Proper Assignment of the Blame Warranted?

Story: Linux Desktop Flamewars: Is the News Media Too Negative?Total Replies: 5
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Aug 22, 2011
5:25 PM EDT
Quoting:For the most part the coverage of Unity, Gnome 3, and KDE4 has been positive, focusing on features and howtos. Negative stories are mainly of the "some users hate it" variety, which is not the same as a negative review. The great majority of negative commentary is in reader and user feedback. In my occasionally-humble opinion, if there is a problem here it's not in the media coverage.

Perhaps the overriding proportion of due blame for the negative state of affairs for Unity, Gnome 3, and KDE4 may ultimately rest upon the Canonical, Gnome, and KDE decision-makers in their respective developer "communities"??

Also see the current and appropriate LXer thread 'Thankyou Carla' found at


Aug 22, 2011
5:52 PM EDT
I enjoyed this article in combination with the earlier discussion:

I also have noted another interesting aspect being raised constantly which is the difficulty of the actual users getting their feedback into the Gnome and KDE projects. Others have noted that the only way you get to affect either project is by joining it as a developer (I can't even write software) or by filing bug reports. But what do you do when what you want to say is NOT a bug at all, but how the entire "bugless" package operates ? In other words, its basic philosophy of operation. That isn't a bug at all ~ it's a perception of whether the software works when applying it to daily use or is simple to operate and satisfies user requirements.

And that is something I have said in the earlier thread. KDE4 works and works well for me ~ if I push it back into a standard KDE3.5 format. It's great, no argument. As long as I can do that, KDE4 remains a very viable DE for my personal daily use. I've given up knocking KDE4 - you get nowhere and there is no way you can get that feedback to the teams, so I've become pragmatic and forced the darn thing to work for me...but I always have the niggling feeling I should not have to work so hard to get it there. I make the serious suggestion that both DE's should, in their new formats, have a single selection which allows the user to select the previous default in which they were previously comfy......and then have the options of adding the new "swinging and dancing" items as and when they want them. To some extent, this does occur in KDE4 with "Folder View" why not call the darn thing "KDE3.5 mode" or something similar just to help people like me ?

I also often wonder if the Gnome and KDE groups have a person who reviews "user gripes" in these blogs and articles and feeds them back to the developer teams. It is where the nitty gritty of daily use and frustration appears and where most genuine feedback emerges, and without paying due recognition to these "feedback sources", I think both groups are falling down on their care for the ultimate users. I'd guess it probably doesn't happen, but I think it should.


Aug 22, 2011
8:05 PM EDT
Not too terribly long ago, but still a while, I decided I wasn't going to get used to KDE 4.x and switched to Gnome. I got used to it before long, to my surprise. But I may not get used to the next iteration.

I am not a developer; I flunked coding some time ago. But who do developers listen too. We engage in many absolutist statements, many "shoulds" and "should nots". To what end?

Developers can engage in self defeating behavior; they can deny or ignore their social responsibility. They can and do things other than what we think they should.

We will likely suffer frustration, or worse if we make a living with FOSS. Even so, developers can run their projects right into the ground and we can't do much to stop them.

I don't have insight into the psyches of the developers, to know what their goals are and whether they are naive or delusional (but they may be both, either or neither). Who do they see as their users and do they think said users will just follow them like an Apple pied piper?

Again, who do the developers listen to and what are they saying to them. Who has some leverage. Without these things it doesn't matter what should be; it remains how it is.

If I have no way of knowing what drummer these developers march to, I have no way of getting into step with them and then to influence their direction. If there is no way to influence them, then our news is moot, whether too negative or not.

Although FOSS could become extinct, I rather expect someone will fill the gap, fork a project or begin something new. Of course, that doesn't make it any less painful.


Aug 23, 2011
1:10 PM EDT
@kenholmz: Exactly right, I think. Developers are ALSO users, especially in the FOSS ecosystem. If there is ENOUGH user interest in a particular feature, there will eventually be enough of them that are also developers who are willing to work on it. Praise or non-development assistance (good bug reporting, documentation, etc.) from non-developer users will encourage more developers to join in the project.

Aug 24, 2011
2:02 AM EDT
Developers listen to the bug reports, which in the main are filed by other developers.

However what they probably don'tlisten to, even if filed as a bug report are things like "I can't the top bar auto hide." or "I can't reposition the top bar" or "when I'm using 2 monitors stacked vertically there's a top bar on both monitors", or "it takes a lot longer to find applications with the new "menu System", can we have the old menu system back"

Aug 24, 2011
9:50 PM EDT
"If there is ENOUGH user interest in a particular feature, there will eventually be enough of them that are also developers who are willing to work on it."

Not necessarily true. When the developers say, "We will NOT include such and such feature, so don't bother asking," most people...don't ask.

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