31 August, 2010

Banshee & GNOME

Since a couple of days I'm using the Banshee music player. Last sunday I installed openSUSE with GNOME on my desktop system to play around with it. Banshee surely stuck - I installed it on my laptop with Plasma desktop as well. It's a very nice player with only one weird thing: it really really likes Opeth. Often I set it to play some electronic music at random, then it suddenly starts moves to metal - Opeth usually. Not that I greatly dislike that, I just have no idea why it does it ;-)

Suusie GNOME being nice

Otherwise, openSUSE is treating me reasonably well. The NVIDIA drivers on my desktop are less of a hassle than Intel was on my laptop - they do make the screen fuzzy sometimes, and Compiz really works horrible so I had to disable desktop effects in GNOME. KWin works almost fine somehow... Just a tad slow. GNOME Shell does desktop effects best: completely sharp screen, good performance. It does seem to restart itself sometimes but only the screen goes to showing only the wallpaper for a few seconds.

(I know newer NVIDIA/Xorg/Kernel should solve these issues, btw, I'll just install newer versions once I feel they're stable enough)

Tracker is great - incredibly fast and very little effect on system resources as far as I could tell. Sorry for Nepomuk but when it comes to actually finding files - no dice, it just crashes a lot. Both fill my .xsession-errors up like crazy, however. Vuntz has asked for the tracker errors already :D

In general, GNOME is fast and lean. Only Banshee sometimes manages to sometimes use 161% cpu on my desktop - rather impressive. Luckily I have a nice quadcore :D

Evo less so

Evolution was quite painful, I stopped using it. With the treeview (flat lists don't work with more than 10 mails/day) it is almost impossible to see the individual messages - the 'tree' itself is completely hidden, only showing small triangles leaving you guessing what thread a message belongs to. I added this to the GNOME Pet Peeves Project page, hope someone can fix it... Of course, maybe I just couldn't find the configuration option, lemme know if that's the case and I'll say sorry :D



The keyboard shortcuts don't work for me either - I am used to using the left and right arrow keys to go through the list of messages and the up and down to scroll through the message itself. And keys like A, R and L to reply to all, sender or a list. Not figured out how to configure that and for efficient use of my time, this is crucial. Same with Liferea, btw.

I found out that Xchat didn't do what I needed from IRC (like putting names behind the nicks in the list and hiding part/join messages), neither did Empathy, but Pidgin is much more convenient. And to be honest, it looks better than any messaging app I've used before. I don't use chat (other than IRC) very often so I haven't installed in on my laptop yet, but I might.

Cheese rocks, period. I can however only say that from previous experience - not current, as neither my desktop webcam nor my laptop webcam work :(


Thanks to the Oxygen-molecule theme GTK applications fit in KDE very well. The only exception is the system tray - they don't understand that it is transparent so they show ugly squares behind the icons. But the work on sharing a notification spec makes sure they use the normal notifications in Plasma, nice touch! Within GNOME the KDE apps adjust their theme automatically with the exception for icons - not sure if that's intended or a bug.

Bansee in Plasma Desktop (I must admit I had to adjust colors a bit to make it fit really well - somehow the Oxygen Molecule theme has its colors slightly-off)

GNOME desktops

GNOME offers two desktops - the 'old' one and GNOME Shell. What I like about the default desktop is how easy it is to add applets to the panel - I always want a load applet there to see what is going on. Otherwise it works ok-ish but it ain't very special - unlike GNOME Shell.

GNOME Shell is quite unfinished as it is undergoing heavy development. It seems to ignore about 4 out of 5 clicks of my mouse making it a bit cumbersome to use. Yet I already prefer it over the normal desktop - if only just because I love seeing something new and exciting. It provides a very intuitive way of working with one or more desktops and windows. Most of that intuitivity is in small details - like the ripple effect you see when you bump your mousecursor to the top-right corner of the screen. They still have to improve the menu's but app search already works awesome. While it doesn't work here I know you can just drag an app to one of your virtual destkops to start it there - awesome! So despite the current issues I would definately say GNOME Shell the right direction for GNOME development.

This turned out a bit too long

I initially wanted to write about Banshee alone, cuz I like it - but now this is about pretty much all of my GNOME experience in a few days :D

I might blog more about it, but first I'm working on some OBS and SUSE Studio things - they're both pretty awesome. Oh and did you know you can win 10K with a good SUSE Studio appliance?