choice usually sucks; documenting choice sucks more, though.

Yast thumbnailThis is the most depressing thing I’ve read all morning. (Granted I’ve only been up for 15 minutes.) Remember, kids, choice is usually just another way of saying “the engineers and PMs don’t have the balls to make the hard decisions, so instead we’re going to give the users a ‘choice’ they can’t possibly make with any more reliability than a coin flip.” But hey! After that post is successful, Fedora users will be able to waste time reading documentation which can’t possibly explain anything useful before they make the coin flip! Yay progress!

(It of course could explain something in a way that would be useful to users, but then it would offend one camp or the other, and that would require the aforementioned balls, so it won’t actually be useful.)

(Not that Fedora will be unique in this problem; this may be the most maddeningly stupid screen in all of YaST, and I seem to recall that older Fedora installers had something similar. But at least SuSE has basically admitted there is no way to provide useful information on this choice without pissing someone off and didn’t bother to waste time documenting it.)

(Wow, took me all of one week to have to say ‘this post is purely my personal opinion and does not represent the opinions or policies of Red Hat, Inc., particularly the legal department, who would surely think I’m off my rocker for even knowing what this particularly controversy means.’ :)

(ed. after a shower and some head-clearing: it is of course possible that KDE apps may be best of breed (though I can’t think of any and the first person who says k3b gets their posting privileges revoked), and those should be documented. But if your example is konqueror, you have already lost the game for many reasons.)

(ed. even later: that first link was broken for a while; now fixed, sorry for any confusion.)

(ed. last: the comments are even stupider than I thought they would be (except for joe’s) so I’ve turned them off. If you don’t get it by now, you never will.)

31 thoughts on “choice usually sucks; documenting choice sucks more, though.”

  1. That appears to be because Novell don’t know what the U in URL stands for.

    The nice thing is that this used to be something which was completely inescapable in free software. At least for us dum-dums using GNOME who want developers to force their wretched opinions on us (or whatever the argument is) this kind of thing is extremely uncommon now.

    – Chris

  2. How about Scribus ? This nice DTP app looks like it has no GNOME equivalent.
    I’dd add Kitchensink too, because Evolution sync only with Palms, and Multisync isn’t well integrated (and is still quite beta quality).

  3. Ah, yeah, Scribus is by all accounts quite good, there is no GNOME-y equivalent, and the normal KDE feature-infatuation probably makes a little more sense in that space than it does in most places.

    I haven’t used Kitchensink; you’re right that the GNOME-y offerings in that space are typically abysmal. But if it only syncs with KDE apps then you start down the slippery slope of recommending option-laden crap again. (Not that evo is our finest example of ease of use, of course. :/

  4. Well, what’s wrong with Konqueror? Or rather: what makes Nautilus (or Epiphany) superior to Konqueror? And why limit the arguments of the “other side” (“you can’t mention this app. Or this. Or this”). But if asked to list KDE-apps that are superior to their GNOME-counterparts…

    – Kstars (GNOME-equivalent does not exist)
    – The whole KDEedu-packge (no equivalent exists in GNOME)
    – Konqueror (I’m sorry, but Epiphany sucks)
    – K3b (just because you don’t want to see it mentioned, does not change the fact that it’s better than GNOME-equivalents)
    – Amarok
    – Koffice (GNOME does not have an office-suite at all)
    – Krita (No, GIMP is not a GNOME-project)

    That’s from the top of my head. You might have different opinions, but your opinions (nor mine) are facts, they are just opinions.

    But seriously: Why are you so confrontational? “I can’t think of any KDE apps that are better than their GNOME-equivalent”. Yeah, there’s a great way to build bridges between the two communities….

    Related to this: Would you be happy is SUSE removed GNOME from the selection-screen? That would fix this problem, wouldn’t it?

  5. DigiKam and amarok are excellent applications, and the first that come to my mind.

    Krita, whilst unfortunately quite slow at the moment, seems very promising and is already more usable than GIMP, by many accounts.

    There are also several non-linear audio and video editors written for KDE, though I can’t vouch for their quality as I’ve not tried them.

    I don’t understand why you’ve outright excluded k3b and Konqueror, though. People like to burn CDs/DVDs for various reasons, and k3b does that very well. People have to organise their files, konqueror does that well too. What’s the problem?

  6. (I’m not going to waste anyone’s time responding to the app discussion in the preceding post; the discussion was uninteresting three years ago and nothing has changed since then.)

    Related to this: Would you be happy is SUSE removed GNOME from the selection-screen? That would fix this problem, wouldn’t it?

    I specifically and repeatedly told Novell while I was there that they would be better off firing all their GNOME developers than continuing to maintain the GNOME-KDE charade- it was expensive; it was damaging to their users; and it was helpful to Apple and Microsoft because it splintered our desktop platform market share. Red Hat has managed to avoid that trap; I hope that Fedora can do the same.

    Note that if KDE users want to put together KFedora, as has been done with Kubuntu, that is great. But no one should think that expending even an hour’s time on a frankendesktop is a good idea.

  7. “This is the most depressing thing I’ve read all morning.” now links to the SuSE screenshot, which I don’t think is what you meant to link it to?

  8. Although I agree on the most-part about feature-happy KDE apps, there are parts of KDE that Gnome could really strive to catch up on.

