Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 25th Oct 2010 19:00 UTC, submitted by sjvn
Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu Well, this is sure to raise a few eyebrows here and there. Today, at the Ubuntu Developer Summit, Mark Shuttleworth held his keynote speech, and in it, he announced that Ubuntu will switch to the Unity user interface come release, for both the netbook as well as the desktop, leaving the GNOME user interface behind (but keeping the GNOME platform).
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Mechanism not policy.
by sorpigal on Thu 28th Oct 2010 12:05 UTC
sorpigal
Member since:
2005-11-02

This whole debate is, I feel, missing the point. Having seen GNOME Shell and Unity I can see no reason why these things need to be mutually exclusive.

What happened to the old rule "Mechanism not policy"? At every stage of building software each piece should strive for mechanism and not policy. Policy should be a simple configuration choice pushed as far toward the user as possible. Sometimes the distribution will make a choice for the user, which the user is permitted to change, but never should the developer make a choice for the distribution when doing so is not required.

Unity and Shell are not necessarily technologically incompatible. It seems obvious to me that if there are these two competing ideas for what the GNOME desktop interaction should be like the parties involved should work together to make sure that the cosmetic UI part is absolutely the only thing that's different. Implement Shell and Unity atop a common core and allow the user to edit a config file to switch between them or, better, to pick and choose which bits of each will apply.

There should be no fight here. I hate to sound like a KDE partisan, which I am not even if I am down on GNOME, but in the KDE world this would never happen. They excel at building shared infrastructure and refactoring. Could Plasma be used to replicate Unity and GNOME Shell? My hunch is that you could get a large part of the way there with little or no change to the common core. If KDE can do it, why can't GNOME?

Why must there necessarily be this divide between Unity and "The rest of the GNOME project" where the two camps make political war on each other? Come together, build your infrastructure, then Ubuntu can toggle on all of the Unity options and Fedora can toggle on all of the Shell options and I, as the user, can decide what I like and what to change.

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