Saturday, January 29, 2011


The more things change, the more things stay the same.

In the Linux world, it seems there's always been a very vocal segment expressing dislike or even hatred of particular desktop environments or distros. GNOME folks hated KDE. KDE folks hated GNOME. Debian folks hated Ubuntu. Criticism and insults constantly flew back and forth, aimed at users, developers, and the DEs or distros themselves.

Kind of sad, really. And, sadly, it continues with the emergence of KDE4. A good number of users can't stand it. KDE4 and its users and developers are barraged with criticism and insults.

It's the Linux way.

Often, upon closer inspection, things are not as good as they once seemed, and not as bad as they once seemed. Formerly quite KDE-centric, I eventually found that I actually liked GNOME; it wasn't the awful DE that so many people were describing it as. I began to see why many people preferred GNOME over KDE, even though at one time it seemed obvious to me that KDE was vastly superior to GNOME.

While some former KDE 3.5 users can't stand KDE4, I've come to enjoy using it more than any other DE; the venom being hurled at KDE4 looks, to me, like a twist on an old theme. Instead of hating everything GNOME, many former KDE 3.5 users now hate everything KDE4.

In the end, as always, you have to go by what you see in front of you. I have KDE 3.5, KDE4, GNOME, Xfce, LXDE, and more installed on various distros on my system; I regularly go back and forth, from one DE or WM to the next. When I log into KDE4, I see a DE that looks great, works great, and is very enjoyable to use.

In the end, just as it didn't matter what GNOME-haters said, it doesn't matter what KDE4-haters say. What matters is what happens when I sit down to my computer -- how I feel, what I experience, what I see. Just because someone else doesn't like something doesn't mean that I won't, either.

Some say Linux is all about choice; but with all that choice comes a lot of rabid infighting. Perhaps the bickering spurs eventual improvement in the development of desktop environments and distros, but it continues to be, in my mind as well as in the minds of others, an ugly and unfortunate aspect of Linux -- but one that never goes away.


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