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KDE Developer on the GNOME Foundation 369

The ongoing debate between KDE and GNOME has calmed down a lot in the last year as each system became stable and usable. Recent announcements regarding the Gnome Foundation has caused some tension (ranging from words to DNS hijaacking). Kurt Granroth, a KDE Core Team Member, and the KDE US Press Rep has submitted his opinions on the subject, are in some cases very good points, and in other cases extremely inflammatory, but in both cases, worth reading.

The following was written by Slashdot Reader and KDE Core Team Member, Kurt Granroth

One developers Opinion of Sun + GNOME

Recently, Sun and HP (but mostly Sun) announced that they will be using Gnome as their default desktop. As a member of the KDE Core Team and as a US press-rep, announcement, I have been asked more then a few times what KDE thinks of this. I have also been asked if KDE user should be worried about the future of KDE now. I've given a rough idea of what "KDE thinks" to those journalists.. but the answer must be pretty generic since KDE is too distributed and diverse to permit me to speak for everybody.

But the wishy-washy answer that I am forced to give doesn't mean that I don't have strong *personal* opinions on the matter -- I do. So I'd like to take this time to offer a few of them for your enjoyment.

I look at the Sun announcement and I try to imagine how it can effect the KDE project. Let's look at the absolute *worst* case situation (from our point of view). Say Sun and HP contribute a significant amount of top-notch programmers towards the Gnome project and as a result, they overtake us. Perhaps for the first time, Gnome is better designed, easier to program for, easier to use, and more stable then KDE. Meanwhile, with the momentum gained by it being the "commercial Unix standard", more and more vendors use Gnome in porting their apps without giving KDE a second thought. Maybe as a result, even "Joe Hacker" in his dorm room might not want to work with KDE.

That's the "worst" case. But say, even if that *did* become true (doubtful, see below), it still wouldn't take away from the fact that KDE is very well designed, incredibly easy to program for, intuitively easy to use and rock solid stable. We have managed to attract hundreds of developers and millions of users to KDE and we will continue to attract the numbers after words. Remember, even if Gnome does become a great desktop, that doesn't mean that KDE will stop being a great desktop. Put another way, KDE will always be around and it will always be a worthwhile desktop to use and platform to develop on.

But let's back-pedal just a bit. I personally find the above scenario *incredibly* unlikely. It has never been shown that throwing more developers on the project will guarantee that the project will succeed, and you can show that it often makes no difference at all. Sun may have a lot of developers, but it remains to be seen if it will matter.

I have reason to be skeptical. Let's not forget just how the backers of the Open Group/Motif and CDE were. That's right -- Sun and HP. Two large companies with all their resources thrown at this that couldn't compete with *either* Gnome or KDE. The Sun website talks glowingly of all the really cool things they will do with Gnome... but those with a memory (and a web browser pointed towards the Open Group's website) will remember that Sun said pretty much the same thing for Motif/CDE.. and look where that went.

No, Sun's developer resources don't worry me in the slightest. We have already shown that we can take them on and win convincingly. I don't see that they will magically change anytime soon.

I do worry a *little* bit more about the PR aspects of this, though. There will be a temptation among the less-dedicated journalists to say that now that Sun and HP and RedHat all favor Gnome, then it must be a standard for Unices. After all, everybody knows that Linux *is* RedHat, right? I am already seeing mentions of this and as people jump on the bandwagon, we'll likely see it even more.

This may have nothing to do with any kind of reality, though. Already, for every new Solaris or HP workstation, there are likely several computers running Linux. Looking at the demographics of all the Linux distributions worldwide, we see that KDE focused distributions are still the norm. All in all, there are likely a LOT more workstations running KDE then there are running something else.

This somehow brings me to the another question that has been frequently asked: Will KDE ever have a corporate-backed "foundation" deciding it's future? While I'm not arrogant enough to think I can guarantee what the future will hold, I am still reasonably secure in saying that pigs will probably fly first. A board like that flies square in the face of everything that the KDE project stands for.

KDE is, has been, and always be governed and managed by those *developers* that actually do the work on it. Working code is what matter, not your market capitalization. Commercial entities may sponsor development on various aspects of KDE, but they will never be allowed to decide what KDE will become. KDE is a desktop "by the people and for the people" and if we were to prostitute ourselves to big-money for the chance of being a media-recognized standard, we would be stomping on all the people that have supported, developed, and used KDE throughout the years. We can honestly say to all developers that if you contribute good code to KDE, we will welcome it and assure you that it will never be subject to the whims and fancies of a company under the gun from shareholders. Your code will be judged purely on it's merits. More to the point, your contribution will make a difference -- it will *matter*.

I do find it ironic, though, that it is *Gnome* taking this step. Could anybody have possibly imagined this when Gnome started? Weren't they the "hacker desktop"? Didn't they have all the "desktop for the people" principles? Hmm... times change, I guess.

But back to KDE and the possibility of a great Gnome. I get the feeling that most of the people that are comparing Gnome and KDE are doing so with current Gnome and KDE 1.1.2 (or less). Even though a version of KDE that *old* still compares favorably, it's a pale shadow to the upcoming KDE 2.0. A comparison between current Gnome and current KDE (in my opinion, of course), shows KDE really shining. I *strongly* urge everybody to check out 2.0 before jumping to any kind of conclusion -- it is a truly kick-ass desktop with by far the best development architecture out there.

So I'll end this longish, partially incoherent ramble with this disclaimer: These are all my personal (largely un-filtered) opinions on these matters. They *may* reflect the views of other KDE developers, but there is no possible way I'm going to be presumptuous enough to claim that they *do*. I may be a little bit pro-KDE in thinking it is superior to Gnome, but I still have the utmost respect for the Gnome developers themselves. I've met a number of hackers -- both "free-agent" ones and HelixCode/Eazel/RedHat paid ones -- and all have demonstrated immense talent and a genuine hacker mentality. Please don't take any of what I said as a attack on *any* person or persons.

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KDE Developers on the GNOME Foundation

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Yes, it is a poor analogy and misses the point.

    The point is not that a few companies which have made some kind of statement through the Gnome Foundation to use or promote Gnome will control its direction. Rather, it is that the Gnome developers themselves (some of whom have their own commercial ventures as spinoffs) have never made it clear that they are for choice. Instead, they have made it very clear that they want policy to be imposed, perhaps at the kernel level. Certainly at the level of the X server and Xlib. Gnome is to be "THE" standard desktop and development subsystem, period. I think they would even go so far as to have the filesystem reorganized around CORBO/bonobo objects if allowed to do that.

    Naturally companies seeking to profit from Linux want a standard system. They want standards everywhere, so long as these are their standards or at least not some other comapany's standards. Gnome allows them to do this because it is GPL'd and no single commercial entity can control Gnome. This is good, but the trend towards standards also produces homogenization and a kind of blandness that discourages innovation and diversity. We have seen this with Windows and almost every other commercial OS to date.

    The balance between standards and vitality that derives from diversity (remember the laws of natural selection that require a diverse gene pool to select well from?) is destroyed when developers who claim to represent the principles of freedom do nothing to dispell suspicions that they don't want choice at all. This merger between the homogenizing influence of commercial culture and individual greed is the danger that Gnome Foundation presents to Linux.

    I am not just referring to some statements that Miguel has made recently. Alan Cox has been seen at Linux conventions with plackards reading "Gnome, the free desktop to replace the Kde nonfree desktop" or something similar. It is only human for Alan to side with Gnome as he works for RedHat and his wife is active in Gnome advocacy. However, such partisanship by a person with responsibilities for the wellbeing of the kernel and entire system has caused me to lose a lot of respect for the man. I now question whether or not he would be agreeable to imposing policy requiring the use of Gnome in the kernel itself if so allowed. There are other examples but that should be enough.

    It's the responsibiity of all of us to keep this kind of activity in check if we want Linux to remain free from such control by partisan interests. There are ways to allow better interoperability between programs, objects and subsystems without imposing uniformity or policy. Some of this really does belong, perhaps, in the kernel or at least at a deeper level than a gui. But such mechanisms should be as open as possible, and optional. They should never be designed to serve the interests of a particular project such as Gnome. For all its faults, X has done a remarkable job in providing a framework for apps without imposing policy. X can be improved, and so can other "almost essential" components of GNU-Linux.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Weekly World News:"9 out of 10 alien anal probe devices run KDE!"

    Ouch! Talk about your embedded system!
  • Do not confused the fact that X11 is not programmable via pipes, with the notion that pipes are therefore useless. Rather, this is a case of where X11 is itself broken. See Plan9 for a GUI that needs nothing beyond pipes in order to effectively embed things.

    For more of a an example: XBRU [] is a TCK/TK application. It never touches any actual tape hardware. That is all done by (surprise) BRU, which in turn is controlled via (surprise surprise!) PIPES! (A bunch of pipes, actually -- two named pipes, and two anonymous pipes). This is how the Unix component model was supposed to work -- and it does work, quite well, except in the realm of X11 components, where the design of the X11 interface is incapable of properly supporting the Unix component model.

    Summary: Don't let the incompetent design of the X11 system interface lead you to excessively complicated communications mechanisms. In most cases, CORBA-style communications mechanisms are needed only because of deficiencies in design, not because of any inherent limitations in the Unix component model.


  • Whether or not you distribute Qt, it's illegal to distribute KDE binaries because their dependency on Qt makes it a contravention of the GPL. Note that KDE includes some GPL code that was not explicitly contributed to the KDE project, so even if they wanted to add the extra permission needed to distribute KDE binaries they'd have to get the signatures of non-KDE developers to do it. IIRC, at least one developer whose GPL code is used in the project has indicated that he would *not* give such permission: L. Peter Deutsch, author of Ghostscript.
  • Oh, well. You mighe be using my code just now even without knowing it (no, I won't tell you). And I don't understand the purpose of your flamebait. I said that programs should load instantly, not spend so much time that they need loading progress indicator. If they don't, you gotta change these programs or that hardware. If you disagree and ready to accept that you programs load times measure in tens of seconds to minutes - OK, but why GNOME should support this?
  • The issue here has nothing to do with GNUisms, and everything to do with ABI.

    Do you run parts of KDE that were compiled using G++, and other parts that were built using Sun's C++ compiler?

    I think not; there is no ABI standard, whether "official" or "defacto," and thus you cannot reasonably expect to link code compiled using one compiler to code compiled using another compiler.

    The same is not true for C; there is a reasonable expectation that you can link code compiled with GCC to other code compiled using Someone Else's Compiler.

  • I think you've missed my point slightly.
    I agree that GUIs are good for computer->human
    interaction. Computers are good at generating images.

    > However, language was designed to work with certain hardware limitations: humans can't display imagery as complex as a computer in real time.

    That's my exact point. What I'm saying is that the most powerful effective mechanism for humans to tell computers what to do is through language.
    "Do I have to draw you a picture"

    Saying that in order to use a computer really effectively, you need to be a programmer (to a certain extent) - it's not like saying you should be able to fix a car if you're going to own one - it's more like saying you should learn to drive.

    Gui's generally present the user with a small set of choices to make at each point. Your example of choosing a color is a perfect example of what GUIs are good for. The power of language is that the range of choices grows exponentially with the length of the expression.

    In the starkest terms: excessive use of GUIs reduce your Turing machine into a finite state machine. The only reason this is considered remotely acceptable is that the bulk of humanity thrives on pointless repetitive ritual. They would rather spend their days repeating almost exactly the same thing than have to stop and think occasionally. The emphasis on GUIs allows people to stay comfortably in a semi-conscious trance relying on their mechanistic mental facilities to get them through the day - using language effectively requires a capacity for inductive thought which many people prefer to leave dormant.

    The job of programmers is to bring the power of the computer within reach of the user. Not to tame it by pretending it's a glorified bloody toaster, or to waste their time by demanding they know a bunch of esoteric details (like printcap files) which were introduced for the benefit of the programmer. The best example I know of where an application got it right is autocad. Where I was using autocad the users were all draughtsmen. The best user/programmer there had left school at 15 - he learnt what he needed to know on the fly. You're quite wrong thinking that autocad worked because it's users were engineers. It worked because humans have brains, and with a little encouragement they'll use them.

