Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 27th Jul 2012 12:41 UTC
Gnome Honest question. Do you think the GNOME project is as healthy today as it was, say, 4 years ago? Benjamin Otte explains that no, it isn't. GNOME lacks developers, goals, mindshare and users. The situation as he describes it, is a lot more dire than I personally thought.
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Personal views on the matter of Gnome 3
by AnXa on Fri 27th Jul 2012 13:46 UTC
AnXa
Member since:
2008-02-10

I personally think that Gnome as a project has had some serious problems and issues right from the beginning. It started as a way to troll KDE project (excuse me for the lack of better way to express how Gnome founders wanted completely GPL-safe and compatible desktop. I remember how Qt wasn't entirely safe to use back then).

Then they made a descent desktop which had some design issues and limitations due the use of widget set not meant for the complete desktop usage. Their objective of having complete C desktop was also pretty ridiculous in a modern desktop design. UNIX families of OSes didn't have a common desktop in the first place and only thing that came even close to being that standard was CDE which should have been the staring point of the design instead of copying Windows 9X series of desktops.

Then the Gnome project actually managed to produce completely different desktop environment which still had some serious design issues but at least it was functional albeit it had some serious bugs. And Nautilus was the worst file manager I had ever laid my hands on (yes, even worse than the Mac OSes "F*" Finder). Midnight Commander was and still is a master piece I still use since it works. Gnome 2 is where the design shift was made towards copying the OS X and they actually managed to take the relevant parts in in a series of well refining releases making Gnome 2 very popular desktop. But that didn't hide all the issues it had underneath in technical wise.

Gnome 3 steps in here. It's technically very very good desktop. I've had some time playing around with it and testing some of the frameworks and I like it. But Gnome 3 desktop designers went too much into OS X's closed direction and didn't quite understand how to build a functionality into it and opted not to hide it (like Apple does) but completely remove it from the visible eyes. That has alienated tons of Gnome 2 users completely and made them KDE or XFCE users.

KDE has also some serious issues being wanna be windows desktop environment. Their biggest problem is probably the fact that they're not trying to hide any functionality at all. KDE as a desktop is f* cool but at the same time it makes no sense at times. I have to admit thought that I use KDE and I've been using KDE since the KDE 2 was out. And I like Qt. But I hope I'm not labeled as a fanboy. I do like both Gnome and KDE but KDE is my first choice because it's flexible. Gnome is inflexible and that's how it meant to be. The Very inflexibility of Gnome made it popular and now it has made it not so popular.

I could start a story about Gnome project management issues but this short outburst is already starting to get out of hands...

Edited 2012-07-27 13:55 UTC

Reply Score: 9

Stephen! Member since:
2007-11-24

KDE has also some serious issues being wanna be windows desktop environment.


Is it though? It's been said that some of Microsoft's patents even list KDE as prior art.

http://derstandard.at/1313025130807/Interview-Aaron-Seigo-talks-abo...

Reply Parent Score: 5

Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Since using Windows 7 for the past few years, I've found myself much more comfortable in KDE when I have to use it. I know that's purely anecdotal, but really if you spend five minutes tweaking KDE and put it side by side with Windows 7 you would see a lot more similarities than differences.

Reply Parent Score: 5

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

> KDE has also some serious issues being wanna be windows desktop environment.

Is it though? It's been said that some of Microsoft's patents even list KDE as prior art.
http://derstandard.at/1313025130807/Interview-Aaron-Seigo-talks-abo...

Yes it is. Some details and fancying out aside, the whole UI model is very similar to Windows (and with good reason - in the regions which can be largely described as the cradle of KDE, Macs generally hardly existed back then, it was basically all about Windows).
Just look how it started: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:KDE_Beta3.png - and it didn't drastically change since then.

Though I wouldn't really call that "some serious issues" - it certainly helped adoption, what they aimed at with such similar look (I know of few uni computer labs, of web cafe kind & at non-technical departments, which used KDE largely because of that similarity)

Reply Parent Score: 2

ple_mono Member since:
2005-07-26

Personally, my biggest beef with KDE4 is plasma. It's buggy as hell, and they opted to build core components of the DE with it! Madness!

