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Dricot: A freasy future for GNOME
Posted Aug 11, 2012 9:24 UTC (Sat) by rleigh (subscriber, #14622)
GNOME2 was (and is) used by many people for real serious work. In my previous institution, we had entire labs of Fedora workstations, and the personal workstations of many researchers and grad students were running principally Ubuntu, but also Fedora, Debian etc.. These were being used for scientific simulation, visualisation, coding, teaching and more general use as well. They all ran GNOME2. GNOME3 would not sensibly satisfy any of these needs. And as for using it on the lab systems--it's so alien and undiscoverable, it would be a support nightmare. Can you imagine how unproductive running a class with students on this would be?
With GNOME2, there was a big effort to make it a clean up the anarchy of GNOME1, and make it a professional desktop with consistent design, HIG, manageable with gconf etc., which would be used by businesses and such. And it was. It made a great deal of sense. And it was adopted by many businesses, institutions, etc.. What happens to these now? GNOME3 is clearly not suitable for a business or professional setting.
It's an unfortunate situation. There is no upgrade path here. All these existing GNOME2 users ultimately have to make a choice to "upgrade" to GNOME3, or move to something else. But it's not really a choice. Given that it's completely unsuitable for real work, all these GNOME2 users will be forced to move elsewhere.
Posted Aug 11, 2012 10:07 UTC (Sat) by jospoortvliet (subscriber, #33164)
It just isn't particularly good at replacing GNOME 2, but there are others doing that. Mate continues GNOME 2 and XFCE and KDE both can provide a very-close-to-GNOME-2 experience. With XFCE adding less resource usage and KDE adding an number of efficiency features. Both are great for Getting Things Done (the use case where GNOME Shell imho fails at).
Seeing the comments about Apple going for more mainstream users I'm guessing Shell is going in the same direction and it's inevitable that there is some loss. And I don't mind, it's good somebody is doing it and while at it, GNOME devs are certainly innovating and trying new things. Points for that.
Posted Aug 11, 2012 12:01 UTC (Sat) by danieldk (guest, #27876)
No one has shown yet that touch laptops and desktops work. In fact, Apple did research in this area, and concluded that it did not work. Which is not surprising, because controlling a vertical surface is very tiresome.
> It just isn't particularly good at replacing GNOME 2, but there are others doing that. Mate continues GNOME 2 and XFCE and KDE both can provide a very-close-to-GNOME-2 experience.
It's saddening to see how far some in the free software community are removed from actual users. The average user who wants to get work done, is not interested in learning another desktop environment, they (reasonably) expect to be able to continue to use whatever they use with evolutionary changes. Mate is nice, but no company or organisation in their right mind is going to deploy a software project that is so fundamental to the desktop, that may not exist anymore in one or two years.
Our university is in this situation: it has hundreds of GNOME 2 on Ubuntu users. They cannot just switch to another desktop experience overnight (so, GNOME 3 and Unity are probably out), let alone, force users to switch to another desktop. They cannot install Mint (the usual answer you'll hear around here), since they use Canonical's Landscape management system and Mint is not yet an established player let alone a commercial entity where you can purchase support. tl;dr: they are between a rock and a hard place.
GNOME (and Canonical) probably have not realized what situation they have put large users in by not providing a reasonable migration path, or even beter, evolutionary development. The net result will probably be that some organisations will stick for years with LTS versions of Ubuntu (or RHEL), which sucks for other reasons (hardware support, old software). Others will seriously consider Windows, since, besides its flaws, Windows 7 will be supported for almost forever. And Windows applications will also support Windows 7 for many years to come. Where people have a choice of choosing their platform, some will switch to OS X (in fact, I see this happening in our university all around me).
tl;dr: the average user who is not interested in desktop environments or FLOSS, but just wants a decent workstation system, does not want to switch desktops, distributions, or user interface paradigms overnight.
Posted Aug 11, 2012 12:16 UTC (Sat) by slashdot (guest, #22014)
Because laser mice are 5700 dpi (and improving), while monitors are 96 dpi: hence, you need to move your arm a distance which is *50 TIMES* larger when using a touchscreen, and also keep your arm in a very uncomfortable position.
Also, with a physical keyboard you can rest your hands on it without pressing the keys, while you can't do that with a virtual keyboard.
Mouse and keyboard will only be replaced when it is possible to directly read the user's brain.
If you don't believe this, just try it yourself, by pretending that your desktop monitor is a touchscreen even if isn't, and trying using it as such for a few minutes.
