DISCLAIMER: This site is a mirror of original one that was once available at http://iki.fi/~tuomov/b/

1. Gnome, Gtk, Firefox (or Gnomefox or whatever it is called these days) and so on, eschew customisation. While there may exist a zillion settings in a clone of the Windows registry (and XML is as good as a binary database), or a zillion javascript functions, they let the user configure very few things from within the program, or through simple configuration files. There is no decent power-user documentation for configuring those few things that can be configured through configuration files, whether structural or scripting language, or the yucky XML registry. All the documentation is for newbies – and should be unnecessary if their software was as “usable” (by their definition; the proper term is “accessible for those used to Weakly-Interacting Massive Programs, WIMPs”) as they claim it to be – and for developers. The developer documentation is too dense and mixed with too much unnecessary information for a “mere” power-user to be quickly able to find the necessary information, if it is even to be found.

In Firefox, infact, key bindings are hard-coded in the javascript source .jar (the last time I checked), and while there exists a binding configuration plugin for overriding them, it also offers access to a very small set of bindings, and configuring any others depends on hunting through the developer documentation, mailing lists, and forums, for the necessary snippets of javascript. Now, I don't find much wrong with binding callbacks being snippets of code, but for rather standard operations that already have keys bound to them, there should exist a ready and easily accessible configuration file or an interface for changing these keys, instead having to hunt through the web the for the snippets themselves. The answer to even the simplest customisation in Firefox is “write a plugin”. It's only meant to be customised by people who have taken the time to learn how to program for it. Same with Gnome. To the developers of these pieces of software, either you're one of them, or you're an “idiot user”. There's nothing in between.

While KDE, Qt, Opera also offer suboptimal usability, they do at least offer ways to configure within the program itself a wide variety of bindings, as well as many other features – admittedly and unfortunately only within the suffocating confines of the WIMP paradigm.

2. It being difficult if not impossible to customise the Gnome etc. software itself is not enough for these mono-culturists (pun intended). They want to fuck up the settings of the rest of your programs as well. Start up gnome-settings-daemon, and soon you'll find that your keymap has been fucked up, your xterm background has been turned into eye-hurting white, programs can't find their fonts (this last one may actually be an Xorg bug, that only Gnome however seems to trigger), and so on. And the settings daemon is not the only program that fucks up your settings: gdm has occasionally been resetting to US keymap from X default as well, expecting user startup files to restore it again.

While it is possible to stop Gnome from fucking up your other settings – at least partly – the most annoying aspect of it are the zillion idiot users [sic] complaining of a problem in your window manager, when it hasn't loaded Gnome's settings for other programs, or when Gnome has otherwise fucked up the environment. By reinventing the wheel, these people make live hell for other people. This has resulted me in refusing to deal with many problems that users might have with my programs, if they're running Gnome.

3. Gnome is for mice, not men. Mice have small brains, which might explain the orientation towards idiot users. Everything is to be done with the mouse; keyboard access is not provided to many things in the default settings (i.e. the hard-coded settings in practise), or is cumbersome. Furthermore, they love dialog and window jungles. (That said, at least they don't love hard-coded separate toolbox windows so much. The somewhat more Gnome HIG compliant Inkscape was a huge improvement over Sodipodi that was as bad as the Gimp still is – and infact has got worse in 2.0.)

Take the abominable file chooser, for example. It has no simple way to input the path, and one must open Yet Another Dialog™ (with ^L) to do so. There's typeahead completion in the file and directory list, but these lamers don't consider .. (two dots) a valid directory name, and the least cumbersome way to go a level up is through that Yet Another Dialog (others involving moving the hand to the mouse or the cumbersome Alt+Up combination – this however configurable if you wade through piles of developer documentation – but not to ..). Of course, the keys to access completion entries in Yet Another Dialog are also the cumbersome Up/Down arrows instead of e.g. ^P and ^N, or Tab itself. And as if the open dialog wasn't bad enough, the save dialog has been split into – yes – two dialogs, and you need to open the second one most of the time to get your stuff saved where you want to. That is very cumbersome to do from the keyboard, of course. Finally, Gnome does not even support Esc to close those zillion dialogs. And, yes, the toolkit should automatically provide that functionality, not every program itself.

Other evidence of the window fetish in the ethos of the GUI No One Might Enjoy is, of course, spatial nautilus. Every directory – my computer has no stinking folders – pops up a as a new window in the file manager. The result is obviously a totally unmanageable mess. One of the first things to do when seated in front of Windows 95 was to disable that behaviour. Ironically, the producers of the Gnome folks' paragon software – the Redmond corporation – have learned their lesson here. That said, I don't necessarily have a problem with a spatial metaphor – and it might very well fit into e.g. Raskin's Zoom interface – but it is totally unmanageable combined with the WIMP/desktop metaphor.

4. Actually, all that I said about the file chooser above is not completely true. After years of complaints from users there has finally been some questionable work in the file chooser, for toggling the address button bar into a textbox, but that work has not yet propagated into the distribution I use yet, if ever will. (I don't know if it has propagated into an official branch even.) In any case, not fixing bugs and responding to user complaints in a timely manner seems to be yet another essential part of the Gnome ethos. The internal focus tracking bug also took over two years of complaints and hunting it down by the users for them to finally fix. Apparently having a new broken release out regularly is much more important than having something that works out one day. Once again ironically, the Redmond corporation seems to have taken their lesson in this department, what with the constant delays.

5. Finally, the logo says a lot: the huge footprint must refer to either memory or disk usage, or even both.