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KDE Software GUI Linux

UserLinux May Go Without KDE 964

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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  • Re:wtf? (Score:5, Informative)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:01PM (#7769648) Homepage Journal
    user mode linux != userlinux. HTH, HAND.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:07PM (#7769708)
    Newsforge still has a copy of the response that Bruce Perens posted before replacing it with is on now..

    Get it here []
  • by div_2n ( 525075 ) on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:07PM (#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 [] for his wording on it.
  • by happyfrogcow ( 708359 ) on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:11PM (#7769740)
    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 cduffy ( 652 ) <> on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:15PM (#7769777)
    Why hasn't anyone made an OSS implementation of Qt?

    It's GPLed right now, and thus is already OSS. (Now, because it's under the GPL and not the LGPL, *commercial* development with Qt requires a commercial license, and that's a big chunk of the reasoning on why I'm not putting in the time to learn it -- but it certainly is open source).
  • by Spy Hunter ( 317220 ) on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:15PM (#7769778) Journal
    Trolltech is an independent company, not controlled by Canopy. Canopy group owns 5.7% of TrollTech's shares, while Trolltech's employees and founders own 69.7%. This myth of Canopy controlling Trolltech is entirely untrue (but remarkably persistent, thanks to anti-KDE trolls). Read [] and be enlightened.
  • by khasim ( 1285 ) <> on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:24PM (#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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:25PM (#7769863)
    Wrong. He is applying rule of economics and business to his decision. Businesses can develop and distribute proprietary applications in Gnome w/o paying any license fee! With KDE, they cannot! In order to develop/distribute proprietary software, they need to pay a $1300 license fee to TrollTech.

    Which option is more business friendly?
  • by Drathos ( 1092 ) on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:26PM (#7769870)
    Just because the Canopy Group and SCO invested in Trolltech, doesn't mean that Trolltech is part of the Canopy Group.

    Alltogether, Canopy Group owns a grand total of 5.7% of Trolltech. They have practically no say in the operations of Trolltech.

    People really need to stop dragging Trolltech's name through the mud with this pointless argument.

    (Note:: I am not a Trolltech/QT/KDE fanboy. In fact I don't use any desktop environment. My WMs of choice are Enlightenment and BlackBox.)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:26PM (#7769871)
    Qt's got two licences - the first being the GPL, which most people use, is the good old make-it-GPL-and-you're-fine route. You can't distribute a closed-source program that uses Qt, however, unless you use the QPL, whereby you pay money to TrollTech and they give you the right to use Qt in your closed-source app, plus loads of documentation, developer support, etc.

    If anything, it's a better situation than the GPL-only Linux kernel - if you want to write a binary-only driver for Linux, you can be on really shaky ground, and there's no option of a second, proprietary-friendly licence to go to.

    I gather MySQL is dual-licensed in a similar way to Qt, and I haven't seen huge flame-wars about its licensing...
  • by meanfriend ( 704312 ) on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:36PM (#7769939)
    A quote from the white paper []

    Remember, whatever choices we make apply only to what we choose to support as a group. Our choices don't cause the alternatives to be removed from Debian, they don't constrain what a service provider can support to their own customers...

    IOW, if you want to use KDE, go ahead and use it, no one is stopping you. If they were making changes that made it impossible for KDE to run properly, then there may be a good basis for petition. Not having KDE included in distro XYZ in no way invalidates all the great work they've done to date. (I'm a happy KDE user)

    Also the white paper suggests supporting MySQL as the database, Python as interpretive language, and Mozilla as the browser. I dont see postgreSQL, PERL, and Thunderbird development teams getting thier panties in a wad.

  • by Odin's Raven ( 145278 ) on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:40PM (#7769978)
    And Qt is made by Trolltech.
    And Trolltech is part of the Canopy Group.
    Which pulls SCO strings.

    Gee, trolling about Trolltech. How novel. Okay, before any more people swallow this bait:

    Two seconds of googling [] would show that this is not the case. Look at Trolltech's investors []. For crying out loud, Borland owns a bigger stake in Trolltech than Canopy Group, and nearly 2/3 of the stock is owned by employees:

    • 64.7% Employees
    • 8.3% Borland
    • 5.2% Trolltech Foundation
    • 4.3% Orkla ASA
    • 4.3% Northzone Ventures
    • 4.3% Teknoinvest
    • 4.1% Canopy Group
    • 3.4% Previous employees
    • 1.6% SCO Group

    Even if every outside investor (including Borland :-) were merely a shell corporation controlled by Canopy, they'd still have nowhere near the votes to influency anything at Trolltech.

