Deemphasizing

From Fedora’s GNOME 3 feature page:

Where has the appearance capplet gone?
GNOME 3 is deemphasizing user customization, or ‘theming’ in favour of a ‘just works’ and ‘slick out of the box’ approach. Therefore, theme changes are no longer exposed in the core configuration UI, except for accessibility themes such as ‘High Contrast’ or ‘Inverse’, which are available in the ‘Universal Access’ panel.

‘Deemphasizing’ is a nice word, isn’t it? Makes sound things so friendly:

The Chinese government is deemphasizing ‘human rights’ or ‘individual freedom’ in favor of a ‘just works’ approach.

Who said I cannot be diplomatic? ;)

21 thoughts on “Deemphasizing

  1. Theme configuration can hardly be compared to human rights. I suppose if you have suffered human rights problems, you wouldn’t find this funny and I don’t. . Pick a less extreme analogy.

  2. I really need to try out gnome 3. The level of angst that it generates it pretty special.

    Is it really that bad? How hard is it to copy win7 or macOS???

  3. @Ddd: definitely, have a go with the live image and make your own mind

    @Rahul: is not comparing the human rights with theme choice but is comparing bullshit with bullshit.

    • Nicu,

      I think now would be a great time for people who share your opinion to advocate for Xfce or LXDE or KDE (speaking as someone who is trying Xfce and KDE at the moment) and try and fill the gaps in user experience like Martin seems to be pushing for rather than waste it on a poor and frankly offensive analogy and fake images. I bet people who have actually experienced any humans rights problems in their day to day life would never bring up such a analogy and for good reasons It’s the equivalent of bringing up Nazi or Hitler. Sure fire way to end the conversation.

  4. Rahul, I never compared human rights to the removal of a feature. I made fun of the euphemism that is used.

    And it’s not just the lack of a single feature, it’s a lack of things that make my individual freedom and make me use GNOME effectively:

    • I can no longer set theme I like.
    • I can no longer decide which polkit agent to use.
    • I can no longer have icons in dialogs or menus. This is not only about nice a look but about productivity. Icons in ‘yes/no’ dialogs are much easier to understand than having to read through the whole text.
    • I can no longer use many of the applets that make the panel useful.
    • I can no longer decide how to set up my dual screens for working productively.
    • I can no longer decide what happens when I close the lid of my laptop. What about the external monitor?
    • I cannot even decide which brightness level is best for my battery and for my eyes.
    • I can no longer start programs from a hierarchically ordered selection but have to search for them. I wonder how this is supposed to work out for novices who don’t know what term to search for. Edit: There is a list of categories on the right, it’s not hierarchical but should do for most people.

    And please don’t tell me to use other desktops. I am already doing this but because of gnome-(s)hell’s monolithic approach, things are getting worse for us:

    • We can no longer use gnome-packagekit without GNOME control-center.
    • GNOME control-center now requires not only gnome-settings-deamon but also gnome-session and gnome-screensaver.
    • gnome-screensaver can no longer be used in anything but GNOME because it relies on gnome-session instead of X to measure inactivity.
    • Notifications no longer work properly because of changes in libnotify. Of course these changes were only made for gnome-shell and without a public discussion. Who cares about the fallout for all the programs that use libnotify?
    • It looks like we can no longer use NetworkManager to connect to the net because nm-applet is being replaced by a gnome-shell applet
    • Same for gnome-bluetooth’s applet. I cannot understand why a well established XDG standard is dropped deemphasized in favor of something that only works in a single environment and it’s design has not yet ben finalized

    I can surely give you more examples, but this is for another blog post. Stay tuned!

    • “I made fun of the euphemism that is used.”

      I understand that just fine but still think you picked a poor one. I don’t want to debate each of these arguments on a point by point basis but suffice to say that GNOME is evolving in a entirely different direction and desktop environments like Xfce or LXDE have to develop their own frontends to things like NetworkManager. GNOME 2.x equivalents are a good place to start. Relying on the GNOME stuff for filling in the gaps at the higher level just doesn’t work anymore and has always been problematic.

      • Rahul,

        it’s not just the higher level, it’s also lowlevel stuff like libnotify. Even if I dislike this change and especially the way it was done, I think we could cope with that. Nobody has a problem if gnome-packagekit or NetworkManager-gnome rely on gconf, but as soon as it relies on gnome-control-center with all it’s deps, we have do.

        Take a look at xfconf and xfce4-settings, much smarter than control-center: Apps only rely on xfconf and the settings dialogs work standalone. If called from xfce4-settings you have nicely embedded dialogs just as in control-center, but without any additional dependencies. The same goes for KDE’s systemsettings.