    I agree that GUIs are much more intuitive for some things. I think most computer->human interaction should be GUI based. But I also think the focus on them as the primary mechanism for Human-Computer interaction has held us back tremendously. When we stop pretending computers are something else, things will improve.

    This might sound ridiculous now, but it will be blatantly obvious in 20 years. (I'm an arrogant son of a bitch, to be sure).
  • This daft window metaphore crap is largely responsible for reducing the most powerful invention of the previous century to just another time-wasting useless idiot-box where humanity's natural sloth and aversion for thought can reign supreme.

    "A picture is worth a thousand words" - it's a myth. Draw me a picture of "love". The trouble with GUI interfaces is that they are predisposed towards the computer transfering information to the human. They are not an efficient mechanism for humans to transfer information to the computer. There is a good mechanism for this - one that has been used for millenia and which are brains have even evolved to use effectively. And that mechanism is language. This is why text based interfaces will always rule over this GUI shit. The "integrated" desktop is doomed to forever strive for the level of power, speed, simplicity and componentisation already provided by the shell tools.

    Why use a metaphor for a work-style whose time has past (WIMP - "desktop") when the reality of the computer is orders of magnitude more powerful and more flexible. Even as programmers deny this, and preach the religion of GUIs they implicitly acknowledge that to do anything powerful, you need to use a language - a programming language.
    "Oooh, but that's too complicated for my users..."

    Am I saying that every computer user should be a programmer ? Yes I am, but only to the extent that it makes sense in the domain. For instance, any real power-user of autocad will write small lISP programs. How could a commerical company make a fully functional, mathematically pure programming language as the basis of an interface for a program intended for draftsmen ? Because they understood that stupidity is like work - it expands to fill the space allocated to it. Expect intelligence and you will receive it. Autocad dominated their market like this. This approach would work in other markets if programmers had the humility to admit that their "users" were as smart as they were, and deserved the same power that programmers reserve for themselves.

    If I want to do GUI programming (which *is* good for computer->human interaction), I'll use fltk [], a far more powerful and better designed toolkit than either Gnome or KDE. Plus it's cross platform, and LGPL. If I want to knit things together, I'll use a bloody pipe.
  • I really like your idea of AST. Your comments seem very accurate and relevent. Could you email so we can continue this offline.

  • Yeah, but despite current GNOME X11 dependencies, GNOME is actually better poised to be moved to a new display technology (if one ever materializes.)

    Why? Licensing.

    You thought that was cleared up. Yeah--for the UNIX/X11 version. (let's just never mind that Linux is not a UNIX.) What if some magnificent bastard comes up with some great kernel design, has POSIX-compliance, and has some great new display technology? Uh, let's talk to the Troll Tech lawyers. Oh boy, time for another round of talks.

    GNOME? Well, let's see; we need to port GLIB. And we need to port GDK. Remove those X11 deps...and make sure we're not linked to any non-GPL non-essential libs. ;^)

    See my point? KDE has been legally dodgy from the beginning, mostly out of necessity. It was the best toolkit at the time. They didn't want to take the time to build up GTK/some other toolkit, and they liked QT, so they used it. The GNOME folks have worked on GTK since then, and it rocks. :^) Up until fairly recently, the KDE team couldn't even *touch* QT code if they wanted to without working for Troll Tech.

    Moral of the story? Want to undertake an Open Sourced (no apologies to RMS) project? Make sure your libs are licensed well, and in a way you can deal with--or they will come back to haunt you.
  • The biggest assumption is that an announcement is the same as action. We all know Dell's infamous comments about how Linux would never amount to anything, Sun's claims that Linux would never be a serious OS, Microsoft's claims that nobody had ever talked to them about Linux, etc.

    Let's be realistic, here. We've heard some words, but words are just that. Words. Hot air. Now, there's nothing wrong with hot air - without it, hot air baloons would not go very far - but until until it's translated into -some- motion of some kind, it's nothing.

  • Actually it is integrated into gnome now. Get the newest helix-gnome and look in the control center under "legacy applications".
  • It is not clear what exactly is the point of this article. We know GNOME will advance. We know KDE will advance. The GNOME foundation won't kill KDE.

    Some magazine article predicts that KDE is dead, but the GNOME people never said that. They never say the GNOME Foundation is meant against KDE.

    It is not necessary for the KDE people to respond to the GNOME announcement, which is not an attack on KDE.
  • The Sun website talks glowingly of all the really cool things they will do with Gnome... but those with a memory (and a web browser pointed towards the Open Group's website) will remember that Sun said pretty much the same thing for Motif/CDE.. and look where that went.

    That's precisely why I'm not entirely convinced by the GNOME Foundation. The took HP's (already grim) VUE desktop and threw in a bunch of designed-by-committee stuff to end up with the nightmare that was CDE. I'm just worried GNOME is going to be heading in the same direction. I presonally couldn't care less about KDE. I tried both, and absolutely hated KDE. It's just not for me. I'm not convinced that GNOME is either, but time will tell on that one. I wish both groups luck, but I remain unconvinced that I'll be using either of their products in the future.

  • KDE supports a limited subset of GTK themes - the plain engine, and the pixmap engine. That's a HUGE subset, but it's still only a subset. They don't support j. random engine theme. All KDE's themes are engine themes. While there's advantages to this, it makes it really hard for GTK (or anything else) to use KDE themes. grdb sets up theming for Motif applications, among others. All my athena and motif applications, and emacs, use my GTK theme. GNOME has no equivilant to the taskbar. That's not exactly my cup of tea, but I guess other people like it.
  • "[...] if we were to prostitute ourselves to big-money for the chance of being a media-recognized standard [...]"

    "[...] but I still have the utmost respect for the Gnome developers themselves."

    LOL. Cognitive dissonance, anyone?
  • Just like ghtml is khtml, like a Gnome .desktop file is a .kdelnk.

    grdb is nothing than an adapted version of krdb. Look at the copyright. But the latest krdb is alot better and sets the colors and so on for:
    * qt apps (not KDE)
    * motif
    * staroffice5.2
    * gtk/gnome apps
    * native X apps
    * athena apps

    the only thing not voered so far is xforms

    It is really neat, I can use all the gtk apps and they look almost as good as a native KDE app. They used to be in this ugley light gray or one of these pixmap themes. Really sticking out.

  • The point is not to compare current programming languages and cli interfaces (which are very primative) to current GUI, but to compare the possibilities of language interfaces.

    The only good example we have of powerful language interfaces is humans talking to each other.

    In your example of picking a color, the interface would be the user saying "Can I change the color over here" (and here they point, which is arguably GUI, but that point operation is still in a serial stream with their talking) "to be red, kind of like this color?". At worst the program should then respond "no, my engineer was too stupid to allow that color to be changed". Or you can ask "what are all the colors that can be changed?" and get a response, and stop it and say "yea, that one, change it...".

  • GNOME seems to pull existing projects into its base
    And that's a good thing. Remember, one of the supposed strengths of FreeSoftware/OpenSource is that you don't have to re-invent the wheel. If the GNOME project can take stuff like Gecko and StarOffice and Gnomify/Bonobize them, it proves that this important tenet of source availability is both valid and workable.
  • Why aren't both Gnome and KDE getting interoperability right so that Gnome vs KDE stops being a monolithic decision and becomes a matter of personal choice?

    They _are_ getting it right. They share the .desktop principle for desktop/menu links, there has been work on more compatible WM hints and both use the same drag-and-drop protocol. KDE2 will also include support for importing/exporting GTK themes.

    There is plenty of reason between the two teams and the majority of developers strives to interoperability.

  • Please explain to me how KDE is network hobbled?

    KDE has excellent network transparency, just like the rest of UNIX. Some of the network features are somewhat obscure and not well advertised, but they work.


    * arts: Designed to work over a network
    * kfiledialog: 2.0 version supports things like ftp and mail.
    * kedit: As long as I have used it, it can email the currently openned text file to whoever you want (I use this alot for sending test pages to the imaclinux staff list).
    * konqueror and kfm: http, ftp, besides the file protocol works. You can relatively add
    * dcop/kparts works okay over an network, however it is probably better to use mico for this. mico is still supported by KDE 2, however none of the core apps require it anymore. dcop has the big advantage -- it's very simple and fast (which is good for networks).
  • Is that Sun and HP, two of the biggest proponanats for CDE have finally taken the long outdated position of Dropping CDE and moved towards Gnome instead. Is this a slap in the face to either the KDE community or a huge boon for the Gnome community? I seriously doubt it. They got tired of trying to sell CDE when there are better, more aesthetically pleasing alternatives out there, Gnome and KDE are both examples of this. CDE sucked, it was ugly, motif is outdated and there are better libraries out there. So why would Sun and HP not want to drop the dead weight and throw their development weight behind something else? The question is why gnome? Why not something else. Rewriting CDE would be a huge undertaking. So using a codebase that is already established makes a lot of sense. And the potential licensing issues with QT for a commercial entity might very well be more than negligable. Hence Gnome make sense because all of the libraries are open source and therefore free. What does Sun get? A desktop that is fully functional, pleasing to use and look at, and costs them nothing other than a few developers time to make sure the port to Solaris functions. It makes sense from Suns position of trying to increase shareholders value, less expenditure on licensing costs equals a greater dividend at the end of the day. And Solaris users win in the end by getting something better and more functional than CDE. So, what if you want to run KDE on your Ultra 30 instead on Gnome? Port it and install it. Hack the QT-free libraries to run on Sparc, hack the KDE sources to run on Sparc, and install it. Better yet, after you get it working, make a package of it and upload it to Sun Freeware, so that you can share it with the rest of the world! That way everyone has the choice of what Unix Desktop they prefer. This is an issue of choice and as long as there are interested KDE developers and interested Gnome developers, both systems can and will flourish. The community wars between the two are rediculous, get over it...
  • Here's how it's actually going to go down:

    1) The System V folks will redo their GUI admin tools (admintool, SAM, SMIT) in GNOME, and continue their development there. So, shops that run the big 3 SysV Unixes will switch.

    2) The third-party admin tool folks will switch too, to simplify their work in creating tools for both SysV and Linux. This means Tivoli, CA, Veritas, etc.

    3) People wanting to learn their first GUI as a programmer have previously seen it as "I need to learn CDE if I want to get jobs, and GNOME or KDE if I want to write for Linux", so they'd usually choose to learn two interfaces, not all three, because it was the best way. Now, they have to either choose to learn two, or just learn one and be assured of available jobs *AND* good Linux development. A large percentage of them will make the obvious choice, GNOME, and rule that KDE isn't a good choice *EVEN IF IT HAPPENS TO BE BETTER WHEN THEY MAKE THE CHOICE*, because you can learn one interface more thoroughly than you can learn two.

    4) The commercial Unix vendors will see that going with GNOME makes them compatible with not just RedHat now, but also System V, and some of the more popular ones will switch.

    5) KDE will continue to develop, get better and better, and get less and less relevant. Eventually they'll start hemmoraging non-core developers, as those coders decide they'd like for their work in their off-time to improve their user experience at their jobs, where they're increasingly using GNOME because of #1 above.

    6) Long-time KDE projects will begin porting over to GNOME. Die-hard KDE folks will fork them and continue KDE versions, but they'll fall behind.

    KDE may never actually die; but it's peak in relevance will be reached very soon, and after that it's all downhill.

  • I never thought that Broook's Law had anything to do with Motif's lack of acceptance or inability to compete with GNOME and KDE. I always thought it had everything to do with the boneheaded licensing requirements attached to it.

    Let's see: I'm a small software developer writing X applications for a new PC-based operating system that's available for a pittance. Do I select a windowing environment that's free like GNOME and, to a slightly less free extent, KDE? Or do I choose one that has a licensing requirement that raises the cost of each development system by about US$1000 per seat? Hmm. That's a tough one. Oh, sure! Let's choose the expensive one! If it costs more it must be better, right?

    At least that's the choice that I figure the Motif licensors were hoping everyone would make. If only Linux, GNOME, and KDE had been around about the time I was looking for a UNIX to run on a PC back in the very early '90s... one less UNIX Labs royalty would have been paid.

    It's too bad that Motif went this route. By tying themselves to the giant, commercial, and ridiculously expensive vendor-specific UNIX versions, they pretty much ensured that they couldn't be part of the PC UNIX game. And I rather liked Motif. If it hadn't become so closely associated with the big computer vendor's UNIX products, it might have evolved into something a little less, shall we say, ``resource intensive''.

