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Shuttleworth's Take On GNOME 3.0, Coordination with Debian 320

Posted by timothy
from the why-can't-numbers-jump-like-this-at-my-credit-union dept.
suka writes "In a fresh interview with derStandard.at, Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth talks about GNOME 3.0 — its strengths, but also about what he thinks is missing. He also mentions ongoing talks for a common meta-release-cycle with Debian which could delay the next LTS."
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Shuttleworth's Take On GNOME 3.0, Coordination with Debian

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  • by wrook (134116) on Monday July 13, 2009 @05:11AM (#28673717) Homepage

    I'm not worried about X breakages, personally. I even have an Intel 945G and I can live with the problems its causing. What I can't live with is the extreme instability of Pulse Audio. It crashes my apps contstantly from broken pipes. OK, people should be checking their pipes. But Pulse Audio itself crashes very frequently (about every hour or so on my machine). Rhythmbox won't go for more than 10 minutes without either crashing or audio failing. This is incredibly bad for me.

    I realize that it's probably due to older, underpowered hardware (3 year old cheap laptop), but this should not be happening. I've yanked Pulse Audio from my machine altogether now and it's a lot more stable. I was also getting lock ups in Firefox every hour or so. Now that I've dumped Pulse Audio, I've only had one lock up in the past 3 days (still can't figure that one out -- related to video drivers???).

    So, I plead with Ubuntu developers: either fix Pulse Audio, or punt it. The extra features it has is *not* worth the massive pain that some people experience.

    • What I can't live with is the extreme instability of Pulse Audio. It crashes my apps contstantly from broken pipes. OK, people should be checking their pipes.

      Everyone wanted to run ted stevens out on a rail, but he could have made laws to protect us from defective tubes!

      I realize that it's probably due to older, underpowered hardware

      they're not lead are they?

      BAM.. yeah.. i just did that..*cheesy music and stage hook NOW*

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      There's more problems than just pulse audio, there are too many daemons appearing in general. Stuff like gnome-pty-helper, gnome-keyring, ssh-agent, consolekit, hal-addon-storage, gconfd. All this stuff is fine on general purpose machines when the user mainly engages in browsing, multimedia, IM and office apps. The problems arise when you want to do something demanding like A/V work, with distros increasingly integrating services for the common usage case it's becoming increasingly difficult to get a usa

      • by ericrost (1049312)

        So why not use the alternate installer and only install what you want? start with a minimal install and build from there. You aren't locked into the "desktop cd install" ffs.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        There's more problems than just pulse audio, there are too many daemons appearing in general. Stuff like gnome-pty-helper, gnome-keyring, ssh-agent, consolekit, hal-addon-storage, gconfd. All this stuff is fine on general purpose machines when the user mainly engages in browsing, multimedia, IM and office apps. The problems arise when you want to do something demanding like A/V work, with distros increasingly integrating services for the common usage case it's becoming increasingly difficult to get a usable setup on older hardware.

        While a multitude of daemons might be a problem from the perspective of memory usage (if they're not properly written), they should have almost zero effect on your CPU and A/V work.

        The reason is that the vast majority of system daemons sit waiting for input via sockets or pipes. There is no polling involved because this is an OS-level task. The daemon tries to read from its socket/pipe and it essentially goes to sleep. The kernel doesn't even need to touch it because it knows what the daemon is waiting f

    • by dyefade (735994)

      I left Ubuntu at the start of the year after 4 relatively happy years - PulseAudio was one of my biggest complaints.
      Even if I could have got it working properly, I shouldn't have to jump through hoops to get my computer to play sounds.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by quadrox (1174915)

