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The KDE Group Protests "GNOME-Only" Decision for UserLinux

The KDE Group Protests "GNOME-Only" Decision for UserLinux

$Revision: 1.26 $

We, the undersigned KDE and Debian developers, fans and users of both, present this strategic proposal for a closer collaboration between the UserLinux and KDE projects. It is our strong belief that we can provide the UserLinux effort with undeniable value and credibility through its endorsement and execution.

This proposal outlines our desktop strategy for UserLinux, including but not limited to:

  1. KDE Core Enterprise Enhancements
  2. UserLinux Installer and System Tools
  3. FreeDesktop.org and GNOME/GTK+ Integration
  4. OpenOffice.org and Mozilla Integration

UserLinux will be provided with a level of polish, refinement and suitability for enterprises, ISVs and IHVs that is beyond question. We will enhance KDE to a level that, while not currently practical with multiple targets and the endless variations of the Linux/Unix platform, are made feasible by a focus on leveraging core Debian technology.

KDE Core Enterprise Enhancements

We will leverage standard KDE core and upcoming features that are potentially crucial in an enterprise environment. A sample of these include:

  1. KDE Kiosk Mode, also known as lock-down mode, makes it possible to restrict the capabilities of the KDE3 environment in powerful and flexible ways including but not limited to the ability to:

    1. Restrict desktop, application, and printing actions.
    2. Restrict internet access on a URL basis at a desktop-wide level.
    3. Restrict desktop resource customizations.

    Such functionality is invaluable for unattended operation of UserLinux in a kiosk setting as well as for wide-scale enterprise deployment of a controlled environment.

  2. A new easy-to-use administration tool, yet in the stages of development, will build on top of the KDE Kiosk Mode and expand upon the features in an exciting direction. The tool will enable scalable management of users, their settings and IT privileges. The design goals include:

    1. Full scalability from medium to large organisations.
    2. Usable by both KDE and non-KDE applications.
    3. Seamless integration into existing IT infrastructure.
    4. Roaming support.

    Please expect more detail and an official announcement in 2004 Q1.

  3. An Integrated Terminal Server and Client employing a new and highly efficient X compression technology thereby enabling seamless desktop integration of applications based on a remote compute server. This feature will be in addition to KDE's existing remote desktop support (VNC and RDP) and is especially exciting in light of the fact that it enables a satisfying desktop experience on a thin client even with a low-bandwidth connection (e.g. dialup) to the application server. The technology will bring us on par with Citrix, Tarantella, SunRay and Windows Terminal Server offerings.

  4. KDE Print: Enterprise-grade technology for intimate management of printers and print jobs, adaptable to innumerable creative tasks.

  5. KDE Core Killer Apps: Whilst too numerous to list here, we expect to leverage core KDE applications where appropriate. In addition to the well-known applications several pertain directly to the enterprise including:

    1. The upcoming Kontact, an integrated personal information management suite, which in conjunction with the Kolab Server will provide a powerful standards-based groupware solution.
    2. The upcoming KERP, an Enterprise Resource Planner.
    3. A set of financial trading tools currently in development.

    ISVs in particular will be pleased to note that the KDE/Qt environment sports a rich body of development tools that leverage the elegant and powerful framework provided by KDE/Qt as well as tools enabling development in areas ranging from HTML production to UML modelling, CAD design and document publishing.

  6. KDE brings an impressive body of localization and internationalization effort to the table. With over 80 translation teams and KDE 3.2.x to be available in an estimated 50+ languages, KDE is a compelling choice for an enterprise desktop with an international audience.

Features 1 and 2 have been or are being developed by KDE core developer Waldo Bastian who, we note, while not one of the undersigned of this proposal in particular, is highly regarded in the KDE development community, having produced an impressive body of infrastructure and software. Feature 3 is being developed by respected KDE developer Aaron Seigo (and others) with the full support of NoMachine. We have enlisted the support of several KDE and Debian developers to assist us as necessary with the integration of all these features into UserLinux, in addition to the existing channels of KDE and Debian development support.

(Ben Burton, Chris Cheney, Christoph Cullmann, Thomas Diehl, Michael Goffioul, Wilco Greven, Charles Hill, Antonio Larrosa Jimenez, Hamish Rodda, Reinhold Kainhofer, Ralf Nolden, Carsten Pfeiffer, Kurt Pfeifle, Zack Rusin, Aaron Seigo, Daniel Stone)

UserLinux Installer and System Tools

We will leverage core Debian technology while providing a level of GUI polish expected by modern users. Our plans include:

  1. A UserLinux Installer Frontend.

    Currently under consideration is a port of the excellent and pre-existing Ark Linux installer frontend to underlying Debian technology such as debootstrap and debian-installer.

  2. UserLinux System Tools.

    Enterprise users expect intuitive GUI tools for managing UserLinux configuration and deployment. We will implement interfaces that are tightly integrated into the KDE desktop while, of course, leveraging Debian technology such as DebConf when and where possible.

We expect that rapid development technology such as Python/KDE and Perl/KDE, the Qt Designer and KDevelop coupled with a fixed Debian target will make these feasible and practical achievements.

