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Designer Jon McCann: "More Optimistic About GNOME Than In a Long Time" 235

Posted by timothy
from the hoping-to-love-it-again dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In an extensive interview with derStandard.at, GNOME designer Jon McCann shares his thoughts about all the criticism GNOME 3 currently faces and why he doesn't think at all that GNOME is in a crisis. He also talks about the current plans for GNOME OS and explains why he thinks that Linux distributions should rethink their purpose."
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Designer Jon McCann: "More Optimistic About GNOME Than In a Long Time"

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  • No, seriously (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 23, 2012 @08:48AM (#41093489)

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Gnome 3 has issues, and the criticisim is legitimate. Why does it always have to look like that? At this point Windows 8 looks easier to customize than Gnome 3.

    • Re:No, seriously (Score:4, Informative)

      by SwedishPenguin (1035756) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @08:57AM (#41093583)

      Bullshit, you've obviously never used Gnome 3. Extensions are as simple to install as going to extensions.gnome.org with epiphany and clicking switching the "off"-button to "on" for the desired extension. It's by far the easiest extension install I've ever seen.

      • Re:No, seriously (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 23, 2012 @08:59AM (#41093603)

        Linus explains it better why these fabled extensions are horrendous:

        https://plus.google.com/u/0/102150693225130002912/posts/UkoAaLDpF4i

        • Re:No, seriously (Score:5, Insightful)

          by postbigbang (761081) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @09:08AM (#41093719)

          The ostensible forks Cinammon and Mate and other re-works of gnome weren't done for fun and giggles. It's because lots of gnome 2.x users frankly thought that gnome 3 had a touch of hubris and the sort of ugliness that only "visionaries" can bring.

          Linus has great points, but before he laid in on the problem, lots of us complained to deaf ears. And we moved on.

          • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

            Although Cinammon is an example of exactly how configurable Gnome 3 actually is. As for Linus, he's back to using Gnome 3.

            • Re:No, seriously (Score:4, Interesting)

              by postbigbang (761081) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @09:48AM (#41094379)

              I'm using Cinammon, too, but my teeth are grinding. KDE is starting to look attractive again, although she's put some weight on.

              • Re:No, seriously (Score:5, Informative)

                by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @10:12AM (#41094877)

                I'm using Cinammon, too, but my teeth are grinding. KDE is starting to look attractive again, although she's put some weight on.

                Actually, if you disable the desktop search function in the settings, KDE uses less resources than Gnome 3 (shell or cinnamon) or Unity. At least that is my experience.

                • by bigt405 (2705553)
                  Why they haven't fixed that or flat out disabled automatic indexing is beyond me. It's the main thing from using KDE on a regular basis, because otherwise I have no problems with it (aside from the occasional Kwin fudge).
                • My experience is the same. Without strigi or nepomuk or akonadi it's pretty lightweight. I also remove krunner since I use another launcher, and the RAM and CPU use are very stable (low-stable).

                • by oakgrove (845019)

                  Actually, if you disable the desktop search function in the settings, KDE uses less resources than Gnome 3 (shell or cinnamon) or Unity.

                  Bear in mind that Unity had a bug that up until it was fixed recently would consume significant amounts of CPU at idle making the desktop quite sluggish. Maybe try it again when you get a chance.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Bullshit, you've obviously never used Gnome 3.

        The mantra of the butthurt Unity/Metro/GNOME 3 fanbois. I hate to break it to you, but people actually have used GNOME 3 and despite you thinking its the greatest thing ever, other people can actually be allowed to disagree. And no it's not because these same people are "resistant to change".

        • Unity is buggy and crashes all the time on my machine, Metro I've never used and don't really plan to (no Windows-machines), but Gnome 3 on Arch just works for me. The menu for things not in the favorites is a bit of a hassle but I always use the search so all I have to do is press super and type a few characters. I'm also not very fond of the new alt-tab (applications on alt-tab and windows within application on alt-key above tab) or the lack of a shutdown menu option, but those can be easily fixed with ex

        • by SpzToid (869795)

          I applaud Microsoft's redesign of their franchise and I've enjoyed playing with Release Previews on VirtualBox. I've come to the conclusion Joe Sixpack and his mother are going to have a comparitively more difficult time adjusting to their Windows upgrade than they would otherwise should they be upgrading from Gnome 2 to Gnome 3. But we haven't started hearing any uproar about such a thing just yet.

