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A Linux Conspiracy Theory

by IgnorantGuru

IgnorantGuru, Linux blogger and developer of the innovative SpaceFM file manager, bemoans a corporate threat to Linux.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and don’t necessarily reflect those of Linux User & Developer magazine or Imagine Publishing Ltd.

As the developer of an independent Linux file and desktop manager, one gains a multifaceted perspective on everything from GUI issues and the general user experience, continuing through UI toolkit APIs and theming, down to low-level kernel APIs for device and file system support, and their incumbent issues. Yet I find I’m not the only one walking these moodily lit, disparate corridors. In tracking down assorted breakages and malfunctions in my own software, I have been surprised to repeatedly encounter the same developer footprints spread across many of these areas. It turns out that these developers, and developer teams, have often been directly responsible not only for the breakage I’m investigating, but for issues affecting a large swathe of Linux users and developers.

This narrative begins not quite at the beginning, but with a recent experience addressing problems in GTK+ version 3. GTK (originally the GIMP Toolkit, as it was written for development of the GNU Image Manipulation Program) is one of the two most popular interface frameworks in Linux (the other being Qt). While GNOME is one of the most well-known users of the (originally community-developed) GTK project, there are many other projects based on GTK, including the LXDE and Xfce desktop environments, Claws Mail, AbiWord, Chrome, Firefox, Midori, Pidgin and many more. Yet GTK’s independence is challenged by the fact that GTK is now developed and maintained by the GNOME Foundation. Red Hat is the biggest corporate contributor to the GNOME project and to its core dependencies – 11 of the top 20 all-time GNOME committers are current or past Red Hat employees. Other influential contributors to GNOME include Google, IBM and Intel.

In its latest releases, intrinsic problems with GTK’s development along with a growing culture of enforced conformity from GNOME developers have presented a challenge in producing stable, flexible software outside of GNOME. Many developers feel that with the advent of GNOME 3, GTK has become deliberately developed as a GNOME-only tool, to the exclusion of its other applications. Clem, a member of the Linux Mint distribution’s development team writes, “GTK 3 isn’t a reliable API. Maybe it should be called libgnome instead… I genuinely get the feeling that GTK 3.4 is developed for GNOME 3.4, that it doesn’t really matter if it breaks things and that we’re not supposed to use it outside of GNOME.” [Fig 1]

Gnome GTK Red Hat
Figure 1

With GTK 3, the application programming interface (API) for GTK was changed, meaning applications written for GTK 2 need to be ported to continue using it, a time-intensive process. While in some cases API breaks are sometimes necessary, it seems in this case that GTK/GNOME developers made no effort to limit breakage. Further, popular GTK application development tools like Glade were thrown into disarray, with distributions such as Debian abruptly discontinuing support of GTK 2-compatible Glade versions, leaving GTK application developers stuck for support. [Fig 2]

Gnome GTK Red Hat
Figure 2

Developers who do address the formidable task of upgrading to GTK 3 face the next hurdle: wild breakage of third-party themes with almost every minor GTK release. This has independent theme developers screaming. Spending many hours creating GTK 3 themes, they are horrified to discover that all of their work is rendered obsolete just weeks later with the next GTK 3 release, requiring them to start from scratch rewriting their themes. As GTK 3 theme developer ‘half-left’ comments, “Upstream is impossible to work with and GNOME 3 has become a complete mess in regard to third party theme making.” [Fig 3] Another GTK 3 theme developer reflected, “…It’s such a pain to develop a GTK 3 theme. It’s always broken. I have a version of my theme for GTK 3.2, one for GTK 3.4, one for GTK 3.6… For GTK 3.4, it was so broken that I had to code it again from the beginning. Days and days of wasted time and frustration. And almost no documentation.”

Gnome GTK Red Hat
Figure 3

No time for compatibility

When I confronted Benjamin Otte, Red Hat’s developer in charge of GTK 3’s theming support, on this issue, he responded with complete disregard. “GTK doesn’t swim in extra developers that are happy to spend their time ensuring compatibility with rarely used themes. I decided the time was better spent implementing new features than caring about other themes,” writes Otte. Theme developers responded that the “rarely used themes” he refers to are hugely popular, representing many hours of volunteers’ time, and have already been downloaded many hundreds of thousands of times.