(Juanjo Alvarez, Mario Bensi, Mark Bucciarelli, Clarence Dang, Anonymous Developer, Ludovic Dupont, Alejandro Exojo, Adrien Lafont de Sentenac, Jonathan Riddell, Peter Rockai, Hamish Rodda, Kevin Ottens + Navindra Umanee)

FreeDesktop.org and GNOME/GTK+ Integration

While we are primarily a KDE effort, we acknowledge the existence and importance of other toolkits such as GTK+. As such, we consider the integration of GTK+ applications into the KDE desktop a top priority.

Existing technology enables superficial integration today. In addition, we have devised some exciting new plans to make further integration of GTK+ into KDE seamless to a point. Ultimately however, complete integration is incumbent upon the on-going efforts of the FreeDesktop.org organization.

The KDE project has taken a prominent role in the FreeDesktop.org effort and recognizes that the fruits of its initiatives extend beyond the KDE and GNOME projects themselves. We have enlisted the support and fully endorse the efforts of prominent KDE figures who are active and pro-active in this crucial project.

While ideally transparent to the desktop user, we believe that supporting the GNOME development platform in addition to the KDE platform is of prime importance to ISVs who will be presented with an interesting and relevant choice of technology on which to base free and proprietary solutions.

We are primarily a Free Software effort -- both Qt and GTK+ qualify as Free Software and both enable Free Software development. However, strategically it is in the best interests of UserLinux to support proprietary development in addition to Free Software development.

Qt does both. Licensed under the GPL, it supports and enables Free Software development. Licensed commercially, it allows proprietary development. The Free Software community is recompensed in both cases. In the first, by the creation of Free Software and in the second, by the funding of Free Software (Free Qt). Proprietary developers who do not wish to recompense the Free Software community in this manner are however welcome to use the GTK+ toolkit which is available under the LGPL, allowing for gratis proprietary software development.

In practice, Qt has been overwhelmingly adopted for proprietary development given factors such as quality, features and available support. A quick Google search reveals examples such as VariCAD, QCad, FlagShip, Riviera, products by theKompany, products by Scientific Computers Ltd, the Opera Web Browser, the Adobe Photoshop Album and many more, all of which are proprietary applications. It is harder to find proprietary products based on GTK+, although several do exist.

It is hence undeniably in the best interests of ISVs to be able to make a choice of technology by careful consideration of all factors involved. Regardless of choice, applications deployed by ISVs will be properly supported and integrated into the UserLinux desktop environment.

(Ludovic Dupont, Alexander Neundorf, Kevin Ottens, Lionel Petit, Aaron Seigo + Navindra Umanee)

OpenOffice.org and Mozilla Integration

The importance of OpenOffice.org as an enterprise office suite is also recognized. Technology currently exists and is being developed to make OpenOffice.org a much nicer citizen of the KDE desktop. We intend to track these projects with interest.

The presence of Konqueror, a first-class multi-purpose and integrated web browser for KDE alleviates the need for a customized Mozilla. We understand however that Mozilla has a loyal following and will do our utmost to ensure that it is not out of place on the UserLinux desktop.

(Alexander Neundorf, Navindra Umanee)

Everyone Wins

The successful endorsement and execution of this proposal will present UserLinux with undeniable value and credibility. At the same time we will achieve a level of polish and integration with the base OS previously not possible for the KDE project as a community effort -- simply by striving for an achievable goal.

ISVs stand to gain from a polished desktop environment and platform whilst retaining choice of underlying development tools.

Of the prospective members listed in the UserLinux white paper, a majority have adopted or use the KDE desktop and could significantly benefit from the adoption of this proposal: Conectiva, Skolelinux, Knoppix, Morphix, Xandros, Lindows and Libranet.

KDE Background

Like Debian, KDE is a project based on Free Software principles and is supported by a strong community of developers earnestly working out of passion for beautiful technology whilst remaining independent of commercial interests.

KDE is based on the elegant Qt toolkit by Trolltech and sports many elegant technologies of its own such as the famous Desktop Communications Protocol which has provided new levels of application automation and scriptability, KDE Parts and XML GUI component technology, KDE I/O technology providing transparent desktop-level access to everything from HTTP to SSH, application extensibility through scripting languages such as ECMAScript or Python, a widely-acclaimed and adopted HTML component, premiere development environments such as KDevelop and Quanta and much more. The fruits of such a solid technological foundation are innumerable and do not cease to improve and impress.

KDE has been deployed in significant numbers by enterprises and is supported by many if not all of the major Linux distributions.

Who We Are

We are a group of KDE and/or Debian developers with a dedication to and interest in both projects. We are committed towards seeing the fruitful collaboration of KDE and UserLinux and only expect our numbers to grow. For further information, press inquiries, or if you wish to sponsor or endorse this project, please contact us at [email protected].

