KDE/GNOME To Cooperate On Interface Guidelines

As recently announced, an effort has been started for closer cooperation between the KDE and GNOME usability teams. The effort was announced in a message sent to the
[email protected]
mailinglist that was created for this purpose.

Original announcement by Aaron J. Seigo:

Seth Nickell (GNOME Usability Project), Havoc Pennington (Free Desktop, GNOME), and JP Schnapper-Casteras (Free Desktop Accessibility Working Group) and myself have been discussing the possibility of co-locating the KDE and GNOME Human Interface Guides (HIGs).

The plan as discussed thus far is to have the two documents co-inhabit one XML
document. Within this document, each HIG will have its own sections as
appropriate and will remain available for separate viewing. The goal is to
have one URL (on www.FreeDesktop.org) and one document for developers to go
to for KDE and GNOME Human Interface Guidelines. We hope this site can
eventually house guidelines for multiple desktops and graphical toolkits.

The easier we can make it for developers to discover and follow such
guidelines the better it will be for Open Source desktops in general. Since
KDE apps are often run on GNOME and vice versa, developers should be able to
easily reference the guidelines for all the desktops they expect their app to
be run on.

Having a shared document will also allow us to start looking at commonalities
between the documents and perhaps create common chapters or sections on basic
guidelines and lessons that are desktop and toolkit-independent (e.g.,
accessibility and internationalization tips, general usability principles).

It will take some work to merge the documents, create a web site, and raise
awareness about the site for developers and people working on other non-KDE
non-GNOME HIGs. If you wish to join us in these efforts, please subscribe to
the [email protected] email list via the web interface at:


Best wishes to everyone!

Dot Categories: 


by Iuri Fiedoruk (not verified)

... we start to see collaboration before releasing something, not not vice-versa as happens today.
A common menu hierachy should have be made sinse kde and gnome 1.0, but here we are...

by Debian User (not verified)

Why didn't YOU do it?

Yours, Kay

by Iuri Fiedoruk (not verified)

Studing to enter computer science, working 8 hours a day... no C/C++/QT knowledge (only php/gtk-php).
Unhapply don't have the time and knowledge.... yet.

by A.nonymous (not verified)

So, others should spend their time coding so you don? have to, but you get to decide what is more urgently needed?

Dude, this is not a democracy, you know.

by Iuri Fiedoruk (not verified)

Hey hey hey, calm down! I wans't demanding.
You know:
I hope != I WANT

I just think it's a good idea to chat a bit with other people to enter a consence about how things could be, but no one is forced to do it, even micro$oft that is highly critized for not using standarts is forced to do.

by Bharat (not verified)

To the guy who is asking the other to code..

I notice u ppl have a tendency to tell other ppl to code the minute they have a suggestion or a wish. This is crap.

firstly not everyone is a programmer, or has the time. They try to contibute by asking for certain features. And If those features are good then when implemented kde could be better of.

Yes i know that programmers feel irritated when some non programmer comes and makes rude demands or trolls but this was no troll as far as i could see, he was making a wish. To grouse him for that is the worst injustice u could do, unless u plan to keep kde away from the end user and only with us programmers. and plus this is being used as an excuse for not doing something.

Buddy what i am trying to tell u is END USERS MATTER without them there is no product. And this is a democracy, whatever u say. Kde aspires to go into the corporate world, so this becomes even more important.

And when u r trying to compete with someone like M$ all these small thing s count. You gotta be more than perfect.

by Chakie (not verified)

This is good news and just highlights the mutual respect the KDE and GNOME developers share for each other. After news like this the "desktop war" doesn't seem as serious anymore. :)

by Mr Magoo (not verified)

Interesting isn't it? When Gnome had the developmental momentum and KDE was rather lagging, there was no interest in cooperation, instead the "Gnome camp" spent a great deal of time flaming KDE and QT. Now KDE is develomentally ahead of Gnome(by a very considerable margin)they want to play nice.

by Hongli Lai (not verified)

You make this whole issue sound like "the big bullies now beg for mercy".

First of all, there is no "Gnome camp" that "spent a great deal of time flaming KDE and QT". Those people are anti-KDE people, not GNOME people. Most of them are probably 14 year-old Slashbots who flame KDE for the sake of flaming, and don't know what they're talking about.
Similarly, there is no "KDE camp that flames GNOME", those are anti-GNOME people, not KDE people.
And the GNOME and KDE developers themselve don't give a ***** about the rediculous childish flamewars that anti-GNOME and anti-KDE people are making.

