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Novell Software Linux

Novell to Standardize on GNOME 599

Motor writes "In what must be one of the least unexpected announcements of recent times, Novell says that they are standardizing on one desktop rather than supporting two different codebases. From the article: 'Novell is making one large strategic change. The GNOME interface is going to become the default interface on both the SLES (SuSE Linux Enterprise Server) and Novell Linux Desktop line. KDE libraries will be supplied on both, but the bulk of Novell's interface moving forward will be on GNOME.'"
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Novell to Standardize on GNOME

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  • by Dark Paladin ( 116525 ) * <[ten.lemmuhnhoj] [ta] [lemmuhj]> on Saturday November 05, 2005 @03:27PM (#13958639) Homepage
    Granted, I'm on OS X user who uses Linux servers, and I really don't give a rats ass about Gnome versus KDE - I just look at whatever I'm using and launch the app I need.

    For Novell to work on one interface isn't saying "Oh, Gnome is the Hawt and KDE is not!" - it's just a cost saving move, and I can agree with that. The question is: will this help lead to a "one Linux Desktop" future where the de-facto standard is Gnome. When that happens, will more apps be Gnome based, or will we continue to see the dual-track desktop development?
  • by EnronHaliburton2004 ( 815366 ) * on Saturday November 05, 2005 @03:30PM (#13958662) Homepage Journal
    RedHat, Sun and Novell all now standardize on Gnome, correct? Do any major distros standardize on KDE anymore?
  • Gnome can be good (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 05, 2005 @03:30PM (#13958663) far as style and eye candy, take a look on!
    I've customized my Ubuntu 5.10 with the metacity theme "Blended 1.5", the "NuoveXT" icon theme and the grass wallpaper from one of the leaked longhorn/vista betas. Try it!
  • by anandpur ( 303114 ) on Saturday November 05, 2005 @03:30PM (#13958664)
    May be somethink like this, you can see some names from Novel []
  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Saturday November 05, 2005 @03:30PM (#13958665) Homepage
    what's the best KDE-centric desktop distro now?

    I don't want a KDE-centric distro anymore than I want a Gnome-centric distro. Personally my favorites are Ubuntu/Kubuntu for the latest desktops, Debian for server/workstation machines that need to be rock stable. And they both should do a good job at running Gnome apps in KDE and KDE apps in Gnome.
  • Management (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Elektroschock ( 659467 ) on Saturday November 05, 2005 @03:30PM (#13958668)
    SuSe is a KDE distribution and SuSE customers want KDE. Desktop-Linux means KDE in Europe. So what do some managers of Novell do? Listen to Ximian which is a developer's booth without a market.

    Unbelievable. They ruin a distribution.

    A real company would listen to customers first, then allocate the ressources to development. Suse was very good on that in the past.

    A bad company is driven by engineering. The role of marketing is to sell what the developers invented or want to create.

    The second approach is doomed to fail.
  • by penguinrenegade ( 651460 ) on Saturday November 05, 2005 @03:30PM (#13958669)
    It's interesting to note that Novell open sourced SUSE, is now cutting 20% of Novell jobs and is standardizing on Gnome. I've heard speculation that the SUSE acquisition was to remove a competitor and they could proceed with Novell plans.

    I'm not advocating that, I'm just noting that Novell has done a 180 and seems to be regressing. SUSE has always been considered one of the best distros out there, and at least OpenSUSE will continue with community support.
  • by AccUser ( 191555 ) <mhg.taose@co@uk> on Saturday November 05, 2005 @03:31PM (#13958676) Homepage
    Kubuntu [], which is a KDE version fo the wonderful Ubuntu [] distribution, which incidentaly standardised on GNOME also. If you wait long enough, I expect you will see a supported version of Novell's distribution, but with KDE as the desktop.
  • nuts (Score:4, Interesting)

    by arkhan_jg ( 618674 ) on Saturday November 05, 2005 @03:32PM (#13958680)
    This is not good news. SuSE was one of the big beasts that helped develop and improve kde in a distro, and is one of the main reasons I used it in the past. I did get sick of RPMs in the end though.

    Why is that so many people prefer kde over gnome, yet redhat, debian-based distros like ubuntu and now SuSE use gnome as their primary? What main distros will be left that uses kde in preference? I can only think of mandriva now.

