KDE The Linux Desktop is harmful (it's more than Linux indeed)
What are your feelings about Gnome? People love to play up a war
between KDE and Gnome and fight it out in comment sections. How is
your relationship with Gnome? Do you find anything interesting about
the Gnome desktop?
It's sometimes a bit tiring that people try to put everything into the
KDE vs. GNOME perspective. We've been working together with people
from GNOME for a
long time and reached a lot together. A quick glance at
freedesktop.org shows that there is plenty we have in common, and that
we are doing quite a good job sharing efforts where it makes sense. I
feel that the sentiments are often caused by people that simply have
nothing better to do, or are out for sensationalism. The friendly
competition between KDE and GNOME has probably helped both projects to
become what they are now: Serious competitors of proprietary desktop
On the other hand, GNOME often is not all that interesting to us to
work with since one essentially can replace the other. Our issues up
an down in the stack usually don't hit GNOME directly, and GNOME
offers an alternative to KDE, which also means that we don't have to
suit everyone's need.
Frankly, I don't like the whole concept of the "Linux Desktop". Linux
is really just a kernel, and in this case very much a buzzword. Having
to mention Linux (which is just a technical implementation detail of a
desktop system) suggests that something is wrong. Should it matter to
the user if he runs Linux or BSD on his machine? Not at all. It only
matters because things just don't work so well (mostly caused by to
driver problems, often a matter of ignorance on some vendor's side).
The result is that people talk about Linux, then get confused between
KDE and GNOME. The first question they ask "Why do I have to choose?"
that they are having a hard time dealing with the complexity that is
offered immediately. The really important concept is plurality, and
that is where we
can all win. Once people understand that the choice for KDE and GNOME
is very much like the choice between, say Mac OS and Windows (nobody
ever says: "Well, the world would be much better off if the effort
wouldn't be spread between Apple and Microsoft!"), so I keep asking
myself why people often come up with this when talking about the Free
Desktops. What we want is raising consciousness that you don't have to
swallow everything that a certain vendor wants you to, that there is
choice, and that consumers can actively influence the market and put
pressure onto those that don't respect the consumer's needs.
The term "Linux" serves more or less as a buzzword, but I think
calling KDE "The Linux Desktop" is harmful. First, it ignores the
concepts of plurality and choice, which are very much core values in
the Free Software community. Second it ignores the efforts being
undertaken to push KDE onto other Free Platforms such as FreeBSD,
OpenBSD and OpenSolaris those are not second class citizens for us.
To fix this problem, we need to increase awareness of the Freedom
concept and not so much "teach people what Linux is". The concept of
Freedom is also much
more appealing to the masses than the concept of an operating system
kernel, it just requires us to start thinking outside the box.
Creating strong brands of user-visible components makes a lot of sense
John Palmieri, a top GNOME developer who attended KDE's annual
conference two years ago said: "Competition and collaboration are not
mutually exclusive". I
agree with this statement.