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Sun Microsystems

Interview with Sun's GNOME Hackers 143

Ur@eus writes: "Ever since Sun joined the GNOME Foundation people have been wondering exactly what they have been working on. To solve this we have done an interview with some of the people Sun have working on GNOME. The topics discussed include the background for Sun choosing GNOME, Accessibility, Useability and more. You find the interview at"
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Interview with Sun's GNOME Hackers

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  • Impressive... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Halloween Jack ( 182035 ) on Wednesday August 29, 2001 @02:32PM (#2231167) Homepage
    ...they've actually got a blind guy on the team. (And that's how he identified himself:"I am a blind guy...") Gee, is anyone from Apple reading this? Hello, Apple?

    • You've got to give it to sun though--they seem pretty keen on GNOME usability. Heck, I can see how having a blind developer would certainly push usability in a whole new direction...

      • i expect that having a blind usability developer would be good for skilled interface navigators (probably most of /.'s readership), not just the blind. having predictable key combinations and standardized effects is good for the blind and the quick.
    • Do they have Deaf people working on OSS?
  • by blamario ( 227479 ) on Wednesday August 29, 2001 @02:36PM (#2231200)
    This came down to a comparison of QT to GTK+. We favoured GTK+ mainly because it was C based. We have more experience with C, it is more portable, we wouldn't be exposing C++ interfaces that might cause problems with different compilers and we would still get a nice object framework to work with which is well suited to GUI development.
    This is the only reason for choosing Gnome over KDE they mention in the interview that remains valid today. It turns out that KDE suffered because of the well-known failures of C++ standardization.
    • The licensing issue is still partly valid: 3rd party developers of proprietary software would have to license QT, whereas they could use the lgpled GTK+ for 'free'.
      • Sigh. 3rd party developers of proprietary software ARE NOT REQUIRED AND HAVE NOT BEEN REQUIRED FOR A VERY LONG TIME to purchase licenses for the GPLed QT for Unix. If they wish to develop for Windows or OSX or other platforms they do. Seeing as GTK for both this platforms is in extreme-alpha stage, I doubt this is going to be much of a problem.
        • I don't want to get in a flame war, but I think you are misinformed. QT is licensed under the GPL and QPL, which allows one to use it to produce software that is also GPLed. This is the QT "Fre Edition". According to []
          trolltech,the "Professional Edition" must be used to write proprietary software. Here is an excerpt from their page:

          Included below is version 1.0 of the license used for version 2.0 of the Qt Free Edition. The license is called the Q Public License (or "QPL"), and qualifies as an Open Source license. It is thus appropriate for people wishing to write software under the Open Source model where all source code to the software is made available to all users and can be freely modified and redistributed.

          The QPL prohibits development of proprietary software. For Qt our Qt Professional Edition product is available for this.

          (emphasis is mine).

          If you did not interpret "Proprietary" as "Non-GPLed", then we are arguing over semantics, and you really didn't need to YELL AT ME LIKE THAT.. Anyway, what I originally said is true, and does present problems for both Sun and other vendors who don't wish to be beholding to trolltech if they want to produce and sell proprietary software. I don't think it is necessarily good that Gnome makes it easier to produce closed-source software, but it is true.

          • Sorry, I misunderstood your original statement. I was wrong, you were right, and I DON'T NEED TO YELL.

            Thanks for a polite response.


      • THAT is the fundamental reason IMO. I work for a small ISV ( and we sell a software library. We distribute a GUI test program that uses our library and we wouldn't want to have to either GPL our stuff or par the Qt license so Qt is out of the question.

        The argument that a fee for a software toolkit is just a small part of development cost is relevant only if there are no other free ($$$, LGPL, beer) toolkits available.

    • Funny they went for functional programming over OO programing. Seeing as this is the company that made Java...
    • Instead, by using C, all interfaces are exposed using a pseudo-object framework. Is this supposed to be a good thing? C++ is standardized now -- what difference do past problems make? If you take a look at KDE, you'll find a LOT more code reuse vs. GNOME. Programming languages are supposed to make programmers' lives easier, not harder.
    • The requirement that all Qt-using programs either be GPLed or else developed with a license from Troll Tech, and that all KDE-using programs be GPLed, is still an issue for Sun. Gnome lets proprietary programs be developed, and KDE does not.

      (In that regard KDE is closer to RMS's thinking than Gnome, despite past hostility between RMS and the KDE team).

