Configuring the Red Hat Linux desktop

Vadim Plessky lucy-ples at
Thu Sep 19 15:53:50 BST 2002

On Friday 13 September 2002 11:40 pm, Owen Taylor wrote:
|  Hi,
|  With all the recent brouhaha about how we are configuring
|  the desktops in Red Hat Linux, I thought it would be useful
|  to step back a bit and try to explain briefly just what what
|  we are doing and why we are doing it.
|  I've put this up as:
|  I'd be interested in feedback, especially in suggestions
|  about how Red Hat can pursue our goal of tightly integrating
|  the desktop into the rest of our operating system in a way
|  that the desktop projects find acceptable.

Hi Owen!

I have mixed feeling after reading your essay.
Idea of having uniform desktop is indeed very good.
But the way you want to implement this is wrong.

Let me quote you:
"By replacing the artwork and configuration defaults, and making a uniform set 
of applications visible for both desktops, Red Hat has largely removed these 
areas of competition from the realm of the versions of KDE and GNOME it 
ships. We recognize that this will not be universally popular. 

So, what is left to compete on? Among other things: 
* Stability
* Speed
* The set of features offered by the core applications
* Ease of use
* Quality of internationalization
* Desktop configuration tools (ease of customization)"

This makes me wondering what will happen to, say, IceWm, AfterStep, other 
Window Managers available at standard KDM or GDM startup screen nowdays?
While Stability and Speed are o.k. for IceWm, it doesn't bring new 
functionality when you compare it to KDE's KWin or SawFish/MetaCity used with 
 Quality of internationalization is quite low for most projects (outside 
GNOME/KDE realm), and they are not easy to configure, in most cases.

Does your new policy also mean that you will take of from RedHat release 
apps/suits like AbiWord?
KDE has KOffice, it seems you also favour OpenOffice as standard office apps 
suit. And there is no place for AbiWord or GNumeric left...

Right approach (in case you _really want_ to deliver unified/simplified 
Desktop to your customers) would be to ship Linux distribution only with 
GNOME, or only with KDE (no particular preference here from my side). And get 
the rest *out* of distribution. As having more than one Desktop, or more than 
one Window Manager, confuses typical consumer A LOT.
That's the approach taken by Lindows, Xandros and probably Lycoris.

Having tow desktops (both GNOME and KDE) in one install, even with similar 
unified facelift (same themes, same colors, etc.) is *too confusing* for 
typical consumer.
Ok, people who use Linux for years got used to it.
But I am speaking about new users, like installs in coroporations which 
previously used Windows.

Besides: your [RedHat] approach looks like too much US-centric.
Like: "we talk in English, our users talk in English, why bother about other 
As you probably know, my native language in Russian, plus I talk some other 
Cyrillic-based languages (in particular, Bulgarian; and can read Macedonian)
Most apps outside KDE [KDE3] doesn't have good enough support for Cyrillic. In 
KDE3 - you get such support for *free* (thanks to Qt3).
On the other hand, Mozilla can't print in Cyrillic. Evolution even doesn't 
display Cyrillic. OpenOffice shows ???? ??? instead of Cyrillic glyphs.
So, what kind of unification/integration inside RedHat Linux you are talking 
This is not a flame. I really would like to know your position.
So far, I am very confused with your goal (which is very reasonable) & 
implementation, which I do not understand.

|  Please send such feedback to me personally, and I'll post a
|  summary of the more interesting ideas.
|  Thanks,
|                                      Owen

Kind regards,

Vadim Plessky  (English)
33 Window Decorations and 6 Widget Styles for KDE
KDE mini-Themes

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