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A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 14, 2014 3:00 UTC (Mon) by PaulWay (subscriber, #45600)
Parent article: A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

It seems to me that part of the issue as expressed by commenters here is the seeming disconnection between 'GNOME' the desktop and 'GNOME' the foundation. If the first suffers a public backlash - and, let's face it, there's been one - then the second is going to have a hard time getting public support.

Yes, that's unfair, in a way. As we can see from the comments here by ebassi and others, it's frustrating to have to tell people that you're not "the bad guy", that there isn't a "bad guy" per se, that you have no control over what's happened and you'd just like to get on with doing your thing.

But IMO that would be a lot easier to accept if there was any indication by the people supporting the GNOME Foundation here (against the detractors of the GNOME desktop) actually admitted that some of the criticisms that people have are actually genuine. Dismissing everyone who criticises the desktop, or gets confused between the two, as $RANDOM_GUY_ON_THE_INTERNET with entitlement issues just makes you look as bad as them. Worse: because this is what the core GNOME developers seem to have done with everyone who doesn't like what they've done with GNOME 3, dismissing criticism is precisely the wrong attitude to take if the GNOME Foundation wants people to sympathise with them.

Humility on both sides is called for.

Accusing someone else of not being humble enough is a really good way of looking arrogant.

IMO, the best thing that the GNOME Foundation can do here to increase public support for their work is to first acknowledge that the GNOME desktop does have flaws that the user community have pointed out. Or, if the Foundation really does have no control over the desktop, then change your name.

Have fun,

Paul


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A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 14, 2014 6:22 UTC (Mon) by sramkrishna (guest, #72628) [Link]

> IMO, the best thing that the GNOME Foundation can do here to increase >public support for their work is to first acknowledge that the GNOME >desktop does have flaws that the user community have pointed out. Or, if >the Foundation really does have no control over the desktop, then change >your name.

Well of course GNOME has flaws, if it didn't we wouldn't working on it and releasing every 6 months. The work is never done. There is always something that needs to be fixed or changed. :-)
I have admitted to many things that we have done poorly, or could have done better. After all, we are only human.

The foundation's job is to manage money and put it into the best use. The reason it doesn't have a role in the technical direction was the fear that money would trump the technical decisions of the maintainers because the board would be focused on maximizing their contributions from donors, both profit and non-profit. Perhaps, we should re-visit that decision. But not today.

For those who think we waste our time on "social justice", you should realize that we are a Free Software project whose goals are about social justice. Programs like OPW is aligned with that. When our community is a reflection of the community we reach out to, it makes our job easier.

I hope you liked that sentence, cuz I wrote that many times in many wonderful places. :-)

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 14, 2014 8:16 UTC (Mon) by Rehdon (guest, #45440) [Link]

Thank you for your post, but whatever hesitation about donating I had it just vanished when reading this thread. Look at the reply you got from one of the GNOME developers: "Yeah, you're right, we've done mistakes, it's just a matter of fixing bugs and improve our software". They're still in denial. And the fact that you have to start by saying "That's not sarcasm. It is a personal opinion. I'm not whining. I don't feel entitled" when replying to one of their posts it's another confirmation of their endless arrogance. I've given up on engaging them on a constructive level of discourse, I just don't bother any more.

Which means that no, I won't donate to the GNOME foundation (you're too good, paulj!): I've put my money where my desktop usage is, and this only reminds me that it's time that I donate to Linux Mint/Cinnamon again.

BTW, let me get this straight for you guys: I doubt anybody thinks the GNOME foundation is in financial trouble because of GNOME 3 development, no need to get rabid about random guys not reading the fine article. But people *won't give a dime* to the foundation *because of GNOME 3*. And IMNSO they're spot on.

Rehdon

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 14, 2014 8:49 UTC (Mon) by ovitters (subscriber, #27950) [Link]

What you want to donate to is your own option. But I think you're pretty off with "denial" things. GNOME 3 works completely different than 2, you probably totally hate the way of working. But then if this way is totally off, then what matters more if if it is bad for everyone or not. For that you need usability studies, etc. Something which we're lacking.

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 14, 2014 11:41 UTC (Mon) by bojan (subscriber, #14302) [Link]

> For that you need usability studies, etc.

Or maybe just a bit of common sense, for starters?

Like, I don't know, not change every pixel on the screen over a VNC connection when trying to start an app or change workspace? Or maybe not use 300% of CPU just to get to where you can start an app? Or maybe be able to see where your windows are at all times, without needing to do things that computers are supposed to do for you (i.e. provide reminders)? Or maybe be able to put stuff where you like it? Stuff like that... I know - rocket science. :-(

Instead, we get "lessons" in philosophy of "avoiding distractions", throwback to 80's Macs with "app menus" way away from the app and other blatant copying of (worst parts?) of OS X UI. People that wanted a Mac already got one, I'm sure.

