Re: Questions

On Mon, Nov 26, 2001 at 04:49:02PM -0500, Daniel Veillard was heard to remark:
>   The GNOME Project is part
> of the GNU project, sure, but I'm sorry I don't see any strong dependancy
> to the GNU project, 

I think a bit of history is in order.  In the begining was the Kool
Desktop Environment, aka KDE.   But KDE was built on the not-quite-free
Qt library.  For many developers, the 'non-purists', let us call them, 
this situation was good enough.  (I admit, I felt rather agnostic at the
time, myself).  Qt was free for personal use, and if corporations had to 
pay big bucks to get Qt, well who cares. Its was free for personal,
non-commercial use.

But this was not good enough for some people.  They beleived in true
Freedom.  They wanted a desktop that was free for corporations as well
as for individuals.  They beleived in the principles of GNU and the 
incarnation of FSF as the One True Way, and they beleived in this 
*so* strongly that they started a development project that was Pure,
untainted by the Qt License.   Now, unless you were a True Beleiver,
this seemd to be a collosal waste of time: after all, KDE was well
established, and already had a year or two of development effort
under its belt.  It had a lead.  It was a rising star.  Who would
be stupid enough to array themselves against KDE over something
so trivial and unimportant as a licensing issue?  Well, the Gnome
people would.  Thus, Gnome was born.

OK, maybe FSF didn't pay the salaries of the Gnome programmers. 
Maybe the Gnome programmers never graduated from FSF College, or
had received training in the liturgical indoctrination camps that 
FSF runs in Afghanistan.   But the split between Gnome and KDE was 
over a doctrinal issue, over licensing terms.   Which, if you think
about it, says a lot about the kind of political ties one might expect
between Gnome and FSF, and explains the nature of the kind of people
(initially) drawn to Gnome.   And it also explains why it might 
seem appropriate to give the FSF undue recognition for the effort.

What I find humorous about this whole thing is that the GPL is
friendlier to corporate interests than the original commercial 
Qt license. :-)


p.s. I read the rest of your note more carefully.

>   My view may differs from you, but I think I'm well aware of the who's
> who of the project, and able to distinguish people arguing on the list
> from those doing the work. As wou know, nothing is as frustrating as
> being deprived from the reward associated from a job well done, so
> please be a bit more respectful and avoid sentences like
>    "The GNU project has produced GNOME"
> in the future. The term "helped" would be accurate, "produced" is simply
> unfair.

Well, this is a hot potato and I don't like handling those.  But the 
issue is not about programmer credit or who did the work.  There are
many ways to get credit and recognition.   The issue is about giving 
recognition to the guiding principle that distinguished Gnome from KDE. 
The statement  "The GNU project has produced GNOME"  does not (need to)
imply that a tiny band of salaried employees of FSF have created Gnome.
The world must know, or must be told that it was a much broader effort.
But if we allow the Gnu Project to take credit for this work, then we
implicitly affirm that the values and the beleifs of Gnu & the GPL
are important.  And this, after all, dives to the heart of the history
of Gnome.

pub  1024D/01045933 2001-02-01 Linas Vepstas (Labas!) <linas linas org>
PGP Key fingerprint = 8305 2521 6000 0B5E 8984  3F54 64A9 9A82 0104 5933

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