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Author: Alessandro Selli
To: dng
New-Topics: [DNG] Deliberate inflexibility
Subject: Re: [DNG] I have a question about libsystemd0 in devuan ascii,
customiOn Tue, 20 Jun 2017 at 23:32:46 -0700
Bruce Perens <bruce@???> wrote:

> The big conspiracy is that GNOME is breaking themes in GTK? Oh, the horror!

Techies might not care much about the aesthetics, but a lot of newbies do.
I read of several people, in the early LUG days, who chose their desktop
based on how customizeable it was and how many themes and skins it came with
from the repos. Please, don't downplay the eye-candy satisfaction, people
who can neither code nor sysadmin do love it.

> That's more than a little over the top.

That's collateral damage from their way of doing Free Software: "We know
better than you, we don't care what you want/like/need, our goals trump
yours". Go figure out how that attitude is going to win more people toward

> *I'm going to explain to you why GNOME has made the choices it has. *Not
> everyone here needs this explanation, but the folks who have so far failed
> to understand this have made themselves obvious. Sorry, guys.
> It's because the community that GNOME is serving is *not you. *

We got that. It's all over the wall.

> And it is very, very important for Free Software to serve a community that
> is not like us!

Of course. You seem to forget however that theme/skin developers are not
like plenty of us and are not like Gnome's devs. Gnome has let down a lot of
people who are not like them, who do not fit with their corporate goals.

> One of the greatest problems in Free Software is that, so far, we make it
> just for us.

What does this have to do with Gnome's attitude towards people who just
want to customize their desktop's aesthetics?

> So, we are the only folks who use it, and we don't get the
> rest of the world to use Free Software, and we lose out on any number of
> important things because of that. Important things for the* world,* and for
> Free Software. The rest of the world runs bad software and their security
> and privacy suck. They buy into DRM. What they do is controlled by big
> companies, because they have become slaves of their tools. They don't know
> what electronic freedom is. And for us: hardware doesn't support our
> software. Media doesn't support our software. I could go on...

How does any of this have to do with Gnome dev's attitude against theme

> So, the GNOME folks decided to make Free Software that wasn't for geeky
> nerd software developers, theme-builders and theme-users. And this, to some
> of you, is a conspiracy or evil, but it is actually the most important
> thing that Free Software could do today.

Bruce, please, relax, pop open a beer and think.
I did manage to have a few people use GNU/Linux distros who were not aware of
the difference between a hard disk and RAM. They were absolutely not geeks,
the farthest kind of people I can think of from susceptible of being labelled
nerds. One of them is my wife, and they all had one thing in common: they
had had no previous exposure to any OS. They learned to use a computer on a
GNU/Linux distribution first (it was Fedora then) and what they liked the most
of it was not how much you can tune the kernel, the filesystem, the
scheduler or the networking kernel run-time parameters. Instead what won they
heart was how easily and how much they could tweak and customize the way the
desktop looked like and behaved. They did not chose Gnome2 over KDE or XFCE
or WindowMaker because of the licence, the OpenGL support, code portability or
elegance of project design; they chose it because it was simple, easy to use
and came with a large number of wallpapers, themes and a full choice of skins
and element colours. This is what you win non-technical people with: ease of
use, working software to do the essentials (browsing, email, media and office
docs) and eye-candy, customizeable aesthetics.

> Now, I know that some of you would rather just make the system for
> yourselves. There's two words for that: intellectual masturbation. What has
> you angry is *the challenge that you now grow up and start playing with
> other people.*

What does this have to do with preventing people from customizing the
desktop's look? When I "start playing with other people" I couldn't care
what WM or desktop they use, much less what skin or theme they set up on it.
That's because I cannot know, because I interact with them almost always
on-line. I know what GUI/theme/skin/wallpaper they use as much as you know
what I am using now.

> The decision that SystemD sucks architecturally and is worth working hard
> to eliminate doesn't imply that we also have to make a nerds-only system to
> play with, ourselves. GNOME is leading the way out of that dead end. Try to
> understand how and why.

We are not making "nerds-only system to play with, ourselves", but it does
take nerds to work hard to eliminate systemd from distributions that have it
by default. And, again, this has nothing to do with Gnome's decision to
do all they could to frustrate people's attempts at developing themes and
extensions for their desktop.

> Why doesn't GNOME care about themes?

They do care, it's not that they did not pay attention to the issue. They
did, and they decided to sink third-party themes and extensions by purpose!

> Because once two non-technical people
> are running different themes, they can't help each other understand how to
> work their systems. They can't even describe what they are seeing in a way
> that the other person will understand.

Nowhere did I read this excuse in Gnome devs replies, they actually stated
very clearly why were they making almost impossible for Gnome3 to support
third party themes and extensions. Shall I copy-and-paste the IgnorantGuru's
relevant lines? Did you read that post?

> There is one exercise that I recommend. Go in an Apple store. Sit or stand
> quietly and look around you. Don't sneer or look offended, do your best to
> fit in and just *watch people. *Note how excited and happy the people are
> there, because they feel they are empowered by that Apple stuff. And they
> really are! Apple understands them, unlike 95% of technical people
> everywhere. You can too, if you try. We could *better *empower them, and we
> could get them away from all of the s**t that Apple does, if we were not so
> inward facing.

You do *not* empower people taking away what they could easily do the day
before and suddenly prevent them from even changing the desktop's
aesthetics. You do not empower non-technical users by forcing them into a
"user experience" they do not like, they are vocally against, imposing them a
new, unmodifiable GUI paradigm that disrupts the way they interacted with
their desktop until they were force-fed the "innovation" by the devs.


Alessandro Selli http://alessandro.route-add.net
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