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Editor's Note From the Road: Many Desktops, Fewer Redundancies

Feb 12, 2006, 17:00 (6 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brian Proffitt)

By Brian Proffitt
Managing Editor

Day two begins. The men are in good sprits for their mission ahead, and anticip--whoops, wrong article.

For those of you wondering where the pictures are for this trip, it seems I am having trouble setting up a VPN tunnel out through this hotel's ISP, which is the only way to get image content up on LT's server. I will keep trying; one of the conference participants has a solid proxy link out from his laptop, and he offered to let me borrow the connection. If need be, I'll create a trip album when I get back home.

Last night, I went to dinner with several of the conference attendees and speakers, including Jono Bacon and John Terpstra. I consider John to be a good friend, and if you ever get a chance to talk to him, he will most assuredly lend you insights on what needs to be done in many aspects of open source. When he tells you though, it's not done in an insulting manner. John is very very passionate about open source and wants it to succeed both technically and personally.

Jono's precence at the dinner allowed me pay compliments to his articles over on O'Reilly and to follow up on his session talk yesterday regarding desktop development. Jono, who has developed for both KDE and GNOME, strongly believes that there is too much duplication of effort in the two desktop camps, and more unified work should be done.

It should be clarified that he is not advocating the the unification of the desktops. Rather, on certain levels under the desktop, there are projects that separately solve the same problem from each desktop environment. These projects, Jono argues, should be moved to the free desktop, and not be handled individually by GNOME and KDE.

For what it's worth, I think he's right. Both GNOME and KDE have their advantages and disadvantages. (Hey, I'm no Linus Torvalds, I remain neutral. Neutral! Neutral!!) But there can be some unification of effort and still maintain the choices that so many free software users desire.

Off to breakfast and the morning sessions. More later.