Torvalds vs Waugh, KDE vs. GNOME [ was Re: "Revolution OS" (The Movie).]

Jonathan Carter jonathan at
Mon Jan 1 11:35:42 GMT 2007

Hi Scott

Scott wrote:
> But despite all this I actually like and use GNOME. I also use KDE (whch 
> generally I like better than GNOME).  But what I really llike is choice. 
> That's why I also use Windows XP, Windows Vista, and sometimes BSD, 
> OpenSolaris....
> It's too bad GNOME doesn't think as much of "choice" as KDE does (well 
> least when it comes to basics anyway).

Sure, everyone would like to see more tweakability in GNOME, that
doesn't mean it's a bad desktop environment. Not by a long shot. I have
been using various desktop environments for the last 15 years, and I use
a computer nearly every singly day of my life (probably only about 2
days a year that I don't, on average), and I can honestly say that of
all the various interfaces I've used, I've found myself to be the most
productive in GNOME.

I can see how a poweruser might enjoy KDE more, it gives you more
flexibility and the ability to change your user interface. If I'd do a
large deployment of desktops in a corporate environment, I'd be much
more likely to deploy GNOME, since the GNOME developers, simply based on
my personal experience with the desktop, seem to put a huge emphasis on
usability. Over the years, I've also had to train numerous people on
using Windows. In recent years, I've had to teach people how to use
GNOME instead, and explaining how GNOME works to a completely new user,
has been far simpler and pleasurable than teaching people how to use the
Windows graphical shell.

In conclusion, there's nothing wrong with liking /both/ KDE and GNOME,
it's not an either/or choice. Linus likes KDE and dislikes GNOME, I
think he is entitled to that. I tend to like both, hey, there are even
many things that I believe Microsoft are doing right in Windows, and
there's nothing wrong with that either. I think what people should do is
attempt to take a less black&white look at desktop environments. A lot
of work is going into each of these projects, and many of the decisions
aren't just random, it's well thought out and the different projects
utilizes vastly different methodologies, which gives the user the
benefit of maximum innovation. The downside is that you end up with a
catch 20 situation where you can't have everything in every desktop
environment, but that is something that time and competition will sort
out. Judging by screenshots of both future KDE plans, as well as Windows
Vista and MacOS screenshots, it's clear that the projects 'borrow' a lot
from each other. Hopefully the specifications will
continue to grow and improve, and make the interoperability of the
desktops better, which is way more important than quibbling about which
is better. Another real issue is software patents, it gets hard to write
a decent desktop environment once people get awarded for patents such as
'the double click' or 'dragging and dropping'.

I suppose the issue is much more complicated than "GNOME vs KDE", there
are lots of challenges to overcome, and I think we'll also see lots of
innovation from all sides, which is ultimately what's important for us
as users.


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