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Interview With GNOME 3 Designer Jon McCann 294

Posted by samzenpus
from the point-and-counterpoint dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In an extensive interview, GNOME 3 designer Jon McCann talks about the future of GNOME 3 — why it's all about the apps and why he is convinced that KDE and Ubuntu are actually different operating systems. He also reacts to the outspoken criticism against GNOME 3, which has been making the rounds lately."
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Interview With GNOME 3 Designer Jon McCann

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  • Translation: (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @03:25PM (#37122840)

    Translation: The newest butthurt diva within the FOSS community has scathing words for why users should just unquestioningly bow down to the decisions of the almighty developers rather than *gasp* criticizing their work when it's crap. First Asa, now this turd? Who's next in the FOSS lineup for being a butthurt diva?

  • KDE (Score:5, Insightful)

    by camperdave (969942) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @03:26PM (#37122846) Journal

    he is convinced that KDE and Ubuntu are actually different operating systems

    Um... last I heard KDE is not an operating system.

    • Re:KDE (Score:5, Informative)

      by sakdoctor (1087155) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @03:30PM (#37122878) Homepage

      Had to check TFA to see if he was on about apps as in applications, or apps as that mobile marketing bullshit dejour.

      It was the latter.

      • by DShard (159067)

        He also says touch is the most important outstanding feature. How they can say gnome 3 isn't a tablet UI with a straight face is beyond me. I just love that they decided to fork and drop the desktop portion of their desktop environment and expect people not to call them out on it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Locutus (9039)
      A big WTF came out when I read that line too. then I figured it out. Given that this guy is a/the "GNOME 3 Designer" and he does not know the difference between Ubuntu and KDE, this explains why GNOME 3 sucks so badly.

      LoB
    • by Ant P. (974313)

      The statement that he's convinced that they are should tell you all you need to know: he's a nutcase that just doesn't get computers.

    • Re:KDE (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SlashdotOgre (739181) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @03:49PM (#37123076) Journal

      Well the actual quote was, "I really think from an end-user perspective and a third-party-developer perspective GNOME and KDE are different operating systems. As much as MeeGo is a different operating system," and to an extent I can see his point from a end-user perspective. Obviously the underpinnings are the same, but for non-technical users who only use the GUI and never see/care what's below,l it's a significantly different experience. Especially with how Gnome and KDE these days even handle interacting with hardware slightly differently (e.g. GVFS v.s. KIO).

      For example my wife currently runs Gnome 2.32 on Gentoo (which I maintain). Switching her to KDE would be a much more significant change than say switching to a different disto running Gnome 2.32. I know this to be the case because I originally had her running Ubuntu before we were married, and the switch to Gentoo (but maintaining Gnome) was painless for her.

      • by Grishnakh (216268)

        There really shouldn't be any noticeable difference when changing to a different distro running Gnome2.32, as most of the software is the same; distros just do a slightly different job of putting things in different places and setting default configurations.

        But switching to KDE doesn't make it a different OS, any more than switching from LibreOffice to Koffice to Abiword & Co. makes it a different OS. The DE is just a layer on top of the OS that lets you interact with it. If your choice of DE restrict

        • by lennier (44736)

          The DE is just a layer on top of the OS that lets you interact with it.

          I'm not so sure that that's strictly true - or, if true, that it's a useful distinction to draw.

          The big difference between KDE and GNOME is not just that they are different desktop environments but that they are different software frameworks for applications running on them, including different object/component models, inter-process communication and sets of running daemons. Some of these differences are being smoothed over via the Freedesktop.orgs (or were prior to the whole GNOME3/Unity/Plasma debacle whe

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      but it's just what the user sees that matters to the user.
      if they had same configuration menus on both or maybe codebase that would generate it to work with both sets, it wouldn't seem so much like so. but the design people don't work like that, so the ui kit becomes more than the ui kit.

      personally i just hate gtk+.

      (the linked interview is just general level blah blah blah blah blah by the way, he could have given that same interview about gnome2)

    • But I really think from an end-user perspective and a third-party-developer perspective GNOME and KDE are different operating systems. As much as MeeGo is a different operating system.

      Moronic summary. Last I heard, Ubuntu != GNOME != OS != KDE.

