[Usability]The Real GNOME Project [Was: Feedback on GNOME 2]

<quote who="Ali Akcaagac">

> the last sentence of yours is indeed absolutely right. without these
> companies we would have no GNOME 2.x today. without EAZEL we would have no
> serious filemanager *cough* today. without XIMIAN we would have no serious
> PIM. without SUN there would be no A11Y. all these companies somehow
> cooperate in a contract. they all have sit down behind a closed door and
> signed and decided the way of GNOME.

Dude, are you completely mad? I mean, you're just not looking at the GNOME
development process rationally at all. These companies have contributed huge
swathes of seriously kickarse code and whole new applications, and you're
accusing them of conspiracy against users? I'm gobsmacked.

I'm going to answer the rest of this email as the GNOME Release Coordinator.
100% serious, no stuffing around. I was intimately involved in the GNOME 2.x
release process, and am not employed by Sun, Red Hat, Ximian, CodeFactory,
or any other entity involved in GNOME (in fact, at the moment, I'm
self-employed, doing my own crazy brand of consulting and training). All of
my work was 100% on my own time as a volunteer.

I can tell you straight away: What you've written here is uninformed tripe
and wild, baseless conjecture.

Let's begin with accessibility (sorry Bill, going to go with 'a11y' here).

Bill Haneman (Sun employee) worked his arse off trying to get everyone
interested in a11y. In fact, he's still trying. We're not all interested in
it, so it's a huge challenge for Bill to wrangle a large group of Free
Software hackers into caring about a11y. I don't believe Bill has worked on
Free Software projects before either, so he's done an amazing job all things

Ximian also worked on a11y, under contract from Sun. Michael Meeks helped a
lot (with a lot of productive criticism, I might add). From memory, Wipro
did a lot of work on the a11y stuff as well.

All of this code was contributed to the various projects, including GTK+.
That's an important point, because it shows that the GTK+ team accepted ATK
as an important component at their level.

Getting a11y in and working to a reasonable level was a big challenge for
Sun. It wasn't a breeze, it wasn't blindly accepted (the release team had
reservations about a11y making it in to the 2.0 release at various points),
and it wasn't decided in a back room.

Sun, Ximian and Wipro participated in the Free Software process, and
contributed an awesome feature in the process. a11y makes GNOME more
relevant to corporations and government, which is good for all of us.

> well digging deeper into this sentence i will read this. the companies
> working on GNOME 2.x (and contributed their code the way they like to
> have it) made GNOME 2.x what it is today. they seriously don't change
> THEIR code or USABILITY because of some ranting people because it was
> planned to make GNOME the way it is now.

a11y is again a great example here, if only because it has been consistently
controversial throughout the GNOME 2.x process.

1) Sun did *not* contribute their a11y code 'they way they like [sic] to
have it'. Michael and Bill went over so many issues, code cleanups, design
inefficiencies and qualms before GNOME 2.0. I think, from my cozy little
hand-waving position over here, that those trials have resulted in a better
system -> Michael's knowledge of GNOME and our process has helped Bill and
Sun produce better software within GNOME. That's very cool. It is not a back

2) Sun will have to change their 'change THEIR code or USABILITY' in the
case of the a11y capplet. If you've been watching this list, you'll see the
massive discussion about this dialogue between Havoc, Bill, and Jody. That
is the Free Software process in action. It is not a back room.

> not true ? those companies hired every person working on GNOME. if you
> can't own the code then go and own their developers.

These companies do not employ every person working on GNOME. Oh, how I wish
they did! I'd love to work full time on GNOME.

> basically 80% and more of the current GNOME 2.x libraries are comming
> out of the hands of these companies. a11y, gnome-vfs, nautilus, gal,
> eel, and so on.

The gnome-vfs maintainers do not work for any of the companies you've
mentioned. Seth works for IBM on Eclipse, Ian works for Danger on their

Sure, the other modules you've mentioned are all maintained by employees of
the companies you've mentioned. However, I've no doubt in my mind that they
maintain these in the interests of GNOME. They're just lucky enough to be
paid for their time working on GNOME (and many other things, don't think
that all of these people just sit around doing whatever they want with
> another point:
> EAZEL died and nautilus somehow froze (we know this is not really true
> since there are some people hard working on it but the real usable
> progress is factor 0)

The real usable progress on Nautilus is factor 0? If I interpret this
comment as meaning that Nautilus is not progressing, I strongly suggest you
familiarise yourself with diffs between Nautilus 1.0.6, 2.0.7 and 2.1.0.
This is absolute rubbish. Alex, Dave, and the many people contributing to
Nautilus are doing a superb job. Nautilus kicks serious arse.

> it was only to show you that without these companies you would have
> nothing to offer today.

Hogwash. Kevin Vandersloot, Bastien Nocera (now working for Red Hat as it
happens, but doing enterprise support -> I'm really glad he has a job to
support his hacking!), Paolo Maggi, Paolo Bacchilega (hooray for Paolos
everywhere), James Henstridge, Ross Burton, Dennis Cranston... All these
people (and so many more, it sucks naming names!) have contributed awesome
stuff to GNOME and the GNOME 2.0 release. They're not employed by the
companies you've mentioned, and yet they've done all this cool stuff. You're
seriously misinformed.

> now a hard assumption (this is only a theory of mine) GNOME 2.x is only
> making success with these companies. without them it's dead. lets assume
> that SUN, XIMIAN and REDHAT will go bancrupt one day. then the GNOME 2.x
> progress will be NULL or much much slower than it is now. you may now come
> up and say "hey it's opensource it can't die" you are absolutely right but
> who will contribute to it ? with EAZEL we had 40-50 commits to the
> nautilus CVS, after EAZEL died, we are happy to get at least one commit
> per day. same will happen to anything else.

Yes, these companies contribute a lot, and their success helps GNOME an
enormous amount.

> let's compare all this with KDE for example (i jump on the boat now only
> for this demonstration). they completely stomped all their stuff out of
> nothing without any help from failing companies.

You'll find that many KDE hackers are hired by their set of contributing
companies. There's no controversy on either side -> it's really cool that
our hackers (many of whom worked on GNOME before joining or creating these
companies) can be paid to work on it. I'm bloody grateful.

> well i re-read this reply it's really somehow OT and i somehow missed the
> real point that i wanted to tell you. but no matter if i missed the point
> but my reply has many valid parts. maybe i just wanted to say that at the
> very final end these companies are responsible that GNOME 2.x hit on so
> much angry people nerves outside. with their direction and wrong
> assumptions somehow they are responsible for so much suckage. without them
> GNOME 2.x would probably still follow it's old direction. maybe still
> behind KDE but at least still having a lot of happy users.

GNOME 2.x has many happy users. Don't project your attitude onto the rest of
our userbase.

> please don't feel offended

Seriously, you're going to have to stop writing ridiculous emails like this
with disclaimers tacked onto the end. If you're going to write long drecks
of uninformed tripe, take responsibility for them.

- Jeff

    "Not only that, but Google is fast. In fact, it's quite competitive     
                          with DNS." - Raph Levien                          

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