Aaron Seigo Talks About Kontact's Bright Future

Sirius' Tom Callway interviews KDE's chief-hugger Aaron Seigo. He talks about KDE 4, communication within the project and what effect the 'new platforms' (Windows and Mac OS) have on KDE development. Seigo also talks about the KDE 4.0 release and how that compares to the 2.0 and 3.0 releases of KDE. About Kontact, he explains, "We are going to see some very interesting developments happening when Kontact is available on all platforms. For instance, finally there will be a groupware solution that looks and behaves exactly the same on all platforms (a support win) that lets you choose your groupware server (a server side win). Kontact represents the client side of the first realistically competitive threat to the Exchange-plus-Outlook hegemony. And that's just one application."

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by Jakob Petsovits (not verified)

I just love Aaron photos. Nothing like a good devilish grin in a serious-looking article. (Or was that a Sirius-looking article? Well, whatever.)

by JC (not verified)

Really scary

by jospoortvliet (not verified)

You haven't seen him in real life yet ;-)

by Michael (not verified)

I agree. I don't know him personally but many photos I see of him on the web somehow remind me of the movie "Shining". Then again, it's probably good to prevent people from becoming to demanding on plasma features ;-)

by Ian Monroe (not verified)

Not to mention the choice in screenshots.

by Sepp (not verified)

Aaron again mentions Sonnet as an important part of KDE 4.
But what happened to it? Is it still developed? Which features were implemented until Jacob Rideout disappeared?
Different people asked this several times on the Dot, but nobody answered. ( http://dot.kde.org/1200050369/1200289711/ )

There was only one Message on the Sonnet mailinglist this year!

So I assume it's indeed a dead project.

by Leo S (not verified)

I think Zack Rusin was doing some work on it. But it certainly seems not quite complete yet. In Konq, misspelled words do get highlighted, but I can't for the life of me figure out how to actually run a spellcheck on the textbox or right click a word to correct it.

by fred (not verified)

Jacob Rideout wanted to developed a full-featured language engine, including spellchecker, grammar checker, even with language detection.

But we already had KSpell2 in KDE3, which was then transformed into "Sonnet" in KDE 4. So our current version of Sonnet only does spellchecking, no fancy grammar checker, no language detection and no other cool stuffs, but we _still have_ Sonnet inside kdelibs and the spellchecker is working just fine.

by cloose (not verified)

AFAIK Jacob Rideout's work never made it into kdelibs. All the interesting stuff is in a separate svn branch: http://websvn.kde.org/branches/work/sonnet-refactoring/.

Would be great if somebody would pick up the work and finish it. Maybe a good Google SoC project?

by Nick Shaforostoff (not verified)

I might find some time for sonnet magic if I get accepted for GSoC project on Lokalize or KNotify... ;)

by Zack Rusin (not verified)

No, I just don't use the list.
I've been doing this linguistic stuff for a long time, from KSpell, through KSpell2 to Sonnet and while I'd absolutely love to get more help, you can be sure that no matter how busy I am I'll always find a bit of time for it.
For KDE 4.1 the most important features that I want to finish are removal of our custom text segmentation algorithm and use of QTextBoundaryFinder recently introduced in Qt and the addition of a proper dictionary class (not spell-checking, dictionary - meaning definitions of words).

by Sepp (not verified)

Thank you for the info!

by Iuri Fiedoruk (not verified)

Good for him to admit KDE team made a big mistake in the KDE "4.0" fiasco, looks like it's a consensus it should had been called preview edition or something like that. I applaud him for that!

But he is REALLY wrong when he says KDE4 apps start faster and use less resources. This is the same kind of propaganda I see every new Windows release. They place it against the older version on a modern machine and compare speeds. The real test is to install KDE4 on a machine that runs KDE3 well.
I have a Duron 1.6 Ghz with 512 RAM, it runs KDE3 nicely and KDE4 slow, not a disaster, but not even close to being as fast as KDE3.
Now on my new machine, a Core 2 Duo 2.2Ghz with 1GB RAM KDE4 runs nicely, and maybe I could tell KDE3 is slower, if I had it installed, but is thus a fair comparsion for people that does not live in a rich country/place and could barely aford a lower end PC? I don't think so!

by Fool (not verified)

In comparison to kde3 kde4 apps start a lot faster. In apps that are not preloaded there is significant pause on startup, In kde4 most of the same apps (i.e. their kde4 versions) start near instantaneously. I guess it depends on your comp. Mine is quite a bit more powerful

by Iuri Fiedoruk (not verified)

>I guess it depends on your comp

This is my point. Microsoft always tell everybody the next windows is faster, they even stated that vista is faster than XP!

