Homogenizing antiX19 User Interface (proof of concept)

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  • #21360
    Member
    manyroadsmanyroads

    Hello all.

    I have been working on developing a standard look & feel across the major windowmanagers offered on antiX19 (alpha). I have included links to my desktop images. Note I am using papirus-antix icons (we still need more square icons before fluxbox will look good).

    Notes (the following are in use)
    — synapse- semantic launcher (in use)
    — tint2 for a nicer task panel (in use)
    — installed fontawesome for icons on polybar (quick launch)
    — polybar (in use for standard taskbar, launcher)
    — jgmenu (in use for standard menu across antiX wm’s)
    — compton (in use as compositor)

    Known limitations & ‘bugs’
    — I did not include herbstluftwm (fall air window manager); I’m already working with a bunch of tools I’ve never used before. This would be a bridge too far for me right now.
    — jwm has too much opacity (perhaps someone can help me find where the settings are)
    — jwm shades_of_grey theme needs more work to match numix colors
    — polybar does not go to the bottom layer (polybar limitation for these wm’s)
    — I did not set a Desktop icon manager (nor will I, that is up to you since there are numerous file managers to choose from)

    I plan on expanding this effort to include Openbox, if I am able.

    Special thanks to everyone who have offered insights and comments to help me in this effort including Stevo, KoO, ppc, noClue, skidoo and others.

    Here are the 7 Desktop images. Please be advised, this is a work in progress.

    https://ibb.co/gdV3KRY
    https://ibb.co/JHKQJXp
    https://ibb.co/RC6kR39
    https://ibb.co/DDmMyqS
    https://ibb.co/WnJt81B
    https://ibb.co/0tJ8RGF
    https://ibb.co/CsVYf4Q

    Pax vobiscum,
    Mark Rabideau - http://many-roads.com
    MX-19 kernel: 5.2.21-antix.1-amd64-smp
    "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken
    MX- antiX- bspwm, hlwm, xfce4

    #21361
    Member
    KooKoo

    manyroads

    Awesome work can’t wait to see the finish desktop. Also nice to see the round papirus-antix icons and lovely use of transparency..

    anitX-19 (5.2.21-antix.2-amd64-smp) + (i3)
    Debian 4.19.67-2+deb10u2 + (i3)

    #21368
    AvatarAnonymous

    With all due respect but, maybe you should consider changing the title to:

    Homogenizing antiX19 User Interface (proof of VERY BAD concept)

    1. If one’s installing Fluxbox / IceWM / JWM, one has a good reason to do so
    (There’s no good reason to install them all at once but, that’s allowed too)

    If you make them all look same — why not keep only one and remove the rest?
    (OpenBox will do almost the same, if you add all what you plan to add here.)

    2. You are designing a memory hog that’s quiet the opposite of “mean & lean”.

    3. I could now start explaining why and what to do and what not and why but, i’ll just tell it in 5 screenshots.

    1st screenshot — That’s pretty but, not very usable
    2nd screenshot — That’s OK look but, good usable (that said, if it would work as designed)
    3rd screenshot — That’s good looking AND has excelent usabillity (understand it as a reference for ‘how to do it right’)
    4th screenshot — That’s the Nr. 3 again but, this time only Start Menu (doesn’t fit on single screenshot)
    5th screenshot — That’s the Nr. 4 but this time, with alphabetic menu instead of list

    You managed to produce quiet the oposite: it doesn’t look good and it’s unusable.

    Tipp:

    Concentrate on usabillity: No black themes, no transparency under 90 ~ 95 %, high text contrast and good fonts legibillity.

    Further reading:
    https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2014/10/color-contrast-tips-and-tools-for-accessibility/

    Icons and themes for the inspiration:
    https://www.noobslab.com/p/themes-icons.html
    https://b00merang.weebly.com

    #21374
    Member
    oopsoops

    FI: Too much blue for me … I keep away from the blue light and purple, in a long term, the blue light is the most dangerous for the eyes.