We are, lexicographically:

Juanjo Alvarez
Mario Bensi
Achim Bohnet
Eva Brucherseifer
Mark Bucciarelli
Ben Burton
Chris Cheney
Christoph Cullmann
Clarence Dang
Dominique Devriese
Thomas Diehl
Ludovic Dupont
Frans Englich
Philippe Fremy (ISV)
Michael Goffioul
Wilco Greven
Charles Hill
Antonio Larrosa Jimenez
Reinhold Kainhofer
Adrien Lafont de Sentenac
Alexander Neundorf
Ralf Nolden
Kevin Ottens
Lionel Petit
Carsten Pfeiffer
Kurt Pfeifle
Jonathan Riddell
Peter Rockai
Hamish Rodda
Zack Rusin
Aaron Seigo
Daniel Stone
Nathaniel Turner
Adam Treat
Navindra Umanee

Sponsored By

LinuxMagic Inc
SourceXtreme, Inc

Copyright 2003 by the authors. You may translate, excerpt, and reformat to fit your presentation, and you may republish the result, but you may not edit the material to change our opinions or take our statements out of context.

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Most Recent Comments
Michael Erskine 02/20/04 04:50:28 AM EST

There's many choices for a distribution so make your choice. Some of those distributions come without KDE, some come without Gnome, some of the most useful come without XFree86: so make your choice. If a particular distribution chooses to set its target user group to "not you" (and perhaps sidelines itself in the process) why get so stroppy? Just make your choice and choose something else. Jeez! :)


if you want them, make your choice and install them. Jeez!

patrick_darcy 12/27/03 05:33:12 PM EST

perrins has become all about exclusion instead
of inclusion. he is following in the footsteps
of red hate.

he will do as he pleases and unfortunately for for rest
of us he will practice his version of control.

Max 12/23/03 07:13:05 AM EST

You all have a choice.If you install a distro with a specific desktop and you don't like it, just install what you do like and use desktop switching.I like QT, FVWM and XFCE4. What I like most about FVWM is I can make it any way I want no restrictions and it "seems" much faster less buggy than KDE or Gnome. No distro should focus on a single desktop but make the most of choice and spend the effort on easy configuration for the users.

William Poetra Yoga Hadisoeseno 12/23/03 01:37:36 AM EST

Well, I don't think KDE and GNOME can unite, because their architectures are so much different. Well, maybe the programmers can unite, but not much code is going to.

I don't think users have to worry about the choice of a desktop environment, since you can always download your choice of the desktop, as some people have pointed out. T

And the users (the pointy haired bosses) don't actually need to worry, since it's the job of the system administrator to set up all the applications (if he/she doesn't then the pointy haired bosses have a choice to fire him/her), not theirs. So UserLinux shouldn't have so big a disadvantage except if, well, their sysadmin is a Microserf, which in this case wouldn't choose GNU/Linux either.

Who cares? 12/22/03 07:45:58 PM EST

Well that's going to be bad for UserLinux cause GNOME sucks(tm)
from start (when it thrashes your filesystem scattering it's
one zillion files over / instead of /opt) to finish (looks
ugly, crashes often, relies too much on shitty script languages). Basically it's just a toy for geeks. Oh and Gtk
is starting to suck too, speaking of speed.

Marky Goldstein 12/22/03 03:25:45 PM EST

I agree that ONE UNITED DESKTOP is needed. Why don't KDE and Gnome come together, find a new brand, throw everything together, refactor what can be refactored, vote about the good and bad stuff and merge INTO ONE UNITED DESKTOP. Without a union of the two desktops there will be no force against Windows. Wake up.

Stop this war. Go ahead. The past sucks.

Lief Clennon 12/22/03 03:02:56 PM EST

My days of excessive free time to fiddle with my PC are long since over, so for now I watch Linux from the sidelines, occasionally trying out a distro (and thus far, always swapping back to Windows after a day or two). Reason being, every time, things don't work. Simple and very important things, like my modem. It's not that I don't have the technical proficiency to muck about the innards of the OS and fix the problem; to the contrary, that's what I do at work all day. Which is exactly why I don't want to have to do it at home, and for that matter, I want to minimize it at work too.

This is the concern of the average user. Not choice: convenience. The "corporate mindset" is something to which anyone who wants to appeal to the general public or to the conservative corporate market should pay close attention, because the reason it's profitable is that people buy it. Sure, a publicity storm can up your sales, but Linux isn't exactly the invisible underdog these days: you can't accuse Microsoft of brainwashing the masses anymore.

This is a much, much bigger issue than which GUI API a particular distribution has selected; in fact, presenting only a single desktop environment by default is very much a step in the right direction. As many have pointed out, you still have the option to install KDE if you really want to, and presenting a single face instead of a mess of options will attract far more users than it puts off. We here, are a few geeks: most of the world is not. Their needs are different, and pushing our ideals on them simply will not work.

As for personal preference, based on admittedly limited experience, I'm going to weigh in for Gnome. Why? Not because it's more stable, or better implemented. Frankly, it's a mess. But that's just a matter of not getting enough attention from developers -- which decisions like this may (hopefully) help change! At its heart, the design of Gnome is far more ambitious than that of KDE, and I'd say it's no wonder the latter is more stable. It's much easier to build a go-kart than a space shuttle. (Yes, that's massive hyperbole, I know.)

