Monday, February 06, 2006

The Last thing about GNOME that Sucks

I will keep this short: Applications that don't handle intermittent network connectivity well. (That would be pretty much all of them, in my experience.) The software that bites me with this problem almost every day are Evolution (specifically evolution-exchange-storage) and Gaim. I'm sure there are others though.

Right, that's it! There are no more things about GNOME that Suck (in my not-so-humble opinion). Remember, this was about GNOME as a desktop environment, from a user's point of view. Your opinions may (and almost certainly do) differ from mine, so if you feel strongly about these issues, blog about them!


Philip Trickett said...

Well, could you add to the list the way gnome seems to get slower and slower after installation, such as when you click on the foot menu.
When you initially install, the menu pops up immediately, but after a month or so, you get a delay of 5 seconds before the menu pops up.


Arne said...

I recently switched to Evolution ( from Firefox ) and I found the handling of intermettient network connectivity was almost fine. OK, evolution warns that it could not resolve a hostname but then there is this nice little icon on the bottom one just need to click.

However one thing with the network connectivity that sucks ( and not only in GNOME but in all Linux scripts/apps I saw ) is that whenever a DHCP search is made, no one checks whether an ethernet cable is even connected! So you have to wait for ages just for the application to discover it could not get a DHCP lease.

This is unnecessary since it is so easy to programmatically check for the presence of a media on the ethernet port :-(

Anonymous said...

Hi, can you please prepare a permanent web page where you'll cut'n'paste all your GNOME sucks/rocks you posted in the past few days, so they won't be forgotten soon, and people will be able to refer to them if necessary?

Thank you,
Christian Sasso (GNOME fan)

Davyd said...

It seems that you John, as well as Philip, and Arne, would all benefit from bringing NetworkManager into your lives. Not only does it remove the pain of configuring wireless networks, it will also handle the transition between wired and wireless networks (on most Ethernet adapters it will DHCP when it detects a hot link and start searching for wireless again when it detects the link has gone cold).

Not only does it handle the network interface configuration for you, but many applications (including Evolution), if compiled with NetworkManager support, will automatically update their online/offline state based on information provided by NetworkManager over D-BUS.

It is available in at least Fedora and Ubuntu (although last time I checked, Ubuntu wasn't doing the automatic state update).

Anonymous said...

I'm a Gnome fan, but I think you've ignored the elephant in the living room that is Gnome's performance on legacy hardware. In fact, as another PGO blogger recently blogged, even on modern hardware many operations lag and are unresponsive.

I think this is principally because many Gnome apps do a lot of unnecessary and unoptimised I/O (as Federico has blogged about many times), and possibly also because they consume a lot of memory.

I've seen programs such as Rhythmbox eat up literally hundreds of megabytes of my machine's memory (RAM & pagefile), causing the system to start thrashing and become totally unusable until I can bring up a VC and kill the process. In the case of Rhythmbox I believe memory usage on that scale is more due to leaks, but nonetheless its initial memory grab is not insubstantial for a media player.

Seriously, if we're touting Gnome for deployments in the developing world, where hardware is scarce, then we have to make it useable on old hardware.

Are we concerned we'll piss too many devs off if we raise this?

Anonymous said...

I remember reading a couple of months ago that some of the developers were looking at how they could better integrate apps like that with NetworkManager, to take advantage of the latter's knowledge of the network status.

If they're actively working on this, that would presumably solve this issue for you.

Arne said...

Davyd, of course I already tried network-manager but it fails miserably with my USB WLAN stick which locks up if it is accessed too soon after insertion.

( I know I should file a bug report etc. but then again I am already late filing bug reports for my own project :-P Also I do not blame NM for that )

And even with NM in place the laptop will block while booting ( using ubuntu standard scripts ) waiting for the non-existent DHCP lease.

Adi said...

Thank you for sharing.
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