There's no place like GNOME

It's where the heart is. But where's the brain?

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GNOME version 2.0 officially 'not of use to anyone'

Letters ran 3:1 defending Gnome. Remarkably, almost all were polite, articulate and charming.

However many others expressed relief that somebody had dared do the unthinkable, and castigate the project for late delivery and over-marketing. But since pro-Gnome letters are longer, that's reflected in the selection below.


Thank you for saying about Gnome what everyone in the open source Community has been thinking and afraid to say because of the Slapdork weenies! It's about time somebody freely admitted Gnome is pointless bullshit.

Zach Hartley

As an avid and long-time Gnome user myself I am impelled to respond: well said. It's absolutely true. Gnome is beached. Let's get the painful transition over with as soon as possible and get on with life.

Great article!



A visiting Martian would choose GNOME because his company can build on top of it without paying thousands of dollars per developer to some company - but that I'll let pass too.

What I'd quite like you to suggest is that:
"It transpires that the release announcement was slightly mis-worded, and that contrary to popular belief, this was the first in a set of staged releases of only the underlying GNOME platform libraries - and includes no applications that end users could play with."

Some of your comments about GNOME's release schedule as opposed to KDE's were indeed fair, we need to speed our schedule up, and it's extremely frustrating for me as much as anyone that we are not shipping incremental releases every 6 months. Still, schedule slippage is hardly something new in the software world as you know :-)

Yours in amusement,

Michael Meeks

I found your comments rather too harsh on Gnome. We have a couple of dozen Linux workstations, with all of the users using Gnome.

We don't have any problems getting anything done.
It's true KDE does have a time advantage on Gnome, but there are several Gnome apps unsurpassed in quality in KDE (e.g. abiword, evolution, gumeric), so Gnome isn't dead at all.

There are news apps being written all the time (e.g. sodipodi).

You may also remember that Sun are going to
ship Gnome with their workstations, leading to a large number of possible users. Also remember that Staroffice is being converted to use a native Gnome UI.

Gnome does have advantages over KDE. It's possible to write Gnome apps in virtually any computer language. In KDE you're limited to C++ (I am a C++ programmer). [So I'm just hallucinating this Python script that wraps KDE calls, right? - ed.] This means that you'll have problems linking between compilers because of the non-standard C++ ABI.

Jeremy Sanders
Pembroke College, Cambridge

Just a note that if you use the ALSA project sound drivers, then there isn't any problem, as the alsa support allows multiple opens of the sound device. You don't even need 'esd' running.


As you said, you enjoy using Gnome apps ... Isn't it funny that the Gnome apps are about a year ahead of the KDE apps.

If KDE would just give up and start helping out Gnome, we wouldn't have this problem.
See how stupid your argument is? If you don't want to help code, then stop criticizing. A desktop with pathetic apps is not much of a desktop now is it?

William O'Shea

As a member of the GNOME 2 release team, I'd like to make a few points regarding your article:
GNOME 2 was never promised by a specific date. I don't know where you heard this, but anyone who promised it by a specific date did so unofficially and hadn't a clue.
[The September 2000 date was pledged by Miguel de Icaza at LinuxWorld Xpo in San Jose in August 1999, and the author was present at the press conference - ed.]

GNOME 2 will be released when it's ready. We do now have a release schedule that covers the begins of the release of the platform and are hammering out schedules which will go further into the release cycle. Even now, however we do not promise any final release date. It's too early.

The reason this doesn't include anything of use to end-users is that it is a "platform" release. This means, to programmers, that it's a set of libraries and tools to develop applications with. The API and libraries are out there in this alpha release. Developers can port their GNOME 1.x applications to this new GNOME 2.x platform. When applications (including the GNOME desktop) have been ported the GNOME 2 full release will occur.

As a member of the release team and someone involved in the GNOME developer community, I can tell you you're flat wrong on this point.
I personally know hundreds of hackers who are working round the clock to make GNOME better and couldn't care less about politics. The GNOME platform is very elegant in design. In fact that is precisely what brought me to GNOME over KDE.

From a developers standpoint it's very high-quality and offers a powerful set of tools to work with. In addition to being a pleasure to develop with, the applications GNOME provides surpass anything I've seen in the KDE camp with a few exceptions. For example I find KOffice to be sorely lacking in comparison with GNOME applications such as AbiWord, Gnumeric (arguably the best open source spreadsheet out there), SodiPodi, The Gimp, etc.

Evolution is the best open source groupware and PIM suite I've seen, period. Galeon is an outstanding browser and continues to offer more polish with each release.

The GNOME desktop itself is ideal for my purposes. It's aesthetically pleasing(a big plus for me as I spend nearly all my time using my Linux desktop), I can configure it to look exactly like I want. Maybe with time the themes and configuration options for KDE will catch up to where GNOME's at, but for now, it's not close.
I would argue that GNOME's great gift has been giving us the best open source desktop, development platform, and set of applications on the planet. Hundreds of thousands of other GNOME users would argue the same, no doubt.

It's amazing that the GNOME project has equaled and surpassed KDE given the temporal jump KDE had.

I've had the opportunity to speak with some folks at Sun. The reason they chose GNOME to be the future Solaris desktop environment was based on the technical merits of the platform, not on politics or GNOME marketing genius.

It's a testament to the outstanding platform GNOME is.

Having said all this, I wish the KDE project good
luck, look forward to more collaboration of the tworojects, and say that I cheer for all open source/free software projects. The power of choice is good.


Jamin Philip Gray

A sucker for punishment? Check out the following debate that the story generate on LinuxToday, here.

We'll post a explanation of why we wrote this tongue-in-cheek article soon, but thanks to everyone in the GNOME camp who replied, and showed you haven't lost your sense of humour. ®

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