    But saying that it didn't succeed in spite of the programming resources that Sun and HP threw at it? No way. It was the costs that were passed on to the consumers and the small developers. It certainly can't compete in a open source development environment. A grand is a pretty steep entrance fee into the bazaar.


  • Are you trying to say "Desktop Integration is Bad", or are you saying that "The Unix architecture is so convoluted that nobody can do Desktop Integration correctly"?

    Whatever, but Integrated Desktop users on (say) MacOS or BeOS don't have to trace through 4 layers of script to get it working. The Magic happens to be great in fact for people on those platforms.

    What you are saying is that the stack of cards has gotten so high that it falls down randomly. Bad Thing, but you realize what Miguel of Gnome is saying about the suckiness lack of policy in the Unix infrastructure.
  • Will KDE ever have a corporate-backed "foundation" deciding it's future?

    I think it always has: in a sense, KDE is "backed by" Troll Tech, and it seems to me that KDE's future has already been influenced strongly through that, starting with the discontinuation of Harmony.

  • It is probably because of the QT license. gtk is free, open etc, while QT is not. I wonder if he realizes that when corporations make decisions these kinds of things come into play. It is not a matter of which one is better or whatever it is what is more economical. GNOME is totally free from the ground up. KDE has license issues and as a corporation they have to be careful about these things. Sure you can download KDE and QT for free, but it is not GPL. Maybe Sun is finally getting the clue about GPL. They are releasing there Star Office under GPL or so they say, maybe they want to use this and GNOME and create a totally free office suite to compete with Windows, and give people No reason whatso ever to use Windows.
    I don't want a lot, I just want it all ;-)
    Flame away, I have a hose!
  • Congfusing message from SUN. The weird thing is that if you install Star Office it asks to install into KDE NOT GNOME. Now when I click on all my pictures in KFM they get opened in Start Office. What KDE needs is a real easy to use GUI to change program associations.
    I don't want a lot, I just want it all ;-)
    Flame away, I have a hose!
  • "I'm not dead yet! I'm gettin' better."

    "Shuddup, yer not foolin' anybody."

    Seriously, this latest announcement does look like the last nail in the coffin. As far as "when did anything new and exciting happen with either one?" there was the Open Motif deal a couple of months ago, opening the source and making it mostly free (except on non-free OS's), and OpenMotif now has (mostly) the ability to use GTK+ themes. But it seems like too little too late, I'm afraid. Oh, Motif will be around for a long time yet, it has a lot going for it both as a toolkit and in terms of infrastructure (ie related tools) and installed base, but CDE is certainly on its way out, even if this move prompts the CDE copyright holders to loosen that up too.

  • Please let me know what code you have written, if any, so THAT I WON'T USE IT! The last thing I need is a program that will only run on the developer's computer. Slightly less annoying, but no less onerous are those programs written for 256Meg, 800Mhz and 32bit color. There's too many programs like that now as it is, which is why I like that status indicator.

    So your CPU is bigger than mine. BFD. At least I can pee around a pillar and you can't.
  • All those who think that these commercial offerings will subvert Gnome into some corporate whipping boy have forgotten the Linux philosphy - choice.

    Except that this won't be Linux. It will be Solaris and HPUX and AIX. This isn't some personal computer next to the refrigerator that you can install whatever desktop or wm you like. This will be a corporate desktop and you will have to go crawling on your hands and knees to the IT masters begging for permission to use WindowMaker, FVWM or (gasp) KDE.

    When I found a few sufficients megabytes that were not under IT control, I quickly installed WindowMaker so that I didn't have to run the dreaded, ugly and slow CDE at work. Others in my department did the same with IceWM and KDE. It would be especially ironic if we had to continue this sneaking around just for the *freedom* to use something other than GNOME.

    "Damn un-american commie pinkoes! Think they're too good for GNOME! We'll show them!"
  • "Qt is not free as in speech. If the Gnome team at Sun or HP or otherwise figure out something needed in GTK, they can code it up themselves and submit the patch. If it doesn't get accepted, they can implement the changes as a separate library within the Gnome project."

    Oh, the outright and blatant FUD being passed here is simply amazing. Do you even know what free speech even is? The Q Public License is free for free software and proprietary for proprietary software. By wanting Qt to be free for your proprietary software (I guess this is what you want), you are in essence saying "I want the right of free speech so that I can deny others their right of free speech".

    Qt is 100% Free Software as previously stated by Richard Stallman. It meets each and every one of his four definitions of Free Software. Qt is also 100% Open Source Software and meets each and every one of the 10 OSD definitions. If Qt is not free speech, than neither is the GTK.

    One of the sticking points of QPL that the GPL advocates can't stand is the clause that requires modifications to be submitted as patches. Yet right here the author is saying that Sun can submit a patch for GTK. Why is it so onerous to submit a patch for Qt, but perfectly normal to submit one to GTK?

    Sure they could submit changes to Qt, but why give code to a company that might later charge for it?

    First of all, the irony is that the "they" that you are talking about is Sun and HP! Second, and most important, your modification patches (the code that you are giving to Trolltech) does not have to be under the QPL. You can put these modifications under the GPL, the BSD or any other open source software license you wish. In case you dispute this, clause 3a of the QPL only forbids changing the license on Qt, and clause 3b says you may, but don't have to, use the QPL for the modification.

    Moreover, what would stop Troll Tech from charging for Qt in the future?

    Their license? Just a wild guess...

    As it stands, you currently have the legal right to use and distribute Qt 1x, and the legal right to use, distribute and modify Qt 2x. They cannot now or in the future take away these rights. If they should come out with a Qt 3.x that does not have these permissions, you can *still* use Qt 1x and 2x. Arguing that Trolltech might do this is stupid. The FSF might also do this for the applications that they hold copyright to. For either the FSF or Trolltech to do this is so remote that it's a waste of neurotransmitters thinking about.
  • Come back after you learn to read.

    I bow humbly before your majestic and unassailable arguments. Your logic has dumbfounded me. Let me bask in the glory of your mental acumen. I grovel beneath thee and beg of your mercy not to smite me with your keen wit and insight.
  • "Your freedom to swing your fist ends when it reaches my personal space."

    This is a childish and stupid phrase, commonly perpepuated by statist high school civics teachers.

    Freedom can mean a lot of things, but in the sense you are using it, it means liberty. And liberty is not nihilism. The fact that you are not allowed to hit my nose in no way lessens the amount of liberty you possess. It's easiest to think of it in terms of domains or spheres of control. You can do absolutely whatever you want within your own domain. It is only when you cross over into someone else's domain that you suddenly lose the right of nihilism. You may do whatever you want with your own property, including your body, your time, your labor, your house, your code, etc. But you have no rights to my body, my time, my labor, my house, and my source code.

    By releasing my software under an Free or Open Source license, I am giving you permission to enter my domain and do stuff. It's as if I gave you the keys to my house. BSD licensed software does not give you any more freedom than GPL software does, nor does the GPL take away more rights than the BSD license does. The only difference is the amount of permissions granted. You have an equal amount of liberty using BSD code, GPL code or even proprietary code.

    Of course, if copyrights are not valid law and software is not legitimage property, then certainly the GPL is more tyrannical and statist than the BSD license. But I don't wish to get into copyrights at this time. I'm assuming that those developers, including RMS, who copyright their own works believe that source code is in some way property. By saying what I can or cannot do with the software you have created, you are asserting ownership rights over it.

    You remind me of the folks that claim that they aren't truly free until they can sell themselves into slavery.

    But that is exactly what you do each and every day of your life. You sell youself to your employer for a certain amount of time each day. "But that's not slavery!" you cry. Of course not. It is absolutely impossible for a free man to sell himself into slavery. But it is possible for him to indenture himself for a period of time, such as eight hours each day to his employer.

    But this is completely beside the point. I'm wondering why you compared selling oneself into slavery with the BSD license? Licenses do not grant liberty (you're born with it instead). The "freedom" of Free Software has absolutely nothing to do with liberty or freedom of speech or anything else like that. You already have free speech. Software patents aside (which are truly onerous), there is no law, including copyright law, that prevents you from creating and distributing your own software creations. All software licenses do is grant the user a set of permissions with regards to the licensor's property.

    If you're looking for a license to set you free, loose you from bondage, or unshackle you from domination and slavery, you've come to the wrong place.
  • The reason that Sun and GNU can't get their C++ object files compatible is not the fault of C++, but rather the fault of Sun and GNU. It's doubly ironic that even GNU decides to break compatibility between versions.
  • When you compile KDE, you also include some code from the Qt header files (macros, types, etc.) so a part of the KDE binaries is derived from Qt. This code is not compatible with the GPL, which implies that you are not allowed to re-distribute it in a GPL'ed package.

    The same holds true for any license. Why then are some GPL applications allowed to link to non-GPL libraries but KDE is not? Why can XEmacs link to Motif and no one cares? Why can gcc link with proprietary Solaris libraries and no one cares? Because these libraries came with the OS or compiler or major components of the system. Well guess what? Qt comes with the OS of most Linux and BSD distributions. The exeption clause does not specify that the component must be an OS requirement, or be used by a certain number of packages, or be granted an imprimatur by Debian or the FSF, before it gets the exception. All it says is that stuff that comes with your distribution is excepted. And even if it wasn't, all you would need to do is distribute the source code. And guess what? The Qt source code is distributed.
  • They do, it's used extensively in preview releases of Evolution and Nautilus. Bonobo components already exist for software like EOG.
  • Those seem like a good, well balanced bunch of comments. It sounds as though the Gnome and KDE teams have a good working relationship, where what counts is the software - not some dumbass rivalry between the two teams.

    Let's face it, desktop choice is a truly personal thing. Everyone has a polarised view, which means there is more than enough room for both the K's and the G's of this world.

    ... if only more people realised that to be competitors doesn't mean that one has to do everything within one's power to destroy each other...

    "Give the anarchist a cigarette"
  • (For the less informed, the subject line evaluates to "Me too!")

    I am ashamed that Slashdot printed this article.

    No joke. The first thing I thought when I read The Taco's lead-in --

    The ongoing debate between KDE and GNOME has calmed down a lot in the last year...

    -- was, "Well, this story should fix that problem, then, eh?

    Keep in mind, I don't really care what Slashdot's Fearless Leader does with the site -- if it starts to suck too much, there's plenty more Internet out there -- but this cost Malda some karma points in my eyes. What an obvious troll/flamebait story.

    Bad Taco! No anime for you tonight!
  • That's just wallpaper and widgets. It has nothing to do with functionality. Sharing eyecandy makes no difference.

    KParts and Bonobo need talk to each other. Standardizing on XDND was a good first step, but only the first.

    Kind Regards,
  • Wow that's cynical, and probably true. I love C++ as a language but the author's (Stroustrup) inability to influence the standardization and upgrading of the language really hurt!

    Java has been able to add constantly to itself by being strictly, forcefully, and legally controlled by its authors. Could Servlets, EJBs, and Java 3d have been added as cross-platform open libraries if this wasn't the case? Alas for C++, which was just as good and had the potential to add all these things and be cross-platform. The big unices just didn't care enough about this.

    Also, it's a much better theory then that the companies were trying to tap into the "Geek Factor" being higher with Gnome (It has a "gn" in the name!).

  • The one I remember particularly was when a system menu appeared and was mostly off the side of the screen...

    From the assesment I made - short and superficial, by my own admission - it's difficult to determine that much about either. Fundamentally, they both appeared relatively strong. Obviously some things niggled - not enough keyboard shortcus, in particular - but the main thing which struck me was that KDE felt like a proper product whereas GNOME felt like the tech people just wanted to play with their code and hadn't then bothered to do the dull checking.

    It wasn't clearly a bad product, it just smacked of a poor development culture. No sign that they'd bothered to go over it and put in the spit and polish. Which, TBH, makes me wonder if there might be other things they've decided are unnecessary frills, like proper specification or design...
  • ... or maybe the big boys didn't want to get burnt by the licensing issues that make KDE possibly illegal to distribute.

    I'll freely admit here that I use Windows on my main box, and don't currently have a Linux setup. That's changing soon, but I don't have the time or resources to do it yet.

