DEC
4
2001

CRN.com: Accolades for a KDE Office

CRN today published an article destined
to give KDE/Linux naysayers food for thought regarding the viability of KDE
as enterprise desktop software. In this well-researched article by
Frank J. Ohlhorst, the
CRN Test Center built a Linux network consisting of a server and five
workstations, with the goal of creating a reliable network that
could be used in a typical small-business environment. The
Test Center's insightful conclusion: "Linux and associated
Linux applications can accomplish many of the same tasks as the Wintel
standard at a much lower initial cost, in this case, for 93 percent less
than the software cost of a similar Windows-based network, and without
many of the licensing hassles presented by traditional software
platforms
".
As to choosing between the two major Linux desktop environments, the article
reports that "Test Center engineers found KDE the friendliest and
were impressed with the array of KDE-compatible software . . . KDE is the most actively developed Linux desktop and has the most
tools. Solution providers seeking KDE desktop open-source development tools
should go to www.apps.kde.com, which has
ratings on each product, including feedback from the user community
".
Good to see such a well-researched article, and more importantly that the non-Linux media is starting to realize the capabilities of our very
own KDE <grin>.

Comments

We do not have the luxury or TV commercials with flying people and all that crap, but we do have something M$ dosent have. A very dedicated developerbase, who put long hard hours in for no immediate returns. We also have something else that M$ lacks, we are all sysadmins, developers, insiders so to speak. What if every one of us scheduled 15m inutes with our managers or development teams in January to show off KDE 3.0? What if we all got out there and sent press releases to every tech publication we subscribe to? What if we actually got out and sold our work?

This is what kind of PR KDE gets with no PR machine, what would happen if we made a noise this release? I am not talking Slushdot or here either, if you are a linux user and have no idea what KDE is about then you have no pulse. What we need are press releases and noise in the direction of main stream news, aka Forbes or Wall Street Journal. Being in InfoWorld or ZDNet is a start but lets shoot bigger...

-ian reinhart geiser


By Ian Reinhart Geiser at Tue, 2001/12/04 - 6:00am

The Wall Street Journal's Walter Mossberg might be interested in doing an article about the open source desktop. He is not a big fan of Microsoft (though he gives credit where credit is due), and he is aware of Linux. His articles are always clueful and informative.

Be warned though: If KDE starts being reported on in the mainstream press, its flaws will be reported too. If Mr. Mossberg did do an article, he would probably rate Linux/KDE somewhere below Windows XP. He would comment on its speed, imperfect Javascript capabilities, inability to run most popular Windows programs, nonexistent device driver management, and other deficiencies of KDE and Linux. If you really want KDE in the mainstream press, you have to be prepared for stuff like that. Personally, I think we should wait until KDE 3.1 or so, to let some things be straightened out.


By not me at Tue, 2001/12/04 - 6:00am

Well I guess that is the price we pay.

But maby if we start getting into mainstream media, we can get more industry support. I mean look at what David and Waldo* can do in a days work, what if we could get more core developers on a payroll. We are not flawless, but I think we are ready to move out of the garage/basement and into the office. We have a fighting chance here, and we have tallent to match.

I am more than willing to take a few critisims on this project if it means I can get payed to work on this project. Heck I take critisim for working on it for free ;)

-ian reinhart geiser
*I know I forgot a few others, please forgive me, David and Waldo where the first two I could think of.


By Ian Reinhart Geiser at Tue, 2001/12/04 - 6:00am

Is there any work being done to create a uniform way of configuring all devices in Linux? Windows does this very, very well. And it's not the lack of drivers, it's the widely varying ways of installing each type of device. The only project with the clout and means to do something like this is KDE.


By Chris Bordeman at Tue, 2001/12/04 - 6:00am

KDE != Linux

Repeat 20x or at least until you remember that KDE runs on Net/Free/OpenBSD, Solaris, HPUX, and Tru64. In addition to PPC. Configureing your ethernet is your dists job not ours. Makeing sure you can manage your files/documents is our job.

