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Re: On GNOME's 10th anniversary, de Icaza and Waugh look back, ahead

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on September 03, 2007 09:56 AM
I went the other way on that. My progression of window managers/desktop environments was FVWM 95, Afterstep, Window Maker, Enlightenment, and from there to GNOME 1.x, which I used for a number of years thereafter. I found versions of KDE through 2.x to be repulsive. The icons, etc., were IMO just plain fugly and GTK & GNOME apps worked better for me as well. There was also the Free/non-Free issue in those days, since when KDE started out, Qt was non-free. Trolltech later resolved those issues to my satisfaction, but by then I was a happy GNOME user. Then, KDE 3.0 happened. I heard some good buzz about it and tried it out of curiosity. It was a huge leap forward over GNOME, and I through GNOME overboard for KDE not long after. Fast foward to 2003 when Ubuntu went into public beta. I tried it out (was running Debian Sid at the time) and liked it so much that I made it (with KDE) my standard distro. However, my experience with GNOME when initially trying Ubuntu was that GNOME had just gone in the wrong direction. I found the 2.x series to be far less usable than the 1.x series, and even less visually attractive.

Sure, KDE borrows some design stuff from MSFT, and some (but not enough, IMO) from Apple, but there's nothing wrong with doing that when those ideas work well and/or are what users may expect. GNOME, on the other hand, clearly goes its own way, but it left me with the very strong impression that their overriding design consideration is "Don't do it the way anyone else does it, no matter what." That may be overstated for the sake of rhetoric, but that's the feeling it gives me. I think GNOME has contributed much in its 10 years of existence and still continues to serve the very valuable function of a viable opposition party, but in terms of something I'd actually use, well, eesh, KDE is way ahead and pulling farther away all the time.

Some of those who are MSFT-supporting anti-Linux FUDdites like to criticize what they perceive as duplication of effort, and for the most part it's just FUD. It's our diversity that makes us strong. However, I think that in the case of GNOME Vs. KDE, they kind of have a point. GNOME is well behind KDE in terms of usability, and when Qt became Free that removed GNOME's entire raison d'etre, since GNOME would never have happened if Qt had been Free from the get-go. I know it'll never happen - there's too much water under the bridge for that - but the best thing that could happen for the adoption of Linux on the desktop would be for GNOME and KDE to merge, with KDE being the surviving entity.

Doubtless, some will call this flamebait or a troll, and some will call me an idiot (unless they use KDE <g>), but I've been using Linux on the desktop for ten years and have seen a lot during that time. I honestly believe the GNOME has not only outlived its raison d'etre but also most of its usefulness, and the adoption of desktop Linux could be speeded if developers of applications only had to write KDE apps. It may be FUD spinning when MSFT boosters say things like that, but the fact that it's FUD doesn't necessarily mean they're wrong, either. In fact, if that actually happened, it would be their worst nightmare.


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