Re: Baobab

<quote who="Emmanuele Bassi">

> Neither saying that having a tool that shows how much of your disk your
> files are taking up belongs to a "power tools" suite makes a lot of sense,
> given that on Linux you have had the same tool installed as part of your
> basic set of commands since 1995 or something like that.

Considering Baobab's approach, and the problem it solves for users, I think
it is entirely reasonable to suggest that it is a 'power tool'.

> We are talking about functionality.  Baobab provides a simple
> functionality that it's lacking from the GNOME suite of programs; it's
> nice saying that the functionality should be provided by Nautilus, but
> Nautilus does not provide it in any form - unless you right click on every
> folder and select "Properties".

So rather than integrating Baobab immediately and not thinking critically
about how we can solve this problem for users in a more immediate and
accessible fashion, we should actually do that thinking. This is a slippery
slope that we chose not to follow when we changed focus in the lead up to
GNOME 2.0. We *could* ship thousands of little utilities that did particular
things in highly unintegrated ways, but we don't do that anymore. I hate to
compare this unfavourably to KDE, but I think their continuing mistakes show
how much better our approach is - KDE has 'kflickr' and 'ktimer' and things
like that - GNOME has a more integrated approach at the interface side. We
generally think about delivering a complete, integrated user experience like
f-spot rather than a set of random one-shot tools.

I *definitely* think Baobab is a cool tool. But I don't see why it should be
(or needs to be) on every user's desktop. None of your arguments addresses
this point, nor do they address the user experience question. Is Baobab the
right general case user experience that makes sense for users? Does it solve
the problems they find? What are users trying to do that would result in
wanting the Baobab user experience (note that this question is *entirely*
backwards and wrong-headed).

I have often used the phrase 'greatest commmon factor' to describe the kinds
of things we ought to ship in the Desktop suite. It means shipping things
that are going to be appropriate for most of the different kinds of users
who use GNOME. How does Baobab fit in with that? What is the user goal that
we are trying to solve by including Baobab, and how can we solve those user
goals more directly? What are our users trying to achieve?

These are the questions we need to answer, and we need good answers to those
(even if coming up with them is harder) rather than jamming stuff in willy
nilly. That was pre-2.x thinking, and we've grown up a lot since then.

> It makes more sense than having a system log viewer - but hey, we have had
> that for every release of GNOME 2.x.

I fully agree that log-viewer is an odd choice for inclusion (but it's
mostly a historical artifact).

> Baobab it's smaller than GFloppy (sources and pixmaps included), and we
> still ship that useless piece of crap even if it should be Nautilus to
> provide the same functionality!

Size is not even remotely an issue. It is not relevant to the points that I
have raised.

I'm not saying this to diss Baobab or your maintenance of gnome-utils, I
just want to make sure that the things we've achieved over the last six
years live on in the psyche of new maintainers. We probably haven't done a
good enough job of passing those ideas on in a structured manner.

- Jeff

-- 2007: Sydney, Australia 
    "A computer with a bullet in it is just a paperweight, A map with a
              bullet in it is still a map." - Maj. Keith Hauk

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