OCT
11
2000

Improving KDE Public Relations

There is a general consensus that the KDE project, despite its technical superiority among various desktop environments, has had a poor PR record, especially in North America. Now that the release has been delayed a week or so, let's take this opportunity on dot.kde.org to present and share ideas that will help the KDE PR and marketing efforts. Just to get us started, here's one idea which I mentioned to Mosfet:

I just looked at ftp://ftp.kde.org/pub/kde/Incoming/gnome.png. (This is actually what reminded me of KDE's poor public relations and advertising record compared to the competition.) If KDE can be configured to
look virtually exactly like the competition, why not advertise that fact when KDE2 is released? Those companies or organizations who have invested in the look and feel of the competition can consider the technical superiority of KDE
without worrying about style issues. And the naysayers on /. etc. who talk about how the competition is prettier can be silenced before they even start. When the KDE2 release is officially announced, the folks at /. etc. should have immediate links to screenshots showing off style compatibility with the competition.

Look, now that KDE is totally (L)GPL compatible (ok, for some of us there was never a real
problem to begin with but let's not even go there), why not include a couple of themes using the competition's icons, etc. (minus the foot) in the standard KDE distribution? This will make it easier for users to get that look if they want and then they focus on the technical merits or demerits. If KDE can include non-standard applications in the distribution, then why not distribute some non-standard
styles as well?

If this has already been discussed somewhere, then I missed it. Any way, given all of the work that has gone into KDE2, not to mention the great configurability that has been developed, it should be advertised LOUDLY and decisively immediately upon release (links to screenshots, etc). The excuse that "Well, uhh, I chose <insert name of competition here> because it looks cooler man" can and should be put to rest once and for all.

The above is meant to provoke ideas and general discussion about KDE PR. The release delay gives the PR team (who are they anyway?) an extra week to get things together. After all of the experience of the past, we have no excuse to not get it right this time. There may never be as crucial an advertising moment for KDE as with this KDE 2.0 release.

Thank goodness they dropped the KDE2 1.x idea, or we'd be in REAAAL trouble.

Samawi

Comments

Do you know what ? The car that i owned 6 years ago was very rusty and sometimes didnt start.


By Lenny at Fri, 2000/10/13 - 5:00am

Well, just that.


By Anon. Advocate. at Fri, 2000/10/13 - 5:00am

kfm sucks as bad a gmc, thats why both fms are being replaced. i still havent heard a good example.


By josh mcgee at Thu, 2000/10/12 - 5:00am

"little lesson on marketing"
1) select your target group
1.1) freeks
1.2) windozese
1.3) novices

2) tell them THEIR benefits of using your product (this has usualy nothing to to with the great technical capabilities of KDE)

2.1) much more technical stuff (dcop, io, mcop, artsd, technical details on integration.)

2.2) differences to windoze (stability, speed, cost...) - someone mentioned the well know comparison lists.

2.3) IMHO most difficult target group. What apps are provided, and what the user can do (and what not!!! still a considerable incompatibility to MS-world) avoid all abrevations like css,ssh....

So IMHO KDE needs (at least?) three specific PR-lines.

General:
*) IT's free, no copyright, no cost. (together with linux as operating system)
*) fast development
*) fast bugfixes
*) roughly 50 languages supported

Specific:
*) Games
*) Internet
**)WWW-browsing (except many javascript-pages :-(
**) Chat
**) Mail
*) Addressbook
*) KOrganizer
*) News
*) Graphics
**) Pixie
**) Faxvier
**) PS/PDF (except encrypted?)
*) Office-Suite
**) KWord
**) KWrite
**) KPresenter
**) KChart
**) KLyx (?)
*) KPilot
*Multimedia
*) Configuration options

Forget (yes!) about all the great utilities - no one (almost ;-) will install KDE2 only because of its utilities.

(Most) users want to
*) get their job done
or
*) just play

cu
ferdinand


By Ferdinand Gassauer at Wed, 2000/10/11 - 5:00am

**) PS/PDF (except encrypted?)

You can look at encrypted PS/PDF with ghostview based viewers like kghostview. It was just switched off due to FUCKING american crypto laws and equally bad patents.

Look at pdfencrypt/

Really simple.

Also xpdf 0.91 (superior anyways) opens them.


