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Re: debian mate

Hi Russ,

as I see you, as a member of ctte, are kind of in favour of MATE for jessie and not wheezy... :(

Am 20.11.2012 23:27, schrieb Russ Allbery:
Michael Schmitt<tcwardrobe@gmail.com>  writes:

That may be common thinking, agreed. But I am that extremely worried
about the current upgrade solution in wheezy, sorry... I think Debian
should try to get it in.
We are way, way too late in the release process for something that
substantial.  There are other alternatives to GNOME 3 already available in
wheezy for those who really dislike GNOME 3.  (Xfce, for example, seems to
have become a popular alternative to both KDE 4 and GNOME 3 among the
people I know who disliked the direction of those two projects.)
Xfce or KDE might not be a catastrophe, but you must see the same issue as I see. You may not be as "paranoid" as I am, but we all know how "users" tend to be: annoying, complaining, crying. humans at its best! :) They have no right to complain, we all know that too, but does that prevent them from doing so? And the only perspective I can see there is trying to minimize the possible fallout...

And freeze means "not released yet" last I checked. And Debian is the
perfect example for a project that does rather release a month or two
(or even longer) if needed, to get things right.
As a user of Debian, I would very much prefer that Debian not delay the
release by even two months for MATE.  Nothing against MATE, but
introduction of a new desktop environment, even one with arguably nice
upgrade properties from a desktop environment in the last stable release,
is not the sort of emergency that should warrant postponing the release.
Considering that the talk about MATE in Debian did start in around april 2012 iirc, it really does not look like an emergency at all! *lol*

But I am not sure it would need that much more time. Sure, depending on when wheezy will actually be released. I did bet for 2013-02-17 as release-date, no idea if that comes even close, but I don't see why mate packages could be that difficult at all. Basically the work was already done for the gnome2 packages, only some modifications may have been needed to use that as a base for MATE. No real idea though, as I am just a user and don't have the expertise to assess that, but as some folks upstream had already months to work on the packages... I don't see a general issue there. At least when I ask them in what shape the packages are, they admit they may not be prime-time ready but from what I could get there is more or less just some minor fixes are needed (some last thoughts are missing though in that discussion). As said (and let me emphasize this) there are already packages for wheezy, they are just not yet perfect. Do you remember the fame and glory Debian got for that little overdue in sarge? It had good technical reasons to be so late (even if I don't remember the details anymore)... but consider what it might have "cost" the project in the long run. Sure, those "what might and might not have been, if..." games tend to go nowhere, but they might give some ideas if one agrees to get in those thoughts a bit deeper... And now, I see a similar situation coming, just the other way around. Roughly one year "too late" for sarge, does not compare to one or two months later as planned, IF it would even need that long (which I doubt).

But nice, we do agree that MATE is from a users point of view the BEST alternative for gnome2? And gnome2 was not "a DE in then to be oldstable" it is "*THE* DE of then oldstable". After months of playing around again and again with gnome3-shell and -fallback, Xfce and KDE forward and backward and always not being happy, feeling incomplete and a curse here and there in a "specific direction"... I just gave me a bump and installed mate from a third party repo and even if it had some *minor* glitches back then, I had tears in my eyes to have my gnome2 back! You can't imagine what I felt that first minute after login... and as I try to keep it family and US-friendly, I don't go in any more detail there. ;)

And MATE is not "new" it is gnome2 with a new name, which runs remarkable well, stable and effortless. I guess 99% code-equal with the last gnome 2.x release. Yes, it has bugs. Old gnome 2.x ones got fixed, new ones got introduced (count: 1 afaict, a regression which is already been worked on).

This is how freezes work.  If someone wants substantial new development
(and MATE, regardless of what it was forked from, still amounts to
substantial new development from a packaging perspective) in the next
release of Debian, it needs to be in unstable before the freeze.  If it
isn't, oh well, better luck for the next stable release.
I know how that works "in general", I know that it is most likely too late... but just "most likely"... ;)

As Debian gets larger and larger, we're going to have to get more and more
strict about this policy.
Ok, somewhat ack.

Every project thinks their needs are
particularly important, but down that path lies never releasing at all.
Here... not so much an ack... the folks at MATE itself don't care THAT much. They feel it will get eventually in Debian, be it Jessie or wheezy, they don't care enough to even consider what I am doing here worthwhile. ;) (but they would be happy nevertheless) I do understand that, I do understand why they don't care much, most of them work on linuxmint or fedora anyway. But, I am ONLY concerned about wheezy and its impact / impression it will have on Debian-desktop-users.

Some statistics, thanks to popcon (all numbers just circa and most probably not at all accurate *g* corrections / suggestions welcome):

73000 users running Debian squeeze, 37000 users have X11 installed; 28000 use gnome; 4400 KDE; 3500 Xfce, 1100 rest (running X but neither one of the mentioned DEs)

Lets just be pessimistic here and assume not more than the half of all squeeze users but a forth run Debian with gnome. Compared to the rest of the DEs a *massive* number. I might only try to make an assumption on how many will be annoyed with gnome-shell, but let us be here rather pessimistic too (or optimistic, depending on the angle you are looking at this) and assume a quarter of all gnome-users. After all there is a reason why they use gnome and not KDE. Granted, it is the default in squeeze. But in any case they are used to gnome2 and we all know most humans do not cope well with change, especially if it feels like a forced change. And again, especially those "next door" kind of users will feel absolutely lost (more or less, for lack of a better word...).

It is in no way Debians fault to make that utterly clear and don't get me wrong. It is not even Gnomes fault, its just how it is. Stuff like that happens and timing tends to be crappy now and then. But if there is *any* chance to omit that catastrophy I see and feel happening... we should make it happen!

And I know what you have in mind there, with "but down that path lies never releasing at all" it does just not fit here. Something like this does not happen regularly. I don't know if you liked gnome2 enough to share my point of view at least to a certain degree. But I just assume it for the moment. So, when did anything like that happen the last time with so much impact / change for the most debian desktop users (just try to scale / port the overall complaints and intensity of it in the last year about gnome3 to Debians future desktop users)? Even the KDE-debacle does not match it at all. Granted, servers may be a fair amount more running around the world, they could not care less. But Debian is the "universal OS" and the desktop is important enough to many corporations end endusers and they happen to have choosen gnome2 as their favorite DE over the years. And even when I do not hop on the "2013 is the year of the GNU/Linux-desktop!!!1eleven" it will most likely become more important. I really feel how that will play out for Debian.

If it needs to be in the next stable, it needs to be in before the
release, period.

Haha! Gotcha! :p Wheezy is not yet released! *g*

SCNR :) Anyway, yeah in general freeze so on and forth... but bending the rules if it is important enough is possible and that option should be explored DEEPLY in this particular case.

   Anything else that isn't a bug fix to an existing
package will not be included, and the bar to override that default needs
to be quite high.
It is... sadly, it is. Ok, I know the future as well as the next guy, I just can think, research, discuss, test, research and think again and at the end I can only guess what will happen. And if this admittedly *insanely* *late* inclusion during a freeze would be something big (not necessarily talking about the actual packaging effort there), never been there before, first timer... but guess, I can't wrap my head around anything else than it just might be worth it!

That all said, I need to express my apologies for such long mails for an idea where almost anybody seems to be against it. :( I know for a fact what a wonderful operating system and community (with its humanly common exceptions *g*) Debian is and my contribution today (which some may consider to be annoying as hell) is this tl;dr-candidate for some readers. :) But imho the only right thing to do right now, even if it is so damn late... :/


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