22 September 2006


Well, Ubuntu have surprised me again, with a modern, full-speed distro based on the Xfce window manager.

Why is this special?

Well, for a leading-edge company to do something this retro-looking is a classic Shuttleworthism. Mark is a very bright lad, and has realised that not everybody wants the biggest-horsepower flashest-technology window manager.

Mark’s talk on his Soyuz (TM34) flight was quite an insight into this insight. He speaks wonderingly of molten metal running across the capsule’s window, clear that this was a deliberate design choice by the engineers who built the thing.

And why did Mark fly? He realised that it was something he’d always wanted to do — a little risky but noble & ambitious — so he did it.

Xfce has a reasonable amount of flashness — don’t get me wrong there — but manages to do it without dumping the fuel-guage through the floor. It will work beautifully, for example, on machines which Vista just laughs at.

For everyone else, it will be faster & smoother than whatever it replaces.

For cash-strapped schools and the like — facing bucketsful of donated machines which Vista just laughs at — it’ll be an absolute goldmine.

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