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KDE Software GUI Linux

UserLinux May Go Without KDE 964

Posted by michael
from the can't-have-any-pudding dept.
Anonymous BillyGoat writes "For the past few days, there has been considerable debate at the UserLinux mailing list about the (proposed) non-inclusion of KDE in the distro. The KDE developers have written a proposal opposing the decision to go with GNOME as the sole UserLinux GUI, while Bruce Perens has posted a response."
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UserLinux May Go Without KDE

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  • by Erioll (229536) on Friday December 19, 2003 @06:00PM (#7769631)
    KDE is still one of the most-used desktop environments around. Ignoring KDE in favor of GNOME would be like only including VI and not Emacs (or Emacs and not VI), and forcing all users to use one.

    This is a mistake if they don't include both.

    Erioll
    • by daeley (126313) * on Friday December 19, 2003 @06:02PM (#7769655) Homepage
      Not exactly the same thing, as including both of those doesn't require anywhere near the amount of effort as supporting two development kits...at least, that's the argument Perens seems to be making [userlinux.com].
      • by KarmaPolice (212543) on Friday December 19, 2003 @06:15PM (#7769776) Homepage
        The problem isn't really supporting two platforms. Packages are being created anyway. The problem is that the UserLinux people wants companies to use it and the "selling" argument will be that is't ONE common platform that they can program their own applications for.

        Imagine the resources for programming and testing for both KDE, Gnome and many more platforms. One programmer can only know so many platforms. The world sometimes is easier with fewer choises...
        • by KewlPC (245768) on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:04PM (#7770155) Homepage Journal
          The thing is, you don't have to test for KDE and GNOME. If you write a GNOME program, test it with GNOME, and it will always work with KDE since if you run it from KDE it will still use the GNOME libraries. The same is true for the other way around.

          This is really just a, "We don't like KDE, so we've decided that nobody who uses our distro will use it."

          I personally don't like GNOME very much. I think QT is a better toolkit than GTK. GTK has way too many problems and limitations (like the complete inability to do MDI-style interfaces), and its whole API is a quasi-documented mess. And from what I understand, the whole "Well GNOME is for C programmers and KDE is for C++ programmers" isn't true anymore, as there are bindings for both languages for both environments IIRC.
          • like the complete inability to do MDI-style interfaces


            Why would you ever consider that a bad thing? MDI-style interfaces are the worst thing ever.

            I don't really like GNOME either though. KDE provides a great framework and is structured well. KDE may have a few usabilty problems vs. GNOME at this point for the inexperienced user. But KDE should win out on technical merit, the rest can follow later.
            • Well, if you want to see things like Photoshop running natively on Linux, Adobe will have to use a toolkit that can do multiple document interfaces, and that rules out GTK.

              The #1 reason people prefer Photoshop over The GIMP is the interface.
              • by mini me (132455) on Friday December 19, 2003 @08:34PM (#7770757)
                Well, if you want to see things like Photoshop running natively on Linux, Adobe will have to use a toolkit that can do multiple document interfaces, and that rules out GTK.

                Neither the UNIX or MacOS versions of Photoshop use MDI. Why would a Linux version need it?
              • hahaha (Score:5, Insightful)

                by Ender Ryan (79406) < > on Friday December 19, 2003 @09:04PM (#7770886) Journal
                Yeesh, have you ever used anything other than a Windows PC? Only the windows version of Photoshop uses an MDI interface.

                I could go on to compare QT fans to Windows users... but that would be silly trolling :P

                BTW, the #1 reason people prefer Photoshop over The GIMP is most certainly NOT the GIU. That you think that certainly is telling. The reason people prefer Photoshop is a. 99.9% of people don't know WTF The Gimp is, and b. Photoshop has loads of extremely useful features and plugins that The GIMP lacks.

                In fact, I would argue that the latest versions of The GIMP have a much saner interface than Photoshop, but that doesn't nearly make up for the features The GIMP lacks.

                • Re:hahaha (Score:5, Insightful)

                  by KewlPC (245768) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @02:37AM (#7772185) Homepage Journal
                  Actually, according to one poster on the CinePaint mailing list (which I believe was actually a reposting of a comment on Slashdot):

                  the reason most studios that are Linux based use GIMP as their paint tool
                  is because there is NO OTHER CHOICE. I work at one of the studios listed in
                  the article. The artists on my team doing texture painting will actually go
                  look for a 5 year old SGI octane with Photoshop 3.0 to use because it is
                  faster and easier to use than GIMP. Let that settle in for a moment. These
                  kids love fast machines, they crave them like crack cocaine. However, they
                  will go sit in front of a 250MHz boat anchor and use a product released 8
                  years ago because it is a better tool. GIMP has a UI that that the Surgeon
                  General should place warnings on for RSI risks (repetitive stress injury for
                  the non acronym types.)


                  I think that pretty much settles that argument.

                  And, for the record, I have used Photoshop on both PCs and Macs. And yes, you're right, Mac Photoshop's interface isn't quite MDI. That doesn't make GTK and The GIMP suck any less.

                  I'm constantly hearing from Photoshop users how much they hate The GIMP's interface. More specifically, they hate the fact that in The GIMP it takes 5 clicks to do something that can be done in Photoshop with 1 or 2. They hate the way The GIMP does everything in separate windows. They hate the fact that they have to right-click on their image to get the right File menu to save the image because the File menu on the main GIMP window has no Save option. One of the smartest interface changes the CinePaint team made to their inherited GIMP interface was to put the right-click menu crap in a real menu bar on each image's window so that you can access it like a regular menu if you want to.
          • by Karn (172441) on Friday December 19, 2003 @08:51PM (#7770825)

            The thing is, you don't have to test for KDE and GNOME. If you write a GNOME program, test it with GNOME, and it will always work with KDE since if you run it from KDE it will still use the GNOME libraries. The same is true for the other way around.


            The argument is that including two software packages that are themselves as complex as the Linux kernel is not a good idea. I'm not a KDE/GNOME developer, but I can understand this. Why can't you?

            I personally don't like GNOME very much. I think QT is a better toolkit than GTK.


            Yes, just what I thought. You're not considering what is best for open/free software, you are simply thinking of yourself. Well, look at the bright side: KDE is open and free, and you are free to compile it under any Linux distro you want.
          • by steveha (103154) on Friday December 19, 2003 @09:35PM (#7771035) Homepage
            This is really just a, "We don't like KDE, so we've decided that nobody who uses our distro will use it."

            No. You're wrong.

            Bruce Perens said, repeatedly, that he feels that GNOME and KDE are exactly equal in features, and that there is no real technical superiority of either over the other. If the licenses were identical too, he would have had to flip a coin, he said.

            And he took some pains to point out that he has recommended Qt as a solution for some of his clients, and that his publishing company just publised a book on KDE.