        DITO - with 8.10 I had to buy a webcam just so I would not get delay on my microphone when skyping. After 9.04 not even that workaround worked any longer. I have since switched to Arch even though that is likely not what I want either. I wish I was a millionaire and had money to hire a dev-team to create a proper linux distro.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Whats the point of it? my problem with pulseaudio is I'm getting all these bugs but i cant see a singe case where its better than a tricked out alsa setup (well actually it does deal well with simultaneous log-ins, but I'm sure that could have been edged into alsa without as many problems as PA brought). Perhaps the problem is distros have invested a fair bit of time in it, and now they're in the longest que for the bar but don't want to switch because while they would get served sooner, they'd have to acce

  • by VincenzoRomano (881055) on Monday July 13, 2009 @05:16AM (#28673761) Homepage Journal
    I only hope they will follow a different path than KDE team.
    They rushed to release 4.0 and since then I'm still struggling to have all the features I used to have in KDE v3.5.
    And, more important, I hope that Ubuntu people won't trash GNOME v2 from night to day like they did with KDE v3.5.
    • by mrtommyb (1534795) on Monday July 13, 2009 @05:36AM (#28673843)

      What KDE4 proofed is that you can also sit down and have really interesting conceptual changes that get introduced as big shifts.

      What KDE4 proofed is that if you make really awful software that is full of bugs even long term fans will switch to using an alternative.

    • by TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) on Monday July 13, 2009 @05:48AM (#28673895)
      Well I am using kde 4.2 now on just one of my machine and its awesome. It is so snappy and uses far less resources than kde 3.5 which i use on the other machine. But still not as lightweight as iceWM that i use on yet the other machine. In fact once the new slackware comes out I will probably switch all machines over to kde 4.2.

      What went wrong was that distro put in the new version far too early.

      I have never really liked gnome... It always seems to consume the ram like a windows desktop...
      • Same on OS X/PPC (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Ilgaz (86384) on Monday July 13, 2009 @07:11AM (#28674283) Homepage

        I use that version on OS X, thanks to Fink project. While they don't promise any kind of 'final' version at this state, I can easily keep KDE 4 applications in my OS X Dock, using them instead of iTunes for example.

        They are linked to actual OS X frameworks, down to Quicktime and very interestingly they use far less CPU and resources than regular OS X apps.

        There are similar reports from Windows users who binary installed it and using Amarok 2 etc. right now. While on it, is there any reason why KDE 3.5 given up when KDE 4 installed? I keep using KDE 3.5 suite on OS X too. It doesn't conflict with anything at all including KDE 4.

        I think what KDE 4 is and what a huge revolution it is will be understood in 1-2 years. For example when Nokia and other members of open source Symbian foundation starts using it in some form in their smart phones.

    • by nutshell42 (557890) on Monday July 13, 2009 @07:08AM (#28674271) Journal
      Gnome 2.0 was just as unusable. They just pretended is was for philosophical reasons.

      OSX 10.0 was crap, hell even Microsoft needed 3 years after Vista (with some major architecture changes).

      It just takes too much time the achieve feature/stability/usability parity with the old system no matter how needed those major under-the-hood changes were.

      So sorry, Gnome will take the same path as everyone else and sites will rush to declare 3.0 "A Major Disappointment". What you can hope for, though, is that distros won't be so braindead to drop Gnome 2 immediately after the 3.0 release.

      Honestly, there was a time when distributions were concerned about providing a usable user experience instead of just grabbing all the latest stuff, add their configuration tools and ship that crap. See PulseAudio, great idea, terrible execution on every single fucking distro I've tried.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by IrquiM (471313)

      If people had listened to what the KDE community said they'd still be on 3.5.10.

      Slackware is probably one of the last ones to switch, as it's 12.2 is still KDE 3.5, but current is on 4.2.

      Don't blame KDE for the mistakes of stupid distro-admins with no respect for their user community.