Benjamin Otte continues, “All the theme authors participating in GTK development (read: not you) agreed that it’s better to keep their themes up to date if in exchange they get new features than keeping with the status quo.” Who are these “theme authors participating in GTK development”? Exclusively Red Hat’s corporate customers. In the same conversation, GTK developer Emmanuele Bassi clarifies: “The GNOME standard theme (Adwaita) is updated each time something changes – and GTK+ is updated each time a new requirement is put forward by the theme authors for GNOME and Windows (and Mac OS).” In other words, these theme authors are dictating changes to GTK development, while independent theme developers are having their work broken wilfully by these same changes, and are receiving virtually no support or documentation. Nonetheless, Benjamin Otte expresses his deep appreciation for compatibility: “After those decisions were made, no time was spent on even thinking about compatibility.”

A threat to the brand

What does this theme breakage amount to? It means that many tens of thousands of Linux users will experience app breakage, memory leaks and other serious issues almost every time they update their systems. Theme and app developers will be (and are being) inundated with inexplicable bug reports and continuous breakage of their work, requiring many hours to isolate the problems and to repair and rewrite themes. To put it in another perspective, hundreds of thousands of man-hours are being wasted by Otte’s approach with almost every update to GTK.

The origin of these surprising positions toward theme stability become more clear when we take a look at the GNOME team’s goal for creating brand presence and identity for their ‘product’ at all costs to usability. In reviewing comments made by GNOME developers in the course of GNOME 3’s design, it’s clear that they view themes and other customisations as a threat to their brand’s visibility. GNOME 3 designer Allan Day wrote, “Facilitating the unrestricted use of extensions and themes by end users seems contrary to the central tenets of the GNOME 3 design. We’ve fought long and hard to give GNOME 3 a consistent visual appearance… The point is that it decreases our brand presence… I really think that every GNOME install should have the same core look and feel.” [Fig 4] GNOME developer William Jon McCann concurs, “I agree with Allan. I am really concerned about this effort to encourage and sanction themes and extensions… The issue is not whether extensions may be useful. The issue is whether they will be harmful to our larger goals.”

Gnome GTK Red Hat
Figure 4

Can’t fix? Won’t fix

Suddenly, the complete abandonment of a responsible, accessible theming API by GTK developers begins to fit into a larger picture. Yet themes aren’t the only area where GNOME developers are in conflict with users and other developers. They seem to be on a veritable rampage removing popular features, creating breakage and even trying to have features removed from non-GNOME apps. Many believe that Red Hat is aggressively pushing GNOME into the lucrative tablet market, which requires a much simpler interface than a desktop, and are therefore abandoning support of desktop users. Received via my email, a long-time GNOME contributor (who wishes to remain anonymous) writes, “This situation was very common during GNOME 3 updates. Lots of removed features, no dev communication, no consideration for users… with GNOME 3, devs have gone too far and I didn’t want to be treated this way… It was clear to me that I would never use GNOME again.”

Bug reports for GNOME 3 are littered with users requesting restoration of removed options and extensions. These are quickly closed as ‘WONTFIX’ by GNOME developers, with trite replies such as, “we finally decided there’s no use for an editable toolbar in Nautilus,” and “There are currently no plans to reintroduce the location bar… as the cluttered interface has been simplified for 3.0.” GNOME users are dismayed with the latest version of Nautilus (3.6) removing many popular features, including Compact View, Type Ahead Find, New File Templates, Application Menu, Go Menu, F3 Split Screen, Tree View, Bookmarks Menu and the backspace shortcut to return to the parent folder – all now gone. [Fig 5] Extensions and applets are on the chopping block too. GNOME developer Bastien Nocera writes, “We’re not designing a desktop for people who like to choose their own terminal emulators”, and William Jon McCann writes, “I think one of the most important cases against applets (as they are currently defined in GNOME) is that they are extremely detrimental to the Identity of the product… So, one of the many very exciting things about GNOME Shell is that for the first time we may have ability to really shape the user experience and form an identity for the GNOME platform.” Exciting for him perhaps, but likely not what excites users.

