Mailinglist Archive: opensuse-project (783 mails)

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[opensuse-project] More policy issues ...
  • From: Michael Meeks <michael.meeks@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 06 Aug 2009 11:08:06 +0100
  • Message-id: <1249553286.12283.53.camel@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Hi there,

On Wed, 2009-08-05 at 15:23 +0200, Andreas Jaeger wrote:
* The choice to *only* set the radio button was something that Vincent
"could live with"

I've no idea what Vincent can live with :-) but this choice seems
sub-optimal to me. It also, as has been raised several times, rather
unwisely upsets one side of a very expensively agreed internal balance:
the other side of which was (AFAIR) to continue to include KDE inside
the SLE product family. It would perhaps be sensible to re-visit both
sides of that decision concurrently - although such business decisions
are clearly an internal matter.

Separately, the level of straw-man argumentation on this topic is quite
excessive. The claim that "the Desktop choice is just like any other
default", your desktop background say, or eg. the default MTA (postfix
vs. sendmail) - that almost no modern desktop user either uses or cares
about - seems very unbalanced.

I doubt that many people would disagree that the KDE / GNOME choice has
a radical impact on desktop experience, a huge knock-on effect on lots
of other software defaults, style of use etc. and this is not an simple
choice to make. It is also, a fairly unique, and highly unfortunate
historical accident that there are two major desktops, with all the
shambolic division and infighting that that appears to generate. As
such, having a unique choice in the installer to match, does not seem a
hugely radical, or unfair step (to me).

So, my minimal counter proposal would not be "no default" but:
* No desktop is preselected
* We discuss the order of GNOME and KDE on the screen

Sounds reasonable to me.

Personally, the ordering, and the text is not important to me. Since I
concede that KDE is the choice of ~2/3rds of SUSE users, and GNOME only
~1/3rd, putting KDE top, and mentioning it's relative popularity in the
text seems fine to me - "KDE is currently the choice of the majority of
SUSE users" - or whatever. Indeed, further beefing up the text to help
users make a more informed decision would seem useful to me, if agreed
by some suitably polarised team: say Lubos and (I have no idea whom)
from GNOME.

* and most importantly: we make a public statement that both GNOME
and KDE are first class citiziens - and discuss what this really means!

Well here is the rub :-) Such decisions are normally 'wedge' issues -
and this is perhaps the (not very) thin end of such a wedge.

At conferences, eg. when we do openSUSE evangelism, how do we persuade
GNOME enthusiasts to hand out and advocate openSUSE DVDs that guide you
into doing a KDE install ? or even a live KDE system ? :-) Does the
(existing, constant, up-hill struggle) to get GNOME shown at openSUSE
conference booths become a lost cause based on this decision - "because
of the will of the majority" ? what about marketing collateral, and so
on ?

The final thing, that interests me most, is the frequent presentation
of the proposed change as "doing what the community wants" - and the
positioning of those who disagree as "being anti-community" or
some-such. Yet, we have no real idea what the community want here.

The fact that someone has chosen to install GNOME, does *not*
mean that they did not value the choice of KDE & vv.
+ Do we have good data for whether users really want a
choice during the install ?
+ can we even get this data in a balanced, and
not-immediately gerrymandered way ?

And of course - I am convinced, -if- we genuinely want to try to do
"what the community wants" - then the final decision, which necessarily
has to be some grisly and unpleasant compromise that dissatisfies
everyone :-), should -surely- be taken by the community's elected
representatives: the council. Politics is the art of the possible - and
sometimes not everyone can be pleased: including me (of course) :-) That
is (I thought) why we elected these guys - to help with the hard

As they do that, they might want to consider the phenomena[1], well
known in marketing, about people who have a bad experience with a
product (or community), and their tendency to be rather more vocal than
those who have a good one - multipliers I've heard here are an order of



[1] -
michael.meeks@xxxxxxxxxx <><, Pseudo Engineer, itinerant idiot

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