March 31th, Karen Sandler: “Financially the (GNOME) Foundation is in good shape”

I wanted to post his as a side note. But that’s a bit too much.

I dropped GNOME years ago. Back in the days when they dropped tons of cash on people creating shitty confusing companies like Eazel and HelixCode. I said Nautilus would never amount to anything and it never did. I said Miguel de Icaza was taking a very questionable path and he ended writing proprietary software. If it werent so sad, it would be kind of funny to see that nothing changed since then. Their Foundation is going more or less bankrupt while their financial reports shows that, for instance in 2012, they spent 1/4 of their resources to the pet project of their “executive director” Karen Sandler, some sexist bullshit called “Women’s Outreach” (I’m waiting for the “Black’s Outreach”, etc).

You don’t know who is Karen Sandler? Typical GNOME character. That’s just someone that never achieved anything related to computing but has been selected to be some sort of speaker nonetheless. I’m not saying only people that produced something that actually serve or served a purpose are entitled to speak. But to put people in position of “director”/whatever, at some point, there should be some knowledge, abilities, even just ideas, that makes the person stand out to be entitled to represent or lead the others.

So what could she speak of? About bad management?

More like, on “Announcing her departure, Karen said: “Working as the GNOME Foundation Executive Director has been one of the highlights of my career.” She also spoke of the achievements during her time as Executive Director: “I’ve helped to recruit two new advisory board members… and we have run the last three years in the black. We’ve held some successful funding campaigns, particularly around privacy. We have a mind-blowingly fantastic Board of Directors, and the Engagement team is doing amazing work. The GNOME.Asia team is strong, and we’ve got an influx of people, more so than I’ve seen in some time.”” 

Typical GNOME bullshit? Indeed: pompous titles, bragging, claiming. “Successful funding campaings”? Seriously? “Amazing work”. “Mind blowing”. It’s sad for the few GNOME developers that are worth it, because the main thing is a fucking joke.  It’s just empty words, no damn facts that matter that are even slightly true.

Not convinced? Too harsh maybe? Keep on reading. On her blog you’ll get her statement. The one quoted on

“I think I have made some important contributions to the project while I have been Executive Director. I’ve helped to recruit two new advisory board members, and we recently received a one time donation of considerable size (the donor did not want to be identified). Financially the Foundation is in good shape, and we have run the last three years in the black. We’ve held some successful funding campaigns, particularly around privacy and accessibility. We have a mind-blowingly fantastic Board of Directors, and the Engagement team is doing amazing work. The GNOME.Asia team is strong, and we’ve got an influx of people, more so than I’ve seen in some time.
I hope that I have helped us to get in touch with our values during my time as ED, and I think that GNOME is more aware of its guiding mission than ever before.”

Yes, you can skip the fact that she consider recruiting advisory board members as an achievement (!!!). It seems that she thinks that a Foundation should focus on itself and not on the project it is derived of, seems that she does not even for a second mention anything that the software project GNOME would benefit of directly. quoted her putting three dots and skipping “Financially the Foundation is in good shape”, and this just one week before we’re told they are definitely not.

She’s right one one thing though: now GNOME is definitely “more aware of its guiding mission than ever before”, since they are forced to cut on all unnessary expenses like the one she promoted.

I’m not sure to understand why someone smart as Bradley Kuhn recruited her at the Software Freedom Conservancy.

The GNU/Linux desktop wasn’t killed by MDI’s failure with GNOME/Mono/HelixCode/Ximian/…

How Apple Killed the Linux Desktop titled ./ today. And it discusses Miguel De Icaza (MDI) latest thoughts.

Flashback: That was the guy promoting to-be-coded Evolution and Nautilus versus actually-running Balsa and many others decent GNOME 1.x apps. Eazel, some kind of company created by guys mainly from the proprietary software world, was alone in charge of Nautilus and this file manager was set to be GNOME 2.x file manager without even one frickin pre-release. Proprietary development model all along: release (too) late, release rarely (never?). Aside from Eazel, GNOME was in the hands of Helix Code, MDI’s own company, renamed later Ximian. Nice icons, nice website, yeah. Aside from that, it’s funny enough to picture the GNU desktop project being in the hands of the same people that created and promoted Mono, considering FSF (I think correct) opinion on Mono. The Wikipedia page don’t mention it, but Ximian authored some proprietary software also.

