Pascal's TechBlog

Monday, June 05, 2006

Thom's comments on Ubuntu's GNOME

After reading reading Thom Holwerda's post about Ubuntu's GNOME, I noticed that most of his complains were either bugs or works in progress, except for this one:

"GNOME needs a better default layout for its panels. The top bar is wasting an insane amount of space; to the left, we have a few menus and icons, and all the way to the far right we have the system tray and clock. In between, it's all gray. A solution would be to place the taskbar in between those two ends, but on most screens, the space there is just a little too limited to comfortably house the taskbar. Other than that, the top bar becomes extremely cluttered if it also houses the taskbar."

Thom seems to put space efficiency on par with usability, which in't necessarily true. Well, actually those will often be antithetical to each other.
Also the uselessness with which Thom portraits the empty space in the upper panel is hardly deserved. It can be quite handy for placing launchers (for Epiphany, Evolution, etc), and applets (Tomboy Notes, System Monitor, Weather Report, Network Manager, etc).
Housing the taskbar in the upper panel seems like an extremely bad idea, because most important the available space is much too small, so when a lot of applications are opened the application bars are so small, it'll be impossible to differentiate between them, and the taskbar loses it's primary functionality. That's the brillance of putting the taskbar in the lower panel, where there's plenty of room.

"Ubuntu still does not pass my ZipDisk test; nor does any other distribution for that matter. My desktop x86 has an internal IDE ZipDisk drive (250MB), and no matter what distribution I install, neither of them configures fstab correctly so I can use my ZipDisk instantly. And that's for an internal one-- don't get me started on any of my 6 external (parallel) drives. I never got those to work with any operating system (except Windows, as Iomega has drivers for that, obviously). By the way, BeOS/Zeta also passes the internal part of the ZipDisk test."

While Thom is right from a fundamental point of view, having plug and play ZipDisk support seems hardly relevant anymore. ZipDisks were never really popular, so investing a lot of effort in to this would be a waste of time. And considering a wonderful new technology called 'USB Memory Sticks' it would seem silly at best.

27 Comments:

  • About those ZipDrives, it would be nice if they get support. ZipDrives were infact very popular, mostly in companies. And it is a piece of hardware that is used often by some people, that maybe don't have the money to buy a USB Memory stick. And don't say one can buy them on every streercorner, cause that is probably only so here in Western-Europe, the USA and Japan. But Ubuntu is also used in countries where they don't have a computer parts shop every hundred meters (330 feet).

    Did Iomega ever release some datasheets for these mediadrives?

    By Blogger lgespee, at 18:45  

  • Well as that may be, there are a hundred project which also need attention... Working on ZipDrive support wouldn't be an efficient way to spend time.

    Anyway, any company which has been able to afford a ZipDrive back in the day, will certainly be able to affort a USB Memory Stick now. ZipDrives were very very expensive back then. I'm not sure, but I think ZipDrive media is still quite expensive.

    By Blogger Pascal de Bruijn, at 22:58  

  • Haha, I think getting some developers from the KDE project and let them write a ZipDrive module, I mean KDE now that is a waste of time ;)
    And well maybe those companies have no IT budget anymore after buying ZipDrives.
    And I think USB sticks are not often used to backup data, because it always goes like this:
    Employee: "Ooh ah an USB stick, now I can finnaly transfer those documents with personal customer data to my home pc very easily." the employee leaves it in the back of his car and tada!
    Newpaper: "Documents full of personal data leaked from ministery of Defence."
    I mean it wouldn't be the first time ;)

    ZipDrive disks are just less prone to this carying around issue.

    By Blogger lgespee, at 00:21  

  • I have 3 PC's at home with an internal Zip 100, and SuSE 8.0 (back then) passed the test. It worked flawlessly from the desktop and cli. 8.2 and later versions didn't, nor did Ubuntu. Though I haven't tried 6.06 there yet.

    But every time I change hardware, I keep the zip drive.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:22  

  • @lgespee, well, to be blunt, you talking crap :p

    It were the external ZipDrives which were somewhat popular back than, just because they were portable, and you wouldn't need to buy a ZipDrive for every system you'd owned.

    So that makes you argument sortof moot!

    Anyway I'm not against fixing up ZipDrive support, if it can be done quickly. However if it requires a lot of effort, I don't really see the point.

    By Blogger Pascal de Bruijn, at 10:34  

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