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Red Hat Explains Stance on KDE/Gnome Desktop Changes

Hemos posted more than 12 years ago | from the creating-unity dept.

Red Hat Software 570

An anonymous reader writes "A lot of people are angry over the changes RedHat has done to KDE and Gnome in their latest beta, code-named Null. They have basically "nullified" all the default themes and settings with which each desktop attempts to posture for more users. Instead, there is now a beautiful unified look. To explain RedHat's stance, Owen Taylor writes this piece here. I hope that RedHat successfully forces both Gnome and KDE to become compatible with one another which would result in the creation of a single desktop. This would be the greatest gift to the Linux world."

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Hmmm... (2, Funny)

cuvavu (111503) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265196)

Begun the flame-war has!

Re:Hmmm... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4265247)

How can you mod this offtopic? This is a very flammable topic indeed!

Re:Hmmm... (-1, Offtopic)

peterpi (585134) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265268)

hmm, yes, a beowulf cluster of those imagine.

I'm with RedHat on this one (1)

davidj (20784) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265197)

How is Red Hat's configuration any _less_ obnoxious than KDE/Gnome/Ximian's ?

Unified look? Pros and Cons (1)

Lolaine (262966) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265201)

An unified look is good for first time users ... one look, 2 desktops ....

But since they work in a very different way ... is this good? I mean, KDE control center != Gnome Control Center, Customization is different, Nautilus and Konqueror are a lot different ...

Greatest Gift? (-1, Troll)

The Viking (109047) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265202)

How is reducing choices from two desktops to one desktop a "great gift"? Oh, and FIRST POST!

Re:Greatest Gift? (0, Redundant)

Proudrooster (580120) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265270)

I agree, competition is what makes things better! Without competition, stagnation sets in, ala Micro$oft. Killing off either KDE or GNOME would be bad, very bad.


Go Gnome!

Maybe Redhat should just make the standardization optional, however I know they are now trying to push into the desktop market which is a giant leap for Linux. Maybe, just maybe, their "Redhat-ized" version should like like Windoze XP.

"The Windoze related mispellings were intentional."


Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4265402)

Screenshots anyone ? (-1, Offtopic)

dg123 (217900) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265204)

Please post screenshots !

Unified Desktop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4265207)

Interesting idea, but it reminds me of XP's desert.

Insane (-1, Troll)

nagora (177841) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265211)

So, basically their reaction to users having a choice is to try and negate that choice by making the options as similar as possible. How very MicroSoft!

The whole point of having KDE/GNOME/WindoMaker/Et al is to allow people to pick the one that suits them.

If RH don't like this then why don't they just drop the one(s) they don't want people to use?


Re:Insane (2, Insightful)

caluml (551744) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265239)

If RH don't like this then why don't they just drop the one(s) they don't want people to use?

Then we'd get the "Redhat is Microsoft" arguments, and people saying that they're reducing choice, stiffling competition, etc, etc.

Why is MS or AOL powerful? Because they are simple, and have lots of users. We need to get more people using Linux.

Re:Insane (3)

Oculus Habent (562837) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265351)

Exactly. RedHat isn't taking away your ability to choose. If you want something to be different, change it. In the meantime, All the people who need standards to survive int he computer world can enjoy a little more of Linux than they could before.

Here's a bad computer-car analogy. If the Microsoft car has a steering wheel, and the Linux car has a numeric keypad (which undoubtably can do more), most people couldn't drive the Linux car.

RedHat is trying to push the Desktop Linux by making different GUIs work the same. This is known as "standards."

The real issue here is while there was a display manager that became the standard, these should have been something on interface design long ago.

We live in a world of standards, and yet the one thing that needs the most standardization is the one thing people push to have the least.

Free the GUI!

Re:Insane (3, Insightful)

RobertNotBob (597987) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265246)

Your choice is still there (unlike M$). Change whatever you want. If you are worried about this, then you probably know how to change it AND, you are not the kind of person who is going to write to their tech-support people with a UI question.

If you have to support a product, standard look-and-feel is a good thing for you. If you allow advanced users to change whatever they want, good for us.

Where is the problem?

Re:Insane (5, Insightful)

kylus (149953) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265283)

So, basically their reaction to users having a choice is to try and negate that choice by making the options as similar as possible. How very MicroSoft!

I think you're missing the point here. The idea is to unify a desktop solution so that people who are familiar with MS (read: most of the world) are not terrified of trying to configure a Linux box. I don't see this as MS-like. I see this as a step in advancing Linux as a desktop solution.

The whole point of having KDE/GNOME/WindoMaker/Et al is to allow people to pick the one that suits them.

Very true. If the experts who are used to Linux want it, they should still be available 'untouched' for them to install and configure. But let's face a fact here: RedHat is becoming the easiet of the distros to install and configure; making the setup and configuration less daunting for newcomers is a step in the right direction.

If RH don't like this then why don't they just drop the one(s) they don't want people to use?

Don't you think that this is more MS-like than trying to unify their desktop components? To just drop packages they don't like would be a true method of negating choice. THAT would be a step in the wrong direction.

Re:Insane (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4265419)

In the long run I think that this will hurt Linux more than help it. Short term you can claim to have a more unified approach to the desktop which may seem an easier introduction to the Linux as a desktop Operating System.

Long term however you are continuing to imply that there is only one desktop for Linux. The whole idea about linux is that there is a choice and that there are certain desktops that are better suited for certain tasks.

Heavy GUI's are inappropriate for Retail Terminals and would be better suited for something lightweight like fvwm2, windowmaker, et al. Meanwhile, the Heavy GUI's (or desktop environments) might do well for certain types of desktop use. But if you mask the concept that there are different window managers for different working environments, people will be tunnelled into only one notion of a desktop and we (The Open Source Community) will loose the idea that there are choices.

It is bad enough that many PHB's thing that RedHat==Linux, but to further that dis-information into a desktop environment is problematic for Linux, the other distributions, and for anyone who attempts to introduce a Linux workstation that != RedHat.

