Re: GNOME in the press (Martin Baulig) writes:

> > From: Dirk Luetjens <>
> >
> > I sent a small email to the note to the newspaper and the responsible
> > author about the mico implementation in GNOME and ask about articles
> > concearning GNOME. The answers only stated that such an article is planed
> > for this summer.
> Some weeks ago, I asked the German magazine ct whether they could report
> about the license problems with Qt and about the GNOME project - but they
> did not yet reply - seems they are not interested.
Germans are very practical people and are primarily interested in
things that already do work and come along nicely.  To my humble
understanding there is not much interest in ethics when it's up to
market issues.

> > I'm not sure, but in Germany I think people drive crazy when the hear KDE.
> > Ok, the main development group are germans, but it is mentioned here,
> > mentioned there, even whene it has nothing to do with it. I don't know
> I think, here in Germany, many people use SuSE Linux - and SuSE comes with
> KDE. When they use Linux, they use KDE.
Yes, KDE has a remarkable success here.  There is even a national
newsgroup entirely dedicated to it and there is quite some support
from various distribution manufacturers and even computer resellers
like Vobis (they donated the Alpha box which serves as
> So it'll really be time to make some publicity especially here in Germany.
> It's time to tell the people that Qt/KDE is bad and *why* it is. 
For lots of people - maybe even most - the ethical issue connected
with Qt/KDE is far less a concern than one might hope.  For the KDE
enduser and the KDE programmer alike Qt seems to be sufficiently free
and they prefer superior (regarding useability) software to free
software.  It's very bad publicity-wise to blame others for their
ethical faults and shortcomings instead of simply doing better on the
side of technical merits.  GNU software has not been becoming popular
because it is free in the ethical sense, but because in the long run
it has proven to be superior to commercial solutions especially in the
U*ix field.  Who can imagine running any U*ix system without GNU

That's the only point which could make an impact: gtk+ and Gnome have
to be clearly better than their Qt/KDE counterpart.  Anything else is
merely advocacy in a silly holy war ridiculing free software ideas in
front of those who only want to see solutions instead of promises.

> At the
> moment, GNOME is not yet very useful for end users, but GNOME makes great
> steps in development - and it's time to tell the public about that.
As it currently stands Qt-based apps are definitely the better choice
for the end user since Qt offers far superior features regarding
useage than gtk+ currently does.  These points are the very well done
emulation of Windows95 and Motif widgets.  I really do like the Qt
Motif style which is IMHO very much better than what gtk+ currently
has to offer.  Another point is that one can extensively use the
keyboard instead of the mouse for traversing and using Qt apps, which
very unfortunately is practically still largely impossible with any
gtk+ app including the famous gimp.  While it's nice to change
keyboard shortcuts within gtk+ apps on the fly this still has
definitely to be worked upon.

Another thing gtk+ as well as Qt both don't offer is the support for
tear-off menues instead of the IMHO absolutely senseless tear-off menu
bars.  The latter is pretty much pointless since it still requires the
mouse user to make at least one additional mouse click to open any
menu.  Lots of Motif apps allow tear-off menues which allow to
directly access a menu's contents.  Just fire up a recent "nedit" to
see what i mean.  In comparison to tear-off menues those fancy
tear-off menu bars are really ridiculous and it seems to me that this
has been just copied from the Qt/Windows95 look&feel without thinking
about it first.  In any case this is a point where gtk+ could clearly
make a better choice than Qt.  Let's just hope that Arnt isn't reading
along. ;-)
> But I don't know if German magazines are interested to do this. When they
> report about Linux, they want to reach people coming from DOS/Windows and
> they want to give them a running system which they can use. Whenever you
> look into a german magazine which reports about Linux, it only reports
> about software that is fully functional.
Yes, because that's the only software which can be sold.  Ordinary
computer users BTW don't buy "software" but "solutions" for their
machines.  That's what it's all about and as it stands, KDE is
definitely still the only most promising solution available for Linux
et al.  Gnome still has a long way to go, although i see that the
roads already traveled by are many (i'm currently compiling the CVS
stuff as of today and it's really impressive to see how fast you guys
are going along! ;)

> These magazines should really start telling more about the spirit of
> GNU/Linux - about the GNU license - and that there are a lot of people
> working hard on making Linux what it is like. People should know that what
> they see is the result of a long and hard work - and that there are still
> people working on it ...
Believe me, most *users* really don't care, they only want something
working right *now* and rather pay for it than wait for an undefinable
time until a free solution comes along.  That's plain reality and i
know what i'm speaking about: While at our institute it is very
accepted that i maintain two Linux boxes with all software needed to
do everything we need to do (LaTeX for non-european/african languages,
various editors for doing HTML stuff, apache web server for our home
page, etc.) the majority nonetheless favour any MS-Windows solution
(even if it is less powerful) because the Linux stuff is not ready yet
for the average user - even with the most advanced KDE installed
(although this has been quite a success here).

The only people who do understand and support the idea of free
software are we ourselves and the only way to make others recognize
this as well is to present ready made solutions.  So it would be
better to save any effort in publicity for later when there is
something which really *does* kick a**.  The time will definitely
come.  Just don't stop doing what you are doing at the moment.

                            Thank you, P. *8^)
   --------- Paul Seelig <> -----------
   African Music Archive - Institute for Ethnology and Africa Studies
   Johannes Gutenberg-University   -  Forum 6  -  55099 Mainz/Germany
   --------------- -----------------

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