Debian, so ugly and unwieldy!

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Debian, so ugly and unwieldy!

Adam Borowski-3
This is about GUI appearance and ergonomy.

I'll concentrate at XFCE, as I consider GNOME3's UI a lost cause, thus I'd
find it hard to bring constructive arguments there.

I also hate with a passion so-called "UX designers".  Those are folks who
created Windows 8's Metro tiles, lightgray-on-white "Material Design" flat
unmarked controls, and so on.  They work from a Mac while not having to
actually use what they produce.


For example:
* our XFCE's layout has a thinnish bar with actually useful controls (menu
  button, window list, desktop list, clock, systray, logout) at the top...
  plus a tall redundant "OSX dock" that takes a lot of screen real estate.
  It's too much even on 4:3 aspect ratio, and on currently prevailing 16:9
  any loss to vertical space is bad.  Most code, web pages, human images,
  etc, benefit from a portrait rather than landscape layout...

  => Can't we move two useful pieces from the dock to the top bar?


* the default theme has a thin disappearing poorly marked scroller.  This is
  nasty with a bad touchpad (laptops), high-resolution small screen (PDAs).


* people tend to use computers with only limited lighting.  The hacklab I'm
  in right now has mostly covered windows (and even some artificial light
  from the above!); at work opening window blinds too much can result in you
  getting murdered; I for one prefer to hack after midnight rather than at
  insane times like morning, etc.  And this is not just hackers like us --
  even Windows and Mac brag about "night mode", random websites have this as
  well, etc.  On the other hand, if we install some themes by default they
  have at most lightish grey background.  I packaged
  dark{cold,mint}-gtk-theme with real black, perhaps there are better ones?

  => Let's install by default a black theme, perhaps even enable it by default?


* the default icon theme is fugly

  => Default to eg. faenza?


* default font is ugly and poorly hinted -- the latter is especially jarring
  on a low-resolution screen I'm at right now, the former still applies to
  one's proper battlestation at home/work.  Tarzeau recently had some
  interesting rants, but even Quicksand that recently got added (during hard
  freeze...) to desktop-base is pretty nice.  Or, if you want something more
  conventional, Clear Sans (Intel Clear).  Or, Inter.  Or...

  => Actually configure a good font by default.  Quicksand looks fine.


* likewise, default monospace font.  My personal preference (Mononoki)
  hasn't been made to build from source yet (b-deps are available now, but
  it's still in contrib), my other preference is not packageable; there's a
  bunch of good monospace fonts available for choice but _programming_ font
  is an especially contentious issue.

  => Default to anything reasonable -- ie, not Dejavu.  Even Comic Shanns is
     better...


* CSD is still a thing.  No, your special program shouldn't get to ignore
  system theme, put controls in wrong order, miss some controls, not respond
  to minimize/etc if it's currently busy, etc.  Consistency not one-off
  designs.

  => Install gtk3-nocsd by default in all desktop tasks but Gnome.  It's not
     perfect but it helps.


* Likewise, GTK vs QT themes.

  => If default desktop at install time was not KDE, make QT obey GTK theme?


In general: could we please do something to appearance beyond choosing a
wallpaper once a release?  I'm a code hacker not a theme maker, so I see
this only once it gets in my way -- but text readability does matter.

(Discussing before filing bugs.)


Meow!
--
⢀⣴⠾⠻⢶⣦⠀
⣾⠁⢰⠒⠀⣿⡁ Imagine there are bandits in your house, your kid is bleeding out,
⢿⡄⠘⠷⠚⠋⠀ the house is on fire, and seven big-ass trumpets are playing in the
⠈⠳⣄⠀⠀⠀⠀ sky.  Your cat demands food.  The priority should be obvious...

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Re: Debian, so ugly and unwieldy!

Jim Popovitch-3
On Fri, 2019-06-07 at 17:24 +0200, Adam Borowski wrote:
> This is about GUI appearance and ergonomy.
>
> I'll concentrate at XFCE, as I consider GNOME3's UI a lost cause

Have you tried Cinnamon, it's quite nice and not ugly nor unwieldy.

> * people tend to use computers with only limited lighting.  

Is there any data on that?  My experience is different, and I expect it
mirrors the experience of a vast number of office workers and students.

I do think a healthy discussion is good for Debian UI efforts.

-Jim P.

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Re: Debian, so ugly and unwieldy!

Bjørn Mork
In reply to this post by Adam Borowski-3
Adam Borowski <[hidden email]> writes:

>   => Install gtk3-nocsd by default in all desktop tasks but Gnome.  It's not
>      perfect but it helps.

That's nice.  Thanks for the tip.  I enjoy nice tools like eog and
evince, but have always been annoyed by the missing window title and
associated window manager context menu.


Bjørn

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Re: Debian, so ugly and unwieldy!

James Lu-3
In reply to this post by Adam Borowski-3
(I *love* customization, so I can't help but chime in here...)

As far as I know, Debian mostly uses default upstream desktop defaults,
so these concerns apply there too. Evidently some DEs (Plasma, Cinnamon)
focus on looks out of the box more than others.

On 2019-06-07 8:24 a.m., Adam Borowski wrote:
> This is about GUI appearance and ergonomy.
>
> I'll concentrate at XFCE, as I consider GNOME3's UI a lost cause, thus I'd
> find it hard to bring constructive arguments there.
>
> I also hate with a passion so-called "UX designers".  Those are folks who
> created Windows 8's Metro tiles, lightgray-on-white "Material Design" flat
> unmarked controls, and so on.  They work from a Mac while not having to
> actually use what they produce.

I respectfully disagree in the case of actual Android devices, but
everyone has different preferences.

>
> For example:
> * our XFCE's layout has a thinnish bar with actually useful controls (menu
>   button, window list, desktop list, clock, systray, logout) at the top...
>   plus a tall redundant "OSX dock" that takes a lot of screen real estate.
>   It's too much even on 4:3 aspect ratio, and on currently prevailing 16:9
>   any loss to vertical space is bad.  Most code, web pages, human images,
>   etc, benefit from a portrait rather than landscape layout...

I've pushed defaults on my systems for quite a while that change the
Xfce panel setup to look more like Windows (or the default Plasma 5 /
Cinnamon look). Whisker-menu also provides speedy search and app
pinning, a feature I can't live without migrating fresh from Windows 7.
(It also takes up less space than the default menus!)

