KDE 3.2 release cycle

Daniel Stone dstone at kde.org
Sun May 11 22:03:01 BST 2003

On Sun, May 11, 2003 at 11:14:45AM -0500, Mosfet wrote:
> Okay, I know everyone is talking about this, but I also think the KDE3.2 
> release date needs to be moved up. I've been using CVS HEAD and at least for 
> what I am using it is quite stable and has more than enough new functionality 
> to justify a new release. I know there is a ton of things people want to do 
> but 3.2 is just a minor point release, not KDE4.0. I'm rather impressed with 
> what has been done already, esp in regards to Konqueror and Kontact/KMail.

I'm rather impressed with the occasional bug list summaries on IRC. The
last few times I've seen it, it's just been growing. That's not cool.

There are a lot of things that first need to happen before 3.2: Kontact,
all the kdepim work, Kopete needs to move, and a whole bunch of things.
A lot of individual apps, as it stands, lack the maturity for a release.
I don't think KDE has really had a "bad" release, or a release fiasco,
as Debian did with woody (the fiasco, not the quality), and I'm
perfectly happy for it to stay that way, even if it means that users
have to wait a little longer to get their hands on some tarballed

I'm also using CVS and loving the featureset - it's a great leap. But
I'm not loving the not-infrequent crashes (while they tend to get
resolved quickly, the issue is that they're there *at* *all*); I think
it would be a criminal disservice to our users, who take our word when
we say "this is stable, mature, and overall pretty well-tested".

We have an opportunity to come out and kick some major butt with 3.2, in
between Kontact, all the kdepim stuff, Kopete, JuK, and more. Let's not
waste it by putting out a notoriously buggy and/or half-baked release,
just so we can rush to look cool.

> The reasoning for this is while we all know what is going on and how much 
> things are improving users generally don't.

Does the KDE CVS digest still exist? If not, there's KC KDE.

> So we look like a slow turtle compared to other projects that do,
> (unofficial), releases with long changelogs every couple months.

It's quite easy to make huge releases of relatively small packages,
especially because you know you can just release another later if you
screw up. For KDE, it's not quite so easy. Feature freeze, string
freeze, code freeze, last-ditch translation, packaging, announcements
... it's really quite an undertaking to do a KDE release, especially
something as major as 3.2. It's not something you can rush.

And am I, personally, concerned by the "slow turtle" bit? Not a scratch.
I'd *much* prefer to continue to be told that KDE is a kick-arse desktop
with an awesome featureset that's incredibly stable, rather than have
someone wryly observe that it at least releases quickly, but maybe
that's just the Debianite in me coming out. ;)

And if you look at other large projects, you'll probably note that KDE
does have a pretty quick release schedule. "Slow" for us is still pretty
quick for others.

> Development has been impressive, we should show it off either with unofficial
> releases or by doing stable releases more often.

If we did stable releases as often as you proposed, they'd cease being
"stable". The release stability comes from freezes and extensive
testing, not from releasing heaps.

> We are not very far from something that could be a stable release,

It may look that way on the surface, but there's still a lot of work to
be done.
> but even doing an unofficial release would be an improvement from the
> current process, which is a long wait between KDE3.1 and 3.2.

An unofficial release? Anyone can make those, by the very definition of
the word! You're welcome to roll some tarballs and post them on

> Just expecting people 
> to use CVS is not enough, they want snapshots with changelogs, screenshots, 
> and other goodies. Even if the project just grabbed a CVS snapshot that is 
> determined to be relatively stable and released it with a changelog and 
> documentation, that would be an improvement.

I don't expect people to use CVS, I expect people to use 3.1.1 and the
upcoming 3.1.2. It's still, to quote a recently-converted friend of
mine, "an amazing desktop". People who are that determined to get the
new featureset will end up running CVS anyway.

Plus, you mention "relatively stable". Can anyone really point to a CVS
snapshot that they think is "relatively stable"?

> I'd think the issues that would need to be cleared up first would be the 
> contact management and groupware stuff, KHTML, and all the desktop file 
> changes. After that it would be good for the project to do a unofficial 
> development release at the minimum. 

And everything else on the list, and also fixing individual
applications, some of which still need time to mature. Release
engineering is a far more difficult job than you think (again, this may
just be the Debianite in me). It's not just about pumping out CVS
snapshots for the eye candy and featureset, it's about holding up a
tarball to the world and saying, "See this? This is our work. Judge us
on this". I'd rather KDE be judged as an immensely cool and stable
desktop, rather than one which released broken crap, but did it really

Let's not fall over ourselves to deliver the users enhancements and eye
candy through the tarballs; while it would look like we were doing them
a service, we'd actually be doing them, and ourselves, a major
disservice by releasing a half-baked version of KDE. Please, let's not.

Daniel Stone 	     <daniel at raging.dropbear.id.au>             <dstone at kde.org>
KDE: Konquering a desktop near you - http://www.kde.org
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