        IMHO the problem is not a technical one but caused by a social problem, namely the attitude of many GNOME developers. They do not care about standards (even if the created them), they do not care about cross-desktop collaboration and they do not care about what users want. If users like to configure the brightness on battery or the action when the lid is closed, they will just explain you why all these users are wrong. Same goes for window buttons, panel applets or tray icons. The argumentation is always the same, for example “The notification area is deprecated in GNOME 3 and shouldn’t be used.” Why? Because they tell us? Because you know better than their users?

        And this is not enough, they tell you to fork: “If you don’t like it that’s fine“. So we now have the first GNOME fork based on the 2.0 code.

        Deemphasizing the users in favor of selfish developers will result in less users and the GNOME exodus has already started.

      • “:And this is not enough, they tell you to fork: “If you don’t like it that’s fine“. So we now have the first GNOME fork based on the 2.0 code.”

        That’s great and much better than a rant because it is code speaks louder than words approach to the problem which I like but it isn’t the first fork at all. It shows how much success the previous fork was but here you go

        http://www.akcaagac.com/index_goneme.html

    • @Christoph:

      « I can no longer set theme I like.»

      Planed for Gnome 3.2. It’s not finished for 3.0

      «I can no longer decide which polkit agent to use.»

      Gnome-Shell is a Free Software, you can modify-it.
      I don’t know enough PolicyKit to affirm that you can configure which agent you use, but if is the Gnome-Shell agent that be used by default it must be configured somewhere in PolicyKit

      «I can no longer have icons in dialogs or menus. This is not only about nice a look but about productivity. Icons in ‘yes/no’ dialogs are much easier to understand than having to read through the whole text.»

      I’m agree with this. But this is a detail that can be changed in 3.2 if necessary.

      «I can no longer use many of the applets that make the panel useful.»

      Gnome-Shell use a plugins system. With a plugin, you can change all elements and behaviors of Gnome-Shell. It’s the new system of applets and it offers more liberty.

      «I can no longer decide how to set up my dual screens for working productively.»

      What? You can configure display (one, twe, extended, clone, etc)
      I don’t understand what do you wan’t to say.

      «I can no longer decide what happens when I close the lid of my laptop. What about the external monitor?»

      When you have an externel monitor, the laptop don’t suspend when close the lid.

      The decision about the behavior when close the lid is to don’t wasting energy.
      But you can change that and is it’s too restrictive, it’s plan to change that in Gnome 3.2.

      «I cannot even decide which brightness level is best for my battery and for my eyes.»

      I don’t understand what do you want to say: You can continue to set the brightness level.

      «I can no longer start programs from a hierarchically ordered selection but have to search for them. I wonder how this is supposed to work out for novices who don’t know what term to search for.»

      In “Activities” overview, you have an Application section.
      What do you whan’t to say?

      « We can no longer use gnome-packagekit without GNOME control-center.»

      What? You can continue to have gnome-packagekit like an application. You can also have a Gnome Control-Center panel, but it’s not an obligation.

      «GNOME control-center now requires not only gnome-settings-deamon but also gnome-session and gnome-screensaver.»

      These two elements are nedded by some panels of Gnome-Control-Center, not directly by Gnome-Control-Center. You maximize the possibility of software, you maximize its dependencies. It’s normal.

      ….

      Well, I stop there. Again, nothing constructive review of Gnome 3 exept one. You juste don’t like it.

      • @korbe

        Planed for Gnome 3.2. It’s not finished for 3.0

        This means that my statement was right: I can no longer select themes in GNOME 3.0. And if the »Appearance« capplet is supposed to be back again, why not admit that it just will not be ready for 3.0 but write some euphemistic “deemphasizing” bullshit?

        Gnome-Shell is a Free Software, you can modify-it.

        But I cannot modify the Fedora packages made of this free software. This is outlined in the GNOME 3 feature page and was discussed on Fedora devel list.

        I’m agree with this. But this is a detail that can be changed in 3.2 if necessary.

        Why not release gnome-shell when it is ready? Why postpone all the functionality we have right now in GNOME 2.x to 3.2?

        When KDE 4 came out the GNOME folks said: We will do better for GNOME 3. We will not release something unfinished and have a smooth transition. The opposite is true, they do worse.

        You can configure display (one, twe, extended, clone, etc)

        The decision about the behavior when close the lid is to don’t wasting energy.

