Re: Deadly accurate article on the state of GNOME and its relationship to the FSF

From: Stephen D. Williams (
Date: Fri May 04 2001 - 05:42:08 PDT

KDE vs. GNOME has all the markings of Linux vs. HURD. I have a commercial
license for QT and have looked at QT and the other gui libraries quite a bit.
QT, and KDE, are the best gui, and really full platform abstraction, layers
I've seen. GNOME isn't nearly as clean. Just because FSF endorses GNOME (a la
HURD) doesn't mean that KDE (a la Linux) won't 'win'.

One thing that has bugged me is that no one has ported KDE to Win32, since QT
is cross-platform already.

Of course KDE does have a commercial behind it in Trolltech, but they have
wisely produced a fairly clean license situation that still brings them good
revenue from commercial use. I think they charge a bit too much for commercial
use, but I paid it. If they were more competitive they'd be a good catalyst
for commercial developers to switch to cross-platform development.


Eirikur Hallgrimsson wrote:

> I thought this deserved to be FoRKed for its own sake. Yeah, it's the same
> link I buried in my reply to the MSFT/IBM thread.
> He's biased. He's nasty. But he's right on all the details that I
> personally know, and I know a lot, having interviewed at Ximian and hung
> around the FSF. I disagree that KDE before the GPL retrofit
> was free in 'every rational sense of the word.' He forgets that the FSF,
> did, in fact, define the term Free Software. In 1983. Sticking to their
> definition does not do them discredit. (But he's got lots of other good
> really should read this.)
> ------------------------------------------
> Now. Wait a minute here. Gnome was started because the Free Software
> Foundation ("information wants to be free") got itself in high moral
> dudgeon over the fact that an independently developed (meaning, no one
> kissed Richard M. Stallman's, uh, ring) desktop, KDE, was being
> produced under terms that no user could find objectionable but that
> the Free Software Foundation found insufficiently "free," based upon
> its made-up definition of the word. We jump ahead a few years. Gnome
> is controlled -- c'mon, don't kid yourself -- by two companies. KDE,
> meanwhile, isn't controlled by any companies. It doesn't even have any
> companies that distribute versions of it exclusively. If one were the
> suspicious sort, which I am, one would wonder if maybe there were more
> here than meets the eye.
> <snip>
> I am not alleging impropriety here. It could be that it's all mere
> coincidence. But it is absolutely undeniable that the FSF has thrown
> its support behind a desktop controlled by two for-profit companies,
> one of which has an officer who sits on the FSF's board; the same
> company has purchased advertising aimed at confounding those who are
> seeking a desktop that is truly free in every rational sense of the
> word; and the other company has suggested that users can assist its
> product in surviving but help it avoid paying its bills by donating to
> the Free Software Foundation, or else an officer of that company has
> flung down and danced upon his fiduciary responsibilities by saying,
> in a communication that is part of his corporate function, that people
> might want to send money to the FSF instead of the company. And they
> all do it, evangelists as they are for "free" software, with a
> holier-than-thou air.

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