    However, back when I was at university earlier this year, my department had one lab full of Linux bixes. So, I played. For a while in KDE, then for a while in GNOME.

    GNOME shocked me. Menus appearing in the wrong places and a dreadful taskbar implementation are the two things that stick in my mind.

    Speaking as an educated (but, in this respect, novice) user, KDE won hands down. It just worked better and was always clear and logical. GNOME annoyed me and showed little evidence of people caring that much about the user experience.

    Note that this is a quick sample from a few months ago and that I have no idea what versions I was using. Based on that evidence, though, KDE absolutely walloped GNOME. If it was still like that, I wouldn't even think twice. Hence my wonder whether the main motivation is that GNOME is plausible and definitely legal, rather than that they think it's better.
  • What do you mean by menus being in the wrong places? Wrong as in not where a Windows user would expect them or wrong from a UI point of view? The former may not be wrong at all, whereas the latter is awful.

    My own perspective is that GNOME is a snail on my 'putrer, but KDE is a glacier. I use fvwm2 and am ecstatic with it; all the power this boy needs.

  • those problems all seem fairly minor.


    You're taking an amazingly shitty attitude toward a user with an issue. You don't get to invalidate his concerns. That's not your place.

    Furthermore, at least one of his issues is not minor. He has a problem with the culture of KDE as represented by his attempt to check in a valid bugfix. That was a terrible way to handle the problem. I could see deferring the patch until the next major release, but to reject it altogether smacks of bad software engineering and worse user relations.

    I didn't see the original poster saying anything about getting all his information from Slashdot; that's your assumption. Given that he is knowledgeable enough to submit valid patches to KDE apps (are you?), I seriously doubt that.

    You are a fool, and I hope you are not representative of the KDE community. Between the original poster's account and your response, I doubt I'll bother with KDE any time soon.


  • Respect would mean you criticize them constructively -- i.e. in specific terms that help them get better.

  • <cough>

    Let's look at the absolute *worst* case situation (from our point of view). Say Sun and HP contribute a significant amount of top-notch programmers towards the Gnome project and as a result, they overtake us. Perhaps for the first time, Gnome is better designed, easier to program for, easier to use, and more stable then KDE

    Wow, it'll take the combined effort of all of Sun and HP to make Gnome as good as KDE! It must be vaporware now!

    (Personally, I couldn't care less -- I use windowmaker or a console.)
  • The bottom line is that no matter how much you may love or hate KDE or Gnome; C or C++; CORBA or KDE's document alternative... you still have to admit that KDE was never even in the running, nor could it be. First, C++ is an unacceptable language for the core of a desktop on a UNIX box. You might love C++, but as KDE shows quite clearly, the diverstity of languages that UNIX supports cannot be matched through a C++ API (or any other language for that matter). Write your API in C and everyone (including the C++ folks) will have a interface, but write it in ANYTHING else, and you're locked to that language. As an example, I love Perl, but if someone suggested writing a major toolkit in Perl, I'd gently suggest that they go get their frontal lobes flossed. You write it in C and then create the Perl interface module using XS.

    The real problem, though, is Trolltech. Both Sun and HP were burned by the political problems of OSF (later The Open Group). They really don't want to turn Trolltech (not even a US company, which means less control) into another OSF. It's not that Trolltech is a bad company, it's that Trolltech is a company.

    Of course there are other reasons: CORBA is something both companies want to be part of their core offerings; GNOME brings with it a very nice set of C libraries that, if made standard across UNIX systems, would make development of even non-graphical programs much more reasonable (e.g. glib, libgtop, the XML and HTTP libraries, etc); Gimp....

    KDE will slowly become another Caldera... the legacy Linux desktop. It's not a comment on the quality of the code or the holy wars that have been fought. It's just the reality of the UNIX and post-UNIX world.
  • This makes KDE unacceptable to a UNIX vendor, because half of their customers buy C++ (at great expense) and the other half use g++. Which half will the support? GNOME, based in C, doesn't have this problem. So it gets tapped even though (IMNSHO) KDE is the better desktop.

    Add to this all of the developers who choose to use alternative languages. C is the lingua franca of the Unix world, and even the most out on the fringe languages provide reasonable facilities to link to C. For a variety of reasons, nothing similar is provided for C++.

    I really Like languages such as Haskell, Eiffel, and Ada, and each of these provides bindings for GTK. None provide bindings for QT (at least that I know of).

    For that simple reason I prefer Gnome.

  • Kurt Granroth wrote:
    KDE is a desktop "by the people and for the people" and if we were to prostitute ourselves to big-money for the chance of being a media-recognized standard, we would be stomping on all the people that have supported, developed, and used KDE throughout the years.

    Al Gore said [] last night:
    "A new prescription drug benefit under Medicare for all our seniors, that's a family value. And let me tell you, I'll fight for it and the other side will not. They give in to the big drug companies. Their plan tells seniors to beg the HMOs and insurance companies for prescription drug coverage.

    And that's the difference in this election. They're for the powerful. We're for the people."

    You've blown your cover! Kurt Granroth is Al Gore! :) (or at least, he's a politician...)

  • You're right...

    in a way. How many people here actually want desktop integration? I know that i don't. I like having to start programs on the cmd line and not having things happen by default.

    Take redhat; I recently installed it on a laptop, and first thing I had to do was to figure out how to disable that crap gnome/enlightenment environment and just get a normal window manager up and running. one without fsking session management. I get really uncomfortable when I have to trace four layers of scripts to figure out why this and that program was started.
    Magic is great in fiction, but I hate it on my desktop.

    Ok, in retrospect I perhaps shouldn't have chosen the gnome workstation install, but I wanted the libraries installed.
  • I completely agree. Rejecting this type of bug fix *in particular* is a total crock of sh*t. Any *competent* software engineer knows that integration bugs are total death and *any* bug fix that addresses this area, notorious for hard to reproduce conditions, is pure gold.

    If they actualy rejected the patch for the reasons stated they are *idiots*.

  • Did you know that Qt has already been ported to the Linux framebuffer console? I was surprised to hear it too. Did you know that it also runs on Windows (much better than the current GTK-Win32 port)? It will get ported to just as many architectures as GTK. That's not a worry. I'm going to be very VERY happy indeed to run a KDE2.x desktop on the Linux framebuffer console.

    Besides, there is NOTHING in the QPL that would forbid you from porting Qt on your own to a new kernel. You only need to port Qt, and then any app that is written with Qt (and no X deps) will run fine. The BeUnited project is porting Qt to the BeOS, I believe.

    As to your comment about how GTK rocks, I beg to differ. The pixmapped themes are still DOG slow, and they make your desktop suck up at least twice as much RAM as the ugly default. Qt 2.2 BETA is more stable AND is more resource-friendly than GTK+ 1.2.8, which is the version I'm running here.
  • Nautilus does embed a MP3 player if you view your folder as an mp3 folder (or maybe they call it a "music folder", I forgot). In other words, get your facts straight.

    Ok, I went into Nautilus again today and I went into my Music directory. Then I held my mouse over an icon for an mp3 file (Tyler Durden- Welcome to Fight Club.mp3) and lo and behold, it started playing the sound! Without even having said "Play this" or telling it to use a Music view (which also works, but transforms Nautilus into a full-fledged MP3 player), Nautilus was using mpg123 to play my songs.

    Have you used it? If you had, you would probably know what I was talking about. If not, then I can understand where your comments come from.

    For those interested, Konqueror still holds an edge over Nautilus in some areas... Konqueror automatically detects changes to the files in the current directory, and thus hitting "Reload" to see new files is no longer necessary. Konqueror also uses a much lighter HTML engine than Gecko (which makes Nautilus' memory usage even higher than pure Mozilla alone... and the most RAM-hungry app on my system) and can split any window into several "Frames."

    About the RPMS: Helix also provides Solaris support. Yet they haven't rounded out one of the EASIEST and most SIMPLE package systems yet? (TGZ packages.... gotta love them!) Slackware isn't some incredibly old version of Linux that has no recent inclusions. TGZs aren't that difficult to support. Anyway, personal feelings about the GNOME project aside, at least KDE makes it possible and simple to install their latest software on almost any UNIX that I've seen. I've seen KDE2 running on Slackware, redhat, Mandrake, Solaris, and FreeBSD.

    KDE consistently puts out clean, well-thought-out code and is making a serious attempt to provide a decent desktop for UNIX workstations. So, for me at least, as long as they keep making it, I'll keep using/bugshooting/abusing it. Everybody gets a choice, and I like it that way.
  • Evolution : (magellan) []
    Gnumeric : (kspread) []
    Nautilus : (konqueror) []

    We all make mistakes sometimes. oh, and if you wanted to point out the great and innovative Bonobo technology (which KDE "doesn't have!") then take a look. []
  • Not to mention the fact that KDE (once out of beta of course) is faster, more stable, and more colorful. (Always a plus!)
  • Sun said pretty much the same thing for Motif/CDE.. and look where that went.
    CDE is not free software so the same rules don't apply.
    The rules do apply. It is extremely arrogant to think that the GPL is such a magic bullet that it frees software of all the traditional bounderies. The GPL has two beniftes

    A) It's free. It keeps the software from being tied to the trails and tribulations of a given company.

    B) It allows more people to hack on it, giving a project almost infinate programmer resources.

    However, it does nothing for the following.

    A) Market factors. If a standardized *NIX DE just wasn't meant to be, it wasn't meant to be. The GPL, the BSD license, or RMS himself can't change that. If a certain type of program just isn't wanted, it just isn't wanted, OSS or not.

    B) Product quality. It hasn't been proven that OSS leads to better quality applications. The average major OSS project probably has about as many bugs as the average major commercial product. Although I think the quality of OSS software is more even, with fewer utter crap software, the best commercial software is often better. In terms of polish, OSS software tends to have less of that.

    OSS might actually HURT the following.

    A) Code bloat. Probably due to the sheer number of contributers (each with delusions of grandeur) large OSS projects tend to have more bloat. Very well managed projects (the Linux kernel) or smaller projects (Mesa) seem to overcome that problem. However, it can't be argued that some of the big OSS applications (GNOME, KDE, Mozilla) need to lose a few pounds in comparison with their commerical counterparts.

    B) Innovation. It seems that the great majority of high-profile OSS applications have been done before. Sure the OSS apps tend to build on that foundation, and often make the product better, but one rarely sees a segment buster come out of an OSS project.

    OSS is not a magic bullet. It doesn't automatically fix all the realities of software development. Those that don't realize this are deluding themselves.

    Will KDE ever have a corporate-backed "foundation" deciding it's future?
    It has had one from the start: Troll Tech pays developers to work on KDE so that it's propietary GUI tool can become a standard.
    Commercial entities may sponsor development on various aspects of KDE, but they will never be allowed to decide what KDE will become
    Try to ask the KDE project founder to consider changing GUI toolkits to a Free one. since he's a paid Troll Tech employee, I don't expect anything more than a
    niased excuse to come out of his mouth.
    "Niased?" I seriously think you are putting on your "all commercial software is crap" hat. Qt is a high quality toolkit. When the KDE project was founded, there was no OSS alternative. Now, KDE is too far advanced for them to change now. Even if some idiot DID decided to rewrite KDE for GTK+, it would require either a nearly from-scratch rewrite, or the resulting product would be a hacked together mess. Qt works well. It is nice to program. Most people have no problem with it. To switch away from it just to please some crazed fundementalists (there is one TRUE go... I mean OSS license!) is a idea so silly it doesn't deserve a second thought.

    PS> Qt is not necessarily in the wrong here. They believe that you should be able to charge for commercial uses of your software. They believe that the GPL doesn't satisfy that. If you disagree that they have a right to charge for commercial software, then fine. However it is just that, a disaggreement between beliefs. They have a right to license their software how they want, and you have no right to tell them what license to use.

    PS 2.0> If, however, it turns out the Qt is trying to cement it's position as the standard widget set, then of course it would make sense to use an alternative. However, it this point, your judging them on what they have the power to do, not on their actions. So far they've been open and helpfull to the OSS community. Until they actually DO something against the OSS community, condemming them is highly unfair.
  • Similarly, I get the impression that many of the KDE people here haven't used GNOME 1.2, which acts very little like GNOME 1.0. This isn't targeted toward you specifically, I'm just pointing out that both sides can make a skewed argument by referring to old versions of the software.
    No more e-mail address game - see my user info. Time for revenge.
  • just switch to motif style (or any of the
    advanced KDE 2.0 styles) and they will
    behave like Motif or GTK.
    windows style sucks.
  • What will prevent the prettier, easier-to-install desktop win the battle?

