Tectonic: An Outlook on KDE 4

South African Free Software magazine Tectonic published a preview of KDE 4. Written by AJ Venter of South African distribution OpenLab the article describes how the KDE developers are going to "rewrite the desktop rules with KDE 4" with technologies such as Plasma, Solid and of course Qt 4. The article concludes that "when
KDE4 comes out, it will spell the end of the traditional way of using a computer


It is nice to know that you are not going to copy and that you are looking into making XGL not just about eye candy but about productivity. Keep up the good work.

By tikal26 at Sat, 2006/03/11 - 6:00am

I just wanted to express my respect for the KDE PR people and everybody who's been actively promoting KDE. As someone who has tried to promote a not-for-profit organistion's work, too, I know how difficult getting the word out can be if you have limited financial capacity. Nevertheless, it seems that KDE has been able to drum up a regular hype about KDE 4, and that's quite impressive. Now KDE 4 just gotta deliver.

By PC Squad at Fri, 2006/03/10 - 6:00am

I don´t think there have been any drumming at all yet.
It´s all about user expectations.

By reihal at Fri, 2006/03/10 - 6:00am

I agree with others that there's something not quite right about this magazine. I get the feeling that this sort of thing doesn't really help open source's image.

By Ben Morris at Fri, 2006/03/10 - 6:00am

Yeah. This thing doesn't look professional at all (what about reusing the Lenin image for the gpl article and the final advertising?) Also, they lure people with the KDE 4 article, and it turns out to be almost the LAST one, when every decent magazine would place the cover article at the beginning (as much as possible). And instead, what is the first article about? GPL3, and it's basically an attack on the entire FS movement, with BIG remarks about the gpl being "viral".

Also, in the first editorial page, the author defends the sort fo RIAA and MPAA in their outrageous behaviour of suing everybody in sight.

This magazine is, at best, camouflaged FUD. I would strongly recommend to remove this from the Dot.

By giacomo at Fri, 2006/03/10 - 6:00am

The KDE4 article was pretty good though (least IMHO). That's the only thing revelant to the dot, right?

By thothonegan at Fri, 2006/03/10 - 6:00am

The GPL *is* viral. Maybe you don't like the disease connotations, but the fact is that the GPL was designed to "infect" any software it touches. As a user it doesn't matter, but as a developer you must actively avoid GPL source code or risk all of your own original software being affected.

I myself have seen 10 to 20 line snippets of GPLd code in a proprietary kernel for an embedded project I work on. Some naive developer saw a routine they liked online, assumed that "free" meant "unencumbered", and used it. Yet that tiny code snippet is enough to force the entire kernel under the GPL. To you the GPL developer, "viral" may sound like a pejorative. But to the embedded systems companies being threatened and sued for GPL violations, it is a very fitting word.

p.s. An attack on the GPLv3 proposal is NOT an attack on "the entire FS movement".

By Brandybuck at Fri, 2006/03/10 - 6:00am

A common misconception. It's copyright law that's viral.

By camperman at Fri, 2006/03/10 - 6:00am

That has nothing to do with the GPL, but the incompetence of the programmer (or more likely, they were lazy and thought they could 'cheat'). You don't blame an author of the original text when someone else plagiarizes their work, do you?

Violating the GPL is no different than if you had violated any other copyright.

By Corbin at Sat, 2006/03/11 - 6:00am

They can't force the entire kernel under the GPL. It's a copyright violation. At most, they would be made to stop shipping until the offending code was taken out.

By Rick at Sat, 2006/03/11 - 6:00am

Are you an idiot? Can't you understand when someone is being sarcastic without appending a smiley to the text?

By blacksheep at Fri, 2006/03/10 - 6:00am

Can't read the article. Does anyone where it went?

By Petteri at Sat, 2006/03/11 - 6:00am

The article is still available on thier site, though in a different place. Maybe they prefer you to register before downloading thier publication? It is free subscribe to thier electronic publication, however!

By uncle_steve at Sat, 2006/03/11 - 6:00am

My wish for a next-gen desktop: what I like to think of as the 'social' desktop

Not sure if 'social' covers the bill, but what it comes down to is: using available metadata , combined with user-provided metadata to make it easier for people to get into contact.

Let us say I have a bunch of pictures in a folder /home/myself/pictures/ ; from the photo metadata (e.g. the keyword 'go-carting' appears 100x in a folder of 900 photographs) the system can deduce a 'hobby' (perhaps checking with a database list of possible hobbies) of mine is probably to go-cart, and fill it in automatically in my profile (or at my confirmation, if I enabled the service). If I message 'Tom' a lot, it might add that name to my list of friends in my profile.

Going further, it could allow me to fill in things myself, complete them or correct them, and attributing certain values to items which then can be used for comparison. E.g. similar to the plugin for amaroK, I could rate songs, make my playlist with ratings available over the network (to everyone, to select persons, or not at all) and then people with similar taste could see which other songs I like.

What is very important in this is, what I like to call 'chains of trust'. You trust your husband/wife 100% (or perhaps 99%), your best friend 95% and your neighbour 80%. Which makes it so that the rating of the friend of your friend also increases on the 'trust' bar. A whole host of categories could be created this way, but trust is certainly one of the most important ones. The next person in the chain (friend of friend of friend) gets an even lower boost on the 'trust chain'. There are numerous applications for this: everyone likes to know if someone is likely to be trusted. You could use it to determine if a web source for getting packages from, is safe, or at least get a warning if a lot of people don't trust it.

The possibilities seem endless: looking for a job, dating, looking for members to make a music band (e.g. 'I need a singer in the town of X', at which time the application may contact people in that town looking for a position as a singer, at least if he has enabled the ability of being contacted).

Of utmost importance here is openness and security: all your personal stuff is going to be centralized here! So a strong form of encryption and sane security polices are paramount.

One problem I see with this is: anonimity is very important, but you cannot really 'check' if the anonimous person is who s/he claims to be. And the consequences for identity theft could be very grave.

Still, I think this would hold awesome potential, finally unlocking the power of connected 'communities' and the ability to have the information I need (seller X has delivery at 40%, service at 20% and price at 80%, seller Y delivery 80%; service 90% and price 60%), right on my desktop.

I know it's a confusing concept, but I hope I got my point across.

By Anonymous at Tue, 2006/03/14 - 6:00am

You might want to look at the DBFS project. Its a database file system project.

By Jisaku Jien at Fri, 2006/03/17 - 6:00am

Exactly, but now add to this functionality like:

IM-like contacting (if allowed)
P2P-like search on people's 'desktops' (the files they want to make public)
Encryption, possibly with public and private keys

in a nicely integrated package/system and then we're getting somewhere :)

By Anonymous at Tue, 2006/03/21 - 6:00am

The more I read about KDE 4, the more impressed I am, and the more eagerly I anticipate its arrival! KDE has always seemed to integrate itself into my workflow (instead of the other way around), and after reading about Plasma, I am truly excited. It's time for a paradigm shift, and KDE 4 sounds like just what we need.

By Erich at Thu, 2006/03/23 - 6:00am