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Novell, RedHat and Sun Commit to a Linux Desktop 542

Posted by timothy
from the fuse-has-been-lit dept.
DeckerEgo writes "InfoWorld reports on the Linux desktop and how Novell, Sun and RedHat (wha?) are working on making 2004 the year corporations start adopting open desktops. But which desktop? Most interesting to note is how Novell is planning to beef up the number of Ximian, Gnome, Mozilla and OpenOffice developers after its SuSE aquisition is complete. Does this mean that SuSE will stop being one of the best KDE distros out there and follow the way of the Gnome?"
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Novell, RedHat and Sun Commit to a Linux Desktop

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  • good news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by symbolic (11752) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @08:44PM (#7564190)

    Some top players committing to bolster the options available to those looking for an alternative to the stuff from Redmond. VERY good news.
    • Re:good news (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Otter (3800) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @09:09PM (#7564408) Journal
      Dunno -- I could swear I've read the same article ("2004 will be the year of the Linux desktop! Red Hat...SuSE...IBM...Sun...HP...GNOME...KDE, also...cheaper...Microsoft...virus...finally...") every year since 1998. The year just changes. Also, for a while they'd fawn over Eazel but then it disappeared.
      • Re:good news (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Soko (17987) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @09:45PM (#7564701) Homepage
        I'd be inclined to agree with you, however look at the names up there. Every last one of those businesses has something to gain by having the Windows hegeonomy fall. As well, they actually have the weaponry needed to put up a pretty good battle this time.

        I'm not sure about 2004 being the "Year of the Linux Desktop", but the battle for the desktop is definately on again. With a vengance.

        Me, I'm smiling. This is almost certainly going to be fun to watch. For the first time in quite a while, I'm really interested in desktop technology again.

        Soko
        • Re:good news (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Otter (3800) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @10:14PM (#7564918) Journal
          I'd be inclined to agree with you, however look at the names up there.

          C'mon, you've been here for ages. Remember all those Eazel/Ximian [Helix Code]/Red Hat press releases we used to get? Ximian is partnering with Compaq! Eazel is partnering with Compaq! What struck me was precisely seeing the same list of companies making the same proclamation for the first time in a while.

          Not that I wouldn't welcome it, but it's clear by now that the HP guys aren't rushing back to Palo Alto to start cranking out consumer Linux preloads.

        • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @02:00AM (#7566284)
          The end has come. Everyday we move closer to an opensource solution to the great desktop darkness of Bill Gates. This is our test, every failed attempt, OS/2, BeOS, Java, has led us down this road.

          The Enemy will never let the penguin come to the thorwn of the desktop.

          The war is set, the pieces are moving. We come to it at last.

          "I see it in you eye's, the fear of spending too much on software. A day may come when our servers may fail, y. When we forsake our code and break the GPL, but it is not this day. This day we fight!.

          [echoing voice]All you have to decide is what to do with the hardware that is given to you[/echoing voice]

          "We shall see the commandline again"

          You gave away your root password, I can no longer protect you anymore.

          "We cannot win this by source code alone."

          Not for ourselves, but we can give GNU a chance...

          *Followed by several quickly flashing scense of battle slowing as the string section in the back ground retards*

          "NOOOOO!!!!!"

          *black with titles: Lord of the Desktop: return of the command line.

          Oh, wait, I thought this was the review of RotK...my bad...

    • Re:good news (Score:5, Insightful)

      by shanebush (301668) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @01:15AM (#7566080) Homepage
      This is indeed good news.

      However, in my opinion, if these coporporations want to really start working on making 2004 the year corporations start adopting open desktops, they need to consider heavily sponsoring and help develop the freedesktop.org projects.

      After all, KDE and Gnome need a base. That base is an X server. Improvements have to be made there as well.

      Again, this is only my opinion :-)

  • SUSE to GNOME? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @08:44PM (#7564202)
    Perhaps not, the CEO of SUSE recently said [kde.org] that they are sticking with KDE, but also making Ximian desktop better for SUSE.

    • I've been using KDE, but I'm a SuSE user first and a KDE user second. I'll use whichever works best. Seems like with Ximian in the fold, that's going to be Gnome.
    • by porky_pig_jr (129948) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @09:04PM (#7564371)
      once SUSE is acquired by Novell. Personally experiencing two cases of acquisitions of smaller company by the larger one, I know how much those promises worth. Less than 'my 2 cents'.
    • Re:SUSE to GNOME? (Score:5, Informative)

      by InodoroPereyra (514794) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @09:36PM (#7564632)
      Please mod parent up to +5.

      Has anyone followed his link ? SuSE is not abandoning KDE to favor GNOME. And this comes from SuSE's CEO:

      Together with our Ximian colleagues at Novell, we will also enable our customers to use GNOME with the same convenience and comfort KDE offers to me and all SUSE employees today.

