About a week and a half ago, I was nearly taken-in when an item appeared on The Register that tied recent Linux desktop woes to behind the scenes moves by Microsoft to enforce patents against GNOME. Supposedly, GNOME was violating Redmond’s patented designs of the Windows 95 desktop, most specifically the Start Menu and the Start button. According to the story painted by reporter Liam Proven, KDE was also guilty of violating the same patents, but got a pass as they benefited from the famous Novel/Microsoft patent swap deal, being they were the default desktop in SUSE.
According to this telling of the story, it appears as if all of the brohaha that’s ensued during the last couple of years over the much maligned GNOME 3, with it’s radically changed UI meant to redefine the desktop experience, was all brought about as a response to threats Redmond was making about the design of the “decadent” GNOME 2 interface. In other words, according to Mr. Proven, GNOME 3 wasn’t brought about because of any high-minded ideas the developers had about leading us into a brave new world of desktop interfaces. Far from it. GNOME 3 was a way to keep from being sued out of existence by Microsoft.
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