          And you know what, I hear you on the 'resistant to change' requirement given by stakeholders, and Microsoft ri

      • Re:No, seriously (Score:5, Insightful)

        by houstonbofh (602064) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @09:58AM (#41094581)
        It is not how it looks, but how it works. It is designed around using a single application at a time, and it is no longer workflow based but application based. Some workflows are more than one application... And if you have two separate workflows with some web browsers in them, you can not split those workflows... In other words, it simply does not work the way some people work. And the devs just don't care about those people. That is fine, but they should not be surprised when we don't care about them either.
      • Re:No, seriously (Score:5, Interesting)

        by kav2k (1545689) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @10:16AM (#41094951)

        For me, it's not about what it is. It is about what it refuses to be.

        Gnome 3 cut away a lot of sensible Gnome 2 functionality due to developers' own vision of what is right. And any pleas to bring it back are slammed.

        Nautilus: a click on a filename does not put it into rename mode. Something Windows and OS X have, and Nautilus had. WONTFIX: it helps prevent user errors.
        Nautilus: there are no more user-assignable emblems on files. WONTFIX: Come on, who uses THAT?
        Gnome-screensaver: clearly, actually having a screensaver is preposterous. WONTFIX.

        Those may seem like small gimmicks, but they pile on, and leave a sour taste by themselves. But the worst part is their treatment by the developer team. They don't want extensive configuration, they want the one and only paradigm of what is "right".

        • by oakgrove (845019)

          Nautilus: a click on a filename does not put it into rename mode. Something Windows and OS X have, and Nautilus had. WONTFIX: it helps prevent user errors.

          And if you think that's great wait'll you see what they're cooking up for Nautilus next. Say bye bye to F3 split-screen mode. Compact mode? Gone. And more that I don't even have the stomach to list. It's sad.

          • Re:No, seriously (Score:4, Interesting)

            by marsu_k (701360) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @12:46PM (#41097505)

            I'd hate to turn this to another Gnome vs. KDE wankfest... but hey, this is slashdot, what else are we here for?

            When KDE4 was released, it was bad. Really a clusterfuck of epic proportions. I migrated from 3.5.x around 4.2 and it was barely usable even then. And I hated Dolphin initially with a passion, thank $DEITY Konqueror was still around. But as new releases kept coming, they kept improving at a steady pace; and now at 4.9, I think Dolphin is my favourite file manager to date. If they took away the split-screen mode, I'd be absolutely infuriated. So the KDE plan seems to be, at least in retrospect, make a new version with some very radical changes, then keep improving on that and adding new features. The Gnome plan seems to be similar, except instead of adding new features old ones get removed. Perhaps my needs as a user differ from those of Joe Average, but I don't need to think twice which approach I prefer.

            (Having said that, KDE is by no means perfect. Arch offers pretty much a vanilla version of KDE, and some of the defaults are just braindead. They can be changed, but if you don't know what you're looking for, the particular settings might not be that discoverable. But that's for another debate.)

    • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

      Look like what? Unity is Gnome 3, Cinnamon is Gnome 3. Gnome-shell is Gnome 3. Gnome 3 is very customizable. Even using Gnome-shell, the plethora of extensions available show exactly how easy it is to customize.

    • Why does it always have to look like that?

      From the article:

      Our main target for GNOME3 is laptop use, which I think is by far the overwhelming majority of computing use today - in the non-mobile space. The second target is existing high-performance workstations.

      So, basically, they are targeting laptops (which are losing ground to tablets) and expensive machines, ignoring the truly vast numbers of cheap desktop PCs that exist in nearly every home at this point. For the inevitable automotive analogy, it's lik

  • That is too bad. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @08:58AM (#41093597) Homepage

    Gnome 3 is a complete mess. and it's UI is not easier to use or more intuitive, its just trendy and "different" It is 5 years behind Gnome 2.x in usability and polish. A lot of the criticism for Gnome 3 is justified. The problem is knowing how the Gnome team works, they will ignore everyone and do what they want.

    I have tried several times to use it and every time the same parts fall down. Luckily some smart people are picking up the abandoned 2.x line and forked it. So linux will continue to have a useable desktop instead of the wierd social experiments that are Gnome 3 and Unity.

    • by taupter (139818) <taupter@gmail.com> on Thursday August 23, 2012 @09:14AM (#41093807) Homepage

      There is still KDE SC (try it), LXDE, Enlightenment, WindowMaker, etc. It is still useable. GNOME 3 and Unity are "oddities" we should ignore just as much as Windows 8.

      • give it a try first (Score:4, Informative)

        by nten (709128) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @10:16AM (#41094961)

        People should try it before they ignore it. It is not ill-suited to everyone. I think its a case of the gnome team thinking everyone works like they do. I use keyboard controls almost exclusively, with lots of windows open, mostly command lines. I start applications from a run box, or commandline, not menus. OSX came along and the spotlight/quicksilver method of starting apps was a big step forward, it would autocomplete the name of the application for me. Gnome 3 and unity are another step forward in that it will give me a nearest match if I mispell something, I can type either the visible name (like "files") or the application name "nautilus" and either works. Or natulius for that matter. Additionally its a single key press to start typing rather than two as in windows7 or osx. workspace key shortcuts haven't changed from gnome2 and the window tiling is sufficient, though usually I don't dock windows. I prefer gnome3 to unity for the shrinky window thing it does showing whats open (like osx).