    I'm not criticising gnome, it's a fine project and a good desktop environment, but I really like the unified desktop, reusable kparts and configurability you get with kde. I'm far from alone, as the vibrancy of shows. How come gnome, which is not *that* much superior to kde (some would argue that it's inferior at the moment) is making all the headway?
  • Re:nuts (Score:5, Interesting)

    by slavemowgli ( 585321 ) on Saturday November 05, 2005 @03:36PM (#13958707) Homepage
    Debian etc. have historically rejected KDE because Qt used to not meet Debian's Free Software Guidelines etc. Those days are long over, of course, but the animosity towards KDE seems to have remained.

    As for Novell... hard to say. But it's worth noting that many core KDE developers are from Germany, and SuSE is (was), too; Gnome, on the other hand, is pretty much a US development, and Novell is also a US company. Coincidence? Maybe, but I wouldn't be surprised if these things did play a role, in both cases...

  • Gnome is an error. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Lolaine ( 262966 ) on Saturday November 05, 2005 @03:40PM (#13958731)
    When Novell Linux Desktop was released, we as Novell Partners started using it, and used it's default desktop (Gnome 2.6) as our desktop. Having used Gnome in the past year or so is my biggest computing life's error. Everything have been problems for us. Nothing works as expected, session management is a mess, gconf crashes a lot, esd is still there and nautilus is inflexible. Gnome is being guided towards being a Desktop for dummies, but it's weird behaviour only make users unconfortable with that Desktop. Now I'm going back to KDE, and I am currently remembering what was to have fun in the desktop.

    Also, we support some clients with NLD9, and everything are problems, from mime types to gconf. Our support team has started to hate Gnome a lot. Our roadmap for our clients is to switch them to KDE, but with this decision, it will not be a Novell "official" product, it will be probably OpenSuSE.

    With Novell having bought Ximian, it's logical that Novell standarizes on Gnome, but with this decision, SuSE only losses, and so does Novell. Will have to think twice before suggesting a partner renewal... They still have cool products, but they are taking the grown decisions (again and again)
  • Re:There were signs (Score:3, Interesting)

    by canuck57 ( 662392 ) on Saturday November 05, 2005 @03:48PM (#13958778)

    While I'm still a bit surprised to see Novell give such a slight to KDE this soon, there were signs that they were becoming a GNOME operation.

    I am not, although KDE is a good interface, I have always favored GNOME. So to me, seeing SUSE carry GNOME right there along with KDE was good and is now one of the reasons why I now run SUSE 10. The other is SUSE 10 supports my 54g wireless card.

    But I suspect there is more to it. Proprietary Qt libraries inside of KDE have always plagued KDE adoption. And quite frankly, I like programming in the GNOME/GTK+ environment and usually have no trouble to move such works to Solaris x86 or Sparc.

    Qt is KDE's achilles heel.

  • by MrResistor ( 120588 ) <peterahoff AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday November 05, 2005 @03:52PM (#13958794) Homepage
    For Novell to work on one interface isn't saying "Oh, Gnome is the Hawt and KDE is not!" - it's just a cost saving move, and I can agree with that.

    No, it's a lot more than that. Suse has been a KDE-based distro forever. Many of the KDE developers are Suse employees, and while Gnome has been included pretty much as long as it's been available, it's been practically unusable. (I don't know if it's just been a Suse thing, or if the Gnome tools really are that much more primitive.)

    This is a sea change.

    The question is: will this help lead to a "one Linux Desktop" future where the de-facto standard is Gnome.

    I wouldn't be surprised if this were actually Novell's intention. I'm sure there are plenty of vendors who will be quite pleased with this decision. Unfortunately, I think a lot of Suse customers will not be so pleased. Maybe it's the Novell curse striking again?

  • by jht ( 5006 ) on Saturday November 05, 2005 @03:53PM (#13958799) Homepage Journal
    Posters here on Slashdot and all over always wonder why Linux hasn't made more of an impact in the desktop world. Well, this is the biggest reason (or representative of it, at least). In the Windows world or even the MacOS world, no regular users give a hoot what window manager they run. They don't care which packaging system they use, either. All they know is that they buy the OS and it works, and that programs written for the platform just work. And if they go out and buy an off-the-shelf program for their computer, it just installs. The underlying technology is irrelevant. Windows users don't really care about the difference between InstallShield and .MSI files - they just know that they double-click on SETUP.EXE or INSTALL.EXE and it installs the darned program. Mac users know they either double-click to run an installer or just drag a program into their Applications folder. And yes, I know there's ways to run X11 apps on both Mac and Windows, but basically the user doesn't have to know the difference between, for instance, Carbon apps and Cocoa apps. They don't choose between competing windowing systems. They just use the computer.

