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reply to FF4m3

Re: Is GNOME in Free Fall?

Personally I've never run GNOME. The closest I've come to it is Xfce.

That said, I find these discussions interesting.

Is GNOME "Staring into the abyss?":

Benjamin Otte, a leading GNOME developer thinks GNOME, once a popular Linux/Unix desktop but now more often used as a foundation for other desktop interfaces, is "staring into the abyss."

By July 2012, of all the major Linux distributors only Fedora remains a steadfast GNOME 3.x supporter. There's a reason for that: Otte states that GNOME is a Red Hat project.

"If you look at the Ohloh statistics again and ignore the 3 people working almost exclusively on Gstreamer [an open-source multimedia framework] and the 2 working on translations, you get 10 Red Hat employees and 5 others. (The 2nd page looks like 6 Red Hat employees versus 8 others with 6 translators/documenters.) This gives the GNOME project essentially a bus factor of 1.”

Bus factor? It's engineering/developer slang for how many people would need to be hit by a bus before a project would be dead. The lower the number, the more likely it is that the project is too fragile and could easily die. In other words, if Red Hat ever decided that GNOME wasn't worth investing in, the project would be dead in the water. You can see why Otte thinks this when he also observed that core developers are leaving and that GNOME is understaffed.

From OS News by Thom Holwerda:

This is not a project that can be succesfully developed by a handful of developers - it needs more than that. And, Otte points out, the situation is only getting worse, since traditional GNOME/Gtk supporters, like SUSE and Nokia, are backing down.

I'm getting the feeling these concerns aren't exactly new, and that a solution isn't exactly right around the corner. GNOME took a gamble, and it isn't working out. I'm sure we'll see enough comments from people who like GNOME 3, but there's simply not enough of you. That doesn't mean GNOME 3 sucks - it simply means it isn't popular enough to sustain itself.

Add to all this the fact that GNOME has zero presence on the next wave of devices (tablets and smartphones) and the picture is complete - and dire. Sadly, I'm afraid heels will be dug into the sand regarding GNOME 3, and we'll see a doubling-down on an environment people simply don't want, instead of trying to find out what users do want.

Your tax dollars at work.
Tallahassee, FL
When Otte talks about Gnome, I think it is important to note that Ubuntu is a Gnome distribution. The shell is Unity, but Gnome powers that shell. So while Canonical may not be directly working on Gnome Shell, it is putting resources into the Gnome technologies. Given their heavy investment into Gnome, I don't think they could let it die.