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Saturday, 27 December 2008

KDE v Gnome2

It is not often that I spout about    something Gnu/Linux but here is my view of the neverending and utterly boring KDE versus GNOME2 debate. Along the way I will also be airing my  views on the Linux based distribution I have used since 1993,

With the KDE guys now stopping development of the 3.5.x branch working on the shiney new 4.x branch one has to wonder when the Slackware team are going to wake up and realise that while the  3.5.x branch is stable the 4.x one is far from it.

In the latest Slackware release, 12.2,  they continue their age old stance of using, in the main, stable branches of various programs and program sets which means that the 3.5.x branch of KDE is what is included. For a while they had the 4.x branch in testing along with an assorted bunch of support programs. It looked for a while as if they were going to go with the 4.x branch but sanity took hold and the baulked at that plan. What users were left with was the last of the KDE 3.5.x branch.

I am no lover of KDE, in part because of its use of QT but also in part because of it continuance to act, feel and look like Microsoft Vista. The 4.x branch takes this a step further by directly copying  features that are to be found in Microsoft Vista. This is going to continue to make KDE a none choice for this Gnu/Linux advocate that is for sure.

As Slackware moved the current branch into the 12.2 branch the KDE 4.x branch disappeared from testing. It is still in the current branch though so one can safely assume it will eventually make it as the primary desktop environment. This reliance on KDE will end up breaking Slackwares long held, and proudly held hold on the title of the oldest and longest surviving distribution.

There was, and still is, a lot of hot air spoken and typed about GNOME being dropped from Slackware. Myself is included amongst those who despised the fact that they dropped GNOME from their various releases. Thankfully there were several 3rd party people who develop the GNOME desktop environment including myself. My own effort was never, and never will be, released but what these efforts show is that there is still a huge slice of Slackware, and derivatives of, users who want GNOME as their primary desktop environment which seems to show that that slice of users did not like the fact that the Slackware team removed all support for GNOME. Some, a fairly significant chunk of users even went so far as to change distributions so they could get back their GNOME desktops and have it supported by that distributions development team.

Sadly, this removal of GNOME, and the fact that to get GNOME one must use a none supported 3rd party, signaled a move away from Slackware the size of which has never been seen before. Even though the lead developer of Slackware gave the knod to a few of those 3rd party GNOME efforts it was not enough to stop the move away from Slackware.

I use GNOME myself because of my  dislike for QT upon which KDE is built which I have built myself and in all honesty to get a full and proper GNOME desktop it is no walk in the park to build, so in that sense when Slackware was a one man team I can understand why he dropped it, even if I did not like the fact he had dropped it. But now, Slackware consists of several members so it is not a big step to say to one of them "you do GNOME and make it complete" but that is unlikely to happen so why can't the lead developer say to one of the 3rd party guys "we will admit you under our wing so that you become part of the Slackware team and we will use your build of GNOME". That is also unlikely to ever happen sadly. The current selected team of support staff for Slackware are a bunch of arrogant bastards and would never say they got it wrong when GNOME was dropped.

Assuming that the 4.x branch of KDE carries on with the so obvious aping of Microsoft Vista then one can safely  assume KDE will become less and less relevant in the Gnu/Linux desktop wars. And with the   demise of KDE will be the resurgence of GNOME. Once  this starts happening   what will the Slackware team decide to do once the realise that their primary desktop is withering on the vine? They will have to do something about it otherwise Slackware, that lean and mean distribution that has survived the longest out of them all, will die along with KDE as once all your eggs are in one basket and that basket starts to fall apart your eggs along with theirs will fall and break too.

So KDE versus GNOME to me is a none issue. As I have said why I don't and won't ever use KDE I am not going to say it again. i use Bluewhite64 (a 64 bit port of Slackware and in my opinion the best of the 64 bit ports) and even though it mirrors what Slackware itself does i use it because it is an excellent base from which to add whatever I need to add which includes a GNOME2 desktop.

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