On Mon, 1 May 2017 15:37:49 -0400, James
>I've been systematically looking at different Linux GUI environments,
>on and off, for a while now. I currently use macOS on both my
>desktop and laptop but have Linux and Windows virtual machines.
>I might switch to Linux for the host OS at some point. The thing
>I am finding to be lacking in all the Linux GUIs I've tried so far
>is, surprisingly, some basic usability issues.
The GUI situation with Linux can be confounding to newcomers. There
are too many choices, and those choices - in general - just aren't as
good as Mac or Windows users have come to expect.
I have yet to see anything on Linux that I would consider close to the
experience of OpenWindows/Motif on Solaris, or to DecWindows on Ultrix
... nevermind Macintosh or Windows.
I haven't much experience with the Unix Macintoshes, but I developed
applications for the old [toolbox] MacOS, and I do remember how it
>It's things like
>target areas for the mouse that are too small. For example, I have
>to go back and forth a few times to get the mouse on the right spot
>to resize a window.
These types of things *usually* are settable. Unfortunately, the way
is not alway intuitive - e.g., the click area may be in the
preferences for the window manager rather than with the preferences
for the mouse.
>There is often a lack of feedback. For example,
>you click to run and application and nothing happens. You don't
>know whether it errored out immediately or it's just being slow to
This is a [near] universal issue with Linux and Unix GUIs.
E.g., on Windows, the "wait" cursor is displayed unconditionally *by
the operating system* for several seconds while launching a new
process - until a timeout occurs or the new process creates its own
window. While this is going on, the cursor remains in wait style even
if the mouse passes over the window of an open application.
Old MacOS had a similar feature.
But in Linux, the GUI is not at all integrated with the OS. The
desktop manager (shell) can display a wait cursor while it starts a
new process, but the manager can only control the cursor over *its*
own space. If the mouse passes over an open application window, it
becomes the property of that application.
This is a limitation of the window manager library [or maybe how it is
used] rather than a limitation of Linux per se ... but it is there
The desktop manager also is limited because Linux does not provide the
same variety of system event hooks to monitor, and the windows
managers are (somewhat) more constrained by the system security model.
WRT Windows, it isn't as easy for a Linux desktop manager to determine
when (or if) a new windowing application is ready.
>There tend to be a lack of keyboard shortcuts (compared
>to the Mac.) What would really be nice is keyboard shortcuts that
>don't conflict with the terminal. So you can, for example, use
> keyboard shortcuts to cut and paste between the terminal and the
>GUI. Too often, things just don't work and stay that way too long.
Linux is open source: things that are broken [by some definition] stay
broken until someone gets fed up and fixes them.
>For example, in Ubuntu 12 to 14, and possibly even more recently
>(I left Ubuntu after 14), TCP/IP would not work if you set it up
>in the GUI. You had to use the command line.
I haven't used Ubuntu for quite a while - much of my recent work has
been on CentOS. I did have trouble with (removeable) PCMCIA WiFi
adapters in Ubuntu 12, but that was a driver issue ... I don't recall
any particular problems with setup.
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