Home Messages Index
[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
Author IndexDate IndexThread Index

Re: KDE Vista Lookalike

__/ [rex.ballard@xxxxxxxxx] on Monday 13 February 2006 16:58 \__

> The one thing that is interesting is that X11 has supported
> transparancy, including transparant colors on icons, since X11R4
> (1990).

Linux supported transparency when I was first introduced to Linux, back in
2000. Admittedly, I am not a 'senior in the block', but all I know is that
good support for transparency has /always/ been there, for me.

I remember that the first thing to impress me visually) were window
decorations that were not visibly rectangular, owing to transparency. I did
not see proper alpha blending at the time nonetheless.

__/ [Chris Wilkinson] added on Tuesday 14 February 2006 08:31 \__

> True, but WM/DE's that use it for more than just icons are more
> a recent offering.

Yes, and how about bouncing icons with shadows and a full alpha channel? All
functionality comes complete.

> This is how X11 provides "shaped" Icons and buttons.  You can adjust
> the transparancy from opaque to translucent.  Most modern X11 servers
> support this feature.  These are also used in graphics manipulation
> programs, though I'm not sure about GIMP.

Yes, the GIMP supported as long as I have known it.

__/ [Chris Wilkinson] added on Tuesday 14 February 2006 08:31 \__

> Gimp supports transparency. I use Gimp to make icons, utilising
> the Alpha layer for drop shadows that blend with the background.

This is very valuable for Web design. Moreover, I particularly like how
windows managers can blend full-size images properly, taking account of
alpha channel everywhere in the desktop environment, applications included.

> Keep in mind that OS/X was based on BSD.  Widgets have been around
> since X11R3 (1988?), and many of the visual effects have been options
> in gnome and kde almost since they were introduced.  The "magnifying
> glass" widget was not often used the way Apple used it, but it has been
> used for providing details - it is also used in a popular screen saver.

Yes, I know that one screen saver. And I agree on the issue of widgets. When
I started with Red Hat it had plenty of playful widgets to muck about with,
add to the panel(s), and even run on top of the entire wordspace (e.g.
xpenguins, xsnow).

> There are lots of widgets that were created for gnome, but aren't that
> widely used.  Dials, knobs, various displays including radar displays,
> web displays, several types of strip-charts, and multiple 3-dimensional
> displays (including translucent columns), were developed for Gnome -
> they just haven't been that popular with those who want to focus on a
> look-and-feel of other operating systems (Windows 9x, 2K, XP).

(Edu/K)Ubuntu encourages their use and makes them as easily-accessible as
most distributions do. Oddly enough, Windows user require some time to
discover them. The notion of widgets is unfamiliar to them, so they stay in
proximity to the familiar territory for a while. A dictionary or media
control right at the bottom (or top, or side) is less than natural and
rarely an expectancy for the new 'migrants'.

> There are lots of other "great ideas" that have been implemented on
> Linux, but have just not been as well "hyped" as better known or more
> "standard" implementations.  Some of this may be because many of these
> GNOME controls are ONLY available under GPL.

Let us not neglect the factor of advertising through media or even users
whose use of Linux serves as a demonstration. This explains the lack of
well-deserved hype, which some people nowadays know owing to OSX. Soon
enough, those who metaphorically lived in caves will see it for the first
time in Vista, courtesy of 'peer inspiration' (AKA nicking).

__/ [rex.ballard@xxxxxxxxx] on Tuesday 14 February 2006 17:58 \__

> I think one of the issues here is that transparancy has been of
> relatively little value as top-level desktop feature.  Being able to
> read through the various layers means that colors, fonts, backgrounds,
> and layout have to be very carefully planned or the layers really don't
> make that much sense.  Using transparancies to overlay one bit of
> information over another, such as outlining the roads on an aerial
> photo, or having different views of a map that can be overlayed - those
> make lots of sense.

Yes, but these can be computationally-expensive. It is the only apparent
drawback I can think of at the moment.

> I think someone at Microsoft saw the transparency - thought it was a
> great new toy, and suddenly this is Microsoft's new eye-candy for
> Vista.

Windows XP was such a resource hog. Perhaps Microsoft have lurked for a
while, keeping this idea in their deep pockets. Suddenly, as eyes are raised
at 2007, hardware limitations seem less of an issue. Ultimately, they
exclaim "less us take a pig and stuff yet another (candy) apple in his

> Let's face it, at PC with a 2 ghz Pentium 7xx series or an AMD-64 have
> the equivalent of about 8 billion instructions per second.  That's more
> than most mainframes of just 2-3 years ago. Many laptops have 1 gig,
> and more and more are now sporting 2 gig of RAM.  Again, this is more
> memory than many mainframes of only a few years ago.  Finally, most
> laptops have between 60 and 100 gigabyte drives, most desktops have
> over 250 Gig.  Furthermore, external USB2 or FireWire drives can easily
> add another 200-500 gig of storage for a very reasonable price.

