PDA

View Full Version : Ubuntu screwing it up for the other distros?



billgoldberg
March 25th, 2009, 11:27 AM
Interesting article about how Ubuntu screwed up (according to the author) because they really wanted those nice notifications.


turns out that Ubuntu has so thoroughly screwed up GNOME’s framework that you now hav to install not only the standard components, side-by-side, but also create a new GDM session that loads the non-borked version of GNOME.



Well, not only does it create bugs and inconsistencies in their own packages, but it also means double the work for anyone who wants to create a program that behaves the same way on Fedora or Suse or Debian, or anything that isn’t Ubuntu.



This reminds me a lot of what Microsoft did during the “browser wars”, they made IE incompatible so that developers would start *only* bothering to correctly support them.

link: http://izanbardprince.wordpress.com/2009/03/21/more-on-the-ubuntu-jaunty-notifications-crapfest/

If what he tells is true, then I follow him 100%.

Shame on you, Ubuntu!

gletob
March 25th, 2009, 11:37 AM
Interesting, I'm about to leave so I'll read the whole article when I get home.

3rdalbum
March 25th, 2009, 12:08 PM
Any notifications that are generated by the "old" system will automatically get displayed using the new system. There is no backwards-compatibility or cross-compatibility problem.

JackieChan
March 25th, 2009, 12:25 PM
I'll have to read the article when I get home later today. I'm in my web design class right now.

aikiwolfie
March 25th, 2009, 12:49 PM
I haven't had time to try the new Ubuntu yet so it's hard to comment. But my first instinct is to say this is nothing like Microsoft starting the "browser wars".

The whole point of open source is to allow people to take existing code and modify it to there satisfaction. So from the get go Canonical, who is the major sponsor and founding sponsor for Ubuntu, has the right to make pretty much any changes it likes. If you think the changes are so bad they warrant a comparison to Microsoft then there are plenty of other quality distributions out there.

There's no point in open source advocates claiming open source is so great because we can all see and change the code, if we then tear people down just because that is exactly what they did. What then is the point of open source software?

billgoldberg
March 25th, 2009, 12:52 PM
I haven't had time to try the new Ubuntu yet so it's hard to comment. But my first instinct is to say this is nothing like Microsoft starting the "browser wars".

The whole point of open source is to allow people to take existing code and modify it to there satisfaction. So from the get go Canonical, who is the major sponsor and founding sponsor for Ubuntu, has the right to make pretty much any changes it likes. If you think the changes are so bad they warrant a comparison to Microsoft then there are plenty of other quality distributions out there.

There's no point in open source advocates claiming open source is so great because we can all see and change the code, if we then tear people down just because that is exactly what they did. What then is the point of open source software?

You seem to mis the point the author of the article makes.

aikiwolfie
March 25th, 2009, 01:12 PM
So what is his point then? Canonical are the new Microsoft? The changes they made introduce incompatibilities with other distributions? Well, yeah sometimes to move forward you need to leave some old bagage behind. When Pulse Audio first appeared it was a nightmare. When Creative introduced the X-fi series of sound cards suddenly Creative were off the menu compatible of components for Linux.

Things change. The choice people have is to follow Canonical and Ubuntu or jump ship to Fedora or SuSE or Knoppix or something else. Sabyon is supposed to be really good. There are a myriad of distributions to choose from. People aren't locked into Canonical.

rasmus91
March 25th, 2009, 01:16 PM
If what he tells is true, then I follow him 100%.

Well, they should really start doing it in another way then.

Delever
March 25th, 2009, 01:25 PM
What are you all talking about?

1. Yes, there is new notification system. duh.
2. No, you don't have to install additional gnome session to use it.
3. Yes, you can install additional gnome session to see how notifications would look in gnome style.
4. I am 99% sure that you can make same system call, and have both notification types working.
5. Possibility to install additional gnome session is provided so that developers could more easily continue to make compatible programs. It is not REQUIRED to run your program.

Damn blogs, boredom and chain reactions.

I needed to trace it to original source: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/DesktopTeam/Specs/Jaunty/StracciatellaSession

StooJ
March 25th, 2009, 01:27 PM
Just checked his complaints about the way pidgin and Rhythmbox work. In both cases they work fine when the tray functionality is enabled in their respective preferences.

