I’m leaving this afternoon to fly overnight to Berlin for the Desktop Summit! I’m really excited to meet everybody I haven’t already met, and I’m thinking of the conference as my real orientation. So please come and say hi (and feel free to give me any advice you may have)!
As I was finishing packing and getting ready to run out the door, I noticed the recent news around Linus Torvalds’ negative discussion of GNOME 3, so I’m taking an extra few minutes to think out loud here. As I said in my OSCON keynote, our software must be easy to use by all. As I understand it, the GNOME 3 redesign was largely based on usability studies on ordinary people. Folks that are deeply entrenched in what we had before can’t be the target of something new like this, and we must take risks in order to succeed. We won’t be able to make everyone happy, but all of the reports I’ve heard from people who switched to GNOME 3 and stuck with it for a little while had pretty positive responses, given how new it is. I think it takes a while to get used to but more importantly, we have to think about the changes needed for our software to be relevant to more than just hard core hackers. What GNOME 3 is trying to accomplish is really big.
I think it’s important to remember that it’s still early days. Lots of people are using GNOME 3 and loving it, lots of people haven’t really tried it because they don’t want to switch distros, and lots of people haven’t really given it enough use to see whether they will like it once they’ve gotten over their first reactions and adjusted to the change. I myself have one computer running fedora with GNOME 3 and another running debian and GNOME 2 (which is the one I’ll travel with as it’s lighter). I look forward to trying out other distros too.
All of that said, feedback on GNOME 3 is essential, and I think it’s going to be one of the hot topics of discussion at the Summit.
This is probably all too quickly written, and I hope some GNOME developers can respond too. I look forward to talking to you in Berlin!