            And it isn't even true that "nobody who uses [UserLinux] will use it." Since UserLinux is just Debian with a specific set of packages, there is no reason at all why you couldn't set up a KDE desktop on your UserLinux system. And you know what? If you did that, Bruce Perens wouldn't care.

            steveha
      • by mangu (126918) on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:07PM (#7770180)
        including both of those doesn't require anywhere near the amount of effort as supporting two development kits


        What I can't understand is that the development effort is *much* bigger for Gnome than for KDE. GUI toolkits is about the only place where, according to my experience, the OO overhead is justified. For me, the C vs. C++ debate ends when one considers Qt vs. Gtk.

        • .. What I can't understand is that the development effort is *much* bigger [In the United States] for Gnome than for KDE"

          In fact, KDE has a larger developer and user base than any other desktop environment (besides windows) in the world.

    • by mAIsE (548) on Friday December 19, 2003 @06:05PM (#7769686) Homepage
      Yes but we all know VI is far superior to EMACS !!

      --------------

      There are 10 kinds of people in the world; those who understand binary, and those who don't
    • by Prowl (554277) on Friday December 19, 2003 @06:07PM (#7769712)
      i disagree

      UserLinux is about a stable, usable business desktop (AFAIK). it is *not* about choice. The are plenty of other distros that cater for choice.

      Including both or more would dilute development efforts, not to mention confuse Harry Homeowner, who is only interested in writing docs, and playing MP3s.

      This definitely a good thing.
      • If it's about a stable usable business desktop then the best option would be something like xfce4. Lite, simple, lacking in crazy features, rock solid. Just put a bunch of big ass icons in the panel.

        Word Processor, Spreadsheet, E-mail, Web, XMMS, etc. etc.

        It would do everything you need to do at work and nothing else.
    • by Coward the Anonymous (584745) on Friday December 19, 2003 @06:07PM (#7769713)
      UserLinux is for corporate desktops, not home users. Corporate desktop users don't get choice, everything is set up and locked down by the admin. This gives the admin one less choice to make.
    • by _fuzz_ (111591) <me@davedunkiCOUGARn.com minus cat> on Friday December 19, 2003 @06:32PM (#7769916) Homepage
      Windows is still one of the most-used desktop environments around. Ignoring Windows in favor of KDE/GNOME would be like only including VI and not Emacs (or Emacs and not VI), and forcing all users to use one.

      Just because something is popular doesn't mean it meets the goals of every project. If UserLinux is about creating the most usable Linux distro, then it makes sense that they would want to provide a single, consistent interface. That doesn't make KDE bad.
    • by Jason Earl (1894) on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:35PM (#7770393) Homepage Journal

      Actually vi *is* the standard UNIX text editor. In fact, vi is part of the official POSIX specification. In short, the UNIX world actually did standardize on vi. Most UNIXes include vi by default, while Emacs has to be installed separately. So your example is a good one, but it doesn't prove the point you were trying to make.

      UserLinux will default to Gnome, and will include it in the default. However, UserLinux will be based on Debian GNU/Linux and so installing KDE will be as simple as 'apt-get install kde'. The reason that this is an issue is that Bruce has actually raised money for the promotion and development of UserLinux. The KDE folks are cranky because they want the money that is to be spent promoting and developing UserLinux to be spent on their project and not on Gnome.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 19, 2003 @06:00PM (#7769634)
    Except the User part because there won't be any.
  • Why Gnome? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by autopr0n (534291) on Friday December 19, 2003 @06:00PM (#7769638) Homepage Journal
    Isn't KDE a lot smoother and more consistent over all then Gnome? I mean Linus uses it. Especially for business apps, KDE seems like a more natural choice.
    • It's the license (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ultrabot (200914)
      Especially for business apps, KDE seems like a more natural choice.

      On the contrary, KDE is worse for the business apps. It's all about the license difference b/w GTK+ and QT. Choosing KDE would practically have forced the companies that want to ship closed source software to buy a expen$ive license for Qt (if they want to have the uniform "look", of course).

      Personally, I use KDE. That's because I'm not a business, and I use what works (and KDE works better than Gnome ATM). But I wouldn't build my future
      • by rsidd (6328)
        On the contrary, KDE is worse for the business apps. It's all about the license difference b/w GTK+ and QT. Choosing KDE would practically have forced the companies that want to ship closed source software to buy a expen$ive license for Qt (if they want to have the uniform "look", of course).

        I'd have said just the opposite actually. Qt is not that expensive, and it makes money for TrollTech. If you want to prove to the business world that there's money to be made writing GPL software, Qt is a great examp

        • Re:It's the license (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ultrabot (200914)
          If you want to prove to the business world that there's money to be made writing GPL software, Qt is a great example, so why not thrust it in front of the corporate types?

          Being a good example of a business model doesn't make an argument for choosing it as a foundation of a distro. It's Trolltech's business model, and a good one I admit (it's a great thing they abandoned their old Evil license), but why should UserLinux give Trolltech a free gift of larger userbase?

          I tend to think that Trolltech could "le
          • by fucksl4shd0t (630000) on Friday December 19, 2003 @06:50PM (#7770053) Homepage Journal

            Being a good example of a business model doesn't make an argument for choosing it as a foundation of a distro. It's Trolltech's business model, and a good one I admit (it's a great thing they abandoned their old Evil license), but why should UserLinux give Trolltech a free gift of larger userbase?

            Quite the contrary. The fact that there is a commerical company with a successful business model based on Qt and the fact that there are so many commercial apps that use Qt make it a particularly nice selling point for UserLinux. Have you read GTK docs? Have you read Qt docs? There's a world of difference between the two.

            Imagine, if you will :) , telling your prospect this about your os:

            We bundled the popular GTK+ widget set so you can use this free tool to do all the things you want to do. Sure, we made the choice that you won't have commercial support for the toolkit and that you'll have to depend on us for that kind of support, but you're better for it! There's plenty of email lists and web resources devoted to GTK. Granted, there is very little consistency between GTK applications, so you can expect your users to spend twice as long learning how to use them as anything else...

            Qt + KDE is another matter entirely. There is commercial support for Qt, and there are well-defined standards for how to build a UI in KDE. Sure, some people still ignore them, but most Qt developers follow them. That's why almost every Qt app you use on Linux has a predictable and discoverable interface. GTK apps are a world apart (and behind) from KDE-based apps. Gnome has their own initiative to deal with this in the Gnome environment, but GTK predates Gnome by so long and is used by other desktops (Ice?) that gtk developers don't give a shit about UI conventions.