Ubuntu is trying something new which may or may not be awesome. If it is, it'll get adopted upstream and everybody wins. If it's rubbish, Ubuntu users get a novel notification system for a release or two. Isn't this one of the advantages of open source/free software/different distributions? The freedom to try something fresh & new; to innovate?

issih
March 25th, 2009, 02:07 PM
Distro does new work..in this case on notifications.

Unsurprisingly distro makes changes to some upstream code to support new system.

Distro provides easy way to load system without the new bits so that people can check that apps behave well with both the old and new systems.

Man on internet gets on high horse and starts a pissing contest...desperately trying to make a fire he can then put out.

This is the open source model, you fork, change and then submit anything to upstream where they decide if they like it. The fact that they are doing there best to make sure that people can maintain sideways compatability with vanilla gnome is a good thing for other distributions, not a bad one.

Total over reaction to a complete none event, sorry

Mehall
March 25th, 2009, 03:04 PM
Distro does new work..in this case on notifications.

Unsurprisingly distro makes changes to some upstream code to support new system.

Distro provides easy way to load system without the new bits so that people can check that apps behave well with both the old and new systems.

Man on internet gets on high horse and starts a pissing contest...desperately trying to make a fire he can then put out.

This is the open source model, you fork, change and then submit anything to upstream where they decide if they like it. The fact that they are doing there best to make sure that people can maintain sideways compatability with vanilla gnome is a good thing for other distributions, not a bad one.

Total over reaction to a complete none event, sorry

+1

Normally people are complaining that Ubuntu doesn't send enough upstream? Don't complain when they do!


Also, Gnome doesn't just accept any code people send it. In fact, Gnome are well-known for rejecting perfectly good code just because they don't know the person who sent it.

If Gnome accepted it, there must be a good reason.

Simian Man
March 25th, 2009, 03:15 PM
The point is that Ubuntu, or any other distro for that matter, shouldn't be tampering with the underlying mechanics of upstream packages like this. Adding apps like "Restricted Drivers" or "Add/Remove" to enhance the experience is OK, but fundamentally changing Gnome is not cool. Another reason Ubuntu has jumped the shark.

Mr. Picklesworth
March 25th, 2009, 03:57 PM
So basically the guy has no idea what the session selector is for and has a vendetta against Ubuntu. He enacts this vendetta with complete dishonesty. He appears to be entirely clueless.

See, if he'd done a minute of research, he would have found the following:


notify-osd can be installed and used in any distro. It uses the magic of dbus (which anyone who writes about technical Linux stuff should know by now) to be implemented alongside the existing notification-daemon.
bug #346159 appears to be invalid, (and marked as such) and at any rate cannot be reproduced on my system.
the standard GNOME session is not "layers of crap," and with Debian things are not installed when they already exist. He's basically pulling that sentiment out of nowhere. For me, gnome-stracciatella-session is 65.5kb and requires no dependencies beyond what I already have.
notify-osd follows the desktop notification specification (http://www.galago-project.org/specs/notification/). We are fixing applications that do not and we are providing patches upstream (or at least in easily found places downstream). Naturally, the patches are applied downstream because we can't wait. Fixing these offending applications - especially the GNOME ones - will provide other distros with more powerful flexibility in how they present notifications.
The upstream GNOME functionality was (and is) broken because notifications were not acting like notifications, and many applications were not presenting notifications with enough flexibility to support methods other than the glorified dialog box (notification-daemon). This is about fixing bugs, and we start in one distro to avoid the creation of widespread panic -- coincidentally, exactly what this FUD-spewing blog poster is trying to create anyway.

castrojo
March 25th, 2009, 03:58 PM
The point is that Ubuntu, or any other distro for that matter, shouldn't be tampering with the underlying mechanics of upstream packages like this.

This makes no sense, a linux distribution by its very definition is a set of upstream packages modified to work together with each other.


Adding apps like "Restricted Drivers" or "Add/Remove" to enhance the experience is OK, but fundamentally changing Gnome is not cool.

Then you'll be happy to know that the old notification daemon is not part of GNOME!


Another reason Ubuntu has jumped the shark.