        When my laptop is in it’s docking I close the lid but want the laptop

        But you can change that and is it’s too restrictive, it’s plan to change that in Gnome 3.2.

        I am tired of being put off for 3.2. If only half of the things I am promised will come true in 3.2, it will be a good release but I bet you it wont. 3.2 is just the excuse for everything these days.

        I don’t understand what do you want to say: You can continue to set the brightness level.

        Please read the bug report I linked in reply to Rahul. The possibility to set the brightness on battery different from the brightness on AC was removed in gnome-power-manager 2.28 already. I listed a lot of bugs where people complained about this and other users agreed to me in the bug I filed, but Richard is immune to criticism and feature requests and became really impolite.

        In “Activities” overview, you have an Application section.
        What do you whan’t to say?

        I spoke of a “hierarchically” ordered overview, this means to have categories like »Internet« or »Office«. The »Activities« overview is sorted alphabetically. Do you really think that all the novices that GNOME 3 seems to target know that »firefox« is a browser and »lifearea« a reader for newsfeeds and both have something to do with »Internet«?

        You can continue to have gnome-packagekit like an application. You can also have a Gnome Control-Center panel, but it’s not an obligation.

        gpk-prefs is a plugin to the control-center now, this means I can no longer configure gnome-packagekit without the control center. And If I cannot configure it for my needs, I cannot use an application.

        These two elements are nedded by some panels of Gnome-Control-Center, not directly by Gnome-Control-Center.

        Ok, then remove one of gnome-settings-daemon or gnome-screenaver and start the control center. It will crash immediately before you open any of the plugins.

        You maximize the possibility of software, you maximize its dependencies. It’s normal.

        Take gnome-screensaver: making it depend on gnome-session added zero new options but increased the dependency chain. In fact it’s possibilities were decreased because I can no longer use in any environment bug GNOME.

        Take a look at what Xfce has done in 4.6: They removed dependencies and still made their control center more functional and tighter integrated.

        Again, nothing constructive review of Gnome 3 exept one.

        You are confusing constructive with positive. I’m an honest guy, I cannot give positive feedback if I think something is wrong.

        I made constructive suggestions on the mailing lists, for example for a more flexible and more reliable handling of the different authentication agents. I was either shut down or ignored. I am trying to be constructive by testing GNOME 3.0 and filing bugs, but again I’m being ignored.

        You juste don’t like it.

        No, it’s not I just don’t like it but I gave 14 examples why I don’t like it. These are facts, but whoever is arguing with facts or valid concerns is called a ‘hater’. If I hate one thing it is the way how GNOME developers and fanboys cope with criticism.

      • «Why not release gnome-shell when it is ready? Why postpone all the functionality we have right now in GNOME 2.x to 3.2?

        When KDE 4 came out the GNOME folks said: We will do better for GNOME 3. We will not release something unfinished and have a smooth transition. The opposite is true, they do worse.»

        But I’m not responssable about this. If you think Gnome 3.0 is not sufficiently finished for you, you can continue to use Fedora 14 and help Gnome community to finish Gnome for 3.2 in Fedora 16.

        «I am tired of being put off for 3.2. If only half of the things I am promised will come true in 3.2, it will be a good release but I bet you it wont. 3.2 is just the excuse for everything these days.»

        So fork it. Some point I would like to see improved to Gnome 3.2. If nothing changes I’d be happy to help you.

        «I spoke of a “hierarchically” ordered overview, this means to have categories like »Internet« or »Office«. The »Activities« overview is sorted alphabetically. Do you really think that all the novices that GNOME 3 seems to target know that »firefox« is a browser and »lifearea« a reader for newsfeeds and both have something to do with »Internet«?»

        It’s no different than in Gnome 2.0 If you know a better way, propose it.

        Ok, listen: Continue this game of quotting point by point may never have an end. I’m not your ennemy, I’m not trying to insult. I just try to explain that Gnome 3 is not as bad as some people affirm. Ok is not perfect but it’s not crappy.

        I try to calm trolls and create a real debate, but I only win insult in Nicu blog and slander in Martin blog. So in this time, It’s too, I just want to se the Gnome VS Fedora war(s), see people to throw stones at the faces and destroy all that has been created so far.

        Have fun.

    • > “I can no longer set theme I like.”

      You can, with gsettings/dconf. Unless what you mean is “There aren’t any theme ported to Gtk3 yet”, but that’s hardly a problem, more like a temporary annoyance.

      > “I can no longer decide what happens when I close the lid of my laptop. What about the external monitor”

      You can, with gsettings/dconf.

