It's clear that the KDE Project has done a very poor job in communicating our policy on releasing binary packages. I say this because as the primary contact on the release blurbs, I am the one that gets swamped with emails asking "where is
insert-your-distro package?" and "how does this package work?" and "why are you discriminating against that-distro?" These emails obviously stem from the (incorrect) belief that the KDE Project is responsible for creating those packages. The following document will hopefully clear up just what our policy is in this situation.
KDE Package Policy Explained
The KDE Project only releases source code. Period. When we make a
release, we package up our code into source code archives (.tar.bz2)
and put them on our FTP
server. Those are the only packages that we release and
We do recognize, however, that most people want binary packages for
their particular distribution or platform. As a result, in the days
before a release, we make the source packages available to "packagers"
who then create binary packages from them. The packagers send us
their results and we put them up on our FTP site and mirrors for the
convenience of our users.
This explains why some packages are available immediately and some
take awhile to appear. While we do "pre-release" the source packages to packagers
with ample time to create the binaries, sometimes a few packagers are
busy and they don't upload their packages in time for the release
In the case of Linux distributions, the packagers are the Linux
companies themselves. For instance, if you inspect a SuSE RPM from
our FTP site, you will see that it was created by SuSE. Mandrake,
Caldera, and Slackware all do the same. This ensures that the RPMs
fit into the distribution in the way that it was intended, rather than
as a third-party "add-on".
We also accept some binary packages from individuals where the
companies or groups behind the platform do not distribute KDE
themselves, and so individual volunteers contribute packages to our
FTP server. Examples are cases like Tru64, *BSD, Solaris or HP-UX (or
The Red Hat packages are a special case in that while the company
does distribute KDE, they don't officially make the binary
packages that are found on our FTP server. In prior releases, the
Red Hat packages were created by a Red Hat employee packaging KDE in his
spare time. When his other responsibilities (the ones that he was
paid to do) took precedence, the KDE packages were (understandably)
slow in coming. Creating packages is very hard work, so we don't
fault him for this. As a stop-gap measure, we are looking for a Red Hat user to contribute binary packages for 2.1.1. Stay tuned.
We are looking into changing this policy in the future.
Rather than getting the packages from the vendors and putting them on
our FTP site, it might be best if the vendors put them on their own
sites and we just pointed to them. This would have the advantages of
freeing up bandwidth on our servers (which are always overloaded on
release days) and making it clear where the responsibility of support
Kurt Granroth <email@example.com>