Why not Xfce? (was: Re: The XO-1.5 software plan.)

Mitch Bradley wmb at laptop.org
Sat May 16 13:18:18 EDT 2009

The reason why people haven't seen a public discussion about the 
F11/Gnome thing is because the decision was made internally within OLPC 
(the hardware organization - not Sugar Labs).  OLPC has to ship 
*something* on the hardware that we deliver to our volume customers.  By 
far our largest volume comes from the large scale deployments in some 
South American countries, so those customers influence us far more than 
anybody else, and especially more than the diffuse "community".

We have committed to deliver new hardware on an aggressive schedule.  We 
have chosen to focus our internal software resources on one specific 
distro/environment, for pragmatic reasons.  That does not preclude the 
community from porting/promoting/supporting other distros/environments, 
but OLPCs ability and willingness to support such efforts in the early 
stages will be very limited, as we barely have enough resources to do 
the one thing on the schedule that our customers expect/demand.

Within OLPC, there are proponents/enthusiasts for other distros and 
window managers (your humble correspondent being one).  So it's not like 
it was a Fedora/Gnome juggernaut.  But the people within OLPC who are 
doing the actual work - and whose butts are on the line for delivering 
the result on schedule - decided that the F11/Gnome approach had the 
highest probability of getting us from where we are now (which is on a 
Fedora build using Fedora methodologies with strong relationships to 
some important helpers in the Fedora community) to where we need to be 
(a featureful distro that has the the right package versions to work 
with Sugar 0.84, running on new hardware) in the time we have available 
(a few months) with the developer resources that we are sure we can 
count on.

The decision was made, by a specific group of people within the OLPC 
organization, about how they would spend _their_ time in order to 
accomplish a defined customer-related goal on a defined schedule.  The 
decision was made with knowledge and consideration of alternatives.  It 
was not a community/public decision since it is not the 
community/public's time that is being committed.

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