Gnome lacks polish, lacks refinement, lacks stability. But what it's got, I love. Because it doesn't remind me of Windows. It reminds me of OS/2, not superficially, but right to the core. But I'm not going to go into why that's such a good thing. I'll just say, I sincerely hope that Gnome gets the developmentit needs, because if it were at the same level of refinment as KDE, its core technologies would allow it to genuinely compete with Longhorn and Panther -- something K will be hard-pressed to do.

Sri Lumpa 12/22/03 02:26:42 PM EST

I really can't understand how some people can argue that UserLinux not including KDE restricts choice in general (it might restrict choice in particular cases but not in general).

Today, you have n choices of distribution times m desktops (Gnome. KDE, WindowMaker...).

Tomorrow you will have n choices of distributions times m desktops + 1; that one being UserLinux with Gnome.

So you have one more choice, not less choice.

This might give you less choice if your company decides to use UserLinux and you cannot choose KDE but even then it is forgetting that the same company using Redhat or SuSE might still have chosen one desktop over another (for support reasons) and restricted your choice in the same way.

If you sincerely believe that it is a bad choice nobody prevents you from creating KDELinux, a distribution for businesses that will streamline its chosen applications and that will streamline its DE on KDE; and may those that are right win (or both may survive if they are both right about their DE choice for enough people/companies).

If you want to insist that it restrict choice please explain to me what choice I have today will be restricted tomorrow by UserLinux's Gnome choice and how that choice will not be restricted if they choose KDE over Gnome.

Randy Poznan 12/22/03 02:22:07 PM EST

KDE is good software from a user and a development standpoint. It seems like most commercial distros balk at paying KDE's license or something. The K group might need to publish their own distro rather than be another downloadable package. They will be considerably ahead of other projects if they do this, they can make changes to their interface as they see fit as well.

bee arr why 12/22/03 02:01:27 PM EST

@david porowski

Gnome doesn't suck just because you think it does. I personally don't like KDE, but that doesn't give me the right to say that "KDE sucks"

david porowski said, "I had no interest in participating in a flame-war,"

With respect, you brought it upon yourself.

david porowski said, "especially between two GNU/Linux
GUI projects that deserve accolades for all the work they have done."

An odd comment to make after saying "Gnome Sucks"

David Porowski 12/22/03 12:25:28 PM EST

Well, I guess the road to Hades is paved with good intentions.
I had no interest in participating in a flame-war, especially between two GNU/Linux
GUI projects that deserve accolades for all the work they have done. One of the
points of the UserLinux project is to provide a stable linux alternative for corporate
users. In offering no choice in GUI platforms, a larger issue has been overlooked.
A large proportion of corporate users (some estimates range from 80 to 90 percent)
have no need for a powerful desktop, and can easily be accomidated by a thin client/
thick server paradigm. Reduction in IT support pressure (and ISV support pressure)
was the larger goal. Eliminating one GUI's libraries and applications to lighten the
support load may prove to be counterproductive in the larger scheme, particularly
as potentially necessary applications and applets may be eliminated. Efforts in re-writing
these software tools in order to fit into a much narrower support structure might be better
spent on tools for the deployment and support of the thin client "package". The use
of Debian as the basis for UserLinux is an interesting move: while it might be considered
"stodgy" in comparison to some other distributions, it does offer a single code base for
multiple architectures. Corporations like "stodgy" more than "bleeding edge", and there
is at least one major computer manufacturer (HP) that likes the Debian distribution. For
the "thick server" to support many "thin clients" however, easy adoption of the linux 2.6
kernel and enterprise-level XFS filesystem might indicate the use of another distribution,
such as Slackware 9.1.

LinuxDawgBoxx 12/22/03 11:19:16 AM EST

Though it sucks to see the community get played against one another. I think the KDE versus Gnome issue is starting to finally mature into a very emotional issue. This was going to come sooner or later. Both GUIs have their greatness and their flaws. A few years ago I was a KDE only Linux user, I switched to Gnome after they did some cleaning up of the overkill that didn't need to be there in the first place. I think KDE should do the same. KDE still rocks, but it needs some improvements that Gnome has already addressed.

To be honest, it would be great to see a collaboration of the 2 projects to bring out the best GUI that X-land has ever seen. One that is efficient, functional and beautiful which would make anything that Microsoft could only dream up look 2nd rate. The fight is with reducing Microsoft/Windows dominance, not with each other!

Roy 12/22/03 11:10:02 AM EST

Why can't a distro choose?

I don't see what the big deal is. This is just a distro. You still have choice. Most distros already have a "preferred" environment. Suse and Mandrake push KDE and RedHat and Sun push Gnome. If you don't like UserLinux's choice, don't use it. There a plenty of KDE distros out there. I'd much prefer that a distro make a choice rather than just include a poorly packaged version of the "other" environment (Suse's Gnome and RedHat's KDE).

Mark 12/22/03 10:56:02 AM EST

No Linux distribution without KDE will ever be taken seriously. GNOME is definately inferior as a user interface at this point. It has a long way to go before it offers the breadth of features that KDE does. It is true that its licensing arrangements are better for commercial developers, (both are free for open source work), and it should be available for that reason.