The idea here may sound good, but it fails to allow the two different Desktop Environments (and other WM's) to compete on their own seperate merits and allow a parallel evolutionary development to occur. Eventually we will probably never have One Unified Desktop. I don't believe that we must have One.

Re:Insane (5, Insightful)

rppp01 (236599) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265307)


Look, RedHat is right on this one. Finally, after years of frustration, someone might just drag linux kicking and screaming into the desktop market.

I swear, linux does not want to be mainstream. Sure, everyone talks about how they want their favorite OS to be taken seriously on the desktop, but no one wants to take the steps necessary to do it. I like choice, don't get me wrong. But most users do not give a shit about choice. They want AOL and MS Word. They want the start button. Fine, give them the start button, give them an MS Word clone. Let the world view linux with this perspective: a solid OS that 'just works' with a standard interface and standard applications that work as well as those on Windows. And for those who want to do more, we have other "versions" of the OS that allow other desktops, applications and such.

To sit here and rip them for 'taking away choice' is just ignorant and, well, stupid. Please, people. I like WindowMaker, but I also know what we need to make linux work outside of the server room and the geek's bedroom. Don't forget, programs like 'switchdesk' exist for a reason. Those who want to use it, and those who can use it, are not prohibited from it.

Bravo RedHat. Lead linux into battle for the server and desktop. Let everyone else follow. I need to get back to my kernel compile, now. :)

Re:Insane (0)

slainfu (528905) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265426)

Exactly right. This had to happen at some point.

If it's choice you're worrying about, you can always be assured that there will always be plenty of options available in Linux. New projects are appearing all the time.

Infact, from the viewpoint of the dev community, this is a gift from the gods. Think about it.

Re:Insane (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4265354)

If YOU don't like it, why don't YOU just run a different distro than RedHat? I don't really understand why people that have a choice want to gripe about how wrong it is that someone prefers less choice in a certain situation.

No one has encroached on my freedom and option to go and get any window manager I want for Linux and install it. I guess I don't see your problem...

Re:Insane (4, Insightful)

ip_vjl (410654) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265355)

The whole point of having KDE/GNOME/WindoMaker/Et al is to allow people to pick the one that suits them.

The whole point of having different linux distos is to allow people to pick the one that suits them.

Don't like what RH is doing? Pick a different distro. Don't like what any of them are doing ... roll your own.

Re:Insane (3, Insightful)

Ian Wolf (171633) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265370)

Frankly this is a win - win situation. Red Hat now has a more well-rounded desktop with a more unified feel that they can sell to corporate customers. Furthermore, has anything really changed? Red Hat's KDE desktop was a piece of crap, and their Gnome wasn't much better. I've never met a Red Hat user who didn't tear out one or the other and replace it with either the latest build of their favorite desktop or something entirely different. Hell, the first thing I do when I install a new Red Hat box is install Ximian. You have the same choices you had before, today.

Re:Insane (2)

Ian Wolf (171633) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265408)

Let me also add, that historically I am a GNOME user, but I regularly use KDE3 for:

1) To learn it.
2) Asteroids :)
3) Because its there.

There are great many things I like about both desktops and I will probably use both for the rest of my life. This move by Red Hat could make my life much easier.

I know I'm not alone either.

Re:Insane (1)

emolitor (129606) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265416)

Be clear when your critical about something like this and state wheterh or not you have used the setup yet? Its not like they rewrote kde and gnome to do the exact same thing. The default config is now just very similar. But fire up your favorite config tool and change whatever you like. Or if your upgrading you'll be happy that it basically preserves your old settings.

Arguing that they limit choice by customizing their configurations sounds very Microsoftish. "You cant remove IE or customize windows as these are all standard components." To met at least theirs a very similar vein executing here.

And honestly the power of Linux is in choice. Redhat is mostly targeted towards new users or corporate standard IT departments. (At least in my opinion thats what they target.) If you dont like what Redhats doing then use Debian, Suse, or roll your own Linux. But if your going to be critical of something at least try the setup so you have a knowledged criticism and not an ignorant one.

BTW: I'm not saying your ignorant as you may have tried the setup and not liked it. But I'd say the vast majority of Slashdots Hyper-Critical comments are quite Ignorant of the facts.

screens pls! (1)

nempo (325296) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265212)

Can we get some screenshots of these desktops so that we may actually see how they look.

Re:screens pls! (5, Informative)

frenchtouch (188954) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265285)

You can find some right here: Red Hat 'Null' Beta screens [ibiblio.org] .

Why do we need "one unified" desktop? (4, Informative)

ishpeck (160581) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265214)

I, for one, like the different options we have in terms of desktop environments. I don't want either KDE or GNOME to go away.

I think the different desktop environments are important the way it's important to have variation in the gene pool.

We can only attain perfection through variety.

Re:Why do we need "one unified" desktop? (4, Insightful)

kylus (149953) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265321)

I, for one, like the different options we have in terms of desktop environments. I don't want either KDE or GNOME to go away. I think the different desktop environments are important the way it's important to have variation in the gene pool. We can only attain perfection through variety.

You like the variety. I like the variety, likely most of the Linux users on /. here love the variety. But honestly Joe Windows, who's never touched Linux before in his life, will be scared to death of the variety and totally confused and terrified of trying to set things up or be left wondering which desktop is the 'right' one to use. I don't think Red Hat did this for the Linux veterans; I think it was done to advance Linux as a desktop solution and make it less daunting for new users to make a switch. The variety will always be there for the people that know how to find it and set it up, but this could be a good start towards introducing Linux to more people.

Grumbling is pointless - we should applaud Redhat (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4265215)

You can't have your cake and eat it, unfortunately. If your wish is to see Linux achieve large scale desktop penetration, you need to acknowledge that the mainstream user wants one consistent interface, look and feel, etc. If they are a "power user", they'll hunt down the options you think they should have anyway, and customize quite happily. Don't worry about it!

Re:Grumbling is pointless - we should applaud Redh (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265347)

<flame>Oh, come on. a la Windows? MicroShaft changes their UI every release, and confuses the hell out of everyone.

