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One of the co-founders of the GNOME Desktop Project has reacted to the numerous criticisms that GNOME 3, the latest iteration of the desktop environment, has received, by putting it all down to  power users and "yellow" journalists.

Federico Mena-Quintero posted his rant on Friday. He dismissed any negative characterisations of GNOME right at the start by writing, "I've been in free software for a long time, and let me tell you: this kind of s**t rains regularly. And it is thoroughly demoralizing (sic) until you, as a developer, learn to live with it".

He traced the complaints that had been made right from the first versions of GNOME, by various groups. A fair amount of blame was levelled at those who had made complaints.

At the end, Mena-Quintero also apologised for having, at times, been whinging himself, saying, "I am ashamed to say that I've been part of Those People from time to time, particularly recently when I had a stretch of spite against the Gnome 3.0 designers. I am deeply sorry about it. I apologized (sic) to them during the last GUADEC and everything seemed better after that, but I still feel bad about it."

He said those who were building GNOME had developed various mechanisms to survive the criticism that were constantly directed at the project. He sarcastically described this class of complainers as "regular people", at the same time citing factors to show that they very definitely were not.

"So, you see nominally Regular People complain and bitch and moan about the software you write," he wrote. "You know, the regular, everyday people with blogs and personal domain names and accounts in bug reporting systems, and knowledge of different window managers, and knowledge of the difference between zsh and bash. Regular people."

GNOME 3.0, it may be recalled, has come in for some withering criticism by high-profile FOSS people like Linux creator Linus Torvalds and senior kernel developer Ted Ts'o.

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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