KDE and GNOME: Like brothers and sisters?

I am happy, that GNOME and KDE people now get together for combined marketing as I suggested. GNOME and KDE are cooperating for a long time. Mostly the developers are not blinded as some brainwashed followers. Some years ago both KDE and GNOMErs wanted to create a desktop that could compete with Windows and MacOS. The KDE and Qt people had some more different view especially on licensing issues, which led to two different desktop solutions. Both desktops have gone a long way and there are also other exciting desktops like XFCE, Enlightenment and others, also still there is FVWM that is popular on distributions like PuppyLinux for old computers. “We” – and I mean users and developers of “free desktops” have many goals in common. And we don’t really want to force people to use our solution. There was going too much energy into competition between GNOME and KDE. Competition is not always bad, but in this case the users did not benefit as they should have been. On the other hand users just MIX. Me too. Although I would consider myself as an GNOME advocate I rather use K3b for burning CDs as to use one of the inferior GNOME solutions. And if users mix, developers must, too. And we should not be too happy if one or the other desktop gets selected as the primary desktop. Let’s be happy if a FREE DESKTOP gets selected, whatever desktop it is. So maybe both teams should start the habbit to congratulate the other team to it’s success, rather than think: “Why didn’t we make it!?”

What do you think the situation would be if Microsoft had two desktop teams always cometing against each other? I don’t think Microsoft would be the desktop leader today. Nowadays GNOME and KDE are bopth advanced desktops. it would be possible to emulate many behaviours of another desktop. So GNOME could be configured to act similar to KDE, Microsoft or MacOS. There are different levels of a desktop:

  1. The underlying technology, here we find technolgies like libxml, many technologies that are beeing worked on together in freedesktop.org
  2. The basis technology of each desktop, where the toolkits and philosophy are most essential
  3. The concrete user experience when clicking and printing.

I think the only part, where things have to defer is point “2”. I would like to see efforts how it would be if GNOME tries to behave and look like KDE and the other way arround. That would increase the understanding of each other and would make many levels of technology more compatible. I do not have anything against KDE technology, but I rather have the currecnt user experience that GNOME gives me – but I would rather use the KDE printing system. If both desktops could behave similar technology would make the difference. I think it is not neccessary and suboptimal if all 3 levels that I have mentioned above are tight together. This strict combination is neccessary if desktop technology is not advanced and any further support would be a waste of ressources.

Many distribution tend to only support one desktop. This is an economic decision. It is easier to support only one desktop. But this decision is often not based against or pro one desktop technology. I am not proposing the end of different desktop. Like the Red Hat CEO also sees it with distributions: it is not necessary to reduce the choices. But wouldn’t be Free Desktops be much more advanced if all teams would pull on the same rope!? This insight is spreading more and more in the free desktop community. it would be interesting to look back 4 years from now and to see what this combined efforts have lead us to.

Don’t think only about your own desktop but for all free desktop users!

see also (year 2000!) Call for a Cease Fire in the KDE/GNOME War



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2 responses to “KDE and GNOME: Like brothers and sisters?

  1. chris

    its not that easy , as you propose – all standarts are open , the gnomers can adopt kde technology , and kde the gnome technology. I think kde has adapted many gnome things through freedesktop even they had a better solution , just for the sake of collaboration.
    i am sorry, but i dont know any kde technology that gnome has adapted, please give me a hint …

    on the technology side of things, the biggest difference ist gnome ist C and kde ist C++ , you cant plug these together , you cant abbreviate an objekte as kde class an so on.

    The only thing you can do , pass messages with some messagebus stuff (which is not very efficient).

    perhaps gnome can adapt the c++ language ? so classes and frameworks can be used all over the place.

    the technics of polymoprhics and abstraction is an programming paradigma for more code re-use.

    the problem is not qt vs gtk , as both are GPL. iTs just C versus C++. its object orientated programming versus functional programming.

    functional is 60′ style , oo is 90 style – so now where @ metaprogramming and softwarekomposition systems….


  2. You are talking about programming issues. I am talking about the users perpectives. I t might no always be easy, but we already have freedesktop.org. Maybe both system will switch to C# (.NT/Mono) at some point, so the argument C vs C++ is going away?

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