What I like about this is:
- The developers are not attempting to reinvent the wheel.
- Material Design is well-regarded on mobile devices, and it's interesting to see what you can do with its ideas on the desktop.
- They clearly pick technologies that are the way forward on the Linux desktop: Wayland and Qt+QML. It's great that these things are maturing to the point that we can start leaving behind X and that it's clear that Qt has won the toolkit war.
- Focused approach of not (yet) supporting different distros, but (like Elementary OS) an attempt to focus on getting it to work well for one system configuration.
I hope these guys can put in the time and effort to make something out of this. It seems they are making a couple of good decisions already.
I mean, I hope you're right because I really do prefer Qt over GTK (both as a developer and as a user). But my experiences as a user would also suggest that GTK is anything but an underdog.
Maybe I'm just being pedantic, but "won" seems a little too optimistic. Particularly on a platform that's famed for it choice / fragmentation (depending on which side of the fence you sit hehe).
It also implies that there was actually a war, and that there is now not. Did gtk+ suddenly stop being developed because Qt won some imaginary war dreamed up by people who don't develop either toolkit?
Qt used to be relegated to KDE on Unix but is now also used by Unity and LXDE. People prefer using Qt because it is much more cross platform friendly than GTK+ and has great developer tools. Qt seems to be the future of the Linux desktop at this point. So excusez-les-mots.
That is by no means an accurate statement. GTK's HiDPI support involves an integer scaling factor for the whole desktop, and that's it.
Qt/KDE on the other hand allows you to simply specify the size and dpi of your display and everything will scale accurately, aided by the fact that KDE uses SVG icons.
Futhermore, no, GTK's HiDPI support does not in fact force a scaling factor for the whole desktop. You can turn it on app-by-app. The fact that whatever desktop you're using doesn't utilize this capability isn't GTK+'s fault, it's the desktop environment's fault.
Now having said this, you could be entirely correct that for the time being KDE offers a better HiDPI experience than a GTK+-based desktop, but again, that has really nothing to do with the toolkits themselves.
Which ones? Not disputing you, I don't keep up with Linux desktop these days.
On a related note, GNU Radio has a foot in both Qt and WxWidgets and intends to focus on Qt going forward.
I can't see how subsurface, which is an extremely niche application, can be considered as high-profile. And I am a scuba diver myself, so I have a bias going opposite what my opinion here is.
" If he and a bunch ... can't figure out GTK, that says something"
All it says is that they like Qt better. Linus told at a Debian meeting that he does not use Ubuntu or Debian because he tried once to install it and it did not work for his hardware, while some other distro worked right away. He never tried it again since. Does it mean that Debian is crap because if even Linus cannot figure it out "it says something"? No, of course not.
If either of those would have the capacity to emerge as the de facto standard then it would have happened long time ago in my opinion.
Taking a quick look at the gui software (not a whole lot as I typically prefer the commandline) I have on my Linux desktop machine (running bspwm, not a desktop environment):
File Roller (GTK)
I can't say as to what Microsoft has done or not done, but I don't see anything immoral about the moc.
It is? Wasn't it shipped just last week?
On a more serious note, it is well-regarded by at least a large number of well-regarded designers and UI people. Material design has kinda swept the blogosphere in designer/UI circles. And, Google don't play when it comes to usable UIs; they put serious resources into figuring out how people interact with their software, so if they say, "This is good enough to be our UI standard for the next several years in every product we ship." then the odds are, it really is pretty good.
Not necessarily. Especially in cases like this, where the org is large enough, the cash is endless enough, and the goal is fuzzy enough; that principal-agent problems are inevitably bound to prevail.
Think Pontiac Aztec. Or Lotus Notes. Or, for that matter, the all-new Google Maps(TM).
People seem to be tolerating Windows 8 "flat" design, though, and that is pretty much a nightmare for usability as far as I'm able to discern.
In short, I don't now what's right and wrong, but I know what I like. I like my new tablet, and I dislike most other "flat" designs I've used in the build up to Material Design.
FWIW, usability is being able to do something with as little thought or confusion as possible. So there is nothing inherently wrong with a flat UI - its the design choices made using it that matter.
