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Saturday, July 4, 2015

Gnome developers once again demonstrate the bad community approach

This may be old news to some but I was just bitten by it when upgrading to Fedora 22. Some of my favorite applications (Firefox among them) upgraded to GTK3.

Now GTK3 isn't supposed to be terrible. In fact I have come to seriously appreciate some of the keyboard accelerators in GTK2 File-saving and File-opening dialog windows.

But apparently effeciency, ease of use, understandability of design, and generally being good are something that the Gnome developers hate. Simply put:

GTK 3.10 Drops Menu Icons and Mnemonics

This is the new GTK3 default, unannounced as far as I can tell, and not publicly discussed. Thank you Gnome Developers. I wasn't aware Gnome is how you spell Microsoft.

Okay, I'm being a bit harsh but the Gnome project has a nasty habit of taking very very little public input and being a difficult community to penetrate. I've tried to join Gnome three projects in the past, bringing some patches and code features I'd made, but it was like talking to a black-hole.

This is one of the reasons I love KDE. They have a thriving vibrant community (and sure they make their mistakes but they keep fixing things, not breaking them and sipping their soy-bean lattes and pretend they are flawless).

I digress.

The Bad News Gets Worse

For now you can restore the missing menu icons. (But knowing Gnome I wouldn't hold out on that one lasting forever.) However...

No Mnemonics Either – At All
In addition, as you can see in the above shot, mnemonics have been removed entirely. These are where eg “Copy” in the menu has an underlined ‘C’, allowing you to press Alt+C to activate it. SpaceFM allows you to customize these too. Mnemonics have also been removed from dialog labels, meaning, for example, you can no longer press Alt+N in SpaceFM’s rename dialog to put the cursor in the Name box, and you can’t click an OK button by pressing Alt+O.
Unlike the missing menu icons, it appears that mnemonics have been permanently disabled. Per the GTK 3.10 docs: “gtk-enable-mnemonics has been deprecated since version 3.10 and should not be used in newly-written code. This setting is ignored.”

The Irony is Terrible

I guess it’s telling that the GIMP project, the original developer of GTK (GIMP Toolkit), is sticking to GTK2, and they’ve been told not to expect to be able to use GTK3 for such a robust app.

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