Linux is already on more desktops than the Mac, without a consistent UI. It's not the interface, it's what you can do with the system. The interface is only that, an "interface" to the system.</flame>

Yeesh!. Ok, now for the real stuff... nobody really gives a shit about the user interface if it's working properly. When it doesn't, then there's a problem. User interfaces should be transparent to the end user.

That being said, I think Redhat should have respected the creative differences that the two parties have added to their UIs.

No, a beautiful gift for Linux (0, Flamebait)

PhysicsGenius (565228) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265216)

would be choice. Which they've "nullified" by quashing the innovations that each project has made over the last year. I'm noting to say which manager I prefer[1] but let me just say that Linux is all about choice. RedHat, in removing that choice, has proved themselves once again to the Microsoft of the Linux world. If I wanted to subsume my options under whatever some corporate entity wanted I'd use XP or MacOS.

[1] Because every time I say that "KDE rules and Gnome is the ugliest piece of crap I've ever seen" a flameware erupts.

It's worse than I thought! (-1, Troll)

PhysicsGenius (565228) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265258)

I just noticed that they even made code changes to both platforms to "take advantage of underlying technology". This top-level mandate entirely short-circuits the user-driven Open Source process.

[me@myRHbox]$ rm -rf /

Re:No, a beautiful gift for Linux (1)

Ty (15982) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265271)

Typical slashdot idiot. Did you even read the article?

RedHat is not removing any options. They are more or less just creating similar themes for both KDE and GNOME.

Re:No, a beautiful gift for Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4265400)

Of course the dumbass didn't read the article!

Unified desktop? Not for as long as we have E17! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4265222)

We will never have unified desktop for as long as we have The Enlightenment [enlightenment.org] . E17 will rock this fucking planet seriously!

Re:Unified desktop? Not for as long as we have E17 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4265286)

Let's see... heavy, difficult to configure, absolutely fucking weird themes, no support from most applications.

No thanks.

Animal Farm? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4265224)

Is this a case of the pigs walking on two legs?

Unified Desktop (5, Insightful)

Animgif (96529) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265225)

I couldn't agree with RedHat's statement any more. I definately feel that a unified look and feel is something that Linux has always needed. People need to be able to look at a system and recognize it. You can always recognize Windows by the look of it, as it should be for Linux. Users need this to use Linux. If you want people to use Linux for their desktop they must first feel comfortable with it...

#the only look you need _ (3, Funny)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265341)

a few others


nothing else necessary

Re:Unified Desktop (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4265356)

I can recognise Windows by the fact that it is bland and ugly. I can recognise a GNU/Linux or FreeBSD desktop no matter what window manager is being used; I'd used just about all of 'em. Let Red Hat do what it wants with its distro; if you don't like what they do, then switch to Gentoo [gentoo.org] or FreeBSD [freebsd.org] . Red Hat is not Burger King, and "Have it your way" isn't one of Red Hat's slogans. So if you want Linux made your way, make it yourself.

How dare they ? (5, Funny)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265227)

A standard desktop ? Then how will all the prima-donna point out how their desktop is so much better because of this or that bell and whistle.

What a horrible idea, leveling the playing field and have a standard theme that concentrates on usability and then a pure battle of abilities to determine who underpins it. If there can be no differentation in terms of buttons and icons then how would people judge if not by "see-through windows" v "tear-off tabs" and other such pointless arguments and wars.

Terrible concept, concetrate a team on a decent standard theme, and then have competition for the best engine behind it....

Umm wait, isn't this in effect the same as the Video card market where standards have led to the engines (the cards) being bought and swapped purely on the grounds of ability, sure each has "special" instructions, but for 99% of applications no one cares.

Oh and isn't it the same as the PC market, one instruction set, AMD v Intel.

Oh I see, thats what they want, what a great idea now I understand.

Here are some screenshots (1, Informative)

dg123 (217900) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265232)

ftp://ftp.ibiblio.org/pub/Linux/distributions/cont rib/texstar/screenshots/

This is a Good Thing (4, Insightful)

restive (542491) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265234)

This is a positive thing, for the reasons RedHat is stating; namely that many users don't want to make a decision between "this one" or "that one". How many times have people whined on /. that Linux will never make it to the desktop because there are too many tweaks things the users need to learn.

This is RedHat's way of making Linux more appealing to the end user. Good for them.

If you don't like it, do what I do and run Slackware (or other distro of choice), but bravo for the RedHat folks. This is a positive step.

Re:This is a Good Thing (5, Insightful)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265338)

This is RedHat's way of making Linux more appealing to the end user. Good for them

Indeed, because if the desktop is more appealing then more people will use it and if more people use it then companies will start to consider it a viable market for software (applications and drivers) and when there is greater support for Linux then more people will move to it because it has the applications they want and so on and so on ...

Microsoft are already doing Linux a favour with their licence changes, but that doesn't mean that we should expect people that are brave enough to change to come to the Linux side (at the moment, I'd say they're more likely to go to Apple, as they have consistency and ease of use down to a tee)

Sad news ... Stephen King dead at 54 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4265237)

I just heard some sad news on talk radio - horror/fiction writer Stephen King was found dead at his Florida home this morning. There weren't any more details. I'm sure the entire slashdot community will miss him, even if you're not a fan of his work there's no denying his contribution to popular culture. Truly an American icon, he will be sorely missed.

screenshot? (0, Redundant)

crazney (194622) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265241)

Anyone know a URL to screenshots of this new 'beutiful' desktop?


What is confusing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4265243)

What is confusing is that the Linux community attacks MS for not giving anyone a choice, but then claims that reducing choice is the greatest gift to the Linux community. What gives? Simple: The reality of the situation is that it's harder to support mutliple software configurations that it is one standard one. This is what MS learned a long time ago. I guess this lays out the real issue: no one wants MS gone because they are evil. They want MS gone so they can BE MS.

Re:What is confusing (1)

meatspray (59961) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265406)

You could certainly take this as a first step towards that direction, but i'd suggest you have a little linux faith that the community would not allow things to progress in that direction for too long.

