Let GNOME embrace the network

Monday, June 16, 2008 15:02 - GNOME

GNOME is smart, efficient and beautiful; it was the running line for the 2.8 release, it is even more so today. I really love it and all of the improvements we get done each and every release.

Smart. Efficient. Beautiful. We got there.

We have a desktop, and people are using desktops. But that is not enough, increasingly they are also using web applications; and doing so they don't use Free Software, they don't control their data; they are at the mercy of company closing services, changing terms of services, selling their data, and so on.

The fundamental definition and goals of GNOME should be to provide smart, efficient and beautiful software; and not just desktop applications but also web applications. But the GNOME project, at the moment, is not capable of this; we do not have enough people with those skills, or interest (just look at the pain to get the new www.gnome.org or art.gnome.org going).

We need free web applications just like we needed a free operating system and a free desktop years ago.

As we are lacking skills, we have to reach out to and share our idea(l)s with existing web development communities, I do not know them all, I would like to talk about this idea with the Django people. (I'll point them to this weblog entry once I am done writing it). There are already great free software web applications, they should be considered too.

Email and calendaring (what happened to Hula btw?), weblogs, photo galleries, bookmark sharing; we need them and as they will use standard protocols and formats we will integrate them nicely into the desktop.

Bridging web applications and the desktop, that is my main point; I'll be shorter for the two other points.

My second point would be about free content, just look at OpenStreetMap and KDE Marble, closer to us GNOME folks just look at Rhythmbox and its Jamendo plug-in. Free content exists, let's bring it to the desktop.

My third point is simply to continue the trend to networked applications, hooray for AbiCollab.

Keep the existing community, interested in the desktop, bring a new community, interested in the web, shake.

Last Modification: Monday, June 16, 2008 15:03

Hula is dead and was forked to Bongo, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bongo_(software)

Comment by andre klapper on June 16, 2008 15:39

The little story of Hula/Bongo : http://ploum.frimouvy.org/?182-somewhere-in-the-21st-century-a-little-bongo-history

Comment by Ploum on June 16, 2008 16:16

While you can easily create and publish desktop software completely free (as in speech AND in beer), one of the problem with free web apps is that hosting costs money, especially when bandwidth is concerned. Unless you bloat your website with advertising, you have to find a financing model.

Comment by claude on June 16, 2008 16:28

I think the best thing to do for the Gnome community is to reach out to the maximum extend to existing efforts focused on the web. Projects like Wordpress, Drupal or TYPO3 are successful examples of such web based applications. Free software and open standards could be the base to invent something like a distributed way of hosting services which in turn would lower the cost of setting up and maintaining a public internet service. I think such a project would go beyond Gnome but still Gnome could be a start.

Comment by Joris Willems on June 16, 2008 17:10

Couldn't Maemo-Mapper be ported to GNOME fairly easily?

Comment by john on June 16, 2008 17:13

I totally agree with you.

Gnome should add to it's desktop a set of free web tools that could be installed easily on a server and make the gnome desktop integrate well with it. Much like the way apple does it with .mac (now MobileMe).

Example for IM, gnome could choose a good jabber server and make gossip ask to create an account on a list of servers running with this jabber server and work with it perfectly(I'm thinking of VOIP and VideoConf). That would help software move a lot faster. VOIP could work since a long time through jabber, but clients don't use it cause servers don't implement it cause clients don't use it cause...

Maybe my example about IM is not so relevant or true, but it could be applied to other domains/apps and you gave some interesting names: weblogs, photo galleries, bookmark sharing...

One question I'm asking myself pretty often is "why, in these days of blogging everywhere, doesn't gnome provide an offline blogging app?" Some apps, non-part of gnome, provide support for blogger, or for wordpress, or for whatever... why not building a good one, supporting ONE engine (existing one or new one) and integrate it into gnome?

In my very humble opinion, gnome should not only connect to existing web apps, but build some new apps that would fit with its desktop. I think it would help moving ahead.

Comment by Bokal on June 16, 2008 17:26

For CalDAV, I'm using Bedework. Unfortunately it's written in Java, but there's OpenJDK now. Also, for webapps, open source isn't enough, you need buzz as well, see the relative failure of Mugshot vs FriendFeed, which came two years later: http://www.bytebot.net/blog/archives/2008/03/01/friendfeed-is-mugshot-with-community http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/for_some_startups_blog_coverage_matters.php

Comment by James on June 16, 2008 18:34

I do agree with you on some point, namely the need for networked applications.

As Apple, among others, pointed out, there is a real problem of data synchronisation.

I think rich apps in the browser was a quick solution to a big problem. Every device (computer, smartphone, etc) has a browser, but these browsers have not been designed to handle such apps. They don't integrate into the desktop at all, are slow, and are unavailable when offline, of course.

I don't think web apps in the browser will really go any further. The browser is a very limitated environment. Improving it is a good thing, but letting it be the only app in use is a pity for the work we have done so far.

To sum up: I don't want to have my desktop into the browser I use on my desktop which runs on the computer that is on my desk.

Comment by Simon van der Linden on June 16, 2008 19:27

salut, je sais que ce n'est pas l'endroit et de plus peut etre que cela a déjà été régler mais sinon comme je maitrise pas bien l'anglais j'ai un bug à reporter au sujet de nautilus 2.20,il "plante" quand un dossier contient 3910 fichiers et plus(tester via un touch) à voir si ça fait pareil sur un 2.22

http://forums.fedora-fr.org/viewtopic.php?id=33993

voila désolé du dérangement :p

Comment by Michael on July 14, 2008 15:31

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