Sick of GNOME community attitudes

Just one day after I have written a blog entry about the failures of the GNOME website. One issue was the lack of a customized 404 page. My guess is, that http://www.gnome.org never had this kind of page configured. So this means this issue existed long before I filed the bug. So this is a bug from 1998 maybe. This means 11 years and nobody cared. People often commented that all problems will be solved with the new CMS. But that did not come the one year and the other year. The last comments I got after somebody added yet another comment of that sort to this bug, which i did not find any constructive have been outrageous:

Andre Klapper questioned the constructiveness of my comment in which I critcized, that Lucas Rocha tried to (again) deny the importance of the bug because it would be solved anyways by the new CMS. Well yes, the new CMS will change everything  -but there has been a patch for two years  not fixing the issue 1998 has not been tolerable, not after I filed the bug, not after I submitted a patch and not 2 years after. Andre Klapper wrote:

Okay, to rephrase it: Please don’t add comments that do not add any additional value to bug reposts and are offtopic. At least Lucas and others ARE working on it instead of just talking about it.Thanks: your friendly bugmaster.

Anybody who has tried to help with GNOME knows that helping is not easy. I think I had given up trying to get more administrative access after my request was not answered 9 months later. Also i did not provide any more patches after most of the bugs that I filed, like the simple 404 issue were neither commented nor taken seriously. Why should one work on patching a system if nobody cares. So I consider it very unfair and coldhearted if a user like me, who reported a bug and even provided a fix is not even ignored but also if he reminds the developers and admins that the bug on the history of this bug and that it would likely not be fixed without being considered seriously he is aggressively attacked.

This I found an attitude absolutely common in GNOME. The most common reaction to critique is often the denial of the problem. Mostly they say the problem is YOU and not the software or the website. Its really funny to be told that others are working on a problem if those are the same guys who consistently denied any help and also often enough denied the necessary attention to important issues.

I now came to the conclusion that GNOME is not worth my attention at all. I have had a long history using and helping GNOME with bug reports, marketing, wiki, … but it has always been a lot of work to only be heard or be able to change only very little things.

What I would have expected is to get at least some respect of all the years and time and work that I have spent on helping GNOME – and not to be told that I have done nothing. This is exactly the kind of arrogance that can be the death of GNOME.

I have requested that my account will be removed from GNOME Bugzilla because I don’t plan to help in any way any more – not with this kind of attacks. I don’t need that and I don’t want that any more. I am talking about the same issues of GNOME years and years – and then you are told GNOME does not need distributed version control and they go with subversion. Only some years laters they do switch to a distrubuted version control – but sure enough nobody will say that you were right.

The fact is that in the real world nobody really knows GNOME (from a marketing point of view) and that the software and the website have many issues that can be fixed very easily IF some issued would be taken more seriously. But you find the attitude of Andre on many developers – and I would say that this is one reason why no GNOME application has become very big, but that others like Thunderbird, Firefox or Openoffice.org who are not part of the GNOME culture have had much more progress and public acceptance.

Like Rythmbox which has Podcast support but a simple patch to remove old podcasts is not adapted because the main developers seem to have a large enough hard disk and so do not se the issue. this has resulted in many users switching to the non-GNOME Miro where this exactly ist the nices feature: that podcast episodes are removed in 3 days if you do not say otherwise. So Podcast with GNOME is a no go for most users.

Or look at Evolution which still forces you to open junk mail befpre you can mark it as junk (other than Thunderbird). yeah we should all close the preview window than we dont have the problem. But what if we dont want to renonounce on that preview? I have filed a bug about that years ago, this solution was also denied, so the only real usable mail application still is Thunderbird where this is possible.

I do not say that there are not great developers, programmers, guys & girls within the GNOME community. But the main spirit is way off what really matters. Most developers are so taken up by the thinking and developing of the latest&greatest that they do ot realize how many things absolutely dont matter for most people and how many little things are not changed who would matter greatly.

So to summarize I do not know who GNOME is targetting as a user base but it sure is not the average computer user. I think its people or better programmers who like to live on the edge and who do not use the GNOME desktop for productive use. People who like the looks of GNOME or some new fancy stuff either hidden or obviously.

The problem is that this is not what they communicate. GNOME says they want more users, but they actually don’t. GNOME could easily have millions of new users with fixing some of the major issues. GNOME is still one of the best desktops because besides KDE it is still true that most other desktops are worse than GNOME or do target evern more remote user groups.

But GNOME 3 could be a game changer – not in the positive for GNOME but as a kind og KDE4 effect. Ad it will look and act differently it will turn away a lot of old users. Many will use XFCE instead as the new GNOME and some might go back to KDE4. Its so sad to see a hopeful desktop drowning.

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8 Comments

Filed under Free Software, GNOME, Technology

8 responses to “Sick of GNOME community attitudes

  1. Neo

    You like to complain a lot it seems. You used to complain about OPL use in Fedora and Fedora switched to CC-BY-SA. Did you praise it? I don’t think so.