Gnome GTK Red Hat
Figure 5

Beyond just GNOME apps and tools being stripped of options, Red Hat employee and lead GNOME developer William Jon McCann was caught opening a bug report on the independent Transmission BitTorrent client telling the developers that its panel notification feature should be removed. Why? Merely because GNOME 3 no longer supports a panel: “Transmission has an option in the Desktop tab of the preferences to ‘Show Transmission icon in the notification area’. This should probably be removed.” Transmission developer Charles replied, “So now we can have three builds of Transmission that decide at compile time whether to use AppIndicator, GtkStatusIcon or nothing at all… Removing it altogether, as you suggest, will hurt Xfce users.” McCann replied, “I guess you have to decide if you are a GNOME app, an Ubuntu app, or an Xfce app unfortunately… And I have no idea what Xfce is or does, sorry. It is my hope that you are a GNOME app.” Charles’s reply to this: “*speechless*”.

Can we really and seriously believe that William Jon McCann, described as one of the main driving forces behind the concepts of GNOME 3, doesn’t know what Xfce is? What are the consequences of having a large corporation like Red Hat (perhaps with strong influence from the ultra-wealthy Google) in control of widely used open source projects like GNOME and GTK, with its teams of developers routinely altering their APIs in unpredictable, erratic ways and offering no real support to independent projects using their libraries? It’s clear that with the advent of GNOME 3, GNOME has become a corporate product solely created for and controlled by Red Hat.

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    • earl cameron

      maybe you should specify “desktop linux” or “linux distros” because this isn’t really a linux(kernel) problem really.

    • Theodore

      udev is, in fact, a kernel problem, fyi earl.

      Now, iguru, I read you here and there about this great red hat swindle. Now… Why aren’t we downloading all the Gimpbased-stuff and redo it from 2.4 to have a working fork already?

    • Sounds like the perfect time to come on over to KDE/QT. KDE is all about increased features and letting the users do whatever they want. Also, instead of forcing everyone to use a tablet paradigm like Gnome and Windows 8, KDE has taken the smart move of making their libraries abstracted enough so that they have three different interfaces you can use: netbook, Desktop, and tablet – with each one perfect for its own task.

    • Freek

      Yup, KDE people are still smurt and rather than dumbing down the desktop and apps are making them more powerful and still configurable and flexible. And each interface they have is separate and optimized for specific device and form factor and yet at the same time all the interfaces use a lot of code in common. Realy, KDE software seams to be the one that realy goes in the right direction

    • You showed a good connection between development work… and those doing the development work… and then those doing that development work answering questions… with answers that you don’t approve of. Ok. That’s fine. What I don’t see is any evidence that Red Hat the company is dictating these changes… nor that these changes are being made because of tablets. Perhaps the developers, yes, many who happen to be employed by Red Hat, made these decisions on their own without the orchestration of a Red Hat overload.

      As a Linux user, I go to Linux conferences and see presenters using Mac OS X. Why is that? I think that has hit the GNOME developers and they want a more strongly defined environment that is easier to use… and is a functional equivalent (but not necessarily a clone of) Mac OS X. Part of that is (perhaps in their eyes) having a tighter grip on branding and themes. I’m just guessing though.

      So if you are proposing a conspiracy theory… usually one of the items you include is… what is the big plan or the goal of such a conspiracy. Did I miss it?

    • Bruce

      “So if you are proposing a conspiracy theory… usually one of the items you include is… what is the big plan or the goal of such a conspiracy. Did I miss it?”

      It is implied by the last sentence of the article. Once Red Hat wraps it’s tentacles around an open source project, the project is changed so that nobody can use the code to make something that is faster and/or better looking than what Red Hat offers.

    • Colin

      @Scott Dowdle
      I take a different view.

      Redhat is a commercial Server orientated OS. I reckon that they are not removing features from GTK (soon to be the Gnome Development Kit) for tablet compatibility. I believe that security would be the main reason why needless options are being removed. The Gui needs to be redesigned for security.

      Take a look at this article: Basically within a GUI environment anything typed into a GUI window is accessible by other GUI’s. Your Gnome/KDE/XFCE/ICEWM has not been designed with security in mind and is quite insecure.

      We need a secure GUI environment. So often we are logging in as root (highly unrecommended) or requesting admin rights for applications. The Linux GUI for servers needs to be secure.

