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The Last GUADEC? 376

Posted by Soulskill
from the indiana-jones-and dept.
An anonymous reader writes "How can we ensure, together, that this will not be the last GUADEC? Last year, during GUADEC, there was that running joke amongst some participants that this was the last GUADEC. It was, of course, a joke. Everybody was expecting to see each other in Brno, in 2013. One year later, most of those who were joking are not coming to GUADEC. For them, the joke became a reality. People are increasingly leaving the desktop computer to use phones, tablets and services in the cloud. The switch is deeper and quicker than anything we imagined. Projects are also leaving GTK+ for QT. Unity abandoned GTK+, Linus Torvald's Subsurface is switching from GTK+ to Qt. If you spot a GNOME desktop in a conference, chances are that you are dealing with a Red Hat employee. That's it. According to Google Trends, interest in GNOME and GTK+ is soon to be extinct."
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The Last GUADEC?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 24, 2013 @05:20AM (#44368571)

    Gnome sucks. Its a UI made not for normal users but for the designers imaginary friends.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Not necessarily. I know a lot of "normal users" who are just fine with Gnome 3. What I've found is that the problem is not Gnome 3, the problem is that Gnome 2 went away. I think there would have been a much better situation if Gnome 2 had been maintained in parallel with Gnome 3, so that users had been able to have both installed and move freely between them until Gnome 3 was able to fully replace Gnome 2. It was just so unnecessary that we had to rename everything to Mate.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 24, 2013 @07:34AM (#44368989)

        What? Let Gnome 2 and 3 coexist in the same world? That's just crazy talk. What would people say if they tried to do that with something like Python? Or even the Linux kernel itself?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I know a lot of "normal users" who are just fine with Gnome 3.

        Lies.

    • by serviscope_minor (664417) on Wednesday July 24, 2013 @07:38AM (#44369007) Journal

      Not sure why this was modded funny. There is more than an element of truth in it. I can't speak from the perspective of a "normal user" since I'm not one. But I can speak from my own.

      Firstly there's GTK. For those not aware, GTK is based on GObject. I've tried using GObject. It may be a very fine object system, and since it's based in C, I imagine that bringing over the runtime is relatively easy, but really it is no fun to use. And by no fun, I mean awful.

      The primary reason is that it's all in C. Actually doing heavyweight dynamic style OO in C (basically like Python or Ruby or Javascript) is possible, but it is very, very verbose. Essentially you have to do vast amounts of stuff by-hand and it means that the program logic ends up being very sparsely interleaved with the heaps of required boilerplate. Not only that but the learning curve is very steep. IIRC Rust is a bit like C with native GObject support, so perhaps that will help things. But at the moment programming in GObject is unpleasant.

      Secondly, frankly the UI is bad. They seem to be determined to abandon the long held principles of heirachal filesystems and the current working directory. Why oh why oh why when I start up a program in $HOME/projects/foo does the file dialog now default to "favourites" which is something not in the heirachy at all, or the last place I was working. This sort of change is completely unnecessary. If normal users don't start from anywhere else but $HOME then ignoring the current directory won't affect them at all. It only hurts power users.

      The thing is, that's just one example. For another example, how many steps does it take to print a document of any sort at 6-up in a GTK program versus the appauling old style dialog like "xpdf"? The answer: lots. Adobe (of all people) proved it was unnecessary by making a really nice system that was simple for all normal stuff, but in the "advanced" box, the GUI options simply added things to an LPR line.

      Examples abound of where GNOME is essentially "simplifying" to the point of making things less simple (how is ignoring $PWD unlike every other system simple?) especially for advanced users. The thing is advanecd users are the ones that hack on it and the ones that go to conferences.

      If they systematically put off all advanced users, then basically it will be nothing but a commercial project. That's fine if they want it but it will kill off any ecosystem.

      Oh and about GLib. A good fraction of the stuff is about providing things like linked lists, resizable arrays, hash tables, essentially all the sort of stuff that's in the STL, except much more verbose, vastly less efficient and not even remotely type safe. And two of those are unnecessary in C if you're prepared to (a) put up with complex macros and (b) have C++ like compile errors.

      And other stuff just seems to be there for the sake of it, like the lexical scanner compared to (e.g. FLEX). They could simply have integrated the FLEX runtime into glib and used that as a scanner. It would have been better documented and have much nicer syntax that way.

      I know people complain about C++ being complex, but once you add on a library the size of GLib, you've made almost a new language and the complexity arguments pretty much vanish at that point.

      Don't get me wrong. For a C library, GLib is very impressive. It allows you to do all sorts of things with C that would otherwise require vast amounts of work and huge amounts of pain. But the problem is it's built on a very low level language and that makes life difficult.

