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Suggestions for Linux Lite 5.6 (starting from an unfair German review)

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ludditus:
Hi, y’all!

I’ve met Linux Lite more than once in the past, yet I didn’t install it, despite it running very well as a live system. Maybe the fact that it’s always based on LTS to have played a role, LTS having its pros and its cons too.

Recently, I got angry at a stupid German review, because I felt it’s so wrong and biased against Linux Lite. The author, Michl Franken, has a site with contents that I consider almost useless and sometimes forced, meaning that it lures people to read the site to find the latest news, somewhat like OMG! Ubuntu! and 9to5Linux, but in German and with more original content. Here’s the culprit: Linux Lite 5.0 – „einfach – schnell – frei“ oder einfach sinnfrei? (Linux Lite 5.0 – “simple – fast – free” or simply pointless?)

The incompetent (you’ll see why I say that) and arrogant (because he posts thousands of nonsensical “articles” for getting traffic, just like the two aforementioned sites) reviewer has opinions that could be translated as follows:

 :banghead«Overall, a workable desktop is delivered, but it lacks customization options and fine adjustments for individualization, especially for beginners.»

This is an idiocy. In which way is any other XFCE-based distro more customizable by the beginners?!

 :banghead«The firewall configuration can only start, stop or show the status of the firewall. Where is the option to set rules here? Unfortunately, one does not cover oneself with fame here when Linux beginners are supposed to set FW rules via the terminal. GUFW as a helper solves this better.»

The guy is a moron, and I assume what I said. The Settings menu shows two firewall icons: “Firewall (Firewall Configuration)” which starts firewall-config in which everything can be configured, and “Firewall Config (Enable or Disable FirewallD)” which indeed can only start or stop the firewall through lite-firewallconfig. And unfortunately, the Settings Manager window only shows the second one, so the clumsy reviewer thought there’s no other tool available! Pathetic and misleading. Libelous, if you prefer.

 :banghead«Linux Lite is an entry-level Linux distribution. But why I should install Linux Lite when I could install Debian, Ubuntu or Xubuntu or another distro with XFCE, unfortunately I do not understand. Don’t get me wrong, the approaches, especially with the documentation, are really very good. But do I have to create a separate Linux distribution for every little idea? I do not think so. Linux Lite undeniably has some very interesting incentives in the Lite Tools. If this could have been integrated into Xubuntu, it would probably have been better for everyone.»

The various Lite Tools, including the Lite Tweaks, are very welcome and a strong selling point, if I can use that verb.

 :banghead«In my opinion, this also shows the negative dark side of the Linux land. Smaller distributions are created, some of which also pursue good ideas. But I think it is unlikely that these will ever become more widespread. There are already alternatives here that don’t make mistakes themselves.»

Which alternatives?! Is Xubuntu perfect as it is, or is this about a non-specified Xubuntu derivative? Confusing and void.

 :banghead«So I come to the conclusion that Linux Lite is hardly worth recommending. Too few incentives to justify a separate distribution. In other words: What separates Debian and Ubuntu is missing here between Linux Lite and Xbubuntu. Furthermore, it is a mystery to me how this distro can take home 24th place on Distrowatch. Distrowatch is obviously not really representative, but it is a certain indicator.»

Nobody ever said Linux Lite is to Xubuntu what Ubuntu is to Debian! This guy is dishonest. To me, the major advantage and the main purpose of Linux Lite was to offer an out-of-the-box experience that’s familiar to users of Windows or KDE, with polishes and default settings that make a system fully usable right away (in contrast to “The N Things to Do After Installing Xubuntu”)! And, for the most of it, Linux Lite almost managed to achieve its objectives.

I would nonetheless come with my own critics and suggestions of improvement, hoping they’ll be taken for what they are. Some are based on the small customizations I’d do in either of the live session or the installed system, some are more or less bugs, and some are small annoyances.