Really we have a great number of frontends to these tools, but they are silly and a bad idea. I maen the lilo config control panel is useless to me on my Alpha and PPC, and Mandrake has a better tool for it anyway. Unlike winders we are not the only game in town, we are just the frontend. This makes it very easy for end users to confuse things. Really setting up your box is why you buy a dist, for KDE to waste such an effort on stuff like this has proven useless. Yast2 and DrakConf are two very mature frontends to systems, if you lack them, then that is your fault for not choosing a dist based on your needs.

-ian reinhart geiser
p.s. the same goes for the "KDE Installer"


By Ian Reinhart Geiser at Tue, 2001/12/04 - 6:00am

Newbie Userbase == Linux

I've given up on distros solving the hardware and software management problems. They intend to use these features to compete and the hardware companies can’t distribute drivers/software for every distro and it’s version number. And due to the Distros need to pump out new versions and drop support for older to make money think the whole RPM system has collapsed under it's own weight. Nowadays I compile software myself, as it is quicker than finding a RPM that fits the fraction number of the distro I'm using. I will switch to Debian as soon I find the time to reinstall, as I've heard a lot of good thing about aptget. I think it’s time for the Linux community to take control of it’s own destiny.

phew...


By Fredrik C at Tue, 2001/12/04 - 6:00am

> KDE != Linux
>
> Repeat 20x or at least until you remember that KDE runs on
> Net/Free/OpenBSD, Solaris, HPUX, and Tru64. In addition to
> PPC. Configureing your ethernet is your dists job not ours.

Hi,

Why exactly do you think this is so? Take your ex. of IP config. Don't all distros need same info for this? Just use a configurable .desktop file (put instructions in XML file maybe) where a distro can put the command to run for its system. Mabe something like

Exec=distroipconfig netmask=%{netmask} ipaddr=%{ipaddr} device=%{device} . . .

Same holds true for X server, video card (all distros use X, no?), etc.

> Makeing sure you can manage your files/documents is our job.

If that were all KDE did, there would be a lot less there.

What drives this, seems to me, is distros competing. They compete on install/sysconfig, so these tools are gone from KDE. Result: all systems have different install (not so important) and config. Result for distro: bad for all but one (the one that wins). Result for Linux: bad in the meantime (till there's a winner), as one distro user cannot help another (fragmentation, just like w/ Unix of old days, which everyone agrees was bad for Unix -- why is this not bad for KDE?)

--snip--

> Yast2 and DrakConf are two very mature frontends to systems, if you
> lack them, then that is your fault for not choosing a dist based on
> your needs.

Hmm, this is surprising to hear from you, ian. Yast2 is not Open Source and DrakConf is writtin in GTK.


By Sage at Tue, 2001/12/04 - 6:00am

As for config stuff, on my PPC i use XPmac, totally different config file, same with yaboot. I know Tru64 and Solaris also have some funky config options. Your ethernet card is not always eth0 on all systems and afaik X != Xfree86 on all systems. I use MetroX on one of my clients systems, it is much faster than XFree86 (compaired to X4.0.1 so this may have changed) and from what I remember that config file is too different, but they have their own tool for that.

>Hmm, this is surprising to hear from you, ian. Yast2 is not Open Source and DrakConf is writtin in GTK.

Why would this matter? Why would this surprise you?

I use many tools that are closed source and really I dont care what a dist writes their stuff in. It would be nice if it was all QT/KDE but oh well. That is not my concern, the fact that with Mandrake 8.1 I had my DSL setup in 10 seconds was very nice... Unlike MacOS I did not have to reboot to get it to install.

-ian reinhart geiser


By Ian Reinhart Geiser at Tue, 2001/12/04 - 6:00am

:: Yast2 is not Open Source

Which surprises me that there is no effort to make an Open Source, distro *and* OS agnostic "do-alike" of Yast2. Not a clone, but something along the same vein. I've got extensive Solaris, AIX, BSDi and Linux experience, and I *know* it can be done - the underlying interfaces might be different in the details, but not so much so that a fairly common UI can't be built (okay, there are a few areas where there are big differences, but then seperate modules will just have to be written, and built on the basis of the target platform for the build). I half heartedly poked at the problem with a long stick awhile back, using ash as a common shell for scripts (it's small, Free in every sense of the word, and runs on everything).

