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Project GoneME Fixes Perceived Gnome UI Errors 576

An anonymous reader writes "Project GoneME is the first attempt to try moving the GNOME Desktop into a new direction. The intention is to create a community of people, who are willing and interested to help fixing issues brought up by people for a very long time and make the vision of a usable Desktop in the means of good old Unix fashion become true. In case you are interested to help, please join the project. Plenty of people have shown interest and welcome this step and the IRC channel got filled up within a short time." Update: 07/26 02:33 GMT by T : A project mailing list has been set up for anyone interested in taking part in this endeavor.
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Project GoneME Fixes Perceived Gnome UI Errors

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  • Gnome Usability (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hawkeyeMI ( 412577 ) <brock&brocktice,com> on Sunday July 25, 2004 @11:44AM (#9794550) Homepage
    I too have issues with GNOME's usability. That's why I prefer Enlightenment and KDE.

    Glad to see someone improving it, but we always have to ask the question -- how much better might things be if the GNOME and KDE teams were working together instead of separately? That is, coding/philosophical differences aside. Granted, choice is good, and it's their choice what they want to work on.

    • Re:Gnome Usability (Score:4, Interesting)

      by alphaque ( 51831 ) <[moc.euqahpla] [ta] [hsenid]> on Sunday July 25, 2004 @11:49AM (#9794587) Homepage
      Open Source has always been about choice, and in this regard, having a plethora of UIs and desktop environments to choose from is excellent. however, the problem lies in that a lot of work is duplicated between gnome (goneME??) and kde. perhaps, and is this too much to hope for, the projects could converge on a unified API of sorts which would make things a whole lot easier. free and open source software needs to be seen as meeting the needs of Joe Q. User before it can become dominant on the desktop.
      • Re:Gnome Usability (Score:3, Informative)

        by hawkeyeMI ( 412577 )
        There has been some progress with the freedesktop initiative, allowing *ahem* 'system tray' applications to behave the same in both environments. Those sorts of things definitely help.
        • Re:Gnome Usability (Score:3, Informative)

          by shaitand ( 626655 )
          Unfortunately is one of the things GoneME guys would like to see go away.

          He doesn't want to replace it mind, say with something better. He simply wants to abolish it and the HIG while we're at it!
    • Re:Gnome Usability (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Ari_Haviv ( 796424 ) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @11:54AM (#9794618) Homepage
      if "linux" is going to compete with Windows, the first thing it needs to do is standardize on one GUI and stick with it. Instead we have linux+ext2+QT+KDE+redhat stuff vs linux+reiser+gtk+gnome+suse stuff vs 5 million other permutations vs Windows.
      • Re:Gnome Usability (Score:3, Interesting)

        by hawkeyeMI ( 412577 )
        Nobody sees ext2 and reiserfs. Those kinds of decisions are made by power users and administrators. The main thing is the GUI as you originally pointed out. Consistent = good.
      • Re:Gnome Usability (Score:4, Insightful)

        by HrothgarReborn ( 740385 ) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @12:05PM (#9794685)
        Why are we competing with Windows? Windows sucks. Look at Apple. They are interested in being the best, not in getting the biggest share of the market. Linux should be the same. We have this terrible confomist mentality that if 95% of the people don't believe as we do then there is something wrong with us. Linux is great and does not need to try to be Microsoft to get ahead.

        Choice is a _good_ thing.
      • I've thought about this a lot, and I've decided that having both KDE and GNOME is A Good Thing(TM). What is not a good thing, is distros bending over backwards to support both. If you're building a product for end users to use, you need to make the choice of GUI for them. This way the distro can focus its resources on making sure that the one GUI is consistent and works.

        Two perfect examples of this are SuSE and Java Desktop System. SuSE made the KDE decision and has made their desktop very powerful through
    • Re:Gnome Usability (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mickwd ( 196449 ) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @12:06PM (#9794686)
      "how much better might things be if the GNOME and KDE teams were working together instead of separately?"

      Possibly much worse.

      Without users leaving Gnome to use KDE instead, there would be no incentive for Gnome to fix any of their problems, or re-think any of their usability issues.

      Without users leaving KDE to use Gnome instead, there would be no incentive for KDE to tidy up their user interface, or re-think any of their usability issues.

      You said you had issues with Gnome's usability. Imagine how much worse it would be without a choice, or without PROOF that things can be done better. How would you ever get some of Gnome's "we-know-best" developers to acknowledge any of Gnome's weaknesses then ?

      That's not to say every Gnome developer has a "we-know-best" attitude. But some seem determined to re-invent the wheel - and make it square this time (because some newbies just can't get used to wheels that insist on rolling around all over the place).
      • Re:Gnome Usability (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DarkMan ( 32280 )
        You are assuming that Gnome competes only with KDE. I do not think that that holds in all cases.

        Gnome and KDE also get compared to the various Windows GUI's, and OS X. Therefore, thre is a degree of competition between Gnome and those interfaces. Granted, that's slightly different, given that neither runs on Linux, so that's not relevent to all the users of Gnome.

