Did the GNOME 3 developers violate design principles?

In today's open source roundup: Is GNOME 3's history a case of garbage in, garbage out? Plus: A GNOME Books app is planned, and a review of Xubuntu 14.04

GNOME 3 is one of the most controversial desktop environments in open source history. Flame wars have raged back and forth between GNOME 3 advocates and critics for quite a while now. Datamation examines the history of GNOME 3 and considers whether or not the GNOME 3 developers violated design principles when they created it.

According to Datamation:

Yet the GNOME designers made the mistake of assuming what seemed rational to them would be efficient and welcome for everyone. This assumption was not corrected until eighteen months after GNOME 3's release, when extensions added the flexibility that the designers chose not to include. Contrary to the impression that GNOME's advertising gives, GNOME 3 did not have a foundation of solid design principles, but of subjective and incomplete impressions of a few individuals.

The problem that GNOME 3 has struggled with since its first release is that the initial assumptions are incomplete. They do not deserve the name "garbage," but their limitations should still be recognized -- if only as a cautionary tale to future designers.

More at Datamation
GNOME 3
Image credit: GNOME.org

I must admit that I've never been able to warm up to GNOME 3 for my personal use. Initially I was quite critical of it since I was a big fan of GNOME 2 and I found the changes in GNOME 3 difficult to to adjust to for daily usage. But I finally made my peace with GNOME 3 and now I just think of it as yet another valid choice in the larger pantheon of Linux desktop environments.

GNOME Books

Eye On Linux examines the issue of using Google Books for ebook purchases in a planned GNOME Books ereading app.

According to Eye On Linux:

Unfortunately it looks like GNOME Books might use Google Books instead of a store like Smashwords (which doesn’t use DRM in its books). I am not sure why the initial decision was made to tie GNOME Books to Google, but I think it might be a big mistake. Google has damaged its reputation among some Linux users over the years with its privacy issues, and I suspect that a fair number of people would skip using GNOME Books if it is associated with Google.

More at Eye On Linux
GNOME Books
Image credit: Eye On Linux

It remains to be seen how many people will actually care about buying ebooks from Google Books. It may be a big nothing-burger but then again it may not. I hope the GNOME Books developers at least examine the issue before plunging ahead in creating the app.

Xubuntu 14.04 LTS review

Desktop Linux Reviews has a review of Xubuntu 14.04 LTS.

According to Desktop Linux Reviews:

Xubuntu 14.04 LTS is a definite improvement from the last version. The overall experience has been polished up significantly, and there are some small but useful features added like Mugshot, Light Locker and MenuLibre, and of course Whiskermenu. I think that most Xubuntu users will be pleased with this version, and upgrading to it from Xubuntu 13.10 is pretty much a no-brainer.

More at Desktop Linux Reviews
Xubuntu 14.04 LTS Review
Image credit: Desktop Linux Reviews

Xubuntu is a great lightweight alternative to Ubuntu, it uses the Xfce desktop environment. Do check it out if you are using an older or otherwise underpowered computer. It's definitely worth a download.

What's your take on all this? Tell me in the comments below.

The opinions expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the views of ITworld.

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