Of course, I feel somewhat guilty saying this - I pay for SuSE, and have no problem in paying for quality. They should be able to stay ahead of the pack through sheer elegance of distro and excellent documentation.

--
Evan


By Evan "JabberWok... at Tue, 2001/12/04 - 6:00am

you have obvoiusly never heard of linuxconf, or seen the nightmares those brave developers have gone through. i have watches linuxconf over the years with a ready eye, but i am not holding my breath any more. really linuxconf is getting there, but it still munches it's fair share of config files...

-ian reinhart geiser


By Ian Reinhart Geiser at Tue, 2001/12/04 - 6:00am

:: you have obvoiusly never heard of linuxconf, or seen the
:: nightmares those brave developers have gone through.

I'm very familiar with it, and I wouldn't use it to touch my system... I'm a bit fan of jumping into the /etc directory tree with a CLI, a good editor and a keen eye. But, that's just me, and I'm not a typical user. I never said it would be easy (of course, I'm not looking at my post - maybe I did say that by accident), that's why I pay for SuSE and Yast2... quick convenience, and each user can change the basics without calling my number.

--
Evan


By Evan "JabberWok... at Tue, 2001/12/04 - 6:00am

Ian...you hit the nail on the head.

We are lucky in the fact that we are a team of developers in a unified viable direction in which we can develop software that we want. The people developing software for the people.

I am happy to be a part of the KDE team, and I feel happy to work along with some trult talented people. I am not saying we can rule the roost with KDE and tha we can knock the big companies out, but at least we can say we have had a go.

Working for KDE is rewarding and seeing things such as this just make things even more satisfying.

And the band played on...


By Jono Bacon at Tue, 2001/12/04 - 6:00am

How hard would it be to write a QT-NC staticly linked application that did a slide show of what KDE 3.0 had to offer. Something we could show off at trade shows and such. I played arround with a QT only KPresenter viewer some months ago, but all it did was played the web export images. It was a verys simple tool, but really, maby that is something we could follow up on...

-ian reinhart geiser


By Ian Reinhart Geiser at Tue, 2001/12/04 - 6:00am

>We do not have the luxury or TV commercials with flying people and all that >crap, but we do have something M$ dosent have. A very dedicated developerbase

and also dedicated UserBase ;). Yesterday I saw windows XP, and didnot find it great. the only thing XP is good at is SPEEEEED, which I believe KDE 3.x will surpass. The icons in XP look ugly and blurred, KDE icons are super cool, but dark. I will be adding a bright icon theme soon...

Oh, please KDE must get _very_fast_.


By Asif Ali Rizwaan at Tue, 2001/12/04 - 6:00am

The luna style is not that great but can be created within a day by our style devlopers. any future hopes of a luna style?


By Asif Ali Rizwaan at Tue, 2001/12/04 - 6:00am


By Evan "JabberWok... at Tue, 2001/12/04 - 6:00am

Whatever happened to "Innovate, dont imitate?" Come on, why is everyone to do with KDE obsessed with Aqua. Some people (eg me) don't like it all that much. Neither do I like the WinXP interface it looks like it's made out of flipping Playdoh.

Look at the GTK BlueMarble (bluesteel derivative) style, now THAT is a nice looking theme - not too heavy and rather consistent. I hate to say this but KDE may have all the infrastructure but as far as appearance goes, GNOME pulls K's pants down and kicks it from all directions. It's not that hard to come up with an original style; mayhaps this could yield the final edge that KDE needs to really pull ahead? (flame me for this if you will but my personal opinion is that GNOME's a waste of time. And I've used it for a year in various contexts so it's not like I'm underinformed)


By Anonymous at Tue, 2001/12/04 - 6:00am

Whatever happened to "hey, I like that color - I think that's what I'll paint my house".

Hey, I don't like Luna either. I also don't like Aqua, Liquid or Win95/98. Platinum is okay, but I personally use the QNiX style and the Web Window Decoration. Boring? Yes. But I like it. I fiddle with the colors far more than the style or icons.

But, who am I (and who are you) to tell people what they should and should not like? It's a matter of taste, and *someone* liked Luna enough to ship it. If you like a GTK theme, why not use it with KDE? Assuming it's a pixmap theme, that is. Or if you like an IceWM theme, use that. Or even if you have a Windows theme you like, use it. There. Happy now?

