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A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

Posted Apr 14, 2014 22:48 UTC (Mon) by bojan (subscriber, #14302)
In reply to: A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation by kigurai
Parent article: A cash crunch at the GNOME Foundation

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.


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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.


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