Minor U.I. suggestions for future antiX versions

Forum Forums antiX-development Development Minor U.I. suggestions for future antiX versions

  • This topic has 58 replies, 10 voices, and was last updated Apr 10-8:58 pm by Brian Masinick.
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  • #136635
    Forum Admin
    anticapitalista

      … I wish… anticapitalista would be living on his own personal greek island …

      So do I! But, I’m not greedy – any Greek island will do!

      Philosophers have interpreted the world in many ways; the point is to change it.

      antiX with runit - leaner and meaner.

      #136646
      Moderator
      Brian Masinick

        @anticapitalista said: “any Greek island will do!”

        For me a few days to visit one of the Hawaiian islands would be really nice; that’s on our travel list some time in the next year!
        Hopefully we can visit at a time when no erupting volcano is in the immediate vicinity – (there is a LOT of volcanic activity in that
        region!

        I guess people in other regions of the world may want a visit to Bali or some other “dreamy” place! 🙂

        --
        Brian Masinick

        #136658
        Moderator
        Brian Masinick

          @PPC wrote: “antiX has always been extremely efficient, since I started using it. The main problem was that I could not use the default File Manager, Rox”.

          Like everything else in this world, it’s merely a matter of choice and configuration. The late Skidoo did a fantastic job updating one of the badly out of date file managers, creating the useful, effective, and to many, “more familiar” look and feel of zzzFM. I applaud that work and use it as my default file manager, in the few cases when I actually USE a file manager; most of the time I use custom alias commands bound to one to four characters, easily recognized for my own use.

          However, it actually turns out that the rox-filer is a nice, simple, configurable tool; with a little bit of customization, and maybe even some beautification, it can look and perform as well as any other file manager.

          I just ran man rox, which is in Section 1 of the manual pages, and it turns out there are indeed some very handy options that can easily TRANSFORM the use of rox; for example:

          these options allow you to configure the borders and border panel:

          COMMAND-LINE OPTIONS
          -b, –border=PANEL
          open PANEL.

          -B, –bottom=PANEL
          open PANEL as a bottom-edge panel.

          a few other options to configure things differently:

          -n, –new
          start a new filer, even if one already seems to be
          running. This also prevents the filer from forking (running in the
          background). This option is mainly useful for debugging.

          -p, –pinboard=PIN
          use pinboard PIN as the pinboard.

          -r, –right=PANEL
          open PANEL as a right-edge panel.

          Anyway, it is another viable file manager and it fits the antiX way of being lean and very efficient.

          --
          Brian Masinick

          #136659
          Moderator
          Brian Masinick

            By the way, type in rox and you start the file manager.

            Press ? and it’ll open folders with documentation that you can read to learn how to use it effectively.

            Again, it’s not the only tool, but it can be quite effective.

            --
            Brian Masinick

            #136663
            Member
            olsztyn

              I wish… anticapitalista would be living on his own personal greek island

              Hmmm…
              I am just thinking how we could make your wish come true… Anticapitalista already responded that he is willing to agree to such idea and it could be any Greek island, does not need to be his personal one…
              So having established such requirements, it might be relatively easy to accomplish such idea. I happen to own a very modest land property on Εύβοια (pronounced Evvia), second in size Greek island. Five minutes walk to the beach. As I never got around to build a house there and time does fly doesn’t it, We can build a residence for anticapitalista and move antiX’ headquarters from Thessaloniki to Evvia (Εύβοια) island. So @PPC, this your idea I would consider evolved to a plan that can be implemented.

              • This reply was modified 4 weeks, 1 day ago by olsztyn.

              Live antiX Boot Options (Previously posted by Xecure):
              http://antixlinuxfan.miraheze.org/wiki/Table_of_antiX_Boot_Parameters

              #136665
              Member
              Robin

                However, it actually turns out that the rox-filer is a nice, simple, configurable tool; with a little bit of customization, and maybe even some beautification, it can look and perform as well as any other file manager.

