There was a post today at osnews.com about someone who thinks that he understands the whole situation of the “battle” between KDE and GNOME, and that this battle is now over. This is all just dumb, from the top to the bottom, and I want to explain why – through writing about it I hopefully can avoid that I explode in front of so much rubbish.
First: there is no battle
Some users fight each other in stupid flamewars, but hey, show me one thing where you do not find these kind of people. Besides that, the developers normally have a very friendly relationship and work together quite a lot: they share code, use programs of the other DE, talk about solutions, offer to make their programs desktop agnostic, and so on.
The project themselves are also coordinating their efforts, freedesktop.org and tango are very good examples for this. They sit together when they have to address important issues where Linux still have major disadvantanges (printing for example), and so on.
So: there is no war. There is no battle. There is cooperation. Sure, there is also friendly competition, but have you never competed with a friend and kept the friendship afterwards?
Whoever sees this situation as a battle is a dumb moron. So is the author of the article.
Second: no one cares about desktop environments
No one but some dumb morons and stupid flamewar-loving users is interested in the “which DE”-question. No one. Especially not independent software vendors (ISVs), they do not care, they don’t want to care, and they don’t have to because it is completly uninteresting for them. This is something everyone should have learned after the meeting in Portland which lead to the launch of the Portland Project.
The meeting was intended to get all fractions of the Linux desktop together with ISVs adn to discuss the problems. It turned out that the main questions ISVs are confrontated are completly independent form the question of which desktop environment you are using – and that these questions have to be answered by all Linux DEs in the same way!
To get a feeling of what I’m writing you should have a look at the task page of the project which describes the short, mid and long term tasks of the project. The tasks are pretty practical, and far away from any theoretical discussion about GUIs, DEs or licenses: How do I call the default Web browser? How do I call the standard file open dialog? How do I add a menu entry? How do I send an e-mail? How do I get teh default application for task xyz? How can I register to become a standard handler for mimetype xyz? And so on…
The list is long, but also very interesting. It shows that there is still a lot work to do until the normal ISV is able to port his application to linux without beeing an expert in twenty different linux distributions. It also gives a good idea why there are not to many ISVs which have started yet.
But in all these tasks and also in the reports and news about this meeting and the project you never read anything about any ISV who wanted to clear the DE-question. Why should they?
There is still a lot work to do in the desktop environment world in Linux – but the work is to provide the main tasks a application wants to do independent from the DE – like the function to call an opening dialog. That has to be implemented in a way that under GNOME the GNOME file dialog opens, and under KDE the KDE file dialog opens. The same is true for all the other “interacting” dialogs, functions and probably also for the font system and the theme/skin drawing system.
That will not be to easy, but with KDE 4 we will have the opportunity to implement it in KDE, and GNOME will be at KDEs side to implement it also asap. Read again: they will do it both side by side, not against each other.
And if you ever wrote something about any kind of war: just delete the article, or even better, replace it with something explaining the situation clear and explicit. And stop talking about wars.
In other cases you just will be the next target of some weird, late midnight “such-a-dumb-writer”-post ;-)