        Still, those drive the Linux UI's forward, along with more obscure UI's. I accept I've not heard many comments that Windows does something b
    • The problem is that development doesn't scale linearly with number of developers. Given the communication difficulties in distributed development, and the number of conflicting personalities you'd get in a larger group, at some point adding developers to the group would decrease productivity.

      At least with two projects, the people in each will be vaguely similar and more likely to get along - those who think the 'KDE way' code for KDE and you avoid wasting time arguing over features with developers who thi
  • i prefer kde (Score:3, Insightful)

    by spacepimp ( 664856 ) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @11:46AM (#9794562) Homepage
    kde, gnome, sun java desktop goneme, how many desktops will there be before one of them becomes truly useful.. or is the linux community not concerned with this?
    • its the shortsightedness of the Developer POV, be it inherent blind bias or intentional...

      It works like this. If you think like a carpenter then you will expect things to work in terms of carpentry. Soooo, if you think like a developer then you will expect things to work in terms of the developer mindset...... which is typically NOT user friendly.

      So Yeah..... alots a matter of hit and miss regarding the getting to a user interface the user is really happy with.

      But this is a dual situation, as technically
    • Re:i prefer kde (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ScottGant ( 642590 )
      They're all usefull...but as with anything, some people like one over the other.

      I prefer Gnome over the others...but that doesn't mean that none of them are un-usefull, they're all usefull and they all work and what I like in a UI isn't what everyone else likes.

    • Re:i prefer kde (Score:4, Insightful)

      by lpontiac ( 173839 ) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @12:09PM (#9794709)
      You are confused in thinking that there's a "Linux community" behind KDE, GNOME and the others.

      Rather, there is a KDE community behind KDE, and a GNOME community behind GNOME. And if for some reason Linux were to stagnate and FreeBSD or the HURD or QNX become a dominant free software platform, they would happily concentrate on KDE and GNOME running on top of that platform.

  • File Types (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 00Monkey ( 264977 ) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @11:46AM (#9794565) Homepage
    Actually, I could care less about such wonderful things as GUI Errors for the moment. I would just love File Types to work properly. Then again... when I add a new File Association, it is kinda fun to keep adding it over and over until I get mad and go watch TV.
    • Re:File Types (Score:3, Interesting)

      by theantix ( 466036 )
      I would just love File Types to work properly.

      Then you will be happy with this [].
      • Re:File Types (Score:3, Insightful)

        by shaitand ( 626655 )
        There is a very simple change that greatly improve the whole experience though. If I double click on a file, and it says there is no associated application. I then choose to associate one and click ok... at this point it drops me back to the desktop.

        This is very odd behavior, I'd expect it to open the file in that application! Otherwise it gives the impression that "it didn't take" and I need to associate again.

        The same if I rick click and choose to open it with an application that isn't in the list yet
    • Re:File Types (Score:3, Informative)

      by Vann_v2 ( 213760 )
      The latest development release of Gnome has the new MIME system, based on the one discussed at This is supposed to put a stop to the idiocy that was the previous file association brou-ha-ha.

      You can read about it here [].
  • by deragon ( 112986 ) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @11:47AM (#9794568) Homepage Journal
    Instead of fighting for one signe UI, Gnome should have two modes: beginner and expert.

    beginner mode would be where Gnome is currently heading. Export mode is where us, the experts would like to see Gnome go. For instance, why not have two types of file selector dialog? The current one, and if in export mode, a new one which allows people to actually type the full path if they want to? No spatial Nautilus when in expert mode.

    Actually, in any of the modes, one should be able to easily configure a feature according to the needs. For instance, maybe a beginner would still like to type a full path, so somewhere (not in gconf only) there should be an option to enable it.

    Out of the box, Gnome should be made for the common user. But we should have options for the power users.
    • But wouldn't that basically just be a fork of the project, having an "expert mode" and a "beginner mode" for everything? Maybe it's better that they just stick to being the expert's version of Linux, and leave the newbies to other distributions.
    • by Nodatadj ( 28279 ) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @11:54AM (#9794616) Journal
      The gnome project tried expert mode.
      There were 3 levels

      It didn't work.

      People had different expectations of what features/options should be in which level, and so in the end, everyone just switched to Expert all the time, so that they could see all the features.
    • by jrockway ( 229604 ) * <> on Sunday July 25, 2004 @11:57AM (#9794638) Homepage Journal
      Press Ctrl+L in the new file selector. Then you have a nice completion-line. Works in Spacial Nautilus, too.

      There is an expert mode. You just have to be an expert to use it :P
    • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @01:56PM (#9795292) Homepage Journal
      There are degrees and types of expertise - it's not a linear order, let alone merely binary. My favorite "recent" Windows innovation was the "don't show this widget again" checkbox. A more flexible and open system like a Linux desktop should go all the way with that kind of flexibility.

