We Are Not The Real Revolutionaries

Someone called Troy posted a link to Kathy Sierra’s diagram about incremental vs revolutionary improvements and said it explained why KDE4 was so important, why the Ubuntu and GNOME release methodology was doomed to failure and the meaning of life.


Now, to me, the diagram is worthless (and pretty ugly…) unless the “Big Frickin’ Wall” (1) or “Where you NEED to be” are defined. Troy has done neither, and just says that it shows that KDE4 is the right and only way to get over the wall. To me, KDE4’s methodology of clearing the wall is to take a large running jump and dive headfirst over it, leaving everything that you once had behind on the other side. That is certainly one way to clear it, and it is a very fun and exciting thing to do. The problem is that sometimes, if you don’t know what your target is, or whats on the other side of the wall you can miss and hit your head on the concrete.

There is another way to cross the wall and I present another ugly diagram to explain it (if I was any good with gimp/could be bothered I’d have made the steps fade gradually from the blue to the pink, but you get the idea…)


This way is safer, built on firm foundations and you still get to where you NEED to be and the steps taken are still revolutionary but revolutionary in small steps. The advantage of doing it this way is that its easy for people to follow you because they know they are still standing on what they are familiar with and in software terms things that they have already tested and found to be a good strong foundation.

So in response to Troy’s assertion that ” This is also why Gnome is just now starting to talk about their long term future”[2], the reason GNOME are starting to talk about their long term future goal is not so that we can take this running jump, but rather that we know what we’re aim for. And then once we know this, we can work out the best way to do it.

[1] Yey for mid90s Austin Powers inspired risqué humour.
[2] I also have issues with the implication that GNOME has not talked about their long term future before. I think in reality we set a goal way back in Copenhagen (in 2001, before gnome2) and have now seen that goal accomplished. Obviously now it is time to work out where to go to next.

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