      It's all about giving their costumers what they ask for, and some customers prefer GNOME. This is it. He is actually stating that most of the European deployment of desktop Linux is due to KDE. He uses KDE and he will keep using it.

      In fact, Mandrake has been offering both KDE and GNOME almost at the same level of support (though KDE is the default, but then of course you have to pick a default).

  • RH (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    RH seemed like they were well on their way in RH 8/9, then suddenly pulled the plug.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @08:45PM (#7564212)
    "Ok you hippies, get cracking on that code so we can quickly package your hard work"
  • Mandrake (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LittleLebowskiUrbanA (619114) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @08:45PM (#7564215) Homepage Journal
    Sure wish someone large company w/ deep coffers would buy Mandrake and support the *best* KDE distro IMHO.
  • SuSE + Gnome (Score:5, Interesting)

    by thenextpresident (559469) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @08:46PM (#7564223) Homepage Journal
    I love SuSE, and I love Gnome. I know many people out there may disagree, but having SuSE actually provide better Gnome support is wonderful news to me.

    Regardless of that fact, having some big companies work together to create a unified front, a unified showing for Linux on the desktop, whether they use KDE, Gnome, or whatever, is good news as well.

    Looks like some fun and interesting things are coming.
  • by DAldredge (2353) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @08:46PM (#7564224) Journal
    The 2000.00+ USD cost per developer to write commerical QT apps might be an issue with corp. adoption of KDE.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Are you kidding? $2000 is nothing when you include costs of running a commercial outfit. Furthermore, Qt is such an easy-to-use, high quality toolkit compared with anything GNOME has to offer that you are bound to be ahead on the development costs in time savings alone. Qt also works on the Mac and Windows - GNOME toolkits don't - this is very important for most commercial developers.
      • Hmm, there's no GTK+ [dropline.net] for Windows [gimp.org]? Or for Macintosh [sourceforge.net]? I guess these pages are just jokes then.

        Qt may indeed be a more mature development environment than Gnome, but now that there are native GTK+ ports to both Windows and MacOS, it should be relatively trivial to get any gnome app working on either - More so MacOSX than Windows, which is already known to run all that stuff; the only new piece is the native GTK+.

      • by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @09:29PM (#7564581) Homepage
        Are you kidding? $2000 is nothing when you include costs of running a commercial outfit.

        It's the principle that worries most outfits. Sure, $2000 for a widget toolkit perhaps isn't much on its own, but now assume you're paying for the OS, the compiler, the IDE ... it all adds up. Just imagine if there was not one but many libraries that followed this policy - quickly the cost of support code and tools would cause serious problems.

        Furthermore, Qt is such an easy-to-use, high quality toolkit compared with anything GNOME has to offer that you are bound to be ahead on the development costs in time savings alone.

        This is a fairly common troll, yet it's never been adequately backed up as far as I know. In fact I know a few developers who have used both GTK and Qt enough to know the differences, and don't think Qt is all it's hyped up to be (for instance, the qpe-gaim developer). The Qt API contains its fair share of wierdness, for instance, why does QVBox inherit from QHBox? Where is the equivalent to gdk-pixbuf?

        Qt also works on the Mac and Windows - GNOME toolkits don't - this is very important for most commercial developers.

        Qt works on Mac and Windows if you pay the fees, which are hefty. The problem is, so does GTK+ - there is a port which tracks the native XP theme in use, and as MacOS X has X11 support built in, they work there too. In most commercial developments cross platform portability is sadly not a concern anyway.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @09:07PM (#7564390)
      Yes, God forbid that a company that produces classy software like Qt should ever make any money whatsoever from it. However, when you compare Gnome to Qt you realise just how bloody awful free software can be. Gnome is the best advert for Qt there is. I`ve used both but would always choose Qt over Gnome if I had to develop an application. Kicking Trolltech in the teeth casts a bad light on some of the companies involved with Linux.
      • If pointing out what the charge is 'kicking trolltech in the teeth' then perhaps they charge too much?
      • Your correct, it's not a big deal for them to charge that much money. But the problem lies in people who just want to make small apps and sell them for a few bucks. For them QT is not it.
      • Yes, God forbid that a company that produces classy software like Qt should ever make any money whatsoever from it. However, when you compare Gnome to Qt you realise just how bloody awful free software can be.
        Hmm, I think you're comparing to the wrong thing. You can get the whole MS developer studio for less than $2000 and you don't pay any royalties for the widgets.
      • by mcrbids (148650) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @10:13PM (#7564910) Journal
        However, when you compare Gnome to Qt you realise just how bloody awful free software can be. Gnome is the best advert for Qt there is.

        I wrote an app in PHP-GTK. I found it stable, cross-platform, and most of all, usable. But there sure were alot of weirds.

