Handbags drawn in dawn war in the Linux world

As the Gnome interface becomes about as popular as scurvy, the makers of the system have been looking for someone to blame.

Already top former  Gnome Miguel de Icaza leaked a story that Apple was replacing Linux on the desktop, which was dutifully reported by the Tame Apple Press  now it appears he is going for the creator of Linux itself, Linus Torvalds.

Writing in his own bog, Miguel de Icaza waded into St Linus claiming that it was his attitude which prevented  Linux moving to the desktop.

“Linus, despite being a low-level kernel guy, set the tone for our community years ago when he dismissed binary compatibility for device drivers. The kernel people might have some valid reasons for it, and might have forced the industry to play by their rules, but the Desktop people did not have the power that the kernel people did. But we did keep the attitude,” he moaned.

He claimed that it was the kernel people who forced them to write crappy code, because they were changing things too quickly and were doing too much to support the best distributors.

“This killed the ecosystem for third party developers trying to target Linux on the desktop. You would try once, do your best effort to support the “top” distro or if you were feeling generous “the top three” distros. Only to find out that your software no longer worked six months later,” de Icaza muttered.

Needless to say Torvalds was not going to put up with that sort of thing. He dashed off an angry missive claiming that he was responsible for Gnome going badly was laughable.

Right the way through the development of the Linux kernel was the rule that you never break any external interfaces. He said that the fact that Linux breaks internal interfaces that are not visible to userland is totally irrelevant, and a total red herring, he snarled.

“I wish the gnome people had understood the real rules inside the kernel. Like “you never break external interfaces” – and “we need to do that to improve things” is not an excuse,” Torvalds said.

Torvalds said that the reason the Linux kernel has been so successful was the fact that he didn’t have a huge vision of where he wanted to force people to go.

While he wanted “unix” he didn’t want to enforce any particular world-view outside of that generic pattern.

Gnome however had a “we know better” mentality, and it forced Corba/.NET down your throat whether you like it or not. It was also particularly nasty if people complained saying that they were “against progress, and cannot handle change”.

Torvalds said that Gnomes were in total denial about what their problem really is and were blaming everybody except themselves.

De Icaza puffed that his involvement with Gnome stopped about five years ago, so it is unfair to the Gnome guys to attach my position to their project.

But he claimed that the fact that kernel guys ruled Linux did stuff up everything for the rest.

He said that Torvalds had a strong personality, and so do a lot of the people that surround him and like it or not, that influenced the attitudes of people.

“My take is that you are brilliant, clever and funny, and you can also be mean and harsh. Many people tried to imitate you, but they were neither brilliant, clever or funny. They just turn out to be mean and harsh and this attitude spread on the mailing lists,” he wrote.

He agreed that when it came to CORBA, both the KDE guys and GNOME had it wrong and the same applied to .NET.