        If you mostly start apps from the commandline instead of menus or quickbars, gnome3 is for you so give it a try. They should have realized though that not everyone works that way and made it more flexible.

        • by taupter (139818)

          Rephrasing myself: GNOME 3 and Unity are "oddities" we should ignore just as much as Windows 8 for those who think they're too otherwordly to be used.

          The fact is people get used to anything in life, even bad interfaces. Windows 8 will be a sales success by being force fed to computer buyers. GNOME 3 will not have such backing, so its adoption rate will be a lot slower. But the point is that people have choice, and people will eventually find what's best to them. GNOME 3 seems to be despised by a lot of peop

          • by oakgrove (845019) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @11:54AM (#41096693)

            /usability-wise, according to my view, it's Windows 7, OS X, KDE on top, GNOME 2 and others at the middle and GNOME 3, UNITY and Windows 8 at the bottom.

            I've been using Unity in 12.04 and I switch between Gnome 2 in Debian and Explorer.exe in Windows 7 multiple times a day and I have to say that the more I use Unity the more I like it. I'd even go so far as to proclaim it the best desktop UI I've ever used. Oddly enough the things I like best are what most other people seem to hate. I'll mention a few and add the disclaimer that Ubuntu works perfectly on my hardware so I'm just going to focus on features.

            Dual monitor support is perfect for me in Unity. I plug in the second monitor and immediately it just works. The second monitor gets its own dock and indicator bar at the top just like I would want. When I open an application from the respective docks it opens on the correct monitor. If you move the mouse below a certain speed threshold, it sticks just a little on the dock on the second screen making it easy to aim for despite essentially floating in space.

            The dock is practically custom made for wide screen laptops that most people use these days. I naturally want it on the side so it doesn't take up precious vertical pixels. It can be set to stay visible or auto-hide. It's trivially easy to add Windows style "jumplists" to icons for added functionality, i.e., when I click the Show Desktop button I get the desktop but when I right click it I can select Invert Colors which does just what it says. It took a couple of minutes to add that. One thing about the dock some people might not like is if a window cannot be minimized by clicking it's icon only focused. I didn't like it at first but after a while I got to where I appreciated the consistency of clicking a button only doing one thing instead of it acting as some kind of ad-hoc toggle. For me it that's a part of the UI just getting out of my way. I don't have to map my brain away from what I'm concentrating on to worry about whether I want to click on another icon to focus or should I click on the current application's icon to reveal the application underneath. It's a small thing but it actually helps.

            The top panel plugin system is a vast improvement over Gnome 2 IMHO. It is consistent, easy to develop for, and just looks nice. Being able to write a quick mail checker in Python and just running it automatically putting it in the panel is golden and much improved over the bonobo framework of old.

            Obviously I like Unity and I think it's a step forward for Linux. It does require a bit of an adaptation and it's non-traditional in ways that will ruffle feathers but if you remember Gnome 2 ruffled feathers of the original Gnome diehards but now people sing its praises.

            • I have to echo your experience here. I really disliked Unity in the earlier incarnations, and kept my main machine on 10.10 until support ran out. Eventually I needed to do a full system re-install due to replacing a hard drive, and decided to give 12.04 a go. Despite all the Unity hate, Ubuntu has been good to me for many years, so I gave it a determined go.

              Long story short - I like it. It gets out of my way. It avoids unnecessary chrome. It works.

              It took me about 2 weeks of using it to realise I real

        • Why should I go out of my way to try it?
          I use another DE. I saw Gnome3 and I don't like how it manages windows or workspaces, so I won't bother. It's as simple as that.
          If they want people to bother, they should make it more attractive and not some weird experimental experience hated by a lot of people. I have nothing to gain by using G3.

        • by oakgrove (845019)

          I prefer gnome3 to unity for the shrinky window thing it does showing whats open (like osx).

          Since Unity uses Compiz for the compositing manager you actually have access to all of Compiz's effects like Scale which is a very powerful version of Expo that you're talking about. Scale actually comes in two parts with the standard and the extra strength version which gives cool options like "right click to close" etc.

        • by gfxguy (98788)

          People should try it before they ignore it. It is not ill-suited to everyone.

