i had a really interesting conversation with a fellow on irc the other night. he came into #kde-artists and asked if the oxygen icon project was planning on cooperating with the tango project. i asked which aspect of it and he said that oxygen should at least follow the icon specification on freedesktop.org. i confirmed that since we already follow this spec, and indeed helped author it, that oxygen would continue this trend.
this surprised him, and that surprised me. he explained that he didn't percieve KDE as a project that really did much in the way of cross-desktop cooperation and projects. i asked him to clarify why he felt this way and he brought up freedesktop.org again. i asked him to list some projects that were done in a cross-desktop manner that KDE had not taken a realistic interest in, qualifying that with the fact that it doesn't count if you write a specification or write a bunch of code without talking to anyone in the concerned projects about it and then try and call it a "cross-desktop effort" after the fact.
his first example was the cross-desktop human interface guidelines that had been attempted some time ago. i asked him why he thought KDE was the project that had been the weak link and he didn't really know why. i then asked him if he knew who had started that effort; again, he didn't know. well, as it turns out, that was one of my initiatives; call me crazy (many do ;) but i thought we should at least give it a try. lauri watts put a lot of effort into it, but in the end there was essentially zero interest on the part of GNOME. a couple of their devs subscribed to the mailing list and took part in some early conversation, but their main HIG guy professed complete burn out when it came to this topic (and i don't blame him; he worked his ass off on the GNOME HIG and had stretched himself quite a bit in doing so) and so noted he wouldn't be available for any more HIG work. and that was that.
this was news to the fellow on irc, and he was surprised that not only was this started by a KDE person, but that we put a lot of effort into it even though it did end up going nowhere. and he couldn't think of a single other example and then realized that he'd never really sat down and thought about it explicitly. he just always assumed that the opinions of others which he had read on various discussion boards and email lists must be true (and i'm sure he in turn added to this reinforcement of the concept by contributing to such discussions). so i offered a few examples where KDE has been involved, both within freedesktop.org as well as in other industry groups.
i also noted that there are a few people in each of the projects that are pretty anti-cooperation (statistically this is unsurprising), but most people are fairly unconcerned with the topic (mostly due to being overly busy with whatever their primary effort is) with a handful of people in each project being actively involved in such things.
he came away with a very different view on KDE and our efforts to work with the rest of the world. i wonder how many other people have a similar distorted (albeit innocently) set of assumptions.
i believe it is important that when we come across such people that we don't harass or accuse them of anything (e.g. of being anti-KDE, a troll or spreading FUD) but instead simply ask them the questions that will lead to a more reality conforming conclusion. most people out there lack malice, but only know what they've heard or read.