--
Evan


By Evan "JabberWok... at Tue, 2001/12/04 - 6:00am

Actually anyone who as used winders 95 or 2000 can tell you XP is ssssllllloooowwwwww.... Really the big problem with KDE has to do with gcc and the way LD works. This is an old subject and no longer open for debate. There are fixes on the horizen, but we really are at the mercy of the gcc guys on this one. As a side note I got to see SUSE's KDE packages in action, and it flies compaired to mandrakes packages. Is this object prelink at work, or some other voodoo?

-ian reinhart geiser


By Ian Reinhart Geiser at Tue, 2001/12/04 - 6:00am

What about Intels compiler? There is an article in the latest issue of c´t magazine. C++ code is 3 times faster than gcc, if this means anything to KDE, I don't know. Free for 30 days, worth a try?


By reihal at Tue, 2001/12/04 - 6:00am

But reality dictated otherwise. Rikkus tested it and found it not to be so spectacular. AFAIK it is very nice for small projects, but not so hot for large libraries. I could be wrong though.

-ian reinhart geiser


By Ian Reinhart Geiser at Tue, 2001/12/04 - 6:00am

Wow Someone actually gets it. There has to be promotion and advertising to the General public or KDE/Linux will never reach the main stream. KDE/Linux's Technical superiority is not enough.

Craig


By Craig at Tue, 2001/12/04 - 6:00am

WOW!!!!! Coming from graig.
Finally tried KDE huh!


By me at Tue, 2001/12/04 - 6:00am

No, you've got it the wrong way around.

Craig is the pro-KDE anti-GNOME troll.
*Wiggle* is the anti-KDE pro-GNOME troll.


By Jon at Tue, 2001/12/04 - 6:00am

Sorry... My Bad :o)


By me at Tue, 2001/12/04 - 6:00am

I'm the Troll?


By Craig at Tue, 2001/12/04 - 6:00am

Oke, imagine a small firm switching over to Linux/KDE. It has to survive in a M$ dominated world! The only way it can do this is if the compatibility with M$ "standards" are worked out. This is the main concern!! My hopes are that the release of KDE3.1 and StarOffice 6 (both scheduled Q1/Q2 2002) will make the big difference. For koffice, the main issue should be to develop more or less perfect M$ filters, both import as wel as export filters.

Second, Open Source movements should lobby with goverments to switch to open document standards for public accessable information. In the Netherlands (my country) I know that all goverments are M$ shops, but the open source movement is actively lobbying for this. Is there a active lobby in you're country?

Just my .02


By Freek at Tue, 2001/12/04 - 6:00am

> For koffice, the main issue should be to develop
> more or less perfect M$ filters, both import as
> wel as export filters.

The problem is the Microsoft document formats are proprietary. It's a lot easier to create compatibility with open, documented formats. On the long run, standardising on open formats is a lot more effective than supporting proprietary ones.

Whenever I receive a proprietary document, I refuse it and ask for a file format which is open. That's just me, but it takes only a few larger bodies (such as multinationals or governments) to think and act this way to create a major shift.


By Rob Kaper at Tue, 2001/12/04 - 6:00am

This is unfortunately the truth. To make matters worse with M$'s documents they have special information for embedding stuff too.

Ideally what I see is someone sitting down with VB or PyWin and writeing a migration toolkit. Something that converts the documents into a form KOffice can read. Unfortunately people seem to never remember M$ has great toolkits to read and create office documents on windows. Did anyone remember the OS/2 -> windows migration tool kit. It was an OS/2 app. Or the Netware to NT migration kit, it was an NLM from what I remember.

I have the M$ Excell SDK for MacOS here, and writeing a KSpread export would be quite easy, since we have an open format. I am not willing to write such things but someone will need to. It is infinitely easier than trying to decode a M$ document under KDE.

-ian reinhart geiser


By Ian Reinhart Geiser at Tue, 2001/12/04 - 6:00am

The problem is that there is no open format that can be read by several office suites. I mean, which format will you export your text if you want people to be able to read it ? .kwd ? Few people have linux and even fewer have koffice. We need a format that would be usable by everybody. The only one is HTML but it's not usable for true wysywyg except if you fully use CSS... but it still depends on your browser's CSS implementation.


