And while I’m still pretty happy with my MATE desktop, it’s nice to see people taking an effort into making things better. Two particular features caught my eye in the release announcement:
Multiple-monitor support! Each monitor is treated as an independent entity – making it great for presentation systems which use a temporary monitor or for workstations which utilize an array of monitors for various tasks.
This is super cool! Current iterations of Gnome and KDE do support multi-monitor setups, but they treat all monitors as a single work space. Using multiple virtual work spaces is supported, but one can’t switch a work space on a particular monitor without switching the corresponding work space on all other monitors. I haven’t tried Lumina Desktop myself yet, but from the announcement it looks like they support exactly that – switching monitor work spaces individually and not all together.
Personalize the initial settings for users with a single configuration file!
This is how things used to be in the old days (back when I was using AfterStep and the like). A single configuration file is super convenient when you want to move your setup from machine to machine. Both Gnome and KDE these days utilize numerous configuration files and GUI tools to manage them, which makes automating these setups with tools like Ansible very impractical.
I’m way too busy with work stuff these days to try a different desktop environment, but I will keep an eye on the Lumina Desktop Environment for now. Maybe one slow Friday I’ll give it a spin.
Here is a nice collection of screenshots (with some comments) from some really hardcore developers – people who are behind things like operating systems and programming languages, not the latest hipster startup that nobody will remember n three years. Better even, the screenshots were taken in 2002 and now, 13 years later, reiterated.
Two things I found interesting here:
Pretty much everyone calls their setup “boring”, yet it’s obviously slow functional that very little changes over time.
Some of these screenshots feature setups so basic, that for those people who are not too familiar with the applications used, it would be difficult to choose which screenshot is from 2002 and which one is from 2015.
And while I’m nowhere near that level of developer, I still have to say that my desktop hasn’t changed much in the last 13 years either. I am spending my days in the MATE Desktop Environment, which is a fork of Gnome to maintain the awesome Gnome 2 interface and not all that craziness of Gnome 3. And like many other people featured here, I mostly use the browser and a gadzillion of terminal windows for my work. I also have Vim keybindings burnt into my fingers, and I can’t imagine switching to something else ever. Here’s how it looks today.
I’m sure there must be a screenshot of my desktop from back in the days somewhere on this blog, but I don’t think I’ll find it.
After the upgrade to Fedora 22 last night, I was looking for a new desktop background image, to change the mood. Surprisingly, one of the top search results pointed me to the Microsoft website, which has a selection of some really good background images. Backyard bonfire works well for me.
Three seconds after switching to MATE Desktop, I am in love. It’s been a long while now that I’ve been trying to get used to Gnome 3, gave up, switched to KDE 4, which is better, but nowhere near as good as Gnome 2. All of a sudden, all those distant memories of a useful, stable, working desktop environment which is completely out of your way are a reality again.
I’ve only done it on my home laptop for now. But with positive feelings that strong, I think my work laptop will be switched over on Monday. Huge thank you goes to both everyone who made Gnome 2 an awesome desktop and those who forked the MATE. Please keep it up!