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Transforming GNOME Into A Linux-Only Project?

GNOME

Published on 18 May 2011 01:04 PM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in GNOME
49 Comments

One of the mailing list messages making the rounds on the Internet today is concerning the GNOME project and whether they should no longer concern themselves with supporting non-Linux operating systems.

William Jon McCann, a well-known GNOME developer and user-experience engineer at Red Hat, has begged "the future of GNOME is as a Linux based OS" and "I think the time has come for GNOME to embrace Linux a bit more boldly." He has maintained GNOME components such as GDM, ConsoleKit, GNOME Screensaver, and others.

Jon's comments are coming as part of a systemd discussion and whether it should be an external dependency for the GNOME desktop. The message was in response to a comment by Josselin Mouette of Debian that a Linux dependency is "an absolute no-no for us" and that any Linux-only features should be entirely optional.

Jon sees GNOME as something that should be refined to be Linux-only with no longer bothering with support for operating systems like Solaris and BSD. In fact, from his views, GNOME could be transformed into being a Linux-based OS in its own right. Below is the full message from the GNOME mailing list.
For Debian perhaps. However, I don't think this is true for GNOME. The future of GNOME is as a Linux based OS. It is harmful to pretend that you are writing the OS core to work on any number of different kernels, user space subsystem combinations, and core libraries. That said, there may be value in defining an application development platform or SDK that exposes higher level, more consistent, and coherent API. But that is a separate issue from how we write core GNOME components like the System Settings.

It is free software and people are free to port GNOME to any other architecture or try to exchange kernels or whatever. But that is silly for us to worry about.

Kernels just aren't that interesting. Linux isn't an OS. Now it is our job to try to build one - finally. Let's do it.

I think the time has come for GNOME to embrace Linux a bit more boldly.

Jon

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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