Desktop Envy

Here’s a screenshot of my current desktop:

Desktop SS Thumbnail

Since I’m out set to prove that Windows can make 10x cooler desktops than *nix, this can serve as a proof-of-concept screenshot 😀

Apps shown: BBLean (The Shell [opensource]), Foobar2000 (The Music Player [freeware]), K-Meleon (The Browser [opensource]), and minimized: Shareaza (The P2P App [opensource]), Klipfolio (The Feedreader [freeware]) and Netlimiter (The Bandwidth-Limiter [shareware]).

4 Replies to “Desktop Envy”

  1. You’re right, and it’s something that I often forget =). But the underlying layer has little to do with the end user-interface, at least, if the end-user is the average joe. It should be understood quite clearly that opensource development does not automatically translate to superior usability. In fact, in most cases, it does just the reverse… but like you’ve said, it’s a matter of personal preference. If you go by the median of an average user though, commercial products (in many cases) have superior UIs, simply because they put more time and effort into designing interfaces, while the average hacker would be worried about code optimization or program speed, and not about the user interface, though in most cases, that’s what matters most.

    Optimistically, this is a changing scenario as code-auditing becomes more refined and usability advisers become more common. The Firefox browser and the Thunderbird Mail client are excellent examples of a superior UI (and features) triumphing over the competition =)


  2. I wouldn’t delve into a desktop war here, because in the end its all a matter of personal opinion. And my opinion is – for open source hackable alternatives, common *nix desktop environment are far more superior than Windows. But right now I want to switch the attention from “desktop” to the usage of the word *nix/linux.

    One of the most important things here to be understood, is the reference to the word, “linux”. Linux != desktop so it doesn’t qualify for any kind of comparision. Its a flawed statement to say that a Linux Desktop is poor. Comparisions ought to be between the application layer such as the X window system commonly used in the *nix world. Yes, compared to Windows GUI, X window system is heavy but its a completely different model. And the lack of drivers is another problem (but we all know who to blame for that).

    A linux system is not limited to an X window system. Anybody can write a commercial light weight, specific purpose GUI. In fact MacOS is based on that principle. Any geek knows the superiority of the AquaOS GUI layer, developed by Apple, and based on a *NIX kernel. But obviously such superiority is not attributed to its underlying BSD layer.


  3. Actually, Win can do any of the above. I don’t understand what root-tail is, but a transparent console is available (tho because of the nature of windows, that’s pretty much moot). So is a tool called Samurize, which can display text anywhere on the desktop. The other various interface elements can be replicated using Litestep which is probably the most customisable shell in existence (Lin or Win): every little thing is a module [tray, popup, hotkeys even the desktop] and can be selectively loaded. It’s true though that customising it is hard (in the sense that it’s *nixlike text-editing, rather than a gui) but the modularity of it is amazing. It used to be pretty unstable in the past (till about two or three years ago) but it’s a pretty mature program now. Of course, these programs don’t cost $$$ [Litestep is opensource]; commercial programs like Stardock Windowblinds and their suite stretch the envelope even further… every design element that you want to customize (and even don’t want to) can be tweaked to your liking.

    In the end though, I tend to stray towards minimalism as an ideal, that’s why I love blackbox’s interface, and why I adore its ideology. A bloat-free Windows can be as zippy (or even zippier) than an equivalent Linux desktop. Of course nothing beats a self-compiled Gentoo box, but then that’s a costly nirvana 😉

    Maybe I should write a desktop customisation guide sometime… maybe one day I’ll even benchmark a productivity comparison between a tweaked windows and a tweaked linux 🙂

    Oh, the obligatory screenshot link 😉

    Vishnu 😀


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