Posted Aug 11, 2012 22:44 UTC (Sat) by nix (subscriber, #2304)
Posted Aug 11, 2012 12:53 UTC (Sat) by ewan (subscriber, #5533)
I think you're overestimating how hard is is to switch from Gnome 2 to a suitably configured KDE4. They're not radically different approaches; it's much less of a jump than moving to something as conceptually different to either of them as Gnome 3 is.
As long as you can give people something that works roughly the way they're used to they're not going to worry if it looks a bit different. KDE is flexible enough that you should be able to provide people with something that's similar enough to the old setup that they can find their way around.
Posted Aug 11, 2012 14:12 UTC (Sat) by sorpigal (subscriber, #36106)
Posted Aug 13, 2012 13:10 UTC (Mon) by Thanatopsis (guest, #14019)
Upgrading from GNOME 2
Posted Aug 13, 2012 11:35 UTC (Mon) by grantingram (guest, #18390)
The point being that for Ubuntu at least the upgrade path didn't seem very painful. That's only one data point but I think the free software community is doing a better job than it might first seem.
Posted Aug 13, 2012 17:01 UTC (Mon) by slashdot (guest, #22014)
On the other hand, GNOME 3 apparently has no such constraints, and the GNOME developers are clearly fond of taking full advantage of the situation.
Posted Aug 11, 2012 13:01 UTC (Sat) by rleigh (subscriber, #14622)
The thing is, GNOME2 was the right tool, and GNOME3 is not. GNOME2 has a massive userbase--it was the default desktop on Linux for a decade after all--which has been discarded on a whim. The vast majority of GNOME2 users are on desktops and laptops. Why drop them? There's precious little evidence that of the tiny tablet market, any of them would want to use GNOME, so why chase after that minute niche rather than catering to your entire, massive, desktop userbase. There's a good reason why there's a great deal of displeasure over GNOME3, and it's entirely rational. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people use GNOME2 every day at home and work. And they've been told categorically that they don't matter, and won't be catered for.
"I think it'll do well at Point-Of-Sales and Kiosk systems"
GNOME2 was already adequate for such systems, if not overkill. Back in the 2004-5 timeframe, my full time job was working on prototyping a touch-screen Point-Of-Sale system using GTK+, on GNOME. These are highly specialist custom applications. We used custom touch-friendly entry widgets. This logic was in the application, not the desktop environment. Such applications typically run fullscreen without actually using a desktop at all--they are generally locked down custom appliances, not general purpose. If the existing userbase is being discarded in favour of this... it's a completely wasted effort. And it's also a tiny niche market--certainly nothing to abandon the existing userbase over.
The above PoS effort was ultimately abandoned. The GTK+ and GNOME libraries and bindings were not of good enough quality to make it a realistic proposition. And this is still the case today. A GNOME "OS" or "SDK" is completely unrealistic until there's some evidence that stable, usable, not horrendously buggy library APIs can be maintained by the GNOME developers. That's not happened in the last decade, so it's not a realistic expectation for that to improve any time soon. Merely wishing it does not make it so--and given the poor maintenance of the existing codebase, it would be foolish to commit it using it.
Posted Aug 11, 2012 17:28 UTC (Sat) by hummassa (subscriber, #307)
That made me laugh. Hard.
Posted Aug 12, 2012 17:29 UTC (Sun) by Wol (guest, #4433)
Okay, I think SuSE is about the only distro that defaults to KDE, but Kubuntu certainly seems to be popular.
But I'll add to that, my *limited* experience is that nobody uses Gnome!
I've now installed xfce and lxde on my system, but mostly because I've got fed up with dealing with the fallout of "emerge -u kde" in a kde console window. (The update takes out konsole, which takes out emerge, which leaves me with a mess of an upgrade to sort out!)
I've always been a kde guy, even when nepomuk was enabled by default and had a habit of killing systems... (as somebody pointed out elsewhere, even if it was infuriating, the kde devs did say "we're going to fix it" rather than what I see reported of Gnome guys saying "live with it").
Posted Aug 12, 2012 20:05 UTC (Sun) by nybble41 (subscriber, #55106)
screen emerge -u kde
[... konsole exits ...]
Posted Sep 6, 2012 9:08 UTC (Thu) by jospoortvliet (subscriber, #33164)
Posted Sep 6, 2012 12:29 UTC (Thu) by rleigh (subscriber, #14622)
The problem with all UI libraries is that they tend to become their own enclosed universe, which you have to buy into completely. GTK+ suffers from this with GObject and the whole consequences of that. Qt suffers from its complete aversion to the STL--I might want to use it without all its non-standard types. And others like FLTK have a backward and non-extensible widget model by putting all the configurable properties in the base class. I've yet to find one which is just usable without all the extra junk; the GTK+ widget packing model is quite elegant, so it's a shame about the rest.