      Oh yeah, where was I. Gnome. One other example I remember from a while back.

      My mum had an old computer. After Windows 98 became untenable, I put ubuntu on it, since she was feircely opposed to spending money on a new computer if the old one worked. Being young and naive I still did family tech support.

      Anyway, it worked pretty well. I hd taught her what a heirachal filesystem was and she was happily able to arrange files in a nice organised manner. Actually

      • Gah.

        Said Rust, meant Vala.

      • by cheesybagel (670288) on Wednesday July 24, 2013 @08:22AM (#44369217)

        GObject is not the problem. If you are a C++ programmer which dislikes having to type macros all the time you can just use gtkmm.

        The problem is they broke compatibility with GTK+ 2.x with the release of GTK+ 3 and the platform portability remains low. I know several developers who are revolting and porting their code to Qt instead of making the changes to migrate to GTK+ 3.

        You can port Qt applications to mobile devices, Windows, and Mac OS X for example while GTK+ applications run well on Linux and poorly everywhere else. The Windows port has always been a bit of a mess even if it works. Slow and full of graphic glitches. The MacOS X port has been in limbo since like forever. The mobile port is non existent.

        • GObject is not the problem. If you are a C++ programmer which dislikes having to type macros all the time you can just use gtkmm.

          You can, yes. Trouble is, not much of the infrastructure is written in C++ which makes hacking on the system some wort of hell.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I know several developers who are revolting

          Me too.

      • by lytles (24756) on Wednesday July 24, 2013 @12:19PM (#44371183) Homepage

        i was an active user and *very* minor contributor in 1999-2005. gtk, glib and gobject are definitely awkward to use. some of that is due to being written in c, but much of the awkwardness is due to being written in a way that allows binding from other languages (bindings exist for javascript, python, java, c++, ...). eg, the callback "marshaling" made stepping thru code in gdb painful

        i always hoped that someone would strip out the language-agnostic support and make a pure c library. but nobody seemed excited about the prospect

        another problem was that gtk et al attempted to be incredibly generic. the language-agnostic support is one example. another is that i proposed a key binding that would break focus and guarantee that alt-f would activate the file menu and was told that there was "nothing special about the menubar" in the context of gtk. and then gnome was at the other extreme - attempting to be very minimal and rigid. in between was a vast no man's land

  • by msobkow (48369) on Wednesday July 24, 2013 @05:20AM (#44368573) Homepage Journal

    Most people assume GTK+ is a dead end seeing as it's tied so closely to that abortion of a desktop known as Gnome 3.

    • by segedunum (883035) on Wednesday July 24, 2013 @06:45AM (#44368823)

      GTK was dead fifteen years ago, just no one realised it. When you have a toolkit that programmers are supposed to be using pulled out of another project (GIMP) as an emotional response to the license of another toolkit (Qt) you're already on to a loser. You have to win on the software, and producing a core development toolkit for GUI and desktop developers is spectacularly difficult. New features look cool and you have to keep moving things on but there are a spectacular amount of bugs to fix and that takes full-time manpower. Red Hat weren't going to plough lots of developer money into GTK because it made no money for them for the manpower they would have to put in to get it on a par with Qt and other GUI development software. It's not as if they were selling licenses or anything. You can't be emotional. Either free desktop software is good enough to compete or it isn't.

      Qt was miles better fifteen years ago, miles better ten years ago, miles better five years ago and the gap has only widened. You throw in the LGPL license now and you have a situation where there is no reason whatsoever you wouldn't use Qt in a Linux based environment.

      It's just a pity it has taken us so long and there has been so much blood letting for us to get to a situation where we probably have a de fact standard GUI development path decided upon by natural selection.

      • by JanneM (7445) on Wednesday July 24, 2013 @07:36AM (#44368993) Homepage

        I don't have any religious attachement to either toolkit, and I don't care one bit which one I use as a user. But there's GTK bindings to all kinds of languages out there since it's relatively easy to do, whereas there's far fewer for Qt. I can't seem to find any decent bindings for Scheme for instance. I can only assume it's because Qt is quite tightly tied to C++, and languages that don't mesh well with it will have trouble interfacing with it.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 24, 2013 @07:57AM (#44369091)

          Have you ever tried to seriously use these Gtk+ bindings for non-C languages? Have you? I'm pretty sure that you haven't, because if you had then you'd know first-hand how they're utter shit, and you wouldn't have suggested that they're a benefit of Gtk+.

          Gtkmm is kaka, and that's putting it very nicely. It doesn't even compete with the monstrosity that is wxWidgets, never mind a professional C++ GUI toolkit like Qt.

          The C#, OCaml, PHP, Ruby, R, Guile, Ada and Fortran bindings are horribly outdated, and they were kaka to begin with, too.

