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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 @07:00PM (#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
  • Why Gnome? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by autopr0n (534291) on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:00PM (#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.
  • by SoIosoft (711513) on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:01PM (#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 cluge (114877) on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:01PM (#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]
  • by daeley (126313) * on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:02PM (#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 gid13 (620803) on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:06PM (#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?
  • by D-Cypell (446534) on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:06PM (#7769700)
    Sometimes options are not good. Particually if you want to reach out to slightly less technical users.

    Lets not forget that anyone that wants to use this distro with KDE should be able to compile and install it.

    There are als many other distros that come with both.
  • by Prowl (554277) on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:07PM (#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.
  • by Coward the Anonymous (584745) on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:07PM (#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.
  • It's the license (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ultrabot (200914) on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:08PM (#7769723)
    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 on it.
  • by drhlx (580655) on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:10PM (#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.
  • Freedom of Choice (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:11PM (#7769748)
    Is the freedom to create a Linux distribution with only one desktop.
  • by frantzdb (22281) on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:12PM (#7769756) Homepage
    I agree. There is more than one way to make a Linux distro. One such way is to include only one desktop environment.
  • BFD (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Harmotech (664060) on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:13PM (#7769758) Homepage
    Who cares? It's ONE distro out of how many? It's probably good in the long run if it makes transition from another OS that much easier. KDE needs to follow suit...how many distros would happily use them?
  • by thockin (514323) on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:14PM (#7769765)
    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 need.

    The last few times I have dealt with new GNOME updates it gets WORSE AND WORSE. More bloat, more crap, less options, harder to figure out how to change things. There is nothing more frustrating that a feature you used to use all the time being taken away from you

    Focus on cleanliness and efficiency. That doesn't mean that all the config options have to disappear (ahem, Metacity can bite my ass). It DOES mean that nautilus can't chew up 16 MB of memory per user just to SIT THERE.

    Get it together guys, they're getting ahead of you further than you can catch up at this point.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:14PM (#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 KarmaPolice (212543) on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:15PM (#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...
  • So what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by caudron (466327) on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:16PM (#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 @07:17PM (#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 Whatanut (203397) on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:18PM (#7769804)
    Is there are a reason KDE can't be used anyways? You'll just have to download it instead of it being distributed with the initial install.

    If you like KDE... keeping using it. For the business world they get less complication and you still have choice.
  • Re:Why Gnome? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hard_Code (49548) on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:20PM (#7769819)
    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 rsidd (6328) on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:22PM (#7769832)
    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 example, so why not thrust it in front of the corporate types? And from all accounts I've seen, it really is the better, more cleanly designed toolkit. Ask the Opera people, who weren't embarrassed to pay for it.

  • by steve buttgereit (644315) on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:30PM (#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.
  • by bfields (66644) on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:31PM (#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

  • by _fuzz_ (111591) <meNO@SPAMdavedunkin.com> on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:32PM (#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.
  • A GOOD thing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AvantLegion (595806) on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:33PM (#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 Fringe (6096) on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:35PM (#7769938)
    Some of these threads pointing out that choice is essential or that "some" people find KDE more usable completely miss the point and are why Linux can't make progress on the Desktop.


    Windows gives no choice. Windows rules the desktop. Windows ME/XP is (pick one: more | less) usable than the Windows 9X interface, but both succeeded.


    IMHO, if more distributions picked a single UI and went with it, patching in the most annoying gaps, the biggest problem with Linux would quickly be solved. The idea that multiple choices with fewer developers is somehow superior to fewer choices better done seems disingenous at best.


    I prefer KDE myself, but what I'd really like is for one to win and get most of the wrinkles ironed out. Either one. Because I don't have to worry about the UI choices in Windows, Mac, java apps, Palm apps or even PPC.

  • by steveha (103154) on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:36PM (#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
  • Re:Why Gnome? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Enucite (10192) on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:38PM (#7769962)
    KDE is a common default for most distros...
    Except among those targetting [sun.com] enterprise [redhat.com] customers [novell.com].

