MAR
29
2005

KDE Desktop Usability Survey

The HASE (Human Aspects of Software Engineering) group at the University of Maryland Baltimore County is conducting two online surveys for KDE users. They expect to obtain results that will lead to useful discussions about the overall usability of KDE. The results of this research will be shared with the KDE community. The surveys take about 15 minutes to complete.

Comments

> I did not complain about how KDE was packaged, I complained about Kmenu and number of redundant apps.

Strange. I don't have redundant apps here (e.g. only Kate) and my KMenu isn't cluttered. My distribution must be doing someting really special. Maybe they package the apps separately and don't just dump the cvs modules on its users?

Remember the cvs modules are only there to help organize things. They were never meant to be shipped as is.

> Why have separate entry for "Editors"?

Well this is a valid comment --> https://mail.kde.org/mailman/listinfo/kde-usability

> Are menubars customisable? Are the contents of the menus customisable?

Yes, when the app uses XMLUI like most KDE apps do. (http://developer.kde.org/documentation/tutorials/xmlui/preface.html)

> Instead of trying to pass the responsibility to distrobutors, why not try to fix the issues right in KDE?

Because there is no single answer? Did you ever read the usability mailing list archives?


By ac at Tue, 2005/03/29 - 6:00am

"Strange. I don't have redundant apps here (e.g. only Kate) and my KMenu isn't cluttered."

Well, we have three editors, separate apps for updating the menu and editing the menu, three (IIRC) media-players and we have apps that have very limited use (floppy-formatter? couldn't that be done some other way instead of having yet another app to do it?).

"and my KMenu isn't cluttered."

Kmenu has 21 entries by default (+ the entries in "most used applications". Of those 21, 14 have submenus/entries. That's ALOT of entries! The Kmenu is HUGE.

"Remember the cvs modules are only there to help organize things. They were never meant to be shipped as is."

then why are they shipped as is? When I try to download KDE from kde.org, those are the packages that I'm offered. And let me re-iterate: the problem is not the way how KDE is packaged. You can try to avoid the problem by re-packaging KDE, but it doesn't solve it IMO.

"Yes, when the app uses XMLUI like most KDE apps do. (http://developer.kde.org/documentation/tutorials/xmlui/preface.html)"

So, not only should I spend time going through Control Center and application toolbars, I'm required to learn XML and go through XML-documents if I want to make the UI a bit more clean? And people laugh at Gnome-folks when they have to use Gconf....

"Did you ever read the usability mailing list archives?"

Actually, I'm a subscriber to that very list. And how can you disregard my suggestions by saying "there is no single answer"? I mean, couldn't you also push for a change using that very same argument? Instead of simply accepting status quo, shouldn't we be REQUIRED to try to figure out better ways of doing things? I'm at least trying, but quite many seem to think "there is no problem. If there is a problem, it's not KDE's problem". You know, that kind of thinking doesn't really encourage people to offer suggestions.


By Janne at Tue, 2005/03/29 - 6:00am

>The Kmenu is HUGE.
The number of applications in the K-menu are not only the distribution responsibility, it's also the user/administrators responsibility. If you don't want three editors, DON'T INSTALL THEM! It's so simple, you don't have to install all the KDE applications and "clutter" your menu with applications you don't use. Like with all other applications you don't install, you don't have to install them just because they are KDE applications. It's the same thing as I don't install Emacs and Apache even if they are include on the CDs of my distribution.

>When I try to download KDE from kde.org, those are the packages that I'm offered.
No, you only get the source code. To install you have to build the packages and there you have the options tho select what you want to install. So they are not shipped as is, as it is only source.


By Morty at Tue, 2005/03/29 - 6:00am

"The number of applications in the K-menu are not only the distribution responsibility, it's also the user/administrators responsibility. If you don't want three editors, DON'T INSTALL THEM!"

If there is no point in three text editors then don't create more work for people in uninstalling them. As applications in KDE are in whole sections like kdebase etc. it can sometimes be fairly impossible to uninstall them. It's not worth the effort - people will use something else if they have to do that.

"To install you have to build the packages and there you have the options tho select what you want to install. So they are not shipped as is, as it is only source."

No, you don't get the option as to what applications they install. KDE comes as whole sections of functionality, libs, base, pim etc.

I can see that many people have a huge conceptual problem over this.


By David at Tue, 2005/03/29 - 6:00am

>If there is no point in three text editors
But there are! They are different tools for different kinds of work and pattern of usage. They have some overlapping functionality and use, but different needs demands different solutions. This is not a place where "one size fits all" apply.

>As applications in KDE are in whole sections
It seems like most distributions mange to split them up quite nicely so you clearly don't have a point there. Debian, Mandrake, Suse, Fedora and Gentoo does it.

>No, you don't get the option as to what applications they install.
>KDE comes as whole sections of functionality, libs, base, pim etc.
The libs are a special case, but libs do not take nay place in menus anyway. For all packages containing different applications the DO_NOT_COMPILE(or whatever it is called) flags apply, giving you the power to select what to install.

>I can see that many people have a huge conceptual problem over this.
Yes, and it looks like you are on of them. It's like a toolbox, you only put in the tools you need. Not all tools available from the toolmanufacturers catalog.


By Morty at Tue, 2005/03/29 - 6:00am

"They are different tools for different kinds of work and pattern of usage."

Like I commented elsewhere: Should KDE then ships with hunderds of apps, each targetted at "different usage-patterns"? Text-based web-browser? text-based mail-client? Several filemanagers? Several mediaplayers? Several different tools to format a floppy? They all have "different usage-patterns", shouldn't KDE offer them as well?


By Janne at Wed, 2005/03/30 - 6:00am

KDE (as in the servers) already offers development and storage space for offering applications for different usage patterns in all varieties for ages, may it be as part of official modules, as part of official but independently schedules modules, as independent extra gear modules, or as part of kdenotbeta/kdeplayground testing efforts. Duplication never had been a concern since code is being share whenever possible, and that's made easier when the code lives in the same CVS server.

KDE is not pushing/shipping anything of that. It's users and distributions capable of making a selection and compile it who pull what they want to have. You are appreantly incapable or completely unwilling to get that part so please finally stop this silly thread.


By ac at Wed, 2005/03/30 - 6:00am

Then KDE is not a desktop environment. It is KDE's job, not a distributors, to bring that together.

I'm afraid this is just total and utter denial in facing up to the problem.


By David at Wed, 2005/03/30 - 6:00am

"If you don't want three editors, DON'T INSTALL THEM!"

Again: going around the problem instead of fixing the problem. You expect users to do extra work in order to fix shortcomings in KDE. Yes we all do that when we change desktop backgrounds and the like, and that sort of things are expected. But enough is enough. A better solution would be to ship with a set of core utilities, and if the user wants those three editors he can install it himself! IMO KDE should ship with essential utilities, and not with kitchen sink + 200 other apps. If the user REALLY wants to have all those extra apps, they should be available as optional apps. But the core-utils of KDE should not include three text editors (for example), when one would do just fine and it would practically cover all usage-patterns.

