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If Gnome and KDE joined forces

Posted 09-18-2009 at 10:13 AM by archtoad6

I recently read an otherwise excellent article -- Enduring Roadblocks to Linux Acceptance -- on another site. It contained one statement that I consider completely bogus. Here is my reply:

"The world would be better off if Gnome and KDE joined forces." I completely disagree.

No, the world would NOT be better off; because many of the best developers from each project would quit & their talents, time, & energy would be lost to Linux desktop development. Some are paid, but many are volunteers; & it is easier to herd cats than to make a volunteer do something. I know: I "own" cats & I work with volunteers. I can on occasion herd the cats, I've never had much luck giving orders to volunteers.

My friend & original Linux mentor Steve Musacchia also used to complain about the confusion that Linux diversity brings to new users. He would suggest that Gnome had proved its point & KDE is now under a Free License, & therefore Gnome should disband & its developers join KDE. In his mind this would eliminate confusion, duplication, & wasted effort. He forgot that much, if not most, of Linux & Linux software is the product of love of the project. The existence of any given project within Linux creates the time & energy devoted to it, & doesn't take anything from other projects. To think otherwise, to believe that volunteers' time is finite or limited, is to apply the wrong economic model to volunteerism.

As long as Linux & its software uses the GPL & other free licenses, this will be true. Diversity cannot be prevented. This is by design. Bill Gates & Steve Ballmer might say with malice of forethought. </rant>
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