            Granted, I prefer KDE over Gnome, but I also think that KDE is a better choice for a business desktop than Gnome. Gnome might one day catch up, but I doubt that. :)

            Personally, I think the way to address the toolkit issue in the long-term is for someone to port wxWindows to KDE and build a Gnome port based on the GTK port. In doing so, it might be entirely possible to make a wxWindows app that behaves on KDE and Gnome the way you'd expect native apps to do so. Then you have the greatest benefits of all to offer developers with wxWindows. Not only will your apps run natively in KDE and Gnome, but they'll also run natively on Mac and Windows. All you have to do is compile them for each platform. (Yeah, theoretically, but wxWindows gets closer to that goal than anybody else)

      • by kfg (145172) on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:37PM (#7770411)
        Believe it or not, business is not about shipping apps. Most businesses never develop an app in their entire business lives. They ship chairs, oranges, clean kitchen floors, music lessons, entertainment, green lawns laden with chemicals but free of dandelions, katana, baskets, candles, etc.

        The world is not a world of commercial software development. Even in the software world most apps are not for commercial release.

        To most of these businesses the toolkit is completely irrelevant. Hell, most businesses hardly have more than a handful of custom shell scripts they can call their own and rely entirely on off the shelf solutions. That's one of the things that slows Linux adoption on the desktop in the first place, the lack of certain off the shelf "business oriented" apps.

        I'm a business. I've tried both Gnome and KDE. I used to use Gnome. I've standardized on KDE.

        Why? Because it's a better business desktop at the moment.

        Maybe I should put together The Other User Linux distro for people who like KDE.

        Which is why there will never be a "standard" Linux. Which, contrary to the opinions of many, is a Good Thing.

        There's more than one breed of dog, and if you don't like dogs there are cats. There's no "need" for this. Wouldn't it be easier for everybody if we just had a "User Pet"? Then we wouldn't have to "support" parrots and the like.

        There's also the idea of the strength of genetic diversity. Did you know that geneticists now tend to believe that Cheetahs are the walking extinct? Simply not enough genes left in the pool for viability. That's what makes Microsoft so vulnerable to Linux as well. Too rigid a niche. One good idea away from oblivion.

        This is why User Linux is a doomed idea from the start. Businesses, like my own, can already make a choice of a standard distro and desktop. That's what most already do. User Linux offers nothing here. The core to the idea of User Linux is that the majority have to adopt the distro as their standard to create a shared pool of development against that one distro's choice of packages.

        Not. . .gonna. . . happen.

        KFG
      • Re:It's the license (Score:5, Interesting)

        by RoLi (141856) on Friday December 19, 2003 @08:13PM (#7770656)
        want to ship closed source software to buy a expen$ive license for Qt

        Obviously, you don't get it.

        From a software maker's point of view, choosing Qt, you get:

        • An application that runs pretty much everywhere (Linux, Windows AND MacOSX)
        • A modern C++ based toolkit
        • Included RAD-tools

        With GTK, you save a week's salary but:

        • You have only a tiny fraction of potential customers
        • You have moronic decisions that change every month (Now do we want a registry in Gnome or not? Do we want to push everything to Mono or not? Which window manager do we want to use this time?)
        • You have to confront the pains of GTK+ which are lack of tools, documentation and an modern API

        Sorry to break your believes, but for a commercial software vendor to choose GTK over Qt is just plain stupid.

        Choosing KDE for UserLinux would have been smart: You could tell corporations: "See, you can develop your in-house apps with Qt and so you can have a slow painless transition - and you can also go back if it doesn't work out."

    • Re:Why Gnome? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Hard_Code (49548)
      Exactly...KDE seems much more seamless and integrated end to end which is exactly what you want the user experience to be for business users who don't care about flavors of their toolkit or how many bindings for sparklers you can hang off it. KDE seem leagues ahead of GNOME.
    • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Friday December 19, 2003 @06:24PM (#7769852)
      If you want to do commercial development with Qt, you have to pay a one time fee.

      Bruce objected to that and is putting together a distribution that has NO payment requirements for commercial development.

      That's his approach, that's his goal.

      Whether he will succeed or not, only time will tell.
      • If you want to do commercial development with Qt, you have to pay a one time fee.

        I take it when you say "commercial," you actually mean "closed-source."

        If you want to develop closed-source software, based on someone else's toolkit, you should have to pay for the privilege.

        Another reason why GPL is the best license for these sorts of things.

  • by SoIosoft (711513) on Friday December 19, 2003 @06:01PM (#7769644)
    The inclusion of two desktop environments, no matter how good they might be, will be confusing to ordinary end users. There might be some argument for including KDE and leaving GNOME out, but I feel that GNOME is less CPU-intensive and the included applications are a little better. The best argument for KDE would be that it would make the transition from Windows easier because it is so similar. That shouldn't be an issue, though. Nobody worries about users switching from Windows to the Mac being confused. It's a good call.
    • by demachina (71715) on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:11PM (#7770208)
      This decision has NOTHING to do with "confusing ordinary end users". In the enterprise the IT department would pick the desktop they prefer then install, configure and customize it. The user is unlikely to ever encounter the choice.

      This is an unfortunate decision on the part of Bruce and UserLinux if they follow through with it. It will most probably halve the number of developers and users that will even consider this distro. They might argue they don't have the resources to support both desktops but since they are halving the number of contributors they have they aren't coming out ahead on the available resources equation by making this silly choice.

      It really conveys that, rather than maintaining an open mind, and supporting both desktops like just about every other distro that some people decided to play favorites for their favorite desktop and ended up telling everyone who disagrees to go to hell.

      One compelling argument for Qt that I'm not sure has been made on the UserLinux list is its going like gangbusters in the smartphone space and if you are targeting the enterprise you really desktop apps and phone apps with common heritage. Microsoft does.

      The community really needs to find a replacement for Red Hat/Fedorea that is not entangled with the whims of a corporation more concerned with its stock price than its users. We also need a distro that has the kind of critical mass and corprate support Red Hat has. UserLinux sounded like it might be the ticket but at this point it appears to be yet another fracture inducing distro.

      I spend a lot of days wishing the whole open source community would learn to work together, like the Linux kernel developers manage to do for the most part, but it seems to be a lot more fun to fork everytime there is a decision point so every big ego can have a project of its own to be the boss of.
  • by cluge (114877) on Friday December 19, 2003 @06:01PM (#7769650) Homepage
    There is more than one way. Anyone that insists that there is only one way, and that is their way, is probably wrong. KDE has advatages over GNOME, and vice versa. Let the flame wars begin - err continue.

    AngryPeopleRule [angrypeoplerule.com]
    • I agree. There is more than one way to make a Linux distro. One such way is to include only one desktop environment.
    • The PERL mantra is CRAP. One of the desktop UI projects needs to concede, and they need to put their efforts together. KDE is good, but lacks some of what GNOME has. GNOME's recent offerings have been pretty screwed up, IMHO.

      While competition is good, cannibalism isn't, and that is all the two projects do - cannibalize each other. Put the resources, people, time, brains TOGETHER. It's a hard decision to make, but they really need to do it, if either one wants to get better by the leaps and bounds we n
    • by Our Man In Redmond (63094) on Friday December 19, 2003 @06:29PM (#7769894)
      Anyone that insists that there is only one way, and that is their way, is probably wrong.