* I understand the main target are the beginners, but in Desktop Settings, Icons, I’d uncheck “Removable Devices.” You know, Windows and KDE don’t show the mounted devices on the desktop. And it can get cluttered. Many reviewers of XFCE criticize this default setting.
* I’d also increase the icon size from 48 to 50 or better 52, to better accommodate longer labels.
* In Thunar, I’d change the default view to Compact List, in which I’d definitely increase the icon size (zoom in once) so that the icons become blue instead of white. What’s the purpose of an icon theme if the icons aren’t themed in a file manager’s Compact and Detailed modes?
* The handle on the panel is ugly and useless, I’d remove it (right click on it: Window Buttons, Properties, uncheck “Show Handle”).
* The Settings Manager should include icons for both Firewall configuration and enable/disable tools (firewall-config and lite-firewallconfig)!
* The Window Manager’s Style has a too small height of the title bar, and this cannot be changed. It’s maybe the only thing that breaks the otherwise nice and consistent theming. Usability can be improved e.g. by using a larger font, but the height of the title bar won’t increase.
* The package lite-themes is actually improperly made, because it conflicts with adapta-gtk-theme, without specifically being marked so, therefore trying to install adapta-gtk-theme fails midway. Either the conflicts of LL’s package should properly be updated, or (much better) the themes it includes should be renamed (e.g. Adapta Lite, Adapta-Nokto Lite, etc.) so that the original themes could still be installed.
* The same lite-themes has one more issue: it doesn’t only include the older, more limited set of Microsoft fonts offered by ttf-mscorefonts-installer, but also the Win7-Win10 exclusive fonts, which to my knowledge cannot be distributed. It’s not a patent issue, but a copyright one. One fix would be to split it in more packages, so that a lite-extra-fonts would include the legally challenged fonts. Even if preinstalled, this would be much better IMO.
* Unlike other distros using a GTK-based DE, LL doesn’t bother to theme Qt5 apps. Try with a dark theme on something small, e.g. featherpad. The simplest fix (there are many others) would be to install qt5-gtk2-platformtheme and echo "export QT_QPA_PLATFORMTHEME=gtk2" >> ~/.profile, then logout and log in again. At a distro level, a better choice were to put this in /etc/skel/.profile. (If qt5ct were to be used, its options would be saved in ~/.config/qt5ct/qt5ct.conf, and in ~/.profile should either be nothing, or export QT_QPA_PLATFORMTHEME=qt5ct.) Not nice for a beginner to have the need to use a Qt5-based app and not to know how to make it look consistent with the rest of LL, especially with a dark theme.
* The major usability issue in many XFCE themes, and unfortunately in LL too, is the difficulty to resize a window, because of a too thin resize margin. You’ll find here in the forum a question from 2017, still unanswered: “How do I increase the tolerance for window resizing with the mouse? It is difficult with a mouse and even more so with a laptop track-pad.” On Ask Ubuntu, from 2014, but still valid: “How do I increase the resize margin on windows? It takes me about 5 tries to resize a window on my computer. Is there a way to increase the resize margin on the edge of windows?” Most people don’t know they can use Alt+MiddleClick to resize! What I see in LL’s themes is that instead of metacity-theme-1.xml, there are metacity-theme-2.xml and metacity-theme-3.xml, and that metacity-theme-3.xml sets zero resize margins! (Look under frame_geometry name="normal" for distance names left_width, right_width, and bottom_height.) YMMV, but I cannot see how a null resize margin can be helpful to anyone!
* Suppose one wants to install the yaru-gtk-theme (just the theme, not the icons!), because it’s warmer. Then they’ll notice the LL icon in the Whisker menu has a black background, not a transparent one, and it doesn’t fit aesthetically anymore (this is true for all LL tools in the Settings Manager). In my case, I had to change the panel button icon from xfce4-whiskermenu to desktop-environment-xfce.
And now, for an experiment: being based on 20.04 LTS, LL only has XFCE 4.14, not 4.16, thus lacking a few improvements, of which I like Thunar’s ability to pause a file transfer. I can see efforts to bring e.g. a newer xfce4-weather-plugin, which doesn’t require a newer XFCE, but I wanted to see if I could get XFCE 4.16 in LL 5.4.

My experiment was to add a PPA that provides XFCE 4.16 to a 20.04 LTS base containing 4.14, then a PPA that provides Warpinator, and a PPA that provides the e-book reader Foliate, and see how everything works!

It worked, and I shortly described the experience on my blog: Quick Experiment in “Improving” Linux Lite. There are some caveats, so it’s not for everyone, and it can obviously break at some point. But I’m using Linux since 1995, so I can’t be scared that easily.



These being said, is there any chance for some of my suggestions to trigger changes in Linux Lite 5.6?

All the best,
Ludditus, long ago known as Béranger

Jerry:
If you've been to our main website, I'm sure that you are aware that you are not in our target audience. This is the first and most important point to make as it determines how feedback is responded to for one. I recognise and thank you for your defense against that German article, it's not an uncommon tactic in the 'journalist' realm to write provocative, misleading articles to get more clicks, more clicks - more advertising revenue.

The difference in feedback.

Experienced, people who have been in linux for a while - their feedback tends to lean on the side of personal preference. They've used linux long enough to be at a point where they are able to see from a certain view how 'things could be better' with a linux based OS.

