Re: focus! (was Re: Focusing on innovation re: mono, python et al)

BJörn Lindqvist wrote:
  - historical UNIX workstation users who want something similar but not
  - technology fans who want a set of apps they can mess with and
heavily customize
  - thin client / computer lab deployments who want something with good
manageability / security and low cost (the low cost especially for
  - server administrators who want to pack a lot of ssh sessions onto
the screen, use some web-based admin consoles, and occasionally waste
some time doing non-work stuff
  - ...

  - ... ? (try to be as specific as the above)

Look at Windows. All this talk about the "target audience" scares the
hell out of me. Because if is decided that the target audience is the
white collar office worker (or some other stereotype I don't belong
to) it means that GNOME wont benefit me anymore.

1) The point is to explicitly list you, and whoever else, and then (instead of talking vaguely about "the user" and doing crap neither one of you likes) make sure the GNOME project offers something for both.

Now, I don't _personally_ believe that something truly suitable for many mainstream audiences could be _exactly_ the same codebase as something that works well for GNOME's current audiences. GNOME 2 (in a vague, ill-informed, we-were-all-much-younger kind of way) tried to dump the current audiences for future audiences, but was both too radical for current and not nearly radical enough for future. So, let's not do that again.

It's been corrected now; GNOME desktop subproject has been soundly moved back to the current audiences I described, more or less, and is (IMHO) not moving very quickly or effectively toward mainstream audiences - except for the potential in the rich ecosystem of stuff _outside_ the desktop release proper.

My personal belief is that the "desktop release" should stay focused about where it is (but retitled so people more clearly understand that) and new directions found for other audiences.

2) Sounds like you're taking "the desktop" as the only goal. I agree there's an existing category of software "the desktop" and people who know they want it know about what they want from it, and there's no need to get fancy.

There's much benefit to understanding the current audiences for the GNOME desktop subproject, in order to serve them better. I also think it would be valuable to think honestly about which other audiences _need_ or _want_ an alternative desktop.

But for audiences who aren't looking for an alternative desktop and have no reason to, I see no reason to go looking for nails for an existing hammer. Build a wrench instead of a hammer.

3) In other words, actually try to do my "Future" exercise in a way that's parallel to the list I offered for "Current" - IOW, in a way that lists the _benefits_ of a _desktop_ (not _part_ of a desktop such as an app - what's the benefit to making people _switch their whole OS_).

It's very hard to do if you keep this constraint that the Future items all have to offer a nail suitable for the desktop hammer.

But give that up and be willing to build a wrench instead, and your Future list will quickly be a mile long. That's how open source has to be thinking to succeed.

4) In other words, GNOME is not offering benefits to a vacuum. It's offering benefits _vs what people already have, including Windows_. If Microsoft is really designing "for everyone" as you say, then that's their weakness and where many of their competitors (Apple, Google, Blackberry) have made the strongest inroads.

5) As a minor side point, Windows may end up being useful for everyone, but I feel their (conscious or not) design center is something like "enterprise IT staff supporting users of MS Office" - they often shaft their other audiences to serve that one, and it's some huge majority of their revenues.

In fact, the current audiences of GNOME (I would say) are people who have been shafted by this Microsoft focus, and more tightly focused on by the GNOME project. Which should be a lesson to us.


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