Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 23rd Dec 2006 17:45 UTC
X11, Window Managers Apparently, my article a few days ago caused a bigger stir than I had anticipated, not at all unrelated to the fact that my wordings may not have been optimal. So, let me clarify things a bit.
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What is this all about?
by phoebus on Sun 24th Dec 2006 00:57 UTC
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I don't understand what the fuss is about. Thom (and Eugenia) say that Gnome is in trouble because (1) GTK+ needs more maintainers, and (2) the Gnome folks don't have a clear idea what Gnome 3.0 will be.

Let's take these criticisms one by one. (1) isn't exactly a new problem, nor is it isolated to Gnome. Aaron Seigo said in his blog that kdelibs are in a similar boat. Most free software projects could use more developers; Gnome is no exception. The GTK+ maintainers have identified a problem and are working to rectify it. I don't see how the need to have more maintainers puts Gnome in trouble, at least any more than any other free software project, including KDE.

Criticism (2) is so vague as to be unanswerable. (Admittedly, that is a convenient type of criticism to make.) What does Gnome 3.0 mean, and why is Gnome 3.0 important? As many others have pointed out, Gnome has made many radical changes since 2.0 came out in 2002. It has changed window managers. It has changed panels. It has changed its panel layout to the two-panel format. It has change themes. It has changed the default Nautilus profile. It has changed the button order. It has adopted a new IPC mechanism. It added a new Graphical 2d library (Cairo). It has adopted a new menu specification. It has added many new applications into its recommended configuration. It has added network awareness framework. It has added a hardware awareness layer in HAL. It recommends a new audio format (GStreamer). Looking back from today, the current Gnome might as well be Gnome 3.0 compared to the Gnome put out in 2002. If Microsoft were to make such radical changes in its interface, it would be considered a major overhaul-- much like Vista is to XP. Gnome did all this in 4 years. Microsoft has done much less for Vista in 5.

So, Gnome is changing at a nice pace. There is no hint, moreover, that these changes are slowing down. Thom, if you can point to anything concrete that suggests that the Gnome developers are slowing down in this regard, we would be welcome to hear it. I would suggest you look at the new ideas in Project Topaz, where Gnome devellopers test out new ideas, sometime radical ones (check out Gimmie as an experimentation, for instance).

So, "Gnome 3.0" is really a red herring, a marketing stunt, if you will. What does it mean? Gnome continues to make strides and changes, whether it calls it Gnome 3.0 or Gnome 2.20. Those changes come in little by little so as not to disrupt the core. That sounds like good engineering to me, not a failure in thinking. What is clear that Gnome does change radically over time. If you think Gnome is stagnating, you are simply not paying attention.

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