Gnome hates icons


I originally posted this to the gnome-list mailing list in the hopes of reaching
some type of authoritative response.
So far there has been no response from anyone close to the developers in question.

This “bug” was brought to my attention when I recently tried out Ubuntu 10.04 alpha 2 to see what new improvements Ubuntu and Gnome in general had. Upon going through my usual routine of setting preferences to my liking, I could not find the option to put back the menu icons in the 3 main menu’s provided by Gnome in the top panel. Only some of the icons
are shown, others are not. There used to be a setting to bring them all back. This was previously just an annoyance to have to complete the look
of the menu’s.

I went to #ubuntu+1 on Freenode and asked if this lack of preference was just a temporary setback in the alpha developemnt of Ubuntu. I was
pointed to this “bug”:
https://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=592756

Reading the first comment:

“Discussed many times. We should remove the interface tab. Basically
everthing there is a user experience design cop-out. It only belongs in
a tweak UI tool – – but only if someone cares enough to write one.”

“Discussed many times”
Discussed where? Were Gnome users asked for feedback on this decision?

“It only belongs in a tweak UI tool – but only if someone cares enough to write one.”
User experience preferences for gnome should now be the responsibility of third party developers who might or might not develop tools to put
back user experience preferences which gnome developers created and then removed in the first place?

The rest of the comments in “bug” are people disagreeing with the original developer in his decision to remove the preference competely.
Save for 1 developer who agree’d and implemented the descision stating “majority of users”. What majority of users? So far I’m seeing most
people disagreeing with the descision. Not to mention, I don’t see the majority of users requesting preferences be removed regardless if they
are of interest to them or not. Why this descision? Is this preference really that much of a bane on the system resources? Why are we removing
half the icons from the menu’s making them looked half finished and unpolished? Why not remove all icons and be done with it?

I voiced my opinion in the comments of this bug just like the “majority of users” were doing. My comment and one other was removed and my
account on bugzilla disabled.

So, where does a user go to voice his opinions on this type of developer decision where said developers will read it and hopefully impact the
descision? Where can a user submit feedback on bringing back a preference that was removed?

Can we please get this preference put back? I don’t care where it is, but we shouldn’t have to wait for a third party tool to reimplement
preferences to finish the look of the menu’s that have already existed but were removed.

  • Wasn’t the reason because they cannot actually calculate how long a battery would last? Personally I hate “time” calculations that are bs. I may be mistaken but I recall reading something about it on planet kde.

  • I’m glad that the icons are removed. Looks much nicer now.

  • It’s ridiculous for suggest this is a Gnome vs. KDE problem. KDE also removes features some users like, such as displaying how long (in time) a laptop battery will probably last. Personally I was stunned to learn the reasoning behind that decision, but the developer in this case really does seem to assume he knows best.

    IMHO the real problem in this case is not having more effective communication systems in place. That and very human frailties like frustration, arrogance and ignorance.

  • Developers of FOSS applications do not owe the users anything. They are often paid for their work, and only the customers of the companies matter sort of.

    Please stop this endless whining about every tiny change.

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  • Bill

    Whoever inventd icons should be put on a rack and stretched. They take up at least 10 times the space of a text name, and I practically always have to wait for the popup text to tell me what the icon stands for. What a useless, absurd, space waisting invetion they are!

  • Bruce Cowan
  • Bruce Cowan

    Developers of FOSS applications do not owe the users anything. They are often paid for their work, and only the customers of the companies matter sort of.

    Please stop this endless whining about every tiny change.

  • Forest

    I read your post and it was the first time I had ever even realized there were missing icons in the Places menu. Then, I re-enabled them (I’m on Karmic), decided I didn’t like this look as much, and turned them off. I prefer this default, but I think that’s beside the point, user’s should have the option to enable the alternative if there is really that much demand for it. It’s really disappointing too because I do not like KDE’s design philosophy and I’m a little nervous about the hubris behind Gnome 3.0. The developers have spent all this time talking about not repeating KDE’s mistakes, which they see as making dramatic (rather than gradual) changes and releasing before the end-product was stable. I think those are just symptoms of a larger mistake, which is designing software without self-awareness. This is one area where both KDE and GNOME are at fault. The developers design the desktops to meet their needs without a lot of awareness for the users. In the case of KDE this means valuing bleeding-edge software and thousands of tiny features/configurations over stability. For GNOME it means a streamlined, simple UI design. Both of these changes seem sort of self-indulgent and that worries me because in Lucid+1, I won’t have many other options.

