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ZDNet: Let's get ready to mumble - Companies throwing PR behind feuding Linux desktops are doing more harm than good

Nov 22, 2000, 21:29 (16 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Evan Leibovitch)

"Last week a group of vendors and developers of the K Desktop Environment (KDE) formed the KDE League to provide a comfy media counterpoint to the GNOME Project's GNOME Foundation. The spitting match between the two groups, each backed by its share of Linux vendors, is starting to look like it's being driven more by testosterone than by any genuine effort to advance the cause of open source operating systems."

"It's pointless (and ultimately counterproductive) for vendors to take sides in "support" of developer groups who don't need this kind of help. (Red Hat, VA Linux and Sun are behind GNOME, while SuSE, Caldera, MandrakeSoft, Corel, Siemens and Fujitsu are behind KDE.) There are too many similarities between this strategizing and what happened 20 years ago when the Unix world started to polarize in a similar way. Sun and AT&T advocated the Open Look desktop; IBM, HP and Digital (now Compaq) championed Motif."

"Back then we also had PR engines masquerading as foundations and alliances. The end result was the CDE desktop compromise, which functions far more like Motif than Open Look but has failed to gain momentum despite a decade of trying. I have yet to hear from anyone who thinks the Unix dispute produced any technical innovation of widespread and lasting value. But it certainly produced its share of noise, and may have retarded Unix growth enough to give Microsoft's Windows NT an easier entry into Unix turf than it would otherwise have had."

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