... and that gives you justification to make things up in the forum? You seem to have a strong opinion about the "tampering" Ubuntu is making to GNOME when not really understanding exactly what GNOME is.

Methuselah
March 25th, 2009, 04:00 PM
The point is that Ubuntu, or any other distro for that matter, shouldn't be tampering with the underlying mechanics of upstream packages like this. Adding apps like "Restricted Drivers" or "Add/Remove" to enhance the experience is OK, but fundamentally changing Gnome is not cool. Another reason Ubuntu has jumped the shark.

It's the first I heard that distro developers are not allowed to contribute to the open source projects they use.
I'm pretty sure Red Hat and Novell are very active contributors.


In fact, the usual complaint against Ubuntu is that Canonical uses all these projects and give nothing back. Now that that they are contributing back, another faction complains for that very reason.

I think in this case it's a 'damned if you do and damned if you dont' situation. In thatcase, I'd rather Canonical do.
In my opninion, more hands is a boon to the entire community; no time for short-sighteed turf wars.

chucky chuckaluck
March 25th, 2009, 04:13 PM
i think the fear is that, with ubuntu's popularity, by changing the essential structure on which commonly used apps run, ubuntu will be able to corner the market on open source apps by making their operating structure particular (maybe 'peculiar' is a better choice of word). in other words, developers will end up designing apps for ubuntu's specific structure, leaving other distros that use a standard setup, out in the cold. like it or not, it is both free and free beer for ubuntu to do so.

aikiwolfie
March 25th, 2009, 05:13 PM
The point is that Ubuntu, or any other distro for that matter, shouldn't be tampering with the underlying mechanics of upstream packages like this. Adding apps like "Restricted Drivers" or "Add/Remove" to enhance the experience is OK, but fundamentally changing Gnome is not cool. Another reason Ubuntu has jumped the shark.
Why not? It's all open source. Canonical could go and change the whole Linux architecture if they wanted and strictly speaking there would be nothing wrong with that.

issih
March 25th, 2009, 07:31 PM
At the end of this page as linked to by the blog in question:

https://wiki.ubuntu.com/DesktopTeam/Specs/Jaunty/StracciatellaSession

There is this little gem..


Test/Demo Plan

Install packages gnome-stracciatella-session and libnotify-bin.

In a standard Ubuntu session:

* Run notify-send hello world; this should bring up the notify-osd like black notifcation bubbles.
* Start pidgin; this should make the messging indicator appear in the panel.

Now log out, back in, and choose the session "GNOME (without Ubuntu specific components)" in gdm:

* Run notify-send hello world; this should bring up the traditional yellow notification-daemon bubbles.
* Start pidgin; you should not see the messging indicator appear in the panel at any time.

Note how the whole point is that you use the SAME system call and get different behaviours, because they have replaced Gnome's messaging component, but kept its interfaces.

Applications will 99% of the time never care about what code is used to render any notifications they spit out, as they just send them according to the interface definition.

In a perfect world there is no issue here whatsoever, as anything coded properly will work in vanilla gnome or in the modified Ubuntu version without any need to rewrite or mess with things. The component model of Linux comes to our rescue yet again.

This all assumes, obviously, that the application's code is correct, and follows the approved of methods for calling notifications. Unsurprisingly, some applications (probably coded before the standards were finalised, or just sloppy) do not follow the correct methods (as defined by freedesktop.org) and therefore problems can and no doubt will occur. Ubuntu is patching badly behaved applications and sending the patches upstream (where the changes should not alter anything except how standards compliant the codebase is).

The special gnome session exists so you can test if things are working correctly (because this is real life and testing things is therefore a good idea) and also so you can get hold of a pure gnome desktop if that is what you want to use.

This argument is total bunkum... if you want to have issues with Ubuntu, please do so for something they are actually doing wrong. That way they can react to the criticism, change and improve. I have no doubt there are many things out there if you look for them. This, however, is an example of them actually behaving very well indeed.

billgoldberg
March 25th, 2009, 08:20 PM
i think the fear is that, with ubuntu's popularity, by changing the essential structure on which commonly used apps run, ubuntu will be able to corner the market on open source apps by making their operating structure particular (maybe 'peculiar' is a better choice of word). in other words, developers will end up designing apps for ubuntu's specific structure, leaving other distros that use a standard setup, out in the cold. like it or not, it is both free and free beer for ubuntu to do so.

