Red Hat to Simplify Desktop Environs

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.