Need for Deconstruction in FOSS

I feel that bloat of software such as browsers and desktop environments is a threat to FOSS. This could bloat the developer's position as well. FOSS is not only about developers, but also about users' contributions such as ideas, bug reports, and donations. However, when software is essential to users, it becomes difficult for them to disagree with the developers. Even if their opinions are ignored, they may be forced to continue using the software reluctantly because there is no alternative.

The fact that Linux-based operating systems are made up of small systems seems to have prevented the concentration of power. In FOSS, large systems can make the project unhealthy, so efforts should be made to deconstruct them.


It isn't. People have been trying to make that argument since 1999 and it still doesn't ring true today.

If you believe that Browsers and a DE is a threat, you have an option which is one of the main reasons people try and stay with Linux, options. You can install Gentoo Linux and alleviate many of the threats you perceive in FOSS. But you could take many of the distro's and just remove the DE and just use CLI.

Yes listen to the users, 5000 people all telling you different things.

A developer is free to add or subtract anything they want to the open source code. You have the option of using it or not. They don't need to listen to their users at all.

If people don't like what the developer is doing, they can fork it. You're using Zorin, yes? It's a fork of Ubuntu when you get down to it.

Nobody is forcing anyone to use anything. If you don't like the way a developer is doing something, use something else there is always an alternative.

Or you can learn to code and do it yourself the way you want it to be done.

If you learn code, fork the application what is going to be your position when users come along telling you how they want you to do it?


This also does not ring true.

And this not only does not ring true... It is utter nonsense.

You sound exactly like - And I do mean nearly word for word - Tobias Bernard explaining away why Gnome is not beholden to the users that Make Gnome Possible in the first place.

Learning a bit of code and taking control of your own machine is a Fine Thing... But who can demonstrably Take over GTK or Qt projects and reasonably understand and fork the toolkits?
I have been working on it and I can tell you - it is no weekend project.

That is not a viable alternative nor is it anywhere within "reasonable" to expect nor demand that users do so as you just did.
The onus is on the Supplier to Meet Demand. Not the other way around.

I agree with Hackgets. Bloated and oversized companies developing for Linux tend to try to push the tenets of FOSS into the background.


Do you believe that if everyone became a developer the problem would be solved? People have different abilities, and they mesh together like cogs in a wheel to form a community.

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It's actually very true, even where Gnome is concerned.

The dev's don't have to listen to the users, and they don't. But because they don't listen and put out a product that I think is unworkable I use either KDE or Cinnamon.

So in your own example of Gnome, what I've stated above is true on many levels.

Dev's don't have to listen, and they don't. Yet I have a choice of whether to continue to use Gnome or not. Which I have chosen not to use Gnome, years and years ago. I have choice to use something else. Both are true at the same time.

I don't go over to the Gnome pages to whine and cry, I just don't use their product.

If dev's listen to their users, where's the Zorin KDE version or Cinnamon version? Why doesn't LinuxMint offer their KDE version anymore even though plenty of people are putting KDE on, are they not listening to their users? Why does KDE Neon not offer a Gnome version? I'm sure someone somewhere wants it.

I never said it was easy... Yet we have about 2000 distro's all forks, so clearly enough people are able to do it.

There are forks of Firefox, Chromium, MP3 players,various office suites, etc, etc.

Yes and No. Just because a customer demands something doesn't mean they're entitled to get it.

Sure a company making something that most people don't want will either go out of business or change what they're making. However the other is true that customers can't just demand a service or product from a company because they want it if they don't make it.

Not every business is for every customer and not every customer is for every business. You do not need to be everything to everyone.

I deal with this mentality every day. Someone calls me and wants this and that and we don't offer that. I get told they're the customer, yes but I'm the owner and we're not offering that service, if you want that then we're not the company for you. I as the owner get to determine what we will or will not do and offer, not you. If you don't like that, you're free to take your business elsewhere.

That's a different issue, that's the corporate takeover of open source.

But I pose my question again. If you develop something are you going to listen to the voices telling you what they want and how they want it? Are you going to make all the changes they demand? If you don't then you are all going against what you're demanding now. If you do, whose voices of the thousands are you going to listen to?

As I also stated, I've been listening to this since the 90's....... And yet FOSS is still here.

No, but that isn't what or how I said anything either.

Yes they do, and life is also full of disappointments. Some people not getting what they want in an application is going to be one of them.

You are free to be disappointed in life, but I am also free not to give up hope.

