Saturday, November 05, 2005

European bitterness

There's lots of European bitterness and sniping over the news that Novell is standardizing on Gnome for their desktop. Here is the Slashdot coverage story and here is the osnews coverage of the story.

This isn't surprising considering Europe's socialistic tendencies and significant hatred for the US, as well as KDE being German and Qt being Norwegian. This also happened when the Novell acquisition of Suse occured, but now that the move to Gnome has officially happened there's even more whining. So the europeans are always good for a laugh, but unfortunately its really too little too late.

There should have been a standard desktop for linux years and years ago. Zealots can scream choice all they want, but that won't change the fact that the LotD(Linux on the Desktop) hype is all but over. Some governments and some businesses will use (I would presume mostly for OpenOffice and Mozilla, rather than any Gnome or KDE "killer" app), but the days of thinking that it'll have some big impact in the consumer market are all but over.

I've always seen big problems for LotD:

No standard desktop. That's probably the biggest problem. It's hard for ISVs to target and open source will never be able to satisfy all software needs. Having Gnome and KDE at roughly equal market shares has really hurt more than helped...IMO.

Not enough effort put into infrastructure early on. IIRC, XFree was ported to Linux at the beginning of '92, but most unix hackers were happy with umpteen xterms. A full fledge effort from '92 onward would have really put windows in a bad light until XP came out - that would have been 8 years.

The zealot factor. It's more than most people think. If you get enough zealots screaming choice than it's likely to have an impact on some developers. Of course you could never take away choice with something like Linux, but that doesn't stop the
brainwashed groupthinkers from spewing out their talking points.

So now we're almost in '06 and LotD still teeters in the 1-2% market share range, and now OSX will be going Intel which should bring down prices, bring more choices, give more CPU power, and also allow people to run windows, linux, and OSX on the same box..and probably at the same time given enough memory and cpu horsewpower.

So Novell is doing the right thing, but they should have done it sooner and let's hope they realize that putting too many resources into the desktop is just a losing proposition because there is no money to be made.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find the "Gnome=American, KDE=European" analogy terribly failed.

There are some quite big gnome deployments in Spain (Europe) thanks to and , gnome-centric distros developed by regional governments.

Also, when it comes to developers, this map shows a different picture:

Zealots are zealots, there is no nationality restriction.

6:48 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

I'll refer you to this

Here's the apropos quote:
I'm also pretty darn angry at the extent to which Novell and a bunch of venture capitalists seem to have hashed things up. Some of us wondered a couple of years ago why SUSE had to be torn out of its happy European roots - where it was easily the king of distros - and transplanted to a dodgy US company with a poor track record. I guess a bunch of cynical bankers is the reason.

Notice, "happy" european roots, and "dodgy" american company. And then he ends it with "cynical bankers" and you know where he's coming from.

No, you can't make absolutes about people's preferred desktops, but there are definite geographic trends there, along with the present transatlantic animosity.

7:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to use KDE, then switched to Gnome because I decided I liked it better (just my preference). No doubt there are countries or areas where each is more common, but I've never thought of DE selection as an issue of national pride. I'm a New Zealander, and consider New Zealand more closely related to Europe than the USA (although the USA is physically closer). People make a lot of associations and comparisions, some are stronger than others.

The Qt/KDE=socialist, GTk/Gnome=???(what? capitalist?) analogy is the stranger of the two though. Qt is created by a company, and wasn't initially GPL. Not that it makes any difference now that it is GPL though.

3:52 PM  

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