          The Python, Java and Vala bindings are the least-kaka of them all, but they're still kaka compared to the other toolkits that are available. If I'm using Python, I'll use PyQt. If I'm using Java, I'll use AWT, Swing or SWT. Nobody actually uses Vala for anything, so it's out of the picture right away.

          The rest of the bindings are somewhere in the middle. They're still kaka, and I would not use them.

          Then there are the JavaScript bindings. Only somebody with kaka for brains would use JavaScript outside of the browser in the first place. There's no reason for these bindings to even exist.

          Yeah, the bindings exist to some degree for several different languages, but that doesn't mean they're any good, and it surely doesn't mean that they're actually usable or useful. Given this, it means that they aren't really a benefit of Gtk+.

        • by segedunum (883035)
          Trust me I've heard all the arguments, and the 'bindings' argument is usually somewhere near the top of the list. Most of the GTK bindings are pretty poor and really, what's the point of having all the bindings in the world when your underlying API quality is so poor? If it's poor in one language it's poor in another.
      • by cheesybagel (670288) on Wednesday July 24, 2013 @07:53AM (#44369067)

        Great. Then tell me of all the wonderful Qt applications people commonly use. I use GIMP, Inkscape, Gnumeric GTK+ applications quite frequently and have used zero Qt applications so far.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        GTK wasn't an "emotional" response to QT, but a practical response. If a license is preventing you (by law) from doing what you need to do, or abiding by the terms of that license would be impractical, then the only remaining option is to do it yourself.

        With that understood, there is no reason to bring up "emotions" at all -- unless of course your own perspective is emotional.

    • by aliquis (678370)

      I'm all ok with people switching to Qt.

      I'm ok with people writing applications for KDE to.

      I personally don't agree with whatever guidelines KDE people have for how to design user interfaces though. Toolbars, ugly drag holders, vertical tabs with rotated text! WTF?! Tabs too wide for the window where you have to scroll between them and so on..

      So much crap in the user interfaces. Also on this low-end machine which should had been killed a long time ago and be replaced by something much more powerful and will

      • The recent announcement of a merger between LXDE and Razor-Qt is another nail in the coffin of GTK+3, and should produce something rather lighter than KDE.
  • by darkHanzz (2579493) on Wednesday July 24, 2013 @05:23AM (#44368575) Journal
    Although Qt is going strong, KDE and gnome seem both to be in a downwards trend..
    http://www.google.com/trends/explore?q=gtk%2Cqt%2Cgnome#q=gtk%2C%20qt%2C%20gnome%2C%20enlightenment%2C%20kde&cmpt=q [google.com]
    Ah well, the higher abstraction level that C++ offers, does make sense for a UI framework.
    • by msclrhd (1211086)

      These Google trends are only part of the picture.

      Once you have found what you are looking for (e.g. Qt or Gtk+ documentation), you are likely to bookmark it and go directly to it, so your search result will only apply once even if you visit the Gtk+ docs a lot. Also, if you have downloaded and installed the Gtk+/Qt/KDE documentation, you don't need to search Google to find it!

      Q: What are the Debian, et. al. popularity contest stats for the Gtk+, Qt and KDE libraries? What about the dev packages? Documentati

  • by maweki (999634) on Wednesday July 24, 2013 @05:29AM (#44368587) Homepage
    I just became the maintainer of a small games project in gnome and I have to say, the lack of (wo)manpower really shows. There are other projects that have many hundreds of untriaged bugs (most of them unconfirmed. We're not talking about unfixed here). There are only a handful of people doing really cool stuff and about nobody doing the menial labour of just making builds stable or working with one-off-contributors who sent in patches on their own.
    But all in all I don't believe gnome's development cycle is unsustainable in the foreseeable future, even with shrinking interest in the desktop as a whole.
    • by segedunum (883035)
      Gnome's development cycle has been unsustainable for some time. Relying on a toolkit that continually struggles for manpower to fix bugs is no something you want to be doing as an application developer.
  • Sad, if true (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jandersen (462034) on Wednesday July 24, 2013 @05:34AM (#44368595)

    It is sad, in a way, although not surprising to me.

    Sad, because it was once so promising; GNOME was once my absolute favourite desktop, but when they started becoming more and more a Windows clone, I lost my faith in them. And then they started removing useful features, upsetting their core community - those who were on Linux because it is OPEN, extremely configurable, very inclusive etc - and the GNOME developers became more and more unapproachable and sectarian. I suppose, in a way they chose to follow their own closed set of ideals and lost their way.

    Now I use KDE - it is not perfect, but I don't need perfect, I only need good enough, and KDE is good enough for my purposes.

