Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 7th Sep 2009 22:38 UTC, submitted by EvilWells
Debian and its clones Developer Frans Pop, author of debtree, posted an article showing the evolution in size of the GNOME desktop environment in recent Debian releases. The picture he paints isn't particularly pretty: the default GNOME install has increased drastically in size over the years.
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Separation
by jabjoe on Tue 8th Sep 2009 09:19 UTC
jabjoe
Member since:
2009-05-06

What this shows up is things not being separated out enough. He points this out in the article.


Most of these dependencies of libgtk2.0-0 I can understand, but isn't gtk supposed to be a graphical toolkit library? Couldn't printing support be implemented in some more specialized Gnome printing toolkit library?


I agree. Each dependency may bring in a bit more than used, and that just cascades. The way to fight this is the same as it has always been.

"Do one thing, do it well."

If you application adheres to that, and the libs it uses do, the dependency tree shouldn't cascade. If libs are included to add functionality most of the users won't use, that starts a cascade effect. If the lib themselves also do this, you end up where tools have (indirect) dependencies completely unrelated to the tool.

All OS and software suffer from this, it's unavoidable and part of the nature of the beast, but in the open source world, this isn't only more visible (because of no black boxes) but controllable, we have all of the source.

I don't want to stop the gnome desktop being featureful and easy to use, but I want to be able to strip it down which you can't do with cascading interdependencies.

Of course there is a tradeoff between work required to do this, and gain from doing so. The hope is supporting the resource starved environments, netbooks, mobiles, etc, will be a slimming force on bloat like this.

Those who say bloat doesn't matter need to get a clue. If you ignore it, it gets to a point where you can't. (Vista cough) and you have to slim it down (Win7 cough), especially if the hardware isn't what you thought it would be (netbooks cough).

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