Yes, that was my fear also.

But it seems it's not an issue, all is fine in the world.

Simian Man
March 25th, 2009, 08:24 PM
I apologize for my comments, it seems the article was incorrect :).

Neo_The_User
March 25th, 2009, 08:25 PM
Good thing I compile my GUIs and everything from source therefor not using any Ubuntu packages. XD

Nothing to worry about for me.

...don't tell me to use gentoo

stchman
March 25th, 2009, 08:32 PM
He is missing the spirit of open source. Anyone, anytime, anywhere can modify the source to suit his/her own needs. Ubuntu has modified Gnome to suit their needs.

If the author thinks Ubuntu is a bunch of junk then he/she can feel free to not use it.

No one is making this person use Ubuntu.

Neo_The_User
March 25th, 2009, 08:36 PM
He is missing the spirit of open source. Anyone, anytime, anywhere can modify the source to suit his/her own needs. Ubuntu has modified Gnome to suit their needs.

If the author thinks Ubuntu is a bunch of junk then he/she can feel free to not use it.

No one is making this person use Ubuntu.

Not the spirit of open source. Spirit of GNU you mean.

Twitch6000
March 25th, 2009, 08:41 PM
I think the author is quite wrong...

Infact I think what Ubuntu is doing is probably one of the smartest moves they have made in a long while...

I also see it not harming the other distros at all...

Infact if Ubuntu does make it to the masses this way well it just makes a path for the other distros to get there with it.

Mulenmar
March 25th, 2009, 09:17 PM
Quite frankly, if it makes Ubuntu friendlier to newbies (and more convient for experienced Linux users), it shouldn't matter. If the changes prove popular, they'll become standards. Because this is all GPL Open Source, it isn't set in neutron-degenerate matter, it can be changed back, or to something else entirely, in the future.

And if you don't like GNOME or the "modified" version, for heaven's sake research JWM, FVWM-Crystal, Enlightenment, or XFCE!
Or KDE, if your computer can handle it. (No or "XXX or YYY are good too" replies, that would be off-topic.)

zekopeko
March 25th, 2009, 09:17 PM
Yes, that was my fear also.

But it seems it's not an issue, all is fine in the world.

did you read anything the other people posted? the whole notify-OSD-ubuntu uses correct specifiations for notifications as far as i know.

the problem is that some apps don't implement the important parts of the spec. for instance: you want to display a notification with buttons. thats ok.
but the problem is when you don't query the notify daemon about it's capabilities.
can the notify daemon display buttons? the app should ask and behave accordingly.

one example is banshee which would popup a dialog window after every song (so you can change it or not) because it didn't ask the notify daemon if it display a bubble with buttons in it.

TenPlus1
March 25th, 2009, 09:48 PM
Dont be so quick to judge and believe everything you read...

The new notify system works not only on Ubuntu but other distro's and doesn't need loads of additional software to work...

Current programs that use the original notify system are being worked on so that they work perfectly and fix any bugs that stopped them working before...

Ubuntu is taking a step forward to bring us a new and better desktop experience, so wait and see for yourself what the newest release will bring...

23meg
March 25th, 2009, 10:54 PM
Notify-OSD is one example of software that implements existing standards in high visibility so that the flaws in the standards or the commonplace ways in which they are practiced become highly visible as well, and fixing them is further incentivized. This is highly beneficial for the commons that all distributions take advantage of, despite the possible short term inconveniences.

GNOME Do's Docky makes no excuses for showing the icons in your icon theme that don't have high resolution versions in horrible looking low resolution. Ugly as it may seem, it provides added incentive for icon theme authors to provide high resolution icons, or for you to use a proper icon theme. PulseAudio pushes certain (broken) parts of ALSA that few people have ever used, and unsurprisingly, few people ever bothered trying to fix. Now that many distributions are shipping PulseAudio by default, they are getting fixed, albeit at a slow pace. Had Compiz not been included by default in Ubuntu and other popular distributions, thus hitting the default OS configurations of hundreds of thousands of users, fixing composite-related issues that would have kept hampering X and desktop environments in any case would have been a much less attractive task.

