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Shuttleworth's Commitment to Kubuntu and KDE 276

An anonymous reader writes "The Ubuntu Below Zero conference is in full momentum this week and Kubuntu has been prominent throughout. In his opening remarks at the start of the conference Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth announced that he was now using Kubuntu on his desktop machine and said he wanted Kubuntu to move to a first class distribution within the Ubuntu community. Free CDs for Kubuntu through shipit should be available for the next release if the planned Live CD Installer removes the need for a separate install CD."
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Shuttleworth's Commitment to Kubuntu and KDE

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  • by poulbailey ( 231304 ) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @11:06AM (#13962731)
    Slack is hardly what you'd call a major desktop.
  • by David Gerard ( 12369 ) <slashdot&davidgerard,co,uk> on Sunday November 06, 2005 @11:14AM (#13962762) Homepage
    I'm using Ubuntu Breezy with the GNOME desktop and I've installed all the kubuntu-desktop stuff as well.

    The major problem I can see is that the user should not even have to care whether a given app is GNOME, KDE or whatever. You set your fonts and colours in the GNOME control panel, then you start a KDE app and it looks like weird-arse shit. WTF?

    No serious open-source desktop these days can be all-GNOME or all-KDE; you need to make the mixture not affect the end user at all. They desperately need a unified look-and-feel control panel that will set this stuff consistently without the user having to care.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 06, 2005 @11:25AM (#13962808)
    A companies preference is all about politics and has nothing to do with quality. For instance in de past there was a big effort in lobbying for Gnome. Does someone still remember the manipulation of Google in favour of Gnome by Miguel de Icaza and friends? At first Novell bought Miguel de Icaza (=Gnome). Later Novell bought Suse (=KDE). Inside Novell Miguel de Icaza spent all his time killing KDE. He behaves like a cuckoo. Getting KDE out of the nest...
  • ARRRG. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Visceral Monkey ( 583103 ) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @11:46AM (#13962882)
    Just as it seems we are making progress toward at least having ONE standard DE for most of the desktops used out there, Shuttleworth pulls this out of his ass. Seriously, Ubunutu is one of the reasons GNOME has made so much progress recently with users and now we are back to square one with splitting the userbase. Stupid move. I could care LESS which one they choose, just choose ONE.
  • by leonmergen ( 807379 ) <lmergen&gmail,com> on Sunday November 06, 2005 @11:47AM (#13962887) Homepage

    make CD #1 mostly a base system with xorg and the basic x apps, similar to Slackware's #1 CD, and make a #2 CD with Gnome & KDE letting the user decide to install either Gnome and/or KDE, or users can just download the #1 CD install and get a basic OS booting, and download & install either gnome or kde via ftp after installing CD #1

    You do realise we're talking about Ubuntu here, which aims to provide a very user-friendly environment ?

  • by Bralkein ( 685733 ) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @11:48AM (#13962892)
    And nobody should have to pay for health insurance, and refrigerators should grow on trees. It's called utopia... I've never understood the people and culture behind KDE, never liked the KDE desktop. I prefer to use and contribute to GNOME. A lot of other contributors are just like me... They really don't have the time nor care about the way a KDE app looks on GNOME or vice versa. It simply is not that important.

    Well, now you're just being silly. Of course refrigerators growing on trees does not appear to be very far within the realms of possibility, but can you seriously not imagine a common colour-scheme configuration shared between the two desktops? It doesn't seem like madness to me, maybe you could just have a directory ~/.xtheme or something with files in there. I guess this wouldn't fit in with this registry-alike thing Gnome has (disclaimer: I know nothing about Gnome and may be wrong), but with a little discussion, I definitely think it would be possible to work something out...

    Oh, and without wanting to start a patriotic flamewar, there are many countries where nobody needs to get health insurance... so maybe the things that seem impossible are not as crazy as you think!
  • by thumperward ( 553422 ) <> on Sunday November 06, 2005 @12:19PM (#13963039) Homepage
    And nobody should have to pay for health insurance

    It's interesting that you have this in the "impossible utopia" column. I don't have to pay for health insurance.

      - Chris
  • by Elektroschock ( 659467 ) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @12:19PM (#13963041)
    Sorry, this is not the way it works on the market.

    Consumer choice is not based on arguments or facts.
    It is not about arguments or facts, it is about preferences.
    Sounds strange to you. Yes, it is.