          You're right, it's not. I tried it for several months, though, before deciding it wasn't for me (that was over a year ago, though). At the same time, I was using a Mac at work and decided roughly the same thing - I installed a linux VM on it and used that, because the Mac UI was so uncustomizable. The thing is, both at home and work, I use a large monitor. They admit in the article they target laptop users. My laptop is ancient - it ran the UI like a slug through salt. I'm not going to run out and buy

    • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

      Gnome 3 is a complete mess. and it's UI is not easier to use or more intuitive, its just trendy and "different" It is 5 years behind Gnome 2.x in usability and polish. A lot of the criticism for Gnome 3 is justified. The problem is knowing how the Gnome team works, they will ignore everyone and do what they want.

      I have tried several times to use it and every time the same parts fall down. Luckily some smart people are picking up the abandoned 2.x line and forked it. So linux will continue to have a useable desktop instead of the wierd social experiments that are Gnome 3 and Unity.

      Is it more accurate to say that "the gnome-shell UI is not easier to use or more intuitive", or "the gnome-shell UI is not easier to use or more intuitive for the way I work?"

      I would definitely agree with system administrators and hard core programmers taking the latter explanation. On the other hand, for a regular desktop user who maybe has two or three apps open at most, the UI probably is easier and more intuitive. At least that is what the various groups that have actually done tests on the UI have come

      • by gtirloni (1531285)
        What numbers?
      • I would definitely agree with system administrators and hard core programmers taking the latter explanation. On the other hand, for a regular desktop user who maybe has two or three apps open at most, the UI probably is easier and more intuitive. At least that is what the various groups that have actually done tests on the UI have come to the conclusion.

        Also network admins, accountants, graphic designers, business annalists, and anybody working with multiple sets of data. Essentially, anyone that can benefit from dual monitors.

        • by Lumpy (12016)

          Like office workers. I have several here that have dual monitor setups. The sales people as well...

        • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

          I would definitely agree with system administrators and hard core programmers taking the latter explanation. On the other hand, for a regular desktop user who maybe has two or three apps open at most, the UI probably is easier and more intuitive. At least that is what the various groups that have actually done tests on the UI have come to the conclusion.

          Also network admins, accountants, graphic designers, business annalists, and anybody working with multiple sets of data. Essentially, anyone that can benefit from dual monitors.

          Is the problem then with Gnome 3 + gnome-shell or is it that multiple screens are not working correctly, yet? If the latter, hasn't that been a problem for some time, even prior to Gnome 3?

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by houstonbofh (602064)
            No the problem is that it is really single task oriented. It takes extra work to have multiple windows and to divide things by workflow as opposed to application. It may come as a shock to the Gnome devs, but not every web browser should be grouped together under one workflow.
            • by gfxguy (98788)

              No the problem is that it is really single task oriented. It takes extra work to have multiple windows and to divide things by workflow as opposed to application. It may come as a shock to the Gnome devs, but not every web browser should be grouped together under one workflow.

              Which is why I don't understand, with a unified menu bar and awkward window placement, that so many people still think the Mac UI is so great. I tried Unity and MacOS last year for several months (tell me that's not a long enough evaluation!) and found I had similar complaints about both... the unified menu makes it a pain to have multiple windows open and just move the mouse between them to work.

              And I have to completely agree with your assessment... especially about the web browser. If I'm working on mul

      • I recently went to xfce (xubuntu 12.04.) Before, I used Ubuntu (since 2007) and before Debian w/Kde 3 + Fedora w/Gnome 2.

        This year I tried Kubuntu and Xubuntu in parallel and found Kde 4 a bit bloated, their (very nice) menus interferring my trivial tasks, and since the wireless detection failed, the network manager gadget never recovered from my manual configuration via ifconfig. The sound never worked at all (even when Ubuntu 10.04 worked like a charm in that same laptop.) The last ones may be related to

    • I don't really know what the differences are between gnome3 and cinnamon, but I'm good to go with cinnamon.
      it does what it should do let me run applications the dynamic desktop feature is handy. As many desktops as i need at the time. Unity was really annoying as it basically was one desktop but looking at different corners.
      and also that stupid dockbar on the left especially annoying makes launching apps a pain in the backside.

      The only thing i found awkward with cinnamon was that the default layout pretty m

    • by MrEricSir (398214)

      Gnome 3 is a complete mess. and it's UI is not easier to use or more intuitive, its just trendy and "different"

      Trendy would imply that it's popular, which it certainly is not.

      But you hit the nail on the head with the word "different." Gnome 3 doesn't appear to be trying to solve any problem or enhancing the workflow in any major way -- it's the same old "dragging and resizing square windows" model that Gnome has always had, so it's not an improvement over what Gnome was before.