        For example, Clist rows aren't "widgets" in the full sense of the word. Thus, you can't use tooltips (descriptive little popup boxes) on them, even though they act in every other way like a widget.

        The combo (dropdown list) widget won't let you set data specific to a particular entry. Instead, you have to store the entry-specific data in an array and load via a special call to set_data().

        The entry (write stuff in a box) widget is clearly broken, especially on Windows, (it draws little boxes whenever you have a line break) and I can't get scintilla, (which replaces entry) to scroll the text up to follow you when you type.

        The documentation is weak. Many functions are not well documented, and there is no mention of others. Sometimes I had to use the function "Get_Class_Methods()" just so I knew what my options were!

        Nothing was insurmountable, and I was able to produce a functional application that's had positive acclaim in its marketplace, so I'm not too horribly upset. But it could be *alot* better.
        • It seems you were using GTK+ 1, which has been obsoleted for some time now. For instance, the CList is deprecated, replaced by a much more powerful (perhaps overpowerful) treeview.

          The combo box has been rewritten for GTK 2.4, which should be coming out in a few minutes.

          I can't comment on the entry box.

          The documentation is still weak in places, I agree. It is however a lot better than it once was, and no new APIs are added without proper documentation to back them up.

      • by 0x0d0a (568518) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @01:48AM (#7566243) Journal
        Yes, God forbid that a company that produces classy software like Qt should ever make any money whatsoever from it.

        I don't think anyone said that nobody should be able to make money from classy software. Red Hat makes money and yet you can download ISOs, so there's something going on there.

        Frankly, I think TrollTech should have (back in the day) made Qt, handed it out under the LGPL, and then sold a good set of Qt development tools, and tried to get adoped by folks porting commercial software to Linux. There would never have *been* a GNOME, since the license wouldn't have been an issue. It'd be a little harder to make money, yes, though I think they could have made it. They wanted to go for a bigger gamle, though -- commercial control of a major Linux library. There is *tremendous* resistance in the Linux developer community to becoming beholden to any one company. They really didn't want Qt to become another Motif. You don't want the OS that you work on, that is built almost entirely of volunteer-built software, to have as a fundamental component, a non-free set of libraries that all "standard" GUI apps use. And so, I think that the GNOME movement was reasonable, well-founded, and justified. They were not stopping folks from using Qt -- people just said that they wanted to donate time and effort to providing an alternative.

        TrollTech held out for a long time -- perhaps long enough to kill their opportunity. Their licensing system is *still* not as free as GTK's, and I think that they will have a tough battle if they attempt to regain their position -- there is currently a significantly larger developer mass behind GNOME, even aside from Linux distributors tending towards GNOME. The only major advantage that they had was early maturity and stability -- and GTK can pretty much go toe to toe with KDE these days.

        I can't figure out what you dislike about GTK, frankly. You may prefer C++ to C. That's particularly legitimate if you're an experienced Windows high-level programmer, where C++ and MFC has long been standard. However, GTK is a *very nicely* (IMHO, of course) built example of how to do OOP well in C. It is faster and more modular than Qt, and provides a number of significant features (such as built-in runtime user-level key rebinding) that Qt has not kept pace with.

        A number of Qt design decisions were quite reasonable at the time of its production, but are now rather unfortunate in the presence of more solid C++ compilers. Qt contains its own string class, and reimplementation of a good deal of STL functionality. If Qt were being built today, it's doubtable whether these decisions would go the same way.

        That being said, choice is nice, and in the end, it's probably a good thing to have two desktops -- if the maintainers of one project don't like your idea, get it tried out on the other desktop. If it works well, the other folks should accept it, and everyone wins.
    • by RPoet (20693) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @09:07PM (#7564397) Journal
      You can write commercial software with the free Qt, but it has to be GPL licensed. What you can't write is closed-source or unfree software.
      • by DAldredge (2353) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @09:16PM (#7564467) Journal
        From the trolltech.com site.

        Use the Qt Commercial License to:
        Build commercial software.
        Build software that is not sold, but that advances the business goals of a commercial enterprise.
        • I'm well aware of Trolltech's abuse of the world "commercial". It's clear that when using the GPL'd Qt, your resulting products will have to be GPL as well. But they can still be commercial, so Trolltech should change their wording.
        • by volsung (378) <stan@mtrr.org> on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @09:27PM (#7564560)

          Doesn't matter. The Mac and and X11 versions are released under the GPL, so commercial/non-commercial is irrelevant. The Windows version is not released under the GPL, so free software on Windows can't use QT.

          The problem is that Trolltech is being sloppy in their FAQ mixing up "commercial" with "non-free". As long as they distribute QT under the GPL (and not a modified GPL-like license) then you can make QT software for any use whatsoever as long as you comply with the GPL. Their FAQ just assumes that if you want to make a commercial product, you won't make it free software (which is probably a reasonable assumption in general).

