February 16, 2007

Linus fires latest shot in GNOME Wars

Author: Linux.com Staff

Some bad blood between Linus Torvalds and GNOME developers is flaring up again. Previously, Torvalds has said that Linux users should switch to KDE instead of GNOME because of the GNOME team's "users are idiots" mentality. Now he has "put his money where his mouth is" by submitting patches to GNOME in order to have it behave as he likes.

This week, on the Linux Foundation's (formerly

OSDL) Desktop

Architects mailing list, the two sides are going mano a mano. On Monday, Marcos Pérez López replied

in Spanish to an earlier message from Torvalds in which Torvalds lashed out at the GNOME crew, claiming

GNOME developers believed their users were idiots. López's reply defending GNOME was in Spanish, and he

closed it by saying:

¿Quién es el NAZI?
Who is the Nazi?

Nada más, esto para LINUS para que piense. Nothing more, this is for Linus to think about.


Spanish, so are you an idiot too?

Godwin's Law was quickly invoked by Fernando Herrera, but that didn't stop the debate. Torvalds

took the Spanish in stride, and continued the argument by saying it was good for GNOME to be easy to use,

but that "'ONLY being easy to use' is bad." He also noted that "GNOME people seem to think that once you

'got into it,' you never want to do anything more. Not true."

Christian F.K. Schaller then threw down the

gauntlet, urging Torvalds to action with:

If you are up for a challenge, why don't you use GNOME for a month then come and do a talk about your

experience at this years GUADEC in England? Could maybe be a good way to start a constructive dialog

instead of this useless mudslinging?

This morning, Torvalds responded to the challenge, though not in the manner Schaller suggested. He

submitted patches to GNOME to make it behave as he wants, then told the mailing list:

I've sent out patches. The code is actually _cleaner_ after my patches, and the end result is more

capable. We'll see what happens.

THAT is constructive.

What I find unconstructive is how the GNOME people always make *excuses*. It took me a few hours to

actually do the patches. It wasn't that hard. So why didn't I do it years ago?

I'll tell you why: because GNOME apologists don't say "please send us patches". No. They basically make

it clear that they aren't even *interested* in fixing things, because their dear old Mum isn't interested
in the feature.

Do you think that's "constructive"?

So let's see what happens to my patches. I guarantee you that they actually improve the code (not just

add a feature). I also guarantee that they actually make things *more* logical rather than less (with my
patches, double-clicking on the title bar isn't a special event: it's configurable along with right- and

middle-clicking, and with the exact same syntax for all).

But why, oh, why, have GNOME people not just said "please fix it then"?

Instead, I _still_ (now after I sent out the patch) hear more of your kvetching about how you actually do

everything right, and it's somehow *my* fault that I find things limiting.

Here's a damn big clue: the reason I find GNOME limiting is BECAUSE IT IS.

Now the question is, will people take the patches, or will they keep their heads up their arses and claim

that configurability is bad, even when it makes things more logical, and code more readable.

Welcome to wonderful, wacky, never-dull world of free and open source software, where in spite of all the

posturing and debate, the answer is always best couched in code.

Click Here!