PC-BSD Day 14: GNOME snags
Working with KDE for the last two weeks was enjoyable enough. I even decided to use KDE on my Debianized iMac. What I realize is that I have become pretty agnostic when it comes to the graphical desktop. I hardly care whether it is Windows, GNOME, KDE or Mac OS X. I do care about applications and what i can do with them. So, why bother with installing GNOME right now? I have installed all applications I need, including the ones closely related to GNOME and all dependencies have been taken care of. Well, do we ever need an excuse to do things that the average Microsoft customers would find weird? Now you know why I decided to run #pkg_add -r gnome2. And join my wife for diner.
After diner I was greeted by a message that everything had installed fine. Some dependencies were more recent than the ones required, but other than that it seemed fine. Logging off and logging in again after selecting a GNOME session revelead the new GNOME desktop in all it’s dull and bare glory. Really, once you see the default GNOME desktop you immediately understand the rational behind the gnome-look website and the amazingly easy way to install new themes. Just download the theme and drag the package to the theme selector.
The first order of business was firing up Firefox and typing http://www.gnome-look.org in the location bar. At least, that is what I wanted to do. The system did not accept any input from the keyboard. Weird. I went for a complete reboot (I know, old Windows habits die hard, but sometimes it really works).
Then came the second surprise. I am used to GDM or KDM asking me whether to permanently change the default session. In this case my box booted into GNOME by default, which was not what I wanted. It didn’t change a thing about the keyboard input though. Still no luck.
The third surprise was the fact that new windows wouldn’t have window borders. The application would load in the upper left corner, covering the GNOME menu, but I couldn’t drag it to another place. This leaves me with two problems I need to solve in order to get a fully functional GNOME desktop. Tempting challenge, but it will have to wait. It’s kind of busy right now and I prefer to spend my time on other experiments with PC-BSD.
I can say one good thing about the new GNOME desktop. The KDE applications are all neatly organized under one menu heading called KDE. The other way around is not as neat. The applications are scattered over the menu tree and for many programs the icons are lacking. It would appear that the desktop implementation under FreeBSD doesn’t yet adhere to the free desktop guidelines. Ubuntu uses that and that makes sure that -no matter the desktop- all applications are loaded under the same menu entries with the proper icon set.