    • by k98sven (324383) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @09:08PM (#7564402) Journal
      The 2000.00+ USD cost per developer to write commerical QT apps might be an issue with corp. adoption of KDE.

      1. Most users, by the very definition of the term, do not develop software.

      2. $2000 USD is practically nothing in terms of software development costs.

      • by edwdig (47888) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @09:16PM (#7564463)
        A $2000 one time is nothing in software development costs. However, $2000 per developer adds up very quickly in a large company. Also keep in mind, if you want support, you have to pay that fee yearly. No big company is going to consider something like Qt without having support.

        Also, the Qt licensing completely kills the potential for shareware apps for KDE. It's not really an issue now, but it would be if Linux were more mainstream.
        • Also keep in mind, if you want support, you have to pay that fee yearly.

          My company used to by five figures each year to Cygnus/Redhat for GNUPro support. Five years later we dumped it when we realized we hadn't used it once.

          Having used Qt extensively, I can tell you that it doesn't NEED pay-for support. It's that good.
      • by jafac (1449)
        In the corporate world, $2000 is nothing in terms of software development costs.

        But in the home-OpenSource-contributor/hobbyist world, $2000 is a buttload of money. And if the goal is to provide software under the GPL, it might as well be an infinite amount of money.

        Commercial adoption of Linux is a great thing - and a welcome evolution.
        But one must not forget the roots of the platform, and how Linux got to where it is today.
        • But in the home-OpenSource-contributor/hobbyist world, $2000 is a buttload of money. And if the goal is to provide software under the GPL, it might as well be an infinite amount of money.

          Qt for X and Qt-embedded are licensed under the GPL, meaning it's free for GPL app developers.

          Only Qt for Windows is unavailable under the GPL, but that doesn't have much direct impact on desktop Linux. Personally, I think Trolltech would be wise to release Qt for Windows under GPL as well, but it's their code and the

    • Even if a developer has a license to develop non-GPL programs with QT (which do integrate with the KDE desktop pretty well), I don't think it's possible to develop non-GPL KDE apps because the KDE libs are GPL'd. Although I prefer that everyone embrace the GPL, that isn't going to happen and I wonder if that issue plus the $2000 source license fee isn't a huge obstacle to corporate KDE deployment. How did theKompany get around that obstacle and make commercial KDE apps?
      • How did theKompany get around that obstacle and make commercial KDE apps?


        Because there is no obstacle. All KDE libs* are LGPL, you have no obligation to GPL a KDE application. Of course it'd be nice if you did. Anyway I though theKompany developed GPL software and they then sold it.

        *bar some libs for inessential applications like amaroK, but that's because I only just realised we probably blanket licensed that GPLv2. Ooops.
        • Because there is no obstacle. All KDE libs* are LGPL, you have no obligation to GPL a KDE application.

          How is this possible? The QT libraries are GPL. The KDE libraries link against them. Therefore if they aren't GPL'd also (they are indeed LGPL), they are in violation of the GPL. Is this not so?
    • by opkool (231966) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @09:19PM (#7564491) Homepage
      Mmmm

      The price of a similar set up (OS + Development Studio + ToolKit + Database Server + groupware APIs + web server + ...) for the "other" OS (yes, the one from Redmond, WA) is, at least 5-fold.

      And, if you decide to use QT to develop GPL software, your cost goes down to zero. On the other platorm, the cost remains the same... and probably you cannot GPL the whole code.

      Of course, you can opt to build GTK-based applications.

      So, in short:

      - it is cheaper
      - you have choice of toolkits
      - you have choice of license for your code

      I say developing for Linux is better.

      Peace
  • by Jason Earl (1894) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @08:47PM (#7564229) Homepage Journal

    Everyone that has ever commented on the state of the Linux desktop has begged for consolidation. And now with Novell/SuSE, RedHat, Sun, HP, and IBM all backing Gnome it would appear that said consolidation is finally going to happen.

    • by Zork the Almighty (599344) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @09:02PM (#7564355) Journal
      I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for it. Novell/Redhat/Sun would have to succeed beyond everyones' wildest expectations to make it happen. I think we'll have KDE vs. Gnome for years to come, and we'll have situation where gradually, over time, the interoperabilities will be ironed out or smoothed over. Hopefully, KDE vs. Gnome will become a question of how you want your desktop to operate, without all the technical issues of whether or not programs work and whether they "look right".
      • by Jason Earl (1894) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @09:13PM (#7564444) Homepage Journal

        The question becomes a little murkier when you realize that a sizable percentage of the KDE hackers will soon work for Novell, and that Nat Friedman is heading up Novell's desktop Linux division.

