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Quotes of the week

Quotes of the week

Posted Jul 28, 2011 18:58 UTC (Thu) by mingo (subscriber, #31122)
In reply to: Quotes of the week by jeremiah
Parent article: Quotes of the week

Guys, don't make silly excuses - somehow OS X managed to appeal to both developers and everyday users, so it's not impossible technically, is it?

If this is the common mindset amongst Gnome developers then i really think the Gnome3 people are deluding themselves if they argue against the facts laid out in that small discussion - they are attacking the messenger.

Gnome3 is crashing frequently and stands in the way of performing even the simplest of work-flow steps like being able to do a single-click start of an application.

I'm not at all sure whether Gnome3 will be able to broaden the appeal of Gnome towards people who have not used it before, but it sure has shrunk its appeal to those statistically insignificant number of people who were using the previous version, including myself.

Also, if they are not listening to their current set of users how will Gnome folks be able to listen to their next set of users?


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Quotes of the week

Posted Jul 28, 2011 19:14 UTC (Thu) by daniels (subscriber, #16193) [Link]

(Note: I'm not a GNOME developer.)

Two things stand out here: one, as you should know, crashes don't say anything about the UI design. At all. So let's move on.

Secondly, Linus's main gripe (and one of the most frequent complaints I've seen here) is that clicking on the terminal icon raises the current terminal, rather than creates a new window, and you now need to hit Ctrl-Shift-N for a new terminal window. Guess what? OS X does exactly the same thing: it raises your current terminal window, and you need to press Apple-N to get a new terminal window. Same goes for one of the other most frequent complaints I see here, namely Alt-Tab vs. Alt-` behaviour.

GNOME 3 is very different from GNOME 2, which I don't see them having made any apology for. This doesn't mean GNOME 2 has suddenly ceased to work somehow: you're more than welcome to keep running it if you think it's better.

I haven't seen any 'facts' in these discussions. I've seen a lot of people very upset that their desktop environment has changed, and very few actual facts. I also continue to posit that LWN commenters are a phenomenally poor representation of the average computer user.

Quotes of the week

Posted Jul 28, 2011 19:22 UTC (Thu) by mingo (subscriber, #31122) [Link]

Crashes do tell us a story about how many users are using it and find it good and find it important enough to report bugs ...

Really, KDE4 was very flaky as well, and the background of that was a (very) botched transition to something 'radically new'.

The thing is, don't do 'radically new' if you don't know how to do it in a high quality way.

'radically new' and 'flaky' is the worst possible combination.

Quotes of the week

Posted Jul 28, 2011 19:34 UTC (Thu) by mingo (subscriber, #31122) [Link]

I haven't seen any 'facts' in these discussions. I've seen a lot of people very upset that their desktop environment has changed, and very few actual facts.

Erm, if people being genuinely annoyed at how things have changed (versus applauding the great new changes that made Gnome even more intuitive) is not a 'fact' to you then what is? :-)

Quotes of the week

Posted Jul 28, 2011 20:51 UTC (Thu) by sfeam (subscriber, #2841) [Link]

If a fact is observed only by a person who does not statistically exist, is it still a fact? :-)

Hmm...

Posted Jul 30, 2011 6:27 UTC (Sat) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

'radically new' and 'flaky' is the worst possible combination.

Yes, but this combination is at least possible. The combination you apparently want ('radically new' and 'not flaky') does not really exist.

P.S. Have you tried to work worked with MacOS X 10.0 or at teast 10.1? MacOS X was not always as robust as it is today...

Hmm...

Posted Aug 5, 2011 17:58 UTC (Fri) by bronson (subscriber, #4806) [Link]

Maybe he'd be happy with a not flaky option? F15 screwed a lot of people when they forced the Gnome3 upgrade. It was nice of Ubuntu to keep Gnome2 as a temporary option.

