How to handle KDE not respecting YOUR distros requirements?

Richard Brown RBrownCCB at opensuse.org
Sun Mar 27 13:34:07 UTC 2016


On 2016-03-26 13:56, Heinz Wiesinger wrote:
> On Saturday 26 March 2016 01:41:10 Thomas Pfeiffer wrote:
>> How well does GNOME run on a distribution without systemd? Does it run at
>> all? From what I see on the Gentoo wiki [1], GNOME needs to be patched in
>> order to run with openRC, and it wasn't GNOME who provided that patchset.
>
> GNOME has a history of making questionable choices. I'm not entirely sure how
> productive it is to bring *this particular* argument into the discussion. IMHO
> the times when KDE needed to compare itself to GNOME are over. So let's just
> let GNOME be GNOME and focus back on KDE.

While I strongly agree with the sentiment that KDE should choose it's
own path, I think it's somewhat enlightening to consider the
'competitive field' KDE has to operate in

In my last email I pointed out KDE is the default in only 1 out of the
Distrowatch top 10, and 2 out of the Distrowatch top 25

GNOME is the default in 3 out of the top 10 and 7 out of the top 25.

GNOME is the default option in all Enterprise linux distributions.

gtk & other GNOME apps/technologies provide the foundations of the
default choice of another 4 of the top 25

Qt provides the foundations of only 1 of the other top 25 default desktops

The remaining 11 either do not have a default or opt for lightweight
options like LXDE, xfce, etc

Or to put it another way - GNOME and it's stack is at least 3 times
more popular with distributions than KDE and it's stack

We've seen this trend mirrored even within openSUSE. Even as KDE with
the default option in our installer, over recent years we've
transitioned from a strong 'majority KDE' distribution to one where
KDE is now used by less than 50% of our userbase.

Why all the doom and gloom? Because I think it's important we be
realistic about where we are before we can improve things

Doing the same as 'the other guys' is not a viable option when they
have the dominant position.

They already have the buy-in from a wider ecosystem of distributions
who put them first. They can afford to make questionable choices. It
seems no matter how questionable their choices may have already been
it is not negatively impacting their adoption rates compared to KDE.

KDE has to be better, smarter, leaner to compete. It needs to be
easier for packagers to work with than the alternatives. Easier to put
together. Easier to maintain. Easier to track changes.

I personally think the whole Plasma/Applications/Frameworks/QT split
has dramatically increased the workload of distribution packagers here
for little or no benefit to users (I recognise it's easier to develop)

Look at the applications..are they all necessary? Does KDE needs to
offer a office suite when almost everyone uses LibreOffice these days?
Is Skrooge a worthy competitor to GNUcash? Does KDE really need two
text editors?

There is duplication even among KDE's own applications offerings,
never mind when put against the backdrop of what distributions are
wanting to offer. I think there is room for streamlining there

And I know it's painful to suggest that, but right now KDE is the
biggest, heaviest desktop orientated software stack for Linux
distributions.

All of the competition, even GNOME, is smaller, leaner, and therefore
more readily integrable onto other distributions.

But maybe going on a diet isn't an option - If KDE wants to remain as
technically large as it is and continue to provide such a broad
offering, then at least it has to do a much better job of selling
itself to distributions

In addition to the clearer technical information regarding
dependencies and such, Distributions need clearer information about
why users should adopt KDE in order to parrot it to their users. What
are KDE's selling points? Where are the 'hooks' which make KDE better
than the rest?

I fear KDE is currently making the same mistake I saw openSUSE make in
the past by only trying to sell itself on it's technical merit and
mostly letting the software speak for itself

And I understand why - I've been saying for years that Qt is a
superior platform for desktop and desktop application development from
gtk. But that being true hasn't changed how many distributions put
their faith into which desktop stack first.

Advertising through software capability only speaks to a very narrow
market, and problems with software quality erode that market
dreadfully quickly. I think it's safe to say KDE has had severe
problems with software quality lately, and I do not think that putting
all of the responsibility of testing onto distributions is a sensible
strategy to turn that around.

Is there more KDE can do to make sure it's offerings are well tested
before distributions have to find a way of making all the parts work
together?

KDE needs to make it very easy for distributions to sell the premise,
promise, and benefits of using KDE to their users.

Where possible that should be more meaningful than just a bunch of
screenshots and feature descriptions..people should have an idea of
what the KDE Project is trying to achieve and therefore be able to buy
into that concept by using your software.

Right now, I don't see much information available to help weave such a
story (I know however you're discussing Vision/Mission stuff in other
lists..maybe that's part of this solution)

That's my 2c anyway..


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