      The base widget class should include properties to represent a default value, whether the widget appears at all, and possibly a "shown default and disabled" state. The base widget container class should include a widget for managing the default values and display states of contained widgets. Then the desktop containing all those containers and widgets could have preset collections of widget states, identified as a range of expertises, and a collection of user-configurable setting collections.

      It would be easy to set some apps to more expert states than others. That could be done remotely, or at login, by an administrator. Suites of apps could have "expertise overlays" which set expertise for more options in the GUI when performing operations with different sets of apps. And a learning feature could offer to hide infrequently used widgets in their new default state.
  • by bdigit ( 132070 ) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @11:47AM (#9794569)
    spatial nautilus. of course you can argue it both ways but IMHO and a lot of other people's, it was a step backwards.
  • I'd love to, but.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Wooky_linuxer ( 685371 ) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @11:48AM (#9794578)
    Please change the name first. It reminds me of Windows ME.... I always liked GNOME looks'. It always striked me as the sleekest guy around for (GNU)Linux, but it always suffered from serious technical usability issues, especially when compared with KDE. Nowadays I use Konqueror as my file manager, inside good old Windowmaker. I'd love to see (a fork of?) GNOME reach a level that brings it up to date with KDE in usability issues. So thumbs up to your project. ;)
  • by nonmaskable ( 452595 ) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @11:48AM (#9794581)
    This is that oGalaxy guy, right?

    He's been complaining about GNOME post 1.4 for a long while, mostly on OSNews. I have no idea if the fork will succeed, but at least he's putting his money (time, code, effort) where his mouth has been.
    • I have no idea if the fork will succeed, but at least he's putting his money (time, code, effort) where his mouth has been.

      I guess you mean he's putting his money where his mouth *is*. Your version appears to have unfortunate freudian connotations ;-).
    • not really a fork (Score:3, Interesting)

      by j1m+5n0w ( 749199 )

      He's actually not proposing a fork per se, more like a place to collect patches to the mainline gnome that are unlikely to be accepted into mainline gnome anytime soon.


  • I prefer gnome over the other choices (too many to list) because for the most part, stuff just works. However, I for one wouldn't mind seeing the ability to put different desktop pics on my seperate workspaces. Maybe this functionality is available now...If so, it's not easy to find.
  • by Lysol ( 11150 ) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @11:50AM (#9794590)
    The order of the buttons. I think the GNOME guys were correct in 'mimicing' the Mac button layout. I think their quest to change that portion back is a mistake.

    Otoh, yes, GNOME is bloated and getting rid of the registry concept is a good one. Spatial Nautilus sux as well. Yuk.
    • Choices like that should be made based on usability tests. I understand that scientific usability tests can be quite expensive (a good test for the best button order might cost ~$1700), but it would be well worth the money spent.

      The trouble with open source UI development is that nobody has stepped up and really put their money where their mouth is to fix desktop usability problems that have plagued us for years.

  • by asobala ( 563713 ) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @11:50AM (#9794596) Homepage
    Of course, most of the people in the IRC channel are core GNOME hackers who think this is really quite funny.
  • I know I personally patch GNOME often, since I hate various little things. I really hate the new file dialogs, but I haven't had time yet with work and school to rewrite those. I've redone metacity, xemacs-gnome, etc before. The main problem is people like Havoc, who control a lot of the process only want one way. Should I really have to add my own edge flipping to a window manager when they could just make it an option to disable it? I think we should have kept sawfish, since it's still superior to
  • by jrockway ( 229604 ) * <> on Sunday July 25, 2004 @11:55AM (#9794620) Homepage Journal
    After reading this guy's site, he basically seems to want a cluttered interface. Lots of options, lots of what he's used to. GNOME is about simplicity and clean-ness, as well as trying out new UI paradigms. Spacial browsing is much better after you get used to it. But he wants it to be like Windows. GNOME is not a Windows clone.

    Maybe he should try KDE instead? That does everything he wants, and has tons of configurable options. I think you can modify the Earth's rotation speed in the KDE Control Center.

    That said, I'm sticking to GNOME. It's very simple and clean, and doesn't get in my way. I really love GNOME 2.6 (actually I'm an XFCE user but decided to try it out today... it's niiiice).
    • Maybe he should try KDE instead?

      Indeed. Almost all of the whining regarding Gnome could generally be rendered moot by just switching to KDE. Gnome has a clearly stated direction, and people who disagree with it (I do, but mostly because I use the pathetic 1024x768 resolution while Gnome seems to target higher with their gigantic toolbars) can as well keep on using KDE.

      Gnome has a multi-year strategy, which compromises some functionality today but will pay off with time. Meanwhile, just use KDE. Users don
  • by Wumpus ( 9548 ) <IAmWumpus@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Sunday July 25, 2004 @11:56AM (#9794626)
    I just finished reading the rant/mission statement on the project's home page. This looks like some guy is unhappy because GNOME doesn't quite fit his vision of what a Real Man's Unix Desktop should be, and he's ready to mobilize the entire FOSS community to 'fix' things. He seems to take some of the UI choices in GNOME really personally, too.