      Or named Guido.

      (Don't shoot me! Don't shoot me! I use Python too!)
    • by bfields (66644) on Friday December 19, 2003 @06:31PM (#7769911) Homepage
      There is more than one way. Anyone that insists that there is only one way, and that is their way, is probably wrong.

      Oh, yes, I do so enjoy the diversity of choices taken by application writers. It's wonderful, isn't it, that some may choose to allow me to exit their application with ctrl-Q, some with alt-Q, some with just q, some with :q, and some with Ctrl-X Ctrl-C?

      And who couldn't appreciate the joy of searching for documentation in help menus, man pages, info pages, and in text, html, and xml files under /usr/share/doc/?

      It's wonderful, isn't it, having the opportunity to learn a new scripting language and interface when it comes time to extend a new application? And who but the most small-minded panderer to the lowest common denominator could not appreciate the flowering in diversity of configuration methods? (How dull my life would be if I lacked the intellectual stimulation provided to me by the opportunity to puzzle through which of gconf, .Xresources, .cshrc, or .xsession is responsible for the fonts in my terminal windows!)

      Ignore those so-called user-interface specialists and their petty concerns about "consistency" and "usability". It's All About Choice, after all!

      --Bruce Fields

      • Oh, yes, I do so enjoy the diversity of choices taken by application writers. It's wonderful, isn't it, that some may choose to allow me to exit their application with ctrl-Q, some with alt-Q, some with just q, some with :q, and some with Ctrl-X Ctrl-C?

        I don't know what you're talking about. Ctrl-Z-kill works fine for me no matter what editor I use.

        I do tend to lose data sometimes, though.

    • There is more than one way. Anyone that insists that there is only one way, and that is their way, is probably wrong. KDE has advatages over GNOME, and vice versa.

      Which is why Python will be the supported scripting environment for Userlinux. Not perl, not Ruby, not TCL/TK. Welcome to the philosophy that made Apple computers the number-one choice for user friendliness: There will be only one way to do things, and it will be as intuitive and uncomplicated as possible. Not that I'm saying it's the right way
  • by gid13 (620803) on Friday December 19, 2003 @06:06PM (#7769699)
    Hasn't anyone proposed removing Gnome?

    It seems to me (subjective experience, yadda yadda yadda) that KDE is less buggy, more feature-laden, more configurable, and with the new 3.2 betas even slightly faster than Gnome.

    Does this have something to do with the QT developer license cost I've heard about? Is GTK devoid of such a cost?
    • as far as i know, the QT developer license is only if you want to use QT in non open sourced, commercial ways. however, i havn't read the actual licensing, only read "reviews" of it so you might want to read it yourself.

  • by Murmer (96505) on Friday December 19, 2003 @06:07PM (#7769705) Homepage
    Having used both, I have likes and dislikes about both of them - Gnome does look better, and "feels", whatever that means, like a more complete and professional product.

    That said, KDE is faster. Much, much faster; On older hardware, this is a pronounced difference. Every time my old P2/233 goes bobbing for objects in the Corba barrel, it takes an awfully long time to come up for air.

    If the UserLinux project is only meant to run on hardware made from this day forward, that's cool, I'd go with Gnome. But if not, I'd definitely include KDE - It's cruel to say so, but the choice between Gnome and KDE is, in my house, very much dependent on the choice between new or old hardware.
    • Not a flame, but are you kidding? I've used Gnome 2.4 for quite some time on my home machine, and KDE 3.1.* on my work machine for quite some time now. I have decided to go with KDE at home too. Gnome, to me at least, does *not* seem polished or "finished" whatever that means exactly. (OSS never seems to be finished.)

      KDE, for all the claims of bloat, has applications that *work together* in ways that I can not seem to get most Gnome based apps to do. The KDE desktop is more than just the kicker and wm,
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 19, 2003 @06:07PM (#7769708)
    Newsforge still has a copy of the response that Bruce Perens posted before replacing it with is on www.userlinux.com/GUI.html now..

    Get it here [newsforge.com]
  • by div_2n (525075) on Friday December 19, 2003 @06:07PM (#7769711)
    GNOME was chosen because it allows the development and distribution of proprietary applications WITHOUT purchasing a license from Trolltech.

    It isn't about if one is better than the other. He doesn't touch that argument with a 10 foot pole.

    Read BP's white paper [userlinux.com] for his wording on it.
    • The cost of a license for commercial development is not a valid argument. If a company develops an application for sale, the cost of a license is a fraction of the overall cost to develop, market, and maintain a product. As far as development kits go, the decision on which dev kit that gets chosen is based on quality, which will drive the cost of development in the long run, and company politics.
    • by RPoet (20693) on Friday December 19, 2003 @09:21PM (#7770963) Journal
      In fact, I seem to remember Bruce pointing out, in an earlier version of the paper, that the license is the sole reason for the choice. Today's is a new version which is much shorter and to the point. For reference, see this blog entry [kdedevelopers.org].
  • by drhlx (580655) on Friday December 19, 2003 @06:10PM (#7769732) Homepage Journal
    Sure, to your average ./ linux geek, not having the _choice_ of desktop environment is sacreligious, but in order to push linux into new markets, a unified, consistent GUI is one of the things needed. Support costs decrease. Documentation (user-level) can be written for a single interface. Users moving from one (UserLinux) system to another receive the same feedback, which reinforces their learning.

    What linux _really_ needs (for the purpose of appeasing your everyday, business/home user) is to adopt the approach Apple took with MacOS X. It presents a single unified interface, well-designed apps, etc. but lets you add the rest yourself. It's powerful in the way that OS 9 wasn't. But because it's UNIX underneath, you know you can get in there and change it. You don't need to be an expert to do that - someone else will develop a little GUI wrapper to do it for you. But the fact is it's possible.

    We've all known and loved this about Linux for years, but it's mass-market adoption is being stifled by lack of a unified interface. Aesthetics is something Apple learnt a long time ago. It counts.

    The point of the various distributions is to target different audiences, to package things in different ways, to pursue different directions. If you don't like one particular distro, choose another. But we really need a distro that is consistent, and doesn't compromise on security (like Lindows). In fact, we need several. Let them fight it out. May the best distro win.
    • by bfields (66644) on Friday December 19, 2003 @06:47PM (#7770035) Homepage
      Sure, to your average ./ linux geek, not having the _choice_ of desktop environment is sacreligious

      As a geek, I'm frankly pretty sick of going to the geek next door to help with some debugging only to discover that their desktop is configured so differently from mine that I have to ask their help to get a friggin' terminal window.

      I'm thankful every day that the rest of the world isn't like this--I appreciate being able to use someone else's car, or stove, or whatever, without having to read the user's manual.

      ...we really need a distro that is consistent, and doesn't compromise on security

      Yup.