But, if we look at KDE the way it is shipped, it includes multitude of apps. Some are redundant, some are so limited in their use that they could be merged with other apps, and some could be dropped entirely.

"No, you only get the source code."

And that source comes in large packages. Suppose I wanted to install KDE as shipped by the KDE-team, and I want to do it straight from the source. I would go to my closest mirror, and what do I see:

http://ftp.funet.fi/pub/mirrors/ftp.kde.org/pub/kde/stable/3.4/src/

I see packages like kdepim-3.4.0.tar.bz2. I see no Kmail, Kontact, Kopete etc., I see large packages. That is the source I'm offered.

And, like I said, the problem is not the way how KDE is packaged. talking about the way it's packaged only tries to go around the actual problem. What you are talking about is going around the problem, I suggest fixing the problem instead.


By Janne at Wed, 2005/03/30 - 6:00am

>going around the problem instead of fixing the problem.
This is the correct way to do it, and it is not a problem. If the user installs to many applications and has problems caused by this, the problem are clearly the user an nothing KDE can do will cure this problem. The most widely used distributions comes on 3+ CDs or DVD, but the users don't go around installing everything do they.

>look at KDE the way it is shipped, it includes multitude of apps.
For the convenience of the users who download the KDE packages from kde.org, programs are grouped in packages containing related functionality and applications. As opposed to offering 200+ different packages.

>IMO KDE should ship with essential utilities
KDE does, it's called kdelibs and kdebase.

>And that source comes in large packages.
Made up in such a fashion the person compiling can easily choose which parts she/he want installed.

>I suggest fixing the problem instead.
No you are not, you are making up problems trying to make your solution fit.


By Morty at Wed, 2005/03/30 - 6:00am

"KDE does, it's called kdelibs and kdebase."

you are talking about different thing than I am.

"No you are not, you are making up problems trying to make your solution fit."

you may think that having redundant apps that do the exact same thing is not a problem. But I do. They make the system more complicated, they make it bigger than it needs to be and the make the system confusing. Newbies will be confused when they see apps that do the same thing in slightly different way. And there's no reason whatsoever to have apps like that.

Really, you are just making excuses to defend the current situation. "oh yes, we absolutely NEED several almost identical text-editors!". If that is the case, then surely we need redundancy in other apps as well? How about shipping several web-browser by default? Or several IM's? Or several mail-clients? Several word-processors? Why aren't those needed? Why are several text-editors needed? "Because that's the way it has been done for a long time already!".

Seriously, it's like I'm talking to a wall here!


By Janne at Wed, 2005/03/30 - 6:00am

Thanks god you are finally noticing that you are talking to a wall.


By ac at Wed, 2005/03/30 - 6:00am

We're talking to total idiots, that's what.

If this is what you think then sorry, KDE is not a desktop environment.


By David at Wed, 2005/03/30 - 6:00am

You are trying to convince people you don't even know about something you apparently have no idea about. In my book this is a definite case of talking to a wall.

If you think something needs to be changed please first inform yourself about how this project actually works since nearly a decade now.


By ac at Thu, 2005/03/31 - 6:00am

>absolutely NEED several almost identical text-editors!
Since they are made for rather different needs, and have different featurestets they are not almost identical. And you never HAVE to install more applications than you NEED,

As for talking to walls it's more like this:
-Too many applications, users get confused.
+You don't have to install everything.
-But, they are in the package.
+All decent distributions splits the packages, and they are made to be split when installing from source.
-But that's not the problem, when I install everything I get too many applications and get confused.
+Why do yo install everything, when you don't need it or get confused. It's made for installing only the parts you select.
-It's too may applications and I get conused when everything is installed.


By Morty at Wed, 2005/03/30 - 6:00am

You just don't "get it". Like I already said: since there's obviously a need (according to you) for two almost identical apps, then surely there is a need to have multiple filemanagers as well? Web-browsers? mail-clients? Why aren't those needed, but there is a need for several editors? Or if you do think that KDE should ship with those as well, then surely you see what kind of utter mess KDE would be?

When I talk about KDE, I'm talking about the integrated and cohesive DE as shipped by the KDE-team. And in that DE I see redundant apps. And no, I do not want to pass the blame to the distributors, I think this should be fixed at KDE itself.

The multitude of apps is a symptom of the same thing that plagues KDE's configuration-options. Instead of making strong decision about what kind of desktop KDE is, KDE makes vague suggestions, while leaving most of the burden at the user. you might call that "flexibility", but you wouldn't have to sacrifice flexibility for common sense. And when you say that there is a dire need for several almost identical text-editors in KDE, I find that common sense to be lacking.

Seriously, people are telling me how there is a need for full-featured editor, and an easy to use editor. Instead of shipping two editors, why not make that full-featured editor easy to use? Not only does two editors increase clutter, it reduces the incentive to make Kate fit the needs of all users.

What I want KDE to be, is to be a kick-ass desktop that ships with best of breed apps, and NOT with gazillion of redundant apps, or apps that have very limited use. is there anything wrong with that? If there is, what is it? Is it too much to ask for elegance? Obviously it is. KDE should be a hobbled together collection of gazillion apps, and it needs the distributors to clean it up. Instead of relying on distributors, why not rely on KDE itself?

Instead of having a KDE that makes vague suggestions to the user (like when it drowns the user in multitude of apps and configuration-options), I would like to see a KDE with clear vision and a path towards it. By having multitude of apps and multitude of options, it seems to me that KDE has a identity-crisis. it's afraid to take a stand and say "this is what we offer, this is what we do". Instead, it tries to offer everything to everyone, and it ends up looking confusing and busy.

I do see where you are coming from with your opinions. But I disagree with them. I do not want to pass the blame to the user or to the distributor. I would like to make improvements right in the KDE instead. that way we could have one clean and kick-ass KDE, instead of having several distributor-driven's KDE's with different feature-sets and the like. Having KDE that is clearly KDE is alot better than having "Lindows Desktop" for example. It would make KDE stronger, and not weaker.


By Janne at Thu, 2005/03/31 - 6:00am

>You just don't "get it".

Yes we "get it".. we've gotten it for quite some time now, as you have been stating the same thing over and over again, just phrased in different ways and with different arguments for it.... Sorry if that came out rude. I just came to the point where I couldn't bare reading any more of this.