    Linux systems are more or less founded on choice. Which is a great thing, but has no relationship with user-friendliness or consistency. Remember part of the original motivation behind GNOME - it was because a crew of folks was unhappy with the QT licensing. So they reinvented the wheel to deal with it. That's what's great about both Open Source and Free software, but it's also why a wide-open platform is not going to gain mainstream use anytime in the foreseeable future. Even if either KDE or GNOME shut down all their development efforts tomorrow, someone would pick up the dropped torch and keep it going. And then competing vendors would still have to pick one or the other.

    The day Linux desktops start spreading is the day all the big projects decide they need to focus less on eye candy and more on making the system as simple, consistent, and reliable as possible. Kind of like OS X.
  • Nice... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Motor ( 104119 ) on Saturday November 05, 2005 @03:54PM (#13958804)
    I distinctly remember submitting this as "standardising"... only to have it edited and Americanized (both in the title and most irritatingly in the text itself). What a thoughtful action from a website with editors that wouldn't know the correct spelling of a word if a dictionary was violently shoved up their arses.
  • Re:Management (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rthomanek ( 889915 ) on Saturday November 05, 2005 @03:59PM (#13958826)
    I can only second that.

    I am not really sure whether the desktop preference has something to do with Europe vs. US - though, incidentally, I *am* in Europe, I *am* using SuSE and I *am* a strong KDE supporter - I detest Gnome, to put it straight (why? HUGE widgets, esp. buttons, swapped "OK" and "Cancel" - the list is long; OK, the rant is over, it is not the time nor the place to discuss personal preferences).

    The fact is that both Gnome and KDE have huge userbases and the decision to favor Gnome is at least not understandable to me. There is no point in exploring the specific differences between Gnome and KDE but suffice to say that KDE is at least not worse than Gnome.

    They ruin the distribution, as the parent poster said.

    Shall we expect KOpenSuse anytime soon?
  • by drgonzo59 ( 747139 ) on Saturday November 05, 2005 @04:02PM (#13958841)
    I, on the other hand, have always used KDE on Mandrake (now Mandriva), on SuSE, on RedHat. Then I gave Ubuntu a try, which uses GNOME as the default desktop. I thought "stupid GNOME" and went right way and installed the KDE Desktop with all the libraries and utilities. I used that on Ubuntu, but then eventually I found myself logging into the GNOME Desktop more and more and now I am only using GNOME.

    Honestly I don't even know the reason, maybe it is the Dark Side of the Force, or maybe the panels just have less clutter, maybe stuff just works better. I don't miss the transparency, the shadows, the SVG icons of KDE, at first I thought they were great, but after a while it didn't matter. Maybe it is also less stuff to configure and less options to worry about. Sometimes I think in UI design "less is more", but of course it is still very much a subjective thing, so I am glad there is the choice and the options for everyone KDE, GNOME, Blackbox, Xfce and others.

  • Big Mistake (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ac7xc ( 686042 ) on Saturday November 05, 2005 @04:05PM (#13958856)
    Novell is making a huge mistake by attempting to shove a Desktop down the throats of consumers and businesses. Some like KDE and others like Gnome it is the purchaser that should have the choice.
  • Re:Management (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <{richardprice} {at} {}> on Saturday November 05, 2005 @04:18PM (#13958918)

    Huge chunks of any Linux distribution is GPL, and since the QT GUI toolkit is GPL as well, what's your problem?

    Would you say that if a distribution was released with a GPLed libc? The current favourite one is LGPLed, which enables none GPLed applications to be included or run on that OS with less overhead.

    This situation is very very similiar.

  • Re:Management (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 05, 2005 @04:18PM (#13958919)

    Huge chunks of any Linux distribution is GPL, and since the QT GUI toolkit is GPL as well, what's your problem?

    Qt is a library, fucknut. Get this into your thick religion-addled brain. The GPL on Qt spreads out onto everything that links with it, which includes every app written to run on KDE. THIS IS NOT TRUE OF THE LINUX KERNEL... or the GNU TOOLS, or the many other libraries you find in a Linux distro.

    Everything you build on KDE is subject to Qt's licensing, and Qt is not just a GUI toolkit. KDE uses it for strings, general utility functions. It's in everything. Write it down and remember it.

    Too many KDE zealots just don't fucking get this. The licensing on QT is what's killing KDE. Now, either Trolltech will get desperate and release Qt as LGPL (doubtful, but possible), or KDE is going down the pan... it's been circling the plughole for a while now.

  • Re:Huge (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rdieter ( 112462 ) <rdieter@EEEmath. ... inus threevowels> on Saturday November 05, 2005 @04:21PM (#13958933) Homepage Journal

    KDE Has always felt klunky and thrown together compared to the new(er) versions of Gnome are currently.