By Julien Olivier at Tue, 2001/12/04 - 6:00am

Yes, this has been talked about over and over and over... well you get the point. The fact of the matter is it will NEVER EVER IN A MILLION YEARS happen.

That is what ASCII was suppose to be, but then that was not good enough, they wanted page formatting... then object embedding... etc...

M$ embeds OLE and COM streams, KOffice uses KParts, this makes it very very hard to do. Again this is why I say we need to do these things on the winders end.

Offer a KDE migration toolkit.

-ian reinhart geiser


By Ian Reinhart Geiser at Tue, 2001/12/04 - 6:00am

Imagine:

a universal conversion part that you could embed in any application. So you could view a .xls file into konqueror using the xls2html function or into kspread using the xls2ksp function etc... or exporting a web page into the .doc format (bad idea of course) using the html2doc export function.

But, in fact, if this was so trivial it would have been done for a while... it seems like it's not as easy.

BTW, I'm ready to PAY for such a plugin as well as I'm ready to pay for Ximian plugin able to connect Evolution to a M$ Exchange server.


By Julien Olivier at Tue, 2001/12/04 - 6:00am

What I mean is, from a marketing viewpoint, Linux/KDE with koffice or staroffice is in a underdog position. Putting the compatibility problem on the M$ side is not a very good selling point for linux-based desktop deployment. That way, you're putting the problem one the side you are trying to communicate with. I agree with you that it _should_ be better to use open document standards, but the fact of the matter is that 90% of the office users use M$ formats.

Use the same tactic as M$ is using to fight them: Embrace and Extend. Be compatible, but always default to open standards.


By Freek at Tue, 2001/12/04 - 6:00am

That brings up a good point! Is there a good way to build a plugin for Ms Office that will let you read and edit Koffice or Star Office documents in Word?

If we can't build support for MS file formats, we might be able to build linux file format support for windows. After all the name of the game is compatability, but why does it have to be by Microsofts rules?


By richie123 at Wed, 2001/12/05 - 6:00am

yes to export a word document using python is painfully simple, but it is not "playing by their rules". We are offering a "Migration Path".

Users want to use our product, but they cannot for blah de blah reasons. By offering the ability to move to our platform easier we get them. I think by offing this path we gain far more than trying to support their products on our system. When we support a word document we justify it as a standard. When we do not support a word document but offer an Office plugin to export to KWord perfectly, then we deny them their standard.

Does that make sense.

Remember the US colonies used British guns to kick them out. Using Office against itself is poetic whatever you want to call it. Besides I KNOW there are a few guys on the list and irc that know VB and COM but want to help KDE.

Cheers
-ian reinhart geiser
p.s. I ran accross a python example that showed how to convert Excel documents to QuatroPro some time ago. The coolest part about it is that it could convert formulas.


By Ian Reinhart Geiser at Wed, 2001/12/05 - 6:00am

> Does that make sense.

Well, in theory you are, but you're putting the problem again on the wrong side. If you want KDE on corporate desktops you're fighting from a underdog position. Suppose you're working for a KDE based company and you're sending a commercial offering by Email: "Hello customer, I hereby send you three attachments: 1) Our Offer, 2) a kwd2wrd plugin 3) the installation instructions to install this plugin on you're system. Changes are you're loosing this customer, fast! If you can talk him/her into installing it, changes are he/she can't because their coorporate desktop is locked down by their central system admins.

As long as you're in a underdog position, you have to provide compatibility on you side.

Freek


By Freek at Wed, 2001/12/05 - 6:00am

AFAIK PDF is very universal and KPrint can print right to them.

If companies want to read word documents now they must install a reader or get the latest word. It is just that you have to decide we are not a garage project, but a legetimate project that has a future, and should be taken seriously.

-ian reinhart geiser


By Ian Reinhart Geiser at Wed, 2001/12/05 - 6:00am

That brings up a good point! Is there a good way to build a plugin for Ms Office that will let you read and edit Koffice or Star Office documents in Word?