    How about ease of use, speed and overall gracefullness, combined with rock solid code stability?


  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 18, 2000 @03:50AM (#845502)
    It is possible to have gnome apps and kde apps installed at the same time.
  • So you're the guy who is been sleeping under a rock for a long time :))

    Seriously, do you look at slashdot more then once in 6 months? have you seen all the KDE 2.0 beta's? so WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT??

    Next Week, KDE 2.0 RC1 (Release Candidate 1) will be out - I suggest for you to grab the binary files or the source code (you can also CVS checkout now also) - and compare both..

    So please, check facts before you post!
  • by Eccles ( 932 ) on Friday August 18, 2000 @04:01AM (#845504) Journal
    I think this whole situation will be an excellent comparative case study. We get two projects with, arguably, reasonably similar status. One gets corporate backing, one does not. What effect does the corporate backing have on the project? In a few years we can look back and see.
  • by Rob Kaper ( 5960 ) on Friday August 18, 2000 @04:08AM (#845505) Homepage
    But what I don't understand is why this upsets KDE community.

    Some (note: *some*) KDE developers feel that GNOME has not really contributed so much yet and that there are more words than there is code.

    GNOME seems to pull existing projects into its base, such as Gecko, AbiWord, now StarOffice, etc. While "joining" these efforts and binding them (see GNOME as the glue) is a nice accomplishment and a great effort, some KDE developers feel that the actual coding progress is within KDE, having it's own Office suite, it's own HTML renderer, etc etc. Despite all the external contributions GNOME still hasn't caught up and some developers like to express that.

    Personally I wanted not to have any KDE reaction on the GNOME foundation, as (in practice) it doesn't affect KDE development at all. Most KDE developers are coding right now, not engaging in this discussion.

  • by AArthur ( 6230 ) on Friday August 18, 2000 @09:13AM (#845506) Homepage
    Time to upgrade to at least 32 megs of RAM.

    Seriously, if you have a half decent computer, it should be plenty of RAM for running multiple widgets and libaries at the same time.

    Especially, when an fast machine can have dual 1 ghz proccessors and 1024 meg or so RAM.

    Heck, I am stuck with 32 megs of RAM + 64 megs of Swap, on a PowerMac 4400/200 (with a 603ev processor), and don't have any problem running (right now) KDE + Netscape + X-Chat + xmms + gnapster. It gets a bit slow from time to time, but it's really not bad most of the time.

    Also, consider using a recent version of Linux 2.2, it has very good swap mangment.
  • by finkployd ( 12902 ) on Friday August 18, 2000 @09:37AM (#845507) Homepage
    Let's put things in prespective here. I'm running a 800MHz PIII with 128MB RAM. I'm not going to claim that I get serious preformance hits from running dual widget libraries, but I do notice things when I'm running Mozilla, VMWare, xmms, x3270, and about 10 e-term (don't ask) windows. I prefer to stick with either GTK or QT at the same time. I certainly don't HAVE to, but the old school, "grew up on a 8088" mentality in my still urges me to not lose cpu cycles and ram where I don't have to.

    Since for the most part applications overlap between the two nicely, it's not that big a deal to keep the segregated.

  • by Raphael ( 18701 ) on Friday August 18, 2000 @06:42AM (#845508) Homepage Journal

    I think that your analysis of the licensing problems is quite right. The two responses that are usually given are also usually countered with the following arguments:

    1. When you compile KDE, you also include some code from the Qt header files (macros, types, etc.) so a part of the KDE binaries is derived from Qt. This code is not compatible with the GPL, which implies that you are not allowed to re-distribute it in a GPL'ed package.
    2. Indeed, you could assume that the "Qt exception" (a suggested addition to the KDE license in order to make it compatible with Qt) is implicitely included in the code that was written specifically for KDE, because it is obvious that the authors of this code intended to have it distributed with KDE and together with Qt. However, a (very) small part of the KDE code was borrowed from other projects for which you cannot make this assumption. Thus the license for the whole package is a problem.

    But there is hope, especially about the second point... As reported on Wednesday, Mozilla is going to be dual licensed []. In order to change the license, they will get in touch will all contributors in order to be sure that they agree with the re-licensing. More precisely, as explained in their relicensing FAQ [], they will make a reasonable attempt to contact and obtain consent from each of the contributors (it may not be possible to contact all of them, so the law only requires them to be able to prove that they made a reasonable effort).

    If the Mozilla team can do it, then the KDE team should not be scared to do it. Maybe there is still hope for KDE2 to be released with the "Qt exception" in all source files. This would put an end to this licensing controversy, and this would benefit KDE (a lot!).

    This would probably not end the GNOME vs. KDE flamewars, but at least they would have to consider some more technical arguments instead of flaming KDE for its licensing problems.

  • by Arandir ( 19206 ) on Friday August 18, 2000 @02:29PM (#845509) Homepage Journal
    Don't forget which side start the dissing first. If you don't have long term memory, start checking out the old KDE mailing lists to find posts by Miguel. Kurt may be perpetuating an unjustifiable flamefest, but he was hardly the person who started it.

    If you spent any time in the OSDN booth at LWCE, you found a lot of Andover employees and volunteers talking about the "death of KDE" with smiles on their faces. This was especially ironic since those folks in the FSF, GNOME and KDE booths seemed to get along quite well.
  • Gnome is fundamentally slicker than KDE.

    Okay... that's purely subjective... I actually personally like the look and feel of KDE 2.0 much better than Helix Gnome. I liked the "Feel" of KDE 1.x better than earlier Gnome, and since at the end of the day, I need to get work done, I went with KDE from 1.x.
    But it's all subjective here - I don't think anybody wins on superiority,

    When you start an Helix Gnome session, and type "free", you simply have 9 or 10 more free megs than when you start a KDE session (1.1.2 or pre 2.0), for similar functionnalities.

    Yes, but I've noticed that KDE eats less memory per app. I *really* looked into this because of a memory leak in a beta of 2.0... I played with KDE + only Gnome apps, BlackBox + KDE apps, and some other combos. Lots of experimentation, but no hard numbers - the apps that *you* run may lead to different results. I'd wait until 2.0 is final release anyway... having followed the alphas for some time, they get leaner each release - the developers seem to take a "make it *work* now, and *then* optimize it".

    Free software was supposed to bring "obsolete machines" back to life, or at least to slower the rythm of obsolescence. So, yes, this matters. The situation is similar when it comes to speed.

    Not to me. I run dual Celeron 350, Pentium II 450, and a dual Pentium 700 as my desktop machines (work, home experiment, home office in order). Every one runs KDE of all flavors with no problem in 64 megs of RAM. (When I got the new dual 700, I had to spread out memory... it was a month before I got some new memory).

    In average, a Gnome/Gtk tool is ~30-40% smaller than its KDE/Qt counterpart.

    Okay, are you taking memory footprint or size of the file on disk? And *how the hell do you compare*??? Sure, on disk, the kword binary (a nicely featured word processor) is 3428 bytes, and abiword (a nicely featured word processor) is 1053 bytes. Somehow, I don't think that's the end of the story. Even when they're loaded, is it with an empty document? A paragraph? An embedded spreadsheet, several multimegabyte images, and an mpeg?

    I've always hated the "show me the numbers" game (because it so often can be balanced either way), so I'm just going to say - all apps run fine on everything I'm going to use 'em on. They all do what I need. I like the potential of KOffice, and I think stability and interoperability is much more of a priority (not *better*, not *worse*, just a higher priority) than many gnome apps.

    KParts seems to work pretty well, yet it's just a smart ad hoc and proprietary hack.

    *Bzzzt.* Name calling is no way to promote *or* disgrace. Linux is a "smart ad hoc and proprietary hack". So is the GPL, Bonobo and how I set up my pavilion at SCA events. "Hack" is an elegant solution to a problem in *my* dictionary. Everything is propritary to the people who use it.

    Roughly, it replicates OLE/COM.

    Not a bad thing, if done right... and Konqueror is *damn* fast. As fast as IE on a speedy winbox, and that is fast.

    I won't tak about Gtk+ and Qt, yet there's also a lot to say about this.

    And it's going to be shortly clear who is hiding spite behind a veneer of religious indignation: 2933010813&w=2 [].

    Evan "Who uses KDE2 on BlackBox for a lean, powerful desktop" E.

  • by Bouncings ( 55215 ) <ken AT kenkinder DOT com> on Friday August 18, 2000 @06:54AM (#845511) Homepage
    Indeed. It's interesting that usually it's the users, not the developers who are the ones doing the slamming. Developers can't afford to just critisize projects, they are more interested in bringing the ideas they like over. As evidence: the KDE 2.0 panel is a hell of a lot like the Gnome 1.0 panel.

    This editorial is a different case indeed. I've never heard a developer call corporate backing "prostitution" before. Say what you will, but I think being paid to write free software is a hell of a lot better than being paid to write proprietary software at work, then coming home to write free software. Tell me: which one was selling out again?

  • by be-fan ( 61476 ) on Friday August 18, 2000 @08:49AM (#845512)
    Nice equation. Unfortuneately, true. GNOME is still chunkier than KDE. The sad part is, the GNOME at 1.2 is chunkier than KDE at 2.x. While GNOME's size will increase quite a bit in 2.0 (like KDE's did from 1.2x ->2.x) KDE's won't increase from 2.x->2.x. Meaning that when GNOME and KDE are on the same level in terms of features, GNOME is be a lot more heafty than KDE. Of course, that brings us to Solaris. Quite a nice OS, and indispensible on those quad-proc SPARC boxes. However, there is a warning to all newbie Solaris users, never run it on a single proc box. Solaris IS quite heftier than Linux. Interestingly, Sun is targetting this combination at DESKTOP users. Will your computer be able to hold up under the burden?

    PS> With the coming of GNOME, KDE, and Mozilla, have you noticed how many Linux zealots have removed "bloated" from NT's list of transgressions?
  • by Jason W ( 65940 ) on Friday August 18, 2000 @08:06AM (#845513)
    Who USES Gnome or USES KDE? This whole debate is a joke as far as I'm concerned. Gnome and KDE do NOTHING work talking about. 'gnomecc' and 'kcontrol' are the settings/control programs for G/K. What is in there?


    • Desktop options
    • Gnome-edit settings
    • Mime types
    • Multimedia
    • Keyboard/mouse
    • Session management
    • URL handlers


    • Same as gnomecc
    • System information
    • Network
    • Sound
    • Window Behavior

    The only reason kcontrol has anything more is because it includes settings for kwm, whereas gnome relies on a separate WM.

    So I ask you again, who gives flying f* what "desktop environment" you are using? They do NOTHING. It is the programs that do everything. I run KDE, but I program in GTK only. Incompatible programs are a pain in the ass (although I hardly experience any problems currently). Imagine trying to tell a Linux newbie that he can't copy and paste between two different applications because of what they were programmed in.

    To conclude this rant, let me say this:

    I should be able to use any program made for GNOME or KDE, almost to its full potential, with a program made for the other "desktop environment". In TWM. Period.

  • by JebOfTheForest ( 207893 ) on Friday August 18, 2000 @05:04AM (#845514)
    "A picture is worth a thousand words" - it's a myth. Draw me a picture of "love".

    Not a big appreciator of art, are we? I've seen a lot of pictures that convey love in a lot of ways better than any number of words. I particularly like Klimt's "Fulfilment".

    Your message reads like flamebait, but you hit a nerve with me, so I'll take it.

    Language is a very powerful medium for communication. I'll give you that. However, language was designed to work with certain hardware limitations: humans can't display imagery as complex as a computer in real time. They can talk, write, or wave their hands; all relatively light data streams. Furthermore, computers, while they do posess very wide information bandwidth, cannot understand human language in any meaningful way. They can be set up to recognize certain character streams in a certain way, but in no way does their use of text streams approximate the power and flexibility of language.

