Gnome Icons: What the Devels are up to

My friend leftyfb over on his blog has highlighted an issue with gnome that I always thought was a genuine oversight. i didn’t think that the gnome developers were seriously and deliberately removing the icons from certain menus. For the past few months, every time I went into the System menu, I thought the missing icons were because some bug that no one could find the time to fix, had crept in.

Apparently not. according to records it was a discussion by developers to remove visual queues and make Ubuntu harder to use for dyslexics like myself. Forcing us to read words which we can very easily misread and not letting us use icons in which a combination of shape and colour can act as reinforcing cues for the noun of these menus.

I know dyslexia isn’t a fun disability like blindness and deafness, but a little consideration would have been nice.

The exact regression aside, Mike points out in his blog another worrying facet that I’ve seen myself all too often in the gnome developer community. A community of disagreeableness. As I was saying yesterday in my blog post about disagreeable filtering: Being nasty and obnoxious is a poor man’s user contribution filter compared to being patient, understanding and using dialectical tools to work out problems so they can achieve as many wishes as is possible.

I don’t expect devels to say they’re good at design when they are only good at systematics. If you’ve worked out some of the science or some basic principles of design, it doesn’t make you a designer. It’s not always parcelled into simple rules and regulations. Sure, sometimes they help, but they’re at best guidelines and a good starting point and you’re not expected to use them as iron clad regulation. Of course this is an obvious warning sign that the coders have taken to design before learning anything about servitude let alone elegance.

I’m not pleased with gnome developer’s attitudes. Yes, sure, users are annoying, but why aren’t you asking them for money in exchange for listening to them? Instead you’re pretending that you’re an open community that welcomes contributions from unskilled users, but in fact want to cut yourself off from all users. A sort of Unenlightened self interest, the bastard brother of Enlightened self interest who is responsible for cutting ties between developers as users and pure users.

This is why I protest that we MUST start being honest about how progress is funded. You only have to listen to the people that control the purse strings, listening to anyone else is charity and is not guaranteed in any way. If we want to have users making a real difference in the community and ultimately getting the software that they want to have, then we MUST make sure those users have a way to pay for such services.

If we want to have users making a real difference in the community and ultimately getting the software that they want to have and not the software that we think they ort to have, then we have to listen to them and be able to ask them to pay for the time of developers.