View Full Version : Bad menus, bad package managment and bad configuration tools..

14th September 2004, 04:03 AM
But I'm generally happy. Whats the deal with renaming application stupidly? Audio Player? What? Which one?

Am I the only one who thinks a) doing that ..and.. b) not including an option to *undo* that...was dumb? The menu has the worse layout I've seen and it doesn't help that there doesn't seem to be a way to redo the menu short of doing it by hand.

And whats up with the system-config? Wouldn't it be nice if there was a central place to launch them from like every other OS on earth?

And I don't see why everything has to be coded from scratch? There are a number of good (even mature) configuration utilities out there. Yast is now open, Mandrakes control center.

Final gripe: up2date? Yum? Fuuuuuuccccckkkkk! They both suck. Its been years since I've had dependency issues and when I heard friends complaining about rpm's I thought they were stuck with misconceptions from the 90's. But oh hell no! Fedora, right. I've had both Yum and up2date fail to resolve dependency issues on STANDARD FEDORA UPDATES. Is this a joke? EVEN if Yum didn't puke on the updates ITS TOO DAMN SLOW. I don't want to make a cup of tea every time I check availability on an rpm. Apt might be good, anything, as long as it has a GUI for quick searchs (whats installed, what can I install) and can resolve dependency issues. Mandrakes urpmi kicks so much butt over up2date and Yum I feel like I've actually stepped backwards through time using them.

That said, I don't actually hate everything about FC2. As a x86_64 distro, its the best thing going. The Fedora graphics are really sharp. The graphical boot is one of the first I've seen that didn't annoy me by being unnecessarily busy. Love the bouncing cursors. Definitely snappier then Suse x86_64. Good deal of software available. And with Livonia and Dag you've got a pretty nice community.

14th September 2004, 09:08 AM
It is funny because redhat removed alot of extra apps from the default install as they were double-ups (E.G 4 web-browsers, 3 office suites, countless IM and audio playing ones) And instead of saying Gaim, or Mozilla they just said "Here is your IM app, Here is your web-browser" etc. Because people complained about the amount of choice an confusion about which program to use. The others are still there, just not installed by defualt.

*sigh* I just guess you can't please everyone

14th September 2004, 03:58 PM
It is funny because redhat removed alot of extra apps from the default install as they were double-ups (E.G 4 web-browsers, 3 office suites, countless IM and audio playing ones) And instead of saying Gaim, or Mozilla they just said "Here is your IM app, Here is your web-browser" etc. Because people complained about the amount of choice an confusion about which program to use. The others are still there, just not installed by defualt.

*sigh* I just guess you can't please everyone

I remember those original complaints. The thing is, making a hard 180 isn't the way to go. Fedora seems to walk a strange line between power user and new user, with the incomplete tools its pretty much required that you be a power user but with the menus all set up for new users. That in and of itself is strange. But this really seems like another area where everyone could benifit from looking a little bit more outside their own projects. Mandrake instead of renaming all their apps found a better layout for the menu (read: catagories) and that might be a better way. Between catagorizing and visual clues (icons) you've probably got the best single approach. Next would be using a configurable menu system with different names for different users settings. You can't assume all your users are handicapped, for me the difference between Xmms and Rythmbox is huge and I don't think learning arbitrary new names is very efficient.

12th October 2004, 10:03 PM
I agree that the menu's arent exactly intuitive, and it doesn't help that you can't edit them. However, I rarely use the main menu now. As a lot others, I have used my most used apps to dravers or direct buttons on my panels, which I think is true for a lot of users. The main menu is mainly used when looking through hte apps list when searching for something new.
Configurable menus arent really needed with all the possibilities of adding buttons and dravers to panels, I feel.
This way, the main menu stays the same on all systems, and serves as an 'anchor' point that all users can relate too.
Best of bothn worlds, really. A highly configurable panel and a standard menu list gives you oth the familiarity and configurability.

13th October 2004, 02:41 PM
i honestly prefer them to stick with the original apps name and give it a prefix or a dshort description.

13th October 2004, 03:40 PM
Face the facts people, most people don't care to learn the name of applications. Ask your mothers to list all the applications they know the name of and what they do. People want a music player, they don't care if it's called XMMS or rhythmbox. Simplification is important for usability. Normal people don't really care about the name of applications, they just want some application that does the job. Music player is a much better name for a music player than XMMS, and besides, having a shortcut in the menu saying something general like music player opens some exciting posibilites.

People have preferences, no way to change that. People want different things. Some people like one browser, some people like another. Think about this: One main entry in the menu for each type of application, like one for email, one for web browser, one for music player, one for movie player and so forth. Then one can select the applications of their choice in the preferences, and have it launch the application they want.

The point about not having to create everything from scratch every time is a very good one, open source developers tend to reinvente the wheel a lot. But I really don't think the KDE based tools of Suse or Mandrake is the way to go, I think the developers of th fedora tools should work with the developers of the gnome system tools to make something great.