>Like I already said: since there's obviously a need (according to you) for two almost identical apps [snip]

"Almost identical" is, as quite a few have pointed out, not the right comparison for Kate and KWrite. They are VERY different. The one is a single-file + simple-operation editor, and the other is a multiple-files + advanced-operation + development-tool-support editor.
To cut it out in large freindly cardboard letters: KWrite is for files with the .txt suffix. Kate is for files with .c .cpp .php .pl kind of suffixes. That the later kind happens to have the same format as the former is just a matter of history. In this context it is also worth to point out that Kate is just as much about what you do *with* the files as it is about what you do *to* them.
Claiming that they serve the same purpose is very similar to saying that Kuickshow and GIMP serve the same purpose. Yes, Kuickshow can crop and rotate, which are strickly speaking not a "viewing thing". No, GIMP is not an image viewer even though you can see your images with it...
However, I am willing to give you that perhaps KWrite has become too feature rich. Personally I think it should be stripped down to just a tad more then what Notepad has (the "tad more" is on principle matter; KDE should always have just a few more "goodies" then M$).

>then surely there is a need to have multiple filemanagers as well? Web-browsers? mail-clients?

Due to the nature of an opensource project, you have to cater for both users and developers, hence a development editor and a does-the-trick editor.
Now if KDE was trying to become the defacto DE for insanely-complex-server-farm-, huge-cluster-solution- and giant-campus-network- administrators, then YES, KDE should have two filemanagers. One that targets InsaneSysops(TM) and one for the rest of us.
The same goes for Web-browsers and Mail-clients: If KDE was targeting a special group which has very special/complex needs, it would include a win-you-over-application in that special area.
The bottom line is: KDE mainly targets two kinds: Users and Developers. Hence the two biggest "side-projects" are KDevelop and KOffice.

>[snip] Instead of shipping two editors, why not make that full-featured editor easy to use? [snip]

For two reasons: A) A development editor will never ever be *truely* easy to use, and still remain a Real Development Editor(TM) B) "One size fits all" *always* ends up fitting *no-one*! Microsoft has been trying to do this for ages, with the same poor result.
It is quite easy to grasp that developers have *completely* different views on what is clutterd or not, and what is bloated or not, then an ordirany or somewhat advanced user. If you dont belive me, then look at "man gcc".. what you see there is what I call "a heaven of options", but to my freind who just starded coding a few weeks ago it is a dreaded hell he only dares venture when im near by (his remark was: "Would it be difficult to make gcc automize all this?!?".

>What I want KDE to be, is to be a kick-ass desktop that ships with best of breed apps, and NOT with gazillion of redundant apps, or apps that have very limited use.

Thats funny.. thats what most people want ;-)
What you *completly* fail to grasp, is that an app that may seem redundant [or of limited use] to *you* may very very well be *another users* sole reason to use KDE. The same thing goes for configuraion options, btw....

>[snip] it's afraid to take a stand and say "this is what we offer, this is what we do".

This problem is being adressed by the usability team. However it takes time, as it has to be close to Done Right(TM) the first time around. This is because many programmers prefere to implement features, as opposed to re-design previous work because §101.2b changed from bold to italic...

>Having KDE that is clearly KDE is alot better than having "Lindows Desktop" for example. It would make KDE stronger, and not weaker.

For once I agree with you 100%... but I bet that we could argue for months without end on how to get there. That is the back side of OSS.... There are about as many oppionions as there are people. So most times it ends with either: A) A democratic solution (voting). B) A Meritic solution (the one who does the coding calls the shots). or C) The project forks, leading to month long flamewares, endless debates with people stating the same thing over and over again, mud-throwing at slashdot, attempts to neglify the counterparts skills, good developers leaving, experimental code/aproaches being implimented/tested, and finaly after a few years nightmare: they end up re-merging!
Personally I prefere an "enlightened meritic solution", that is, that in the end the developer who writes it has the power, but [s]he listens carefully to the user-base while sorting out all the loud-shouters/flamers/morrons.

So my bottom conclution to all your many posts is this: Get envolved in the http://usability.kde.org/ and the http://www.openusability.org/ projects, do tests, write docs and whatever else you have the skills for.. but *PLEASE* get over the notion that "one size fits all" and that good usability means trimming away all the stuff you personally dont use ;-)

~Macavity

NB: Please also see:
http://dot.kde.org/1107931942/
http://www.viralata.net/kde_usability/
http://www.userinstinct.com/viewpost.php?postid=kde33review&page=1


By Macavity at Thu, 2005/03/31 - 6:00am

It is not the right way to solve the problem.

If you're a power user then you install the extra text editors and the umpteen bloody apps you want. That's what a power user does.


By David at Wed, 2005/03/30 - 6:00am

>It is not the right way to solve the problem.
Wrong, while you and Janne who are trying to invent a problem in which your "solution" fits, and that's not the way to solve anything.KDE and the distributions already does this in a problemfree way.

>If you're a power user then you install the extra text editors
As you do now, with a decent distribution you chose what you install. Like with the one I'm using, I have the option to install things like kdebase-kate, kdevelop and kdeutil-kedit (Hey, it's not even in the base packages, but in a collection of extra utilities). Or you compile from source, which is a option for power users btw. Then you also have an easy way too select what to install. So it's no reason to invent your problem as it's already solved.


By Morty at Wed, 2005/03/30 - 6:00am

"Wrong, while you and Janne who are trying to invent a problem in which your "solution" fits"

There is a problem - which is what this thread is actually about. This is a problem with 'KDE' itself, which you conveniently try and side-step by telling us all it is solved by distributors. It isn't.

"As you do now, with a decent distribution you chose what you install."

Nice chicanery. A default install of KDE should be built for most users, and if idiots like you want fifteen text editors then you go off and compile them yourself.

We're talking about a default install of KDE here, not something a distributor puts together. Is KDE a usable desktop by itself as it stands without a distributor cutting out what shouldn't be there to start off with? No. Don't pass distributors off as the shield with which to deflect an obvious problem. It doesn't wash. It is KDE's problem.

Ergo, 'KDE' is not a desktop for anyone who isn't a power user. What a distributor provides is not KDE if they have to change large parts of it, as they do now.

"Like with the one I'm using, I have the option to install things like kdebase-kate, kdevelop and kdeutil-kedit (Hey, it's not even in the base packages, but in a collection of extra utilities)."

KDE doesn't provide individual application packages, and as such, neither do many distributors. It's too much work. As such, when you install kdevelop, kdesdk etc. etc. you're left with as big a mess as a default KDE install. Because individual applications are part of these packages, and as some applications are necessary from each package to make things work, you can't just choose which one to install.

And what happens if you do install them all? You're left with the very same mess of a standard KDE install with no consideration as to how it all fits together.

"So it's no reason to invent your problem as it's already solved."

I'm afraid if KDE itself is to progress as a desktop this is going to have to end, as painful as that might be for someone who likes a desktop that is an obvious mess to get around.

To re-iterate - the usability of KDE is *not* a distributors problem, as bitter a pill as that might be for you to swallow. You might want to pass that off as an excuse to do the same crappy things you've always done, but unfortunately for you and fortunately for the rest of us, that isn't sustainable.