      The GTK developers should have been more polite and forked their development environment for Gnome only and called it Gnome dev. There is no need for them to stomp over an existing project like this and I am bloody pissed off that XFCE would be written off like this!!

      However we need a secure GUI environment.

    • Redi

      Yop, time to kill Gnome, switch everything to Qt, end the GTK/Qt war and then finally enjoy the time of Linux on desktops….

    • Colin wrote, “Basically within a GUI environment anything typed into a GUI window is accessible by other GUI’s. Your Gnome/KDE/XFCE/ICEWM has not been designed with security in mind and is quite insecure.”

      That’s if you have an Xserver on the machine. One can set up a GNU/Linux terminal server with no Xserver. Each client will have its own Xserver and have no access to the other Xservers on other clients. One can also encrypt the X-traffic. X is a networked protocol and it can be used securely.

    • CharlesH

      I wish this were unbelievable. Unfortunately I find it quite believable. Red Hat, as such, is only interested in server functions. As long as the development team doesn’t interfere with those, Red Hat will probably ignore what they do.

      Do I think that Red Hat intentionally chose to break non-gnome software. No. Not really. I think the upper management doesn’t care. And I think that a bunch of control-freaks have grabbed control of Gtk development. But the effect is the same.

      Unfortunately, KDE isn’t THAT much better. And *do* remember that Noika is in charge of Qt.

      FWIW, I find BOTH KDE4 and Gnome3 inferior to their predecessors. Gnome3 is so bad that it’s unusable, but KDE4 isn’t any prizewinner. KDE3 was far superior. (KDE3 was better than Gnome2.)

      Perhaps there are valid reasons for multi-user machines to use a simplified graphics toolkit. I don’t use such a machine. While I do have multiple accounts set up, there’s only one screen and only one keyboard. (I also severely limit what remote access is available. Flash, e.g., isn’t even installed.) So, perhaps, there are valid reasons for the described actions….but I can’t imagine any valid reasons for the explanations that they give. Impolite isn’t sufficiently strong to describe their behavior.

      I *do* feel, however, that anybody who is depending on Gtk should think again. Perhaps MATE is an even better idea than I thought. (Currently I’m using KDE, but the last time I tried MATE it was just out of development, and had many performance problems. Perhaps that has changed.)

    • clochard

      Perhaps it is the lack of coherent standards that users are abandoning PCs for tablets running IOS and Android. Less is more, simple and does the job. I use Linux Mint with Mate because it just works and I don’t develop anything anymore thank God.

    • Quote: “It is implied by the last sentence of the article. Once Red Hat wraps it’s tentacles around an open source project, the project is changed so that nobody can use the code to make something that is faster and/or better looking than what Red Hat offers.”


      I happen to like GNOME 3 and KDE 4… and XFCE and LXDE… and others. Developers should be able to do with their code what they want.

    • KDE went through this same exact cycle when transitioning to plasma and QT4. Many valuable community conttibuters were violently kicked to the curb. It was to the extent that work was used by the corporate backed devs with absolutely no credit given to those that spent countless hours creating it. Seems like it has happened before and will happen again. Not much of a comfort when you are the one getting kicked to the curb. :p But true all the same.

    • Ricardo

      @Charles: Nokia (finished to) set up the Qt Foundation and sold all of Qt’s assets to Digia….

      KDE 3 was king, but the king is dead, like it or not.
      (KDE user here, I never really liked GTK)

      KDE 4 isn’t like 3, but in my view it is better, especially 4.10.

      Is it more bloated? Yes, but also offers much more functionallity and that’s why I love it.

      Enough off-topic (sorry).

      And I agree with the general opinion that RedHat has no agenda with Gnome, upper manager probably doesn’t really care and to me this is a case of developers gone wild, I really don’t see what RedHat might want to do with tablets.

    • Nick

      Don’t have to look for conspiracy’s. Just look for those that benefit from the power or the money or both. There, you will find, people of like mind and “group think”. There’s your conspiracy, just pure and simple human nature, wanting to be included, valued and validated by the group.

    • jonc

      Linux is tremendously fragmented. It’s one of the costs of all this freedom everyone worries about,

      Linux users do not *pay* Linux developers. Linux developers do not work for Linux users.

