Re: 2.4 Module List and Rationale (aka GEP10 and 11)

On Thu, Mar 20, 2003 at 11:20:26PM +0000, Steve George wrote:
> I'm unclear on why GNOME developers don't get to vote on what
> applications should be in the Desktop?
> Surely that was one of the points of the GNOME Foundation which developers get
> to vote in.  The release team for all it's good work is fall less democratic.
> Why couldn't a list of potential applications for entry be put up and
> foundation members vote on them.  I don't see why the release team
> members have a view of any more significance than other developers? 
> Assisting developer to have a stronger connection with the direction of the
> platform seems like a worthwhile goal to me. 

I cannot believe I am writing this, but...

The main problem with this is exactly the audience you would have
voting: developers (including documenters, translators, etc). Since the
"GNOME Desktop", whatever that means, is targeted at a user base that is
not the developers; the definition of who it targets varies slightly
depending on who you talk to, but "somebody moving across from Windows"
may not be far wrong. That user base does not get a foot in the door of
the GNOME Foundation.

So any "voting" audience would need to completely put aside their own
wishes and get into the mindset of the targeted users and vote in that
sense. I, for one, would find that extremely difficult and I suspect I
am not alone here.

At the end of the day, somebody (or a group of somebodies) have to make
a decision. That lot has fallen to the release team, since coordinating
the release is really their one true purpose. I agree that the slightly
undemocratic nature of that group is of some concern and that when some
of the more vocal release team members speak, it is unavoidable that
people look at their comments as representative of current thinking
(since it's about the only insight we get into that). However, that is
why we get posts like Luis': it shows some of the ideas that are going
around and invites open debate on the various lists. On the whole, the
release team do a pretty good job at evaluating peoples' wishes and
balancing that against their end goal.

All that being said, a lot of these decisions about "what goes into the
desktop" are pretty irrelevant. The only benefit of being in the
desktop (albeit a large one) is the increased publicity (along with the
increased pressure to get it right). In the web browser case, for
example, if Epiphany gets the nod, then there is no reason that people
won't be able to use Mozilla or Galeon or 'gnome-terminal -x links'.
Similarly, omitting GNOME meeeting (or whatever it's called) from your
installation is not going to cause GNOME to stop working.

In general, people are not insane: those working on the "desktop
release" are targeting one particular group of people. It is fairly well
understand that developers and highly technical users are not in that
group of people, by and large, but some of the benefits implemented for
the target audience turn out to be beneficial to a wider group. At the
same time, they are going to some lengths _not_ to rule out other
solutions for people with different wishes; however, the release team
(and people working on the desktop release) are not putting in the work
to create the alternative solutions -- they are just keeping the
framework open enough.

Don't get too hung up on what becomes the desktop release. Just make
sure that the alternative applications keep getting publicity (which
includes being justifiably critical when people poo-poo an app just
because it's not in the "official ball of wax" release) and things will
work out fine for everybody.


The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

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