By David at Thu, 2005/03/31 - 6:00am

*yawns*

So much ado about nothing. If you really think KDE itself is the problem then go and fork it and leave us alone here with our 'problem' we don't get. After all if you are actually right all changes you do will be merged back with no issue.


By ac at Thu, 2005/03/31 - 6:00am

"*yawns*"

So it is a problem then? Thanks, we've established that.

"If you really think KDE itself is the problem then go and fork it and leave us alone here with our 'problem' we don't get. After all if you are actually right all changes you do will be merged back with no issue."

Somebody may fork it eventually, but fortunately many within KDE do actually understand this problem and there will eventually be some initiatives (and ultimately patches) to solve it it because many do think it's a problem. When that does happen, you can take your fork, compile your own stuff and have your own playground.


By David at Thu, 2005/03/31 - 6:00am

I have a different idea about the goal of KDE, Gentoo and "a distribution".

In my opinion:
* KDE provides a tool towards distribution builders to present their users with a desktop environment. It's the purpose of the distributor to addapt the desktop to their needs. This does not mean rewriting KDE from scratch. No, it means altering the background picture, adding/removing programs as they like, adjusting other userinterface settings.
Some distributors even write their own control centers.

* Gentoo is not meant to be used by normal desktop users.
It's meant to be used by users who like to play around with their system.
As such, Gentoo does not apply it's "own view" on you like other distributions do. You are required to apply your own views to the software you install. This means that you, the user of a Gentoo system, should do all the configuring yourself. That's what Gentoo is all about. And if you don't like that, maybe you should try another distribution.

* A distribution itself should have a certain target audience. One distribution can target "power users" like Gentoo does, and only provide "vanilla" packages. Other distributions target the normal home users like Linspire for example, and heavily modify certain packages.

KDE can not possibly create a default that is inline with the views of any single distribution now and in the future.
It can only provide a desktop system that can be adjusted to the needs of a distribution.

Of course, all of this is my view, don't take it too seriously.


By tbscope at Tue, 2005/03/29 - 6:00am

"* Gentoo is not meant to be used by normal desktop users."

There are plenty of "normal desktop users" using Gentoo. Hell, couldn't you also say that Linux is not meant to be used for "normal desktop users"? Normal desktop users use Windows or Mac OS X. I use my Gentoo for normal desktop tasks, and most people I know use their Gentoo-installations for normal desktop tasks. I fail to see the difference.

"KDE can not possibly create a default that is inline with the views of any single distribution now and in the future.
It can only provide a desktop system that can be adjusted to the needs of a distribution."

Maybe so, but IMO that doesn't mean that KDE should ship with cluttered UI and redundant apps by default. By your logic: KDE could ship with minimalist UI, and the distros could then clutter it up if they so desire. Yet when someone suggests that the UI could move towards minimalism, people oppose the idea. Why? I mean, if distros are the ones who decide what KDE looks like, what does it matter what KDE looks like by default? You can't have it both ways. If current system is OK because distros can clean it up (which apparently is their responsibility), then surely minimalist KDE would be just fine as well, since the distros would tweak it according to their needs. Yet minimalist default-KDE is a no-no. Why? Seriously, why do people spend time trying to make KDE more usable, if it's up to the distributions in the end what KDE looks like and how it behaves? Why waste time on KDE, should we be working on Mandrake, SUSE, Red Hat, Ubuntu, Gentoo, Debian etc. etc. instead?

I for one don't want my desktop to be "adjusted by the distribution". I want my KDE as it is offered by the KDE-team. I do not want "SUSE-desktop" or "Mandrake-desktop". Such a move would even further splinter the Linux-universe. Instead of having KDE, we would have dozen similar yet different desktops all based on KDE.


By Janne at Tue, 2005/03/29 - 6:00am

oh please, brain spam makes my neurogan hurt. If you have nothing to say - keep it short.
The argument is: full stock KDE comes with EVERTHING. Since it's the distro's responsibility to make it joeable, it's their job to throw things out and trim it down. KDE tarballs are not meant for joe, but for the r00tZ, which by definition, want it all.
Distro's are for joes. And btw, ehhrm, Gentoo has split-ebuilds, as mentioned.
Make the right choice: don't complain, or direct it to the ones responsible.


By thatguiser at Tue, 2005/03/29 - 6:00am

Thank you for your content-free and pointless post.

Seriously, I find it rather disturbing that so many here think that it's not KDE's responsibility to make KDE as kick-ass as possible. Rather, KDE just have to release something, and let the distros work it out. Usability? Not KDE's problem, it's distributors problem. Multitude of apps? Not KDE's problem, it's distributors problem. what next? Bugs? Not KDE's problem. Performance? Not KDE's problem.

What I want is for KDE to kick ass by default, instead of trying to push the responsibility to the distros. And, like I already said: why are people opposed to cleaned up/minimalistic KDE? I mean, if it's distros responsibility to make KDE fit their end-users needs, what does it matter what KDE looks like by default? Yet, when I suggest that what if KDE did this and that, people oppose it. Why do they oppose changing the default KDE, if end-users are not even supposed to see the default KDE (like they claim)? What's the problem here?

NOTE: I REALLY appreciate KDE and it's developers. And I think that people on this thread are not KDE-developers, but users (like me).

"Gentoo has split-ebuilds, as mentioned."

So? Split ebuild don't fix the problem, they merely try to go around it.


By Janne at Tue, 2005/03/29 - 6:00am

> Thank you for your content-free and pointless post.
You're welcome.
> Seriously
Yeah, you're seriously welcome.

> I find it rather disturbing that so many here think that it's
> not KDE's responsibility to make KDE as kick-ass as possible.
Oh wait, who told you that.
> Rather, KDE just have to release something, and let the distros work it out.
tradition.
> Usability? Not KDE's problem, it's distributors problem.
Nope. KDE usability project's problem. heh ;)

> Multitude of apps? Not KDE's problem, it's distributors problem.
Problem is, as Aaron said before on his blog, people get 'feature addicted'. You take something out, someone IS going to complain about it. There supposedly IS someone somewhere who actually likes noatun. I'm all for packing in only Kaffeine and Amarok, but what about KMplayer and JUK? They're good, too. And Noatun does it's job aswell. So who decides what goes in, what stays, what is taken out?
> what next?
World domination, of course.

> Bugs? Not KDE's problem. Performance? Not KDE's problem.
Uha. Now I most certainly can assure you that very probably every single KDE developer feels quite opposed to /that/ statement... No point there. You're not trying to make one, are you?

> What I want is for KDE to kick ass by default, instead of
> trying to push the responsibility to the distros.
You're not alone there, but it's not easy. No fuehrer, too many opinions, too many emotions involved. Anarchy is hard to adminster.

