Red Hat to Simplify Desktop Environs

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2002-09-16 Print this article Print

Red Hat explains rationale behind KDE/GNOME configurations.

Red Hat, the open-source and Linux technology provider, has moved to explain its decision to configure the KDE and GNOME desktop environments to look and behave in similar fashion in the upcoming release of Red Hat Linux. The issue of compatibility between KDE (K Desktop Environment) and GNOME (GNU Network Object Model Environment) has long been a contentious one in the open-source community, with those supporting the move saying it would hasten the creation of a single Linux desktop. But some opponents say the move would detract from the very nature of open source and could ultimately restrict development, functionality and user choice.
The Slashdot news site on Monday linked to an article by Red Hat desktop team member Owen Taylor, of Raleigh, N.C., in which he explains the rationale for the move.
Taylor summarizes Red Hats reasons by saying "we see the desktop as only a piece of the entire operating system product; integration must extend beyond the desktop. We also believe that users care most about functionality and integration rather than the underlying technology. "For these reasons, we have created a single desktop look and feel for Red Hat Linux rather than maintaining two unrelated configurations," he is quoted as saying. A Red Hat spokesman on Monday confirmed the authenticity of the Taylor article. Jamin Gray, a developer involved with the Gnome Project, agrees with Taylor and points out that Red Hat is not trying to force KDE and GNOME to work together or become more compatible but is rather trying to make its desktop distribution more unified and pleasing to the average user by removing some of the unnecessary distinctions between the two desktops. He told eWEEK on Monday that he understood Red Hats motivations and thought the changes they were making were good for the acceptance of Linux on the desktop, as it would lessen confusion for many users.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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