    "KDE is an absolute requirement for any desktop linux with actual facts"

    Because we want it and we like it best.

    Preferences must not be proven. Any proofs of that kind will be academic fraud anyway. When you chose your meal: Apple or pear. Do you count arguments? No. You take what you like best.

    A Novell gnome based Dektop Linux will get no acceptance on the market.

    Give me rational reasons or arguments why not celebrate Christmas on August 3rd...

  • Re:ARRRG. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by arkhan_jg ( 618674 ) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @12:20PM (#13963048)
    The two desktops have different goals, different development platforms, and different markets. Both have their adherants. Some people prefer apple, some people prefer windows. Choice is good.
  • Almost too bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RAMMS+EIN ( 578166 ) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @12:43PM (#13963169) Homepage Journal
    It's almost too bad that Shuttleworth is throwing his weight behind another project, instead of doing one thing and doing it well. Too bad, because the same effort could be used to make Ubuntu and the software that constitutes it even better. Almost, because it seems nobody else can make a distribution like Ubuntu*, so this move may give the KDE-lovers the same gift a lot earlier than if it had been left up to the rest of the world.

    * Certainly, nobody had managed to make a distribution that is as polished, hassle free, and freely available, before Ubuntu came. And it's not because of technical difficulties, Debian has had apt-get for ages, and other distros have had good installers for ages, and most of the software on Ubuntu has been around for quite some time, too.
  • by lotusleaf ( 928941 ) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @12:44PM (#13963176) Homepage
    Great news, thanks Mark Shuttleworth, we need more people like you.
  • by Burz ( 138833 ) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @12:45PM (#13963181) Homepage Journal
    I look at them all as variations on Debian which are KDE-focused, though I tend to stick with Xandros.

    Kubuntu Breezy should not be mailed out for free until it is fixed. Any Linux distro that always fails to save the LAN gateway address you type in isn't worth the CD its burned on. Plus the dialogs that cannot be fully viewed on an XGA screen (with plenty of empty space in the dialogs) plus a host of other problems I ran into within the first 90 min of use. (Yes, I filed those bugs. You're welcome.) So in short, they didn't test it.

    Kubuntu is *very* nice looking though. That aspect is top-notch.

    OTOH even as a KDE fan I'm glad Novel chose one desktop, Gnome. Every distro should chose one desktop. Its unnerving when you try out a distro as prestigious as SuSE 10 and you can't delete any files from Konqueror because "Protocol 'Trash' does not exist".

    As a Corel-> Xandros Linux user going back to 1999, I can say that watching the lack of focus and sloppy execution on these other 'portentious' distros (you know who they are) has been absolutely comic.

    I have to wonder if Ubuntu will suffer by elevating KDE to the level of Gnome.
  • by ledow ( 319597 ) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @01:01PM (#13963257) Homepage
    "... no matter how good it is, KDE is simply is not going to happen as a mainstream commercial desktop as long as Qt is available only under the GPL and a commercial license."

    Maybe not. But where does your reasoning come from? Companies can buy into it just like the software they are used to (if they want to be that stupid). People (like me) can freebie their way into it because they know it's not going to get taken away if QT disappears. Exactly where is the problem for anybody? Were it GPL-only, you'd have an argument. Were it commercial licenses only, you'd have an argument. But it's both. That solves pretty much everything you could want in a product.

    "Gnome may be worse, but it isn't so much worse that it makes a difference to real-world users."

    Gnome may not be any better or worse, I've compared both and personally I prefer KDE (it seems more modern but not too artsy, easier, sleeker, not so clunky. Gnome still reminds me of old DOS GUI's in places, or those Borland-written dialogs and menus you used to have on Windows. Nothing *wrong* with them, they just feel completely out of place).

    However, from a technical side, there are many considerations. Gnome is still a pain in the arse to manage for a distro. That's the primary reason that Slackware has dropped it from the distro.

    Quotes from the changelog:
    gnome/*: Removed from -current, and turned over to community support and
        distribution. I'm not going to rehash all the reasons behind this, but it's
        been under consideration for more than four years.

        Please do not incorrectly interpret any of this as a slight against GNOME
        itself, which (although it does usually need to be fixed and polished beyond
        the way it ships from upstream more so than, say, KDE or XFce) is a decent
        desktop choice. So are a lot of others, but Slackware does not need to ship
        every choice. GNOME is and always has been a moving target (even the
        "stable" releases usually aren't quite ready yet) that really does demand a
        team to keep up on all the changes (many of which are not always well
        documented). I fully expect that this move will improve the quality of both
        Slackware itself, and the quality (and quantity) of the GNOME options
        available for it.