Also, a minor annoyance with kde is that from a designer standpoint, everything seems designed with oxygen in mind. It seems that application designer has utilized oxygen-only features in the designs, and when other styles is applied, it just looks bad.
IMHO an application should always be built with UI engine that is as "vanilla" as possible, sort of with a lowest common denominator as possible in mind, and then the style developers should build on that, not the other way around.

Reply Parent Score: 6

Carewolf Member since:
2005-09-08

You have to realize that Plasma was an attempt at doing things different and getting new developers.

KDE around the time of KDE4 was running into a similar issue that GNOME is now. KDE never had as many full-time developers, but many of the best contributors got married or was promoted to jobs where they no longer had time to contribute to KDE in their spare time. And while KDE has always had hundreds of application developers, the core-library team was bleeding, and new developers couldn't get in due to requirements of very high quality code and no feature regressions.

Plasma to begin with just a plan, sort of vaporware, it was a cool idea that anyone could take part in and it didn't require feature-for-feature compatibility with KDE 3.5, it just had to do something new and cool.

It worked, KDE got lots of new developers, who wrote slightly more buggy code than the old guys to begin with and the deadlines slipped and Plasma was not quite ready in KDE 4.0 or 4.1, but here years later, Plasma works great, and these "new" developers are the old skilled veterans maintaining KDE.

Btw. Please keep in mind that GNOME and KDE comunities are very different beasts . A few years ago, I think the stat was that GNOME had 50 full-time developers, and around 50 volunteers. KDE has less than 10 full-time developers, but more than 600 volunteers. Now KDE has around 5 full-time developers but around 800 actively contributing volunteers. When GNOME is loosing full-time developers, it is a big problem for them, they have to either get new corporate backers or change their community and recruit more volunteers.

Reply Parent Score: 6

segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

Personally, my biggest beef with KDE4 is plasma. It's buggy as hell

No it isn't. After several years it's become pretty stable now and has allowed KDE to do an awful lot more than could ever have been possible with the old Kicker - or whatever the core of the desktop actually was back then. It's your view against mine.

Also, a minor annoyance with kde is that from a designer standpoint, everything seems designed with oxygen in mind. It seems that application designer has utilized oxygen-only features in the designs.....

I have no idea what that means. What designs?

Reply Parent Score: 2

WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

And Nautilus was the worst file manager I had ever laid my hands on (yes, even worse than the Mac OSes "F*" Finder).


I'm curious as to why you feel that way. I personally very much liked Nautilus: it didn't try to include a full kitchen-sink in its functionality, it just provided a clean view on my files, all the most important data about them and let me do all the most common operations on them quickly and without a hassle.

Reply Parent Score: 4

segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

I'm curious as to why you feel that way. I personally very much liked Nautilus: it didn't try to include a full kitchen-sink in its functionality, it just provided a clean view on my files.....

I think it's been pretty clear that Nautilus has been running on empty for some time. It was a file manager that had a huge amount of investment put into it (Eazel, Helix code) for very little results. Evolution was another example, and as an aside they are two software projects that told me that Gnome collectively just wasn't sustainable.

The fact is that in a file manager people want to move and copy files around easily (pretty basic) and that means a certain amount of reasonable functionality and an interface for the purpose. Spatial browsing was and is quite simply not it and it is no surprise they had to move back. Handling multiple folders and devices to copy and move files is most certainly not 'advanced' functionality or providing the 'kitchen sink'. People have come to expect to be able to do some file management in open/save dialogues because it is just far easier than opening up another application or turning on a bunch of settings. People do that every day with Explorer on Windows and there is a reason why there is a burgeoning market in third-party file managers on the Mac.

I always get somewhat suspicious of people who use the phrase 'kitchen sink' or the word 'clean'. It either tells me that they're trying to cover up for shortcomings in a piece of software or they are not doing anything of very much use.

Edited 2012-07-28 14:23 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

dsmogor Member since:
2005-09-01

Nautilus made a long way, but first versions were so heavyweight it crawled on shiniest gear.
It got a lot of optimizations and hardware got faster.

Reply Parent Score: 2