>   => Can't we move two useful pieces from the dock to the top bar?
>
>
> * the default theme has a thin disappearing poorly marked scroller.  This is
>   nasty with a bad touchpad (laptops), high-resolution small screen (PDAs).
>
>
> * people tend to use computers with only limited lighting.  The hacklab I'm
>   in right now has mostly covered windows (and even some artificial light
>   from the above!); at work opening window blinds too much can result in you
>   getting murdered; I for one prefer to hack after midnight rather than at
>   insane times like morning, etc.  And this is not just hackers like us --
>   even Windows and Mac brag about "night mode", random websites have this as
>   well, etc.  On the other hand, if we install some themes by default they
>   have at most lightish grey background.  I packaged
>   dark{cold,mint}-gtk-theme with real black, perhaps there are better ones?
>
>   => Let's install by default a black theme, perhaps even enable it by default?
+1 for Materia (materia-gtk-theme), especially the dark variant. It's a
simple, flat dark theme that preserves contrast without being having a
pitch black background, more so than Arc-Dark and even Adwaita-Dark. The
widget effects might be a bit much for some but I don't mind them.

Like most well-maintained themes it supports GTK2/3 and a plethora of
desktops, as well as Qt5 natively via a 3rd party Kvantum theme
(materia-kde).

My only gripe with this setup is that some apps like Firefox don't
behave nicely using dark themed GTK themes only; things like buttons and
input fields end up having black on black text, so I end up overriding
it to start with GTK_THEME=Materia (the standard/mixed light and dark
version)

>
> * the default icon theme is fugly
>
>   => Default to eg. faenza?

I like Numix-Circle but I'm a bit biased there ☺. Faenza, Moka, and
Papirus are all beautiful icon themes that the desktop's unify look and
feel. But this unification makes some people upset[1], though I very
much disagree with their opinion personally.

[1]:
https://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2019/05/open-letter-stop-gtk-theming-distros

>
> * default font is ugly and poorly hinted -- the latter is especially jarring
>   on a low-resolution screen I'm at right now, the former still applies to
>   one's proper battlestation at home/work.  Tarzeau recently had some
>   interesting rants, but even Quicksand that recently got added (during hard
>   freeze...) to desktop-base is pretty nice.  Or, if you want something more
>   conventional, Clear Sans (Intel Clear).  Or, Inter.  Or...
>
>   => Actually configure a good font by default.  Quicksand looks fine.
>
I use Noto Sans, which supports a lot of languages out of the box and is
the default in at least Cinnamon AFAIK.

Also, anti-aliasing + Slight hinting + RGB Sub-pixel order on my Xfce
setup. This is what I've gotten used to, though font hinting changes
seem so subtle I don't know how much I'd notice a change.

> * likewise, default monospace font.  My personal preference (Mononoki)
>   hasn't been made to build from source yet (b-deps are available now, but
>   it's still in contrib), my other preference is not packageable; there's a
>   bunch of good monospace fonts available for choice but _programming_ font
>   is an especially contentious issue.
>
>   => Default to anything reasonable -- ie, not Dejavu.  Even Comic Shanns is
>      better...

I've gotten so used to DejaVu Sans Mono enough that I find switching
fonts makes my terminal look odd :(

>
> * CSD is still a thing.  No, your special program shouldn't get to ignore
>   system theme, put controls in wrong order, miss some controls, not respond
>   to minimize/etc if it's currently busy, etc.  Consistency not one-off
>   designs.
>
>   => Install gtk3-nocsd by default in all desktop tasks but Gnome.  It's not
>      perfect but it helps.

Alternatively, many GNOME apps have CSD-free alternatives. MATE's apps
for example are forks with relatively good feature parity:
  evince -> atril
  file-roller -> engrampa
  eog -> eom

task-xfce-desktop has used MATE apps over GNOME ones for a while now.

>
> * Likewise, GTK vs QT themes.
>
>   => If default desktop at install time was not KDE, make QT obey GTK theme?

Installing qt5ct lets you override the theme platform to use GTK+2
themes, or configure something else e.g. if your preferred theme also
has a Qt version.

One of the issues with hardcoding QT_QPA_PLATFORMTHEME=gtk across
sessions is that it conflicts with user settings if they prefer
something else.[2]

Another complaint I've heard is how many toolkits we should be
installing in a base system, since adding qt5ct will obviously pull in
Qt 5. We don't want it to be a hard dependency of any GTK-based desktop
either, since that's not really the right place.

[2]: https://github.com/linuxmint/Cinnamon/issues/5440

>
> In general: could we please do something to appearance beyond choosing a
> wallpaper once a release?  I'm a code hacker not a theme maker, so I see
> this only once it gets in my way -- but text readability does matter.
>
> (Discussing before filing bugs.)
>
>
> Meow!
>
Best,
James


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Re: Debian, so ugly and unwieldy!

wookey-4
In reply to this post by Adam Borowski-3
On 2019-06-07 17:24 +0200, Adam Borowski wrote:
> * CSD is still a thing.  No, your special program shouldn't get to ignore
>   system theme, put controls in wrong order, miss some controls, not respond
>   to minimize/etc if it's currently busy, etc.  Consistency not one-off
>   designs.

What is CSD?

> re: panels

I too have used XFCE for many years on many machines and always get
rid of the bottom panel or at least make it hidden almost
immediately. Hidden panels are not much use as a default (not
discoverable), but just having one narrower panel would be sensible
for modern screens.

Most of the rest of what said sounded fairly sensible to me too,
although I'm not familiar with all the details (and have never noticed a
need for a dark theme). Nicer defaults for screenspace and fonts
definitely sounds like a good idea. You probably need to persuade the
maintainer.

Wookey
--
Principal hats:  Linaro, Debian, Wookware, ARM
http://wookware.org/

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Re: Debian, so ugly and unwieldy!

Martin Steigerwald
In reply to this post by Bjørn Mork
Bjørn Mork - 07.06.19, 19:22:
> Adam Borowski <[hidden email]> writes:
> >   => Install gtk3-nocsd by default in all desktop tasks but Gnome.
> >   It's not>  
> >      perfect but it helps.
>
> That's nice.  Thanks for the tip.  I enjoy nice tools like eog and
> evince, but have always been annoyed by the missing window title and
> associated window manager context menu.

That is one of the reasons I use Plasma. The former KDE window manager
(kwin) maintainer refused to add client side decorations to it.

