XFCE, GnuSolaris and Collective Computer Dreams

I’ve been trying out (on an on-off basis) XFCE for a while now. Luckily, with Ubuntu it is really easy to have several flavors installed in parallel, a simple sudo aptitude install xubuntu-desktop installs you a fine alternative to the Gnome version of Ubuntu. Actually I am gearing more and more towards XFCE as I think it almost makes a better Gnome than Gnome itself 😉 XFCE seems to mostly follow Gnome’s interface guidelines (HIG) and seems to implement the Freedesktop.org standards better than Gnome, it provides slightly more configurability than Gnome (one of the major complaints of Geeks against Gnome). Probably most importantly, it integrates Gnome applications perfectly. So if you’re used to Evolution, Epiphany et al, you simply use those in XFCE and they integrate into XFCE just as they do in Gnome. Really fine and definitely worth a try.

Yesterday I was surfing over at the homepage of GnuSolaris a little, which is now called Nexenta OS. It is an OpenSolaris and GNU based operating system. I haven’t tried yet and probably won’t do this in the near future (no time to play now…) but it certainly looks interesting. What has suprised me was that it’s apparently based on Debian and Ubuntu. I think that is a great idea and highlights one of the advantages of Free and Open Source Software. There’s no need to reinvent the wheels. Simply grab the wheels that already exist for the stuff that you don’t want to care that deeply (but still are hugely important) and focus on your particular wheels (in the case of GnuSolaris it’s obviously the OpenSolaris kernel and tools). Telling from the screenshots it looks like a branded Ubuntu, which seems like a reasonable choice. I guess the main problem with Nexenta would be hardware support, but I’m speculating now.

Tom Tromey recently reported about Electric Sheep which 1. really makes a nice screensaver and 2. implements a kind of collective computer dream. Definitely a nice toy for geeks and a fun way to burn your CPU cycles and bandwidth. Be sure to have a look at the screenshots over there at least.

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