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22 January 2013 @ 03:33 pm
GNOME in Debian after wheezy  

GNOME 3.4 for Debian wheezy is shaping up quite well. A handful of bugs remain to be fixed, but we are now in a polishing phase, as expected given the freeze status.

With upstream introducing heavy changes in new versions, it is time to think of what will happen with GNOME when we introduce version 3.8 in unstable. Namely, there are two categories of changes that have a heavy impact on Debian:

  • several components now heavily relying on systemd for components that interact with low-level parts of the system,
  • the fallback code (a.k.a “GNOME Classic”) being removed, causing problems for people without 3D support – for x86 this shouldn’t be a problem thanks to llvmpipe, but i386 and amd64 are not the only architectures we want to support.

Upstream is not hostile to people working on making their modules compatible with these setups (non-3D, non-systemd). However, there is a limit to what the Debian GNOME team can do, and people have to make choices.

The consensus in the Debian GNOME team is to focus the extra amount of work we can provide to the fallback code. We are already in touch with other distributions and people who are interested in keeping the differences with upstream GNOME minimal. Our common goal is to be able to provide a GNOME installation for all Linux systems, with or without 3D.

However, none of us is willing to spend time on getting GNOME to work without systemd. We will not work actively against it either, but some components will certainly recommend systemd, and the functionality with other init systems will be degraded. So if people want to keep GNOME fully working on non-Linux systems, now is the time to start hacking on the missing pieces for this to work. For the time being, it does not look infeasible – although we don’t know what jessie will be made of.

(Anonymous) on January 22nd, 2013 03:57 pm (UTC)
Excellent, I very much like this direction & focus! :)
Have you spoken to the SolusOS people about working on Consort to maybe make the old GNOME-Panel a good fallback?
(Anonymous) on January 23rd, 2013 02:06 pm (UTC)
Agree with you. Think that Consort could be the solution for those old hardware and for new hardware owners that dont want that awful thing called Gnome 3. Thus SolusOS is Debian based, so adapt it will not be so hard.
np237np237 on January 23rd, 2013 02:51 pm (UTC)
I’ve just tried to discuss with SolusOS people, and so far they are, just like MATE, more preoccupied in renaming GNOME modules to their new funky names than in collaborating with others.

So I don’t think this will lead us anywhere, no…
(Anonymous) on January 23rd, 2013 06:59 pm (UTC)
Not agge with that, as far as I know, Ikey try to colaborate with gnome people, and they not were very receptives to that help. You can see Gnome people drama in this post coments (http://solusos.com/blog/2013/01/the-consort-desktop-environment/) and reasons argued by Ikey.
In any case, i not put MATE and Consort in the same bag. Mate live with the past, due Consort is a fork mainly of gnome-panel and metacity (pieces that will be removed in Gnome 3.8) and is married with GTK 3 so i think it could have a nice future.
Not think that renaming is the main question here, (dont want argue how funky Debian name is), the main question is listen or not listen users, and develop those that they want instead be in the Olimpo mountain looking as the human fight with your desktop and still saying "you are stupid and we know what you want".

We have XFCE, they are due a great work in latest releases, but i dont see a clear movement to GTK3 in a near future.
np237: pic#89909686np237 on January 25th, 2013 03:30 pm (UTC)
The Consort people deliberately decided to work alone. They took a lot of care in making it difficult to grab their “improvements” back for GNOME, by refusing to take over maintenance in GNOME infrastructure. They did not even fork from the git repository, but from a tarball instead.

As for the “improvements”, so far I’ve seen a lot of renaming and the revert of some commits they disagreed with. So I don’t see this as a real effort that would bring back GNOME Classic.
(Anonymous) on January 22nd, 2013 04:27 pm (UTC)
Kudos for helping Red Hat maintain desktop hegemony. Your efforts are appreciated.
np237np237 on January 22nd, 2013 04:49 pm (UTC)
Thanks for your contribution. It seems you are a really helpful person.
(Anonymous) on January 22nd, 2013 10:33 pm (UTC)
bad...very bad news =/
(Anonymous) on January 22nd, 2013 10:42 pm (UTC)
"However, there is a limit to what the Debian GNOME team can do, and people have to make choices." Most people already switched to another DE. GNOME will be broken/incomplete for the forseeable future. What's the point in providing a "fallback" that upstream doesn't support anyways?
np237np237 on January 23rd, 2013 09:47 am (UTC)
Does this fallback work, or not? I have not seen many release-critical bugs with it…