      • Not necessarily, even if RMS wants all software to
        be GPL he has also stated that it is correct to use the LGPL in instances where Free Software needs to replace well established proprietary software and due to that needs to lower the barrier of acceptance as much as possible.
        In this case we need to replace MSWindows so using the LGPL would be the correct license.

        A typical example of this was RMS supporting the GPL compatible BSD license for OggVorbis because he realized that in order to replace well established proprietary formats that was probably the best solution.
      • Oh yeah, I hear yah...

        GNOME is a subsidiary of GNU, which is founded on the idea that all software should be Free, so of course allowing people to use your code to create unfree and subjugating software is a Good Thing(tm).

        Oh, and Qt is not licensed under the GPL, it is dual licensed under the GPL *and* the QPL, with an option to purchase an even freer license.
      • The requirement that all Qt-using programs either be GPLed or else developed with a license from Troll Tech, and that all KDE-using programs be GPLed, is still an issue for Sun. Gnome lets proprietary programs be developed, and KDE does not.

        You are lying. Do some research and discover why
      • Of course KDE allows proprietary programs to be developed - look at all the proprietary software that theKompany produces. The only difference is that these developers must pay the Trolltech tax to do so.

        When RMS said that it was sometimes better to make a library GPL instead of LGPL, it was because this gave other free software, which used this library, an advantage if it had something that similar proprietary software didn't have or couldn't use. Naturally if you dual licence the original library under the GPL and a commercial licence (eg. as in QT's case) then you lose this ability. In addition, he only recommended using the GPL instead of the LGPL where there wasn't a proprietary library in competition. In those cases (eg. Ogg vs mp3/etc ) it is better to use an LGPL or even Xfree style licence.

    • Hmmm, yeah..

      I think gnome has a better oo design than kde.
      • Basically, yeah. But Sun's choice for GNOME was not because of the quality of either object model. It was based on the pain that their customers experience every day (remember Sun supports a C++ compiler, the poor bastards) trying to develop portable applications in C++.

        Sun has basically thrown in the towel on C++ in favor of C and Java. Like it or not, I think the C++ community needs to face the fact that in the quest for the niftier dynamic, run-time, thread-safe, GUI-friendly, type-aware, wiz-bang language, they frittered away a decade of user pain. Now, 10 years after C++ started to get wide non-accedemic press, we're all suprised that no one's buying the "it's ok now, C++ is standardized!"

        Wake up and smell the assembly folks!
    • The problems with the Qt license as are serious for ISVs today as they were then:

      Another problem at the time was the licensing of QT from TrollTech. The LGPL license of GTK+ was more attractive as it offers our ISVs a cheaper alternative to a costly toolkit.

      TrollTech now allows redistribution under the GPL, but ISVs still need to pay a steep licensing fee. What possible interest would Sun have to commit their customers to writing to a toolkit that costs them a lot of money and that Sun has no control over? The KDE/Qt licensing is worse than the CDE/Motif licensing from the point of view of ISVs.

      You see, in the real world, the license issues involved in Gtk+ vs. Qt aren't about "freedom", they are about economics. Qt just doesn't cut it there--if people had wanted to pay that kind of money for a toolkit, they didn't have to wait for Troll Tech or KDE to come around.

      It turns out that KDE suffered because of the well-known failures of C++ standardization.

      Don't shift blame. This isn't a "failure", the kind of standardization you are talking about was never promised for C++. The KDE project should have known that. In fact, overall, ANSI C++ has probably turned out to be a much better language design than one might have thought a few years ago, but as the basis for a GUI toolkit, it is still a third rate choice.

      The KDE project made two seriously bad choices at the start (choosing Qt and C++), and it doesn't matter how nice the KDE desktop becomes (and it is pretty nice) those issues will just not go away.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    thank god *somebody* is working on usability. Linux is great for hackers that know everything about computers, but you've gotta remember that most windows users have a computer IQ of about 12. They want soothing colours, nice pretty fonts, and a generally relaxed feel to the whole thing. This is one area where KDE and GNOME both need some work.
    • have you even looked at either in the last 2 years
      i dont care about the average joe sixpack. i would rather have a great desktop i use and those people do not. I dont want to deal with them ("my document wouldnt print so i hit print another 46 times") I like the way linux is evovling, they day any idiot can use it (read, idiot, there should be a minimum intelligence level here, not just geniuses by any means but someone that can figure out to turn dial up to the internet before complaining) the charm of linux will be lost, i hate idiot proof interfaces, easy interfaces are nice, but idiot proof is horrid.
      • I think you have misjudged the nature of usability

        The key of usability is not removing functionality, but instead focussing on how intuitive it is. In a GUI, things must make sense, and useful features should be obvious (useless features should be less obvious). Everytime you need to cower to your command prompt, that is counter-intuitive.

