Desktop Wars - Dana investigates (Pt 1) Sun, Jun 15, 2003 Window Maker has been my window manager/desktop environment of choice for over 2 years now. Possibly even longer. IceWM to BlackBox back to Window Maker, I’ve been all over the place, but always found myself searching for more. That is what prompted me to take my old Debian workstation and install the two big Linux desktop environments from source. I know it sounds like an ambitious undertaking, but trust me - in some bizarre way it is relaxing for me. Well, somewhat relaxing. Installing Gnome

So my first instict was to go for Gnome. I can’t say why for sure, but it just felt like the right thing to do. I’ve always liked the more artistic look and feel of Gnome, but still have memories of trying to get it installed from a few years back. Dependency hell. Unfortunately I found the same hell awaiting me this time.

After downloading some 120+ tar balls there is no clear documentation that I could find easily that would tell me in what order I needed to install them. At that time it becomes a hit or miss proposition. If configure bailed and said it needed libgnomecanvas and then that one said it needed libgnomeui and that one needed… and so on and so on.

After much cursing and gnashing of teeth I was able to get most of the source packages to compile. Looking forward to seeing what I had accomplished I hacked away at my .xinitrc and fired up the desktop. What a dissappointment. The look of the desktop is incredible. The proposed functionality looks like it would be incredible, but unfortunately not much works. Editing menus proved to be almost impossible. Non of my changes would take. The nautilis file browser crashed constantly. It didn’t even seem to know about some of it’s own applications that I had installed.

Granted, there was probably much that I did incorreclty and not according to spec, but I’ll be damned if I could find that information anywhere. Most of the news group postings concern the gnome installations that come with various Linux distributions and do not concern from scratch installs.

Very quickly I longed for my Window Maker again. It is home afterall.

But what is that on the horizon? It’s KDE.. hmm. QT.. Different.. Stable? We’ll see.