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Re: Proposal: switch default desktop to xfce

On Fri, 25 Oct 2013 09:21:15 +0000 (UTC)
Ole Laursen <olau@hardworking.dk> wrote:

> Steve McIntyre <steve <at> einval.com> writes:
> > Pros:
> > 
> >  * CD#1 will work again without size worries
> >  * Smaller, simpler desktop
> >  * Works well/better on all supported kernels (?)
> >  * Does not depend on replacing init
> >
> > Cons:
> >  * <please fill in here>
> IMHO you forgot the crucial part here - why is there a default at
> all: so that people who don't have the information to make a choice
> don't have to.

Please read Steve's reply to this which he posted a few hours before
you replied...


There will need to be a default, it's a question of how that is chosen.

> For people who just don't care, are you doing them a favour by
> installing xfce rather than GNOME?

To quote Lars - to just get something that works - yes, I think it is
better to install XFCE instead but that is because I actually think it
is important that people can *get things done* on Debian. 

A desktop is akin to a place of work - it's not an entertainment system
all jazzy and full of eye-candy but lacking all the functionality
necessary to actually do useful stuff. That's a media centre or games

I know this goes against the flow of pandering to tablets and
touch-based systems but that's the core of the issue.

Is Debian about supporting people doing useful stuff or is Debian about
providing an eye-candy interface to the web and local media only? If we
want to do both, then which gets the default?

Many Debian installations lack a desktop entirely, many Debian
developers have heavily customised desktop environments. Personally, if
I'm going to recommend Debian to people, I want those people to be able
to continue doing the useful stuff they do on other platforms.
Currently that involves explaining how to override the default desktop
choice and it would be nice to not have to do that.

A smaller desktop is a good idea - it doesn't get in the way or get
ideas beyond it's scope, something which I feel both KDE and GNOME
have been doing for quite some time.

I just think it should be more obvious that Debian has multiple desktop
environments available, that there are environments to suit different
needs and that the default is chosen on the basis of the one which is
the most flexible and which makes it easiest to work on Debian. (In both
senses - using Debian at work and using Debian to develop stuff.)

Just as an aside, IMHO the "battle" for the touch-based, Linux tablet
type OS has already been lost to Android and that is not necessarily a
bad thing. It's not just down to Debian, it's a lack of appropriate
software. Case in point: I'm removing GPE from Debian simply because it
tried to be a touch-based environment but never had the upstream input
to keep up with touch-based devices. It got stuck in the world of iPAQ
and never made it to tablets.

Maybe some GNOME people would like the chance to develop GNOME in their
own way without the "pressure" of being the default desktop? Maybe that
will allow GNOME to become so touchy-feely and UI driven that it might
be usable on a tablet.


Neil Williams

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