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EFYtimes Interviews Matthias Ettrich

Swapnil Bhartiya, of the EFY News Network, interviews Matthias Ettrich, the founder of KDE.

Ettrich talks about how he started KDE in 1996 to provide a Free Software answer to Windows 95, and how it has grown until today, when KDE offers a generally superior environment to Microsoft’s: “Try to compare Windows XP with KDE 3: nobody in their right mind would choose Windows over GNU/Linux based on the desktop experience alone.” (Why he specifically mentions the previous version of each desktop environment, I’m not sure.)

He also points out some of the remaining obstacles for Free Software: “Microsoft Office is still a major hurdle; we need more governments and companies to have the bravery to standardise on truly open formats. A proprietary undocumented text format as the de facto standard — and that’s what .doc is — is a shame for all parties involved. It’s like using a special patented ink that can only be read with special patented sun glasses.” (KDE is promoting ODF, as one of its earliest and strongest backers.)

He’s also optimistic about India’s future as an open source powerhouse. “India is a major commercial software development centre, home to some of the world’s largest software companies, and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t play a similar role in the Free Software space.”

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