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The Full Story Behind the Canonical vs. GNOME Drama 247

Posted by Soulskill
from the paul-harvey-good-day dept.
supersloshy writes this followup to our Thursday discussion of friction between Canonical and GNOME: "I've seen a lot of GNOME bashing for various reasons here on Slashdot as well as several other websites. The problem with all of this is that you never hear GNOME's side of the situation, making a lot of disrespectful comments about GNOME (or the others involved) rather baseless and illogical. Dave Neary has an extremely thorough blog post which details problems on all sides that make the issue much more complicated than 'GNOME is being idiotic by not accepting our technology.' The points covered in the blog post include, among others, how Freedesktop.org is broken as a standards body, that Mark Shuttleworth doesn't understand how GNOME works, that GNOME is not easy to understand, and that open discussions from the very beginning are important for specification development and adoption. Another blog post by 'Sankar' also covers similar points while defending GNOME."
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The Full Story Behind the Canonical vs. GNOME Drama

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  • by Spyware23 (1260322) on Saturday March 12, 2011 @08:38PM (#35467698) Homepage

    For those without the patience to read this article (which is much longer than I intended it to be when I started!), here are the headline points:

    -FreeDesktop.org is broken as a standards body
    -Mark Shuttleworth doesn’t understand how GNOME works
    -GNOME is not easy to understand
    -Deep mistrust has developed between Canonical, GNOME & KDE
    -Difficult people are prominent in each of these projects
    -Behind closed doors conversations are poison
    -For people to work together, they need to be in the same place

    Pulled from http://blogs.gnome.org/bolsh/2011/03/11/lessons-learned/ [gnome.org]

    • by segedunum (883035) on Saturday March 12, 2011 @09:43PM (#35468066)
      Which is kind of what you'd expect from Gnome - claim that Freedesktop doesn't work and that no ne understand how Gnome works, it's all just a big misunderstanding and everyone is equally to blame.

      Bullshit.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 13, 2011 @04:46AM (#35469612)

        Freedesktop.org is not a standards body. From their website, "freedesktop.org is not a formal standards organization[...]" Anyone can get subscribe to the mailing list and propose a "standard." Anyone can get a Bugzilla account and a git repository there. They encourage "de facto specifications" - if you're already doing it and think someone else should do it too, write it up and send it out.

        Mark Shuttleworth does not understand how GNOME works. He believes there is technical leadership, either somewhere in the GNOME foundation or elsewhere. There isn't. New directions are taken in GNOME by people who are able to motivate. If you can't code and can't convince someone else to code with you, you won't get anything done in GNOME.

        GNOME is not easy to understand. This is evidenced by Mark Shuttleworth, a very smart man and a leader of one of the largest GNOME-pushing Linux distributions, not understanding how GNOME works. For that to happen, GNOME must be difficult to grok. It's also evidenced by the chatter on Slashdot and elsewhere that suggests that GNOME's leaders should step up and lead. There are no leaders. No one is in control. Maintainers of individual modules do what they want, guided by consensus, intuition, and experience.

        Deep mistrust has developed between Canonical, KDE, and GNOME. The last few weeks' explosion has made that clear. Everyone mistrusts everyone else.

        Difficult people are prominent in each of these projects. GNOME has their fair share of jerks. Check the mailing lists around the time of the StatusNotifier spec proposals and you'll see who's who. KDE also has their fair share of jerks. See the same mailing lists at around the same time. Canonical also has jerks, although this may be less clear. Their employees tend to have less of a presence on public mailing lists than GNOME or KDE people. To many in the free software community, not developing upstream or contributing upstream makes you a jerk. That's up to you to decide.

        Behind doors conversations are poison, as we can see from Mark Shuttleworth's blog post. He claims that Ted Gould (a Canonical employee) had a conversation with Jon McCann (a GNOME developer) and that in that conversation, Jon said libappindicator sounded great. Mark wasn't present at this conversation. Jon McCann claims the conversation never happened. As far as I know, Ted hasn't weighed in yet (but I doubt he'll contradict Mark). We outsiders can have no idea what really happened. What we do know is that, without a public record, this is a huge clusterfuck of a communication problem. If they had held the conversation on IRC with a logger, or on a mailing list, or documented the conversation on a mailing list or a Wiki afterwards, this whole blow up might not be so painful. in the free software world, conversations must be public.

