back to article Lightweight LXQt 2.0.0 updates to same toolkit as KDE Plasma 6

Version 2.0 of the LXQt desktop updates its foundations to Qt 6, as also used in KDE Plasma 6 – but still has one foot in the Qt 5 past, to ease the transition. As promised back in February, bang on schedule, LXQt 2.0.0 is out. This is an important update to one of the lightest full desktop environments for Linux, and moves …

  1. IGnatius T Foobar !

    "Windows 95" design?

    The "four-letter desktops" – Xfce, LXDE, and LXQt – all more or less stick to the classic Windows 95-style design,

    Hold on there, partner. The "Windows 95 design" (taskbar on the bottom, maximized windows don't cover the taskbar) is actually the "Acorn RISC OS" design, from which it was copied. Please do not give attribution to Microsoft for something they did not create.

    That having been said, it IS a great design and I greatly prefer it. A computer desktop should look like a computer, not like a phone or a Mac.

    1. karlkarl Silver badge

      Re: "Windows 95" design?

      Its true. I remember when the Windows 95 "experience" came out on Windows 3.x (perhaps NT 3.x?) Loads of side-by-side comparisons done in magazines to RISCOS. Good times.

      Though frankly and in hindsight, the classic Windows (3.1) interface was shockingly good compared to what Microsoft is capable of without copying. So that makes me suspect that 3.1 was also copied from somewhere.

      1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

        Re: "Windows 95" design?

        > So that makes me suspect that 3.1 was also copied from somewhere.

        From OS/2 1.x.

        1. karlkarl Silver badge

          Re: "Windows 95" design?

          Y'know I have never actually looked at an earlier version of OS/2.

          The similarity is indeed uncanny! That certainly resolves my suspicion.

    2. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: "Windows 95" design?

      [Author here]

      > The "Windows 95 design" (taskbar on the bottom, maximized windows don't cover the taskbar) is actually the "Acorn RISC OS" design, from which it was copied.

      No, it isn't.

      Owner of an A310 in the 1980s here. That's bogus and totally false. It was an influence, sure. See my interview here:

      https://www.theregister.com/2022/06/23/how_risc_os_happened/

      I have gone into this in considerable depth in the past:

      https://www.theregister.com/Print/2013/06/03/thank_microsoft_for_linux_desktop_fail/

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: "Windows 95" design?

        ... Tragically you couldn't patent software at that point. So this was the one I invented, I came up with the idea of the icon bar across the bottom. In case anyone ever asked where it came from, we were sat in a room thinking 'how do we design this to be different, so we don't get sued by Apple?' The Mac had a menu bar of text across the top, so we thought 'we can't go across the top, we'll have to go across the bottom – and we can't use text, so we'll have to use icons.' That's why it's like that," Fellows continued.

        "There was a guy at Colton Software with us… who joined Microsoft in Seattle, and it was shortly after that that Windows acquired an icon bar. I know how that idea got there."

        So... MS took the same approach and Windows took the Apple menu and upside-downed it (but you could drag it to the top again if you wanted) and smashed it together with the task bar from RISC OS?

        1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

          Re: "Windows 95" design?

          > So... MS took the same approach and Windows took the Apple menu and upside-downed it (but you could drag it to the top again if you wanted) and smashed it together with the task bar from RISC OS?

          Not really.

          I have heard this claim before but the original Apple menu was not like that at all.

          In the early versions of MacOS (N.B. *not* macOS, i.e. Mac OS X), the Apple menu was not hierarchical, it was not user-customisable, it was not used for launching apps, and it was not used for shutting down the system (that was the Special menu on the end of the menu bar for Finder.)

          In 1991, MacOS 7 was a big rewrite, replacing a lot of the assembly-language and Pascal bits with C code, and adding Multifinder. It gained the customisable Apple menu, represented by a nested set of folders inside the System Folder. The Control Panel also became hierarchical, which it wasn't before. System 7 also introduced Aliases, which are something like Unix symbolic links for Classic MacOS, but which contained a machine name and so worked over network connections as well.

          Suddenly it became possible to put folders in your Start Menu and fill those folders with aliases pointing to your apps... but I was actively supporting Macs every day back then, and this was _not_ a common thing to do. It was more common to put some aliases to often-used apps on your desktop.

          MacOS 8 started to popularise and standardise the use of the Apple Menu to be an application launcher, but it still wasn't a standard feature. It had an automatically-managed "Recent Applications" folder as well as "Recent Documents" but if you wanted to put apps in there, you had to roll your own solution, and it would not be managed by the system.

