Torsten Curdt’s weblog

Debian Desktop

148793375 6a65b61c40 t Debian DesktopFinally I got my desktop properly installed. Since I got a new harddisk and wanted to use LVM anyway I decided to do a clean reinstall. Now I am running Debian unstable. The installation was a piece of cake with the new Debian (sarge) installer. …until you come to the point where you want to configure X. This has always been a pain. And to be honest: most of the tools still just suck. I don’t want to fiddle around with my XF86Config anymore. That’s where the big distributions still have a big competitive advantage. (Installing SuSE or RedHat is now even easier than installing Windows) Also: as much I love the idea of an “untainted system” in the spirit of Debian …when I have to install the Nvidia drivers and mock around with java dependencies because there is no Debian package for the Sun JDK …I could just puke. Probably because once you used the awesome Debian packaging system through “apt-get” you want everything to be as easy. It’s just like with the cool java IDEs – IDEA and Eclipse. If you ever had to go back to Visual Studio or other crappy IDEs you die to have the project done and go back to java. (Hm… maybe that’s how you finish ahead of schedule?)
As for my desktop: I am becoming to feel much more comfortable with Gnome! After some theme tweaking (hint: the theme support still has a lot of room for improvement, guys) I ended up with quite a nice environment. Still some little inconsistencies here and there …but in the end quite nice, slick and functional. Would be great to have a desktop like that right after a few minutes installation time. But maybe that’s the price you have to pay for a stable system you don’t have to reinstall every 6 months?
Having used Windows as (main) desktop system for quite a while I am unfortunately still missing some applications. Has anyone come across a good ftp client e.g.? Don’t tell me gftp until you tried Filezilla – which just rocks! …but is Windows only – unfortunately. Not to talk about the never ending Gimp vs Photoshop battle.

Gnome (and Linux in general) has come along quite a way …and it still getting improving. But you don’t have to be an UI expert to realize that e.g. the Gnome select icon dialog is probably one of the worst designed dialogs in the history of mankind. And: ok, the Gnome folks decided to open a Window on each click on a folder – I am fine with that! But why do I have to go into the menu to open the parent folder? A “..” or arrow would be good and straight forward. …the tiny things that are annoying.

With all this in mind and a brief look at my desktop …it seems pretty obvious where I am heading. I am not too religious about my operating system. But I do I want to trade one proprietary system for another? Although it’s probably trading *the brown stuff that smells* for gold. Hm… maybe that’s already the answer? Hm…

Anyone borrowing me his PowerBook for a test drive while he is on vacation?

  • totally agree with you on the ftp thing. ain't nothing that comes close to filezilla available for gnome.

    unless of course its this:


    have you found any other good ftp clients for linux yet?
  • ...that's why I explicitly wrote *Sun* JDK ;-)

    A (long) while back I used it but switched to the Sun JDK. Mostly because blackdown releases were always a bit behind ...and we used the Sun JDK for most of the productions systems. Anyway ...maybe I should give it another try.
  • Hi!

    Just checking to see if you know about the blackdown jdk, which is apt-getable in true debian style. Just add the following to your /etc/apt/sources.list:

    # Java

    deb ftp://ftp.blackdown.org/java-l... woody main non-free

    deb ftp://ftp.blackdown.org/java-l... testing main non-free

    deb ftp://ftp.blackdown.org/java-l... unstable main non-free
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