a road to nowhere

Michal Pasternak michal at pasternak.w.lub.pl
Thu Nov 13 14:40:22 PST 2003

Person, Roderick [Thu, Nov 13, 2003 at 10:13:36AM -0500]:
> I keep reading how you dislike KDE 3.x, but one thing I missed was what you
> really don't like about it.
> It seems you just don't like the look. Is that all?

Neither the look of KDE, nor the look of GNOME make them "Desktop

What really makes a "Desktop Environment" is it's infrastructure.

MS Windows - the most widely used desktop OS, no matter if you like it or
not - supports many different mechanisms, which allow applications talk to
each other and exchange data.

ActiveX, COM+, DAO. Just to name a few.

KDE, Mozilla and Star/OpenOffice are so big packages just because they try
to patch the things, that have always been a problem on Unix systems. X11
has GUI toolkits, X11 has window managers. The problem becomes visible when
you've written a spreadsheet, your friend did a vector drawing program, and
someone else did a simple utility, that displays thumbnails of the files on
the desktop. How can you share your data formats between applications? Well,
someone might say, that with enough work it will be possible. In this case,
please multiply the numbers by 5 or 10. Does it still looks easy? Okay,
let's say the spreadsheet uses CSV and the vector program uses SVG - nice,
readable formats - so... how do I embed a HTML displaying widget in both of
them? Doesn't matter, what for - I just want to do that. How?

The power of KDE doesn't lie in it's ability to change the look of the
desktop. The power of KDE is KParts - a framework for sharing application
components. Yes, that's the part of KDE, that allows you to have different
menu in Konqueror when you're viewing PDF file; that's also the thing, that
makes embedding of KSpread spreadsheets in KWord possible.

What about GNOME, you might ask. Well, GNOME also has similar mechanisms. 

So, why do I say "go for KDE" ?

KDE has already released many great applications. Not to mention the WWW
browser (which, in turn, was adopted by Apple - and Apple knows, what's
good, they already based Darwin/MacOS X on the best OS available), they have
their printing system, networking utilities and a quite nice office package
(which, as I belive, could grow to a really big and advanced suite, it only
needs work - but well, the basics are _already_ done). 

Hey, you might say, GNOME has Galeon and Ximian.com do bundle OpenOffice
with it!


Galeon is based on Mozilla. This means: memory footprint == GNOME libraries
+ Mozilla libraries. OpenOffice? That's a whole different framework. Running
OpenOffice on GNOME means loading 2 different toolkits (and I suppose, that
noone can admin OO.org is small).

KDE _is_ single. You might say it's libraries are bloat and it takes way too
much to start-up. Well, that's the price you pay for patching the
desktop-software-interoperability-hole, that existed in Unix for a long,
long time (please note the word "desktop" at the beginning). 

So, I'd rather see already written software - which has proven it is well
written - extended ad infinitum - (eg. KOffice patched in such manner it
will become better than OpenOffice.org) - than create something worse
or something incomplete. I don't want to hold many different toolkits on my
hard drive, I don't want to wait each time I load an application using
different set of libraries.

Sorry, GNOME fans - I'm not saying, that GNOME is worse or better, than KDE
- I'm just saying, that KDE has a bundled WWW browser and a basic office
suite. Those components are very important in each everyday's desktop.
That's why I think, that KDE just seems to be good point to start creating a
production-quality desktop. It's easier to extend some already written
applications, not to mention they're good, because they work.

Anyway, as someone said: "GNOME developers focus on creating something
perfect, while KDE developers focus on creating something, that just works" :)

Another strange thing I've noticed: some people are trying to compare
WindowMaker or any other window manager to desktop environments. That's a
no-go, gentlemen. Window manager is _only_ a window manager. It doesn't make
a real desktop environment, it only looks this way.

Michal Pasternak :: http://pasternak.w.lub.pl

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