Just as it's easy to see that which m$ has done poorly, it takes a bit of reflection to realise that which they've done right.

I'm certain it's no coincidence that the mainstay of the workflow for win95-98-nt4wks-nt4srv-win2kpro and win2ksvr are nearly indentical, nor is it strange that winxp adds functionality while still maintaining many old ways to get to stuff.

Any winblow$ user can easy pass knowledge of how to use programs along to any other user without having even the slightest knowledge of how the os really works.

In M$ junk, apps mostly behave the same, Cutting and pasting works cleanly across all applications (including text and binary data), the toolbars on most apps mirror each other, it's very easy to navigate most base apps because most base apps work alike.

Yes there needs to be unification in the linux desktop and application base, and as long as there they maintain an easy way to break that unification or modify it as any user sees fit, linux sill still holds a superior edge to windows dull and slow progressing feature list.

I don't think they're out to become MS i think they're out to become something bigger and better, and honestly, I'm all for it, I seriously doubt they could do as good of a job of being jerks as M$ does anyway.

bleh too early for comtemplation, must have caffiene!!!!!!

Re:What is confusing (2)

randomErr (172078) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265410)

Only one distro is reducing the # of choices, not the whole community. Beside DOS still has a ton of desktop's in production.

Head over to FreeDOS.org [slashdot.org] and see for yourself.

I love tweaking MS because we all know every product is still just a DOS shell, even NT. If you don't believe me, click Start then Run. Then type the word 'command' in the Open box and see what comes up.

It's About Time (4, Insightful)

syntap (242090) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265244)

I think Red Har has recognized that look and feel unification is a prerequisite to corporate entry. I understand the usual ./ user's opinion that desktop uniqueness is cool, but when you're a corporate help desk manager with a limited budget you don't need 2500 desktops looking different. It makes training more difficult too. The similarity of desktops is how MS can easily have people upgrade from Win98 to NT to 2000 to XP... the desktops are the same and retraining cost is minimal. Good for Red Hat!

Re:It's About Time (2)

Software (179033) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265391)

similarity of desktops is how MS can easily have people upgrade from Win98 to NT to 2000 to XP
I agree with most of your post, but the part above is incorrect. XP, by default, has a very different desktop than the other Windows variants, though it can be configured to run with the "Classic" interface which is quite similar. The 2000 interface is also different than the NT / 9x interface, though not radically so. How does this apply to what RedHat has done? I'm not really sure. Perhaps the best way to put it is that Microsoft has evolved and improved the desktop, which is a good thing if you're hooked on their software. Let's hope RedHat and others do the same to KDE and Gnome.

Its really not that a big deal are it? (2)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265250)

A unified desktop to the user doesnt in any way require that the underlying machinery is exactly or even remotly the same beasts. If they decides to display similar things to users in similar places and similar fashion they still can concentrate on there #1 priority. Correct me if im wrong here but i was under the impression that 99% of all effort is in the underlying processes. To my knowledge and impression little or none has really been done in usability and eycandy in the default releases.

Myself i have tweaked my Gnome2 to do all a full congirated windows dekstop would do and more. The changes i had to make are very small and should be able to make by automatic. Gnome and KDE need a little bit of polish before the distributors let them loose and i think its good if RedHat does it. If anyone feels the changes they make are good just do the same! They arent in any way planning of protecting these changes so they can progress thru the Open Source community if they are good.

Two thumbs up for Red Hat. (5, Interesting)

veddermatic (143964) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265254)

Linux is all about choice, yes... and most here will complain that Red Hat is somehow taking that away from them by having a "unified" desktop.

But if Linux is *ever* to succeeed in the desktop market, it NEEDS this. IT depts. in a large company will not tolerate one product behaving different ways... imagine Bob leaning over his cubicle wall to ask Sally how to check a new email account... something that happens all the time in the real world, and Sally can't answer, because while she's good with her KDE environment, she can;t help Bob out because he got set up with GNOME.

The desktop HAS to be standardized if it going to be used in the work place. Period.

If you don't like Red Hat's "removal of choice", here's a tip: Use a different distribution, or make your own. That sure sounds like choice to me!

Re:Two thumbs up for Red Hat. (5, Insightful)

Uruk (4907) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265305)

I've never understood why people were complaining about this in the first place. The software components of both GNOME and KDE are under the GNU GPL. It would be pretty difficult to deny that the GNU GPL allows these types of changes. In fact, that the license allows these types of changes is one of its main features.

Here we have a situation where an organization takes a free software package and makes modifications to it in order to suit its needs, and then rereleases the modified package also under the GPL. What could be MORE complaint with the spirit of the GPL and free software as a whole???

Re:Two thumbs up for Red Hat. (5, Informative)

ajs (35943) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265421)

The complaints took several forms:
  • Some KDE-folks (probably not core people, I'm not sure) went off half-cocked whining about Red Hat having "removed" functionality from KDE (e.g. not installing Konq). This was untrue, but see below...
  • Other KDE people with more level heads complained that major KDE apps in the default menus had been replaced with generic sounding terms (e.g. Web Browser) that then ran non-KDE apps (e.g. Mozilla instead of Konq). This is good from the unifying-the-desktop perspective, but it makes KDE perform terribly (since apps like evolution and Mozilla require totally different huge shared libraries to be loaded in addition to the huge share libraries of KDE). So, the complaint here is that KDE on Red Hat (null) was a pig because of the new default menu settings. You could still run all of your favorite KDE apps, they just weren't in the default menus.
  • Yet further controversy came from both the Gnome and KDE camps. This was centered around the "hijacking" of the default theme. This, IMHO is ignorable. If you don't like the default Red Hat theme, load another one (by theme here, I mean everything from tagets in menus to look-and-feel). If Gnome wants to release their own "gnome-default-theme" RPM for Red Hat 8.0 when it comes out, more power to them! KDE can do the same. Heck, Ximian already does this, along with a much nicer, more up-to-date Gnome desktop + a recent evolution.
So, a lot of it is a non-issue, but I think the core item of making KDE less efficient by defaulting to Gnome and/or Gtk apps is worth some discussion. In the end, I think the way Red Hat did it makes sense, but only until KDE has apps that are comparable to Mozilla and evolution for the business dekstop (Konq is nice, but more of a Galeon-like browser, not the all-around contender than Mozilla is).