By Moritz Moeller-... at Thu, 2000/10/12 - 5:00am

Thanks!
So exactly things like this should be handled carefuly in PR and INSTALL instructions
cu
ferdinand


By Ferdinand Gassauer at Thu, 2000/10/12 - 5:00am

Whether or not it is stooping depends entirely upon how it is presented. If you are discussing customizability, and mention it is so customizable that you can make it even look like the "competition" and show a pic to prove it, that is good. But if you go off saying that you've incorporated features that allow you to mimic the style and feel of another interface, that comes across as sleezy. Don't include the libraries, icons, or anything out of gnome as i've seen suggested. The widget set, and maybe the fundamental images that make up the environment would be ok, but beyond that, it does look bad to a certain extent, depending mostly on the person using it. I know I would have no problem with it, while other people I know would. Also, include tons and tons and tons of themes :)


By dingodonkey at Wed, 2000/10/11 - 5:00am

I'm one of those... um... Debian users, and I've been giving KDE a work out since it was added to the official mirrors. I like KDE, have always liked it since using it with for example Mandrake or the Corel version :^) on some systems I've installed for others. I'm dying to see Konqueror get to the point where it's my default browser (at this point, the Debian packages haven't stabilized yet).

Publicity is *very* much needed for KDE. Gnome has Red Hat to stump for it, and now The Foundation. I think the "figurehead" comment is a very astute one. KDE has no de facto figurehead like Linus or Miguel. Such a central person really makes PR much easier and more effective.

But my main comment is something that jumped out at me right away when I read this article. Please don't take this as a flame, I surely don't mean it as one. But if any "official KDE" people say in a public forum that "KDE is technically superior to the other desktop environments," that statement is likely to backfire.

It's one thing to be proud of the work you've done or to show off all the good things it can do. But it's quite another to say this in the wrong way, where it can easily be taken as a boast. Boasting can be very detrimental to PR because it turns lots of people off. If this gets taken as "We're better than all the rest of you," it's a very elitist message.

There is a strong need to be inclusionary. So far KDE has very much been so. Just make sure that a few misspoken words don't confuse people into thinking KDE is a snobbish, unfriendly project.
Just my two cents...

Clemmitt Sigler


By Clemmitt Sigler at Wed, 2000/10/11 - 5:00am

But if any "official KDE" people say in a public forum that "KDE is technically superior to the other desktop environments," that statement is likely to backfire.

Funny, but that's what the GNOME developers say all the time. How come they never get any flack for it?

The way I figure it, the more the other side howls the more KDE must be on the right track.


By David Johnson at Thu, 2000/10/12 - 5:00am

> Funny, but that's what the GNOME developers say
> all the time. How come they never get any
> flack for it?

From what I've read the Gnome developers get plenty of flack from KDE bigots, and vice versa. It's a two-way street, and all that energy is wasted in the flames. No?

> The way I figure it, the more the other side
> howls the more KDE must be on the right track.

If you support the logic that two wrongs make a right, yes. I don't think that logic is valid myself.


By Clemmitt Sigler at Thu, 2000/10/12 - 5:00am

I first used KDE in 1996 because a friend of mine told me about it (it was still an alpha version then if I recall correctly).

For great PR, there needs to be a PR team in each country promoting the product so that each campaign can be tailored for specific markets.

This need not be an expensive operation, but dates and events (not to mention websites) need to be co-ordinated.

Feedback on KDE (opinions, discussions on various BBS etc) needs to be monitored by a central committee, so that the developers can be informed about what the users are asking for or appreciating.

I would suggest something like http://www.mozillazine.org, which is a useful site taking feedback on all aspects of Mozilla and providing and 'unofficial' voice on developments.

I hope this helps.

Cheers,
Matthew


By Matthew Trump at Wed, 2000/10/11 - 5:00am

Well, I generally think that the PR about KDE should be much more improved. We did a lot during the year on exhibitions all over Germany and we´re still doing, but the net could use some more especially after Qt going GPL.

For me personally, it´s not only KDevelop where I´m programming but the success of KDE as a whole where I only see KDevelop disconnected from the train when it comes to the KDE core developer usage (no claim to make KDevelop the choice for everyone here ;-)and our own time frame as we started much later than KDE did.

But I think we´re doing such a great job by what we get to know from attendants at the expos - and we could improve that a lot with more speeches, more news send out to the media, people placed publically with their success story to participate on KDE - in opposition to only having one face for KDE as there is none. The current interview series "people behind KDE" is a good start for that IMHO.

My experience: In my speeches on Expos, I´m thinking more in terms of "selling" our stuff to the people although it doesn´t cost them anything. But they are hungry enough to get it if you actually *show* what KDE does than wait for them asking what it can do for them.

Ralf


By Ralf Nolden at Wed, 2000/10/11 - 5:00am

Concerning the image:

ftp://ftp.kde.org/pub/kde/Incoming/gnome.png.