    I'm willing to give this effort a year just to see whether the rhetoric is backed by any ability.
    • by crivens ( 112213 ) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @12:12PM (#9794735)
      I give him 2 months before the project dies. I think he is just a user ranting, and I saw nothing to convince me that anything useful will be done.
    • Ali Akcaagac is well known for long rants and flames, but not much for contributions. Although it must be noted that he can develop and has contributed to GNOME. However, because he is very unhappy that GNOME does not go in the way he wants, he has unsubscribed from all GNOME mailing lists and now publishes long rants about how everything is wrong, and announces a fork. The "mission statement" itself is offensive, as most of his posts on mailing lists. Talk about community.

      Just ignore them, save your time
      • Part of growing up is realizing two things: One, yours opinions do matter and you should be willing to do something about them, and two, that the opinions of the other six billion people on the planet also matter and sometimes things won't go your way.

        Some people only figure out one or the other (yes, there are people who only figure out the second one; you don't hear about them as much as the first), but both are important. This guy seems to have only gotten the first one.

        Another example of such a perso
    • by arvindn ( 542080 ) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @12:35PM (#9794871) Homepage Journal
      Sorry to see this troll has gotten on the /. front page. This guy is a spammer, he has spammed various open source forums for a long time with his rants (remember "gnome armageddon")?

      Here's what I posted a while back about this in my livejournal []:

      Finally, one of the (vocal minority of) whining lusers who complain about GNOME in every message board and mailing list in existence has decided to get off his ass and do something about it. The result is "

      project GoneME []", which hopes to eventually fork GNOME. Currently all that there is is a patch that reverses the button order, which the author calls "fixing" the button order.

      While the decision to do something other than whining is a laudable one, I don't think much will come of this project because the author displays the same ignorance that characterizes all the other complainers. For instance, he thinks there's little difference between gconf and the windows registry, even though gnome devs have repeatedly explained why that's not the case in a manner even a 12 year old can understand. He also makes the moronic assertion that gconf XML files are "unreadable". They are in fact more readable than old-school plain text config files because they are in a standard format and because each key reports its type. The author doesn't seem to have an open-minded attitude towards programming either. "I for my own never ever used Python and I don't plan to learn or use Python in the future". I think the author believes in writing everything in C for speed. I wonder for how many more years such opinions will continue to persist?

      Update: Since I posted this entry he has posted some more ideas on the site.

      "Actually I do like GNOME because of the fact that it is written in C (and therefore fits in the UNIX world)".

      That confirms what I surmised earlier. But I'm ROTFLMAO at the "fits the UNIX world" comment. Writing everything in C was the UNIX philosophy back in the 80s when the rest of the world was still stuck with assembly. For quite a long time now the UNIX philosophy has been to not write everything in C. The UNIX way is in fact to choose the most high level language that makes sense for the given task. See what ESR's The Art of Unix Programming has to say on the subject of programming languages [].

      While I agree with [] elephantum [] and [] eightpixelshigh [] that this project will die, I think that won't happen very soon. My prognosis is as follows:

      Everything is going to be hunky dory as long as it is a set of patches to GNOME. They'll revert the button order and remove spatial nautilus and generally undo whatever usability improvements have happened over the last two years. There are quite a few people who will greatly applaud these changes, who think of themselves as "advanced UNIX users" and whom I call "desktop masochists". They want their desktop to be a way to show off their geekiness, and nothing more. They live under the illusion that it makes them "more efficient". (I know a couple such guys in my lab. I will be recommending gomeME to them ;-)

      The problem for GoneME will start when they actually decide to fork GNOME. Due to their doing everything in C and in general avoiding any technology invented within the last decade because it is "bloat", GNOME will pull far ahead of them the moment they no longer inherit GNOME code changes. But that'd be the least of their worries. They'll be big on "listening to their users", and everyone will want to do thi

  • by Mprx ( 82435 ) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @11:59AM (#9794651)
    The GNOME button order is very sensible for left to right languages (if it's not automatically reversed for right to left it should be). The "ok" type default option is on the far right, which is the point where you eyes will naturally rest when looking at the row of buttons. This is the most commonly used option so it makes sense that it is accessable with the least mental effort. The "cancel" type option is always on the far left, which means you have have to actively move your eyes/mouse from the "rest" position, preventing accidently cancellation. This is consistent within all HIG [] compliant apps, so I don't have to think much when using buttons.

    Reverting the button order just because inferior systems do it differently is a very bad idea.