Secondly, KDE development is not "ahead" of GNOME: KDE develops in a different direction than GNOME. They both target different kinds of users ("average user" is a big word) and they both go a different direction. KDE is not "better" than GNOME, nor is GNOME "better" than KDE: they are just different. Just like KDE is not "better" than WindowMaker or GNOME not "better" than XFCE.
KDE has more features, that's great. But some people want simplicity instead. Wether GNOME or KDE or WindowMaker or XFCE or twm is "better" depends on your personal taste; there is no universal answer.

Third, this is a *good* thing. There are lots and lots of GNOME and KDE apps. If we can make them look and behave more like each other, then that can only be a good thing.

And last: there is no GNOME vs KDE war. Unless you *want* one, of course.

by KDE User (not verified)

> Most of them are probably 14 year-old Slashbots

Good guess

by Roberto Alsina (not verified)

IIRC, Miguel de Icaza is hardly much younger than myself, and I was 14 very long ago. Yet, Miguel did spend an inordinate amount of time whining, flaming and FUDding back then (he even spent a week or so on #kde doing GNOME whining). And I did my fair share of GNOME flaming, too!

I know, I know, now we all must get along, it is old history, not news, etc, but let's not pretend stuff didn't happen.

by Hongli Lai (not verified)

But we shouldn't let the past in our way either. Miguel has grown up now. Why don't we concentrate on *now* instead of stupid pointless flamewars in the past?
The last thing I want is more "the Linux community is fragmented!"-trolls.

by Adam Treat (not verified)

No he has not. I can assure you. Miguel was heard this week by me and several others saying 'Qt is tainted'. That's right, Qt a GPL'd library is 'tainted' according to Miguel. Blows my mind that the founder of one of the largest GNU projects has said a GPL'd library was 'tainted'.

by Adam Treat (not verified)

I just want to add that I have no problems with GNOME or GNOME hackers and Miguel's comments should not be regarded as representative of the whole.

by Navindra Umanee (not verified)

Heard where? In what context?

by Troy Unrau (not verified)

on irc - we had cut 'n pasted the conversation and were ready to send it to RMS for his comments - but you know :P

Troy Unrau
[email protected]
troy on irc.kde.org

by Adam Treat (not verified)

Sorry, but Qt is tainted as far as am concerned
no, I dont
how is Qt tainted?
it's tainted??
Qt is GPL
Can not be used for proprietary/commercial apps without paying

I like Miguel as a person, but I have a big time problem with this. He is *very* wrong here and this smacks of Microsoft's 'GPL is Viral' FUD and is much worse coming from one of the leaders of the Free Software movement.



by Navindra Umanee (not verified)

Why was Miguel talking about Qt?

by Adam Treat (not verified)

Some people were discussing Mozilla and KHTML when Miguel said KHTML should be rewritten in C# and stripped of the Qt stuff.

by keith (not verified)

Different people have differing opinions on whether a GUI toolkit should be LGPL (GNOME) or GPL (Qt) so just grow up and get over it :)

by Adam Treat (not verified)

Sure. I can understand that. If Miguel has changed his stance regarding Free Software then that is for him to decide. However, the statement that Qt is 'tainted' because it is licensed under the GPL is antithetical to the Free Software philosophy and I strongly disagree. It is important to note that Miguel is a leader of the Free Software movement and founded GNOME specifically because KDE was not Free. Given the history and context I find this statement particulary egregious.

by keith (not verified)

Understand that even RMS agrees that GNOME should be LGPL. Miguel has not changed his stance.

The 'tainted' quote you refer to only regards the issue that a software developer has to pay Troll Tech if they use Qt in a commercial product. Some consider that a GUI toolkit is an operating system service, like "glibc" ... therefore should be licensed LGPL. Others think differently. Just accept this differing opinion.

... for your next library.

This is directly from the GNU's mouth! http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/why-not-lgpl.html

Miguel is the founder of GNOME. Remember what that G stood for. GNU. For Miguel to say that GPL libraries are tainted is like RMS saying GPL is tainted. A mighty shock. Miguel has come a long way from being a 'Champion of Free Software'. Now it seems he is the 'Champion of Proprietry software'.

Come on ... "tainted" is just an English word that means isn't pure. I believe Miguel was referring to Troll Tech's mixture of using a combined Commercial/GPL license. For most GPL licensed software this commercial option does not exist ... hence pure.

Regarding your next library and the use of GPL or LGPL ... quote from the page you referenced, http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/why-not-lgpl.html ... "depends on the details of the situation".

