[kde-linux] Users guide to KDE?

Jim Philips philips_jim at bellsouth.net
Sun Jul 6 15:38:12 UTC 2008

On Sunday 06 July 2008 09:55:09 Kevin Krammer wrote:

> But it seems that sharing insight into the ongoing development process is
> sometimes interpreted as some kind of release announcement, dispite release
> announcement usually being marked as such.

I work in the world of commercial software and it's always tricky business to 
start talking future features with your customers. They have unrealistic 
expectations or they will start pushing you to do things with the code that 
don't make any sense from an architectural point of view. Or they will hurry 
you into a feature before it's ready. The same caveats would seem to apply to 
the open source world.

> I am afraid that it currently looks like the user base has expaned beyond
> those who value first hand information about what is going on and will move
> the information culture away from community style to top-down controlled
> coporate style.

I don't know that you would have to push it to that extreme, but as the user 
base for KDE expands, the nature of communications is bound to change. I have 
been a happy user of KDE since 2.0. I can truthfully say that the change from 
3.0 to 4.0 has been far more jarring than the change from 2.0 to 3.0. If my 
memory isn't lying to me, the alpha versions of 3.0 (I rushed out to compile 
them) were more stable than the 4.0 release version. I can live with that and 
it isn't going to turn me off to KDE. But if you have a release version that is 
so far from feature complete, you have to expect some backlash. This isn't, 
however, a reason to cut off communications with your user base.

> Which means that those of us who like to get excited by things to come will
> have to spend a lot more time hunting down information themselves.
> And I was so looking forward to spend less time reading tens of
> mailinglists but rather reading a couple of "planet" blog aggregators.

I'm all for creating blogs that act as channels for targeted audiences...and 
for not opening them up to people who only rant about the difficulty of using A 
or B.

> Maybe there is a way in between, like having invite-only planets for those
> who value in-depth information and just have release announcements for
> those who want to think in terms of finished products.

Most users will not appreciate the openness of a new architecture until it has 
concrete benefits for them. If you target your audience carefully, you won't 
get useless complaints about a new architecture that hasn't yet produced 
tangible benefits for the end user.

Let me add here that I really appreciate what KDE developers are doing with 
4.0 and I've already deleted 3.59 from my computer. I'm looking forward to 
better ways to use the desktop and I think KDE is leading the way. I still 
think the walled gardens of Mac, Windows and even Gnome are a mistake.

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