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Re: Changes I've been thinking of...

From: Michael Thaler
Subject: Re: Changes I've been thinking of...
Date: Sat, 10 Oct 2009 21:42:45 +0200
User-agent: KMail/1.12.2 (Linux/2.6.30-1-amd64; KDE/4.3.2; x86_64; ; )


first of all I am sorry that I spammed the list. Apparently I have a strong 
opinion about the matter, but I might have offended people that work hard on 
GNUstep and it might have been better to just shut up because my opinion 
doesn't really matter anyway because I never contributed anything to GNUstep 
(well, I once started creating a KDE style for Cameleon, but I never finished 
it and I can't remember if I actually made it publicly available). So this 
will be the last mail on this subject from me.

> I didn't say anything about scientists, but users in general. And
> usability may be subjective, but not that much. Just google Jakob
> Nielsen. Interface engineering exists since Macintosh does.

The original poster did.

> I wasn't being elitist, just pointing out a fact: not many people know
> alternative GUIs. This comes from Windows having such a large portion

Are you sure? At least most people my age probably used something like GEOS, 
the Amiga Workbench, GEM on the Atari ST, RISC OS desktop, CDE, BeOS or 
something else. At least I did use some of them including NeXTSTEP. But 
apparently most people seem to be happy with Windows-like interfaces nowadays, 
otherwise there would be more alternate desktop environments, especially on 
Linux and other open source operating systems.

> Get real, Windows was built to compete with Macintosh. GNOME wasn't
> BUILT to be as usable as possible, but has improved over the years. Of
> all the desktops out there, Apple is the only one that actually does
> usability research, just about everyone else works on assumptions.

That is definitivly not true, Here is are some links to GNOME usability 

There is also a GNOME usability project:

Here is a Microsoft usability report:

Here is a link to the Microsoft user research page: 

> Because, like I said, it depends greatly on how you present your work
> and how much work you put into marketing it. This topic pops up over
> and over again, but no big effort has come out of this.

GNUstep had fifteen years to present GNUstep as a development environment to 
developers / users. There have been articles in linux magazines, there have 
been articles on slashdot / osnews and other major software news websites.
In my opinion GNUstep as a software development environment failed because it 
did not attract many developers / users.I don't think marketing will solve 
this because in my opinion it is basically useless to develop applications 
using the GNUstep development environment because they do not integrate with 
KDE nor GNOME nor Windows and there is no real GNUstep desktop environment 
(but I am quite happy about Etoile). I don't think marketing will change any 
of that. I think the only way to change that is to change the direction of the 
project (but as I said above, this is my personal opinion and I do not want to 
force it on anybody. If people prefer GNUstep the way it is, it is fine with 
me, there are enough alternatives).

> Which I wasn't. I wasn't being elitist either (read above). I still
> stand by my claim: once enough people are made aware of GNUstep some
> will choose it, some won't, but it won't be automatically rejected on
> grounds of being "out of fashion" or "hard to use" or "too different
> from Windows" or any of the usual excuses used by some to dismiss it.

Maybe your claim that "once enough people are made aware of GNUstep some will 
choose it" is flawed? GNUstep is there for about fifteen years, but apparently 
most people seem to prefer KDE or GNOME, even open source developers who read 
slashdot and OSNews and almost certainly heard about GNUstep (I remember some 
stories about GNUstep on slashdot and OSNews). Also the advent of MacOS X did 
not really help GNUstep (as far as I know). I know a lot of Linux users who 
like open source and own MacBooks (including me). Wouldn't it be natural for 
them to use gnustep which is quite similar to Cocoa? If they don't use it, 
wouldn't it be interesting why they don't use it, even so it seems a natural 
fit. I, for one, like the Openstep / GNUstep / Cocoa API but I do not like how 
GNUstep applications look and that GNUstep applications do not integrate with 
any existing desktop on Linux and that there is no GNUstep desktop 
environment. Do you think it is farfetched that I am not the only one who 
thinks like this?

> Not to get back to the previous argument but...ahem: "I, for one".
> Remember, NeXT never achieved a significant market share so quite
> naturally, not many people know about it.

Well, Windows did and in this respect Microsoft did much better then NeXT (and 
Apple and all the others). Windows is far from the best desktop environment, 
but apparently it was good enough for most people, computers running Windows 
were much cheaper then Next cubes or Macs, there was lots of useful software 
for Windows (more then for any other plattform). MS invented Visual Basic, 
which is one of the most successfull programming languages and made it 
relatively easy for people to develop graphical applications. I personally 
really dislike Microsoft and Windows as a plattform, but I have to admit that 
Microsoft did a better job than the competition. In this respect KDE and GNOME 
did a better job then GNUstep because many people use and develop for KDE and 
GNOME today, but not for GNUstep.Maybe GNUstep would be more successful if it 
would be more KDE or GNOME like, providing a Windows or MacOS X like 
environment which users are familiar with? But I admit that this might not be 
what the developers of GNUstep want and I respect their opinion.

Well, I guess I posted more then enough in this thread. I will shut up now.

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