        Don't get me wrong, I don't expect KDE to disappear overnight, but the Gnome crowd now has the majority of the professional KDE hackers by their paycheck. At the very least you can expect their to be a lot more talk in the KDE world about "integration" (and it will be the Gnome crowd calling the shots).

        • One such SuSE paid KDE developer is Waldo Bastian [kde.org]. I can't see him stopping KDE development. I don't know him personally, but I know his KDE history and current status in the project. He's very keen on KDE.

          Most KDE hackers are, funnily enough, keen on KDE. Most OSS developers devote themselves to their chosen projects. Of course a good paycheck is something to covet in these trying times, but I have faith in the near-religious devotion us hackers have to our tasks.

          Still I feel all uncertain.
        • by Anthony Boyd (242971) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @10:17PM (#7564941) Homepage
          Don't get me wrong, I don't expect KDE to disappear overnight, but the Gnome crowd now has the majority of the professional KDE hackers by their paycheck. At the very least you can expect their to be a lot more talk in the KDE world about "integration" (and it will be the Gnome crowd calling the shots).

          You know, when we're talking on Slashdot, it's easy to be evenhanded. That may sound absurd, what with Slashdot trolls and flamebait everywhere you look, but the point is, it usually doesn't have an impact (much to the disappointment of the more political among us). So I can love KDE but say I see merit to Gnome, and it's no skin off my back.

          Having said that, I can't be so balanced here. If the Gnome crowd is calling the shots, then in my opinion, this is an unmitigated travesty. I want to be courteous, but seriously, if my desktop is at risk, I need to speak plainly: I think the goals of Gnome, the look & feel of Gnome, even some of the people behind Gnome, are completely at odds with everything I like. I dislike Miguel's MS cheerleading, and I love at least one of the KDE developers for saying bluntly in a Slashdot comment 2 years ago that he/she wants KDE to stay the hell away from that kind of thinking. I think Gnome's widgets are still terribly legacy-driven, and the ideas they have behind uber-simplified preferences flies in the face of everything I ever wanted.

          In summary, I've always wanted to be a diplomat with the Gnome/KDE issue, because you catch more flies with honey and all that. But if KDE is going to get quietly redirected, my only response can be "do not go gently." I'm showing my cards. I don't think Gnome has any merit beyond their choice of licensing. KDE is superior in my opinion, and if KDE developers will not be leading Gnome, then at the very least I hope they retain autonomy.

          • You may prefer KDE, but GNOME is the better desktop to drive Linux onto the desktop:

            - You may not like the lack of preferences, but corporations (and inexperienced users) do. MSN is the default home page on millions of systems because users are too lazy to change it. You may like a control center with 40 pages (and multiple tabs per page), but such a thing flies in the face of usability. Users are so overwhelmed by options that they don't find the ones that really matter.
            - GNOME has a decent HIG, and devel
          • I think Gnome's widgets are still terribly legacy-driven

            Okay, I agree that KDE beats GNOME on:

            * Making toolbars always hideable (though this isn't exactly "advanced")
            * Tearable panes

            However, GNOME beats KDE on:

            * Tearable menus

            * User rebindable accelerators for menus (KDE has a systemwide version of this, but it's far less powerful).

            Both of them lack a couple of advancements that I'd like to see, like trying out pie menus, having a DOCUMENT_UNSAVED window manager hint a la Mac OS and NeXTStep, having
            • As a KDE developer, I think it's worth pointing out that there is a 'This document needs to be saved!' hint that KDE uses for KDE apps at least. I don't know about it being a FreeDesktop.org standard or anything, but it's definitely there. (Try opening up the source code to a web page in Kate, and then making a change. Notice how the little floppy icon pops up on the taskbar, and the window title adds the text '[modified]'?

              (KDE has so much cool stuff that it's hard to keep track of. ::sigh::)

              Ah! One other
    • by Makarakalax (658810) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @09:25PM (#7564543) Homepage
      Actually I think the vocal minority wanted "consolidation".

      The rest of us wanted healthy competition. I'd hate for corporate America to standardise Linux distributions like Microsoft have standardised the intel personal computer.

      Maybe I'm just nervous because I hack on KDE.
      • by dmaxwell (43234) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @10:09PM (#7564881)
        Actually I think the vocal minority wanted "consolidation".

        The rest of us wanted healthy competition. I'd hate for corporate America to standardise Linux distributions like Microsoft have standardised the intel personal computer.


        Regardless, everyone wants or should want interoperability. That means the object models must have a way to pass data and pointers back and forth. It means lots of fit and polish thing like the applications not looking or acting jarringly different from one another. When all is said and done, applications are king. Neither of the desktops possesses all of the best apps. Most of us run a mixture and we want them to work together.