    Which is the same group UserLinux is going for.
    There's a reason Gnome is more popular for business-focused distros.
  • Re:GTK is OSS (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ivan256 (17499) * on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:38PM (#7769964)
    Qt is OSS! It was GPL'ed long ago.

    Exactly the point. GTK+ is available under the LGPL, rather than the *less* free GPL like Qt. You can't create closed applications with a GPLd toolkit, where you can with an LGPLd toolkit. A viable platform has to support closed applications.
  • by Apreche (239272) on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:39PM (#7769967) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • This sucks! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by be-fan (61476) on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:39PM (#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.
  • who cares (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:42PM (#7769993)
    Did everyone forget that just because it ships without kde doesn't mean you can't download kde and install it. We are talking about linux here folks.
  • by fucksl4shd0t (630000) on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:50PM (#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 be-fan (61476) on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:50PM (#7770055)
    That doesn't make KDE bad.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>&g t;
    No, but along with RedHat and Novell adopting GNOME, it might just mean that GNOME "wins" by virtue of commercial forces rather than technical ones.
  • Re:Dumb (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MazTaim (1376) <[ten.mocituan] [ta] [miat]> on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:53PM (#7770074) Homepage Journal
    Obviously you don't want userlinux to make their own decisions. Why else would you post something so rediculous? In fact, from your post, I would call YOU more communist than they are.

    The whole point of OSS is to allow freedom of choice. UserLinux is making a "choice" (notice the key word "choice") to include only one GUI.

    They have the choice to either include KDE or exclude KDE. You may chose to use KDE and forget about Gnome. Do you get communist remarks made to you because you forced your OS to only use only KDE?

    They aren't forcing you to choose their distribution. You don't like it, get another distro and quit your bitching.
  • by SyntheticTruth (17753) on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:54PM (#7770077)
    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, but a whole suite of OSS software built around that framework that every other DE I have uses lacks. And Konqueror after two years is still my browser of choice -- Mozilla, for all it's geekiness, still seems clunky. (I have no used the *birds yet, as I've had no need.)

    That said, there are things about Gnome I do miss. The MacOS-like bar at the top of the screen. I prefer that, and putting the KDE kicker up there is a poor comparison. It does have desktop menus, but then you can't put applets to that, but I hear that is to change in 3.2. I sure hope so.

    There are things I like about Nautilus file-manager as well, both in appearance in and how it works, but Konqueror as a file-manager is not bad at all, and it does exactly what I think a fm would do.

    In the end, I feel that KDE is the more professional feeling of both popular desktops. It has a unified look-n-feel, simple customization (widgets and window decs) of colors that *I* find pleasing, and the group of apps are just great and always tend to fit whatever need I have at the moment. My only real beef with it is the Trolltech licence. Having gotten into PyQT developing lately, I'm frustrated I can't easily move my apps to Win32 for my friends to use.

    Again, not a flame, but I always hear that Gnome always appears more professional, but I gave it a test of damn near a year, and in the end, the DE felt disconnected from all the elements and apps.
  • by KewlPC (245768) on Friday December 19, 2003 @08:04PM (#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.
  • 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 Starrider (73590) on Friday December 19, 2003 @08:06PM (#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.
  • by demachina (71715) on Friday December 19, 2003 @08:11PM (#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 Linux_ho (205887) on Friday December 19, 2003 @08:11PM (#7770209) 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.

    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 to go, I'm just pointing out that it's a valid way of building a system that has worked in the past.
  • by no_choice (558243) on Friday December 19, 2003 @08:11PM (#7770215)

    Some people have said that Gnome has an advantage over KDE because you need to buy a licence to make commercial software with QT.