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 14, 2014 13:15 UTC (Mon) by ovitters (subscriber, #27950) [Link]

I'm not sure if anything will change your opinion. You've been venting it seems for multiple years. I'd expect at one point you'd be done with the negativity. Maybe things are utterly terrible, but then at the same time I wonder why you spend so much time being frustrated. Ignore GNOME, live a happy life.

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 14, 2014 13:25 UTC (Mon) by bojan (subscriber, #14302) [Link]

Typical. Constructive criticism met with go elsewhere.

Did you not even read what I wrote? All of these things are facts about Gnome 3.10, which is the 6th stable release in the series.

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 14, 2014 13:38 UTC (Mon) by ovitters (subscriber, #27950) [Link]

Your post was something about:
- responding to usability studies with details about "with pixels going over the wire" (I don't get the relation...)
- saying we don't have common sense (I don't get the constructive bit...)
- claiming you're not getting all kinds of answers (I didn't write those, you ignored most of what I wrote...)

It seems you're trying to give me a response so you can cry foul. As said before: you've been negative for multiple years and still respond in every article. I find it a little bit strange, I didn't say go elsewhere. +1 on still crying foul though! :-P

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 14, 2014 19:16 UTC (Mon) by Wol (guest, #4433) [Link]

Assuming his criticism is genuine, you've just totally missed the point. You DON'T NEED usability studies when what you're doing is objectively stupid. I didn't need usability studies when the company I worked for had several types of green-screen terminals and emulators, and I wrote a bit of code to autodetect what was there as the user logged in. (The alternative was to ask the lusers, and they're called lusers for a reason... :-)

I don't use gnome, and don't have a clue whether his criticisms are valid, but I can (and do) totally get where he's coming from! To exaggerate his point - "why are you doing a full HD screen refresh over a 300baud modem when a tiny icon has changed in the corner of the screen?". If that doesn't make his point clear, I don't know what will.

I keep on making this very point (it's databases with me :-) but what is good computer science and what is good engineering sometimes just do not match up ... if they did we'd all be using the Hurd by now !!! :-)

Cheers,
Wol

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 15, 2014 8:13 UTC (Tue) by ovitters (subscriber, #27950) [Link]

> You DON'T NEED usability studies when what you're doing is objectively stupid.

If I'm giving an example of where we could do better, replying to that with "objectively stupid", unrelated other things I didn't mention and then suggesting because I didn't discuss a bunch of others things so I'm an "apologist", etc.

Now not only bojan but also you go after me like a crazy person IMO.

You want to be heard, but then let yourself be heard! In a friendly post from me I get accused of being "objectively stupid", "missing the point", etc.

Well: good luck with your tirade :-P

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 15, 2014 12:09 UTC (Tue) by Wol (guest, #4433) [Link]

Well, I'm not a gnome person (and I'm thinking of ditching kde for the same reason), but you need to get this fact - - -

PEOPLE WHO LOVE YOUR PRODUCT ARE THE MOST LIKELY TO MOAN.

He's moaning and you don't seem to be listening.

I have the same problem with KDE and the semantic desktop. I DON'T WANT ANYTHING TO DO WITH IT! It turned a lot of desktops (including mine) into doorstops, and all the devs would say was "you'll love it when it's finished - help us fix it". Bit difficult when the time from power-on to usable desktop is measured in time longer than any sane person is prepared to wait.

Fact is, plenty of long-time gnome supporters appear to be being driven away. I nearly left KDE because my system wouldn't boot in a usable time frame. This guy is on the verge of leaving because frame lag and stutter is a nightmare (I run KDE over network-X and I know exactly what he means :-( and that's over a lan !!!)

When people say "the system is unusable" it's because they want to carry on using it, not because they don't care.

Cheers,
Wol

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 15, 2014 12:29 UTC (Tue) by ovitters (subscriber, #27950) [Link]

I've had the same discussion with bronson for multiple years it seems. I've said we're lacking in various ways. But it is never good enough. Always there is some proof that

In this thread for instance:
Person A: You're doing X wrong
me: yeah, we need to improve

This is hijacked to prove I'm not listening. I obviously know that over the network GNOME 3 will be slow. I've said that to bronson multiple times already.

When I acknowledge one pain point for one person, turning this into proof that I don't listen, not aware of other points, etc... During those years I've made various things happen that bronson highlighted. Things that have been in release notes. Alan Day also has held various rounds of "fix small annoyances" (I forgot what he called them).

I have listened and changed things. I never noticed any ack for that. Just that it still not good enough, etc. Only getting complaint after complaint: I'm not a PR/communication person. I try to gather feedback, but there have been multiple years of history here. Don't base your opinion of me on just how I act in one article.

