APR
28
2004

Quickies: amaroK, KDE-People Newspage, IP Telephony, Qt 3.3.2, KMail, Usability Blogging

Some time ago on kde-www there was a request
for volunteers
to help with the amaroK website.
The amaroK team is considering to switch to a CMS based site so that they
get more organized with their content.

When talking of websites, it looks
like the website about those people behind KDE is also
offering a newspage these days.

Are you a Qt programmer and looking for job? Well, it seems that
Skype, wants to build their P2P telephony program for
the Linux desktop when you look at their job openings.

We have some more Qt news: Trolltech
announced a new version of its
C++ multiplatform toolkit Qt 3.3.2 which is a bugfix release.

No programmer yourself but you want specific improvements in KDE?
I came across this nice idea. Here you can demand
improvements specifically for KMail with an amount of money you would like to pledge for it. It seems like there
are some recent pledges as well.


Jono Bacon
, a writer, consultant, web developer and musician, has written an entry in
his blog that discusses the direction of software projects, with a
particular reference to KDE. He is interested to hear any thoughts on these suggestions.

Comments

I can't beleve it :-)...

If only it could be opensource so it could be well integrated to KDE and well packaged.


By Olivier LAHAYE at Wed, 2004/04/28 - 5:00am

Btw. the link seems to be borked in the above summary, should be http://skype.com/jobs.html#tallinn


By Datschge at Thu, 2004/04/29 - 5:00am

I don't think it will be open source.

Nevertheless, won't they be forced to make it Open source if they design it with QT ?

I think they'll choose GTK eventually...


By Nicolas Blanco at Thu, 2004/04/29 - 5:00am

Not if they license QT commercial. Then the app can be closed source.


By George Moody at Thu, 2004/04/29 - 5:00am

having a skype client for linux is more important to me than arguing whether ornot its 'open'


By macewan at Sun, 2004/05/02 - 5:00am

Sure Skype won't be open source. But who cares if you can download and use it for free. By the way the Skype guys sent me an email saying they have alsmost done with the Linux version of Skype.


By Maxei at Fri, 2004/05/21 - 5:00am

It is always great to hear voices from the KDE community which takes on the "usablity"-problem. It is needed, because GNOME shows a firm sense of direction and vision that is completly lacking in KDE.

It seems to me that that KDE has hit a brick wall in its development, and the bricks in that wall are the developers themselves. Here is an analogy: imagine building a car from scratch, and you want it to be of use to as many as possible: you don't need much usablity-studies or visual design competence when you are buiding the pistons, transmissions, differential etc. Here you only need engineers. But at some point in the development all these things will be in place, and other things becomes more important, like the visual style, an understanding of the likes and values of the buyers, ways of catering to the sensiblities and life of the drivers etc. If engineers are allowed to have the last word in this part of the process, the product will be clumsy, poorly formatted to a user group etc. At this point in the process the overall tasks becomes different and requires different competences.

This is the situation that KDE is in right now. The most important challenge for the environment has changed from technical improvements to the need for pursuing a top-down vision for integration and user interaction. The GNOME people has put a trap up for KDE, because they say that KDE is for the design philosophy of more options, knowing very well that this is a receipe for irrelevancy.

Much of what I see here regarding the need thinking user-interaction design is half hearted. It seems that Bacon's schema idea is one such, solving the problem of too many options (too little direction) with yet another option. (I think this this is the idea of "user-levels" which apparantly dosen't work very well).

KDE's primary problem is how to deal with the "brick wall" of old school developers. GNOME has had two important advantages: 1. That the most influential people in the project has the right vision and 2. The support of big corporations, like Sun, who knows this because live off selling their stuff.

I don't know how the less influntial people here who care about usablity shall solve this problem. One possiblity is to make a style/usablity fork which branches off as stable release and has the opportunity to remove, rename, redesign under a unified vision without compromise.


By will at Wed, 2004/04/28 - 5:00am

If you are such a firm believer in GNOME's future, why do you care about what happens to KDE?

Just curious.


By em at Wed, 2004/04/28 - 5:00am

Well, its not so much an estimate of their future, as that I like what they are trying to to. I see a lot of quality thinking about the goal of the desktop that is lacking in KDE.