  • by AaronGTurner ( 731883 ) on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:44PM (#7770012)

    KDE and GNOME are now mature enough that they can both do the job very well, and are sufficiently configurable that a company can meld them to their preferred look and feel. At work GNOME is the default, at home I've tended to use KDE. I used to prefer KDE, but now I am pretty agnostic about the desktops. Nothing clunky like CDE, please!

    What is needed is that whichever desktop be robust - e.g. the clipboard always works.

    GNOME does have an advantage in some decent industry backing. That could be converted into extra coding effort, or quality assurance. That final polish could make a lot of difference, and if GNOME is the way to go to get that polish, then go with GNOME.

    Some KDE apps are nice, though - I wouldn't want to lose those - e.g. kdebug, k3b, which I love

  • by ChangeOnInstall ( 589099 ) on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:51PM (#7770060)
    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 registry, but all the data is stored in XML. Just look at your .gconf directory if you have any applications that use it. You'll find nothing but XML files.

    The "registry editor" you're referring to is gconf-editor. Gconf-editor is not intended to be used by end users. It's quite similar to the windows registry editor (though it does seem to be better layed-out than that). I've personally only had to use it to make very geek-oriented adjustments, such as binding keys to launch terminals and skip songs in XMMS.

    There's very little conceptual difference between storing config information in a bunch of "dot-files" off your home directory and storing them in a directory hierarchy containing XML files off the ~/.gconf directory.
  • by woods ( 17108 ) on Friday December 19, 2003 @07:53PM (#7770071) Homepage

    Non-GPL'd Qt development requires payments to Trolltech. Qt has the same license as Gnome under Linux.

    Trolltech has licensed Qt under the GPL for Linux, which is the same license as Gnome. They will also sell you another license if you don't like the GPL and want to write apps that link to Qt using some other more restrictive license.

    As far as I know, Gnome is only licensed under the GPL. Unless I'm mistaken, that means to me that with Gnome, you have one choice of license, whereas with Qt, you can opt to purchase a non-GPL license.

  • by damiam ( 409504 ) on Friday December 19, 2003 @08:06PM (#7770170)
    Technically, Emacs is an interpreter for the LISP programming language, whose primary purpose is to implement a scriptable, extensible, flexible text editor. Emacs's ability to run arbitrary LISP scripts results in a kitchen-sink approach. It can do just about everything you'd ever want in a text editor, and a lot of things you wouldn't (like web browsing, Tetris, and psychoanalysis). Its main competetor in the world of arcane UNIX text-editors is vi, which is a much simpler (yet still quite powerful) editor designed to use as little bandwidth as possible (back in the days where you could often type faster than your console connection could keep up with).

    Both editors have been around forever, have a steep learning curve, and are supposed to be extraordinarily productivity-enhancing for those who invest the effort to master them. As with many other sets of competing projects (Linux/BSD, GNOME/KDE, OSX/Windows), they are both probably better classified as religions rather than software products, and are excellent material for flamewars.

  • by mangu ( 126918 ) on Friday December 19, 2003 @08:07PM (#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.

  • by Goonie ( 8651 ) * <{gro.arbmaneb} {ta} {lekrem.trebor}> on Friday December 19, 2003 @08:12PM (#7770221) Homepage
    It's the most complex text editor ever written, used mainly by programmers to edit code and a million or so other things besides. Some programmers love it, others hate it, preferring the much more lightweight (but with its own UI issues) vi text editor, or alternatives like nedit. The jargon file's [] entry on EMACS [] gives some explanation, see also vi [], and holy wars []. If the above links are still too opaque, and you need more details on EMACS itself rather than the culture wars, see the Wikipedia [] entry on Emacs [].
  • Jingoism. (Score:3, Informative)

    by chris_sawtell ( 10326 ) * on Friday December 19, 2003 @08:15PM (#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.

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

    by Brian Knotts ( 855 ) <bknotts@cas[ ] ['cad' in gap]> on Friday December 19, 2003 @08:28PM (#7770343)
    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 __past__ ( 542467 ) on Friday December 19, 2003 @08:32PM (#7770375)
    Actually, that Trolltech GPLed Qt is a problem in itself. ISVs using KDE would have to open their applications or pay Trolltech for a commercial license, while GNOME-using ones don't have to do either, scince it is all LGPL.