--
Martin


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Re: Debian, so ugly and unwieldy!

Alexander Wirt-2
In reply to this post by wookey-4
On Fri, 07 Jun 2019, Wookey wrote:

> On 2019-06-07 17:24 +0200, Adam Borowski wrote:
> > * CSD is still a thing.  No, your special program shouldn't get to ignore
> >   system theme, put controls in wrong order, miss some controls, not respond
> >   to minimize/etc if it's currently busy, etc.  Consistency not one-off
> >   designs.
>
> What is CSD?
client side decoration:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Client-Side_Decoration

Alex

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Re: Debian, so ugly and unwieldy!

Jonathan Carter (highvoltage)-2
In reply to this post by Adam Borowski-3
Hey Adam

On 2019/06/07 17:24, Adam Borowski wrote:> I'll concentrate at XFCE
<mid sentence snipping>

I proposed most of what you said in this email (and some more) in the
#debian-xfce channel a few months ago. They were actually surprisingly
open to having such config changes and suggested I prepare a proposal, I
was going to put something together but ran out of time before buster
freeze happened, but they're certainly more open to this than the gnome
team was in the past (and I'm hoping that has changed too over the years).

> * the default icon theme is fugly
>
>   => Default to eg. faenza?

They specifically disliked faenza and obsidian, although I think
obsidian is a bit nicer. Our default Xfce icon theme is broken (it
doesn't have a run menu icon that is missing by default that sticks out
like a big eye-sore) so I don't think it would take *too* much
convincing to switch to even those because at this point nearly anything
is better than what we have already.

> In general: could we please do something to appearance beyond choosing a
> wallpaper once a release?  I'm a code hacker not a theme maker, so I see
> this only once it gets in my way -- but text readability does matter.

I meant to create a session for exactly this at DebConf but I'm
leading/co-leading a handful of sessions already and don't want to overload.

I do think we need a proper discussion around:
 * theming
 * our process for selecting wallpapers (particularly the timing, it
really doesn't have to be in a latter part of the release cycle)
 * choosing defaults that is appealing and has sane defaults, there are
limits to how far we can push this, gtk3 has horrible (and technically
non-existant) theming support with defaults that kind of suck for most
people so there's some technical limits on what's possible there but
improvements are certainly possible

I'll be happy to take that forward kicking it off in a #debian-meeting
meeting post-debconf if no one else is interested.

-Jonathan
--
  ⢀⣴⠾⠻⢶⣦⠀  Jonathan Carter (highvoltage) <jcc>
  ⣾⠁⢠⠒⠀⣿⡁  Debian Developer - https://wiki.debian.org/highvoltage
  ⢿⡄⠘⠷⠚⠋   https://debian.org | https://jonathancarter.org
  ⠈⠳⣄⠀⠀⠀⠀  Be Bold. Be brave. Debian has got your back.

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Re: Debian, so ugly and unwieldy!

Martin Steigerwald
In reply to this post by Adam Borowski-3
Adam Borowski - 07.06.19, 17:24:
> This is about GUI appearance and ergonomy.
>
> I'll concentrate at XFCE, as I consider GNOME3's UI a lost cause, thus
> I'd find it hard to bring constructive arguments there.

Similar to you I do not "get" GNOME 3. I have no idea why I would like
to use it. But others may see this quite differently.

> I also hate with a passion so-called "UX designers".  Those are folks
> who created Windows 8's Metro tiles, lightgray-on-white "Material
> Design" flat unmarked controls, and so on.  They work from a Mac
> while not having to actually use what they produce.

So far I see KDE's visual design team does a lot of good work, but there
are also things I do not like, like the Androidization of scrollbars:
They are much thinner in Plasma than they were.

Up to Android 7 I still think it is in general a very bad idea to take
GUI ideas from Android.

> For example:
> * our XFCE's layout has a thinnish bar with actually useful controls
> (menu button, window list, desktop list, clock, systray, logout) at
> the top... plus a tall redundant "OSX dock" that takes a lot of
> screen real estate. It's too much even on 4:3 aspect ratio, and on
> currently prevailing 16:9 any loss to vertical space is bad.  Most
> code, web pages, human images, etc, benefit from a portrait rather
> than landscape layout...
>
>   => Can't we move two useful pieces from the dock to the top bar?

That is why I move the main bar to one of the sides of the screen. On my
laptop on the left. However on my laptop I use the full screen estate
anyway as the side bar and I also have a top bar for activities only
side out when I move near the screen border. That would definitely not
suitable as a default however.

General reply to your idea:

I am not using XFCE, but Plasma… however what you outline spurs a lot of
questions.

Adapt all desktop environments Debian delivers? Or just the Debian
default DE – that is still GNOME 3, isn't it? If it is, do you argue to
change the default DE again? I do not use GNOME 3 on any of my machines
and one can argue whether it is the right default, but uh oh… that could
lead to an epic thread in debian-devel :)

I am a bit reluctant about adapting upstream defaults too much. Why? It
is more of a general feeling, but one reason would be that when the
differences are huge it could make it more difficult for Debian users to
interact with upstream regarding bug reports and so.

And then… reach an agreement on what would be the best adaptions.
Especially as different desktop environments in Debian are maintained by
different, in part already quite under-staffed teams.

Also… large adaptions of all, or at least all major desktop environments
Debian delivers would require a lot of effort. Debian Qt/KDE team is just
a few people for a huge lot of packages. I pretty much bet the interest
in implementing huger changes to upstream default would be quite
limited.

However… first impressions count and sure if Debian by defaults looks bad
and has usability issues… then that is also a first impression. Last I
checked Plasma was quite okay.

--
Martin
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Re: Debian, so ugly and unwieldy!

Adam Borowski-3
In reply to this post by James Lu-3
On Fri, Jun 07, 2019 at 11:24:03AM -0700, James Lu wrote:
> As far as I know, Debian mostly uses default upstream desktop defaults,
> so these concerns apply there too. Evidently some DEs (Plasma, Cinnamon)
> focus on looks out of the box more than others.

Yeah, and when upstream defaults are not good enough, it's the
distribution's task to improve them, just like with any other package.  It's
not a bugfix but integration issue, thus distribution is a _better_ place to
do so.

