[kde-edu]: Fwd: kdeedu project

Ilja iljuss+kde-edu at gmail.com
Sat Sep 8 13:37:51 CEST 2007

So, I hope I'm sending this letter to right address. I'm not native English
speaker, so please forgive me tons of grammar errors.

For background information:
Operating system I use is Debian -- Etch on one machine, because I like
stable and working stuff, and Testing on other, because once I wanted a more
up-to-date stuff and now there isn't a normal way to downgrade it. [

I use GNOME desktop environment, not KDE, because I find it more simpler and
easier to use. (I have tried to use KDE, too, but after one day (evening,
actually) I switched back to GNOME.

Things that annoyed me (there were more, but the most important):

1) Too many options, not that I didn't understand what they do, but it was
very uncomfortable to navigate with keyboard. And no instant apply - while
using GNOME I understood, how handy it is.

2) Widgets on the desktop panel - by default there were installed some
widgets (I can't remember which exactly), that were not useful for me. I
wanted to remove some of them, then these horrible pop-ups like "are you
sure?" were showed. Come on, I know what I'm doing.

3) So after I had customized KDE a little for my own use (1.5 hours), i felt
RSI... Let me explain: I was using laptop and because of these infinity+1
different options (and not the best default ones) it wasn't very comfortable
to use keyboard and since I had no usb-mouse I used touchpad. I thought it
is enough for today, but ...

4) .. my relative wanted to access quickly some "not-my-business" website
and I opened Konqueror for him. Since he didn't wanted that I would see
browsing history, he wanted to clean it, but there is no such option (I
didn't find it) in Konqueror and was forced to open KControl and click
"clear history" there.

So I switched back to GNOME.

Actually I wanted to write about KdeEdu project. (I have actively used only
KVocTrain, KWordQuiz and also KTouch, a little.)

As it seems no one has big interest in making KdeEdu project better. Yes the
different programs are developed by their authors, some also quite actively,
but project itself is stagnating (or how should I say it):

1) Let's begin with the main project site [ http://edu.kde.org/ ].
  Couple statements from there:
   1.1) Our primary focus is on schoolchildren aged 3 to 18, and the
specialized user interface needs of young users. - Yeah, personaly I wasn't
able to create list words and their translations (and learn them) without
reading KVocTrain manual for a half an hour.
  1.2) Please see the online slideshow
<http://edu.kde.org/presentation/index.php> and learn about our
software! - Lets
see it: KDE-Edu for KDE 3.2. (KDE 3.2 released 3 February 2004, as I can
read from Wikipedia). It needs to be updated, and there could be provided
links to these program websites, too.
  1.3) Have a look at the KDE-Edu improvements for KDE
- Ok, that is soon better, but why aren't there provided links to websites
of updates programs?
  1.4) http://edu.kde.org/stuff/information.php - Free software is not very
much used in schools or at home. Linux is even less used on the desktop. -
It's sad, but I'm not wondering, see Usability.

2) Usability
  2.1) KdeEdu website
   2.1.1) Assume I want to obtain latest stable release of one KdeEdu
application. Lets say khangman: http://edu.kde.org/khangman/obtain.php

KHangMan is shipped out by the distributors with the kdeedu package. Some
like Debian <http://www.debian.org/> build separate packages for every
application hosted by the KDE Edu Project. - sometimes the Debian stable
version is out-of-date and maybe some distribution does not have such great
package management system. So I want to download the sources myself.

KDE itself offers a tarball containing the sources of the kdeedu module. It
can be found on the KDE download page <http://www.kde.org/download/>. Follow
the instructions in the INSTALL file inside.  - Oh, yeah, again. Please open
that page [ http://www.kde.org/download/ ] and try to imagine that you are
visiting first time KDE site and don't know anything about KDE project
structure. And don't forget that " Our primary focus is on schoolchildren
aged 3 to 18, and the specialized user interface needs of young users.".

And, would somebody have actually any interest to download 28MB tarball only
for one small application, especially, if he has got a slow or
pay-for-every-MB connection. I personally wouldn't. 128kbps * x (seconds) =
28MB? Find x.

The programs there have different authors anyway, so why isn't it possible
to create one archive for every application (like GNOME does, see below),
and one for kdeedu libraries?

Good solution: http://www.gnome.org/start/2.18/
Scroll down to "Building From Source". There you can easily identify what
you need to download. It is easily understandable what are "Desktop Sources"
and "Admin Sources". It isn't very hard to understand which one is the
latest version and opening one more folder isn't also so painful. There is
now a list of gnome applications/libraries and you can download that one
what you exactly need.

   2.1.2) Maybe someone was able to obtain latest stable version of
khangman... He used it for a while, but then he discovers a very nasty and
annoying bug . Of course he hopes, that somebody else will report and fix
it. (I'm talking about casual (see 1.1) users, not about hardcore
developers). But the time passes and no one fixes it. ... Now he decides to
report it (or ask for support), now he
searches<http://www.google.com/search?q=khangman>for khangman website
and want to see if this bug is reported soon. --- There
is no link to Bugzilla, there is no "Report bug" link. (I hope I'm not the
only person who isn't smart enough to search "report bug" under "Help" menu
in program..)

  2.1.3) Open source - the months have been passed, user has learned
programming for a while, has understood that "fix it yourself or no-one will
fix it" stuff and wants to fix that bug. But he isn't so sure, if he is able
to do it. So, he wants to see source code of khangman. Why is it so hard to
provide link to websvn [e.g.
http://websvn.kde.org/tags/KDE/3.5.7/kdeedu/khangman/ ]??? For first time
KDE developer it is very hard annoying process to find it.

  2.1.4) ...(there are more issues, but I could write about them later)..

2.2) General usability
   2.2.1) There is a such nice site like: http://edu.kde.org/usability/ . As
I understand it should show that kdeedu is so "ultimately-usable", no one
writes that kdeedu suite is unusable and to on. I think just no one cares
about it. I personally see also many usability issues (like navigating only
with keyboard) and I think others see them too, but it is to hard to report
them. So there is no one with fresh-look (any better word?), and developers
don't see issues, because they are too satisfied with their own application.
--- There could be provided a (link to) tutorial where is described how, and
where should be these issues be reported.
  2.2.2) http://edu.kde.org/contrib/kvtml.php - is there something like
specification of that format? KVocTrain offers such advanced stuff as
antonyms, synonyms, false positives of words, so it would be very nice if
somewhere (and in easily findable place) were described how they should be
marked up.
  2.2.3) http://edu.kde.org/stuff/get_involved.php - Many different people
will be needed to make the project a success. These include:
*Parents and teachers*: Feedback is needed to to tell us what is needed, how
could it be done, to test **alpha and beta** versions and to help with the
content, etc. -- Above I described how hard it is to obtain *latest stable*
version of a program...
*Children : *Children, will, of course be required to help test the
software.* *They can also tell us their ideas.** -- How?!?


I hope it's enough for the first time, and that you will understand what I
meant ( and that formatting isn't too bad).

P.S I also have a little question: There are two similar programs in KdeEdu:
KWordQuiz and KWordTrain. Both are (at least partially) developed by Peter
Hedlund < peter AT peterandlinda DOT
First one lacks advanced features, second one usability. But they could both
have some similar features (like "endless" scrolling like in spreadsheet
application, so that user doesn't need to insert rows), and, for example
better "recent files" list. Implementing the same feature twice would be
waste of time. Wouldn't it better to "merge" these two programs into one? Or
should I report issues twice - for both programs??
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