Desktop normalization

Marcin Krol lug at
Mon Nov 23 09:14:38 PST 1998

On Mon, 23 Nov 1998, BadlandZ wrote:

> Jean-Eric Cuendet wrote:

> > Hello,
> > I'm asking me a question. There is now 2 big desktops for Linux: KDE and
> > Gnome.
> > Couldn't we add an API to access either Gnome or KDE desktop for the
> > applications to interact with them.
> > So, a Word processor could access Gnome if it's running Gnome or KDE if
> > it's running KDE or other or nothing if no one is installed. The program
> > itself should not know on which desktop it is running.
> I hope anything that lsb does even mildly related to a desktop is
> minimal.

For heaven's sakes, no! Even bad standard is better than lack of standard.

>  I think the whole KDE vs Gnome thing is total bullsh__.

It is, but not for reasons you state below. Just why should someone
split because of some fifth-grade importance thing in license is 
beyond me. OSS is no better at avoiding unnecessary redundant
effort than commercial software.

>  As I
> see it, Enlightenment and GNUStep (Windowmaker/Afterstep) are at least
> _AS_ popular (me personally perfering a total "Stepified" desktop,
> running Windowmaker, patching GTKstep into GTK, etc...) and believeing X
> has to fix itself (somewhat in agreement with Jim Gettys (
> ).

Probably E and GNUStep are. However, it is not important which desktop is
most popular *right now*.  KDE would be very important even if it were not
very ergonomic or aesthetic. It is important because it is first attempt
to create extensive, complete desktop for Unix. Not only look and feel,
but also basic desktop, everyday apps. Standard, available everywhere.
Don't want them - install something better. But *something standardized*
has to be commodity. 

> Of course this is all just my opinion, and not a very important one
> really.

Of course you are entitled to your opinion. Everyone is. But also there is
this problem of standardization. Having variety of window managers on X is
like burning the house to roast a chicken: you gain something but loose *a

> I think the LSB should be conserned underlying structure (file
> structure, sysV vs bsd, basic libraries maybe, default applications like
> ls, cd, rm, mv, cat, etc...), on which larger software componants (like
> a windowmanager) can work out thier compatibility problems themselfs.

But they *won't* work out their compatibility problems - they did not do
it so far, what makes you think that teams will magically start weeding
out incompatibilities overnight? You seem to hope that *finally* these
cats will herd themselves some time. Looking at history, it did not
happen, and those who do not know history... 

> An API to access either Gnome or KDE desktop strikes me as beyond the
> scope of the LSB.

1. How about *generic desktop API*. 2. If there is any reason for LSB, it
is desktop. 

Desktop is everything.  Who controls desktop, controls computing. Has
success of MS taught unixers nothing? "Alice in Unixland" should be
required reading on unix courses.

 Marcin Krol

Hiroshima 45                   Tschernobyl 86                      Windows 95

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