          MacOS 8 came out in 1997 so it post-dates both Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.

          This was not something Microsoft copied from Apple. In fact it's closer to the other way round.

          The idea of the "icon bar" at the bottom of the screen seems to be something original to Acorn in Arthur for the early Archimedes, but as a long time RISC OS user, I can tell that people calling it a taskbar are basing that on screenshots, not use.

          (Comparison: "Windows 2 had a taskbar, it is the green strip at the bottom!" No. Don't judge from screenshots. Try it for yourself. That strip is just an area of desktop that windows do not cover.)

          It is not an app launcher -- you use the filesystem, like on a Mac. It is not an app switcher. You use the icons in the icon bar to manage program state (like the App Name menu in OS X) and to open new windows.

          It *doesn't* contain an app launcher menu. It does not have a notification area. It does not have buttons for windows.

          But... It *does* contain drive icons, which Windows' Taskbar doesn't. It does contain folders, which Windows doesn't. It does have a global OS status icon, which Windows doesn't. It does have a clock but it's optional.

          NeXT seems to have taken the idea from Acorn Arthur and invented the dock as an OS UI feature. (Apps already had toolbars, back to later Xerox products.)

          The NeXT dock is closer to the Windows taskbar... but not very. It doesn't contain drives and most of the Acorn stuff. It does have a clock but it does not convey status info. It is an app launcher but only one-by-one (like Win98/XP's "quick launch toolbar" which is a separate thing, not a standard part of the taskbar). The Dock has no hierarchical launchers or anything. The Dock is also not a window switcher -- there's a separate area at bottom left where window icons stack up, and they only appear when minimised, a bit like Windows 1.x/2.x.

          Yes, 100%, there was inspiration there, but they are all different and work differently and nothing in NeXT is directly copied from Arthur.

          Arthur influenced a very different UI element in NeXTstep, which worked differently and looks different. That influenced Win95 but again not directly.

          There was nothing like the Taskbar before MS invented it. I am not a fan of MS but the UI R&D and engineering in Windows 95 was world-class stuff. Credit where it's due.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: "Windows 95" design?

            The Apple menu had the Apple menu in the top left (vs Start menu in the bottom left), clock in the top right since System 7.5 (vs clock in the bottom right), and system extensions stacking up next to the clock (vs system tray icons stacking up next to the clock).

            The RISC OS dock had applications appearing at the bottom right (vs applications appearing in the task bar in the bottom left next to the Start Menu). I'm sure by RISC OS 3 it was doing that and that was well before Windows 95.

            The application menu position was taken from Windows 3.1 and Alt-Tab to switch between applications was around since Windows 2.0. The Start Menu was hierarchical (and if I remember, came from Windows 3.1 Program Manager groups but turned into ordinary files and directories) but then again so was the Apple menu in System 7.5. The context menu was more usable than RISC OS and X-Windows.

            I think they're all ideas of their time, but Microsoft saw what had come before and had no problem taking things that worked and using them.

            1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

              Re: "Windows 95" design?

              My point is that yes, there were hierarchical menus, sure, but the idea of using one of those as the main app-launching UI was new.

              The Apple Menu wasn't for launching apps. It held the Control Panel, Chooser, and desk accessories, _not_ apps. Not even in MacOS 7.5.

              There were textual task lists in OS/2 1.x but the idea of buttons for _windows_ was new. Two windows, 2 buttons. That was novel.

              There were clocks, sure. Most GUIs had a clock. RISC OS won Acorn's support because it had a naughty app that could run lots of clocks at once and that made ARX collapse in disk thrashing.

              But combining the clock with a defined area for notifications and status icons, that was new. Many MacOS applets ran in the menu bar and it could get very cluttered but it wasn't a defined standard thing.

              Personally, I much preferred RISC OS's context menus, but hey, whatever. :-)

              It was more than just a clever combination of existing ideas. It was a coherent overall UI and that's why there are about a dozen Linux desktops that copy it, plus BeOS and Haiku and Warp 4 and QNX Neutrino and so many others I lose count.

              There is not a single knock-off or copy of OS/2 Workplace Shell. There is not a single complete working Classic MacOS desktop for Linux. There's no GEM desktop knockoff. There is only an Amiga-like window manager, no filer, no Workbench.