KDE3 vs. KDE4 in my vision:
On modern rich-people machines? Yes.
Development world machines? Maybe, with luck.
Current third world: No way! Do you think EeePC can run KDE4 faster than 3? I do not.

Lucky I am in the middle of the equation, have a not bad job to work for HP here in Brazil, but let's please take some reality check, some machines here still sell with 256 MB RAM, most with 512 and my shine new one is only 1 GB.

by jospoortvliet (not verified)

ehm... what you're saying is that KDE 4 is faster than KDE 3 if you use a dualcore 2.4 ghz proc with 3 gb of ram, but it is SLOWER than KDE 3 if you use a 800mhz proc with 256 mb ram?

That's not true. As I have both systems I describe above, I can assure you KDE 4 apps start faster. They draw slower. They use more memory thanks to the double buffering. But they start faster, no doubt possible.

by Leo S (not verified)

Thats the crux I think. KDE4 apps start faster, no matter the processor speed.
But if you have an older video card, the slower painting speed is really noticeable, so the whole desktop feels very sluggish. That's why you notice on older machines and not on newer ones.

by reihal (not verified)

Define "older video card".

by jos poortvliet (not verified)

Oh, I can do that: "all videocards". Qt4 is simply much slower. Most of that seems to be due to bad drivers, but it is still annoying...

by Aaron Seigo (not verified)

> Do you think EeePC can run KDE4 faster than 3? I do not.

the best part about having access to devices like this is that you don't have to think, you can know. then you can avoid making arguments based on conjecture =) i've used kde4 on an EeePC and it is indeed as fast or faster than KDE3. soo.. there you go.

by schnebeck (not verified)

and I write this from an eee :-) KDE4 on eee is quite ok and its by far the best experience watching plasma on x11-intel compared to x11-ati or x11-nvidia. But I can say that KDE4 likes RAM so now I use 2GB on eee but 600MHz and KDE4 is ok.



by Iuri Fiedoruk (not verified)

SO, if you have an eee with, let's say, 512 RAM, will it run kde4 faster or slower than 4?

by Anon (not verified)

Depends entirely on what you are doing, obviously - neither KDE3 nor KDE4 with a webbrowser with a few tabs open and a few Kwrite sessions, say, will come close to using 512MB, so the amount of RAM is entirely irrelevant.

If you have more/ more demanding apps open, then KDE4 and its apps will push you into swap faster than KDE3, which will slow things down when switching apps. Assuming an app is fully loaded into RAM, though, then again, the amount of RAM is completely irrelevant.

by Iuri Fiedoruk (not verified)

And it's important to remember linux/kde is much less resource hunger than Winodws Vista, but still a bit over XP (in my humble testing case) :)

by Whatever Noticed (not verified)

i have kde4 on my laptop with opensuse 10.3 and 256 mb ram (of which 128 mb is shared video memory), and kde4 does indeed run faster than kde3.

by Fool (not verified)

Maybe I just wasn't clear, Kde4 apps start a lot than kde3 apps on the same computer. Now we may have different definitions of speed. Kde4 apps paint more slowly and in general work slow as sin (scrolling,tabs,rubberband, etc) if that is your meaning of speed, then yeah they are slower. But if you mean speed in terms startup times , then they are clealy quicker.

sigh, I wish I had a laptop with an intel gfx card.

by Rsh (not verified)

> sigh, I wish I had a laptop with an intel gfx card.
Hah, and I regret trusting the freedom of Intel drivers. Freedom is no good if the product is C-R-A-P. Really, NVidia despite of being close provides really good support. My friend has a comparable notebook to mine with the only difference being the NVidia card instead of Intel one, it does wonders! Benchmarking in UT2004 gives him 75FPS while my Intel can barely handle 5FPS, even software rendering is faster. Do yourself a favor and don't buy Intel. :)

by Kevin Kofler (not verified)

... and end up with proprietary binary-only drivers which are completely useless (i.e. won't work at all) if you're running a newer version of the X.Org X11 server than NVidia is willing to support (e.g. 1.5 which will be in Fedora 9, but this comes up each time there's a new X server)? No thanks! Don't buy NVidia!

by mixx (not verified)

"modern rich-people?" 800Mhz machines are out of the shelves since year 2000,
and 2,5-3,5 Ghz semprons aren't modern or expensive machines too.

Anyway, on a <1Ghz machines nobody would suggest to use kde3 too, if you
really want to put a desktop there go for something really light, as xfce or
other really minimal windows managers (damn small linux?).

by Morty (not verified)

Nonsens, KDE both 3 and 4 runs just fine on <1GHz machines. The eeePC are prof of that.

