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
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
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
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