For the network bit: I cannot do shit about it. I don't use it. Probably utterly terrible and don't think most developers look at it. Maybe Wayland eventually fixes it? No clue.

I can handle "this really sucks", but turning a "this is not good enough" statement from mine into proof that I'm terrible for X'th amount of time in multiple years: I not going to take that nicely.

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 16, 2014 23:43 UTC (Wed) by bronson (subscriber, #4806) [Link]

Strange to see myself portrayed as such a perfectionist! Cinnamon is a fine example of good enough. It's a long, long way from perfect, but it at least it tries to appeal to both existing and new users and avoid breaking the world. Also, it got decent multiple monitor support working first.

As for listening... I said basically, "Gnome 3 caused me a lot of wasted time and lost billable hours. It didn't have to be that way." To which you (and maybe others) said basically, "yes, it did, 3 and 2 in parallel was impossible, and it's not that big a deal anyway since Gnome 2.0 did the same thing." We reiterated ourselves a few times, nobody could understand the other's point of view, so that's that. Maybe I'm not listening either.

Still, I'm saddened that you still only see one pain point for one person. When Gnome 4 comes around, I suppose it's going to be another throw-your-users-in-the-shredder release. I just don't understand how a mature project can think that this is at all acceptable. Or why distros would accept such capricious instability in their default desktops.

Oh well.

(for the record, I was the one complaining about multiple monitors and netbooks. I don't think I've complained about Gnome 3's network speed, except maybe in quoting someone else.)

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 15, 2014 14:40 UTC (Tue) by pizza (subscriber, #46) [Link]

> PEOPLE WHO LOVE YOUR PRODUCT ARE THE MOST LIKELY TO MOAN.

In my experience, people who moan are most likely to be professional moaners, perpetually entitled and unsatisfied. (I say this after a decade and a half of professional software development experience, for both internal customers, technical/developers, and the general public. Internal corporate customers are by far the worst, and it's not because they *love* anything -- the "a camel is a horse designed by committee" quip definitely applies to them)

Meanwhile, to drag in a poor automotive analogy: The general gist of the complaints regarding GNOME3 is that they're not putting in a pickup bed when the developers are building a four door sedan.

Other, more specific, problems are treated far more seriously, though the specific complaint about poor performance when used remotely (or via a VM) are both a direct consequence of what they're building (ie an OpenGL-based desktop) and are exacerbated by deficiencies elsewhere in the software stack -- Unstable drivers and slow OpenGL fallback for local users have been vastly improved in the last few years, VMs that pass through OpenGL acceleration are here now, and with Wayland/Weston in particular we're getting much improved remote compositing abilities instead of the layers-of-bandages-on-top-of-X we currently have.

It's far from perfect, and progress is often frustratingly slow, but such is the reality of volunteer efforts that involve coordinating large numbers of related-but-independent components.

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 15, 2014 15:57 UTC (Tue) by bojan (subscriber, #14302) [Link]

> The general gist of the complaints regarding GNOME3 is that they're not putting in a pickup bed when the developers are building a four door sedan.

So you keep claiming, but I can tell you that this is not the case here. I couldn't give a rats' what they are building, as long it can do things for me, instead of me doing things for it. That's the point of having software, isn't it?

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 15, 2014 16:10 UTC (Tue) by pizza (subscriber, #46) [Link]

> So you keep claiming, but I can tell you that this is not the case here. I couldn't give a rats' what they are building, as long it can do things for me, instead of me doing things for it. That's the point of having software, isn't it?

FYI, you're coming off as someone who is repeatedly banging their head against a wall, complaining that their head hurts and that it's the wall's fault for not being a pillow.

Since you don't care about what they're building, only that it does stuff for you (which IMO is perfectly reasonable, even if you chose to express it in a self-entitled manner), is there a particular reason why you haven't switched to something that suits your particular needs better? After all, that seems to be the "common sense" thing to do here.

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 15, 2014 16:26 UTC (Tue) by bojan (subscriber, #14302) [Link]

Many. I am generally running Fedora, because it is related to my work. Default there is Gnome, so I need to be familiar with it. It also is a native desktop for Evo, which I also use a lot. Apart from that, Gnome tries to follow other developments in the Linux desktops closely and is not tier 2 (i.e. has its own toolkit, libs etc). KDE was always a bit of an unfamiliar thing to me, outside of the usual software I meet etc.

In short, it may sound strange to you, but I really want Gnome to succeed.

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 17, 2014 0:01 UTC (Thu) by bronson (subscriber, #4806) [Link]

That's an odd analogy but let's go with it.