I did the icontheme to create this screenshot in about 15 minutes to test certain features of KDE2's new powerful icon-engine. Therefore it was *NOT* my major goal to create a perfect copy of Gnome (although it *IS* possible to create exact Gnome-look&feel using KDE2). I prefer the original look&feel of KDE2 though:

ftp://derkarl.org/pub/incoming/kde2shot21092000b.png

So I'm not really interested in improving the gnome-icon-theme. If somebody else wants to do it ... start here:

ftp://derkarl.org/pub/incoming/theme-gnome-0.3.tar.gz

I would be happier though if people would create more icon-themes in addition.

Within the upcoming two months I'll work on new better application-icons for KDE2 (Mimetype-icons look quite perfect to me now), better folder-icons and Hicolor-versions of the small 16x16-icons (the current ones are based on a 40-color-palette and might suck in the eyes of some people).
KDE2 already does support lots of features to customize KDE2's look down to your needs -- windowmanager-styles, widgetthemes (including support of gtk-themes which are being displayed faster than using gtk itself), iconeffects and iconthemes. The iconengine supports a lot of weird stuff. Also in the next two months alphatransparency for icons will probably be implemented. This would be the last feature missin g to create a decent original (for-private-usage-only-of-course) MacOSX-icon-theme (scalable icons are already supported by KDE2.0) :-)

Greetings,
Tackat


By Torsten Rahn at Thu, 2000/10/12 - 5:00am

I suggest that we buy national domains (with kde prefix) all over the world. For example, I could buy www.kde.dk, and mirror kde.org site, and translate it to danish. It would be much easier for Danes to access, and to read kde news. I can easily find some people in Danmark who would like to share expensies connected with this.
Second, The Danish Ministry of Technology is
very interested in replacing Microsoft in all
public computers (great news for Linux). I am going to burn some cd's (with KDE2 when it is released) and send to that ministry and all
ministers in danish government.


By Zeljko Vukman at Thu, 2000/10/12 - 5:00am

Firstly, I think it's great that KDE is starting to recognize the need to be pro-active in the PR dept. I also like the idea that you can push real stuff not vapourware.

Let's be real. You don't have the M$ PR budget. You are not the default desktop on the largest distro, SuSE is a good second thou. You will probably never be the hackers choice and nor should you try to be.

All is not lost :-)

You need to find large companies willing to commit to the KDE product. Hp, Compaq etc companies who have hardware, may have Linux, but companies that need office software and are willing to run KDE to get it.

The bullet points below are just some ideas to present your message.

o One central repository for all K stuff, this site is perfect for that. News should be published here first. Links to any mention of K stuff on the web be it /. or the London Times. Links to all K projects. Make sure the links are working, if not don't display them.

o One contact on each project for PR contact, doesn't have to be a developer, just someone who knows what's occuring and is able to talk to non-techie people. This might be the hardest role to fill on OS projects.

o Make sure you have many recent screenshots easily available on the websites, how long did it take for the KDE2 screenshots to be available, too damn long!

o _Monthly_ Digests of all KDE features/apps, at least KDE/KOFFICE/KDEVELOP I'm a developer and I had no idea Kdevelop existed until I started hunting around. Once the digests are up and running, make sure they get posted to the Linux news sites. Non Linux people will only be interested in big news, not the small stuff.

o You have a big release coming up, is this going to be reported in the mainstream IT press? Have you made sure all the distros are aware? Who is going to be the first distro to announce they're shipping KDE2?

o When Koffice is ready make sure the mainstream IT press is aware. Get yourself on the office software reviews, be compared to M$, Lotus, StarOffice, Applixware etc.

o Likewise get Konqeuror in the browser reviews.

o A box running KOffice with some connected Xterms is all that most small offices need, can you find a partner for this?

o Link to all articles about KDE, especially bad ones. In fact highlight the bad reviews and give either a refutation or a date when the problem will be resolved. Do stuff that M$ can't or will not.

o Find reference sites, who is using K stuff? How much, why etc. Not just single users but commercial sites, publish their details. the cost benefit of KDE/KOFFICE in a large company is huge. But they need to know you're here.


By Usquebaugh at Thu, 2000/10/12 - 5:00am

Let's be real. KDE have no PR budget!;)


By AC at Thu, 2000/10/12 - 5:00am

You have some nice ideas, but they are, AFAICT, total vaporware. Which of your ideas are you planning on implementing?

Face it, nobody's going to follow your instructions. Things only get improved in an open-source project if someone does it. Why don't you help, pick one of your list items and implement it? Maybe you can do the monthly digest?


