Conquering the Enterprise Desktop

As part of an exciting new initiative by a group of KDE and Debian developers, a strategy has been formulated to conquer the enterprise desktop. The proposal covers integration and development of standard KDE features as well as developing Debian-specific integration such as an installer and system tools. We have a lot of Debian expertise on board, so focussing on a single Debian target instead of a wide variety of platforms makes a lot of sense here. We hope that similar groups with relevant expertise will form around other efforts such as Fedora and Cooker, where others like SUSE and Ark Linux are already doing an excellent job themselves. Want something controversial to discuss? Check out our proposal for integrating GTK+ into KDE.

This announcement is not as UserLinux specific as much as it is Debian-focussed. We welcome collaboration with, endorsement and sponsorship by other entitites. Just drop a mail to express your interest.

And last but not least, a big thank you to all the developers who are already and have been contributing code, effort and wisdom to this.


by Derek Kite (not verified)

I don't care. I'm amused.

Frankly, the only advantage I see, other than the server stuff, is it's free. As a desktop it is a hack. Three widget libraries. KDE gets badmouthed as bloated, but have you ran OO?

The linux server applications are solid, stable, reliable. There is an extremely rich field to chose from. Because of that, it is gaining market share. The desktops are nowhere near that.

The vertical apps that I imagine this group is trying to attract are usually available in Windows. They use the rich features that the MS software stack contains, ie. using MSWord for text, Access for DB, etc. As much as I dislike MS, they have a compelling platform. So how does the desktop offerings here match that?

As I said, it is far too early to try to settle on a desktop that rules us all.


kio-slaves in kde make it VERY convenient to work with web based apps. I have done devel for a lot of systems and so far kde has been the most pleasurable system to develop with and for. It is so nice when you can upload files between servers by just taking any url that kde recognizes and sticking it in the file upload form control of a web site. Or that every app on the system can work with webdavs and sftp transparently.

My company does zope based web apps and all of the stuff we do is under the GPL I have no problems with Qt being GPL and it does not bother my company at all. We have also installed computers running kde for customers as a secure way to access certain parts of their sites and so far they have all liked it a lot.

Overall for any GUI app I would use KDE as my primary gui platform, zope as my app server and python as the language to bind it all together. These solutions can easily compete with microsoft offerings since we have beaten microsoft offerings more then a few times. The solutions work faster, more reliably, more securely and they are easier to adapat to changing needs.

William Heymann

by Jonathan Bryce (not verified)

I've no particular problem with choosing Gnome as the desktop, even if KDE is much better.

What I don't understand is why anything writen with QT should be banned from the distro regardless of its merit.

There are plenty of KDE distros around, but they realise that the Gimp is much better than anything KDE can offer at the moment, so they include that. Gnome's instant messaging clients have traditionally been much better, so they include them - Kopete is catching up quite nicely though. is much better than KOffice if you want something you can actually use as an MS Office replacement now. KOffice needs a lot more work, but it is built on better foundations.

Likewise, Quanta Plus is much better than anything Gnome can offer, so is K3B, so is Kolab/Kontact, so, no doubt are many other things that I take for granted on KDE.

by a disturbed kde fan (not verified)

Come on. Enough is enough.

I think people have blown this whole conflict way out of proportion. Even though I am a huge KDE fan and use it whenever I can, I cannot help but see that the behavior of a number of kde fans both here and on the UserLinux mailing list has been downright disgusting. I hope that it is over now, but if not, it's high time it stops.

Just because someone expresses a different opinion than yours doesn't mean he deserves your scorn. Just because someone leads a project in a direction you think is foolhardy doesn't mean that he should be subjected to ridicule. And just because someone expresses a few poor (or poorly worded) arguments about a controversial subject doesn't mean you should lose all respect for him and treat him like a vile enemy.

These conspiracy theories and allusions to mental deficiency are unjust and border on cruelty. The mockery and attacks on his moral character are just plain wrong. Even if Bruce Perens is absolutely and completely wrong about this, he would still deserve more respect than that.

