Seems a bit of criticism on the Unity announcement is being taken personally or as attacks or something. Please remind ourselves of the ‘Assume people mean well’ bit in the Code of Conduct? Not saying people aren’t following that, but seems feedback as well as criticism are taken in ways which, well.. appear weird. Especially on the Internet you’ll get a lot of different responses on anything you do.

If I read one blogpost, then I see various strong terms such as:

  • The elephant in the room
  • In-fighting
  • extremist people
  • religious about free software
  • Moral High Ground

I’m listing this just to show how it comes across to me. I don’t see any in-fighting on Planet GNOME. No extremist people, nothing (to be very clear: the blogpost I’m talking about is also on Planet GNOME, and I don’t think it is extreme, just weird). So it comes across to be as weird. Accusations without any justification.

Do want to clarify on one thing:

so they can direct themselves without waiting any longer

In case of problems with your Git account, just email Just to show in a sarcastic way how I think of a some of the reasoning behind Unity.

I think it is underestimated how much work a fork is (I see Ubuntu as forking GNOME). And I do not mind Unity, even if I would’ve rather seen them help out GNOME shell. Still, some of the argumentation behind various decisions is just weak (in general, not talking about the blogpost).

11 Replies to “Communication”

  1. Can you explain why you see “Ubuntu is forking GNOME”?

    I often see criticism that Ubuntu doesn’t have the manpower to produce significant code contributions.

    If that is the case I don’t see why people would be worried that Ubuntu is even capable of maintaining a forked GNOME, let alone wish to do so.

  2. Why do you say that Ubuntu is forking GNOME? They will just replace one application by default (Unity instead of GNOME Shell), while still offering the possibility to use GNOME Shell. There’s nothing wrong about this. Actually, today, Ubuntu offers Compiz (not a GNOME app) by default instead of Metacity (a GNOME app). Is it forking? Of course not.

    1. Henrique (and Paul): gnome-shell is not an application. It is a core part of GNOME 3 and something which we encourage the whole stack to depend upon. For instance: There are plans to change the way Nautilus is working to match the design thoughts of gnome-shell. There is a proposal to change the look of GDM (which is not really themeable) to match the look of the gnome-shell. Furthermore, there are plans to change the various dialogs shown by other modules (gnome-settings-daemon) to match the gnome-shell style.

      This is what we want to happen and where GNOME is heading. This is all discussed out in the open.

      Unity is not part of GNOME, nor something which can be accepted upstream (it conflicts with gnome-shell). So the maintenance burden to give a good integrated impression will become higher and higher with each GNOME 3.x release as more and more things will be integrated with gnome-shell.

      However, GNOME is completely open. Participation in GNOME is easy, anyone can start participating.

      So regarding fork: They’re replacing a core part. That is a fork. In addition, they will have to always maintain the libindicator applets, and various changes to the Preferences (capplets) are being planned within Ubuntu that I didn’t see discussed within GNOME. This and more is why it is a fork. I can expand more on this if you want.
      Still, and I will quote it again: “And I do not mind Unity”. I have the same thought about all the changes.

      Compiz vs Metacity: As long as you implement EDWH you’re fine. Such a change is supported by GNOME. If some GNOME application doesn’t work under Compiz, and it is the applications fault (not a bug in Compiz), the application has to be fixed. This is different from gnome-shell, where we encourage applications to depend on gnome-shell.

      Regarding worried: I am not worried if they can maintain it not. Again: “I do not mind Unity”

      Regarding maintenance: I think it will be difficult for them. And I hope they understand it is up to Canonical/Ubuntu to maintain it. But other than that: “I do not mind Unity”

      1. I am sorry Olav but “fork” has a very well understood meaning. It means taking a snapshot of a codebase and developing it somewhere else from that point on. That isn’t what’s happening.

        Your post decries labeling people as extreme but simultaneously engages in extreme behaviour by vastly overstating what Canonical is doing.

        Canonical are merely building an alternative to part of GNOME (albeit a highly user facing part). Whether they can make a success of it is up to them.

        Every distributer maintains some of their own stuff. Some of it later makes it’s way to GNOME, some of it doesn’t. There is nothing really new here.

        1. Canonical is not following what GNOME 3 is doing. They’re changing the behaviour of various modules with the libindicator-applet, plus they’ll have to make further changes to the modules to make them work with Unity.

          These are really big changes. So yes, fork. Heading in another direction that what we are going with GNOME 3.

          Still, I am fine with it. Something which I’ve stated many, many times and clarified various times. If you do not like my explanation, so be it, but it is not extreme.

          Oh, regarding distributions: I use Mandriva, Fedora and Ubuntu. They all have their own patches, but my opinion is still the same.

          1. is a fork of XFree86
            EGCS was a fork of GCC

            This is different. People throwing the word “fork” around are in no way helping a reasonable discussion.

          2. Paul: “People throwing the word “fork” around are in no way helping a reasonable discussion.”

            IMO changing my name into ‘people’ is in no way helping a reasonable discussion.

            Anyway, I explained why it is a fork. You do not see it that way, and try to argue that I’m not helping to form a discussion. I’ve extensively explained all the changes that will need to be made. GNOME is not just one module, we have 100+.

            Instead of actually responding to my arguments you’re just repeating your own reasoning, then questioning ‘reasonable discussion’.

            Anyway, I prefer a discussion instead of this, so this is the last I will say on this.

  3. “I’m not afraid of people writing code” springs to mind. Or are everybody really so threatened by Canonical that they can do no right?

    1. Don: I wrote “And I do not mind Unity”

      I think you misunderstood my entire post. My blogpost is already a response to an statement that GNOME/me is responding to Unity in a certain way. Please see the list of words… I could probably add ‘threatened’ to it as well. It doesn’t reflect how I feel at all, nor is it was I see as the general feeling within GNOME.

  4. I’m religious about some things. Free Software is noble enough that if that is someone’s religion, I can respect them holding it, I just can’t be expected to act in accordance with it. There’s lots of things in life like that.

    If you think it’s a divisive or negative phrase, though, I’ll try to make sure I don’t use it, sometimes I’m not the best judge of things like that.

    1. The bit by itself is ok. However, it was just in a manner to indicate that people so believed in something that they are not able to listen to someone voicing another opinion.

      That comparison I found bad and that is what I wanted to indicate.

      I actually agree with you.. I can understand someone really believing in Free Software.

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