In the example I gave, it shows that your words fell flat:
Can You port and code GTK, Qt or Browser code like Gecko?
Do you have the time, energy and resources to do it?
Yes or No?
If your answer is "no" (Which we both know that it is), then your claim that all a person needs to do is Code Their Own and Port the product is utter nonsense.
GTK is developed by a large team of very knowledgeable people who are being paid and have a lot of resources available.
Yes, you can use KDE... As long as it is around.
You can use Cinnamon... except Cinnamon relies on GTK and Gnome in order to exist and when GTK4 limits Cinnamon, your features are going away. Just as they did with Gnome.

And the more these large organizations assert their dominance and validate and justify not listening to the user base that they rely on to exist the less we users can do about being dominated.

And they pretty much all suck.

A customer, sure. But a user base is another thing.
If you believe differently, check out how Blizzard is doing these days after falling so far out of touch with their user base.

It is the same issue. You just decided to do a complete 180 degree turn for this thread.

Yes. And I Do.

Very clever of you to choose the word all in order to add such a stringent qualifier to your question.
We both know well that no company, no developer is capable of meeting every and all demands. However, this does not mean that a company should feel entitled to

  • Fail to listen to and consider feedback
  • Assert dominance and control over the product users
  • Try to enforce and monopolize their brand image
  • Ignore reports, feedback or crticism
  • Remove features the user base relies on or prefers, then tell them that the medicine tastes good.

You complain about Gnome in threads on this forum vehemently. I'm not bitter about it- merely stating the facts.
Yet, in this thread, you are going against every single thing you have repeatedly and emphatically posted about Gnome going back to your join date.

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No they didn't, they will still about the topic at hand, dev's not listening

You're the one using specific examples and thinking you have an a ha moment.

Whether I have the time or resources is irrelevant. That has nothing whatsoever to do with dev's listening or not listening to what it is you want.

And you're just that a user base, you've paid nothing for it.

And like I also stated, if a company doesn't offer things that people want they will either go out of business or change.

I believe just the other day you told someone that dev's need to make choices in regards to someone complaining they wanted Open Office over Libreoffice. So using your own logic here, that person walked away feeling they weren't being listened to and catered to because Openoffice wasn't being used.

Wasn't it though, because that is what I'm hearing in this thread.

And if you carefully read what I'm saying that is a point I've made numerous times. Hence the question I asked twice.

I never stated they shouldn't, only that they're not required to listen to you. And if they don't live up to your demands, you're free to use something else.

I do, because it's a horrible DE. I also don't use Gnome I use something else. See, I used one of things I stated, choice.

I also don't squat in the Gnome forums whining about how they don't listen or they take away things users want. I learned the lesson of Gnome decades ago, hence why I don't use it now.

But you didn't answer my other questions. If dev's are supposed to listen to their customers why isn't Zorin available in KDE or Cinnamon? Why is it still using Gnome since nobody at Gnome listens? Are the Zorin brothers ignoring their user base?

I'm actually not, because they both can be true at the same time. They are free not to listen to me, and I'm free to use something else. That has remained what I've stated from the very beginning. You can't demand someone else listen to you and give you what you want.

How many people on here want Zorin to have Brave as the default browser instead of FF? Or, Open Office instead of LibreOffice or let us choose at the install. Or, I want this MP3 player instead of this one. Or my favourite, let's change the logo.

At a certain point decisions need to be made, this is what we're offering, take it or leave it. Not everyone is going to be satisfied, not everyone is going to get what they want, and no the dev's don't have to listen to you anymore either. You didn't get your demands met, okay... Either use it as is, make changes to it or go use something else.

In Gnomes case, because they take away features, and really because of the bad attitudes of the devs over there, I've chosen to use something else. They don't have to listen to me, and I don't have to use their offering.

I also should add in about Gnome. One of the reason many people use it in their distro's is because even if people hate Gnome they're still using the distro.

So who's fault is that really? It's the users fault.

Instead of using a distro that uses Gnome, use Linux Mint, use KDE Neon or a plethora of other distro's that don't have Gnome as an offering. If those dev's want their distro being used they will either change or they're distro will go the way of the DoDo.

The users have the power in this, but making demands and crying nobody is listening to me isn't it. People don't have to say a word

It has everything to do with it.
You are shifting the goal posts.

I quote you:

It was your words. You raised that as a possible "out" for why Developers should not and do not need to listen to the users of the products that they develop.
IF you did not find it relevant or on topic, why did you raise the issue?

The answer is because you knew it was relevant.

What you are doing is Classic Denial.
Just like Climate Change Denial, when others notice that something is wrong or heading in a dangerous direction - you deny the issue, deny that there is a problem, subvert accountability and responsibility.

Above, you deliberately conflated a customer making an unreasonable demand that has nothing to do with a business, to a customer making legitimate comments or giving feedback about a product.
You know very well that there is a clear difference between a person demanding to buy Pennzoil at McDonalds and a person voicing that the BigMacs are no longer made with real meat.