    • by jez9999 (618189)

      The Windows desktop is extremely popular, and you think becoming more of a Windows clone is the problem? Windows GUI is pretty well-designed. The problem is they totally fucked up GNOME 3 and programming GUIs in C without any decent dev tools is not exactly fun.

      • by Rich0 (548339)

        The Windows desktop is extremely popular, and you think becoming more of a Windows clone is the problem?

        Keep in mind that 99.999% of those running Gnome are running it on a PC that could be running Windows, and the reason they're not using windows isn't because they don't want to fork out the $0 to buy a license for their PC and the 0min of time it takes to get it installed.

        Gnome users already jumped through a lot of hoops because they think it offers something that Windows doesn't offer, so moving back towards Windows is not a given.

        Hey, if there is a good idea in Windows go ahead and borrow it, but you have

    • Re:Sad, if true (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Tough Love (215404) on Wednesday July 24, 2013 @05:54AM (#44368657)

      Doing that OOP stuff in plain old C is just a travesty. Should have ended many years ago, but for all the self-interested spin and PHBs involved. Anybody remember that company that lost $40 million writing a file browser for Gnome (Nautilus) that ultimately was completely discarded except for some of the expensive artwork?

      • by kthreadd (1558445)

        Well you can just use any of the many language bindings. Gtkmm for C++ for example, or Vala which a lot of new Gnome development uses. Vala translates to C, so there's nothing extra needed at runtime.

      • Have you seen the hoops that older versions* of Qt jumped through to maintain ABI compatibility? It wasn't really C++, it was C-with-classes-plus-a-bunch-of-horrible-macros. Based on when the project started, I think C was the better choice on the grounds of stability, compatibility and portability. If you don't want to do it in C, use the C++ bindings, which avoid (most of) the ABI compatibility issues by virtue of being an OO wrapper around something with a stable ABI.

        * I say "older versions" because I

        • by tibit (1762298)

          What a load of uninformed bollocks. I've been using Qt since late 1.x versions, and things got much improved with every major release since then (2.x, 3.x, 4.x, 5.x). What have the macros got to do with maintaining ABI? What macros are you exactly taking about? The macros that substitute empty strings and are only used by moc (signals, slots, Q_SIGNAL, Q_SLOT, Q_INVOKABLE)? Qt provided an introspection data extractor (mod) since the first release. The functionality provided by moc was never available in C++

      • by loufoque (1400831)

        Doing that OOP stuff in plain old C is just a travesty.

        It's fine, really.
        The use of C++ that Qt makes is much more of a travesty.

    • Re:Sad, if true (Score:5, Interesting)

      by RabidReindeer (2625839) on Wednesday July 24, 2013 @07:40AM (#44369019)

      It is sad, in a way, although not surprising to me.

      Sad, because it was once so promising; GNOME was once my absolute favourite desktop, but when they started becoming more and more a Windows clone, I lost my faith in them. And then they started removing useful features, upsetting their core community - those who were on Linux because it is OPEN, extremely configurable, very inclusive etc - and the GNOME developers became more and more unapproachable and sectarian. I suppose, in a way they chose to follow their own closed set of ideals and lost their way.

      Now I use KDE - it is not perfect, but I don't need perfect, I only need good enough, and KDE is good enough for my purposes.

      The problem is that Gnome's creator, Miquel de Icaza is a bitch for Windows. Among his sins you can include something like, but even more horrible than, the Windows Registry. Add to that the hubris of the Gnome 3 team and it's a recipe for something that looks good but doesn't do what you want it do do.

      KDE's bouncing icons were its biggest turn off for me. I want GUI that "just works" and doesn't attempt to be an art form or a distraction and doesn't require switching off "vanity features" before I can use it.

      As a developer, it's also rather important that the UI toolkit is easy to inject into projects, doesn't have bizarre interactions with other subsystems (or itself), supports multiple languages in a developer-friendly way, and last, but not least, has usable documentation. Including sample code and instruction manual. A set of "javadocs" isn't enough.

      • Re:Sad, if true (Score:4, Interesting)

        by dbIII (701233) on Wednesday July 24, 2013 @09:17AM (#44369545)

        The problem is that Gnome's creator, Miquel de Icaza is a bitch for Windows. Among his sins you can include something like, but even more horrible than, the Windows Registry.

        That wasn't him. I also accused him of gconf, on this very website, and he replied that it wasn't him but another of the gnome group that came, set up that travesty, and left it half finished. The facts checked out. I suspect that gconf is completely dead now with gnome3 and good riddance to it, whether the idea was sound or not is immaterial since the execution was not sound.

    • Re:Sad, if true (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tom (822) on Wednesday July 24, 2013 @07:43AM (#44369025) Homepage Journal

      but when they started becoming more and more a Windows clone, I lost my faith in them.

      ditto.