        A truly intuitive system would be the most productive, and would save you time. The reason better users use the CLI is because it is faster if you understand it. This is now starting to change, and I imagine that users are turning to the command prompt less and less because of the increased usability of desktops for Linux.

        Finally, there is a lot of fear that the command prompt is being stolen. Trust me, it won't go away, but if you want more people to use Linux, there is no way you will do it by forcing a command line down their throat.

  • by tgd ( 2822 ) on Wednesday August 29, 2001 @02:52PM (#2231264)
    Its dog slow. Really incredibly slow. Even though I prefer the Gnome environment, on this SunBlade I'm using, its not even remotely usable. I ended up switching to KDE, which is so much faster than Gnome, someone should be embarassed.

    I'm hoping Sun will do something about these performance issues sooner than later, but I'm not holding by breath given that the slowest JVM they have is the Sparc/Solaris one too.

    Now if only someone would release KDE 2.2 packages for Solaris (I've had zero luck building it from sources!)...
    • have you tried the new 1.4 unsupported version? any previous version was horribly slow but since the upgrade i've been amazed.

      it's funny i've been using gnome on my sunblade for months now and sure it doesn't load as fast as CDE, but i find the interface in gnome much more intuitive

    • Whaddaya mean "Gnome on Solaris"?? I tried running Gnome on my P2-266 Linux box two years ago and it was not even remotely usable. I've been a KDE convert ever since. I work for Sun, and even with the explanations in the article, I'm still mystified as to why the conclusion was that Gnome is better....KDE is going to be much more familiar to the typical Solaris CDE user.
      • Not sure what you're basing this on other than your own personal experience. I won't really touch your comments on speed since they don't contain any hard numbers or real data and I don't have any to counter with--I'll just say that both GNOME 1.4.1 and KDE 2.2 run equally fast on my outdated machine. As far as your comments about the "typical CDE user" I would really like to know what you're basing this on. What is a typical CDE user and why would he/she prefer KDE? I used to be a CDE user, fairly typical at that--both at Washington University and at Unigraphics Solutions. GNOME was most suited to my desires/tastes both as a user and programmer. As a user I found GNOME to be a beautiful interface, loved its extreme configurability, and found number/quality of GNOME applications to greatly exceed KDE's offerings. That was a couple years ago. Today I think KDE and GNOME each offer an outstanding desktop, solid development environments, and a great collection of applications. Each has its set of strengths and weaknesses--but I'm glad we have choices...I root for all Free Software, even if I do align myself with the GNOME Project.


        • I can't say I recall what version of GNOME or KDE I was working with, but they were both the "current" versions at the time. Of course it's based on my own personal experience, I didn't say otherwise did I?

          I say a typical CDE user will prefer KDE because it has a very similar look & feel, as opposed to GNOME which is a brand new things that doesn't bear much if any resemblance to the environment they're used to.

          That doesn't mean that GNOME isn't more configurable, it just means that KDE will be more familiar.

      • Two years ago!! Two years ago there wasn't really a comparison between KDE and Gnome. Gnome was still busy building a useable widget set and a fast Corba ORB. They really hadn't even started on actually making a useable desktop.

        Gnome has come a long way in two years.

        The reason that SUN chose Gnome over KDE should be fairly obvious. First of all, the Gnome libs are released under the LGPL and so you can use them to create commercial software. Several important KDE libs, on the other hand, are released under the GPL (the QT widget set being the most obvious example). This means that it is impossible to create commercial closed source KDE applications without purchasing a special license from TrollTech. That gives Gnome a major advantage over KDE for a company that sells software. The second reason that Sun chose Gnome over KDE was the fact that Gnome is based on Corba. KDE's DCOP might be nice, but it's not a Sun sponsored industry standard like Corba is.

        • This means that it is impossible to create commercial closed source KDE applications without purchasing a special license from TrollTech. That gives Gnome a major advantage over KDE for a company that sells software.

          If you ever coded something with Qt/KDE resp. Gtk/Gnome then you would know that developing with Qt is a lot faster then with Gtk. This little bit extra development speed counts much more than license fees.