Posted Sep 6, 2012 12:46 UTC (Thu) by rahulsundaram (subscriber, #21946)
Posted Sep 6, 2012 13:34 UTC (Thu) by jospoortvliet (subscriber, #33164)
The governance thing I agree with, I would prefer a foundation too. Then again, a company can probably put in more engineers than a foundation could - I doubt even a hugely successful Qt foundation would manage to employ 200 developers. Realistic would be more like 20 and that'd be a huge decrease from the current situation.
And again, these numbers (both users and contributors) are so far ahead of any other FOSS toolkit I think we can safely say there is one de-facto standard toolkit on Linux and it's very Cute ehrm Qt ;-)
Posted Sep 6, 2012 13:46 UTC (Thu) by rahulsundaram (subscriber, #21946)
The claim of one defacto toolkit is bogus and you are very much overselling it considering the presence of desktop environments like GNOME and Xfce not to mention a fairly large number of third party and ISV applications. Ex: VMWare, Adobe etc.
Toolkits in Linux is not even limited to merely Gtk and Qt either. Firefox and Libreoffice for instance have their own toolkits but imitate GTK look and feel. There are a odd few apps using WxWidgets, Fltk and so on. This comes at a very significant cost. Note when Libreoffice finally got font anti-aliasing.
Posted Sep 6, 2012 15:36 UTC (Thu) by jospoortvliet (subscriber, #33164)
Anyway, those talks are suspended until it's more clear what Digia is going to do - for now, at least they talk the right talk. Let's see if the walk it, too.
About the defacto toolkit - the fact that there are plenty legacy apps still using GTK doesn't mean it is anything but a legacy toolkit. It doesn't have the industry cloud Qt has - heck, where do you think the money to pay 250 full time developers comes from? Much of those companies are of course not visible to the consumer - the devices are often not identifiable as running Linux, let alone Qt (In Vehicle Entertainment!) - or you never see them (movie industry, medical industry etc). But they bring in enough funds to make quite a number of consulting companies quite profitable - Digia is merely one of them and wasn't even the biggest until they made the deal with Nokia and now bought Qt.
So, in the visible, fanboy-dominated FOSS world, GTK is still a major player. Just like KDE and GNOME matter for the FOSS world. But outside of that its not a major toolkit in any way, just like nobody knows KDE (or GNOME). With Samsung and Intel behind it I'd even bet EFL has more cloud (developers aware of it; developers able to use it; etc) than GTK these days and if it doesn't it soon will.
And even IN the FOSS world you see companies like Canonical moving to Qt development for their new projects and long-time GTK-only consulting companies doing more and more with Qt. And it's not a bad thing, it's good - Qt is a good toolkit, great to work with, has a good reputation in the non-FOSS world too, lots of skilled developers - and it's fully free and open. What more do you want than popular, successful, high quality, well documented, LGPL and with open governance? Oh, and a deal with the KDE e.V. to protect the long-term interests. All good, in my book...
It is good to see the FOSS world rally behind something like we're (almost) all behind Linux as a kernel, glibc, GCC Apache etc etc. Not that there are no alternatives - some alternatives trying to keep the big projects honest is good. Makes it easier to get rid of the big projects if they screw up, gives new ideas a chance, etcetera. But having a clear, prominent winner also creates clarity for newcomers and third party developers. So I think it's good...
Posted Sep 6, 2012 16:32 UTC (Thu) by rahulsundaram (subscriber, #21946)
Maybe but that is irrelevant. The function of the non-profit isn't to raise funds primarily. Linux kernel doesn't depend on funds from Linux Foundation nor does Eclipse depend on Eclipse foundation raising funds directly. Why should Qt be any different?
"the fact that there are plenty legacy apps still using GTK doesn't mean it is anything but a legacy toolkit"
This is a good example of a circular argument. Plenty of companies outside of the FOSS world do *new* development in GTK as well. Heck, I just talked to one writing a accounting app in GTK. So I consider your argument very weak and bogus.
The reason Qt got funding is because of the dual licensing model. I am not sure Digia is making a lot of money after Qt was re-released under LGPL. There is some who will still buy a proprietary license due to fear of LGPL and there is some consulting involved but the market is certainly reduced than before. There is a significant amount of employees who have already been let go from Nokia. Also, your example of a dominant Apache isn't a good one anymore. Nginx has taken a significant share of the market.
"What more do you want than popular, successful, high quality, well documented, LGPL and with open governance?"