Running something so called "light" gives you nearly noting, it's an illusion. You still have to run applications, and the lighter alternatives does not provie a comprehensive application suite as KDE[1].

When you begin starting applications like browsers, emailclients, filemanagers and terminalwindows[2] the gain the lighter alternative gave you are more or less gone. As long as you don't exclusively use console applications that is, but since XFce are a GUI/DE you are supposed to use it as such.

[1]. You may end up running KDE applications anyway. Nothing wrong with that, but the 'it's lighter' argument are void.
[2]. Konsole with several tabs open are proven to use less resources than the same number of xterm windows

by yman (not verified)

I used KDE 3 on a laptop with 486 MHz processor and 256 MB RAM. It ran fine.

by renoX (not verified)

>"modern rich-people?" 800Mhz machines are out of the shelves since year 2000,

Not true: the EEE PC is underclocked to 600MHz..

>Anyway, on a <1Ghz machines nobody would suggest to use kde3 too

If this was true (and I don't think that this is the case), then it would be an indicator that KDE needs to be improved: a desktop environment shouldn't be resource hungry or more precisely should be configurable to use a minimum amount of CPU and memory.
I remember having a *snappy* desktop with BeOS on a Celeron333 PC, and it was a normal environment not a stripped down one.

by Wade (not verified)

I don't think that you and I read the same interview. Could I have the link to yours?

by Aaron Seigo (not verified)

hi Iuri ....

> KDE team made a big mistake in the KDE "4.0" fiasco

to make it clear, i feel the mistake we made was not finding verbage that fit with the enthusiast community's communications expectations soon enough.

i don't think that there was any material mistake with 4.0 as it had clear goals for that release which have been met. (this is different than saying "the code was perfect", mind.)

it's interesting that the "fiasco" was completely drummed up by the user community, continued by the user community while solution was actively fought against by the user community. *that* is the true tragedy.

i think we (kde) recognize now in retrospect what we could've done to make it better, but i don't see any of that sort of recognition on, e.g., your part and that is a real failing point.

i continue to be deeply disappointed in the lack of flexibility and the absurd willingness of people in the enthusiast KDE user community to pointlessly fling mud (or worse) at others. it's really unbecoming. in fact, it's the sort of behaviour that would cause me, if i were a new comer, to not get involved with KDE and/or free software.

> wrong when he says KDE4 apps start faster and use less resources.

well, except that it's accurate: apps do start noticeably faster and there are noticeable resource improvements.

some new features, like compositing window management, take more resources. in the case of kwin, you can turn those features off. but those are new features.

at the same time, we slimmed down so many of our background processes, share more with the rest of the operating system (slimming our own part of the overall footprint by leverage pieces that are already there), etc.

and yes, i've seen and used kde4 on "less impressive" devices (1Ghz CPUs, 256MB ram, etc) and it runs very well in comparison to kde3.

by Iuri Fiedoruk (not verified)

I did not want to be agressive, but re-reading my text.. yeah, pretty lame on my part, it's hard to use irony when writing instead os speaking :-P Sorry for that.

There is a clear discompass between KDE developers and |KDE users on the 4.0 matter, we all have our part of guilty, but if we users (before people start saying they like kde 4.0 I'm not assuming *everbody*) do not complain.. well developers will keep making things that can be seen as fool and wrong.

About speed, well, my experience is not the same as yours, KDE on my duron was useable, but stating that on that kind of system kde4 is faster AND (notice this is not a OR) uses less resources does not seem to be true. But looks like people only read the part I was speaking of speed and forgot the AND on the equation ;)

Yes, as the user above stated, putting extra RAM on a Asus makes KDE4 runs very well, but as I previously told, it's not hard to find 128 MB RAM PCs to sell, much less 512.
About CPU clock, again people are getting only part of the equation.

by Jim (not verified)

> i think we (kde) recognize now in retrospect what we could've done to make it better, but i don't see any of that sort of recognition on, e.g., your part and that is a real failing point.