          • After you've worked on a large project for a while you realize that the amount of time actually spent in the GUI is tiny. Especially with tools like glade and libglade.

            BTW congratulations on KOffice 1.1. Looks really good. Lots of competition for us Abiword hackers.

            Keep up the great work on KDE :-)

            Martin Sevior

            AbiWord - Word Processing for everyone.
          • Regardless of development speed, there's no way that Sun could have gone with Qt. There are no licensing fees associated with developing under CDE. For Sun to ask their customers to dish out $2000 per developer to some other company would be suicide. That's doubling the cost of an Ultra 5 development system. Sun customers would simply revolt. Arguing the attractiveness of Qt would do no good. They don't care. Most of them write networking software and the GUI component is not something they invest much time in. Anyone who ever cared about selling desktop oriented software moved over to the Microsoft world.

            And it's not just the cost of the license, it's the fact that Sun customers have to deal with a 3rd party when before they just to deal with Sun. There's the extra cost of managing this relationship, calculating the number of licenses to buy, etc.

            Sun has the resources to develop a toolkit just as good as Qt from scratch. But the last time they tried that (OpenLook), everyone revolted against them. But they can always improve GNOME. Gtk may have a messy C interface, but you could always use a C++ binding to abstract away the details. Similar things have been done with Motif. C++ is nice and all, but C++ library compatibility is nonexistent right now. Until every vendor can ship with a C++ shared library that gcc and all the commercial compilers can link with, standardizing on C++ will be impossible.
      • I used KDE for about two years, switched over to Gnome a few weeks back. The main reason I switched was for Galeon []. Best web browser I've seen for Linux IMHO.

        Anyway I think you would be shocked to checkout Gnome vs. KDE at present. All my KDE apps work in Gnome and I haven't noticed any change in speed.
    • Packages are now available from

      I have built KDE 2.2 without any major problems on Solaris 8 (and KDE 2.1.1 on Solaris 7). If you want some help, you can contact me. Or if you want some more expert help, please contact the mailing lists and You can read them at []

      Good luck!
      • What I meant with "Or if you want some more expert help..." was something like "if you want better help than you can get from me..." :)
    • I'll have to disagree with you. I've don't both a home-rolled Gnome and the pre-1.4 pfg that Sun put out. Mind you, I'm on a Ultra5 and I've not experienced any problems that'd make me want to roll back to fvwm, mwm, or *shudder* cde. But I guess ymmv.
    • Put it on a quad UltraSparc 2 server w/ 4 GB of RAM, and it works a little bit faster...

      Make that a whole bunch faster.

    • Really? We have a bunch (10) of Sun java terminals (woohoo, the X terminal is back... the id cards and session freezing is really cool tho :) running off a Ultra-60 dual cpu machine, and Ximian Gnome is pretty snappy. Unless you have some serious configuration issues I cant imagine it would be that much slower for a single Blade machine.

      It's pretty fast on my own HP B2000 machine too, even running over dual monitors. Well, the using it part is pretty fast. Compiling it all from scratch um... wasnt.

  • Having a commercial player on your team does not automaticly mean success. Hell, take a look a CDE. That had ALL the commercial Unix players involved, and they threw 10's of millions of dollars at it, though I think a lot of that money got swallowed up in meetings and red tape between the vendors.

    A programmer writing something because his heart and soul is in it does a better job than one who's motivation is the next month pay cheque.

    • Yhea, CDE is crap, but, honestly, everything that the Open Group put out was crap, or do you like Motif ?

      I think that's do because the big players fear suggestion stuff that' sactually good, because then the other partners would also get it. (The mind property crap).
    • You're right it's not necessarily a good thing, and it doesn't mean success but what it does mean is commercial credibility. Having a large successful company behind suddenly makes the project seem more professional. Very few corporations would use a community driven app simply because there wouldn't be any support for it and they wouldn't know from one day to the next if the app would still be around. With the backing of a large company suddenly there's stability added to the project, along with financial backing, and I'm sure what most companies are worried about is they now have someone to blame/sue if there are any problems ;)

      • I'm sorry, that may be common perception, but in reality you are completely wrong. I spent 13 years working for a commercial vendor (9 in their Unix space) and can categoricly state that commercial sponsorship means anything but longevity of a product! A 10 year development roadmap can be swept under the carpet in an instant when the market shifts, or the company get brought out by another with a different focus.