                I have to second you, Brian. Actually you can work with rox-filer very speedy, if you have memorised the specific shortcuts and combinations of key plus mouse operations. Seems it is mostly relying on direct mouse actions like drawing files to start actions, not menu oriented, and starting actions already when you try to select the file by a single click (for selecting you need a key+mouse click instead). Most distracting thing for me is the default sort order of files from left to right, making it difficult to spot a specific file in a huge alphabetically sorted folder: They are not lined up with the starting letters one below the other, like a phone book, but you have to search line by line whether the object you are after hides somewhere in the middle of it, even when they are also alphabetically sorted. Next line starts with an arbitrary next character, so this requires a lot of thinking in which line to search for your target… Hard work for the eyes. It has a reason why in printed phonebooks the entries were not written from left to right, but in columns… This allows an immediate overwiew where a specific entry can be found. But I guess this was forgotten by the current software designers: Today simply nobody knows phonebooks anymore, and also not the reason behind this sorting method. Luckily you can change rox-filer to column sort order. The default order is fine only for the special case if you merely have a handfull of files, best all with different icons, so you don’t need to read much before clicking it.

                it can be quite effective.

                Yes. Simply yes. That’s why antiX has it, I guess. Meanwhile I like it.

                Oh, another hint, not to forget: If you change antiX to a dark theme like I always do meanwhile, you’ll have to rework all the text colours within rox-filer’s options manually, the default colours only work on bright backgrounds and are invisible in dark themes, not changed to match automatically. So don’t wonder all your folders seem to have no text below them from which you could tell them apart…

                Windows is like a submarine. Open a window and serious problems will start.

                #136666
                Member
                Robin

                  A real suggestion and/or whishlist item for me is: Please change the text colour of the tabs line in root-zzzfm. This is thin black text on a dark red-brown background. The text is swallowed by the background so it is invisible, until you click a tab, then you can read what it contains, and mostly it is the wrong one. Have not found out by now how to change this text colour so it has a bit more contrast against the dark red background of the tabs. I reckon the text should be white when the background is dark, and dark if the background is white… This issue is only present when running the “Root window” of zzzfm, either from its menu entry in the zzzFM file menu, or sudoed from console, but not in the default zzzFM user sessions of the file manager.

                  Windows is like a submarine. Open a window and serious problems will start.

                  #136668
                  Moderator
                  Brian Masinick

                    Robin, you are definitely on to something.

                    Investigation of the foreground and background color configuration and how to modify it will almost certainly be the place to study, revise, experiment and ultimately configure as desired.

                    --
                    Brian Masinick

                    #139092
                    Member
                    PPC

                      *Small rant about “usability” of software:

                      I tend to fall asleep streaming some YouTube channels on my phone (I set it to “suspend” after 50 minutes or so) and last night I watched a Brazilian Youtuber (Dionatan from DioLinux) talk about how most people from the younger generation don’t really know the basics of using a computer. They grew up in a world where being connected to the internet 24/7 on a mobile device was their reality… yet they struggle to understand how “Folders” work, how to print, how to scan, how to use e-mail and for example, send file attachments, how to understand simple messages or warning the computer displays.
                      For most people, most basic computing tasks seem complex… People with a bit more than 50 were used to a world were computing and networking was not common place. People with less than 26 or so years, are used to a world of extremely simple to use (i.e. dumbed down) mobile devices, almost always connected to the internet. Generally speaking, both specters (less than 26 or older than 55 or so) can only use computers for very basic tasks. Older people are used to asking for help when they don’t know anything, but the problem with the younger generation is that most of them assume they know all there is to know about computers because they grew up with a small touchscreen enabled computer glued to their hands- they know how to use YouTube, “social media”/instante messaging/video call apps, and surf the web… and they assume they are tech wizards because they know how to do that… and it’s a blow to their ego when they have to ask for help. Folks in tech classes in university complain they can’t access their files because they have no idea where the hell they saved them, because they don’t understand folders (mobile devices usually lump files together by category, not folders- so they understand “documents” “images” “music” but don’t really get where all that information is stored). The abstraction layer between the user and computing devices is bigger than ever, leaving users with less knowledge than even about using computers. If you know the basics of what folders and file extensions are, you can search for them. If you don’t and the file that you want to work on does not pop open instantly, then you are stuck looking at an empty screen, thinking “a bug in the matrix” erased all your work, and are too ashamed to ask for help.

