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Update on the GNOME project

Dec 01, 1998, 13:20 (19 Talkback[s])

Rumors have been circulating in the free software community that the free relicensing of the Qt library and wider adoption of the KDE desktop indicates deteriorating support for continued development of GNOME.

Red Hat Software has invested heavily in GNOME development. Below, Dave Whitinger from Linux Today interviews by e-mail Red Hat's CEO Bob Young, co-founder and Director of Development Marc Ewing , and GNOME Principal Dr. Michael Fulbright about the future of the GNOME Project.

Linux Today: Will recent events in the Free Software community have an impact on the GNOME Project?

Bob Young: GTK and GNOME will be going forward every bit as quickly as before. Netscape [has] announced that they are porting Mozilla to GTK from Motif.

The new Qt license is better than before but is still not good for anyone wanting to develop proprietary software against it, so those folks will need GTK.

Linux Today: Do you have any comments to make on the new Qt license, or has the recent Qt license change had absolutely no effect on the GNOME project?

Marc: We're happy Troll is moving towards a more-free license for Qt. The new license has not changed GNOME development or Red Hat's commitment to GNOME.

Linux Today: Is GNOME still slated to be released as the default desktop with Red Hat Linux 6.0?

Dr. Mike: When GNOME is ready, it will be the default desktop for Red Hat.

Linux Today: Will Enlightenment be the default window manager and will there be several wm options to pick from? How do you see the window managers out there in terms of GNOME compliance (scwm, e, gnome2fvwm, afterstep, etc.)?

Dr. Mike: Enlightenment will most likely be the most GNOME compliant wm, so we will definitely have it included. Raster is preparing a guide for making any window manager compliant. This should facilitate other wm's being GNOME compliant as well.

Linux Today: Is the drag and drop protocol going to continue to be compliant between KDE and GNOME?

Dr. Mike: Qt 2.0 and GTK+ 1.2 will interoperate.

Linux Today: You recently announced the gnome-libs are entering a code freeze. Does this mean we'll see GNOME ready for the regular user soon? Can you speculate on an approximate date that people will be able to get a fully functional GNOME desktop with a 1.0 version number?

Dr. Mike: GNOME is currently quite usable by regular users--the freeze is just cleaning stuff up. The main problem I think people have at the moment is installing GNOME. This is just a matter of reading the install guides on the GNOME website. The primary issue is that GNOME requires some support libraries that are not shipped in most distributions, and installing these in the right order is critical.

People should not confuse the slightly steep overhead for installing GNOME as meaning GNOME itself is not fairly complete and usable.

As far as GNOME is concerned, it must continue because it is the only available desktop project that has no ties to a company. GTK+ is owned by the net, gnome-libs is owned by the net. There are no strings attached, period.

I think users of both commercial and hacker backgrounds will appreciate the greater flexibility this allows. The kernel is a level playing field for everyone to work with. GNOME aims to be the level playing field for the GUI that is truly free.

Linux Today: Thanks Bob, Marc, and Dr. Mike for these answers.