KDE CVS Developers Edition of Knoppix (Knopdex) [long]

Scott Wheeler wheeler at kde.org
Fri Jun 27 06:02:33 BST 2003

Hash: SHA1

Well, since I seem to be the leader of the opposition here, I'll throw in my    
€ .02 .  :-)

So, some of the mentioned strong points were:

> - wannabe kde developer can get up and going very quickly

Well, while I don't mean to trivialize building KDE, as it certainly is an 
learned skill, but someone that's hoping to get involved in KDE development 
should be able to aquire -- I mean, to be honest, building KDE is the easiest 
step of learning KDE development.  ;-)  (And note that just for starting to 
learn the basics of Qt / kdelibs, you certainly aren't required to use KDE 
from CVS.)

> - translators can understand context of word usage without sacrificing their
>   more stable builds 
> - documentation writers can do the same

Yes, I certainly agree that making something available for translators before 
a release that's easy to work with could be quite beneficial.  But here's 
where I get to most of my point -- why at this point in the release cycle?

We're not even to the alpha phase yet and I don't think most translators 
really get going before we're nearing a release.  To be clear, most of my 
objections to having a CVS live CD mostly mean "having a CVS live CD right in 
the middle of a release cycle when things are still pretty buggy".

At least before an alpha developers get a little bit of a heads up for what's 
going to show up on end-users' desktops.  Of course there will be a good 
number of bugs in an alpha, but at least we have fair warning.  ;-)

> - other non technical users can sneak a peek at development progress

I know that this is "cool", but the CVS version of KDE really is a special 
purpose thing -- it's a tool for the colaboration of developers (and here I 
include translators, doc writers, artists) to work towards making releases -- 
which are for end users.

The assumption of developers when dealing with people that are running CVS 
versions is that they *are* technical people overwhelmingly.  I in general 
expect to be able to say to people reporting problems with CVS versions:

"Can you apply this patch and let me know if it fixed your bug?"
"Can you rebuild that with full debugging symbols and send me a backtrace?"
"Where is it crashing?" (i.e. app, kdelibs, Qt, ...)

And so on -- i.e. these are assumptions that I don't make for users of our 
shipped releases (though many of them are capable of such).  While it's not 
really by design, it's often a convenient side effect that the annoyance of 
building KDE from HEAD means that the users *are* more technical, and very 
often developers.

There's also kind of the assumption that isn't always true of "If more people 
use it, it will be better, right?"  Really that's only true up to a point, 
again, at this point in the release cycle.  There are probably a few hundred 
people running KDE HEAD at the moment; normally that's quite enough to notice 
major bugs, assuming that the developer isn't already aware of them.  I think 
there's a general shift from "Yes, I know -- I'll try to get around to it 
soon-ish" to "I think I got all of the important bugs fixed, let me know if 
you find any others" when KDE gets to the point in the release cycle where we 
ship a beta.

There's also been some talk of giving out these CDs to journalists or at trade 
shows -- this idea really scares me.  The unitiated don't really understand, 
"Oh, it ate all of my email -- oh, but right -- it's just the developer's 
version" or "Konqueror doesn't work / render web pages at all."  (The former 
I've had happen -- though not recently -- running HEAD; just recently for a 
few days Konq wasn't working at all over an autoconfigured proxy.)

I kind of dread the situation of one of the folks ending up with one of these 
CDs being a journalist or i.e. someone evaluating the use of KDE in their 
organization.  It's rather different than showing CVS at such events, where 
at least there's someone there to explain why things are sometimes broken.

If you look back through the dot article you mentioned some of the responses 
were things like, nothing works, or has very obvious bugs, etc.  In this 
case, I'm aware of said bugs -- they'll be fixed before the next release.  In 
fact, they'll be fixed ideally by the time we ship a first alpha of 3.2, but 
at this point we're still 5 months from a release.

Basically to sum up -- I'm not fundamentally against the idea, but I think it 
requires some care in what it's used for.  I think for translators, having 
something easy to throw in for demo-ing at a KDE show, etc, that this could 
be very useful.  Also, I like the idea of having a different splash screen.  
Another possibility is giving it kind of a silly, but indicative name.  As I 
recall it was the first KDE 2 alpha that was called "Krash".

(Hmm, this seems to be even less coherant than I usually am, ugh, too early 
for email.  ;-) )

Oh, and I'm CC'ing core-devel so that if my opinion is completely different 
from the folks there too, that someone can just tell me to shutup and deal 
with it.  :-)


- -Scott

- -- 
diff -u life.cpp~ life.cpp
- --- life.cpp~   2002/03/19 07:44:28
+++ life.cpp   2002/04/09 15:49:39
- -#include <sleep.h>
+#include <caffeine.h>
Version: GnuPG v1.0.7 (GNU/Linux)


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