        It fine if you don't want consolidation but things like unified theme sets and standardized ways to cut and paste more than just text are not evil.
  • To what effect? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by somethinghollow (530478) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @08:49PM (#7564240) Homepage Journal
    I suppose this means that one desktop environment (probably Gnome, at this point) will get enough support to bring Linux to the desktop, something that alot of people have been denying Linux is ready for in the past few weeks.

    The only thing that really bothers me is that Random Corperate Giant is making the decision, not the users. When it comes down to it KDE and Gnome are both on top because they are both Really Good, and that fuels competition, etc. They've stayed "euqally" as popular because their respective user bases like them so much. So the most well known, in my opinion, Linux, Network OS, and Unix providers get to pick what they like and back it... Frightening.
    • Not to rant.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by msimm (580077) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @10:05PM (#7564845) Homepage
      But I'm going to keep scratching my head until I find a site dedicated to Linux improvements (from our, the users, standpoint). If you've ever been to kde-look.org [kde-look.org] you should have a pretty good idea about what I'm talking about. Slashdot is a great forum for commenting on exactly what it is you believe 'Linux' needs (or why it sucks), but that isn't its purpose and it doesn't collect or organize this information so Red Hat execs can skim through and see just what the uncleaned masses are griping about now..
  • I wonder (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ModernGeek (601932) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @08:50PM (#7564249) Homepage
    I am wondering if they are going to put alot into user interface design like Apple did with OS X, and if they will be selling it preinstalled on computers like Windows does, that should deffinately bring up the market for it, also a unified desktop [slashdot.org] would be great for it too, people seem to think different on the subject though.
  • Which will really happen first? In many ways the end result will determine the REST OF HISTORY. Or maybe not. There will have to be a unified vision and presentation before Inux on the desktop makes it to the coperate space or the consumer. And as we all know Longhorn will be ready when flying monkees fly out of my butt. Any one want to place bets? Please, No Macheads, i"m strictly talking x86/ platform.
  • Hmmmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by the_other_one (178565) * on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @08:51PM (#7564258) Homepage
    I suspect we will wind up with the:
    Knome Desktop Environment.
  • by marcushnk (90744) <senectus.gmail@com> on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @08:52PM (#7564263) Journal
    wouldn't it be funny if 3drealms didn't finish Duke 4 ever until linux dominated the home desktop market.. then they'd have to re-write their game AGAIN so it would be compatable..

    LOL
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @09:01PM (#7564348)
    The reason KDE and GNOME have come so far so quickly (within 5 years) is that they've had each other to feed off of and compete with. If there is any considerable swing in one that the other dies off, it'll mean suckage for the "winning" desktop.

    Just look what happened with CDE and OpenLook in the previous UNIX desktop war. After people standardized on CDE, it started stagnating until KDE was founded and eventually GNOME killed it off.

    I've been a GNOME user since GNOME 1.0, and I would hate to see Suse switch to GNOME, since they've been a driving force behind KDE, and thus a driving force behind GNOME.
    • by Chuck Chunder (21021) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @10:19PM (#7564961) Homepage Journal
      Certainly the competition between the two has created some "drive" in the projects but even if one of them were to recede there are still at least two other significant desktops with which to compete, Windows and OS X.

      The fight for the open desktop is a tiny battle compared to the fight for all desktops. Perhaps KDE and GNOME have reached a maturity where greater focus on the large battle might be beneficial.
  • Just because Redhat believes that the Linux desktop RIGHT NOW is not as good as Windows for the average home user doesn't mean they think that it will NEVER be as good or better, or that such a time is so far in the future that they should not be trying to bring it about.

  • PC-DOS, then MS-DOS and Microsoft Windows first moved into the corperate environment and from that position into the homes.

    Adoption at home came from work to allow the user a chance to do work at home and maybe get an edge on the co-worker who was running a 'home computer' rather than a PC.

    Red Hat is only marginally wrong in saying Linux isn't ready for the home, but the problem really isn't in Linux, it's in the workplace.
    Once the workplace reaches critical adoption the migration to home will be a na
  • by papasui (567265) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @09:09PM (#7564410) Homepage
    I firmly believe that the only way Linux will make it's way to the masses that would normally use Windows or Mac is for the desktop to be unified. They need an interface that everyone else will know when they need help, not one that looks different.
  • The biggest problem I see with Linux on the desktop is there are too many hardcore hackers working with it. I wrote a report on this for my history class, for our section on technology. We learned about this guy, Kevin Mitnick, and he pretty much took over the internet singlehandely. He also bought a Ferrari with some money he stole from AOL users, by "fishing" peoples accounts. If not for the underground lawbreakage that is possible with this Operating System (OS), the Internet (and also the Intranet)
  • Does this mean that SuSE will stop being one of the best KDE distros out there and follow the way of the Gnome?

