Proposal: include gnome in xubuntu

Olivier Keun olivier at
Thu Feb 14 09:36:51 UTC 2008

Gauvain Pocentek wrote:
> First of, sorry for the previous email of which I'm not really proud but it
> was a start ;)
> After some more reflection I think I see why I'm not happy with the changes.
> In fact it's not really a matter of gnome or not gnome (not entirely).
> Having the best softwares in a distribution is a good thing, no doubt about
> that. But I feel that the way it's been done since Gutsy (read, add
> applications, no matter where they come from) is probably not what I expect
> from a distribution built by a community. The goal seems now to provide a
> fully featured distribution, in the easiest and fastest way possible for
> devs. This is what Ubuntu wants to provide, and what users expect Ubuntu to
> be, this is the way a distro which aims to be the leader has to proceed (and
> thus use a fully featured DE as base). Is that what we want from Xubuntu as
> developers (and as users too)? I don't want of this, and I find way more
> interesting to spend some time on improving the distribution by other means
> than just using what's been done by the others (yes, that's a dev POV, but
> we are on a devel list, right?).
> I do care about users, even though I've been blamed several times already
> for not taking real care. That's a blame I have to accept I guess... :)
> If building an Open Source distribution is just a matter of collecting
> pieces here and there without doing anything else, well I'll have to find
> other things to do in my spare time, this is not interesting.
> This might sound silly, but why not take more time between the releases? The
> 6 months based schedule is a good point for Ubuntu, is it really useful for
> Xubuntu? Jérôme has done a very good work on the bug triaging, and managed
> to build the best relation I've seen since the birth of Xubuntu with the
> Xfce developers. How could Xubuntu have a good relationship with upstream
> when the only feedback is "This xfce application is not as good as the gnome
> equivalent, we won't use it until it's better" ? Taking the time to test the
> applications, make them crash, report and fix bugs is certainly a better
> way, isn't it? But yes, it takes time. Does Xubuntu have deadlines? Does it
> have something to demonstrate to some customers or investors?
> Maybe I didn't realize what really is Xubuntu after all. Please tell me if
> this is the case.
> Quick note on the technical side, I'm working on a Xubuntu derivative for a
> very low end machine (256 Mo RAM, 700Mhz equivalent processor) since one
> year, adding gnome libs has a real impact on the performances (but no, I
> don't have numbers to show, so it probably means nothing...).
> Gauvain

I think it would be a good idea to have a thorough look at how (for 
instance) LinuxMint ( operates and then ask 
those questions again. Even it's Xfce-variant is growing rapidly in both 
popularity and userbase, and i believe there's a sound explanation for 
that too. As the About-page states:

"Excerpt from DistroWatch:

Linux Mint is one of the surprise packages of the past year. Originally 
launched as a variant of Ubuntu with integrated media codecs, it has now 
developed into one of the most user-friendly distributions on the market 
- complete with a custom desktop and menus, several unique configuration 
tools, a
web-based package installation interface, and a number of different 
editions. Perhaps most importantly, this is one project where the 
developers and users are in constant interaction, resulting in dramatic, 
user-driven improvements with every new release. DistroWatch has spoken 
to the founder and lead developer of Linux Mint, Clement Lefebvre, about 
the history of the distribution.

Some of the reasons for the success of Linux Mint are:

- It's one of the most community driven distributions. You could 
literally post an idea in the forums today and see it implemented the 
week after in the "current" release. Of course this has pros and cons 
and compared to distributions with roadmaps, feature boards and fixed 
release cycles we miss a lot of structure and potentially a lot of 
quality, but it allows us to react quickly, implement more innovations 
and make the whole experience for us and for the users extremely exciting.

- It is a Debian-based distribution and as such it is very solid and it 
comes with one of the greatest package managers.

- It is compatible with and uses Ubuntu repositories. This gives Linux 
Mint users access to a huge collection of packages and software.

- It comes with a lot of desktop improvements which make it easier for 
the user to do common things.

- There is a strong focus on making things work out of the box (WiFi 
cards drivers in the file system, multimedia support, screen resolution, 


Now there is a mission statement, and ofcourse you might not be 
interested in the user-friendliness-priority of Mint, but Xubuntu is 
neither superfast nor superfriendly.

So why should one pick Xubuntu in the first place, that's the important 
question to ask (y)ourselves.

P.s., i am not using Mint myself, don't intend to advocate it and am 
still sticking to Xubuntu (for now), but you have to admit this is where 
we are missing the boat. Xubuntu has no convincing message to convey in 
any field, except that it's "sort of like Ubuntu, but a little less 
functional and  a little less bloated".

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