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 Forum index » Taking the Puppy out for a walk » Suggestions
What might help Puppy
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eric52


Joined: 16 Nov 2015
Posts: 252
Location: Southbury, CT

PostPosted: Mon 16 Nov 2015, 23:21    Post subject:  What might help Puppy  

I started with Precise, moved to Tahr (favorite), used Unicorn to build on, and enjoy the scope of Vivid. I prefer the main Ubuntu sequence, but I've tried Slacko, FatDog, etc. For me, the main involvement device was the ability to experiment on a persistent DVD and remaster for personal satisfaction. Multi-session CD/DVD distinguishes Puppy more than any other feature, but this is perhaps not as appealing to Windows refugees and Linux aficionados. Based on limited general Linux experience, distros are popular based on desktop appearance more than anything else. Puppy upholds a fine tradition of cartoon motifs. Personally, I've come to like this, but I don't stay with it for continuing use. I find JWM more than adequate, but I swap wallpaper and icons, subtracting most of them for a less distracting look. Many other distros offer WM swaps on the fly. Perhaps that's a bit much, but I think a cartoonish launch with an easy toggle to a subdued style and a "sexy" style might open the eyes of the public to the other great features Puppy offers. The current first impression is distinctive but could be somewhat limiting.
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solo


Joined: 14 Nov 2013
Posts: 390

PostPosted: Tue 17 Nov 2015, 12:00    Post subject:  

Wellll...., I kinda agree with you, but also, or perhaps more so, I kind of don't.

What I definately agree with is that a lot of Pups out of the box look like they could do with a makeover design-wise.
But I actually believe that this is a good thing.
There's been quite some discussion already on this forum about what Puppy Linux is supposed to be for users who only have had experience with Windows.
I believe it would be a mistake to try and 'emulate' some kind of Windows experience where people would not be encouraged to make any changes.
If something would look superslick at first startup then yes, they might be impressed and pleasantly surprised, but maybe it's much more stimulating and rewarding if they have a functioning desktop environment that they feel looks a bit crappy, and it is up to them to find out how to make improvements on that.
Because it is not that complicated, and when you succeed, you'll feel empowered, and you will have a desktop that is completely your own.
It will make people understand that they can approach any problem or difficulty they may have in the same manner.
They will learn that there's a lot of people out there giving advice, making modifications and improvements, and that you can benefit from them, and that they might benefit from you.

So that's my opinion on that. That is how I experienced my own whole coming from Windows into Puppy Linux move anyway.
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eric52


Joined: 16 Nov 2015
Posts: 252
Location: Southbury, CT

PostPosted: Tue 17 Nov 2015, 18:43    Post subject:  

Hmmm ... Perhaps I agree with you more than you agree with me. I have grown to like the Puppy "look," and I consider all your points quite valid. However, my initial reaction was that this was not a "serious" OS. It took a bit of reading the comments of others to convince me to download an ISO and try it. If others make similar aesthetic dismissals, then the Puppy "look" is not a marketing asset. Desktop appearance makes a lasting first impression for the majority of people. I really didn't even to bother reading Puppy commentaries until I ran across Google images of Elder LaCoste's design work with Fluxbox SlimPup (by Sheep). This prompted a reevaluation that I am deeply thankful for. I no longer emulate dark modernity featuring Conky, but that's what succeeded in attracting me to Puppy. Embarrassingly, I do judge a book by its cover, even though I'm an avid reader, a Lit. major, and a professional writer.
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Rattlehead


Joined: 11 Sep 2008
Posts: 367

PostPosted: Tue 17 Nov 2015, 23:21    Post subject:  

I've always thought it's a shame that Puppy has so few design people involved (I would love to walk the talk myself, but I'm graphically impaired-way more verbal than visual). Personally, I've had problems and felt embarrassed whenever I've tried to find things like a Puppy wallpaper.

A guy who collaborated for Mageia showed me their distro and blew me away. You could see that the desktop was the vanilla, out of the box aspect, and yet it was graphically beautiful, it looked professional and at the same time it was like an invitation to tinker. I checked the Mageia site and it also surprised me how well organized is their process to add collaborators to the project.

It is often argued that Puppy intends to be low on resources so it can be used in old computers; I understand that we don't run heavy 3D window managers but, omg, how about color combinations a bit easier on the eye, or icons more appealing, or simply the programs better arranged for usability in the menus? Having to find stuff as vital as the terminal, or the application to resize your pupsave (so urgent when you need it!), buried somewhere inside "Utilities"... or the stuff for internet randomly distributed between "Internet" and "Network", mixing everyday utilities with abstruse geek-only stuff... The arrangement of elements is design too, and it wouldn't cost a byte more, only a few brain cycles by our beloved developers or someone with a keen eye on UX.

I have a feeling there's still this dichotomy among (Puppy) Linux users between "we want this to be more popular" and "we want to be the cult-for-a-few-who-are-in-the-secret". Of course with a community so incredibly large and diverse, it's difficult to set a single guideline I guess.

