[kde-linux] Users guide to KDE?

Randy Kramer rhkramer at gmail.com
Fri Jul 4 12:54:33 UTC 2008

On Friday 04 July 2008 05:59 am, David Jarvie wrote:
> On Friday 4 July 2008 7:57, david wrote:
> > I think the KDE developers should have first (1) moved existing the KDE3
> > series to QT4 and made that stable then (2) done the work for the new UI
> > and fancy video effects stuff. Trying to do both at once was a mistake,
> > IMHO.
> Qt4 is sufficiently different to Qt3 to require some KDE3 code to be
> completely rewritten. It wouldn't make sense to do this without taking the
> opportunity to redesign those aspects of program at the same time - if
> done in two steps, the total development effort would be much greater. So
> although a simple conversion to Qt4 could have been done to some degree,
> it was more efficient in terms of developers' time to do the library and
> UI upgrades at the same time.
> It's important to bear in mind that coding is largely done on a voluntary
> basis, and making two separate transitions might well have been much less
> appealing to developers, perhaps causing some to fall by the wayside. So
> although the process hasn't been ideal for users who want to move to KDE4
> as quickly as possible, it has probably been the most practical way of
> doing things overall, and will result in a better product sooner (in KDE
> 4.1 or 4.2...).

I can't help but think (and write) that the announcements for kde4 should have 
been along these lines:

KDE announces KDE4, an early version of KDE4 that sucks.  

How it sucks:
   * many of the applications that you are familiar with from KDE3 have not 
yet been migrated
   * ???

Why it sucks:
   * the developers made decisions that, although they believe will result in 
(eventually) the fastest transition to a full non-sucking KDE4, made the best 
use of developer time by transitioning from QT3 to QT4 and changing the GUI 
at the same time.  Although it is strongly believed that this will make the 
fastest overall transition (as opposed to a straight transition from QT3 to 
QT4 followed by a second transition to the new GUI), it does result in having 
early versions of KDE4 without all the familiar KDE3 applications.

Early versions of KDE4 (i.e., 4.0, 4.1, 4.2) should be regarded as previews.  
We'd like to get user feedback, but, unless you are adventurous and self 
sufficient (able to get your work done with other applications), you probably 
should stick to KDE3 until KDE4.3.  If we get it ready earlier than that, 
we'll let you know.

The applications that are available in 4.0 include:

The applications that will be available in 4.1 include:

<end of announcement>

Although the use of the word "suck" might be a little overkill, I think it has 
publicity value--it will (would have) gotten people's attention and let them 
know what to expect.  Also, I think it is a very "open source" kind of 
announcement to make for a lot of reasons.  (I might go into those in a 
future email.)

I might have read the wrong things, but it wasn't until after KDE4 was 
released that I started to see the "caveats" that warned that KDE4 was not 
complete nor really ready for the ordinary user.  

What "ordinary" user wants to transition to a new <anything> that has fewer 
features than the old, except in very specific cases where those missing 
features have been identified and are features he doesn't want to use?

Randy Kramer

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