The future of Gnome

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The future of Gnome

Postby bimsebasse on Sun Jul 29, 2012 11:09 am

I'm getting increasingly worried about where Gnome is headed and it seems the worry has struck down in Gnome HQ too - here's an interesting blog post by a Gnome developer:

http://blogs.gnome.org/otte/2012/07/27/ ... the-abyss/

Gnome Shell is daily moving an inch further away from the desktop and its current userbase, seemingly in preparation for a touch devices adventure - but how many touch devices come with Gnome? 0. Alienating long time users before it has found new ones just doesn't seem like a good move. Both Ubuntu and Mint have already dropped Gnome's main "desktop" (shell) with Cinnamon and Unity and I can easily imagine those distros either forking or dropping Gnome altogether ten years from now.

Thoughts?
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Re: The future of Gnome

Postby nomko on Sun Jul 29, 2012 11:17 am

Gnome is indeed going the wrong way. Maybe good for starters, but more experienced/novice users are left alone by Gnome.

Unity looks horrible, it's good for netbooks but not for desktops. And also too much clicking before getting where you want. Unity looks now what Gnome will be in the near future.

Cinnamon is much better. The delevopers gave it a good thought about it and came up with a very nice, goodlooking solution. Cinnamon is wat Canonical should have developed for Ubuntu, but this time Mint won the "battle". Good job!
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Re: The future of Gnome

Postby viking777 on Sun Jul 29, 2012 1:26 pm

Wasn't the pointless 'desktop wars' scene dying down a bit Bim? You are not trying to revive it are you? I know you are mature enough to not rise to that bait, but thousands aren't - I nearly responded myself, but I won't. I hope this thread doesn't end up having to be closed, because it does bring interesting information.
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Re: The future of Gnome

Postby altair4 on Sun Jul 29, 2012 1:41 pm

Gnome is doing just fine thank you very much. Why, they plan to have 20% of the market by 2020. Not sure what market they are talking about because by 2020 newborns will have chips implanted into their brains and have full access to googledom by then but ...

Anyway, all of the things that Gnome is doing are just stepping stones to GnomeOS ( I'm not making this up ): http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=n ... px=MTE0ODg

Certainly well within the reach of the 20 or so developers left at Gnome.
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Re: The future of Gnome

Postby viking777 on Sun Jul 29, 2012 1:46 pm

2020 newborns will have chips implanted into their brains and have full access to googledom


And vice versa of course.
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Re: The future of Gnome

Postby KBD47 on Sun Jul 29, 2012 2:10 pm

To see what Gnome has done to itself is just to consider what has happened already: Mint used/uses no less that 3 divergent desktops from Gnome: MGSE, MATE, and Cinnamon. Ubuntu dropped Gnome for Unity. Ikey is creating his own Classic desktop. Other distros have clung to Gnome 2. Fuduntu is now doing its own Gnome 2 fork. It is not even an issue/argument that Gnome shot itself in the foot. You don't see anything on this scale with KDE, Xfce, etc.
I guess the good side of this is that there are plenty of interesting desktop choices based on Gnome, the bad side is that Gnome has fractured its user base and scattered it.
It does no good to keep beating up on Gnome, but it is probably fair game to ask where it may be headed and what might be left of its future.
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Re: The future of Gnome

Postby xenopeek on Sun Jul 29, 2012 3:34 pm

Let's be clear about what is what. Unity and Cinnamon are both using Gnome 3. The only part of Gnome 3 those aren't using is the Gnome Shell. Most of the applications that come pre-installed on Ubuntu and Linux Mint (Cinnamon/MATE/Xfce) are Gtk+ applications--another part of Gnome.

All that said, the Phoronix article altair4 links to had me raising my eyebrows in disbelief while reading it. My first thought was, "have the Gnome 3 developers learned nothing from the Gnome 3 fallout?" But upon further thought, and sidestepping my emotions a bit, they just have a very powerful vision of where to go next. Irrespective of the fact that this vision is not resonating with some long time Gnome 2 users (like myself), I feel that continuing to expect Gnome 3 to become just a "better Gnome 2" is disrespecting the developers that carry this vision.

With Cinnamon and others stepping in to provide an alternative to Gnome Shell on Gnome 3, the way ahead need not be bleak for Gnome 3. MATE also continues to be adopted by more and more distros, giving that more momentum and hopefully grow its development team.
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Re: The future of Gnome

Postby bimsebasse on Sun Jul 29, 2012 4:28 pm

viking777 wrote:Wasn't the pointless 'desktop wars' scene dying down a bit Bim? You are not trying to revive it are you? I know you are mature enough to not rise to that bait, but thousands aren't - I nearly responded myself, but I won't. I hope this thread doesn't end up having to be closed, because it does bring interesting information.