    One can only hope!
    <disclaimer>
    I don't actually use GNOME or KDE, I use WindowMaker . This post is not to be read by the humor impaired. By reading this post you agree to laugh. If you do not agree to the End User Reading Obligation (EURO) please return it to the manufactuer so that he may laugh at you.
    </disclaimer>
  • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @09:19PM (#7564497)
    Success in this field depends on understanding the customer not on understanding the technology.

    For that reason, my money is on Novell making it on the desktop because they have a good understanding of deploying desktop/corporate systems. Sun and RH are more server folks. Maybe they can collaborate in some way?

    IMHO.

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @09:21PM (#7564516) Homepage Journal
    They just said they would improve GNOME.

    Personally i prefer KDE for business reasons, but hey, if a better GNOME helps the cause.. why not..
  • I dunno where this comes from. Last I checked, the default SuSE distro took out things from the KDE control panel like the 'information' tree (devices/dma channels/etc). Why that was completely removed is just a mystery to me. SuSE feels slightly slower than Mandrake does (tested in our labs on identical hardware).
  • by rdean400 (322321) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @09:36PM (#7564630)
    Okay, positive Linux desktop story...how long until SCO decides they need to remind everybody that they're still around?

    My guess is we'll see something Friday.
  • by iamnotayam (524130) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @09:47PM (#7564715)
    This is a negative impact on KDE and the tone of the article suggests that Gnome will become the defacto standard for Novell/Suse.. this makes a lot of sense, not only because Novell owns Ximian but because.. as the article states, they want to give a 'single target to ISV's'.

    Since RedHat is already Gnome centered..this target is and will be GTK+, which allows for third party linking without them having to pay licensing fees.. this is where the choice of QT finally comes and bites KDE... sad but true, a little ironic though... that KDE loses out because it is not friendly enough to corporate types vis-a-vis QT* while Gnome will win(at least it looks like it will) because it is.

    *For those in need of a li'l background QT is licensed under the GPL while GTK+ is dual licensed under the GPL and LGPL. So, QT free(as in speech & beer) for GPL apps but not as in beer for non-GPL apps and while this is fine and dandy for community projects corporations will never pay a 'gatekeeper' if they want to release applications for the 'standard' desktop(even Mickeysoft doesn't charge that.. let's ignore MSDN for now).

    --
  • by Pluh (727171) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @10:06PM (#7564859)
    I'm a died-in-the-wool Windows sysadmin (7+ years), just new to Linux (Libranet 2.8.1, Debian + extras) and in the middle of the learning curve (so take my comments for what they are worth -- probably not much), but already I think the great virtue of Linux/desktop is the organic, user-driven nature of development. It's not corporate-driven (that is, tied to quarterly project planned) milestones, but rather user-determined utility. This requires TIME. Linux is on a different schedule and that's fine. It will win the race against Redmond in the long run. The current drive toward the desktop stinks of corporate expediency. I can't fully articulate my concerns, but it's something like "wolf in sheep's clothing"...
    • by JimmytheGeek (180805) <jamesaffeld AT yahoo DOT com> on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @04:07AM (#7566720) Journal
      I have moments of intense frustration, but I'm learning. And the things that are cool in Free OS's outweigh the things that suck (dependency hell). There just aren't any things that strike me as cool in the Windows world.

      I don't want a teletubby desktop. I don't want arbitrary restrictions driving my costs. I don't want to keep track of licenses. The SPA tried to extort some money from us and the ensuing audit took many, many hours that could have been spent doing cool shit with our network. Figure that in the TCO. Figure end of life forcing an otherwise unecessary upgrade. RH pulling support for 9.0 is a bit of a problem, but I have learned to compile from source! I can even build an rpm. So I don't need Redhat to support my now-legacy servers. I can nurse them along until the pain of that outweighs the pain of switching. My call. Staying on NT 4.0? Not if you connect it to anything. Uh uhhh. Not your call.

      It is cool to use stuff made as a labor of love, an act of generosity, or simple itch-scratching. We can go so much farther with the source!
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @10:14PM (#7564922) Homepage Journal
    Sun just scored a 1M+ desktop agreement with China [slashdot.org], which wants Gnome/Linux, not Windows or Solaris/CDE. Novell's got Ximian's Evolution, which offers a low retraining barrier-to-exit for Windows/Outlook users. Gnome's got the initiative right now. It's in RedHat's interest to make the Gnome/KDE interoperation barriers disappear, bringing together a unified desktop strategy for the growing Linux platform. Therefore, it's in Sun's interest to work on that convergence; likewise Novell. In fact, everybody is best served by converging to one basic desktop, perhaps with addon features specific to KDE, Gnome or others. Sun would be the last holdout, but that China contract might have finally convinced them that people prefer Linux on their desktop to Solaris, at least for now. By going along, Sun gets to sell them on Solaris for the server, which much better supports enterprises, especially distributed ones.
  • KDE v/s Gnome (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Rooktoven (263454) on Tuesday November 25, 2003 @10:36PM (#7565082) Homepage
    My take as a sysadmin/user.

