Re: Mummy, I made a platform in my pants! [Was: focus!]

Jeff Waugh wrote:

A fucking amazing platform isn't an accident, and we need a fucking amazing
platform to bring more developers to GNOME - both internal developers and
external developers. One of our *crucial* audiences must be  FLOSS hackers
and ISDs. If we don't satisfy them, we can't build our own momentum for
building this amazing software stack, and we can't build an ecosystem with
opportunities for everyone else.

I agree with you for volunteer developers; a simple, nice platform is pretty important.

For commercial developers, in my experience they usually ignore whether the API is pretty or pleasant... developers will come because there are users.

Platforms I've learned in the last 9 months:
 - HTML/JavaScript
 - Flash/ActionScript
 - Java/EJB3
 - C++/COM/Win32

These are some of the most successful platforms around. They are mostly pretty bad in various ways; in many ways GNOME/Linux is better, in some ways it's worse.

But the fact is that even though IE/HTML/JavaScript and Win32/C++/COM compete as two of the most irritating platforms I can imagine, commercial developers write for them anyway.

That's because userbase trumps API aesthetics, and the fastest way to platform success is to have a lot of users.

To me the GNOME platform is pretty good in terms of API offered.

The largest "API" problems have to do with proprietary software; RPM and dpkg are not designed for third-party software, and the diversity of Linux distributions makes it even harder. The whole Linux ecosystem is set up assuming a single giant pool of built-from-source packages. Which has many advantages, but easiness for ISVs is not one of them.

Still though I'd say number of users is a bigger issue than anything like this.

We can, and should, do both. :-)

I don't disagree, but I think the natural emphasis of a big horde of programmers (including myself) is to think 95% of the time about how to improve the platform to make their own lives nicer, and 5% of the time about the actual point of the software for some audience, so when deciding what to cheerlead I'd tend to avoid the "go platform!" point of view. ;-)

Certainly GNOME tends to be badly skewed toward the platform side of things. I prefer working on APIs to working on UIs myself, I have to admit.


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