OK, this was a .pet peeve.
I would have a .pup peeve, but the format is deprecated Razz
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eric52


Joined: 16 Nov 2015
Posts: 252
Location: Southbury, CT

PostPosted: Wed 18 Nov 2015, 00:38    Post subject:  

Thanks. I was beginning to wonder if it was just me. There is virtually no effort involved. There are plenty of free images that can be copied into /usr/share/backgrounds and applied to the desktop from the menu. There are some great iconset collections. There are additional themes. In short, there's no scarcity of resources, but there is a definite choice made to continue a cartooning tradition. This works well for the opening logo16 splash that shows briefly on CD/DVD boots. It's also fine to have many Puppy images available for those that want them. I like most of them, and it's a fine tradition and a perfectly valid aesthetic position. However, as a first visual impression it lacks universal appeal. The reason that Windows uses those pleasant broad landscapes is that millions of dollars of market research suggests that this approach will attract the most people. Quite obviously, it works regardless of what the OS itself is like. If we really want to promote Puppy, which is a uniquely superb OS, we should consider using a proven tactic while maintaining an honored tradition... in the background.
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p310don

Joined: 19 May 2009
Posts: 1375
Location: Brisbane, Australia

PostPosted: Wed 18 Nov 2015, 00:53    Post subject:  

For nicer looking Pups, look at Macpup, Carolina, X-Slacko, any of the NOP series, Buddapup, Saluki to name a few.
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eric52


Joined: 16 Nov 2015
Posts: 252
Location: Southbury, CT

PostPosted: Wed 18 Nov 2015, 07:22    Post subject:  

Thanks, p310don; some of those are new to me, and I'll check them out. But the flagship distros define the primary public image. There is only one exception I know of. Some years ago, Sheep put out a Justin Bieber Linux puplet. The joke garnered more public attention for Puppy than anything else in the history of the project. JPL was actually a tight rework of SlimPup and a decent distro, but it demonstrates that appearance drives success. If I recollect correctly, JPL was the #3 hit distro in less than a week! This phenomenon my have driven away as many as it drew, but it was powerful. We may not like what this says about achievement in our culture, but we should recognize the importance of the message. There is also a subtext about how jocularity can twist in delivery. Fun is good, but funny is risky.
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bigpup


Joined: 11 Oct 2009
Posts: 12022
Location: S.C. USA

PostPosted: Wed 18 Nov 2015, 08:21    Post subject:  

Never understood why people try another operating system and the first thing they want is to have it look and operate just like Windows Shocked Evil or Very Mad Twisted Evil

The official versions of Puppy are the basic operating system.
You can modify it anyway you like.
That is Linux Very Happy

Wonder why people using Mac OS, do not seem to have any problem accepting how it works Question

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L18L

Joined: 19 Jun 2010
Posts: 3445
Location: www.eussenheim.de/

PostPosted: Wed 18 Nov 2015, 08:42    Post subject:  

bigpup wrote:
Wonder why people using Mac OS, do not seem to have any problem accepting how it works Question
...
because they have paid for it
it must be good
the way it is
I think
Laughing
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eric52


Joined: 16 Nov 2015
Posts: 252
Location: Southbury, CT

PostPosted: Wed 18 Nov 2015, 13:13    Post subject:  

@bigpup & L18L - thanks for summing up the reasons for the status quo. Folks try a new OS because they're weary of paying for an old one. They want the new to look like like the old due to habituation and an aversion to learning. It's the way of the world. When Windows tried to reinvent itself (Cool it failed miserably. Inertia obeys Newton's laws inexorably. The original challenge was about attracting new users. My suggestion is simple: be as attractive as possible. Puppy is quite unique and worthy on that basis. It should be what it is and more so. Puppy packaging and presentation, however, has little to do with OS function or code development. Reach and response are marketing matters. If we want to improve our market, we need to improve our marketing, not our product. This is my area of expertise, and I'm frankly not proud of it. Perhaps what you're really wondering is why we should improve our market. I'm not at all sure we should. I too rather like things just the way they are in this kennel. Puppies aren't pound dogs looking for any new home. However, if we need to grow our market base, what I've discussed should be considered. That's all I'm saying.
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rcrsn51


Joined: 05 Sep 2006
Posts: 12627
Location: Stratford, Ontario

PostPosted: Wed 18 Nov 2015, 14:00    Post subject:  

From the movie "When Harry Met Sally..."
Quote:
Everybody thinks they have good taste and a sense of humor but they couldn't possibly all have good taste.

Unfortunately, some Puppies look like bad high-school projects, regardless of how well they work.
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gcmartin

Joined: 14 Oct 2005
Posts: 6730
Location: Earth

PostPosted: Wed 18 Nov 2015, 16:27    Post subject: Aesthetics coupled with OOTB functionality for any user  

I think this recent week's newest "Official" PUPPY distro (because of Barry Kauler's endorsement) steps in the direction you suggest: quiet, comfortable, professional, and inviting.

