On Sun, Feb 27, 2011 at 17:43, Jonathan Corbet <corbet-ft@xxxxxxx>
I'm all for sane defaults. ÂNobody is arguing against sane defaults. ÂBut
On Sun, 27 Feb 2011 14:38:23 -0600
"Jason D. Clinton" <me@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> What we're trying to do is come up with sane defaults for plenty of good
> user interface reasons. I mean, if we give someone a Linux laptop and the
> first thing we tell them to do is go change a bunch of settings to make it
> usable, then we have failed to produce an OS which is worth giving to anyone
> but enthusiasts (have you changed the default fonts on your Nexus One, by
> the way?).
I spend all day staring at my screen, and I do not believe that "sane"
means "optimal for my particular use of the system."
Please make sane defaults. ÂBut please realize that they will never work
The evidence is quite to the contrary. >From the body of successful, widely deployed competition to GNOME is that, indeed, a good default font seems to work for just about everyone (modulo a11y). We've done our homework, believe me; here's a copy of *just* the whiteboard of the work done on this:
And that doesn't include all of the discussion and debate that has occurred among the designers and implementors. And that's *just* the fonts control panel!
We *are* trying hard to get it right. It's like urban planing: it's really hard to figure out which buildings are the right ones to knock down so that progress can be made. This just happened to be one of them and one which you cared for. However, it was likely the right decision.
That isn't to say that the default which has been selected is correct. It seems correct to me but perhaps you are seeing some kind of DPI-related scaling issue which is making 11pt quite incorrect. (You should be at 96 DPI and some xdpyinfo output might be helpful here.)
If you take away the ability to change fonts, I predict
that you will lose a lot of users. ÂThat's not sane, that's "we know
better," and it will upset people.
Yes, some people will leave; particularly, power users who are comfortable spending hours getting their desktop just the way they want it--KDE, xmonad, and Awesome are all great for that kind of user. But I hope they'll enjoy the improvement in user experience and that will convince them to stay. Developers are users, too.
[Along those lines, am I ever going to regain the ability to put the
control key back where $DEITY meant it to be without having to use
I don't know the answer to this question; perhaps Owen can jump in here.
[And yes, I've changed most of the settings on my N1. ÂSeveral times after
various reinstalls. ÂThe N1 lets me do it.]
Well, I have an N1 and have put custom ROM's on it and utterly failed at changing the defaults to anything that didn't result in epicly breaking the rendering of applications from Market. I intended that as evidence support my position. ;-)
> Anyway, if you can provide some screen shots that show that the new defaultDespite my advanced age, my visual acuity is pretty good, but my screen
> is not sane, that would be helpful.
space is always limited. ÂI can show you that the bigger fonts crowd
things out, force the creation of scrollbars where I had none before, and
generally waste space that I can use better. ÂBut why should I have to do
that? ÂWhy should I have to convince you that my preferences are "sane"?
Only looking for a DPI-related bug, that's all.
> Since you're clearly a bit of a more advanced user, you may be interested inWhy that's better than the font selector that we all know well is a
> changing the dconf key that I referenced in the first link though `gsettings
> set org.gnome.desktop.interface font-name 'Cantarell 10'` and in the future,
> when dconf-editor stops crashing continuously, you could do the same though
> a GUI tool.
mystery to me. ÂThis stuff used to Just Work.
There's two really specific cases where having yet-another-control-panel-applet is not good: discovery of the settings that users *should* want to change and, in the support side of things, users who change the font, don't know what they've done, and then have to call to $linux_savvy_family_member or $corporate_IT_help_desk. We added the a11y mechanism to handle vision-related needs specific to fonts in a way that was simultaneously safe without requiring an entire applet.
It seems like a clear conclusion that someone who actually knows how to change the font of their entire desktop in a way which could potentially break their desktop should also know how to fire up dconf-editor.
> There's also discussion of creating a "power-users settings tool" for usersSuch a tool would be a good thing. ÂThe alternative is that quite a few of
> who are disgruntled by some common defaults but
those users are likely to go somewhere else. ÂSome will do so quite
loudly. ÂYou've seen what happens when a desktop environment upsets its
users with a major update; are you really not concerned about repeating
Sorry if I sound strident. ÂI like GNOME, I've been using it for a long
time. ÂI'd hate to see things go wrong in such an unnecessary way.
But I think that most will stay; the Shell is a huge usability
improvement and the way we went about moving from GTK+ 2.x to 3.x has
preserved a code base continuity that KDE could not do in the transition
from Qt 3.x to 4.x. Almost everything, application-wise, is exactly identical to what people are used to.
Are we taking some risk? Sure. Do you remember "10x10?" GNOME has
existed for nearly 15 years and we've gotten, essentially, no where. We
have no more desktop/laptop market share than we had 10 years ago.
Looking back at the origination of the 10x10 goal in 2005, it's really
awe-inspiring to think that we used to be so optimistic while
simultaneously being so naive.
We have to, as it is popular in the design community to say, make
computer not suck and so far we've utterly failed at that. I think that
most in the GNOME project have come around to a pragmatic approach in
our Linux advocacy (remember, we're on the same side here!): we're tired
of spinning our wheels repeating the same mistakes over and over again without
any measurable improvement in user experience or adoption. For example,
this email has been passed around inside the GNOME community again and
again; it seems to resonate with a lot of us:
We think that we are making the right decisions and that, hopefully, you'll finally be able to put a GNOME computer in front of a normal person and not have them run away kicking and screaming. Maybe 3.0 won't quite be there yet but we're on the right path, anyway.
I hope this email changes your mind about the removable of the Font capplet but even if it doesn't, please give Shell a chance; I think you'll find that it's a net improvement.