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Gnome, KDE camps closer to truce

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The rival Linux desktop camps appear closer than ever to a truce after the GUADEC GNOME developer conference in Copenhagen last week.

Not only do the developers from the two camps agree that interoperability would be a good thing - something they've said for ages - they seem more willing to do something about it.

In a report from the conference, Red Hat's David Mason notes that a hit list of interoperability topics was made at a Birds of a Feather session, including file formats and file types, drag and drop (which has been addressed, but not widely adopted in XDND), printing, themes and documentation.

"After talking for a while though, we had people's names assigned to almost every item on the list to follow up and start working on. We also decided that the freedesktop.org was a good place to start keeping information on what is accomplished," he writes.

This is progress indeed, although it rather skirts around the toughest area of object models. The camps each have their own take - Gnome's Bonobo and KDE's Canossa (KParts) - and this will prove the litmus test of the seriousness of interoperability goodwill. KDE and Gnome offer developers more than mere eye candy these days, and a decision to go with either involves a serious commitment.

Although we typically hear naught but sweetness from the respective developers, the publicity wing from each camp does indulge in some fairly forthright eye-gouging. Last week Trolltech timed an announcement about QT 3.0 to coincide with GUADEC - and despite carpet bombing us with announcements, we're still waiting for Gnome 2.0, originally promised for August last year, we recall.

The Gnome Project last week vowed to roll the excellent AbiWord (which we used to file all our copy at the New York LinuxWorld, without a glitch), the Gnumeric spreadsheet, and Guppi and Dia charting and diagramming tools into a unified 'Gnome Office' suite by the end of the year. Details here. ®

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