Ramblings and questions regarding Fedora, but stemming from gnome-software and desktop environments

Alexander Ploumistos alex.ploumistos at gmail.com
Sun Dec 28 00:23:45 UTC 2014

2014-12-28 0:26 GMT+02:00 Richard Hughes <hughsient at gmail.com>:

> On 26 December 2014 at 20:32, Alexander Ploumistos
> <alex.ploumistos at gmail.com> wrote:
> >why not offer packages from every DE and metapackages for other
> environments?
> I don't see how this addresses the multiple "Calculator" application
> problem I clearly outlined in my original blog post. Offering choices
> and configuration options in applications is not zero-cost, and people
> more qualified and eloquent than me have written why.

I noted that a little earlier, I was asking about the available packages if
the aim of gnome-software on fedora is to be the default graphical package
manager. And of course that beautiful interface comes at the cost of
choice. I can't remember on which distro I had this happen to me (perhaps
Mandrake?), I wanted to install k3b and krename and I got all of KDE,
including some games!

An interesting side-effect of having multiple packages with the same name:
I accidentally opened xfce's dictionary on my girlfriend's laptop, and I
saw that it had a speed reader! I had never used one before, so there was
some enthusiasm in the discovery. There could be a silver lining in that
cloud (though admittedly, having three of the basic apps is sometimes
frustrating, I don't know how she manages to find the right one every time).

> > If gnome-software aims to be novice-user-friendly, at least the latter
> should definitely be an option.
> I don't see the logic there, sorry. Novice users don't understand the
> fine nuances of the design choices of different desktop environments.

However they do understand when their system is sluggish, say with Unity,
or that this or that DE looks ugly, or is dysfunctional etc.. Using my
friends as lab rats showed me that much and I was happy when each of them
found the DE that worked best for them and their hardware. In light of
that, maybe it would be a reasonable idea to have metapackages for other
DEs in gnome-software with screenshots, descriptions and the occasional
warnings, so people like them won't need someone over their heads reciting
arcane incantations. Gnome's fallback mode is a shame, in that it's like
having the engine of a 2CV in a sports car chassis (or maybe the other way
around, I'm not sure).

> > Can gnome-software be the distro-wide default package manager while
> adhering to
> > the HIG?
> It's the software application installer for GNOME, and GNOME just
> happens to be our chosen desktop environment. I don't think you can
> ask if GNOME software maybe isn't a suitable Fedora application
> installer because it doesn't give equal priority to MATE (a hostile
> fork of an old version of GNOME). GNOME Software even prioritizes
> GNOME software when running under KDE, and I'd hope Apper does the
> same for KDE apps on KDE.
> I do suggest MATE ship their own software centre, or use
> gnome-software and just set an session-wide environment variable like
> I suggested a long time ago.

I don't mind if gnome-software favors GNOME apps, or if Apper does the
same. I have no interest in promoting any DE over another, I am only
partial to echo $SHELL returning bash and while I kept my distance at the
time of the fork, I am well aware of the harsh words that had been going
back and forth. I am not expecting either side to forgive and forget, but I
would like everyone to take the hostility down one notch (or even two, if
possible), at least on this neutral ground. Such animosity is saddening. In
retrospect, perhaps it was a mistake on my part to drag you into a
conversation with a developer from the other side and I would like to
apologize to you both for that. Should the need occur in the future, I will
just convey the gist to and fro and filter out any jabs or innuendos.

With that out of the way, the AppStream specification has certainly made it
possible for every DE to have an aesthetically satisfying software center.
But what about the rest of the distribution and how is a terminal-averse or
terminal-ignorant, new Fedora user supposed to install something like let's
say p7zip, which has no GUI? I don't know if Archive Manager pulls it in as
a dependency, but I think you can understand where I'm going with this
example. Should Fedora build another program as a package manager (or have
yumex installed by default) or do we say to our users that they should not
touch Fedora if they are not willing to type a few commands every now and
then - hence my other question about our targeted user base. I'm
comfortable with either option, I would just like to know which one it is.

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