I'm sorry to see Novell dropping support for KDE, though I can
understand the benefits to them of having a single primary desktop
environment. To a certain extent we do that too: Gnome is the Ubuntu
desktop, and our underlying infrastructure release cycle (kernel,
toolchain etc) is syncronised to the Gnome release process.
But the Kubuntu project creates space for the KDE community to ship the
best KDE desktop they can, on a stable and supported platform, and I
think they should be given every opportunity to continue that work.
While it is sometimes frustrating for ISV's and IHV's to have multiple
desktop environments, the fact that we have Gnome, KDE and even other
environments like XFCE creates more opportunities for innovation across
the free software world. ISV's are just going to have to deal with that.
The future of the software industry looks different to the present,
although the existence of both Windows and Mac platforms suggests that
the world is already used to the idea of competing desktop stacks.
I would encourage the Gnome and KDE developers to continue to look for
places to collaborate. There is no reason for arbitrary duplication, or
a lack of interoperability. And in fact the two communities have plenty
of things in common, and plenty of reasons to collaborate. Having spent
time with both communities I think they are both committed to excellence
in free software. It is disappointing to see comments from members of
the communities suggesting that the other side acts in bad faith - the
differences between Gnome and KDE are cultural and technical, not
because either side wishes ill of the other. If you are a member of one
or the other community, think carefully before you generalise about the
other side, you will only make it harder to find the things you actually
share. Good, healthy relationships are hard to build when people say
mean and ultimately ill-informed things about one another. There is
classy work on both sides of this fence.