      > “I cannot even decide which brightness level is best for my battery and for my eyes.”

      You can, that’s what the long horizontal slider widget is for in the control center.

      > “I can no longer start programs from a hierarchically ordered selection but have to search for them.”

      There are categories on the right of the Applications panel in the overview. They map (almost) the categories in the Gnome 2.x menu.

      > “I wonder how this is supposed to work out for novices who don’t know what term to search for.”

      You mean those who want to use a web browser? They will start searching for “brow” and all the installed browsers will be shown. Gnome-Shell searches in the description as well as the comand name and “human” name (I don’t know if it searches in translated description yet since my system is in english, but if not done it will come without a doubt).

      That list is just FUD, and the rest is just “we can’t rip other’s software anymore now, we have to implement our own!”. How is that Gnome’s problem?

      Note: I am a Gnome user since Fedora Core 5, I’ve always loved Gnome 2, and I love Gnome 3 even more.

      • Thanks for your comments, Bastien.

        You can, with gsettings/dconf.

        Sure, I can also edit some XML files, but this hardly replaces a GUI for the settings. Is that target audience of GNOME 3 really required use the commandline and know dconf settings by heart?

        Unless what you mean is “There aren’t any theme ported to Gtk3 yet”, but that’s hardly a problem, more like a temporary annoyance.

        I would have expected GNOME to come up with a decent theme for both GTK+ 2 and 3.

        You can, that’s what the long horizontal slider widget is for in the control center.

        Please read the explanation I gave and the bug report I linked. Since 2.28 it is not possible to set the brightness level on battery independently from the one on AC. ATM I can only select if it should be dimmed, but not how much or if I want it brighter.
        In GNOME 3 things get worse: I need to be on battery to configure brightness on battery and on AC to configure brightness for AC. This is really funny because Allan told us the new settings were designed “to go there once, configure the system, and forget about it“. The opposite is true: I need to configure it twice and even pull the plug from my laptop.
        And if this is not enough, I cannot select if the display if it should get dimmed, even though the option is not checked, the it does get dimmed on battery.

        There are categories on the right of the Applications panel in the overview. They map (almost) the categories in the Gnome 2.x menu.

        Fair point, but the categories cannot be hierarchically. Nevertheless I have edited my previous comment so you cannot claim I am spreading FUD.

        You mean those who want to use a web browser? They will start searching for “brow” and all the installed browsers will be shown. Gnome-Shell searches in the description as well as the comand name and “human” name (I don’t know if it searches in translated description yet since my system is in english, but if not done it will come without a doubt).

        I spoke of “novices who don’t know what term to search for”. My 70 year old father will know he has to search for “browser”, He will search for “Internet”, but a quick test on my system this doesn’t return all browsers installed.

        That list is just FUD, and the rest is just “we can’t rip other’s software anymore now, we have to implement our own!”. How is that Gnome’s problem?

        Why do we have standards then? Just for others to rip your software?

        Bastien, I really like to have a fruitful discussion here. If I am wrong about something I’m the first to admit it. I reply to all your points, so please be so kind as to answer to my questions, too: Do you know if bluetooth-applet and nm-applet will still be around as trayicons and if, for how long?

      • @Christoph:
        (I’m replying to my own comment since I can’t find how to reply to yours)

        First, I’m not Bastien. :)

        > “Sure, I can also edit some XML files, but this hardly replaces a GUI for the settings.”

        And like all the people who complain about this, you haven’t start working on Gnome Plumbing, although the Gnome designers have designed it:
        http://www.hadess.net/2010/02/were-removing-settings-again.html

        > “I would have expected GNOME to come up with a decent theme for both GTK+ 2 and 3.”

        Gnome did: Adwaita. I was talking about no third-party theme existing for Gtk3, which makes a dialog to change theme pointless in the short-term.

        No doubt that when some themes get ported, such a dialog will start becoming more important.

        > “Fair point, but the categories cannot be hierarchically.”

        Oh, you wanted something like waht the games-menu package in Fedora achieves? Sorry, I didn’t understand that.

        > “He will search for “Internet”, but a quick test on my system this doesn’t return all browsers installed.”

        Then the description string of those applications that don’t show up must be fixed.

        > “Why do we have standards then? Just for others to rip your software?”

        They are not standards, they are specifications:
        “”"
        freedesktop.org is not a formal standards organization, though some see a need for one that covers some of the areas we are working on.
        [... snip ...]
        Unlike a standards organization, freedesktop.org is a “collaboration zone” where ideas and code are tossed around, and de facto specifications are encouraged.
        “”"
        (from the f.o home page)

        Specifications are not mandatory, each project is free to folow them or not. However, it is recommanded that *if they do something with the same goal* they should implement those specifications, to make interoperability easier.