By Usquebaugh who? at Thu, 2000/10/12 - 5:00am

Of course they're vapourware the original poster was looking for new ideas!

How do I go about implementing my ideas? Most of them require the use of this website. I can submit links but that's no good if there isn't someone putting the links up and co-ordinating the submissions.

I cannot be the PR contact as I have neither the people skills or the backing of the dev team. Likewise, I have no role on the dev team so how do I do the digest?

3rd party liasons, oh like they're going to listen to me.

The only way I can help is with questions and comments to mainstream press. Well gee I'm already doing that, not just for KDE. But I'm not part of the team so I sure can't speak for them.

The whole focus of my ideas was that you need to foster favourable PR.


By Usquebaugh at Thu, 2000/10/12 - 5:00am

>> You will probably never be the hackers choice and nor should you try to be.

Why? I consider myself as hacker (I event get money for hacking) and I use KDE as my major Desktop, although I also use GNOME and would install xfce on slower machines.


By Wolfgang Winkler at Fri, 2000/10/13 - 5:00am

The dev team has a limited amount of resources.

So the hacker market is small if vocal. As you confirm it's not a loyal market.

Spend the time making KDE more appealing to the enterprise clients. If a market is created for KDE developers then more people will develop for KDE.


By Usquebaugh at Fri, 2000/10/13 - 5:00am

hello , l just wanna know u more


By mark at Sat, 2003/10/04 - 5:00am

I think the reason KDE is having so much trouble is simple. KDE is *not* vastly superior to GNOME. It may be a little better in some respects, but it's not overwhelmingly better. Most things KDE can do, GNOME can do too. And if not right now, GNOME will do them in the near future. So the feature fight is a moot point.

I think concentrating on features misses the point. This struggle is about mind-share. It's not about who has the better office suit or smoother interface. Those things are irrelevant, because they are near-term advantages. The long term advantages come from massive mind share. Once you have hordes of developers supporting you, you will get everything, even if initially you didn't have some feature or whatnot. Plus, even if you lack some features, what will count in the end is over-all support, which is again mind share.

People gathered around Gnome, not because it's technically superior, but because 1) it was good enough and 2) it was in a good strategic position that was open for future growth. It's funny how important GPL is. What's funny is that even though GPL was invented to protect the consumer, it has an excellent side-effect of protecting big corporations too! GPL is even *more* important to a big corp, than to a small developer. A big corp needs assurances that it won't lose competitive advantage, and that the space won't get fragmented. And GPL does that. PR that.

Now that we're down to mind share, the issue is simple. KDE's license used to be simply unfair and dangerous to most developers out there. WHO wants to develop some software, if there is even a little chance of it become closed later on? Who wants to work hard in order for someone else to later close the software and benefit from your work? Very few. Sure, there is BSD. But why is BSD not winning the mind-share? It's the license. LICENSE MATTERS. No matter how technically superior the product is, if the license is unattractive to developers, it will lose in the free software world (in the corprorate world it doesn't have to lose if you have a significant financial clout).

Gnome may not be the best (altho it's darn good), but it has *succeeded* in attracting a lot more developers, and it will keep succeeding. Gnome from the get-go had an attractive license. If ppl contribute some code to Gnome, they have a peace of mind that no one can take advantage of them. This has been a huge factor in gathering a huge mass of developers around it, and that in turn creates a huge inertia/momentum. And we all know how critical this inertia is. Look at Microsoft. It has been providing inferior products for EVER, but it still dominates. That's market inertia at work.

KDE2 now has a better license, but it has lost critical momentum. Many developers have already commited to Gnome. Why should they switch, when they are in majority? There is safety in numbers. Even if KDE2 is 2x better, that's not a compelling reason to switch.

Since Linux is *not* a *desktop* OS, customers right now do *not* influence the desktop market. It is the developers. If/when linux becomes a desktop OS, then the casual customer will have an actual impact. Then the developer will think, "well Gnome has a bigger following and is safer now, but KDE2 has the customer base, and since I want to sell my product to customers, I want the biggest market..." and so on, and then KDE2 might have a chance. But even then, it will be at a disadvantage, because Gnome will have a head start with the broad support.

I think KDE2 could do better by being a closed-source product. You either open your source all the way, right away, or you better close the source and start charging money for it. There is no middle ground that will succeed in a major way (like gain majority acceptance).

I don't think KDE users have anything to worry about though. I think KDE2 is here to stay for a long time. It's not going to take over the world. No way. And it's not going to go away either. I think it will be a stalemate, like Emacs, X-Emacs. I little bit of positive noise (PR) can help KDE gain desktop consumers. I doubt they'll gain more developers than Gnome though. However, in the very far future, the desktop end-user might bring developers back to KDE, although not everyone. Mostly for-profit people, I think.


