Today I was on the Gentoo forums doing some reading and I came across a thread discussing a modernization of the official Gentoo.org website. I contributed my thoughts, although some old(er) Gentoo users will probably not agree with my thoughts. Who knows? Maybe they will.
I believe it is important to modernize the look and eel of Gentoo.org, the wiki, and any other official Gentoo website.
Here are some of my reasons:
1. It shows the general public there is active development and special care going into the distribution at all levels. This is more important than it might seem to old(er) Gentoo users to have the sites up-to-date. Sure, anyone could look at the repositories on GitHub, etc. to see there is active work going on, but someone “looking into” Gentoo as a viable OS is not going to be looking at source code repositories.
2. The web changes over time because software changes over time. HTML5 exists now. There is much better media support on the web than there was 10 years ago. Browsers have many more features than they used to. The web has always changed and will continue to do so as software continues to change. Many websites take those changes into consideration and generate small tweaks and changes to the overall looks and feels of the site. Many existing Gentoo users have essentially memorized the layout of gentoo.org and can find things quickly; however just because they can doesn’t mean new users will be able to find things quickly. I, for example, used to have trouble finding various items of interest in the links box on the left hand side. It’s a simple list, but I think it could be made more intuitive. Any change will probably come as a shock to long time users, but it might (overall) be a good thing.
3. Hardware changes over time. This is one of the reasons the web/software changes over time. Many people do a lot of reading on their mobiles devices (phones). I think, in order to maintain relevance with upcoming generations of computer users, Gentoo sites should take this into consideration. For example, a while ago I asked Sven to generate a version of Linux Sea in .ePub format (which he was swift to accomplish; pub intended) so that I could read it on my Kindle. The Kindle is a device that didn’t exist 10 years ago.
4. Societies change over time. People want to be able to quickly and effortlessly find what they are looking for. That’s why search on the web is such a lucrative business and explains why many sites appear simpler (more block-like) than they did in the earlier web. People don’t want to have to think in order to get the information they are looking for; they just want to get it.. Does that say something about the person? Yes, but it also says something about the world we live in. I’m not advocating to change the layout of gentoo.org, but I think it could at least use a face lift. An example, although not gentoo.org, is the “Gentoo discussion forums” graphic at the head of the Gentoo Forums website. On my monitor (which is not high resolution, but enough to notice) it looks very grainy, unprofessional, and old. An .svg graphic would be great!
It looks like there is already a(n) (inactive) repository in the works to update the look and feel of gentoo.org: https://github.com/gentoo/tyrian
Also, if you take a look here, you can see a nice look on the infra-status website: http://infra-status.gentoo.org/
Just a few thoughts. My purpose is not to be deconstructive; I’m just making observations.
Thanks for reading!