In what ways is GNOME “broken” or “incomplete” for you?
(Anonymous) on January 23rd, 2013 03:37 am (UTC)
Debian is also getting less and less attractive to me, as an end user :( This freeze has been really awful, in terms of software just rotting - as a person who enjoys systemd, seeing wheezy ship with v44 is crazy! And the list goes on, looking at gnome that will be (potentially) two major versions back, KDE similar, an entire X-server version (and some great intel driver improvements), etc. Perhaps debian should focus on these sort of details, instead of working on obsolete desktop environments :-)
np237: pic#89909686np237 on January 23rd, 2013 09:51 am (UTC)
If what you want is a software version, you are not looking for Debian indeed.
(Anonymous) on January 24th, 2013 11:50 am (UTC)
I remember a time, I think it was back in the GNOME 1.4/2 days when Christian Marillat was maintaining GNOME packages, you could usually find the latest stuff in unstable within a couple of days... :)

I don't fault you for your priorities, but I too wish for more frequent updates. It didn't matter much with the old GNOME 2.x series, but 3.x is still a tad rough. There's been talk about rolling releases before, perhaps a temporary-unstable-while-we-wait-for-release repository will show up some day.

emanueleainaemanueleaina on January 25th, 2013 09:48 pm (UTC)
There's experimental for that. Or even unstable when there's no freeze around.

Unfortunately while the software included in Debian keeps growing, the numbers of developers grows but not so fast. Help fixing/closing some RC bugs to make Debian be more up-to-date! :)
(Anonymous) on January 23rd, 2013 09:02 am (UTC)
how well will llvmpipe work on low end CPUs. for exmaple intel atom? most atom netbooks might have well supported GPUs, but with limitations such as 2048x2048 max texture size. so the composited desktop work until you plug in a external monitor or projector.
np237: pic#89909686np237 on January 23rd, 2013 09:50 am (UTC)
Atom supports SSE3, so it should be fine (in theory) with llvmpipe.
(Anonymous) on January 23rd, 2013 09:41 am (UTC)
Back in november Vincent Untz pondered around an idea to handing over maintenance of fallback components to someone (link) (http://www.vuntz.net/journal/post/2012/11/21/No-fallback-mode-in-GNOME-3.8,-future-of-gnome-panel). Maybe with some group effort from MATE developers and other distributions Fallback mode could be brought back from the ashes?
np237: pic#89909686np237 on January 23rd, 2013 09:53 am (UTC)
This is precisely what we intend to work on.
(Anonymous) on January 23rd, 2013 08:48 pm (UTC)
try it,after your arrogant posture, make this work hard or imposible. "You remember to St Barbara when you hear the thunders". Now its to late. Even your actitude at Ikey's chanel not help at all, mainly the last parragraph
"[14:33] You're obviously just a little prick who's not interested in GNOME"
emanueleainaemanueleaina on January 25th, 2013 09:57 pm (UTC)
Well, before that it was Ikey that treated Joss with contempt. And given that it was Joss to take the effort to join Ikey channel to see if collaboration would be viable, Ikey showed a very rude behaviour.
gonzalo-vc.myopenid.com on January 24th, 2013 12:20 am (UTC)
Why not using XFCE as said before?

And what about Consort, for the future? Whsn it's stable, I mean. It's not true is not going anywhere. They have a goal: something solid, usable, modern but "classic-look-and-functionality" made.

Edited at 2013-01-24 12:30 am (UTC)
np237: pic#89909686np237 on January 24th, 2013 08:15 am (UTC)
Consort? Please have a look at their git repository and come tell me that again.