                      *Concrete suggestions:
                      …that’s why I tend to try to create GUI’s so antiX is easier to use by the most people. Today I suggested a new IceWM Control Centre version, that includes a couple of new options. If it works without problems, I think it will work antiX easier to use for most people. Why do I say that? Well, most people only know one computing UI- mobile. In the mobile world, usually apps are all listed together (on an “app drawer” or similar abstraction layer, what we on the desktop world would call “all apps” menu) or displayed in what we, on the desktop world would all “desktop icons”, were they place their favorite apps, for easier access (or were the device also places newly installed apps, because, you know, “users are too dumb to find out how to access the app they just installed, right?”)…
                      One of the new features of the suggested IceWM CC is allowing users to see all the App Categories straight in the first layer of the menu. I’m not sure if that helps clueless users find apps faster. Probably those users are better off just using app-select, that lists “all apps” in a fully searchable way.
                      One of the features I think the antiX menu needs is a “All apps” menu category, placed just on the top of the list of categories (once I even created a simple script that generates such sub-menu “on the fly”). That may help users find apps faster, and I think it’s not particularly hard to implement, just a small tweak in the script that generates the “menu” file would do.
                      One thing that antiX CC could have out of the box could be a Bluetooth entry (it can install the required software packages, if they are missing OR allow access to BT management, if every dependency is installed). Other than that, I have very few important suggestions for antiX/IceWM Control Centres… Maybe a “Power Management” tab, including the recent “auto suspend” feature and a couple more features?

                      I always compare antiX with the mainstream distros, that use Gnome or KDE as their desktop. The good news is that using the proposed ICeWM CC does make the antiX menu almost as easy to use and intuitive as using KDE…

                      *Comparing antiX’s IceWM “desktop” with KDE:
                      -I tested Kunbuntu and by default is uses a menu that includes:
                      – search field (antiX has app-select that does the same, and also allows to pin the selected apps anywhere the user wants)
                      – a list of Application Categories, on the first layer of the menu, including an “All applications” category (the proposed IceWM CC allows to have the Categories to the first layer of the menu, but does not add an “All applications” entry)
                      – a “menu tab” (sorry I don’t know the correct expression) that allows users to access “Storage Device, Recent applications, Recent files”- antiX’s IceWM includes a “File Manager” and “Recent Files” entries on the first layer of the menu, making it a bit “taller” but also allowing access to everything, no “tabs” required (“Recent applications” is not possible in antiX, as far as I know, because it does not track the way users use apps)
                      – options to log off, shut down the computer, etc.- antiX does provide that on the first layer of the menu
                      – KDE allows applets, such as clocks, network and disk usage meters, etc. By default, antiX includes Conky that does all that. My proposed script to manage Conky can use a “Modern” conky configuration, that emulates the existence of “applets” that users can freely toggle on/off using a GUI. The downside of using Conky – it’s not interactive (user’s can’t click anything on conky and have it act accordingly, not by default).
                      – KDE is extremely configurable. antiX, with antiX CC and IceWM CC is almost as easy to configure as KDE (considering the limitations of using a tiny fraction of the resources KDE uses).
                      – KDE includes desktop icons and right clicking the desktop summons a contextual menu. antiX includes desktop icons by default and right clicking the desktop by default summons the antiX menu, but users can configure ZzzFM (that by default is used by antiX to process desktop icons) so right clicking the desktop summons a contextual menu (as most DE users expect).

                      Edit: *Off Topic- a couple of months or so ago, I set up antiX on a young university student’s laptop. I was surprised when, over the phone, I was trying to help her use LibreOffice Writer and see said she had a window with a message over the main window. She said she would close it and was frustrated when she noticed the window did not close. I asked her to read me the contents of the window: it was the “welcome tips” window. Instead of closing the window, she was just clicking “next”, hoping that it would go away, and of course, the next tip showed up. So, yeah, that’s how much kids that grew up using smartphones and tablets understand about “using computers”. That’s not an “antiX” problem. The exact same thing would happen if she was using Windows… I hope she just uses MS 365 Electron (that I configured for her) because if she does not, I’ll very soon get a call from her, scared because she can’t access the document she created in LibreOffice.

