Jumping over the wall

Quite a few people have been saying we need to break major versions for GNOME, and create something new and exciting to increase our userbase for 3.0. Nonsense. There’s nothing saying you have to develop big new features in one release cycle. Something large like the new gdm2 rewrite can be done over a couple of release cycles, fixing the other broken bits along the way. The only slight problem is the deprecated (and broken) code in GTK, but that’s an argument for another day.

People don’t use GNOME because they can see cool OpenGL widgets whoosh around a screen. People use GNOME to actually do things. People use GNOME to write letters, edit photos, surf the net and read some news. For instance, I run without compiz turned on, as I find I work faster without any of the wizzy visual effects. The 0.1% of uber geeks (I’m not sure if I include myself in that number) that want to write cool new stuff need to remember that just because it’s possible, doesn’t always mean it’s a good idea.

I see this effect a lot with the new KDE, with it’s abstractions on abstractions and also visual widgets that can be spun, twisted and shaped. For example, I saw a preview of KDE 4.1 where there was a circular analogue clock widget. Hover over it, and you can rotate the analogue clock to any arbitrary angle. Just because it can be done, don’t mean it should be done.

So, all those of you who say we need radically new designs in GNOME 3.0, keep that moto in mind.