The reasons I care about KDE, as they come to mind, are:

1. I have followed KDE for many years, I originally liked its dicipline and seriousness as a developer communinity, and have become "emotionally attached" I guess. But that is fading.

2. I am under the impression that KDE has a better technical foundation, and would like to see it transform into something that users love to use.

3. I am Morwegian, and would prefer that USA doesn't automatically become the center of the technological world. Especially when KDE had a head start. Besides TrollTech is a norwegian company :-)


By will at Wed, 2004/04/28 - 5:00am

So I'll answer seriously.

I think there's such a thing as too much "sense of direction". In the Open Source world you can usually find this problem in those projects that are closer ideologically to the FSF (such as GNOME). They want their design to be excessively innovative, or to match some sense of academic correctness, and they bet their projects on flashy but risky design decisions. Even though these decisions usually give them good PR and tend to attract the support of many developers (and sometimes even companies), in the end they are a huge and often fatal burden. A good example is the Hurd, but I can name many more.

On the other side I would put projects such as the Linux kernel and KDE. Here there is a deliberately generalist approach and the focus is on practicality. Design decisions are not too risky so they don't compromise the future of the project. As a result, these projects tend to live much longer even with a smaller developer base.

I'm of the opinion that the GNOME project will kill itself in the end with the rather radical approach to usability it has taken as of late. Losing one of the two leading Open Source desktops to this vague idea of "usability" will be bad enough, but losing both would be disastrous.


By em at Wed, 2004/04/28 - 5:00am

Thanks for your answer. A few points:

I get the impression that you are talking about techical design philosophy, and here it seems to me that a pragmatic approach is wise. (I don't think FSF has much influence on GNOME now, but that is another matter).

This is where we disagree:

>
>
I'm of the opinion that the GNOME project will kill itself in the end with the rather radical approach to usability it has taken as of late. Losing one of the two leading Open Source desktops to this vague idea of "usability" will be bad enough, but losing both would be disastrous.
>
>

I don't think it is reasonable to claim that an attempt improve usablity will kill a project. If more usable, more people will use it, and the more successful it will become. That seems like a platitude to me.

Of course, one may _fail_ in making it usable, but that is another matter. It can only be resolved by serious discussion about how to achive it and willingness to act upon what is found to be the best course of action, and that is what is lacking in KDE.


By will at Wed, 2004/04/28 - 5:00am

I think you confuse "usability" with "radical interpretation of usability". Usability can't kill a project--but what Gnome is doing of late simply isn't usability. They come up with ideas that sound good from a usability POV, but when users question the wisdom of those ideas, they just say "it will take some getting used to, but it'll be easier in the end, once you're used to it". KDE in my experience actually listens to user complaints and responds with code. Gnome has already become so quirky and strange to use that I can't see switching to it even of the KDE project dies.


By ac at Wed, 2004/04/28 - 5:00am

I interpret by head start you mean a head start, within the Linux community, regarding the UI Design?

Outside of Linux, the reason they call it Silicon Valley, isn't because of the silica in the area. The US is the hub of the technical world, but not the only hub.

Personally, Sun positioning itself with GNOME as it's Java Desktop really should have KDE thinking of perhaps positioning itself to work more with Apple and integrate support for Objective-C/Cocoa hooks. If that happened, with of course some aide from the GNUstep folks we'd really have something there.


By Marc J. Driftmeyer at Thu, 2004/04/29 - 5:00am

Now there's a thought. The world is so pre-occupied with making Microsoft work with Linux, why not make Apple work more with Linux too, not just Linux with Apple. Personally, I'm liking some of the ideas behind OS X. It just seems like developers that make addons and themes for KDE and/or Gnome tend to favor the new OS X look and feel. I cannot say that the Microsoft-ish look and feel has been cloned for as long as a time as the OS X bar and many attempts to actually turn the Linux Desktop into more of a Mac-like Desktop.

Maybe Marc is right? Maybe Will is right too? Does technicality have to be burdened by a heavy usability guideline or can it benefit from it?


By Rick at Thu, 2004/04/29 - 5:00am

Please, not again.

Do we really have to have this debate every six weeks?


By teatime at Wed, 2004/04/28 - 5:00am

Concerning this and other comments to the effect that "we don't want this discussion" or that posts with this message are trolling.