> > I also hate with a passion so-called "UX designers".  Those are folks who
> > created Windows 8's Metro tiles, lightgray-on-white "Material Design" flat
> > unmarked controls, and so on.  They work from a Mac while not having to
> > actually use what they produce.
>
> I respectfully disagree in the case of actual Android devices, but
> everyone has different preferences.

>From your further comments, I see you prefer flat stuff, which I disdain.
And here's a case where both preferences can easily be made installable,
preferably even in default install.  It's the maintainers' job to curate a
good set that satisfies every major side without being bloated.

And which one should be the overall default, is a matter for a flamewar.
One that'd I greatly welcome over our usual incendiary fare.
 

> > For example:
> > * our XFCE's layout has a thinnish bar with actually useful controls (menu
> >   button, window list, desktop list, clock, systray, logout) at the top...
> >   plus a tall redundant "OSX dock" that takes a lot of screen real estate.
> >   It's too much even on 4:3 aspect ratio, and on currently prevailing 16:9
> >   any loss to vertical space is bad.  Most code, web pages, human images,
> >   etc, benefit from a portrait rather than landscape layout...
>
> I've pushed defaults on my systems for quite a while that change the
> Xfce panel setup to look more like Windows (or the default Plasma 5 /
> Cinnamon look). Whisker-menu also provides speedy search and app
> pinning, a feature I can't live without migrating fresh from Windows 7.
> (It also takes up less space than the default menus!)

For space, I'd get rid of the "Applications" label (we all know what a Start
menu is -- and kids will learn before they even walk properly).
 

> > * the default theme has a thin disappearing poorly marked scroller.  This is
> >   nasty with a bad touchpad (laptops), high-resolution small screen (PDAs).
> >
> >
> > * people tend to use computers with only limited lighting.  The hacklab I'm
> >   in right now has mostly covered windows (and even some artificial light
> >   from the above!); at work opening window blinds too much can result in you
> >   getting murdered; I for one prefer to hack after midnight rather than at
> >   insane times like morning, etc.  And this is not just hackers like us --
> >   even Windows and Mac brag about "night mode", random websites have this as
> >   well, etc.  On the other hand, if we install some themes by default they
> >   have at most lightish grey background.  I packaged
> >   dark{cold,mint}-gtk-theme with real black, perhaps there are better ones?
> >
> >   => Let's install by default a black theme, perhaps even enable it by default?
>
> +1 for Materia (materia-gtk-theme), especially the dark variant. It's a
> simple, flat dark theme that preserves contrast without being having a
> pitch black background, more so than Arc-Dark and even Adwaita-Dark. The
> widget effects might be a bit much for some but I don't mind them.

Flat!  Die, heretic!  :)
 
> Like most well-maintained themes it supports GTK2/3 and a plethora of
> desktops, as well as Qt5 natively via a 3rd party Kvantum theme
> (materia-kde).

I have bad memories wrt trying to make QT use GTK3 themes -- unless that has
improved, GTK2 support is a nice thing so QT can use that.

> My only gripe with this setup is that some apps like Firefox don't
> behave nicely using dark themed GTK themes only; things like buttons and
> input fields end up having black on black text, so I end up overriding
> it to start with GTK_THEME=Materia (the standard/mixed light and dark
> version)

Yeah, but with the emergence of dark themes on Windows and Mac, such web
pages have mostly been fixed.

> > * the default icon theme is fugly
> >
> >   => Default to eg. faenza?
>
> I like Numix-Circle but I'm a bit biased there ☺. Faenza, Moka, and
> Papirus are all beautiful icon themes that the desktop's unify look and
> feel. But this unification makes some people upset[1], though I very
> much disagree with their opinion personally.
>
> [1]:
> https://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2019/05/open-letter-stop-gtk-theming-distros

I hate hate hate this approach.  Especially, I hate "apps".  I want
programs.  The latter can integrate with the desktop, and don't have feeding
the developer's ego as the primary purpose.

> > * default font is ugly and poorly hinted -- the latter is especially jarring
> >   on a low-resolution screen I'm at right now, the former still applies to
> >   one's proper battlestation at home/work.  Tarzeau recently had some
> >   interesting rants, but even Quicksand that recently got added (during hard
> >   freeze...) to desktop-base is pretty nice.  Or, if you want something more
> >   conventional, Clear Sans (Intel Clear).  Or, Inter.  Or...
> >
> >   => Actually configure a good font by default.  Quicksand looks fine.
> >
>
> I use Noto Sans, which supports a lot of languages out of the box and is
> the default in at least Cinnamon AFAIK.

Noto has one technical problem: it registers hundreds of font family ones,
making font selection dialogs useless if you have Noto installed.

It'd be better if we had just "Noto Sans", "Noto Serif" and "Noto Mono"
instead of "Noto Southwestern Reformed Klingon" as a separate family.

> Also, anti-aliasing + Slight hinting + RGB Sub-pixel order on my Xfce
> setup. This is what I've gotten used to, though font hinting changes
> seem so subtle I don't know how much I'd notice a change.

Sub-pixel is awesome, but doesn't work right if your monitors have different
orientations (and with both code and almost all webpages being better in
portrait, you want one monitor in lanscape and 1 or 2 in portrait).

Not an issue with laptops, of course.

> > * CSD is still a thing.  No, your special program shouldn't get to ignore
> >   system theme, put controls in wrong order, miss some controls, not respond
> >   to minimize/etc if it's currently busy, etc.  Consistency not one-off
> >   designs.
> >
> >   => Install gtk3-nocsd by default in all desktop tasks but Gnome.  It's not
> >      perfect but it helps.
>
> Alternatively, many GNOME apps have CSD-free alternatives. MATE's apps
> for example are forks with relatively good feature parity:
>   evince -> atril
>   file-roller -> engrampa
>   eog -> eom
>
> task-xfce-desktop has used MATE apps over GNOME ones for a while now.

Yeah, I harassed the maintainers to make this switch myself.  Would be
better for the originals to stop dropping support for non-GNOME, but if we
can't have that, forking is a solution.
 
> >   => If default desktop at install time was not KDE, make QT obey GTK theme?
>
> Installing qt5ct lets you override the theme platform to use GTK+2
> themes, or configure something else e.g. if your preferred theme also
> has a Qt version.
>
> One of the issues with hardcoding QT_QPA_PLATFORMTHEME=gtk across
> sessions is that it conflicts with user settings if they prefer
> something else.[2]

Yeah, I have it set up on my old desktop, and just copied ~ over when
installing another, but that'd be inappropriate for this tiny Pinebook.  So
I ended up with no integration between GTK and QT, and this is one of
complaints that pushed me to start this thread.