By Aeoo at Thu, 2000/10/12 - 5:00am

"KDE's license used to be simply unfair and dangerous to most developers out there. WHO wants to develop some software, if there is even a little chance of it become closed later on? Who wants to work hard in order for someone else to later close the software and benefit from your work?"

KDE's licensing problems were, AFAIK, never open vs. closed. KDE itself was GPL'd. The problem was the issue of possible license incompatabilities between KDE and Qt.

"But why is BSD not winning the mind-share? It's the license. LICENSE MATTERS. No matter how technically superior the product is, if the license is unattractive to developers, it will lose in the free software world (in the corprorate world it doesn't have to lose if you have a significant financial clout)."

The popularity of Linux as opposed to the *BSDs has probably more to do with the leadership and culture of the two projects, as well as the circumstances. i386 BSD was intended as a serious project, and like the free software projects of the time, including GNU, it was developed in a cathedral fashion. From what I can tell, Linus didn't think of Linux as a big deal, and he initially released Linux with the attitude that it was a fun thing that was starting to get good that he just thought he'd like to share. In effect, he invited people to hack on Linux, give feedback, and join him in some serious fun, and it snowballed from there.

I would say that KDE's licensing did make for some rocky PR, but not the way that you're thinking.


By J. J. Ramsey at Thu, 2000/10/12 - 5:00am

Gnome may not be the best (altho it's darn good), but it has *succeeded* in attracting a lot more developers, [...]

Please explain me, why do you think GNOME has attracted more developers. Or even better try to give some hard numbers.

From my point of view GNOME will not attract much C++ coders since KDE is by far superior on this field and the GNOME folks concentrate too much on C. In fact (AFAIK) there are a lot more people who like C++ much more than C. The C++ support for GNOME is IMHO not very good (friendly speaking). I had a look at KDE & GNOME before I decided to use KDE and I am very lucky with this decision, especially after reading this slashdot

article

ciao, Marco


By Marco Krohn at Thu, 2000/10/12 - 5:00am

[the missing URL]

... after reading this slashdot article

ciao, Marco


By Marco Krohn at Thu, 2000/10/12 - 5:00am

You are the best example for the bad shape of kde-marketing:
- kde was ALWAYS GPLed
- maybe more people code for gnome. So there must exist muchmchmuch more and cooler applications fro gnome than for kde... but wait, where are they ? can it be that coding large projects in C instead of C++ is a waste of time and energy ? Just maybe ?
- lost critical momentum ? Linux desktop share is about 3%. The game just started. And i dont think gnome will prefered by the most windows and mac-users
- gnome has a huge support ? gnome is supported by red hat, but kde is supported by red hat, mandrake, caldera, suse... where are your numbers ?


By Lenny at Thu, 2000/10/12 - 5:00am

1. gnome apps can be written in alot more languages than just c and c++

2. gnome has not been around has long has kde, kde had about a year ahead of gnome to begin with

3. gnome has support from red hat, helix-code, eazel, sun, and many many more, apparently someone doesnt read the news and cant count.


By josh mcgee at Thu, 2000/10/12 - 5:00am

Oh cool, Helix adds icons, Eazel adds a filemanager. Kde has both of them. So what ? Do also consider cygnus supporting Gnome because of gcc ?


By Lenny at Fri, 2000/10/13 - 5:00am

Oh cool. KDE artists adds icons, KDE developers add file manager.
Gnome has both of them. So what?


By Anonymous at Fri, 2000/10/13 - 5:00am

You're right. KDE doesnt use big mouth words, that it has a huge corporate backing even for the simplest things.


By Lenny at Fri, 2000/10/13 - 5:00am

So companies adds features to Gnome. So what?
They are humans too! What they make is GPL'ed too!


By Anonymous at Sat, 2000/10/14 - 5:00am

You guys have theKompany helping development in KWord and other software, TrollTech for the toolkit, and various distributors.
Looks pretty much similar to Gnome's relations with companies.


By Anonymous at Sat, 2000/10/14 - 5:00am

KDE is a whooping 7 months or so older than GNOME.

That is, KDE is about to be 4 years old, while GNOME is 3.5!

Now, some GNOMer will tell you that KDE got a bigger headstart because we had a more mature toolkit. Well, if the toolkit made all that difference, GNOME should have cloned Qt, not KDE. Don't say we get an advantage because you choose the wrong path ;-)

Other than that: Ok, we DID (and do) have a better toolkit. But we did develop our own html widget, while GNOME ported ours. We started a file manager from scratch, while GNOME used mc (which was a very bad idea, apparently). We coded our own WM, while GNOME used E... which apparently turned out to be another bad idea, according to the enthusiasts of sawfish.