        For people to work together, they must be in the same place. The Ubuntu Developer Summit, GUADEC (GNOME coference), aKademy (KDE conference), and regular hackfests (often sponsored jointly by Canonical and the GNOME foundation) show that being together in the same place helps.

        I'm not sure what you're calling bullshit in your post. You didn't really explain. I've tried to show that the claims in the original article seem to be true. Perhaps you think the claims don't go far enough, and the author should have singled out GNOME for punishment or blame?

        • by segedunum (883035)
          Exactly what you've described in your post, that's what. The 'Freedesktop isn't really a standards body' is the usual excuse that has always been wheeled countless times to justify decisions that have made things more difficult for free desktop developers and users. It doesn't answer or solve anything.

          Unfirtunately, you haven't shown anything. You've simply repeated Dave Neary's blog post.
      • by Alef (605149)

        Uh... how is this +5 Insightful? The parent has clearly not RTFA, and is contributing nothing to this discussion except making broad statements about people associated with Gnome and assuming bad will.

        The article, which I actually found was a rather good read, states that "FreeDesktop.org is broken as a standards body". Considering that the front page [freedesktop.org] of freedesktop.org says "freedesktop.org is not a formal standards organization", this doesn't seem like an overly controversial statement.

        And by the way, how

        • by segedunum (883035)
          Ha, ha. I love it when people write stuff like 'clearly not RTFA'.

          Stating that Freedesktop is a broken standards body doesn't help anyone or anything, and is the usual classic excuse - as I'd stated. Guess who one of the main partes are who has made Freedesktop 'broken'? The blog doesn't address that. Using the Freedesktop disclaimer is just an excuse basically. It won't cover the fact that certain things were being agreed, and then simply reneged on and left to stagnate.

          It's the usual wishy washy non
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Daengbo (523424)

      Perhaps most the most telling thing about your summary is that you don't understand that "freedesktop.org is not a standards body," [freedesktop.org] which is clearly stated on the FD.o website. It helps with inter-desktop collaborations through specifications and their hosting. The process is very open and devs are welcome to contribute, fork, and modify specifications. You said "Mark Shuttleworth doesn’t understand how GNOME works," but apparently, GNOME doesn't understand how FD.o works. "The log in your own eye ...

  • GNOME has a long history of "NIH" (not invented here), and Canonical has developed a reputation for trying to boss developers around (like when they wanted all the major projects to sync their release schedule with Ubuntu).

    In the end, they're both going to be irrelevant. GNOME shell is too late, and doing it their own way, going further away from what most people want in a desktop, and Unity is already outdated when you compare it to what's happening in the tablet world.

    So a pox on both their houses. They sort of deserve each other.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MrEricSir (398214)

      They're both going to be irrelevant?

      Great, because the "screw you guys, I'm doing it my own way" mentality has worked SO well in the past for Linux on the desktop.

    • GNOME shell is too late, and doing it their own way, going further away from what most people want in a desktop, and Unity is already outdated when you compare it to what's happening in the tablet world.

      I tend to agree in that phones and tablets will see a general erosion of the relevance of a desktop OS. 'Apps' are in vogue, whether they be html5-based (webOS), embedded java (Android), objective-c (iOS) or Qt (Meego)

      In the case of Meego and, to a lesser extent, webOS the prevailing use of standard Linu

      • Since "app" is short for application, you can say apps have been in vogue since the EDSAC was built, in 1949.

        • Maybe so. Language evolves; current usage centres on pocket touchscreen programs, a trend you would acknowledge?

          Semantics aside, my point being that as the phone OS successfully scales up to XGA screens (iPad, Android 3), the distinction between a tablet OS and a desktop becomes greyer. If a phone OS can seamlessly add support for hosting 'desktop' applications such as gimp, lyx, gnumeric, supertuxkart, Eclipse etc then at what point do we need a Gnome or KDE 'desktop' exactly?

          • That seems to be where Enlightenment is going. The current release of E17 has both desktop and small screen flavours. It is very good and I have switched my family to it (the light version of PCLinuxOS E17 to be exact).