'Newbies' new folk to linux - our target audience (exclusively) - Yes, were going to get people use Linux Lite, who have used linux for a long time. That's unpreventable, and I've no objection to it, other than how they view the OS. Newbies feedback is of the utmost importance, because they are experiencing everything for the first time - first time use. There's a complete and utter moron on Youtube who is a Debian fan-boy who does reviews and has done some of LL, none of which are accurate and therefore any feedback is completely ignored. His views are irrelevant because he is not in our target audience. He makes stupid points like 'why are there the same shortcuts to folders in more than one place?' Simple answer is that is how it is in Windows. We are not a Windows clone, but we need to give people who are transitioning, a similar UI experience, not the same, similar.

I'll add more top this later, but you should be now I hope, at the very least be aware of who we are targeting. I recognise and thank you for your time and feedback, I have read it all and if any of it matches with existing 'newbie' feeback, I'll certainly consider it for implementation. Cheers.

Artim:
While "newbies" are the target market for Linux Lite, there are many experienced and technically advanced Linux users who also use Linux Lite simply because it's so shareable to their kids, parents, and grandparents. They may also use it themselves simply because it's so intuitive and simple for busy people. As I have said before, it's the super-duper-ultra-mega techno-geeks that have made Linux Lite and other "beginner friendly" distros possible, and they have every reason to be very proud of their work.

As for the article, I call Linux Lite "Xubuntu done right" because it's GUI is even more intuitive, and the Lite Tweaks integrate perfectly.
 

ludditus:
Jerry, thanks for the reply. Since we're not trying to debate on the existence of God, could I use some old plain logic?


--- Quote from: Jerry on May 30, 2021, 04:30:55 PM ---If you've been to our main website, I'm sure that you are aware that you are not in our target audience. This is the first and most important point to make as it determines how feedback is responded to for one.
--- End quote ---
This is, sorry to say, rude. Even if it's your distro, even if it's your work, even if your "customers" don't pay you a dime, the feedback from the end-users should always be treated equally. If something is true, then it's true. Such as a bug. When a package conflicts with another package, but it's not declared as such, this is a bug, and a newbie couldn't know it's a bug, but I do.


--- Quote from: Jerry on May 30, 2021, 04:30:55 PM ---The difference in feedback.
Experienced people who have been in linux for a while - their feedback tends to lean on the side of personal preference. They've used linux long enough to be at a point where they are able to see from a certain view how 'things could be better' with a linux based OS.
--- End quote ---
Experienced people, people who have been in software development for decades, people who have interacted with customers and end users, experienced professionals who are not just software developers, but who also know to collect feedback from users, and understand ergonomics and human factors could provide you much more useful feedback than Joe Sixpack who doesn't know how to use a wired mouse.


--- Quote from: Jerry on May 30, 2021, 04:30:55 PM ---Newbies feedback is of the utmost importance, because they are experiencing everything for the first time - first time use.
--- End quote ---
Yes, but if you only value their feedback, you won't fix much.


--- Quote from: Jerry on May 30, 2021, 04:30:55 PM ---There's a complete and utter moron on Youtube who is a Debian fan-boy who does reviews and has done some of LL, none of which are accurate and therefore any feedback is completely ignored. His views are irrelevant because he is not in our target audience.
--- End quote ---
There is a logical contradiction here. Which one is true?
1. His views are ignored because he's a moron and his reviews are inaccurate.
2. His views are ignored because he's not in LL's target audience.
The second one is not fair play.


--- Quote from: Jerry on May 30, 2021, 04:30:55 PM --- if any of it matches with existing 'newbie' feeback, I'll certainly consider it for implementation. Cheers.
--- End quote ---
With all due respect, this is a fallacious approach. Most newbies don't even know what they miss, what they'd like, what they see, when they see a bug. They might even not know that some option exists! How could they complain when they don't know what this collection of software can or could do for them?
I presented you, that's true, some personal preferences. But maybe 80% of the time, 70% of users prefer the Compact List in a file manager, and only use Icon View for pictures. Also, for when someone changes to Compact or Details (most people would eventually do it at some point) and they see white icons instead of themed icons because they're too small, why not changing the defaults as long as it would help them?
Finally, if there are two firewall configuration tools in the menu, but the user only sees one in the Settings window, how is this not a bug? That stupid German is the proof that the best thing to do is to fix this instead of saying, "oh, the feedback is not coming from the right people!"

If we have had designed products only based on the feedback from the users, we'd have had hybrid horse-driven automobiles.

Let's agree we are incompatible in the way we see the management of a software project, of a software product, of a software brand, of a software market, and of a community of users and, before you kick me out, to part here. I am not welcome in this community, I leave.

All the best.

Jerry:
Why would I kick you out? You're welcome to express your opinions.

Sent from my mobile phone using Tapatalk

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