[linux-elitists] Re: GNOME > you

Karsten M. Self kmself@ix.netcom.com
Mon Jan 5 23:17:36 PST 2004

on Tue, Jan 06, 2004 at 04:23:10PM +1100, Jeff Waugh (jdub@perkypants.org) wrote:
> <quote who="Karsten M. Self">
> > A really handy GNOME or Gtk 1.x feature was the ability to (re)set menu
> > keybindings by highlighting the desired option, and hitting the key or
> > keycombo you wanted to associate with the action.
> This is still doable, but not available easily, because although it seemed
> handy, it was also the source of many screwups and difficult to understand
> problems. For instance, if you pressed the "r" key when hovering over the
> Delete menu item in Evolution, you'd bind "r" to Delete. 

The implementation need not be identical -- possibly a confirmation
dialog or action, or a global menu lock.  But rebinding keys (or better:
theming them according to various layouts and models) would be very

> This can be very dangerous, ...

...I can see this, agreed.

> and for many users, they wouldn't even consider that the hard to
> discover press-key-while-hovering-over-menu thing would be the source
> of the problem.

I do believe I learned this feature "by accident".  However once I
worked out what was going on, I liked it, in spirit at the least.

> > > You can assign a key combo to run a terminal by using gconf-editor 
> > 
> > Puke.
> > 
> > Note that even Microsoft maintained, lying through its teeth for a full
> > decade, that users would never have to use the Registry.  That's another
> > strike against it:  usability features stink, but it ends up being the
> > configuration tool of last, and very often, only, resort.
> I have also said numerous times that these particular settings should be
> exposed in the user interface in the future, but hadn't yet. Work remains to
> be done

The problem is that in providing the fallback, laziness takes hold.  At
least if you're going to provide a registry, fix the egregious errors of
Microsoft's implementation (and yes, GNOME's avoided a couple of them,
particularly the single-file-holds-everything-and-takes-out-the-world-
when-(not-if)-it-breaks ... mostly by providing multiple such files...).
In particular:

  - A comment field.

  - A mandated guideline that values be human readable, or translatable
    within the editor (see earlier Evo weather/RSS discussion).  This is
    where Debian's application of policy is significant.  Apps which
    violate policy are _not_ release candidates.

  - A "disable key" field.  To allow a value to be nullified for
    purposes of test.

  - A search capability.

> , and I'm sure if you really cared, you'd help out. 

> But you don't use GNOME anyway, you just want to whinge and flame.

You keep repeating this, and you're no more right.

I use applications which make use of the GNOME infrastructure, and
experience GNOME brokenness as a result.  I don't know where you draw
the line between user and non-user, but with 67 packges matching "gnome"
on my system, I've got a large part of your infrastructure installed.

And while my own primary environment doesn't utilize the GNOME desktop
environment, en toto, I do deal with the environment directly both in
advising and supporting people using GNOME, and running it myself
periodically to keep my chops up.  When it can be properly installed on
Debian, I may look at it.  Currently, running under Xnest, launching
'gnome-session' from a terminal, I get a window manager, and the
following error (kudos for copyable error dialogs, Microsoft doesn't
have this yet):

    There was an error starting the GNOME Settings Daemon.
    Some things, such as themes, sounds, or background settings may not             work correctly.
    The Settings Daemon restarted too many times.
    The last error message was:
    Failed to activate 'OAFIID:GNOME_SettingsDaemon'
    GNOME will still try to restart the Settings Daemon next time you log in.

Not sure to what extent this is a conflict with a partial GNOME
environment (gconfd) running on another display of the same host.

> > > But the funniest one - and l-e loves it - is "because you don't think
> > > hackers or traditional Free Software users are your 'target market',
> > > GNOME is therefore totally unusable for them". 
> > 
> > No.
> > 
> > It's the "because hackers and traditional FS users aren't your target
> > market, you ignore, berate, and abuse us.
> No Karsten, you misunderstand. I ignore, berate and abuse *you*.

There's an awful lot of me operating under a bewildering variety of

Thank you for furthering your case, Mr. Waugh.


Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>        http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
    Ceterum censeo, Caldera delenda est.
		        SCO vs IBM Linux lawsuit info:  http://sco.iwethey.org
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