    #21375
    AvatarAnonymous

    Hmmmm … It’s not the color that we are talking about here but, I supose you noticed that. 😉

    #21380
    Member
    oopsoops

    Yes, it’s just an opportunity to say by the way, and it’s just an advice 😉
    … Also I like the manyroads concept.

    #21381
    AvatarAnonymous

    Also I like the manyroads concept.

    Liking it is legit and out of question but …

    There was the announcement in #21340 by manyroads:

    “I am trying to build a numix like theme for jwm, iceWM and fluxbox WMs.”

    What I expected here was, one takes one/some existing Fluxbox, IceWM and JWM themes (or writes them new from scratch for that matter) and makes them look simmilar but, in a way which would keep the original ‘soul(~s)’ (== concept) of all 3 WMs.

    The examples from above (apart from their usability issues) are not re-theming but, complete re-workflowing!

    That’s absolutely insane (except as a proof of concept) because, if one chooses the Fluxbox, one wants to have its worklow.

    Otherwise, one could also create one MacWinKDEgnomeXFCEqtLXopenFluxIceWMenlightenmentBudgieMateBox and then it’s done once for all and for everybody.

    #21383
    Member
    manyroadsmanyroads

    Gruß dich, noClue.

    I await your prototype Numix adjusted themes. These are the best themes I could find for use; and, they have been quickly tweaked for a ‘similar’ look & feel. Once, you send your “more excellent” efforts I’ll give them a go. (To be honest the theme layout is actually one of the least time consuming aspects of this proof of concept effort.)

    Sadly many of your comments are centered on your personal preferences, in terms of colors etc. Not surprising, I suppose. Although your preferences and expectations may be interesting, they are simply your personal perspective. I, also, note you seem to be a fan of MS Human Machine Interface standards (not my personal favorite). Different strokes for different folks. 😉

    As for the spirit of a window manager(wm) you mentioned, what exactly is that? I certainly have no idea. None even provide a consistent base of service or functionality. What is the spirit to which you refer? Once you provide links to where these wm “spirits are documented”, I’ll see if there is anything I may have over-looked in the areas where these ‘spirits’ offer commonality. From that, I might be able to ‘fix’ any omission; assuming I have the skills and can find the requisite open source building blocks.

    Actually though I should note, my attempt in this ‘proof of concept’ is intentionally in contrast with whatever a specific wm might have as a spirit. I am attempting to prove that antiX given its numerous desktop offerings can provide a reasonably consistent, light desktop; an adequately common user feel; and allow the functionality of antiX shine past any wm’s traditional form such that users are more able to assess the antiX platform’s functionality (from a common point of departure). Remember form & function in engineering? I am hoping to demonstrate is a cohesive look & coherent look across wms, not the “beauty of a particular wm”. The desktops I design will never be perfect, nor will they be to everyone’s taste or preferences. They won’t even demonstrate all the desktop functions I prefer to use/ see because of the limitations of the individual wms; and the fact that wms do not all provide the same functionality.

    My intention is to make antiX even more exciting and usable for people with limited resource hardware platforms (especially those who may not want to turn too many extra knobs). As always, I am happy to evaluate and incorporate contributions of others. I will certainly share what I produce “for free” to anyone who might be interested. Users are free to modify change, improve, or break anything I build.

    My work is always provided without charge (fee), guaranty or warranty. You may use my work, change my work, and you get to keep all the pieces when you break ‘my work’. Remember my work is always worth every penny you will pay for it… nothing. 🙂

    • This reply was modified 6 months, 4 weeks ago by manyroads.

    Pax vobiscum,
    Mark Rabideau - http://many-roads.com
    MX-19 kernel: 5.2.21-antix.1-amd64-smp
    "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken
    MX- antiX- bspwm, hlwm, xfce4

    #21385
    Member
    oopsoops

    lol … As Alice in Wonderland said in your signature “How strange is to be anything at all” . I humbly say, please noClue, no clue no glue. 😉

    • This reply was modified 6 months, 4 weeks ago by oops.
    #21388
    Member
    manyroadsmanyroads

    Gruß dich, noClue.