It's true, I used to bang my head a lot into Pillow 2.0. Everything worked so well that I grew to rely on it for home and business. Family members too.

Then, they took away Pillow 2.0 entirely and released Pillow 3.0. It was made out of selenium because that was super trendy but it was still very rough. With a lot of work and extensions you could make it almost pillow shaped again.

That's a lot of adventure just for a pillow. It makes sense to complain about that, doesn't it?

Personally, I did switch. But, as long as Gnome is the default for popular distributions, no matter how unstable it may be, I will have to support others on it. Alas.

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 20, 2014 21:43 UTC (Sun) by pboddie (guest, #50784) [Link]

In my experience, people who moan are most likely to be professional moaners, perpetually entitled and unsatisfied.

Previously on LWN...

There are more "people" out there than those in your echo chamber.

You could almost make a game out of this kind of thing.

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 15, 2014 15:39 UTC (Tue) by bojan (subscriber, #14302) [Link]

> "missing the point"

Look, you said you needed usability studies (long, complicated, expensive etc.). I told you that simple common sense would suffice for now and named examples. You didn't get those. What else was I supposed to conclude?

Trust me - no offence was intended - I just called it like I saw it.

I just wish I could put into hours the amount time I've lost on Gnome 3 being less useful than Gnome 2, so that you don't think I'm making stuff up. And I use it all day, every day.

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 15, 2014 15:58 UTC (Tue) by pizza (subscriber, #46) [Link]

> Look, you said you needed usability studies (long, complicated, expensive etc.). I told you that simple common sense would suffice for now and named examples. You didn't get those. What else was I supposed to conclude?

The utter uselessness (and non-commonness) of "common sense" is the very reason usability studies are so important.

They show you precisely what folks actually get stuck on, as opposed to what they say they get stuck on, or what you think they will get stuck on.

As for your conclusions, I recommend you look up Confirmation Bias.

> I just wish I could put into hours the amount time I've lost on Gnome 3 being less useful than Gnome 2, so that you don't think I'm making stuff up. And I use it all day, every day.

I counter your anecdote with my opposite anecdote -- I'm more productive with Gnome3 than I was with Gnome2 -- It fits my workflow far more closely and is far less intrusive for what I do most often. (And yes, I spend 10+ hours a day in that environment too!)

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 15, 2014 16:10 UTC (Tue) by bojan (subscriber, #14302) [Link]

Your argument is that in version 3, for whom the product sucks is switched when compared to version 2 and that is OK. My argument is that if version 3 is an upgrade, it should suck less for both of us.

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 16, 2014 4:32 UTC (Wed) by Arker (guest, #14205) [Link]

On Usability Studies:

"They show you precisely what folks actually get stuck on, as opposed to what they say they get stuck on, or what you think they will get stuck on."

In theory that is what they should do. With enough funding, the right design and careful execution, they can do that. It's hard but not impossible.

But like studies in other fields, they can also give you the results you want, cheaply, quickly, and easily. Good design is difficult, and good experiments can get expensive. And who wants to waste a lot of time and money on a more elaborate experiment than they need to do before they get on with the fun part?

With unlimited resources and a lot of creativity and imagination you might make mockups of a few hundred different systems, built around different design assumptions, following users long term... yeah no one does that. Yet everyone seems to be able to draw from the much more limited work that's been done absolute certainty for their own preferred theories.

So usability studies are no panacea. They need to be looked at skeptically and yes, both designed and evaluated using common sense if you can find any. It seems to be quite rare though.

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 16, 2014 13:24 UTC (Wed) by pizza (subscriber, #46) [Link]

> So usability studies are no panacea. They need to be looked at skeptically and yes, both designed and evaluated using common sense if you can find any. It seems to be quite rare though.

FWIW I agree completely with what you said. I've been through this before [1] (albeit only peripherally), and it wasn't the utter skewering of the front-end developers' assumptions that impressed me so much as the massive disconnect between what the end-users/subjects said versus what they actually were doing.

[1] we had some real usability experts contracted to perform the testing, with an explicit goal of "find out what's wrong with this, and why" instead of merely seeking to confirm our obvious brilliance in constructing UIs. :)

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 14, 2014 22:43 UTC (Mon) by bojan (subscriber, #14302) [Link]

> - responding to usability studies with details about "with pixels going over the wire" (I don't get the relation...)

Exactly, you don't.

Try running Gnome 3 over xrdp/VNC on a real remote location and see how _slow_ it is when you enter Activities (hint every damn pixel gets changed at least twice). Instead of saying that you cannot do usability studies, how about doing a common sense thing - using Gnome 3 remotely (over a real, inter-continental line) and seeing what gives. Or, I don't know, hearing what people that are doing that are telling you?

> - saying we don't have common sense (I don't get the constructive bit...)