Quotes of the week

Posted Jul 30, 2011 13:41 UTC (Sat) by ebassi (subscriber, #54855) [Link]

Crashes do tell us a story about how many users are using it and find it good and find it important enough to report bugs ...

crashes are usually automatically reported; but the Gnome 3 shell doesn't really crash - unless you monkey patch the internals via extensions, the lower levels are pretty much reliable, and the higher levels are written using a high level language that provides nicer error handling than a SIGSEGV at the worse possible time.

what you might see are the "fail whale" style errors, that says that something bad happened to the system (not necessarily a crash) and that the shell was unable to load. these are usually driver issues. yes, drivers tend to suck. yes, Gnome developers are actively helping out figuring out the drivers regressions and missing features and new bugs. it takes time, so for the time being there's a nice fallback user experience.

as for how many people use Gnome 3: only one major distribution has been shipping with Gnome 3; the others have (rightfully or not) decided to wait until a more stable release. the one that's coming in approximately 2 months. do I expect people to get over the whole 3.0 bruahaha? not really; though, having lived through the 1.x -> 2.x cycle I can honestly say that it'll happen.

Quotes of the week

Posted Jul 31, 2011 11:17 UTC (Sun) by Darkmere (subscriber, #53695) [Link]

Actually, Gnome-shell _does_ crash from time to time. However, It's impossible to report these crashes as such, due to the heap size being in the area of 4GB, so my core files just aren't written. (abrt and similar also refuse to deal with it)

However, these crashes are easily (auto!) recovered from in a nice way. However they are annoying, it's still impossible (for me) to generate a bug report worthy of actually posting. "gnome-shell went away, things were non-responsive for a while, then the shell came back" isn't a bug report that'd see attention anywhere.

Quotes of the week

Posted Jul 31, 2011 18:48 UTC (Sun) by khc (guest, #45209) [Link]

gnome-shell does seem to have memory leaks somewhere, I restart it every few days to keep it in check. Once in a while it doesn't come back from restart, but such is life I guess.

Quotes of the week

Posted Jul 31, 2011 21:41 UTC (Sun) by ebassi (subscriber, #54855) [Link]

Actually, Gnome-shell _does_ crash from time to time. However, It's impossible to report these crashes as such, due to the heap size being in the area of 4GB, so my core files just aren't written. (abrt and similar also refuse to deal with it)

that sounds like an OOM kill. mmh, yes: there are still leaks hanging around. there might be a couple in Clutter, which I haven't backported/released with the stable branch yet. I'll try to do another 1.6 release as soon as I can.

Quotes of the week

Posted Aug 4, 2011 18:17 UTC (Thu) by Zizzle (guest, #67739) [Link]

> as for how many people use Gnome 3: only one major distribution has been shipping with Gnome 3

I lived through GNOME 1 -> 2 transition.

I don't think I will make it through the 2 -> 3 transition.

This time around the GNOME project has made it's clear that people like me are not part of the desired user base and functionality important to me is no where near a priority. Fair enough, it's their choice.

On the next round of distro updates, the big two, which I have used for a long time, are now pushing completely new and less functional desktop shells.

I'll be looking for a new distro with a shell that offers functionality comparable to the now dead GNOME 2.

My point is that waiting for major distros to ship GNOME 3 may not increase the userbase that much - it's bad enough to cause users to flee to other distros.

It'll be interested to see how many other users take the same approach.

Quotes of the week

Posted Aug 5, 2011 3:50 UTC (Fri) by elanthis (guest, #6227) [Link]

> I'll be looking for a new distro with a shell that offers functionality comparable to the now dead GNOME 2.

I promised not to get involved in GNOME 3 discussions on LWN again, so I'll simply say this: given your stated preferences, you may find XFCE to your liking.

Quotes of the week

Posted Aug 5, 2011 20:20 UTC (Fri) by oak (guest, #2786) [Link]

While I personally like XFCE (Xubuntu setup) as desktop, one should note that it also has some maturity issues still. For example there's the issue with disappearing panels or panel items:
https://help.ubuntu.com/community/XubuntuPanels

And the apps aren't as full featured / as Gnome or KDE ones, which eventually forced me to move to another desktop, at least until XFCE matures more.

As most desktops allow changing the window manager, I eventually ended up selecting my desktop based on the apps that I use most: terminal, mail and photo manager [1]. Bad experiences on other desktops with less used apps like CD/DVD burning affected this also.

So, I don't quite understand why people select desktop based on its window manager, or complain about one. They should complain if the desktop doesn't work with their favorite standards-compliant replacement window manager...

[1] Browser is of course one of the most used apps, but neither Firefox nor Chrome is tied to any desktop environment.

Quotes of the week

Posted Jul 30, 2011 18:23 UTC (Sat) by Tet (subscriber, #5433) [Link]

I also continue to posit that LWN commenters are a phenomenally poor representation of the average computer user.