    • The actual quotation from the article is "from an end-user perspective and a third-party-developer perspective GNOME and KDE are different operating systems." The GNOME platform is as different from the KDE platform as it is from, say, the Wine platform. All three are toolkits that run on top of X11/*n?x.
      • by Rob Y. (110975)

        The problem is that people want (and need) to be able to run apps from these different 'OS's' simultaneously. And it can be done, of course - as you said, they're just toolkits on top of X11 on top of Linux. But all the aspects of apps that need to work together are out of sync. I don't care how your preferred launcher and window manager look (after all, that's all GNOME 3 is), but I do care that they at least attempt to conform to some 'linux desktop' standards so that all kinds of apps can behave as si

        • by lennier (44736) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @08:28PM (#37125244) Homepage

          And it can be done, of course - as you said, they're just toolkits on top of X11 on top of Linux.

          If only they were. But KDE and GNOME aren't just X11 toolkits and widget sets, they're not even just tightly integrated sets of window managers and file explorers and MIME type registries and sound servers and search engines and mail/calendar databases and instant messagers and event notification systems, they're also two fundamentally different component/object models, and sets of IPC daemons - KParts, Bonobo, D-BUS, Pl and friends. They have two different low-level implementation languages and object systems - C++ with the KDE signal/slot preprocessor macros vs C and GObject - and so on. They implement their own entire virtual filesystems in userspace code.

          Sure, there's whole chunks of Linux which remain agnostic about what desktop framework is running on top of them, including X11. But a raw Linux and X11 isn't actually that useful to a modern user, unless all you want to do is edit text files in EMACS and browse the Web with Lynx. Generally, you want some kind of runtime support for mounting USB devices when you plug them in, navigating compound documents and ZIP archives as if they were folders, and registering and instantiating component frameworks from dynamically loadable libraries. And most of that stuff is all done at the "desktop framework" level.

          One could argue that this kind of file-and-process management functions should be the job of an OS, but it's too late - the Microsoft/Apple approach of "shove it all together into the graphical desktop shell" has won, the open-source DEs have copied the big boys, and now there's a war.

      • It appears it's not meant to be taken literally, as in "different kettle of fish" or "horse of a different colour".
    • by obi (118631)
      Read it in the context of "Gnome OS" which was mentioned in the interview. He knows it's not an OS on its own, but he places it (KDE+linux, implied) on the same level as WebOS, Android, MeeGo, etc.
      • by Rob Y. (110975)

        Well then he may as well give up right now. If Gnome OS is on the same level as Android (i.e. a 'mobile' OS that runs apps specifically targeted to it), then it's gonna fail. Android has already won that battle, and for good reason. There are tens of thousands of developers who have chosen to target Android, and the network effects have already kicked in. Android ABI's are (mostly) backward compatible, so it's posible to actually release binaries that work on most Android devices. And speaking of Andro

        • by Grishnakh (216268)

          Gnome (and KDE) still work on traditional PC's and netbooks - I still use them. If they understood why Android is successfull, and worked better together, they may have achieved that kind of success already in their hardware niches. Hell, this stuff's open source, how come there's no community building custom Gnome OS ROMs for, say, the Nook Color? Because it won't work well there. But, hey, they're all scratching their itches, and I guess I'll piggyback on top of them as long as I can still get a PC with d

    • by crutchy (1949900)
      Technically and traditionally KDE isn't an operating system, but the traditional "operating system" was termed during a time when window managers weren't even thought of. No individual part of a Linux distro (such as kernel, x server, window manager) is really an operating system on its own any more because of the open and modular nature of the unix philosophy (different for Windows because of the MS all-or-none policy). Tthe Linux kernel may operate computer hardware, but its just the lowest level that con
  • More time? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by UnknownSoldier (67820) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @03:28PM (#37122860)

    "There's always things when you look back that you wish you would have had a little more time to finish or polish."

    Why does an open-source project have a deadline?? The point of open-source is that _you_ as a developer decide when it is ready, not customers/shareholders/marketing dictating your release schedule.

    I work on a open source project. If a feature takes a year to do, we take the time to do it right, rather then hack something up that "works now", but needs to be re-written later.

    What am I missing??

    • Re:More time? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by webheaded (997188) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @03:35PM (#37122932) Homepage
      The openness of the source has absolutely nothing to do with this at all. I don't even get why you're saying that. Redhat is open source and they are anything but this. There are plenty of examples of open source COMPANIES. Not every OSS developer is some kid in his mom's basement like some people seem to think. Some of them actually do have deadlines.
    • The point of open-source is that _you_ as a developer decide when it is ready, not customers/shareholders/marketing dictating your release schedule.