So, the pattern is that GNOME claims KDE has a lead because... KDE made better choices in things that saved KDE work. But then again, there are lots of things KDE did do that GNOME didn't. So not even that is true.

In short: KDE has a lead because KDE is better planned, and has a more solid choice of foundation blocks. And that difference is enough to make KDE be ahead even doing MORE than GNOME is.

GNOMers, quit whining, and start designing, coding, and engineering. You need it.


By Anon. Advocate. at Fri, 2000/10/13 - 5:00am

Like many people I've tried both KDE and Gnome. I like KDE better because:

1. It's more stable
2. It's technically better - and is in C++ :-)
3. It's further along in development
4. Looks better (controls don't take up so much room etc - in the default themes at least)
5. I think KDE 2.0 is just the start...

Making the most of these current things is important, but I'd also like to see some better PR for some of the upcoming things. Some of the projects coming out of http://www.thekompany.com/home/
look *really* cool. Imagine being able to browse an sql database from within Konqueror (kio_sql) I'd use that every day. Most people haven't heard about all that stuff, and it's coming...soon.

Having said this, I think the one area where GNOME has the lead is in availability. helixcode.com has made it *stupidly* simple to not only download and install GNOME, but to keep it up 2 date! Not just the core stuff, but lots of utilities as well. I think KDE needs to have something similar.

There's so much new stuff happening around KDE, so many new projects, so many useful apps that it's impossible for the average KDE user (somebody who works in the KDE environment, but doesn't want to spend hours each week maintaining and upgrading it) to keep up2date.

Anyway, just my $0.02

Rich


By Richard Sheldon at Thu, 2000/10/12 - 5:00am

Actually, the thing which really got me about KDE was the fact it's actually decently fast! This is what worries me about all this talk of transparent icons implemented in software, etc...


By Nemo Torontonis at Sat, 2000/10/14 - 5:00am

Showing that KDE2 can look like GNOME isn't a bad idea, but it definitly shouldn't be a prime PR focus (just an example from many of KDE2's flexibility) and PLEASE use a screenshot where it actually does look like GNOME. The link above looked like some bastardized hybrid of KDE2, GNOME, WindowMaker, and BeOS. You'd especially have to get the colors and window decorations down. GNOME does not have bright blue and teal colors. They're more unsaturated and subdoed.


By Bart Szyszka at Thu, 2000/10/12 - 5:00am

I use kde because it doesn't crash like to competition. I'm not wooed by PR bs.

Loren Brookes


By Loren Brookes at Thu, 2000/10/12 - 5:00am

My humble suggestion:
Make the initial experience completely positive.
With software, especially this type of software, negative experiences spread by word-of-mouth vastly amplified and accelerated by mailing lists, newsgroups, IRC and media.
This means that if KDE 2.0 is being targeted at novices** it should:
1. Be astonishingly easy to install in a variety of circumstances. The RPMs and binaries help a bit here, but foolproof and instructions are also needed for each distribution. Distributors can help by packaging KDE 2.0 doco as well as code with their distribution. SuSE is an example of this for KDE 1.1.X.
2. Be foolproof and bulletproof, with no hidden gotchas and blowups. The betas and bugfixing helped here. But be aware that KDE 2.0 will be released with non-critical bugs. See the buglist.
3. Come with friendly support. Distributors can also help here. Mailing lists, newsgroups and IRC will also help. We (experienced users) need some self-restraint. Novice users (and hopefully ther will be many) don't yet know all the rules of etiquette (RTFM, etc.) so we MUST be patient and gentle. Otherwise they will tell the rest of the world about their negative experience.

(**eg. people who don't recompile their kernel twice before breakfast)


By Paul Leopardi at Thu, 2000/10/12 - 5:00am

One way of doing better PR is stopping the stupid
kicks at the GNOME project. It seems that ever since the GNOME Foundation announcement the primary concern of KDE is to badmouth GNOME.
For instance the sentence: despite its technical superiority among various desktop environments, should instead be written like:despite having a very good technical foundation

I mean how many news postings on Gnotices have you people seen which tries to promote GNOME by giving small kicks at KDE (answer: none)

Of course if it is the goal of the KDE project to start a new flamewar between the projects this is a good start, hey, maybe we soon see Gnotices postings saying stuff like:GNOME the only desktop solution with developers competent enough to make a working CORBA component solution or unlike some other slow projects the GNOME project didn't need two years to implement xdnd.