> And, like I already said: why are people opposed to
> cleaned up/minimalistic KDE?
Someone is going to whine about this or that missing. But anyways, it's about the software. Imho, the KDE project is still mostly about code. Promoting, or 'gaining market share' comes second I believe. There's no money to make anyways ;)
It surely is going to happen, with all the discussion and stuff. But hey, who cares. Not me that's for sure: I care about features, eye candy, stability, quality. KDE provides that.

> I mean, if it's distros responsibility to make KDE fit their
> end-users needs, what does it matter what KDE looks like by default?
A lot. A user installing it will not be annoyed by too many apps installed at the very first moment: he can just ignore them. But an ugly interface hurts the eye right away. Many users wont give a fsck they can set it to beautiful, they'll just feel pissed and go back to Teletubby OS.

> Yet, when I suggest that what if KDE did this and that, people oppose it.
> Why do they oppose changing the default KDE, if end-users are not even
> supposed to see the default KDE (like they claim)? What's the problem here?
I think I already mentioned: emotions is the problem here, and the priorities are elsewhere. It's the distributions who target joe the user, so they should tailor it for his needs. If they fail, shame on them. It surely is not too difficult taking stuff out and lightening the desktop (Kiosk etc.)

> NOTE: I REALLY appreciate KDE and it's developers.
They deserve it ;)
> And I think that people on this thread are not KDE-developers, but
> users (like me).
.. and me. But still, most are power users rather then computer illitarate.

>Split ebuild don't fix the problem, they merely try to go around it.
And by that, fix the problem for Gentooers ;)

Anyways, you have a valid point, but the distro shouldn't ship vanilla KDE if they aim for joe. And the rest of the problem has just been acknowledged by the community and is in the progress of being prepared for the final solution: 4.0!


By thatguiser at Tue, 2005/03/29 - 6:00am

"Oh wait, who told you that."

The very first post on this thread was about how usability is distributors problem, and not KDE's. And when I gave my suggestions on how some things could be done in KDE, reception in general was "KDE doesn't have to do that, it's distributors problem".

"Nope. KDE usability project's problem. heh ;)"

the person who started this thread seems to disagree with you. And it seems that you agree with me.

"Problem is, as Aaron said before on his blog, people get 'feature addicted'."

And I'm not talking about removing features. I'm talking about making KDE more usable, so those features are more easily accessible. And there are redundant apps, and apps that could be merged with other apps or dropped altogether.

"Uha. Now I most certainly can assure you that very probably every single KDE developer feels quite opposed to /that/ statement... No point there. You're not trying to make one, are you?"

No I'm not, quite the opposite! But quite many here seem to think that problems in KDE are not KDE's problems, but distributors problem! I merely expanded on their line of thinking and asked where does it end.

"A lot. A user installing it will not be annoyed by too many apps installed at the very first moment: he can just ignore them."

No he can't. My wife was at a loss with KDE when he started using it. He couldn't make heads or tails out of it. Kmenu was filled with apps, it was difficult for her to find what she was looking for, Konqueror was filled with buttons and menu-entries, and configuration-options were downright scary. It was all very confusing for her. Only after I talked her through it and spent time clening the UI up, she was able to effectively use it. Without me, she would have been overwhelmed by it all. As one usability-review said: having multitude of options actually limit the number of options.

Had I not been there guiding her through, she would not have used it, period. One user less, due to multitude of apps, buttons, options and the like.

If you have multitude of UI-element (buttons, menuentries etc.) you can try to ignore them. But in the end, they will get in your way. And they make the UI look intimidating and unattractive. As one great thinker said: "Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you have nothing more to remove".

And here you are defenidng the way KDE looks by default. And in the same time you say that it doesn't really matter what KDE looks by default, since it's the distros job to tweak it's look. Again: what does it matter what the default KDE looks like, since you are not supposed to even see it? Why not have minimalistic KDE and let the distro tweak it? If you oppose that suggestion (as you do), then the default look DOES matter and it's apparently NOT distros job to tweak the UI.

So, which way is it? You can't have it both ways.

"And by that, fix the problem for Gentooers"

Nope, it goes around it. It doesn't fix it.

"Anyways, you have a valid point, but the distro shouldn't ship vanilla KDE if they aim for joe."

Now here's the thing: KDE (the vanilla-KDE as offered by the KDE-team) SHOULD IMO be the sexiest-looking easiest to use desktop on the planet! It certainly has the potential! And I think that should be done right at KDE, instead of pushing that task to the distributors. That way we would get more consistent desktop and we would get more users accustomed to the advanced features of KDE: If we leave it to the distributors, then we will have several desktops with different look 'n feel and features.

Of course it's completely OK for distros to tweak KDE. they have that right. But I wouldn't like to see vanilla-KDE be a "basic desktop that works so and so". I want vanilla desktop to be a kick-ass desktop that mops the floor with everything else. And right now it is the best thing out there. But if we push more responsibility to distros, I can't really see how it would benefit KDE as such. It would cause more fragmentation and different implementations. It would increase the learning-efforts, since all distros would have their own version of KDE.

Having a kick-ass vanilla-desktop benefits ALL KDE-users. Having a mediocre vanilla-KDE but kick-ass Mandrake-desktop (for example) which is built on KDE benetifts Mandrake, and _maybe_ KDE. I want to remove that "maybe".

P.S. My apologies for my harsh words in my earlier post.


By Janne at Tue, 2005/03/29 - 6:00am

>>>"There are many other complains that must be answered by the KDE community. >>>But the distributions can work to deliver a better product to their >>>costumers."

This is written in the end of the original post. So the complains must be answered by the KDE community. And also by the distributions. So your post

>>>"The very first post on this thread was about how usability is distributors >>>problem, and not KDE's"

Is incorrect.

I think it is clear for many that a better usability can be achieved by the distributors, that are going to deliver KDE with the needs and tastes of their customers. BUT i think KDE must try perfection, or the closest to this, always.

The strong point is that the distributions can EASILY change KDE, to suit their needs. I read so many complains about "too many configuration options". I cannot undestand this, but i think nowadays kiosk can be used to lock down what users can see or do.

Joe user will be the root of joe user machine, and so he will scramble all this, but if he can make it, he is no joe user anymore.


By Henrique Marks at Tue, 2005/03/29 - 6:00am

"So your post

>>>"The very first post on this thread was about how usability is distributors >>>problem, and not KDE's"

Is incorrect."

No it isn't. The post was titled "Usability = Distributions Problem". It said things like

"Another problem: the toolbars. Again the distribution can deliver the KDE products with any buttons they want. The same applies to kicker."

So apparently just about all usability-problems in KDE are not KDE's problems, they are distributors problems. Toolbars? Distros can edit them if they like, so it's distros problem, not KDE's. Kicker? Distros problem. Kmenu? Distros problem. Number of apps? Distros problem. These are all straight from the original post!

