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Re: Abandon "Default Desktop"

Rahul Sundaram wrote:
> Not really. Users clearly already have the choice. If you like KDE, pick
> the KDE Live CD which is prominently highlighted in the download page.

s/prominently highlighted/hidden behind a tiny button/
The current download page sucks terribly, the previous one was a lot better.
(It just needed an s/Desktop Edition/GNOME Edition/, the one suggested
change which was not made...)

> This discussion is about forcing the user to pick one by emphasizing
> political correctness by not picking defaults which is the worst of all
> possible choices.

Why? If they don't care, they can just click "Next" on the pre-checked GNOME
radiobutton (and I guess that if they really don't know what to pick or
don't want to make a choice, they probably fit straight into GNOME's target
userbase, so I don't object to making GNOME the preselected button). I
really don't see how a "select your desktop environment" screen in the DVD
would be a problem.

> I don't see why I shouldn't ask for Xfce and ratpoison as among the
> choices offered if we are going to take this line of argument further.

Why not offer XFCE there? Some other distros do it. Of course, XFCE needs to
be on the DVD if that is to happen; the DVD can obviously only offer what's
actually on the DVD (unless you're using the Everything repository). The
same goes for LXDE.

I agree that offering all the WM-only options and especially ones like
ratpoison as radiobuttons doesn't scale. That's not what we're suggesting,
it's about complete desktop environments.

> What about offering the choice of emacs or vi and asking the user to pick
> one before proceeding with the installation?

This has nothing to do with the choice of desktop environment. FWIW, I think
neither should be installed by default, users should be taught to use the
GUI text editor coming with the desktop environment. For a text-mode
fallback, nano is good enough. But that's not related to this discussion.

>> The GNOME desktop tries to avoid user choices.
>> The KDE desktop tries to encourage user choices.
>> And the decision on allowing a desktop choice divides people
>> in two camps:
>> 1) those that think the user should not choose
>> 2) those that think the user should have to choose
>> I'd bet people in 1) are GNOME users and people in 2) are KDE users.
>> I'm in 2) and I'm a KDE user, I'd guess you instead use GNOME ;-)
> This is a broad misgeneralization especially since these desktop
> environment learn from each other all the time and have even converged
> on a look and feel or some standards or share implementation details in
> many cases.

That's not true. GNOME is intentionally making some things not configurable,
this is not likely to change any time soon. KDE is not going down that way.
The lack of some options in KDE 4.0 and, to some extent, 4.1 has been
misinterpreted as an intentional decision to align on GNOME, but that was
never the intention. The options were just missing because the features
they enable hadn't been implemented in Plasma yet! How KDE 4 really dealt
with some of the long lists of settings from KDE 3 is that they rearranged
them into better categorizations: they're still there, just no longer as
a "long list" interface. KDE is not an "options are bad" desktop, and won't
be any time soon.

        Kevin Kofler

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