        It doesn't even have to be the company that gets sold, it could just be the product itself and its associated development staff! I've seen that happen too ... the buyer brought the product, then canned it and sent around sales staff touting their own alternative. They were only after the customer base and weren't interested in the product in the least !!

        And when a commercial product (usually closed source) gets pulled, the customer base is well and truely shafted, because when the product is gone, it's gone.

        With a community product that is open source this can never happen. Lets assume a product goes stale. Even if a customer doesn't have the skills in house to continue working on the source code, he could easily employ a software house to do it if the product is important enough to him!

        Commercial involement IMO is mostly good for one thing ... image !!! Beyond that I'm highly skeptical they add much real value above and beyond what open source hackers can do for themselves.

        • Yeah that does happen, however sun didn't buy GNOME (I don't think they could anyway) you're also right about the image, I couldn't say how much sun is actually putting into GNOME, but it would seem that anything they put in is good, it does project the image that GNOME is a capable environment and corporate types won't be so scared of it cause sun is behind it. GNOME still has the advantage of being community driven, they just happen to have corporate support behind them aswell. GNOME is not owned by sun so the worst they could do is back out... and that wouldn't hurt the project much, but would hurt the project's corporate image and appeal. That's really the only thing GNOME is going to get out of this anyway, I really don't think the few people sun puts on the GNOME project is really going to make that big a difference in what is produced, but now maybe GNOME will have a little more corporate respect. KDE has also managed to gain some corporate respect, so it's high time GNOME did aswell.
        • After seeing the improvements that have been made to both KDE and GNOME since their inception, I would have to say that having industry heavyweights backing these projects has been a good thing. From what I saw at LinuxWorld in San Francisco, the two window managers, along with some notable others, have brought the Linux desktop into the position where they can really make a serious argument to businesses with respect to desktop machines.

          I do not believe that this would be the case if people like Sun and others hadn't decided to back up these efforts.

          Simply because the people you worked for couldn't get it together, that doesn't mean that it can't be done right elsewhere. If these projects were simply left up to individual developers in the traditional style, then Linux would still be was it initially was: a hobby system. There's no reason why Linux should not be both a commercially viable business prospect and a source for democracy, freedom and peace on earth.

    • What do you mean by this ? many of the KDE hackers are paid by Mandrake, SuSe, TheKompany, Caldera and even RedHat !
    • But for Gnome it does mean someone is footing the bill for useability studies, user and developer documentation in multiple languages, an expanded user base as Solaris gets its facelift, and a ton of other things that for most developers isn't in their "heart and souls" but needs to be done anyway. Gnome may not succeed because of this but it most certainly benefits from Sun's involvement.

      And hiring a group of people to work on it full time with the added perk that they can afford a pint of Guinness at the end of the day isn't a bad thing either.

  • Read the little "slashboxes" for Linux Today, ARS, the Register, etc.
  • This work being done at Sun is one of the reasons why I think GNOME will get a majority of the *NIX desktops, long-term. Another reason is that both Sun and HP have given money for GNOME development.

    Basically, any company that wants to sell operating systems (or sell computers and operating systems together) will prefer GNOME. There are never any licensing fees to develop for GNOME; for KDE, sometimes there are.

    The sooner GNOME is really good, the sooner Sun and HP stop paying licensing fees for CDE. It is in their best interests to drive GNOME until it is really good. I am confident that GNOME will soon catch up to KDE in polish and usability.

    KDE will always have loyal fans; and given the huge amounts of memory computers have these days, there won't be any problems running GNOME stuff under KDE or vice versa... so both platforms have a future. But I do think GNOME is going to become the most popular platform.

  • I just installed solaris 8 on a toshiba satellite and both gnome and kde are available from the companion cd. Being the curious type, I included both packages and (so far) can choose either upon login (cde, too and all the regular options). Gnome is a much slicker interface. KDE looks like it was designed by a first grader. Looks aren't everything, of course, and gnome certainly boots slower, but I choose gnome every time. After the boot, they both run about the same speed and for me at least, gnome is much better looking.
  • Link is giving me a 500. Mirror?
  • I've typically been pretty unimpressed with the brain-dead rallying around particularly bad choices for creatures that seem to have pervaded this side of the industry .. let's review:

    - The Gnome - where the heck did this come from? All I can think of was those hideous books back in the '70s and all those ugly plastic/wooden statues people would put next to their pink flamingos in their front yard .. wasn't there a gnome that lived in your nose or something?

