KDE developers aren't the only people upset by a Ximian
advertising buy on the Google search engine that pops up Ximian
brand GNOME ads when users seek information on KDE or KDE-related
"If they've got $15-million, why are they trying to steal
business from me?" asked Shawn Gordon of theKompany.com, noting the
cash infusion Ximian received from Boston venture capitalists just
two weeks ago. "theKompany" is one of the search phrases targeted
by Ximian's ad campaign, as is one of its products, KDE Studio. "I
guess I'm honored that they know who I am."
TrollTech, publishers of the QT toolkit on which KDE is based,
expressed similar dismay.
"We haven't decided officially just how angry we are," said Aron
Kozak, TrollTech's public relations manager. But Mac McDougal,
director of marketing, seemed to have a handle on what Ximian ads
in response to a TrollTech search signified.
"Imagine all the disappointment this is going to cause out
there. You have a bunch of users looking for an intuitive and
richly functional cross-platform GUI toolkit -- and they find
Ximian instead! That's like buying a ticket for a Julia Roberts
movie, and ending up looking at Dame Edna reruns," McDougal
While neither company threatens legal action, neither has ruled
it out, either.
The advertisements first came to light Feb. 8 in a post to the
KDE developers list, and anger grew as the vastness of the campaign
"Yeah, that happens if free software developers get money. They
try to trash other free software developers," said leading KDE
developer Stephan Kulow. Others in the KDE community, noting that
it was an attack on a free software project by a commercial
concern, likened it to a company that purchases blood setting up
its booth outside a Red Cross blood bank.
Waldo Bastian, another active KDE core developer, contacted
Ximian about the ads and quoted this reply: "I'm sure that if
someone is such a newbie that they need to use a search engine to
find kde.org, they're not so much 'looking for KDE' as "looking for
a desktop environment.'" Said Bastian, "I guess that's just like
all those people who search for 'Linux' but actually just want to
go to www.microsoft.com."
"My initial reaction was, ' this is not the developers, this is
some stupid marketing person who doesn't understand the community
yet,'" said Andreas Pour, who has been active in promoting KDE. "I
don't even know who has control over at Ximian at this point -- I
guess it's the venture capital, not the developers."
One of the ironies noted by many in the KDE community is that
GNOME, the project on which the commercial Ximian is based, was
established largely as a response to KDE because the Free Software
Foundation objected to the proprietary QT toolkit employed by KDE.
After months of community pressure, TrollTech released QT under the
GNU General Public License.