            That said, KDE does a lot more than just provide an application launcher. I still use KDE apps with a lightweight desktop because I cannot find anything else that supports remote file browsing and editing anything like as well as Konqueror and Kate. Those work well because of the seamless sup

    • by GooberToo (74388) on Sunday March 13, 2011 @04:03AM (#35469496)

      GNOME has a long history of "NIH"

      That was all started back when Miguel was creating the project. Don't get me wrong, I prefer Gnome to KDE but Miguel really screwed things up with one exceptionally poor decision after another - almost all of which is firmly rooted in the NIH-mantra. Its a tradition many were seemingly happy to carry on. Sadly, NIH is almost always a sign of significant personality flaws. This is turn easily feeds back into the lack of leadership, lack of formalization, lack of documentation, and lack of communication. All are traits of people who are actively trying to hide their work from peers until, hopefully, it can be forced down their throat within minimal review and criticism. Though admittedly, there are other factors which can justify this type of behavior too; especially if you're trying to jam it down the throats of completely unreasonable NIH personalities. Doesn't make it right, but it doesn't make it understandable.

      Again, I use Gnome daily but it doesn't change the fact that Miguel created a really bad architecture, creating poor implementations of various technologies because of NIH, then created a collection of like-minded yes men, who then proceeded to create one kludge after another trying to fix the cluster fuck of bad ideas and implementations originally created by Miguel. Literally, the project has been primed for this cluster fuck since its inception. And you note, both editorials clearly say, "NIH" and that the GNOME project is structurally broken. I've been literally saying this for years now. I've not followed Gnome for several years now and none of this is the least bit surprising to me. Not one bit.

      While the telecommute comments are pretty dumb, he is correct in that communication for any large project is required - though physical presence absolutely is not., contrary to his assertions. Regardless, they desperately need to adopt some formalized process if they hope to salvage the project. Looking at projects like Python's PEPs would be an excellent start. But then again, for them to move in that directly likely isn't possible with the current mix of personalities because it means being reviewed and criticisms early and often, which all too often is in stark contrast with the personalities involved.

      I seriously hope they get things resolved. But if they don't, KDE is looking pretty strong these days. I just don't want to have to have both sets of widgets and frameworks loaded to maintain my preferred applications.

    • Ridiculous snap judgments there, with zero explanation to make them any more valuable.

      How the hell do you know what people want in a desktop and who are the people you're referring to? Since Gnome Shell is too late, would it have been more successful a couple of years ago? So the people you're referring to wanted a shell-like desktop earlier, and now they don't?

      And how can Unity be outdated compared to the tablet world? At first glance, that's just nonsensical -- Unity is not, primarily, a tablet environmen

  • by ChunderDownunder (709234) on Saturday March 12, 2011 @08:46PM (#35467748)

    Gnome weren't interested? If it matters to Canonical so much, why not just contribute the necessary support into the core libs? Refactor the gnome library so it supports both the gnome way of doing things and this new-fangled KDE/unity way and can be pluggable. Strict Gnome implementations can do it their way or link your lib.

    If Ubuntu Gnome desktop (even running gnome-shell) is nicer that official Gnome, your fork will be adopted by other distros and thus 'win'.

  • by chrisl456 (699707) on Saturday March 12, 2011 @08:50PM (#35467774)
    blog post 1 [blogspot.com] and blog post 2 [blogspot.com].

    Enjoy.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by GauteL (29207)

      It seems to me that Seigo could do with minding his own business in this situation. Instead his post reads like he is attempting to portray himself as more edible to Canonical than GNOME in an attempt to win them over to KDE instead. This is somewhat distasteful, although nevertheless completely legitimate. It would be a boon to KDE if Canonical decided to focus on it.

      I'm personally very disappointed with Canonical recently. The mess with regards to the Banshee referral fees was bad enough. Developing Unity

      • by segedunum (883035) on Saturday March 12, 2011 @09:49PM (#35468120)
        Well, it is his business considering that he and lots of other people within KDE have contributed greatly to Freedesktop and it has meant that those of us trying to use desktops with applications with differing toolkits that can actually work reasonably together. For some Gnome people to then wander along and say 'Freedesktop is broken and doesn't work' is simply not helpful in the slightest, nor does it cover them in any glory.