When you say things like "the fiasco was completely drummed up by the user community", it sounds like you are blaming the users for being disappointed in KDE 4. That doesn't sound like "recognising what you could've done to make it better" at all.

by T. J. Brumfield (not verified)

I won't use KDE 4 every day yet. But it isn't a fiasco, and no one admitted it was a fiasco. He admitted that the release needs serious work, which is what was said well before release.

by Emil Sedgh (not verified)

Just to say, as a trunk user of kde, i must say that 4.1 is going to rock because from about 2 weeks after the move to 4.4, trunk/ if becoming more and more stable and usable.im talking about the whole experience...
we have months to 4.1, but from now, im using it as my daily DE.
my main issue is the IRC and the fact that i have to load a client from kde3 (and load all kde3 libs) just for a client.
Kate needs some usability work on new Find/Replace andautocomplete dialogs.but its 100% usefull and stable.
Plasma is working good, like kicker+kdesktop and does much more.Amarok 2 is shaping up and is really rocking.Kmail works nice (i dont know about other pim parts, but kmail is stable)
what else? games are in a nice shape.Konqueror is much better than 4.0.x.it has a much better rendering (kudos to khtml devs) and is really more stable.it doesnt crash often and with new settings options that it got from dolphin for file view, its much more usable.
also kwin is getting lots of new compositing effects that many users like to see.
all im saying is that 4.1 will be as usable as 3.5 (probably much better).but for the new stuff like Akonadi, Sonnet and Nepomuk, __i think__ we still have to wait for 4.2 or even 4.3(for a really good experience) and thats why the software never finishes ;)

and 4.0 was never a fiasco.the reactions to 4.0 was what developers excepted.it was a 0.0 release...

by Bobby (not verified)

There is something that's often forgotten when comparing KDE 3.5x apps start up with that of KDE 4 and that's whether or not the compositing effects are turned on. I have an AMD 1.8 ghz Sempron processor with an Nvidia GeForce 6600 LE video card on an ASRock board with 1.5 MB of RAM - not the most modern machine of course. With the compositing effect turned on (on KDE 4) KDE 3.5x apps start up faster that those of KDE 4. Without Compositing, I click and the KDE 4 apps are there! It does make a big difference.

by Grósz Dániel (not verified)

Which OS that runs on 1.5 MB of RAM runs KDE? Not 1.5 GB?

by Bobby (not verified)

Sorry, we all make mistakes in writing sometimes. I meant 1.5 GB (gigabyte) :)

by Max (not verified)

Everybody always keeps talking about KDE 4.0 running some applications faster or slower that are KDE native...

How about an important application?

How about an application that I use EVERYTIME I use ANY computer?


That's the application I'm mostly worried about.

by Anon (not verified)

Wrong place. This site is for KDE. If you are worried about Firefox performance (even within KDE) you need to go to the Firefox community.

by Div (not verified)

Sadly, Kontact have so many flaws.

And dadly, this is the story of all KDE applications, they don't finish the basic issues and start promoting the other unfinished features.

Fix the basics first, Oh, and I know the song of "We can work on both at the same time", honestly, my experice say you can't, Kontact have lots of serious basic issues that haven't been fixed in years, and I think is idiotic to start promoting it as the "Next big thing", get real people. Kontact in its current state ain't not even close to be mediocre.

by Kevin Krammer (not verified)

Care to list a couple of this "basic issues"?

by Stefan Majewsky (not verified)

The only "basic issue" I can think of is that KMail fetches mail in its GUI thread with synchronous operations. In a more understandable manner: KMail freezes when checking mail. This is certainly going to be fixed with Akonadi in the 4.2 release.

by Bobby (not verified)

Yeah, KMail is a pain in the ass. It's the only KDE app that makes me feel like throwing my computer through the windows sometimes and it's slow like a lawyer going to hell. I wish they would fix this before 4.2.

by jos poortvliet (not verified)

Ever tried Outlook? It's like a million times worse in almost every way... Incredibly hard to configure, unintuitive to use, and boy, don't try search on remote email folders - you'll be looking at a white window you can't even minimize for up to several minutes... Horrible experience, really. KMail rocks in comparison.

by Jos And (not verified)

Well..lousy imap implemantation in Kmail... and usabilty wise, korganiser sucks big time and has done so for years.. just compare it to google kalender or the kalender thing on OS X.
Aaron Seigo has been a disaster with is promotion of KDE4, plain and simple.
If (K)Ubuntu 8.04 would just include KDE 4 and not KDE 3.5.x then we would see people jump for gnome insted of KDE. I can say that as a 10 year KDE user (since pre 1.0) KDE4 is the most overhyped and worst quality release ever. Seiga promoting this crap is totally absurd and really really makes me mad.

by anon (not verified)

I view kde4 like vista.

Vista is the driving force of people leaving Windows. I believe KDE4 will be the driving force that has people shift to Gnome. I really don't like that it looks so much like windows. But thankfully, Opensuse really don't like the look of it either and will be adding their own touches to it to make it look more like opensuse before they release it in 11. So here's hoping they can improve it.