      If your free software or open source project is a platform, and your platform falls behind the competing platform, then third-party developers are more likely to develop for the competing platform, and your platform will be compatible with fewer and fewer maintained programs over time.

    • by godrik (1287354)

      I think you are missing that open source software are human that have personal goals. Sometimes, making a perfect open source software is not one of them. So you release what you have even if it is not perfect, and you move on with your life. (Which might involve a new open source projet or not.)

    • by Grishnakh (216268)

      This guy isn't working on this in his spare time, he's an employee of Red Hat.

  • Hitler (Score:5, Funny)

    by MrEricSir (398214) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @03:29PM (#37122872) Homepage

    ...is still mad about Gnome 3. [youtube.com]

    • This is bullshit. I'll configure everything back to how it was in GNOME 2.

      Brilliant! Best Hitler reaction video yet.

    • Re:Hitler (Score:5, Funny)

      by 0racle (667029) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @04:03PM (#37123236)
      Totally agree with Hitler here.
    • Problem would go away with a Firefox release schedule. The old 7 year releases just do not add innovation enough. Just ask Asa Dolzter?

      If we had a Firefox release schedule where every 6 - 8 weeks we have a complely new UI and to top it off ... a new API so all the scripts and preferences will need to be changed we would truly be 21st century modern. I mean Gnome 3 is sooo last April. Its August come on where is Gnome 7!

  • by UnknownSoldier (67820) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @03:34PM (#37122908)

    "You do see a lot of hackers using Mac OS X these days and I think that's a little bit unfortunate and probably there are many reasons why they do that, but that's not immediately what you might think of as a super hacker-focused OS."

    Gee, you think people get tired of constantly tweaking this and that, fixing broken apps/models, relearning a UI, and just want shit to work as they get older, so they can work on other things? Go figure!

    • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @03:54PM (#37123138) Journal

      I am addicted to focus follows mouse and silly OSX can't handle that because of its insane menu (you would loose focus of the windows whose menu you are trying to reach, Unity has the same problem).

      The real problem is that Gnome2 worked, yes it took a long time, yes it was not perfect either when it started but recently it became simply usable.

      And suddenly almost every distro out there throws it all away for a new window manager that is not just incomplete but even downright buggy. What else do you call it when you have to kill processes for browsing windows/samba shares? Is that such a complex hardcore hacker task?

      KDE ain't much better, open a file from the network and it will often try to copy it locally first before it can play. Very useful for large movie files I can tell you.

      The alternatives? Not much better either. xfce seems determined to use 100% cpu power for showing its native cpu widget.... why bother writing code at all, just put a red picture on the taskbar and call it a day. Same result.

      Gnome 3 should have been a side project and an optional desktop. Wanna play with it? Go ahead but if you don't, you don't see it. Ubuntu sorta allows this if you don't upgrade to the next big release but many small distro's just throw it in an update. And there you are, suddenly nothing works anymore and when you reboot you go "Oh shit".

      It just ain't ready yet. It crashes randomly, misses functionality, forgets to suspend when a laptop is closed (which finally started to work perfectly and now they broken it again). This is a beta, no an alpha release. Why is everyone using it as their main desktop. Ubuntu and Fedora/Red hat. WHY? They didn't start to use Enlightenment a mere decade after its first alpha release? Why use Gnome 3 straight away?

      I think there is a desperate wish for the year of the linux desktop. Fuck it, ain't gonna happen. Never. Why not? Because of this kinda crap. I have converted people to Ubuntu, it is easy, it works, it plays farmville and has no malware. Buttons the wrong side? Noobs don't care they literally just shrug their shoulders and click the other side of the window.

      But the Ubuntu 11.01 upgrade? I converted them all back to a pirated windows system. I installed Ubuntu for them because I was fed up constantly supporting them, now I was going to explain to them Unity/Gnome3 instead with more bugginess and unwanted changes then Vista? Is there some opensource developers penis envy? MS can produce a desktop nobody wants, we want it too?

      This weekend I will be installing an old ubuntu on my desktop (this is written from a windows game machine) having tried various releases. I have come to a conclusion. I am old. I did gentoo, I did linux from scratch, I made skins, I tweaked, I compiled. Now I just want a fucking simple desktop that just fucking stays the fucking same for longer then two seconds. I REALLY do not give a fuck WHERE the close buttons is but I expect my fucking laptop to fucking suspend when I fucking close it and NOT for this YEARS old GODDAMN issue to come back because some fuck face wants to do a touch desktop and then forgets to include touch because he has some jerkwad fantasy about Linux on some device.

