Mailinglist Archive: opensuse-project (783 mails)

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Re: [opensuse-project] Coming up with a good Policy ...
  • From: Bryen M Yunashko <suserocks@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 05 Aug 2009 07:38:03 -0500
  • Message-id: <1249475883.28178.22.camel@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
On Wed, 2009-08-05 at 13:07 +0100, Michael Meeks wrote:
Hi AJ,

On Tue, 2009-08-04 at 14:16 +0200, Andreas Jaeger wrote:
After reading all emails and having many discussions about the default
desktop topic, I've wrote up the following draft proposal (at the end of my
long email) and propose to enact it.

One of the things that most interests me about this debate is the
excessive argumentation and extrapolation from whatever percentage of
install-base, to the idea that we should substantially offend our
growing Gnome community. Personally, I'm pretty annoyed by claims that
openSUSE is, or should be a KDE focused distribution, whatever it's
history - that at least is my bias.

Having said that - all this talk of "policy", and logic, reason,
marketing and so on suggests to me that this decision is a highly
charged, multi-disciplinary, nuanced - and *extremely* non-technical
one. In fact, it is hard to discern any technical issue here at all -
the code change in question is utterly trivial, even for my basic ycp
skills :-)

Indeed, to me this looks like a simple conflict between three opposed
view-points[1] "KDE default, no default, and GNOME default" - with
apparently no substantial chance of compromise, and seemingly a lack of
clarity around who is empowered to make the decision. Indeed - to me, it
seems like we have the obvious compromise position selected already.

I believe we voted for a fairly independent board, which would help
resolve such conflicts and facilitate the decision making process. I for
one, would defer to their view on the matter - and no doubt (like the
Lisbon Treaty in Ireland) we will have multiple opportunities to vote on
this issue in future, if only as part of the board election process :-)

Have we even asked the board ? if not, why not ? if so, what did they
say ? and who should be the ultimate decision maker here ?



[1] - it is amusing to see it regularly framed as a choice between only
two options: "obedience to (some people's perception of) the democratic
will of the majority vs. some unusual disobedience of that". To trot out
such a simplified view of democracy and politics is - frankly amazing to
michael.meeks@xxxxxxxxxx <><, Pseudo Engineer, itinerant idiot

Hi Michael,

To directly answer one of your questions: No, this matter has not been
asked directly to the board, nor have we had an opportunity to formulate
any opinion on this matter. I actually have been away on an extended
road trip and only just in the last few days returned to find what has

It is my understanding that this matter occurred rather rapidly in this
current cycle, and yes, as you've said, undoubtedly as in the past, this
matter will continue to arise in the future.

Because my initial review of statements here on the mailing list and
elsewhere, I have held back on making any statements to the matter
because it is clearly a highly-charged one and quite emotionally
influenced. There is quite a bit of vitriol being posted in multiple
places and I have been concerned with adding to it in any way with any
statements that I might personally add to this debate.

Those who know me, know that I am a GNOME user. It is the DE that I am
most comfortable with. I am also proud that I have not emphasized a
bias in any Board discussions in the past for GNOME and attempt to be as
independent and unbiased as possible.

If anyone wishes to know specifically why I choose GNOME as my personal
DE, quite simply it is because it is the most accessible DE. To its
credit, GNOME and its developers have invested heavily and worked hard
to make GNOME accessible to as many people as possible. I have noticed
many statements that KDE is a more "modern desktop." This is however a
flawed statement because KDE is not in that category as far as I'm
concerned. Other proprietary desktops are far more a11y-friendly than
our open source Desktops and believe it or not, it does make a
difference. More and more government agencies as well as corporations
are under legal mandate to ensure their systems are accessible before
even considering allowing whatever choice they have into their
environment. There are a number of publicly known cases where open
source desktops have been rejected specifically because it is not yet

To be honest, I have both KDE and GNOME installed on my desktop. I am
VERY curious to use KDE and have used KDE when I first started using
Linux some years ago. But as my vision continues to deteriorate, I have
been unable to use KDE beyond simple login to the environment. Once I
am in, it is completely unusable.

What people choose and are comfortable with in their own home is
important, but so too is the comfort that businesses and governments
have in adopting open source solutions. And if we want to push for open
source to spread, especially using openSUSE, then we have to support
both Desktop Environments.

To its credit, KDE does recognize some of these issues and is working
hard to resolve this matter. There is a lot of work going on right now
to port GNOME a11y apps to DBUS so that KDE a11y users can begin to use
some of the more advanced a11y apps available. It is a beautiful thing
to watch KDE and GNOME developers working together to make this happen
when I observe the a11y IRC channels.

The sad irony here is we're debating favoring KDE over GNOME, but in
order to make KDE as accessible as GNOME, KDE will be using GNOME apps.

Back to your question about the Board's involvement in this matter. Our
role is very limited here. We can review the situation and make
recommendations, hopefully under independent and unbiased conclusions,
we are not empowered with any level of technical decision making with
respect to the distro itself. Our primary purview is the community.
That being said, this has become a highly-charged political matter and
we will likely need to discuss this in the very near future and
hopefully come up with some guidance or recommendations we can forward
to decision makers such as AJ, Michl, and Coolo, but at this time, our
voice is essentially the same as all of yours, our voice is Community.

My personal feeling is, we all need to calm down. Give this rational
thought and then make the best recommendation that benefits the Project
as a whole. And what benefits us as a whole is that we grow our
community which includes GNOME and KDE users and in which both segments
have seen growth.

Bryen Yunashko
openSUSE Board Member
GNOME-A11y Team Member (Personal Blog) (Feed aggregator of the Accessibility Community)

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