    I await your prototype Numix adjusted themes. These are the best themes I could find for use; and, they have been quickly tweaked for a ‘similar’ look & feel. Once, you send your “more excellent” efforts I’ll give them a go. (To be honest the theme layout is actually one of the least time consuming aspects of this proof of concept effort.)

    Sadly many of your comments are centered on your personal preferences, in terms of colors etc. Not surprising, I suppose. Although your preferences and expectations may be interesting, they are simply your personal perspective. I, also, note you seem to be a fan of MS Human Machine Interface standards (not my personal favorite). Different strokes for different folks. 😉

    As for the spirit of a window manager(wm) you mentioned, what exactly is that? I certainly have no idea. None even provide a consistent base of service or functionality. What is the spirit to which you refer? Once you provide links to where these wm “spirits are documented”, I’ll see if there is anything I may have over-looked in the areas where these ‘spirits’ offer commonality. From that, I might be able to ‘fix’ any omission; assuming I have the skills and can find the requisite open source building blocks.

    Actually though I should note, my attempt in this ‘proof of concept’ is intentionally in contrast with whatever a specific wm might have as a spirit. I am attempting to prove that antiX given its numerous desktop offerings can provide a reasonably consistent, light desktop; an adequately common user feel; and allow the functionality of antiX shine past any wm’s traditional form such that users are more able to assess the antiX platform’s functionality (from a common point of departure). Remember form & function in engineering? I am hoping to demonstrate is a cohesive look & coherent look across wms, not the “beauty of a particular wm”. The desktops I design will never be perfect, nor will they be to everyone’s taste or preferences. They won’t even demonstrate all the desktop functions I prefer to use/ see because of the limitations of the individual wms; and the fact that wms do not all provide the same functionality.

    My intention is to make antiX even more exciting and usable for people with limited resource hardware platforms (especially those who may not want to turn too many extra knobs). As always, I am happy to evaluate and incorporate contributions of others. I will certainly share what I produce “for free” to anyone who might be interested. Users are free to modify change, improve, or break anything I build.

    My work is always provided without charge (fee), guaranty or warranty. You may use my work, change my work, and you get to keep all the pieces when you break ‘my work’.

    Pax vobiscum,
    Mark Rabideau - http://many-roads.com
    MX-19 kernel: 5.2.21-antix.1-amd64-smp
    "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken
    MX- antiX- bspwm, hlwm, xfce4

    #21390
    AvatarAnonymous

    Wunderschöne liebe Grüsse, manyroads.

    I don’t remember that I ever promised you any customized Numix themes, however that’s really not that hard. Quick and dirty done right now (1st screenshot) … SunnyDay antiX (Numix-like) I don’t see much problem to change the colors of both (2nd screenshot) so they fit together.

    Absolutely none of my comments are based on my personal taste and you have no idea what my personal taste is or how my Desktop looks like. You see only my VM’s. What is the spirit to which I refer, you’d rather ask the people who use their preferred WMs for years and stick to it because of some reason. That ‘spirit’ are many small things together, the good ones and the quirks. UI/UX and usability is a science, not a design matter. You should at least understand some very basics of it … I hope that you read what you’re recommending. I’ve got my certificate. 😉

    As a proof of concept you already succeed but, that’s exactly what it’s good for (as seen from those few screenshots!) and where it should stay at — the proof of concept. Real humans need real tools to get their work efficiently done, not yet another experiment. There are too many experiments already, in that pretty broken Linux world.