        Folks, this is how open source is supposed to work. Enjoy. :-)

    I have to agree with the last sentence.

    "I think it's a bad mistake for Ubuntu to support KDE on equal footing with Gnome; for the Linux desktop, the best thing is if people standardize on Gnome for now."

    Nope. Not in an open-source world. The point is to take EVERYTHING on an equal footing, get the best out of both and ditch the cruft. It's like software evolution. Whoever wins out of KDE and GNOME will, by definition, be the better system. However, to do this you have to start them both off on an equal footing. Welcome to open source. The fact that I can run GNOME binaries on my KDE desktop and vice versa means that there's no reason to choose any one of them yet and no need for standardisation. It's just another set of libraries for now.

    "The KDE developers should seriously think about developing the next generation Linux desktop, based on a an entirely new toolkit and new approach to doing things."

    Maybe. But what to start from? Where to get those ideas? Where to find those approaches? How to determine which of the new approaches works and which was better off the old way? By putting them all together, fighting it out (by a vote of user popularity) and, as if by magic, a victor will appear. They can take bits of each other, they can "steal" each other's ideas but they shouldn't be written off just because you don't like them. Many, many people do.
  • Thank god (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WhiteWolf666 ( 145211 ) <> on Sunday November 06, 2005 @01:02PM (#13963260) Homepage Journal
    Without KDE, I'm sure myself, my friends, and my company would be using Windows.

    Gnome doesn't do enough for the end user. Too many settings required mucking around in either the registry-like editor, or just plain command line things.

    I remember trying to use Gnome is SuSE 9.0, and not being able to figure out how to specify which app to use for which mime type. Someone politely informed me that this [] was the procedure to set default apps for various mime-types.

    Yeah, that's noob friendly. Apparently, wasn't 'fixed' in 2.10, either. Is it fixed now?

    Either way, lack of simple things like that, plus KDE's KIOslaves (which are beautiful, come on, who doesn't love fish:// or klik://), plus a far superior file browser (I've seen the gnome when I'm forced to load up a GTK app, which is rare).

    How do I open from a network location in gnome? Can it be done? (In the file browser?)

    Why don't I 'contribute' to the gnome project to make these things better? Simple: KDE already does them correctly for me.

    Do I mind that other people are happy with gnome, or prefer gnome? No. But all you gnome-heads should stop stomping on other people's Desktop Environments. Seriously; Gnome doesn't work for some of us.

    If the next OpenSuSE (which is my current distribution) has inferior KDE support, I'll be thrilled to move to a thriving Kubuntu.

    There's nothing wrong with Gnome, for those who use it. But for some of us, gnome just doesn't cut it. Gnome may be different, Gnome may be more 'unix'. But some of us who actually use Linux as our sole operating system rely on KDE, and couldn't imagine switching to gnome.
  • Re:ARRRG. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Stimpack ( 915453 ) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @01:07PM (#13963278)
    Ive tried Gnome, a few times, I really tried to like it, It just lacks so much its painfull. If you dont have political reasons Gnome is not in a usable position right now. Not many people will be happy if they standardize on one DE, the Gnome evangelicals, well we know how loud and mouthy they can be, the KDE peeps will lose alot of features and useability. Main priority and only thing I care about, sort some way to stop GTK apps looing shitty in KDE and vice versa.
  • by ledow ( 319597 ) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @01:23PM (#13963367) Homepage
    Oh, and on the linux desktop thing...

    Do you know how many people get a new computer with Windows and spend an hour choosing their wallpaper, screensavers, IM avatars etc.? Loads. Look and feel and customisation is important even to the least tech-savvy person.

    If Linux is to ever take off, it's got to out-choose Windows. This is where the big push is coming from... those people who choose not to run a crippled, expensive system but a cheaper more which might take a little more of a push. The people who choose to use an antivirus scanner that's free compared to one that's constantly bugging them to upgrade. The people who choose to run on an older PC than have to upgrade AGAIN.

    Choosing between Gnome, KDE and every other window manager is a vital part of any linux desktop system. You like Gnome, I like KDE, the system I make to go on an old 486 might run much nicer with something else entirely. The fact that, at install time and later on, I can choose what I want to use based on what I like or what I want is a plus point. It HELPS newbies, not hinders them.

