Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 13th Feb 2009 23:15 UTC
Gnome A very, very long time ago I personally advocated the inclusion of a certain feature into GNOME. We set up a poll at OSNews, which resulted in a very, very resounding "yes!" from the OSNews community - many of which are GNOME users. The feature in question was the global application menubar, which allowed the GNOME desktop to have a menu bar atop the screen similar to that of Mac OS X. The poll is long gone, the debate thread in the Bugzilla has died out, and no decision has yet been made. I wanted to know where this feature stands, and how much the developers have improved it, and I was in for a surprise.
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No way (at least not based on your poll)
by pooo on Sat 14th Feb 2009 01:34 UTC
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1. This is at best going to be hacky on any unix desktop because of the issues with compatibility you have already pointed out. At least with KDE they have a very standard menu bar system where every app will work. With GTK there is a standard way of making menu bars but many apps don't use it. You combine that with Firefox (probably the #1 most used app on the unix desktop) and and you get a messy, inconsistent cludge that will surely scare away new users and irritate old ones.

2. You can't point to your poll as indicative of anything. Your sample (as others have pointed out) is self selecting. The only way to get an accurate representation is to do a random sample by contacting at random existing gnome users. That would be hard I admit but your poll certainly has no merit as indicative of what the overall community would like.

3. My intuition is that what we are hearing in your poll and in the bug only sounds significant because there is a vocal minority skewing our perception. I for one hate that interface. I think if you did manage to get a good sample of people even that would be misleading compared to what the random poll numbers would look like if you first had people use the other interface for a while (where they would see the mac way is not always best and it is especially a junky cludge on unix). My prediction is that if you did a test on a randomly selected group that the poll would in fact be overwhelmingly *against*. (However I admit that is just a guess without real polling data so I recommend not messing with something that is working just fine without data)

4. Even if people do want it and it doesn't suck (both of which I would debate) you still have consider "how valuable is it?". Is it just a nicety or would it transform the desktop in some important way? The reason I ask is that this is fairly disruptive on several fronts so it had better have high value because there is definitely a high cost. First of all existing users will have to adjust their long ingrained habits and expectations. Some users will be pissed off and defect to KDE or elsewhere. Existing GTK apps will have to be updated and long hard fought battles will have to be waged with KDE,, mozilla and others. And in the meantime gnome will suffer from the perception that it is inconsistent and cludgy. Older apps will never work and newer apps written first for windows or KDE will present an ongoing problem for ever. Is it worth it? Even for advocates I think the answer is probably no especially when there are so many other more worthwhile efforts.

Edited 2009-02-14 01:50 UTC

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