This should be done by default.

And I don't maintain (just use) GUIs so I don't know what's a good way to
obey user settings.  Especially _my_ settings.

> Another complaint I've heard is how many toolkits we should be
> installing in a base system, since adding qt5ct will obviously pull in
> Qt 5. We don't want it to be a hard dependency of any GTK-based desktop
> either, since that's not really the right place.

Meh, I'd say it's not an issue on any screen-attached machine.  This
Pinebook is at the very bottom, yet has gobs of space for any system files.
I'd need to start piling up _data_ to possibly exhaust it.


Meow!
--
⢀⣴⠾⠻⢶⣦⠀
⣾⠁⢰⠒⠀⣿⡁ Vat kind uf sufficiently advanced technology iz dis!?
⢿⡄⠘⠷⠚⠋⠀                                 -- Genghis Ht'rok'din
⠈⠳⣄⠀⠀⠀⠀

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Re: Debian, so ugly and unwieldy!

James Lu-3


On 2019-06-07 12:09 p.m., Adam Borowski wrote:

> On Fri, Jun 07, 2019 at 11:24:03AM -0700, James Lu wrote:
>> As far as I know, Debian mostly uses default upstream desktop defaults,
>> so these concerns apply there too. Evidently some DEs (Plasma, Cinnamon)
>> focus on looks out of the box more than others.
>
> Yeah, and when upstream defaults are not good enough, it's the
> distribution's task to improve them, just like with any other package.  It's
> not a bugfix but integration issue, thus distribution is a _better_ place to
> do so.
>
Agreed here.

>>> I also hate with a passion so-called "UX designers".  Those are folks who
>>> created Windows 8's Metro tiles, lightgray-on-white "Material Design" flat
>>> unmarked controls, and so on.  They work from a Mac while not having to
>>> actually use what they produce.
>>
>> I respectfully disagree in the case of actual Android devices, but
>> everyone has different preferences.
>
>>From your further comments, I see you prefer flat stuff, which I disdain.
> And here's a case where both preferences can easily be made installable,
> preferably even in default install.  It's the maintainers' job to curate a
> good set that satisfies every major side without being bloated.
>
> And which one should be the overall default, is a matter for a flamewar.
> One that'd I greatly welcome over our usual incendiary fare.
+1 GTK themes are very lightweight, much more so than icon themes. My
personal collection[1] includes a bundle of both.

[1]: https://deb.utopia-repository.org/sid_list.html#utopia-themes_all

>>
>> +1 for Materia (materia-gtk-theme), especially the dark variant. It's a
>> simple, flat dark theme that preserves contrast without being having a
>> pitch black background, more so than Arc-Dark and even Adwaita-Dark. The
>> widget effects might be a bit much for some but I don't mind them.
>
> Flat!  Die, heretic!  :)

I don't think I prefer *flat* as much as I prefer *simple*. Vertex[2][3]
is my favourite non-flat dark theme, if you're looking for something
like that.

[2]: https://github.com/horst3180/vertex-theme
[3]: https://www.gnome-look.org/p/1013757/

>  
>> Like most well-maintained themes it supports GTK2/3 and a plethora of
>> desktops, as well as Qt5 natively via a 3rd party Kvantum theme
>> (materia-kde).
>
> I have bad memories wrt trying to make QT use GTK3 themes -- unless that has
> improved, GTK2 support is a nice thing so QT can use that.
>
>> My only gripe with this setup is that some apps like Firefox don't
>> behave nicely using dark themed GTK themes only; things like buttons and
>> input fields end up having black on black text, so I end up overriding
>> it to start with GTK_THEME=Materia (the standard/mixed light and dark
>> version)
>
> Yeah, but with the emergence of dark themes on Windows and Mac, such web
> pages have mostly been fixed.
This is actually a Firefox bug,
https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1283086

Most web page elements are fine - it's just forms and buttons that are
broken since Firefox renders them using the system theme instead.

>
>>> * the default icon theme is fugly
>>>
>>>   => Default to eg. faenza?
>>
>> I like Numix-Circle but I'm a bit biased there ☺. Faenza, Moka, and
>> Papirus are all beautiful icon themes that the desktop's unify look and
>> feel. But this unification makes some people upset[1], though I very
>> much disagree with their opinion personally.
>>
>> [1]:
>> https://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2019/05/open-letter-stop-gtk-theming-distros
>
> I hate hate hate this approach.  Especially, I hate "apps".  I want
> programs.  The latter can integrate with the desktop, and don't have feeding
> the developer's ego as the primary purpose.
>
I'm not much of a GNOME fan either!

>> I use Noto Sans, which supports a lot of languages out of the box and is
>> the default in at least Cinnamon AFAIK.
>
> Noto has one technical problem: it registers hundreds of font family ones,
> making font selection dialogs useless if you have Noto installed.
>
> It'd be better if we had just "Noto Sans", "Noto Serif" and "Noto Mono"
> instead of "Noto Southwestern Reformed Klingon" as a separate family.

Fair enough; I'm not familiar with the technical decisions behind this.
For example it seems my GTK apps can display Chinese text fine using
"Noto Sans", while KDE/Qt needs "Noto Sans CJK" for it to not show as a
square?

>
> Sub-pixel is awesome, but doesn't work right if your monitors have different
> orientations (and with both code and almost all webpages being better in
> portrait, you want one monitor in lanscape and 1 or 2 in portrait).
>
> Not an issue with laptops, of course.
>

Or you have a tiny desk like me and can only fit one monitor :(
No one-size-fits-all solution here, I guess.

>>> * CSD is still a thing.  No, your special program shouldn't get to ignore
>>>   system theme, put controls in wrong order, miss some controls, not respond
>>>   to minimize/etc if it's currently busy, etc.  Consistency not one-off
>>>   designs.
>>>
>>>   => Install gtk3-nocsd by default in all desktop tasks but Gnome.  It's not
>>>      perfect but it helps.
>>
>> Alternatively, many GNOME apps have CSD-free alternatives. MATE's apps
>> for example are forks with relatively good feature parity:
>>   evince -> atril
>>   file-roller -> engrampa
>>   eog -> eom
>>
>> task-xfce-desktop has used MATE apps over GNOME ones for a while now.
>
> Yeah, I harassed the maintainers to make this switch myself.  Would be
> better for the originals to stop dropping support for non-GNOME, but if we
> can't have that, forking is a solution.
GTK apps with CSD look _passable_ with a decent theme, but I certainly
don't prefer them. chromium is a strange personal exception though...