      --Bruce Fields

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 19, 2003 @06:14PM (#7769774)
    KDE will always be available in UserLinux, because UserLinux will be a subset of Debian. Want KDE? It'll be just a few clicks (or an "apt-get install kde") away. Want to run just a particular KDE or QT application? No problem; the libraries you need will be installed automatically. This is Debian, folks.

    The conflict here is about defaults. UserLinux will include and install Gnome by default, and the developer effort will be geared toward GTK. Why? Because GTK is royalty-free in all situations, unlike QT, and UserLinux is building a royalty-free development environment.
    • by benjamindees (441808) on Friday December 19, 2003 @09:40PM (#7771067) Homepage
      UserLinux is building a royalty-free development environment.

      Horseshit. When you see 'User' Linux, do you think "That means it's royalty-free for developers"?

      UserLinux *should* be building a seamless, easy-to-use Linux with a common look and feel and a default set of fully-integrated apps. In short, it should be doing what KDE has been doing for years. Imo, if they would just port OpenOffice.org and Mozilla to qt, they'd be about half-way towards the real goal.

      I wish them luck; but I'm not holding my breath.

  • So what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by caudron (466327) on Friday December 19, 2003 @06:16PM (#7769787) Homepage
    Seriously. So what? If you want to use KDE, use a different distro. This is a non-issue.

    -Tom
  • by AMystery (725537) on Friday December 19, 2003 @06:17PM (#7769799) Homepage Journal

    I've used linux for years, from back at redhat 4.2 I believe. I've also used a number of the GUIs and I have some pretty strong feelings about them. In every distribution that I've dealt with, Gnome just works. Sure, it has some bugs, but in general its a smoother user experience. I'm sure you can do everything in KDE, but that's if you want to spend hours configuring it. Gnome just works. I do like the power and options available in KDE, but if I was starting with linux, I wouldn't want that. In fact, when I migrate people to linux, they get Gnome. Once they learn the OS, then I might mention there are other GUIs, but for a migration or business oriented distro, go with the one that just works.

    That said, I read the article *gasp* and it was about supporting the environments, not the relative qualities of the GUIs and I have to agree that its easier to standardize on one development environment.This is a good move for a new distro and helps to keep their costs down and quality up. I just hope that the fallout from the geeks doesn't kill them before they get going. I'd love another good Debian based distro

    KDE is great, but too much is exposed. I don't need three text editors in a right click menu, I want one that just works, although I generally use vi and they never include that in the click menus:(

  • by Fefe (6964) on Friday December 19, 2003 @06:18PM (#7769807) Homepage
    If Bruce Perens honestly wants this to be a Linux for business people (instead of the unwashed masses of normal users), he should not call it UserLinux but BusinessLinux or whatever.

    I'm a user and I want KDE. Most people agree that KDE is more mature and robust than GNOME anyway, so from a business point of view it is obviously better suited. KDE also has more stability from other points of view, for example it doesn't change the default window manager for each major release, the groupware and the kiosk mode are very important as well. I'm not talking down on GNOME here, but KDE is more mature and all the major business wins Linux has had so far were with (and because of) KDE.

    I think the maintainability argument is a fallacy. Admins already are completely unable to contain the complexities of different applications. Each major application and framework calls for its own class of admins. In large companies you have a Cisco admin for the networking infrastructure, you have an Oracle DBA, you have the Apache guy, you have the SuSE/RedHat/whatever admin, and the 5000 Windows reboot monkeys. Nobody expects all of this to go away if they switch to Linux. There will still be complexity. Deciding to standardize on GNOME will not make OpenOffice any less daunting to install and maintain in a multi-user environment. Or Mozilla. Or Apache.

    And if we accept the argument, we would clearly choose the platform with the more robust administration interface, which clearly is KDE. kcontrol is integrated and pretty much all-encompassing, while GNOME is constantly shifting from CORBA over XML to a binary registry and back. GNOME has become so bad that they actually added a regedit style "config editor" and apparently really expect users to use it to configure applications. Hint: This is the kind of nightmare people want to get rid of when they switch from Windows to Linux.

    Anyway, I don't see why we need to standardize on a GUI, and if we do, we standardize on KDE, of course, as it fulfils more of the requirements businesses have, hands down.
    • kcontrol is integrated and pretty much all-encompassing, while GNOME is constantly shifting from CORBA over XML to a binary registry and back. GNOME has become so bad that they actually added a regedit style "config editor" and apparently really expect users to use it to configure applications. Hint: This is the kind of nightmare people want to get rid of when they switch from Windows to Linux.

      This statement is incorrect. Much (all?) of Gnome's configuration data is handled by GConf. GConf is a registr
    • I'm a user and I want KDE. Most people agree that KDE is more mature and robust than GNOME anyway, so from a business point of view it is obviously better suited. KDE also has more stability from other points of view, for example it doesn't change the default window manager for each major release, the groupware and the kiosk mode are very important as well. I'm not talking down on GNOME here, but KDE is more mature and all the major business wins Linux has had so far were with (and because of) KDE

      Yes but

      • How many companies do you know that actually create their own GUI applications? And I'm not talking about some internal admin interface here that some guy wrote for himself. Obviously, web interfaces don't count either, and neither does Java stuff.

        And if an in-house application gets written, the planning stage until even the decision whether something will be written is done, even that phase easily costs a hundred fold of the Qt fee. Then you count in the time and productivity lost to internal training
  • by SharpFang (651121) on Friday December 19, 2003 @06:26PM (#7769867) Homepage Journal
    Not trying to troll or anything, I just want a reasonable answer to this one:

    I heard a ton of arguments why ther should be only One. Okay, development, toolsets, all that crap.

    So, if KDE IN and GNOME IN is not an option, they go with KDE OUT, GNOME IN.
    Why not KDE IN, GNOME OUT?

    How is GNOME better than KDE?
  • by steve buttgereit (644315) on Friday December 19, 2003 @06:30PM (#7769900) Homepage
    First: I am not a developer and I have no stake in -any- OS outside of the business value proposition it offers; yes I am a pointy-haired manager type. OK, except at home where I've got a little of everything (Sun, OS X, Linux, Windows).

    Mr. Perens approach is right on the mark. Reducing comlexity in the overall product reduces the cost to support the platform, thus making Userlinux more viable. Even if IT departments were the ones making the choice, in a lot of small & midsize shops you would have a good chance of getting a mixed desktop environment based on the 'technically correct' choice of the moment (i.e. ignoring an overall strategy that factors in business needs and downstream support... which raises costs.)

    Choice is good, but an offering where a number of those choices have been made will ultimately present a stronger picture to business. Especially at the desktop level, there is less tolerance for a wide range of choices.

    Many managers fear getting into a situation where they are so unique in their implementations that only existing staff can understand them and later choices are limited due to deviation from the norm. Even not controlling versions, of say, Windows/MS Office strategically can complicate the support picture and even reduce the overall efficency of the company. I know from the experience of cleaning it up, and from having made the mistake myself of allowing sys admins having too much choice (letting the purely technical override the strategic).