    First of all, this is wrong. Read the QT FAQ. [trolltech.com] Developers can write commercial apps to their hearts content using QT with complete freedom (beer & speech) as long as your apps are GPL'd. Now, if a developer wants to write PROPRIETARY, NON-FREE apps -- programs where the developer keeps the source code secret and does not allow the users to review, change, or share the program or source with others -- well, the developer can do that, but then they need to buy a QT commercial licence from Trolltech.

    And what is wrong with that? If a developer refuses to share his source freely with others, why should Trolltech have to share their source with him??!

    This kind of licenceing encourages the development of free (as in speech) software (including commercial free software--COMMERCIAL NON-FREE). Isn't advancing free software supposed to be the whole point of userlinux?

  • by caseih (160668) on Friday December 19, 2003 @08:14PM (#7770242)
    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 you can't develop proprietary apps (for good or bad) using KDE without paying the trolltech licensing fee.
    nd 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.
    Actually the gconf configuration system is what the registry should have been. It's not really binary at all. Instead it's a distributed hiarchy of xml entries (using the file system to provide for folders and the tree structure). It works very well and you can edit it with vi. gconf-editor is there, and it works, but it's still plain xml text and probably will remain so. As for inter-process communication, KDE and GNOME are converging on the same mechanism (I think it has something to do with DBUS) that is probably rpc via xml, as defined in the freedesktop specs.

    I find your comments on gnome show a bit of ignorance as to what really goes on in with gnome. Gnome is quite a bit better designed than you think. Whether or not it's better than KDE isn't the issue here. The main issue is providing an environment that lends itself to development needs of businesses (the LGPL actually does us a favor here). The user aspect of that is another story. All businesses have a few proprietary inhouse software packages that they would want to port with the minimal effort and expense (and licensing is part of that).

    All that said, KDE is a wonderful interface. I am constantly driven nuts, though, but the insistance on using the backwards Microsoft way of placing buttons in dialogs. Apple got that one right.
  • by Billly Gates (198444) on Friday December 19, 2003 @08:17PM (#7770261) Journal
    I remember for the 3-4 years Gnome would always freeze up and the apps would core dump. Ever run Linux on init 3 and run gnome by startx? I remember closing X and seeing line after line of gtk+ error messages.

    Many users do not see them today because they use kdm or gdm upon bootup. Gnome is fine today but it had its share of problems when it first came out. It wasn't untill 2.x that it finally became stable.

  • by Fefe (6964) on Friday December 19, 2003 @08:26PM (#7770325) Homepage
    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 sessions, and you end up with numbers where the $1300 don't even register in the 0.x percentage range.

    Also, since in-house applications are used internally and not given away, you don't need a license that allows selling the code, the GPL is perfectly fine for that.

    To make this very clear: if there is anyone who is actually making graphical applications for Linux, and this argument has to carry any weight, it's neither a big company nor is it an in-house application. And if you expect to make money on an application, labor cost by far dwarfs any fixed hardware or licensing cost. Heck, MS Visual C++ alone probably costs more than the Qt license, and do you know any Windows development company who ever went under because of the MSVC license cost?

    Neither do I.
  • by Prowl (554277) on Friday December 19, 2003 @08:33PM (#7770381)
    "Users having a choice is a good thing"

    depends on the user...

    Personally i don't use a desktop per se. i use enlightenment, and spend the majority of my time at a shell prompt. I'm a developer and its the easiest way to get my job done. If i want software installed i tend to grab the sources and install it myself. In this case, choice is a good thing.

    Limited choice can also be a good thing. Look a Mac OS X. You get Aqua. no questions asked. And everyone seems to love it.

    But remember that a user who uses OS X is a completely different person to one who demands choice. A OS X user needs things to "just work", and it is this target user that UserLinux is going after i believe.

    Now this approach is far too restrictive for people like you or I. We're quite happy to poke around, getting things just right. If we were inclined, we could argue that its one of our fundamental human rights...

