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Re: Reverting to GNOME for jessie's default desktop

On 2014-08-07
Jordi Mallach <jordi@debian.org> wrote:

> Hi Debian,
> It's been around 9 months since tasksel changed (for real) the default
> desktop for new installs. At the time of the change, it was mentioned
> the issue would be revisited before the freeze, around debconf time.
> Well, it's roughly that time. :) So I'd like to plainly request GNOME is
> reinstated as the default desktop environment for a number of reasons.

Jordi, very good points.

I'm not a Debian developer, just a user, but here's my opinion. Probably not
something which hasn't been said, but I'd like to support this view too.

All the good things GNOME has make it an excellent choice for a DE in Debian.
And indeed, you can install GNOME easily on Debian, and I don't think it will
change. Good. But a default DE is something differet.

A default DE should be reasonably stable, non-surprising, familiar, and work
with few-years-old hardware at least (my 4-5 year old laptop already struggles
with GNOME, taking more than half the RAM even before I run the heavy things).
If people like GNOME 3 - and many do - they can just choose to download the
ISO with GNOME. Just like they did for KDE and XFCE. But when you don't know
much or just need a working desktop, XFCE is a light configurable quick

Therefore, while GNOME is great and has all its strengths and community - I
think XFCE should be default. I believe you'll simply see many people install
the non-default GNOME, so GNOME will retain all the community, popularity and
attention it has. And XFCE may get some new attention which will help with its
further development.

I believe many people new to GNU/Linux and friends don't
exactly understand what distros and DEs are. They want the "Debian CD", push it
into the CD drive and wait for the magic to happen. For these people, it would
be nice if Debian worked well out-of-the-box as a universal operating system.
Later they can easily discover GNOME, KDE, etc.

One could say that XFCE as a default is bad as first impression, but in fact,
to people coming from Window$ it's much more familiar and they don't expect
anything fancy if they never saw it already.

Overall, I think XFCE's traditional stable lightweight configurable approach is
better as a default. You can always make the GNOME and KDE CDs clearly visible
on the download page, to make sure people are aware of them if they have shiny
hardware or preference for GNOME Shell and so on.

Also, idea: A page on the Debian wiki/policy can be made, which explains how a
default DE should be chosen. Which characteristics are more important, which
are less and so on. I feel the variety of different opinions here is not only
the natural result of a healthy discussion, but also a result of each person
having their own view of what "default DE" should mean. Some guidelines or
rules etc. could make it easier to make these decisions, and keep them

-- fr33
PGP key ID: 937A67EF

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