      Upset? YES.

      Nerd rage? Abso-fucking-lutely.

      The proof that Gnome 3 sucks? They had to kill off gnome 2. If they are so convinced 3 was going to be the hottest thing ever, then they could just have let gnome 2 running in low maintenance mode and given the people a choice. You only have to pull a new coke if you know people don't WANT your new crap so you are not giving them an option and hope the rage dies out before you do. Well, I am nerd, hear me roar!

      • by rubycodez (864176)
        uh, that 100% cpu widget thing is fixed. xfce is nice, I dumped Ubuntu for Debian 6 with xfce. better than the Xubuntu, even.
      • Just a few different points:

        And suddenly almost every distro out there throws it all away for a new window manager that is not just incomplete but even downright buggy. What else do you call it when you have to kill processes for browsing windows/samba shares? Is that such a complex hardcore hacker task?

        There are still a lot of distros which are using Gnome 2. Beyond Fedora I can't think of a widely-used distro that uses it by default yet

        KDE ain't much better, open a file from the network and it will often try to copy it locally first before it can play. Very useful for large movie files I can tell you.

        I have done that numerous times and never had that issue.

        Why is everyone using it as their main desktop. Ubuntu and Fedora/Red hat.

        Unity has Gnome underpinnings but it is not Gnome3.

        But the Ubuntu 11.01 upgrade? I converted them all back to a pirated windows system. I installed Ubuntu for them because I was fed up constantly supporting them, now I was going to explain to them Unity/Gnome3 instead with more bugginess and unwanted changes then Vista? Is there some opensource developers penis envy? MS can produce a desktop nobody wants, we want it too? This weekend I will be installing an old ubuntu on my desktop (this is written from a windows game machine) having tried various releases. I have come to a conclusion. I am old. I did gentoo, I did linux from scratch, I made skins, I tweaked, I compiled. Now I just want a fucking simple desktop that just fucking stays the fucking same for longer then two seconds. I REALLY do not give a fuck WHERE the close buttons is but I expect my fucking laptop to fucking suspend when I fucking close it and NOT for this YEARS old GODDAMN issue to come back because some fuck face wants to do a touch desktop and then forgets to include touch because he has some jerkwad fantasy about Linux on some device.

        If you didn't want to do support nor deal with tweaking why did you cho

      • I am addicted to focus follows mouse and silly OSX can't handle that because of its insane menu (you would loose focus of the windows whose menu you are trying to reach, Unity has the same problem).

        For extra fun, try using a REALLY EXPENSIVE OSX setup. The sort with a mac pro and dual cinema displays. Have you any idea how bloody far it is from the bottom left corner to the menu bar? It is utterly silly and not very usable. I have no idea why someone would shell out for such an expensive setup when the user

      • The proof that Gnome 3 sucks? They had to kill off gnome 2. If they are so convinced 3 was going to be the hottest thing ever, then they could just have let gnome 2 running in low maintenance mode and given the people a choice. You only have to pull a new coke if you know people don't WANT your new crap so you are not giving them an option and hope the rage dies out before you do.

        System Settings -> System -> Graphics -> Forced Fallback Mode. You're welcome ;)

        • by digitect (217483)

          Not even close. I used it for two weeks prior to the nvidia driver fix (for GL, now required by Gnome 3) and it was worse than G3.

        • Fallback mode is NOT Gnome 2, and it's not configurable to be like Gnome 2. You're stuck with Fallback mode exactly as it is without the ability to configure it to behave properly.

          • Hold Alt and right-click the panels. You can still adjust things there. Exactly what kinds of "configuration" can't you do in this that you could do before that you want to do? Maybe I could help with that.

      • by segedunum (883035)

        KDE ain't much better, open a file from the network and it will often try to copy it locally first before it can play. Very useful for large movie files I can tell you.

        That's not down to KDE and that's going to happen everywhere I'm afraid, unless you mount something specifically as smbfs through the kernel or something.

        • The problem is simple, KDE doesn't realize that most apps can understand samba like paths so it thinks, "Hey, I don't know this app (mplayer) so it might not get this url so I just copy it to temp and give it that". It is a known bug.

          Gnome/Ubuntu does it different by mounting samba shares on the fly and simply giving the path to that. It is not perfect either because that mount point is in a hidden dir which not all programs can open in their file open dialog.