      Gnome was very promising once, I even worked on it for a while. But this exactly, there was a point where it turned into a me-too project, where ideas for making things better were shunned in favour of making things familiar, which at that time meant copying windows.

      Gnome is a major example of Free Software fucking it up because of bikeshedding and copying instead of innovating.

  • by Zouden (232738) on Wednesday July 24, 2013 @05:38AM (#44368597)

    Is this a preview of what might happen to Linux distros at some point in the future? Android has had a bigger impact than anyone expected. I wouldn't be surprised if it leads to Linux becoming more marginalised (servers only) and fewer people adopting it on the desktop.

    • If anything the growth of Android makes its shell the predominant UI for Linux.

    • by Zouden (232738)

      The Google Trends comparison [google.com] is interesting.

    • Re:Foreshadowing (Score:4, Interesting)

      by king neckbeard (1801738) on Wednesday July 24, 2013 @06:00AM (#44368675)
      I'm not sure about that. GNU/Linux distros seem to be the ones still leaving open options for people who want to get shit done. Not that there aren't a lot of distros that are jumping on the toy bandwagon, but there are still options.
    • by Kjella (173770)

      Is this a preview of what might happen to Linux distros at some point in the future? Android has had a bigger impact than anyone expected. I wouldn't be surprised if it leads to Linux becoming more marginalised (servers only) and fewer people adopting it on the desktop.

      Quite possibly, with AIOs like this [engadget.com] coming out now in September, 21" IPS touchscreen, keyboard and mouse using Android. It'll take a while before the OS and apps catch up, but fundamentally this is what most people are looking for in a "real" computer, it's not the CPU, not the GPU, not the RAM it's a big screen, keyboard and mouse. It's the kind of PC you can crank out a novel at or work on a big spreadsheet (not in Excel, but there are alternatives), anything where it's not about x86 compatibility or comp

      • 21 inches for one application? Google has strongly resisted any attempt to add tiled or overlapping window management policy to stock Android. This means applications have to be coded to each hardware manufacturer's proprietary window management API. I can dig up Google employees' explanation of this "all maximized all the time" policy and why Cornerstone isn't in CyanogenMod if you want.
        • by Kjella (173770)

          21 inches for one application? Google has strongly resisted any attempt to add tiled or overlapping window management policy to stock Android. This means applications have to be coded to each hardware manufacturer's proprietary window management API. I can dig up Google employees' explanation of this "all maximized all the time" policy and why Cornerstone isn't in CyanogenMod if you want.

          Well I might be the odd man out among tech-savvy users, but I run most applications maximized on my 24" screen, I've tried doing it differently, I've been on Linux for some years and tried multiple desktops, I've tried working with multiple monitors as well but I come back to the KISS model - maximized apps and rapid switching. I don't think I've ever used such a thing as drag and drop between apps, it's select in one app, Ctrl-X/C, switch, Ctrl-V. I very often flip-flop between two apps, like say code and

  • vala (Score:5, Insightful)

    by samjam (256347) on Wednesday July 24, 2013 @05:41AM (#44368607) Homepage Journal

    Shame - vala is a really cool c(+) style language that hides a lot of the glib rot that was too hard to use.

  • by maweki (999634) on Wednesday July 24, 2013 @05:41AM (#44368609) Homepage
    Looking at Gnome and GTK as an Example for them going extinct specifically is pretty stupid. You see declining trends for microsoft, dell and KDE as well [google.com] while playing with Google Trends.
    • by Ploum (632141)

      Looking at Gnome and GTK as an Example for them going extinct specifically is pretty stupid. You see declining trends for microsoft, dell and KDE as well [google.com] while playing with Google Trends.

      Indeed, it's not like Microsoft, KDE or Dell are declining, it is imposs

      Oh, wait!

    • by Clsid (564627)

      Correct me if I'm wrong, but all that measures relate to are Google searches. Would be better to actually have download numbers or even sample data of desktop usage.

  • Yup Gnome 3 sucks (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DMJC (682799) on Wednesday July 24, 2013 @05:45AM (#44368623)
    It's sad but true, Gnome 3 with it's stupid tablet interface completely sucks. Gnome is trying to double down on fail and it'll lead to complete extinction within a few months. They need to massively reverse course but too much ego will probably prevent it from happening. The Linux desktop has basically shot itself in the foot right when it's finally achieving mainstream gaming success. Personally I'm banking on GNUstep actually getting finished and offering an osx-alike experience on Linux. Gnome was a really nice desktop but by choosing to rush into tablets they've pulled a Microsoft and shot their desktop users in the face. The desktop isn't going anywhere, it's Gnome that's gone away.
    • by swalve (1980968)
      Gnome had the right idea (merging tablet and desktop interfaces), they just did it wrong. Microsoft, with a couple of exceptions, did it mostly right. Maybe I'm the only one who thinks that, but after 5 minutes of playing with a Windows 8 tablet, I was hooked. I can do tablet stuff AND desktop stuff? Sold.
      • by DrXym (126579)
        Actually I think it's the opposite for once.