  • by ziggamon2.0 (796017) on Monday July 13, 2009 @05:20AM (#28673775) Homepage
    So, it finally happened! A major effort by a distro to fix one hundred really small but irritating bugs. Also known as polish. This is what Ubuntu needs, and to be fair has been quite good at. Just fixing more and more of the tiny annoyances is what creates a well-rounded desktop. On the other hand, they are introducing Gnome Shell, which while probably cool, will certainly introduce a couple of hundred new paper cuts!

    https://launchpad.net/hundredpapercuts [launchpad.net]
  • by RotateLeftByte (797477) on Monday July 13, 2009 @05:28AM (#28673809)

    I'm not a Ubuntu advocate (more of a Fedora/RHEL person really) but if the well documented problems with KDE 4 are anything to go by then including Gnome 3 in the next LTS release of Ubuntu would be IMHO a big mistake.
    An LTS release deserves to be of the highest quality from Day 1. To me it would be madness to base an LTS release on anything Gnome 3.0.
    IMHO an Ubuntu LTS release whould be the desktop equivalent to RHEL or SLED in terms of stability. If it is not then you have shot yourselves in the foot. If this means being conservative in package selection then so be it.

    • by Norsefire (1494323) * on Monday July 13, 2009 @05:37AM (#28673847) Journal
      Long Time Service release. They have to support it for 4 years, fixing bugs, preventing security problems etc. That would be more difficult to do if the LTS ships with Gnome 2 but Gnome 2 isn't being actively supported by its developers (who are working on Gnome 3).
      • The same metrics will apply to RHEL 6. If this comes out in the same timefram as the next Ubuntu LTS then I would be willing to bet that they won't include Gnome 3.0 in release.
        RHEL 5 has a service/support life of 7 years so RedHat are in the same boat and manage quite well to keep support going.
        If Canonical are going to get into long term support on a serious basis then they need to adopt the same sort of conservatism in package selection as RedHat do. Perhaps getting burnt by Gnome 3 might be a lesson wor

    • Beyond stability, also consider the category of the release, "Long-Term Support." Not nessicarily "most stable," but "most usable for the next five years," is what is being prioritized.
      If you remember back to last year, there was debate over whether it was right to put Firefox 3 Alpha in the 8.04 LTS. The few holdouts still using Firefox 2 seem to mostly be people who dislike the awesome bar; even Mozilla's dropped support for Firefox 2 last year. Imagine if Canonical had kept with the "more stable" version

  • GTK (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Haiyadragon (770036) on Monday July 13, 2009 @05:30AM (#28673825)

    Well, GTK+ is due for an overhaul. Fix the damn file picker. Get rid of all that excessive padding, maybe by making it themeable. Some consistency in menuitem dimensions would be nice.

    Also, either give Metacity some features, at least the bare essentials, or switch to another window manager. That non-optional minimize effect is cringe worthy.

    • by Homburg (213427)

      Jesus, the GTK file picker is not what people should be spending time on - it's already much, much better than the file picker in any other GUI framework.

      • Re:GTK (Score:5, Insightful)

        by marcansoft (727665) <hector@@@marcansoft...com> on Monday July 13, 2009 @06:13AM (#28673995) Homepage

        The GTK file picker is quite possibly the worst file picker I have ever seen. Even Windows 3.1's crappy stuff was better - it might not support long filenames, but at least it didn't require one extra click in order to do anything useful.

        Seriously, "browse for other folders"? I still maintain that the genius who thought that up needs to be shot.

        • by IBBoard (1128019)

          Seems like it's a big divide. Personally I much prefer the Gnome file picker over any other, but it has been ages (seems like years) since I last had to use "browse for other folders". No, that's not because I only ever dump stuff in a single folder, that's just because it's always expanded on my machines. I've got a couple of QT apps installed on my home machine and the file picker in their feels like a big step backwards to the old Windows days. The "places" and the cookie crumb for location can be very u

          • by ultrabot (200914)

            Seems like it's a big divide. Personally I much prefer the Gnome file picker over any other, but it has been ages (seems like years) since I last had to use "browse for other folders". No, that's not because I only ever dump stuff in a single folder, that's just because it's always expanded on my machines. I've got a couple of QT apps installed on my home machine and the file picker in their feels like a big step backwards to the old Windows days. The "places" and the cookie crumb for location can be very useful.

