Dropping GNOME Fallback Mode: The Right Decision, Wrongly Handled Page 3: Page 3

In dropping fallback mode, GNOME made the right decision -- and utterly failed to communicate that fact.
Posted November 13, 2012

Bruce Byfield

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A Mixed Problem

I don't want to exaggerate the important of dropping fallback mode. Still less do I want to attack GNOME mindlessly. But I have gone into some detail on the subject because I believe that GNOME is missing opportunities. Nor is it the only project to do so.

Yes, marketing is a foreign mindset to many developers. Many see it as a form of lying. Yet this was a case where a project could have said nothing except the truth and perhaps helped itself -- but apparently failed to see the opportunities, much less take advantage of any of them.

Instead, as the opportunities slipped away, hurt feelings were expressed. Such feelings might have been understandable when the first complaints surfaced, and the members of GNOME were disappointed by the reception to all their hard work. But two years later, the expression of hurt feelings has become as routine as the criticisms for which they are meant as a response. Even more importantly, they are unconstructive, if not outright harmful.

GNOME cannot control what its members say in public. Its members would understandably object if it tried. But, like so many other free software projects, it is badly in need of some official responses, or at least some coordinated ones.

The brutal truth is that GNOME has a marketing problem as much as a developmental one. And, until it realizes the fact, no amount of counter-attacks or analogies to the past will help it move beyond the user revolt that has already lasted far too long.

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Tags: open source, Linux, marketing, Gnome, desktop

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