The main point here supporting GPL over LGPL ... "Using the ordinary GPL for a library gives free software developers an advantage over proprietary developers: a library that they can use, while proprietary developers cannot use it" does not hold water for the Qt Toolkit because a proprietary developer can simply buy a get-out-of-jail pass from Troll Tech.

And the main point here supporting LGPL over GPL ... "when a free library's features are readily available for proprietary software through other alternative libraries" seems to apply to GUI Toolkits ... a proprietary developer can either buy a QT Toolkit license form Troll Tech or use an alternative toolkit like GTK.

I think the GNU page you referenced supports the idea that common operating system libraries should be licensed LGPL and this has been GNU's practice with their own projects (e.g. glibc). If you disagree with GNU then that's your opinion.

But please stop spreading misinformation. Please accept that different people have different ideas and different companies have different business models. Time will sort out the details and that's what is good about free software.

You seem to be missing the point of that passage, and the point I was trying to make. The FSF recommends GPL for libraries because if the libraries offer something new, then proprietry software developers will be encouraged to GPL their software to take advantage of it.

Now in the case of Qt (which is a great toolkit), there is an expensive get out clause (note that RMS doesn't mind this revenue generating method, but does oppose selling proprietry software to make money i.e. Ximian connector), but the money they get from that goes back into making Qt better. Plus, the cost will naturally force proprietry software developers to at least consider opening their code.

However, in the case of Gtk+, there is no pressure for proprietry software to be opened. Now you could say that it offers nothing and is crap, therefore what is the point in having it GPL. But the fact is that it *is* better than motif and perhaps some other commerical toolkits, so by being GPL it would benefit free software by forcing some developers to Free their code. Shouldn't the GNU desktop should be a force for freeing code, and not be a magnet for proprietry software to come over to linux? Being based on an LGPL library this will never happen.

Whoa there ... the FSF does not recommend the GPL for all libraries. You seem to be missing the point of the document. RMS recommends using the LGPL in some instances. He even states that the LGPL should be used for common libraries. Furthermore the FSF uses the LGPL for their own library projects like glibc. RMS agrees with using the LGPL for GTK and GNOME libraries. Your seem to be saying the LGPL is evil and the GPL should be used in all cases. If you're such a GPL zealot, more so than RMS and the FSF, how come you don't take issue with any of the FSF projects that use the LGPL, like glibc, or many of the KDE libraries that use the LGPL.

Regarding RMS, he wants all software to be free. He's the same as Christ who wants everyone "to treat your neighbor as yourself". However, in the real world, we are all sinners in RMS's eyes ... Troll Tech and Ximian included ... they are both sinful proprietary software companies even though they both repent and provide significant support for free software projects ... I just know the devil ... MS.

How's that for software religion ... now I'm outa here ... because there's no point in discussing religion with someone who can't fathom the real world :)

Actually you'd be surprised, my views disagree with the FSF on many fronts, especially on licences :) However, I do believe that since GNOME is *the* GNU desktop, it should be a vehicle for promoting Free software, not proprietary software. Otherwise it waters down the reputation/power of the FSF in its arguments to promote Free software, since people can just point to GNOME and say "look, you say a great advantage of GNOME is that you can build proprietary applications with it..."

Really, this is just a storm in a tea cup. Miguel is just voicing many people's preference for the LGPL licence for common libraries such as this. Hardly worth getting your knickers in a knot over it.

by Navindra Umanee (not verified)

Stripped of Qt and rewritten in Ximian Mono / Microsoft .NET?

*lol* This guy is corporate material indeed!

by Peter (not verified)

Well, I like many Gnome developers, but Miguel does never play fair.
"KDE has no future" and things like that do not need to be said. I'm not going to say anything like that about Gnome, although I prefer KDE. He seems to be the only Gnome developer who doesn't respect KDE and KDE developers. Hopefully I
'm wrong.

Maybe Miguel has to do it for marketing reasons. His income pretty much depends on Gnome and Gnome applications.

by Joe Sixpack (not verified)

The only thing "tainted" is Miguel from way back when he interviewed for Microsoft and didnt get the job. Ever since then he keeps droning on and on about how great the technology coming out of Redmond is.

