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Re: Proposal: switch default desktop to xfce



Lars Wirzenius <liw@liw.fi> writes:

> On Fri, Oct 25, 2013 at 01:47:00AM +0200, Christoph Anton Mitterer wrote:
>> On Fri, 2013-10-25 at 10:40 +1100, Ben Finney wrote:
>> > Why force
>> > *every* user of the installer to make that choice, when many of them
>> > find the very question to be a needless imposition which makes the
>> > installer incrementally less helpful?
>> Sorry, but we're talking about Debian!
>> 
>> I don't think that our target audience are people who cannot make such
>> choices, and even if that would be our desired audience (a feeling which
>> I have with *buntu) than our actual audience is probably another one.
>
> I taught Linus Torvalds some aspects of the C language in 1991. I
> wrote a little bit of code for the kernel in 1991. I installed Linux
> on my PC using boot floppies and a hex editor on the boot sector. I
> built most of the software I needed to run myself, until distros
> started happening. I maintained the Linux Software Map for a while,
> and moderated comp.os.linux.announce. I co-founded and wrote a book
> for the Linux Documentation Project. I've been involved in Debian for
> nearly two decades, working on a variety of parts of the system. I've
> worked for Canonical on various aspects of Ubuntu. I now work for a
> new company on a completely new, from-scratch way to develop embedded
> and appliance Linuxes, and yes, we include a desktop system. I've used
> twm, vtwm, fvwm1, fvwm2, various proprietary window managers/desktop
> systems, CDE, KDE, GNOME, and am now on GNOME+xmonad.
>
> I know how to make the choice. I don't fucking want to. Unless I'm
> needing to do a customised install for particular needs, I want Debian
> to provide me with defaults that just work. I don't care if the
> default choices are the ones I would choose myself, I can make changes
> later on.

Absolutely right.

It seems to me that very little effort is required to install an
alternative desktop.  Once a new one is installed, the user ought to be
able to flip between them at login with as little effort as it takes to
decide whether one is having tea or coffee with one's breakfast, That
being the case it's completely fine for us to choose whatever default
makes practical sense for the CDs, as long as we actually have _some_
default (for those that don't know or care what they want).

You get tea unless you ask for coffee, or chocolate, or a glass of water
(xmonad?), and you're allowed to ask for your preference when you sit
down (d-i's boot menu) or any time after that.

Also, I think we can do some good by selecting XFCE as the default.

Clearly XFCE appeals to a significant minority of people, so it's a
shame that it's in need of some love at present.  If we default to XFCE
it will get more attention, and so will almost certainly get better
maintenance.  I seriously doubt that us switching away from Gnome will
have a detectable negative impact on Gnome's rate of development, so the
average quality of our offerings on the desktop, and the quality of that
choice for all Free Software users, seems likely to improve as a result
of such a change.

Cheers, Phil.

P.S. Just in case you think I'm arguing for my preference as default:
I use xmonad.  When installing for others, I go with the default (so
Gnome for now) unless they express a preference or the default fails to
work well on the target hardware (which seems to more often be the case
with Gnome3 than previously, and XFCE has been my fall-back lately).
-- 
|)|  Philip Hands [+44 (0)20 8530 9560]    http://www.hands.com/
|-|  HANDS.COM Ltd.                    http://ftp.uk.debian.org/
|(|  10 Onslow Gardens, South Woodford, London  E18 1NE  ENGLAND

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