        GNOME 3 got right things that Microsoft got wrong. For example Microsoft are bring back the start button (not menu) because jamming the mouse into the corner is non-obvious. GNOME 3 always allowed you to click Activities and discover the corner behaviour later. Metro doesn't bother to show you any visual context when you're in metro of what is happening on the desktop whereas GNOME puts the windows into its launcher so you can rapidly see them. Microsoft heavily

      • by dkleinsc (563838)

        Gnome had the right idea (merging tablet and desktop interfaces)

        That's not the right idea at all.

        Really easy to do on a tablet:
        - Poke a particular point on the screen
        - Swipe and other gestures
        - add your signature or otherwise scribble in cursive
        - turn the screen

        Really easy to do on a desktop:
        - mouse click
        - move the mouse to a corner of the screen
        - mouse hover
        - press a key or a simple combination of keys

        It's possible to do desktop-like things on a tablet, and some tablet-like moves on a desktop, but trying to use one kind of input on the other device is like trying to ha

      • by dbIII (701233) on Wednesday July 24, 2013 @09:20AM (#44369567)
        It shouldn't take five minutes to find the things that should be on the screen and in your face.
    • by DrXym (126579)
      You whine about GNOME 3 being like a tablet (though it is clearly nothing of the sort) and then hold out for GNUStep offering an OS X like experience. When GNOME 3 and OS X are very clearly aiming for the exact same space in terms of user experience, usability etc.
      • by Clsid (564627)

        Windows 8 is aiming for the tablet experience. OSX might be merging some stuff from the iPad, but to me, Apple has been doing great at holding out the unusable parts of the tablets in the desktop OS. The addition of the launchpad is good and it will lead the way to deprecate the odd style of having an Applications folder in the Finder. Gnome in the other hand, tried to create something artsy but failed to achieve the whole look & feel. I guess it could have worked if they had better default fonts and no

        • by DrXym (126579)
          I think GNOME went too far by cutting configurability. The inability to choose fonts and some other basic settings is greatly annoying. It doesn't mean it has to offer a kitchen sink of options (which IMO is even worse), but as a rule of thumb if OS X offers an option then GNOME 3 probably could too without compromising usability. But fundamentally I don't believe the design is broken or unsound. It's a very slick, attractive and usable user interface and for once Linux has a desktop which actually holds i
    • by Clsid (564627)

      I thought the same as you regarding GNUStep, but it is too messy and the mindset towards creating an attractive GUI is simply not there. They want to achieve perfection by emulating NeXT, when they should just be trying to copy something like OSX which looks nice.

      Linux is either a Fluxbox (or similar) affair, or you are better off with Windoze or better yet, with OSX. It's the fonts, the hardware, the games and the it just works attitude. Sad to see projects going these way but it wasn't hard to predict. I

    • Linux Mint + MATE has replaced my Ubuntu + Gnome/KDE, and probably will be replaced some day by Mint + Cinnamon.
      I don't care which directions Gnome 3 and KDE 4 are going.

    • by couchslug (175151)

      "Personally I'm banking on GNUstep actually getting finished and offering an osx-alike experience on Linux."

      To succeed, copy success.

  • GUADEC? (Score:5, Informative)

    by bmomjian (195858) on Wednesday July 24, 2013 @05:54AM (#44368649) Homepage

    I am sure I am not the only one who doesn't know what GUADEC is, and in fact even the event homepage (https://www.guadec.org/) doesn't spell out what it is. It is the GNOME Users And Developers European Conference.

    • by MortenMW (968289)
      I was wondering about the same thing, I've never heard about GUADEC before. Thanks for clearing it up.
  • by zakkie (170306) on Wednesday July 24, 2013 @06:08AM (#44368699) Homepage

    Gnome 3 was a fuckup, but it started way back, when Havoc Pennington declared that too many options confused users. That was the start of the slippery slope that led us to this scenario. Taking away options completely instead of just offering basic & advanced configuration options was a fucking stupid idea. A desktop or any interface needs to get out of the way and make your day-to-day experience as painless as possible, but Gnome was hijacked by look-at-me designer types with nothing better to do than find ways of breaking shit that worked pretty fucking well. End result? A clusterfuck that nobody wants to use.

  • No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Cat (19816) * on Wednesday July 24, 2013 @06:51AM (#44368849)

    People are not abandoning the PC to use phones tablets and "services in the cloud." That is propaganda designed to sell you phones, tablets and services in the cloud.

