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Oh, I get it just fine, thanks

Posted by: Nathan Willis on August 28, 2006 04:46 AM
I don't take issue with any of the technologies mentioned, and as I state in the article, I think Portland stands a good chance at succeeding at its technical goal.

But its technical goal and its marketing talk are wildly at odds. To quote from the press release sent to us just prior to LWCE:

A breakthrough in desktop Linux will be announced today at 3:30 p.m. ET to coincide with the afternoon LW panel on desktop Linux. No need to hold, if you wish to use this earlier.

A community open source effort is releasing its first software that ties together the two leading Linux desktop environments (KDE and Gnome). As you know, one of the biggest issues for adoption of Linux on the desktop has been that every application developer needs to choose between one or the other or both and that adds cost and time to shipping Linux-ready applications for the desktop. All major ISVs would prefer one desktop environment for Linux.

The group making this happen is called the Portland Project. Last year it brought together scores of the different Linux desktop projects to get them all to focus on addressing the problem and driving consensus. Shockingly it appears to have worked and to have accomplished something that the big IT vendors had not been able to do themselves.

The key claims in need of re-examination are in paragraph two, for the record.

As to the question of whether the other cited projects also exhibit a similar disconnect, it's easy to forget after-the-fact how they were touted at the time; I leave it up to you to read the linked material -- some of which is only accessible via Wayback Machine, regrettably.

The bottom line is that over-the-top predictions on the importance of a technical project must always be taken with a hefty grain of salt, and really, we would all be better off if they were skipped entirely. Pass on the P.R.; get in touch when you have working code, then we'll all respect it based on the merits of its performance -- not the breadth of its presumption.


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