[linux-elitists] Re: GNOME > you

Jeff Waugh jdub@perkypants.org
Sat Jan 3 21:03:07 PST 2004

<quote who="Jeff Waugh">

> > > It totally hammers complexity, comprehension and support requirements.
> > 
> > And hiding it in some xml or binary tree free's up support time???  can
> > you fill my pipe too, i obviously need some of what you have been smoking.
> No, Nautilus had a very accessible 'ski-signs' menu (and other designs were
> trialled), while Sawfish had a 'meta' properties page that you could change
> the level on.

Oh, wait, I grok what you were saying here. You were teasing GConf. Yes,
GConf is all XML, no binary data (there is some encoded data in there in a
few places, but that's closer to a bug than a policy).

Indeed, the distinction we have between things that are only accessible via
GConf, and things that are exposed in the user interface are very positive
for support and usability. It is worth pointing out that these cases are an
exception to the rule - what is in GConf should almost always appear in the
user interface, but sometimes there are reasons for including preferential
data that we choose not to expose (or haven't exposed *yet*).

You may disagree with our strategy for making Free Software user interfaces
approachable to the common man (are we doing world domination here or what?)
but you're welcome to write that down as a philosophical division, and use
what you want to without viciously attacking other philosophies.

That doesn't close the door on implementation or design bugs that affect our
ability to satisfy these requirements / interaction design philosophy. If
there was something better than GConf that would perform the same tasks,
then it would be our duty to make sure we look at it. Right now, we have an
investment in GConf [1] and quite a lot of rationale backing up that choice,
particularly when it comes to change notification, enterprise management,
and so on.

Put simply, "Ew, that sucks" isn't going to foment a sudden change, but good
and solid feedback and most importantly, code, may.

- Jeff

[1] Though it's not like we haven't changed underlying technologies before.

linux.conf.au 2004: Adelaide, Australia         http://lca2004.linux.org.au/
   "People keep asking me why we aren't married, and he says, 'Every time
   I am about to ask you, you do something annoying'." - Kate Beckinsale

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