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Clasen: GNOME 3.7 at the halfway mark

Clasen: GNOME 3.7 at the halfway mark

Posted Jan 26, 2013 5:41 UTC (Sat) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239)
In reply to: Clasen: GNOME 3.7 at the halfway mark by ebiederm
Parent article: Clasen: GNOME 3.7 at the halfway mark

Define "regression".


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Regression

Posted Jan 26, 2013 14:43 UTC (Sat) by pboddie (guest, #50784) [Link]

When something that used to work no longer does so.

One can claim that the product is now different and that you can't compare the old product with the new one (that conveniently uses the old product's name), but to the person thinking that they're getting an update of the same thing, it's a step backwards.

This means that when we try and put a modern distribution in front of people, instead of explaining how it is mostly the same (and thus what they are used to themselves) but better, we now have to explain why it is different and things that used to work no longer do so.

Frequent blog posts by people pretending to be brand strategists and visionaries don't actually placate user concerns because the users are mostly concerned with whether stuff does what they need it to, not whether the "positioning" of the software is right according to current market trends, or whatever.

After all, no amount of blogging can make something work again or even work in the first place.

Regression

Posted Jan 26, 2013 15:38 UTC (Sat) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239) [Link]

Going from GNOME 1 to GNOME 2 meant that I could no longer set the tile background for launcher buttons. Would you class that as a regression?

Regression

Posted Jan 26, 2013 16:37 UTC (Sat) by sorokin (subscriber, #88478) [Link]

If someone complains about a feature missing it's a regression.

If a feature is removed and somebody used it, you alienate your user. If people in GNOME cared about users they will never make something like G3. If people in Fedora cared about users they will never put G3 as default only because G3 is made by the same people as G2.

That is the main difference between free and commercial software. If they alienate users they lose money. If GNOME people alienate users they don't care. They only thing they care about is a "brand presence".

Regression

Posted Jan 26, 2013 17:09 UTC (Sat) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239) [Link]

So KDE 4 is a regression when compared to KDE 3?

Regression

Posted Jan 26, 2013 18:10 UTC (Sat) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

To some, yes. That's why Trinity exists (and the semi-separate OpenSUSE KDE3 fork).

Regression

Posted Jan 26, 2013 18:33 UTC (Sat) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239) [Link]

Regression's a subjective term?

Regression

Posted Jan 26, 2013 19:19 UTC (Sat) by bronson (subscriber, #4806) [Link]

No, a regression is a regression. Whether anybody cares or not, that's subjective.

And, whenever you remove a feature from a large project, no matter how meaningless or crappy, you will find somebody who cares.

Regression

Posted Jan 26, 2013 20:54 UTC (Sat) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239) [Link]

Right. So "Regression" here isn't terribly meaningful - almost every update will change or remove some functionality in a way that annoys somebody. By this sense, changing from GNOME 3 to Cinnamon would be a regression. It's a term that doesn't add anything to the conversation, and people should stop using it.

Regression

Posted Jan 26, 2013 21:18 UTC (Sat) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

By this sense, changing from GNOME 3 to Cinnamon would be a regression.

No. If things is mostly the same but has different name people expect that some features will not be available. When something is billed as "pure upgrade" but it removes features - people become quite vocal. Is it fair? No. But that's life. Deal with it.

Regression

Posted Jan 26, 2013 21:29 UTC (Sat) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239) [Link]

Someone defines the term, I explicitly say that I'm using that definition of the term, and then you tell me that I'm wrong? How about disagreeing with the definition, instead?

Regression

Posted Jan 27, 2013 16:16 UTC (Sun) by bronson (subscriber, #4806) [Link]

We can agree that cinnamon has fewer regressions, right? And that they are spending a lot of time reducing potential regressions that their users might experience?

Sounds like a meaningful conversation to me. Where's the confusion?

Regression

Posted Jan 28, 2013 22:51 UTC (Mon) by sorokin (subscriber, #88478) [Link]

> almost every update will change or remove some functionality in a way that annoys somebody

In GNOME -- yes. In other reasonable projects that is simple not true. I would say that for most projects that is not true.

Regression

Posted Jan 26, 2013 16:56 UTC (Sat) by pboddie (guest, #50784) [Link]

Did it still have launcher buttons?

You can make the case that the lack of a gold exhaust pipe on a hypothetical electric car - let's call it the Ford Luxury - is not a regression since its non-electric predecessor - also called the Ford Luxury - needed such a thing, whereas no-one is really going to miss it on the electric model. The argument in such cases is that technology has made something obsolete and thus the need to choose between, say, gold and steel has been eliminated.

The problem is that the view (or excuse) that technology has made something obsolete is brought out far too often. GNOME 2 won't let you do something that GNOME 1 did? It's because it's all better, that's why! When the developers famously closed bugs against GNOME 1 because GNOME 2 was new and different (http://www.jwz.org/doc/cadt.html), they illustrated precisely this phenomenon.

People want the benefit of brand recognition but also the benefit of not having their current product compared to the previous one, even though having the same name on the product is inevitably going to invite such comparisons. If you want to enjoy the former benefit, you have to relinquish the latter.

Regression

Posted Jan 26, 2013 17:10 UTC (Sat) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239) [Link]

Yes, it still had launcher buttons.

Regression

Posted Jan 27, 2013 15:44 UTC (Sun) by pboddie (guest, #50784) [Link]

Did anyone miss the removed feature? If not, maybe it's not really a regression. If they did ("My launcher buttons look awful now - why did they change this?") then one can discuss whether it's a minor regression or not.