Not at all.

A user voiced Feedback and that feedback was attended to.
Again, for the second time, you are shifting the goal posts by unreasonably claiming that a company, developer or business must answer to and agree with Every Piece of Feedback in order to be said to listen to customers.
That is
utter nonsense.

No it isn't. You are just shifting Goal posts.

And this right here is Why you deliberately confused the issue by using a stringent and unreasonable "ALL" qualifier.
So that you could turn right around and claim your point is valid.

That is misleading and dishonest.

We are all intelligent readers here and your word play will not fool anyone.
We all know that no developer can be reasonably expected to meet ALL demands that ALL customers make. By creating that no-win scenario, you misrepresent the other side of the argument.

A developer needs to listen the user base that they rely on. Especially when that developer is in a Dominant position.
You voice against Microsoft. And Gnome. You won't use them. Fortunately for you; you have some other options.
But your denialism about those Shrinking options and refusal to listen to reasonable warnings of changes we see in FOSS are feeding the very thing you try to avoid by simply not using the product. Before long, you are left having to use the product you dislike. Before long, you have no options left.

I did answer them. Twice now.
You are just trying again to mislead readers by shifting goal posts.
I will quote myself to prevent your further futile attempts at denial:

We are all intelligent readers here and your word play will not fool anyone.
We all know that no developer can be reasonably expected to meet ALL demands that ALL customers make. By creating that no-win scenario, you misrepresent the other side of the argument.

Zorin Group has listened to a Lot of feedback - covered extensively on this forum. They have not agreed to everything a user suggests. However, The Source Button for Gnome-Software is an example of them applying user feedback. Zorin Connect is another. The Panel Extension that enables right click configuring of Gnome-Shell Panel is another. I can make a very long list.

If you dislike reading about people voicing their concerns about the direction of FOSS and how many current developments sidestep and undermine FOSS... No one is forcing you to read the thread.
Much less participate in it.

And if you dislike my tone with you: Just Save it.

For the past several weeks I have been gritting my teeth at the belittling tone you dish out on other users for example: @th3ass3t

You really need to learn how to accept not Winning an Argument.

Setting thread to Slow Mode to cool things down.

@Hackgets raised valid points that are worthy of intelligent considerate dicscussion.
Not an Ego-for-distance contest and flame war.

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I think this is true of any project. Once it reaches critical mass the original goal starts to blend with other interests. But I don't think this necessarily requires the deconstruction of the whole project, but making sure there's a balance in the leadership.

For example, Mozilla has a pretty centralized leadership that has damaged their main flagship product, Firefox, among other things. However, a browser it's an extremely complex piece of software that realistically only a company of that size can begin to tackle.
Similar examples of this are Gnome or RedHat, they are necessary to bring in value that would otherwise be impossible to sustain. Despite their unpopularity for x or y reasons.

As for the rest of the conversation, I'll have to agree that while it's a harsh reality, none of these companies have any duty to their users. It may be in their best interest to listen to the user base, sure, but there's no obligation whatsoever. And so, projects can and should fail when they make decisions that are unbearable to their users. If they don't, that means the decisions they made were not that bad after all. That's just the nature of free market.

I'll leave this clip (starts at 1:18) that explains this beautifully, in my opinion:

Some people would say that I'm overpaid, but I'm not. I'm paid exactly what the market will bear, which means I'm paid what I'm worth.

Excellent series by the way, absolutely recommend it.

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I believe that maintaining a big project requires strong leadership, which inevitably leads to centralization. I think it is possible to develop a browser with independent projects for each function, as I have already used the Linux OS as an example.

In other words, by dividing the work between those who make the components and those who assemble them, it will be possible to respond flexibly to user demand, and I believe that this will create healthy competition.

I would say that wording it this way is really only a matter of semantics, nothing more.

Companies listen to their user base regularly. We see this all the time, including how often it makes the news. Companies even perform press releases in order to deliver such a message to the public - or hold conventions spending hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars in hopes of increasing public support.
Companies spend millions of dollars on advertising that is geared toward gaining customer approval.
It has led to Buzz Phrases like "Back by popular demand."
We know fully well that companies generally listen to and rely on feedback.

To shift the goal posts over as if to say that Companies are Obligated or even required by some measure to listen to feedback is nothing more than a way of misrepresenting the argument.
No one is saying that they are Legally Obligated to Listen to ALL feedback and to inply that anyone is saying such a thing is a tactic and fallacy, not an argument.

Rather, what has been said is that developers (or companies) should listen to feedback and be responsible for their products.
That a company may lose business or funding for failing to do so is so taken for granted, such an obvious given - that it needs not be said, even.


