Poll for GNOME dependencies

Diego Ongaro ongardie at gmail.com
Fri Aug 10 14:24:37 UTC 2007

I think I'll send a controversial e-mail since it's my birthday:

Why does Xubuntu have to be "feature-complete"?

If there's no good GTK-only CD-burning app, then don't ship with one.
I don't even have an optical drive on my computer, so honestly, I'm OK
with it.

If Pidgin now has too many dependencies to include lightly, don't ship
with it. I might still install it, but really, that's easy to do.

The archive managers available each have their issues. It's hard to
recommend not to ship with one, since they are fairly expected.
However, if there's no archive manager that's satisfactory as of now,
then just don't ship with one.


So now you're going to say: But what about the noobs? Please, think of
the noobs!

Let's be honest here: Xubuntu doesn't have a target audience. There's
really no valuable information out there on who uses it.

Xubuntu is not ready to target to noobs. The quality of the software
leaves much to be desired. When a particular piece of software works,
it's inconsistent with the thing next to it. And from what I've heard,
documentation is pretty lacking as well.

Xubuntu's resources are spread too thin to try to create a
full-featured Xfce-based, light-weight distro with the quality
necessary to target new users. Ubuntu can only do that because they
are standing on the shoulders of giants (How many Gnome-based distros
are out there?).

What Xubuntu can do, then, is reconsider every single GUI app
included. Keep Xfce, Thunar, Abiword, Gnumeric, Firefox, Thunderbird -
those are pretty essential. But then let's improve the Xfce part for
consistency, and let's reconsider every panel plugin used.

Then, once we're happy with this, let's build an abstract list of
applications whose spots we'd like to fill, e.g., CD burner, archive
manager. We can go to other light-weight distros and see what they're
using. We can take polls. We can have discussions about each one. And
it might take a long time to fill some of these spots, but as we do,
we'll make sure their behavior works (consistently) and the
documentation is up to speed.

It's too late in gutsy's release cycle to start something like this.
We could start at gutsy+1, and it'll take several additional release
cycles before there's something to be proud of.

What if we fail after gutsy+1? We'd end up with a minimal Xfce desktop
and few applications. And that's perfectly acceptable. It's not hard
to install packages.

Finally, I'll anticipate the: "you're all talk and don't do anything"
accusation. Fine, I don't do a whole lot for Xubuntu. I have two jobs,
and I'm about to start school again. I learned C and wrote the
xfce4-places-plugin, for which I'm currently trying to stabilize the
0.4 release. I've submitted a few patches for Squeeze. I also keep up
with this mailing list. But no, I'm not one of the two Xubuntu
developers, sorry.

-Diego Ongaro

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