              Before Win95 there were half a dozen distinct models for a WIMP desktop. The Lisa influenced the Mac, which visibly influenced GEM and AmigaOS. OS/2 was different. RISC OS was different. NeXTstep was different. CDE was different. OpenLook was different. Irix Magic was different. Psion EPOC16 and EPOC32 were different.

              Lots of diversity, lots of ideas. Since then, there is Mac OS X and there are Win9x knock offs and everything else is basically dead and gone.

              You just have to respect a design that so comprehensively demolished all the competition like that.

              It wasn't just something improvised from a bunch of existing parts. In fact, TBH, GEM and AmigaOS and _especially_ OS/2 WPS felt much more like that to me.

    3. Grogan Silver badge

      Re: "Windows 95" design?

      That actually irks me... it's like anything with a button that brings up a menu and a taskbar is "Windows 95 style". Bollocks, those are just typical GUI elements. No, it's not a new invention.

      Moreover, it's not necessarily the way the desktop is meant to be, it's just how it's shipped. For example XFCE was more like a CDE user interface until more recent years. It didn't even have desktop icons until they started dumbing it down to be more gnome2-like. Even so, most people would never even see the upstream default configuration of it (a couple of user folder icons and a small, mostly unpopulated panel with an Application menu button etc.), because the distros ship it with the panel configured like a typical start button and taskbar type panel, with desktop icons. I still configure it similarly to the way it used to be, because what distributors do to it is a disconnect.

      The concept of an application button and a taskbar area of some sort, or some sort of "program manager" for iconified application windows is just how a typical GUI works. That they want to dumb them down and make them more cryptic (not discoverable like a GUI should be) at the same time isn't a good thing.

      1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

        Re: "Windows 95" design?

        > The concept of an application button and a taskbar area of some sort, or some sort of "program manager" for iconified application windows is just how a typical GUI works.

        No, it is not.

        This was new stuff in the mid-1990s, and just because it's a long time ago and most people forget the details does not make it untrue.

        Apple invented a lot of stuff Xerox didn't, such as icons for data files and graphical views of folder contents rather than a console-style directory list in a window. Apple invented global menu bars and standardised dialog boxes and so on.

        Then Microsoft invented a lot more, some in Windows 3 (mostly nicked from OS/2 1.x) and much more in Win95.

        The whole concept of a graphical depiction of open windows and a mouse-oriented way to switch, as opposed to say a text task list you could summon, was radical. The concept of a hierarchical program launcher as a core OS UI element. The concept of a standardised place for status notifiers as a UI element in its own right.

        Someone had to do this first, and most of the pioneering work was 2 companies: Apple in the 1980s and Microsoft in the 1990s.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > love it or hate it, Wayland is looming

    The Wayland community has a massive task ahead to port (re-write?) FVWM to the Wayland stack. Good luck to them!

    Then Wayland will have officially "loomed" ;)

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Well actually FVWM is mostly a toolkit that exposes window operations (move/resize/open/close/iconify) and sets certain standard behaviors, such as "keep this window on top" or "put titlebars on the left side" or "no frame for these windows"

      The important part is it calls certain functions when something happens to a window, so that for example when a window is created, you can maximize it automatically, or place it in a particular position, or do an animation. You can also write functions for keystrokes, so F1 lowers a window to the background, F2 iconifies a window, F6 can minimize all the current windows and get them the hell out of your face, or ctrl-shift-left-arrow can send a window to the left monitor.

      I don't think Wayland would have too much trouble. Most of the stuff has to be common to all windowing systems, like "maximize window" or "hook to this event"

      Or is Wayland that shitty?

      But yeah, until Wayland can do FVWM... they will have to pry X11 out of my cold dead hands.

      1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

        Just sayin'...

        https://github.com/fvwmorg/fvwm3

        Last commit 4 days ago, as I write.

        No, I don't use it myself. But it's a thing, and it's alive.

  3. Blackjack Silver badge

    So just like there is a "bridge" to force Pulseaufio Apps to work with alsa, there will be probably be a "bridge" to force wayland stuff to work with something else.

    1. Cloudseer

      Xwayland

  4. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge
    Joke

    Let's tease

    "all more or less stick to the classic Windows 95-style design"

    I remember somebody complaining about that.

  5. chololennon
    Facepalm

    Never miss the opportunity...

    > "...Meanwhile, KDE Plasma goes to the opposite extreme: it's much too cluttered – and almost every component still breaks our muscle memory"

    Never miss the opportunity to attack KDE, OMG!

    PS: your (not our) muscle memory

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