    I think the KDE desktop is more easily configurable, but Gnome (GTK-2) apps are nicer.

    Certain KDE components-- like Kate, Konqueror (as file manager and browser), Kasbar and Konsole are more elegant and utilitarian than their Gnome counterparts. That said, many utilities written for Gnome, but not necessarily part of Gnome are nicer than the Equivalent KDE third party apps--by this I mean Things like Gaim, Pan, and (this is a stretch) GTKed Firebird. Gimp's superiority goes without saying.

    I was a long time KDE user but the need for speed and elegance caught me. Now I use Fluxbox [sourceforge.net] because all is available from the right mouse button, and any app can be "tabbed" with any other. I find myself using the aforementioned Gnome/GTK2 apps, konqueror and quick show for occasional file browsing/image viewing, and aterm.

    I just wish some how Exposity would work with Flux... ;-)
  • by garyebickford (222422) <gar37bic.gmail@com> on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @12:07AM (#7565647)
    Someone earlier said, ... "make the Gnome/KDE interoperation barriers disappear" ...

    This is very, very true. In my case, I am presently using both Gnome and KDE apps - and the XFCE WM. If Gnome & KDE would stabilize on a common underlying data model (be it XML or whatever), then I could keep the same address book in both. I could use whichever calendar I wanted at the moment. And, because these two dominate the Linux desktop now, sooner or later all the other WM and desktop environments would probably migrate there too.
    Perhaps these desktop groups could actually meet online or in San Diego, or wherever, and decide to agree on data formats and communications / object protocols!!
    Even groups who went their own way could develop a mapping from their way to the common lingua franca.
    One of the big advantages of open source software is that proprietary considerations take a back door to improving the breed. And all it takes is agreement at the bottom level.
  • by naelurec (552384) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @01:18AM (#7566092) Homepage
    I think getting a standard desktop is a good thing. Not only will it bring more development to the standard platform (ability to write more code, revise it, analyze it for security issues, etc..) but perhaps a lot of duplication effort will be reduced and those developers can focus on innovative features, new areas of development, etc.

    As a KDE user, I am slightly sad to see these corporations favor Gnome, but I would have to imagine that the features that I really like in KDE would find their way into the standard Gnome desktop (if that ends up being what happens) becuase lets face it -- the FOSS that is developed generally mimics the users of that particular FOSS.

    It will be very interesting to see what type of inroads will be made in 2004.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @02:50AM (#7566480)
    I would personally love 2004 to be the year of the open source desktop, but I fear the CIO et al management of many large companies is totally closed minded on the subject.

    I work for a Fortune 10 company and let me tell you how depressing it is... Their approved standards list has nothing but Microsoft products wherever possible. It would be not be an exageration to say the criteria for building this list was "Does Microsoft have a key product in this area? If so, that's our standard. Otherwise, we'll just choose whatever is most popular."

    In many cases the products these IT desicion makers are choosing are unproven and unpopular even, but hey they're from Microsoft so they'll win eventually anyway. This includes...

    - Microsoft Sharepoint (instead of industry leading Documentum)
    - Microsoft Passport for authentication
    - IIS (They catagorize Apache as "contain", meaning no new deployements should be done)

    When asked about all this during a meeting at a local site, one of the IT corporate leaders said...

    "Anyone here ever deal with Microsoft on corporate licensing"

    [Silence]

    "Well, let me tell you those guys play hardball. Unless you can convince them your heart and soul is behind them and their vision, they won't give you a good deal on the licenses you need like Windows and Office."

    He then went on to describe how Microsoft was unhappy that our company was using certain competing products such as Lotus Notes. And that they told us they wanted us to get rid of those products as switch to Sharepoint etc or they would screw us on the Windows/Office licensing.

    So I can't see us switching to Linux/open source desktops anytime soon, regardless of their quality or other compatibility issues.

    The only good news is that Microsoft's actions in strong arming some of these big companies is likely polarizing: Either the company will embrace Microsoft or reject them. Let's hope they manage to piss enough big companies off with their actions.
    • Unless you can convince them your heart and soul is behind them and their vision, they won't give you a good deal on the licenses you need like Windows and Office.

      Even if you are selling your corporate soul to MS, never let them know it. Have an alternative plan sitting on the table featuring stuff like Linux and Open Office.

      Now if your bosses are playing games with the MS rep, its a good idea that the salesdrroid thinks this is for real. So, just deploy a few Linux systems for 'evaluation'.

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