See above about just one aspect of common sense. Let me give you another, really quickly.

Consider notification system. What would a "reasonable" man say the purpose of it is? To deliver notifications, right? OK, I get it. People forget things, so they have these newfangled things called computers to remind them. Right.

So, when a notification flashes while I'm doing shit and then disappears without any trace from my screen, why is it that system for delivering notifications isn't notifying me that I have notifications? You know, the common sense thing to do, like on Android, for instance. Instead, I get a lecture on how I'm distracted.

See, that right there is constructive criticism. I am telling you what and how to do better.

> - claiming you're not getting all kinds of answers (I didn't write those, you ignored most of what I wrote...)

I don't care about answers here that much, to be honest. Gnome 3 apologists always have something, but that is not that important. We are at 3.12 now - you know - 7th release. And still, the basics are just as screwed as before.

Sure, animations work just fine...

> It seems you're trying to give me a response so you can cry foul. As said before: you've been negative for multiple years and still respond in every article. I find it a little bit strange, I didn't say go elsewhere. +1 on still crying foul though! :-P

Sorry, you're right. I'll stop filling bugs. That's just too negative. :-)

Oh, and BTW, it was you that mentioned usability studies.

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 15, 2014 8:16 UTC (Tue) by ovitters (subscriber, #27950) [Link]

> Exactly, you don't.

Saying we could do better in one case doesn't mean I am saying everything else is great. Filing bugs is always good and appreciated. But I feel like not holding anything red but a bull still chasing after me. I rather step out of this cage, thanks.

a bull still chasing after me.

Posted Apr 15, 2014 14:26 UTC (Tue) by Wol (guest, #4433) [Link]

But that's how they feel. I suspect we have a language/culture issue here getting in the way of understanding - English clearly isn't your native language.

There's no intent of attacking you, it's just that frustration is boiling over because a two-way conversation seems to be impossible - we seem to be talking past each other not with each other.

Cheers,
Wol

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 14, 2014 13:58 UTC (Mon) by kigurai (subscriber, #85475) [Link]

As someone who use GNOME 3 daily on multiple machines: I have seen none of your issues.
Does that mean they do not exist (on your machine)? No, but it does show that your "facts" are not universal truth.
A lot of people enjoy GNOME 3, and it would be nice if we could do that without people telling us we are wrong. Thanks!

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 14, 2014 22:48 UTC (Mon) by bojan (subscriber, #14302) [Link]

Thanks for proving the point that I've been trying to make for so many years. Gnome 3 _is_ designed for a select group of people - the ones that do want it just like that. Everybody else, piss off. Exactly the message the rest of us have been hearing for years.

Never mind that a good desktop has to be flexible and practical, so that it can fill many people's needs.

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 14, 2014 23:20 UTC (Mon) by pizza (subscriber, #46) [Link]

> Thanks for proving the point that I've been trying to make for so many years. Gnome 3 _is_ designed for a select group of people - the ones that do want it just like that. Everybody else, piss off.

Up until the "piss off" bit, I fail to see how what you are saying is in any way objectionable.

Gnome3 is designed with a set of use cases in mind, and it satisfies those reasonably well -- and those use cases are also where improvements are targeted. If that's not what *you* want, then yes, you're quite free to use (or better yet, develop) something else. The Gnome3 devs owe you nothing; why do you keep acting as if they do?

> Never mind that a good desktop has to be flexible and practical, so that it can fill many people's needs.

Gnome3 is flexible and practical, and it fills many people's needs. You are apparently not in that set, but at the same time, nobody is forcing you to use it; indeed there is more choice now than ever, but remember that *someone* had to do that work.

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 15, 2014 0:01 UTC (Tue) by bojan (subscriber, #14302) [Link]

Your points would be totally valid if by ditching some of us crusted-ons Gnome could reach out to the masses (which is what they supposedly want to do). However, the facts do not support that.

The reality is that the very small fraction of people that actually use Linux as their desktop has been further fragmented, so now Gnome commands even less users than it once did. (I wouldn't be surprised if Android desktop users - yes, desktop - already outnumbered that of Gnome).

By all means, if this is the measure of success - carry on.

> Gnome3 is flexible and practical, and it fills many people's needs.

Yeah, super flexible. Removing an icon requires code to be written (well, maybe not any more - I haven't really checked - but, yeah, that the gist of it).

Many? Sure. As many as before? No.

On a more general point, if Gnome devs do not want to receive criticism for the software they produce, they should stop releasing it and saying to people to use it. I was under the impression that they actually wanted people to use their wares (which I do, 8+ hours every day). No?

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 15, 2014 0:32 UTC (Tue) by pizza (subscriber, #46) [Link]

> Yeah, super flexible. Removing an icon requires code to be written (well, maybe not any more - I haven't really checked - but, yeah, that the gist of it).