To recap, open governance that is true in more than in marketing managed by a non-profit. True multi-vendor participation instead of a dominant single vendor. No requirement of contributor license agreements. At a technical level, reduction and possibly eliminating the practise of duplicating existing system libraries with a Qt flavor. These would be a good start.
Posted Sep 6, 2012 18:04 UTC (Thu) by boudewijn (subscriber, #14185)
No, it wouldn't be a good start, not for you. You would still be clamouring for something more, something else, something that's not in place yet -- you would invent another reason why you cannot use Qt, because you're too partisan towards GTK to allow for anything else.
Because the open governance is more than marketing. Because there are multipe vendors participating -- like kdab, for instance, or kde. Because there are sound technical arguments for not using the stl. Which you would never admit to, because your position is bound up with having to reject those arguments. Basically the only thing in your list that makes a modicum of sense as an argument for not contributing to Qt is the CLA -- and that doesn't make any sense at all as an argument for not using Qt.
But hey, I know I wasted my time here. It's vanishingly unlikely that any argument will change the mind of someone who is as entrenched in their position as you are.
Posted Sep 6, 2012 18:13 UTC (Thu) by rahulsundaram (subscriber, #21946)
I never said I cannot use Qt. You just made that up.
Posted Sep 6, 2012 13:30 UTC (Thu) by jospoortvliet (subscriber, #33164)
Maybe the splitting up of Qt in various libraries will help in the regard of the "do it our way" but it'll always be like that to some extend I suppose.
Posted Aug 12, 2012 9:25 UTC (Sun) by rahvin (subscriber, #16953)
On future touch screen laptops (and desktops!), Shell will be quite nice, and it surely will work on tablets (once they fix the applications).
Posted Aug 12, 2012 11:04 UTC (Sun) by dlang (✭ supporter ✭, #313)
Posted Aug 15, 2012 19:25 UTC (Wed) by jspaleta (subscriber, #50639)
Now whether or not my scientific simulation, coding and visualization work is "real work" or not is certainly open for debate. And I frankly I question whether most "science" is "real work" and not just people "goofing off." But real or imagined, whatever work I do for my dayjob I do it in a gnome3 environment now, and its not getting in my way for that work afaict.
Posted Aug 17, 2012 8:49 UTC (Fri) by dgm (subscriber, #49227)
But the environment is really important in some cases. Take bash for instance. It has a crapload of features that enhance your productivity, even if it's only purpose is starting tools and feeding them file names. It seems obvious to me that when you need to use many tools in coordination is when the environment really matters.
Posted Aug 11, 2012 9:59 UTC (Sat) by jospoortvliet (subscriber, #33164)
Posted Aug 11, 2012 18:03 UTC (Sat) by tjc (subscriber, #137)
By the looks of it, most of them are on Debian stable and fear for the next release.
I assume you are referring to this:
switch default desktop task to xfce
I see no reason for Debian Gnome users to fear, since Gnome will still be in the repository for those who want it.
Posted Aug 13, 2012 9:58 UTC (Mon) by hendi (subscriber, #36257)
Posted Aug 13, 2012 22:02 UTC (Mon) by tjc (subscriber, #137)
Posted Aug 16, 2012 19:27 UTC (Thu) by Lennie (subscriber, #49641)
Haven't people tried GNOME 3 fallback-session/classic on Ubuntu or Debian ?
I've been running it since January.
That is GNOME3 which looks and feels like GNOME2. You can run it with effects or without.
It has been tuned by the people from Debian/Ubuntu-community and works just fine.
Posted Aug 17, 2012 10:56 UTC (Fri) by paulj (subscriber, #341)
Posted Aug 17, 2012 11:02 UTC (Fri) by Lennie (subscriber, #49641)
Just one thing: ALT-right-mouse-button was needed to get the menu instead of just right-mouse-button.
But would that be a reason to keep a port of GNOME2 going in Mint and Fedora instead of keeping GNOME3-fallback working if the changed aren't accepted into the GNOME-project ?
Posted Aug 17, 2012 13:41 UTC (Fri) by paulj (subscriber, #341)
Bit sad that the GNOME developers didn't care to make it possible to parallel install GNOME3 with GNOME2, without doing a lot of work on renaming stuff. But hey.
Posted Aug 13, 2012 8:49 UTC (Mon) by Pawlerson (guest, #74136)
Posted Aug 19, 2012 17:59 UTC (Sun) by Jandar (subscriber, #85683)
I use KDE since the very beginning (skipping 4.x for small x) and be very satisfied. KDE is customizable to support my workflow and doesn't go out of it's way to hinder me like GNOME. Every now and then I give GNOME a try to be every time disgusted by the patronizing attitude of "we now better than you how to work with a desktop."
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