  • Unity (Score:2, Insightful)

    At least perception-wise, Unity is the best thing that has ever happened to Gnome. I'd still rather use KDE over Gnome, but any real PC/laptop desktop on a PC/laptop is better than Unity. I tried Unity for about 2 hours and have no interest in ever looking at it again. Worst case of an O/S getting in the way of getting anything done.... evvarr.
    • Should have previewed first. Meant to say Gnome 2. I definitely DIDN'T mean Gnome 3 is better than Unity. Gah!
      • by rvw (755107)

        Should have previewed first. Meant to say Gnome 2. I definitely DIDN'T mean Gnome 3 is better than Unity. Gah!

        You're the real thing! You don't even read your own post before posting. Is this Slashdot 3.0?

  • I would say this guy is overly optimistic. From the one experiment I did with Gnome (and another with KDE), I conclude that classical Window Managers are vastly superior in basically every aspect. And many are non-moving targets because they are finished, i.e. configure them to you needs once, use them like that for decades. My fvwm configuration needed one revision in the last 20 years, when fwvm2 came out.

  • Wow (Score:4, Informative)

    by jbolden (176878) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @09:12AM (#41093765) Homepage

    Well OK here are the main points from the interview

    1) He wants to move towards distributing Gnome more directly in particular to Windows.
    2) He likes the fact that Gnome has clear direction. In his mind the crisis was when Gnome 2 started wrapping up and the Gnome developers didn't know what to do. While for the developers Gnome 3 has been full of direction
    3) The Canonical divorce is continuing and Ubuntu will not be the testing platform going forward. Gnome OS is coming somewhat out of the desire to have a stable place to test Gnome.
    4) He really believes the diversity of the open source eco system makes it impossible to support software.
    5) He believes that the Gnome community is responding to the criticism they can extract, i.e. the constructive criticism. For example changes to the UI file movement and getting rid of the "copy and paste" applied to files.

    • My definition of operating systems is basically two things: It's a well defined user experience and it's a well defined developer experience. So those are the two interfaces we need to provide and everything else is an implementation detail - down to the hardware.

      I don't know if you saw Lennart's talk the other day, he said that we should let the user experience and the developer experience drive everything in the lower level stacks.

      When I saw this, I thought: Wow, someone who *gets* it! The OS provides the common ground for app developers and their users. Not only that, he is willing to even make that dev/user distinction, which I think is a crucial position that many FOSS projects try to shirk.

      But he doesn't seem to get what those positions imply: In particular, that you need a single organization driving its vision down into the lower stacks, achieving
      sufficient vertical integration to make the user and developer experiences sane an

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by amorsen (7485)

        It is quite amusing to hear Lennart talk about user experience driving everything in the lower level stacks.

        man systemctl and weep.

      • by jbolden (176878)

        In order to really get somewhere with this idea, they will need to fork their entire stack and take charge of it the way Google has with Android.

        That's the idea of Google OS. To create enough of an abstraction layer that you can write to Google even if it is running on Windows.

        He also doesn't make a distinction between system developer and app developer.

        Good point. You're right hadn't noticed that.

        I've never seen a DE project implement a suggestion I've made.

        Well lets assume Gnome took 200 suggest

  • by erroneus (253617) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @09:18AM (#41093869) Homepage

    The GNOME people aren't listening. They thought when they had something people were happy and comfortable with that they "lacked direction" so they got together and decided on a direction. So once they got to a point where people were happy and comfortable, they somehow thought it meant it was time for change.

    I think this is where the problem has begun. In my mind there are few acceptable reasons for change:

    1. A brick wall has been hit while going one direction and the previous goal is not achievable
    2. A crisis of compatibility or usability has occurred where the current way of doing things is no longer acceptable, applicable or useful
    3. People are moving away from GNOME because something better has their attention
    4. People are moving away from GNOME because the development team isn't responding to them

    There may be more, but those are just the first few that occur to me. Of those only #4 is applicable and that is only because they decided to change and not listen to the people using GNOME. They caused #4 and persist in it.

    GNOME developers are completely out of touch. They created change for the sake of change and that is a very bad reason for change when people are depending on keeping things as they are.

    The article/interview parallels what GNOME has done with Mac OSX and Windows. Mac OSX changes were... not completely necessary but also not completely alienating to the user from an interface standpoint. Microsoft's changes are perfect examples of end user rejection and how the users affect the marketplace. Shame on you, GNOME team, for not noticing this. No one has accepted Vista. Windows 7 has been accepted because there is no more Windows XP. And Windows 8? Developers are shying away from developing for it. Microsoft at least acknowledges that it is screwing up and has reversed some of the things that have offended developers with regard to Windows 8. We see none of that from GNOME... yet...