Sorry, but I have no idea what you're talking about, viking? Desktop wars? I'm a happy Gnome shell users btw, my main concern with Gnome 3 is everything but the shell, how e.g. Nautilus has useful features removed because they don't play well with touch interfaces, before there is a Gnome for touch. This is not tablet hysteria or wild accusations from someone who can't figure out how to use a non-Windows 95 desktop, (which I think is obvious from the OP) this is a fact which you can read about on official Gnome dev/commit pages like here: https://mail.gnome.org/archives/commits ... 08014.html

Do you think Gnome's gtk developer is starting desktop wars, or?
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Re: The future of Gnome

Postby bimsebasse on Sun Jul 29, 2012 4:40 pm

altair4 wrote:Gnome is doing just fine thank you very much. Why, they plan to have 20% of the market by 2020. Not sure what market they are talking about because by 2020 newborns will have chips implanted into their brains and have full access to googledom by then but ...

Anyway, all of the things that Gnome is doing are just stepping stones to GnomeOS ( I'm not making this up ): http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=n ... px=MTE0ODg

Certainly well within the reach of the 20 or so developers left at Gnome.


That's the main head scratcher for me. Gnome is right now (or was last year anyway) the largest Linux desktop environment, with emphasis on "desktop", still very succesful and still with a large userbase. They want to ditch that favourable position altogether and try to steal marketshare from android, ChromeOS and soon FirefoxOS on the touch device market. I'm not an expert or anything but it looks like slow suicide from where I'm standing, and the more sensible thing to do would probably have been to create a separate version for touch devices without whittling the main desktop version down to something that can used on a phone too, like Ubuntu used to have a netbook edition separate to and different from the main desktop edition.
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Re: The future of Gnome

Postby xenopeek on Sun Jul 29, 2012 4:46 pm

bimsebasse wrote:That's the main head scratcher for me. Gnome is right now (or was last year anyway) the largest Linux desktop environment, with emphasis on "desktop", still very succesful and still with a large userbase. They want to ditch that favourable position altogether and try to steal marketshare from android, ChromeOS and soon FirefoxOS on the touch device market. I'm not an expert or anything but it looks like slow suicide from where I'm standing.

Good point. There seems to be an abundance of tablet operating systems in the make right now, with a new one announced every so often. I don't know what clout Gnome has to sway hardware manufacturers to them. Not like Microsoft, Google or Mozilla. And without a hardware deal where GnomeOS comes pre-installed, it will be almost impossible to break through on tablets I think.
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Re: The future of Gnome

Postby altair4 on Sun Jul 29, 2012 5:10 pm

This, my friends is the short term "vision" of Gnome: http://worldofgnome.org/nautilus-extreme-makeover/

The best one for me is a change to the permissions tab from that silly old owner - group - others to the new and improved:
You
Everyone Else
Some Other Dude

Paradigm smaradigm - I don't even know how to map the old to the new.

Somebody submitted a bug report on how the owner is displayed in the normal Nautilus layout. It's listed as "me". Not altiar but "me". When I first saw that I thought "me" was the OS - like root: https://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=680282
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Re: The future of Gnome

Postby MALsPa on Sun Jul 29, 2012 8:29 pm

Vincent Vermeulen wrote:Let's be clear about what is what. Unity, Cinnamon and SolusOS "next" are all using Gnome 3. The only part of Gnome 3 those aren't using is the Gnome Shell. Most of the applications that come pre-installed on Ubuntu, Linux Mint (Cinnamon/MATE/Xfce), and SolusOS, are Gtk+ applications--another part of Gnome.


Indeed.

We've got people saying they dislike GNOME 3 and that they prefer Cinnamon, when actually Cinnamon is just another GNOME 3 "shell," isn't that right? If you don't like one "shell," you can just use another one. Hey, Fedora comes with GNOME Shell, but now you can get Cinnamon or Unity in Fedora, too. Seems to me that this could turn out to be a nice situation for everyone, all made possible by the fact that it's possible to create different "shells" for this GNOME 3 that so many people are criticizing. Maybe the GNOME devs weren't so stupid, after all.

Anyway, I'm not worried about "the future of GNOME."
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Re: The future of Gnome

Postby bimsebasse on Sun Jul 29, 2012 8:58 pm

It's not the shell that is discussed in OP blog post link (other than in passing), and Gnome Shell is not really the main concern either. It's best to read first and answer afterwards, I think, when you post in a thread. The problems Gnome face are not problems that can be solved by using another shell, obviously.
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Re: The future of Gnome

Postby z06gal on Sun Jul 29, 2012 10:43 pm

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Re: The future of Gnome

Postby MALsPa on Mon Jul 30, 2012 12:56 am

bimsebasse wrote:It's not the shell that is discussed in OP blog post link (other than in passing), and Gnome Shell is not really the main concern either. It's best to read first and answer afterwards, I think, when you post in a thread. The problems Gnome face are not problems that can be solved by using another shell, obviously.


