Novell upset many of its supporters when it revealed last week that it would no longer be fully supporting KDE on its enterprise Linux family. Now, after consideration, Novell has decided it will continue to support both GNOME and KDE on its enterprise Linux lines.
In a note on the Novell PR blog, Novell Inc. quietly announced on Friday that, “All future enterprise-class Linux product releases, including Novell Linux Desktop, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and Novell Open Enterprise Server, will continue to ship with both the GNOME and KDE desktop environments.”
Kevan Barney, senior PR manager, explained in the note that Novell had been listening to a “lot of debate over the last few days in the media and on message boards about what is happening regarding GNOME vs. KDE at Novell.”
So, Novell has decided that while “in upcoming versions of Novell enterprise applications, the default desktop environment will be GNOME.” But, “when customers install Novell Linux products, they will be given the option to choose either the GNOME or KDE environment during the installation process. If the user makes no explicit choice, GNOME will be installed.”
Novell had never completely abandoned KDE as a desktop interface.
Greg Mancusi-Ungaro, Novells director of marketing for Linux and open source, had said that, “The entire KDE graphical interface and product family will continue to be supported and delivered on OpenSuSE.”
OpenSUSE is Novells community Linux distribution. It is the basis for its commercial distributions in the same way that Red Hat Inc. uses Fedora for RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux).
This decision to back only GNOME on the enterprise Linuxes had been hotly debated in Linux desktop circles. It appeared to some that it even contributed to the resignation of SUSE co-founder, Hubert Mantel, from Novell.
When asked if Mantel might be returning now to the Novell flock, Barney replied, “Sorry, but Im afraid I cant comment on that.”
Many veteran SUSE users had spoken out against the decision. Their position was often not simply that KDE was better than GNOME, but historically SUSE had always been the most important KDE distribution.
In the face of this opposition, Novell has elected to return to fully supporting both popular Linux desktops.