I for one find that kind of thinking scary. It tells me of attempts to pass the blame to others. It tells me of "Hey, it's not KDE's fault if KDE sucks* since the distros didn't spend any time fixing KDE!". Instead of expecting distros to fix KDE, maybe we should fix KDE at the source? In KDE itself?

By that thinking: since everything in Linux is open source, is it my fault some thing in Linux sicks, since I didn't fix it myself? I mean, I COULD do it, right?

* = I don't think KDE sucks, I use it every day and love it. However, I do think that alot could be done to make it even better.


By Janne at Wed, 2005/03/30 - 6:00am

> why are people opposed to cleaned up/minimalistic KDE? I mean, if it's distros responsibility to make KDE fit their end-users needs, what does it matter what KDE looks like by default?

That's easy to answer. The ones that use vanilla KDE:

a) aren't the typical end-users
b) like it the way it is now
c) don't want a minimalistic KDE


By ac at Tue, 2005/03/29 - 6:00am

"a) aren't the typical end-users"

And who are "typical end-users"? Besides, KDE in SUSE or Mandrake is not THAT different from vanilla-KDE, and I fail to see any macigal properties in them that vanilla-KDE does not have.

"b) like it the way it is now"

Considering how many people have complained about KDE's abundance of options, buttons and the like, I fail to see how this claim could be true.

"c) don't want a minimalistic KDE"

I would like to have one, and I use vanilla-KDE, so this argument is wrong ;).


By Janne at Tue, 2005/03/29 - 6:00am

> "a) aren't the typical end-users"
>
> And who are "typical end-users"?

People who get confused because they see three text editors in KMenu

> Besides, KDE in SUSE or Mandrake is not THAT different from vanilla-KDE, and
> I fail to see any macigal properties in them that vanilla-KDE does not have.

Well then the vanilla KDE can't be as bad as you try to make it.

> "b) like it the way it is now"
>
> Considering how many people have complained about KDE's abundance of options, > buttons and the like, I fail to see how this claim could be true.

Well where is your prove that many people complain about KDE's abundane of options? Where is your prove that the amount of those people are bigger than the often less noisy content people? Especially seeing the amount of people here that try to argue against your points.

> "c) don't want a minimalistic KDE"
>
> I would like to have one, and I use vanilla-KDE, so this argument is wrong ;).

So you want a minimalistic KDE and I don't. So how should vanilla KDE solve this "conflict"? Maybe by passing the responsibility to customize KDE for the target audience to the distributions?


By ac at Tue, 2005/03/29 - 6:00am

"Well then the vanilla KDE can't be as bad as you try to make it."

No, it's just the distributors don't have the time or resources to go trimming KDE every ten seconds.

"So you want a minimalistic KDE and I don't. So how should vanilla KDE solve this "conflict"? Maybe by passing the responsibility to customize KDE for the target audience to the distributions?"

He doesn't want a minimalist KDE. He wants a KDE that actually makes sense by default, as do the vast majority who take an interest in it. Having something produced by distributors that doesn't look like KDE at all only hurts KDE.

Who on Earth do you think KDE's target audience is supposed to be?!

"Maybe by passing the responsibility to customize KDE for the target audience to the distributions?"

That's passing the buck, as he says. "Oh, let's leave that to the distros so we can lump all the pointless shit we want into it". If people really expect KDE to be used by companies and individuals this has to change. After all, many like to complain that Xandros etc. use their own file managers and control panels. That should tell you something.

I've been using the NLD for a while, and it's obvious that Suse heavily modifies KDE to take out an awful lot of crap out. The Gnome people hardly have to do any customisation in that regard. That reflects badly on KDE, and means that when the distributors actually release something it doesn't look much like KDE at all.


By David at Tue, 2005/03/29 - 6:00am

> "So you want a minimalistic KDE and I don't. So how should vanilla KDE solve
> this "conflict"? Maybe by passing the responsibility to customize KDE for the
> target audience to the distributions?"
>
> He doesn't want a minimalist KDE. He wants a KDE that actually makes sense by
> default, as do the vast majority who take an interest in it. Having something
> produced by distributors that doesn't look like KDE at all only hurts KDE.

So you're saying there is a default configuration that fits the needs of the power users and the beginners alike?

Then please try the following experiment:

Create a default KDE configuration that looks like you want it, package it and post it on the web. I will bet that you get a lot of comments that your configuration sucks. Please see several threads on the usability mailing list as reference.

> I've been using the NLD for a while, and it's obvious that Suse heavily modifies KDE to take out an awful lot of crap out.

And that is great because it then fits their target audience. Other distributions ship KDE as is and their users like it.


By ac at Tue, 2005/03/29 - 6:00am

"So you're saying there is a default configuration that fits the needs of the power users and the beginners alike?"

Certainly could be, but it depends on who your target is. You, and a lot of KDE developers, have never really thought about it at all. That's why KDE was started - to be a user friendly desktop for Unix. You and a lot of other people have taken leave of that.

"Create a default KDE configuration that looks like you want it, package it and post it on the web. I will bet that you get a lot of comments that your configuration sucks. Please see several threads on the usability mailing list as reference."

No, you work out who KDE targets and then you work towards having a desktop that reflects that. If you want a KDE desktop for power users then it's time to stop talking about business, companies and governments using KDE at conferences like aKademy.

"And that is great because it then fits their target audience. Other distributions ship KDE as is and their users like it."

Considering that their target and KDE's target are one and the same, allegedly, the default KDE desktop sucks in comparison to it. Distributors just shouldn't need to do that level of customisation.

Sorry, but you are arguing for a KDE desktop for silly power users and Unix users who like incomprehensible and unusable set ups. That's not why KDE was started.


By David at Tue, 2005/03/29 - 6:00am

> Sorry, but you are arguing for a KDE desktop for silly power users and Unix users who like incomprehensible and unusable set ups.

No, I don't.

I'm arguing that KDE can appeal to very different types of users but that the corresponding configuration must come from the distributions that target a specific type of user and not from vanilla KDE.


By ac at Tue, 2005/03/29 - 6:00am

"I'm arguing that KDE can appeal to very different types of users but that the corresponding configuration must come from the distributions that target a specific type of user and not from vanilla KDE."

Why not? Why can't vanilla-KDE kick ass as well? And it has already been shown that distros are not interested in cleaning up KDE that much. And what if distro X does clean up KDE. But what if user prefer distro Y for other reasons besides cleaned up KDE? Sure, you could say "if you want cleaned up KDE; use Lindows or Xandros!". Sorry, but I want my KDE to be cleaned up, but I also want the power and configurability of Gentoo.

I don't consider myself to be a newbie. Yet I want my KDE to be streamlined and easy to use. I fail to see how "powerusers" would NOT support those things! What is this mentality of "if you support sensible defaults, and sane number of options, you are not real poweruser!". Is this way of thinking passed on from old UNIX-tradition, where things were handled by esoteric text-files and arcane commands? Why do people think that having a system that is easy to use, streamlined and uncluttered somehow makes it less usable for "powerusers"?

