:: choice ::
go green!  go red!  go blue!
random good link:
Amnesty International
random evil link:
Recording Industry Association of America
random quote:
"Nothing ever becomes real until it is experienced."
John Keats
visit kde.org! visit debian.org!

On Desktop Wars.

Yesterday, after arriving at the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Sevilla, I had three people in a row claiming one of the following: "You're a KDE guy, I'm GNOME guy, so we should be fighting (rather than drinking beer together)", "KDE? Sorry, I'm a GNOME user." or "... (silence)".

Apart from that being serious or not, I'll take it as an invitation to state my stance about the relationship between KDE and GNOME:

  • Uptake of one is positive for the other. It's easier to switch from KDE to GNOME and the other way round than it is to switch from Windows or Mac to Linux, BSD OpenSolaris or one of the other Free platforms supported.
  • If it's either KDE or GNOME (or Windows or Mac for that matter), in the end that sounds like we're heading from one monopoly into another. That is something we're actively fighting at the moment. Priorities should be: "Free Software" and provide choice to the user. KDE and GNOME need each other.
  • How much sense does it make to put energy in competing with 2 - 3% of the market when 90%+ is still running a non-free desktop? (Hint: Zero) Instead the energy should be put into increasing the market share of the Free Desktop and then having the user choose. Healthy competition might exist, it might even make sense, but I'm getting tired of this KDE vs. GNOME stuff. It's showing a deep lack of understanding and vision.
  • Emerging technologies (in this case desktop operating system, and yes, this clearly is not a mature market yet) always start in a monopoly-like situation. A stable market's characteristic is that there are a couple of different offerings and that the user has choice. Maturing the market means:
    • A good portion of the market for the Free Desktop (wild estimation: 30%+ for the Free Desktop as soon as the market is matured.
    • Various offerings that operate together well.
    • Raising awareness of choice for the user. (How many people know that there's something beyond Windows to run on a computer?)
So it might be easy for KDE and GNOME to pick on each other, but it doesn't make sense at all. Maturing the platform and the market is what we should aim for, that strategy will give us a broader userbase than we expect.

Maybe 10x10 isn't realistic because people failed to see that. Maybe interoperability would already be better if people had understood that earlier.

Personally, being at the Ubuntu Summit in Sevilla at the moment gives me the unique opportunity to work on that. Some weeks ago, Michael Vogt and Sebastian Henlein sent me a note that they're working on a GTK-based UI for displayconfig. We'll sit together this week and think about how we can make configuration of X on the Free Desktop easier and more reliable for the user.

That is Doing The Right Thing.

[ Sun, 06 May 2007 17:39:54 +0200 ] permanent link

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© Sebastian Kügler
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