    • by stuntpope ( 19736 ) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @01:19PM (#9795099)
      I've read much discussion about the button order in GNOME and although I really don't care which way they do it, I have to disagree with people who say that the eye will naturally fall to the right-hand option, and so that option should be the default choice (such as "OK"). Not only do you take this line, but you also say it's sensible for left-to-right languages. The left-to-right argument is usually advanced by those preferring the opposite order of "OK", "Cancel", instead of "Cancel", "OK". Ask yourself this: in a printed page of survey questions, aren't options usually presented as "Yes" "No" "Maybe"? That is, as your eye scans left-to-right, the positive option is the first you encounter. Who scans down the right edge of a page looking for their choices? The default-on-right UI seems equivalent to a survey offering its options as "No" "Maybe" "Yes". Doesn't seem natural to me, as an English reader. And to claim that people who disagree with GNOME's button order choice do so because they're used to (inferior) MS Windows is unfair and a cheap way to discredit their arguments.
    • And it's another cognitive burden for a someone who already knows how to use Windows, which is almost everybody. If this were 1983 and users were blank slates, maybe GNOME's button order would be better (I really don't think it would matter much, if at all), but it's 2004 and every weird little change away from what normal people (windows users) are used to makes it harder for them to switch.
  • I'm glad somebody else really cares about linux desktop usability, but this is too little, too late, IMO. We should have had a better solution than Mac's Aqua/Quartz open on linux long ago... all with a consistent user experience. Friendly defaults for newbies, but simple option settings for power users.

    We should be innovating. We're several years behind on the desktop now and playing catch-up. I think most of the communitiy is apathetic.

    Still dreaming of the day...

    Note to geeks: Design Matters.

    • Great! Start coding! Stop talking about how other people should innovate and take that responsibility upon yourself. Stop talking how people are apathetic and start doing something other than sitting around complaining about how people sit around and complain.

      You seem to like making music, (your homepage, I assume it's yours?) so do that for an open-source project, or use that creativity that allows you to create music to help in an OSS project somewhere.
  • It's ironic that making the button order a preference is something the GTK+ developers want because GTK+ has a win32 backend. See

    The bug has been open for ages. If somebody would actually come up with the simple patch needed, people could have a gconf preference for the button order.

    It makes absolutely *no* sense to fork GNOME for this reason.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 25, 2004 @12:17PM (#9794763)
    Well, first of all, Gnome is unusable junk. It's so slow (with "Nautilus") on my Linux machine that it's not even worth trying to use it. KDE is no better, so I continue to use fvwm 1.0 for the 11th consecutive year. Fast, stable, makes sense to my parents.

    I'll probably get modded down for suggesting it, but the model for a usable desktop should be Mac OS X. Ignore Windows, KDE, and the current Gnome/Nautilus. OS X makes them all look shabby and thoughtlessly designed.

    In some respects, the question of a usable desktop is pointless when someone un-technical, like my mom for example, can sit down at a Macintosh and figure out how to do everything she wants to do without reading any documentation--digital photos, movies, music, email. The desktop may be great, but the OS and its associated user-space programs *must* achieve this sort of ease-of-use if they're ever to be taken seriously by Joe Desktop.
  • The Gconf/Windows registry comparison is wrong. The only thing is that it contains configuration data stored in one frontend. This interview [] with Havoc Pennington might clear up some of the misunderstandings.

    I'd recommend everyone who wants to be a part of the UI debate to read the Gnome HIG before talking - that too contains information about both how and _why_ Gnome looks and acts like it does.

    I saw someone suggesting an expert mode. It has been tried, and it doesn't work. But why should we have it? The only thing it leads to is more confusion. And, there are tools in Gnome that are very powerful, yet very simplistic. Look at it this way: Most often, it's not the tool, it's the user. Having more features won't make the user more powerful. It will make the average user less powerful and confused, whereas the power user will have no problem using the simple interface. I consider myself a power user, and I've been using Gnome since 2.0. In every part of my life, as a programmer, student, musician, whatever - I prefer simplicity to advancedness. Because something simple created to perfection will always be better than something advanced. This is what Gnome gives me now - Simplicity and concistency.

    This new project surprises me a little bit. It's not because it's a good thing, but because I'm amazed that this man actually has the opportunity to gain support anywhere. I always try to be objective and understandable, but in this case it's not possible: Ali, or oGALAXYo, tends to troll around on osnews, and formerly the mailing lists, accusing people, and generally being angry, and when people tell him to stop he replies with yet more accusations of how people attack him. He's kinda like Dave on Paradise Hotel (Yeah, I've seen it a couple of times).

    I have absolutely no faith in that Project GoneME will do anything successful for the Desktop users. Especially when led by a man who in one post love a part of gnome, then two days later hate it - or suddenly hates Gnome as a whole and loves KDE. Then, all of a sudden, KDE is the wrong part. I'd love to see a roadmap for this project. And I'd love to see it change every day.

    First of all, it complains massively about simple things as button orders, things that users don't notice on any other plan than an intuitive one - and he says things about f.i. esound (yes, it needs to be replaced) that are just cluttered with ignorance - a sound daemon has its use, ask any distributor.

    Oh, and Gnome has a bugzilla []. That's the place to tell anyone if you've found a bug or feature missing.