            If you have Jaunty and Gnome, the Qt apps (not KDE apps) use the Gtk file dialog by default. Try it out.

          • Re:GTK (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Haiyadragon (770036) on Monday July 13, 2009 @07:38AM (#28674391)

            Picking a directory is tedious and unintuitive. When I just click the OK button to pick the current directory, nothing happens. I have to click an empty space in the directory, to 'select it', first. When I use the crumbtrail to navigate to a parent directory, it automatically selects the child directory I just came from. When I click OK does it pick the current directory, or the selected directory? Who knows. When I open the file picker later it always opens in the parent directory of the previously picked one. Why in the parent?

            There are many usability problems with the current file picker.

    • Re:GTK (Score:5, Insightful)

      by qupada (1174895) on Monday July 13, 2009 @06:56AM (#28674207)
      People who modded this troll really need to stop and think about it - parent is just about spot on. The look and feel of the vast majority of GTK apps is frankly awful.

      Some consistency in menuitem dimensions would be nice.

      Now admittedly maybe this only manifests when you're using small interface fonts (I'm using 7pt here, for reference). Taking GIMP's menus as an example, menu items with images are significantly larger than ones without - a full 25% larger (20 vs 16 px). I don't have a huge number of gtk apps on my system to check this in, but inkscape and wireshark seem to have the same issue.

      Fix the damn file picker.

      This is a pet peeve of mine too. Bearing a striking resemblance to one I remember from Apple Mac systems pre colour monitors, the current design of the filepicker was in no way an improvement.
      For some reason or another the "location" text field is hidden by default (and even when shown, is oddly not populated by default with the path to the current directory). What could have been useful breadcrumb-style navigation buttons were added, except all but the one representing the current directory is hidden until you click a different button (this is despite there being the entire width of the file picker for them to fill). The lack of switchable view modes in the file listing is mystifying, it seems to display "thumbnails" of images when browsing, but it doesn't seem to be possible to make those thumbnails any bigger than 16x16px.

      That non-optional minimize effect is cringe worthy.

      Also the effect that draws big bold black rectangles on your screen to indicate the borders of hidden windows while alt-tabbing. Something regrettably KDE copied. I don't need this, if I wanted to waste my time with annoying and ultimately useless visual effects I'd install compiz.

      In reality, once it has become difficult or event impossible to make the system behave in a manner conducive to it actually being useful for anything, it's time to look elsewhere. As I often have to remind people, just because they are happy with the default settings doesn't mean everyone will be.

  • by a09bdb811a (1453409) on Monday July 13, 2009 @06:54AM (#28674191)

    You login, which you don't actually have to do anymore because it was too complicated, and you're presented with a fullscreen dialog box that says:

    "You are too fucking stupid to use this computer. You don't understand files and folders and things. Click OK to shutdown your computer. Your computer will shutdown in 28 seconds anyway, because you're probably too stupid to work the mouse. That's the thing underneath your hand. What? That's the thing attached to your arm. Ah, fuck it. 20 seconds."

    That's pretty much the entire GNOME 3.0 experience. The dialog box has been in development for the last 18 months, but obviously there's still a lot of usability testing left to do, mostly by Redhat and Canonical "engineers". The OK button logic was originally written in C but they've redone that in C# running on Mono, and Miguel de Icaza is already calling the work "superb".

    Meanwhile, the KDE people have been busy readying the next batch of widgets that you will never add to your exciting K desktop experience.

    Future plans for GNOME involve reducing the 3.0 dialog box down to a single pixel, then translating the status of that pixel into the power LED on your computer. This will remove the need for a display, further simplying the desktop experience and reducing enterprise costs. KDE plans to turn its entire desktop into a widget of itself, allowing you to remove it entirely with a single right-click.

    Yes, my friends: the future of the Linux desktop is no more fucking Linux desktop. What a relief.

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