    But remember harry homeowner. He just wants to turn on and read his email, surf the net and do his work. He's not interested in choosing a desktop or editing his muttrc. Harry doesn't understand the distinction between kernel,OS,windowing system and desktop, and neither *should* he understand it. His computer is simply a productivity tool that just works.

    Think of it like a car.
    I own a car, but understand little about how it works other than the basics. I'm not interested in the finer details of the engine. I just need to get from A to B.

    UserLinux is simply trying to fill the "from A to B" gap in the market.

    Of course, this is all based on my limited (mis-)understanding of the UserLinux manifesto.

  • by Jason Earl (1894) on Friday December 19, 2003 @08:35PM (#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 kfg (145172) on Friday December 19, 2003 @08:37PM (#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:GTK is OSS (Score:3, Insightful)

    by abigor (540274) on Friday December 19, 2003 @08:50PM (#7770509)
    Christ, I am sick of people who rattle on about this without knowing what they are talking about.

    "A viable platform has to support closed applications" - no shit, Sherlock. You can write closed apps with Qt. Just buy a license and go to it. The thing is dual-licensed.

    The GPL is not "less free". The GPL enforces user freedoms. The LGPL gives developers freedom. Which do you care more about? (Hint: you aren't a developer).
  • Re:Oh... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RoLi (141856) on Friday December 19, 2003 @08:59PM (#7770565)
    Yeah, one meaning is to think first and then stick to decisions and

    • not change window managers with each release
    • not change toolkit APIs with each release
    • not moronically start to partly copy the worst parts of Windows ever envisioned (the registry)

  • by Karn (172441) on Friday December 19, 2003 @09:51PM (#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.
  • hahaha (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ender Ryan (79406) on Friday December 19, 2003 @10:04PM (#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.

  • by Capt. Beyond (179592) on Friday December 19, 2003 @10:18PM (#7770953)
    Bruce,
    You say you are trying to "advance Free Software in business", yet choose and promote a license who's entire existence is to provide closed source, proprietary software for a free, open source operating system.

    To me, this is hypocritical. You are not advancing Free Software in anyway when you choose to use the LGPL (i.e. GNOME). You are advancing closed source software.

    Qt is GPL'd, and as such does not allow closed source applications to be developed for free.

    Which toolkit advances Free Software more?
  • Re:This sucks! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Decameron81 (628548) on Friday December 19, 2003 @10:32PM (#7771021)
    The point is KDE has a problem, the problem of making it harder to develop closed source applications for it. I can't see why this shouldn't be important to developers.

    Developers are the root of all software, freedom is all they ask.

    Diego Rey
  • by mindstrm (20013) on Friday December 19, 2003 @10:38PM (#7771052)
    Do people *really* demand choice? Did everyone DEMAND a big choice of window managers and desktop systems? No.. they really didn't... that's just how things evolved.

    I use OSX all the time, and I'm traditionally that guy who uses linux and whatever window manager currently catches my eye.

    It's not just about lack of choice.. it's about stability of the target. A developer can know clearly what his target audience has when developing applications for OSX. That's hard, with linux.

    Though you may feel the classic MacOS environments were about lack of choice, and confining the user to an unchanging experience, that's not the case anymore.

    I don't NEED to mess around with every aspect of my GUI.. I know it can be fun.. but if it was well designed in the first place, we would have a lot less people worrying about skinning it. Go look at a room full of OS X users.. most of the desktops look the same. Any one user could quickly make use of any other user's desktop.. and believe me, it's not because skinning and manipulating the GUI is any harder than it is with X (though I"m sure someone will come up with examples of things)

    More important is the fact that the OS X Gui is designed *well*. IT's open; you can write apps for it easily. IT WORKS.. if you have never really sat down to use it, and spent an hour or two getting to know it, you don't know even know what a good GUI *IS*, because you've probably never used one. Windows is pale by comparison, KDE as well (it's on par with windows in my books, in terms of usability). Some GNOME setups I've seen are better... more well thought out, not just copying windows... but still a far cry from what Apple has achieved.