You are wrong: the reason why this pops up is because it is *important*, possibly the most pressing problem KDE is facing now. It is wrong to ignore it or to "close" the discussion.


By will at Wed, 2004/04/28 - 5:00am

I just came to realize that I am as tired of this discussion myself. It will probably not do any good, so you are free to delete it if you wish. I assume the moderator can verify that the IP adress is the same.


By will at Wed, 2004/04/28 - 5:00am

The reason why it pops up is not because it is important. It pops up because people are vulnerable to influence and propaganda. If other project have chosen "usability" flag to group people under, that is fine. But KDE project has it's own face, it's own goals and it's own direction and people must accept that as well.


By Alexander Dymo at Wed, 2004/04/28 - 5:00am

Please: Don't say usability is not important. KDE as it is might be just fine for you. Great! But that is one form of usability. The fit for that specifig group of users, you are part of.


By Anonymous at Thu, 2004/04/29 - 5:00am

I agree with you. I whoulnt say usabillity isnt important, but KDE has its own way of doing things. the thing I liked about KDE was that it allowed you to do whatever YOU wanted - much more options, features, configurations - thats what I like. well, it can be confusing, and its very good to re-arange things to make it easier to use (I often find myself looking through kconfig for a long time to change something which is in essention very easy) but at least KDE shoulnt follow Gnome in simply removing stuff... thats bad bad bad. lets do it just the KDE way, its fine ;-)


By superstoned at Thu, 2004/04/29 - 5:00am

So don't remove it. Just make the default better for the larger masses. As I have seen it, KDE is trying to go for the enterprise market as well as the normal Desktop area. Well, guess what needs to be done to fit nice and snug into the enterprise market? A good usability plan. If a desktop user cannot easily find their way around or for some reason gets easily confused, that slows work down. I am quite sure that employers would not enjoy that and choose not to implement something that's going to cause that.

Sure we hear alot of nice stuff about development companies wanting to use KDE as their DE of choice to support but you also hear more about companies choosing Gnome as their DE of choice. Why are all of the good products moving to KDE but all of the companies using Gnome? Can we answer that? Let's make those KDE using companies proud!


By Rick at Thu, 2004/04/29 - 5:00am

I don't like the way Gnome oversimplifies things, but they made some wise decisions. And no: I do not especially like Gnome, I do use KDE almost exlusively because I consider it superior in most areas and I do consider myself an advanced user.

But take Konqeror settings vs. FireFox (not really being a GNOME app) for example. I really like the way FireFox handles preferences. Options that are normally used (e.g. proxy settings that HAVE to be made to be able to use a browser) are readily available in the options dialog (General/Connection Settings). Less frequently used options (e.g. tab settings, certificate settings) are available for everybody in the "advanced" page in tree view. Really obscure options are only available via about:config. This is a great way to reduce complexity without taking out options for users who REALLY want them (and I don't think there are that many).

This way FireFox has only 7 pages in the options dialog, compared to 17 in Konqueror settings. Of those 17, 12 contain options for web browsing only. A list with 17 pages in a scroll box is simply way to long - it isn't even possible to see all entries without scrolling.

Honestly: No "normal" user knows what a user-agent string is - so no "normal" user is ever going to change it. Move it to an advanced page! Especially since there is also a "change browser identification" entry in the tools menu - so if people ask for a way to access that online banking site that only accepts IE, we can direct them there.

The same for "crypto" and "style sheets". Yes, crypto is important, but most users will never touch or understand the settings available in the crypto dialog. "JS/Java" could easily be made a tab in Web Behaviour (similar to web features in FireFox), Fonts and style sheets could be combined.

This is no whining about KDE. I love KDE and I actually do use some of the more obscure features in the configuration dialogs (in some applications). But I definitely wouldn't mind an additional mouse click if it would make normal tasks easier.

Keep up the good work!

A happy KDE user!


By anon at Wed, 2004/04/28 - 5:00am

IMO 17 pages of options are acceptable when they are neatly organized, which those are if you ask me. People who don't need options can just not use them. It helps alot when options have a helpful right-click "whats this?" help attached to them too. Also keep in mind Konq. is a web browser, file manager, ftp client, etc., etc.

