Preach On Luis

by havoc

from Luis.

I mentioned it in passing a few posts ago, but I still think the
“what is gnome?” on could use a lot of work:
“GNOME offers an easy to understand
desktop for your Linux or UNIX computer.”

I’d kill the words “desktop”, “easy”, “Linux/UNIX”, and “computer” for
starters. What Luis has to say gets at some of the reasons.

I just decided to check with the original
GNOME charter
which defines this goal for GNOME:

to create a computing platform for use by the general public that is
completely free software.

Now that’s more like it. And it would include many of the projects
that seem most exciting, whether Elisa, Nokia 770, Epiphany
or Ekiga. Or
One Laptop Per Child, Mugshot, Firefox, MusicBrainz, Wikipedia,
Creative Commons.
There are countless more projects out there. Pick your favorites. Some
of the projects are about code, others are more about communities and
shared information.

I’m not saying GNOME should try to compete with all those projects
or anything like that. But there’s no reason GNOME should stick to the
panel and file manager, either. It could work more closely toward a
coherent user experience spanning some of the vast range of projects;
and there are thousands of good ideas nobody is working on yet. And
what would it mean to start creating a coherent story across some of
these projects, a vision for a completely free-software computing
platform for use by the general public? Luis hinted
that a platform isn’t just libraries and drivers
anymore. Nor is it yet another Linux distribution.

Make a list of the top things the “general public” (not “the
) does with their range of computing platforms (phones,
set-top boxes, computers, web sites). Or, read
research about what people do
(there’s one list on the seventh page
– labeled “vi” – of that PDF). How much of GNOME (the project, the people, not “the
desktop”) relates to the top 10 activities? If the open
source community wanted to be more relevant to the general public within 12 months, what kinds of things
would we work on?

(This post was originally found at

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