      Even if developers — let’s say Gnome — decided to let users define their development efforts, how are they to determine which voices represent the most users? Everyone who posts online is self-selected. You can’t take those voices as representative of most users.

      The fact is that Linux users have little or no way to decisively influence Linux developers. So, as far as I’m concerned, we do not need to turn to paranoia and conspiracy fantasies to explain what we see happening. Bad decisions, user conservatism, personnel and resource limitations, and simple mistakes are more than adequate.

    • Steven Starr

      Look into the differant specifications we use on linux or freesoftware in general, then look into who is on those committees and finaly look into the supporting api’s(dev libs) that those committees build or sponsor.

      Point is even on Kde or just plane Qt you still can’t completely get rid of Gtk/Glib.

      1. Webkit – which was suppose to be independent of any toolkit (Requires Glib).
      2. Polkit – is a toolkit for defining and handling authorizations. (Reguires Glib)
      3. PackageKit – High-level front end for a number of different package management systems. (Requires Glib)
      4. Shared-mime-info – core database of common mime types (Requires Glib)
      5. Networkmanager – software utility aimed at simplifying the use of computer networks on Linux-based and other Unix-like operating systems. (Requires Glib)
      6. Systemd – is a system and service manager for Linux, compatible with SysV and LSB init scripts. (Requires Glib)
      7. …

      Almost every single Freedesktop Standard requires the use of Gtk/Glib, and Redhat is appart of everyone.

    • Osef

      To be honest… i don’t know the future, but *I* think that Unity/Gnome3 style desktop is a good way to go in the future.

      Don’t get me wrong, i don’t like Gnome 3 right now, but when i look at some new transformer tablet, it will be so damn cool to only use Gnome 3/Unity-like desktop and switch from tablet to PC directly in a second.

      Just look at the Microsoft Surface. Maybe you don’t like Microsoft, but with theses types of desktop, it’s quite great to switch easily.

      However… i still think that they were both (Unity & Gnome 3) shipped too soon.

      The 2 main things that bother me in the other hand :
      – removing features from application like Nautilus is just plain nuts to me… hiding things is one thing, but removing them ? it’s sad :(

      – The most important reason i write this comment, in hope some Gnome devs will read it :
      Please make GTK3 theming PERMANENT. It’s a pain in the ass for both us users and themes makers.

      Maybe it’s your goal to have only ONE skin for GTK3, like Oxygen for KDE. I respect that. But think of users of other DE like LXDE, XFCE, ect.
      It make me sad to always seek another theme because my old one don’t work… again.

      A good thing i think worth mentioning is that QT apps outside KDE mimic the GTK2 Theme. It would be so great to have that for GTK3… too bad i don’t know a single thing about programming right now :(

      Thank you for your time.

    • detiber

      I’m interested to know where you heard that Red Hat is merging with Duke Energy. The only thing I can think of is that you misread a story about the new corporate headquarters, which was formerly occupied by Progress Energy (who merged with Duke Energy and no longer needed 2 buildings in downtown Raleigh).

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    • Ed

      E17 :)

    • Hans

      Soon, nothing will work without zeitgeist

      – Exquisite Wurst

    • Egon Ruuda

      Hans: I have Zeitgeist and GTK3 blacklisted from even installing on ubuntu. I use only non-gtk apps, simple as that. Even steam works perfectly if you just remove the dependency on zeitgeist and gtk from the textfile that defines them for the package (as they are not really needed for anything in the package anyways except a fancier update progress-bar when you start the client (if gtk3 and zeitgeist is not installed it reverts to looking like the windows version of the updater) But no functionality is lost and once the client starts it looks exactly the same as it does with the dependencies installed.
      There is only one application i miss a little and that is firefox with the plethora of extensions, but qupzilla does what i need atleast for now.

    • Bernard Swiss

      “Do I think that Red Hat intentionally chose to break non-gnome software. No. Not really. I think the upper management doesn’t care. And I think that a bunch of control-freaks have grabbed control of Gtk development. But the effect is the same.”

      “And I agree with the general opinion that RedHat has no agenda with Gnome, upper manager probably doesn’t really care and to me this is a case of developers gone wild, I really don’t see what RedHat might want to do with tablets.”