That didn't sound nice did it?

Please start to focus on what's good about KDE instead of trying to badmouth the competition.


By Edward Bloom at Thu, 2000/10/12 - 5:00am

Of all the very constructive proposals in this discussion, this is the one I agree with the most. Kicking the competition to promote yourself is not only immature and shooting yourself in the foot, but as far as commercials go, some countries/states even prohibit such practices.

While many companies sponsor KDE coders, it seems some sponsor money should go into hiring real, educated, experienced and professional PR people to help out the existing team...


By Haakon Nilsen at Thu, 2000/10/12 - 5:00am

I heartily "third" this post expressing concerns about the attitude taken towards all other desktop environments. (Please see my earlier post.)

When I read this editorial, that statement ("technical superiority") jumped right out at me and colored my whole opinion of the article. The reason I tried KDE when it was *finally* added to Debian (congrats to TrollTech, you've done an excellent job!) was because I thought it had a good feel and good apps (Konqueror), and also because KDE spent their time coding, not bragging or forming foundations. My understanding of KDE was that it "just worked."

But if the attitude of KDE developers is that it "just works better than all other desktops," I myself can probably poke some holes in that assertion. I know a bit about KDE and Gnome, enough to know what their relative merits are, and both have advantages and disadvantages. (And let's not forget xfce.)

I guess what I'm saying is that those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. If you don't want to encourage Gnome bigots to point out your glaring holes (and *every* project has glaring holes), then just shut up and keep coding!
PR is one thing. Saying you're better than everybody else is quite another. This is a lesson well learned -- pride goeth before a fall :^)

Clemmitt Sigler


By Clemmitt Sigler at Thu, 2000/10/12 - 5:00am

The writer has the freedom to express his point of view of KDE's "technical superiority". I have that freedom too, and so does everybody else.
The bit about "point out your glaring holes " is called "a bug-report" and is a Good Thing.


By reihal at Fri, 2000/10/13 - 5:00am

KDE team made two major mistakes with KDE1:

1. Shiped KDE with Windows style by default. It was terrible mistake, because:

a) main KDE target - linux users hate windows

b) KDE1 in windows style looks extremely ugly, because of ugly toolbars. The guy who implemented that code deserves to be shot.
On the other hand KDE1 in Motif style looks great.

2. KDE project never cared about the quality of binaries distributed. All linux distributions and FreeBSD shiped binaries built with exceptions handling enabled, making KDE1 bloated and slow to unusability.

The first problem was solved using new default KDE2 style. The second problem will plaque KDE2 installations all over the world, until the end of the days, or until packagers will learn to compile Qt and KDE2 correctly.


By fura at Thu, 2000/10/12 - 5:00am

>All linux distributions and FreeBSD shiped binaries built with exceptions handling enabled

ouah! thought about that once when i compiled it myself, but i thought that suse and mandrake, who have feet in the projects, would know that...

is it the case for kde 2 too ? (say cooker ?)


By Luc taesch at Thu, 2000/10/12 - 5:00am

There's a real advantage to the Windows widget style. My mom has no depth perception. That means that things that are supposed to look 3D look flat to her. Well, my dad had KDE up on his machine, Mom was using it, and she had trouble reading the checkboxes, and no wonder, too. The difference between a unchecked and a checked Motif checkbox is just some shading. For most people, this isn't a problem because the shading makes it look like something is popping in or out, but for Mom, the color difference is a subtle change. Checkboxes are one thing Windows widgets got right.


By J. J. Ramsey at Fri, 2000/10/13 - 5:00am

I agree that KDE has visability problems on two fronts:

1) Being seen outside the KDE project world
2) Having the perception of looking like windows

Simply put, the KDE project reminds me of the old GNU Linux argument which Stallman has lost - Linux is "Linux" and "GNU" is nowhere, simply because Linux is visible and "GNU" is not - even with "GN"OME and the GPL.
The KDE project is invisible to most people outside of the community development level of things. Unfourtanately, PR makes the world go round and the fact that GNOME can come from nowhere and be not only level with, but edging ahead of, KDE is testament to the immense need for mindshare.
Many KDE advocates say that the technically best project will win out. This simply isn't true. Computing history is littered with the corpses of products which depended on technical excellence alone to capture market and mindshare. If technical excellence alone were enough, we'd all be using Macs, or NeXTStep, or whatever, not all these MS products.
So, KDE does need evangelism. It needs to manage "corporate relations" from a central location - some kind of KDE announce website perhaps - this is what KDE.com should be, but isn't. A place where all the lastest press releases (yes, press releases), news, screenshots and advocacy come together along with links to KDE software.
Also, if an organisation like HelixCode, except KDE based were formed so that corporates such as Sun et al have a visible entity to deal with, matters would be helped further.