        Oh, and Aaron has consistently been critical of Canonical over a long period of time over a lot of what they've done. That hasn't changed, although they share a little common ground here.
      • by roju (193642)

        he is attempting to portray himself as more edible to Canonical

        Whoa, if the problem is that the people at Canonical are cannibals, someone should have brought that up way earlier! No wonder they're not getting along!

  • by Froboz23 (690392) on Saturday March 12, 2011 @08:54PM (#35467792)
    If I remember correctly, Trolls get a +3 when bashing Gnome.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    After seeing similar dramas play out in other high profile FOSS projects over the years, it makes me wonder if this is how all semi-successful FOSS projects eventually end up. Politics exist in any organization, but at least in software development corporations, people have incentives to try to work things out. This certainly doesn't help the case for Linux on the desktop.

  • by ThePhilips (752041) on Saturday March 12, 2011 @09:16PM (#35467928) Homepage Journal

    Dave Neary has an extremely thorough blog post which details problems on all sides that make the issue much more complicated than 'GNOME is being idiotic by not accepting our technology.'

    Let's cut the chase: does GNOME provide an alternative notification area spec?

    From all written, I can really comment only on the part about "fd.o is broken as a standards body". And all I can say is that pretty much all standard bodies work like that: they rely on cooperation. GNOME didn't take part in talk and later sent list of complaints - instead of drafting new (version of) spec. And GNOME has stopped there, at sending complaints. Standards and specs are not immovable targets, while apparently GNOME childishly refuses to take part in the process by only complaining and calling it "broken." Or I miss something?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You're sort of missing something. FD.o is a neutral place for developers from disparate desktop environments to hold discussions and throw around ideas that can be used by everyone. The discussion about the notification spec took place on the xdg@ list after it was proposed in mid-December, 2009. You can find the thread in the archives. Before being proposed as the StatusNotifierSpec, it was the KNotifierSpec. Mostly KDE developers participated in the discussion, because they had already been discussion the

      • by Daengbo (523424)

        Why isn't every serious GNOME dev subscribed to the XDG mailing list? Heck, I am, and I'm not even a real developer. Heck, it's not even high volume, having fewer than twenty posts a month.

      • by martyros (588782)

        Canonical began implementing the spec way before it was formally drafted

        I'd say this is the right way to do things. Before deciding on a "spec" that everyone's going to try to use, you should actually build something and try it out, to see if it's actually as useful as you think it is, and to work out any kinks.

        Of course, if you're doing that, you have to still be open to your idea being changed significantly when it encounters other people.

      • There's no conspiracy or childishness on Canonical or GNOME's part. They just weren't communicating well.

        Then the Dave Neary's claim that FD.o is broken is a clear exaggeration. Standards bodies are forums where people communicate, often providing only assistance in organizing the communication (aka standardization process). Interested parties should be willing to take part in the communication for the process to work - no standards body can force some party to attend. The goal of standardization is to help formalize the agreement within the industry - not force the agreement out of/onto the industry. (Think

    • AFAIK fd.o only exists as a forum for co-operation between KDE and GNOME. So it's no good for GNOME developers to whine 'fd.o is broken' since it's just as much their responsibility as it is KDE's. No one wants to go back to the mind-numblingly fucked-up design decisions evident in Linux desktops ~10 years ago where, for example, you had a separate application menu for each desktop.

  • by Troll-Under-D'Bridge (1782952) on Saturday March 12, 2011 @09:20PM (#35467944) Journal
    From TFA:

    But then again, over the years I have heard similar feedback from GNOME Mobile participants, and people in Nokia --so it's not all Mark's fault. As Jono says here: GNOME does have a reputation of being hard to work with for companies -- no point in denying it (then again, so does the kernel, and they seem to get along fine).

    Leaving aside the question of whether it's good for an open source project to have macho leadership, I think the comparison with Linux (the kernel) isn't valid. Linux, as every slashgeek well knows, is ruled by benevolent dictator [wikipedia.org]. What Linus wants, Linux gets. Or you fork the kernel, which is what most everybody does. I think the last Gnome BD was a guy named Miguel [wikipedia.org], who has since gone on to other interests [wikipedia.org].

