Re: Flame retardant # 1

A well-written letter. Lets address some of it.

> Hello,
> It seems that the flames are pretty high in gnome-gui-list these days,
> so I though I may try to clear some things up.
> I have not followed all the discussion here, mostly due to it being
> crap, but it seems that people are failing to agree on issues that
> need to be adressed by the Gnome Style Guide.
> Mr. Poag contacted the Gnome project some months ago.  I talked a bit
> to him over irc, and he seemed like a reasonably experienced person to
> lead the development of the Style Guide -- he told me about his
> previous work on a style guide for the defunct Insight project, and it
> seemed like a good thing to have on Gnome.
> I specifically asked Mr. Poag to release portions of the Style Guide
> to his web page as soon as he was able to type them in (on our talks
> on irc, he said that he had most of his thoughts as sketches on
> paper).  I am very disappointed that his web page has no content yet,
> even after more than six weeks since I asked him to do that.  I have
> not been able to find any useful content there.  My hopes were that
> everyone would be able to look at the preliminary versions of the
> Style Guide, and comment on them to reach an agreement on how things
> ought to be done.

InSight's style guide consists of a big, shiny red college notebook
filled mostly with text and hand-drawn diagrams. Its also sitting on my
bookshelf back home in Chicago where I left it when the project went
defunct. For a quick description of what went wrong with InSight, feel
free to visit, and follow the links to Tile Of The Week.
Most of the soap-opera can be found there. :)

The original intent was, that once we could demonstrate that we had a
functioning kernel, we could begin translating the notebook, and other
written documentation into text, for inclusion with the OS. A guy named
Vincent Janelle (EFNet:"Random") was brought into the project in December
'97 for this very purpose. Since our head coder never produced the kernel,
the project disbanded, and the formal text write-up of the style guide was
never performed. 

> I am not asking that all of the Style Guide be put up in the web page
> in just a few days; I just asked for parts of it to be released as
> soon as possible.  I cannot force Mr. Poag to do this, since Gnome is
> not paying him to do the Style Guide, of course, but I would expect to
> have something available by now.

Much of what was contained in the InSight style guide is of no real
practical value to the GNOME effort. Many of the concepts discussed in the
style guide hinged on features of the OS not present in Linux, Gnome, or
the GTK. 

The only thing that I can think of, off the top of my head, as to
what WOULD be beneficial to Gnome would be the very basic aspects of
InSight's application construction guidelines, which IMHO, would be better
off being re-written for scratch with GNOME's interests in mind--Not

Additionally, since I have already written a few proposals for GNOME, 
based on the work I did with InSight, I felt it would be a good idea -TO-
start from scratch. Otherwise, it would seem to many that I would be using
the GNOME Style Guide as a way to push my own agenda. Since I dont want to
do that, and since GNOME and InSight were two very different approaches to
handling the same basic problem, intermixing the two would be a very bad
idea in the long run, IMHO. 

This is why you haven't seen me bother to dig up the old work. It is
largely irrelevant to GNOME, and even if it WERE relevant, it places me
in an uncomfortable position of seeming like im trying to push some sort
of personal agenda. However, if you still insist on having a look-see at
the notebook, a simple phonecall to my folks to have them send it out here
is all it would take. 

Despite my role & involvement with the GNOME Style Guide, I still intend
on publishing a few more proposals based on that work, which might be of
some use to GNOME. I try to keep my personal views and tastes separate
from what the Style Guide will contain. As I've said before many times,
I've been asked to write the GNOME User Interface Style Guide -- Not the
Bowie J. Poag Style Guide, or the InSight Stuff For GNOME Style Guide. :)

> Also, I am very disappointed that there have been personal comments
> against other members of the Gnome team, specifically against Maciej
> Stachowiak.  Mr. Stachowiak has done an excellent job as a programmer
> for the Gnome project, and I think that he deserves respect from
> people who have not contributed code yet.
> On behalf of the Gnome list, I would like to apologize to
> Mr. Stachowiak for the comments that were made against him.  

Fair enough.

> I would also like to ask Mr. Poag and everyone else to be open to
> suggestions and criticism about the Style Guide.  As far as I know, no
> one on this mailing list has a really clear idea about what the final
> Gnome Style Guide should be like, so people should have in mind that
> whatever they suggest at first will be criticized and possibly mangled
> beyond recognition for the final version.

I -am- completely open to suggestions and criticisms about the Style
Guide, even when theyre bad ones. However, the suggestions and criticisms
of partially informed (or even completely uninformed) individuals are
completely conterproductive to the development process -- So much so, that
everything must stop while that one person is brought up to speed. 

It apparently isnt clear to people (yet) that I intend on having the
formation of the Style Guide be a FULLY COOPERATIVE EFFORT. Infact, if I
had to do it any other way, I wouldnt get involved with it. One person
cannot dictate the needs of many. That's dictatorship. Conversely, -many-
people cannot dictate the needs of -many- , either. Thats anarchy, and I
want no part of that, either. So, a middleground must be reached, and I
have proposed that it be handled in this manner:

1) The basic form the Style Guide should bw written by a small group of
   people, perhaps no more than 3 or 4 individuals, based directly on the
   input given to them by members of the mailing list.

2) The results of their work are then put through the scrutiny of the
   general public, and the mailing list. Suggestions will be made,
   clarifications will be asked for, and some changes will be in order.

3) Based on the first round of suggestions, clarifications, and changes
   made by members of the mailing list & general public, all the
   subsequent revisions to the document will be made, and we repeat
   step 2 until we have a document as close to perfection as we can
   reasonably hope to achieve.

4) Once we have reached that goal, the Style Guide, in its current form,
   will be put to a vote. If given the nod of approval by GNOME, by the
   general public, and by members of the mailing list, the document
   oficially becomes V2.0 of the GNOME User Interface Style Guide, and
   we all live happilly ever after. If the document is voted down, its
   back to the drawing board.

Thats how I propose we do it.

>   Federico
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