It is a remarkable phenomenon, but it seems ever to be true, that the one thing that any otherwise intelligent and reasonable person can do that will always invariably drive everyone around him into a bloodthirsty rage is to simply refuse to argue about an issue that others find important. It has happened again and again in nearly every messageboard or mailing list I've ever been a part of. This is what Bruce has done here. But there are times when it is a very good thing to refuse to argue about an issue. Sometimes there's really nothing to argue about. Sometimes arguing about something just takes up too much time. Othertimes you just have to not argue in order to keep your sanity. IRL if you are in a crowded room where everyone is shouting and raving at each other and at you, you don't try to argue. You either leave the room, or do something to calm down or get rid of the people who are causing all the raucus. But if you stand there and keep saying "I refuse to argue" you are likely to get lynched. That's the way of the world.

In my opinion, Bruce probably should have simply stopped discussing the issue. Then those who thought he was wrong could have peacefully left and progressed to their own projects and plans. But each time he came back and gave the smallest hint of an argument without fully explaining his reasoning, and basically saying "I'm not going to argue with you seriously," he caused others to become even more enraged at his failure to engage them directly. The fault lies in both sides. Bruce should either have seriously taken up the argument or never posted anything on the issue again. Eventually things would have died down if he did the later, and maybe he and others would have reached some kind of accord had he done the former (although at the expense of a great deal of time). But then, the goading and attacking done by those responding didn't help to encourage that kind of response, nor did the development of irrational prejudice and hatred toward him.

Anyway, there's been a sort of chain reaction here that has lead everyone to expend far too much energy and reason on this than it was ever really worth. In the end this will be a very small blip in history, barely worth mentioning.

by Navindra Umanee (not verified)

> In the end this will be a very small blip in history, barely worth mentioning.

Except that several good things came out of it for KDE including tighter integration and polish with the Debian base OS, better suitability for the enterprise in general, and maybe more. :P

Focus on the positive. We're already moving ahead with our *constructive* proposal. :-)

by Derek Kite (not verified)

Hmmm. Is this like Andrew Morton posting a wrong patch on LKML to generate discussion?

The mind boggles.


by Kurt Pfeifle (not verified)

> And just because someone expresses a few poor (or poorly worded) arguments
> about a controversial subject doesn't mean you should lose all respect for
> him and treat him like a vile enemy.

I've reread the discussion as it happened in the archives.

--> First the UserLinux leader said that he wanted cooperation from "the community".

--> He also said that the project will be guided by "meritocracy" (meaning if you do work and give code you will have more of a say).

--> Then he opens the discussion. But he does hardly participate in the debate.

--> After a few days he comes back and declares his decision to *exclude* KDE and Qt and not support it. And he says he has taken the decision "by fiat".

--> He compares himself to Linus. (AFAIK Linus does participate in all debates where he later may "take the decision" on his own. And Linus *explains* his decisions....)

The debate might have been passionate at times -- but KDE/Qt supporters *never* argued for being the *exclusive* desktop default system. They always wanted to include GNOME apps, and suggested steps to achieve that even better. The debate was lead with real *facts*, *figures* and *arguments* (with Bruce P. hardly participating), and hardly any "flame".

Please note, that even all of people favouring GNOME as the default were also wanting to include and integrate KDE apps (where GNOME is lacking a good enough alternative, such as K3B, Quanta and KDEPrint).

Bruce "final" decision was that KDE and Qt is in effect excluded from UserLinux official support, something which _no-one_ _had_ _even_ _argued_ previously! And he does it on the grounds that he wants to provide a development platform for Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) which is "free of compensation" (meaning you don't require to give back anything -- neither code [GPL] nor money [commercial Qt license] -- for their use of Free Software devolopment libraries.

Why do you then wonder about the fact that people are now speculating who the anonymous investors are? Asking themselves who is part of the "industry consortium" who *may* put "1 million $US per year" into UserLinux (as Bruce P. indicates in his White Paper)? Asking if it is them may be controlling a hidden agenda behind the UL effort to utilize "the community", or at least a willing part of it?

