Re: Decisions we didn't intend to make [Was: Minutes of the meeting (2006-07-31)]

On Tue, 2006-08-01 at 22:16 -0600, Elijah Newren wrote:

> Yes, I know -- things changed later.  Sawfish has been used as a
> common example over the past couple years as an argument for not
> allowing desktop apps to depend on bindings particularly because of
> the maintainability issue.  The idea is that since everyone is
> familiar with C, it's vastly easier for someone else to take over
> maintainence if needed.  (Although it's quite possible that the
> example has been misused, including by me -- it may have been that the
> difficulty in finding others to take over was more related to the
> inherent complexity in the flexibility that Sawfish had.  I'm not
> sure.)  This was also related to one of the arguments used to get
> python in -- tons of people know it and are using it so we should be
> able to relatively easily find new maintainers if needed.

Sawfish didn't die because of Lisp.

- Sawfish tried to be the union of all the features in all other window
managers.  Workspaces/viewports (a huge mistake; read Then, John Harper decided to stop certain subsets of features (but left the code in place!!!) when it became too cumbersome to support everything.

- Sawfish did not have a simple configuration program for the two
options that people commonly want to change in their window manager.  It
had a machine-generated GUI for most of its options, which was unusable.

- Havoc was into his "simplify everything" spree.  He had a lot of
mindshare in the GNOME community, and a lot of visibility and maintainer
power.  So he wrote Metacity, declared it to be the Window Manager For
GNOME(tm), and it was a very crappy window manager at first (just like
all other new window managers are at first, since they don't reuse code
and break with weird X clients).  But it was good enough to use, and it
was simple to configure.  Never mind that the code was a far cry from
the elegance of certain parts of Sawfish:  people didn't care about the
language; they cared about the user interface.


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