    If you don't like GUIs, that's fine, don't use them, but please don't make it sound like GUIs are somehow starving users of information. People can take in more data in image form than in straight-line text. The coded metaphor of visual interface is highly effective for communicating functionality of objects without explicit enumeration. For example, when I'm using a programming language, say C++, I spend a lot of time checking the STL docs: "What operations exactly does a map support?" Sometimes, simple, language-based, but ultimately visual metaphors help: the difference between a stack and a queue is fairly intuitive from their names. However, in a more complex functionality space, or in a situation where time resources do not lend themselves to such intense study of documentation, a simple picture may help a lot. Take, for example, the VCR-like controls on most GUI media playback applications. Have I ever had to look up how to play, stop, rewind, or fast-forward a media stream in any sort of resource with a GUI tool? No. I just know, because the image of the buttons serves as a pointer to media-playback knowledge I already have. It hashes into the part of my brain where information about how to work stuff is stored. On the other hand, lets look at something like say, mpg123. Playing a file with mpg123 is obvious only from my experience with similar crappy command line tools: "mpg123 ". But how do I interact with it when playing? How do I play multiple files? How do I skip over the files when playing through a bunch of files? How do I rewind to something? None of this is obvious, if it is even possible. If I ever want to know how to do this, my workflow is broken, I must look up mpg123 in the manual. There is nothing inherently wrong with learning how to use all of your tools extraordinarily well, it's just that often, time resources are not sufficient to allow such intense study of documentation for all the tools that must be used. The first time I used xmms, I was playing files and manipulating playlists instantly, with no documentation study at all, the time saved gets me back to code.

    Let's take another example: GUI configuration. I run fvwm2. Whenever I want to change something simple, like a color of something in fvwm2, I need to go through a long textual configuration file and hope I can judge from context what line sets the color. Often, the color is not explicitly set, it's a default, so I need to start paging through some documentation to find out how to do it. Now, fvwm2 is incredibly flexible, in part because of these files, but for certain simple tasks, it is a huge pain. In windows, on the other hand, when I want to change a color, I go to the "Colors" dialog box. There is a miniature image of the window interface. I click on the part I want to change, then I click on a color to change it. How intuitive is that? There is no need for documentation because the picture of the windows exactly communicates what I am changing. There is no wondering what "inactive child area" is. Is it the area in the focused program that isn't being used? Is it the area unfocused windows? Not obvious. With a GUI, I click on what looks like what I want to change. Faster, easier, no studying needed, I'm back to work.

    Funny you should bring up autocad. Most of the people in the place I work spend their whole day in autocad, much like I spend my whole day in xemacs and some shells. In this situation, extreme customizability and speed of textual interaction easily triumphs over intuitiveness of use. Autocad is hard, like vi/xemacs is hard. It's for experts. There are no casual autocad users. That's fine. However, in the majority of computer usage domains, the visual knowledgebase that a GUI leverages greatly increases usability. Most users don't have time to read all the manpages for mpg123 or fvwm2, using them is not their full-time job.

    Furthermore, the fact that autocad uses a programming language internally is another special case. Autocad users are generally engineers. They have probably had some programming in school (my college required it), and probably think in a mathematical way, anyhow. Making them learn to use a programmming language in this situation is a lot different than making my mom learn the fvwm2 config file structure so she can change the colors of things.

    Furthermore, why should everyone have to be a programmer if it is possible to allow them to get their work done without forcing them to invest the time in learning to program? I have been programming for years and I still feel like a novice. Forcing users to become programmers is not a manifestation of respect for users, it is a sign of laziness. The programmers should figure out how to allow the users to do what they want to do without learning the programmers' skill set. That's like saying that when you buy a house, you should be handy with carpentry, cause the walls may come apart and you should be able to fix them. Or if you buy a car, you should be able to fix it when it breaks on the road. That's absurd! We expect carpenters and car engineers to provide total solutions that present the user with a manageable interface. It may be true that I could wring more performance from my car if I could adjust ignition timing, fuel/air mixture, cooling rate, etc., as I drove, but it would be a huge pain in the ass. I don't want to do that. I want to get from my house to work so I can program.

    The GUI is, in effect, as much of a "language" as shell commands. It has nouns (windows, files, etc.) and verbs (click, drag, select). The user can state things to the computer by clicking on things, etc., and the computer can communicate back via these same visual elements and some text. The difference is that instead of requiring the user to go all the way and learn a whole new computer-oriented language, the GUI attempts to first of all build on the visual language the user already has (photo-editing suites contain dodge/burn and crop tools, cad suites contain rulers) and to leverage a common set of linguistic ideas between programs so the user only has to learn them once (the maximize and minimize buttons always do the same thing. Unfortunately, this idea is largely ignored in unix GUIs).


  • I won't deal with the "uses less memory" argument. I see a different pattern when I use KDE. Namely that KDE-1.1.2 is smaller than any Gnome version ( including this Helix stuff ). I also see KDE-2.0 being smaller than that. However PCs vary and so do compilers and tags and other stuff. "YMMV".

    This is why I am still a little pissed that they didn't link to the interview I submitted in which Kurt dealt with the whole "Corba Issue". Here is the full quote. This is more valuable than his whole rant above.

    Kurt: Yes, we did. The initial development on the KDE 2.0 branch was all done with Corba, using the Mico ORBb.

    Liz: What changed that?

    Kurt: There were several reasons. We worked on the KDE 2.0 development starting when we were still stabilizing KDE 1.0. We spent months on it but were unhappy with the results. The performance was very bad. That, we knew, was potentially fixable through the use of a different ORB, possible Orbit. In addition, though, the complexity of the code, the complexity of the Corba standard, was such that the code became more and more difficult to work with. Eventually, we only had a small group of seven or eight developers who really understood it and could work with it. That was a huge bottleneck for development. Then one of our developers sat down and developed KParts, an alternative to CORBA, within only a short amount of time. He showed it to us. Not only was it blindingly fast, but the code itself resembled the code we'd already written for KDE 1.0. That made it possible for all of our developers to work with it immediately.

    Then we had our KDE developer meeting in Europe. We sat down and looked at the potential cost of dumping CORBA. We would be losing the ability to use remote components, but we didn't know anyone currently using that ability and felt it could be added later if people really wanted it. Interoperability with other CORBA implementations wasn't a major impact; everyone builds their own layer on top of CORBA (like Bonobo) and you really have to be compatible with that, not just CORBA, in order to interoperate. So all we really felt we lost was the buzzword. That isn't important to us as developers, so we moved to KParts.

  • by AArthur ( 6230 ) on Friday August 18, 2000 @09:37AM (#845516) Homepage
    I have tried GNOME 1.2, and my feeling were it was passable, but not particularly enjoyable. Then again, I am probably used to doing things the KDE way, and not the GNOME way.

    FYI: I went Afterstep -> KDE -> GNOME -> KDE.

    Here where my complaints about GNOME (probably partly my fault):

    * gmc still sucks. It's gotten better, and more stable, however it has locked up my box hard a few times, it's icons are unprofessional and not eye pleasing. The second problem is a matter of taste. Forently, the GNOME team is addressing both of these problems with Natilus.
    * panel's app menu is sluggish, no matter how I change the settings. The kpanel app menu is always fast for me. I think 24-bit color PNG mini images used in the menu are mainly to blame for this. I guess a faster machine might help, although I those mini icons, should probably be 8-bit xpm, which is much faster to load.
    * panel is still unstable. I think this is due to the design of the way applets load, and the bonobo panel to applet communication bugs.
    * I like to see more intergration between the wm and GNOME, and the same with the file manager.
    * Also, I would like to see some scriptablity (like KDE has with kwmcom or dcop command line app).
    * grdb doesn't work nearly as well as krdb. Mainly because grdb is based on an really old version of it.
    * gdm needs a gui config app
    * GNOME feels to unix-ey, and not very Mac-ey or
    Window-ey. Part of this is in the design purposely, most of the GNOME creators are UNIX people, who are used to writing UNIX software in motif.

    However these problems are relatively minor, they can easily be fixed. There are many excellent GNOME apps that I use everyday in KDE, such as X-Chat, GnomeToaster, gaim, xmms, etc.

    While I like GNOME alot, it has many fundimental problems that KDE has addressed. Being able to run GNOME apps almost seemlessly in KDE 2.0, makes KDE very attractive to me, not to menition the numerious other benifits.

    PS: I don't give a damn about whatever licensing shit. I just want to use the best. I'll leave licensing up to the lawyers.
  • by orabidoo ( 9806 ) on Friday August 18, 2000 @08:05AM (#845517) Homepage
    IMO, the licensing problem that made Sun and others prefer GNOME over KDE, is not so much compatibity between the QPL and the GPL (because, after all, the KDE authors are the copyright holders to the KDE code, so they're the only ones who could sue you for not following the GPL to the letter, but they are clearly telling you that you can and should distribute their GPL stuff along with QPL'd Qt, so no court would seriously listen if they somehow suddenly decided to change their tune). The real issue, is that these desktop environments also come with foundation libraries to build apps from, that are *very* useful to make good apps that do common thigns (have a UI that fits, play sounds, print, etc), in a consistent way. Now, you don't want to restrict a desktop so that you can only write free (as in open source) apps on it. That would be like writing an OS that can only run open source apps: it just woulnd't fly. One fairly important point of the Free Software philosophy is that ideally all software should be free (as in speech), but that non free software should also be able to work with free software, when it's layered enough to be a separate entity.

    in the case of KDE, you just can't build a commercial, non-free KDE application without paying Troll Tech. And *that* is what is makes KDE unacceptable as the ultimate free desktop for Linux and Unix. *Especially* for companies like Sun, who want to be able to make apps for whatever desktop they adopt, and these apps are not necessarily going to be all free. And they want to be able to tell ISVs that they should be coding for GNOME rather than Motif/CDE now, without having to tell them "code for KDE, and pay the Trolls everytime".

    In the end, my opinion is that it's KDE's obstination to stick to Qt (and develop closely with it) that has ultimately doomed KDE as the mainstream Linux/Unix desktop. At the time KDE started, using Qt was the only expedient way to build a desktop, relatively quickly. But they chose to follow the Qt APIs very closely, without building layers of abstraction between the toolkit and their apps, and this has continued up to now, when KParts is intimately tied to Qt. Contrast this with GNOME, whose component model (Bonobo) is toolkit independent, and then the components that use it happen to also use GTK calls. Considering Troll Tech's decision (very justifiable for them as a business -- i'm not trying to criticize them) not to make Qt freely available for non-free development, the KDE team should have taken a step back after the 1.0 release, and either work on the failed Harmony project to re-create a LGPL Qt replacement, or switched their efforts to GTK, helped the C++ bindings mature, and ported their stuff on it. If they'd done that, we'd probably only have one desktop environment now, and Miguel de Icaza might well be a KDE hacker. But that didn't happen, and GNOME is now reaping the benefits of its more far-reaching vision, in the form of significant commercial support.

    I say, good luck to both teams :)

  • by ethereal ( 13958 ) on Friday August 18, 2000 @04:08AM (#845518) Journal

    OK, I'll bite. I installed Mandrake+KDE on my home desktop machine because I promised my wife that Linux would look almost exactly like windows. That's more-or-less what I got with KDE (I have some different themes that I use but she's sticking to plain vanilla KDE look and feel). The only bugs that cause us real trouble are the usual Netscape 4.x problems (hopefully soon to be a thing of the past), and some minor issues with kmail and the KDE biff program. However, if I had to do it all over again, at this point I'd probably install Gnome. Here's why:

    • Gnome seems to be under active development more right now. I know that KDE 2.0 is sucking up all of the KDE development team's time right now, but for a long time their efforts weren't publicized and it seemed like they were resting on their laurels. Gnome on the other hand suffered some bad PR for going 1.0 a little early, but has more than made up for that since then. Gnome seems to have taken more of an evolutionary path whereas KDE 2.0 is going to be revolutionary, but I would have liked to see some of the improvements from KDE 2.0 rolled back into the 1.x line for those of us who have been using 1.1.2 for a while. I prefer gradual incremental changes to major disruptions.
    • The KDE team hasn't been real responsive to user-submitted bug fixes. I had some problems with kmail, found and fixed a bug, and sent it in to I heard nothing. Two or three months later I got an email saying that although it was a good fix, few people would ever see the bug and thus it would not be applied. I consider this bad user relations - I see this particular bug often (it concerns date handling for emails you receive from other email clients with broken date handling) and it wouldn't hurt the other 99% of users to pick up such a bug fix, but it would help the 1% who do see the problem. So that sort of left a bitter taste in my mouth. I was corresponding with one person and not with the whole KDE project, so I don't want to tar the whole team with this brush, but it really was a different response than the other open source projects to which I've sent bug fixes.
    • At the time that I installed Mandrake+KDE, I hadn't had any real experience with Gnome. After having looked at it some more and seen the neat things that the Helixcode and Eazel groups are doing, I'm much more interested in trying Gnome. This, combined with the fact that I'm not liking Mandrake so much any more, means that my next install will probably be Debian+Gnome. The biggest reason that I picked KDE in the first place was so that it would look like windows for my wife, but Gnome has a task bar, a desktop, etc. like she's become used to in KDE, so I don't think switching to Gnome will be too tough for her now.

