A couple days ago, searching for something cool to hack on, I came back to leaftag. Shortly after I started updating the deskbar handler, Luis Villa posted on his desire for it, and a release got cut. It’s pretty incomplete and buggy, and not very useful right now, but still enough to get a number of people excited.

However, it’s also enough for people to start giving us their opinions. I really don’t know why, but for some reason there’s a large group of people who really want us to use extended attributes to store the tags. Even after giving them a bunch of reasons why it’s not useful for our purposes, they keep trying to tell us how to build our bike shed.

I don’t understand why xattrs are such a big deal, and I don’t understand why everyone cares so much about how our implementation works. They’re never going to touch the code, and as long as it does what they want, why should they care what’s under the hood? I’ve set to see one comment on Christian’s blog that asked for a feature that required xattrs without first saying we should use xattrs. It really felt like all the features they listed were just attempts to justify their position that xattrs are the coolest thing since sliced cheese.

I’m starting to understand why Novell kept Xgl’s development under wraps until things worked.

Maybe I’m only starting to see something that has existed for years, but it really feels like gnome is so encumbered by endless talk, bike shedding and stop energy that very little is happening. The cool things like gimmie, deskbar, nautilus search and leaftag only happen when someone goes off in a corner, shuts themselves out from the community for a while and actually writes some code. The mailing lists and irc channels were recently aflurry with conversation about what “community development” means, and just as quickly as it came, it was gone. A huge amount of time and effort was invested into that discussion, and absolutely nothing came of it. This isn’t an unusual pattern.

I’ve heard it suggested by a couple people that gnome needs a dictator, and I really think that’s the case. At the very least, gnome needs someone who can tell people to shut up and get back to work.

And for all you xattr fanboys, code speaks a lot louder than words. Show us that xattrs provide something useful and good, and we’ll talk. Until then, shut up and get back to work.

I’m usually not one for movie quotations, but I’m considering adopting one as my mantra. “Fuck the bozos!”