JUL
12
2008

11 Myths about KDE

As a response to recent negativity on the Internet, we've been working with Groklaw to get a story running detailing facts about questions such as "Releasing KDE 4.0 was a mistake", "I am forced to use the kickoff menu", "The whole KDE4 desktop interface is radically new". among others. Thanks go out to Pamela Jones for giving the KDE community a chance to rectify certain points that have recently been said in public. This way, we hope to make it easier for journalists to put KDE's direction, recent decisions and put simple myths into the right light.

Comments

> When were people doing constructive criticism called trolls?

I was at least ten times in the past two weeks. If I said I didn't like a feature, then I was immediately and repeatedly labeled a troll. Apparently personal opinions are not welcome here. They need to get moving with moderation, or just disable user feedback here.

> There are not enough people contributing code.

KDE is a massive project, and I'm sure there is plenty of room for more coders. I learned Pascal almost twenty years back and did some work on BBS door games. I eventually learned some C and C++, but only enough for me to constantly be frustrated by how poor of a coder I was. I know enough to patch software, update patches for newer code, debug some stuff, fix some builds, etc. However, really I cause more trouble than I'm worth. People don't want me anywhere near code.


By T. J. Brumfield at Sun, 2008/07/13 - 5:00am

People can not be trolls yet be detrimental to the discussion (notice: I'm speaking in general). It's a matter of how the ideas are proposed and reiterated over the posts.
Such kind of people are hard to catch and reprimand, because most of the time they act well inside the boundaries of whatever rules are in place. Ever since I was a Fidonet Echo moderator many years ago, I kept on seeing people like those.
Are they trolls in the right definition? Probably not. Are they annoying and energy draining? Definitely yes.


By Luca Beltrame at Sun, 2008/07/13 - 5:00am

no, T.J., people took poorly to your feedback because your feedback was poorly presented. you really caused your own pain in these cases, and when you can go back and read what you wrote and understand that you'll be able to avoid it in the future.


By Aaron Seigo at Sun, 2008/07/13 - 5:00am

I would also like to have coital realtions with you, sir.


By illogic-al at Sun, 2008/07/13 - 5:00am

I think the essence of this is scalability. Ten years ago, the ecosystem KDE lived in was much more constraint to developers. Nowadays, the Free Software community is much larger and much more diverse. Users aren't necessarily hackers anymore. A one-to-one communication model like you describe the hacker culture ten years ago doesn't scale here. We need better ways to interact with our users, and as that's a large crowd, we also need a way to filter out the information that is relevant for us to make KDE better. And in the first place, we need to address the various groups of people we communicate with with information that is understandable and reachable for them.


By Sebastian Kügler at Sat, 2008/07/12 - 5:00am

Ten years ago trolls said KDE/Linux is not as easy as Windows. Today the notion is KDE 3.5 is much better ;-)

When you look at KDE and also QT you see that it's very well designed software. Gnome cleaned up the interface and radically reduced complexity (= less that does break) but is quite chaotic and diverse under the hood. Now the KDE rule says don't critize the competitor, I don't care. You can describe Gnome as an ecosystem that amalgamates all technology, but it has no clear defined infrastructure. You can compare it with the catholic church respecting the pope but quite diverse, with different competing groups. KDE is more protestant. It has a clear teaching that is enforced and has a meaning. Such a teaching of course also excludes and limits the contributors to those who see the benefit the infrastructure provides as an advantage.

I think Ubuntu did everything right with its Brainstorm online tool. They now want to expand this interaction tool for projects and I guess KDE would be among them.

The other question is how to train new developers to work on the plattform and finally how to build a strong business environment that finances further developments. Sorry Mr. Stallman, maybe the shareware model is what we are looking for and it can be GPL compatible.

I also appreciate the good documentation of KDE development but there is an entry barrier. Once you are part of the ecosystem you probably don't want back.

For most users a good integration of Firefox is probably more important than progress on the ACID conformance with Konqueror. This is not the job of the KDE team but a matter of desktop integration.

The great opportunity for KDE4 is to get their applications tested by the larger user base of Windows and Mac users and developers. All the applications so far just became great.