    Funny, I've always felt the other way around. To each his own...
  • by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Saturday November 05, 2005 @04:25PM (#13958950)
    It's not because it's intrinsically "better" (it isn't), it's not because it's got better apps (some are, some aren't). But what it has in spades is simplicity and usability. KDE is a kitchen sink and it's a mess of options, buttons and menus that most people couldn't care less about. Anyone trying to appeal to enterprises (or just people who don't want a million options) would choose GNOME.

    As it happens I just installed SUSE 10 and I quite like it. I'm using KDE right now but even the integration efforts of SUSE can't paper over the cracks. Just seeing 6 menu items in a row in Konq that say "Configure" just makes me shudder. If I had a choice I would use GNOME, but the GNOME integration in SUSE is terrible (where is the input from Ximian?). Therefore it's a surprise to hear they're now going to favour GNOME. I guess they've decided its better to go with Ximian than with SUSE.

  • Re:There were signs (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 05, 2005 @04:33PM (#13958996)
    libraries should be LGPL
  • Re:Management (Score:3, Interesting)

    by arivanov ( 12034 ) on Saturday November 05, 2005 @04:43PM (#13959066) Homepage
    Myopic? Gimme a break.

    First, A company that buys top of the line technology and after that screws it magestically for the sole reason that it is "Not Invented Here (tm)" is bound to have some serious troubles down the road.

    Second, Suse marketed towards Europe and was quite successfull. KDE was one of the major pieces in the puzzle and one of the reasons for SuSe success. By taking this step, Novell shows that it does not give a flying shit about the Europe market wishes.

    So there is nothing myopic here. It is just business Frankie, just business. I will simply give my money to someone who actually pays attention to the market where I operate. Novell is showing that it is not that company.
  • Re:Nice... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Motor ( 104119 ) on Saturday November 05, 2005 @04:48PM (#13959093)
    Chambers English dictionary: standardise, standardisation, standardising - to make, or keep, of uniform size shape etc. is full of crap, that's why I never use it. Quite apart from that, if you done a bit more checking you'll find that does in fact have an entry, under standardise [], which just goes to show what a poorly organised piece of crap it is.

    As for this being an American site (other reply) -- yes, but then my submission wasn't written by an American, was it? Edit the title if you wish, but not *my* text. The story says "Motor writes:"...

  • by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <> on Saturday November 05, 2005 @05:25PM (#13959296) Journal

    Until a month ago, I would have agree with you

    However, I switched to dual monitors, and they just don't work under kde (t's probably just me, I'm NOT flaming the kde developers). So I've been using gnome for the last month, and, surprise - it's a LOT better than it used to be, and it runs faster than KDE.

    Te KDE apps work just fine (Kontact and KWallet are running all the time on this box).

    My only question is - do I try to install a 3rd monitor (I've got 2 19" ones, but I could still use a smaller one for keeping a small to-do list, etc., front-and-center.

  • by pjbgravely ( 751384 ) <> on Saturday November 05, 2005 @05:38PM (#13959352) Homepage Journal
    The exact opposite was the reason I stopped using SUSE. I hated that I had to use KDE to do certain things. To me KDE is a busy mess that reminds me of all the reasons why I don't use Microsoft Windows.
    I use Ubuntu now just for it's great working Gnome. I do miss YaST but I am learning a lot using the command line and editing config files.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 05, 2005 @06:45PM (#13959712)
    The "pushy blowhards" are KDE proponents--people who were so out of touch that they invested hundreds of man-years in developing a desktop before they even noticed that they had a massive (and obvious) licensing problem on their hands. Now, they are still pushing an unworkable dual licensing scheme for the toolkit. When will these idiots learn?

    It's good that the SuSE distribution is moving to a desktop developed by people who dotted their i's and crossed their t's before shipping. Getting rid of KDE as the default is the best thing that could happen to SuSE.

  • by CyricZ ( 887944 ) on Saturday November 05, 2005 @07:28PM (#13959920)
    But SuSE is no longer a European company. They're a Utah company now. And thus things like the fantastic i18n, l10n, and l12y capabilities of SuSE no longer matter. Indeed, it most likely will be their downfall. The quality of GNOME's support for such technology falls short of that of KDE.

    But when the feeble die, young blood arises to continue on. And in that case it will be distros like Kubuntu.

  • by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Saturday November 05, 2005 @09:57PM (#13960512) Journal
    But, considering that regardless of the distro the same release number of KDE behaves the same way on all distros that deploy it, any is as good as another, all other things being equal. So KDE is not a reason to choose a distro unless that distro is the first to release with the latest version of KDE and you want to move to it.
    Not really. If you've seen SuSE, you know there are a few nice tweaks there, such as automatic selection of Gtk+ theme to match your KDE theme. This and other small, but neat things aren't in KDE by default, and many people have no idea how to do them on their own.