In my opinion that is the only adavantage GNOME has over KDE. Both should be available if UserLinux wants to be successful.

Clint 12/22/03 09:31:15 AM EST

UserLinux is not taking away choice as many have said!

You can choose not to use UserLinux. That is a choice IMO!

The fact is DISTROs are geting so big with these different flavors of Linux. Linux is about choice and I like the fact that I can make my system look completely different than the next persons, but there is a point where things become too bloated. I would rather have a simple distro and compile/add the other features myself as components.

Support is a huge factor now days in Linux Distros. If Linux wants to grow in the Enterprise arena their support has so be great not good. The more "stuff" you have in a distro the harder it becomes to give great support.

Just my opinion!

enthalpie 12/22/03 09:24:43 AM EST

please keep us the choice

KDE is very very nice and i don't want that anybody choice for me I if want so i can go to windows !
I have test both and i want to use KDE, and my distro shoul give me both

do you want to kill linux ?
like will to day i can say :
IF NOT choice is NOT good
(not good might mean bad but it also might mean neutral)
IF UserLinux provides NOT "choice"
THEN nothing

Sean Pecor 12/22/03 09:11:08 AM EST

Yes, I am beginning to see the genius behind this decision... Use one of the most marginalized Linux distributions (Debian) as the basis for your own distribution and then dismiss clearly the most popular Linux Desktop GUI! Marvelous!

What boggles my mind is that they are dismissing what is, from this software developer's point of view, a clearly superior application framework (QT) simply because it requires a license fee for commercial use. To anything but the most pedestrian programmer, the cost of the QT licenses are pretty insignificant.

In my mind only a long-time GTK developer who has merely dabbled in QT/KDE would consider them equal on a technical basis.


Sam Moses 12/22/03 08:57:52 AM EST

Going with an existing GUI is taking the easy way out. If they want to do a "user linux" whatever that means, they're going to need to design a new interface from the groun up. The existing interfaces are part of the problem. Although, I think KDE is probably the closest thing to anything a user would already be used to seeing.

William Poetra Yoga Hadisoeseno 12/22/03 07:34:34 AM EST

I think it's up to Bruce to decide which desktop environment he will be using, since it's his distro (I mean, it was his idea). Take a look at Slackware, it doesn't have a graphical installation, but it still has a veru large user base. And those who want a graphical installation are free to choose another distro.

Do you think it's fair to tell other people to include a particular software in their distro just because you like it? I mean, users should be given a choice, but the developer must be given a choice as well. In this case, it's Bruce's own choice that he includes GNOME in his distro. Those users who want to use KDE are free to download a KDE package, either binary or source, and use it. Or they might want to choose another distro.

Well, you might think I use GNOME. No. I am a KDE fan, I think it's great (GNOME just doesn't fit my taste), but I think not everybody should use KDE (it's like a religion -- if a particular private school chooses to teach a particular religion, parents can't force the headmaster to teach another religion, they should just choose to send their kids to another school right?).

I think it's a shame that some people protest this decision rudely. Sure, a nice peaceful discussion is good, but once it turns into a flame war, well, I don't think it's good publicity for the non open-source world. Those of you who still have a conscience, please stop it. You can just build another distro based on UserLinux which doesn't include GNOME but uses KDE instead, instead of literally forcing Bruce to include KDE in his distro.

McDeavitt 12/22/03 05:31:19 AM EST

I have to take exception to Cohen's comments about aesthetics not being important. IF aesthetics were not important and minimalism was all the rage we would be living in nice "efficient" concrete boxes that would last a life time, keep out the cold and protect us from harm. But, we don't, we value the way things look as much as the way things work. KDE looks good, is configurable to look just about any way you want it to. So, going back to my original point, CHOICE. Choice is why I use Linux, choice is why I use KDE. Any distribution which chooses to limit my choices is loosing my vote.

Sorry, Bruce. I respect what you have done in to Open Source Community but you are making a poor decision here and I feel you need to know this. GNOME may be a bleeding edge technology but it has not garnered the audience that KDE has enjoyed for many years. The QT and GTK argument is a moot point. As one person commented earlier in this discussion you can pay to build proprietary applications or you can spend tons of money resolving dependency issues.

Will 12/22/03 02:50:00 AM EST

Cohen I appreciate your use of logical deduction in your comment, however I disagree with where your logic led you. You stated
IF linux is partially choice
THEN NOT choice
IS against part of linux

I think:
IF choice is good and
IF linux provides "choice"
THEN linux provides good

IF NOT choice is NOT good
(not good might mean bad but it also might mean neutral)
IF UserLinux provides NOT "choice"
THEN nothing

you can't derive anything relevent out of the fact that UserLinux dousent provide choice in a single situation.

I think UserLinux is probably losing some users because of there "choice", but after all UserLinux is linux and linux is partially about choice.

Cohen 12/22/03 02:30:24 AM EST

Fluxbox in the house, indeed.

