Formal complaint concerning the use of the name "System Settings" by GNOME

Thomas Zander zander at
Mon Jul 25 08:49:55 BST 2011

On Monday 25 July 2011 06.02.17 Ben Cooksley wrote:
> > Sorry, Ben, but someone who names his program with that general term
> > "System settings" and expects it to have this name in all of the
> > shells/workspaces (Gnome Shell, Unity, XFCE, Enlightenment,
> > $WINDOWMANAGER, even in Windows and OS X?), while it only basically
> > controls settings of the KDE runtime env/platform, is at least also one
> > who is insular and only cares for himself (or his workspace), no? Think
> > about it. At least to me System =
> > Shell/Workspace or OS/Computer even.
> I didn't choose the name. It was chosen a long time ago, when KDE 4.0
> was originally forged. I rewrote it to add features, and became
> maintainer around KDE 4.2. I kept the original name to avoid changing
> things, and therefore creating user criticism.
> I have already been criticised for changing the layout of modules in
> System Settings. I am fairly sure that changing it's name would bring
> similar criticism.

Hi Ben,

I think Friedrich didn't mean to imply you were the one who choose it, or in 
any way that you made mistakes in the past.
I share the opinion with him that when Gnome chooses a similar name for 
something like "System Settings" the response of assuming bad faith is 
probably a wrong start.
To be clear; In my opinion its irrelevant if or  why Gnome choose the name to 
be similar as KDE on purpose. 

The reason its irrelevant is because this shows that our system settings 
actually is only for KDE based applications. Probably not due to our fault, 
and certainly not due to you, Ben, but there we have it.  Today we realized 
that Gnome apps don't use our settings and KDE apps need some KCMs that have 
no Gnome equivalents.
And thats not something to get mad about when others work around it, I would 
personally see that as a call to action.

So what happened is that a group of people who can't use our system settings, 
but wants their own system settings assumes something that with this new 
information turns out to be wrong.  Call it a different focus on how their 
users desktop works. Which is a choice they made we can't get mad over.

The long term response certainly is to get out of the situation where KDE apps 
can't be configured without KDEs system settings application.  I'll personally 
take a look at my app; KWord.  I have to figure out if Gnome (or Windows) users 
can configure their locale so we don't have a default of A4 for users that want 
a Letter sized page.

Thomas Zander

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