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Torvalds unplugged

thinks that it should solidify is kind of short-sighted. Sure solidifying

is good in the short term but in the end it only hurts. I think that's the

problem with Microsoft. They haven't very much competition and they haven't

had any reason to be aggressive in any sense other than economic.

Do you extend the same logic to the GUI?

I do and I did. But I also extend the Darwin model that the strongest one

wins. I think that's a area where right now there are only two choices, KDE

and GNOME. KDE is virtually unknown in the US. So, let's see who wins.

GNOME certainly has a lot of momentum behind it. It's definitely good that

there has been competition there, even if it's somewhat confusing at

times. It's not that bad if in the end it results in a better product.

Do you see any problems to having multiple desktops?

There are not that many technical problems to having multiple desktops in

the same way that you can have multiple anythings. I think the real

problem lies in the fact that the desktop is so in your face all the time,

it's so visible. You react much more strongly to the fact that there's two

of them. There's been a number of technical matters where there have been

more than one contender but nobody made much of that. They didn't get very

emotional about it. But people get really emotional about their desktops.

So you see the discussions a lot more and you see all these flame wars


Isn't it a problem for application developers?

To some degree, yes. But they're both underlying X applications. If you

buy a commercial product, you will find that they work fine on both. You

will start seeing applications that will only work on one, there's no

doubt about that, but that's part of the competition. There will probably

be failures but that's ok.

One place where I find a problem between distributions.

The good thing is that the core kernel is the same across distributions.

That ensures compatibility across distributions. But quite often I keep

trying new distributions to check them out and every time I do that, I

find that in one distribution this file was in /etc but in this

distribution it's not there.

That's getting to be less of a issue these days. It used to be partly

because of the Unix fragmentation. You had a lot of people with different

tastes doing different things and they were different. So you had the