So I guess nobody really cares about that particular bit of "missing" functionality, eh?

> Many? Sure. As many as before? No.

"Many" was your word choice. As for numbers, in absolute terms you're probably wrong, but in relative terms, there are many more options today than there were in the G2 days. Anectdotally Ubuntu's Unity was responsible for more gnome abandonment than G3.

> On a more general point, if Gnome devs do not want to receive criticism for the software they produce, they should stop releasing it and saying to people to use it.

On that same note, repeatedly complaining that you don't like the deliberately-different direction/philosophy/paradigm/model/etc G3 is taking isn't going to accomplish anything. "Working as intended" is not a bug, and expecting them to treat it as one is utterly foolish. (On the other hand, specific problems within their desired usage models are indeed bugs, and they've been pretty responsive to those)

> (I wouldn't be surprised if Android desktop users - yes, desktop - already outnumbered that of Gnome).

I wouldn't be surprised if Android Desktop users outnumbered all non-Android Linux Desktop users put together.

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 15, 2014 0:50 UTC (Tue) by bojan (subscriber, #14302) [Link]

> "Many" was your word choice.

I see we are arguing semantics now. Many, when I used it first, meant not just "a new select group", which completely agrees with my later use of "not as many as before".

> "Working as intended" is not a bug, and expecting them to treat it as one is utterly foolish.

OK, so nobody can ever complain to software devs that "as intended" is not quite good enough? Right.

To be honest, I can understand the problem Gnome devs are facing. They chose to go with the "overview" design, which is neither a phone, nor a tablet, neither a desktop nor Windows 8 (hint: search "boot to desktop windows 8.1"). It would be almost impossible to admit now that that was a mistake.

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 15, 2014 3:39 UTC (Tue) by malor (guest, #2973) [Link]

>"Working as intended" is not a bug, and expecting them to treat it as one is utterly foolish.

It is if the intentions are wrong. That's what people are trying to tell them, that their design is fundamentally bad.

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 15, 2014 4:39 UTC (Tue) by kigurai (subscriber, #85475) [Link]

There is quite obviously a sufficiently large number of people who disagree. I would never want to go back to gnome 2 again. YMMV.

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 15, 2014 5:34 UTC (Tue) by bojan (subscriber, #14302) [Link]

Just love comments like this. It shows pretty much the spirit of what has been going on in Gnome world for many years.

It is immediately assumed that everyone that criticises Gnome 3 wants Gnome 2. Not for one second is it ever considered that it is rather logical to compare a brand new product by the same people to its predecessor. For things called regressions. But, these have never been heard of by Gnome team, it seems. And, it is also never considered that people may not be complaining about "different", but about "not as useful".

Also, it is fascinating to see how fragmentation is considered a point of strength. We disagree, so go away, is the mantra. Not for one second is there a consideration that maybe it would be better if more people could agree, so that one effort could serve more people at the same time.

But, I guess Gnome has sooo many users, they can afford to shed half their user base - all of 3 people that keep complaining. :-)

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 15, 2014 8:34 UTC (Tue) by malor (guest, #2973) [Link]

>There is quite obviously a sufficiently large number of people who disagree.

There are people who disagree, but I question very strongly if that number is sufficiently large. They would probably be in better financial shape if their new design appealed to more people.

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 15, 2014 11:00 UTC (Tue) by ebassi (subscriber, #54855) [Link]

> They would probably be in better financial shape if their new design appealed to more people.

that's what I call "a radical interpretation of the text" - meaning that, no: the number of users has no bearing on the financials of the GNOME Foundation.

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 15, 2014 11:09 UTC (Tue) by malor (guest, #2973) [Link]

> the number of users has no bearing on the financials of the GNOME Foundation.

Oh, of course not, lack of users is why they were able to set up a Foundation in the first place.

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 15, 2014 13:01 UTC (Tue) by ebassi (subscriber, #54855) [Link]

I'd have a look at your sarcasm generator: it does not work on websites.

the Foundation was established to handle donations, and with the intent of providing infrastructure to use those donations to the benefit of the GNOME project.

the number of users of GNOME (as much as it can be actually established, a non trivial feat in and of itself) has not *direct* bearing on the existence or on the finances of the Foundation. I can say this because I know for a fact that we don't require a fee for every installation of GNOME.

the two major sources of income are direct donations (through Friends of GNOME campaigns) and the advisory board membership fee. we have seen better days in terms of adboard fees, but it's not a huge change; after all, companies use infrastructure on Linux that has been created or it's maintained by GNOME developers, so it makes sense for companies using Linux desktop technologies to also use GNOME technologies. we also have had new adboard members to make up for the ones we (and the whole Linux and Linux desktop ecosystem) lost.

as for donations, we have a steady stream of support from everybody who can spare as little as 5 EUR/USD to big donations, a sign of a community that cares about the existence of the project, and that puts their money where their mouth is.

so, no: the number of users we may have lost or may have gained does not really reflect the need of the GNOME project to have a foundation. we have a community that cares, and that's already justification enough.