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 23, 2012 @09:36AM (#41094177)

      They thought when they had something people were happy and comfortable with that they "lacked direction" so they got together and decided on a direction. So once they got to a point where people were happy and comfortable, they somehow thought it meant it was time for change.

      This hits the nail squarely on the head, and seems to me to be one of the biggest flaws of the FOSS community (and I say that as somebody with ACCEPT_LICENCES="-* @FREE" in his /etc/make.conf). Maturity is confused with stagnation, especially in user-visible applications. Look at Slackware changing its version number overnight (albeit as a joking nod to this very situation) and the laughable Firefox release schedule. People in the FOSS community are deathly afraid of being branded as "That guy who released something once, then left it for bitrot."

      This also speaks to me of the danger of forming a huge team to work on a project that may not necessarily need one. From my perspective, Gnome 2 was becoming finalized. It wasn't necessarily something I would rave about to my friends, but wasn't something I would complain about (except for this four year, unfixed bug [launchpad.net]). It had reached a plateau of reliability that most software should strive for. But you can't tell the entire Gnome desktop team "Great job, now get out except for Jim and Mike, you two stay on for bugfixes." A team of such evident drive as Gnome's has to be pointed somewhere - even if going anywhere at all is the wrong decision.

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      They created change for the sake of change and that is a very bad reason for change when people are depending on keeping things as they are.

      Ding ding ding ding ding! We have a winner!

      What should have happened, after Gnome 2 was released and was really darn good, is that Gnome should have downshifted into maintenance mode. The features were quite sufficient for their purpose, and the focus should have switched to just making things faster and slightly more awesome.

      Here's the ideal software development lifecycle:
      1. Ideation and design: Somebody has a good idea for a piece of software. It solves a problem, it's an entertaining game, it's a potenti

    • by jbolden (176878)

      Your numbers 2 and 3 happened when Maemo (Gnome based) became MeeGo (KDE based). It did happen. They essentially lost a huge contract because of Gnome 2's inflexibility.

  • GNOME create a free software desktop, users dont like, GNOME claims its the users that are the problem.
    Distributions create forks of GNOME to give users what they want, GNOME claims distributions are the problem.

    The problem is the disconnect, the failure to consider other peoples views, and the single mindedness and self belief that they are right.

    I dont think there is no solution to this problem, because to write free software in this capitalistic world you have to have that almost delusion self belief and

    • by jbolden (176878)

      There are already 3 major forks: Unity, Mate and Cinnamon. The Gnome guys want to be innovative, and they have been. Gnome 3 is really interesting and creative, but cutting edge is bleeding edge.

  • GNOME is doomed as a desktop environment and we should move on. The level of naive optimism in this interview is shocking... totally out of touch with reality.
    • by unixisc (2429386)

      I agree w/ this. Guys like the Libre-Linux crowd and OBSD use GNOME 3 in the fallback mode. Most of the BSDs are yet to move there - they may just prefer KDE or other DEs. Debian has abandoned GNOME for LXDE, and Mint for Cinnamon. In the meantime, on the Qt side, for those who think KDE has too many bells & whistles or is too much of a resource hog, there is Razor-qt as well.

      GNOME's purpose for existing was gone once

      1. Qt became dual licensed under LGPL and QPL
      2. GNOME dropped its major goals of bein
      • by jbolden (176878)

        And don't forget that QT truly does have an excellent tablet interface in MeeGo. I agree that's Gnome's purpose is gone. And I especially agree with you about GNUStep which I wish had gotten more love.

        That being said, Gnome 3 is really creative. A few compromises and it could be excellent. I think Cinnamon which is Gnome 3 with the compromises is likely to be really a quite good GUI.

  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @09:24AM (#41093961) Homepage

    Or hellz, XP.

    Make it look and work as close as possible, out of the box. No dicking around, no "Yehbut, we can improve it just a little bit here, maybe a dab there, a sprinkling over that wa- ah, we'll fix that in the next version".

    My wife will use it. My mother will use it. My employer might even take a look at it.

    Stop with your new paradigm fantasies. The desktop isn't broke (until Windows 8). Quit trying to fix it.

    • by unixisc (2429386) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @10:21AM (#41095033)
      This is one thing the ReactOS guys should do. Have different 'themes' from various Windows versions, all of which can be used for the OS. Windows 7, Vista, XP, 2000, NT 4.0, maybe even NT 3.5. Let the users select which one they want, and enable that during installation. Or even from the display panel.
    • by hetfield (129762)

      They already cloned Windows 7. It's called KDE4.

