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This week, on the Linux Foundation's (formerly OSDL) Desktop Architects mailing list, the two sides are going mano a mano. On Monday, Marcos Pérez López replied in Spanish to an earlier message from Torvalds in which Torvalds lashed out at the GNOME crew, claiming GNOME developers believed their users were idiots. López's reply defending GNOME was in Spanish, and he closed it by saying:
¿Quién es el NAZI?Who is the Nazi?
Nada más, esto para LINUS para que piense. Nothing more, this is for Linus to think about.
LINUS, NO SABES LEER ESPAÑOL, ¿A VER SI VAS A SER IDIOTA TU TAMBIÉN? Linus, you don't know how to read Spanish, so are you an idiot too?
Godwin's Law was quickly invoked by Fernando Herrera, but that didn't stop the debate. Torvalds took the Spanish in stride, and continued the argument by saying it was good for GNOME to be easy to use, but that "'ONLY being easy to use' is bad." He also noted that "GNOME people seem to think that once you 'got into it,' you never want to do anything more. Not true."
Christian F.K. Schaller then threw down the gauntlet, urging Torvalds to action with:
If you are up for a challenge, why don't you use GNOME for a month then come and do a talk about your experience at this years GUADEC in England? Could maybe be a good way to start a constructive dialog instead of this useless mudslinging?
This morning, Torvalds responded to the challenge, though not in the manner Schaller suggested. He submitted patches to GNOME to make it behave as he wants, then told the mailing list:
I've sent out patches. The code is actually _cleaner_ after my patches, and the end result is more capable. We'll see what happens.
THAT is constructive.
What I find unconstructive is how the GNOME people always make *excuses*. It took me a few hours to actually do the patches. It wasn't that hard. So why didn't I do it years ago?
I'll tell you why: because GNOME apologists don't say "please send us patches". No. They basically make it clear that they aren't even *interested* in fixing things, because their dear old Mum isn't interested in the feature.
Do you think that's "constructive"?
So let's see what happens to my patches. I guarantee you that they actually improve the code (not just add a feature). I also guarantee that they actually make things *more* logical rather than less (with my patches, double-clicking on the title bar isn't a special event: it's configurable along with right- and middle-clicking, and with the exact same syntax for all).
But why, oh, why, have GNOME people not just said "please fix it then"?
Instead, I _still_ (now after I sent out the patch) hear more of your kvetching about how you actually do everything right, and it's somehow *my* fault that I find things limiting.
Here's a damn big clue: the reason I find GNOME limiting is BECAUSE IT IS.
Now the question is, will people take the patches, or will they keep their heads up their arses and claim that configurability is bad, even when it makes things more logical, and code more readable.
Welcome to wonderful, wacky, never-dull world of free and open source software, where in spite of all the posturing and debate, the answer is always best couched in code.