Monday, January 30, 2006

Things about GNOME that Rock, Number One

Well, I have had about a dozen comments on my previous blog entry (Things about GNOME that Suck, Part One), all of which were along the lines of, "yeah, me too". I have had one private email from someone (whose opinion I respect) who suggested that it's not very nice to criticise people in public. I have some sympathy for this view, but do not entirely agree with it. But, if anyone here objects to my criticism, please let me know! I would not want to piss off a bunch of people for whom I have huge respect and admiration.

As I said in my previous entry, I want to criticise and praise on alternate days. So here is my first item of praise. :-)

One thing about GNOME that rocks HARD is the community spirit, and the ease with which can become involved and contribute within the bounds of one's abilities. I am not a developer, but I feel that I can and have contributed something, however small, to GNOME. (I also feel that I could do much more, but that's a different story.) This is something about GNOME that should not be underappreciated. So to all you other people in the GNOME community: Hello! And thanks!


Anonymous said...

The person who is being "not very nice" is the one who is trying to suppress valid criticism.

Blocking while waiting for input, in a way that leaves the user with a dead window, is a bug. Valid bug reports should not be discouraged.

Anonymous said...

John, glad to see you're doing this. Although I love Gnome, I can no longer use it for performance reasons (have gone back to Enlightenment and occasionally Fluxbox). The thing is, my PC is a Pentium 3 with 192 MB of RAM. To me it's very important that a desktop environment is useable on recycled hardware; Gnome is ridiculously memory-hungry and heavily I/O-bound and requires a wopping 256 MB RAM just to avoid swap hell.

"The environmental impact of each new power-hunger, polluting computer is significant. A recent UN University study found that 1.8 tons of raw material are required to manufacture the average desktop computer and monitor. Roughly 240 kilograms of fossil fuels, 22 kilograms of chemicals and 1,500 kilograms of water are used to make a desktop PC and a 17 inch CRT monitor.10 The environmental costs become alarming when considering how precipitously new PCs are being produced. Over 1 billion PCs had been produced in the world by the end of year 2002. The Computer Industry Almanac predicts that cumulative total will double within six years to over 2 billion by the year 2008.11"

10“UN study: Think upgrade before buying a new PC: New report finds 1.8 tons of material are used to manufacture desktop PC and monitor”, IDG News Service, March 07, 2004,

11“Worldwide Cumulative PC Sales Exceed 1 billion,” Computer Industry Almanac Inc, press release, Feb 28, 2003,

PS: Fellow kiwi :-)

Anonymous said...

It's somewhat telling that your number one reason GNOME rocks has nothing to do with software, interfaces, usability, or anything related to what people actually use it for. It's great to have a nice community, but liking the software itself should be at the top of the list.

For me, the #1 thing I like about GNOME is that it is no-hassle software. No serial numbers hassling, no UI clutter hassling, no usability hassling. I get my work done and I don't feel like I'm ever fighting the computer for control.