        For example, there is a DesktopCouch specification at fd.o. Does it mean that Gnome is required to use DesktopCouch? No, it means that if Gnome wants to store user data with DesktopCouch, it should do it as written in the specification.

        Anyway, my initial point was not that Gnome is not following the fd.o specifications, it was that the Gnome core desktop is requiring some Gnome components. I fail to see how you can find that a problem.

  5. Christoph, gnome-bluetooth is a GNOME program. If you want to have your own XFCE Bluetooth front-end, I’ll happily host it in the same package, like I do for the moblin front-end.

    And I’m pretty certain that the gnome-bluetooth applet still works on XFCE, though some links will obviously bring you a GNOME control-center.

    • @Bastien

      You say bluetooth-applet should still work but are you really sure? And how long will it still be around as a trayicon? How long will nm-applet be around?

      I don’t want my own Xfce frontend because I don’t have time to maintain it and I don’t think that Xfce and LXDE need somthing of their own but should rather be able to share the code. I mean, that’s what standards like the system tray protocol are for, right?

      As for the control-center integration I suggest to look at Xfce and what they have done with xfce4-settings and xfconf. From a user’s perspective it’s just what control-center does, but applications just require xfconf but not xfce4-settings itself. Another advantage is that xfce4-settings doesn’t crash if one of the plugins is missing – unlike control-center.

  6. “GNOME 3 is deemphasizing user customization”

    It’s quite funny. I thought G3 will be an unfinished product (3.2 will rock, may be), but advertising “the lack of features” in that way it’s brilliant! :’)

  7. @korbe basically, Gnome 3 is provided “as is”, and any user that doesn’t like it… he must look a replacement elsewhere.

    If you want to innovate, that’s food for the trolls. Live with it, and have fun.

  8. @bochecha

    @Christoph:
    (I’m replying to my own comment since I can’t find how to reply to yours)

    The blog only allows three levels of nesting.

    First, I’m not Bastien. :)

    Sorry about that Mathieu. :oops:

    And like all the people who complain about this, you haven’t start working on Gnome Plumbing, although the Gnome designers have designed it:
    http://www.hadess.net/2010/02/were-removing-settings-again.html

    Sorry, but why should I as Xfce and LXDE user and maintainer work on something that has a bunch of GNOME dependencies? If the dependency footprint smaller, say only dconf (like Xfce setting dialogs only require xfconf) and if dconf worked reliably (for me it crashes all the time), I’m sure someone would have stepped. I know a lot of GTK developers are looking forward to dconf, but not to gnome-shell.

    Gnome did: Adwaita. I was talking about no third-party theme existing for Gtk3, which makes a dialog to change theme pointless in the short-term.

    Sorry, but the GTK+ 2 part of Adwaita is basically Clearlooks and does not look like the GTK+ 3 theme. Mclasen already admitted that.

    Specifications are not mandatory, each project is free to folow them or not. However, it is recommanded that *if they do something with the same goal* they should implement those specifications, to make interoperability easier.

    I got your point, however this is not how it goes: GNOME people are for example maintaining libnotiy and decide to change the way notifications work for gnome-shell. They make incompatible API changes that ATM are only implemented in notification-daemon but neither in knotify nor in xfce4-notifyd. It’s kind of funny when GNOME folks now point fingers at Unitiy or Canonical and complain that discussion about indicators only happened on the Ayatana mailing list but not upstream – they did exactly the same and also discussed stuff within GNOME. Even worse: libnotify is already widely adopted and everybody had to fix their code.

    Anyway, my initial point was not that Gnome is not following the fd.o specifications, it was that the Gnome core desktop is requiring some Gnome components. I fail to see how you can find that a problem.

    The problem is not that the GNOME desktop requires GNOME components but that it becomes more and more monolithic, so components cannot be used outside of GNOME. The problem gets worse through Fedora’s packaging. Most our the dependency painpoints are caused by GNOME and I’m afraid it will become worse with 3.0.

    So the problem is not fixing gnome-shell but what fixing is the attitude of many GNOME developers. They don’t listen do their users and don’t play nicely with others.

  9. “Most our the dependency painpoints are caused by GNOME and I’m afraid it will become worse with 3.0.”

    Most of what is left unresolved in that last is not GNOME packages at all. Just FYI

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