    But perhaps more substantively, Linux differs from Gnome in that Gnome tends to be modular, while Linux is modular only in the sense you can do "modprobe fu ; rmmod bar". So even if Linux didn't have Linus, people are forced by the monolithic nature of the kernel to be more careful with the bits they insert or remove from the kernel. Modifying the kernel is a more surgical operation when compared to the more Lego [wikipedia.org]-like nature of Gnome.

    Gnome's modular nature thus makes casual forking (as practiced by Canonical, et al) easier than it is in projects of a more monolithic nature like Linux and, to a lesser extent, KDE.

  • by bcrowell (177657) on Saturday March 12, 2011 @09:23PM (#35467976) Homepage

    One of the many reasons why I would never consider using an OS other than Linux these days is that on Windows or MacOS there is no (realistic) choice as to which desktop you're going to run. I use fluxbox. My wife and daughter use Gnome. I've used xfce on low-end hardware sometimes. Some people like KDE.

    If Gnome has problems, just don't use it. It's not a big deal. Apt-get install fluxbox, or apt-get install xfce4, or whatever desktop you like.

    • by Nerdfest (867930)
      ... and the added bonus is that you can install them all and just switch at login, with all of the software still working (for the most part). It really is hard to beat for flexibility, but loses a lot on consistency for the average user.
    • by Rennt (582550)

      If Gnome has problems, just don't use it. It's not a big deal. Apt-get install fluxbox, or apt-get install xfce4, or whatever desktop you like.

      I get what you are saying, choice is good rite? But no man (or OSS project) is an island. What if you love Amarok but run Gnome? Or want to use GIMP in KDE? The current hoopla is that the direction these projects are moving in will make such choices harder or even impossible in the future. It is vitally important for everyone that they sort this basic shit out.

  • Jeff Waugh's Summary (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 12, 2011 @10:22PM (#35468272)

    Jeff Waugh worked at Canonical until 2006 and was a member of the GNOME board until 2008. Since then he hasn't had a role in either project. He's been pumping out a series of blog posts cover this whole saga for the last few days.

    Part 1
    http://bethesignal.org/blog/2011/03/12/relationship-between-canonical-gnome/
    Part 2
    http://bethesignal.org/blog/2011/03/12/thoughts-on-gnome/
    Part 3
    http://bethesignal.org/blog/2011/03/12/the-libappindicator-story/
    Part 4
    http://bethesignal.org/blog/2011/03/13/love-flies-under-the-radar/

  • by Anne Honime (828246) on Saturday March 12, 2011 @10:45PM (#35468358)
    The biggest trouble I have with gnome is the designers constant push to force me using my computer their way 'for my own good'. No, sorry, I won't, thank you very much. I've used almost every other GUI / desktop manager around, none has tried so constantly to take away my freedom to organize the way I want to work. To add insult to injury, Gnome color schemes and icon design always seem to lag 10 years behind current fashion. Gnome reminds me of my childhood in the cold war era. Although I was born in western europe, it feels like soviets are rolling their tank divisions through my computer. You wait months in a line waiting for next release, just to hear : 'there's no more resize button, get away, and if you're not happy, praise tell me, comrade, why would you need one ? Didn't you know resize buttons are antisocial ?'. And you end up living in a concrete shack, decorated by shades of gray, praising the vision of the komintern. Just say no.
  • by hduff (570443) <hoytduff AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday March 12, 2011 @11:55PM (#35468658) Homepage Journal

    The big story is that many in leadership positions are asshats? And these egocentric farts are acting like a bunch of bitchy little girls? And their constant need for self-aggrandizement has held back the development of FOSS in general (and GNOME and KDE in particular)?

    Wow.

    That's not news.

    To summarize Neary's rant for the non-GNOME-KDE-Canonical-oriented:
    1. the leadership is not well organized
    2. the leadership does not communicate well
    3. the leadership does not cooperate well

    And Neary's solution?
    1. bring all discussion into the open (good)
    2. eliminate the riff-raff amateurs (elitist)
    3. anoint the leadership through invitation-only (even more so)
    4. coerce the asshats into behaving and cooperating with a code of conduct (delusional)

    Really? And he expects success with a group consisting in large part of infantile prima donnas?