Edited at 2013-01-24 08:16 am (UTC)
(Anonymous) on January 25th, 2013 05:46 am (UTC)
You first.
emanueleainaemanueleaina on January 25th, 2013 10:05 pm (UTC)
I don't know what you're trying to achieve by saying "You first", but I've give a look at https://github.com/SolusOS/consort-panel/commits/master

I just found a repo that began from a tarball throwing away years of history for no good reason (instead of simply forking the original git repo) and making more difficult to share patches in the process, some profanity and a lot of renaming.

Unfortunately I see much churn and no useful contributions. :(
seedhvb on January 24th, 2013 07:43 pm (UTC)
Josselin, do you use Gnome 3 at work?
If your answer is affirmative, do you find productive this desktop?
If your answer is negative, why?

I´m using Gnome 2, in Squeeze, and I want to use Gnome 3 when I upgrade Debian to Wheeze. My road map is:

1. Try to use Gnome 3, at least for 6 months,
2. If point 1 fails, I´ll switch to XFCE at least for other 6 months.
3. If point 2 fails, I´ll swi to KDE at least for other 6 months
4. If point 3 fails, i'll have a big problem.

I follow your blog through Debian Planet, I found usefull your post "Shameless self-advertisement".

(Anonymous) on January 25th, 2013 09:57 am (UTC)
I am not Josselin, but I am using GNOME 3.4 at work, and yes, it is productive. There are still some blunders left that were fixed in 3.6 (half-assed, but fixes to those fixes will probably appear in 3.8 or 3.10), so some things are worse out of the box than GNOME 2.x, BUT on the other hand there are some really good new things.

For instance, starting an app is Windows key + + return. Job done. :)

And at this point, if there's something that annoys you, you can google up an extension to fix it.
seedhvb on January 25th, 2013 05:32 pm (UTC)
Thanks for your answer.
emanueleainaemanueleaina on January 25th, 2013 10:06 pm (UTC)
Totally agree!
np237: pic#89909686np237 on January 25th, 2013 05:39 pm (UTC)
I’m using GNOME 2.30, GNOME Classic 3.4 and GNOME 3.4 depending on my machines.

I prefer GNOME Shell by far, but Classic 3.4 is already a nice improvement over GNOME 2.x. If you like GNOME 2, I don’t see why you wouldn’t like GNOME Classic, at the very least.
seedhvb on January 25th, 2013 05:44 pm (UTC)
Thanks for your answer.

if GNOME 3 is so good as you say, I´ll use it for a long time. I hope so.

Sajith T S: lonely woofsajith on January 25th, 2013 04:27 am (UTC)
I actually quite like GNOME 3 and don't get the whining at all. Thank you for your work on Debian.
(Anonymous) on January 26th, 2013 04:30 am (UTC)
keep gnome 3 as default for at least another Release!
if not, so switch to Cinnamon, Consort, MATE ooor XFCE...
(Anonymous) on February 4th, 2013 12:46 pm (UTC)
Can packages be available for some debian-supported arch and not for some other? or is it an issue regarding your repository policies?

Because obviously this won't get better with time, this is an explicit will to take advantage of Linux-only tools to offer something better, even if that means driving away from other platforms.
(Anonymous) on February 10th, 2013 01:22 pm (UTC)
The GNOME3.4 release in Wheezy probably has to be considered transitional, as you tell, the GNOME-classic session is going to be removed and in the next version it will not work without systemd at all anymore. This is OK.
First I have been waiting for a port of GNOME-Shell for PowerPC, then I found that GNOME3 will not work with NVidia-legacy graphics either, now I have a box finally, where I can use GNOME3 in non-fallback-mode:
If you follow, then you can see, that there is a minor issue remaining, but possibly this is going to be fixed before the stable release. Because firmware-linux-nonfree is required to get proper 3D out of RADEON-hardware, it would probably be nicer to have an fglrx-legacy package in debian, so that non-free package-sources do not have to be enabled, but this also is a minor issue. The hardware-vendor does not provide a working driver for the current xorg- or linux-version either.
sytemd works well enough already in Wheezy and if Debian sticks to GNOME as the default-desktop, then it will be OK to switch to systemd. As of the issues with it named in wiki.debian.org, I cannot tell if these would mean anything to me at all.