by havoc

Alex, you
heard from Bryan early on. He asked for your help/input.

Let me clarify some points:

  • You say you “first learned” about our stuff “a few weeks ago” as if
    that meant there was some secret conspiracy before that; but “a few
    weeks ago” is pretty much when we started working on it. FUDCON was in
    February, we made first design sketches right before that. That means
    the first ideas were about 8 weeks ago. It’s in the public record.
  • You say we worked “completely in private” but in fact we a) showed
    brand new mockups and ideas at FUDCON and put them all on our public
    wiki and have had all code in public SVN and b) Bryan personally
    notified you
    when we started working on it in earnest, while we
    continued to work completely in public.
  • The code used in BigBoard from Gimmie is perhaps 1% of both projects,
    it sets the _NET_WM_STRUT hint from pygtk. This is just a trivial
    piece of code that is not central to either project and bringing it up
    as if it’s significant is misleading. The rest of the code in the
    projects does not overlap and in fact has little in common.
  • All our code is and always has been GPL, and it is perfectly
    acceptable to include LGPL code in a GPL project. Moreover, if you
    want to use any of our code under LGPL, you are welcome to do so, we
    will relicense it.
  • I had no idea that Gimmie has web services stuff as an aspiration. I
    don’t know why I would have known.
  • You ask why I haven’t supported Gimmie with some kind of public
    statement; to be honest I just never thought to do that in my blog, or
    saw a thread where it looked apropos to pile on. I have had multiple
    conversations with Bryan and Jonathan of the form “Gimmie is one of
    the only interesting things anyone is working on,” though.

All in all, BigBoard is quite different from Gimmie, though yes it has
things in common (and with Google/Yahoo!/Vista sidebar, Apple dock and
dashboard, gnome-panel, Awn, and
so forth). There is nothing whatsoever wrong with having different
rapidly-developed prototypes as we try to understand what would be
awesome. The people you should flame are those people who are too
stuck in the mud to try anything new.

btw, I think Gimmie looks great and I do support it. Bryan liked the ideas
too which is why he contacted you weeks ago.

If you have a concrete set of ideas for how we can do what we’re
trying to do while working in the same codebase as Gimmie, then get on
email and send them to us or the mailing list, and we’ll talk about
it. Maybe mock up what the UI that merges the best of both would look
like, or tell us how our implementation would work into the Gimmie

I think when you really try to draw the combined UI as a mockup, or
talk about which files from one project would go where in the other
source tree, then merging these projects starts to look impractical
and forced. Merging them may be a little “architecture astronaut” in
other words. But if you can spell out a concrete vision for how to do
it that preserves what we’re both trying to accomplish, then we’ll do
it. It’s not a big deal.

(This post was originally found at

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