This post isn’t against the ZDNet Network or against any of its writers. I use ZDNet, David Meyer and Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols as nothing more than an example to show you that you have to be cautious about what are you reading in high traffic magazines relatively to Gnome.
In any case this is not personal and I apologize in advance if I insult anyone. That isn’t my goal.
This is the second part of the “Deception Mini Series” -and the main reason to start these. I think that something bad is happening on popular blogs. They blame Gnome with one-sided arguments. Basically these guys don’t lie, but they do something worse. They deceive people, their users, by presenting Gnome as an unhealty project.
On the first part “Deception | Part I. Gnome Core Libs Progress” I am showing the progress of Gnome core libraries which seems better than ever. I didn’t do any kind of analysis on the data, but I will when Gnome 3.6 will be out in September, 24 using data from http://www.ohloh.net and detailed analysis from http://bitergia.com which runs a study to Gnome Shell progress (and other Gnome modules).
I have already extracted quickly some data and made some handy charts and you will be amazed from the growth of Gnome the last 4 years, both in developing and from the involving of new contributors. Anyway..
The ZDNet Example
David Meyer has an article “GNOME OS is on the way – but mainly for testing and development” which is totally cool, but on the beginning he says:
“Faced with GNOME’s growing unpopularity in the Linux community, those working on the desktop environment and user interface are pushing on with a new way of improving the user experience while easing application development and testing: a GNOME OS.”
Of course I was so curious to check the “growing unpopularity” link. That link leads on Steven J. Vaughan-Nichol’s article “Is GNOME “Staring into the abyss?“.
I consider it (this post) one of the most misleading articles ever made. The reason is because Nichol says nothing but the truth, well documented by plenty of links. But Steven deceives deep his readers by showing the one side of the coin. I believe he does that because he ignores lot of things about Gnome, and he doesn’t do it intentionally to accuse the project.
The saddest thing is that Meyer takes Nichol’s post as an undoubtful fact. Personally I think if you want to learn “tech-inside” news, is better to read smaller or developers blogs.
Nichol’s poor arguments
I’ll be clear on this, if Nichol’s had just said Gnome SUCKS (he actually says that he hates Gnome3), it would be fine by me. That is his opinion and is respectful. What I don’t like is that he is trying to push his opinion to the readers by presenting incompleted facts, which most of the people will take as “real” because they seem to be well documented. That’s the job of a journalist after all, to document the weak :)
Nichol is using:
Otte’s post: Staring into the abyss. What Nichol’s fails to understand here is that Otte aims to Gnome developers. For example when Otte says that there isn’t a GTK port to Libre Office, obviously Otte knows that Cosimo and others are working on it, and is actually usable. When Otte says about the GTK/GLib development he knows that these two libraries have massive development in the last 1.5 years (since Gnome3), but they need more people.
Most of the Otte’s comments have been answered by comments by other developers (and I’m not going to make arguments against Otte anyway), but some of these problems are 10 years-old in Gnome. Nothing new. But Nichol’s think that something terrible happened in Gnome on that day, because he ignores the history and the development progress of the project.
Linus: Ok Linus blamed Gnome in the worst way. But let me think again.. what is that project that Linus hasn’t blamed? More over Linus complains towards to Gnome3 are concerning work-flow and usability according to his personal tastes. I cannot understand how Linus opinion counts more than anyone’s else on this area. OK, he is the great Linus, but that doesn’t mean that whatever he doesn’t like is bad.
Linus might also like red underwear, does also Nichols like them? Linus doesn’t like BMWs, is the firm under crisis?
Ubuntu/Mint: Ubuntu dropped Gnome-Shell for Unity. Mint forked Mutter/GS to Muffin/Cinnamon. I won’t rewind back to time for the reasons that Canonical switched to Unity, but I can say that Unity was there before Gnome 3. About Mint? Since when a fork harms the Open Source and since when all people have to work on a single project? Or Mint team was in Gnome and they dropped it to fork it?
Oh and don’t forget that both Distros are using Gnome. Just not the GS.
Red Hat: Nichol says: “If Red Hat ever decided that GNOME wasn’t worth investing in, the project would be dead in the water.” So the first one-billion dollar open source company will drop one of its main products?
But even if Red Hat drop Gnome, Jesus it will be forked on the very same day! Nichol’s ignores how Open Source projects work, and he doesn’t understand the meaning of the Bus Factor that he is using so convincingly.
Anyway: I won’t extend further on this, and I won’t bomb you with links and arguments. Gnome is an open-to-study project and you can watch its progress and the teams that are involved on it.
The reason for writing this is to alert people to be cautious about what they are reading even in the most “trusted” pages but more importantly I hope that a guy from ZDNet will read that and next time will be more informed when they are about to write articles on community projects.
There are also some responsibilities from the members of the community driven projects, about their bad image to the press. Nichol’s mentions the example of Adam Dingle which is the founder of Yorba, to prove that sometimes Gnome ignores contributors. Ok, that is true but it happens everywhere. Bad decisions have been made. Nothing’s perfect.
The Nautilus Example
In Nautilus 3.6 happens something kinda weird. Everyone is talking about the removal of the features but none mention about its new features. It’s like Nautilus 3.6 is exactly the same as 3.4, but with less features.
These two polls are made from OMG! Ubuntu! and I guess that the same audience voted on both. I can read that; It was a mistake for Gnome to remove all these things from Nautilus, but still Nautilus 3.6 is better than 3.4. Also a big percentage of people (42%) want Ubuntu to drop Nautilus for another file manager. It seems that Nautilus 3.4 was a bad File Manager and Nautilus 3.6 is kinda better.
The funny story on this is that Canonical moved on with the less popular solution, they adopted Nautilus 3.4 for their next Ubuntu (12.10).
I am sorry..
..about referring to David Meyer and Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols. Nothing personal, it was just a random example, because these were common arguments in many magazines. But as they criticize Gnome, they should accept some criticism back :)
*I assume you have read Nichol’s full post and links before you read this!