When you control the market and retain a monopoly, you can force a large
majority of the people to bin old hardware and keep with the evolving trend,
which are prescribed at Redmond. This, in fact, is why the following
sentence is repeated time after time:

Vista is our chance (if not excuse) to moving people to a Linux haven.
"Excuse", I say, because in many people's mind, Linux is command-line-based
and very difficult. It helps surpass their initial reluctance -- that
concrete barrier.

> Microsoft wants to try and cook up some means of justifying keeping all
> of that memory and CPU and Hard drive to itself.  It really is quite
> absurd.  At this point, most PCs would have no trouble at all running
> BOTH Windows XP AND Linux concurrently.  On the same machine, at the
> same time, on the same display, with the same keyboard and mouse and
> peripherals.
> Microsoft may need to offer Vista as mulitple component:
> One component would be the traditional operating system - drivers,
> memory management, resource management.
> Another component would be the virtual machine manager - something like
> Microsoft Virtual PC.  This would allow Windows users to run other
> versions of Linux on the Vista environment as Vista virtual machines.

What would be their interest for layering their application like that. They
already like it the way it is: inflexible with a sheer tendency to entail

> Another component would be the Vista VM, this could be run under either
> the Microsoft kernel, or under VMWare or Xen kernels.  In this case,
> the underlying operting system might be Linux, but at least Windows
> still stays in the picture.
> The final component would be the Vista Libraries.  These run-time
> libraries would be available so that users could run Windows
> applications their PCs, whether they are running Vista-Kernel,
> Linux-Kernel, or even Linux-VM with WINE.

Previous argument still holds.

> Of course, all of this would come under a single OEM license.  The OEM,
> VAR, and/or end user may pre-install any combination of these
> components and end users can install their own configurations.

Choice is poison. To give Microsoft some credit, they give a choice other
than Olive window decorations and widgets in XP. Deep skin, their desire is
to create a monocolture with some fake notion of individuality. That's the
effect of closed-source that violently pushed away and nullified
third-parties who inherently interfere.

If it weren't for the limitation to a /computer-based/ monopoly, i.e. if
Microsoft controlled our world, we'd all be dressed up in bald olive. All
lined up, all identical.

> This way, Microsoft continues to provide value for OEMs, corporate
> customers, and end users, but doesn't impede progress and become viewed
> as an "Overpriced Legacy System", like another software giant
> experienced in the early 1990s.
> If Microsoft insists on trying to captivate the market, demanding
> exclusive control of all of the machines resources exclusively for
> Vista, and demands exclusive control over the API along with expensive
> new software and software upgrades - it's likely that Vista will end up
> exactly like MVS 4.0, OS/2 2.0, and Windows NT 3.1 - DOA/RIP.
> Gates can't be fired, but there might be some shake-out.  OEMs could
> balk, Corporate customers might simply refuse to upgrade their
> hardware, or upgrade to Linux workstations and laptops and reject Vista
> completely.  They might even cancel their support contracts with
> Microsoft unless Microsoft agrees to support Windows applications
> running under Linux kernels.  In fact, they might even decide that the
> value they are getting isn't sufficient - and simply cancel the support
> contracts altogether.

Intersting situation that would be...

> Microsoft can go into the Game machine market, start offering
> Applications for *nix, or possibly transform the company into a holding
> company - or something unrecognizable today.

I think not. People will not permit this to happen.

> I don't think that Microsoft will be able to maintain its current
> level of control over the market.  There have been too many delays in
> Vista and Linux has been evolving too quickly to be excluded from the
> marketplace.  Microsoft will either learn to share, or pack up it's
> toys and leave.

Linux has not crossed that crucial barrier, in my humble opinion. Analysts
could argue, on the other hand, that Linux gathered momentum, which in due
time will make it popular, affordable (production-line principles pushed to
the limit) and, above all, /properly/ understood (which annuls FUD).

Apologies for typos, which I am sure I have. I don't proofread.

Best wishes,


Roy S. Schestowitz      |    Free 3-D Othello: http://othellomaster.com
http://Schestowitz.com  |    SuSE Linux     |     PGP-Key: 0x74572E8E
  6:00pm  up 28 days 13:01,  13 users,  load average: 0.29, 0.65, 0.64
      http://iuron.com - help build a non-profit search engine

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
Author IndexDate IndexThread Index