An Elementary Review for elementaryOS
Pure GTK+; one of the ultimate goals of this blog; was the exact keyword that led me on the web to elementaryOS project.
“Finally, I found a GNU/Linux distribution adopts this principle”, I said to myself.
Contrary to my expectation, that it must be tight to GNOME, I realized that there is a lot of works on projects out of the GNOME applications family. Despite the fact that this might be a reasonable decision from user’s perspective, I think it’s not from developer’s perspective.
For example, Midori; the default web browser on elementaryOS, is better than Epiphany; the GNOME web browser. Midori offers a side pane for bookmarks, history… etc, and customizable list of search engines (which is eliminated under elementaryOS!! However, the upstream source is more healthy!). Expanding options might server user.
However, from developer’s perspective, why a deverloper thinks of developing an email client from scratch, while a GNOME/GTK+/GPLd one like Evolution is out there, so that one can refine it and build a derivative work out of it?
Regarding the office applications suite, I have a vision for simplifying it from both user’s and developer’s perspectives. As you know; GNOME 3.0 theme is powered by CSS. Imagine that a GNOME theme has, not only format-instructions for the user interface widgets, but also for the documents written and read under this theme! User, then, will not worry about how documents look like, because all of them follow the system’s theme. User will focus only on the contents.
I believe that GWrite is closer to this vision comparing to AbiWord, which unfortunately seems lacks of an HTML support.
Moreover, rather than using several writing applications, a one for documents, another one for emails, and a third one for rich-text web editor like TinyMCE, imagine that there’s one desktop module for writing HTML-powered rich text, a module that can be used everywhere, just like the system calendar.
For further information about this vision check About RichStyle page.
I always believe that simplicity deserves sacrifice, but not of familiarity, which I believe that it comes from user’s previous experience.
Unfortunately, applications’ menus have been hided everywhere, maybe for simplicity’s sake. While I think they should be exist everywhere, even if it seemed useless, just for familiarity’s sake. Likewise, tool bars and status bars. I think that this is the main reason that keeps Google Chrome behind the Firefox in the market.
Actually, you will get this weird impression even at first glance of using elementaryOS, when you right-click on the desktop! I don’t see any reason to set it disabled.
I also wish I could see Mint menu, or even IrieMenu, in the upcoming version of elementaryOS. However, GNOME Shell will also be another alternative.
The elementary Theme
I’ve read once that the default desktop background in elementaryOS calls user back to Windows 95. I think this is right. I choose another background from the available backgrounds; “Relax”, it looks better.
Also, it’s not good to use light-on-light colors, they should be dark-on-light or light-on-dark instead.
Panel icons are one of the things that make elementaryOS desktop unique, but I wish if elementary icons could comply with the Icon Naming Specifications according to FreeDesktop.org.
Moreover, imagine also that these icons, as SVGs, are also associated with a CSS-powered GTK+ theme!
Trust me, GNOME + W3C = Linux Future! ☺