You would have thought someone had just run over a KDE users dog last week.
No sooner had the story started to break that Novell was making GNOME the official interface for its business Linuxes—SLES (SUSE Linux Enterprise Server) and NLD (Novell Linux Desktop) —than the screaming began.
Thanks to an opinion piece in LinuxToday, which implied that Novell was killing off its desktop line, people were already in a tizzy. Even after I pointed out that Novell wasnt axing its desktops, it was just committing to GNOME, the howls continued.
These included the ever popular, "Why not continue to support both!"
OK, heres why. If all you have in your wallet is a fiver and you want to buy a fast meal and your only choices are Wendys and McDonalds, why dont you buy your meal from both?
Well, duh, because you can only afford to buy it from one of them.
Welcome to Novells situation.
Novell is in trouble with its stockholders for not making efficient use of its resources. Things have fallen apart to the point that the company, even though its cash rich, finally did lay off employees and change top management.
There was simply no way in a Harvard Business School world that Novell was going to get away with fully supporting two different interfaces that do essentially the same thing.
OK, so "Why GNOME? Why?"
Well, that ones pretty easy to answer. Novell bought Ximian, GNOMEs parent company, back in 2003. And, while there are a lot of KDE supporters within SUSE, KDE has never been the heart and soul of SUSE the way GNOME was for Ximian.
So, when push finally came to shove, GNOMEs supporters were in a better position than KDEs within Novell to make the final call.
"Is this the end of KDE!?"
Where do these questions come from! Of course, not!
Its not even the end of KDE at Novell. The community-supported SUSE Desktop is going to continue to support both. KDEs libraries, at the least, will still be in SLES and NLD.
What is true, however, is that GNOME is becoming the choice of desktop interfaces for the big name Linux/Unix companies: Novell, Red Hat, and Sun.