Feature/option culling or combining prefs pages simply for the sake of having less pages is dangerous and should be done very carefuly. These tools should be last resorts in the quest for ease of use. Organization, intuitiveness, and consistency should do the job 99% of the time. IMHO of course :)


By Stregone at Wed, 2004/04/28 - 5:00am

I think sometimes pulling together pages can really help. For an average user, do you think there is a difference between Java and Flash? Yet they are in different pages... The same for fonts/style sheets. So even with Konq being everything in one (which I really like), I think some things can greatly be simplified and some options could be moved to an advanced page or something like about:config... IMO this time ;)

One more example: Does anybody still modify cache settings? Last time I did it was with Netscape 3 on Windows because it had an insanely small cache and I was on a slow line.


By anon at Wed, 2004/04/28 - 5:00am

It's pretty simple. I would not use Kate if I could not set a handful of obscure settings. I don't use the other hundred settings, but my "must work this way" for my primary application are vital. If somebody set it the way they think it should be and removed the ability to configure it, I wouldn't use the application.

Now apply that reasoning to most other applications. That's why I like clearly defined applications with well organized configurability. That's part of why I like KDE.


By Evan "JabberWok... at Wed, 2004/04/28 - 5:00am

Well, IMO Kate is already an application for more advanced users (Text Editor with programming features as opposed to a web browser/file manager everybody uses). But actually I think Kate's settings dialog at least to me appears less cluttered. Also with Kate's option I think it is harder to really distinguish between frequently and less frequently used options because it caters a different group of users.

For KWrite OTOH it would probably make sense to remove many of the options it offers or to move them to an "advanced" page. So there would be a cler distinction between Kate - Advanced Editor and KWrite as a Notepad replacement.

For me K3B stands out as an app that is really easy to configure using the Setup program/menu entry, but gives me all the flexibility when using the configure... dialog. Here a good compromise was found between reducing complexity and maintaining all options.

- - - OT:
I know K3b was picked in a rant by a Gnome developer recently for bad usability, but I think it is great and easy to use - it works the way people expect a burner application to work (integrated file manager and such). OTOH again it is possible to configure K3B as a simple drop window (remove file manager etc.)

It took me less than five minutes to configure K3B to something that looks a lot like the mock-up featured in http://www.thecardinal1978.com/GNOME/

See attached screenshot. Works as a perfect "drop box" for files to be burned to CD/DVD.

A great proof to KDE's flexibility.


By anon at Wed, 2004/04/28 - 5:00am

cool screenie.

btw, kwrite isn't a "notepad replacement", kedit is much closer to that. kwrite is a code editor, a title i don't know i'd bestow on notepad ;-)


By Aaron J. Seigo at Thu, 2004/04/29 - 5:00am

That GNOME article amused me.

Whatever GNOME has is called "usability perks".
Whatever others have is called "bloats".
Whatever GNOME does not have is called "minimalistic approach".
Whatever others do not have is called "lack of features".


By jk at Thu, 2004/04/29 - 5:00am

I usually do not spit on other F/OSS project, but this Gnome quote is something so absurd I can't tell nothing!

"Because free software environments like GNOME are founded upon cooperative development they can avoid the problems caused by corporate competition and branding. A user in Windows XP will have to navigate Windows Media Player, Real Networks Real Player and Apple Quick time in order to play media files. Their applications menu will be cluttered and the number of interfaces to learn is higher than in GNOME where a user must only find and learn Totem Movie Player. A properly configured GNOME menu can eliminate the need to learn application names and drastically clean up the desktop."

but, WTF is Windows going to do? the same! integrating all by default!
This is a only-one-true-vision approach, and it is ideologically absurd to me!! Yeah, if you have only one thing to learn it is obviously easier, but you have to put your brain in a box and say "Ok, let others think for me".
Usability and lack of options are not connected, as Gnome community nearly thinks.

I mean, there are better ways to get things easier and simplier, and anyway the "total-dumb-newbie" Gnome is trying to approach will have anyway and in any case tons of problems with this magic box called computer.


By Davide Ferrari at Thu, 2004/04/29 - 5:00am

Your off-topic, (mis-informed) rant is severely misplaced here. People like you will eventually force this forum to be moderated, which would be a sad waste of resources that could be put back into making KDE more usable.


By Max Howell at Wed, 2004/04/28 - 5:00am

> a firm sense of direction and vision that is completly lacking in KDE.

