TechCentral on KDE and Novell/SUSE Acquisition

With the KDE development and user communities flourishing more than ever, some people are anxious to drum up panic and drama surrounding corporate plays such as the acquisition of SUSE by Novell. As you might know, SUSE has thus far been a huge KDE believer and by using KDE has benefited from a loyal and enthusiastic Linux desktop userbase of its own. Last year, Richard Seibt CEO of SUSE confirmed this sentiment and pledged to maintain SUSE's strong support for KDE. A recent investigation by TechCentral reveals the same: "SuSE will continue (to operate) as a business unit of its own." said John Phillips, Novell's corporate technology strategist for the Asia Pacific region. "We don't expect to make Ximian the default user interface, and for the medium term KDE will remain the default GUI on SuSE Linux."

With the number of incredible KDE Enterprise features available now and planned for the near future, the robustness and vitality of the KDE community, we can remain confident KDE will be an incontrovertible choice for Novell in the long term as well.

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by anonymous (not verified)

I think we should post it to Slashdot and let them decide. :D

by David (not verified)

"b) Evolution mailer developers both went on 3 weeks vacation over the holidays and so many of the patches could not get committed or discussed"

Ha. Having a holiday from hacking on a free software project that has no return on investment for Novell. Nice one.

by anon (not verified)

Are there only _two_ Evolution developers. Boy these are real geniuses!
Kudos to the two Evolution developers! May they have a nice holiday... Come back soon!

by ATK (not verified)

--- Kudos to the two Evolution developers! ---

And even more Kudos, lots of Kudos, shitloads of Kudos, to the two KDE developers named Benjamin who _didn't_ go for a X-Mas holiday, but who did a _complete_ port of KDE over to Mac OS X (which included "Kontact", the new Outlook-Killer-ish, KDE app) !!!! How's that? Isn't the KDE community a wonderful bunch of dedicated hackers? Creating miracles while others go for a holiday...

by mill (not verified)

The maintainer of Evolution died in December.

by David (not verified)

God. You mean there's more of them. Holy crap!

by ac (not verified)

> c) Christmas is exam/finals time for students, so hacking is a secondary issue.

wtf? Academic years start around september and finish around june.
Finals are in may/june, so the exam/revision frenzy is from easter onwards, not christmas.

by Yellowboy (not verified)

Exams in Canada are in December.
Exams in the UK are in January.
There are other exams in May/June as well, but December/January time is defintely exam time.

by ac (not verified)

> Exams in Canada are in December.
> Exams in the UK are in January.
> There are other exams in May/June as well, but December/January time is defintely exam time.

Well, im not canadian, so I wont make any assertions about their education system except to say that if you know as little about canada as you do about the UK, you're almost certainly wrong.

I've been in the UK education system for the last 15 years, non-stop. I've had occasional exams at most times of year.
But _The_ big exam season happens around June. Kinda figures, since it's the end of the academic year.

There are always, of course, exceptions. Some freinds of mine are doing uni courses that have all-year-round exams, and yes there is a _small_ exam season around this time of year. mostly for gcse/a-level course modules.

I'm getting the feeling there's a big YHBT coming..

by anon (not verified)

> But _The_ big exam season happens around June. Kinda figures, since it's the end of the academic year.

In the US, usually exam time is mid to late December AND late may/early June. They are equal since most of the time (semester system... academic year? WTF is that?)

by Rayiner Hashem (not verified)

What might be great to see out of the Novell/Ximian/SuSE trio is to see some Mono/KDE integration. I don't really like C#, but its a popular language, and it would be good to see KDE accessible from it.

by David Walser (not verified)


Also, the Mono project is using the SWT toolkit (from the Eclipse Java IDE) for its GUIs, which draws on Gtk+ on Linux. It'd be nice to see a Qt port (there's already a Motif one).

by rizzo (not verified)

>>Also, the Mono project is using the SWT toolkit (from the Eclipse Java IDE) for its GUIs, which draws on Gtk+ on Linux. It'd be nice to see a Qt port (there's already a Motif one)<<

It does NOT use the SWT toolkit. In fact, it has very little to do with Java at all. It's all about c#.