    If your intention is to make antiX even more exciting and usable through transparencies and a lack of contrast, then I’m really feeling sorry for the poor victims but, there’s gonna be another fork of a forks fork. If you think that what’s on your screenshots is ‘usability’, then “Don’t believe everything you think.” 😉

    #21394
    Member
    manyroadsmanyroads

    Okay sportsfans…

    Here are images of antiX with the Openbox wm. So now I have 4 wm(s) which look pretty similar and run on the antiX19 base.

    https://ibb.co/1drJzS4
    https://ibb.co/vPk8Mmy
    https://ibb.co/XXbY7mb

    Items that have been requested and/or remain open include: :turtle:
    — stickiness of the panels (top & bottom)
    — launcher (I use synapse others have been requested)
    — the jwm Numix-like theme needs work
    — the fluxbox Numix theme needs work (there are two and neither are very good)
    — would it be better to have only one panel? I like two but for an antiX release that’s a decision above my paygrade.
    — wallpapers ought to antiX branded if they are to be used formally for antiX
    — performance needs to be tested/ approved if this work is used officially
    — a color palette should be chosen for anything official, again above my paygrade
    — I did not set a Desktop icon manager (nor will I), that ‘requirement’ would need to be decided by the devs if this project were something antiX wanted done; also above my paygrade
    — I did not include herbstluftwm (fall air window manager); I’m already working with a bunch of tools I’ve never used before. This would be a bridge too far for me right now.

    I am pretty certain that if this is to become something that the antiX developers want done, we will need to take the project-level discussion off-line. If it’s something that another user wants help with, I am happy to share the details of my work here on the forum. Ask & you shall receive (whatever I have and know).

    But given what a prrof of concept is supposed to be, I think I have proven that the following window managers (iceWM, fluxbox, Openbox, jwm) can be made to look pretty current and contain a modicum of eye-candy, even by someone with my limited skiils.

    Pax vobiscum,
    Mark Rabideau - http://many-roads.com
    MX-19 kernel: 5.2.21-antix.1-amd64-smp
    "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken
    MX- antiX- bspwm, hlwm, xfce4

    #21400
    AvatarAnonymous

    Transparency … the good and the bad ‘suboptimal’ …

    “Ergonomics is the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimise human well-being and overall system performance.” International Ergonomics Association

    “Ergonomics is a science-based discipline that brings together knowledge from other subjects such as anatomy and physiology, psychology, engineering and statistics to ensure that designs complement the strengths and abilities of people and minimise the effects of their limitations. Rather than expecting people to adapt to a design that forces them to work in an uncomfortable, stressful or dangerous way, ergonomists and human factors specialists seek to understand how a product, workplace or system can be designed to suit the people who need to use it.

    In achieving this aim, we need to understand and design for the variability represented in the population, spanning such attributes as age, size, strength, cognitive ability, prior experience, cultural expectations and goals. Qualified ergonomists are the only recognised professionals to have competency in optimising performance, safety and comfort.”

    https://www.ergonomics.org.uk/Public/Resources/What_is_Ergonomics_.aspx

    Here some examples of well done UI/UX, ergonomics and use of transparency.
    Just as a reference and to think about and compare.

    Would you enjoy developing websites (or whatever) on a semi-transparent IDE, day-after-day, year-after-year, 8-hours a day?

    #21409
    AvatarAnonymous

    Just one of many details of ‘Window Manager Soul’, ‘own life’ …

    When somebody decides on use of one WM, then one takes it with all it’s advantages and disadvantages.

    #21431
    Member
    manyroadsmanyroads

    For those who are interested here’s where I am currently.

    Items now included on the antiX setup by default:

    From within tint2:
    — meteo-qt: weather app (I’m not very excited about this app; other recommendations are welcomed)
    — orage calendar (click the date)
    — kupfer (semantic launcher search/ function. It is activated by the <Insert> key.

    From within autostart script:
    — tint2 is started
    — feh (wallpaper) is started– it is set to randomly change backgrounds
    — jgmenu (it is modified to closely resemble Whiskermenu available on xfce)
    — numerous icon application launchers
    — date & time (clicking on the text activates ‘orage’
    — Volume master (sadly the icon is black)
    — tint2 is started & positions itself, currently, at the screen bottom
    — compton is started (default settings are established/ set from within compton-conf.)

    Current Bugs:
    — fluxbox, the non-icon friendly wm (does not display icons for kupfer or meteo-qt) on the toolbar. I think it’s probably a jpg/ png/ svg thing.
    — the meteo-qt iconset is itty bitty!