25th October 2004, 11:31 PM
I agree with Foolish, but I too would prefer the name of the app then the description. It makes more sense, especially if you want to run it from the CLI and forget what the hell it's called. What one really needs is the ability to change something easily when required without bogging the simpleton (like me) down in a slurry of choice. It's a difficult balance to strike and I'm not sure how many devs manage it. Certainly the one thing that gets me about gnome is that, as customisable as it is, I can't do something simple like edit the menus - at least, not easily.

I flirted briefly with IceWM and one of the first things I noticed about it was how it was so easy to do stuff like that. The whole thing is simple and elegant. Despite this I still decided to go back to gnome simply because it was better integrated, or so it seems to me. I never quite got Ice installed the way it should have been. Perhaps one day, when I have a spare computer, I'll start messing around more seriously with the OS. For the time being, FC1 is my prime OS and I don't want to break it! So I guess I'll be making do with the quirks. :p

25th October 2004, 11:51 PM
up2date sucks... but yum is quite OK... I use aptitude - gice it a try if you are looking for package manager with something like GUI - it is text based but can do pretty much of what you expect - it lets you view installed/not installed/upgradeable/localy created packages along with descriptions and lot of other information, it even has miniesweeper built in :))) you are not forced to use yum or up2date so I see no problem with that...

as for system-config-* utilities - I don't use them so for me they are OK ;) but as far as I remember they always worked for me when I did use them... for convinient administration I don't see why everything has to be coded from scratch when you can use vi on your config files ;P oh and AFAIR they (system-utilities-*) are run from single place, it is one category in menu but I can be wrong since I don't use Fedora menu either... so I have no problem with packages, no problem with config utilities (they just don't do work for me - I usualy set up everything from scratch) and I use WindowMaker with script that scans my system for executable binaries and builds menu from it... I also don't have any package conflicts and I am running a mix of system, additional and self compiled software often duplicate builds/installs with different root and it works so also no problem here.

but I can agree with you that some things need to mature in Fedora... I think FC3 will be great... :)

26th October 2004, 01:00 AM
I used MDK for about a year, and I like its control center, a.k.a. MCC. Urpmi is nice, but without the helpful website http://easyurpmi.zarb.org it would be too difficult for most MDK users to setup correctly. Even then, many times urmpi has failed to resolve dependencies for me, so I was forced to do so manually.

Unfortunately, even with rpms made for the version of the distro I am using, I occasionally got into "rpm hell", so to speak, where an app requires a particular version of a library file but pre-existing apps require another version. One can't replace the links from libsomefile.so to libsomefile.so.x without breaking one or the other app.

At work last week I upgraded KDE on my FC2 box to KDE 3.3.1. I downloaded all the KDE binaries for FC2 and then ran "rmp -Uvh --test *.rpm" in the download directory. It gave me four dependencies. I used rpmbone as an rpm source to resolve them and repeatedly installed/upgraded dependencies one at a time till the rpm test run was clean, then I re-ran it without the test parameter.

Over the weekend, at home, I upgraded to KDE 3.3.1 on my SUSE 9.0 Pro box. This time I set the "Change Source" to point to the ftp.leo.org directory where the KDE3.3.1 rpms were located. SUSE's YAST pointed out several discrepencies, which I resolved using rpmbone as the source for SUSE 9.0 rpms. As I added/replaced libraries the descrepencies methodically went away, except for libqscintilla.so.3, which was required by PyQT. I added the so.4 version requried by KDE3.3.1, and pointed the *.so to it, but eric3 didn't like that. So, I left *.so.4 installed and linked, but picked the *so.3 out of the old rpm with mc, and stuck it in /lib. Then I went to bed and let YAST do the work. When I got up in the morning I rebooted the xserver and KDE 3.3.1 was shining back at me in all of its radiant glory! Neither eric3 nor KDE3.3.1 have complained about an libqscintilla.so.x conflicts... so far.

Tar files compiles fail about 50% of the time for me, usually because some complicated parameters to ./configue or an environmental path problem, or some other pain in the neck that shouldn't be there.

So my installation preferences are

Version specific rpm files
static binaries like nVidia or RealPlayer
all-in-one installs like OpenOffice

HD's are getting so big that static binaries are rapidly becoming the best installation method, comparing to the single exe install for WinXX. The best kind of static binaries are those which install an application from a single binary which is the same for all distros. Yes, I know that dynamic apps conserve memory space, but with 512GB of RAM and 80GB of HD who cares about the foot print size? Most folks multi-task with only three or four apps anyway: reading the mail or news while buring a CD, or compiling an app, or surfing, but few folks do 6, 8 or a dozen tasks at once.

9th November 2004, 11:01 PM
I would like to get YaST to work with Fedora Core. Will anyone help me or has anyone started to work on this?


10th November 2004, 03:05 AM
Fedora is a general purpose distro, so it is walking the line between new users and power users. The fact that nobody is completely happen may mean it has hit a compromise. :)

I think the idea in the short term was to have the system-config tools launched from the System Settings menu. That menu makes far more sense than what Windows programs dump in the Start Menu. Wow, a long list of software manufacturers. Athough I admit a tooltip or something with the real program name would help. There is a place in the launcher spec for both name (XMMS) and generic name (music player).

Yes, better package managment would help.