Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Is Eye Candy bad for Ubuntu/Linux ?

I came across an Article on the relevance of Compiz-Fusion in Linux particularly in Ubuntu. The Author, Matt Hartley, has published two different articles Here and Here to emphasize the same thing. His main argument is that Compiz makes Linux Complicated.
The Ubuntu GNOME looses its very foundations -- its simplicity.
I think he might be right on certain points but overall I do not agree with him.
Lets look at some of his points
  1. Ubuntu Looses Stability with Compiz enabled. Now some people still claim Compiz Fusion to be an unstable software, but for home users it is fairly stable. I just started using it on my SUSE KDE 10.3 and have found it to be very stable and an eye candy. Though I surely results in a decrease in performance or the snappyness of the system, but stability wise I have no complaints. I believe Ubuntu should be equally good too.
  2. Compiz-Fusion is too Complex. If you read my post mentioned above and an addition to it regarding some easy configuration, you can see that Compiz is easier to setup and use than configuring a XOrg Server. Its a one time configuration using GUI tools and I never had to check it again. Where does the question of Complexity comes ? If Matt refers to the various options offered by Compiz, well those are options -- use only the ones you like. Also by default some options are enabled which might be good for most users.
  3. People should try Linux for reasons other than Compiz. This is a debatable topic. If people can try Linux for its stability, for it being virus-free then why not for its eye-candy ? Lets agree that Linux does not support all the hardware supported by Windows, Windows have better applications and Windows have better games. If Linux can claim that it has better eye candy, then whats the harm in this ?
  4. Is Running Compiz-Fusion An Insult to GNOME's Mission? No Comments. I am no expert on GNOMEs mission or its simplicity- heck I don't even use GNOME. I am a KDE Guy, but strongly believe that a beautiful desktop is a beautiful desktop -GNOME or KDE.
  5. Metacity Allows for Duplicable results. Not sure what does he means, but if he means that by running Compiz we give more options to user, then is it a bad thing ? Linux is all about option. We have options in form of Window manger ( KDE, GNOME, XFCE, E17, Fluxbox etc.. ) Web Browser ( Firefox, Konqueror, Flock, Opera etc.. ) then why not have an option to beautify our desktop. If all it takes to have beautiful effects is a few clicks in a GUI Configurator then options are good. Well !! even for a beginner.
  6. Following Vista/OSX/KDE is not good. If Vista has some good points, I see no shame in duplicating the same on Linux. People love Vista/OSX looks. gnome-look.org has many Vista/OSX themes. Even a project called mac4Lin exists and is a huge success. People love eye candy. If Compiz Fusion saves them the trouble of manually doing these things then following XXXX is good.

Stability is a very big factor for me, I have even bashed SUSE when I had some stability problems with 10.3. However, we should not forget that we install the latest SUSE or a Latest Ubuntu the day it is released. We want the latest softwares. Here lies the catch.
Now if we go for the latest software some bugs are destined to crop up, however, Compiz is to be used on Home Desktop and not production Servers, hence some slight problems should be OK. Some problems are found even in the Latest versions of Firefox, Should we revert back to Firefox 1.X and look for stability. If we are so stability conscious then we might try Debian sarge with Linux Kernel 3.1 instead of the more contemporary Ubuntu.
All this apart, I have not faced any stability problem with Compiz-Fusion on my SUSE, else I would definitely have mentioned in this blog.

For any Distribution the first appealing point is its Looks, thats the reason almost all leading distributions have screenshots on their sites. If Linux can impress a possible convert with the help of Compiz-Fusion I think its a job well done.


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16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Excuse the anonymous comment, i really don't need to be divulging my email address to yet another login system which really doesn't need it.

Ok, you put Windows XP infront of a PC, and people say, ok, its a PC running windows..

Put the next version of Windows, Vista on the PC, and despite all the negative press justified or unjustified, surrounding this product, average joe will still say Wow, thats pretty, and be hooked..

So put Ubuntu, Suse, Sabayon running compiz-fusion on a desktop and show the same user, and again, they will go, "wow, thats perdy" then tell 'em its free..

Basically eye Candy is king for the average consumer.. Looks over substance. For petes sake there are a million better MP3 players out there, than the iPod, and a million better phones than the iPhone, but both these products sell well because apple understand the basics of eye candy..

Compiz-Fusion (i'm runing 6.0) is stable, i've never had it lock up, die off or any othe these things, and i'm running a low end ATI card..

Think of it as Advertising, its the hook, which baits the fish..

Abhay said...

Very well said.
If you allow me I want to incorporate some parts of this as part of my original article.
The comparison of iPod/iPhone to others is simply incredible.
I can't agree with you more.

I am also running Compiz-Fusion on Nvidia 6200 256 mb and that is definitely not the latest or greatest card. Again I would say I never had a crash with Compiz. With Firefox I had some.

Saptarshi Purkayastha said...

Even in my experience, eye-candy is important to the new user. Think of it as a lollypop to lure the kid... But are we all kids to get lured by just external appearances??... Hmmm is a personal choice!!

But you mention some interesting points and I agree to most of you mentions. But whenever someone tells me about eye-candy and OS, I think people should look at the Mac for inspiration. They just don't have eye-candy for the sake of good looks, it also improves usability and inturn improves productivity... I really don't see that happen much with Compiz at the moment!!

And just for some outlook on historic GUI inspirations, you may want to look at this article.

Abhay said...

I really do not think that Compiz is not well integrated. I can talk in terms of KDE and I feel that Compiz just feels like a part/extension of it. Though it does not have the elegance of Mac but its on its way.
And yes its eye candy which actually attracts a new user to an OS

jun said...

Compiz has done a lot to boost Linux's popularity rating and should not be taken for granted.

Abhay said...

True Jun,
Compiz is definately helping Linux adaptation

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