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

Philippe Fremy phil at freehackers.org
Fri Jun 27 09:12:18 BST 2003

> 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. 

Some people like to play with CVS version. Although they know it is buggy, 
it does not prevent them to do so. Gentoo has KDE CVS ebuilds and they are 
quite popular. So is the CVS version on debian.

> 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.

Yes. If the users of this version are aware of that, what's the problem ?

> 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, ...)

So, they won't be able to do all that. Maybe we can disable KCrash in the 
CVS version.

> 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.

How about the many developers that don't build CVS because it is too 
complicated tedious, slow and unneeded ? I am one of them and I am not the 
only one. Except if you are working on bleeding edge features, you don't 
need the KDE CVS. So I have all you assumptions (technical, developer, 
experienced, ...) but I don't have CVS. But I wouldn't mind having a look 
at the future sometimes.

> There's also kind of the assumption that isn't always true of "If more
> people use it, it will be better, right?" 

I personally was not thinking about this. I am  more thinking in terms of 
"if more people have the chance to receive more news from KDE, especially 
from the inside, we make more PR and we attract more people".

I personally lure on a few mailing lists to know where project XY is now. 
And if I see something interesting, I might compile the software and even 
make suggestion about a feature before it is finalised. Problem with KDE is 
that, since it is so difficult to compile, you prevent this step.

Especially now that we have a weekly CVS report, people know about the 
latest feature being included.

> There's also been some talk of giving out these CDs to journalists or at
> trade shows -- this idea really scares me. 

Me too. Those CD need a huge warning that their content is unstable.

However, if a technical knowledgable journalist wants to know three month 
before the next release what is included right now in KDE and write an 
article about it, why not ? Those developer preview can help make more PR, 
if it clearly stated that this is not for public use. 

> 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.)

Mmh, indeed, we should provide warning about that. How about modifiying 
KPersonaliser so that the first thing it says is to backup your email and 
be ready for unstabilty ?

> 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.

For such events, we can also sell the Knoppix of a stable KDE. So we should 
be able to adress both targets.

> 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 agree.

	Philippe Fremy

"The difference between theory and practice is that in theory, there is no 
difference between theory and practice."

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