          Try this. Kubuntu, install smplayer or vlc and o

      • by couchslug (175151)

        Strongly agree, which is why I avoid promoting Linux to non-geeks. They don't understand such things and it's not worth explaining it to them.

        BTW, there are plenty of alternatives to KDE and GNOME.

      • My Daily Rage Hero (Score:5, Insightful)

        by theolein (316044) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @08:44PM (#37125316) Journal

        I absolutely agree. I was a big fan of Ubuntu until 10.10. 10.10 was amazing. Packages worked, Gnome worked, the proprietary Nvidia drivers worked and I could concentrate on installing pgAdmin, Java and other dev tools and just frigging work.

        Then along came 11.04 which I tried first on a Netbook, and was wondering what the hell was happening. This was some braindead fuckface who had Mac OSX nerd envy. I'm a Mac system administrator, I own two Macs and if I want a Mac I'll use a Mac, not a fucking half-assed braindead clone by some idiot far removed from the mainstream Linux users (Yes, Shuttleworth, that's you). And peripherally I heard about Gnome 3. When I saw the first releases of Gnome 3 and that idiot presenting it, I burst out laughing. I actually did.

        Who, in the name of all that's fucking holy, do these shitheads think are going to use their systems? Mac users? I find it hysterical that McCann even thinks that any casual computer using Mac user would even think of using Linux. Netbooks? Somebody ought to inform Shuttleworth and McCann that Netbooks are dead as a concept, killed by Apple's iPad, which bring us to Tablets and Smartphones. Do they honesty think that any major manufacturer is going to use any of these craptastic distros where Android fits the bill perfectly, is as open as they need it to be and satisfies almost all who use it (so much so, that Microsoft and Apple are fighting a huge legal war against it in terror).?

        McCann babbles on about the cloud, because someone showed him an iPad and he came. Google has this down pat with ChromeOS. Native C/C++ code is coming to Chrome and will make ChromeOS the perfect cloud OS for anyone who wants that. I am willing to bet good money that ChromeOS with native code will have more apps written for it in its first month of existence than Gnome 3 will have had since it was released.

        Who is going to write apps for Gnome3, or Ubuntu 11.10? Is someone going to port Blender, Inkscape and Gimp to either fit into Unity or Gnome 3's UI concepts? I seriously doubt that.

        Don't they realise that the people who use Linux use it because of its flexibility? Here's a big hint for them: The Windows95 Windowing concept lived so long because it works. Microsoft will discover this when Windows 8 rolls round with its fucktastic HTML5 tiled interface and MS's user start complaining that although Windows Explorer was shit, at least they could find their fucking files.

        Fuck them. I wish them good luck in their journey towards obscurity. Me, I'm on Mint with XFCE. Mint is switching its XFCE distro back to Debian and I'm very, very glad about that.

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @03:36PM (#37122940)

    That part in the interview where he called the KDE designers a "bunch of punk-ass bitches" was a bit uncalled for, I think.

  • At cursory glance I initially read "John McCain" and almost had an aneurism.

  • by Beelzebud (1361137) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @04:01PM (#37123224)
    I still find it utterly unreasonable to just scrap the Gnome 2 desktop. It was the most stable, "just works" DE for *nix, and they just threw all that work out for eye candy. I tried to like Gnome 3 but it feels more like a toy than KDE4 did when it came out. It makes me wonder how many thousands of development hours were just flushed down the toilet for this. I could understand it if they used Gnome2 as the foundation, and added to it, but they didn't.
    • by lennier1 (264730)

      On the bright side, Gnome 3 and Unity are some of the best things that could have happened to Xfce, LXDE and other competitors.

      • by theolein (316044)

        Absolutely. Devs will (actually have already) start moving to XFCE and LXDE and interest in Unity and Gnome3 will die down to become a joke that people will use to refer to when discussing how to lose your user base.

    • by Arker (91948) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @04:15PM (#37123394) Homepage

      I still find it utterly unreasonable to just scrap the Gnome 2 desktop. It was the most stable, "just works" DE for *nix, and they just threw all that work out for eye candy. I tried to like Gnome 3 but it feels more like a toy than KDE4 did when it came out. It makes me wonder how many thousands of development hours were just flushed down the toilet for this. I could understand it if they used Gnome2 as the foundation, and added to it, but they didn't.

