Leading the KDE effort is Navindra Umanee, a computer science graduate student at Montreals McGill University. "Our relationship with UserLinux is not yet fully defined, but we are considering several interesting possibilities," Umanee said. "For example, we will be more than happy to let UserLinux do all the server-side work and build on top of thatit makes sense to reuse their work. However, while UserLinux itself is a good idea, it does not have a coherent or well-conceived desktop strategy for the enterprise.
"Bruce says he has chosen GNOME, but where are his desktop plans and where are the developers to implement it? The core GNOME release is a rough product and needs quite a bit of work to be brought up to an enterprise level," he said.
Perens, however, sees the UserLinux desktop choice in a different light: "Our intent is to follow the GNOME desktop strategy, which is enterprise-ready." In any case, he said, UserLinux has "gone beyond the graphical user interface [GUI] decision; were not going to revisit it, and were moving to other issues."
Besides, "we dont want to start a lot of new technology drivers; we want to get a release out there. At that point, we can then look to drive technology," Perens said.
Still, Umanee contended, "Bruce rushed the GUI decision and then claimed that our proposal was written in opposition to his decision. For the record, that is not at all true. We never meant to be combative then, and we will leave the door open for cooperation now. This being said, we already knew that we had garnered so much interest behind the KDE/Debian project that it would work with or without Bruce."
Thats not how Perens sees it though. "Some of the KDE people insisted that their interface be included in UserLinux. Our list was spammed for a long, long time by KDE proponents, and were not going to revisit the issue."
Umanee countered: "I myself initially conceived of the KDE/Debian project, and subsequently I spent the good part of a week rallying support and working on the strategy paper [with the invaluable help of many others]. The original intent was to present the UserLinux crowd with organized information that would assist the decision in selecting a desktop."
Now though, Umanee said, "We are not tying our efforts to UserLinux. We will integrate the results of our work back into Debian and make it available to all Debian users, as well as distributions that build on top of Debian such as Skolelinux, Knoppix, Morphix, Xandros, Lindows and Libranet. We already have people on our team who are building a customized Debian Live CD a la Knoppix to showcase KDE features.
"We have 35 developers [and five small Linux companies] who have openly endorsed the proposal and even more people who are supporting it behind the scenes in important ways," Umanee added. "Our project will not live or die at the whim of Bruce Perens."
Perens said he has no interest in killing their project. "I think they have a good plan and that they want to work with Debian is fine with us," but their project is not the UserLinux project, he said.Discuss This in the eWEEK Forum
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is editor at large for Ziff Davis Enterprise. Prior to becoming a technology journalist, Vaughan-Nichols worked at NASA and the Department of Defense on numerous major technological projects. Since then, he's focused on covering the technology and business issues that make a real difference to the people in the industry.