I think the implementation is a lot harder than people realize. It's not Bootstrap, you can't just apply it to your site and be done. You have to think about the interaction design in context with the actions in your application.
Google Inbox seems to be the best example of good material design components, however, I've yet to see another app/site that uses these principles well. The "material design" frameworks I've seen on github thus far (even the Google Angular one) are sorely lacking.
I'm still reading about it, and our UI is so far behind the curve that anytime I bring elements forward to new paradigms it is a positive gain. Switching to all Material Design would be a vast improvement...but so would switching to all Bootstrap (plus some new interaction guidelines), which is what I'm mostly working on lately. I'll probably experiment with Material Design, as well, but I don't have confidence I could do it well without a lot more research.
I am one of the negative voices but you're right here: it's certainly worth a try.
Says who? Isn't Lollypop all MD based? I've heard quite a bit of 'meh boring' reactions to it
There is some kind of network problem that causes 3 to 10 second latencies when I look up web pages at home with DSL but is not so bad at the gym with cable. I think DNS is involved.
It used to be that a left hand swipe and a right hand swipe would bring up different menus but now I have to swipe multiple times to count through the menus. It's that kind of hamhanded design that make people think bigger devices are unwieldy
There are only a handful of design changes in Android 5 that piss me off... I don't mind having email and gmail's apps combined. Two irksome things, is that the account switching circles are all but useless, I have 5 email apps, it only shows two bubbles, and there is no way to really tell which one is what. I can use the dropdown, but once you have more than two accounts, it should only show the dropdown picker. The second, is there doesn't seem to be a way to set an email as unread... I often will peak at a mail, and mark it unread to get back to. I know that inbox is working to get around things like this, but inbox really doesn't fit my workflow.
Aside from that, the keyboard changes don't bug me. Even the double swipe for settings really isn't that bad.
I really don't do much on my phone though... I removed facebook for shoving not one but two spyware apps down my throat, I removed most of the heavy battery offenders, and tend not to install apps that ask for permissions they have absolutely no need for... (flashlight apps that want sd and contact access, I get they need camera access for the flash)...
It will really be an interesting few years as phones approach today's desktop capabilities... I think remote displays will be a next thing... car interfaces especially..
Avoid, for now.
It's likely just bad taste and poor theming, but nevertheless, I find that 99% of the apps I use are GTK, and I'd always pick a GTK based DE (Gnome Shell, maybe mate) over KDE or Lumina.
- really bright colors in the top bars: that's exactly what we _don't_ want in desktop apps, as the focus is on the (changing) content, not the title bars. Grab this http://quantum-os.github.io/images/desktop_layout_1.png, resize it to full screen, and you'll see what I mean.
- large empty spaces: for me it's too much even on touch-based devices, but on the desktop it's just utter waste of real estate.
I want the desktop to get less and less popular, so then the OS and app makers can start optimizing for people who create stuff (e.g. me), and it could look like http://i.imgur.com/7Tu2i6W.png or http://yxbenj.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/vs2012_colortheme_...
Bright colors serve as good visual anchors. If you have a lot of windows open, they can help you find the one you want to focus on, although in this case it'd be better if the user set the colors rather than the applications.
> Grab this http://quantum-os.github.io/images/desktop_layout_1.png, resize it to full screen, and you'll see what I mean.
You'll have to spell it out for me, because I don't :(
> large empty spaces: for me it's too much even on touch-based devices, but on the desktop it's just utter waste of real estate.
I agree that the information density is too poor. As long as there's a compact mode I'm good, but few app makers bother, even though it would be trivial to offer.
> I want the desktop to get less and less popular, so then the OS and app makers can start optimizing for people who create stuff (e.g. me), and it could look like http://i.imgur.com/7Tu2i6W.png or http://yxbenj.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/vs2012_colortheme_....
You know, if the desktop gets less and less popular, OS and app makers won't start optimizing for people like you. They will pack up and leave. These two screenshots show the current extent of the effort deployed to cater to power users, and I'm afraid they show their future extent as well.
