A Home in Gnome

Well, I just finished installing openSUSE 11 on my computer (well, I still have some issues to tie up, like wi-fi ... ugg ...) - contrary to my usual practice, I installed it with the Gnome desktop environment instead of KDE. My reason was that openSUSE is shipping with KDE 4.0 at the moment (and 3.5, but I want 4 sometime, and it seems like it would just be a hassle to try and upgrade a major version in place), and from what I've heard, though openSUSE has one of the best implementations of KDE 4, its still a bit point-oh in its feature support, and in its applications being updated for it, etc. - my plan is to wait for openSUSE to package up 4.1 before going back to KDE, so, in the meantime, I'm using Gnome. (Why didn't I just wait untill December and get 11.1, you ask? - my package management was completely borked on my previous install, and openSUSE 11 has big updates there) - It has been a bit of an adjustment making a home in Gnome (much more fun than making a home in my new apartment, which is still not quite unpacked :-) ), but my initial impressions are quite positive. - I use Firefox for web browsing, and Thunderbird for email, so that was no change (by the way, there is a great extension for Firefox called FEBE - it backs up and restores all your profile settings - the UI stinks, but I was able to transfer my Firefox over with much less hassle than re-downloading and configuring all my extensions). I've been using Pidgin instead of Kopete for IM, which I actually really like - the UI has a lot of the things I liked from the Google Talk desktop client (my first experience with IM) - its clean, well laid out, and provides exactly enough information). For a music player, Rhythmbox is doing a passable job - I don't like it quite as well as Amarok, but it has promise - the music selection and queueing interface seems a bit like a cross between Amarok's playlist-based model and iTunes search-based model. For a terminal, I've been using Tilda (as opposed to Yakuake on KDE) - both are basically hotkey based terminal emulators, and support tabs - Yakuake does it a bit more prettily, but no big differences. For other software, OpenOffice is, as always, my office suite (tab completion rocks!), but I've added TexMaker this year (you try taking set theory notes in OOoWriter, and trying to inseart a union symbol all the time - LaTeX rocks for that, and TexMaker is a good editor (you can get it for Windows too)). Anyway, if any of you have fuel for a Gnome vs. KDE flame war, feel free to toss it at me, and if you have any suggestions for good Gnome apps, I'd love to hear that too (especially if anyone knows of a graphical Go game - I'd like to learn to play, and computers are good for that).

Really Awesome Wicked Cool

For those of you that haven't heard yet, Google is coming out with a new web browser, and it looks beautiful. Google Chrome [link very well may be broken, but this is supposed to be the official site] is set to release Thursday - its open source, based on Webkit (the same rendering engine that powers Safari - its open source, standards compliant, and, as it is in Safari, gets enough developer love that it works well on the majority of web sites), has an entirely new JavaScript engine (called V8 - its supposed to be super-fast, so we'll see), Google Gears offline integration, and some really neat under the hood stuff, that they've explained in a comic [link has been intermittently down due to slashdot effect - try refreshing in a few minutes] (you'll get most of it if you're reasonably familiar with some programming/system administration concepts). The beta coming out Thursday is for Windows only :-( but they're apparently hard at work on Mac and Linux versions (I hope they actually use the native interface widgets, instead of their own separate theming engine, a la Firefox ... I mean, Firefox is pretty enough, but it doesn't really match the desktop ... (and in that case, I hope they do both a KDE and GTK version for Linux ... that would be really sweet ...))