If we target KDE towards powerusers, we will take things away from newbies. If we target KDE towards newbies, we are not taking anything away from the powerusers! GNOME seems to handle things just fine, even though they have limited set of default-options to tweak. Still they have lots of powerusers using the system. OS X has limited set of tweakables, yet more and more powerusers are using it. And I'm not even advocationg removeal of options! I'm advocating that _by default_ KDE would offer limited number of options, with the more advanced options being available elsewhere. The powerusers could still tweak the system as much as they want, but we would enable the newbies to do so as well! But we wouldn't thrown those multitude of options at them, we would ease them in to it. They would start with the basic options. Once their confidence is up, they could try out the more advanced options.

Note: I'm not saying that KDE should follow GNOME. I do not advocate removing functionality. I advocate cleaning up the UI and the default configuration-options.


By Janne at Wed, 2005/03/30 - 6:00am

> Why not? Why can't vanilla-KDE kick ass as well?

May I ask what your definition of "vanilla-KDE" is at all? Just kdelibs and kdebase (which is the bare minimum) modules? All of the "official" modules including declared-to-contain-nonsense-stuff like the kdetoys module? All modules of the "official" KDE project which would include the modules for kdevelopand koffic which are independently scheduled? Or even all of the modules KDE provides a place for development in its CVS server including the extragear modules (which include K3B for example)? Where do you draw the line, and who is supposed to draw the line and what should be the result of drawing that line?

Maybe you just don't want to understand that all KDE can do is offering good default *settings*, default *installations* are out of reach for KDE. If installations are that much your concern you need to join a distribution effort like Kubuntu and make your voice heard there. Here you are just wasting time and space.


By ac at Wed, 2005/03/30 - 6:00am

"May I ask what your definition of "vanilla-KDE" is at all?"

Vanilla-KDE = KDE as offered by the KDE-team. kdelibs and kdebase are part of vanilla-KDE. But when I talk about "minimalistic" KDE, I'm not talking about kdebase and kdelibs. Those two provide the foundation of KDE with very few apps. But I'm not talking about KDE with no apps. I'm talking about KDE that ships with apps that make sense. Minimalistic KDE can include a PIM-suite (found in kdepim), it can include an IM-client (found in kdenetwork). It can include games, it can include different styles and icons etc. etc.

"Maybe you just don't want to understand that all KDE can do is offering good default *settings*, default *installations* are out of reach for KDE."

No they are not, and I think it's sad that some people think that it is. KDE does ship with lots of kick-ass apps, and I think people are quick to point out that "those apps are part of the KDE-project". But when there are less optimal apps, people try to pass the buck to distros by saying "well, it's up to distros to include those or not, don't blame KDE".

KDE already has a "default installation", the installation as offered by the KDE-team. When you install the KDE the Team offers, you will end up with certain applications set up in certain way. That is the default installation and KDE CAN change that! I think it's rather weird that you are claiming that KDE cannot change what apps ship with KDE and what apps do not.

"If installations are that much your concern you need to join a distribution effort like Kubuntu and make your voice heard there."

I don't care about Kubuntu. I don't use Kubuntu. But I do use KDE. Should I march around telling each and every distro what they should do? Wouldn't it be alot more effective talk about it here? I'm not interested in helping some specific distro, I'm interested in helping KDE.

And besides: you are telling me that it doesn't matter what vanilla-KDE ships with, since it's up to the distros to tweak it to their liking, right? Then: WHY DO YOU CARE WHAT SHIPS WITH VANILLA-KDE? You (and others) tell me that it's not up to KDE what's installed, since distros decide that. 5 seconds later you are telling me that what ships with KDE must not be changed. I thought that it doesn't matter what ships with KDE, since distros decide what gets installed? You can't have it both ways!

If you REALLY think that it's distros that decide what get installed, the surely you shouldn't care one bit if KDE decides to drop some apps, since it wouldn't affect the distros?? But since you do seem to care about it, then I guess you DO think that it does matter what ships with KDE?


By Janne at Thu, 2005/03/31 - 6:00am

Your definition of "vanilla KDE" appears to coincide with "KDE as it's put forth to distribution package managers, to be split up at their discretion."

Suppose we make a new kde package and call it kdeextrastuff. Now we take kedit and noatun and all the apps you feel are redundant, and put them in that package.

They're still part of KDE, though. They're in a KDE module, just a different one, and the distribution package managers are presented with it to split up and make packages as they see fit. What exactly have we gained other than moving several programs to a package that's less descriptive of what they do?

You say you're not interested in helping a specific distribution, but KDE as a whole. How are you doing so? What you're proposing is just adding more work for the KDE developers by making them worry about packaging concerns, when that job is _supposed_ to be done by distributions. That's what the purpose of Kubuntu is. They take the monolithic packages and split them and choose defaults and make sure the trimmed down system they put together works well. It's exactly what you want, it's just called Kubuntu instead of 'Vanilla KDE Default Installation' or whatever other name someone might come up with.

I don't know what you're talking about KDE 'dropping' applications. Each application has a set of people who work on it. Whether or not it gets classified in the KDE tarballs as 'graphics' or 'extrashit' won't make a difference; people will still work on whatever they want to.

The bottom line is that KDE doesn't really "ship" to anyone but the distribution packagers and hardcore users who want to compile it by hand themselves. If your distribution doesn't allow you to install a sane KDE system (by whatever definition you choose), then move to one that does. There is certainly one out there.


By Dolio at Thu, 2005/03/31 - 6:00am

> Suppose we make a new kde package and call it kdeextrastuff. Now we take kedit and noatun and all the apps you feel are redundant, and put them in that package.

Impossible, the module structure is setup in a way to support developers (so they can quickly find related code) and selfmade users/packagers (so they don't have dependency issues if they don't care and want to compile everything anyway).

Sorting the apps into modules following arbitrary personal use cases is just bound to confused both selfmade users and packagers, which would be a state far worse than what KDE is offering now.

Looks like Janne and David should work on making kde-cvsbuild idiot proof instead ranting here.


By ac at Thu, 2005/03/31 - 6:00am

"What you're proposing is just adding more work for the KDE developers by making them worry about packaging concerns, when that job is _supposed_ to be done by distributions"

no, no and no. The way KDE is packaged by the KDE-team would not have to change one bit from the way it is packaged today! As I have said already: The way KDE is packaged is NOT the problem here! I'm not suggesting that it's changed one bit! What the problem is, is what "A KDE release" consists of! And what is in the "KDE release" is precisily a concern of the KDE-team! And it consists of (among other things) lots of needless stuff. Anyone who claims that there is a real need for several almost identical text-editors is WAY off his rocker! And I find it rather surprising that the people who feel that there absolutely must be several text-editors in KDE are not also advocating inclusion of several filemanagers, several CD-burners, several web-browsers, several mail-clients etc. etc. Why not? Why are text-editors so important that we must have several of them whereas the other stuff is not as important? No, let me guess: "Because we have had several editors for a long time already!".