    Phones, tablets and services in the cloud will never replace the PC, because a desktop or laptop computer is the proper control form for the human body.

    People want a full keyboard, a full-size monitor and a mouse. They don't want to do real work on a 2" x 3" screen.

    This "exodus from the PC" is pure bullshit advanced by mobile device companies to get you back on the hardware upgrade treadmill so they can sell you a new device every two years.

    Let me say it again: it's BULL. SHIT.

  • by dltaylor (7510) on Wednesday July 24, 2013 @06:57AM (#44368867)

    I tried XFCE, but it wasn't quite there. Can't really warm to KDE, either. I miss OpenLook and Saw{mill,fish}.

    Looks like I'll totally be out of luck when Gnome dies and X is replaced with Wayland. Might as well run Windows at that point.

  • by emilper (826945) on Wednesday July 24, 2013 @07:22AM (#44368947)

    get your helpful gnome back ;)

      http://mate-desktop.org/ [mate-desktop.org]

  • "ChromeOS has successfully filled the gap between desktop and mobile devices and is becoming the dominant OS. " Really? Any hard numbers on that? What bubble does this guy live in?
  • by goruka (1721094) on Wednesday July 24, 2013 @07:42AM (#44369021)
    For almost a decade, Qt has been the superior choice for developers.

    I used GTK for several years (probably up to version 2.2). The mindset back then was that the minimum functionality should be provided and the developer should build what he or she needed around it. For even a simple item list you had to use the treeview, which in turn was really complex to use. I wonder how much of that remains today.
    When I discovered Qt, I ran constantly into the situation of thinking "This behavior I want to do sounds like a common case, i'm sure there is a helper/shortcut to implement it", and 99% of the time there was. Maybe it was more "bloated", but it definitely did reduce development time by a large factor.

    Also, if you are doing a desktop app, you are most likely wanting to go cross platform. GTK is terrible at that.
    The main disadvantage back then was the license, but that's ancient history. Qt has aged well and moved to mobile without much of an inconvenience. Besides Desktop, It runs on Android and Blackberry 10, and will soon be running on iOS too.
  • GNOME left the users.

    Also, people are abandoning desktops for "services in the cloud"? WTF?

  • by Kagetsuki (1620613) on Wednesday July 24, 2013 @08:02AM (#44369109)

    Personally I like it a lot. Like any big change it takes a few weeks to get used to. The GNOME 2 design is just fine and I really liked it but at this point I would not choose to go back.

    I think all the people that hate it really haven't given it a chance and probably only tried an earlier release.

    Personally I hope GNOME picks up some more steam and more developers accumulate around it. Personally I'd love it if GTK3 were more widely used and supported (EG with Ruby bindings). GTK2 is actually a really nice cross platform GUI toolkit if you know how to properly stylize it.

  • by readingaccount (2909349) on Wednesday July 24, 2013 @08:15AM (#44369169)

    People are increasingly leaving the desktop computer

    No, they aren't.

    They are just not buying new ones because they have reached a level where they are good enough for what they do and have no huge motivation for upgrading. That's why the PC market is crumbling, not because people aren't using PCs anymore, but because they are content with what they have on the desktop.

    Now I don't get why GNOME is jumping on the Tablet/Smartphone bandwagon when they don't even have to sell anything.

    All in all this has turned out to be a fucking disaster, and it's all the GNOME team's fault for being too arrogant to listen to the screams and cries and often well documented problems people had with this new direction. What a fucking mess.

  • by wonkey_monkey (2592601) on Wednesday July 24, 2013 @08:15AM (#44369171) Homepage

    Okay, shoot me down in flames - apparently if you don't understand everything in a Slashdot summary some people think you shouldn't be allowed on the internet - but what the hell is a GUADEC*? Wouldn't it be a good idea for a news site that presumably wants to attract and keep as many visitors as possible to at least give a brief definition of the terms used in a headline? You can easily do it subtly enough - you don't even have to spell it out, just give enough context - that those in the know won't notice, and those not in the know will come away better informed, instead of having to open up another tab just to find out whether or not they're interested in the content.

    Yes, haha, lgmtfy etc. But you know what, I actually do expect to be spoon-fed my news. That's precisely why I watch TV or read newspapers instead of wandering the streets hoping to catch drama unfolding first-hand.

    *of course I've already looked it up.

    Everybody was expecting to see each other in Brno

    Okay, now I know you're making shit up!

    (specifying the country of a not-very-famous city wouldn't hurt, either)

    • Linking one of the many uses of "GUADEC" to guadec.org [guadec.org] wouldn't have been a bad start, instead of to a blog which also doesn't tell you what GUADEC is.
  • by pieleric (917714) on Wednesday July 24, 2013 @08:16AM (#44369179) Homepage

    As many people have already written, it's not the drive to tablet and phone that is reducing the user community, it's the fact that Gnome has become so bad compared to other DEs that people moved away. The main question is "why has Gnome become so bad?". I'd say it's mostly due to not listening enough to user feedback and lack of good judgment on what is good for the users.

