KDE vs. Gnome

Great post originally from http://www.illusionary.com/GNOMEvKDE.html but as the site is no longer up I am re-posting it with full credit to its original author.  This “summary” was a surprisingly accurate feel for the overall development process of the two major Linux  Desktop interfaces.   Specifically this was the overall feeling during the KDE 2.x – 3.5 & Gnome 0.0 – wheneverubuntueffectivelytookovertheproject.x time frame.  While these generalizations no longer hold true, they sure make for some entertaining reading to those of us who remember the those days.


A big room somewhere in Europe with lots of chrome and glass and a great big whiteboard in the front with lots of tiny, neat writing on it. There are about 50 desks, each with headphones and pristine workstations, also with a lot of chrome and glass. The faint sound of classical music permeates the room, accompanying the clicky-click of 50 programmers typing or quietly talking in one of the appropriately assigned meeting areas. (Which of course consist of elegant contemporary white pine coffee tables surrounded by contemporary white pine and fine leather meeting chairs.) Coffee, tea, mineral water and fruit juices are available in the break area.

At the end of the day, *everyone* checks in their code and the project leader does a “make” just to make sure it all compiles cleanly, but it’s mostly only done from tradition anymore since it always compiles cleanly and works flawlessly. When all milestones have been met, and everything has been QA’d, (usually within a day or two of the roadmap that was written up 18 months previous) a new KDE release is packaged up and released to the mirror sites with the appropriate 24-hour delay for distribution before being announced.

KDE developers are generally between the ages of 16 and 25, like art made of lines and squares and the colors white and black. When/if they finally stop taking government subsidies and get around to getting “real jobs,” most of their salary will be taken in taxes so the socialist government can subsidize the care and feeding of the next generation of KDE developers, just like it did for them. A high percentage of KDE developers, during their mandatory 5 years of government military service, crack from their years of cultural dullness and flee Europe to become terrorists for the sheer joy to be found in killing random strangers for no discernible reason.


An abandoned warehouse in San Francisco, kitted up as for a rave, electronica playing at 15db louder than “my ears are bleeding and I’m developing an aneurism” volumes and the windows all painted over black so that the strobe and spotlights and lasers can be seen better. Computers, mainly made of whatever stuff has been exchanged for crack or scavenged from dumpsters behind dot-bombs, are scattered around on whatever furniture is available, which also consists of whatever stuff has been exchanged for crack or scavenged from dumpsters behind dot-bombs. There’s no break area, but you may be able to bum a beer (or more likely something harder) off of one of the developers hanging around, and they will probably be too jacked up on X, coke, acid, heroin, ether or all of the above to notice that you’ve taken anything.

Development strategies are generally determined by whatever light show happens to be going on at the moment, when one of the developers will leap up and scream “I WANT IT TO LOOK JUST LIKE THAT” and then straight-arm his laptop against the wall in an hallucinogenic frenzy before vomiting copiously, passing out and falling face-down in the middle of the dance floor. There’s no whiteboard, so developers diagram things out in the puddles of spilt beer, urine and vomit on the floor.

At the end of the day – whenever that is since an equal number of programmers will be passed out at any given time – or really whenever someone happens to think of it (which is rarely), someone might type “make” on some machine somewhere, with mixed results. Generally nothing happens, so he/she shrugs his/her shoulders and wanders off to look for someone who might have more pink/black-striped pills. Once in a great while, generally in the unpleasant time between the come-down from the last thing they took and before whatever it was they took just now comes on fully, someone will tar up a bunch of random files and post it on a website someplace it as the next GNOME release, usually with a reference to some kind of monkey.

GNOME developers rarely live past 25 and prefer “alternative” art – generally stuff made of feces that’s “too edgy” for most people to “understand” or “like.” Core GNOME developers are heavy Ketamine users. The bodies of GNOME developers can often be found in dumpsters or floating face-down in any sufficiently large body of water.

Copyright 2002, Derek Glidden.

When Logic Can Hurt

Got this from pastbin:

I recently asked my friends’ little girl what she wanted to be when she grows up. She said she wanted to be President some day. Both of her parents, liberal Democrats, were standing there, so I asked her, ‘If you were President what would be the first thing you would do? ‘

She replied, ‘I’d give food and houses to all the homeless people.’

Her parents beamed.

‘Wow…what a worthy goal.’ I told her, ‘But you don’t have to wait until you’re President to do that.. You can come over to my house and mow the lawn, pull weeds, and rake my yard, and I’ll pay you $50.