    Clearly making choices at the time of putting a distribution together makes good sense from a Corporate point of view.
  • A GOOD thing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AvantLegion (595806) on Friday December 19, 2003 @06:33PM (#7769918) Journal
    I love KDE, but this is a good thing to me.

    Answer me this: why must every Linux distribution be about infinite choice?

    I want to see more specialized Linux distributions, and less distribs that try to present all software to everyone. Instead of distribs that have 1/3rd of their GUIs break at various times, a distrib that picks one GUI and makes sure it works is great.

    Don't like that GUI? Pick one that uses your GUI. Or pick one of the jack-of-all-trades distribs.

    But stop pressuring every Linux distrib to offer every single damn software package under the sun.

  • by steveha (103154) on Friday December 19, 2003 @06:36PM (#7769945) Homepage
    Don't forget that he isn't going to do anything that would pull KDE out of Debian. He isn't going to void the UserLinux certification of anyone who supports KDE. He is doing nothing against KDE.

    If you want to be a certified UserLinux support guy, you will need to understand GNOME so you can support it. You will not need to understand GNOME to get the certification, but you can understand it if you want to. You can advertise yourself as a certified UserLinux expert who will support KDE, if you want.

    So: UserLinux implies GNOME. UserLinux does not imply lack of KDE.

    I think Bruce Perens is 100% correct on this issue. There is no reason to demand companies and consultants to grok two complete desktop environments, and there are good reasons why a standard distro like UserLinux should just have one. And if there is going to just be one, the one that is more free is the correct one. No one ever has to pay anyone for the privilege of writing apps for GNOME, even proprietary commercial apps, so it's the correct one.

    steveha
    • KDE/Qt is more free (Score:3, Informative)

      by Brian Knotts (855)
      Yes. And the one that is more free is KDE/Qt, because it is under the GPL, which is more free than LGPL.

      Don't believe me? Ask Richard Stallman.

  • by Jeffery McGrew (541937) <hand.becausewecan@org> on Friday December 19, 2003 @06:37PM (#7769951) Homepage
    *every* time an artcle is posted about Linux/BSD vs. Windows/OS X usability, someone chimes in that 'if only the open source community could pick one developement platform, and limit user choice, then developers could focus on one platform, everything would work well, things would be easy, new users and business would love it, birds would sing, and MicroSoft would be overthrown'.

    Then that guy gets modded up to +5.

    Now, someone's making a serous effort to do *exactly that* and everyone's bitching about leaving out KDE and how it limits user choice, forces everyone to work on one platform, and how this will make things harder; when it appears that it has a large part to do with the licencing of QT vs. Gnome, and nothing about KDE or Gnome being 'better'.

    Sheesh. And I'm sitting here posting about it. I can't think of what's sadder!
  • This sucks! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by be-fan (61476) on Friday December 19, 2003 @06:39PM (#7769970)
    This is one danger of commercial entities involving themselves in OSS development. The commercial companies are choosing GNOME not because of technical advantages, but because of monetary advantages (LGPL = no Qt license fees). If GNOME goes from being the second biggest DE (according to most polls), to becoming the standard Linux desktop because of something as stupid as that, that'd royally suck. Especially since, in most areas, GNOME's technology lags behind KDE's.

    I just hope this isn't yet another example of great technology dying because the commercial software industry has a tendency to preserve the status quo in lieu of pushing the envelope.
  • by Malor (3658) * on Friday December 19, 2003 @06:45PM (#7770017) Journal
    (this is an almost verbatim copy of a post I made at Linux Weekly News, so if you've seen this before, my apologies.)

    Bruce says: "UserLinux is intended to be a system for business people."

    OK, that's great, but why on earth call it UserLinux then? Shouldn't it be BusinessLinux?

    Names are important. UserLinux sounds like a Linux distro intended for end users. Someone like my Mom, not someone like HP. Bruce may be right about GNOME being a better solution for business. I will, however, bet nickels to dollars that much of the controversy is because people assume that a distro called UserLinux should be about, well, users, and that's KDE's main focus.

    I have assumed ever since the initial announcement that UserLinux might end up being my distro of choice, and I was upset when I heard about KDE's exclusion. Now that I read further, I see I have no reason to be upset, because UserLinux isn't intended for me.

    It wouldn't surprise me to see the whole project fail because of this fundamental naming problem. Is a distro called UserLinux even going to register on a CIO's radar?

    BusinessLinux might have. I don't think UserLinux will.

  • by Starrider (73590) on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:06PM (#7770168)
    As a programmer, C is great because it is quick and low level. Operating systems are written in C. Network stacks are written in C.

    For a GUI, C is horrific. GUI just lends itself to Object Oriented programming. I know the hard core *NIX geeks will flame me for this, but why on earth would you NOT want to do a GUI in OOP. The beauty of coding for windows using MFC and .NET is you just extend classes already there. It's an elegant and tidy way to do things.

    Languages like C with functions just turn code into a nightmare. Ever wonder why most game companies program in directX and NOT openGL? OpenGL is C, directX is not.

    The commercial issue with QT is really a non-issue. It might even be possible companies and write inhouse software without paying a license fee (since the code is never redistributed.) If companies want to make money writing with QT they will. What do *companies* want, to pay a fee to QT and own their own code, or give it away with the GPL and Gnome?

    When someone starts talking about something being "FREER" as in the gpl, I turn on my Stallman filter. These people claim the BSD license isn't free because the code can be 'hijacked' by closed source projects.

    If you give something away, you give it away for good. The BSD license gives it away for EVERYONE to use, and doesn't discriminate.

    When decisions are NOT based on technical merit, rather on politics, then you are no longer a geek. You are an activist.

    Would you use a distro developed with activism placed over technical merit? This is why Linus carries so much weight. He doesn't get into politics.
  • Jingoism. (Score:3, Informative)

    by chris_sawtell (10326) * on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:15PM (#7770251) Journal
    It's jingoism pure and simple.
    Sorry to have to say it, but from the UserLinux people's point of view KDE isn't made here, so it's not their first choice. Neither cost nor freedom matter one fig to business. To think that they do is pure self deception.
    KDE folks: Get over it, if you can't join them, beat them; and kome up with a really KooLinux.

    It's more than possible by taking an appropriate subset of the Gentoo distribution and adding basic accounting functions ready to go. Now write an ebuild file and install with:-
    emerge KooLinux
    Now that would be a piece of cake. Granted it'll be time consuming to make, but it's far from rocket science, yet very VERY Kool.

  • by Suppafly (179830) <slashdot&suppafly,net> on Friday December 19, 2003 @08:01PM (#7770578)
    Honestly not trying to troll here, but both kde and gnome, as they are installed by most popular distros atleast, suck. I've seen a lot of linux systems that boot into windows faster than they boot linux and start up gnome or kde.