You know how to alienate and discourage those KDE developer who do care, eh?


By Anonymous at Wed, 2004/04/28 - 5:00am

That is not the intention. I'm sorry if has that effect, but although it seems like an "insult" or some such thing it merely intended as statement of fact. Which can be disputed and so on. If it is true in some relevant sense, it needs to be said.


By will at Wed, 2004/04/28 - 5:00am

The "merely intended as statement of fact" part is the dangerous one. A certain KDE developer recently complained on his blog that misguided users are more dangerous than trolls since the latter actually know that they ignore certain informations, that's the purpose of trolling after all. Misguided users "merely" state "facts", and thus spread lies and FUD they actually believe in while not seeing the need to check their data, it's "facts" for them after all.

Btw about your suggestion to do a usability fork of KDE, you can do it yourself already without a fork, KDE is greatly adaptable to specific environments and use cases by customizing it and locking it down.


By Datschge at Thu, 2004/04/29 - 5:00am

I don't want to be objectionable; but to be taken seriously by anyone you must learn the difference between "fact" and "opinion". I've found the KDE developers very open to opinion when expressed as such (as are most reasonable people). When opinions are expressed as fact you will get in trouble.

* The sky is blue
* The sky is the wrong shade of blue
* I think the sky is the wrong shade of blue

Only the second one is annoying. Your comment was not "merely a statment of fact"; if it where there could be no disagreement. As there is disagreement, your statement must be opinion. As such, you are being insulting to the hard working KDE developers whether you intend to or not.


By Andy Parkins at Thu, 2004/04/29 - 5:00am

An opinion just is an expression of fact, even when what is presented as fact is disputable, so modifying the claim with "in my opinion" doesn't change the content of the assertion. From the perspective of conveying degree of likelyhood or the strenght of the evidential support, it perhaps pertinent to modify that statement with "in my opinion" when the assessment is regarded as being uncertain or having low evidential support. Unfortunately, I don't think that is the case here :-(


By will at Sat, 2004/05/01 - 5:00am

gg:define:fact
"a piece of information about circumstances that exist or events that have occurred"
"a statement or assertion of verified information about something that is the case or has happened"
"an event known to have happened or something known to have existed"
"a concept whose truth can be proved"

gg:define:opinion
"a personal belief or judgment that is not founded on proof or certainty"
"a belief or sentiment shared by most people; the voice of the people"
"a message expressing a belief about something; the expression of a belief that is held with confidence but not substantiated by positive knowledge or proof"
"a vague idea in which some confidence is placed"

So please stop watering down the English language with your flawed interpretations of "fact" and "opinion", English is unspecific enough already.


By Datschge at Sun, 2004/05/02 - 5:00am

hm... I believe this is perfectly consistent whith what I said. Remember that opinion or expression of belief is just a *kind* of fact-stating. If you believe something, you believe something to be the case, in other words to be a fact. If you say that "I'm of the opinion that the income tax has increased this year", you are asserting this to be a fact, whith some degree of certitude or personal conviction. What makes this an opinion has nothing to do with the fact-stating, but by the nature of grounds you have to assert it. Well, this is off topic anyway.


By will at Sun, 2004/05/02 - 5:00am

You are still missing the point. Opinion or expression of belief are by far not a *kind* of fact-stating, they are transmission of information if at all. It doesn't matter how much you believe your opinion is true, as long as you can't prove it to others it is no fact. You are using the word "fact" as if it's some kind of bubble gum which adapts its formation to whatever one's personal perception is, but excatly this is NOT the definition of "fact". Unproven and unresearched "fact stating" equals to spreading FUD, it makes credulous people believe in false stuff without them seeing a need to check if it's actually true. Facts can be checked to be true, FUD can be checked to be false, but in both cases people need to check it. You spread FUD, not facts, and your persistence at wanting to defend this behavior makes me wonder if you are just that naive or are trying to improve yourself at trolling.


By Datschge at Mon, 2004/05/03 - 5:00am

I agree that this discussion is somewhat pointless, but I am merely answering your posts, so I think you have to share the responsiblity here!