      Seriously, though, I used KDE and loved it until 4 came out. It was unstable, bloated, and difficult to use. I switched to Gnome2 and loved it. Then a dist upgrade put Gnome 3 on my laptop and suddenly my laptop was less usable than with KDE4. I switched to Fedora's KDE spin, more so because of a need to run some commercial software that was much better supported under Red Hat RPM-based distros. I realized that in the time I was away, KDE4 slimmed down s

      • by zixxt (1547061)

        Its the other way around, Windows 7 was trying to be a KDE 3/4 clone in some areas.

    • by jbolden (176878)

      The desktop isn't broke (until Windows 8). Quit trying to fix it.

      Then why are desktop sales decreasing?
      Why is computer literacy among the young falling?
      Why are desktop software sales decreasing?
      Why are the percentage of households owning computers decreasing?

      Under what fair criteria is that not "broke"?

  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @09:26AM (#41094005) Journal

    For years, using Linux was something for the advanced users who enjoyed having to dig deep on occasion to make it all work. Then along came Ubuntu and turned the Linux desktop into something that was REALLY a lot easier to install, use and maintain then Windows and yes, even Mac. Can either of those two run from a CD with full access to the HD if something goes tits up? Do either of them have a full desktop available with browser and everything else during install?

    Finally, Linux the desktop. WORKED.

    And then the Gnome 3 team said "nah, it doesn't, we know better how you should work". And they released a badly tested, badly thought out and badly documented product way to early and with no training to get people used to the new interface or any motivation for wanting to get used to the new interface.

    It is like me forcing you to sit upside down on the toilet, with no training or handy handholds all for the pleasure of crapping on your face. Whatever secret benefit it might give, you are not going to be in the mood to find out right?

    It is the same with Windows Metro. WHAT IS IT SUPPOSED TO FIX? What was missing in the classic desktop user design that is being fixed in by either Unity, Gnome 3 or Metro?

    People are perfectly willing to change for a well known UI if there is a really good reason to do so. Who here still uses rotary dialing on their phone? Touch keys WERE a massive improvement, not just more accurate but also less stressful on your finger if had to dial a lot. The mobile phones and indeed the rise of OSX has shown that people are not stuck to the classic desktop, as MS thought judging by their early attempts at a phone OS.

    But for the desktop, the desktop design, just works well enough. Gnome 3 made its introduction even worse by not being very well put together and doing it while things like Nautilus were still horrid pieces of buggy crash prone slow as molasses software. They then threw out all the good bits all the improvements others had made to make Gnome 2.0 workable and made something nobody wanted instead.

    But all is good. Hello? You have been ditched left and right by distro's. Mint rose as a distro from nothing just because they offered people non-gnome3 despite their insistence of screwing up google searches.

    The Iraqi minister of looking silly couldn't do a better job of dis-information. Gnome 3.0 has not been ditched by all users. Gnome 2.0 fork is NOT eating our lunch.

    • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

      I guess if all of those advanced users who wanted Gnome 2 to be the end all of linux desktops had employed the gnome developers, then they would have what they want. But they didn't and so the gnome developers decided that they could always remain small and insignificant in the entire computing ecosphere (not just the advanced linux users, but all computer users) or they could develop an interface that others would find acceptable.

      Face it, the advanced computer users market is pretty limited. If they are

      • by oakgrove (845019)

        The only growth for linux on the desktop are those people not using linux. The Gnome developers have chosen to redesign the UI to go after those users.

        As much as I dislike Gnome 3, if there was one shred of evidence that non-Linux users would more readily embrace the OS due to it, I would be much more enthusiastic. All I've seen so far is a large segment of the community (including myself) alienated and little to no new users to show for it. If you have something that shows otherwise, I'd love to see it.

        The classic shell is very similar to the old gnome 2.

        It might look something like Gnome 2 but it ain't Gnome 2. I admit I haven't tried it in a while but last I checked, it lacked customisability, plugins

        • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

          As much as I dislike Gnome 3, if there was one shred of evidence that non-Linux users would more readily embrace the OS due to it, I would be much more enthusiastic. All I've seen so far is a large segment of the community (including myself) alienated and little to no new users to show for it. If you have something that shows otherwise, I'd love to see it.

          Back in 2008 when Gnome 3 and gnome shell were being fleshed out, Ubuntu was a rising star. Ubuntu is still pushing into the consumer market. What has changed, however, is that Ubuntu, while using Gnome 3, stuck Unity on top. So at the current moment, with the largest consumer oriented distro dropping gnome-shell, things don't look too good. However, that could hardly be anticipated back when gnome-shell was being developed (OTOH, the backlash wanting to stick with Gnome 2 could be and should have been an

        • by jbolden (176878)

          Even the new shell is customizable.

          As for new users.... take a look at the extremely positive reaction to MeeGo among non Linux users. They are buying over priced hardware which is EOLed with poor support because they love the UI so much. That's what Maemo (which failed because of Gnome 2) should have been and had it arrived a few years early (i.e. no switch) it might have had 20% marketshare.

