Apparently, my article a few days ago caused a bigger stir than I had anticipated, not at all unrelated to the fact that my wordings may not have been optimal. So, let me clarify things a bit.Apart from the responses from the tiring anti-Microsoft camp (I wrote a fairly positive review of Vista hence I have no credibility? The logic fails to dawn on me) many replies contained specific arguments that I wish to address. First, however, I think I have some explaining to do, especially concerning my position towards KDE 4.
When I started out wording my concerns about the future of KDE and GNOME, I was frantically trying to avoid the usual trap every author falls into when writing about these two desktop environments: favouritism, consciously or unconsciously, that is irrelevant. I favour neither KDE nor GNOME; I generally tend to switch between the two every few months, mostly depending on which of the two projects had their latest release. I am currently about to enter a period of KDE usage, in case you want to know.
Anyway, in my attempts to avoid this trap, I inadvertently made it seem as if both projects are equally in trouble when it comes to the future. This is not true. So, I will now make it crystal clear, disregarding the trap of favouritism, that GNOME is in far bigger trouble than KDE. In the original article, this only really got to shine through through the release estimates I made; KDE 4 2008, GNOME 3 2009. GNOME is in bigger trouble because when it comes to major revisions and overhauls, GNOME has no set plan, no goals, nothing. Like I said, all they have are random ideas about Topaz; there is no coherency like the KDE team has with all their various ‘sub-projects’ that together form KDE 4. Even though the various websites behind these project are not exactly crystal clear, the developers working on these projects do seem to have a clear picture of what they want to achieve, as Aaron Seigo said on his blog.
This brings me to something specific in Aaron Seigo’s response: “In other words, Thom is full of crap when he says 4.0 is stalled.” Totally agreed. Were I to have actually said that, yes, I would have been full of crap. I said: “KDE developers are indeed planning big things for KDE4– but that is what they are stuck at.” And this is where the confusion – my sincere apologies – stems from, as I now see this sequence of words do not at all reflect my thoughts correctly. My thoughts are that currently there is a huge discrepancy between the ambitious goals put forward by the various core technologies’ websites, and the actual real-life development builds of KDE, and that I do not see them bridge that gap in roughly six months. That is all. Certainly not ‘libel’, as mr Seigo put it, but I can understand that my words were less then optimal, and again, I wish to apologise for that (not to lay off the blame, but English is not my native tongue and hence things like this inadvertently happen).
This is all I want to say in reply to mr Seigo’s blog, as most of the things he said were all based on my bad choice of words.
Another often heard complaint about the article was that I supposedly only cared about version numbers, and that open source software does not use version numbers for marketing purposes. This is an irrelevant complaint, as I only used the ‘GNOME 3’ and ‘KDE 4’ designations by lack of better names for both project’s next generation versions (I could have called GNOME 3 ‘Topaz’, but not everybody actually knows what Topaz refers to). I might have well called them Humpty and Dumpty. Other than that, KDE and GNOME developers themselves are never shy of referring to GNOME 3 and KDE 4 in a positive context, so I do not really understand why I cannot do so in a negative context.
One other subject I would like to clarify is that some people concluded from my article that I think KDE and GNOME suck. This is utter nonsense. For instance, when it comes to consistency, GNOME currently is king (ever since Apple went bonkers); KDE reigns supreme when it comes to control over my interface, something I value a great deal. KDE 3.x and GNOME 2.x are on par with, and probably even better than, Windows XP’s Explorer. However, when comparing them to Vista’s interface, they have some serious catching up to do – which is an opinion with which you can disagree. But please, people, for the love of god (lower-case ‘g’), use something extensively before passing judgment upon it.
The final thing I want to touch on is that some people accused me of having a hidden agenda. This is something that actually aggravates me. Anyone with a sane mind who takes a quick browse through OSNews knows that we are anything but biased. We report on everything, pro or anti whatever. So, if you honestly think I have a hidden agenda, sponsored by Microsoft, this is a good starting page.
I hope this clarified things up a bit. And to prove I care little for ad revenue (OSNews is a voluntary effort, us editors get zero squat from the “revenue” (too big a word) OSNews makes), this follow-up is posted in the weekend (right before Christmas), when traffic is substantially lower (we normally do not publish originals during the weekends for this very reason, we want authors to have the maximum possible audience).
Have a nice Christmas (or whatever it is you celebrate).