It perhaps also somewhat irrelevant, because for the present discussion it doesn't matter whether opinion is fact stating or not. You think that a fact is an opinion with a high degree of certitude, and I do think my claim that "KDE lacks direction" is an opinion with a high degree of certitude and the comparison with GNOME is meant to substantiate that claim. It is probably this that should be discussed. I agree, though, that the criterion for being a fact is whether it can be checked to be true. But that makes an opinion capable of stating facts as well, which is my point.

Forget that. No I am not spreading FUD, I attempting to point to a major challenge for KDE right now. It is true though, that the discussion might be conducted in a less antagonistic fashion. That goes for everyone.


By will at Tue, 2004/05/04 - 5:00am

You are starting a discussion over a topic about which you didn't inform yourself beforehand. The whole topic about "KDE lacking direction" is a joke since, besides a centralized CVS and bug tracking server as well as one release coordinator, KDE never had one centralized leadership nor a project wide agenda. It's the subprojects which can have and often have directions, and as a project encompassing many smaller projects with their spcific goals KDE as a whole can't and won't have a single direction. I suggest you to read the "Inside KDE 3.2" article at arstechnica.com, especially the second page "project structure".

But your case shows that KDE is lacking at marketing, we do not (yet?) have the marketing force and media presence to convince people like you that the "problems" you talk about are really actually all imaginary.


By Datschge at Wed, 2004/05/05 - 5:00am

Hey, you are still here! And so am I.... :-(

>
" KDE as a whole can't and won't have a single direction".
>

If GNOME can, so can KDE. In any case, I think you are making a political statement here.

>
"to convince people like you that the "problems" you talk about are really actually all imaginary"
>

Well, from your statement that "KDE can't and won't have a single direction" I assume we agree that KDE doesn't have a single direction. I would certainly call that a problem, whether it inevitable or not. By your own admission it is not imaginary.

I feel a bit bad when I read the article, which is very thorough and full the professionalism I used to admire in KDE. You didn't take me seriously because you thought I was on the edge of trolling, and now I realize that I haven't been taking you sufficiently seriously for the same reason.

When I say that KDE lacks direction, it isn't because of the way the development process is conducted, which I am sure is fine. Linus has said he values KDE as a project highly, and I am sure it is for this exact reason. I tried to explain what I meant by the car-analogy - one may have excellent direction in making the cogs and wheels, but if that is all, car will still look is made without direction if it isn't made whith a top-down view, where the top is the users needs and sensibilities. One consequence of that is to make hard choices as to what is relevant. Try to see it from my perspective: When I see KDE I see a geeky, messy, unelegant heap of things, with an excellent foundation, and it feels like such a waste.

I once were afraid that OSS process would have problems to accomodate a top-down view (and this is perhaps what you think about as can't be, due to the nature of the development process), but to my great relief, it does seem to be possible. HIG is said to gain good support in the GNOME development community and I am delighted by the fact that they can conduct a discussion of this spatial thing and other features, and then impose it on the environment. Technology enters as problem solver, a secondary consideration to the aims of the environment, as it should be. Some guy wrote a piece about that a week ago or so. I predict that OSS over time will learn this lesson from the success of the projects that follows this approach.


By will at Wed, 2004/05/05 - 5:00am

> 1. That the most influential people in the project has the right vision

I don't consider trying to clone every crap M$ spits out the right vision.
This is a catch-up game the never ends.
Better try to attract developers and users by having a sweet and standards-compliant desktop/platform.
Yes, I consider kde as a platform!

While kde gets better, faster, stabler and more useful, I watch gnome shooting
itself by wasting time thinking about c#.

But watch out. kde has reached a level where the core-desktop is reaching
feature-completeness.
c++ was a good choice, and anyway with all the existing
bindings, u r free to program in whatever language u like.

Focus has to be set to applications now.


By ac at Wed, 2004/04/28 - 5:00am

Miguel, please stop posting here.

Cheers,

Carlos Cesar


By ccp at Thu, 2004/04/29 - 5:00am

Your point is taken, and I clearly understand it.

However, I have a slightly different take on this, based on Tom Peters' ideas.

Yes, the developers are now the main obstacle to the project's further development. However, I do not see the developers as the real problem. Rather I see the problem as a corporate culture (a corporate culture was almost the downfall of IBM). The current corporate culture appears to be that code is what is of supreme importance and that, therefore, coders rule. This is an result of various ideas which I see as completely acceptable for a small project where development is all done by one person (and possibly some assistants).