What some of them are doing is porting the SWT toolkit to C#.

by David Walser (not verified)

I didn't say it had anything to do with Java, smart guy. SWT has two parts, a library (written in C I think) and the Java part of it. Obviously they're not using the Java part of it, I know mono is C# (duh!). They are using the library. If that means they're not *really* using the SWT _toolkit_, then you're getting all worked up over semantics.

by Derek Kite (not verified)

Now now. You are not thinking right. The only way to make money in the software biz is:

Hype great idea!!!
Scam investors, get millions in venture capital.
Burn money.
Produce 1/2 finished software.
Be purchased by *.


by JC (not verified)

Yep, but to do that you have to think only about $. Easy when some people doesn`t care about computer stuff.

by RMS (not verified)

Trolltech released Qt as LGPL under Linux/Unix, let them keep it propietery under Windows..etc, but let it be LGPL under Linux!

No one would be interested in GNOME if KDE/Qt is LGPLed.

C'mon Trolltech, you made a brave move earlier, just one more!

by Bruce (not verified)

If you think that Gnome will disappear if Qt is released as LGPL then you are mistaken. Its gone way beyond that. This whole licensing thing is a complete red herring. The Gnome laddies and lassies can't have it both ways, either:

1. GPL is more "pure" or...
2. LGPL is more "business friendly".

Choose your poison and stick with it. Both of these arguments are mutually exclusive and if you take RMS at his word (ahem!!) then LGPL is the greater evil and therefore, because the core libraries of GNOME are licensed LGPL then GNOME is greater evil. But no, the open source "leaders" (with the noticeable exception of Linus T) consider the GNOME project to be the more blessed.

Both desktops need each other to spur on growth. KDE has the better underpinnings whereas Gnome has seen HIG work (which I think sucks eggs, but thats me :). Both desktops cross pollinate each other with ideas and the concept of two interoperable desktops is intriguing.

by David Johnson (not verified)

It's more than that. Since day one the GNU community has been against KDE, and has rolled out one weak argument after another. First it was the proprietary "free-beer" license of Qt. So a binding agreement was made with KDE to ensure that Qt would always remain "free beer". But that wasn't good enough. Trolltech then changed the license to the QPL, which even RMS approved as Free. But that wasn't good enough. Then Trolltech released Qt under a dual QPL/GPL license (even better than pure GPL). But again, that wasn't good enough. Along the way other arguments unrelated to licensing have been offered and countered.

by Kraig (not verified)

RMS wants a desktop that he can influence and be more under his influence. Its all personnel pride and such.

by Debian User (not verified)

That's not true.
In fact RMS is quite disappointed with Miguel de Icaza and GNOME.

by Kraig (not verified)

Why because he can't control it like he planned?

by Debian User (not verified)

Stop the FUD.

When KDE started, Qt was proprietary (the GNU community doesn't care about free beer, but about freedom). That's the only reason the GNOME and Harmony projects were born.

Later TrollTech used the QPL license. As you say, the FSF approved it as a free software license, but incompatible with the GPL. The KDE developers could add an exception to allow linking to it, but people behave too emotionally at the moment.

When Qt became GPL, a lot of people jumped wagon, and keep doing it. The licensing terms of Qt and KDE are very nice for the GNU community.

by Anonymous (not verified)

I might just add this quote from an earlier interview with Eirik Eng of Trolltech (

"We had the same rate of growth before the change in license. In the very early years, we were afraid that if we GPLed Qt, someone with more development muscle would create a hostile fork of Qt and, in a sense, take over our only product. You just don't take any chances with your only bread and butter.

"So, as soon as we felt that we could outrun anyone trying to make a hostile fork, we switched to using the GPL. The switch did not affect our customers, and it had very little practical impact on the Open Source community. But the symbolic effect was astronomical. My inbox was flooded with 'thank you' e-mails for quite some time."

by cwoelz (not verified)

I am against it.

You want to develop proprietary apps, pay Trolltech licence per developer. It is cheap, considering development costs. Even in here in Brazil.