If we can't build support for MS file formats, we might be able to build linux file format support for windows. After all the name of the game is compatability, but why does it have to be by Microsoft's rules?


By richie123 at Wed, 2001/12/05 - 6:00am

That brings up a good point! Is there a good way to build a plugin for Ms Office that will let you read and edit Koffice or Star Office documents in Word?

If we can't build support for MS file formats, we might be able to build linux file format support for windows. After all the name of the game is compatability, but why does it have to be by Microsoft's rules?


By richie123 at Wed, 2001/12/05 - 6:00am

> The problem is that there is no open format
> that can be read by several office suites.

I actually remember talks about creating one document format, shared by OpenOffice, KOffice and AbiWord.

KWord documents are nothing more than .tgz's that include a XML document and where appropriate the images/files embedded in the document. The entire format is documented (the DTDs and such are available from the KOffice website or else somewhere on developer.kde.org) and it should be fairly easy to write a plug-in for MS Word to read/save .kwd documents (if MS Office has the appropriate capabilities of third-party import/export plugins, not sure about that).

If the new, unified format is no vapour and perfectly documented I don't see why it couldn't become a player in the document formats. Ogg might not be mainstream, but there is plenty of support for it, even in non-OSS environments (WinAmp). PNG might not be mainstream, but I'm sure Photoshop and alike programs support it. Linux is not mainstream, but viable enough for WordPerfect to release their product for it. If this open document format becomes as popular as any of these, there will be support for it beyond the borders of OSS-land. Imagine WP and the branded StarOffice including support for this format..

If we can offer something better than .doc, supported by a wider range of applications from various vendors, we can remove the argument that a desktop environment can only be viable when it is compatible with .doc documents.


By Rob Kaper at Tue, 2001/12/04 - 6:00am

> I actually remember talks about creating one document format, shared by
> OpenOffice, KOffice and AbiWord.

Yes, pleeeease. That'd really be a good idea!

But what about embedded stuff? In a post someone mentioned
KParts. Would that make any sense on a different installation (without KDE)
or even on a different platform?


By ghw at Wed, 2001/12/05 - 6:00am

Why not adapt the Open Office XML format? It word be a big step in the right direct towards a standard.


By Craig at Tue, 2001/12/04 - 6:00am

Not only that but you would be able to take advantage of Open Office's import filters which work a bit better on Word importation....


By AC at Wed, 2001/12/05 - 6:00am

I have created a small icon theme with only one icon ;), the image is attached. do you think that having text in toolbar buttons will ease some work of users? I think big horizontal back button is rather easy to click.


By Asif Ali Rizwaan at Tue, 2001/12/04 - 6:00am

use 'kcmshell icons' to install it. it has only one icon, the 'back' one.


By Asif Ali Rizwaan at Tue, 2001/12/04 - 6:00am

Better to use the thumb button. (Oh, does that only work with Logitech mice in windows?)


By reihal at Tue, 2001/12/04 - 6:00am

Then we'll need translated icons. Shudder.

Uwe


By Uwe Thiem at Tue, 2001/12/04 - 6:00am

ooooouch... bad bad bad...
NEVER EVER put text in an image, do you understand that KDE is translated to over 20+ languages? I mean kde-i18n is big as is, start throwing images in there and you have a mess.

I would just turn on text, and it will do what you want.

I have attached a picture. I am not sure if there is a way to do this globally, but you can see, this is very bloated in the UI.

Cheers,
-ian reinhart geiser


By Ian Reinhart Geiser at Tue, 2001/12/04 - 6:00am

I think what he's trying to say is that it would be nice from the toolbar menu to be able to choose which text labels get shown instead of just displaying them all. Some buttons used frequently, like "Back", "Reload", "Home" would be easier to hit and understand (especially for newbies) is this was possible. I hate to say it, but IE provides this, with certain buttons displaying the text label beside them.

I think it's a wonderful usability enhancement.

Eron


By Eron Lloyd at Tue, 2001/12/04 - 6:00am

i think you forgot to look at the screenshot.
it even works in Hebrew and Chinese.

unlike IE though, we have this available in ALL kde applications.

cheers
-ian reinhart geiser


By Ian Reinhart Geiser at Tue, 2001/12/04 - 6:00am

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