    Also, Fedora is revamping it’s CLA to be much simpler. Did you even look into it? I don’t think so. It is good to be critical only if you appreciate changes

    https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Relicensing_OPL_to_CC_BY_SA

    https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Legal:Revised_Fedora_CLA_Draft

    • Hi Neo, my honest answer is, that I did not hear of Fedoras switch. Actually I did not follow Fedoras movements closely after it showed no interest in reacting to critical points. And alltogether I do not follow the Linux scene that closely that I did back then. I do comlain a lot, yes. I could also critisize Ubuntu for what they do with the GUI again and again (FUSA and now buttons from right to left). Its like they want to make it very hard for people with disabilities and that goes against the core of Ubuntus principles (those point weigh much harder for me than the software freedom critizism).

      But back to Fedora: I welcome the changes. But its not like I have been proven wrong in my critique, have I? A lot of people do not speak out loudly what they do not like, but make a quiet switch. Thats the easier way, you do not have to worry about some fanboys attacking you and everybody still likes you or even does not know you ever used THEIR Linux. Nobody ever cntacted me frm Fedora after this decision and saying sorry for forcing me to switch to another Linux. If somebody did as they did after I made my point I would have noticed the switch. But it seems most also like it more attack me as to acknowledge that some of my points haven been right?

      BTW: It also shows that I was right to point out that Red Hat could ALWAYS relicence the whole material: “Here’s the uncomfortable and most risky part: to do this, we have to use clause 2(a) in the Contributors License Agreement that allows the Fedora Project to relicense (sublicense) contributions: …

  2. Pingback: Fedora has been making a Licensing switch « VincisBlog

  3. Neo

    ” Nobody ever cntacted me frm Fedora after this decision and saying sorry for forcing me to switch to another Linux”

    Do not be a egoistic prick. You left on your own. No apology needed because some of your claims were still incorrect as were pointed out even at that time.

  4. Neo

    You were wrong about that critique. You made a incorrect claim that, CLA involves copyright assignment. No it does not. You never apologized for that incorrect claim either. So stop expecting others to.

    • You are wrong and I have been right. Point 2 of the old CLA explicilty stated in short form: “ You hereby grant to Red Hat an […] irrevocable copyright license […]” Nothing left unclear here. And this is exactly one point that has changed. Nobody now is given any copyright license any more. What are you talking about? The new FCLA also stated early on “The FPCA is *not* a copyright assignment agreement.” – so Fedora wants to make it now clear that they dont do mess with copyrights.

      My argument always was that a license like the OPL or CC should be enough. The fact allone that Red Hat could relicense all contribution underlines my point. My argument was, that the CLA allowed Red Hat to relicense all stuf additional to the rights that were stated in the OPL. And that this was not a clean solution.

      Did you read the FAQ you sent me yourself? Look:
      Q. Why did you change the name from ICLA to FPCA?
      A. The new text is not really a “Contributor License Agreement” in the traditional sense, as that sort of agreement usually involves copyright assignment and an abandonment of rights to a project. The FPCA exists for one main reason: to ensure that contributions to Fedora have acceptable licensing terms. We chose a name that did not use “CLA” to avoid confusion and to mark it as a distinctly specific license. ”

      I really do not know what you are talking about, because the relicensing showed what the powers of the old CLA and the new FCLA explicitly distance itself from any copyright assignments. What you are doing is that you hitting on the spot that the contributor does not loose his copyright. No he does not, but he gave Red Hat the same rights that he had. And that has been very problematic. Why should I apologize when Fedora actually meets my critique? We (Fedora Community and me) could now claim a consent that we think that the license and the new FCLA are better than before – if not people like you would keep throwing dirt.

  5. Neo

    “You are wrong and I have been right”

    Nope. CLA allows relicensing but never transfers copyright. FPCA does not do it either. The new name is to avoid confusion by laymen like yourself who try to understand legal documents and confuse yourself. You have been repeating this lie again and again without any proof. If you want to actually ask Fedora legal team instead of making up your own reality, you are feel free to ask in

    https://admin.fedoraproject.org/mailman/listinfo/legal

    Let’s see if you man up and do that

    • I have never stated that copyrights would be transfered to Red Hat. Actually you are making me a bit angry, because you either did not really read or understand my postings. In 2006 I was just honestly frustrated about Fedora without getting too deep into the facts. I also reread what I wrote. In 2009 I reframed my criticism with a deeper understanding and more experience with the licensing. You will not find a mentioning of “transfering” in there. I completely understood what the CLA was trying to do. What you are doing is trying to put words I never uttered into my mouth and thats an ugly thing to do. If you want to criticize me you first should try to understand the essence of what I wrote and mean – and then you can take quotes and prove to me where I was wrong. Right now to me it looks like you are making stuff up just that you can still claim I have always been wrong and still am. I have no problem in admitting that I would be wrong, although I also guess everybody prefers to be right in what he is saying – as you sure do. What do you want? What is your point? And what do you think is the reason for dropping the old CLA? If I listen to you I would think there has never been to change anything. Then you must think it is wrong to change the CLA, do you? I can just shake my head. You accuse me of being a liar. Thats hard stuff!

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