Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 27th Aug 2006 09:25 UTC
Linux "When OSDL announced the first release of its Portland initiative at LinuxWorld Boston in April, heralding it 'a breakthrough in desktop Linux', I muttered my skepticism to a co-worker. He expressed surprise at my reaction, noting that the initiative employs extremely smart people. I don't doubt their intelligence, or their sincerity, but I wouldn't bet a penny on the project living up to its initial claim, because you can't conjure a silver bullet out of intelligence and sincerity." KDE developer Kevin Krammer replies: "There is an article over at which predicts that the Portland initiative will fail to reach its goal of 'unifying the Linux desktop'. Unfortunately the author somehow missed that 'unifying the Linux desktop' is not the goal of Portland."
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Desktops are just like cars
by Torsten Rahn on Sun 27th Aug 2006 11:53 UTC
Torsten Rahn
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To me the whole situation can be compared to cars: Both projects - KDE as well as Gnome - are like companies whose business it is to create automobiles. Both projects have different ideas about how to create the perfect car. Both projects have "customers" who prefer one brand over the other for natural good reasons and of course there are some people who might simply not care which kind of car they are running as long as they can travel with it from point A to point B. Others spend more time driving and have a strong preference for one brand over the other due to the philosophy as it becomes part of their living environment
There is no problem with having the different car brands KDE, Gnome, XFCE and who knows as long as there will exist some standards:
- people don't like it if they have to use some cars completely differently from others: Hence there have to be some usability standards about how to drive them to prevent accidents.
- it would be stupid if people would have to visit different gas stations just to refuel their cars. So there have to be standards that tell how putting oil into that thing.
- There should be standards that tell people how spare parts should look like and standards for stuff like putting radios into their car.

Portland is exactly about such standards. Portland won't make all different car models end up in one single model one day, but it will make those different car brands behave well with each other.

Now you might ask what interests do have people in the open source world have to not produce just one single car model? For real car manufacturers the most important incentive is money. For open source projects that "money" is developer resources. To make sure that enough people prefer their technical framework over the other you've got to make sure that from the user's point of view differences in terms of innovation and look and feel are becoming a part of the brand behind. Because only the look and feel and maybe innovative stuff might be reason enough to prefer your car over the one of the competition.

I predict that the amount of different car models in the open source world will even increase with time. And that's a good thing as long as it doesn't cause accidents and as long as ISV's will be able to provide spare parts that will fit well into any car. And this IMHO is what Portland is about.

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