Re:Two thumbs up for Red Hat. (2, Insightful)

stevew (4845) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265352)

Yes - but there is a difference between having one supported
email client and how the client works. For that matter, an IT
department can declare that Gnome or KDE is the supported
desktop. End of discussion.

As for masking the differences between Gnome and
KDE to the end customer - that is the same as doing
it the MS way or hit the highway. No thanks!

Well- I've been a Mandrake supporter ever since
they used the license holy wars to justify not
shipping KDE. Guess that won't change at all.

Re:Two thumbs up for Red Hat. (1)

merky1 (83978) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265387)

I'm not sure how Red Hat has taken away choice. You can still choose between KDE / GNOME, you can still choose a particular theme, and you can still choose to run anything else.

How did they remove choice? I read that they would still allow themes to be installed, they just aren't shipping any. I can understand this, because it makes newbie support so much easier. Most newbies would barely grasp the concept of themes, let alone know where to grab them and install them.

Anyways, it's nice to see someone intelligently looking at the two environments and figuring out what pieces can be shared between the two.

Nothing major (1)

thesadmac (599744) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265255)

Some default configs you can override. Nothing to see here.

AMEN!! (1)

love2hateMS (588764) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265262)

Way to go Red Hat. The new desktops are beautiful. They do not detract from the work of KDE or Gnome developers. If anything, they prove how flexible and amazing both of these environments are. Red Hat seems to have found a great balance between branding their distribution, and supporting and participating in the Open Source community. Kudos to Red Hat.

A quick google search... (5, Informative)

jonathan_atkinson (90571) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265265)

... revealed some screenshots here [kde.org] .


Did someone say screenshots? (2)

ACK!! (10229) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265266)

Ok, some asked for screenshots for here they are.

They are the ones that say redhat, duh.

http://www.ibiblio.org/pub/Linux/distributions/con trib/texstar/screenshots/

________________________________________________ __ ______

Re:Did someone say screenshots? (1)

swordfish666 (518548) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265333)

Nice shots. Very clean and smooth. Lite and airy. Sweet like candy.
Wait a minute, were those shotts of WinXP?:-)

No, really, I like the look BUT I run linux on an old laptop (PII300/96RAM/2MBVID) and if it runs slow then I'm going back to Gnome/IceWM!!

Re:Did someone say screenshots? (1)

thesadmac (599744) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265386)

Not too bad. They've got some nice icons, but the windows widgets and stuff totally suck. Though in KDE they've not even changed the icons for floppy and home; the defult icons don't fit the scheme well at all.

And if this is supposed to be a unified look then why do the Gnome and KDE themes look totally different? Or am I missing something here?

Choice is the key (4, Insightful)

jbwiv (266761) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265273)

I think the option of having a unified desktop theme is great...as long as it's truly an *option*. If the RedHat distro allows the user to choose whether they would like to install KDE or Gnome the standard way or with the new nullified look and feel, then I only see this as a good thing. Isn't one of the great benefits of Linux the fact that you have a right to choose?

Who exactly (3, Funny)

jmu1 (183541) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265277)

is doing all the bitching. Everything I've read has something good to say about a standard desktop.

Re:Who exactly (1)

gnugnugnu (178215) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265379)

The people who complain on lists are not usually the people who are doing the developement

Real developers are more secure about their work and quietly get on with doing it rather than wasting time flaming people about.

"My favorite color is blue"
"My favorite color is red"

Silly isn't it? No point arguing over something that is entirely subjective.
I think this is a great move by Redhat, so long i can still easily change stuff to the way i like it, choice is good.

"its all good"

Thumbs up to Redhat (1)

gamorck (151734) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265281)

Well I think its finally become official: There is at least ONE linux company out of the many which will prosper. That company of course is Redhat. I think these guys have got the right ideas required to make it to the top. I think they've got the strategies and a clear grasp on the changes nessacary to propel Linux to the next level.

Keep up the good work Redhat - personally I'm very appreciative.


KDE & Gnome desiring MS control? (5, Insightful)

stienman (51024) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265282)

Ok, so here's the analogy - Red Hat is Dell, and they want 'windows' to look different on their systems than what MS will allow.

MS complains (and forces them to comply, which doesn't apply here).

So Red Hat wants a unified look (who cares what they want, it's their distribution), but KDE and Gnome want to dictate how their software looks on someone else's machine? I don't think so! If they don't like it then they got into the wrong business.

I can't wait for someone to say, "But Red Hat isn't giving their customers a choice and linux is about choice...". That comment is ludicrous on multiple levels, given the dozens of other distributions which deliver a plain vanilla KDE/Gnome.

The linux community is a quirky bunch. Saying, "We want choice." was great until they started tacking on "Unless it's our software your changing, in that case you should choose the way we want you to choose." Desiring a distribution to change based on your opinion is no different or appalling than desiring a user to change based on your opinion. You are still assuming that the user is stupid and can't be trusted to choose their own way in the face of a default installation.

I can see the flames now...


Re:KDE & Gnome desiring MS control? (5, Insightful)

dgb2n (85206) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265415)

I concur but only to a point.

If the changes made were only cosmetic and easily overcome through a theme or widget change, then your argument would be complete. Unfortunately, some of the changes go beyond the cosmetic and do force users into a "Redhat flavored KDE" as opposed to the KDE on which the KDE developers have invested so much time and energy.

Still, the GPL allows for just the kind of modifications Red Hat is executing. You can't have it both ways, either your software is open or it isn't. You may not like the changes someone is making but the license you've chosen gives them the right to do it. Ultimately if the changes Red Hat is making are detrimental to KDE, in the sense that they provide a worse environment, it should cause users to move to a different distribution. Ultimately we all vote with our feet and our wallets.

say what now? (1)

bigmaddog (184845) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265293)

"I hope that RedHat successfully forces both Gnome and KDE to become compatible with one another which would result in the creation of a single desktop. This would be the greatest gift to the Linux world."

