What is in common with the golden winner of 100 & 200m in 2012 (and 2008!) Olympic Games and Gnome3? They are both born to run fast and break records!
The so unpopular Gnome3 won the Product of Year and Best Desktop Environment in Linux Journal Readers’ Choice Awards ’11, in every release makes a new record in extensions.gnome.org (almost 200!) and forces daily Blogs/Magazines to devote pages for it!
Gnome3 is sponsored by the largest Open Source company globally (Red Hat), is supported by colosseum firms (Intel, Oracle, IBM etc), it runs open standards (Feedesktop, FSF), it shares technologies with innovative new arrivals (Chrome OS, Tizen, WeTab), it syncs with few clicks with the largest Cloud Services (Google, Facebook, MS), it runs probably the most (or one of the most) devoted users community that an open source project ever had ..and is not for sale! It is an Open Source Desktop (aka OS) made by people, for the people!
Let the self-declared as “Professional Tech Journalist and Writers” on some famous popular Magazines, desperately looking for when Linus (who by the way has blamed every single thing but his code!) will blame Gnome3; when a Gnome Developer will have a “bad moment” to make a huge story out of it, and let them collect every single user complaining about this huge change from Gnome2 to Gnome3, to decide that Gnome3 grows unpopular.
The real problem of Gnome3 isn’t the Gnome Shell. Gnome Shell is a really smart idea as a whole (infrastructure and UI) but it just needs more polish, more time, more feedback to become better. And it will. The real problem of Gnome isn’t if Nautilus dropped the compact view. Jesus, was that so important?
The real problems of Gnome
This is my personal perspective of what is wrong with Gnome and I’ll make it really quickly.
Marketing: I don’t mean marketing to a commercial market as this was never the goal of Gnome (at least so far). Marketing in terms of providing users and contributors with better services to upload their themes, their extensions (which after 1.5 years are still in beta and not even easy discover-able!), providing some simple start-up guides with Gnome for the totally new users, and all these simple things.
Xorg: The life giver and the cancer at the same time for every Linux Desktop. The center of the universe. X Server can make Chuck Norris to crash. Linus can’t debug X Server. Gnome/ GTK 3.6+ (hopefully) will run in Wayland. So KDE. Huge, vast improvement.
Applications: Suppose you built your Gnome App. Where to publish it? How to package it? ..Let’s Google it. Naah not even Google can help you to that! Ubuntu solved that problem with Launchpad and the Software Center. But Ubuntu also seems to drop a bit of Gnome in every release.
There are solutions and Gnome and Free Desktop work on that, but I don’t know how soon we will see a Unified Apps Center that runs in every Distro, no matter the package manager.
C / SDK / Documentation: Most people cannot write in C. Most people cannot write in any language without an SDK. Add to the previous two the poor documentation and you get a full package ”I cannot develop with Gnome”.
This is the most serious issue of Gnome. Or should I say it was? Yes Gnome3 most important change is that FINALLY Gnome Team does documentation. Gnome Team FINALLY provides some tools to begin developing with Gnome Technologies. It is not ready yet, but it is coming. I made a quick start guide to begin with Gnome.
Alan Day in his blog about GNOME OS, he basically talks about SDK about developing and deployment. But many Tech Magazines focused in Gnome OS release which Alan never said that it will happen. Gnome OS is a platform to test the vanilla Gnome.
“But first, a clarification. The idea of GNOME OS has been around for a couple of years, and there has been a fair amount of confusion about what it means. Some people seem to have assumed that GNOME OS is an effort to replace distributions, so let me be clear: that is not the case. While the creation of a standalone GNOME OS install does feature as a part of our plans, this is primarily intended as a platform for testing and development. In actual fact, all of the improvements that we hope to make through the GNOME OS initiative will directly improve what the GNOME project is able to offer distributions.”
These are in my opinion the serious problems of Gnome. But the way I see it, Gnome Team has identified them and does amazing work in every direction. I see more people to involve with the project and a see a very healthy contribution from the community. I have Gnome since version one point something and first time I can see so much involvement in Gnome. A draw back was what happened with Ubuntu and Unity. But that belongs to past. It was tough at first, but we are now dealt with it and we’re ignoring it.
From the 200 extensions to the new 200 Gnome Apps!
You will find Windows, Dialogs, Progress Bars, Spinners, Buttons and Data Entries and many more, within 50 lines of code and with tutorials.
I am very optimistic about the future of Gnome and I strongly believe that you can make some profit by building some small Apps with donation or even selling them! Yorba does!