Perhaps. Should that be relevant? Personally, I couldn't give a shit about the average computer user. I want something that works for me. And frankly, GNOME 3 isn't it (nor was GNOME 2, FWIW). Despite that, I actually quite like the idea, and in a few years, maybe it will be usable. For now, though, if the defaults work for you then great. If they don't, you're screwed, because there's no way to change anything. I remain concerned that the people behind such an influential desktop environment seem to have explicitly decided to only cater to non-technical people. Sure, they outnumber us. But that doesn't mean those of us with a clue should be ignored.

Quotes of the week

Posted Jul 31, 2011 21:47 UTC (Sun) by ebassi (subscriber, #54855) [Link]

Despite that, I actually quite like the idea, and in a few years, maybe it will be usable. For now, though, if the defaults work for you then great. If they don't, you're screwed, because there's no way to change anything.

if you're not the "average computer user" then that's not strictly true.

there's a tweak tool that exposes in a sensible GUI the knobs for tweaking the UI, and there's a fairly powerful extension mechanism that allows you to: add new UI elements; change the window management policies; and even monkey-patch the internals. pretty soon there'll even be a website to submit, distribute and control the extensions. so if you are not the average computer users, you can literally go insane with the custom modifications.

Quotes of the week

Posted Jul 31, 2011 23:00 UTC (Sun) by mathstuf (subscriber, #69389) [Link]

Does "going insane" with modifications include a fully-featured tiled window manager mode, never steal focus policies, or a mouseless desktop? Not adversarial, just curious what is conceivably possible with the hooks extensions can use.

Quotes of the week

Posted Aug 4, 2011 6:11 UTC (Thu) by ebassi (subscriber, #54855) [Link]

Does "going insane" with modifications include a fully-featured tiled window manager mode,

for obvious different mileage of "fully featured": http://gfxmonk.net/shellshape/

never steal focus policies,

focus stealing prevention is a pretty nasty piece of code inside mutter, so this is probably going to be really hard to delegate to an extension.

or a mouseless desktop?

you can add your own key navigation code: https://mail.gnome.org/archives/gnome-shell-list/2011-July/msg00015.html - but the goal is to have key navigation by default.

Are you sure?

Posted Jul 30, 2011 6:24 UTC (Sat) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

Guys, don't make silly excuses - somehow OS X managed to appeal to both developers and everyday users, so it's not impossible technically, is it?

Why are you so sure? How many kernel developers use MacOS X? When people tried to push MacOS on me I went to great length to finally get coveted Linux laptop... Our Techstop has tons of MacBooks here and very few laptops suitable for Linux because apparently "noone wants them" yet somehow there are a waitlist for Linux laptop.

Are you sure?

Posted Aug 1, 2011 16:17 UTC (Mon) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

A *lot* of userspace Unix developers use MacOS X, if just as a terminal. There are developers who aren't kernel developers. (In fact that would be the vast majority of them.)

Are you sure?

Posted Aug 3, 2011 5:20 UTC (Wed) by elanthis (guest, #6227) [Link]

I bought a Mac Mini because I needed it for porting code to OS X (lulz, Macs are accepted as gaming machines now, who'd ever have expected that?) and iOS development.

I'm already using it more often for general non-OSX-specific UNIX-y development than I do Linux. :)

Quotes of the week

Posted Jul 30, 2011 13:51 UTC (Sat) by ebassi (subscriber, #54855) [Link]

Also, if they are not listening to their current set of users how will Gnome folks be able to listen to their next set of users?

just because we are not replying, it doesn't mean we're not listening. actually, we're listening to everyone and adjusting the UX every day. it takes time, and we cannot fix stuff retroactively: if you can get us a DeLorean on the cheap we might be able to fix some stuff; the FHS knows how I would like to fix some of the crap GTK+ still has to string along for compatibility with insane apps.

as a side note, though: don't assume that, just because you're a current user, you should be listened to religiously. especially if we want to have more users. making the Linux kernel developers crowd happy is orthogonal in many more ways than one to the goal of getting more users - unless we wanted to get more traction in the Linux kernel developers user segment; which, as Daniel so eloquently put it, is statistically even more irrelevant than the current desktop Linux user segment.

Quotes of the week

Posted Jul 31, 2011 13:32 UTC (Sun) by walters (subscriber, #7396) [Link]

Ingo, do you have links for those crashes that you're experiencing?


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