    Don't get me wrong. I loved Gnome, used it all the time, even used to send patches for the bugs that were annoying me (actually, I even had SVN commit rights at some points). But I stopped because Gnome 3 was worse than Unity _and_ LXDE, and because developers started to close all my bug reports as WONTFIX or, worse, because the patch would not apply anymore... after 2 years of being ignored.

    I'd suggest these changes to all the core Gnome developers:
      * first fix bugs before adding a new feature (or a new app)
      * review and merge as many patches as you get from outside people, as soon as possible (that's how you build a developer community)
      * review the entire interface and especially the fixed/default values so that Gnome is _super_ comfortable to use right out of the box
      * do not ever remove features, and never accept regressions
      * make sure your interface can be used by power users too (yes, that means putting back _some_ configuration options), they are the (future) developers
      * listen a bit to user feedback (that one is difficult because it's typically a very noisy channel, but it's necessary)
      * pick a few known and powerful programming languages, and stick to them for all the core applications. Honestly, just drop Vala: as great as it could be, it's not up to a DE project to develop a new programming language, and almost no one outside of the community knows it. If it was up to me, I'd say, just pick C, C++ and Python.

    Keep like this for 3 years, and Gnome will be relevant again.

    I'd also suggest to pick 2 or 3 apps and focus on them so much that they are the best for the task among any other competitor. This way, people will have incentive to use Gnome, and all the distributions will make sure these apps and all the dependencies are installed by default and working well. For instance, I'd pick: Evince, Rhythmbox, and Aisleriot.

  • by Torp (199297) on Wednesday July 24, 2013 @08:38AM (#44369299)

    Been a KDE user for a loong while, but that's not what I'm posting about.
    As a programmer, i'd very much rather write an application for Qt than for GTK. Qt (at least until version 4) was much easier to work with, not to mention much more cross platform than the GTK ports.
    I'm probably not the only one who feels that way.
    But they're probably a bit right. I contract, 80% of my work is Android software, the rest is command line Linux. No one wants me to build a desktop app for them, although they see the desktop programming experience from a few years ago.

  • by Mathieu Lutfy (69) on Wednesday July 24, 2013 @08:47AM (#44369335) Homepage

    More reliable than Google-Trends: Debian "popcon", a program that Debian users are offered to install and report their program usage.

    http://qa.debian.org/popcon.php?package=gnome-shell [debian.org] (40k installed / 20k votes)
    http://qa.debian.org/popcon.php?package=xfwm4 [debian.org] (16k installed, 8k votes)
    http://qa.debian.org/popcon-graph.php?packages=kde-window-manager [debian.org] (14k installed, 8k votes)
    http://qa.debian.org/popcon-graph.php?packages=xserver-xorg [debian.org] (80k installed, 25k votes)

    The stats being what they are, you can't really compare the 40k gnome-shell installs with the 16k xfwm4 (gnome-shell is installed by default, which makes the 16k xfwm more impressive, I guess), but you can make some conclusions.

    And yeah, I like gnome-shell / Gnome3. Sometimes after a crash (I run debian-experimental packages), I return to fvwm for a few hours, but I always end back onto gnome-shell. "it works", is pleasant to use, and if necessary, there are ways to customize it.

    A few months ago, I had forked and published an extension for hiding the top panel. I was surprised of all the feedback and number of users it got. Better yet, someone else stepped up to maintain it and does a great job.

    Seriously.. way too many trolls, and most of the rest don't bother to comment.

  • I still use GNOME. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by loufoque (1400831) on Wednesday July 24, 2013 @08:57AM (#44369399)

    I personally still use GNOME. I've always preferred GTK+ over Qt, not only because I prefer its look, I also prefer the fact that it is focused on being a GUI toolkit, while Qt is a kitchen sink with a horrible C++ design and full of stuff better done elsewhere.
    GNOME 3 is shit, but you can still run gnome-panel just fine (and metacity if you want it), even with Ubuntu, and that's what I do.

    The more serious problem is that with the obsolescence of GTK+, we may end up not having a good standard GUI toolkit to write applications on Linux anymore.
    There is much focus on graphics lately with the alternatives to X.org being developed, but Linux still doesn't have a good solution to make graphical apps with resolution independence, proper text rendering, fluid layout and good accessibility. Not that other operating systems are being that much better at any of this.

How many QA engineers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? 3: 1 to screw it in and 2 to say "I told you so" when it doesn't work.

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