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 16, 2014 5:15 UTC (Wed) by Arker (guest, #14205) [Link]

""Working as intended" is not a bug, and expecting them to treat it as one is utterly foolish. (On the other hand, specific problems within their desired usage models are indeed bugs, and they've been pretty responsive to those)"

You know, although we'll clash in tone, I think you are basically right. GNOME took a turn off into space a long time ago (and I did not have to wait for 3 to see it, personally, but that is when it took over the 'face' of the project, so to speak, and a lot of people sat up and noticed it.)

And it really boils down to WAD. WAD is the developers way of saying 'sorry, I broke this on purpose. You may want stable, reliable software that you can rely on to do the job for you tomorrow the same way it did the job yesterday, but you arent going to get it. Now leave me alone while I build something new that I hope you will like. We want you to 'transition' from what we used to do, that you liked, to what we are doing now, which we hope you like. But if you dont like it, just go away, because we certainly are not going to listen to any feedback that does not agree with the plan we have already decided on.'

And from a developer perspective, particularly a developer who is either unpaid, or paid by someone that is all in favor of what they are doing, this has to seem essentially fair. Even so, can it really be a surprise that this angers many users? Just understanding when they start down this course that this is going to be very inconvenient for a lot of their users, that it will generate ill-will, and taking that into account in the planning, there would have been ways to minimize the ill will.

Instead they seem to have almost deliberately maximized the anger and I am not sure even today, this much later, that the backlash is anything but incomprehensible ludditism in their minds. It's not reasonable to expect someone to keep working for free on something they made and gave you for free, when they dont want to, just because you need it. I think most people understand that. But what really angers people is the responses like 'the only people complaining are professional complainers who are going to complain no matter what.' That attitude is what keeps the gnome haters stirred up enough to even bother reading their announcements, let alone posting.

But, yeah, regardless, I think they could have handled it better but in the end that's what it boils down to, they are not interested in working on the system we want to use, so we should go away.

At the very least the devolution of every GNOME discussion into a rehash of how much everyone hates Gnome3 is so old and predictable at this point it's redundant. I apologize for my part in it.

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 16, 2014 13:39 UTC (Wed) by pizza (subscriber, #46) [Link]

> But, yeah, regardless, I think they could have handled it better but in the end that's what it boils down to, they are not interested in working on the system we want to use, so we should go away.

I agree they could have handled it better, and probably have managed initial expectations better too -- Perhaps they should have called Gnome3 "New Gnome" instead of "Classic Gnome"? :)

However, Gnome3 wasn't designed behind closed doors; they'd presented multiple design mockups, explained their goals and how they intended to get there, and even released multiple previews. This effort went on for something like two years before the initial 3.0 release.

I guess that goes to show that nobody really pays attention to anything until it's shoved in their faces...

By the way, thank you for your reasoned and civil discussion here; I hope you keep it up!

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 16, 2014 13:51 UTC (Wed) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

Looong time ago I asked to see these design documents and early mockups for KDE. Can I ask the same for GNOME?

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 16, 2014 14:17 UTC (Wed) by pizza (subscriber, #46) [Link]

I typed 'gnome-shell mockups' into google.

The first result was the github repo for all gnome mockups, and the second was the top-level gnome-shell design wiki page that, towards the bottom, includes links to a lot of the early mockups and discussions about them. The rest of the first page of results reference blogs and whatnot talking about said mockups and design; a quick glance shows the oldest is from July 2010.

Enjoy.

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 16, 2014 18:02 UTC (Wed) by luya (subscriber, #50741) [Link]

Here is the early Gnome Shell mockup dating from 2008. It was a preview around Gnome 2.30 as far as I remember.

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 17, 2014 13:06 UTC (Thu) by ebassi (subscriber, #54855) [Link]

the initial designs of the Shell came out of the User Experience hackfest we held in Cambridge, MA, in 2008: https://wiki.gnome.org/Events/Summit/2008/GUIHackfest

a year later we had a design document which explained some of the early concepts of the shell and the design tenets of the OS: https://people.gnome.org/~mccann/shell/design/GNOME_Shell...

there's a nice little page on the 3.0 design history on the GNOME wiki as well: https://wiki.gnome.org/ThreePointZero/DesignHistory

all the design, mockups, and discussions happen in the open. design is usually collaboratively edited on the wiki; mockups are stored in git; discussion happens in bugzilla and on IRC.