    The only fly in the linux desktop ointment at the moment is the fact that there's very little to help a brand new user. Help files DO NOT GET READ. I work in six schools, I assist nigh-on 100 members of staff and hundreds of children and not once has anyone every clicked on, read, or bothered to consult a help file when something went wrong or they needed help. Stupid things in Windows like that little bouncing arrow that points to the startbar are HELPFUL to people, even if only for the first time the desktop is shown.

    We need to get Gnome, KDE and all the others around to make silly tutorials, videos, help files, tooltips, and all the other gumph that users need to adjust. Remember the Windows 3.1 "how to use a mouse" tutorial? It showed click-and-drag and everything because it was NEW to the users. Linux is new to people. It's very similar to Windows in terms of usage (or can be very easily made to be) but it needs to show that that's the case. The simple fact that KDE loads up with five icons in the bottom left doesn't help a new user. They don't know that they have to press the K to find the programs. They could GUESS it but users don't like to guess. The newer the desktop, the more "fancy", the more modern, the more abstract, the harder it is for people to adjust.

    How do they find their files? It has to be explained that the Home folder holds all their documents. How do they get on the web? It has to be explained that they can use lots of browsers but that IE isn't there.

    When you have someone to demonstrate the fact, it takes two minutes to get them into a word processor and printing off their stuff. When they get to the stage where they are BUYING this stuff in PC World, they need to be able to have a go themselves with some confidence of what to expect. This doesn't mean make it like Windows, it doesn't mean that they should be stuck with "GnomeKDE" the new merged desktop, it means that every project that wants a piece of the desktop has to think of the users.

    That's where linux desktop currently falls down. Yes, for me it's nice that I can configure my middle button to do any of twenty different things depending on context but that shouldn't get in the way of the user who's trying to work out why he can't reverse his mouse buttons for left-handed use. Once you have that in place, the Gnome/KDE/other issue becomes a user choosing his "theme".
  • by m50d ( 797211 ) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @02:10PM (#13963608) Homepage Journal
    I think technically, KDE is a good desktop, and it is popular in Europe. But no matter how good it is, KDE is simply is not going to happen as a mainstream commercial desktop as long as Qt is available only under the GPL and a commercial license.

    If that were true, Linux itself would be failing spectacularly in favour of the BSDs.

    Gnome may be worse, but it isn't so much worse that it makes a difference to real-world users.

    It does make a difference. If gnome was the standard linux desktop I would be using windows.

    I think it's a bad mistake for Ubuntu to support KDE on equal footing with Gnome; for the Linux desktop, the best thing is if people standardize on Gnome for now.

    Why? Gnome introduced the whole desktop wars, if they wanted standardisation they would either not have started, or certainly would have disbanded when their original aim became irrelevant. As a desktop they are inferior. From a customer's standpoint there is no reason to standardise on gnome, ever.

    The KDE developers should seriously think about developing the next generation Linux desktop, based on a an entirely new toolkit and new approach to doing things.

    The Qt toolkit is still the best-looking toolkit on Linux, and the kde approach has given us the best desktop environment around. Full steam ahead for KDE.

  • KDE has grown (Score:2, Insightful)

    by zecg ( 521666 ) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @02:15PM (#13963632)
    I've been using KDE since 3.3.0 and it's grown incredibly in the last few releases. It's not just about a window manager and widgets, there are apps of consistently high quality for practically every purpose there, a well-thought out control panel, an unprecedented level of integration between applications, a great file browser, u.s.w.

    KDE is, thus far, closest to achieving the ideal of a feature-rich, user-friendly and stable Linux desktop. It is, in my most humble opinion, miles ahead of Gnome.
  • by Klivian ( 850755 ) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @02:23PM (#13963667)
    The real issue is who is going to pay for the next generation of KDE development if SuSE isn't going to pay.

    Not really, since KDE never has been dependant of corporate sponsorship and has always been more a comunity effort. Unlike others.
  • by Arandir ( 19206 ) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @02:35PM (#13963727) Homepage Journal
    Troll. The "big boys" are Redhat, Sun and Novell. Since GNOME is essentially a Redhat project, there's no mystery there. Redhat has been anti-KDE since before GNOME got recast as a destkop. Sun isn't a Linux distribution, so let's stop talking like they are. Finally we have Novell. Er, I mean Ximian. Since Novell doesn't care about the desktop, it's really Ximian deciding this stuff.