If Linux is partially about choice (as we have established numerous times), then UserLinux not providing choice is, well, "against" part of Linux. Although I'm not sure if excluding KDE isn't doing us all a favour. ;)

Will 12/22/03 02:17:30 AM EST

I think this is an interesting article, but I certainly don't have a problem with the choice that UserLinux made. Actually I am dissapointed with the KDE Group for suggesting that a distribution "should" have software X included with it. I just think some people take linux way too seriously. Yeah linux is great. Yeah linux is a great example of people working together to make something and people sharing and building on ideas.

Anyway here's what I have to say and I think it's something important to consider. I don't care... I don't care AT ALL what ONE distro doesnt include. Moreover I think the KDE group is behaving either in a childish manner or a very corporate manner. RISE ABOVE! Leave the memos and a press wars to corporate software.
My favorite window manager is ion and if you don't use ion then...then....

AnnoyingPopUp 12/22/03 01:09:53 AM EST

oh flux you!

I mean it. fluxbox in the house!

what a dumb standard to rate linux on, what the gui looks like. really people. i do appreciate the "WHY" people like or dislike (kde or gnome) citing specifics is always good...but on looks? kinda flimsy reason I must say.

Marky Goldstein 12/22/03 12:54:19 AM EST

I agree that Linux only need one desktop with freedom of look, many API's (that probably need refactoring) and much more applications. Gnome seems to be the newer desktop, so hopefully they will provide backward compatibility to Qt applications.

nestor diaz 12/22/03 12:25:32 AM EST

GNOME has lost me as a user as it didn't focused on users.
The team is discussing forever small details but they doesn't include a decent file-selector amd many other base apps that are needed for every day common user: a lightweight mail client, graphics apps, etc. I am tired of relying in distribuition tools to make the job, but kde brings all solutions. Kprint has been proffessional for ages.
It shouldn't be hard to clean up the KDE base distribution. And I am sure it will be done in a near near future.
And it has never been a faster GUI if you switch off the transparency and shadow effects.

puggy 12/21/03 10:41:35 PM EST

One thing most people forget when dealing with linux is that it is build by techies for techies. Is it any wonder most people who are buying pc's are going straigt for MS windows. With the 64bit cpu's comming around there is a level playing field in the OS market, MS won't have the big margin it has in the software avaible, if anything linux will have as it should be easy to compile software thats opensource into 64 bit.

Where is the advantage of linux going to go though? No matter how much software there is out there linux is too much of a hassle for people to use who don't know much about computers. Maybe it's time to have several disto's of linux which are for differrent circumstances, ie server software and full configuration with choice for server admins, office and netwok software in a semi configurable distro for office/pro and games, office etcetc stuff on a preconfigured system for home user's.

Would a person wanting to play games, email friends or do there homework want to know much about the differrence of a root user or a normal user? Would they want to have a dns server, mail server or web server installed on there computer? Do they want to have to decide which desktop GUI to use each time the boot up there computer?

Let the server admins have a choice, give the professional/office people a nice business GUI to make there work easier and give the home user something simple that they can use so when they press the on button on there computer it loads up and go's straight to the desktop where they can double click the icon for there favorite game without having to worry about they insides of the linux OS.

In closing, working on 1 GUI alone for a certain target market is better than developing several to give people a choice who would rather not have that choice becuase they just don't care so let userlinix carry only 1 GUI and stop complaining or else we will be stuck with MS windows until the 128 bit CPU's are being made!

christopher bankhead 12/21/03 10:41:26 PM EST

I have used a number of Desktops and Window managers KDE, XFCE, GNOME etc. I personally always seem to find myself liking KDE the best. Most of the people in my department also prefer KDE better than the other selections that are available. I read few comments about KDE being slower than GNOME… I run KDE and GNOME on my laptop witch had 512MB of ram and a 2.2Ghz P4. I cant tell that either one is slow at all. I also run KDE and Gnome on an older 266Mhz CPU with 512 MB of ram…LOL and I cant tell that either is fast…. They are both good, but in my opinion KDE is by far better.

One thing that I can say (Speaking only about the interface side of things) is that I prefer KDE over and MS Windows. But I prefer MS Windows to Gnome. (Gnome is choice 3 for me.)

Neo Anderson 12/21/03 10:20:53 PM EST

Hey, I'm completely a newbie to Linux. I just installed Red Hat 9.0 and Fedora Core Release 1.

I have been always using Windows before. My personal opinion is that KDE is much, much more user-friendly than GNOME.

I'd heard that 'GNOME IS BETTER THAN KDE' more than 3 years ago, from one of my collegues. He installed a system of Red Hat then.

In Red Hat 9.0, the default installation does not include KDE! So I suppose the Red Hat team has *some* not-so-good opinions towards KDE. I have not much experience in Linux, but I just want to say - you can make it non-default, but do not remove it from the CD.