Yeah, sure. We hate M$ for being too controling and inhibiting choice with their single dominant product, but a single unified Linux product would be a good thing. Some people apparently fail to realize that the incompatibilities that many rant about and that Red Hat would try to smooth out are a direct consequence of variety. Sure, standards are nice, but nobody pays these people to do any of this, or be compatible with any other product - they do what they like, and if you don't like it then you go to a different bunch of people. It's called choice.

The same thing applies to Red Hat themselves. If you don't like the fact that they're limiting variety of desktop environments then you go with a different distro, or set up your own desktop environment, or do whatever the hell you want to. There are lots of choices, after all, which makes this whole thing moot.

This is good (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265294)

We're doing something wrong if a user is choosing between logging into GNOME or KDE because: There is an application available in one and not in the other.

I've seen and heard people say things like, "well I switched to KDE because I liked the applications better". The way things are now, people don't know that it doesn't matter what desktop they run, this Gnome/KDE silliness has given them the idea that they need to run the whole desktop just to get the apps for that desktop.

There is nothing stopping the user (2)

bovinewasteproduct (514128) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265298)

There is NOTHING stopping the user from installing either one of these packages from source. Sure, you loose some of the laziness factor, but..

Sure, if Red Hat said "Installing anything but our software voids your support", you might have a case. But in this case?? No...


Gnome, KDE always have been compatable. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4265299)

Gnome and KDE have *always* been compatable with one another. Not seamlessly integrated, of course, but there has been an appalling amount of disinformation from the start, that KDE and Gnome are somehow mutually exclusive.

Hopefully this won't be necessary soon (5, Interesting)

Telex4 (265980) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265300)

What RedHat have done is really pretty insignificant. They've create a new artwork set that is applied by default to both KDE and GNOME so they look similar by default, and they've modified some codee here and there so they behave in a more similar fashion. In effect, they have made the first step towards making the two major desktop environments more compatable.

Note: they have not taken away any user choices. You can still completely change your KDE/GNOME appearance, perhaps even back to the KDE/GNOME defaults. The only things that might bug users are the changes they've made to the code, but we don't yet know what they are, or how significant they are, so we'll have to wait and see.

I for one would welcome it. I'd change my themes straight away, because I've spent far too much boredom-time making my KDE3 desktop look exactly how I want it. But I also had to spend quite a while getting GNOME and GTK+ apps to look right so they almost blend in with my KDE3 apps and desktop.

The final goal here is of course compatability in themes. I.e. you download and install a KDE theme, and you can then make your GTK apps look identical, either with the same theme, or a mirror package. It's something even RMS has proposed, and something that will make life a lot more pleasant for those aesthetic pedants like myself, without taking away any of the choice we have in desktops and looks. Hopefully RedHat will find a constructive way of using these code modifications to help the KDE & GNOME projects achieve this "integration".

Red Hat Did Good (1)

LordYUK (552359) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265302)

well, if I read the article correctly, all they said was that they made them look/act as closely as possible out of the box... it doesnt sound like they took anything away from either, just set the preconfigured options so that they'd look the same to someone like me, who doesnt currently use linux but might one day want to install it. Its the same with Windows, they set the preconfigs the same, and if you dont like them, you change them. But conformity is nice, out of the box. (in other words, if I watch Bob install red hat, and then I go home and install red hat, its nice to know what its supposed to look like when it boots, rather than getting something thats completely different, albeit perhaps not wrong)

Pictures of their desktop (3, Interesting)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265306)

You can find pictures here [gnomedesktop.org]

I have to say, it does look very nice and I (being in the "lets have one desktop and do it right for the sake of consistency and adoption" camp) will definately be installing it when it is released.

Re:Pictures of their desktop (1)

Kourino (206616) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265390)


That's reasonably pretty for an all-grey theme. <rant>Although they might do good to have the rpm description of Gaim match the SF project page description, especially since it's not really an AIM clone anymore. :) And bare panels are ugly IMO.</rant> But on the whole, not bad. Of course, I'd just go install something like BlueHeart anyway ;) but that's not too shabby for a default look-and-feel.

I don't like it (1)

Norny (9940) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265310)

I can't disagree more with a unified desktop. It might make it easier to for Redhat to manage a distribution or something, but the whole reason Gnome was created was people didn't like KDE. KDE users use KDE cause they don't like Gnome.

I loaded up Null last week, ran Gnome, and was not very impressed with the changes. I think I'll stick with Slackware or Mandrake. They don't change the interface.

Re:I don't like it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4265326)

So what you're saying is that nobody really likes either KDE or Gnome and everyone just goes with the desktop that they hate the least?

Re:I don't like it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4265383)

I'll stick to Suse in a same way of thinking, they respect the work of both desktops environements, .. respect.. you know ?

I'm not certain what the fuss is about... (1)

Hugh Kir (162782) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265319)

From Redhat's standpoint, this move makes sense, because they want to provide their users with a simple, ready-to-use system, and the less decisions a user has to make in order to get that, the better. On the other hand, if you prefer to use Gnome or KDE settings instead of the Redhat ones, there's nothing stopping anyone from changing those settings, or even grabbing Gnome or KDE and installing from scratch (I do that often myself, particularly because I enjoy playing with the unstable branches of things). Given that the other obvious option for Redhat would've been to pick one desktop or the other and run with it, I'd argue that this is not a particularly bad outcome. At least the user still does have a choice, even if both desktops look similar by default.

Greatest gift to the linux world???? (2)

Rahga (13479) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265327)

I started out making this a long and winded post, but instead, deleted it and will just say this:

In my opinion, competing desktops will breed innovation and evolution. We need one unified desktop like I need a hole in the head. A few years ago, if all car makers joined forces to make one type of car, we'd all be driving a Yugo. If there was no Macintosh, we'd all be stuch with Windows 2.0 in the office.