    - The Penguin - Wasn't this from a bad beer commercial with the quip "Beware of the Penguin .." - good thing the linux community didn't rally around a Kevin Costner image from Field of Dreams and run around thinking "If we build it - they will come" (like my old college stadium .. soon became - "if we build it - they will pay")

    - The KDE dragon - what the heck is this? and why does he always seem to be around disconnected gears? - i mean - ok .. i played D&D when I was a kid - but can't we break this silly stereotype - or do we spend all day polishing textures on something that looks like a squishy dragon toy and trying to figure out how to do +6D damage to companies with a +12D Strength and Toughness?

    "It's a foot on a computer .. maybe it means 'kick the computer!'"
  • If Sun is getting serious about open source they might consider either:

    open-sourcing the X/NeWS code, or

    releasing the members of the Grasshopper group from some of their contract terms, so they can in turn open-source either their NeWS code or X/NeWS as of the point Sun pulled it inhouse and dropped Grasshopper's participation in the project.

    It may be a little late for display-postscript to reenter the desktop wars. But I'd like to see it take a crack on its merits, rather than being shut out by an artifact of I.P. ancient history.

    • oh god no.

      There were plenty of reasons why DPS was a bad idea. Lets let it drop.

      If you want to go with something resolution independant (a la PDF - smart move Apple), then you have my full support. But DPS - no freakin way.

      Reason #1) In DPS you don't really have 'descriptions' of graphics - you have a PROGRAM that gets executed - which just happens to produce the graphic you want. So it is totally possibly for a piece of clipart to BE a virus. A graphic description format should be exactly that. It doesn't (nor shoult it) be a turing complete language with all the havoc it would cause. If you think Outlook macros are nasty, just imagine what would happen if every desktop was running DPS..... And going back to your Church/Turing theory, it's impossible for you to write a program that can tell if any given 'image' is a virus or not.

      This is coming from somebody with plenty of NeWS expierience, plus owning two of my own NeXT machines............... DPS is pretty, but lets move on - we've learned our lesson
      • NeWS is NOT DPS, it is instead Sun's own PostScript interpreter. It is immensely better, mostly because everything (like window creation and event handling) is done in PostScript.

        In many ways this unified all-PostScript approach means the interpreter does not have to be able to do things that are dangerous. For instance an interpreter that could make requests of an X server for window id's, etc, I would suspect could be much more dangerous than one that can only draw on it's own screen.

        However NeWS did have the capability to write files, and this certainly should be removed from any modern version.

        NeWS is still superior to any windowing system I have seen today, and Sun could go a long way toward redeeming the biggest sin that was every done by a computer company by releasing the source code.

  • One of our graduates was hired as part of a team that installed several Sun labs and servers at CSU Chico's computer science department. He has had Gnome running on our Ultra Sparc 5's, 10's and Sunray's for months now. Works great and we now have that as the default desktop in three labs. Of course, he had to hack and compile it himself because the Sun Gnome patches would not work.
  • Hello everybody!

    As i personally do most if my work on Solaris (well, in my ISP job there's hardly an alternative, at loeast in my company) and I must say, although i personally like GNOME very much, I don't understand the neccessity for Gnome on Solaris. Let's be honest: Most sysadmins don't need GUI's. They are (most times) not stable, they consume disk space and CPU time. I don't know many solaris machines that run a GUI. Solaris is not likely to become a desktop system either, and for people that do desperatly want a grafical interface, CDE is perfect. It is fast, it is stable and it does perfectly fit on top of Solaris.
    Don't get me wrong, i don't have anything against Gnome (i also use it on my linux machine at home) but porting it to Solaris makes no sense for me.

    bye bye
    • In usability terms Gnome is easier to get on with than CDE and is easier to use for those familiar with Windows. The SunRay is Sun's desktop technology - if it's to succeed it needs a more user friendly, supported desktop, along with the numerous fun apps that come along with Gnome.

      I use a Sun box every day, generally for office type work. When Gnome matches CDE's speed, I'll happily switch over for the Windows style task bar alone. You start to lose Windows in CDE after a while!
  • For the benefit of those who, like me, don't know all the inside stuff, could someone explain why there are two desktops for Linux?

    I, and I'm sure others, would like to know a bit of the history, and why the two groups have not gotten together.

    And I worry about the old saw "united we stand, divided we fall".

Promising costs nothing, it's the delivering that kills you.