      I really got a chuckle out of this. A wise man said "those who forget history are doomed to repeat it" and GNOME is posterchild for that saying. The GNOME 1.x series had a lot of potential and was starting to be really usable when they scratched it entirely in favour of GNOME2. It wasnt just that 2 was released in a very early unusable state, though that was true too - but deeper design level decisions consistently ensured that, even once the bugs were worked out and the project more finished, it would certainly never be useful for me. Sure, if I had forced myself to use it for all the intervening years I suppose I could have gotten used to it - the way people eventually get used to having leprosy or chronic excema. But why would I do that to myself, and why would anyone else? Even if you agreed with the design atrocities involved in GNOME2, surely seeing that transition should have warned you that they would just scrap it and make something even more monstrous once it started to get properly polished.

      And now all you fools that stuck with them through 2, submitted to their control of your computer, taught yourself to work with their broken interface and even convinced yourself it was an improvement... now they tell you to get screwed and just break it all again. I laugh.

      • Look at my UID number. Do you honestly think I even used Gnome 1? I mean really. Not all of us got started in the 'good old days'. For me, Gnome 2 was the reason I finally started liking Linux. When I got started with Linux the popular DEs were Gnome 2, and KDE 3. So for me this is only the second time I've seen an enormous amount of work just flushed down the toilet. Now years later KDE is actually getting pretty good, but now here we are right back at square one with Gnome.

        Now you can proc
        • by Arker (91948) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @05:49PM (#37124256) Homepage

          Uh, no, I wouldnt say that to you. And I certainly wasnt trying to poke fun at you personally. I know nothing about you. And lots of older posters have high UIDs.

          Regardless whether or not you personally were around to see the first GNOME or not, many people now crying about GNOME 3 certainly were. I was more laughing at the collective stupidity of humanity than trying to single you or anyone else out.

          But it's a fact. There once was a GNOME that was designed with user needs in mind. It was customisable and flexible. You could set *nix keyboard shortcuts and use a real WM with it, and while even the very last version lacked a bit of polish the design was pretty solid.

          That design was thrown in the toilet in favour of one that consciously aimed to make everything good about it go away - forget about preserving sane shortcut keys, we decide, you comply! Repeated entreaties from users to simply restore the functionality that would allow them to *partially* undo this received rude answers. WM choice? Forget that noise. You use what we tell you to or you can screw off. The file manager? Don't even get me started. An interface to a hierarchical file system that attempts at every turn to make it look like something else? And on top of that the same program is also supposed to be your web browser? I hadnt imagined anything could be worse than IE, but Nautilus proved me wrong.

          You personally may not have known the history, but lots of people did, and they get no sympathy from me now, upset that this same group of people who have already proved once that they hate *nix and hate their users would pull the exact same stunt a second time? Excuse me my chortle, and understand that it isnt aimed at you personally.

        • by deander2 (26173) *

          well, i do remember gnome 1. it was no panacea.
          more like "barely usable" and "ugly as sin".

          i agree that they {unity/gnome3} uselessly through away years of good UI engineering work. and i understand the need to move to clutter. but moving to a new framework is tough enough - don't try to re-invent the whole desktop paradigm while you're at it.

          but what do i know? i'm sure a 4-digiter will swoop in here and save us from our delusions. =P

    • I still find it utterly unreasonable to just scrap the Gnome 2 desktop. It was the most stable, "just works" DE for *nix, and they just threw all that work out for eye candy. I tried to like Gnome 3 but it feels more like a toy than KDE4 did when it came out. It makes me wonder how many thousands of development hours were just flushed down the toilet for this. I could understand it if they used Gnome2 as the foundation, and added to it, but they didn't.

      RTFA:

      Some of the feedback is certainly valid and we are going to use that to make informed decisions in the GNOME3 cycle - remember we've only had one release so far. In couple of the talks we pointed out that it took us eight, nine years to get to where GNOME2 ended up and we've had like four months of GNOME3. So there are plenty of things we still have to do. There are a lot of holes in our story. People will look at some things and say "Why is this there? Does this really make sense?". And in many cases that's because we didn't get to really finish that off. And that will start to fill in, the story will become a little bit more complete as we go through this cycle. I'm not saying that all this people will be completely convinced and that's unfortunate but I think over time people will realize what we are doing has been at least thought through.

      Also, every single person that has a complaint, please try to read the interview instead of just trolling about GNOME 3 not being exactly what you want. John McCann is a very respectable man and he certainly knows what they're trying to do. Even if you don't like GNOME 3 as it is right now, their direction seems to make a lot of sense for the long term (pro tip: don't forget that you can use extensions to modify it to behave exactly how you'd like it to).