>  
>>>   => If default desktop at install time was not KDE, make QT obey GTK theme?
>>
>> Installing qt5ct lets you override the theme platform to use GTK+2
>> themes, or configure something else e.g. if your preferred theme also
>> has a Qt version.
>>
>> One of the issues with hardcoding QT_QPA_PLATFORMTHEME=gtk across
>> sessions is that it conflicts with user settings if they prefer
>> something else.[2]
>
> Yeah, I have it set up on my old desktop, and just copied ~ over when
> installing another, but that'd be inappropriate for this tiny Pinebook.  So
> I ended up with no integration between GTK and QT, and this is one of
> complaints that pushed me to start this thread.
>
> This should be done by default.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I'm not super familiar with how sessions work, but qt5ct in
Debian is packaged in a way that only enables it if no
QT_QPA_PLATFORMTHEME was set previously. Perhaps a smart DE would use a
similar strategy if it wants to set QT_QPA_PLATFORMTHEME=gtk2. I don't
recall how newest Cinnamon does this.

>
> And I don't maintain (just use) GUIs so I don't know what's a good way to
> obey user settings.  Especially _my_ settings.
>
>> Another complaint I've heard is how many toolkits we should be
>> installing in a base system, since adding qt5ct will obviously pull in
>> Qt 5. We don't want it to be a hard dependency of any GTK-based desktop
>> either, since that's not really the right place.
>
> Meh, I'd say it's not an issue on any screen-attached machine.  This
> Pinebook is at the very bottom, yet has gobs of space for any system files.
> I'd need to start piling up _data_ to possibly exhaust it.
I'm in agreement here because I use Qt apps frequently (VLC, KeePassXC)
even on a GTK based desktop.

>
> Meow!
>


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Re: Debian, so ugly and unwieldy!

Martin Steigerwald
In reply to this post by Adam Borowski-3
Adam Borowski - 07.06.19, 21:09:
> On Fri, Jun 07, 2019 at 11:24:03AM -0700, James Lu wrote:
[…]

> > > * default font is ugly and poorly hinted -- the latter is
> > > especially jarring> >
> > >   on a low-resolution screen I'm at right now, the former still
> > >   applies to one's proper battlestation at home/work.  Tarzeau
> > >   recently had some interesting rants, but even Quicksand that
> > >   recently got added (during hard freeze...) to desktop-base is
> > >   pretty nice.  Or, if you want something more conventional,
> > >   Clear Sans (Intel Clear).  Or, Inter.  Or...
> > >  
> > >   => Actually configure a good font by default.  Quicksand looks
> > >   fine.
> >
> > I use Noto Sans, which supports a lot of languages out of the box
> > and is the default in at least Cinnamon AFAIK.
>
> Noto has one technical problem: it registers hundreds of font family
> ones, making font selection dialogs useless if you have Noto
> installed.
>
> It'd be better if we had just "Noto Sans", "Noto Serif" and "Noto
> Mono" instead of "Noto Southwestern Reformed Klingon" as a separate
> family.

Also if you remove packages

- fonts-noto-extra
- fonts-noto-ui-extra
- fonts-noto-cjk
- fonts-noto-cjk-extra#

?

I just did so here and font selection requester is much more palatable
than before.

Still installed are:

- fonts-noto
- fonts-noto-color-emoji
- fonts-noto-core
- fonts-noto-hinted
- fonts-noto-mono
- fonts-noto-ui-core
- fonts-noto-unhinted

For certain locale selections during installation it might be necessary
to install more than that.

Ciao,
--
Martin


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Re: Debian, so ugly and unwieldy!

Adam Borowski-3
On Fri, Jun 07, 2019 at 10:57:17PM +0200, Martin Steigerwald wrote:

> Adam Borowski - 07.06.19, 21:09:
> > On Fri, Jun 07, 2019 at 11:24:03AM -0700, James Lu wrote:
> > > I use Noto Sans, which supports a lot of languages out of the box
> > > and is the default in at least Cinnamon AFAIK.
> >
> > Noto has one technical problem: it registers hundreds of font family
> > ones, making font selection dialogs useless if you have Noto
> > installed.
> >
> > It'd be better if we had just "Noto Sans", "Noto Serif" and "Noto
> > Mono" instead of "Noto Southwestern Reformed Klingon" as a separate
> > family.
>
> Also if you remove packages
>
> - fonts-noto-extra
> - fonts-noto-ui-extra
> - fonts-noto-cjk
> - fonts-noto-cjk-extra#
>
> ?
>
> I just did so here and font selection requester is much more palatable
> than before.

It's not nice to drop language support.

I guess it'be nice to contact upstream and/or patch it in our packages.

I don't think there's a reason for the user to manually select a particular
writing script, fontconfig is supposed to do the work automatically.


Meow!
--
⢀⣴⠾⠻⢶⣦⠀
⣾⠁⢠⠒⠀⣿⡁ Sometimes you benefit from delegating stuff.  For example,
⢿⡄⠘⠷⠚⠋⠀ this way I get to be a vegetarian.
⠈⠳⣄⠀⠀⠀⠀

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Re: Debian, so ugly and unwieldy!

Adam Borowski-3
In reply to this post by James Lu-3
On Fri, Jun 07, 2019 at 12:32:54PM -0700, James Lu wrote:

> >> +1 for Materia (materia-gtk-theme), especially the dark variant. It's a
> >> simple, flat dark theme that preserves contrast without being having a
> >> pitch black background, more so than Arc-Dark and even Adwaita-Dark. The
> >> widget effects might be a bit much for some but I don't mind them.
> >
> > Flat!  Die, heretic!  :)
>
> I don't think I prefer *flat* as much as I prefer *simple*. Vertex[2][3]
> is my favourite non-flat dark theme, if you're looking for something
> like that.
>
> [2]: https://github.com/horst3180/vertex-theme
> [3]: https://www.gnome-look.org/p/1013757/

It has that narrow scroller thingy, which I hate.

But it's also something a fellow d-devel poster likes that is NOT PACKAGED,
which I hate even more.  :)

So I wonder if we should fix the second thing.