    Not that there are that many ISVs anyway, but I guess that some people want to change it. But all that has been discussed to death already.

  • by KewlPC ( 245768 ) on Friday December 19, 2003 @09:07PM (#7770610) Homepage Journal
    Yeah, lots of C programmers (myself included) hate GTK.

    What I should've said was

    And from what I understand, the whole "C programmers HAVE to write for GNOME/GTK and C++ programmers HAVE to write for KDE/QT" isn't true anymore, as there are bindings for both languages for both environments IIRC.

    or better yet

    And from what I understand, the whole "Only C programmers can write for GNOME/GTK and only C++ programmers can write for KDE/QT" isn't true anymore, as there are bindings for both languages for both environments IIRC.
  • by mini me ( 132455 ) on Friday December 19, 2003 @09:34PM (#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?
  • by toga98 ( 109028 ) on Friday December 19, 2003 @09:39PM (#7770779) Homepage
    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 @10:21PM (#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 [].
  • by steveha ( 103154 ) on Friday December 19, 2003 @10:35PM (#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.

  • by Osty ( 16825 ) on Friday December 19, 2003 @10:39PM (#7771060)

    Making a specification that says quit is "CTRL+Q" is. Making a specification that says "this is how you handle a clipboard" is. Making a specification that says "this is how to handle drag-n-drop" is. Making a specification that says "program installations should be supported through RPM, .deb, .ebuild, etc." files is.

    Specifications don't mean anything if they're not enforced. I can make a specification that says I get to have root on your system, but unless everybody gives me root, it doesn't mean anything. Given the distributed nature of open source development, and that anybody can start their own project to reinvent the wheel any time they want, just writing a specification isn't enough. You have to write the specification, get people to support it (or do it yourself), and then choose to only distribute those applications that support the specifications in your distribution. Choosing KDE over GNOME is implicitly saying that the specification is to use KDE's guidelines and development practices rather than GNOME's. That doesn't mean that KDE does have a coherent style guide, but if they don't now they really should.

    I'm sure they're going to go a step further than just choosing KDE over GNOME, and only ship one office suite, one gui text editor, one calculator, etc. If you want a different desktop environment, office suite, text editor, etc, then go ahead and install something else. However, you're no longer the target demographic for UserLinux. Use a more appropriate distribution like Debian, Gentoo, Mandrake, SuSE, etc.

  • by fault0 ( 514452 ) on Friday December 19, 2003 @11:01PM (#7771195) Homepage Journal
    > If TrollTech chose to make Qt non-free, then all previous revisions will still be available under the GPL.

    Additionally, the last free version of Qt would become BSD licensed. As per KDE FreeQt foundation [] guidelines.
  • by DVega ( 211997 ) on Friday December 19, 2003 @11:26PM (#7771304)
    According the Free Software Foundation [], the GPL (the one used by Qt) is better than the LGPL (the one used by GTK+). That's why LGPL means "Lesser General Public License".

    The GPL promotes Free software development, because you are only allowed to create Free applications with it.

  • by SEE ( 7681 ) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @12:07AM (#7771485) Homepage
    You seem to miss the point.

    Qt is available under GPL or under a proprietary licesne. This means a closed-source software developer must either give away his source or pay Troll Tech a license fee.

    GTK+ is LGPL. Thus, a closed-source software developer can use it for free and without releasing his source.

    GTK+/Gnome is therefore being picked because it is less ideologically pure than Qt/KDE, not more so.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 20, 2003 @12:43AM (#7771616)
    "KDE is a great Desktop Environment, and no one is doign a thing to get it removed from Debian"

    Really? I'm sure everyone forgot the nearly two year period that KDE wasn't included in Debian.

    June 1998 - KDE removed from Debian. Thousands of unofficial apt sources crop up.
    September 2000 - KDE readded to Debian. People rejoice.
  • by AstroDrabb ( 534369 ) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @01:10AM (#7771707)
    Did you RTFA?
    At the core of UserLinux is a not-for-profit entity in charge of the Linux distribution, with engineering-by-meritocracy as in the Linux kernel. Surrounding that non-profit are for-profit companies that are in the business of providing service and engineering for the UserLinux distribution.
    So basically the WHOLE POINT of UserLinux is for a FREE Linux distro for for-profit companies to provide COMMERCIAL services and applications. QT takes the FREE out of that picture, while GTK+ being LGPL still allows those for-profit companies to develop closed source proprietary applications/services. These for-profits are going to all collectivly support the non-profit UserLinux, thus spreading the cost out and making it very cheap for each for-profit. Why would those for-profits want to fund the development of UserLinux and then have to turn around and pay ONE vendor to be able to develop on the system that the for-profits have already paid for?
  • by Natalie's Hot Grits ( 241348 ) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @03:06AM (#7772105) Homepage
    What grudge? Look at the article, there are many Debian developers who are supporting this effort. Debian has no grudge against KDE. in fact, Debian ships one of the best KDE distros out there. To say that there is a grudge between the 2 projects is just ridiculous.