    Desktop icons… I’m still trying to figure out what to do with them. I plan to hack around with the antique iDesk code to see what is able to do. I really am not happy with what spaceFM, PCmanFM do to (with?) wallpapers. Ideas here are welcome.

    Performance—
    — Description of the VBox platform I’m using for this effort may be found at the end of this message.
    The base desktop (as described above, according to htop, seems to idle on:
    — iceWM at about 360 MB . Conky reads out at under 600M (Somebody -me?- needs to fix conky, I guess).
    — fluxbox at about 330 MB (probably because they don’t waste any memory on displaying icons correctly.)
    — jwm at about 322MB
    — openbox idles at just under 350MB

    I am considering creating an optional taskbar that mimics MX’s standard left-side layout. The tint files I develop will be equally usable on antiX and MX. My fees for either are identical. 😉

    If you have materials you’d like me to consider adding to this mix of ‘tiny tools’. Please make them available via download (from somewhere easily accessed). Any information you can provide will be helpful. I promise I’ll check them out. I won’t promise to add them to what I’m buiding, but you will be able to add them to your setup soon!

    Screenshot (with a lot going on…):
    https://ibb.co/0mw6QbD

    [code]
    System:
    Host: antix1 Kernel: 4.9.170-antix.1-amd64-smp x86_64 bits: 64
    Desktop: IceWM 1.4.3.0~pre-20181030
    Distro: antiX-19.a2_x64-full Marielle Franco 6 May 2019
    Machine:
    Type: Virtualbox System: innotek product: VirtualBox v: 1.2 serial: <root required>
    Mobo: Oracle model: VirtualBox v: 1.2 serial: <root required> BIOS: innotek
    v: VirtualBox date: 12/01/2006
    Battery:
    ID-1: BAT0 charge: 50.0 Wh condition: 50.0/50.0 Wh (100%)
    CPU:
    Topology: Single Core model: Intel Core i5-6300U bits: 64 type: MCP
    L2 cache: 3072 KiB
    Speed: 2496 MHz min/max: N/A Core speed (MHz): 1: 2496
    Graphics:
    Device-1: InnoTek Systemberatung VirtualBox Graphics Adapter driver: vboxvideo
    v: 5.2.24 r128163
    Display: server: X.Org 1.20.3 driver: modesetting unloaded: fbdev,vesa
    resolution: 1920×958~60Hz
    OpenGL: renderer: llvmpipe (LLVM 7.0 256 bits) v: 3.3 Mesa 18.3.4
    Audio:
    Device-1: Intel 82801AA AC97 Audio driver: snd_intel8x0
    Sound Server: ALSA v: k4.9.170-antix.1-amd64-smp
    Network:
    Device-1: Intel 82540EM Gigabit Ethernet driver: e1000
    IF: eth0 state: up speed: 1000 Mbps duplex: full mac: 08:00:27:84:bf:22
    Device-2: Intel 82371AB/EB/MB PIIX4 ACPI type: network bridge driver: piix4_smbus
    Drives:
    Local Storage: total: 10.00 GiB used: 620.73 GiB (6207.3%)
    ID-1: /dev/sda vendor: VirtualBox model: VBOX HARDDISK size: 10.00 GiB
    Partition:
    ID-1: / size: 8.76 GiB used: 5.34 GiB (61.0%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/sda1
    ID-2: swap-1 size: 1024.0 MiB used: 0 KiB (0.0%) fs: swap dev: /dev/sda2
    Sensors:
    Message: No sensors data was found. Is sensors configured?
    Info:
    Processes: 134 Uptime: 1h 58m Memory: 7.80 GiB used: 653.3 MiB (8.2%) Shell: bash
    inxi: 3.0.33
    [/code]

    Pax vobiscum,
    Mark Rabideau - http://many-roads.com
    MX-19 kernel: 5.2.21-antix.1-amd64-smp
    "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken
    MX- antiX- bspwm, hlwm, xfce4

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