    The current model works well enough with all those personalities involved. It's just messy and inefficient and unprofitable and not likely to lead to world domination. But it's a world where anybody can make a copy of the football and take it home with them and Neary's plan doesn't accommodate that. It attempts to offer the imprimatur of what a corporate world needs, to marginalize the 'amateurs' and consolidate power in a select few all at the expense of the chaos that makes FOSS a living thing.

    • To summarize Neary's rant for the non-GNOME-KDE-Canonical-oriented:
      1. the leadership is not well organized
      2. the leadership does not communicate well
      3. the leadership does not cooperate well

      I think the point #0 was that there's no leadership as such. There are a bunch of more or less influential people "driving" different areas, but there's little overall coordination. Basically, if you had a bright idea for which you'd need integration throughout Gnome, there's no single person or committee to which you can come and start a discussion (from where they can then loop in people who work on things that would be affected).

  • and if that guy is characteristic for the gnome community, then i understand why people have problems with that community.

  • ...you never hear GNOME's side of the situation, making a lot of disrespectful comments about GNOME (or the others involved) rather baseless and illogical

    Some negative comments about Gnome are not at all baseless, for example the one I am about to make. Gnome is based on an outmoded hack of an attempt to build an OOP based GUI without the benefit of an object-oriented compiler. Instead is uses a collection of nasty hacks and conventions, which which I am deeply familiar because I once was deluded enough to think also that C is just as capable of writing object object oriented code as C++. It isn't. What you end up with is an unholy unmaintainable mess. Full

    • Some negative comments about Gnome are not at all baseless, for example the one I am about to make. Gnome is based on an outmoded hack of an attempt to build an OOP based GUI without the benefit of an object-oriented compiler. Instead is uses a collection of nasty hacks and conventions, which which I am deeply familiar because I once was deluded enough to think also that C is just as capable of writing object object oriented code as C++. It isn't. What you end up with is an unholy unmaintainable mess. Full of messy casts, and full of bugs

      Funnily enough, someone realized that, and they've actually made a programming language [wikipedia.org] (syntactically largely a C# derivative) that is based on the GObject object model, but which hides all of the ugliness that is inherently exposed in C. It's pretty neat, as the output you get is still usable directly from C, but your code is high-level and bug-free (at least in parts which have to do with GObject plumbing).

      • Some negative comments about Gnome are not at all baseless, for example the one I am about to make. Gnome is based on an outmoded hack of an attempt to build an OOP based GUI without the benefit of an object-oriented compiler. Instead is uses a collection of nasty hacks and conventions, which which I am deeply familiar because I once was deluded enough to think also that C is just as capable of writing object object oriented code as C++. It isn't. What you end up with is an unholy unmaintainable mess. Full of messy casts, and full of bugs

        Funnily enough, someone realized that, and they've actually made a programming language [wikipedia.org] (syntactically largely a C# derivative) that is based on the GObject object model, but which hides all of the ugliness that is inherently exposed in C. It's pretty neat, as the output you get is still usable directly from C, but your code is high-level and bug-free (at least in parts which have to do with GObject plumbing).

        What a perfectly horrible idea, a not-quite-C#-wanabee to hack around the fact that C is not C++. Ranks right up there with Corba, Bonobo, Gconf and a long string of bad Gnome ideas. Stupid question: if you're going to rewrite, how about rewriting in proven language rather than yet another experimental flight of fancy?

        • by 21mhz (443080)

          Stupid question: if you're going to rewrite, how about rewriting in proven language rather than yet another experimental flight of fancy?

          And what proven language would that be, honey? Surely not C++, for which hardly two compilers have been made to produce mutually compatible binaries, and which is damn hard to make bindings for any other programming environments out there? Vala code produces APIs usable from C and anything else that can link to C code, and automatically generated introspection makes it easily usable from dynamic runtimes.

    • by 21mhz (443080)

      Some negative comments about Gnome are not at all baseless, for example the one I am about to make. Gnome is based on an outmoded hack of an attempt to build an OOP based GUI without the benefit of an object-oriented compiler. Instead is uses a collection of nasty hacks and conventions, which which I am deeply familiar because I once was deluded enough to think also that C is just as capable of writing object object oriented code as C++. It isn't.