Similarly, fixing applications to make their notifications look proper in Notify-OSD is actually fixing them to conform to the specification that they should have been conforming to in the first place. How is that "screwing it up for the other distros"?

I'm not even going to touch on the allegations in the blog post, as it's a poorly researched mudslinging effort by "just another guy with an opinion" that's been refuted in various ways within minutes.

DeadSuperHero
March 25th, 2009, 11:01 PM
If I had the option, ability, and time to fork features in every GNU-based project and tie it together in a revolutionary new system, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

Notify-OSD is JUST a modification that runs on top of GNOME. I find that it runs much nicer than the old notification system, which was a bit fugly.

I'd really love to see it get put into gNewSense.


If it's really a problem for Gnome developers, can't Canonical and the Gnome foundation work together to at least make it a sort of "toggle" option, where a user can choose what scheme he/she wants their notification system to be?

Free Software isn't just about making it easy for developers, it's about choice for the user.

BGFG
March 26th, 2009, 12:17 AM
Glad to see people who actually know what they are talking about join the thread and set things straight. I personally learnt something new, didn't bother to read the blog got everything i needed right here ;)
@SimianMan, i know you're not ubuntu's biggest fan, but that was really big of you man.
(ugh, rhyme not intended)

Dekkon
March 26th, 2009, 12:26 AM
Just checked his complaints about the way pidgin and Rhythmbox work. In both cases they work fine when the tray functionality is enabled in their respective preferences.

Ubuntu is trying something new which may or may not be awesome. If it is, it'll get adopted upstream and everybody wins. If it's rubbish, Ubuntu users get a novel notification system for a release or two. Isn't this one of the advantages of open source/free software/different distributions? The freedom to try something fresh & new; to innovate?

While I do agree on innovating, trying things new, but you shouldn't deploy these into a release enviornment without testing, consulting, and seeing solutions.

Don't just push out new ideas without consulting the people, the community, to help test, and embrace and further continue on this idea to create a final project that works unlike a non tested project that was released and then updated, when it could have been done before it was released.

Release early and stable, and then release often and stable, not release early and needs to be tested, and often to fix bugs that could have been discovered if they extended there beta period.

theres my rant, but please continue innovating in a smart way. :)

zekopeko
March 26th, 2009, 12:44 AM
While I do agree on innovating, trying things new, but you shouldn't deploy these into a release enviornment without testing, consulting, and seeing solutions.

Don't just push out new ideas without consulting the people, the community, to help test, and embrace and further continue on this idea to create a final project that works unlike a non tested project that was released and then updated, when it could have been done before it was released.

Release early and stable, and then release often and stable, not release early and needs to be tested, and often to fix bugs that could have been discovered if they extended there beta period.

theres my rant, but please continue innovating in a smart way. :)

Notify-OSD is only enabled in jaunty that's under development. If they can't fix all of the big bugs i'm sure that they will revert to the old behavior.

FYI ubuntu enables those sorts of things in their dev releases so that it can be tested before deployment. in intrepid they put a dark theme as default. that really helped Gnome devs to see where dark theme support breaks in app/theme engines. reporting bug is one of the part of FOSS development where everyone can help by reporting them.

BuffaloX
March 26th, 2009, 11:58 AM
To me this seems like a very good example of open source actually working extremely well, and Ubuntu contributing.

The Ubuntu dev team even took the time to make an easy switch between sessions with and without the feature, so developers easily can test how it looks with both. I think they deserve credit for what they are doing.

billgoldberg
March 26th, 2009, 12:29 PM
did you read anything the other people posted? the whole notify-OSD-ubuntu uses correct specifiations for notifications as far as i know.

the problem is that some apps don't implement the important parts of the spec. for instance: you want to display a notification with buttons. thats ok.
but the problem is when you don't query the notify daemon about it's capabilities.
can the notify daemon display buttons? the app should ask and behave accordingly.

one example is banshee which would popup a dialog window after every song (so you can change it or not) because it didn't ask the notify daemon if it display a bubble with buttons in it.

No I didn't read any of the posts of the thread I started.