By velocifer at Sat, 2008/07/12 - 5:00am

"Ten years ago trolls said KDE/Linux is not as easy as Windows. "

No, people with a brain said that. And they could same the say today, and guess what, they'd be right.


By raptor at Sat, 2008/07/12 - 5:00am

I am just using Konqueror4 under Vista. I am totally amazed by that experience.

Vista is for users as my parents a usability nightmare but the developers did many things right. Operating systems are today alsmost irrelevant for the user experience. If Firefox works seemingless under KDE/Linux we are happy. If Firefox works seemingless under Windows we are happy.


By Karsten at Sat, 2008/07/12 - 5:00am

I'm not happy with Firefox, because it does NOT work seemlessly. Not on Windows, not on GNOME and not on KDE. What I dearly love on KDE3 is the near perfect integration of everything with everything else. I'm not talking about look, but feel. Firefox is just a browser, but Konqueror is much more.


By David Johnson at Sat, 2008/07/12 - 5:00am

Firefox 3 made some serious strides to better integration with each OS.

And apparently there is even a new mozilla-qt branch of a QT-based Firefox. I've yet to see a binary, but supposedly it works.


By T. J. Brumfield at Sat, 2008/07/12 - 5:00am

There are five different people whose computers I've rebuilt in the past two weeks who I've switched to Linux. None of them are computer savvy, and every single one told with within minutes of using KDE (KDE 3) that they found the interface easier and better.

I used to think it was a bit rude to really push Linux on people. However, when I have to constantly wipe computers because of spyware and such, I find it much easier to push Linux these days. Not a single person has ever asked me to go back to Windows yet.


By T. J. Brumfield at Sat, 2008/07/12 - 5:00am

Windows is a complete usability nightmare, and it only got worse with Vista.


By T. J. Brumfield at Sat, 2008/07/12 - 5:00am

It's not like Gnome AND KDE(because let's face it, you have to mix the two if you want to get anywhere) are any better. I can go to a store, buy the hardware I need and get it working on Windows in a matter of minutes. I can't do the same on Linux, and don't give me the "it's the manufacturer's blame" bullshit.


By raptor at Sun, 2008/07/13 - 5:00am

It is absolutely the manufacturer's fault. Linux kernel developers have even offered to do driver development for free, so if the manufacturer chooses not to take them up on that then you should complain to them.

In any case, this discussion is not about hardware support.


By Paul Eggleton at Sun, 2008/07/13 - 5:00am

Yes, as long as they release tech specifications and/or source code. Not gonna happen, welcome to the real world.


By raptor at Mon, 2008/07/14 - 5:00am

The developers taking part in the Linux driver project will even sign NDAs if the company does not want to release unrestricted specs to the public.

Any company still refusing to cooperate on even their terms, does not want to cooperate at all. Welcome to the real world.


By Kevin Krammer at Mon, 2008/07/14 - 5:00am

actually, most companies these days pay developers to support their hardware in linux. Not all, sure, but the same goes for windows - try to install vista on a random laptop, and you'll have to download 5-10 drivers from the web. Linux does much better in that regard, you rarely have to do more than graphics. And it's still getting better, as Dell and HP and others require good linux support from hardwarevendors.


By jos poortvliet at Mon, 2008/07/14 - 5:00am

I've done six different openSUSE installs in the past two weeks. Every single one had all the hardware working right away.

I used hplip and every printer was installed within seconds. Fingerprint readers were setup with minutes with incredible ease. Mind you, the fingerprint scanner I have on my work (Windows) laptop has never worked. It is an external APC biopod, and the drivers just don't work.

Here is the kicker. I have more hardware driver issues in Windows than anything else. I've been fighting trying to get some hand scanners to work in Windows at work. They are old, and the original drivers at NT4 drivers, but the box was ugpraded to XP. The manufacturer's website is gone, and no drivers to be found. In the Linux world, the drivers are in the kernel. When the driver API changes, all drivers in the kernel get updated. Old hardware support is vastly superior on Linux. Windows does not have an advantage here.

Regardless, Linux driver support doesn't relate to KDE or Gnome usability. And frankly, I don't touch Gnome at all. I've tried it a few times and really loathed it. I'd rather use Windows than Gnome, and that is saying something.

And yes, I really do believe KDE is vastly better than Windows.


By T. J. Brumfield at Sun, 2008/07/13 - 5:00am

Sorry this claim is outdated.

My (at that time: Oct. 2006) brand new Acer laptop worked and still works out of the box with at least OpenSuse and Kubuntu (hey it even connected me during install to the next available open WLAN and asked me for downloading security patches...).

I haven't come across *any* PC that works out of the box, be it Windows XP or Vista. You always need a separate set of vendor driver CD. Installing them right is a way too complex task for an average user.

Ok Ok. PC's come with preinstalled Windows. But still most of them come with shitty nasty tools: Register me here, download me there, try me, buy me blabla... Any OEM Windows I have seen needs heavy tweaking in order to let the user do his work undisturbed.

Granted there is some hardware out there that still has some problems running under Linux but it is *way less* than under Windows. Mostly you can reduce it to:
* Missing WLAN chip firmware
* External devices (e.g. some smart phones)
* Reduced 3D capabilities (will be no problem anylonger in the near future)

90% of these problems can be solved with the help of an experienced friend.

Have you ever tried running your old but still reliable hardware (especially external devices) under XP or Vista? Under Linux no problem with Windows - almost no chance. Oh I know for you money is no problem and ecology is something for long haird cereal eaters...

So stop telling your shit. You are at least 2 years to late.


By Arnomane at Sun, 2008/07/13 - 5:00am

Well drivers have nothing to do with Gnome or KDE, that's rather a part of the Kernel. So blaming desktop environments is not the right choice.

Additionally as an Apple user you were urged to buy "supported" Hardware for years, switching from Windows to Apple PCs resulted sometimes in not compatible hardware, the same goes for Linux to some degree. There are homepages trying to list working hardware, that one planning to buy hardware should visit.

Yes, there is still a lot to do, I especially had problems with printers -- also "PS"-Printers, that are no real ps-printers -- while other hardware like scanners worked surprisingly well out of the box.

Who to blame for that?

For new hardware I'd say the companies, for older hardware I'd only say the companies if they did not release specifications.
I understand when a company does not want to invest money supporting outdated -- from their point of view -- hardware for alternative plattforms, though reverse engineering is no real alternative as it is too time consuming.


By mat69 at Tue, 2008/07/15 - 5:00am

> Nowadays, the Free Software community is much larger and much more diverse. Users aren't necessarily hackers anymore.

I agree.
In a recent discussion on one of KDE's user support mailinglists we came to the conclusion that this was at least one of the reasons for all this confusion.

Our userbase has expanded and now also includes people who are overwhelmed by the level of information they are getting, e.g. developers blogging about what they are currently doing, including technical challengesin great detail.

This is IMHO more a problem of all our societies rather than the Free Software community in particular. Mainstream media, corporations and unfortunately also governments tend to restrict the level of detail their public information has, sometimes in order to retain control, sometimes in order to keep an advantage, sometimes in order to avoid inconvenient questions being asked.

As a culture based on the principles of information freedom we cannot, actually must not, limit the availability of information at the sender side.
However, we might have to think about methods to allow the receipients to limit which kind of information they are exposed to.

Over the last couple of years we greatly reduced the technical limitations of our information distribution techniques, e.g. publishing work related items on blogs rather than just mailinglists, therefore opening up this kind of information for a broader audience.

Unfortunately parts of this wider audience is now exposed to more information than they can or are willing to handle.
But instead of removing development related items for all individuals of this wider audience, we should rather come up with some way to let people filter what kind of content they get, e.g. similar to how we developers use the commit filter to only get commit mails for code parts we are interested in.

Probably having more than one feed aggregation on planets, having only high level content in the main one, etc.

This still doesn't solve the problem of news sites publishing articles based on some developer blogs, thus exposing their whole audience to a level of information they probably can't or aren't willing to handle, but lets start somewhere.


By Kevin Krammer at Sat, 2008/07/12 - 5:00am

I hate to agree, but I must. Any criticism of KDE software, even obliquely, is construed to be a personal attack. Even constructive criticisms. I maintain a tiny bit of software that is frequently suggested be dropped from KDE, but I don't put on ashes and rend my beard over it. There are far too many thin skinned fragiles in the KDE community. Not everyone of course! Most developers are great. But there are enough hypersensitives around that you need to tread carefully.


By David Johnson at Sat, 2008/07/12 - 5:00am

"Any criticism of KDE software, even obliquely, is construed to be a personal attack. Even constructive criticisms."

*Any* criticism, you say? Here's 49 that weren't:

http://lists.kde.org/?l=kde-devel&m=121226648604028&w=2

Compare and contrast Sami's post to the kind of inanity you see here on the Dot. Heck, Sami doesn't even flatter the devs very much, but look at the response he gets - not a single accusation of an attack, or anything. People should take a look at his criticisms and learn exactly what so-called "constructive criticisms" really looks like.


By anon at Sat, 2008/07/12 - 5:00am

I think he saying any level of criticism is called an attack here on the Dot.


By T. J. Brumfield at Sat, 2008/07/12 - 5:00am

Ok, that would make more sense :)


By anon at Sat, 2008/07/12 - 5:00am

that isn't true either; there's been lots of criticism on the dot that is taken quite openly and with good results.

i think some people just have a very unrealistic definition of "constructive criticism" combined with an unrealistic expectation of what is owed to them.


By Aaron Seigo at Sun, 2008/07/13 - 5:00am

Will you marry me?


By illogic-al at Sun, 2008/07/13 - 5:00am

I have been eagerly awaiting the release of KDE 4.1 and plan on installing it as soon as it is available for the distro I use. The only reason I've waited this long is that 4.0 has been advertised as being for developers and testers. I don't fall into either category. I'm excited about the new desktop. I know there will be a learning curve but there was a learning curve when I switched to Linux and adopted KDE as my desktop. Thanks to all of the developers and your hard work bringing out KDE in all of its versions. Thanks for keeping innovation on the desktop alive.


By Robert at Sat, 2008/07/12 - 5:00am

I have to say that this is exactly where I am sitting. As a linux user via kubuntu since dapper I am constantly learning and experimenting where I can ( I only have this installed at home so time is limiting).

Just like Robert has said, KDE 4 is at the moment primarily for developers etc which just ain't me.

I am the person as stipulated in the guidance that does need a stable strong system so for now until advised otherwise I will stick with KDE 3.5.9 then update in August and review by the new year progress with KDE4. I cannot (but will have to) wait until it is safer and then switch.

The analogy for me is with the upgrades from feisty to gutsy to heron....I waited until the main release and missed the alphas and betas until then. When they were ready and concrete and I felt safe I upgraded with ease ( mostly ;) )

The article from KDE was very useful in explaining the development of KDE4 and I will watch and wait and will upgrade...when it is stable as it looks very good.


By andybleaden at Tue, 2008/07/15 - 5:00am

Good article. It's what I would have said to any blathering whiner.

As for KDE4: dope!

In the words of Snoop Dogg:

F#ck the haters... Give what you got, and what you don't got you can keep.


By winter at Sat, 2008/07/12 - 5:00am

It seems bashing critics is the new thing those days... good! It was time developers started taking action, but I hope they do the right thing: fix the problems instead of complaining about complains ;)

I agree mostly with the article, BUT there are some myths that are actually true.
Plasma is not finished is so true that the author says it will be rgreat for 4.1 and 4.2 ... so how this is a myth and not the truth?
Now if you say that Plasma is incomplete BUT this is not actually a big problem because it will soon will be fixed, I have to agree, in 4.1 plasma is very mature, even that lacks a lot of functions we users learned to love from 3.5.


By protomank at Sat, 2008/07/12 - 5:00am

> so how this is a myth and not the truth?

What are you trying to say? Have you actually read the article? This is not about bashing critics, but about people like you writing utter nonsense! "Plasma is not finished" is *no* myth, but the truth, as you rightly recognize .... And nobody of the developers ever claimed the opposite. "Plasma is finished" is a myth, but no truth. Carefully reading and understanding before writing often helps a lot!


By Stefan at Sat, 2008/07/12 - 5:00am

See protomank, even oblique and indirect criticisms like yours gets bashed down hard. There is no room for anything less than blind adulation. Drink the Koolaid and be happy!


By anonymous coward at Sat, 2008/07/12 - 5:00am

Just what about that rebuttal is bashing?

Bashing is when there is no point to be made


By txf at Sat, 2008/07/12 - 5:00am

If you have nothing useful to say, then please go and annoy someone else! Nobody has anything against well thought-out and respectful critical discussions. But why do I bother anyway ... you don't even intend to understand it, right?


By Stefan at Sun, 2008/07/13 - 5:00am

"Plasma is not finished is so true that the author says it will be rgreat for 4.1 and 4.2 ... so how this is a myth and not the truth?"

*sigh*

There is no piece of software that is FINISHED. Even TeX has one new bug once in a while.

The article says "Plasma lacks functionality", which is completely different. Is true that you can't have right now 100% of the functionality of kicker+kdesktop, but right now you can do things that were completely impossible with KDE 3.5, so, in summary, plasma has a lot more functionality than kicker+kdesktop.

It's perfectly OK to say that some people want first the old functionality and care not about the new one, but unfortunately the way the software has to be developed, is not possible to do first the old things, and last the new ones.

Those people have to understand that they just need to be a bit more patient. Just because you don't have Qt4-based K3B, doesn't mean it won't be available in a while.


By suy at Sun, 2008/07/13 - 5:00am

Wasn't that I said I the last paragraph?


By Iuri Fiedoruk at Sun, 2008/07/13 - 5:00am

And this is why I'm still sticking with 3.5 - KDE4 is too unstable to use for daily work!

Now my PC in my office uses Mandriva 2008.1 + KDE 3.5.9, because I did not dare to change to KDE4. In my home's PC I tried to use KDE 4.0.4, and I (can) only use it for receiving mail. The KMail crashes often. Konqueror and Konsole could not change its encodings to my own encodings. I can not use alt+tab to switch between windows. When I logout KDE 4.0 KNotify crashes very often... IMHO KDE 4.0 is still "far from usable" from any aspect.

I did not dig more to find out the problems, since I did not spend much time on KDE 4.0. I reported some problems to bugs.kde.org. I hope KDE 4.1 will be more stable, so that I can change my work PC to KDE 4 soon. :)

Go, developers. I do appreciate your hard work, and I wish we can see a great desktop soon.


By fweng at Sat, 2008/07/12 - 5:00am

I personally find KDE 4 to be extremely stable, in fact I have yet to have any problems with it. But I guess that is mainly due to the intense work OpenSUSE have put into it for 11.


By R. J. at Sat, 2008/07/12 - 5:00am

KDE 4.1 is running pretty stable here (fedora, 4.0.85), so it would be really the last issue I would complain about it. However, I don't understand the whole discussion about: What good users are, what bad users are ... and where is the line of trolls between them.

KDE 4 had not proven yet to serve primary their users. It is technically a highlight, the codebase is looking very fine. There are lots of new ideas and concepts that will rock the house and ... most reported bugs that really are nasty are getting killed very fast. BUT ... it is lacking in the area of useability - especially for users that are not that fit in computer technologies.

The systray is a pain and heavily broken (all those non-black, transparent, colored, half-icons). It is absolutly not explainable to a new linux users, why this is there (and running in KDE 3.5 fine). Why is it not able to move favorites in kickoff with drag and drop (or any other way than text editor?) And why do we have a taskbar that small that you often cannot read the text in it fine? Cause Aaron says that it would be better this way. EVERY user I present KDE 4.0.x (and nothing changed there in the UI since there) is complaining about not having multirows or something like that. Of course, there is already a plasmoid on kde-look for this, but it has to be compiled against svn, so ... normal users are out.

Whoever says that KDE 4 is complete trash, is absolutly wrong. Everywhere there are great highlights and big improvements. However in the area of the useability there are often pretty small issues that terrible breaks the daily use of it. If they get fixed KDE would shine even more. So hopefull KDE 4.2 will fix most of them. Sorry, to have saying some critics, but I am not a fan of "revealing some myths".


By Phobeus at Sat, 2008/07/12 - 5:00am

Some of the points you mention aren't the fault of KDE. For example, systray problems originate from GTK+ bugs (for GTK+ apps) and because of limitations in the fd.o systray specification.


By Luca Beltrame at Sat, 2008/07/12 - 5:00am

They are there and it works for KDE 3.5, so at this point a normal user would stop listening at you. That's not fair, but world isn't. However, I really would like to see a bigger focus on fixing this issues, finding work arrounds etc. It really destroyes the big picture ... (and yes, I am reading the relating bugs, but I am not the person to convince) ;)


By Phobeus at Sat, 2008/07/12 - 5:00am

i am testing 4.0.84(suse11) and its really rock´s, beauty and fast, trolls may starving when 4.1 come out.


By Juan at Sat, 2008/07/12 - 5:00am

I'm trying to use 4.0.83, but it slow, buggy and incomplete. Sure it looks nice, but it is unusable. I have never been so frustrated with any KDE in my life, and I started with version 0.99!


By anonymous coward at Sat, 2008/07/12 - 5:00am

so, two very different (and equally vague =) descriptions of experiences.

variables that affect things:

* hardware

* distribution and packages used

* what you are trying to do

might be worth comparing the values of these variances between the experiences you two are having.


By Aaron Seigo at Sun, 2008/07/13 - 5:00am

When I use KDE I'm usually using a Nvidia card. They have provided superior Linux and Windows drivers for long enough, that I almost always buy them. In the future I may have to look to ATI, but the Nvidia issues seem to be KDE issues, when it is KDE that appears to slow down. KDE 3 doesn't have issues with Nvidia, nor Gnome. Perception seems to outweigh reality with the masses here.

Even if the issues is that Nvidia needs better xrender support, I'd contact them and see what I could do to help, otherwise this will be a constant battle you'll have to fight.

They won't open their entire driver. Perhaps someone could take existing xrender GPL code from the Intel driver, and use it to improve the nv driver, or write something similar under a LGPL or BSD license that Nvidia can use in their proprietary driver.


By T. J. Brumfield at Mon, 2008/07/14 - 5:00am

We will mention the horrible NVIDIA performance in our release announcement. It is present in every Qt 4.x application, and their fault. They should've fixed it long ago. You should be happy we released KDE 4.0 in January, imagine we would've released it now, and NVIDIA wouldn't have fixed their drivers for another 6+ months rendering KDE almost unusable on a large range of hardware...


By jos poortvliet at Mon, 2008/07/14 - 5:00am

Hello,

saying "KDE4 is finished" was a Myth is sort of funny. I don't recall anybody ever say that. But obviously it's an important part of the message that needs to get across.

I personally don't question as much the decisions. I am not into Free Software, because I think it somehow avoids all the mistakes. I do think it's valueable to discuss the merit of decisions after the fact. And I think it is valuable to discuss the process too.

Replacing the core desktop components kicker/plasma before the replacement was ready, was in my eyes a mistake. And I wonder if it was a necessary one for real.

In part I base that argument on the break down of one important pillar, to me the most important one: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonnet_(KDE)

This appeared to me as originated in part by the striking instability of the KDE SVN platform before 4.0.0. When I tried out KDE SVN during earlier development, I basically never managed to get a running system that was useable in some fashion. At the time, I was trying to use KOffice2 for some in house XML project, but in the end, this (and KOffice2's lack of release plan) made me turn my attention away, repeatedly to "later". This may have cooled the interest of developers, even if it shouldn't necessarily, this happens.

If I had to choose between Plasma and Sonnet, I would _any_ time take Sonnet as it would have been a clear benefit and innovation, whereas I hardly use anything but task bar and tray from Plasma. I think it will be a year still until Plasma will be a real advantage. Loosing the Sonnet developer was probably related to Plasma, probably not, can somebody tell? http://blog.jacobrideout.net/

Probably there was no such choice. But I think, the "pro-Plasma contra-old" decision was taking the project hostage to focus on Plasma, and I would say unfairly so.

So, that's why I would say and suggest KDE that "Replacements shall replace when they are ready." In my perception (only perhaps), the Plasma replacement has hindered KDE4 development more than it has helped it.

There is certainly a balance to make, and e.g. Amarok seems to benefit very nicely already, and the KDE 4.2 replacement of kdesktop (even if I don't use it, I understand how important desktop/icons are for many), will be a big adoption leader. But overall, I fail to understand why a non-ready Plasma had to be part of 4.0.0 at all.

I tend to dispute that the port of kicker/kdesktop was not actively discouraged, because I remember it differently. I do agree though, that if nobody (developer) ever wanted it, nobody ever volunteered it, no mistakes was made in creating Plasma instead. I just feel that is hard to believe.

Yours,
Kay


By Debian User at Sat, 2008/07/12 - 5:00am

"saying "KDE4 is finished" was a Myth is sort of funny. I don't recall anybody ever say that"

Plenty of people seem to be assuming it, if not outright stating it. In #kde, for example, many people referred to the upcoming 4.0.0 release as "the final release of KDE4", and many people seem to be judging the entire KDE4 series by the quality of the 4.0.0 release, or assuming that they can judge the direction of KDE by it - as if one could judge the final destination of a ship by watching it leave the harbour! Plus, I've heard many people say that they will (or worse: advise others to) "wait for KDE5" - as if KDE4 will not improve, and as if the initial release of KDE 5.0.0 will be a smooth as butter! So yes, some people really do seem to think precisely that, and so it's definitely a point that needed making.

"This appeared to me as originated in part by the striking instability of the KDE SVN platform before 4.0.0. When I tried out KDE SVN during earlier development, I basically never managed to get a running system that was useable in some fashion. At the time, I was trying to use KOffice2 for some in house XML project, but in the end, this (and KOffice2's lack of release plan) made me turn my attention away, repeatedly to "later". This may have cooled the interest of developers, even if it shouldn't necessarily, this happens."

According to my graphs, the developmental pace of KDE in the year or so prior to the release of 4.0.0 was higher than it has ever been - in fact, there's a huge spike in the middle of last year that has not yet been matched, so I don't think this is the case. Most developers work on apps, which of course do not need a "running" KDE4 install (merely some kind of stability in the libraries). As the maintainer of KDE4Daily, I've had very little difficulty in getting a huge chunk of KDE4 compiled and running from SVN every day.

"If I had to choose between Plasma and Sonnet, I would _any_ time take Sonnet as it would have been a clear benefit and innovation, whereas I hardly use anything but task bar and tray from Plasma. I think it will be a year still until Plasma will be a real advantage. Loosing the Sonnet developer was probably related to Plasma, probably not, can somebody tell? http://blog.jacobrideout.net/"

As someone who is monolingual, I find the reverse ;) I can't even begin to imagine why you're trying to tie the loss of the Sonnet developer to Plasma - there is absolutely nothing to suggest it as far as I can tell. The simple fact is that Jacob simply disappeared - no "I'm leaving KDE" note, nothing - and last I heard, no one has a clue if he is even still alive, sadly.

"Probably there was no such choice. But I think, the "pro-Plasma contra-old" decision was taking the project hostage to focus on Plasma, and I would say unfairly so."

Hmm? The only people focussing on Plasma were the Plasma developers. Your statement seems to imply that the entirety of the KDE dev team was forced to march to the beat of Plasma's drum, which isn't the case.

"I tend to dispute that the port of kicker/kdesktop was not actively discouraged, because I remember it differently. I do agree though, that if nobody (developer) ever wanted it, nobody ever volunteered it, no mistakes was made in creating Plasma instead. I just feel that is hard to believe."

Why is it so hard to believe? Do you have visions of valiant heroes trying to get Kicker and KDesktop up to speed for KDE4 and a snarling aseigo cracking his whip at them until they are cowed into submission? ;) Occam's razor, dude - Kicker and KDesktop lost mindshare because developers who tried to work with them really that they were a sucky and inflexible codebase and that Plasma was the future. Perhaps it would indeed have made 4.0.0 a better release if Aaron had ignored Plasma to focus on Kicker and KDesktop, but 4.0.0 is just a small part of KDE4 - an increasingly irrelevant part - and working on Plasma seems like a much better long-term proposition to me.


By SSJ at Sat, 2008/07/12 - 5:00am

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