      It's capable of implementing a better object-oriented system than what C++ provides, without getting distracted to the broken ways the base language does what it claims to be OOP features. And as a previous response says, you don't even have to deal with the GObject boilerplate these days if you don't have a particular need to descend into C.

      What you end up with is an unholy unmaintainable mess. Full of messy casts, and full of bugs, as Gnome has always been.

      Funny, I haven't had bugs related to improper GObject usage for quite a while. You did not really get past writing your first bits of code using GObject and learning fr

  • I see tribalism is alive and well even in the open source community. Go tribalism! Where would reality TV and genocide be without it?

  • At first glance, this might seem like an ego infested, alpha male, big mustache, beer belly convention; that the lack of central leadership and process makes doing anything useful impossible.

    And yet, here I sit, using my GNOME desktop with all of its eye candy, stability, usability and a fair degree of uniformity. (Yeah, I know, there will be a flood of people who will disagree with my own description of GNOME and I don't care.) GNOME is sometimes difficult to figure out when I try to get under the hood t

  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Sunday March 13, 2011 @07:34AM (#35470202) Journal

    Dear Windows user,

    If all of the above is hopelessly confusing, please try to imagine this reality. When you buy your next Dell, you can choose a UI layout for MS Windows that goes anywhere from DOS to Windows 7 to Bob. While underneath it is the latest OS. Now, you might PICK your UI layout but not all programs you wish to run support it. So you might suddenly get a Windows 3.1 window mixed with your Aero display. Google says fuck you and does its own thing whatever you picked for its browser.

    Now while there are a LOT of choices, two stand out. Gnome which looks a bit like OSX but not a lot and KDE which looks like Fisher Price did a Windows 95 skin. Both can... or could be heavily modified. That is, KDE becomes ever more modible. Gnome becomes less so.

    If you have a strong stomach http://ultimateedition.info/Ultimate_Edition_2.8/8.png [ultimateedition.info] this blueness is a version of Ubuntu. It is actually a good attempt but the default skin is .... well... you know.

    The silly bit is that what people often like to mod is the login screen. GDM was moddible and then it was removed. LESS functionality as a feature. That is Gnome.

    The problem is that both Gnome and KDE are suffering from "what to do next". As a desktop both achieved their goal long ago, so they wanted more and more. Is it the task of a desktop package to supply a video player? Especially video player with far less capabilities then easily available packages installed along side but not made the default? Ubuntu is NOT Microsoft after all. MS just can't go including closed sources payed for products for other companies in its offerings less the true cost of running MS and closed source becomes readily apparent (you did pay for Winzip didn't you Windows user)

    Ubuntu CAN and does included countless 3rd party apps. It doesn't have to bother with its own meager zip only archive utility, it can use any of the superior opensource apps out there (Windows user, have you not replaced MS internal Zip support with anything more capable).

    KDE especially seems to want to create a complete set of utilities... and fails... it is not that these utils are bad by itself, its notepad is far superior to MS Notepad but still hopelessly inferior to other offerings. MS can't offer those others, Ubuntu and other Disro's can. That is why it seems pointless for KDE to spend its efforts on countless apps that will be replaced instantly while its core desktop is lacking behind. Its network manager is not as smooth as that of Gnome. Its multipe windows settings is neither. Yes, they are in theory more configurable (you can set different wallpapers for each screen, you can select which soundcard should be preffered).

    But all of it shows that neither Gnome or KDE are focussed enough anymore on what the end user wants. Gnome in its drive to be simple keeps removing the capability to tune Gnome to your liking. KDE remains horribly unfocussed and keeps giving me a messy early Windows experience. BOTH can be tuned to something smoother but geez gods, not everyone wants to.

    Other desktop/windows managers? Enlightenment stuck still in some alpha state. The others focusing on low resource usage when you can't even buy a single core netbook anymore. Fully tricked out Ubuntu barely makes my computer tick over, any lower consumption of resources and my computer will shutdown.

    That is the state of Linux. Is it bad? No, I still use it daily as my main and preffered desktop but only after heavy tuning. Tuning I have done for years now. I don't mind that much but having to fight Gnome everytime because they removed yet another feature seems such a waste and I just never liked KDE.

    Do I really have to do what Vista buyers did at some point and install an older OS to keep working?

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