    KDE and Gnome are not good examples to use if you are against bloat of any kind. It'd seem wiser, albeit harder, to take a simpler window/desktop manager and build upon it to make something that was halfway useable and consistant in design.
  • by a.ameri (665846) on Friday December 19, 2003 @08:05PM (#7770599)
    A few days ago, when I read Bruce Perens response (or rather defence) on his choice of GUI, there was one part of his response that caught my eye: He said that individual support companies can add KDE and support it if they want. "It's not that we are removing KDE from Debian" he said.

    I contacted the UserLinux mailing list on behalf of a group/company that is considering becoming a support company for UserLinux in Iran. We badly need an Iranian distro with full support for the Farsi language, in Iran and as far as I can see there is a good market here for such a product. For months we have been thinking about wether we should roll out our own Debian-based distro, but haven't yet made our decision. (Well we have made Shabdix, which is a Live CD distro based on Knoppix). As everyone knows, maintaining a Linux distro is not a trivial task, and there is not enough financial incentive in it. UserLinux with it's proposed structure would have made an excellent choice for us.

    The problem is, during the past 1.5 year, our small group of Linux enthusiasts translated KDE to Farsi. Currently it has (near) full Farsi support, and right now offers something which Windows does not: a Farsi Graphical User Interface. KDE is the only environment which has been translated to Farsi, and as far as I know no one is planning on translating Gnome to Farsi, anytime soon. The situation here, is that if people are going to use Linux in Iran, the only player here is KDE. Gnome (currently) lacks Farsi support.

    Bruce's decision on GUI has made life hard for us. I Contacted UserLinux discussion mailing list to ask a couple of questions and to make things clear for myself (namely to ask how I as a support company will be able to add KDE, and still be considered UserLinux). Unfortunetely I didn't get a single reply on the mailing list. What actualy surprised me was that on UserLinux's only mailing list, most people were just trolls, engaging in endless flame wars. I didn't saw a single developer there, nothing cunstructive, just flame wars. Bruce Perens loudly speaks everywhere of UserLinux' more than 200 posts a day. What he doesn't speak about, is that these are mostly just flame wars.

    However Aaron Seigo, a respected KDE developer took the time to address some of my questions, and he made me aware of the other side of the coin: what KDE developers are doing. I am posting some parts of his mails, so that the slashdot community can also use his thoughts.

    He Wrote:
    "I've cc'd the kde-debian list on this, since doing User Linux but with KDE is what this project is about! there's no need to sacrifice KDE, or deal with putting KDE into User Linux on your own. simply join our efforts and we can all work together on this solution. we have dozens already involved and code is being written.

    After congradulating on his work I also wrote:
    " However I should note that while I will look with greatinterest to your project, it is a shame that such an old issue (GnomeVs. KDE) has seperated the community in this way.

    His responded:
    "please note that this old issue was not raised by us (people interested in KDE) but by Bruce Perens and some random GNOME fanatics. my position was and is based on market realities and inclusivity that does not suffer from choice proliferation (e.g. the "10 CD players, 20 text editors" problem) nor from economic drags on support (as Bruce tried to submit).

    I don't think GNOME should be excluded from User Linux, and i feel the same way about PostgreSQL vs MySQL as I do about GNOME vs KDE in User Linux, despite note liking MySQL as a RDBMs solution very much ... so you see it isn't so much a "KDE passion", but a realism."

    I also wrote:
    "UserLinux was/is a great idea, but it's strengh lies in the power of it's core organization,and how much it will be successful in getting IHV and ISV support Having two such projects competeing with each other will only damage both of these projects, as we all know that ISVs (and to so
  • by omega9 (138280) on Friday December 19, 2003 @09:24PM (#7770979) Homepage
    Some quick quotes:

    I am interested in seeing the GUI argument end, as I've just read all of the postings in it and didn't learn much during those several hours.

    That's what happens when you make up your mind before you even start the conversation. It's common in people who think they're smarter then everyone else and believe they know what's best.

    But the most ludicrous aspect of the Fedora project is that with Fedora, Red Hat seeks to achieve what Debian did long ago.

    Fedora is a fellow Linux distribution, worked on by people like you and me, hackers with ideas. There's no reason to call them ludicrous. It's rude and uncalled for.

    The goals of UserLinux are compatible with Debian's Social Contract, which I created.

    I'm starting to get numb to you tooting your own horn. Your achievements are impressive, but they're soured by all your boasting. Yeah, yeah.. you're great... blah blah blah

    Mandrake sent an inquiry and we don't yet know how they'd fit. .... There are a number of Debian-derivative distributions that are naturals for this project.

    This is interesting, as you're basing merit on whether or not a distro is Debian based. The initial mention of Mandrake could possibly have been from a corporate standpoint, but it's followed allmost immediately by the Debian reference, which assumes their worth simple because of their distro heritage. Clearly, being a Linux advocate/hacker isn't good enough unless you're a Debian advocate/hacker. This attitude is given more weight by the following line.

    There have been suggestions regarding Linux platforms other than Red Hat and Debian, which I have classified as partisan.

    Considering the previous, I guess this is no suprise.

    You've got good goals Bruce. I don't think you'll find an arguement concerning you're overall idea. But you've got to stop being so self-centered and treat your fellow community with a little more respect, else you'll be dancing alone with your ego. Even if you do help to construct "billion dollar contracts", money can't buy you love, happiness, or my respect.
  • by bflong (107195) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @12:30AM (#7771804)
    I'm not really a developer. I've compiled and configured an entire network of free software, but I could not code "hello world" without looking at a "{programing language} for dummys" book to save my life. I've used Gnome 2.4. I used if for a month both at work and at home. At the end, I was *so* happy I could go back to KDE. KDE just works. Now. I couldn't even get printing to be uniform in Gnome. I wish OpenOffice and Mozilla would have the option to use KDE's dialogs, but at least I have a consistant printing system with kprinter. KDE is lightyears ahead of Gnome. Gnome has no consistancy whatsoever. Things don't mesh well at all. It feels like a bunch of parts just thrown together. I have dabbled in programing. I've thrown together little bits and pieces to see how they go together. Never really gotten anywhere simply becouse I don't like programing enough. However, I do know that if I ever wanted to make an app, I would use QT. And it wouldn't matter if I wanted to use the GPL or make it commercial. The fee for a commercial license is pocket change for a commercial project. I would be able to call TrollTech for support. I have easy to read documentation for every single funtion in QT. I have no one to call for gtk support. Also, I have the assurance that if TrollTech ever went under, I would have the QT code since they have agreed to release it under a BSD style licence [kde.org] if that were to happen.
    Here's a quick test using google seaches:
    QT toolkit Technical Support [google.com]
    GTK toolkit Technical Support [google.com]
    Now, if I were a comercial company, which toolkit would I want to use? One with full technical support, excelent documentation, and a contract that assures I'm never left without the code that costs money?
    Or a toolkit with no technical support, inferior documentation, no guarantee that development will continue thats free?
    Using Gnome for a distribution geared toward business is a bad idea. Mark my words: This will end badly, even if the distribution is successful.
  • by mcg1969 (237263) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @01:33AM (#7772017)
    So let me get this straight. From the very beginning, Qt and KDE has had non-free (beer) commercial licensing requirements; and initially it did was not considered free (libre) by Richard Stallman and GNU, at least until their licenses were modified.