    Also, a KDE-centric distro means that default software packages offered for installation are KDE-based. So you get JuK rather than Rhythmbox, and your OpenOffice will have Qt native widgets rather than Gtk ones. Again, nothing a user can't do on his own, but why should he waste time on finding out how?

    Linux distros that feature GNOME still have to install connectivity to KDE functionality because the VAST majority of applications are written using QT widgets.
    It works the other way around, too. When have you last seen a distro which doesn't provide base Gtk and GNOME libraries for the same reason? As for vast majority of applicatons being written in Qt... please. You certainly can have an all-Qt desktop, but just as well you can have an all-Gtk desktop. However, Gtk is currently the dominant widgetset for Linux; see the numbers for yourself here [] and here [].
    I find it rather ironic that GNOME was created as a GPL response to QT's propritary widget set, but after the KDE Foundation negotiated with TrollTech to continually release a GPL version of QT the reason for GNOME's existance became moot.
    This implies that GNOME is only good as a replacement for Qt, and does not have merits of its own, which is obviously false. On a side note, have you noticed that most Linux commercial applications lately are also favouring Gtk and GNOME? RealPlayer, Acrobat Reader, Nero... I wonder if it is because of LGPL, or because they see that GNOME is a de facto standard for a Linux desktop these days.
  • by Shawn is an Asshole ( 845769 ) on Saturday November 05, 2005 @10:22PM (#13960588)

    Baghira [] -- A native QT style that faithfully imitates OS X eyecandy, aimed at new users coming from the Mac world.

    Have you ever used OS X? Baghira doesn't come close. It sortof gets the look, but the feel very poor compared to the real thing. Try OS X for a week or so, then see if you think Baghira comes anywhere near it. I'm posting on a PowerBook (w/ Tiger), BTW.

    Kdevelop [] for syntax highliting, application templates, and project organization.

    Eclipse []? KDevelop used to be my IDE of choice until I started using Eclipse.

    Kaffeine's cool, though it'd be nice if I could close it without having to killall -9 it afterwords. It seems that every time I close it, it instead goes into the background and starts taking up all the processor. Latest version, multiple distros. If they could fix that it truely would be an awesome player.

    QT designer, I'm not going anywhere near that. I'd like to have the option to dual license my work some time in the future...

    AmaroK is awesome, I can't praise that enough. Whenever I'm away from Linux I have to get by with iTunes (Mac, Win).

  • by chris_sawtell ( 10326 ) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @01:44AM (#13961288) Journal
    I look forward to the KSuSe ( or SuSE-Europe ) fork of SuSE. GNOME is just a politically motivated Simplified Unix Interface with ugly graphics for the occasional user with no appreciation of the aesthetic. On the other hand KDE is a rich and rewarding computing environment which provides a visually tasteful and effective workplace.

    This is yet another classic example of an American Corporate being totally out of touch with the customer base out here in the Rest-of-the-World. Message to Novell:- "Enjoy the continuing death experience". Message to shareholders:- "Cash up quick before they stuff up completely and blow all your dough".

  • by asv108 ( 141455 ) <asv@ i v o s s . com> on Sunday November 06, 2005 @02:29AM (#13961393) Homepage Journal
    There are many must-have desktop apps built on the KDE framework that don't have any good gtk equivalents:

    AmaroK music player

    Banshee [], developed by a Novell employee, is leaps and bounds ahead of any existing music app for linux.


    F-spot, [] also by a Novell employee.

    As far as all of the other applications you mentioned, each has a gnome equivalent that in many cases does a better job.

  • by Shawn is an Asshole ( 845769 ) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @03:03AM (#13961494)

    QT does, which you'll be developing for if you use qt designer. If you develop something with the free version it has to be under an approved license. You also can't later use that code with the commercial version:

    "Please note that it is necessary to choose either the Open Source or Commercial license at the outset of development. Trolltech's commercial license terms do not allow you to start developing proprietary software using the Open Source edition." []

    It's not like I'm planning on doing proprietary software, who knows what I'll be doing a year from now. I'll probably release some of the stuff I develop internally as GPL (I hold the copyright) but do a ghostscript-like scheme for a few parts of it (release it under GPL after a certain time). If I go with QT, even after I pay their $1800 I wouldn't be allowed to do that under the license.

"The pathology is to want control, not that you ever get it, because of course you never do." -- Gregory Bateson