GNOME is an organization, a group of sponsored (or not) people that write and promote free software, known as GNOME Foundation. The biggest derivative of GFoundation is the GNOME Community. GCommunity is the super set of people that are interested, support and participate with various ways in the progress of GNOME Project. GNOME Project is the actual product of GFoundation which is basically the GNOME Desktop.
The above is an unbreakable chain with the links (GFoundation, GCommunity, GProject) to take part in a common goal: making GNOME Desktop available to as many people as possible. The users. Make GNOME available means to make GNOME liked and useful to users.
Everytime that GNOME takes a decision concerning usability, they have to take into consideration the user’s opinions rather their (Gnome) personal preferences. A GNOME Designer isn’t Vincent van Gogh, to create for his self. A GNOME Designer (or developer) is responsible to create for others. It’s a different form of talent and skills.
GNOME Communication So Far
Today communication between users and GNOME is done by mailing lists, Wikis, IRC, Bugzilla, some blogs and recently with GNOME Google Communities. The last, in my opinion is the very best way, but it has a huge disadvantage. The posts there are read & gone.
As a GNOME user I feel there is something wrong when I use Tweak Tool more than G-C-C to configure my desktop. I feel there is something wrong when I need Tweak Tool to change system fonts or to enable/disable Shell Extensions.
I also feel that Gnomers are great listeners, but the communication methods between GNOME Community and GNOME Foundation are not adequate enough. The weaknesses or the strong points of GNOME aren’t obvious, and user opinions are scattered around. That makes impossible to clearly say what’s right and what’s wrong.
2 Simple Ways To Improve Communication
There are many ways I can think of how GNOME Foundation can improve communication with community, and therefore how GNOME Desktop can get improved by that. But lets start with 2 simple things that can be done by tomorrow.
1. Post New Features in GNOME.org
Please start posting the new features and the things you are working on, on GNOME.org site and sign them as GNOME Team. You can get massive feedback this way. Stop just using your personal blog posts. Isn’t the same.
2. Use Github Bug Tracker
GNOME Git has a mirror in Github, but they ignore bugs there, since they want to keep their current (bugzilla) infrastructure. My proposal, is to open a repository, where users can file the usability bugs (bugs by design, not “bugs”), and make requests for features that they need. A successful recipe also used in many proprietary projects.
No reason to discuss why Bugzilla doesn’t work.It just doesn’t.
GNOME has some issues in management level, distribution level and in communication level. The last, is as significant as the other two, but it is really easy to make things different. My very personal opinion :)