    If the desktop is well designed, yet extensible, there is no reason to hvae 20 totally different versions floating around.

    Also, it's not because the end user doesn't want choice.. tis' because the developer needs a stable target.

    Ask yourself: If you want to write a state of the art gui app for linux, that interoprates with the OS properly, drag and drop, print menus, cut and paste, etc... how will you do it? what toolkits and libraries will you choose? KDE? Gnome? Neither, just use TK? Do it totally self contained, so it looks like a uniqe app, sort of like xmms?

    That choice is clear with Apple, and clear with Microsoft.

  • by benjamindees (441808) on Friday December 19, 2003 @10:40PM (#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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 19, 2003 @11:02PM (#7771206)
    This seems to me to be one man's idea's of what linux should be. Throwing out support for KDE on
    such a grandious project is simply throwing away half of all linux users. UserLiniux seems to me to be a great way for one man to toot-his-own-horn at
    the expense of the linux community. We've lived with KDE's (QT's) License for a while... it doesn't seem to stop people from using and developing for KDE. It's obvious with limitations imposed as a base distro; this is going to be a micro distro with alot of software limitations. I'll never use it.
  • Re:GTK is OSS (Score:2, Insightful)

    by asciiRider (154712) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @12:18AM (#7771530)
    this userLinux stuff sound really great -

    - it needs to support closed apps
    - it needs to have less choice (1 desktop)
    - one scripting environment

    might as well stick with windows.

    I read an article today about the mozilla platform, all of this talk about kde vs. gnome helps me understand that article better. If I was a developer I'd probably just choose mozilla and have it run everywhere...heck, even java would help out those worried developers, hehe...
  • by AstroDrabb (534369) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @12:26AM (#7771559)
    You just can't make commerical apps and link to QT without their permission.
    And an expensive PER DEVELOPER license fee.

    $2,330 per developer to compile for one OS
    $3,495 per developer to compile for two OSes
    $4,660 per developer to compile for Windows, Linux and Mac

    Plus Maintenance and Support PER DEVELOPER
    $720 for one OS
    $1,080 for two OSes
    $1,450 for Three OSes

    You don't have to pay any extra to develop with the Win32 API under MS Windows, nor do you have to pay any extra to develop with Cocco/Carbon under Mac OS X. Why in the world should you have to pay extra to do commercial development under Linux?
  • by Fred_A (10934) <fred.fredshome@org> on Saturday December 20, 2003 @12:36AM (#7771592) Homepage
    The #1 reason people prefer Photoshop over the Gimp is that they already know how to use Photoshop and don't have a clue how to use the Gimp.

    The last time I used Photoshop was when it was an Apple only application. As a result I'm absolutely incapable of using it today while I'm fairly comfortable with the Gimp. So of course I prefer the Gimp. Most people reason the same way.

    Absolutely nothing to do with MDIs...
  • by frank_adrian314159 (469671) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @01:22AM (#7771769) Homepage
    KDE will always be available in UserLinux, because UserLinux will be a subset of Debian.

    This is so correct. You know, this is Linux. You still have a choice. You can even start with the UserLinux environment, add KDE, repackage it and sell it as "Now with KDE!!!!" Simply put, if you don't like it, go fork yourselves.

    All of you folks wanking about choice should remember that a choice has been made. It is a choice to simplify at the expense of having only a single desktop. It simply happens to be a choice you don't like. Too bad. There are already a ton of distros offering choice of both KDE and Gnome - Debian, Knoppix, SuSe, Mandrake, and Fedora all come to mind. Stop whining because your favorite didn't get picked for the beauty pageant...