Jeff Woods 12/21/03 10:12:57 PM EST

Gnome is a fine desktop, but until the library dependancy problems are cleaned up a bit, it will remain (in my mind) Linux's second desktop of choice. If I download a KDE app built for KDE 3.1.x, it will run with KDE 3.1.x. If I download a Gnome app for 2.4, I still have to concern myself with having the correct versions of dozens of libraries. Granted, the library dependancy problems are handled by vendors when assembling a distribution. Unfortunately, there are many valuable add-on applications not shipped by the major distributions.

KDE is more configurable than Gnome. I can understand this being viewed as a liability for distributors, but as a developer, I find that the choices KDE allows makes my job easier. It will work the way *I* want it to work.

Qt is a great framework (unfortunately, I have little experience with gtk or gdk). A great deal of development has gone into it and Trolltech has every right to profit from their investment. If I were to release a commercial application based on Qt or the KDE libraries, I would gladly pay the required licensing fees.

Lucas Martin-King 12/21/03 08:54:20 PM EST

Curiously enough, QT achieves better performance than
GTK2 on my Pentium II 400mhz with 256mb of RAM. However,
GTK-1.2 is a speed demon :)

fatalblu 12/21/03 08:49:37 PM EST

"QT is free, unless I want to
build commercial software (, and then I pay for the privilege.)"

Now that I have my assanine (spelled wrong) comment out of the way. This sentence is the whole reason they are going with GNOME. They want companies to be able to develop commercial software without having to pay for the Qt license. Besides, getting it's a simple process to apt-get kde if you will die without it. The whole idea was to pick one gui and run with it so when a companies userbase (hopefully) switchs to linux they are presented with one user interface no matter where they go (middle management is a tad on the dopic side, making things simple for them with big buttons and pretty pictures and a few big words as possible makes it easier all around)

fatalblu 12/21/03 08:44:41 PM EST

One word...


(because anything else can fsck off)

Bring on the flames baby!

david porowski 12/21/03 08:42:41 PM EST

While Gnome has been (early on) more "bleeding edge" than KDE, there was a quite long
time (in my experience) that much of the desktop was broken, especially the config tools.
This has not been the case with KDE. Selection of one particular GUI over another because
of "pure" GPL, versus some commercial aspect of QT, is foolish. QT is free, unless I want to
build commercial software (, and then I pay for the privilege.) QT may have more stability
than Gnome specifically because it has that commercial aspect. ( I don't expect any linux
desktop GUI to be as closely tied to the underlying OS as SGI's IRIX 6.5.x, but I do expect
the GUI configuration tools to actually function with the underlying code.) As far as having
a "Windoze look and feel", I could really care less. However, if "UserLinux" is being targeted
at the corporate user more familiar with the "Windoze" experience, then the wrong GUI was
chosen (, and apparently for the wrong reason.)

Free choice is the best choice. Personally, I would rather see a cross-platform application
look and feel the same way on each platform, rather than blend into the specific OS. MS
can (and will) change the "look and feel" of their OS, and frequently NOT for the better.
Why should the OSS community chase MS "ghosts" instead of promulgate "best of class"
design. Abandoning one generally stable GUI for a "bleeding edge" (and sometimes broken)
GUI is the wrong path. Better to have both available to compete, and grow stronger through
that competition. Inclusion of (and support for) both GUIs in UserLinux will provide support for
the broadest application base, which would also broaden it's corporate appeal. Limitations
(by fiat) will make UserLinux another boutique linux release, and doom it's broad acceptance.

Josh Attoun 12/21/03 08:36:21 PM EST

For those who are saying "KDE is more professional", they're dead wrong. Too many damn configuration options to get anything done! It takes 2 days to learn Gnome in its entirety; learning every feature of KDE could take years. That, and its widgets are ugly. It hasn't figured out whether it's supposed to look like Windows XP or Java. Gnome, for its elegance, simplicity, and conservatism in design is light years ahead of KDE, and I think Bruce made an excellent choice.

Zachariah 12/21/03 08:24:24 PM EST

http://userlinux.com/GUI.html sounds reasonable enough

Cameron 12/21/03 08:19:31 PM EST

Having used both KDE 3.1 and Gnome 2.4 I have found KDE to be far superior. It has a lot more features, as a desktop it has the power of the command line and just looks more polished. I really cannot understand why so many "enterprise" Linux distributions are choosing Gnome over KDE. KDE and QT are GPL despite the ancient KDE ain't free FUD that appears in every Gnome vs KDE discussion. I'm begining to wonder if there is some kind of ulterior motive in the choice of desktop by these organisations (RedHat, Sun, UserLinux).

name 12/21/03 08:16:17 PM EST

This is really a result of "corporate interference" here. Look, Gnome is backed by Sun, by Redhat with $$$ behind them. Corporate decision = whatever is "safe" and "supported" and "keeps my job as CIO".

When linux becomes more "corporate" oriented, it becomes more "profit-driven" and then in-fighting comes in, and then you know it, it degrades into monopoly, sooner or later.

