redhat's new desktop policy

Andreas Pour pour at
Tue Sep 17 05:57:39 BST 2002

CiAsA S'Nuey Boark wrote:

[ ... ]

> > kde is kde, gnome is gnome, and thats the way its suppose to be.
> > you want a new desktop ? a united desktop ? a uniqe desktop ? go ahead, but
> > dont *force* users to use it.
> Thats your opinion, and your welcome to it.  But keep in mind that the
> decision makers at red-hat also have opinions, and so long as you have a
> right to your own opinion, then you have to acknowledge theirs.

What I find most troubling about it is that the decision makers at RH are
GNOME hackers.  So in effect GNOME is deciding the RH desktop, and the results
to the competitor KDE are perhaps a foregone conclusion.

I think even in the cut-throat business world, replacing the heart of someone
else's product with your own, and marketing it as theirs, is considered
deceptive, immoral and unlawful.  By replacing all the commonly-used KDE
applications - browser, mail client, instant messaging, scanning, digital
camera, etc. - and leaving pretty much only the window dressing (kicker), I
see it as the equivalent of GNOME using the KDE name and KDE packaging on
GNOME.  They are using the goodwill and good name of KDE to push their (IMO)
inferior product.

Now in the world of Open Source, I thought the standards were higher.  I
thought mutual respect should be a given.  I did not think that one Open
Source project would ever so disparage another Open Source project.  I am so
offended by what has happened.

On top of that, let's bear in mind that RH was the initial desktop splitter. 
With the introduction of GNOME, they split the Linux desktop into 2.  Very
well, competition is healthy, and Qt's licensing was not ideal.  But Qt
licensing subsequently improved.  If the effort put into GNOME had gone into
KDE - products like Evolution, Nautilus, etc. - then Linux would have one damn
fine desktop now.  And Palladium might not be looming as the impending doom of
all Open Source.

The most recent split by RH - creating yet *another* desktop - makes things
dramatically worse.  They are setting a precedent that any distro can modify
any desktop however they like, making desktops incompatible with one another. 
And by incompatible I do not mean icon paths, I mean from the user
perspective.  From the perspective that the user can read one book and use any
Linux desktop, like they can with Windows or the Mac; that they can take one
course and do the same.

Having two choices in Linux was, while slowing adoption, acceptable, since
GNOME contributed a lot in its own right and also provided a healthy stimulus
for KDE.  But what RH is doing does not contribute anything.  They just have
made all the books written about how to use KDE worthless.  Who will publish a
KDE book now?  And what about training costs for enterprises that have adopted
KDE?  With a workforce already proficient in Konqueror, KMail, KSirc, etc.,
now they have to retrain in Mozilla, Evolution, etc.

This is not creating a standard.  Nobody will follow their exact move - but,
unfortunately, probably many will follow the concept of the move.  The
result:  fragmentation.  An incoherent set of desktops that nobody is familiar

Yes, under the GPL / LGPL they have the right to do this.  But that does not
make it responsible.  That does not make it good for Open Source.   They also
have the right to fork the kernel, to fork Apache, and to destroy every other
standard that exists in the Open Source world - such is the right of free
software.  But in a community rights are balanced against responsibilities,
social responsibilities.

I could go on, I have a lot more to say about this, but I will be writing a
story about it.



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