Monday, March 24, 2008

Gnome Needs Plenty of Improvements, but ...

Gnome Needs Pleanty of Improvements, but making it KDE won't help anything. That was my opinion after reading 9 Improvements Needed in GNOME, linked above. The author seems to have completely missed the underlying philosophy of Gnome.

"Make simple, sensible defaults and hide the complexity from the user."

Sure, lots of people disagreed with that philosophy when it started way back at the beginning of Gnome 2, but the developers have been consistent about it. The critiques of KDE's bloated configuration menus bounce off of Gnome. On the other hand, KDE users tend to feel Gnome is too restricting. I think that's what's happened to Mr. Byfield here. His critiques are:
  1. Gnome needs a font manager. It has one, but it's not installed by default. KDE has one.
  2. Gnome needs a multiple-item clipboard. It has one, but it's not installed by default. KDE has one. (Notice a theme?)
  3. Better graphics for games, like the graphics in KDE's Kolor Lines.
  4. A better file manager with multi-pane and more configuration options, like KDE's Dolphin or Krusader.
  5. Gnome's division of Preferences and Administration is confusing and should be more like KDE's Control Center. I kid you not. Really. Wow.
  6. More choices in Preferred Applications, with all the Nautilus mime types included.
  7. Better access to GConf.
  8. Remove Mono. Use C.
  9. Remove Epiphany. Use Firefox.
OK. I actually started to blush for the guy by the time I reached point #5. He obviously wants Gnome to be KDE. He wants all the developer and advanced stuff installed by default. He misses the point of Gnome. Default Gnome is really designed to be a basic desktop with a single, default applicatio for everything. The advanced options aren't even in Preferences: you have to load up GConf-Editor and know what you're doing to screw it up. That's why there's no easy access to GConf. "Make simple, sensible defaults and hide the complexity from the user."

I can't believe the point about KDE's Control Center, since this is the area where KDE seems to get the most criticism. People call it overly-complicated and difficult to navigate. Finding the setting you need to change is virtually impossible as a new user.

The point about Mono is highly contested. Gnome seems to feel that they are in no danger of patent litigation (well ... no more than any other software project, I guess). I'm leary of Microsoft and their tactics, so I understand people's trepidation. Replacing it with C, though, is just so Gnome 1. Most apps use bindings for Python or Mono or something else. He missed that turning point somewhere.

Finally, about Epiphany. His major critique is that few people use it, so it should be removed. Gnome has been trying hard to get a Gnome-based browser in use for some time. Now that Firefox 3 is using GTK and the GTK dialog, they'll probably have an even more difficult time. I, however, doubt that Firefox is going to start using the Gnome Virtual Filesystem so that I can access Nautilus-mounted stuff. If you use all Gnome apps, then these things work. If you mix Gnome and GTK apps, they don't. Whatever. It's a minor point and I'll give him Firefox if he wants it.

The other eight points are sheer lunacy, though.


linuxtidbits said...

I have to agree. I read the post and thought it was nit pickin. The configuration editor has always worked fine for me. And bashing on Epiphany got me going. Epiphany's a dam good browser. When I first tried it after using firefox. I immediately missed my extensions. But once Epiphany is set up its mimimalistic and doesn't interfere, it quick and fast. Glad someone wrote about this.

Post a Comment

Other I' Been to Ubuntu Stories