> > Yeah, but with the emergence of dark themes on Windows and Mac, such web
> > pages have mostly been fixed.
>
> This is actually a Firefox bug,
> https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1283086
>
> Most web page elements are fine - it's just forms and buttons that are
> broken since Firefox renders them using the system theme instead.

There's a CSS fix-up which I have on my primary desktop (and the old box I
copies it from), but that's not something set up by default.

Fixes that are not applied, live on a single computer for a single person,
thus as the distribution is concerned _don't exist_.  That fixup is a hack
that doesnt't detect theme so it's not universal thus can't be upstreamed.

> >> I use Noto Sans, which supports a lot of languages out of the box and is
> >> the default in at least Cinnamon AFAIK.
> >
> > Noto has one technical problem: it registers hundreds of font family ones,
> > making font selection dialogs useless if you have Noto installed.
> >
> > It'd be better if we had just "Noto Sans", "Noto Serif" and "Noto Mono"
> > instead of "Noto Southwestern Reformed Klingon" as a separate family.
>
> Fair enough; I'm not familiar with the technical decisions behind this.
> For example it seems my GTK apps can display Chinese text fine using
> "Noto Sans", while KDE/Qt needs "Noto Sans CJK" for it to not show as a
> square?

Could someone with some fontconfig skills chime in?

> > Sub-pixel is awesome, but doesn't work right if your monitors have different
> > orientations (and with both code and almost all webpages being better in
> > portrait, you want one monitor in lanscape and 1 or 2 in portrait).
> >
> > Not an issue with laptops, of course.
> >
>
> Or you have a tiny desk like me and can only fit one monitor :(
> No one-size-fits-all solution here, I guess.

Only the monitor's leg must fit, thus on any real desk you can fit at least
two big ones.  Then there are VESA stands.

I see no excuse to not have at least two big screens.  Your eyes are worth
more than a bit of money and effort.

Just a note: 1920x1200 is the biggest resolution handled by common non-new
cables, GPUs and screens.  When breaching that limit, you need dual-link,
which requires a special more expensive DVI cable which HDMI doesn't
support.  So only a sufficiently new version of HDMI (which is surprisingly
ill spread -- and you need all three components to support it) or
DisplayPort can work correctly.  Upon seeing juicy dirt-cheap 30" 2560x1600s
for sale I rushed and bought two without testing -- bad move.

> >> One of the issues with hardcoding QT_QPA_PLATFORMTHEME=gtk across
> >> sessions is that it conflicts with user settings if they prefer
> >> something else.[2]
> >
> > Yeah, I have it set up on my old desktop, and just copied ~ over when
> > installing another, but that'd be inappropriate for this tiny Pinebook.  So
> > I ended up with no integration between GTK and QT, and this is one of
> > complaints that pushed me to start this thread.
> >
> > This should be done by default.
>
> ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I'm not super familiar with how sessions work, but qt5ct in
> Debian is packaged in a way that only enables it if no
> QT_QPA_PLATFORMTHEME was set previously. Perhaps a smart DE would use a
> similar strategy if it wants to set QT_QPA_PLATFORMTHEME=gtk2. I don't
> recall how newest Cinnamon does this.

A safe assumption is that a GTK-based DE (xfce, mate, ...) would want QT
programs to comply, while a QT-based one wants a native theme.  People don't
tend to flip DEs on a single machine much.

> > Meh, I'd say it's not an issue on any screen-attached machine.  This
> > Pinebook is at the very bottom, yet has gobs of space for any system files.
> > I'd need to start piling up _data_ to possibly exhaust it.
>
> I'm in agreement here because I use Qt apps frequently (VLC, KeePassXC)
> even on a GTK based desktop.

When the web browser takes 2-4GB of RAM, the cost of an extra GUI toolkit
becomes infinitessimally small.


Meow!
--
⢀⣴⠾⠻⢶⣦⠀ What Would Jesus Do, MUD/MMORPG edition:
⣾⠁⢰⠒⠀⣿⡁ • multiplay with an admin char to benefit your mortal
⢿⡄⠘⠷⠚⠋⠀ • abuse item cloning bugs (the five fishes + two breads affair)
⠈⠳⣄⠀⠀⠀⠀ • use glitches to walk on water

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Re: Debian, so ugly and unwieldy!

intrigeri-4
In reply to this post by Adam Borowski-3
Hi Adam,

Adam Borowski:
> I also hate with a passion so-called "UX designers".

I would love if we tried to make Debian more welcoming to folks with
skills that our project lacks, such as UX design and graphics, rather
than the opposite.

> They work from a Mac while not having to actually use what
> they produce.

FYI, a UX designer using themselves the product they've designed is
only one tool in the UX toolbox for validating such work, and by far
not the best.

This being said, I'm glad you care about the appearance and user
experience of the Debian desktop :)

Cheers,
--
intrigeri

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Re: Debian, so ugly and unwieldy!

Jonathan Dowland
In reply to this post by Adam Borowski-3
On Fri, Jun 07, 2019 at 05:24:17PM +0200, Adam Borowski wrote:
>In general: could we please do something to appearance beyond choosing a
>wallpaper once a release?

I fully support more effort on improving the usability, consistency etc. across
the GUI stuff we provide. Timing-wise it's best done at a different point in
the release cycle to now.

In the past, this has been worked on via the debian-desktop@ list.

--

⢀⣴⠾⠻⢶⣦⠀
⣾⠁⢠⠒⠀⣿⡁ Jonathan Dowland
⢿⡄⠘⠷⠚⠋⠀ https://jmtd.net
⠈⠳⣄⠀⠀⠀⠀ Please do not CC me, I am subscribed to the list.

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Re: Debian, so ugly and unwieldy!

Paul Wise via nm
In reply to this post by Adam Borowski-3
On Fri, Jun 7, 2019 at 11:24 PM Adam Borowski wrote:

> In general: could we please do something to appearance beyond choosing a
> wallpaper once a release?

Please note that modifying the appearance of apps can annoy upstreams:

https://stopthemingmy.app/
https://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2019/05/open-letter-stop-gtk-theming-distros

--
bye,
pabs

https://wiki.debian.org/PaulWise

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Re: Debian, so ugly and unwieldy!