    The biggest and most obvious is KHTML, a native rendering engine – the closest thing we have, really, is gtkhtml2, which is extremely far behind. gtk-webcore doesn’t really count in my eyes, as it isn’t really native (part of it is a wrapper around Qt functions) and it’s written in C++… It’s very cool, and if it progresses, it’d certainly be better than gecko, but it’s not really a Gnome equivalent of KHTML.

    Another area that Gnome really sucks in is global shortcuts – KDE’s global shortcuts are integrated across the whole desktop and can be set from specific apps, or from the control panel. Gnome’s equivalent is extremely flaky, has no general library associated with it and is only accessible from one place. Oh, and if you’re not using metacity, sux2bu!

    KParts are also far superior to anything done with bonoboui, which is extremely slow and clunky. I find it odd that no one’s written some simple library combining GtkSocket+dbus, but the point is, we really have no equivalent of KParts, and they work extremely well.

    Finally, I’ll mention dcop – This is integrated into almost every KDE application and allows them to be scriptable, a feature that is true of far less Gnome apps.

    Of course, there are areas that I think Gnome really excels in (GTK and GStreamer are both great libraries, UI tends to be far more consistent and less cluttered, stability is great and core apps are excellent), but there’s certainly a long way to go, for both projects.

  9. I agree with you. In fact, I don’t understand why OpenSuse gave the option to select Gnome on install, whilst since ever KDE was the default desktop on Suse.

    Marketing by Novell, I suppose.

  10. Generally I’d agree with you. But I don’t think fedora is really a newbie’s distro. Fedora isn’t and shouldn’t try to be Ubuntu. I’m sure 90-95% of people that see that screen have a very strong opinion as to which DM they want to use, and would rather make the choice during the install process rather than after the one they don’t like is installed for them.

  11. I’m using GNOME for many years and it will probably never change, but if you ask what is better in KDE i can name some things which i hopped for a long time that GNOME would have something similar:

    – Kile, imho the best latex-exitor
    – kontact, great apps (kmail, kalendar,…) which can be used as independent apps or with kontact as an umbrella. Evolution just sucks compared to kontact.
    – kparts which makes the modularized kontact possible.
    – kioslaves which offers every KDE app network transparency without that the programmer of the app has to do something special (all the magic is done directly by the kde-filechooser).

    K3b is probably the best stand-alone burning app. But i prefer the GNOME-way of burning where it happen were the task appears (burn data CD/DVD at nautilus, burn audio CD at Rhythmbox,…). But for me this doesn’t goes far enough. For example i can click on Data or Audio CD/DVD and say Copy. This should also be possible with a Video-DVD: Putting a Video-DVD in the drive select copy and GNOME would rip, resize and burn it as Video-CD or Video-DVD (dependence which medium is in the writer). Same should be possible if totem opens a video, there i should have a burn option which creates from every video-file (mp4, ogg, wmv, avi,…) a video-CD or video-DVD (if necessary with resizing) and burn it.

  12. Ofcourse then there is the possibilty that both options suck equally…

  13. All install-time questions like this are stupid anyways because the future is not having “installers”.

    * Servers are mostly kickstarted or whatever
    * Desktops are going to either be
    – preinstalled by hardware vendor
    – installed like servers en masse
    – For developers/single person desktop say converting from Windows, downloading a Live CD and installing from that is a far better experience, and there we can ditch all the pointless questions about firewall, sound card etc. We should have done this a long time ago for non-live-cds of course but the live cd is a good time.

    Ubuntu has the right idea of making GNOME/KDE a download-time choice (not in an installer program), because in reality having a single image with both is too big.

  14. I specifically and repeatedly told Novell while I was there that they would be better off firing all their GNOME developers…

    It’s true. One time Dave Camp was teasing Luis and he blurted out, “You should all be fired!” before running out of the room crying.

    Good times.

  15. To the non-technical world, FUG is short for fugly which means fucking ugly. That’s like the best description evar.

    (Srsly, it’s been, what, ten years now– just pick a damn desktop platform and stick with it.)

  16. I must agree with other posters. The biggest feature of KDE is not apps (and whose apps are better is arguable) but the stuff in between the applications – Karts, KIO-Slaves, DCOP – the glue. The platform is actually more consistent than Gnome in many respects – same open/save dialog, same toolbars across the whole platform.

    As for the choice… Features are a funny thing, you may kick and scream but in the end you use them all. I usually recommend Gnome to new users, and suggest to graduate to KDE when ready and continue using the must-have GTK apps like gimp and inkscape. I am glad OpenSuse is not stuck in the monotheistic silo. Today’s most productive linux desktop really needs parts of both choices very well developed. Mongering users into “you are with us, or against us” is pretty much like taking them hostage for your religious cause.

    I am glad Fedora is shifting to a more practical path.

  17. additions to the list of kde apps. gnome has no equal equivalent:

    kate (text editor)
    kbabel (translation)

    ps. not equal can be thought of as “with less functionality”, right?

  18. […] We’re golden. Bryan Clark: The Power of Communities Fabian Affolter: The clock is ticking… Luis Villa: choice usually sucks; documenting choice sucks more, though. John Babich: Wanted: KDE and Xfce Writers more Home » Fedora […]

  19. […] Villa: Choice usually sucks; documenting choice sucks more, though. “I specifically and repeatedly told Novell while I was there that they would be better off firing […]

  20. […] title]Hack the Planetby Wes Felter (cached at May 26, 2007, 1:22 am)Luis Villa: Choice usually sucks; documenting choice sucks more, though. “I specifically and repeatedly told Novell while I was there that they would be better off firing […]

Comments are closed.