    When it comes to corporate politics, yes KDE is losing some ground. But if corporate circle jerks are your measure of success, then you might as wells stick with corporate approved Windows.
  • by SeaFox ( 739806 ) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @03:12PM (#13963949)
    AmaroK music player [] -- Steve Jobs' nightmare, the single greatest threat to Itunes on the Free Software platform.

    Not to troll here, but how exactly is an OSS Linux music player a threat to iTunes?

    Does Amarok run on Windows or MacOSX? (no)
    Does iTunes run on Linux? (no)
    How much does AmaroK cost? (FREE)
    How much does iTunes cost? (FREE)
    Does Amarok allow easy updating/syncing of an iPod? (no)
    How many people will abandon their cache of Fairplay DRMed music for a new application?
    (kind of a trick question, given neither player will run on the other's platform)

    Saying Amarok is a threat to iTunes is like saying an independant movie theater in Russia is a threat to a U.S. movie theater conglomerate. It's also like that often repeated phrase "iPod Killer": a claim often made, never delivered.

  • by poofyhairguy82 ( 635386 ) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @03:21PM (#13963994) Journal
    IMHO KDE is more useful for those who are considering migrating from Windows to Linux. So I don't see why the commercial vendors are flocking to Gnome?

    I disagree. I personally believe that Gnome is far better for new users than KDE. Why? Because its REALLY different. It gives the Linux desktop a distinct look that is different from Windows or OSX. The chameleon KDE can be made to look like them both or neither but this is bad for a new user because it does not give Linux Desktop a distinct look.

    You might say "but that's better because then you can make KDE look like the Windows in which they are most familiar with." This is a BAD thing because if you make Linux look like Windows than people will expect other parts to be like Windows.

    When you put a new users on a default KDE and they have the menu in the lower right corner and they have a control panel and whatever else that is like Windows XP they user thinks "hey this is just like what I'm used to." But then they get confused when this new OS- which seems to be almost exactly line Windows to them- can't install their old Window programs or is missing a option in the Control Panel that they were used to seeing.

    But when you put a user on a default Gnome desktop it is so different that it forces the user to think differently (to steal a little from Apple). Just the fact that the menu is in a different place forces them to say to themselves "whoa, this is different" which then sets the attitude that applies to the rest of their experience. The differences in the entire Linux operating system seems annoying to a new KDE convert ("it looks just like XP, why can't it act like XP") but is more readily accepted by a Gnome convert ("it looks way different, so I can understand how it acts differently").

    It might be nice theoretically that KDE can be made to look like Windows to help users get over the initial shock but until Linux can be a full Windows replacement (aka install Window programs WITH EASE) that just makes Desktop Linux seem like a crappier version of Windows that can't do as much. Gnome on the other hand is so different by default that it forces users to think differently and be able to accept the differences- like with OSX. With Gnome instead of Desktop Linux being a Windows XP copy that can't do as much as Windows XP, its a whole new OS with new challenges and a very distinct look.

    That is the reason why Gnome is better for new users.

  • by timbo234 ( 833667 ) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @06:57PM (#13965341) Journal
    Personally I've never understood why there was a need to have just one desktop. Most of the other major desktop-oriented distros (eg. Suse and Mandriva) have both GNOME and KDE on fairly equal standing and the default application set is a mixture of GTK and QT -based apps. Eg. having GIMP for photo editing and K3b for cd burning. That means you can have the best application for each job (K3b is the best app for cd/dvd burning by far on Linux and none of the KDE image editors are even close to The GIMP's functionality).

    I'd never want to use a distro that tries to force me into using one desktop and that makes decisions on which apps to include and install by default based on what GUI toolkit its built with.
  • Well there's less development involved with just one desktop for starters.

    I prefer having both KDE and GNOME installed, regardless of distro.

    One of Shuttleworth's goals from day one was to have everything you need to get started fit on a single CD. That woudln't be possible if both KDE and GNOME were included.

    Personally I think Ubuntu should switch to DVDs as thier primary disk image distribution method and include both KDE and GNOME on the DVD.

    Right now thier DVDs just offer a mix of (K)ubuntu installation and live versions. Yet they only take up a few gigabytes, which still leaves room for both KDE and GNOME on your standard 4.7GB DVD.

You can measure a programmer's perspective by noting his attitude on the continuing viability of FORTRAN. -- Alan Perlis