Put money into anything, it's not free any more.....

zam4ever 12/21/03 08:13:05 PM EST

This will eliminate the users choice. IMHO, the others light, ease and fast such as fluxbox must be included in UserLinux GUI. Every interface fullfills different needs and criteria of the users.


blk 12/21/03 07:46:10 PM EST

We have to keep the choice, even i prefer gnome over kde (fluxbox's still better :)) this doesn't mean that i don't wanna see kde anymore, gnome can learn from features of kde and other way round - if we'd kill kde, then those developers won't switch to gnome - they'll be frustrated! that's not our goal - it is fundamental to keep the choice so in this case we have to let the user decide what he prefers (eye-candy vs. speed)

Rocky Moore 12/21/03 06:30:13 PM EST

Or instead of either, build a decent, modern GUI that will compete with Microsoft Longhorn when it ships in two years instead of being four years behind the times.

If you look at OS-X's GUI it is light years ahead of either choices for Linux. Once Longhorn makes it out (as even has already been shown), it will stomp all over OS-X if they do not continue.

Microsoft is pushing for a GUI base that is Direct-X with all its power, not just a simple windowing type environment that has grown long in the tooth. Just a few years down the road, most people will be pushing high speed broadband and computers will be at 5-8 ghz with two or more processors and people will expect a full multimedia experience. Microsoft knows this and is heading for the gold while everyone else sits around trying to catch up!

A group of decent programers can build a moden GUI with a full multimedia core within just a year if they put their mind to it and shed all the old legacy views of what a GUI is all about. Some people say they do not want eye candy, but the vast majority want an "Experience" when they use a computer not the same thing we have looked at for two decades!

McDeavitt 12/21/03 06:04:13 PM EST

So, because Bruce has put his name on the project we are supposed to care? I'm a long time linux user and KDE devotee because I wanted a choice. When you start streamlining you begin the process of removing choice. There are advantages and disadvantages to both libs but as long as the distros continue to build on both, then choice is maintained. Do you see a patern here? BTW, who the F**K is UserLinux?

Murat 12/21/03 05:04:08 PM EST

Its all about license. GNOME/Gtk rulez over KDE/Qt a lot. I absolutely agree to keep one main Desktop/Gui-Kit and concentrate/push innovation/development.

Nick 12/21/03 05:01:42 PM EST

I do use gnome more than kde but i do like some of the aspects of kde, like the right click menu. There should always be another choice thats what *nix is about. Getting rid of kde is going to create alot of unhappy people.

Margus 12/21/03 04:47:30 PM EST

KDE has much better standard look and menues for programs. It has stronger architecture and more robust software connectivity. Nothing bad to say about GNOME but KDE looks much more proffessional. Who don't like KDE offering eye candy just turn them off.

Victor Mierla 12/21/03 04:27:47 PM EST

I think that should be only 1 graphical interface for Linux.
Otherwise , it won't be possible to reach the integration level M$ Windows already has.

I'm a GNOME fan because:

1. It's free ( as in free beer)
2. Has bindings for many languages ( especially C)
3. There are more docs/examples for GTK , making it easier
to understand the API

However there are some minuses :

1. NO MDI Windows ( subwindows ) - Havoc , please for GOD sake introduce them in GNOME 2.6
2. No Sheet, Print widgets
3. Cryptic component model ( CORBA)
4. API inconsistency
5. Gnome VFS is kinda rough and primitive
6. Gconf sux

I'm against KDE because is big&buggy.
And it's reinventing the wheel in some cases (IMHO , component model)
I like qt&KDE designer , however.

So conclusion:

Write a good GUI designer for GNOME and ....
cat KDE >/dev/null ;-)

lpotter 12/21/03 04:20:56 PM EST

GNOME and it's LGPL license is not about open source.

The LGPL allows closed source development, without having to pay a license fee. If you want more non-free, closed source applications on Linux, than go with GNOME. If you want more free, open source applications on Linux, go with KDE.

Linux is about free and open source programs. People complain they have to pay a license for commercial Qt development.. I can't wait to hear those same people complain when commercial closed source applications become prominent.

Kyle Reynolds 12/21/03 04:05:09 PM EST

Gnome is faster, less bloated and easier to use. KDE seems a bit slower, definetly more bloated and not as easy to use IMHO. I've tried to give it a shot, but it frustrates me to use it. Plus all of the unneccessary eye candy all over. I like the way gnome looks, simple and straight forward. Additionally, it's totally open. KDE is built on a commercial library offering fewer options for the open source community.

Javier O. Augusto 12/21/03 03:47:22 PM EST

Face facts, we all know KDE is _similar_ to MS Windows and stuff like that but here we are talking about _software_evolution_ what GNOME is all about. I dont wanna start a flamewar nor talk sh!t because this is serious, but its time for all to see GNOME is all about improvements, better software design and better future when it comes to software development. After all , its NOT based on a comercial library but an open one. Correct me if Im wrong.

Philip Pinkerton 12/21/03 01:51:03 PM EST

This is disturbing. As already stated Linux is about choice. If you want to be force fed your GUI stay with windows. Both KD and Gnome can be installed on one system and from my experience they can and do work well together. Ever heard of Desktop Switching? I switch from KDE to GNOME to FVWM to XFCE4 at will. Linux is a wonderful world of free expression, where we as users can do what ever we want on our own systems. All distros should embrace the very root their own tree.

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