I loathe people who want to treat everything as if it were a zero sum game. :)

A single desktop is trivial atm. (1)

Dark Lord Seth (584963) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265329)

What linux or any other open source program really needs are open sourced drivers so that a standard install procedure will recognize ALL (known) hardware found and with open sourced drivers available for download of non-standard hardware. (And that excludes cheap crap like nvidia pulls which taints the linux kernel.)

Unfortunatly, such an objective is out of the hands of the open source developers/zealots and within the capabilities of multinationals who are too shortsighted to open source their drivers and/or hardware specs. Besides, the desktops currently available still lie overtop a CLI and if you ever want Linux to have success as a Desktop OS, you need to get rid of the CLI first. Make a clear difference between desktop and other distros. Eliminate the damned CLI from the desktop ones, bind the kernel to a GUI instead. Desktop users do not want the GUI as basis, they want the GUI.


Does anybody realy care about two desktops? (2)

Jondor (55589) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265331)

Those who don't care, don't care. Pick a default desktop and make it as good as possible. Newbies use what you give them until they get a reason to disagree.

Those who care, do so for a reason and are not going to appreciate this unification stuff..

Have your cake and eat it too? (5, Insightful)

d3xt3r (527989) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265332)

Everyone from Gnome and KDE who are complaining about Red Hat's excellent decision to unify the desktops for end user experiece really just wants to have their cake and eat it too.

The real reason everyone likes to have multiple desktop environments is for choice. The choice to develop applications with the toolkit of your choice. This is great because, as everyone loves to say around here, "this is what makes Linux great, choice and freedom."

But as with all choices to diverge, rather than unify, someone suffers. Up unitl now that has been the end user -- the person all this software was written for in the first place, or is it? KDE and Gnome are great, but they offer two different window kits, two different looks and feels, and two different user experiences. This is bad for the end user. If I am KDE die hard and want to use a Gnome application, I can, the only problem is that it's going to look and feel like a Gnome app on my KDE desktop. And if I was a Gnome user the above situation would be reversed, you get the idea.

The point here is that Red Hat has done a great service to the KDE and Gnome teams. They have taken two incompatible, entirely different desktops, and unified them for the benefit of the end user.

Let's not forget that Linux is about freedom not only for the developer, but for the end user. Well written applications are designed with the user in mind. If the KDE and Gnome teams want to contribute to the Linux/*nix community in a truly free and open maner, they will see this move for what it is: a change to allow developers to continue to innovate in the way they see fit, using the right tools for the job at hand, all while improving user experience. That's what it's all about. Right?

Taylor presents his case well but issues remain (2)

hillct (230132) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265348)

The arguments are presented in an articulare, well reasoned way. They are reasonably persuasive from a business perspective, both for Redhat and for promoters of Linux Desktop adoption, however I'd expect to see a rebutal from each of the KDE and Gnome projects vary soon; each of which will probably say the same thing, that they agree that their two projects should colaborate more to bring the look and feel into alignment, however it is not Redhat's place to undertake this.

If Redhat is to take this on, then other distributions of Linux will suffer due to their newfound 'inconsistency', and while this may be a reasonable approach for Redhat, it is something to be avoided from the perspective of the Redhat and Gnome projects since their software is provided with virtually all Linux distributions so in order to gain the greatest market penetration they should be acting in support of all distributions. I'm certain these rebutals will be ariving soon and I look forward to reading them.


Me Too :) (1)

Outland Traveller (12138) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265350)

Redhat's unified desktop is a step forward. Since both desktop environments are customizable, users can still make them look and act any way they want. The choice is still there.

Now, the desktop environments will compete more on technical prowness than their default look, which is where the competition should be IMHO.

I hope that this decision helps unifiy the two desktop environmnents down the road.

Choice and Red Hat (5, Insightful)

Kourino (206616) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265353)

11 comments, and most of them are people grumbling about how Red Hat is squeezing choice out of the hands of the user. But really, is this true? What RH has done (from what I hear, I don't chase bleeding-edge distros, usually) is just change the way things look. They've provided a different default appearance. How is this worse from the default appearances provided by the GNOME and KDE teams? (RH's arguments for why it's better are in the article, you should read it :3 )

It's not like Red Hat is releasing modified versions of GNOME and KDE that don't let you customize the appearance; then, only then, would the complaints about choice be founded. The people who really care about the difference between GNOME and KDE probably do so on reasons deeper than 'the default theme looks cool'. (Personally, I don't really like either of the default appearances that much ^^; ) So, when nagora asks "If RH doesn't like this, why don't they drop the one they don't want people to use?" the answer is: they don't care what you use, but they want the defaults to look reasonably similar, because they know that people who really don't *want* their default theme either know how to change it or probably have settings that they'll import anyway.

Remember who Red Hat's intended market share is: the corporate environment. A lot of people I've talked to recently agree that RH's biggest 'ins' are (or should be) for office workstations. Lots of places implement a baseline standard that they want to look the same, but that people can customize if they want to (as long as they don't spend hours tweaking it). This is the mentality that RH seems to target. Yes, this isn't for everyone, but that's the point ... there are plenty [debian.org] of [gentoo.org] good [suse.de] distributions out there, and many [freebsd.org] more [openbeos.org] choices [apple.com] out there if you really really don't like it. But no-one said you have to use Red Hat. (Although I could understand concerns about RH-isms creeping into LSB, but nobody's brought that up.)

Remember, RH == vendor for corporate enviroments. Corporate environments like standard desktops, so this move makes sense in Red Hat's perspective.

This will drive many people insane... (5, Insightful)

kris (824) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265357)

The idea is: What looks the same behaves the same.

Which is not the case with current Gnome and KDE. And probably never will be.

I have different desktop themes and backgrounds at work and at home for a reason. My mind and my fingers automatically switch passwords and procedures, because without conscious effort I recognize the different environment and switch to different trained behaviour. Also, the few Gnome programs I am using look decidedly different than the KDE stuff I am using, and this helps a lot. Looking different, I do not expect the Gnome stuff to operate like the KDE grouping around it, and automatically treat it differently.