I would approach the foaming bullshit pouring out of his mouth with extreme caution.

by Roberto Alsina (not verified)

Well, I stopped flaming GNOME a while ago, except on special occasions, too ;-)

Sure, Miguel has grown up now. Forgiving is cool, even though he never apologized (in order to get him out of #kde, I had to go troll #gnome, and he didn't even understood why what he did was wrong). But forgetting is stupid.

by chillin (not verified)

I beg to differ. GNOME's #1 supporter and funder was RedHat. RedHat has always been partial to GNOME - it's evident by it being the default desktop on 7.x and Bluecurve looking like all GTK in 8.0. Concidently, the netblock FreeDesktop.org is on is registered to RedHat Linux. So as argumenative as he may sound, it's a lot of validity to his statement. He's right, they only wanted the integrated after GNOME is lagging a little behind. But what do you expect, it's RedHat !! Don't shoot the messenger though...

by Noah Body (not verified)

Bluecurve looks more like KDE than GNOME. GNOME's icons are duller. GNOME 2.0's menu bar is at at the top, and the task bar is a 1x4 grid of workspaces, not 2x2 like KDE. If you want to know what GNOME's default is, take a look at Mandrake 9.0. They mostly preserve it.

by kman (not verified)

gnome apps have the drab look of Soviet era apartment

by Ryan (not verified)

And KDE looks like a childs fischer-price play set.

Hmm isnt it fun slingin mud instead of actually doing something useful with your life?


by Big G (not verified)

That's one take. Another take is that freedesktop.org is coming up on 3 years old, and is trying to get KDE and GNOME developers moving together a little bit at a time as opportunity presents itself. Going back to 3 years ago, I don't think KDE was really so far ahead[1], but there freedesktop was anyway, trying to work towards interoperability with other desktops.

[1] Nor do I think it is now, GNOME apologist that I am, but I digresss.

by Ryan (not verified)

PLEASE. FreeDesktop.org is evil because their web server runs RedHat?? Man you need to get out more.

Congratulation on the release of 3.1 btw, come round and congratulate Gnome on 2.2.

Cheers, and good will toward desktops!

by anonymous (not verified)

Quit spreading this FUD! KDE has always been ahead in development momentum. You should also know that a leading Gnome developer is still spreading lies about Qt.

by chrisime (not verified)


go home! and stop whining! This is so stupid. Let developers make their job and please shut up!
GNOME people aren't spreading lies about Qt, because they aren't simply interested in doing that.

by anonymous (not verified)

and the sky is green too!

by keith (not verified)

This was a comparison of GPL vs. LGPL GUI toolkits. Don't miss represent.

by Adam Treat (not verified)

Miguel de Icaza is. He's the founder of GNOME in case you haven't heard. According to Miguel, 'Qt is tainted'.

by kannister (not verified)

Miquel and Nat (ximain ceo)met at Microsoft where Nat was working and
Miquel was applying for a job.
I don't think Miquel ever got over not getting the
job for Bill. Maybe that explains his love of C#
a Microsoft dominated language.

rewrite khmtl in c# , indeed.
maybe evolution should be rewritten in qt.

Still this cooperation effort is a great thing.
I guess I should hold my toungue but that rewrite
khmtl got me really steamed.

by keith (not verified)

This was a comparison of GPL vs. LGPL GUI toolkits. Don't miss represent.

by chillin (not verified)

Let's not forget the slanderous reputation about qt not being free or "for Linux", just because it was released under a software license other than the GPL. The result of that was a whole army of "Anti-KDE" idiots who believed that nonsense.

by Ryan (not verified)

Man, reading this is *scary*. Gnome zealots may have an inferiority complex, but you guys have developed a real serious persecution complex and an over-developed sense of self importance! You guys are much scarier than Gnome zealots! I guess there are all kinds of loonies out there...


by ignorant ;) (not verified)

> Man, reading this is *scary*. Gnome zealots may have an inferiority complex,
> but you guys have developed a real serious persecution complex and an
> over-developed sense of self importance! You guys are much scarier than Gnome
> zealots! I guess there are all kinds of loonies out there...

Even though KDE is very far ahead of GNOME IMO (and I'm a GNOME user myself,
always has been) I have to agree that some KDE people are a little paranoid:
they even have a site called kdemyths (or somesuch) that, well, is a little
strange to me. ;) Come on guys, grow up a little a bit, not everybody are
after you. :)

by Navindra Umanee (not verified)

Well, all this propaganda about "paranoid" KDE developers and KDE users is actually getting propagated by people like you... let me guess you're all GNOME users right? :-P

by ignorant ;) (not verified)

> Well, all this propaganda about "paranoid" KDE developers and KDE
> users is actually getting propagated by people like you... let me
> guess you're all GNOME users right? :-P

The site kdemiths speaks for itself.