Perhaps launcher buttons couldn't be transparent before and the background setting was a workaround that was made obsolete, just like the absence of an exhaust pipe on a hypothetical car whose predecessor required one. Since the result is almost completely superior, there's little reason to complain about it, but that almost certainly cannot be said for many consequences of these big product upgrades.

Regression

Posted Jan 27, 2013 16:27 UTC (Sun) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239) [Link]

So we've gone from a regression being something that no longer works to something that no longer works and which nobody really misses, maybe. And it's probably only a minor one. Which sounds awfully like they're subjective, and then we're just back to "I don't like these changes". Why not just say that you don't like the changes, rather than pretending that there's been a truly objective analysis?

Regression

Posted Jan 27, 2013 17:52 UTC (Sun) by pboddie (guest, #50784) [Link]

No, I conceded that if a feature goes away and nobody notices, you don't have to take a position on it. It's still a regression, but nobody really cares, and you can argue that in the grand scheme of things, no significant feature has fallen off the feature list.

I also noted that if a feature goes away because it is obsolete - to take an ancient example that once applied to some desktop systems, you don't have to allocate memory manually to a process because the system now does that for you - you can ignore the regression because nothing that anyone was doing before that they can no longer do now (say, allocate a process size of N) is anything they still need to be able to do (because the system will give the process N if it asks for it). Since there is no longer any benefit in even being able to do those obsolete things, there's no general functional regression (you can still run that process).

None of this has anything to do with whether I "like the changes". The issue I have is the way that people deny the experiences of the users by playing games with definitions of what the system was and is, as if the users were supposed to care more about the brand gymnastics than the features actually being delivered.

Regression

Posted Jan 28, 2013 14:04 UTC (Mon) by nye (guest, #51576) [Link]

Yes Matthew. You're a very smart person and you can successfully outmanoeuvre people by playing semantic games without ever having to lower yourself to making meaningful points.

Clearly, everything you say is therefore correct. It must be wonderful to know that you are so much better at everything than anyone else. I hope you enjoy your future career in law, and wish you all the best.

Regression

Posted Jan 28, 2013 16:05 UTC (Mon) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239) [Link]

The meaningful point is that "This UI has regressions and therefore should never have been made the default" is a false claim to a measurable change in quality and an implication that, as a result, the choice was irrational. People should stick to "It breaks my workflow" or "I find this change objectionable for some other reason", which are arguments that can lead to actual discussions about whether the improvements to other people's workflow outweigh that, or whether there would be some way to tweak the behaviour such that a specific usecase becomes practical without compromising any other design decisions. Bringing up "regression" shuts that opportunity off, because we all know that regressions are unarguably bad and need to be fixed immediately. People should say what they mean rather than throw around terms they can't even meaningfully define.

Regression

Posted Jan 28, 2013 16:17 UTC (Mon) by patrick_g (subscriber, #44470) [Link]

> People should say what they mean rather than throw around terms they can't even meaningfully define.

With Gnome 2 I was able to control my CPU governors with a graphical applet.
With Gnone 3 there is no applet and I can't control my CPU governors through the GUI.

For me it's simply a regression.

Regression

Posted Jan 28, 2013 16:40 UTC (Mon) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239) [Link]

There's no "For me". A regression is a regression. With GNOME 1 I used to be able to set the background to launcher tiles. With GNOME 2 I couldn't. Is this a regression? When defining regression as "Something that used to be possible is no longer possible", yes. Do I care? No. Did anybody? Probably, but it was 10 years ago and they've probably got over it.

Regression

Posted Jan 28, 2013 17:02 UTC (Mon) by pizza (subscriber, #46) [Link]

>With Gnome 2 I was able to control my CPU governors with a graphical applet.
>With Gnone 3 there is no applet and I can't control my CPU governors through the GUI.

Perhaps there isn't an "applet" but there is an extension, available through the extensions.gnome.org website.

Regression

Posted Jan 28, 2013 18:52 UTC (Mon) by patrick_g (subscriber, #44470) [Link]

> Perhaps there isn't an "applet" but there is an extension, available through the extensions.gnome.org website.

You're right. The extension is here : https://extensions.gnome.org/extension/444/cpu-freq/
It didn't exist six months ago and I'm glad someone took the pain to create it. I retract my comment about this regression :)

Clasen: GNOME 3.7 at the halfway mark

Posted Jan 26, 2013 20:31 UTC (Sat) by jubal (subscriber, #67202) [Link]

Change that breaks user workflow.

Clasen: GNOME 3.7 at the halfway mark

Posted Jan 27, 2013 21:38 UTC (Sun) by pizza (subscriber, #46) [Link]

> Change that breaks user workflow.

Here's the problem with that.

Pretty much any change (short of a crash fix) will qualify as breaking someone's workflow -- ie "it's different than what I'm used to"

It's been said many times over in this thread; nobody's forcing you to update anything. Your three-year-old Fedora/OSX/Windows/DOS/whatever installation works as well (and identically) today as the day it was released. Heck, go with something like RHEL and it'll be continually supported for a decade.

But don't complain about it lacking $randomfeature, because in the real world nothing is independent.

Clasen: GNOME 3.7 at the halfway mark

Posted Jan 28, 2013 7:21 UTC (Mon) by ebiederm (subscriber, #35028) [Link]

The command line in unix has decades of updates and even several complete reimplementations of various commands without breaking a persons muscle memory or workflow.

It is a cop out to say that you can't have that in other UIs.

Clasen: GNOME 3.7 at the halfway mark

Posted Jan 28, 2013 7:40 UTC (Mon) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239) [Link]

Oh come on. Try doing anything vaguely advanced with GNU utilities and then use the same commandline on BSD. Try using ifconfig syntax with ip. tar has had several incompatible changes in option symantics.


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