Dear Glyn Moody:
I found how you trotted out an age old and long since dealt with issue, namely the licensing of Qt1, as a way to discuss what you consider to be "the growing tensions between the KDE and GNOME camps" to be tasteless and ironic. If you want to help mend fences (we need all the hands we can get), the last thing to do is drag long-since dealt with issues that have been irrelevant for years back to the surface.
A cynic might think you were trying to deflect the issues that have arisen around OOXML and the negative attention it has resulted in for GNOME by kicking the someone else's dead horses. Personally, I think you were just being a bit clumsy while trying to make the point that everyone falters now and again and that nobody gains from conflict within our shared house. I think your intentions were good but unfortunately the road to hell, as they say, is paved with good intentions.
We in the free software world have been mending the schisms that came about due to events that predate the turn of the century through hard, sustained effort. The efforts have come from people on all sides of all projects. freedesktop.org has become a ever stronger rallying point, as have initiatives such as the Linux Foundations desktop architect's group and greater participation in shared technologies such HAL/DBUS to name just one of many, many success stories. The fact that more and more GNOME and KDE community members spend time with each other at conferences and communicate regularly shows how far we've come. Today we blog on each other's planet's, hang out on each other's irc channels and regularly attend each other's conferences; the lines between "ours and theirs" are blurring more and more because of this. That's a healthy thing, and something we're achieving without destroying the state of coopetition or the various projects' identities.
I've personally enjoyed building relationships with people such as Dave Neary (we've often talked about foundation related stuff), John Palmieri and many others. Hanging with Ben Otte at aKademy and having some really interesting conversations with him was one of the highlights of the event for me. I regularly deal with companies that are "Gtk+ shops" and know many people who work with one set of tools at work, another at home, etc. Nobody bats an eye at this anymore, and I'm not unique in this experience, either.
So, with respect, if you feel there are "growing tensions between the KDE and GNOME camps" I can only point out that this may be your perception but it is certainly not the reality of things. Unfortunately, when you decide to needlessly dredge up the dead past, you endanger the process of schism healing you say you want to see happen. It would be sad that if by mistaking the world to be divided you actually helped make it so.
It should be pointed out to you that KDE's statement on ODF was not a jab at GNOME or any other free software people. Juxtaposing our position with that of GNOME's was the work of media pundits and concerned individuals such as Richard Stallman; it was something we had no part, let alone say, in. In fact, we specifically discussed amongst ourselves how the last thing we wanted to create was an "us vs them" thing. This can be hard when the media swirls about trying to invent sensationalistic headlines at every turn.
So why did KDE say anything at all? We felt it necessary to make it clear where we stood on a matter that was getting increased attention. Not only were we being asked where we stood on the issues more and more, we feel very strongly about free and open standards. This is something that KDE and GNOME both have in common, I might add. As such, we felt it necessary to clearly, and we hoped without controversy, state our position on open standards and free software. Other free software projects will have their own positions, most of which (hopefully all, actually) will be complimentary with ours. All the same, we have no bone of contention with what you or others decide to do. We recognize that each has the right to take their own stands, and that we can only own what we do ourselves. In fact, we learned the hard way many years ago just how painful it can be when that grace is not afforded to you and people decide to make a public issue of growing pains and stumbling blocks one unwittingly lays at their own feet.
Let me close by saying that I think it is sad and unfortunate that so much has been made of the OOXML vis-a-vis the GNOME Foundation story. I wish people would let it die. I agree with you on this point: this meme does no service to the free software desktop world. I personally believe it has been blown out of proportion, represented too often in the worst possible light and, largely through communications mismanagement, become one hell of a mountain-that-should-have-been-a-molehill. I'm very sorry that the GNOME project is having to go through this. I also know that in a year or two's time this will be an inconsequential blip of a footnote in their history.
In the meantime, let's try and not pile further insult onto the injury or attempt to fix it by dragging others down in the process.
Aaron Seigo, fellow free software desktop hacker.