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Linux Journal: Inteview with Miguel De Icaza

Apr 25, 2003, 22:00 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Aleksey Dolya)

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"AD: Could tell us about the idea behind creating GNOME?

"MdI: We wanted to make Linux succeed on the desktop. It was and is fairly successful as a server platform, and it really shines there. But, we did not want to see free software limited to the server market. We wanted end users to be able to get this system and have the same freedoms and potential that those using Linux for a server operating system were enjoying.

"KDE was an inspirational project, but at the time, the Qt toolkit on which KDE was built was a proprietary toolkit. It was a disgrace that everyone in the community had worked so hard to create a fully open-source [desktop] (a legacy to all humanity) that we would give up in the end because of the lack of a free toolkit. So GNOME was started to make sure that we had a fully free system, and it was based on the most advanced C toolkit available at the time: the toolkit built by Peter Mathis and Spencer Kimball for their most excellent GIMP imaging software. Part of the background to create free software, and ensuring that things were fully free, came from my involvement with Linux on the SPARC, which I helped develop. Around that time the x86 was not very fast, and we were running Linux/SPARC, Linux/ALPHA and Linux/SGI. But the downside was that proprietary applications coming out for Linux on the x86 just did not run on our higher end computers. And there was not much that could be done about it, as we did not have the source code..."

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