Re: Sorry State [Was: NLD10 and GNOME]

Hi all,

My god, I am a little surprised at the discussion that has resulted
from a small comparison I made on my blog. :P I want to be entirely
clear in my opinion here - I was not criticising Novell for these
changes, just making the comparison.

In terms of the 'design behind closed doors', I think its a really
tough one to quantify and draw an opinion from. Sure, in a perfect
world, everything would be developed up front, in public and be
subject to full public discussion and commentary. I think for day to
day GNOME work and development - work that does not mean fundamental
changes to the user interface philosophy and direction of GNOME, this
is pragmatic and workable solution.

For fundamental changes to GNOME infrastructure or interface, the
problem runs a little deeper, and I can identify with the bike shed
analogy.  I think the problem is that to really push forward and make
fundamental innovative decisions, it requires someone to step up and
make a solid stand. The problem of course is that in a large
distributed project such as GNOME, few people want to step up and make
such a stand and risk treading on so many toes.

I think this is becoming an increasing problem for GNOME. As many of
you will know, I used to be heavily involved in the KDE project, and I
defected over to GNOME because I thought that the GNOME community (a)
had a finer understanding and appreciation of usability and (b) the
community had the balls to stand up and make decisions. In recent
months there seems to be some fragmentation in the community and
little spats like this really don't help. As I blogged about last
night (, it seems
there is a cyclical wave of community confidence and ability that
moves between KDE and GNOME - and this is most certainly derived from
the social scenario of developing software within a public community,
and the competition and opinions that that infers.

So in summary, I can identify with both sides - I can sympathise with
developing going on behind closed doors to at least get *a* solution
up and running without it turning into a talking shop, but I can also
understand Jeff's concern that such things are not really under the
kind of 'community' banner that we would all like it to be. Its just a
same we have such 'sides'.

The concern I have is that unless some of these problems are resolved,
Topaz is only going to be a pipe dream - a pipe dream that no-one
wants to stand up and kick off due to fear that anyone standing up and
making a decision will involve a community backlash. With fundmental
changes like ones discussed in Topaz, we really need a decision to be
made at some point. I would be happy to stand up and propose
JonoGNOME, but I suspect you would all laugh at me and poke me with a
stick. :P



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