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 14, 2014 9:10 UTC (Mon) by hadrons123 (guest, #72126) [Link]

@rehdon
The guys who need money/(deserve_credit) are MATE/Cinnamon for all the hardwork they do to satisfy the users. Clearly gnome foundation doesn't need users=random_guy_on_the_internet money.

After reading these comments of some of the Gnome-devs, I really should thank them for making me donate to MATE-destkop today.
http://mate-desktop.org/donate/

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 14, 2014 11:13 UTC (Mon) by sorokin (subscriber, #88478) [Link]

Same for me. After reading the post I donated to KDE.

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 14, 2014 11:13 UTC (Mon) by daniels (subscriber, #16193) [Link]

It's good that you like MATE and Cinnamon and have donated to them: as ebassi said, they need your support as well. No-one has a problem with that. But jumping on every single story about GNOME to explain how you think it's rubbish is not only irrelevant but in very bad taste. If you don't like it, great, don't use it!

The constant 'GNOME 3 is objectively terrible and they deserve to fail' comments are even more offensive than the Slashdot commentariat's GNOME vs. KDE 'wars' from a while ago, and probably the worst feature of LWN over the past few months.

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 14, 2014 11:29 UTC (Mon) by thumperward (guest, #34368) [Link]

The constant GNOME bickering looks like the most serene and enlightened debate in the world next to anything LWN has covered recently on the subject of women, or even worse the Brendan Eich situation.

In a way we've been spared in this case because the majority of LWN's worst commenters (which is about 90% of the regulars) didn't bother clicking through to the actual article to find that this is related to OPW and instead simply posted another bit of hate on GNOME 3. otherwise this would be officially the worst comments section in the history of the Internet.

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 14, 2014 11:46 UTC (Mon) by ebassi (subscriber, #54855) [Link]

for finding the worst comments section just look no further than r/linux. if it's always 1950 in the LWN comments, it's always 1850 on reddit.

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 14, 2014 11:49 UTC (Mon) by kigurai (subscriber, #85475) [Link]

500 comments of misogyny and counting... it's really sad.

Also: Hey ebassi, I just "adopted" you in the Adopt a hacker program ;)

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 14, 2014 16:38 UTC (Mon) by ebassi (subscriber, #54855) [Link]

many thanks for your donation, and expect a postcard in the near future then. :-)

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 16, 2014 6:35 UTC (Wed) by luya (subscriber, #50741) [Link]

Those comments make filtering much easier.

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 16, 2014 23:03 UTC (Wed) by sramkrishna (guest, #72628) [Link]

Oh no. Slashdot is much much worse. I have marinated in both forums. I can change minds on /r/linux. Slashdot is a much harder nut to crack. Plus, my efforts have garnered many PMs of praise and support.

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 15, 2014 10:41 UTC (Tue) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

It's not about 90% of the regulars. It's about fifteen people. Most of them rarely if ever comment on any subject other than gender equality; they seem to have a real bee in their bonnet about it.

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 15, 2014 4:17 UTC (Tue) by andrewsomething (subscriber, #53527) [Link]

You do realize that neither MATE nor Cinnamon could exist without building on the work already done by GNOME, right?

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 15, 2014 8:20 UTC (Tue) by ovitters (subscriber, #27950) [Link]

IMO doesn't really matter. If MATE improves, good for them. Same for Cinnamon and any other software project. The most that could happen if MATE/Cinnamon/XFCE becomes really successful is that they'll be able to take over (or bigger role) in what GNOME has been doing. In the end, more free software.

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 14, 2014 18:14 UTC (Mon) by darkshram (guest, #58643) [Link]

I agree with you. After reading your comment, I made a donation to MATE Desktop.

A few years back I would have donated to GNOME Foundation without hesitation. GNOME3 never filled our needs. Working with GNOME3 was a uncomfortable experience for my users (mostly programmers and sysadmins), that's why every machine in my (small) company now uses MATE Desktop.

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 16, 2014 23:06 UTC (Wed) by sramkrishna (guest, #72628) [Link]

A donation to Mate is a donation to GNOME! :-) After all, once they move to GTK3, they will completely be on our platform and they too have their own plans on where they are going. I'm working on reaching out to them so that they can help out on the lower parts of our platform. They depend on GNOME technologies like a number of other projects.

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 15, 2014 12:53 UTC (Tue) by paulj (subscriber, #341) [Link]

Very good point. I'll donate to them too this evening.

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 15, 2014 14:20 UTC (Tue) by Rehdon (guest, #45440) [Link]

I donated to Linux Mint, and after a couple of days Cinnamon 2.2 is out, voilĂ ! I know that correlation doesn't imply causation, but still ... ;)

Rehdon


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