    To end this post, I'd just like to say that I'm not a Gnome official in any way. I do support and participate in the community, but many people seem to think that everyone talking about Gnome positively belong to the Gnome set of developers, and often end up talking negatively about Gnome because of things that _are not part of Gnome at all_.
    • Because something simple created to perfection will always be better than something advanced.

      This is the fundamental, and as far as I can see, baseless argument made by too many GNOME fanatics and UI designers.

      So what you are saying is:

      perfect abacus > perfect quantum computer

      or maybe:

      perfect quill pen > perfect ball-point pen

      Or is that not what you're saying? Can one of you "simplicity always rules, even if necessary benefits have to be excised" people for once actually provide a rationale
    • by Laxitive ( 10360 ) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @01:09PM (#9795062) Journal
      Sure, computers are tools. But I think that statement isn't really that revealing.

      My desktop is not a fucking hammer. It's not simple. The things I do with it are not simple. I stare at it for 8 hours a day at work, and several more hours after I get home. I do a million disparate, discrete things with it.

      So a better analogy for it would be my ENVIRONMENT. Much like my house and my room within my house, is an environment. Now, if someone were to come in and tell me that "yeah, your room should be a cube, because it's 'simple'. And oh yeah, you can't put a fan _there_, it doesn't make sense. And you have to put your CDs _there_, because that's the most aesthetically pleasing, and your monitor goes _here_ and your desk goes _here_", I would tell them to fuck off.

      I'll use strong words to try to relate how emphatic I am about this point: FUCK THE AVERAGE USER. I'm the one that has to use my computer 12 hours a day, NOT the average user. And if a desktop environment is going to make it a pain in the ass for me to get it to work the way I want it, then I'll use something else. Simple as that.

      I really don't give a shit what you, or the gnome developers, or the waitress at Wendys, thinks the 'average user' can handle, or what is 'aesthetically pleasing'.. as LONG as it doesn't interfere with MY ideas on what is appropriate. If it does, then I'll pack my bags and leave.

      It's sheer arrogance for someone to suggest that I don't know how best to arrange my environment.. even worse for my aesthetic tastes to be usurped in the name of an almost-mythical "average user" that the GNOME developers claim to understand intimately.

    • The Gconf/Windows registry comparison is wrong. The only thing is that it contains configuration data stored in one frontend.

      If gnome configuration is so simple, you could just download the GoneME theme and have the buttons, menus etc in that order. Sadly, it was not designed that way - files scattered throughout make up an XML database that can only be edited by the now usable gnome front end that looks a bit like an obfiscated MSWindows registry (only you have one per user - haven't discovered multiuser

  • A better name... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by polyp2000 ( 444682 ) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @12:20PM (#9794780) Homepage Journal
    Surely if these folks are wanting to evolve gnome into something else. A more appropriate and funkier sounding name would be "GeGnome" (pron. genome)

    Nick ...
  • by steveha ( 103154 ) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @12:33PM (#9794852) Homepage
    Less rantish, and I agree with everything he says here. ml []

    Oh, he also talks about GoneME. He has a very low opinion of it. l []

  • by dekeji ( 784080 ) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @12:39PM (#9794896)
    I think what all these UI efforts and all this discussion in the Linux community show is that people realize that with OSS, they can actually make a difference. And it also shows that there are many different preferences and needs when it comes to UI.

    The biggest problem is the language people use to talk about these sorts of projects. Talking about "GoneME fixing perceived Gnome UI errors" is a good start. But the GoneME developers themselves should be aware that they are just developing something different for a different community, and that they aren't necessarily "fixing UI errors". I mean, the Gnome 2.6 developers aren't stupid, and they didn't set out to create a system with "UI errors" (personally, I think spatial Nautilus is a slight improvement).

    With Windows or Macintosh, you get whatever Microsoft or Apple tell you is best: you can buy it or you can leave it. Complaining about usability problems with those systems is useless--the companies aren't going to listen anyway.
  • just like Apple... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dekeji ( 784080 ) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @12:44PM (#9794922)
    Here [] is what people like Raskin and Hertzfeld had to say about OS X when it came out in 2001:
    All of the panelists agreed that Mac OS X looks beautiful, but most have misgivings about the new user interface (UI), lack of documentation and the completeness of its implementation. [...] "The internal improvements of Mac OS X are long overdue, but the UI, well, yuk," said Raskin. "Apple has ignored for years all that has been learned about developing UIs. It's unprofessional, incompetent, and it's hurting users." Hertzfeld was less down on the UI, offering a mixed bag of what he liked and disliked about the new OS.

    The sooner people realize that there is no single "best" user interface and that all UIs still have lots of problems, the better for everybody. Furthermore, anything that you change about a UI is going to make some people unhappy. The good thing with Linux, X11, and its choice of UIs is that UIs really are in competition.
  • by aussersterne ( 212916 ) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @01:09PM (#9795059) Homepage
    I wrote a review for a now defunct publication way back when GNOME 1.0 was first released. Comparing it to KDE at the time, my review said that it would have been a toss-up if GNOME 1.0 hadn't been so unstable. Anyone who remembers GNOME 1.0 will remember just what a crash-happy bugger it was.

