me, my favourite file manager of all time (not counting the command line) is still winfile.exe. Its been a long time, but I think the only reason I gave it up becuase the version that came with Windows 95 couldn't cope with long file names. When I started using explorer.exe I made it a point to turn off the "New window whenever I open a folder" option, and to make sure the "Up one level" icon was in place on the toolbar. These days I use the command line for most of my file management, even on Mac OS X.

Template support is equally unthrilling, mainly for the above reasons. On the other hand, it might be worth putting together a bash script (or finally getting around to moving to zsh) and coming up with a nice command line template system.

<code>brain@david:~/someproject> ls ~/.templates/
html.tpl    perl.tpl      xhtml.tpl
brain@david:~/someproject> ls
plan
brain@david:~/someproject> t html index.html
brain@david:~/someproject> ls
plan      index.html</code>

It should be pretty simple, just a tiny bit of cp with tab completion. Its the tab completion that will be tricky, mainly becuase I haven't tried writing anything that uses it before.

Metacity and the window list has got some features that I already enjoy in Openbox. ACME has been merged with keyboard shortcuts in preferences, but my keyboard doesn't have multimedia keys on it anyway (on the other hand, its build very solidly and could stop a truck). The wallpaper selector has been improved (I change my wallpaper about once every couple of months, mainly becuase I hardly ever see it through all the windows I have option, feh is enough for me there), and its now easier to change your keyboard layout (fantastic for people who need to work in multiple charactersets, but useless for me).

The GTK File Selector has had an overhall: yes! yes! yes!. It does rather need it, however I am a little dubious about hiding the text entry widgit by default. I tend to type my paths and use tab completion to get about. Oh well, I'll have to try it to see how it works out.

GEdit is not GVim. 'nuff said. The help browser has been improved, but its the help itself that concerns me. It isn't often that I need to dig into help files, but when I do I all too often see placeholder text. The Epiphany web browser sees some more improvements, I might give it another try. Last time I was sent running back to Mozilla (although I now use Firefox).

Applets see some improvement, games meet SVG (so they should look quote cute now), the archive tool learns about RPM (insert more command line bigotry here), the improved character map might be useful on those rare occasions when I need to deal with accented letters, GPDF has improved (just so long as it can cope with the New Frontier ebooks - so far I haven't found anything except Acrobat that doesn't replace chunks of text with white space),and Gnome now includes Dasher (I'm still waiting for the Palm OS port of Dasher).

Conclusions? I'm likely to have another go at converting Dad to Linux, this time with Gnome 2.6, it is looking even more newbie friendly then ever before, but I'm not likely to use it (as a desktop environment) myself. A new file selector is needed, but I'm not sure that this is the way to go. Now I just have to wait for a release and then try it out (my life is way way too busy right now to spend time installing the beta).