2009-06-26

KDE vs GNOME arguments...

Computer Geeks get as attached to their brands of desktops as Car Geeks to their brands of cars. Reason goes out the window and people start hooting and hopping up and down like a scene from 2001. The arguments go on and on and on like a bad Air Supply cover band. At some point one side (say X) gets bigger than the other (say Y) and you end up with arguments of "Y is being discriminated against because it wasn't chosen." And then you get the arguments showing that Y is really a hidden majority put down in some sort of class warfare system.

It doesn't really matter if we are talking about (GNOME vs KDE) or (AfterStep vs E) or my first one.. tvtwm versus mwm. It seems to get the same arguments that the truck guys will go over engine builders or my uncles' favourite "Chevy versus Ford". Family dinners would go into the time out corners when one person or another went over some flaw or problem the other side in some model. I have seen other families get into fist fights over it.

A funny side story.. Ford versus Chevy debates were some of the biggest headaches of companies in the 50s onward. Arguments over whether one brand or another was the 'company car' would escalate to large shouting matches or threatened lawsuits. Some places would just buy enough of each brand to make sure they didn't end up with someone complaining. One uncle used to tell a story about how a Union strike fell apart because the company chose GM during the strike. The Ford people thought it was a deal to get them thrown out and the union was so much in turmoil they couldn't get anything done.

In the end, to most people, it is just a car. It gets you from one place to another.. and when it becomes anything more than that there is something you need to sit down and think "Why do I have to make this car my identity?" I say this as a guy who used to go on Emacs crusades. Why didn't Red Hat have emacs as a login shell? Why wasn't emacs the default editor when people opened up any document... etc etc.

I am not saying the KDE people should 'get over it' that GNOME is the preferred desktop or gets top billing. I am saying that they need to frame their arguments better about what they want and how they will accomplish it. Quit being passive aggressive. Quit taking any criticism of the proposal as an attack because it just makes people who might have been trying to help all the more to leave.
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