Re: Rules for design in Gnome

Will probably regret writing this email, but here it goes, anyway.

On Wed, Apr 25, 2012 at 11:09 AM, Federico Mena Quintero <federico gnome org> wrote:
One of the main points of Nat's talk was that we were at a point where
Gnome was ignoring innovation for fear of losing simplicity.  His
presentation had a section called "barriers to hacking", where he had
items like "lack of tools", but also items like "lack of community",
"embarrassment" (because your work is not seen as good enough),
"humiliation" (because you get told that you are not up to Gnome's
standards), and "ridicule" ("you think *that* is a good UI?  It
doesn't even follow the HIG!").

There is a big slide in that talk that says, "We need the cultural
freedom to innovate".

>From what I've seen happen since the start of Gnome 3, we are at a
similar period right now, where groups of Gnome developers are in
discomfort because the dynamics of the project are working against

On the topic of history, I think that we can say with hindsight that the later days of GNOME 2's lifespan (and the disjointed OS/tech stack underneath it) cannot be held on a pedestal. We were handed a golden market opportunity on a silver platter in the form of netbooks from ISV's who actively sought *us* out, went about shipping, and offered support for GNOME pre-installed on them--well in advance of the march of the Tablet Empire. Just think about all of the thousands of people in the supply chain from multiple vendors that were required to make that happen and then think about trying to pull that off again. I hope that you feel that our failure there was a tragedy. The market flat-out rejected what we had to offer. Sure, any module proposal could get accepted in to GNOME at that time but to what end?

Technology that a user or a platform developer cannot use because it isn't usable isn't technology at all: it's techurbation.

But there is, as there always has been, a way forward: the people who have a passion for a technology that they have brought in to this world obviously envision a way for it to become accessible to users. I know that you and Seif have that vision: I saw your presentation on Journal at the 2008 Hackfest and thought to myself, "Fuck, yes!" We *can* get there and indeed I have watched multiple threads over the past four years on this and related desktop activity logs topics propose ways forward. What I have seen from the outside, though, is that the discussions always fizzled with disagreement.

My question to you would be, why didn't agreement ever get reached? Why, four years later, are we still arguing about desktop activity? I see a failure of cooperation; not of the design team's but rather of the whole project's.

(My views do not in any way represent those of Google.)

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