      • by 0123456 (636235)

        pro tip: don't forget that you can use extensions to modify it to behave exactly how you'd like it to.

        Yeah, that lame old excuse: 'if you don't like the default you can always write your own extensions to make it work in a sane manner'.

        I'll just switch to XFCE so I don't have to spend an age working around the retarded Gnome 3 design.

      • Jon McCann

        Fixed that for myself...

  • From the article:

    Photos were like the first to be cloud-enabled - if you will, Flickr and Picasa are enormously successful. And Documents are also increasingly cloud-hosted. Music was the latest, that was a sort of a hold-out because of a all sort of legal complications

    Why would music be a hold-out? People could publish photos that they took on a web server and possibly distribute them under a license for free cultural works. (Case in point: Picasa and Flickr.) Likewise, people could publish songs that they wrote and performed on a web server and possibly distribute them under a license for free cultural works. (Case in point: the old MP3.com, and later Myspace.) Might the "legal complications" have something to do with a cultural preference for songs that established professionals in the music industry have written over songs that members of the general public have written? That says more about the lack of participatory culture [wikipedia.org] in the industrialized world than about any underlying technical problem.

  • is what it seems they want to do.

    They want to give up on the idea of organizing your files as trees. Put all your files of one type into one "application" and then use a search engine or the "recent documents" feature whenever you want to open it again.

    Lately, web browsers have been trying to replace the URL bar by a search engine. This was utterly stupid.
    But what they want to go? It is way beyond that. It makes absolutely no sense. UNIX was built on the idea that the filesystem is the centre of the operati

    • Removing the file system is what it seems they want to do.

      They want to give up on the idea of organizing your files as trees. Put all your files of one type into one "application" and then use a search engine or the "recent documents" feature whenever you want to open it again.

      Lately, web browsers have been trying to replace the URL bar by a search engine. This was utterly stupid.
      But what they want to go? It is way beyond that. It makes absolutely no sense. UNIX was built on the idea that the filesystem is the centre of the operating system. Clearly, they have forgotten that.

      RTFA:

      The file manager won't go away by any means. But it's a pretty advanced interface, that's something if you want to really mess around with your file system, if you want to do complex file organization. Also it really only works with stuff that is local - or at least pretends to be local, as we do with network file systems today.

      Where in the world did you get that idea? He specifically says that file managers definitely won't go away. He's basically saying that they're not appropriate for some usages (like organizing cloud-based media) and that you shouldn't have to use one unless you'd really like to for most common use cases.

      • by loufoque (1400831)

        This is exactly the bit that motivated my comment.

        Notice the words 'advanced', 'complex' and 'mess around' to qualify what should be the primary paradigm to manage the computer.

        • If you don't have to use a file manager to do something that a program can automatically do for you, how in the world is that a bad thing by any means? File management will still be there of course, but most normal users shouldn't need to use it for everyday tasks.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jmorris42 (1458) *

      > UNIX was built on the idea that the filesystem is the centre of the operating system.
      > Clearly, they have forgotten that.

      Nope. They (along with folk like Poettering) are members of the UNIX Haters Club. They know UNIX, they just hate it with every fiber of their being. They want to replace the UNIX Way, they disagree over exactly what the brave new future looks like but they know what they don't like.

      We allowed unassimilated immigrants commit access to our cultural heritage. There is a lesson in

  • by he-sk (103163) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @04:18PM (#37123436)

    Early in the interview he says that they need to write apps for "things that every computer needs to be able to do. Like managing photos, music and documents. So we want to write some of those basic utilities, that are more part of the OS than a third-party-application would be."

    The only conclusion I can draw from such a statement is that the existing Gnome apps are crap. Why else reinvent the wheel?!

    • by 0123456 (636235)

      Why else reinvent the wheel?!

      Otherwise they might have to actually, you know, fix some bugs.

    • by Dracos (107777)

      If these are the types of apps Gnome is focusing on, they clearly are chasing after a market that they don't have (and won't get anytime soon) while abandoning the market they do have.

    • by stdarg (456557)

      Being as charitable as I can, I'm thinking maybe he meant improvements to the file manager for photos music and docs. I seriously doubt they're trying to reinvent e.g. openoffice.

