User: Password:
|
|
Subscribe / Log in / New account

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 14, 2014 19:16 UTC (Mon) by Wol (guest, #4433)
In reply to: A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation by ovitters
Parent article: A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

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


(Log in to post comments)

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. :)


Copyright © 2017, Eklektix, Inc.
Comments and public postings are copyrighted by their creators.
Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds