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

Hello,

sad to hear about Jacob getting lost. By "hostage" I mean that the release was only possible once Plasma had reached a barely useable state, and that took longer than anticipated.

About Aaron, I hardly would have wanted Aaron to do something he didn't want to do, not that I could have, I also didn't want it. My complaint is fueled by the "No plasma on Windows" part, I got the impression that Aaron had indeed was not being reasonable about Plasma.

And about Sonnet. It's a real pity, because with it, people would take more about enterprise readiness of KDE4. Such a unique feature would tremendously benefit the workflow of many people. I still hope it will be done one day. Sadly one few can do it, it appears.

And no doubt, working on Plasma is not bad. I have no concern that in the end Plasma will not be a killer application for KDE4. It will be.

I just have it on my mind, that with not as aggressive hype/vaporware Plasma, we probably would have both the old stuff and the new stuff and be happy. I can't prove it, but it seems unusual to me how that Plasma thing went.

Did KDE ever before abdandom such critical components before there was code? It could well be a sign of maturity.

Yours,
Kay


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

> About Aaron, I hardly would have wanted Aaron to do something he didn't want to do, not that I could have, I also didn't want it. My complaint is fueled by the "No plasma on Windows" part, I got the impression that Aaron had indeed was not being reasonable about Plasma.

What do you mean by "No plasma on Windows"? I might have missed talk on that, so I just want to be sure what exactly you're meaning. What I do know is that libplasma is platform agnostic (i.e. no direct dependencies to Xlib etc.) and for example is used in Amarok, even on Windows.

Further, Plasma uses/has to use X.org libraries to integrate with the X server. There is simply no way to avoid X.org libraries when you're implementing a desktop. The advantage with Plasma (again AFAIK) is that most of it is platform agnostic, offering a Windows developer the opportunity to possibly port it to Windows. (Even on Windows, it is possible to swap the desktop shell and set Konqueror as default file manager although explorer.exe will go defiant at that point.)


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

Hello,

I am referring to statements on a blog no longer open to the public. But once upon a time, there was discussion why Free Software should not be ported to Windows. That was of course before the decision was made that KDE will be ported. And later there was a definite "No" to a Plasma port in that blog. I think the argument was that Plasma should be "Linux" (or alike) specific.

There is and must be a part of Plasma that abstracts the underlying display technology, but it certainly need not be Xorg that is abstracted. It could well be MacOS or Windows stuff there.

Yours,
Kay


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

The arguments for not porting Plasma(The context was always, the Plasma desktop) are rather simple, straight forward and obvious.

The non X11 platforms, Windows and OSX, already have desktop shells.

Since running two desktop shells simultaneously are a real mess, it would require Plasma to replace the native ones. But since the native desktop shells are more or less required for applications to run on those platforms, it would requre that Plasma needs to implement the necessary functionality to stay compatible. Not only would it be lot of work and rather quickly run out of scope of Plasma, it would most likely also requre invasive changes to Plasma to make it work.

So from a technical angle it is basicly a really bad idea. And when you look at it from a Free Software perspective, it would be rather braindead. Why waste lots of work on trying to replace the standard solution on proritare platforms, when you can spend the resources on improving the Free solution and continue to make it better than the alternatives.


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

Hello,

I accept the point that technically it will be difficult.

I not accept your point on Free Software perspective. You know that Free Software _did_ replace everything on everything so far. From replacing the UNIX tar, ls, shell, etc. to the Windows IE, people have and will replace everything they can.

And why would KDE bring its applications to Windows with your argumentation. Why then an Amarok where there are already "standard" media players? Why a Konqueror where there is already an IE and Explorer?

Once Plasma is better than other desktop shells, I believe it should be ported to the other systems. For a simple reason: More users, more developers, more exposure, more press, more ideas, ....

And who to do it? Of course not us who care about Linux, but obviously KDE is going to attract enough Windows/Mac developers, starting with its applications. And probably some smart guys will work out how to deal with the system tray.

Yours,
Kay


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

One if his reasons, I guess, might be to give linux SOME advantage over windows... Anyway, his point is HE won't be working on it - anyone else is free to do so, this is FOSS.


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

"I am referring to statements on a blog no longer open to the public."

incorrect.

"I think the argument was that Plasma should be "Linux" (or alike) specific."

the plasma workspace will remain on Free operating sytems, yes. libplasma has been portable from day 1.

there may well be efforts to port plasma as a desktop shell replacement at some point by others, but my own focus remains free software systems.

this in no way hindered any effort within kde, and i resent you making such an insinuation.


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

What about libplasma being used in Amarok? I assume that it will be compiled for Windows, so plasma effects to an extent will be available on Windows. I'm guessing the ZUI, taskbar, containments and the like won't show up on Windows however. Is this correct?


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

As he said - he won't work on it, but this is free software so somebody else can.


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

Hello Aaron,

I welcome that the blog is again open, that's great by itself.

I also stand corrected and ashamed, as my googling showed that you never said what I thought you said. I might say I picked it up in another forum, but I don't think so.

Well, so guess what, I am happy now and hope you are not too angry with me.

Yours,
Kay


By Debian User at Mon, 2008/07/14 - 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.

The problem is that is was officially released. Yes there were notes that 4.0 was for development and testing. For me that really means that it is Alpha or Beta code. An official release says to the work that is is ready to use in a production environment. KDE 4.0 was clearly not ready for that.


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

> Replacing the core desktop components kicker/plasma before the replacement was ready, was in my eyes a mistake.

> So, that's why I would say and suggest KDE that "Replacements shall replace when they are ready."

Good points. However, I am not so sure using KDE3 Kicker and KDesktop or no panel/kmenu and desktop at all would have been understood either.

A release without workspace components would probably be possible technically, but I wonder what people's reactions would have been.
This is quite easier for non-workspace applications, e.g. the KDE PIM apps, but even there the strategy of keeping the existing implementation as long as necessary has created quite some confusion.

Now imaging doing this with workspace apps like Kicker. Some people would probably complain that it is still the same, some would complain that they would need two sets of libraries, some people would probably complain about not having widgets despite some developers working on that.

It is always easy to compare options after the fact but I personally I think that shipping a basic workspace built on top of the new stack still looks better than not shipping workspace at all and relying on distributors to ship a combination with a different workspace, e.g. KDE3's one.

Of course some people, including yourself, would have preferred this option, but since this is more a matter of runtime, e.g. which programs are auto started with a KDE session, it is still available to users, admins and distributors, while keeping the first option available to those who would like to try it instead.


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

> Replacing the core desktop components kicker/plasma before the replacement was > ready, was in my eyes a mistake.

and who was going to get the kde4 ports of kicker and kdesktop working well? at what point would plasma get testing and work?

let's see if it was a mistake in a month's time, in 6 months time and in a year's time.

> Loosing the Sonnet developer was probably related to Plasma, probably not,

that's an accusation not based in fact at all. it's a really low thing to accuse the plasma team over. poor form.

> taking the project hostage to focus on Plasma

the only people who focused on plasma was the plasma team. everyone else worked on their own parts, just as they always have.

i spent a huge amount of my time working on kdelibs as well. so even i wasn't held hostage.

may i ask what your supporting evidence for your claims above are?

> I fail to understand why a non-ready Plasma had to be part of 4.0.0 at all.

because .. it's a part of kde4. not shipping it with 4.0 would've been even more rediculous. 4.0 was a release that it fit into just fine, given what the goal for 4.0 was

> I tend to dispute that the port of kicker/kdesktop was not actively
> discouraged, because I remember it differently

let's not rely on your memory. provide some documentary evidence and we can talk from there.


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

Hello Aaron,

Regarding memory: I can't google your Blog anymore to cite you. That's my excuse for relying on memory. You bet, I would try to back it up. Is it easily possible to make the old Blogs accessible ?

I don't think it's wrong to say that you encouraged work on Plasma instead of work on kicker/kdesktop, calling it dead early on. That was not a necessary step to do and that was the mistake. I am not calling it a mistake that you yourself didn't do it, you sure beared a lot maintaining it in KDE 3. And I am not considering Plasma anything but (yet another) genious deed from you, even if its currently visible state is anything but pityful (I was using 4.1 SVN for some time).

I would like developers to not push their own projects at the cost of other projects, that's my point.

And that accusation, I was just trying to give an example. I didn't say I knew for real. But that's my argument, with Plasma breaking the desktop experience not only for 4.0.0 users badly, but also all the time during development, the incentive to use that desktop was reduced. That may have cost KDE valuable developers. I somehow always assumed that the lack of Sonnet was related to KDE4 taking forever to get usable. I take it could be something unrelated to KDE though. So don't see it as an accusation, just me trying to back up with an example.

In reverse, if you - only for a minute - accepted my theory that KDE4 would be stronger in other domains, if Plasma had been developed slower, but with less breakage of the existing desktop. Wouldn't you imagine that a more functional desktop at late Alpha time, would have encouraged even more participation and more pillars of KDE4 to succeed earlier or at all?

Your fundamental assumption is that a broken desktop shell didn't harm the development of KDE4 at all. That can't possibly be right, can it? For sure, people could work around it, using KDE3 as desktop shell and only a handful of KDE4 applications. But does that generate the excitement and overall inclusion into KDE4 that many people wanted? For me it did not and I can imagine for others it did not as well.

And just to note: And your time in kdelibs was very well spent. I have learned a lot just from observing your refactorings there. That was really fun, I guess to you too. And thanks to Trolltech for letting you have the time, I am 100% certain KDE 4 libraries are a big time better due to your involvment. You really make a difference.

So please, the trouble and all that aside. There is a point to be had. I think you should not have discouraged kicker/kdesktop porting from the start. You could have done Plasma even when a KDE 4 alternative to it existed.

Obviously now, all is sane, and KDE 4 and Plasma do generate the excitement it takes. After 4.1 and 4.2 releases much relief will be had, and it will all be history. But can we still learn from it?

Yours,
Kay


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

If Aaron and the team had ported kicker etc instead of developing plasma, when do you think it would be a suitable point to release Plasma? Within the KDE4 cycle or hold it over until KDE5? Can you imagine the reaction if plasma replaced kicker etc later in KDE4 development cycle? There are enough people here that couldn't read or comprehend the very simple rationale of the KDE4 4.0 release as it is.
It would be a complete waste of resources to port kicker etc all then throw it away.

KDE3 to KDE4 is a paradigm shift so it makes perfect sense to make the decision to develop and introduce Plasma in KDE4.

Stick to 3.5 until KDE4 suites you.


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

Hello,

there are two important things about release times: Release early. And release when it's ready.

The suitable time to replace would have been around 4.2 when Plasma will have become fully able to mimick kicker/kdesktop by means of configuration. That would not have caused uproad but rejoicing instead. And until then, people would have had the freedom to use it already.

About that waiste of resources, that would be in the hands of those who do it, to decide. But do you really consider that the community and developers have not lost more time, because of it?

I think Plasma would have received only positive feedback ever, had somebody stepped up to port kicker/kdesktop combination, even if only for a limited time. That large amounts of negative feedback itself must have worked to the detriment of Plasma. Who wants to be a part of a project that is seen negatively? May have turned people away from it.

And Plasma in KDE4. Sure. But not necessarily exclusively. And while I give up the notion that the port was being actively discouraged (there is no proof for it), I still uphold that the port would have been a huge benefit to the project and not resource loss.

I will try to list the losses we incured:

a) Momentum. There was a time, when people started to think alternatives would be practically dead in the water once KDE4 will start releases.
b) Nobody even considers honestly to make 4.1 the default desktop, because 3.x remains a must-have rival. The desktop shell of 4.1 may still not be stable enough to build on it, although it certainly is getting there. With a kicker/kdesktop port as stable as the old one, it would be a no-brainer.
c) I feel there was a chance to loose Aaron as a developer. We definitely lost some of open attitude that was a huge community bond. He is making such a huge difference on both fronts, we won't want to loose him.
d) Delayed 4.0 release. Plasma was one of the reasons that caused the delay. With an alternative ready, it would have been simple to delay it past 4.0.0 easily.
e) Less feedback on 4.0 before release, because the lack of usable desktop shell prevented early adopters to run/bug report the code for an extended time.

All of that makes me regret that I have not have undertaken the effort to port kicker/kdesktop. I mean, how hard could it have been. But in all honesty, I didn't think that Plasma would be so much work, so the issue came only up once all the damage was already done or happening.

Yours,
Kay


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

4.1 is absolutely a completely fine desktop. I don't doubt most distributions will make it the default in their next release (or 4.2, which should be released in six months or so, if their next release coincides with that). The latest updates I got from OpenSUSE are very stable indeed.


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

> And release when it's ready.

The main problem with that is the definition of "ready". Everybody has their own sets of criteria for it.

As one of tens of million of Free Software desktop users I am glad so many projects and software distributors have a different set than those who claim "not ready yet".

I value the option to decide for myself when software is ready for my usage patterns, when it does fullfill my set of "ready" criteria.

That's the power of "release early", since it allows different target groups to adopt new things at different stages.


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

"Release early/ready" - they did so the applications developers had access to the APIs.

You cannot change a desktop paradigm in the middle of a release cycle, that is complete suicide, so to put plasma into 4.2 is a non-runner. I put most of the issues down to people not reading and understanding what the release of KDE4 4.0 was for.

"That large amounts of negative feedback itself must have worked to the detriment of Plasma. Who wants to be a part of a project that is seen negatively? May have turned people away from it." see my point above and i guess you still don't understand it.

" All of that makes me regret that I have not have undertaken the effort to port kicker/kdesktop. I mean, how hard could it have been." There is nothing stopping you from doing this even now so what is stopping you? Why not start doing it as an exercise and then you can tell us all, from experience, just how hard/easy it would have been.

I think Aaron has the right approach to step outside of repeatedly all these stupid myths perpetuated by people such as yourself.

They made the correct design and development decisions, end of story.


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

Hello,

of course you can introduce alternative desktop shells in the middle. What basis do you have to say that you cannot? Can you detail, why we couldn't?

The negative feedback of Plasma exists independently of me understanding. Just like some KDE pillars will be later than 4.0, Plasma could have been too. It's not like all KDE 3.5 technology was introduced with 3.0, not at all methinks.

I think you are making up a Myth that KDE developers cannot possibly have made any form of suboptimal decisions.

Now come and tell me, why only Gnome developers can make suboptimal decisions, but not KDE developers. Is it the drinks they get during Akademy?

To not allow any discussion of what happened, what could have happened and what should have happened, but saying "end of story" is pretty damaging. If you limit the discussion in that way, how is KDE supposed to learn from the past?

And about that implementation. Well, hell yeah, it would have been fun. But as a matter of fact, that port could not be ready before 4.2, at which point the Plasma configuration will likely be much better and more capable. Plus the applets would already all be Plasma only at the time. So the only chance to do it was at the start of KDE 4.0, now it's pointless.

And in the eyes of many others it was pointless too. But you can trust me, that I would not have wanted KDE to experience, what it experienced now. The thing was, at the time, it was not clear that Plasma would finish so late. I mean, you know Aaron's output, I didn't consider that Plasma would take so long to mature. Plasma has not been attempted before, so it certainly was hard to estimate. Actually I was thinking "Aaron will manage". Probably not the best attitude from me, certainly not helping at all. But meet me in hell.

Yours,
Kay


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

The thing was, at the time, it was not clear that Plasma would finish so late.

Plasma was complete as of the initial 4.0 release. It was the panel containment that was not necessarily complete (resize, moving plasmoids), as well as the desktop containment (icons on desktop).

The reason no developers wanted to port kicker and kdesktop was because the code was a beast. Have you ever looked at that thing? Devs wanted it replaced because it had become nearly impossible to maintain. Fixing bugs in one area introduced bugs in other areas. It would have been a lot of work porting that over to Qt4. The developers judged that the work required to port the old desktop was too much considering it would be replaced.

Also, developers probably recognized (like so few users seem to) that you can still use the old desktop! KDE 3.5.9 is still out there, being maintained. You can even use KDE4 apps with that KDE3 desktop!

Should they have released 4.0 as KDE-developer-preview or a beta or something? Maybe. But yelling about it on the internet really isn't helping anything.


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

Hello,

just to note: The release plan of 4.0 was in part also driven by the planned release party at Google. The final Plasma could not be judged from the last RC by Aarons words here on the dot. Probably a slight indication that another RC would have been due, normally.

But I am not among those that think releasing 4.0 at the time was a mistake. Not at all! It's so important for KDE to release, to increase participation. No application porting and a lot less translation would be going on at all without the release happening.

The only blame on Plasma could be any form of delay for that release or slow down of adoption of it. And that certainly is the case. The thing that I dislike is that with KDE 4.0 release, for the first time ever, a new KDE version was not ready for adoption as default desktop. And that's solely because of Plasma not yet being in 4.1/4.2 state.

A soft migration would have avoided that completely, but probably it was not possible, at least nnd not likely to happen, that's for sure.

Yours,
Kay


By Debian User at Wed, 2008/07/16 - 5:00am

I'm from MADAGASCAR (an Island in the Indian Ocean), a French speaking country, so apologize for my poor English. This my first post ever on a KDE forum even I've used KDE for almost 8 years now. I started using it with KDE1 included in Mandrake 7. The reason for my post is for the past few weeks, I was shocked by the negativity shown by some people regarding KDE4, and I decided to post here to encourage the KDE4 team for their good work.
Still I don't understand people who are using Linux to be closed-minded like this, why didn't they understand that changes are required if you want something to move forward. Sorry to tell this, but European and American people are supposed to have received a better education than us, so if we are able to bear the changes, and understand the challenges I don't understand why they didn't.
Personally, I use Slackware (for me the best distro ever), and I always compile KDE4 form source, I never had any serious crashes.
I think KDE4 is moving to right direction.


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

Gee, I'm British and your English is just as good as mine. No need to apologise for that. That thing about edumacation, I hope you have the stats to back it up. Anyways, people are always going to b*tch about stuff. It is natural to resist change when you do not understand that change. KDE is moving ahead. The openSUSE team have spoilt me, I no longer compile KDE from source. I'm happy and glad you are too. Now if only time can fly by so that I can have everything from KDE that I want...


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

Changes scares people, it have always been that way; so don't worry, there will always be someone who will complain. But there are also many who are more than satisfied with KDE 4. IMHO KDE 4 is a brave move in the right direction, is a bet on the future of the Linux desktop. So keep up the good work guys, and don't worry; you're on the right way.


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

Every piece of software have people kicking into it.
I've seen it allot with Opera, every good thing about software is being avoided, and every response they see as an attack.
Why?
Of course every software has it's bugs, which could be a reason to kick(a bug rapport would of course be much better, but that would be to easy.)
Also you've got people that just love Microsoft and believe that there's nothing better and greater than it(the world is flat?)
And for a lot of years that was maybe true, but times changed, and that is very difficult to understand for some.
That an article as this one is needed to make the world round again, so be it.
It's the moment to bend the negative energy to a positive one.

Great work!!!!!!!


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

KDE 4.1 is great, but still all the complaining is more about *The* Desktop, in KDE 3.x the desktop is a place to store/download important files, which users are so used to.

KDE 4.x doesn't have this old desktop, the folder view is annoying (and the composite makes folderview etc. applets very sluggish to work with most AGP cards, Nvidia, Intel (high end ones), etc.)

Other issues when kde 4.0 came out

1. Flash plugin was incompatible with konqueror 4.0 and caused crashes.
2. Kickoff menu was incomplete (no resize)
3. Panel (no configuration)

Please try KDE 4.0.84 or 4.0.85 (kde 4.1 based), we can see a great desktop (without the desktop ;), no crashes, good performance, and good look and feel.

k3b, amarok, ktorrent are just working great.


By Asif Ali Rizwaan at Sat, 2008/07/12 - 5:00am

I am currently running kde 4.0.5 on gentoo and the flash plugin still doesn't work here. ( works fine with firefox though and it is in the list of konqueror plugins.. )

If this is already supposed to be fixed, how do i get it working?


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

please switch to kde 4.0.84 (kde 4.1beta2) or kde 4.0.85 (kde 4.1rc1). everything just works there. :)


By Asif Ali Rizwaan at Sat, 2008/07/12 - 5:00am

Ah thanks, That's great to hear.
It's good enough for me to know that it has been fixed for now. :)
I think i will switch to kde 4.1 when it's ready.
Building experimental packages like kde 4.1 on gentoo is a bit of a risk and there isn't really any way back...
( and we still have firefox until then.. )

All in all i am pretty happy with the kde4 experience though.
People seem to forget that the first kde 3.5 release wasn't that polished either. I understand that sometimes in order to gain something you have to something and i am confident that the developers are making the right choices.

kde4 is going to rock.


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

> Building experimental packages like kde 4.1 on gentoo is a bit of a risk and there isn't really any way back...

You could build in your $HOME using kdesvn-build. http://kdesvn-build.kde.org/. This will give you the possibility to fall back to your system-wide installation at any time.


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

Sounds like something i might actually try ;)

Thanks!


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

Well, if the flash plugin is incompatible, shouldn't you complain to those who made it?

Seriously, the Flash developers changed a lot very low-level things in flash, making it very hard to get it to work with non-firefox browsers on linux... I can hardly blame the Konqi dev's for not keeping up with some proprietary technology, esp in the face of large changes. I'd rather see ppl spend time on the Free alternatives...


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

I didn't post here for a while and I probably won't ever again. The atmosphere on the Dot has become unbearable in the last months. Half of the comments are from angry trolls, repeating their same old FUD again and again.
It's refreshing to read KDE-related news on other sites, because the comments there aren't that downright negative.

Like mailinglists get flooded by spam, the dot seems to be flooded by trolls. What kind of community news site is that?
Why do developers even read the comments on the Dot? I wouldn't...

Thanks to the Devs for your hard work, please don't listen to the trolls, you do an awesome job!


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

There's going to be a moderation system put in place soon that will hopefully ameliorate things, although the best thing to do with a troll - rather than just mod him or her down - is to tackle their points in a calm and logical manner, no matter how draining this is or how completely thick-headed they are (and you just had to read the comments on some of aseigo's blogs to see how [purposefully?] dense some people can be - you can tell them one thing in incredibly clear and concise English, and they'll still somehow manage to think you mean something completely different).

Luckily, you don't necessarily have to be a dev to do this - anyone who has insight into what is *really* going on in KDE-land - rather than the paranoid fantasies some people apparently adhere to - can help out by correcting misconceptions. A good example is here:

http://dot.kde.org/1179921215/1214618001/

The poster made a familiar "Wah wah KDE is becoming like GNOME therefore I'm switching to GNOME" (which is pretty dumb anyway, if you think about it), but the two examples he gave of the alleged GNOME-ish tendencies were immediately verifiable as completely, objectively wrong. Sadly, the only person who stepped up to correct these misconceptions was a KDE developer, whose energy, frankly, would be put to better use in coding on KDE. *Anyone* - developer or no - running recent KDE could have stepped in and saved him the trouble, and it's a real shame that they didn't.

So, if people really want to start making the Dot a better place, please follow Boud's example and don't just sit around waiting for a dev to do it! :)


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

No, the only sane way to deal with real trolls is to ignore them (or downmod, which serves the same purpose).

Trying to argue with a troll will just feed it.


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

I agree. Arguing with a troll isn't productive. A true troll just wants to instigate people and get them riled up. You can completely ignore them, or can you can disarm them. Don't take their bait. Don't let them upset you. But when they post clear fallacies, I agree with the GP that it can be quite effective to correct clear fallacies and disarm them.


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

Especially trolls who never used KDE 4 (or KDE as a matter of fact), trolls who simple look at screen shots and read the articles of other trolls in order to form an opinion which is often a repetition of other trolls.
Sometimes I think it's all mixed with a little envy and hate.

i would also like to thank the devs for their hard work and especially for having the patience and nerves to tolerate some of the bullsh!t that goes on here.


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

The only way things will get better is if the good people stay.


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

Developers still read the comments because, because there are also a lot of nice comments that motivates us a lot to keep working. (I tend to have "mental filters" on negative comments). But yes a moderation system will be very cool, no need for "mental filters" !


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

no one is forced to reply, you can just ignore negative comments or ask what they propose and plan to improve things. Maybe an angry troll will start a new group to get funds for desktop development slaves or whatever. Or starts coding. You never know. Ask him or her how he wants to solve it.


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

Who will moderate the moderators? Banning all criticism, as many here seem to want, will make this nothing more than an echo chamber. Screw that. I don't like trolls either, but they are the price one pays for an open forum discussion. This attitude to "shut up and code" is intellectually dangerous.


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

> Who will moderate the moderators?
As the users are the moderators themselves: all of us (perhaps with the sane restriction to people with accounts or commenters displaying their real names instead of "anonymous coward" :)

Regarding your other point: yes, banning all criticism is bad. Fortunately that's not the point of the dot's coming moderation system. Since you seem to have missed the hate depates that took place here and in the devs' blogs for the last few months, let me just say: t'was no fun. Putting some obstacle into the ways of at least some of these commenters is no sign of an "shut up an code" attitude but one of the last resorts to protect this very community.

I am very happy this moderation system will come. Hopefully the dot will become a less hostile place again for people who simply like KDE and it's community, p.e. me.


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

and dear, this baby is wonderful.... I tell you!

I always get the impression that at least 30% of the people trolling here on the dot have only taken a glimpse at kde4.0 or simply never even tried to install it (I have to admit, the svn guide how to compile kde on techbase is confusing). Btw.... it's actually very easy to compile kde on your own (cmake is doing a great job, I think).

What I especially like about KDE is that it usually persuades with pure technical merits. Those were meanwhile growing under the surface and are now eager to crop up during the coming release cycles. From my point of view, the moment kde4 was born it became clear that it was born out of a vision. This is what gets me thrilled! There's no corporate control over KDE that is fearing huge changes, this is open-minded development. It's so refreshing to see brilliant ideas not getting stuck in some enterprise suggestion system but getting real at an incredible pace.

Being sane and rational all the time, only allowing for incremental improvements is just not how nature works (of course "incremental updates" are important too, but that's only 50% of the game)


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

KDE 4.0 is by the far better than KDE 3.5.

I love technologies like Phonon , when you can develop a video player , audio player or other multimedia widget using Phonon library without thinking in the final backend xine , ffmpeg , gstreamer , ...

These kind of changes make an easy and unified way to develop KDE applications.


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

So, if everything is fine, where does all this "negativity on the Internet" come from?

Stupid users, loud minorities, obnoxius people, ...? So does KDE have a very special, hostile, loud, ... community? I'm not to sure that that's all about how this could happen.

I think, for the moment the situation is like it is. I'm a bit tired to hear the same arguments over and over, resulting in a growing frustration among devs and some users. Well, to tell the truth: I thought the situation is relaxing a bit in the moment as 4.1, eps. with the commits of the last weeks, seems to smooth a lot of former critics, including myself. Surely not all, and some *will* surely come up with "But 4.1 was supposed to be the first one for end users and I still won't switch, because of ..." So be prepared for that.

So if we have to go though all that again, IMHO a much more intersting discussion would be: How could it come to this and how could we avoid that this happens again? Aaron once mentioned a "user council", maybe an better user forum would also be needed. Hopefully that could help to boil down the aggresive critics to either discussabel issues or sometimes even to nothing in a sort of "self-hygiene" among the users. And sometimes "visions" about how things should look and work differ, and there's nothing more you can do about that than to accept that.

On the other hand I really do think that mistakes in communication from the devs and marketing have been done and that these also contributed in the first place to the first heated and now frustrated situation. Now repeating over and over again "No mistakes had been made" blocks the way to a helpful dicussion what happend.