    I liked it a lot at the time, however, and I faithfully stuck with it (over KDE) for several months.

    If GNOME had stayed on essentially the same track, adding only polish, features, unity and stability, I'd still be using GNOME today.

    Instead, each new release of GNOME has taken away or changed more of the things I used/liked about it (read any Slashdot story, including this one, for a users' lists of grievances) and sometime during KDE 2.x, I went back to KDE. I've continued to track GNOME releases (I've got a fresh Fedora Core 2 install right now, so I've had a chance to test the most recent distributed GNOME desktops) but GNOME continues to travel farther and farther away from where I want my desktop to be.

    Meanwhile, KDE has continued to steadily improve and with each new KDE release, I find myself happier and happier with my desktop.

    It's a shame, but at least for some audiences (myself being a part of them), the height of GNOME's usability and coolness was probably the crash-happy GNOME 1.0. Instead of fixing the stability and polish problems and making it a nice desktop, the developers have gradually turned it into a less and less usable environment, an environment that I always feel is talking down to me while it tries to keep me in a kind of straitjacket.
    • You prefer KDE's direction? Fine, use KDE. However, other people don't like it, and prefer GNOME instead. Isn't that the whole point of having choice? What you call "steady improvements", others call bloat.
  • by treat ( 84622 ) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @01:46PM (#9795230)
    Gnome has been going downhill ever since the switch from Sawfish to Metacity. I know that sawfish has certain 'issues', but this is hardly an excuse to switch to an alternative that is missing most of the features.

    Somewhere the Gnome people got the idea that usability and configurability was a negative and their best bet was to make an unconfigurable unusable interface.

  • All kind of ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pecisk ( 688001 ) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @02:05PM (#9795351)
    *flame mode*
    Oh, I don't like it, and I don't like it, oh, and it is broken because of Spatial mode which I can't get to ...
    */flame mode*

    Ok, first of all, about fork - I don't get a news. This guy gets too much attention, it is not worth that for even himself. If he will get anything done, then we can welcome him as proven his point. Until then, he is simply... a flamer.

    BUT let's look at the problem from other side - fact one, there are many (however, we can't count how much percent of GNOME user base) people who doesn't like the way GNOME drives away from childishly old UNIX style of thinking (in GUI case, not in overall) and thinks that all this HIG thinky is stupid and so on and so on. fact two, many people simply dislike GNOME because of serious companies backing it - and guess what, again it is partly of HIG and simpliness/coolness GNOME provides. It's all against everything geeky, in their opinion.

    So there is very practical solution - write a Control Center-like superb GNOME tweaking program for expert mode!

    Or there is second, emotional solution - prove your point maybe with providing details and all info for another Usability Guide. Prove your point that buttons should be in that order you have used to use, not how current HIG suggests. HIG doesn't have to be perfect, so if you have something really to add, then do it. Don't rant.

    p.s. While I wrote this post I read that someone compared Windows Registry with GConf. Sights, if they have EVER used it, then they won't be talkin bullshit. GConf rocks, I would really love that many programms of GNOME would use it. It is easy to hack, easy to use, easy to change from ssh session for client, easy to make lot of kickstart options for bunch of users. It's all very simple and useful XML conf structure, nothing of big fat one file Windows registry.

    p.s.s. rembember, there are ranters and flamers in all kind of camps - GNOME, KDE, Linux, BSD, Windows, Apple, whatever. I don't hate those people, however, I hate the whole process. It's all useless.
  • Design Issues (Score:4, Interesting)

    by XeRXeS-TCN ( 788834 ) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @02:23PM (#9795449)

    I think that there's a few issues that means that free desktops need to play "catch up" with the likes of Windows.

    When a free software project starts, *GENERALLY* (not all the time) the coders are writing the code because they want/need it. They aren't coding with users in mind, they're coding something that they want and think might be useful. So the project is designed for a skilled computer user, and if usability comes after that as a result of enough requests, it is already "playing second fiddle". The reason that a certain usability feature doesn't get into the code might (but of course not always) be simply because the coder uses the desktop system, and considers the addition to over-simplify the system to the point of almost being patronising (There are many examples where Windows can be considered extremely patronising to a "power user").

    Speaking of being patronising, there is also a notable point in regards to the attitude of many geeks/hackers. As the "Portrait of J. Random Hacker" [] says in the "Weaknesses of the Hacker Personality" section:

    Hackers have relatively little ability to identify emotionally with other people. This may be because hackers generally aren't much like 'other people'. Unsurprisingly, hackers also tend towards self-absorption, intellectual arrogance, and impatience with people and tasks perceived to be wasting their time.
    (Emphasis Added)

    That, and the brief mention of "Stupid People" in the section entitled "Things Hackers Detest and Avoid" is also part of the problem. Hackers/coders tend to react very badly to timewasting tasks and stupidity, so when an inexperienced user has a problem with a current system, they tend to receive ridicule and/or abuse, rather than their concerns being taken on board. This doesn't happen in every case of course, but the most common answer to a technical question is "RTFM". It's ultimately hard to really take what inexperienced users need on board when you just consider them to be stupid for not being able to use your current system.