Hope this more nearly matches what you bring to our attention.

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Moat


Joined: 16 Jul 2013
Posts: 958
Location: Mid-mitten

PostPosted: Wed 18 Nov 2015, 20:11    Post subject:  

eric52 wrote:
However, as a first visual impression it lacks universal appeal.


Agreed, and would add that - IMHO - it's not just a matter of visual impression, but of the functional advantage that "polished" desktop visual elements can offer. It seems many hard-core Linux folks
hastily dismiss such visual elements as useless "bloat" and "eye candy" - but I feel they're dead wrong.

Out in the "real world" of visual perception (i.e. nature - outside of the computer desktop GUI) there are many visual "cues" that we humans have, over eons, grown accustomed to using in distinguishing objects around us - details in color, contrast, shapes, shadows, reflections, movement, etc. The huge range of those cues in nature, along with our high visual acuity and ability to discern those details (eye>brain), make us very visually-oriented critters. We use those cues constantly (voraciously!) whilst manipulating objects in our daily surroundings. Right?

So why not (aside from hardware resource usage/limitations) include as many of those natural cues/characteristics as realistically possible, in the desktop GUI elements - as the norm, as the standard? They're there for the taking, and in toying around with applying those details/cues/elements to a desktop GUI, I find they can be enormously beneficial to workflow/speed and general enjoyment while computing. They help to bring faster, easier visual focus, separate and differentiate/define objects and functions in what can otherwise be a busy, confusing environment. A definite functional advantage - at little-to-no cost in resource usage. A no-brainer!

Might sound a bit harsh, but IMHO part of Puppy's issue in this regard is in using JWM as the default DE. I've found it somewhat limiting and difficult when attempting to apply and tweak such details of the desktop GUI. Over time, I've grown to much prefer Openbox/LxPanel and Xfce for Puppy (Carolina/Xfce being greatness - and still perfectly reasonably "light" for most hardware built within the last 10 years or so).

I can't disagree with Solo's point about tweaking the look of Puppy as being a fun and useful educational endeavor... but the tweaking gets really, really old when trying out and setting up numerous Pups as they come along. And one will likely want to tweak anyway, regardless of how "nice" Puppy might look OOTB - as everybody's tastes will differ.

For anyone whom might want to download and take a spin, here's a link to my personal Pup (named Chloe, after my dearly departed Aussie sweetheart) - based on Precise 5.7.1 Retro with Openbox/LxPanel;

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/20968723/Chloe_Pup_R15.iso

I've spent a fair amount of "hobby" time massaging GUI elements on this remaster, and think it's pretty danged slick. Cool Close to my ideal of what Puppy could/should be, OOTB. A fattie @ ~300 Mb, it's loaded with a bunch of Gtk and Openbox themes (default being ones I fine-tuned myself), fonts, panel backgrounds, menu buttons, wallpapers, icon sets, etc - the look can be completely changed in mere seconds. Also includes some extra (too many?) apps, like GIMP, a tweaked-out Firefox 41, Sylpheed, Deadbeef, Pinta, Audacity, SMplayer, etc (a bunch more) - and most of the regular Puppy apps are updated to either the latest or quite recent versions.

Somewhere along the remastering way I've managed to break SNS and Dougal's wizard for WPA encrypted networks (Frisbee works fine, tho - and is default in the tray) - the price for playing around with trying out later Frisbee versions. Any help with fixing that would be forever appreciated! Embarassed I've tried and tried, but no joy (too dumb...).

Bob
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eric52


Joined: 16 Nov 2015
Posts: 252
Location: Southbury, CT

PostPosted: Wed 18 Nov 2015, 21:27    Post subject:  

Thanks guys, I'm happily downloading now. Moat, from the screenshots I would have to say you do fine design work, which serves to enhance a wonderful BK distro that can run on an abacus. Now that's a great way to skin a ... never mind. I still use Precise Retro a lot, and I like your ambiance better than mine; you've captured just the right hint of nostalgia, kept a sense of whimsy, and polished the patina, so to speak. @gcmartin - boy is my face red, I can't believe I got so wrapped up in rhetoric I missed a new distro. That's a really HOT desktop still glowing from the Slackware forge, and the design is an understated exercise in visual texture - very neat trick! My compliments to the chef - can't wait to taste it. Anyhow, you're right, that's the ticket, and it doesn't even glance at windows. It makes its own statement that, without being at all ponderous, demands to be taken seriously. This sort of stuff is wonderful to see.
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eric52


Joined: 16 Nov 2015
Posts: 252
Location: Southbury, CT

PostPosted: Thu 19 Nov 2015, 18:17    Post subject:  

Moat, thanks for Chloe. Very attractive and all rigged out for further graphic fun. It seems you recompile or remaster keeping personal settings that are usually erased (e.g. time zone). Do you work from the console when building Puppy, or is there some other trick?
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