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The Thinker

A comment +Aaron Seigo wrote on +Dietrich Schmitz's reshare of the original post:

It is interesting that two of the reasons stated were Gtk+ 2 maintenance and systemd dependencies. It demonstrates two things: a) how important it is to pick the horse you bet on carefully (in this case Gtk+ 2) with a good understanding of its future (which mainly lies with the developers who maintain it .. or don't) and b) the impact that Linux middleware churn has on smaller shops.

Personally, I think that if a few of these smaller distributions set aside differences and worked together, they would stand a better chance of creating something with a solid future. Diversity is great, but there's a limit to what the ecosystem can sustain.

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Aaron Seigo's profile photoGonzalo Velasco C.'s profile photoDaniel P Bartolo's profile photo
+Ikey Doherty In my experience being part of as well as managing projects and teams of wildly, wonderfully independent and brilliant people ... the idea that "we have wildly different goals" is often overstated. Moreover, the idea that "we have different goals, and therefore need to work separately" is often also unfounded.

What I find is that many engineers / software developers struggle to identify issues that don't really matter and spend a lot of time focusing on differences rather than commonalities.

This results in a lot of discussion and division over matters of little consequence and a lot of missed opportunities due to massive duplication of effort and lack of coordination on the common 95% to spare the perceived purity of the 5% in differences.

It's one of the things that drew me to Mer. They understood this pretty deeply, and when we got involved with it we were able to help broaden that mindset even further .. because they were open to it.

Jolla, Nemo and Plasma Active all have unique and divergent goals. We've identified those and marked them out as "not to be tread upon" ground and gotten to work on sharing the remaining 95%. Turns out, we keep finding new opportunities to share now that these doors are open: libhybris, maliit, device adaptations ...

It's one of the things that has drawn me to SDDM. The main developer of SDDM also groks this, and SDDM is now used by a small handful of projects .. with Plasma likely to join when we release Plasma Workspaces 2. This will mean dropping "our own" KDM and even letting go of significant work done with LightDM, but it will ultimately be worth it if it lets us share the 95% that is common so we can all focus on the 5% we care about.

So I'd suggest that the idea that one must either hold onto their dreams and goals or cooperate is a false dichotomy. You can almost always find a group with goals similar enough to your own that you can share the 95% with them. The 5% is yours.
+Ikey Doherty Ultimately, you're The Source(tm) for where the 95%-5% line is drawn for SolusOS.

I do find it's always good to require a non-self-flattering defense to one's self (or one's team) as to where the value in a project's differences are. As developers, we're often able to sell ourselves on our own ideas very well ... sometimes a little too well ... and are often really bad at playing devil's advocate. Cost/benefit is not always easy to map out, and at times we're not even clear as to which of our plans hold the true value for us. Anyways ...

Bringing people together around Consort Desktop sounds like a very good idea. Desktop environments are a huge amount of work to maintain, and Linux middleware churn does not make that any easier.

To be utterly blunt, I honestly don't think any of the newer desktop env projects have any realistic long term prospects unless they pull together a greater developer audience. Even XFCE is suffering from developer retention right now. Unity has a well-funded and stubborn company backing it which is its possible saving grace. Even if none of them succeed, however, I do expect that at least some of them will push the envelope and in doing so advance the state of the art for Free software desktops.

Compiz is a great example of a star that shone brightly and pushed things forward in important ways even if it eventually has subsided in its importance.

p.s. I don't want to hijack this thread to go off on desktop environment design, but I think there's a strong case to be made for why KDE's Plasma is the best available starting point for a "GNOME 2 like env". If that's at all intriguing to you as a topic of conversation, you know where to find me :)
SystemD I don't know, but from GTK2 to 3 is a smaller change, isn't it? Is it the same to say changing everything related to Gnome 2 for something related to Gnome 3, or is there more?
+Gonzalo Velasco C. It's significant enough of a change that Linus has been reconsidering use of Gtk+ for his dive log application rather than port it to Gtk+ 3. Major version changes in toolkits can be difficult (the Qt3 -> Qt4 one was horrific) and they can also be easy-peasy (Qt4 -> Qt5 usually just takes some tweaks to the build  system to link to the Qt5 libs followed by a recompile in 99% of cases), so it really depends

What makes this more difficult for Gtk+ 2.x based desktops is that you have a TON of code using that toolkit version .. and it all needs to be ported. When you combine a difficult transition with a lot of code, it gets hard .. and it isn't really the sort of thing you can do (successfully, anyways) bit by bit, rolling it out to your users as you go. At least with systemd, one can phase it in over a few releases, as a number of distros have done.
Gee, way out of my league! Thanks, +Aaron Seigo.
I would ask why not letting the present version there for a year, and work this transformation to Gtk3 or SysmetD or whatever, during that time... or getting another base (Fedora, again) and redo it (I'm talking about Fuduntu, again).