So it's not a guestion as to what is really NEEDED, it's a question of conservatism. Things must not change. We must do things like we did them before. Change is bad. That sort of thinking leads to stagnation. And fact is that KDE does not really NEED several text-editors.

If that is not the reason, then what is? "Different usage-patterns"? Then surely KDE should include Krusader as well, since it's targetted at "different usage-pattern" than Konqueror is? No? Why not? Also, we should include at least 3 additional CD-burners besides k3b. No? Why not?

Sorry, "different usage-patterns" does not fly. I think that people are just afraid of change.

No, I'm not telling that we should force developers to stop working on certain apps. Developers can work on any app they see fit. What I'm suggesting is that powers-at-be simply decide that "that certain app wont be part of next release of KDE".


By Janne at Thu, 2005/03/31 - 6:00am

So all you ask for is some GNOME style 'release member' application selection bureaucracy in KDE? This whole thread is really becoming hilarious...


By ac at Thu, 2005/03/31 - 6:00am

"So all you ask for is some GNOME style 'release member' application selection bureaucracy in KDE?"

Nope, but the default install needs to be severely trimmed and some thought put into its set up. as it stands, it isn't usable. I'm afraid you're not thinking enough or reading what has been written and everything is passed off as 'whatever Gnome is doing'.

"This whole thread is really becoming hilarious..."

What's more hilarious is this flies 30,000 feet over your head.


By David at Thu, 2005/03/31 - 6:00am

"The way KDE is packaged is NOT the problem here! I'm not suggesting that it's changed one bit!"

No, that's _all_ you're complaining about here. You're complaining about the fact that "the menu has too many applications in it." That is because---for reasons that escape many people here---you feel compelled to install _every_ application in an arbitrary set of monolithic tarballs, when in fact the developers don't require or expect you to install all of them.

kedit and kate/kwrite aren't even in the same monolithic package! Kate/kwrite is in kdebase, and kedit is in kdeutils. Why is kedit in kdeutils? Because it's an extra utility that sticks to the major KDE release schedule. It's an extra utility that some people need. It's not even in the core desktop packages! Why are you installing every single little utility that sticks to the KDE release schedule?

The monolithic tarballs are not intended to be installed completely, as-is. They're intended to be broken up and installed as necessary. Even if all redundant apps were moved to a package called kderedundant, by your logic, you would still have to install every redundant application in that package if you wanted even one! There is no logical reason for you to believe that, other than the fact that you believe that the tarballs that distro packagers get from KDE are mandated by some higher authority as "The One True Way to Install KDE."

But, please, pick out one sentence in my entire argument, and use it to claim that you're not talking about what you actually are talking about. And then complain that no one listens to you, while you aren't listening to anyone but yourself.


By Dolio at Thu, 2005/03/31 - 6:00am

"So you're saying there is a default configuration that fits the needs of the power users and the beginners alike?"

There is a difference between power-users and beginners: power-users are not afraid to change things. They want to take a look at under the hood and tweak things. Newbies do not want to do that. Or if they do, they don't want to make huge changes. Throwing them in the middle of "let's configure KDE"-maze would scare them.

Do you agree with that?

Following that logic, the default look 'n feel of KDE should be targetted towards new users. The options that are visible should be thought with new users in mind. Why? Because if the powerusers really want to change some advanced options, they can do so, even if they are hidden in some other tool. They are not afraid to make those changes. They can do it right now using Control Center, and they can do it if Control Center was stripped down, with more advanced settings moved elsewhere.

Newbies are a different matter. Current Control Center intimidates them. All those options scare them. If there were less options to choose from, they would feel that they are really in control of things. They wouldn't be afraid in changing things, and they would know where to find everything. As their skills advance and they find themself in the situation where they need to change some advanced setting, they oould still do it. But at that time they would be more acquinted with the system, and they would have built up their confidence in using the system. But if we throw gazillion options at them right from the start, they will feel scared, and that does little in building up their confidence.

Summary: powerusers can change even the more advanced settings if they want to. Newbies cannot. In fact, multitude of options will scare them away. Therefore the number of options (and buttons and apps and the like) should be targetted towards newbies. If powerusers find the default number of option lacking (although I dispute the claim that powerusers have a need to tweak everything all the time. They can also manage with less options/apps, if those options/apps are well though out in the first place), they can change them using the more advanced tools. Having smaller number of options (or apps) would NOT scare powerusers away, since they would still be available elsewhere. But having multitude of options thrown at the user could scare newbies away (like my wife. She uses KDE because I have been holding her hand, because I wrote detailed instructions on how to do various things, and because I haven't installed any other DE on the system. But if she had followed her initial reactions, she would have stopped using KDE long ago. And she still find it utterly confusing).

Seriously: we expect newbies to master Control Center and the multitude of apps that ship with KDE. What I suggest is that we tailor the environment towards those newbies. Doing so even the powerusers would find the everyday tasks to be smoother since the environment wouldn't be so cluttered or confusing. And if they have a need for more advanced settings or some extra tools, they are NOT denied them.

Why is it OK to demand that newbies master the compexity of the KDE, but it's not OK to expect powerusers to slightly change their habits of using the system (in changing some of the more advanced settings, or getting additional tools elsewhere)? Why are newbies (who cannot handle such things) thrown in the middle of multitude of options, whereas powerusers (who could master the system with their eyes closed, even if the configuration-options were changed) are handled with kid-gloves? the system is tailored towards powerusers who want to tweak things, but the newbies are left in the dust.


By Janne at Wed, 2005/03/30 - 6:00am

"People who get confused because they see three text editors in KMenu"

It may be a good idea for you to read why Matthias Ettrich actually started KDE in the first place. KDE was never intended for power users, or developers who persist in defending pointless and incomprehensible options so they can be "different to Windows) and get off on it.


By David at Tue, 2005/03/29 - 6:00am

> KDE was never intended for power users

"[..] deliver high quality work that is suitable for use by beginners *and* computer experts alike[..]"

(http://www.kde.org/whatiskde/kdemanifesto.php)


By ac at Tue, 2005/03/29 - 6:00am

""[..] deliver high quality work that is suitable for use by beginners *and* computer experts alike[..]"

(http://www.kde.org/whatiskde/kdemanifesto.php)"

Which it doesn't do, because it's not suitable for beginners only power users. If it was suitable for beginners, it would be suitable for power users as well.

However, you'll then have people bitching that they want fifteen different text editors or umpteen different ways of configuring the same thing that creates a huge control centre. That's what we've got now.

You may want to actually try reading an understanding the above statement in that manifesto.


By David at Tue, 2005/03/29 - 6:00am

Pages