Make Qt for windows GPL: that would be a great change! Imagine all KDE apps available for windows! The transition to linux could be smooth.

by Kurt Pfeifle (not verified)

>> Make Qt for windows GPL: that would be a great change! Imagine all KDE <<
>> apps available for windows! The transition to linux could be smooth. <<

I can't help but to agree. (I am not sure if all KDE apps could be ported and would run as "smoothly" and easily as on Mac OS X, or if too many "UNIX assumptions" went into the KDE design... But probably a thing that *could* be solved!) The migration path to Linux would indeed become much more smooth, for everybody -- users, admins, ISVs, bosses, programmers....

by Jilks (not verified)

"Make Qt for windows GPL..."

Hah! You know Windows people are bootleg everything.

by OI (not verified)

Qt is not only GPL:d.

It's GPL:d and QPL:d. You can choose whichever you want.

by André Somers (not verified)

Yes, but not on all platforms, and that was the point.
Note that I'm not saying that Trolltech should do this. I think they are quite right *not* to actually. They get a lot back from the open source movement on linux (especially from KDE, I'd imagine), and it's far from certain the same would be true on windows, which has on average, IMHO, a different mindset on things like this.

by Arend jr. (not verified)

Actually I don't see this really happen, however...
If the GTK integration efforts reach the level where the user can't (or can hardly) tell which app is Qt and which one is GTK, we can say we got two native toolkits. This means businesses that want to write KDE apps are not tied to Qt and unless GNOME would do a similar thing for Qt integration this would give KDE a _huge_ advantage. And the most beautiful part is the GNOME crowd can't complain about licenses anymore ;)

by anon (not verified)

+++ GNOME crowd can't complain about licenses anymore ;) +++

GNOME zealots (which not all GNOME supporters are) will always complain about KDE or Qt:

+ KDE has more apps and features --> "KDE is bloated!"
+ KDE has more configurability --> "KDE is too complicated!"
+ Qt uses C++ --> "Qt excludes C coders!"
+ KDE is a big grassroots movement --> "KDE is not a useful desktop for businesses!"
+ KDE extends its integrative desktop to GTK/GTK+ apps --> "KDE hasn't got any good programs of its own!"
+ KDE develops programs of its own --> "KDE is re-inventing the wheel every week!"
+ Qt uses the GPL --> "Qt doesn't allow for gratis proprietary development by ISVs!"
+ KDE is ported to Mac OS X --> "KDE is trying to betray Free Software by supporting a proprietary OS!"
+ Trolltech ploughs money back into GPL'ed Qt development --> "Trolltech is demanding huge lock-in tax from poor ISV developers!"
+ Trolltech, KDE or Qt could be whatever you imagine --> "Trolltech, KDE, Qt are not what *we* want them to be!"

## Who can list more examples? Go to Slashdot any day and you'll find lots and lots and lots.... Or just save your time.

Oh, well...

by Rayiner Hashem (not verified)

+ KDE has more configurability --> "KDE is too complicated!"
This is a legitimate complaint. Configurability is not necessarily exclusive to complexity. Given the appropriate tools/interface, you can be very configurable without becoming overly complex.

Your other arguments are spot-on.

by Datschge (not verified)

Exactly. I'm looking forward to downloading and testing your personal idea-KDE-world settings package for everyone. The configurability is there.

by mabinogi (not verified)

Just out of interest, where are the commercial GTK applications?

I see commercial Motif applications, and commercial QT applications, but I haven't actually seen any commercial GTK applications.

Does anyone have any examples?

by Ian Reinhart Geiser (not verified)

Evolution, RealPlayer, YahooMessenger... umm... there are a few more but i cannot rember as i have never used them. Does eclipse count? Or any java app that uses SWT or what ever its called?

There are a few... but none that really are big apps, and they are rewriting evolution now...

-ian (really really trying hard not to troll) reinhart geiser

by JC (not verified)

And GTK is not enough mature to be used for commercial apps.
It's bankruptcy...
Or suicidal :)

by Ian Reinhart Geiser (not verified)

Now that my friend is a direct troll...

Remember people used MFC for many years and motif also. GTK really draws from those roots, and tries to emulate them. Some people are just more comfortable in C with no objects to encumber them. Some of us like objects and C++...

