Originally posted by Gene Clean
It's not about being pedantic,
The distinction between the window server, the desktop environment, the window manager, etc. is a problematic one because users could never understand that, and an unnecessary one because the choice between different ones is unlikely to be of any advantage.
The window server could easily be a one-size-fits-all thing: Windows GDI lacks 3d acceleration, Quartz lacks networking and X11 lacks common sense. X11 could easily become obsolete on the Mac by adding networking to Quartz. X11, given various extensions, has all features a user could ever want, only they're all implemented poorly and impractically. It doesn't even have a universal interface for copy and paste, for drag and drop, etc. Zealots will be quick to jump up and say that this is the way it's supposed to be, that it adds flexibility, and that choice is good. Well, good for them, but X11 is a huge part of the reason desktop Linux still royally sucks. Choices are no use when they all fight against each other; few good choices outweigh many bad choices.
The desktop environment, too, is an unnecessary choice. The correct answer to a Linux distro installer's question of "do you want to install GNOME, or KDE?" should be: "I just want to fucking use my computer". KDE has shown time and again that they are unable to understand the nature of human-computer interaction; thankfully, they are slowly disappearing from most distributions. It is unfortunate, however, that projects like Kubuntu still exist, and it is even worse that someone like Torvalds doesn't realize that an engineer could never understand this matter, and has chosen to speak up about it.
The window manager is an even more quixotic matter.
it's about being able to rationally disuss something with the prior knowledge of what it is, rather than some flavor-of-the-month dissing term Mac zealots came up with (since when do Linux people claim that a window manager designed by them has the best user interface? Since that's the claim going around...)
I have no idea what you're trying to say here.
I'm just trying to let him know that X11 doesn't make apps look bad automagically,
No, but see, Quartz/Aqua and Windows's UI make apps look somewhat good automatigally. That's the difference.
and that it's job is much different than being a UI Builder. Or even a toolkit.
But see, that's not the point. There is no reason such a distinction should exist to begin with. An application shouldn't be built for a toolkit; it should be built for an OS.
People don't seem to know that X11 apps are usually created with either GTK+ or Qt.
Maybe because people shouldn't need to know such useless information?
They think that X11 = Interface Builder therefore, MacIntel OO.org = bad so OO.org = X11 and X11 = bad. It's a lot more complicated than that, as I'm sure you know.
Yes, and this very complicatedness is part of the problem.
X11 (XFree86, and to some extent Xorg) are not the best Window Systems out there, but nobody claimed they were. That's why there's so much work being done by companies and other developers to replace X11 with something a lot more modern, like Xgl (which I linked to) or AiXgl. Xgl is out there, and AiXgl is expected to be in FC6.
Um, those are still X11 implementations. They're still just extensions or reimplementations or refactorings of the same old tired crufty system. They're not innovation. They're a lackluster attempt at saving and old system for no good reason.
Yes, I too like Mac apps (whatever that means? Apps that use Carbon/Cocoa?)
I can write a Mac app with WxWidgets. (It'll internally use Carbon anyway, but that's another matter.) I can put a lot of effort intno making it look good, and behave well, and make my users happy, and all that.
Or I can use Carbon or Cocoa and get most of that for free. Automagically. I get proxy icons (hi X11!). I get drag and drop (hi X11!). I get a unified copy and paste behaviour (hi X11!). I get a unified look of toolbars, of widgets, of a zillion things. Automagically.
I'd much rather see that app on the Mac as a Qt app then not have it at all.
Ah, but that's the big problem, isn't it? The developers will immediately turn into jackass mode and respond "well, if you don't like our app the way it is, we'll just pull it entirely; Windows is a larger market anyway blah blah blah".
It's not that a well-designed Google Earth couldn't be done. It's that Google isn't fucking trying.