As to the "KDE looks like Windows" line, I don't think it does. However, KDE does *not* look sufficiently different from windows for ignorant potential users to appreciate that it is different and offers a whole lot more. A huge part of GNOMES success is its eyecandy. Sun must have jumped at the chance of replacing the graphically challenged CDE with something that looks like GNOME.
And then there's the old CORBA argument - again I follow the KDE line - CORBA is too heavy for simple pluggable GUI components, but KDEs success with KPArts and especially DCOP isn't being preached to the unconverted loudly enough. CORBA is, after all, an industry standard.

Anyway, just my 2 pence worth.


By Ezz at Thu, 2000/10/12 - 5:00am

The gnome.png image seems to be gone from the ftp. Anyone still have it in their cache or something?

I have an IQ of 6,000, which is the same as 12,000 PE teachers - Holly, Red Dwarf


By Holly at Thu, 2000/10/12 - 5:00am

KDE has improved it's PR as of recently, but it still has a ways to go.

Making the QT toolkit GPL has totally blown that entire argument out of the water (finally). Also, there is finally a good news site about the latest KDE happenings (http://dot.kde.org).

Now, here's some improvements I can think of.

First, really push the differences between GNOME and KDE. With KDE2, apps can easily talk amongst one another via DCOP. GNOME is still developing this and won't be ready at least 1/2 a year. KDE has a working Office suite (http://koffice.kde.org). GNOME is planning to port StarOffice which will take way too long, IMHO.

Second, if you really want to push KDE, make apps for the end user. Koffice is a great example. Not too many techies get into things like this, but it is very functional for the end user. What about multimedia. This is one of the few areas where Micro$oft still reigns. With things like ARTS and the new media players being developed, it's very possible to surpass that other OS.

Third, prove how easy it is to develop for KDE vs GNOME. Although there will be C bigots who will never convert, the advantages of using C++ in development time and code reusibility are mind boggling. I've always thought this was the major difference between GNOME and KDE. C++ allows quicker development...PERIOD!

Fourth, really, really, really promote the multi-language support. If I remember correctly, this is still in development for GNOME 2.0 (Pengo comes to mind). If so, we won't see it for another year or so. Hah. Doesn't 50+ languages exceed any other user environment???

In conclusion, KDE has a great track record in its releases. They've been mostly on time and stable. Long live KDE!


By Scott L. Patterson at Thu, 2000/10/12 - 5:00am

What you're saying is not entirely true.

Gnome is already quite mature.
The current release is 1.2
Yes, 1.0 is unstable, but 1.2 is a *lot* faster and more stable.

And that DCOP thing... as far as I know it will only slow down apps because every KDE app initialize a DCOP socket or whatever it is.
Gnome programs use CORBA to communicate.
Many people say CORBA is slow, but it isn't, at least the Gnome implementation (ORBit) isn't.
It is quite fast on my old Pentium 166 with 48 MB, and it's really faster than DCOP (when initializing).

There is already an office suite for Gnome.
It's also quite usuable.
KOffice has more features than Gnome Office, but Gnome Office is more stable.
The only exception is Gnumeric, which has more features than KSpread and is more stable.
So I end up using KWord for word processing (AbiWord sucks) and Gnumeric for tables and such.

You're saying that it's easier to developer for KDE than Gnome.
It's only partially true.
Gnome uses the GTK+ toolkit, which is written in C yet *object oriented* like C++!
So Gnome also use code reusability.
And it's *very* easy to develop in Gnome, even if it has a C API.
And both Gnome and GTK+ have C++ bindings.

C++ allows quicker development?
When using Glib C development is just as fast :-)

And Gnome already supports internatiolization and localization.
Pango is just a new internatiolization engine (right?).

Conclusion: KDE and Gnome both have their strengths and weakness.
The KDE panel for example is still not as powerful as Gnome's.


By Anonymous at Thu, 2000/10/12 - 5:00am

> You're saying that it's easier to developer for KDE than Gnome.
> It's only partially true.
> Gnome uses the GTK+ toolkit, which is written in C yet *object oriented* like C++!

At least for me it was much easier to develop with QT/KDE then with gtk--. A couple of month ago I had a look at both and found QT/KDE _much_ better documented. The documentation of the classes is for gtk-- in many cases not more worth than the header file--compare this with QT/KDE!

ciao, Marco


By Marco Krohn at Thu, 2000/10/12 - 5:00am

Pages