Re: Reboot: Strategic goals for GNOME

2010/3/3 Andrew Cowie <andrew operationaldynamics com>:
> On Wed, 2010-03-03 at 10:09 +0100, Dave Neary wrote:
>> Like I say, I'm not
>> happy with the "vision" part of this (GNOME everywhere, and invisible)
> I'm not happy with the invisible part either.
> We *do* compete with three other desktops: Windows, Mac OS, and KDE.
> Unless people know what GNOME is,
> a) people won't consciously value a choice (of distro, or by a company,
> school, government, etc) including it.
> b) the GNOME skills on people's resumes won't mean anything to anyone,
> thereby reducing to zero the professional development value to the
> individual of contributing to our ecosystem.

My view on this is deep and complex because I personally believe the
quality of free software is based on writing code-oriented code as
opposed to results oriented code.

That being said, GNOME as a sexy and hot technology to me means stuff like
improving GObject/leverage object introspection/collapse out redundant
uimanager from GTK+ for one, collapse GtkBuilder into GObjectBuilder
and unify GObject serialization across the stack, make it perfect, concentrate
on Clutter  and take the time to make the right design choices by
studying mistakes
in GTK+, etc etc... this way we lay real groundwork for real innovations.

In my opinion as a hacker, this is the kindof stuff you want to do when you
write free software; you want to realize the project your boss would never
give you the time to do, and you want to prove to the world that yours is
even better by virtue of it being free - then you want to prove to your boss
why his software is imperfect next to the free one... which may have costed
more to develop but... its better.. etc...

If the focus of GNOME is to produce visual results and satisfy press,
and if the results are a bunch of demos of what we can do with existing or
experimental technologies, we're gonna end up throwing out alot of
code and still be at square one, with not so much in terms of real
computing innovations.

I understand there is some danger in losing popularity if we actually
decide to do the virtuous thing and focus on writing ideal software,
but I dont see how we are attracting developers to join GNOME if
writing code-oriented idealistic future software is not what we're about.

Dont get me wrong I really like it that GNOME is popular, but I like it
much more when GNOME is getting better every day - I think if we
can drop the popularity and write awesome future code - then
we may have a chance to compete with the giants again, maybe
even in only 2 years.


PS: I also wanted to note how cool it is that the board is calling out
to the foundation for such a general direction; I think that if we can
all speak our minds here and come to some kind of agreement it will
already be a great success in terms of freedom and a worthy
conversation at that.

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