    Note that these are all my personal opinions and perceptions based on my experiences, not a flame directed at any of the development groups. I appreciate the efforts of the many desktop environment hackers out there and am happy to be able to make use of their efforts at home.

    Now, aren't you sorry you asked?

  • by Dacta ( 24628 ) on Friday August 18, 2000 @05:21AM (#845519)

    Somewhat to my surprise, I found a lot of non-linux people quite concerned about this.

    I use GNOME at home, and I program at work in Borland Delphi. Borland is porting Delphi to Linux (Kylix), and it is to use the Qt toolkit, and have some degree of (optional) KDE intergration.

    This was all fine until the GNOME-Foundation announcement came up, and then a thread began in borland.delphi.non-technical (I think) about how Borland might be going the wrong way with Kylix. A lot of windows Delphi programmers who were/are planning to port to Linux were very concerned that their apps would (a)"be left behind" or (b)not run at all

    It took a lot of explaining to make them understand how you can use KDE apps in GNOME and vice versa.

  • by LetterRip ( 30937 ) on Friday August 18, 2000 @04:07AM (#845520)
    I thank you for expressing your views on the matter, and it pleases me that the KDE team are not daunted by publicity and commercial backing of Gnome, indeed - I would be somewhat dissappointed if they were. I think that a major push for Gnome will have the effect of 'raising all ships' for *nix's so KDE could well see a nice boost in developers and users as well.

    I am rather dissappointed in your numerous backhanded slaps that you have made at Gnome - it is true that the 'old tech' that is KDE 1.2 compares quite favorably with Gnome 1.2, and that KDE 2.0 looks like it has a lot of great stuff going for it. However Gnome has some great stuff going for it to - have a look at Evolution, Gnumeric, or Nautilus - these are wonderful tools that KDE has nothing that really compares. And these are all in the early stages, I fully expect them to blow away ANY commercial offerings not long after 1.0.

    So again, both teams have a lot going for them and both have different strengths and weaknesses.
    It should not be an either/or choice - because neither are a complete solution.

    Tom M.
  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Friday August 18, 2000 @04:07AM (#845521) Homepage Journal
    It's hard to see how you can have the "utmost respect" for a hacker and yet say his products are, well, second rate, not to mention to come within spitting distance of calling him a sellout and corporate drone.

    I have both KDE and Gnome on my computer and regularly switch between them. Although most of the time I work in plain ole IceWM, KDE has regularly remained my favorite desktop. The continual torrent of great new features and improvements each team has made over the last year simply amazes me. My hat is off to them -- as hackers they're in a league way beyond me, and coming from a arrogant old sinner like me that's something of an admission. The fact that both teams are so productive means there's no reason to resent resources the other one scores -- its hard to make really big improvements when you're already doing a great job.

    The idea that the Gnome foundation somehow hurts KDE is rubbish. I know Kurt says he believes this too, but I wonder if he may not entirely believe it; at the very least he sounds like he has a little case of sour grapes. No matter. When KDE2 comes out, the KDE team will have all the vindication they need.

  • by brokeninside ( 34168 ) on Friday August 18, 2000 @04:32AM (#845522)

    I don't think that Sun is worried at all. For all of Linux's positives, it doesn't even begin to compete with Solaris on the type of big boxen that Sun likes to sell. Sure, Sun still sells workstations, but its been quite a while since the public has thought of Sun as a work station company. Sun's core business is big honking servers. When Linux begins to deal well with 64 CPU servers with Gigs and Gigs of ram, then Sun misght start to get worried (and Beowulf class clusters only count for a very limited domain of problems).

    And even then, when Linux becomes the equal or superior to Solaris in every aspect, Sun will still not have anything to worry about because Linux will run on Sun's hardware, from whence the bulk of Sun's income comes from.

    What Sun and HP are likely after is someone to do free work for them. Right now, its likely that both Sun and HP are spending a good deal on supporting and maintianing CDE. Moving to Gnome frees up a lot of resources people wise, time wise and money wise.

    Further, if they sanction and support Gnome on their proprietary Unixes, all of a sudden it becomes much easier to run thousands of (currently) Linux only apps on HP/UX or Solaris. This is a wise move that could conceivably increase marketshare for workstations which are profitable for Sun, even if no longer their core business.

    Just my two cents.... Eat them for what their worth.

  • by Hard_Code ( 49548 ) on Friday August 18, 2000 @04:24AM (#845523)
    Yes, perhaps just a link to the article would have sufficed...instead of embedding it in Slashdot giving the feel that it may be Slashdot sponsored. I would expect that we have a feature on the opinion of *GNOME* on this issue coming up soon?
  • by Carnage4Life ( 106069 ) on Friday August 18, 2000 @03:51AM (#845524) Homepage Journal
    I am ashamed that Slashdot printed this article.

    This developer not only dissed the quality of Gnome but also their principles. Then believes that a quick backpedal at the end "I think some of them are cool hackers" will make up for this. This is unconscionable, CmdrTaco, I know flamewars drive page views but causing enmity between KDE and Gnome by printing this obviously flamebait article will only hurt Open Source.

    This is truly sad.
    The Queue Principle
  • by molog ( 110171 ) on Friday August 18, 2000 @04:37AM (#845525) Homepage Journal
    KDE 2.0 (still in beta) has features TODAY that the Gnome guys are TALKING ABOUT ADDING AT SOME UNSPECIFIED TIME IN THE FUTURE.

    Not to be too pissy, but what features are you talking about? Could you please give some examples of what you mean and maybe some links to both projects to confirm this?

    So Linus, what are we doing tonight?

  • by dpilot ( 134227 ) on Friday August 18, 2000 @05:54AM (#845526) Homepage Journal
    Funny, when I first started looking at them, I thought KDE looked like a Win-Wannabee, and GNOME was trying to be the OO UI that OS/2 had. Over time and some GNOME usage, I've become disillusioned with it, too. This is especially as one reads more and more if Icaza "wanting to do Windows, only the right way".

    Well, I believe a share of Windows problems are architectural, not a matter of implementation. You simply can't come up with a clean implementation of a broken architecture.

    The last straw finally came in the past few weeks, in two parts. First, I've been looking to get my wife off of AOL, and went searching for IMAP cllients for her to select from. One of them required a non-GNOME library, but I could only find a GNOME update of it in RPM form. That required a few more GNOME updates, and so on. Eventually I would have had to download an update tens of megabytes of stuff just to test a stupid GUI MUA. I gave up. Later I found a "non-GNOME encumbered" version of the library, and discovered I didn't like the MUA, anyway. At about that time, Icaza comes out with his "make Unix suck less" rant. IMHO it looks like a wishlist to come up with a middleware layer on Unix roughly akin to Win32. In other words, he wants to take the problems I just had, institutionalize them, and make them even worse.

    I agree that shared code has been a bit of a problem in Unix. But IMHO, the lib*.so.* system works, we just need to use it better. I don't want to see the API turn into a monolithic mess, especially one that has to be installed in the form of two dozen inseparable components, and that's just for the run time.

    I will probably continue to have GNOME and KDE libs on my system, just for access to their applications. But at present, I run neither desktop. They're both too win-like and too bloated for my taste. I just wish I had the WPS for Linux. Well, at least DFM is alive, again.
  • by mirko ( 198274 ) on Friday August 18, 2000 @04:39AM (#845527) Journal
    What I see here is that this kind of debate is generating some stupid competition in which you have the technologicaly-happy (KDE) and the ethically-happy (Gnome).
    IMHO, KDE is smoother and more complete than Gnome. Like it or not.
    But now, if we just let people choose ONE solution instead of us then we might encounter a problem similar than the Windows one we just start to solve by bringing variety to the desktop market.
    So ? What is the best UI ?
    This is the one you'll take time to choose, not the one (whether goods or bad) that somebody will have decided that YOU will install on your Personal Computer.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 18, 2000 @05:16AM (#845528)
    As a sometimes Kde developer but not a core developer and all times Kde well-wisher, I'm rather dismayed by Kurt's speil. It comes across as rough and overly emotional, but then maybe such theraphy is needed. I liked his interview featured in this week's Linux Weekly News (lwn) a whole lot better. It was prettified, of course, by lwn editors, but still captured a wry sense of humor Kurt is capable of better than this does. However, like the gallery in the golf movie "Tin Cup", all I can say is, go for it Kurt, if it makes you feel better. Ten years from now nobody will remember who won the corporate endorsement PR sweepstakes, but they will remember the remarkable effort Kde developers have made, setting records where it counts.

    Where is the press release from Kde about being voted "best desktop" or whatever at this week's Linux World Expo? It's true. Kde is the most popular desktop among Linux professionals - the people who attended the show. These are not newbies needing a smooth transition from Windows by any means. Of course among the newbies Kde is at least as popular.

    The only substantative thing in Kurt's piece I would disagree with is making a hasty comparison between the current Kde 2 betas and the current Gnome, which is 1.21 + updates. Kde 2 is very near completion. They could probably take a snapshot of the current work, check for showstoppers, and put a 2.0 label on it right now. However, Kde 2 is very, very ambitious. Kde really is using a component model for *everything* now, not just talking about doing so. Some modules which aren't ready have been tentatively moved out of the base packages to get the release out, and Kde 2 probably won't be as stable as the current Kde 1.12 until verions 2.1 or beyond. The changes are extensive to *everything*. It's a complete rewrite, and some Kde 1.x users will not like some of the changes at first but I feel that most of these are improvement which will grow on them. Also, there will not be as many Kde 2 applications written by third party developers like myself at first. We are waiting on a stable release of the base packages for that. Even though the core team has tried to avoid source incopatible changes through the beta period, doing so may be considered unrealistic for such an ambitious project. I look forward to the stable release mostly so I can jump in and start coding appications using the new framework and the new Kdeveloper IDE, which is very, very nice.

    I have always been drawn to Kde because it is the original effort to modernize the unix desktop, and what has followed in more of a pale imitation. I feel that even non-technical users can sense this also. After getting somewhat involved in the development process myself through submitting bug reports and monitoring the lists, as well as working on some Kde code, my intuition about Kde has been amply confirmed. The project truly is a labor of love regardless of some commercial backing (mostly to pay the salaries of full-time developers). There is no slick PR machine and even the concept of that is foreign to how those involved in the development of Kde think. What better proof than the above - an attempt at PR by someone who is not very practiced at it, or maybe not even capable of such a mentality.

    The best kind of PR Kde can engage in is simply to publish the facts about numerous awards for best this and best that, and the real figures on usage. These figures may be much higher than most of you who read Slashdot may think. I'm sure that they will remain just as high or even reach higher percentages regardless of efforts by a commercial consortium to define what the "standard" desktop for unix might be. Let the users define the standards.

  • by Amphigory ( 2375 ) on Friday August 18, 2000 @04:26AM (#845529) Homepage
    I suspect that the real reason that *n[ui]x vendors are attracted to GNOME is that it is in C.

    The problem is simply this: there is no standard binary formats for C++ object files, even on the same platform. So, code compiled in g++ will not link with code compiled in Sun C++ will not link with... While there is a draft standard for object format, no one is following it yet, and probably everyone won't for years.

    This makes KDE unacceptable to a UNIX vendor, because half of their customers buy C++ (at great expense) and the other half use g++. Which half will the support? GNOME, based in C, doesn't have this problem. So it gets tapped even though (IMNSHO) KDE is the better desktop.