  • Oh the irony... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by achaudhary (461062) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @01:56AM (#7771913)
    This is especially ironic considering the circumstances of the GNOME Project's foundation. Funny how GNOME is now being chosen since it is more 'accessible' to corporate developers because of its 'less Free' (in the spirit of Free software) nature as opposed to the GPLd KDE/Qt, while the initial argument against KDE/Qt was that it was non-Free and we needed a completely Free alternative. 'Lesser' GPL indeed.
  • by mcg1969 (237263) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @02:33AM (#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 hansreiser (6963) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @02:41AM (#7772045) Homepage
    Maybe part of the reason KDE is better is because they manage to make some money. Taxing proprietary software when they want to take advantage of your labor so that THEY can make money seems pretty reasonable to me. If THEY can make money charging users license fees, why not KDE?
  • by Jimithing DMB (29796) <dfe AT tgwbd DOT org> on Saturday December 20, 2003 @02:45AM (#7772057) Homepage

    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.

    Actually, several GUI libraries are written in C as well. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that more GUI libraries are written in C than in any other language. Win32 is written in C. Apple's Carbon and classic APIs are written in C. Numerous X toolkits are written in C. The first NeXT API was written in C. Of course, it's worth noting that Win32 stems from Win16 which was originally written in Pascal. Ditto for the classic MacOS. NeXT was later written in Objective-C and became Apple's Cocoa. Carbon is a mix of APIs modeled after both classic MacOS and more recently Cocoa.

    Mac OS X is rather interesing because the entire CoreFoundation as well as the newer Carbon stuff like HIView is quite obviously modeled after Cocoa APIs except as a C API instead of an Objective-C API. The interesting thing is that even though C lacks any OO features the newer Carbon APIs are quite clearly object oriented. In fact, many CF classes are "toll-free bridged" to their Foundation (Objective-C) counterparts which means you can do neat stuff like use a CFStringRef as an NSString* because the in-memory layout of CFString and NSString is identical.

    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.

    Ugh, where to begin. I'll agree that from an application developer's perspective a C interface to the GUI is horrific. That's why MS has MFC and .NET (as you mentioned) and why GTK has things like GTKMM (C++) and GTK# (C#) bindings. And I agree with you that you would want to do a GUI in OOP. Unfortunately, you neglect to realize that GTK is object oriented in many respects and for that matter so is Win32 to a lesser extent.

    Even in Win32 and GTK one can do the same sort of subclassing as one would do with a C++ toolkit like MFC. The big difference is that in a toolkit like Win32 or GTK you are dealing with the toolkit's method of doing OO whereas with MFC you have a more well-known C++ syntax for OO. However, you still have to deal with the object hierarchy and design of the toolkit. MFC, Qt, wxWindows, and other C++ toolkits all have their own ideas about OO and their own APIs even if they are all written in the same language. While I've heard people call wxWindows or Qt programing elegant and tidy, I've never heard that said about MFC. That's a new one.

    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?

    I think you're confused here. Qt (pronounced "Cute" not to be confused with QT which is the abbreviation for QuickTime) is dual licensed under either the GPL or the Trolltech commercial license. Qt costs a lot of money to use commercially. IIRC, Trolltech wants like $1k a seat or something ridiculous like that. Your other option with Qt is to use the GPL. So, what do *companies want*: to pay a fee to Trolltech and own their own code or to avoid the fee and "give it away" with the GPL and the GPL-licensed Qt.

    GTK on the other hand is licensed under the LGPL license which specifically allows linkage with non-free software. The only LGPL requirement is that you provide a way for the user to modify the free portions (the library). In practice that means you simply dynamically link with GTK which you must do anyway because of the design of GTK t

  • by Enahs (1606) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @03:29AM (#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?

  • Re:hahaha (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KewlPC (245768) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @03:37AM (#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.
  • My $0.02 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mcrbids (148650) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:08AM (#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 @06:23AM (#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 DF5JT (589002) <slashdot@bloatware.de> on Saturday December 20, 2003 @07:27AM (#7772595) Homepage
    I very much appreciate Bruce Peren's activities and believe that we need people like him who want to promote Linux as a serious contender in the market of enterprise systems.