I think time will tell what happens, but I will admit programming in GTK for a summer is what made me move to Qt/KDE.

-ian reinhart geiser

by fault (not verified)

If anything, Qt is much more like than MFC than gtk is.. although wxWindows has even more close resemblance to MFC than Qt does.

by rinse (not verified)

ldd /usr/bin/realplay => /usr/X11R6/lib/ (0x4002e000) => /usr/X11R6/lib/ (0x40036000) => /usr/X11R6/lib/ (0x4004c000) => /usr/X11R6/lib/ (0x4005a000) => /usr/X11R6/lib/ (0x400ae000) => /lib/i686/ (0x401ab000) => /lib/ (0x401ce000) => /lib/i686/ (0x401d1000) => /lib/i686/ (0x40222000) => /usr/X11R6/lib/ (0x40355000) => /usr/X11R6/lib/ (0x4035e000)
/lib/ => /lib/ (0x40000000)

Which of these dependencies make Real Audio Player a GTK-application?


by Ian Reinhart Geiser (not verified)

i was sure that i read somewhere it used gtk... maby staticly...

not sure as i dont use real player here, it may or may not, im not the expert, i was just trying to keep reality involved with the troll...

-ian reinhart geiser

by KDE User (not verified)

It uses Motif. At least, RealPlayer 8 does. strings $(which realplay) | grep Xm will show all sorts of Motif stuff.

by Niek (not verified)

The new HelixPlayer ( is build on GTK2.
Old (RP8 and RealOne) players use Motif.

by Roberto Alsina (not verified)

But is HelixPlayer commercial and proprietary?

If it isn´t, then it´s still not an example of a commercial, proprietary GTK app ;-)

by Steven Scott (not verified)

don't forget AIM and VMWare

by Anton Velev (not verified)

I support your statement.. LGPL is the better way for a lib

(although BSD is the best way - see what beauty Apple did)

by Anonymous (not verified)

Some folks have noticed ( that some executables shipped with Microsoft's SFU 3.0 (Services for Unix) kit contain OpenBSD RCS tags.

Interix, the company contracted to develop the SFU for Microsoft, had apparently borrowed a great deal from the OpenBSD codebase. Providing that they kept the BSD copyright notice in the SFU sources intact, this is all completely legal.

It seems that having such an unrestrictive license does cut both ways.

by Luke Sandell (not verified)

1. Trolltech has already said they will GPL Qt for Windows once it becomes a more "open-source friendly" OS.


3. If Trolltech released Qt under LGPL, they would go bankrupt. No commercial developers would pay for QPL anymore, because they would just use the LGPL version in their commercial product! That would be an asinine decision, which would mean the end of Qt and KDE.

by Anonymous (not verified)

I hear Sleepycat makes most of its money through a similar dual-licensing trick with Berkeley DB.

The database is released under the GPL, but companies wanting to link it into their proprietary application have to buy a license. They sell to folks writing embedded applications (like set-top boxes, network appliances and the like), where the one-off cost of buying a license would be a tiny fraction of the development budget.

Trolltech probably makes money off the same principle; that people developing for Windows are doubtless already paying for proprietary development tools and other libraries and should well be able to afford a Qt license, too.

by anonymous (not verified)

Funny how for the longest time the GPL zealots screamed that QT sucks because it isn't free. GNOME started as a GNU project partially due to the FSF and others dislike of proprietary QT. Now that it is GPL, you have the GNOME people bitching that it isn't LGPL, although the FSF and GNU project now prefer GPL for libraries. In fact, GNU has basically lost all influence in GNOME, and RMS seems to be warming to KDE.

I think that the GNOME camp that was complaining in the pre-GPL days is very different than the GNOME camp complaining now.

by dapawn (not verified)

"...for the medium term KDE will remain the default GUI on SuSE Linux,” assured John Phillips, Novell's corporate technology strategist for the Asia Pacific region.

Novell is not committed to KDE, even if SuSe is. How long is "medium term"? I think they are planning something, or they would have said "long term". I switched to SuSe because of their KDE support, I would hate to think that would ever change.