Adam Borowski-3
In reply to this post by Jonathan Dowland
On Sat, Jun 08, 2019 at 10:21:22AM +0100, Jonathan Dowland wrote:
> On Fri, Jun 07, 2019 at 05:24:17PM +0200, Adam Borowski wrote:
> > In general: could we please do something to appearance beyond choosing a
> > wallpaper once a release?
>
> I fully support more effort on improving the usability, consistency etc. across
> the GUI stuff we provide. Timing-wise it's best done at a different point in
> the release cycle to now.

Good point -- but, as I said let's discuss before filing bugs.  Let's
pretend I meant that this discussion is timed in a way so once it settles
the phase of the release cycle should improve. :)

> In the past, this has been worked on via the debian-desktop@ list.

Hmm right.  Not a place I haunt, though.


Meow!
--
Autotools hint: to do a zx-spectrum build on a pdp11 host, type:
  ./configure --host=zx-spectrum --build=pdp11

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Re: Debian, so ugly and unwieldy!

Chris Lamb -2
In reply to this post by Adam Borowski-3
Adam Borowski wrote:

> This is about GUI appearance and ergonomy.
>
> I'll concentrate at XFCE, as I consider GNOME3's UI a lost cause, thus I'd
> find it hard to bring constructive arguments there.
>
> I also hate with a passion so-called "UX designers".  Those are folks who
> created Windows 8's Metro tiles, lightgray-on-white "Material Design" flat
> unmarked controls, and so on.  They work from a Mac while not having to
> actually use what they produce.

I empathise, understand and agree with many of the concerns that you
raised in your message. It is therefore particularly tragic that you
chose to open your remarks and suggestions in such a manner.

Expressing distain for the status quo and then compounding that by
passing judgement on the people who may be in the very position to
improve it seems, at best, unlikely to achieve our shared aims. It
furthermore frames any discussion in an unnecessarily negative light,
filtering responses to those who are willing to engage and contribute
to the conversation on combative terms, ensuring a systematic
observation bias in the outcome.

As others have mentioned, I hope that Debian remains a project that
makes it evermore welcoming to individuals who can advance our aims
and we were able to continue to discuss sensitive topics in a
collective and constructive manner. In that light, I would gently ask
that all well-meaning and sincere proposals to our lists make pains to
avoid all possibility of being accused of the aforementioned sins.


Best wishes,

--
      ,''`.
     : :'  :     Chris Lamb
     `. `'`      [hidden email] 🍥 chris-lamb.co.uk
       `-

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Re: Debian, so ugly and unwieldy!

Adam Borowski-3
On Sun, Jun 09, 2019 at 09:46:37AM +0100, Chris Lamb wrote:
> Adam Borowski wrote:
> > This is about GUI appearance and ergonomy.
[...]

> > I also hate with a passion so-called "UX designers".  Those are folks who
> > created Windows 8's Metro tiles, lightgray-on-white "Material Design" flat
> > unmarked controls, and so on.  They work from a Mac while not having to
> > actually use what they produce.
>
> I empathise, understand and agree with many of the concerns that you
> raised in your message. It is therefore particularly tragic that you
> chose to open your remarks and suggestions in such a manner.
>
> Expressing distain for the status quo and then compounding that by
> passing judgement on the people who may be in the very position to
> improve it seems, at best, unlikely to achieve our shared aims.

It is not my intention to bash any individuals (apologies if I sounded this
way) -- what I hate are two, quite prevalent, attitudes.

One is design that ignores usability and ergonomy.  The current trend
ignores not just grumbling user but even actual scientists.  Unmarked
controls -- in big words "lacking strong signifiers" make people need a lot
longer time to complete whatever task they were doing -- eye tracking shows
their attention wanders all around the window/page looking for interactable
controls.  This might actually be a goal -- it makes people notice adverts
more and for a longer time -- but is a strong countergoal for us.  The
theme doesn't need to be skeumorphic -- for example, marking interactable
controls in flat red is okay as long as you don't use red anywhere else.

And especially (the second problem), the interface needs to be consistent.
This is why I hate poor integration between GTK and QT[1] so much, and CSD
even more.  The latter makes every program its unique interface, not obeying
the rest of the system.  Heck, if your theme has close button on the left or
in the center, a CSD-using program will have it on the right.  And look
different, and behave different, and so on.  The design movement pabs linked
to, "Don't Theme Our Apps" is exactly the thing I wish to stop.  I want
Debian to be well-integrated and usable while they want "brand recognition"
and to showcase their newest design, not letting the user to have things
his/her way.

> It furthermore frames any discussion in an unnecessarily negative light,
> filtering responses to those who are willing to engage and contribute to
> the conversation on combative terms, ensuring a systematic observation
> bias in the outcome.

I don't observe designs much, yeah.  I notice things only when they stand in
my way.  For example, when faced with eye-hurting whiteness I fixed and
packaged a dark theme (there were none in Debian at the time) as that was my
itch to scratch.  But I don't do so in an organized way, just lashing out at
a particular problem.  Such as tiny scrollbars being nasty for both fat
fingers on a 450dpi screen (Gemini) and for crap touchpad on a
low-resolution Pinebook.  Or, poorly hinted default font looking like crap
on that low-resolution Pinebook (and sub-pixel was set to off!).

I think a good UI person would want to at least know complaints from mere
users like me, and that's why I started this thread.
 
> As others have mentioned, I hope that Debian remains a project that
> makes it evermore welcoming to individuals

Yeah but one of our core values is "we do not hide problems".  I'd rather
lash out and voice my gripes _with actionable ideas_ than to stay silent to
avoid hurting someone's ego.

And I'd also prefer to avoid pushing my way in a back alley, thus I'm asking
for ideas and consensus before filing bugs.


Meow!

[1]. GTK vs QT seems trivial to fix, at least for GTK2-capable themes.  You
plop "export QT_QPA_PLATFORMTHEME=gtk2" into .xsessionrc and that's it.
GTK2 going out might be a problem -- but in my naive view, why not make that
setting the default then maybe improve it later?
--
⢀⣴⠾⠻⢶⣦⠀ Latin:   meow 4 characters, 4 columns,  4 bytes
⣾⠁⢠⠒⠀⣿⡁ Greek:   μεου 4 characters, 4 columns,  8 bytes
⢿⡄⠘⠷⠚⠋  Runes:   ᛗᛖᛟᚹ 4 characters, 4 columns, 12 bytes
⠈⠳⣄⠀⠀⠀⠀ Chinese: 喵   1 character,  2 columns,  3 bytes <-- best!

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