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O'Reilly Network Weekly
Open Source Roundtable
Sponsored by IBM developerWorks

The GNOME Foundation: Is "As Good" Good Enough?

Listen to this discussion (9:15 mins, 2.7 MB):   Download the MP3 file    Listen in Real Audio

Of all the announcements at LinuxWorld last week, the one that may have had the biggest effect on the rest of the world -- the folks who didn't make it to the show -- was the launch of the GNOME Foundation. This consortium of several traditional IT companies, like IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystems, as well as Linux companies like Helix Code, Red Hat and Eazel, aims to build a unified, easy-to-use desktop environment for Windows, based on GNOME. All of the members are contributing money to the foundation, some are kicking in technology as well.

When you talk to members of the Foundation, they often say that the goal is to build a desktop environment and application suite that's as easy to use as Microsoft's Windows. But will "as is" be good enough?

O'Reilly Network talked to GNOME advocates from Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems, and Eazel.

Stan Christensen
Vice President and General Manager

"We have a concept that we call user levels, so that if you're at a novice level, you can click on novice, and the way that it presents Nautilus to you will be more for your grandmother. And we have a level for intermediate and advanced. Obviously if you're a sysadmin with a ponytail, you probably want to see more."

Marco Boerries
Vice President and General Manager of Webtop and Application Software
Sun Microsystems

"That's the whole point of the foundation. Their goal is to make the GNOME desktop, which runs on both Linux and Unix easier to use. That's what will do. That's what Eazel Nautilus will do, that's what HelixCode's Evolution will do. That's the whole point: making it more accessible, making it easier to install, easier to use."

Stormy Peters
Product Manager, R&D
Linux Kernel Development
Hewlett-Packard Company

"GNOME is an evolving desktop. All the source is available, so a lot of users are adding features they want. ... So it's not just Microsoft or HP or Sun deciding what our users want, it's actually what the users want. It's actually the user community itself that can decide what it wants, and add it."

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