  • The subject line above is a joke. Nevertheless, I can't help but wonder if KDE will ever win corporate backing from any large software company with lawyers, given the immense uncertainty hanging over the GPL-compatibility of Qt.

    Based on my personal (and possibly naive) readings of the GPL and QPL,

    • I can distribute Qt source code, without problems.
    • I can distribute KDE source code, without problems.
    • I can distribute Qt binaries, if I provide source as well.
    • I can distribute KDE binaries, if I provide source as well.
    • I can not distribute KDE binaries along with Qt binaries, if the one links to the other, unless I provide both under the terms of the GPL (which is plainly impossible, as I do not have rights to license Qt under the GPL).
    (The above analysis may make it seem as if I have something against KDE. I assure you that any such impression is purely a product of the reader's imagination. I think KDE is excellent software and that it is useful regardless of binary licensing issues, since the source code is a valuable asset and may unquestionably be compiled, copied and modified under the terms of the GPL. Also, the authors of KDE are free to release KDE binaries along with Qt since the GPL license terms do not apply to them.)

    Common responses which I have gotten back from the KDE people include:

    1. Qt is not a part of KDE, so when giving KDE to other people you don't have to provide Qt under the GPL terms that would be required if they were one work.
    2. The fact that KDE was so obviously designed to work with Qt confers to the general public an implied license to ignore the GPL source-providing requirement of KDE with regard to Qt.
    Let's not discuss the merit of these points (since that would lead to a licensing flamewar). These responses certainly represent a valid point of view. But are big companies going to buy it? Lawyers at big companies are very careful and don't want to get caught doing anything illegal. I simply cannot see companies such as Sun, IBM, and HP embracing KDE on a large scale as long as the legality of distributing KDE with Qt is unclear.

    For now, commercial support of KDE really does seem to be limited to newer companies such as Red Hat, Caldera, MandrakeSoft, etc. who maybe aren't as worried about the licensing issue. Not that this is a bad thing--as Granroth says, large corporate backing certainly didn't help CDE/Motif get anywhere.

  • by Guy Harris ( 3803 ) <> on Friday August 18, 2000 @10:17AM (#845531)
    KDE2 and Gnome are DnD compatible (more or less).

    He said "clipboard", not "drag-and-drop".

    The problem is, I suspect, that Qt doesn't acknowledge the existence of the "clipboard" selection in X (which is documented in the ICCCM, even if they didn't bother assigning an XA_ atom to it); instead, it uses only the primary selection.

    This has two disadvantages:

    1. other toolkits that think the clipboard is, as per the ICCCM, implemented by the clipboard attachment don't see stuff cut or copied to the Qt clipboard on a paste, and don't cut or copy stuff to the Qt clipboard on a cut or copy;
    2. merely selecting something, at least in, for example, the Qt multi-line text editing box, causes it to be copied to the clipboard (the claim I saw in the code was something about X users expecting this, but I'm curious if only X users who confuse cut-and-paste with middle-mouse-button paste-current-selection would expect that; the middle button is not the UNIX/X cut-and-paste mechanism, it's a mechanism over and above cut/copy/paste), which, I suspect, makes it a pain if you want to replace one blob of text by another by selecting the blob to be copied, copying it to the clipboard, selecting the blob to be replaced, and doing a paste (which worked just fine copying from, say, UNIX Netscape, a Motif application, to Ethereal, a GTK+ application, when I tried it just now) - I'll have to check when I get home (where I have KDE applications available) to see if that works.

    I suspect the first problem could be fixed by having the QClipboard code in Qt for X assert ownership of both the primary and clipboard selections, and having it supply the contents of the primary selection only if the clipboard selection isn't set (for backwards compatibility with applications using older versions of Qt).

    The second problem would be harder to fix, as you'd have to:

    1. provide some Qt API to set the primary selection - and, in the Windows version, somehow either make that work with some Windows mechanism or implement it internally to Qt, as I infer from the code that Qt for Windows ("infer" because I don't have source to Qt for Windows - I don't think they make that available) that, at least when the Motif look-and-feel is specified, they try to provide middle-mouse-button paste-current-selection if your mouse has 3 buttons;
    2. change code (in Qt, KDE, and elsewhere) to use that API for changes to the current selection and for middle-mouse-button paste-current-selection, and only use QClipboard for genuine cuts, copies, and pastes.
  • by Kid Zero ( 4866 ) on Friday August 18, 2000 @03:44AM (#845532) Homepage Journal
    Corporate Backing does not insure a great program. Or success of a program. OS/2 was great, but unsupported. Sun/HP have gone this route before, why did they suddenly choose Gnome? Cheap?
    1,2,3,4 Moderation has to Go!
  • by Rob Kaper ( 5960 ) on Friday August 18, 2000 @03:43AM (#845533) Homepage
    KDE is too distributed and diverse to permit me to speak for everybody

    Please, please keep this in mind when replying.

    You can disagree with Kurt's views, but don't take it out on KDE as a whole. As active member on the kde and kde-devel mailinglist I can tell you that this is not at all the general thought, there are plenty of developers who rather look at their own efforts than paying a lot of attention to GNOME, especially with the nearby release of KDE 2.0 and a heavy debugging rage among the developers.

    Let's keep this discussion informative, insightful and interesting. There are obviously hard feelings between the KDE and GNOME teams but let's not degrade ourselves to such nonsense.

  • by finkployd ( 12902 ) on Friday August 18, 2000 @03:53AM (#845534) Homepage
    While he has some good points, it seems he is struggling to keep his rage in check while writing this :)

    Personally, I like both and use GNOME at work, and KDE at home. I would have liked to have seen a little more positive supporting of KDE and showing off of KDE's strengths as evidence that they aren't worried instead of backhanded accusations of GNOME whoring itself out to the highest bidder. I kind of reminds me of whenever a punk band gets signed to a record lable, all the other punk bands jump over themselves attempting to cast them as "sellouts" :)

    The thing to remeber is that this is open source. SUN and HP do NOT control GNOME, the devlopers do, and if for some reason the devlopers give in to all that money and become corporate puppets and screw up GNOME, it simply forks and continues like nothing happend. We've seen this before people.

    However, the point that throwing money and devlopers at a project does not mean it will suddenly improve is well taken, and nobody should assume the GNOME foundation will succede simply based of this this reasoning.

  • by nitehorse ( 58425 ) <> on Friday August 18, 2000 @03:51AM (#845535)
    What I'd like to know is why the GNOME project is making such a big deal out of the things like Bonobo. Bonobo is a great technology - IN THEORY. I'm posting this from Nautilus right now, and I can say that honestly, even if it had ALL of the features that they claim it will, I would still use KDE2.

    Konqueror still boasts several features which I don't see in Nautilus, and likewise vice versa. But I don't need a filemanager that plays my MP3s when I hover over them- I'd rather have one that embeds an MP3 player when I click on them instead. KDE2 is making some great strides forward for UNIX desktops in general, not just Linux. Besides, Helix in particular seems to be pretty unfriendly to even some versions of Linux. How do they expect to take over the UNIX desktop market if they don't even have a working Slackware installer? Things like this boggle the mind...

  • by GavK ( 58709 ) on Friday August 18, 2000 @03:57AM (#845536) Homepage
    I understand the views, I just disagree with it being an issue.

    Why aren't both Gnome and KDE getting interoperability right so that Gnome vs KDE stops being a monolithic decision and becomes a matter of personal choice?

    I want to drag a block of text from kword into an openoffice spreadsheet, and embed that openoffice spreadsheet in the afforementioned kword document while running either desktop (Maybe I feel gnomic one day and troll-techy the next), and have the system stay stable.

    Actually I don't, because I'd have to be even more insane than I am to want to do that, but I want to be able to, dammit!

  • by Havoc Pennington ( 87913 ) on Friday August 18, 2000 @04:49AM (#845537)

    This article seems to imply that Sun, HP, etc. will be controlling the foundation; however, the only decision-making body in the foundation is a board of 9-15 contributors elected by the membership. As of now, over 2/3 of the members are not employed by a "GNOME company." Also, no company is allowed to have a majority on the board. Since 2/3 of the membership consists of volunteers, there's little danger of corporate control.

    (Of course, the board won't be telling people what to hack on anyway, since that wouldn't be very productive, as anyone who's in a free software project knows. It's just a way to organize our efforts and enhance communication within the project and with outsiders such as companies.)

    Companies that join the foundation join an "advisory board" with no decision-making powers. The advisory board also has nonprofit members such as the FSF.

    I think it was also misleading to mention only Red Hat among the Linux distributions; at least TurboLinux and Debian are also shipping GNOME as the default (or only in Debian's case) desktop.

    In any case, there's no cause for FUD; it's exciting to see large formerly-all-proprietary companies contributing to free software alongside traditional open source supporters. That's the way I look at it anyway. All the code is GPL, it's not like we can lose anything; they can't steal our code.

  • by Denor ( 89982 ) <> on Friday August 18, 2000 @03:51AM (#845538) Homepage
    That seemed like a pretty reasonable exchange, nothing too harsh, and everyone acted like adults.

    People, that's just not going to work at all.
    I mean, civilized debate is nice these days, but it's just not going to pull in the pageviews and generate the advertising money. What we need is something more like:

    National Enquirer: "David Talbot, the 'D' in KDE, to join new GNDOME initiative!"
    Weekly World News:"9 out of 10 alien anal probe devices run KDE!"
    Jerry Springer:"My wife is cheating on me with a GNOME developer"

    Then, and only then, will Slashdot get the attention and pageviews it deserves!

  • by vapour ( 102049 ) on Friday August 18, 2000 @03:50AM (#845539)
    I just prefer VT100 :)
  • by tjwhaynes ( 114792 ) on Friday August 18, 2000 @04:00AM (#845540)

    The spectre of the failed CDE desktop has been bounced around a lot in the wake of the Gnome foundation announcement. The reasons for its appearance are obvious - commercial Unices have dipped their hands into the waters of a standard desktop before and then messed around with the concept without really going anywhere with it. I have access to CDE on the AIX systems I work with, and while it has some plus points, I opted to use FVWM instead as being a more customizable interface.

    But why should we be tarring Gnome with the same brush as CDE? The motivations are different - Gnome has arrived as an already competent desktop object model. It is not perfect, not is it complete, but it covers enough now that it is fully capable of most tasks. It has been written by people who wanted a GPL'd desktop model and decided that the licensing issues with Qt were sufficient motivation to not develop KDE instead. And why do these commercial Unix vendors suddenly care about Gnome? Because it is eclipsing their own offerings in available scope and applications written for it. It makes perfect sense from their perspective that they should go with the flow and convert, support and maintain a widely used desktop system. I don't suddenly see this 'Big Brother Unix' appearing on the shoulder of Gnome and controlling its destiny. Rather I suspect that we will see bug fixes initially as these vendors get their paws on Gnome, followed by patches and new bonobo objects, new applications under the GPL or otherwise, and greater integration of Gnome into their own offerings.

    All those who think that these commercial offerings will subvert Gnome into some corporate whipping boy have forgotten the Linux philosphy - choice. If we don't like it, we don't have to take it or use it. And that applies to piecemeal offerings and patches equally as to whole applications.


    Toby Haynes

  • by rgmoore ( 133276 ) <> on Friday August 18, 2000 @04:07AM (#845541) Homepage
    I do find it ironic, though, that it is *Gnome* taking this step. Could anybody have possibly imagined this when Gnome started? Weren't they the "hacker desktop"? Didn't they have all the "desktop for the people" principles? Hmm... times change, I guess.

    Those who don't understand the Free Software ideal (as very distinct from Open Source) are doomed to say really stupid things about it. It seems really obvious to me that a person who would make the quote above doesn't understand the principles that he's complaining about. Complaints about QT were not about corporate involvement (as the above quote seems to suggest is the big sin among the FSF crowd) but about lack of programming freedom.

    Part of the FSF ethic is that anyone is free to hack on the programs, and that "everyone" includes big corporations. To tell Sun and HP that they mayn't become involved is actually more contrary to the spirit of the GPL than accepting big corporate money. The problems come when people try to place restraints on the code. Given that everything is going to be kept open by the GPL, I don't see this as being a big problem.

HELP!!!! I'm being held prisoner in /usr/games/lib!