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  • lelamal

    To display icons again simply go to Appearance Preferences>Interface and check “Show icons in menus”.

    • @lelamal

      really? Is that so?

      • lelamal

        @leftyfb: Yep, just as simple as that. Unless I misunderstood the issue being discussed. Have you tried ticking that option?

        • lelamal

          Alright, sorry, I re-read your post – I was referring to Karmic, not Lucid, where, as I learn from your comments, that option must have been dropped.

        • @lelamal Please try reading the actual bug report and my posts. That is why you’re here right?

          • lelamal

            Yes, I said I’m sorry, I misread. Was just trying to help.

  • It’s ridiculous for suggest this is a Gnome vs. KDE problem. KDE also removes features some users like, such as displaying how long (in time) a laptop battery will probably last. Personally I was stunned to learn the reasoning behind that decision, but the developer in this case really does seem to assume he knows best.

    IMHO the real problem in this case is not having more effective communication systems in place. That and very human frailties like frustration, arrogance and ignorance.

    • Wasn’t the reason because they cannot actually calculate how long a battery would last? Personally I hate “time” calculations that are bs. I may be mistaken but I recall reading something about it on planet kde.

  • Joe

    You act if this kind of thing is new. Gnome has been removing configurations options for at least the last five years. The Gnome philosophy is “convention over configuration”.

  • Lunis

    Heh, to all you who have commented on the side of the Gnome devs, why do you bother coming in here and pissing all over the walls? It’s obvious (at least it should be) that people here don’t feel the way you do, and coming in here and telling us just how wrong we are for feeling the way we do is a little dickish. We like our icons. If you don’t, change the default and leave the option. Seriously though, I am not so suprised. This kind of crap has been the norm since, well since the dawn of time but moreso since Gnome 3 was announced. It’s a damn good thing KDE has started to rock so much harder. 🙂

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  • EtienneG

    @Dylan McCall, re: “The rest of the reason is that icons tend to be horrible things that steal attention from the considerably more meaningful written text (which can be localized).”

    And there you totally leave out the non-reading, notably toddlers and preschoolers.

    There is always a trade-off. Shall we get rid of menu icons to pander to the taste of a minority obsessed with the visual flow of drop-down menu (like it make any difference), or make the UI more accessible to kids? Apparently, the dubious sense of aesthetic of a minority is more worthy.

    Another use-case for menu icons: it makes using system not localized in your language possible. Currently traveling abroad, I am pretty happy that not every UI designer are so hostile to menu icons, as my life would have been miserable otherwise when stuck using web kiosk.

  • Meneer R

    Ha join the club.

    The gnome guys are just assholes.
    I’m sorry to be this blunt or unfriendly.

    If you disagree with a gnome dev on bugzilla, THEY WILL BAN YOU.

    It’s really a problem. They ban people way too easy.

    At Ubuntu, if you disagree, but state your opinion politely, in the worst case you get a rude developper telling you to stop wasting their time. I suppose those devs are just tired.

    But on the gnome’s bugzilla they will just block you.

    Here are the REAL RULES OF CONDUCT with GNOME:

    – if they say something is true, you are not allowed to disagree with it

    – if you repeat something somebody else said, but wasn’t responded to, you’ll both get banned.

    – if you suggest that all nationalities should be treated equal, and hardcoded strings and english directory names are a bug, they will ban you.

    – that if you change from ‘not-a-bug’ back to confirmed, because it appears a lot of users experience the situation as a bug, they will ban you.

    The point being:

    “If you are not a gnome dev, don’t go on bugzilla. They don’t want you there. You should be lucky you are allowed to use their software at all.”

    I really just wish gnome devs could be a responsible and mature audience, but that’s unfortunate. They are just childish small beings.