Two points missed-- (5, Informative)

Speare (84249) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265358)

There are two points Owen didn't strike home with a sledgehammer, so I'll say them:

First, those users who already know they PREFER the "old look" of KDE or GNOME can configure their new Red Hat Linux 8.0/Null++ to regain that old look. The Red Hat "Bluecurve" work is almost entirely artwork and menu organization, both of which can be re-themed or re-edited by any user who wants to. This change is to remove a bewildering either-or choice that paralyzes many newcomers.

Second, Owen didn't mention that a huge area that BOTH desktops need to strive to improve is accessibility. It's vitally important for Linux to make inroads into the highly regulated Government sector. GNOME2 is laying groundwork for major gains in accessibility, thanks to partnering research by folks at Sun and other places. KDE needs to work hard on being accessible too. Features like Sticky Keys are just a start. Supporting limited-vision users and other areas is a must. Both desktops should do what they can, so that the best approaches can be adopted as standards.

The reason for the bad feelings is... (2)

10Ghz (453478) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265359)

That Red Hat pours alot of money in to GNOME, while they give hardly any support to KDE (in fact, they seem to refer KDE as "Crapland" (according to the Red Hat bug-report where they talked about renaming apps and removing the "About" box)). And now they seem to be turning KDE in to GNOME-clone. It's understandable that KDE-developers and users are less than enthusiastic about it.

FWIW: I'm a KDE-user but I support competition between the desktops. In fact, I'm going to give GNOME2 a shot in the near-future.

Um, the Box has a GUI? (1)

torpor (458) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265362)

So, why are we making these changes? First off, the desktop is one piece of a larger Red Hat Linux product. Other components range from our configuration tools, to the applications we include, to our website, to the
box that Red Hat Linux comes in. We believe that all of these components should look and behave consistently.

Umm... yeah right.

So, where's my little 'x' thingy for clicking when I wanna close that box and put it on the shelf (where it will collect dust for a year).

Do I go through a login prompt to get to the cardboard insert?

Sorry, I thought it was funny.

Unified Linux is bad (Suse, Caldera, ...) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4265366)

But RedHat "I hope that RedHat successfully forces both Gnome and KDE to become compatible with one another which would result in the creation of a single desktop."
Is good.
Please, Why?

This makes it RedHat (2)

ceswiedler (165311) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265369)

They're trying to make an OS called RedHat 8 which happens to be based on the Linux kernel and other free tools. I think it's a great decision on their part. It's very similar to what Apple did with OS X.

No one has a reason to complain; despite anyone's accusations, RedHat is still an open-source operating system. I personally wouldn't have a problem if they stopped giving away the OS for free via FTP. There's certainly no requirement that they do so. They are a company which has a product which they are trying to make money from. If you feel that RedHat is simply making money from other people's work, by packaging together free applications: go get those applications on your own, and make your own distro (or choose a completely free, volunteer distro like Debian). RedHat does an enormous amount of work assembling and testing those applications, and customizing them into a unified OS. They deserve to be paid for that work.

How about this option? (2)

cluge (114877) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265380)

RH should include a default KDE and default Gnome desktop for those that want it (those of us that want it can handle the custimization). Call this an advanced set up feature for those that require it. I'm quite used to many of the KDE feature set personally, and use gnome apps in my desktop. If I cannot easily or reasonably setup a default KDE env, then I will go elsewhere for my distribution. I will also make that recomendation to others.

Consider this RH, I've been using your product since before 4.2, I've been paying for it since 6.2 (I felt you deserved my bucks) If I can't easily install my favorite WM during the install process, you will loose this customer.


PS: Yes, you have managed to cripple some of the neater features of both desktops or at least hide them, and you have also turned out an ugly compromise.

Closing another feature gap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4265385)

This is purely about closing another feautre gap...

Those who want to change their interface will still be able to. Out of the box RedHat will simply be offering a solution that is easier for the common desktop user to get around in.

Get over it!

Good and Bad (2, Insightful)

Epeeist (2682) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265397)

A unified look and feel is fine, as is a common mechanism to change it regardless of the underlying desktop system.

Where I think Red Hat have made mistakes (by incompetence, rather than malignly) is by modifying code rather than commissioning the GNOME and KDE teams to do it on their behalf. What they have generated are Red Hat GNOME and KDE desktops. In doing this they have antagonised developers and made both their own and the vanilla desktops more difficult to support.

They have also made maintenance more difficult, KDE 3.1 is due out shortly. This means that all the changes the RH put in place will have to be repeated. If they had engaged the developers in the first place this would have been much less likely to happen.

While there are mujahadin on both the KDE and GNOME desktops, the developers seem to have a relationship of friendly rivalry. By taking the lead on this RH could have facilitated better interworking between the two systems.

How about we just abandon Gnome instead? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4265398)

The only thing Gnome has going for it is a few good apps that were started before QT went GPL.

KDE beats Gnome in almost every conceivable way.

Unified is not necessarily a good thing... (1)

gothic_wolf (73077) | more than 12 years ago | (#4265399)

I like the diversity that Linux provides. I LIKE the choice. And I hope commercialization doesn't ruin that.

how is this eliminating choice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4265413)

before this unified desktop, there were x options, including GNOME and KDE. now that that RedHat is going to offer a desktop with both GNOME and KDE configured to look and act the same, the are (x+1) options, including GNOME, KDE, and RedHat unified. How could anyone possibly argue that this reduces the choice to the user? If the user doesnt want the unified RedHat desktop, he can select a different distribution, or buy RedHat and change the desktop environment.

Put another way - say I open a fast food store that sells taco-burgers (mmmmmmm, taco-burgers). Would I have reduce the customer choice by offering something that Taco Bell and Burger King both offer individually? Of course not. I would be increasing the number of choices that people had when they went to stuff themselves with mass produced food engineered to appeal to the least common denominator of tastes through the use of fat and chemicals. Sorry, different rant there.
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