March 20, 2001, 11:27 AM —
Everywhere you look there are so-called corporate, product, and technology wars. There's Linux versus Windows, AMD versus Intel, cable versus DSL, Microsoft versus the universe, and so on. One of the most interesting wars is the one between the two popular, open source, graphical desktop environments, KDE and GNOME. If I had to bet on the outcome of that particular battle, I'd put my money on KDE. Now I happen to prefer KDE to GNOME even more than ever now that KDE 2.1 is out the door. But that has little to do with my forecast. What I'm really betting on is the Trolltech GUI programming toolkit, Qt, upon which KDE is based. (GNOME is based upon GTK, aka the Gimp Toolkit).
I could provide a number of technical arguments in favor of Qt over GTK, though I've also heard some good technical arguments that favor GNOME over KDE. Regardless of which side you take, neither argument really matters very much as far as my prognosis is concerned. History demonstrates clearly that technology is usually only a minor ingredient in the recipe for success.
Qt has three things going for it that are more important than pure technology: a foot in the door of major universities, a promising start in embedded systems, and good portability (you can compile Qt applications to run on Windows and there are plans for portability to other systems).