Dricot: A freasy future for GNOME
Posted Aug 11, 2012 13:01 UTC (Sat) by rleigh
In reply to: Dricot: A freasy future for GNOME
Parent article: Dricot: A freasy future for GNOME
"Pick the right tool for the job, I'd say."
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.
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