On Mobile you see only one app at a time so it's fine, but it would be tiring quick to have all these bright colors everywhere, plus when you get back to your desktop you would have no idea on which app you are.
I do agree on not using material colours for app title bars. But that's my only real issue. I personally think material design looks great, and this example screenshot looks much cleaner and aesthetically pleasing already than the current linux offerings
Although Sailfish OS and Ubuntu seem to be much more serious in that respect.
A few related data points: I'm a developer and project manager.
I do all my work on a 13" laptop with nearly every app full-screen (I hate having two tasks visible unless I actually need both at once - which is very rare).
My eyesight isn't marvelous so that might be a factor. :-)
Well, to me, this is what I love about Linux - there are different flavors for different sensibilities.
This particular flavor isn't for you, but it clearly scratched an itch for someone.
The thing is, you CAN creat the kind of app layouts like you linked - QML makes it incredibly easy to roll out your own UI.
But it could be argued that for many types of applications that is not the kind of GUI that works best, and a responsive, modern, touch friendly widget library is the way to go. It really depends on the application.
For everyone: take the UX cues from Material, sure, but please make it your own. The clone army is getting very, very old.
Its transition to Wayland is depreciating any latent X dependencies in its internal rendering code as well.
Technically the scene graph and QML parts are separate. There is quite a bit of history in how the implementations lived and diverged: from a single "declarative" engine to first integrating a scene graph backend, to eventually splitting the QML implementation(s) into their own higher level modules.
Disclosure: I had the privilege of working for very propeller-head style Nokia projects where we had direct exposure and visibility to how Qt evolved from its 4.7/4.8 form to the current, modular 5.x rewrite.
The idea, as I understand it, is material is a base metaphor that's basically flat goo paper. It can be arranged, layered, and has some intrinsic animation behavior.
But the designer should think of material in the same way print designers think of text columns, or pullquotes, or the page. These are all things someone invented. They're useful, but they're not compelling. You still need to do something else on top of it.
The biggest problem I see with the flat goo paper is it's being treated like its intrinsically playful. But that's not appropriate for all UI's. Some apps should be stark and clean. Some should be dark. To me, if you're going to create a base UI language, it needs to be flexible enough to adapt to less playful brands. The next question is whether that's a problem with "material design" or just a matter of nobody has made a stark app with material as a metaphor yet. And if that's not possible then it's just a passing fad.
Design is all about understanding a problem/context and creating a solution to match it. MD is a great answer to a completely different problem than this project is solving.
For the most part, yes. We want them to behave exactly the same way, too, and use the same metaphors.
> Material Design seems to me like Google branding forced all over the place.
There is no Google branding in material design. They've been quite explicit about that.
I'd argue that this has been the case since Holo.
And that is why I appreciate both the effort it took to put this together, and a new perspective that someone was generous enough to share.
This means that somewhere you have to draw the line.
Android has a Linux-kernel, but (from a user's point of view) shares near nothing with a "regular" GNU/Linux OS, so it's considered an OS of its own. Which I think most people will be fine with.
That Debian is a GNU/Linux OS should be beyond any debate.
Ubuntu is a plain Debian-derivate. Is it its own OS? It's "merely" added a prettier installer, pre-bundled some common firmware and added a new (different) login-manager and GUI shell (Unity) and tried to add some consistent themes on top of that?
Elementary OS is (as far as I know) based on Ubuntu. It's the same story, except this time they're not just changing the shell (Pantheon instead of Unity), they're also creating lots og new user-facing GUI applications consistent with their own design-guidelines to compliment it.
A user using elementary OS and just the pre-provided GUI-apps a no terminal, will only see components provided by elementary OS. A new OS or just a new GUI? If we accept the principles behind Android being its own OS, this should be too: A user sees nothing of the traditional Linux apps or Linux DEs.
If we don't accept elementary OS as its own OS, why don't we? And if so why do we accept Android as such? You have to draw the line somewhere, and I agree this is hard. But if we accept elementary OS as its own OS, how is this (once built) not?
To be brutally honest it sounds like they don't know what they are doing - at all.
And KDE's breeze theme and Plasma animations in Plasma 2 are really close to Material as is.
And I know of at least a few themes on kde-look that are already mostly material.