I don't want to see someone "blamed", IMHO we also could skip that whole discussion and close that unpleasant chapter of KDE history (beside that after the release of 4.1 there *will* be again some unhappy users, see above). But if we want to discuss that we should be honest, and learn something from it.


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

>> On the other hand I really do think that mistakes in communication from the devs and marketing have been done and that these also contributed in the first place to the first heated and now frustrated situation. Now repeating over and over again "No mistakes had been made" blocks the way to a helpful dicussion what happend.

Absolutely right. The fact remains that despite everyone insisting that the message about 4.0 was communicated well (it's for testers and devs), if you go to kde.org that is absolutely not the case. The official release announcement for KDE 4.0 doesn't have a single word about how it is not meant for regular users.

Sure the message on the planet was clear, but if it's not clear on the official KDE website, then don't be surprised when people don't get it and complain.

It would go a long way towards putting this in the past for someone to say "well shit, next time we're going to try to do this better".

KDE 4 works great for me, but only because I keep up with all KDE news and had compiled some SVN snapshots before 4.0, so I knew what to expect. That's not the case for most users.


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

I think PR on the release certainly could have been better.

I think a user's council could be a good idea. I think it be would be useful for the devs to hear outside opinions and gain new perspective.


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

This is the first time I write at KDE.NEWS, so I just want to quickly introduce myself. I am a PhD candidate in the medical imaging domain, before that I worked as a software developer for few years. I have been using Linux + KDE for few months, but my technical background and lots of reading helped me familiarise my self quickly.

I felt sad, ashamed and angry when I read the recent nonsense childish writing against KDE4 and its developer's. All of us use FOSS by choice, no one forced us to use it and I think after a while "some people" forget the reason they switched in the first place. Although neither KDE4 nor KDE developers need any defending, I am happy that you wrote this article. Since, it might put some sense back into the minds of those few.

As most developers, I view software applications both as an advanced user and as a software engineer. Mostly, I am very critical about the software quality, GUI, eye candy and simplicity. But, I also know that "good" software applications are hard to create. And most developers will focus on creating the basic functionality, then modifying the UI and finally focusing on the performance. Although, I started using Linux through Ubuntu, I soon realised the quality gap between Gnome and KDE. I didn't switch immediately to KDE as I was using Ubuntu and beginning to get comfy with it, and Kubuntu 7.10 at that time was poor. I took my time exploring Gnome, GTK and the development tools, and I didn't like what I saw, specially the code quality and the absence of a solid architecture, many things seemed like a hack. I value all the efforts that have been put by the Gnome developers. But I think it is the time for the Gnome developers to have a hard look at the big picture and remember the basics of FOSS. I cant believe that there are some voices in Gnome pushing towards Microsoft Mono and ignoring Qt!!! Most of the basic issues between KDE/Qt Gnome/GTK are pure political and has nothing to do with technology. I kindly ask from the still free souls at Gnome to drop Mono completely and consider using C++/Qt as a valid alternative.

There is noticeable differences between Linux distros that ship KDE. I understand that some are Gnome centred such as RH/Fedora and Ubuntu. It is their choice and we all respect it. But don't treat KDE as if it was a small applications which you can just package in half an hour and pray that everything will be OK. You need to commit enough resources to KDE, for example, compare that Ubuntu have 1 paid developer working on KDE while Pardus have 15 paid developers. I have nothing against any distro, but it is better that they either completely focus on something or just drop it.

KDE4 is evolving rapidly and this is an indication that it has a solid framework and a lot of care has been put in the infrastructure design. A few bugs or some missing features should not worry anyone. As long as you have a solid base anything is possible. I can see the some of the new concepts in KDE4 are very useful and I will not be surprised if I saw them implemented in the next releases of Windows and OSX.

For all the people behind KDE, thank you from the heart, I hope I can contribute soon to the project. Keep up the great work and don't listen to childish stupid stuff against you personally or KDE. You have to be very proud of what you accomplished.


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

Now I'm not a hacker, but in name of those others, thank you!


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

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