    Having said that, I was quite surprised to read Bruce's reply to the KDE-group. Nowhere does he address the real issue, which in this case is not the question of providing for another desktop solution, it is the question of providing for an enterprise Linux as a worthy contender to other "solutions" on an enterprise level.

    In that respect GNOME loses big time for the simple reason that no one in the GNOME foundation seems to have a clear vision of where their development is going, in particular with respect to these points:

    - Central administration of large scale desktop deployments
    - Enterprise level printing administration
    - Enterprise level Resource Planning

    and many others more which can be read in detail on http://desktop.kdenews.org/strategy.html

    KDE provides its user base with a clear and focussed vision of where enterprise Linux is going.

    Where are the GNOME visions in this regard? There are none.

    If UserLinux (What a bad name, it should be called Enterprise Linux or Debian Enterprise, whatever) wants to reach its intended audience, it has to provide a stringent concept for usability, scalability, support and enterprise features and commitment to care for the development.

    All of this is missing from GNOME and this makes the licensing argument rather moot.

    Either UserLinux wants to reach enterprises on a comprehensive level, in which case it has to provide for a framework enterprises need, or it wants to deploy some servers and some desktops without the technical merits of a real enterprise solution. The latter case is fine, if you want to show people that Linux is not bad and works fine in an enterprise environment.

    However, if we are talking real enterprise level, GNOME cannot come up with the necessary features and the long term vision to compete with the large solution vendors.

    As a technical salesman I would have a hard time making decision makers understand why the GNOME-UI is of real merit to their enterprise. The different licensing scheme is of only marginal interest for large scale deployments of a comprehensive framework.

    Given the KDE strategy and the nonexistence of such in GNOME, one can only wonder, why UserLinux thinks it will make a difference in the corporate world.
  • by Elektroschock (659467) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @08:18AM (#7772650)
    Troll. You cannot exclude qt based environments. This will never succeed.
  • by luisdom (560067) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @08:46AM (#7772696)

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

    And then, why include the worst of the two? ;)
    Seriously, things are not done like that. Trying to push a standard, and starting by pissing everyone who uses one of the most used desktop is not a good way to start.
    Freedesktop is. Instead of "choosing", they try to integrate everyone, take everyone on board. And in order not to dilute development efforts, they work in what is agreed: interoperability. Work in common things. Most "KDE folks" are willing to throw DCOP, their tech, in favor of a common one, D-BUS. That's how things are done.
  • by vidarh (309115) <vidar@hokstad.com> on Saturday December 20, 2003 @08:54AM (#7772710) Homepage Journal
    Heh. Mentioning Windows and criticizing KDE and Gnome's API's in one paragraph without truckloads of sarcasm is quite impressive.
  • by iantri (687643) <iantri@gmx. n e t> on Saturday December 20, 2003 @09:22AM (#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).

  • by Performer Guy (69820) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @09:32AM (#7772795)
    This simply ingores the realities of making a useful distro.

    Many developers need KDE, plain and simple. Unfortunately it has caught hold, but that's because it is a well written functional GUI.

    The desktop is less of an issue but the current user base has it's preferences, for many developers it means userlinux will be ignored as a development platform I for one want a one stop distro I can use for development, ignoring key components means that for some it won't be UserLinux. The claims about downloading the components yourself is nonsense, the whole point of a distro is that you don't have to download the key packages separately.

    Yes the desktops and GUIs are complex, but that's the current situation. That these are large major components is a reason to include both, not ignore one, that's just crazy.

    When I first heard about Perens' plans I thought 'great' something to save us from RH's abandonment, but I had my concerns. Now it looks like I was right to, Perens has managed to stuff this up royally with one decision "by fiat".

    A lack of consensus should have told the guy something, but he completely ignored the message and is now claiming it doesn't restrict anyone supporting it themselves, rubbish! You could make ths same case about Fedora.

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