Is Gnome an Operating System? Is Unity? Then why is "Quantum OS" one?
Most desktops today are arguably variations of the desktops we were introduced to in windows95 and OSX (v10). The colours, placement and names change but rarely does anything new show up (save for metro desktop).
With wayland and mutter/qt+ this is a great time to try out wild and out-there concepts. It's the only way to break out and really change the desktop.
I can understand peoples frustration; the desktop, after all, wraps up everything we experience when we use our machines. However I will approach this with an open mind, and I certainly hope others will do the same.
There's obviously a few things that have come since that have improved upon it (eg quick search in the start menu / launcher, and the way how Linux better groups applications in it's launchers than Windows does in it's start menu) as well as mistakes made since (Windows quick launch start menu tool bar being one prime example). But for me, Microsoft really did create the design concept of optimal working environment.
Obviously this is just my preferences - many would disagree. But I think the reason why there are so many variations on the Windows 95 desktop is because many people feel like myself in that it's a paradigm that works extremely well for them too.
I'd ask what problem we're trying to solve. I think desktops should be out of the way. I don't really use "a desktop" for anything. I just need a way to launch and switch between applications, and that's a solved problem in my opinion.
The problem though is getting rid of the desktop would not go down well with the majority. you'd need a way of proving that you can still make multi tasking painless. Currently a desktop environment means I can resize and arrange windows to allow me to work with multiple apps.
One idea is have some sort intelligent system for deciding how much screen real estate is needed for each app and how they can be grouped and arranged into sensible workspaces.
I love it.
no problem! :)
That's simply because win95 was really that good. I, for one, think that there's no need to change what already works quite well.
What does Material even offer to a Desktop OS?
And why a whole custom distribution, instead of a desktop environment?
> What does Material even offer to a Desktop OS?
A sense of (generally well-regarded) design direction made by professional designers. Familiarity to Android users. Not reinventing the wheel and doing a worse job at it.
> And why a whole custom distribution, instead of a desktop environment?
It's easier to make an integrated desktop if it isn't distribution agnostic. This way you can easily depend on distribution-specific stuff like which version of Wayland it has, depend on systemd, PulseAudio, which package manager it uses, what font settings it has, which GPU drivers it uses. If you make this a desktop environment instead of distribution, then you need to make it work with a far more diverse set of variables, which I think is undesirable when you're starting out (or even in general).
If there was Photoshop or Sketch for Linux, and a lot of people could migrate. And no, GIMP or Inkscape don't cut it
I didn't get that at all. He made a statement about one project. In that statement he didn't compare it to other projects, nor even mention them.
A unified design language for a desktop OS is desperately needed in the Linux community.
You're not going to get that by adding yet another standard, and anything not written to that standard isn't going to look all pretty and Material Designed anyway.
I don't think we'll really know until these devs provide a working version of their OS.
I do think what this OS is trying to do makes for an interesting experiment -- even if it turns out to be a failure.
I personally don't prefer the MD/Metro look design philosophy. This stems from the fact that I believe in designs that help accomplish a task, not prettify it for the sole of prettifying it.
"The focus will be on creating a "stable" and easy-to-use operating system"
"Our goal is to base our work on the latest upstream versions available"
instead of using more tested and reviewed versions. Unstable drivers are a very common issue making the linux experience hard.
>Evolve OS reached out to them, we started with a chrome OS esque environment, and we started a material gtk theme. This uses qt, which is good for new apps, but not existing. Evolve is implementing a new lib for animations, that'll work with gtk, and existing apps. We've got dreams for it, check out the live stream on YouTube!
It's based on Evolve OS.
Edit: It seems like it just got renmaned. It's now available under https://github.com/quantum-os but the blog is not yet up.
Seriously though if you pulled a nice installer for really up to date android on my desktop the thousands of apps in the play store and I would be really grateful...
Can someone think of any solid reason for why I should be interested?
Much like bumper stickers or giving your hatchback racing stripes, it's a way that people can personalize their experience.
Also for the people who are designing the skin, it gives them practice interpreting/adapting the spec and some of that knowledge may trickle back to the source.