GNOME won the desktop battle, will Linux lose the war?
Despite the head start that KDE enjoyed, the large number of KDE users and developers, and Linus Torvalds personally endorsing KDE, GNOME has won the desktop environment battle. The final victory came with the third piece of a corporate trifecta, giving GNOME the official nod from Red Hat, Sun Microsystems, and finally Novell. The question is, will the triumph of GNOME lead to the rise or downfall of the Linux desktop?
Novell goes GNOME
Red Hat and Sun Microsystems have long supported GNOME as their primary desktop environment. In August, 2003, Novell acquired Ximian, a GNOME oriented company. Then, in November, 2003, acquired SUSE, the second most popular Linux distribution and a KDE oriented company. For a time, it appeared there was an internal struggle to determine the official desktop direction of Novell SUSE.
Beating the dead equine
The main argument I've heard for GNOME is that its license is more business friendly because the libraries are licensed under the LGPL while KDE libraries are under the GPL. Apparently, the LGPL provides more flexibility for vendors to integrate various bits of code into their distributions without GPLing all it. I am not a lawyer so I don't know how much this weighed in the decision of each company to go GNOME.