So, now, we should care about MDI’s latest thoughts of GNU/Linux and desktop? If GNOME is failure, it all started when he really took charge. If GNOME is failure, it does not mean that KDE and others are, and while he may be entitled to concede defeat for GNOME, he’s definitely not entitled to do so in the name of GNU/Linux (or Linux as he calls it, even if a kernel have really little to do with the desktop). This guy invented thousand of ways to fail, to show considerable lack of oversight and very low attachement to the idea of libre software. Now he feels entitled, one more time, to say what we should care about, that is not freedom apparently? Please, give us a break

Next Step towards GNUStep within KDE

Back in the days I started using GNU/Linux, the only user-friendly desktop environment available was KDE 1. So I started using KDE 1. Afterwards, considering license issue of Qt (that was no Libre Software at that time) KDE was depending on, considering progress being made by the GNOME project, I switched to GNOME 1.

Then, my brother Philippe advised me to give a try to WindowMaker. I did. At first, I was puzzled. But finally, I adopted this desktop environment inspired by NextStep. The main point is to kick the taskbar and the big start menu and, instead, going through apps with the right or middle click on the desk and having each important app to get a dock, which one could be used to launch the app or show the app if already launched.

Years afterwards, WindowMaker seemed to make no longer any progress and I wanted a modern desktop environment. Which means I wanted a desktop environment in which every piece of software is neatly integrated, where configuring new features is easy – while toying with both WPrefs and wmakerconf was not. And Qt was freed. So I get back to KDE. GNOME was longer an option, as I do not trust GNOME leaders like Miguel De Icaza to make the right decisions (the Nautilus and Eazel story was revealing enough for me: trying to behave corporatish, they chose the worse software to be the GNOME file manager, but they did while it wasn’t even coded, they only trusted a newly founded company made by people with no experience in Libre Software to do the right and good thing) and it was no surprise to me when HelixCode/Ximian/whatever-crap-it-is-renamed started to sell proprietary software under the denomination commercial software after implementing .NET, I expected nothing more from people talking about Open Source mumbo-jumbo ESR style, instead of Free Sofware, while they were getting popular just because of their involvment in a GNU project. KDE is powerful, rock-solid. But it is also über-conventional. They know what is working good in MS Windows, they clone it, improve it and release it. Moreover, KDE tries to address a broad audience, so KDE is made to seem familiar even to people having no clue about GNU/Linux. Moving back to KDE meant loosing the interesting design of WindowMaker.

Then, I had the opportunity to look at an Apple Macbook Pro. The dock, for good reasons, reminded me of WindowMaker. And finally, I found Daisy. It is a clone of Mac OS X dock, it works like the WindowMaker dock. But it is a plasmoid for KDE. It’s only just clumsier to set up (no easy drag and drop), prone to bugs (sometimes, a click on the dock app launcher start two instance). But it works. And I trashed once more the taskbar I definitely do not like.

KDE with Daisy, WindowMaker/Mac Os X style!

There is no Debian package, so I went to Ubuntu plasma-widget-daisy page. There, I downloaded the source tarball and the debian part (which contains the debian folder necessary to built the package). I extracted them all in a temporary directory. Then:

1/ I edited the debian/changelog file to add a new entry.

2/ I edited “Build-Depends:” in the debian/control file to depends on the pkg-kde-tools version that comes with my system (Debian unstable).

3/ I installed necessary dependancies to build the package – as the package was not in debian trunk, I made the guess that it had the same deps than the similar package plasma-widget-ktorrent:

# apt-get build-dep plasma-widget-ktorrent

4/ I rebuilt it:

$ dpkg-buildpackage -r fakeroot plasma-widget-daisy

5/ Then I installed the package.

You can fetch my plasma-widget-daisy_0.0.4.22a-0ubuntu2-fordebian1_amd64.deb package built against debian sid (unstable) for an amd64 architecture.

I also posted a RFP (request for packaging) against wnpp in debian BTS (bug tracking system).