    • by Greyfox (87712) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @10:16AM (#41094959) Homepage Journal
      Ironically that's always what rubbed me the wrong way about Microsoft applications. They were always trying to impose their idea of how I should work on me. Take the most basic example; I'm a programmer, and very often want to type on a window that's partially obscured under another window. Most of the time I'm looking at a list of variables or an API document while I do that. This can be achieved in windows with a bit of work, but how to go about it seems to change in every release. Focus follows mouse without window raising has always been pretty close to the default option (or very easy to enable) on every X11 window manager I've ever worked on. Another good example is using LaTeX after spending a couple of hours trying to get your paragraphs and pages to work out correctly with Word.

      So now the Gnome team comes along and tries to tell me they know better than I do how I should work. I think they'll find I'll say "Fuck you!" to them just as quickly as I did to Microsoft and Apple.

    • by jbolden (176878)

      WHAT IS IT SUPPOSED TO FIX? What was missing in the classic desktop user design that is being fixed in by either Unity, Gnome 3 or Metro?

      Scalability and resolution independence.
      The ability to use multiple input methods.
      The ability to move data independently of applications
      The ability to collaboratively work on documents

      Should I keep going?

  • by Fujisawa Sensei (207127) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @09:43AM (#41094285) Journal

    The KDE team really fucked up when they went from 3 to 4, sor your innovation for the Gnome project is the best thing that's happened to KDE in a long time.

  • by goruka (1721094) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @09:52AM (#41094469)
    Either Gnome 3 developers are delusional, or being paid by Apple to screw the open source desktops on purpuse. How, otherwise, did Gnome and Ubuntu fall from the top, while on the peak of success?
    Also, I can understand Ubuntu because the leader drops a lot of $$ on it, but Gnome? I would have thought Gnome was a community project influenced by the community, but if delusional people (and I mean delusional because they state they target laptops, yet make an OS for tablets) is running the project, something must have gone wrong somewhere.
  • Subject says all XD

    Rehdon

  • Essentially we were designing GNOME2 to be the free software version of a desktop computer system.

    Our main target for GNOME3 is laptop use, which I think is by far the overwhelming majority of computing use today - in the non-mobile space.

    I look at things a bit differently. I walk around the conference and I'm absolutely amazed by the energy we are seeing in the GNOME community right now. I am more optimistic about GNOME than I've been in a long time.

    We have fewer people testing GNOME outside of the active contributors. And there are a number of reasons for that, but that's also why we have these discussions around making GNOME more easily testable.

    So to paraphrase: We changed everything, new paradigm baby. Us developers love it, but it turns out the users just don't like it anymore and we lost all our testers. So now we feel we need to make it easier for us to test GNOME since we have to do it ourselves.

  • What Arrogance (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheSpoom (715771) <slashdot@@@uberm00...net> on Thursday August 23, 2012 @10:58AM (#41095691) Homepage Journal

    Linux distributions should rethink their purpose.

    Fuck you and fuck your arrogant decree that Linux distributions needs to match what you believe them to be. I'm going to make my Linux install exactly what I want. That's half the point of using an open source OS. And unsurprisingly it does not include Gnome 3 (other than a fork like Cinnamon) because its developers and "visionaries" don't give a shit about me, so I don't give a shit about them.

  • by rwven (663186) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @11:01AM (#41095727)

    The only thing that kept me on linux for the desktop as long as I stayed was how great the gnome 3 interface is... I personally think ubuntu's unity is an abhorrent, ugly, mess, and KDE is....well...kde. I feel like gnome 3 finally hit the nail on the head for what users want and need out of a desktop linux experience. When i first started using it I was flabbergasted at the bad feedback people had given it, because I thought it was fantastic, and still do.

    I think the biggest problem is that users of desktop linux are overwhelmingly flat-out unwilling to accept any sort of change to their status-quo. Gnome 3 really is a better interface, and people need to stop hating and fear mongering about it.

  • by dbIII (701233) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @11:05AM (#41095807)
    That missing MS Windows "feature" of MS Windows of old, DLL hell, has finally come to linux with Gnome 3 where utterly stupid choices of names for components means it's gnome3 and no earlier if you want to use even a single recent gnome application. Google for attempting to run gimp2.8 on centos if you want more detail.
  • Seriously, who pays this guy (and the rest of the Gnome crew) to "create art"?

  • it just smells funny.
  • by wonkey_monkey (2592601) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @03:35PM (#41100033) Homepage

    GNOME designer Jon McCann shares his thoughts about all the criticism GNOME 3 currently faces and why he doesn't think at all.

    There, FTTY.

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