                      P.

                      • This reply was modified 3 days, 1 hour ago by PPC.
                      • This reply was modified 3 days, 1 hour ago by PPC.
                      • This reply was modified 3 days, 1 hour ago by PPC.
                      #139115
                      Moderator
                      Brian Masinick

                        @PPC Your generalized impression of various age groups may be fairly accurate for a decent percentage of the age groups but I hasten to remind you that it was the older age group that invented nearly 100% of current technology concepts dating clear back to the early sixties for the major software research (predominantly found in MULTICS and IBM’s VM/CMS).

                        Hardware research has longer and consistent periods of invention but some of the earliest work dates back to 1948!

                        The young community has done a lot to leverage the technology each time the hardware produced increases capabilities too, so while I get your point with the non technical community the general comments struck me as a good general point yet not a complete picture of any particular group of influence.

                        --
                        Brian Masinick

                        #139123
                        Member
                        PPC

                          Your generalized impression of various age groups may be fairly accurate for a decent percentage of the age groups but

                          That’s exactly why, in my (not so) small rant, I use expressions like “For most people”, “Generally speaking”, etc.
                          There are “tech wizards” or “advanced users” of all ages, both younger and older… Even so, about 90 to 95% of computer users of all ages are only able to do very basic tasks…
                          That’s exactly why I always try to make antiX as easy to use as possible, it that can be done without using extra system resources (other than some kb of storage space, for my scripts, or small programs that do not stay resident on RAM and allow for extra functionality most people expect, like skippy-xd, etc).

                          PS: I recently showed antiX to someone, and that person was very impressed with the power of open source. For now, I installed LibreOffice a Windows 10 machine, just to get people used to it… that will make it much easier to transition to antiX, if it comes to that.

                          P.

                          #139124
                          Forum Admin
                          rokytnji

                            Learned something. I hit the alt+shift+? and bring up the search gui while mc is open. Never knew about it.

                            [/url]

                            Sometimes I drive a crooked road to get my mind straight.
                            I don't suffer from insanity. I enjoy every minute off it.
                            Motorcycle racing is rocket science.

                            Linux Registered User # 475019
                            How to Search for AntiX solutions to your problems

                            #139125
                            Moderator
                            Brian Masinick

                              I agree; you are describing the majority of the general population; here in this forum, the percentages are likely to be significantly different and probably skewed toward middle age to older people, though a wide variety of people will try out antiX.

                              --
                              Brian Masinick

                              #139138
                              Moderator
                              Brian Masinick

                                Going back to the @Robin discussion about rox / rox-filer, I believe some of the reasons that the format, borders, and other graphical components in rox are not highly configured is that it was presumed that these would be handled and customized by either the window manager or the desktop environment and I believe that rox was in the early GNOME and/or Xfce before those desktop environments wrote or rewrote their own; Nautilus probably took over in GNOME; Thunar probably took over in Xfce, and KDE has always had multiple file managers, such as Dolphin, Krusader and Konqueror.

                                When fvwm added a pseudo desktop environment, the fvwm-crystal component crudely assembled quite a few bits and pieces; though not as neatly integrated as the other integrated desktop environments, the overhead of fvwm-crystal can be easily managed and I can remember that fvwm-crystal ran VERY WELL on a 100 MHz 32-bit Micron P100 desktop computer with Slackware. Though Slackware didn’t have the good tools it has now to automate device handling in their installation program, other than that, the early versions were super cool and I greatly enjoyed using them. By mid nineties desktop standards that machine ran pretty well with Slackware and it was FUN.

                                I don’t remember using rox with that version of Slackware; I typically used the command line for basic work and the GUI mainly for Web pages (which were also much simpler and therefore “faster”, at least taking into account the equipment of the day. The programs that still work from those days are VERY fast and efficient; other than a rather plain appearance they were excellent; given the relative performance of systems in those days, I was much more likely to use the command line versus a GUI except with Web browsers; even then, if I was simply reading text, I’d do it with some form of command-based reader such as an editor or a command producing readable output.

                                --
                                Brian Masinick

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