    The conflicts are coming from Bruce Peren's vision of having a completely gratis operating system that coporations can then add value to and resell.

    The problem is that QT cannot be resold with closed source applications without royalties.

    The answer for Bruce is to use GNOME only and exclude KDE. Never mind that you can still develop KDE applications using the GTK+ gratis toolkit (provided you would want to use a toolkit that is as primitive as GTK+)

    The answer for the rest of us is: "Qt has tons of commercial programs using it because of its cross platform design and top notch API... GTK doesn't. KDE has a larger user base.... GNOME doesn't. KDE uses OO toolkit to achieve its integration... GNOME is stuck in the stone age. KDE had all the problems GNOME is currently working on figured out 2 years ago... GNOME still doesn't. And KDE is a worldwide project... GNOME is a US Centric project."

    The facts are that KDE coporate and enterprise desktops have been deployed and in production usage for years in massive quantities, and GNOME is just barely starting out. GNOME itself was created just because RMS didn't like the QPL license, and he was afraid KDE would take over the Linux desktop and stick us all with Qt royalties. Now that Qt is GPL, bruce perens is complaing that it is "too GPL"... Give me a BREAK!

  • Re:hahaha (Score:2, Informative)

    by Hooded One ( 684008 ) <hoodedone@ g m a i l . c om> on Saturday December 20, 2003 @05:00AM (#7772331) Journal
    Yeesh, have you ever used anything other than a Windows PC? Only the windows version of Photoshop uses an MDI interface.

    You might just as easily say that only the Mac version doesn't use an MDI interface. Wow, look at how non-informative saying either is.

    Except that that'd be more correct since Photoshop was designed with MDI in mind, then adapted to fit the Mac idea of what's "usable." Also, even the non-MDI Mac interface of Photoshop isn't as bad as the GIMP. At least when you bring Photoshop to the front on a Mac you bring the entire application to the front, which is actually useful, as opposed to just bringing the tool palette to the front and having to raise all the other windows individually.
  • by inc_x ( 589218 ) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @01:05PM (#7773511)
    You do not need to pay royalties. This has been pointed out to Bruce already but Bruce seems to continue to deliberately confuse a one-time license fee with royalties.

    Another small hint that Bruce might not be completely forthcoming about his real interests wrt. UserLinux. Ask Bruce about the companies that sponsor his plan.
  • Re:It's the license (Score:2, Informative)

    by Charles Kerr ( 568574 ) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @03:38PM (#7774246) Homepage
    I'm not going to debate the relative merits of Qt to Gtk+, but I do want to correct some misconceptions you have about Gtk+.
    • When you write in Gtk+, you can get an application that runs on all the platforms you listed. My gtk+ newsreader Pan [] runs on Linux [], Windows [], and Mac OSX [].

    • The window manager is orthogonal to the topic of what's important from the software maker's point of view: ICCCM [] compliance is the only feature any application writer cares about. No application requires a specific WM. To do so would needlessly limit their audience.

    • Likewise, you're misinformed about Mono: nobody is telling anyone that they have to port anything to Mono. C# is just another language that Gnome supports. Never in the 4+ years I've worked on Pan has anyone mentioned porting Pan to C#.

    • gtk doesn't lack documentation []. In fact the documentation team has made leaps and bounds over the last year.

    • If you prefer RAD tools, Anjuta [] and Glade [] are available.

    • Discussing Qt as a `modern C++ based toolkit' and disparaging Gtk+ as lacking a `modern API' is just language bias (and ignores moc's pre-STL cruftiness). If you want to use gtk+ in an OO language, many [] language [] bindings [] are [] available [].

    Again, this isn't to take anything away from Qt -- its tools are pretty good, and its documentation is excellent. However, Gtk+ is very good too.

Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter