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
phoebus
Member since:
2006-12-24

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.

Reply Score: 5

RE: What is this all about?
by Eugenia on Sun 24th Dec 2006 02:52 in reply to "What is this all about?"
Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

>There is no hint, moreover, that these changes are slowing down

Gnome's progress at the last 2 years is very slow. To me it feels that it stays behind, just like one time CDE stayed behind Windows, and another time that WindowMaker stayed behind KDE 2.0.

As I wrote in my blog, the only NEW things in the Gnome platform are random stuff that third party developers are proposing every now and then. There is not major new code coming from the main maintainers of the project. There is a huge list of things that need fixing or adding, and yet no one is working on them. For example, where is my Bluetooth INTEGRATED support? Where is the Sync support with mobile devices? Where is FULL resolution independence (not just SVGs)? Where is a *home* video editor that works (now part of both the desktops of Windows and OSX, not just third party apps). Where is the fix for gnome-panel's architecture so its applets don't eat so much RAM? Where are other Nautilus fixes and features? Where is backup functionality integrated for some Gnome apps (instead of a third party generic app)? Where are the preferences that make sense about input devices (3 applets for keyboards, come on!!). Where is the applet for mouse that also supports configuring touchpads? Where is Jabber support? Where is handwriting support? Where is API documentation that it's full and up to date? NOWHERE.

Remember, I am not talking about third party random apps. I am talking about important pieces of a modern desktop that need to COME by DEFAULT *integrated* with the desktop. Sure, there are 100 Jabber apps out there, but IMHO, one of them should come with Gnome and be maintained accordingly, because IM is part of a MODERN desktop. It is about offering to the OEMs a FULL SOLUTION, not bits and pieces. This is how Gnome must function, as a good modern source of a platform to OEMs and distros.

So, based on these NEEDS that I have as a user, and seeing how Gnome is progressing the last 2-3 years (slow, minor upgrades), I find the whole Gnome future DISAPPOINTING and UNexciting.

This is my first and LAST comment on the subject. I won't reply to any of the replies that will be fueled by this comment of mine.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: What is this all about?
by tmack on Sun 24th Dec 2006 05:12 in reply to "RE: What is this all about?"
tmack Member since:
2006-04-11

You clearly have no idea how the "supply chain" for modern Linux desktops work. The source projects themselves do not distribute and configure for end users (at least not in a practical sense).

The distro decides which parts of GNOME and which applications to bundle for the end user. The DISTRO is the OEM. Not the people who design pieces of the software that will be used in a distribution.

These are the things that you should know, before you being to speak about what's going on.

You really don't have a clue.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: What is this all about?
by tux68 on Sun 24th Dec 2006 08:23 in reply to "RE: What is this all about?"
tux68 Member since:
2006-10-24

Gnome's progress at the last 2 years is very slow. To me it feels that it stays behind, just like one time CDE stayed behind Windows, and another time that WindowMaker stayed behind KDE 2.0.

Oh, if it _felt_ that way to you it _must_ be true. Even though all the "evidence" provided by the article that started all this falls apart under inspection.

For example, where is my Bluetooth INTEGRATED support?

http://live.gnome.org/GnomeBluetooth

Where is the Sync support with mobile devices?

On Windows isn't the sync software supplied by the mobile device vendor? Anyway, in Gnome you'll find support built into Evolution, and also gnome-pilot. http://www.gnome.org/projects/evolution/

Where is FULL resolution independence (not just SVGs)?

What kind of geekiness is this? What normal user says, OMG i need FULL resolution independence? Gnome works at any resolution i've ever thrown at it, which resolution are you having trouble with?

Where is a *home* video editor that works (now part of both the desktops of Windows and OSX, not just third party apps).

There are a few that come bundled with any good distribution, although it's still in development here's a decent one (comes with Fedora for example): http://www.pitivi.org/

Where is the fix for gnome-panel's architecture so its applets don't eat so much RAM?

Geeky request, but okay: http://www.gnome.org/projects/gst/index.html

Where are other Nautilus fixes and features?

You're piling on more geekiness now... This is just a small sampling but: http://tinyurl.com/y43w9j

Where is backup functionality integrated for some Gnome apps (instead of a third party generic app)?

There's no reason to demand that it not be a "third party generic app" on the Linux desktop, since distributions deliver it all in one shot. To the naive user, it all looks "integrated".

Where are the preferences that make sense about input devices (3 applets for keyboards, come on!!).

System -> Preferences -> Keyboard

Where is the applet for mouse that also supports configuring touchpads?

Don't know, however my touchpad just works out of the box with no configuration.

Where is Jabber support?

http://gaim.sourceforge.net/

It comes bundled with all modern installs of Gnome. Just like MSN chat client comes with Windows. Except it addition to Jabber it supports Yahoo, MSN, AIM and a bunch of others.. pretty slick.

Where is handwriting support?

It would seem that Windows has Linux beat here.

Where is API documentation that it's full and up to date?

http://gtk.org/api/

So, based on these NEEDS that I have as a user, and seeing how Gnome is progressing the last 2-3 years (slow, minor upgrades), I find the whole Gnome future DISAPPOINTING and UNexciting.

I see, and from that we should conclude that Gnome is doing something wrong? Because it doesn't make _you_ feel a certain way?

This is my first and LAST comment on the subject. I won't reply to any of the replies that will be fueled by this comment of mine.

That's the mark of a zealot, state your case and refuse to discuss anything that might be contrary to the view you hold...

Reply Parent Score: 5

Straw Man
by Snifflez on Sun 24th Dec 2006 18:19 in reply to "RE: What is this all about?"
Snifflez Member since:
2005-11-15

Eugenia's "argument" is a classic example of a Straw Man, plain and simple:

"Because this $DESKTOP lacks these non-third-party $FEATURES, its progress had slowed down!"

Instead of establishing a carefully selected set of criteria for determining a slow-down in development, she sets the avobe straw man up, tears it to shreds, and arrives at concusion she has reached before all this mess even started: GNOME's progress it slow.

As anyone can see, using this kind of "argumentation", one can accuse any desktop of slow development, its actual pace of development notwithstanding. For example: "Mac OS X development is slow because even today they lack a CAD development tool!" Or, "Windows Vista has been developed at a glacier pace 'cause they still don't have ProTools built-in!"

Such arguments look ridiculous, don't they? They do. Which brings me to my next point: Eugenia exacerbates the basic dishonesty of her Straw Man by naming $FEATURES the necessity of which on a modern desktop is rather disputable. Again, citing no presmisses and providing no valid evaluation criteria, she simply postulates these features as being "important pieces of a modern desktop that need to COME by DEFAULT *integrated* with the desktop". Bluetooth? Questionable. Mobile devices? Not all of us have them. Video editing? Too niched. And so on. Eugenia insists that a modern desktop needs all of these. Using her method -- that is, arguing without facts or logic -- I can insist as vehemently that it doesn't.

* * * *

"I won't reply to any of the replies that will be fueled by this comment of mine."

Ah, but that makes it so much easier to debunk that verbal tosh she's trying to pass for arguments. At least, she won't be posting lengthy Thom-style backpedaling articles.

Reply Parent Score: 5