GNOME dependencies

Jani Monoses jani.monoses at
Thu Aug 9 14:52:45 UTC 2007

Giuseppe Torelli wrote:
> On 8/9/07, Jani Monoses <jani.monoses at> wrote:
>> There are two problems with having separate GTK apps (not GNOME ones built without GNOME libs)
>>  - duplication of effort. We would be better off if some apps were comaintained with Ubuntu.
> So why does Xubuntu came to existence? Only to be shipped with XFCE?
> Come on Jani!

It came to existence to provide an _easy to use_ distro for weaker hardware. It is based on Xfce because
that has the right balance between lightness and ease of use.

For the record, the criteria have never been religious or in any other way non-technical, at least not
consciously :) So Xubuntu is not primarily a means of promoting Xfce or alternative GTK apps but aims to
be as user friendly as possible while keeping lean.

>>  - the GTK apps are usually less featureful and less actively maintained (ex: xfburn, xarchiver)
> You are wrong here Jani. I'm actively developing Xarchiver after only
> 4 months of inactivity as anyone can realize by looking at the svn
> log.

svn activity doeas not reflect maintenance more than it can reflect extensive refactoring or rewriting from scratch
Maintenance is reflected by responsiveness to bugs and releases. having something in svn trunk means you are not
comfortable with it's release quality so it cannot help xubuntu at this point.

The fact that you choose to work on Xhep instead of fixing xarchiver bugs - while it is your right to do so obviously
- shows you are not actively maintaining it.

>> So we would gain by starting to use some GNOME apps while keeping Xfce core obviously. But we'd give up
>> some space on the CD (maybe not that bad) some memory and startup times. These will not help in making
>> Xubuntu lighter. That characterization has only been true when compared to GNOME or KDE though, with
>> python running in the base system (hplip daemon for HP printers ), firefox in the mix and the liveCD no longer
>> installing iwth 128M it is not really a light distro anymore.
> If there is no time to replace the heavy apps shipped with gnome libs
> I think it is better to give up than simply copying the same app into
> a distro that differentiate itself from the main Ubuntu because of its
> being lighter.
No it is not better to give. It's not black or white, spartan tools or a bloated desktop.
We have to find the right balance and zealotry, hatred of GNOME (or whatever) or personal agendas should not play a role here.
Not implying anyone is hating GNONE or has such agendas, but the criteria need to be technical and adapted to user requirements.

>> So we have a choice of keeping it like now, only small GTK only apps and let the user add whatever else she needs
>> or start making a more complete and maintainable default at the cost of making it too heavy for some hw configurations.

Right. I am not saying it is easy. If it were I wouldn't have brought up the question. Remember I started the idea of
no gnome libs at all. But it does not mean I'll stick to it just beacuse I made it once and refuse to admit it may have
drawbacks which outweigh the benefits.

> Xubuntu came up to be lighter than Ubuntu. If we begin using apps that
> require GNOME libs Xubuntu will become equal to Ubuntu even though it
> will be shipped with XFCE.

By definition that cannot be true. Even if in theory (won't happen) we only switch out the core (panel, file manager, settings, desktop)
Xfce already is smaller. So please do not state clearly untrue facts.

There are two categories of apps -the ones started on boot (update notifier, screensaver, power-manager, network nanager) and those explciitely
started when needed (xarchiver, evince, cd burnerm etc)

the latter do not affect memory footprint of LiveCD or average desktop. They're disadvantage is somewhat larger startup time. That only needs
to be weighed against the advantages it can bring.

The long running ones are a different and more sensible issue since they affect startup time and memory. There again the current disadvantages are
xubuntu users cannot use wifi from the liveCD or from the default system, and no update notifier is present. This makes it a no-option for
those uncomfortable with or oblivious to the command line.

>> And by this I do not mean CD size or startup time or even short term memory use, those will probably not make much of a difference
>> but long running processes. Do we want gnome-power-manager and network-manager? IS Xubuntu widely used on laptops and wifi setups?
>> Do we want update-notifier (I am sure we do). All these are continually running and each eats up somewhere around 3-4 megs of RAM.
> I think if one starts a project up does the impossible to keep it
> growing. Let's unify the efforts and replace those Ubuntu apps which
> still need gnome dependencies.

you mean make alternate apps?

>> The printing applet which is the default since feisty is also always running and is a python app, 4-5 megs probably.
> The printing applet is buggy on my newly fresh installed Xubuntu Feisty:
> gt[~]$ sudo python /usr/share/system-config-printer/
> Traceback (most recent call last):
>   File "/usr/share/system-config-printer/", line 425, in <module>
>     bus = dbus.SessionBus()
>   File "/var/lib/python-support/python2.5/dbus/", line 669, in __new__
>     mainloop=mainloop)
>   File "/var/lib/python-support/python2.5/dbus/", line 293, in __new__
>     mainloop=mainloop)
> dbus.DBusException: org.freedesktop.DBus.Error.NoReply: Did not
> receive a reply. Possible causes include: the remote application did
> not send a reply, the message bus security policy blocked the reply,
> the reply timeout expired, or the network connection was broken.
> gt[~]$

right, known issue, no time to fix it in feisty updates :( . Is is being fixed in gutsy but that does not help most people.


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