Stormy Peters (right), who runs the GNOME project, is up with a blog post following Canonical's decision to put its own user interface on the next version of Ubuntu.
As our Larry Dignan notes the move has split the Linux community. He's cool with it. Others not so much.
Peters is pretty philosophical:
In a sense it feels like a child who’s decided to move out of the house. We thought they were going to stay with us forever and listen to our wisdom and instead they’ve told us they’ve learned from us, they like some of what we are doing and they have grand plans for the future. They plan to use some of what we work on (like kids come home for some holidays) but they plan to do their own thing too. Perhaps they’ll make mistakes that have been made before or perhaps they’ll do something grand.
In the post, Peters goes on to say GNOME is getting serious traction with mobile device makers, even while more experienced desktop Linux companies look in new directions. (Yes, that sounds like a cut to me, too. What's a desktop Linux company, you ask.)
Over 106 companies have contributed to GNOME and 3,500 people have contributed to it, she notes. Yeah, you'll be sorry, Canonical.
Some of the response to her post was telling. "There isn’t a single bug report or design discussion from them about GNOME Shell in public," wrote Neo about Canonical. "They want to control their desktop and switch to Unity where they demand copyright assignment."
Copyright assignment was also an issue for Joe Buck, predicting a three-way user interface split based on the GTK+ project.
Of course Peters did come in for her share of stick, and to her credit she let it sit, rather than arguing the way I sometimes do. "GNOME-Shell is not good from a usability standpoint," wrote one. The shell "isn't proving itself," was another comment.
Perhaps the most important theme in the comments was a request that GNOME "take back its brand," that it find a way to stand for something on its own, leading distribution partners rather than following them.
Whatever happens, it seems clear this split is not a good thing for desktop Linux (if it still exists) or for GNOME. As with the President, Peters may want to project calm, but your best friends and adversaries may both see that as weakness.