This is a good point. A for-profit company cannot ignore consumers as long as there is healthy market competition. However, this is not always the case with FOSS projects, because they do not necessarily profit directly from their users.

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Yes, as I was reading this thread it was pretty clear to me from the outside this was a simple difference in the wording over (pretty much) the same position. Then it got unnecessarily heated.

I fully agree with the statement that is in the best interest of any company to listen to their user base. But I stand by my argument that this doesn't call for need of deconstruction in FOSS, or any other, project.
There are prons and cons to having such centralized structures of leadership: one the one hand they are capable of daunting tasks that are much harder to achieve (and sustain) for smaller groups of people. On the other hand, they tend to create a dependency for those who can't find a suitable alternative.

But unlike most for-profit companies, in FOSS everyone has the capability of starting a competing product. Which again leads us to the topic of bigger, more complex projects like a desktop environment, a browser or an entire operating system... I think we're walking in circles here.

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I am only offering one suggestion, and I don't expect to be in the majority in the first place. Many people yearn for huge power. But because of that, their desires are stimulated and strife and corruption happen. I feel it is happening in the FOSS universe.

This is true.

I agree that deconstruction may be as damaging as the lack of it. Another method could yield better results.
We had a thread on the forum, quite a bit ago, now... Where I raised the issue of
"Developers need to be paid."
We discussed "should Linux be Free Cost?"

What makes debate interesting and productive is when it raises points that make you challenge your own position.
This was one of them. I had been staunchly pro-Free at the beginning (Prior to that thread.) Multiple discussion points made inspired that threads creation.
See, corporate greed (examples include pay-to-win, subscription services in some cases) cause companies to steadily decrease product while raising prices. It causes large companies to seek more control and to learn methods of manipulation.
-Ok, so make the product Free Cost.-
It did not really solve anything. We just end up with different problems. With a lack of financial support or motivation, projects get not fully developed or even abandoned. Examples include Wayland, scaling, Office suites and the myriad of dead projects. One may argue that another will step up to take over abandoned projects (see a need, fill a need) but that does not always happen or it can happen with poor results.
Or there is a gap in time that leaves users hanging.
When we have a large development project like a Desktop Environment, we really cannot afford Free Cost. The developers must work full-time and must be paid. That payment must come from somewhere... So it comes from sponsoring corporations that push their corporate, not the base users, interests.

When I addressed you in the post above, I worried after writing it you may think I was accusing you. I was not, at all. A person can lack a deliberate attempt when voicing a thought.
Instead, it was that there is a dangerous tightrope to walk. When an argument spawns in a debate about who said (or did not say) what.
By using the "you implied this" argument, it makes it easier for a member to put words in anothers mouth. This puts posters in a position of defending what they did not say.
Several factors weighed in to the point that the controls I place on my frustration were straining and snapping.
The slow mode being set was as much for me as anyone else.

I apologize for my poor behavior.

This type of discussion can really bring out our fears. If FOSS is made not free-cost for example or if FOSS was decentralized, placing projects under the jurisdiction of smaller groups - Users will fear the consequences. Will software they rely on remain available or as good? Will it become harder to afford? Will groups assert dominance over users more?
We may feel the need to defend the current state out of fear that even if not great, an attempted repair will make things worse.

I also do not think deconstruction of FOSS is the answer.
But I do agree with Hackgets that there is a worsening problem that cannot be ignored. It is taking control and chipping bits away.


For example, most distros that use Gnome for DE have not adopted Epiphany for their browsers. Other systems and apps developed by Gnome also lack utility: Flatpak, Gnome Software, Gnome Fonts, to name just a few. Gnome is trying to become more than a DE by refusing customization by distros, but that ambition seems to have already failed.

If Gnome is really going for simplicity, they should stop expanding their project and concentrate on DE development. I think the reason they don't is because they have contradictions and lies.

The upcoming Comic desktop environment by System76 is a great example I think of how projects like Gnome get backlash from the user base. It's not the user itself who is in position to do much about it, but a sudden appearance of a competing product might make them look in another direction.

Unlike Gnome, System76 is a for-profit company with a well-defined and steady business model. It will for sure make more people use Pop!_OS as a distribution and buy their products, giving more support to them and less to Gnome.
Having this offering is a balance of powers. If in the future System76 gets greedy and try some fancy shenanigans to lock Cosmic to their own distributions or something like that, they have more to lose than Gnome. This gives me more assurances that it won't happen.

I don't think FOSS should be treated much differently than a regular business. The downside of being free to make your own choice is that you are also free to shooting yourself in the foot. Let the users decide with their own money when purchasing from certain companies or who they donate to.