    And it was precisely because of this non-free status that Mr. Stallman and other free software advocates heavily encouraged the development and use of GNOME over KDE, despite KDE's initial head start.

    And yet now we find that GNOME is the choice for UserLinux because it better supports the development of proprietary software on Linux!

    Oh excuse me, GNU/Linux.

    I get it!

    Actually don't get me wrong, I understand the logic, it's just a funny twist on an old rivalry.
  • by Enahs (1606) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @02:29AM (#7772177) Journal
    I use KDE, but have used GNOME in the past. I like both, but at this time, I prefer KDE. In fact, no matter what I used, say, one and a half years ago, I have eventually ended up back with KDE.

    The only argument Perens makes that makes sense to me is that GTK+ can be used in a proprietary product without paying a licensing fee. Again, not trying to flame, but that more or less confirms that Bruce doesn't give a damn about Free Software. If he did, that wouldn't even be a point of contention for him.

    Seriously, why do we keep seeing these heavy-handed tactics to kill KDE long after the licensing issues have been resolved? Other than the possibility of holding a grudge (and though I can't find it now, I swear I saw an RMS essay about continuing to treat KDE as a GPL-violator) I can't understand it.

    You see, it's very simple. If you release your code under a GPL-compatible license and link against Qt, you're fine, since Qt is available under the GPL. If you want to release proprietary software, all you have to do is pay the licensing fee.

    I know; I know. Someone's going to argue "but what about Joe Shmoe who wants to sell a text editor? What if he doesn't have the two grand?" Well, then, he can do what any other startup does: borrow money, and pay back the loan when the money starts coming in.

    In no other business that I'm aware of is there the possibility of getting your tools for free, and then use those free tools to turn a profit. LGPL-using developers, you are aware, are you not, that your choice of license means that people are writing derivative works without giving back to you? You might as well be releasing your code under the BSD license (not a bad idea, IMHO, especially if you're not terribly interested in pursuing legal issues, though the BSD license isn't without strings, either.)

    Couple the barely-valid cost-of-licensing complaint with the fact that GNOME is currently in a state of flux, the choice of GNOME is iffy at best. Where have all the features gone, and after usability work is done, when will the features come back? Why is the default GNOME 2.4 CD ripper incapable of allowing me to set a default MP3/Ogg Vorbis bitrate? If it's because it's assumed that the average GNOME user would become confused, is it really safe to assume that the average GNOME user is stupider than the average MacOS user? iTunes, at least, allows for some tweaking of settings; they're just not right out in the forefront, and limited to only a couple of important features.

    I could go on for days, but to tell you the truth, had someone proposed this in the GNOME 2.0/2.2 days, I'd just have nodded my head; GNOME was a wee bit more bloated and had an ugly API, but if it became something of a standard, so be it. Now? Why are we burdening ourselves with this dumbed-down version of a UNIX desktop?

  • My $0.02 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mcrbids (148650) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @03:08AM (#7772232) Journal
    Well, it's late in the game, there are a million other comments, and if there were points I was after, this would not be the time or place to write.

    However, I feel I have to add my $0.02.

    I recently wrote a mid-sized application using PHP-GTK. Reasoning being that it was to be a semi web-based product, it would be best to leverage the PHP code on the client and server sides, and the GTK toolkit can be used to write the UI.

    It works well, and is achieving high acclaim in the marketplace in a way that the previous product based on VB simply didn't.

    That said, GTK 1.x, which was bound to PHP 4, is a horrible mess.

    1) Documentation is very spotty at best. I've at times had to query an object directly with get_class_methods() in order to find out what methods I can call, simply because there was no documentation for it.

    2) The widgets are terribly inconsistent. For example, GtkCList (a table of text values) doesn't contain child widgets, even though portions of the widget are selectable! Thus, you cannot use something like tooltips (which creates a popup yellow text widget when you hover over a widget) for anything but the whole table!

    3) Things that should be easy, like creating menus, are simply a pain in the rear.

    4) The API for GTK is transient - what works in 1.3 largely won't work in 2.0. Thus, when PHP5 is bound to GTK2 (which is the official plan, AFAIK) I know there will be a *huge* porting effort just to get the application to recompile.

    5) GTK objects don't have consistent means to access variables. Most of the time you use $object->Set_Data(). But, sometimes you use $object->Set_Row_Data(), or $object->Node_Set_Row_Data(). This is largely because of #2 above....

    So, does it work? Yeah. Was it the best available at the time given our resources and needs? Yeah.

    But there's a HELL of a lot of room for improvement. (I left a zillion notes in the online gtk.php.net documentation website as my contribution since I am not a c coder)
  • by njdj (458173) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @05:23AM (#7772489)
    There are Gnome zealots and there are KDE zealots, and then there are the people who say, "They are both OK and neither is clearly better."

    At risk of losing all my karma, I have to say that I disagree with all of the above. Both Gnome and KDE suck. In a world which has seen Windows, both UIs seem half-finished. For the developer, KDE's API is unsatisfactory (see Al Stevens' articles in Dr Dobbs in Sept/Oct 2001 - AFAIK they're not on the web, unfortunately) for details. And actually Gnome's is too, because Gnome's base is in C, not C++. Development is bogged down by being based on an obsolete language. True, there is now a C++ API glued on top of Gnome, but it's exactly that, with the inefficiency implied.

    So we have two unsatisfactory UIs instead of one satisfactory UI. The quicker we pick one of them and run with it and fix it, the better.
  • by iantri (687643) <iantri@gmx . n et> on Saturday December 20, 2003 @08:22AM (#7772770) Homepage
    ... to ask about the appearance of GNOME and KDE.

    As a desktop environment, I think KDE is better, but for applications, GTK based apps tend to be more mature, it seems. The included KDE apps (Konqueror, Kmail, and so on) seem unfinished and feature-lacking.

    I signifigantly prefer the look of GNOME to KDE, though. KDE's window decorations are about twice as tall as they should be, and Keramik is so god-damned ugly that it could blind a person.

    What I want to know is why, in KDE, can I not click one button (like in Gnome) to set ALL of the related styles? Unless I am missing something, in KDE you have to set the style and the colourscheme and some other things seperately, it is not grouped together as a 'theme' as in GNOME.

    Am I missing something here? Also, where can I find a nice, clean (not ugly) looking theme without over-large decorations for KDE? (I consider Windows 2000/XP to be a relatively decent looking in Windows Classic mode).

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