      “The fact is that Linux users have little or no way to decisively influence Linux developers. So, as far as I’m concerned, we do not need to turn to paranoia and conspiracy fantasies to explain what we see happening. Bad decisions, user conservatism, personnel and resource limitations, and simple mistakes are more than adequate.”

      Gee… do I see a trend, here?
      There does seem to be a genuine phenomenon, here — but it doesn’t appear that any “conspiracy theory” is needed, or adds any understanding.

      I don’t really have much else to say.

      Except that perhaps a large part of the problem is that these particular developers are in effect insulated from the real world concerns that their work so intimately affects (unless they’re willing to listen to downstream — and that appears to be most definitely not the case). These developers have nice, cushy sinecures where they can do as they like, and talk mostly to each other — sort of the IT equivalent of “ivory tower”; they can play with the code, pursue their “vision” and commit to beautiful theories, because they aren’t the ones who have to use the results in real world situations, or cope with real word practical fallout.

      They don’t even have to worry about the practical meaning of “philosophical” ideas like “free software”. They can do as they like with the code ; if it’s harder for everyone else to work with the code, that’s just too bad — they’re still upstream, and still getting paid. Critics can just go “fork” off, on their free time.

    • david

      I began to see the writing on the wall when the Gnome Devs removed the “open terminal here” option from Nautilus and made it an optional, post install extra. When I asked why this had occurred I received a curt email telling me to stop being paranoid as it wasn’t aimed at me personally. A less informative, more patronising statement I have yet to hear.
      Since them Gnome have infantilised their product to the point where it is a grotesque piece of nonsense, designed for machines that for the most part, it’s not installed on. (Who makes devices with touch screens with Gnome 3 pre-installed? No one. So this “we’re designing for touchscreens” excuse is nonsense.)

      They have, alas, become infected with the modern disease – take a job and lose your sanity as you get sucked into a maelstrom of idiot managers, poor decisions and Corporate arrogance. Common sense, customer loyalty and openness to criticism are disregarded. Armies of sneering bullies must be employed to lurk in forums, ready to assassinate anyone who tries to point out the shortcomings of the new design. Exactly the same tactics used by global warming alarmists, terrorists under the bed nutters, etc. Present the new idea and cut down anyone who disagrees, likening them to criminals, madmen and social outcasts. The media, as ever, plays dumb, pretends it doesn’t see what is going on and provides endless column space and air time to these creatures and fails, usually, to provide any kind of meaningful challenge.

    • Eddie G.

      Seeing as I have NO skill at creating or building my own Gnome interface, what can I do? If I go with an “older” version it leaves me stranded with no real support, and then there’s the option to “switch” to something else….which I’m seriously considering to LXDE or XFCE…..or maybe one of the “newer” offerings like MATE or Cinnamon….where would I go to find out if there’s a “forked” version of Gnome that remains usable and not so buggy?

    • James C

      Or we can all just switch to tiling WMs and be productive and happy :)

    • rhY

      THIS is exactly why I’ve been migrating my entire userbase to Mint xfce edition. Gnome has been broken by design since late 2.x. Pulse Audio is a nightmare (always has been, always will be). Gnome 3 is a nightmare. There’s really no excuse for this. In short: Fuck these people.

    • Serge

      That is why I am using XFCE on Linux Mint Debian Edition. And by the time GTK2 will be no longer maintained, I hope Razor-qt will be sufficiently matured to move on there…


      use dwm

    • Colin

      @rhY I can’t agree with your language but I agree with your sentiment. XFCE is so much better to use then Gnome 2 or 3.

      Why the hell are they removing features from Nautilus. Nautilus is the most Painfully horrible file manager I have ever seen. I would rather use and prefer Windows Explorer! Rux and other file managers, even mc are easier to use (unless you use an auto mounter and are just moving files from one place to removable drives.)

    • lzap

      Hmmm, interesting. So Linux is different, you say. Well – read this then:

      After all, it’s all Open Source. Anyone can help, contribute, change directon, fork. It’s not like THEY are changing an API, we ALL are changing interface. There is always discussion.

