Gnome is not perfect either

Earlier, I wrote how I can’t stand KDE’s interface and the way its default application windows look and feel. I prefer Gnome’s “keep it simple stupid” philosophy, however, I also feel for the users who left Gnome 2 behind because of lack of functionality. So, what is one to do?
1. Create apps that have EVERY possible feature available, resulting in a huge bloat machine that’s difficult to use? (kde)
2. Keep apps extremely simple providing only the basic/needed features resulting in reduced functionality? (gnome)

IMHO, none of the two is the best way to desktop-wide success. Gnome has a better chance to get picked up more as it’s easier to use, but eventually users might switch to KDE after they find that its apps do that little special thing they want.

Maybe, just maybe, the solution is plugins a-la Firefox (just even better integrated). I am not talking about plugins that change the functionality of the desktop, but specific plugins for specific apps (KDE already has a similar functionality through kparts, but it’s not exactly a user-controlled plugin). For example, not everyone needs printing, not everyone needs Cobol syntax highlighting, not everyone needs Japanese input method support or even line-numbering. Or, these terrible usability-wise kde vertical tabs on the side that expand when you click them (*pukes*). If such functionality was only provided by plugins, developing basic functionality apps would be easier and bloat-free. However, the plugin usage leads to other problems:

1. In the linux world there is no real API stability. Plugins are bound to lose compatibility with their target apps every few months and that would suck like hell.
2. Hunting for plugins is boring and time consuming. Joe User wouldn’t bother.
3. Usually plugins are slower than if they were embedded properly to the target code.

So, nothing is really perfect in this world. Personally, between the three ways (bloat, basic ui, plugins), I prefer the basic UI. I am old school.

Considering the current options, Gnome does the right thing. Where Gnome has a problem is in its… social skills with its userbase and the fact that it doesn’t get developed as fast as KDE is. If a big corporation with lots of money and engineers and marketing people were to put a major effort to fix these two issues on Gnome, I am sure it would result to a new era for the Unix desktop.

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