      Perhaps it's more like the way file managers all handle thumbnails these days, and extending that to stuff like full-text search for documents, or "sounds like" search for music, etc. His comment about "basic utilities, that are more part of the OS than..." makes me think it's some non-ui stuff, like a framework for applications to

    • by segedunum (883035)

      Early in the interview he says that they need to write apps for "things that every computer needs to be able to do. Like managing photos, music and documents. So we want to write some of those basic utilities, that are more part of the OS than a third-party-application would be."

      That can only make me laugh in astonishment because they spent the past decade trying to get decent apps for GTK and Gnome, and many of them had a crapload of venture capital funding pumped into them that no one got back - Nautilus and Evolution to name two. We then got a whole framework called Mono to try and develop more applications for GTK and Gnome. Now there needs to be new ones developed? Oh dear.

  • they decided I didn't need to be able to tell the screensaver where my directory of slideshow images was... crap like that pi55ed me right off especially when the gnomescreensaver dude told us he wasn't going to fix it... Anyway... KDE 4 came and went... and now I'm happy with LXDE on Mint... no fscking plasma desktop memory leaks anymore... I can leave myself logged in for ages on the desktop and connect to same desktop from wherever I'm currently roaming...
  • by jejones (115979) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @04:33PM (#37123608) Journal

    "Unfortunately on the internet - and in free software in particular - we have a lot of people whose voices aren't heard very loudly, and we have to take their needs into accounts as well as those who are vocal."

    Go ahead and call them the "Silent Majority". You know you want to.

    What really surprised me, though, was how he just came out and said you don't want to make it too easy to figure out how to change things, and that letting the user customize things is undesirable..."And I think there is a lot of value to have that experience you show the world to be consistent. In GNOME2 we didn't do that particularly well because everyone's desktop was different." I think that GNOME3 really carries through the premise of gnome-screensaver, another result of Mr. McCann's work--in it, the user is the enemy, and can't be trusted not to do something evil if you let him configure things, (Kind of like the justification for DRM, come to think of it.)

  • Open source projects and their developers are losing their way, ignoring user needs and input, going off on a tangent and off the cliff

    No one bothers to fork bad wares, they're just left to die

  • by SwedishPenguin (1035756) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @04:57PM (#37123842)

    Am I the only one who actually likes Gnome 3? I've been using KDE for years, but when I wiped my laptop a few months ago, I decided to give Gnome 3 a shot and I haven't gone back. I'm still using KDE on the desktop, but I will probably try Gnome 3 there too when I have the time.
    I would like an quick way to switch between windows within an application though, Alt-Tab switches between applications and each application can be expanded for all the windows, but I would like a shortcut for switching between application windows.

    • I really like it. There are many things that work very well for me, and where I developed an immediate and natural workflow that trips me up when I switch to a different computer. I love that it uses CSS for appearance settings.

      That said... it is buggy. I had to make scripts to reset my customizations that get written over every time I update. I'm a Fedora person, so I work with a reasonable expectation of what comes when living in the area between cutting and bleeding edge changes, but it doesn't quite

    • Am I the only one who actually likes Gnome 3?

      Nope, I hated Gnome 2 and have been using E17 for years instead. Just recently switched to Gnome 3 and really like it. Other than some lack of configurability (e.g. having to dig through gconf to turn off the screen saver - would it have killed them to stick a "Never" option in the screen saver timeout drop-down), I think my only real complaint is the insane OS X-alike modal application launcher buttons. (The launcher buttons change behaviour depending on whether there is another window from that applica

  • A what? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @05:26PM (#37124084)

    Wait a second ... GNOME 3 has a designer?

  • iPad envy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by greg1104 (461138) <gsmith@gregsmith.com> on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @05:58PM (#37124328) Homepage

    The fact that the top thing mentioned as still needing improvement for 3.2 is "touch" reinforces the idea that this whole insanity was aimed at being more touchpad friendly all along. Why all these desktop GUIs feel they should work toward that unproductive metaphor lately boggles my mind; it's like the hipsters have taken over open-source development. When I can get a cheap touchpad 30" monitor to replace the one I use on my desktop, maybe I'll be willing to consider a move in that direction. Seems a long way off.

  • by gr8_phk (621180) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @10:05PM (#37125678)
    Slashdot comments usually have some input from "both sides". We argue about nuclear power, dark matter, illegal downloading, you name it. Sometimes there is a majority opinion and sometimes it's more divided. I just read all of the top-level comments and all of the subject lines on this and it looks unanimous. There is no debate here, gnome 3 is crap. If slashdot agrees that much, someone fucked up - and bad.

"Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago." -- Bernard Berenson

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