[kde-linux] Opinion: KDE4 is very great, but does not deserve the version number

Randy Kramer rhkramer at gmail.com
Thu Mar 6 13:29:39 UTC 2008

On Thursday 06 March 2008 06:22 am, Frank Reifenstahl wrote:
> I don't think so. A major release with known flaws and not recommended 
> for business use. M$ would get torn to shreds daring to cheek us that 
> way. KDE devs should use RCs to converge on stability. Maybe that will 
> move it slower, but it's the honest way and doesn't smack of a marketing 
> trick.

Tentative comment (I'm not sure I'm ready to send this), but I would like to 
point out a difference (which I think many or all people on this list 
recognize, but which may not be known as well elsewhere (this has been 
alluded to in this thread)), between a release of Windows by Microsoft and of 
a new version of KDE by KDE.

When MS releases Windows they distribute it to their end users.

Although when KDE releases a version, end users can get it (by various means, 
maybe most often by downloading the source and compiling it?), that is not 
the normal or preferred route to the end user.  Instead, it is made available 
to "distros" (the people like Red Hat, Mandriva, Ubuntu, ...) who, when they 
feel the time is right, integrate it into their distro and then distribute it 
to end users.  (Aside: this can take a long time, what with the distros 
development cycle and so forth.  As a practical matter, I don't expect to 
install a distro with kde 4.0 on my main machine before about 2 years 

Even if you consider KDE's release of a version as a distribution to end 
users, I think you have to admit that, in the target audience that I see 
(everyone on planet Earth), *most* of those people are going to wait for a 
new version of KDE to be integrated into a distro instead of working "outside 
the box" to get it directly from KDE.  (They might only wait until their 
distro creates a package for it that might be installed in a current version 
of their distro, but if the distro does make such a package available, the 
distro will presumably make some recommendation as to whether it should be 
considered experimental or production quality, as well as how complete it 

The question still is, should KDE have released the package they did as KDE 
4.0 (and I'm not close enough to be sure that is what it was titled).  The 
problem I see, regardless of what I mentioned above, is that too many people 
with the "wrong" mindset hear "KDE 4.0" and read too much into it.  I 
expected that "KDE 4.0" (and I can forgive myself, I'm not a KDE developer) 
to at least have all the applications that  KDE 3.<latest> did (with the 
exception of any that were planned to be replaced as obsolete).

So, what should that release have been called?  I think it needed something 
with a 4 in it to indicate a fundamental change from kde 3.  But, for various 
other reasons (some mentioned here), I don't think it should have been (and 
maybe it wasn't) just called kde 4.0.  It needed something else to indicate 
that it was not a complete finished product (even for the distros), so I 
think it needed an additional word or phrase, perhaps any of:

   * kde 4.0 partial
   * kde 4.0 infrastructure
   * kde 4.0 desktop only (not "desktop release")--intended to signal that 
some or all of the  applications were not included
   * kde 4.0 release candidate--remaining that way until all applications were 
ready to go--still I'm not too happy with this one, it doesn't really tell me 
that not all applications are included
   * kde 4.0 pre-release--hmm, I'd make the same comments as those in the 
previous bullet

Sorry for this ramble.  I think the name chosen (kde 4.0) sent the wrong 
signal to those people not close enough to the project to know what was 
really going on, and those people have to be considered when making a 
release.  After all, that's only fair, we (as developers or supporters of 
kde) want those people to consider kde when they choose their OS.

Randy Kramer

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