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Re: Proposal: switch default desktop to xfce

On Fri, 25 Oct 2013 12:41:26 +0200
Josselin Mouette <joss@debian.org> wrote:

> Le jeudi 24 octobre 2013 à 16:40 +0100, Steve McIntyre a écrit : 
> > This goes back to during the wheezy release cycle. There was a
> > little discussion around a change in tasksel [1], but rather too
> > late in the day for the change to make sense. Now we have rather
> > more time, I feel. Let's change the default desktop for
> > installation to xfce.
> What are the reasons exactly for deliberately depriving the default
> installation’s users of a more complete and featureful desktop?

From Steve's original email:

> >  * CD#1 will work again without size worries
> > 
> >  * Smaller, simpler desktop
> > 
> >  * Works well/better on all supported kernels (?)

For me, a smaller, simpler desktop is *much* better and a worthwhile
goal in and of itself.

I want the default desktop to be one which is sufficiently flexible to
support using Debian at work and for work.

The kernel support issue touches on systemd but also has implications
for some of the other desktop environment options.

Steve added the bit about not requiring a change of init which is
specifically aimed at systemd. Personally, I'm not at all sure whether
systemd is a good choice but I do know that I'm not willing to put up
with a desktop environment like GNOME any longer. It simply does not
support my workflow and it sounds like there are a number of people who
feel the same way. Enough to warrant discussion of whether GNOME has
sufficient support in Debian to be a justifiable default. I firmly
believe that GNOME threw away that justification with GNOME Shell and
if GNOME persists in the eye-candy approach and then adds an entirely
unjustifiable dependency from a *desktop* to an *init* system then I
have no reason to respect GNOME or GNOME maintainers ever again.

To be clear, I'm not sold on the systemd issues - what I *do* object to
is that a desktop environment expects to dictate my choice of init.
That length of dependency chain is utterly unacceptable to me.

Encapsulation is a good thing. The desktop has no business getting out
of it's GUI box and dabbling with the base system. It should use what
it is given and push for standard interfaces so that anyone can work on
the layers in between. What GNOME is doing is akin to the worst
excesses of proprietary lock-in.

I should be able to write apps in whatever language I like and have
them integrate with whatever desktop I like, based on whatever base
system is in use.

Until GNOME gets back into it's box and starts behaving like a good
citizen, I will continue to rail against it. GNOME is not an os and it
needs to live with what the base os provides, not try to circumvent it.

If someone comes up with good reasons to consider systemd on it's own
merit, I'm willing to consider it. With the current approach of a
fait-accompli "systemd is part of the GNOME dependency chain, so tough"
then I am quite happy to dismiss systemd as an option simply because of
this insane top-down dependency. systemd simply cannot be a viable
choice if it has to be forced down people's throats like this. If it's
good enough, it should have been a fully fledged alternative in Wheezy
and then desktops could provide optional support in Jessie and could
consider switching to it in Jessie+1.

For now, I think GNOME either invents support for other init systems
and supports them all properly or it gets consigned to the bin as too
insane to live. GNOME has no business dictating the init system, end
of discussion IMHO.

> So far, in this discussion, I only read “I don’t like systemd” (which
> is irrelevant) and “fallback mode is going away” (which is false).

GNOME is unusable as a desktop to actually get things done. Too much
eye-candy, pointless 3D acceleration, removed functionality and a
presumption that the DE is always right. No, GNOME, the DE is a service
and it needs to start the way *I* tell it to start and do what *I* tell
it to do, the way I want it done. That is flexible, that's useful. All
the rest is a mixture of feature creep, eye-candy, interface bloat and
monopolist propaganda.

I know you disagree with all of that or you wouldn't be a GNOME
maintainer, I accept that you presumably find GNOME usable for your own
work but the underpinning of this ongoing debate is that this is
becoming a minority view and does not warrant GNOME remaining to be
the default desktop.
> Can we have a discussion of what we expect from a default desktop
> installation? Can this discussion be driven by user needs and
> features, and not about technical nitpicking?

Yes, we can. See my reply:



Neil Williams

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