Subject: Unix mass-market freed software
From: Russell Nelson <>
Date: 29 Dec 1997 05:26:18 -0000

Brian J. Fox writes:
 > Hey, without trying to be mean, why don't you write one?

[ after writing this, I notice that bfox didn't suggest that it had to
  be written for Unix.  I didn't see a subtle way to acknowledge that
  assumption, hence this crude note.  :)  -russ ]

Is it just me, or does Unix have serious usability issues that need to
be addressed before tackling the desktop?  Textmode is dead in the
water, so you need a GUI.  X is the only serious contender (which
would make some people laugh, no doubt).  mgr could be brought back to
life, but it has fewer applications than X (although an X server which
runs under mgr would help with that.  And Linux's SVGALIB is not
portable from or to other unices.

The problem with X is that it not only does not enforce any UI
standards, it doesn't even *recommend* any, nor does it have a
UI-independent library.  So, every X program operates differently than
every other one.  Just look at xemacs, ghostview, any window manager,
and xterm.

Maybe KDE is addressing that problem in a reasonable way, but KDE
programs can't really be GPL'ed, since qt isn't a standard library on
any Unix distribution that I'm aware of, because while qt is gratis
for libre programs, it is not libre itself -- it cannot be modified.
If you're willing to lie to yourself, and pretend that qt is a
standard library, then KDE might be the way to go for mass-market
GPL'ed programs.

-russ <>  | Freedom is the
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