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Re: Ubuntu, Toolkits, Precision, and the Future


On 23. feb. 2012 21:11, Jonathan Meek wrote:
You're right that the vanilla isn't very good. But does that somehow mean that we can't make it better? Just because those examples are bad, doesn't preclude the possibility.

Now, don't put words in my mouth: I didn't say make TDF make a GTK version of LibreOffice. I did say there was room for exceptions. I called for a strong push for a unified environment, not a dictatorial sweeping away of all things not in that specified toolkit.

Unification is something that connects different things to create an assembled whole. This is what we want. We want all programming languages to be usable. We want all toolkits to be equal. We don't want to enforce a certain set of tools. That's not unification. That's assimilation.

The goal must be that whether you use GTK with Vala/Genie or Python or HTML/CSS/JavaScript, the resulting software will integrate well with the system and look and feel like a native program.

Those things may be "mere technical details", but they still have forward-facing implications. I thought the complacency you're expressing is just something that will lead to an even more nebulous Ubuntu.

See, Ubuntu is still about choice even if this idea for a push is taken up. I'm not saying push out all the application from the repos that don't match the vision either. I'm saying make the default look good, consistent and be an example for those who might want to develop *for* Ubuntu. If we continue to be bothered by the people who think that, just because we're trying to improve Ubuntu, it leaves them without the option of apt-get'ing a different choice, where will that leave us?

We do need overlay scrollers for XUL. Other than that, I don't really feel that Firefox and Thunderbird is out of place in the Ubuntu desktop. LibreOffice has old-style scrollbars and menus and they're light colored. Other than that, I see no reason why a user should care what language is used to write it or which toolkit is used.

    Besides, the actual toolkit, programming language are mere
    technical details. Users look at the functionality, appearance,
    performance and stability - and changing a toolkit will not
    magically improve those.

Never mind that the toolkit is strongly tied to the functionality and appearance.

Not so much functionality. Appearance, yes. But the solution to that is to reduce the differences in appearance. It is important to remember that developers are users too. They don't see widgets as images. They see them as code. The same way I might prefer Firefox while you prefer Chrome, developers might prefer Vala/GTK while another prefers C++/Qt. But preference is not only about preference. It's also about time and money. Because companies hire people based on their competence, and the more competence Ubuntu developers can make use of, the more attractive Ubuntu becomes to the people who invest in those companies. This in turn gives us more software, which makes it more interesting to users, which makes Ubuntu a more interesting market to investors. There is a tipping point, and we need to get there. Just look at Android. Three years ago, most people were laughing at it. "Linux for phones. HAH!". They reached a tipping point and how quickly the laughter died.

When people seek to learn how to write their first application, we should recommend GTK with Python and/or Vala. But what we really need is experienced developers, and they will already have their preferences set. Competence is extremely expensive, and certifications are not cheap. For these reasons, it should never even be a goal for Ubuntu to reduce the number of toolkits people use. There is a right way and a wrong way to do anything, and the wrong way is always to try and make everyone else do it the right way.

We welcome differences. We just reduce the impact.

Jo-Erlend Schinstad