    • andre

      “GTK is now developed and maintained by the GNOME Foundation” – err, The “now” in there refers to about 12 years ago?
      With regard to GTK 3 most of the sentiment sounds like you just don’t like changes, and didn’t really look up the reasons why GTK 3 was done and why GTK 2 was stuck in its ancient design and all its cruft of backwards-compatibility.

    • Kevin Clevenger

      > One of the more disturbing bits of news is that Red Hat is merging with (effectively being purchased by)
      > Duke Energy, a huge energy conglomerate and a maker of nuclear power plants.

      Not sure where you’re getting that Red Hat is merging with Duke Energy. detiber commented on this as well.

      Here’s some *accurate* information: Red Hat has a real estate deal with Progress Energy. Progress Energy is merging/did merge with Duke Energy.

      Makes me wonder how accurate the rest of the article is.

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    • sergio

      Not sure if I should laugh or cry.
      This is a pretty silly article filled with one sided views and right out lies (I can’t call them misunderstandings) since it’s written by someone best described as as Troll.
      It’s sad that there are some out there who want to be so negative, but then again it doesn’t really matter since the people who actually do stuff (instead of just complaining) will continue to do it.

      Extra points for including the kernel with “non-commercial, community- developed or independent projects” and calling SpaceFM “innovative”, made me laugh :)

      Also to the people commenting, please check things for yourself before believing what someone writes, there’s a lot of bullshit out there and this article is unfortunately part of the ever growing pile.

    • Go Sergio! You said pretty much everything I wanted to say about this article. Poorly researched and riddled with misinformation and outright lies.

      I’ve worked in Linux for well over 10 years and I’ve heard this sane basic complaint since the beginning. “something changed and I wasn’t consulted” and variations on the theme. But you know what? You have to want to get involved in the project if you want to be part of it’s decision making process. I’ve done that in several projects over the years, many of them projects the author here seems to think are run by the “cabal”! Quite frankly it’s easy to get involved. But like anything you just can’t turn up one day with all these ideas and expect people to love you. Go with the flow for a while. Make sure you become a trusted part of the community. Only then will people respect and like you and take your opinions seriously. Track records speak for a lot and these are not built up in a few days with a couple posts on the ML. Trust and respect has to be earned!

    • Rursus Siderespector

      There is no conspiracy! Everything else correct in the article, a conspiracy requires an impossible coordination from fragmented ignorant minds that cannot coordinate with others.

      The tendencies described are instead market(droid) forces acting upon a charity community — the marketdroids tend to be immersed in a false sense of power, a narcissist disrespect for needs that don’t “pay any bills”, a disrespect for the chaos of initiatives and creativity (which they falsely instead redefine to mean “work like the heck in the One Only Direction”). The leaders of Gnome, KDE, systemd and so on are *not the right leaders* — but they needn’t be toppled to save the community, they will be marginalized by the evolutionary forces of creativity. After all, there’s a lot of people out there developing software for free, and they don’t need to care about the bills.

    • Teresa e Junior

      Usual from people who love to disregard “conspiracy theories”, they just say that everything is a lie, poorly researched… always ignoring all facts and proofs.

      A few points not included in this article are: systemd stopping GNOME 3 from being ported to the BSDs and Ubuntu’s plans to include DRM (Digital R[estrictions] Management).

      And from my own experience, GNOME devs ridiculously ignore bug reports saying all end users should workaround their bugs instead:

      I really recommend reading the funny GNOME 4 Alpha review on It is just an April’s Fool, but shows how long-time GNOME users really feel.

    • lionhater

      I’m a Gnome/GTK hater and have migrated to Ubuntu minimal + Fluxbox with only Qt apps and finally to Manjaro KDE some time ago.

      I’ve hated KDE too because of that senseless Akonadi/Nepomuk/Activities cruft, but now they can relatively easily be disabled and KDE is simply the richest, most functional, solid and configuarable DE out there; there’s really no need to fight with Gnome or other GTK based things.

      Besides, with KDE 5 it will become more modular so that one can, for instance, use Kwin (without all the KDE libraries) with Razor-qt panel as a minimal system.

      Manjaro is, by the way, the new Mint which is not tied to a company, has a huge repository (with AURs) and isn’t needed to be re-installed periodically (rolling).

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    • fredbird67

      You mentioned Nokia — sadly, Microsoft owns Nokia. :-(