GNOME Shell was not discussed in the blog post, but most of what you wrote in your original post pertained directly to GNOME Shell:

bimsebasse wrote:Gnome Shell is daily moving an inch further away from the desktop and its current userbase, seemingly in preparation for a touch devices adventure - but how many touch devices come with Gnome? 0. Alienating long time users before it has found new ones just doesn't seem like a good move. Both Ubuntu and Mint have already dropped Gnome's main "desktop" (shell) with Cinnamon and Unity and I can easily imagine those distros either forking or dropping Gnome altogether ten years from now.


Whether distros end up forking or dropping GNOME ten years from now remains to be seen, but I'm certainly not gonna be losing any sleep over it tonight.

Anyway, you later said:

bimsebasse wrote:I'm a happy Gnome shell users btw, my main concern with Gnome 3 is everything but the shell, how e.g. Nautilus has useful features removed because they don't play well with touch interfaces, before there is a Gnome for touch.


The whole idea of removing features from Nautilus because they don't play well with touch interfaces is a head-scratcher to me, too. But, whatever. I use other file managers (mainly Dolphin) in GNOME, anyway.

You mentioned that you're a happy GNOME Shell user. I'm fine with it, too. I'm also fine using anything else. It doesn't matter to me which desktop a distro comes with by default. It doesn't matter to me if most distros stop shipping with GNOME (but we haven't seen that happening so far), or if the GNOME project shrivels up and dies. You asked for "Thoughts?" and those are mine. I have no concerns about the future of GNOME; GNOME will either continue to be a major Linux environment, or it won't. Change happens, so you prepare yourself for that eventuality and you adjust accordingly, or else you sit around wringing your hands over it in frustration.
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Re: The future of Gnome

Postby bimsebasse on Mon Jul 30, 2012 1:06 am

Thanks z0ogal, for an interesting read and for being on topic :)

I think fewt may be going a bit over the top, though, and if his main quibble with Gnome 3 is the shell, well then there's the SolusOS patched Gnome Classic session, Mint's Cinnamon or Ubuntu's Unity as readily available alternatives doing well for themselves. The proverbial s*it will first really hit the fan when Gnome go all-in with the touch ui and stock applications like Nautilus and Evolution will need to be at least heavily patched in order to function like traditional desktop tools. And then there are the gtk version bump breakages Clem mentioned in the latest review roundup (quote below), it is notoriously difficult for outside developers to work with to the point of appearing difficult on purpose:

I’ll apologize in advance for the sarcasm here.. I need to take another cheap shot at the GTKGnome developers here. GTK3 isn’t a reliable API. Maybe it should be called libgnome instead. GTK3.4 came with Gnome3.4, and wasn’t compatible with previous GTK3 themes. This means all GTK3 applications looked really ugly not only with all the GTK2 themes which don’t support GTK3 (almost all of them), but also the few which did. With this in mind we had three options:

Give you a desktop with poor integration and applications which look different based on the API they use (which is completely unacceptable)
Ditch all GTK3 applications from Mint and replace them with earlier GTK2 versions, or GTK2 or QT applications (this includes Gnome apps, but also Gdebi, Transmission and a few others)
Rant like mad, remove all themes, and waste countless hours in giving Mint-X and Mint-Z proper GTK “3.4″ support even though it’s likely to break again in 3.6…
We went for option 3 “this time”. I hope this little example was enough to convince 3rd party developers not to use GTK3. I couldn’t find any release notes or documentation explaining the regression or how to solve the issue.. I genuinely get the feeling that GTK 3.4 is developed for Gnome 3.4, that it doesn’t really matter if it breaks things and that we’re not supposed to use it outside of Gnome.

(http://blog.linuxmint.com/?p=2038)
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Re: The future of Gnome

Postby bimsebasse on Mon Jul 30, 2012 1:11 am

Well, that's an admirably stoic approach, malpsa - personally I get kinda frustrated when things I like are poorly managed and don't need to be :D
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Re: The future of Gnome

Postby xenopeek on Mon Jul 30, 2012 3:15 am

You are probably right to worry about the applications in the Gnome suite being dumbed down / crippled so they will be suitable for tablet use. Nautilus as a good example of that. I wouldn't discount more of the Gnome suite being forked; a Nautilus fork seems inevitable to me.
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Re: The future of Gnome

Postby Monsta on Mon Jul 30, 2012 4:06 am

Vincent Vermeulen wrote:a Nautilus fork seems inevitable to me

And to Clem, too, apparently :)
https://github.com/linuxmint/nemo
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Re: The future of Gnome

Postby xenopeek on Mon Jul 30, 2012 5:45 am

Well, imagine that :mrgreen:
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