However, the KDE project has become too large for that corporate culture to work anymore. We need a paradigm shift to the idea that design is, if not most important thing, at least as importand as coding. This is not in anyway to denigrate the work of our many excellent coders (design only has practical value when it is implemented -- but this does not mean [as coders have suggested] that design does not have value), but only to say that we now also need designers if the project is to continue to go forward and eventually replace Micro$oft Windows as the most popular desktop.

If we can try to implement this paradigm shift in our corporate culture, we need to develop methodologies to distill the ideas posted on the kde-usability list to engineering ideas that are ready to implement.

In this regard, I think that the Control Center is the project to start on. It is here that it should be clear to everyone that the user interface design is what is the important part and that implementation of changes will not be difficult to code. We also have a contributor that has done a lot of excellent design work. He states that he is not a programmer, and has no idea how to implement his ideas. According to our current corporate culture, this means that his work had no value and will not be used. Put simply, this idea is WRONG and needs to be excised from the KDE project.

We should not develop a paradigm based on the methods of commercial software to accomplish these goals, be need new ideas of how to change to a design oriented corporate culture for OSS. Please submit your proposals or ideas for proposals to the 'kde-quality' list. If we can come up with positive ideas and implement them, we can quite having this contentious argument and get on with the work of making KDE the best desktop environment, first in Linux/UNIX and then in the entire software world.

--
JRT


By James Richard Tyrer at Fri, 2004/04/30 - 5:00am

> the developers are now the main obstacle to the project's further development.

That is just cringe inducing. It's like saying actors are the main obstacle to development of acting, or doctors the main obstacle to healthcare, or plants the main obstacle to breathing.

In other words: if only that was the case! Try developing KDE without developers, acting without actors, healthcare without doctors or breathing without plants. Ain't gonna work.

If the main obstacle is something you can't do without, what you gonna do?


By Roberto Alsina at Fri, 2004/04/30 - 5:00am

Well, its just a manner of speaking, I think. The real point is found in is remark "However, I do not see the developers as the real problem. Rather I see the problem as a corporate culture", and that is the point that needs to be rebutted, if that is your intent.


By will at Sat, 2004/05/01 - 5:00am

He talks about how is father would react to KDE without actually showing him the KDE desktop and letting him use Konqueror, KMail etc. What about KDE Kiosk mode, if complexity is a problem?

How does the Qt/KDE api compare with the Gnome equivalent? What really matters, GUI sugar frosting or architecture?

-- Richard


By Richard Dale at Wed, 2004/04/28 - 5:00am

A simple problem with that statement is that things are not black and white. GUI sugar frosting is used to make people go "Uuh, fancy, I could see that being cool to use", and architecture is to make developers go "Uuh, fancy, I could see that being cool to use". See my point there?

Also, my reply to a reply on the blog should give away some of my considerations as to the whole "things are too difficult" thing. Thanks :)


By Dan Leinir Turt... at Wed, 2004/04/28 - 5:00am

"A simple problem with that statement is that things are not black and white. GUI sugar frosting is used to make people go "Uuh, fancy, I could see that being cool to use", and architecture is to make developers go "Uuh, fancy, I could see that being cool to use". See my point there?"

No not really, you're wrong. The point of 'architecture' as in the narrow sense of QStyles is to allow applications written to the Qt api to adapt to as many different devices/usage styles as possible. Qt applications can be used in mobile phones/PDAs via Qtopia or they can scale to the desktop. The architecture allows the GUI to scale.


By Richard Dale at Wed, 2004/04/28 - 5:00am

>
How does the Qt/KDE api compare with the Gnome equivalent? What really matters, GUI sugar frosting or architecture?
>

Imagine saying this in about Middle Eastern peace talks: What really matters, speaking arabic or being good at solving diplomatic problems? The answer to both of these questions is the same. "Being good at solving diplomating problems", and "GUI sugar frosting", respectively, are the most important parts, since they are related to the purpose of the activity (making peace/let the user do what he wants). The other part (speaking arabic/having a set of API's) is a mere condition and not that interesting in the big scheme of things. Of course, having said that, it also follows that calling GUI for "sugar frosting" is inappropriate.


By will at Sat, 2004/05/01 - 5:00am

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