I reserve the right to make up my mind about personalities from their current behaviour, not their past merits...

> In the end this will be a very small blip in history, barely worth
> mentioning.

Indeed. I also believe, that practical work towards the end of a viable Linux Desktop for the Enterprise is much more determining the fate of any project that declares to tackle that gigantic task. In the end this is even more important than even multiple million dollars a year.

People will be surprised about KDE's "ability to deliver". There is a lot in the pipeline. We will make rethink any sane opponent about his stance by the code (and documentation, usability and polish) we will produce.

hummmmm. 1 Million a year? I wonder how much the troll would go for?

by Erik Kjær Pedersen (not verified)

Perens is mentioning a bunch of kde-oriented distributions saying they have shown interest in participating in his project. That is not likely to happen.
I run redhat 9, using nothing of their version kde-version except kdm. I compile kde myself, and I am quite happy with what I end up getting. It is certainly much better than what redhat delivers as KDE. My wish for a desktop would be kde with a few extra programs better integrated, notably Gimp, Mozilla even though I use konqueror, on a rare occasion it is nice to have mozilla, open office. Earlier I would have said gaim as well, but now kopete does the job completely, and my son who used to prefer gaim now exclusively yses kopete, and he is certainly an expert on such matters.

I think the ideal would be to take knoppix and develop it into a full fledged distribution


by Otto Kekäläinen (not verified)

I've been participating in many projects during the last few year. As I also teach Linux to newbies, I can say with experience that the recepie for a successful desktop linux is:

- desktop kernel with low-latency and supermount etc
- software: Debian with KDE + easy admin tools
- security: no default network services, not even ping is answered by default
- distribution on a live-cd so that the user can test hardware (and software) compatability before he installs
- the installation tool should offer an option to automagically shrink an exsisting win-partition and make correct partitions for linux

Did you people test out BeOS a few years ago? It was by far the best desktop OS ever, but it just lacked software. It was easy to install (running a program in windows with automagic partitioning), it booted from zero to desktop in 5-10 seconds and if was superfast..

by Pedro Jurado Maqueda (not verified)

Two months ago I made a CD-Live with KDE 3.2 Alfa1 (sorry in Spanish)

Maybe, with enough time, I can do the effort to made other with KDE 3.2 Beta 2.

My intention is to release a CD-Live with KDE 3.2 final as soon as posible (when it's done) to demonstrate the KDE power ;-), and of course with an English version.

by Otto Kekäläinen (not verified)

Based on what project? Has your work gone upstreams, eg did the "community" benefit of the improvments you did?

I see a lot of people doing their own Live-CD's, and everybody has the same goals (making a demo-CD with easy install), but very little is done to unite everybodys efforts..

maybe we should all start contributing to which gives the framework for things like this.

by Pedro Jurado Maqueda (not verified)

The project is metadistros (, is a Spanish project with not English translation yet :-(.

This is how I made, you install a Debian distro, whatever, with your favorite software (KDE 3.2 in my case ;-), then compress the partition where you install the distro like an iso, put it in a directory together a special package named "calzador", recompile both in other iso and it's done, ready to burn.

Easier than Knoppix, and you start from a clean Debian install.

by Joeri Sebrechts (not verified)

First Qt was free, and they complained it wasn't Free.
Then it came covered by the QPL, making it Free, and yet they complained it wasn't Free enough.
Now it comes covered by the GPL, the core license of the _Free_ Software Foundation, and yet, still, they complain it's not Free enough.

When will people stop bashing Qt over its license?

by David (not verified)

This UserLinux project is dead in the water. It is obviously backed by some strong Gnome and anti-KDE people. No Qt by default, but no MySQL?! That's a complete non-starter. Yer, right... They are talking about creating a whole free/open software stack for groupware, desktop, development etc. That has taken years for commercial software to achieve! And then he wants proprietary software to be developed on top that does not exist today? This will never be sutainable, and it will cost a lot more than the million dollars he is touting.

Dream on Bruce. No one will ever use this, and it will never be ready. Some people are very scared of KDE if they mention KDE using distributions.