Then I’ll take you over to the grocery store where the homeless guy hangs out, and you can give him the $50 to use toward food and a new house. ‘

She thought that over for a few seconds, then she looked me straight in the eye and asked, ‘ Why doesn’t the homeless guy come over and do the work, and you can just pay him the $50?

I said, ‘Welcome to the Republican Party.’

Her parents still aren’t speaking to me.

Heaven v. Hell

Here is my superficial philosophy cross-connect for the week.  I found this on Susan Stepney’s website.  She is a a Professor of Computer Science at the University of York in the UK.


  • The police are British
  • The cooks are French
  • The engineers are German
  • The administrators are Swiss
  • The lovers are Italian


  • The police are German
  • The cooks are British
  • The engineers are Italian
  • The administrators are French
  • The lovers are Swiss

Now I am going to explain this entirely wrong (go ahead Roger, take my head off) but the Greeks had an idea that everything that existed, did so for a specific purpose.  And that the highest virtue in nature was to pursue that calling unto its utter perfection.  Doing so was, quite literally, “Good.”  Doing something counter to ones natural purpose was “Bad.”

It is amazing how subtle the difference between good and bad are.

To discover the limits of the possible…

I am going to repost this letter by Shae Allen via the BizNik forum. It would be even funnier if it wasn’t my life we are talking about. I present, for your reading enjoyment, “If Architects Had To Work Like Web Designers.”

Dear Mr. Architect:

Please design and build me a house. I am not quite sure of what I need, so you should use your discretion. My house should have somewhere between two and forty-five bedrooms. Just make sure the plans are such that the bedrooms can be easily added or deleted. When you bring the blueprints to me, I will make the final decision of what I want. Also, bring me the cost breakdown for each configuration so that I can arbitrarily pick one.

Keep in mind that the house I ultimately choose must cost less than the one I am currently living in. Make sure, however, that you correct all the deficiencies that exist in my current house (the floor of my kitchen vibrates when I walk across it, and the walls don’t have nearly enough insulation in them).

As you design, also keep in mind that I want to keep yearly maintenance costs as low as possible. This should mean the incorporation of extra-cost features like aluminum, vinyl, or composite siding. (If you choose not to specify aluminum, be prepared to explain your decision in detail.)

Please take care that modern design practices and the latest materials are used in construction of the house, as I want it to be a showplace for the most up-to-date ideas and methods. Be alerted, however, that kitchen should be designed to accommodate, among other things, my 1952 Gibson refrigerator.

To insure that you are building the correct house for our entire family, make certain that you contact each of our children, and also our in-laws. My mother-in-law will have very strong feelings about how the house should be designed, since she visits us at least once a year. Make sure that you weigh all of these options carefully and come to the right decision. I, however, retain the right to overrule any choices that you make.

Please don’t bother me with small details right now. Your job is to develop the overall plans for the house: get the big picture. At this time, for example, it is not appropriate to be choosing the color of the carpet.

However, keep in mind that my wife likes blue.

Also, do not worry at this time about acquiring the resources to build the house itself. Your first priority is to develop detailed plans and specifications. Once I approve these plans, however, I would expect the house to be under roof within 48 hours.

While you are designing this house specifically for me, keep in mind that sooner or later I will have to sell it to someone else. It therefore should have appeal to a wide variety of potential buyers. Please make sure before you finalize the plans that there is a consensus of the population in my area that they like the features this house has. I advise you to run up and look at my neighbor’s house he constructed last year. We like it a great deal. It has many features that we would also like in our new home, particularly the 75-foot swimming pool. With careful engineering, I believe that you can design this into our new house without impacting the final cost.

Please prepare a complete set of blueprints. It is not necessary at this time to do the real design, since they will be used only for construction bids. Be advised, however, that you will be held accountable for any increase of construction costs as a result of later design changes.

You must be thrilled to be working on as an interesting project as this! To be able to use the latest techniques and materials and to be given such freedom in your designs is something that can’t happen very often. Contact me as soon as possible with your complete ideas and plans.

PS: My wife has just told me that she disagrees with many of the instructions I’ve given you in this letter. As architect, it is your responsibility to resolve these differences. I have tried in the past and have been unable to accomplish this. If you can’t handle this responsibility, I will have to find another architect.

PPS: Perhaps what I need is not a house at all, but a travel trailer. Please advise me as soon as possible if this is the case..