[kde-community] KDE Mission - let's do this!

Alexander Neundorf neundorf at kde.org
Mon Apr 25 21:22:13 BST 2016

On Sunday, April 24, 2016 23:08:08 Thomas Pfeiffer wrote:
> On Sonntag, 24. April 2016 21:34:39 CEST Alexander Neundorf wrote:
> > I agree that we shouldn't put too much detail about Plasma into KDE's
> > mission.
> > 
> > I think that stating clearly "we do (among others) a UNIX desktop" is
> > good.
> > That's a big part of what we do, and it is important to a big part of our
> > users, so they are reassured that KDE still cares about the classic
> > desktop.
> > 
> > About mobile/embedded: I would love to see widespread use of a KDE
> > "desktop
> > shell" there. Unfortunately I'm afraid this won't happen. There was almost
> > no (public) response to Agustin's recent GENIVI-related email. As much as
> > I'd like to see Plasma Mobile become successful, I'm afraid it won't be
> > able to cut a significant piece off of Android's cake. We only partially
> > managed to do that on the desktop, and with phones, tablets and other
> > embedded platforms this is even harder, due to the non-standard ARM-based
> > platforms, where you need an adapted OS for every board, basically.
> > So, realistically, if we put a desktop shell for embedded/mobile platforms
> > in some way in our mission, I unfortunately would expect us to fail with
> > this part of the mission. I'd love to be proved wrong.
> Why should our mission not be ambitious?
> We'll unlikely produce the "Android- or iOS killer", but especially with our
> focus on both privacy and freedom, we can still be of significant value for
> those who want/need both.

Yes, sure.
> > Where I'd like to see a change in priorities, is support for non-free OS.
> > I.e. get our applications to work "properly" e.g. on Windows, OSX, Android
> > ("properly" from the POV of the e.g. Windows user, not necessarily from
> > the
> > POV of a UNIX developer).
> > Fortunately some efforts into that direction are currently happening.
> > So, I'd like to see more importance put on portability.
> Both Android and Windows are going the route of convergence, and Kirigami is
> all about both convergence and portability for applications [1] (but maybe
> you are also referring to it by "efforts into that direction", anyway).
> Doing solely desktop-only applications would put us on the sure path to
> irrelevance, at least outside of the sector of applications which are so
> complex that they only make sense on desktop computers.

I'm sure you have seen that I'm not saying this at all. I mean, I mentioned 
Android explicitely.

"efforts into that direction" -  this years Randa meetings, Kirigami, the 
efforts to get stuff working on Android, all that stuff. Great to see that 
happening :-)

But, is replacing the "desktop shell" on Windows or OSX a worthwhile goal ?
Getting our applications to run there, great. But running the plasma desktop 
shell on Windows is IMO a waste of developer resources.

Similar, I think we don't have a chance to replace the Android "desktop 
shell". Getting our software to work great within the normal Android UI - we 
should IMO focus on that. We have great software, and it would be great to 
have a similar set of apps available for (not instead of) Android. And that's 
an achievable and very worthwhile goal.

For actual "embedded" it may be different, but unfortunately I don't see this 
happening. IMO plasma should be the go-to technology for any advanced embedded 
Linux UI. But it just is not, and I don't know why. There was almost no 
response to the GENIVI mail. Or maybe plasma is too complex for the typical 
embedded vendor or they are just quicker with getting something which works 
(but is less flexible etc.) by implementing a UI themselves.

So, I didn't say "let's ignore mobile platforms". I said "are we/what are we  
trying to achieve on mobile/embedded platforms"

This is very much related to the question who we are targeting.
- do we want to become an alternative UI for commercial smartphones ?
- do we want to become the UI of choice for commercial embedded vendors ?
- do we want to be the FLOSS alternative UI on some mobile platforms, i.e. 
target FLOSS enthusiasts which will install this on their tablet ?
- do we want to target the tinkerers/makers, i.e. people wo want to play with 
hardware, RPi etc. ?
(the last two are again small niches...)

> If you think WikiToLearn isn't really producing software, I'd recommend to
> actually talk to them and let them tell you about the software they're
> making. I have. It's quite inspiring, actually.

I did, too.


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