    Another thing is really the power of the (normally Bash) shell. A lot of *nix users are people who grew up on the system before GUIs really became popular, and they have got so used to a command line system that they often shun the very idea of a GUI system. When you're so comfortable with a shell window where you can do just about anything you need to, there's less of a focus on usability of a desktop system. Provided you have a basic file browser, which is usable and functional, there's a danger of not fully developing the file browser, on the strength of the fact that you can get to where you want to go much more quickly with cd /home/blah or similar at the shell. With Windows, the command line is so utterly piss-poor by comparison (yes you can get 3rd party Unix command line apps, but on it's own, it sucks), you're basically forced to use GUI systems for just about everything.

    There's also a bit of a Catch 22 situation about it. Unless you get more inexperienced users on the system, you won't get more design suggestions from the usability viewpoint. But if you don't make the system more usable, you won't get more inexperienced users.

    So what to do if you don't have your own basic user focus groups like Microsoft? Well, you use some of the resarch that they have done. While UI designers have been accused many times of making desktop environments too much like Windows, at the end of the day, that is what people are used to. If you want to move a user from Windows to *nix, they will have a much better experience if they are sitting infront of a system which is similar enough to their previous system that they can find their way around with little assistance. I know that many people try to set themselves apart from Windows users (although there is a large degree of elitism about that) but at the end of the day, Microsoft have been de

  • by msimm ( 580077 ) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @03:26PM (#9795768) Homepage
    KDE is close with [] but I'd really like to see a DE pull it all together and create a dynamic user/developer environment.

    Ratings (good for both artist/developers *and* users)
    Pictures! (eyecandish interface and background picutres! you want to attract artists and excite users!)
    Oh, and no patronizing, but it sound like you got that part already!
  • by Dr.Dubious DDQ ( 11968 ) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @03:36PM (#9795812) Homepage

    I'm definitely in a minority here, but my biggest complaint about Gnome is the way the source code is distributed.

    I've developed a perverse habit of wanting to compile large portions of my system from scratch. Gnome is a nigh-incomprehensible mass of interdependencies and it's a mess trying to figure out what the minimum set of packages is that I need for a particular package.

    There IS a mistaken impression that KDE is simpler in this regard because it has "fewer" libraries, but I don't think that's true - it's just that most of the necessary libraries are collected into a much smaller set of source trees. The Gnome equivalent of QT (a single source download) is "Glib and GTK [and Pango and ATK?]". Gnome requires "Orbit" and "Gnomelibs" and "Gnomeui" and "libidl" and "gnomeprint" and "gnomeprintui" and "bonobo" and "bonoboui" and "gconf" and "gconf-editor" and "gtkhtml" and "gnomecanvas" and....probably a dozen others that I've forgotten - and if you want to compile them up "by hand" (which I often do, glutton-for-punishment that I am) you waste half of your time trying to figure out which order you need to compile them in because the interdependencies aren't obvious.

    It appears that most or all of the discussion of Gnome improvements has to do with user-interface issues, though, so I don't think anyone on the Gnome side feels this is an issue.

    As far as I can tell, KDE actually DOES have equivalent individual libraries to all of these...but all or nearly all of them are part of the combined "kdelibs" source package. I think this kind of coordination is why KDE is often perceived to be more cleanly "integrated" than Gnome (whether it really is or not).

    I wouldn't care except that some of the individual Gnome applications really do seem to be really nice. There doesn't appear to be anything remotely approaching GnomeMeeting for KDE, for example...

    • Personally, I like the split of GLib and GTK, but this is more from a coders point of view. For console, library or server stuff, GLib is a small useful (ubiquitous?) library that can be used without the GUI bloat of GTK. ATK and Pango have only since the 2.x versions of GTK+ been included and were external projects before, so some programs still use Pango while not using GTK+. The GNOME libraries themselves are a total mess, I'll give you that though.

      Having the GTK libraries separate from eachother makes
  • Hasn't he heard of (Score:3, Insightful)

    by beakburke ( 550627 ) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @03:41PM (#9795838) Homepage
    XFCE. Seriously, if he's all anti-bloat and whatnot and is all up in arms about GCONF and lauguages other than C, then he should go use XFCE.
  • by AvantLegion ( 595806 ) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @05:26PM (#9796330) Journal
    GNOME: User shouts "hand me a gun!"
    The user is handed a really sweet gun, but the clip is half-empty, and the gun is jammed.

    KDE: User shouts "hand me a gun!"
    13,000 different guns fall from the sky onto the user's head, crushing him to death instantly.

BLISS is ignorance.