WOW. . .those screenshots of 3.1Alpha are fantastic

Andreas Pour pour at
Fri Jul 12 20:03:39 BST 2002

daniel wrote:
> | Because it's easier to write something like that from scratch, than to
> | port it from a different set of libraries, data strunctures and computer
> | languages.
> oic
> like i said, i'm still a newbie and from my end it looked pretty simplistic.
> i get it now though.  i would then like to throw in my two cents on terry's
> side and suggest that more focus be put on stability rather than features.
> a pretty file manager that explodes repeatedly, while remaining quite
> attractive is still more frustrating that a not-so-pretty file manager that
> never blows up.


At the risk of waxing sentimental, I will, here and now, share with you
my perspective on what is happening.  To give some perspective, indulge
me, please, while I present a few statistics.  It does not matter,
whether these are completely right, you may think them somewhat
different, but the general outline, I think, is a solid one.

Let me also begin, by noting, I choose here to focus on one group of
developers, but there are many others, within KDE and without, about
whom I could say the same, though, of course, I do not know them all as
well.  This, in a way, is my heartfelt homage, or tribute, to the KDE

During the MS trial, MS claimed that it spends $100 million per year on
Internet Explorer (see, e.g.,, PP 389.1.ii.  This would
represent roughly 1,000 full-time developers.

I don't recall how much Netscape poured into Mozilla, but the project
reportedly had thousands of developers working on it for 4 years.

Konqueror, on the other hand, was started (from scratch, essentially)
after KDE 1, 2.5 years ago, has about 20 developers (more than at times
in the past), of whom maybe 5 concentrate on it, but none of whom really
works full-time on it.  So let me chalk that up to 10 full-time

Of course, Mozilla of all the projects is the most ambitious, but still,
we are comparing about 4,000 man-years on either Mozilla and MSIE in the
last 4 years versus maybe 25 man-years on Konqueror in the last 2.5

4,000 to 25.  Yes, it's amazing, isn't it?

In light of this reality check, to me, it is absolutely incredible,
unbelievable, everything that Konqueror can do.  I think there is no
conclusion which one can reach but that its developers are exceptionally
and tremendously talented, capable and motivated.

On top of that, I know many of them personally, and have known them over
the course of years, and I can say without qualification, that each of
them is an extremely decent, moral, responsible, likable person, who
cares very much about what he creates, perhaps too much, who shows great
respect for others, who displays an incredulous patience I could not
find within me to muster, and who harbors a sincere desire to address
the needs of the community of which he feels a part.

But, alas, there is only a handful of them.  And a browser, it can only
be said, is an extremely complex piece of software.

Yet, not all of us appreciate that.  Indeed, I see it, time and again,
in the last few weeks mounting to a drowning chorus of discontent,
almost, the vogue sport of the day.

While one group is yelling at them to fix bugs, another is yelling at
them to add a new feature.  Somebody wants secure Java, another SSL
certificate management, a third complex JavaScript menus, a fourth XML
editing, a fifth UTF-8 URLs, a sixth Netscape plugin support, a seventh
and eighth, that it work flawlessly with sites designed to be IE-only, a
ninth another style sheet property.  Indeed, every time something that
doesn't work in Konqueror, but which works in both or just one of the
4,000 man-year browsers, whether it is part of the web standards they
try to implement or not, they get an earful:  if it doesn't work, it's a

What is a bug, and what is a feature request?  Do we really know?  Are
we qualified ot tell?  I think, for most of us, if any website does not
work, the way it does in another browser, we conclude it is a Konqueror
bug - but in reality, most of the time, it requires a new feature be
added to support these websites.

Yet another group yells, they should *backport* all these changes to 3,
4 different branches, maybe even back to KDE 1, which would require them
not only to backport their changes, but may also require backporting a
host of changes in Qt, in kdelibs and in a host other tools they rely
upon, which have, in the interim, improved and which, in the end, would
turn the old branch, into the current one.

But how can we, any of us, rightfully demand more of them, when they
already give more than any of us could or would?  Because they don't
give it, in exactly the priority we would prefer?  Because sometimes,
they listen to another's wishes, before ours, or, heaven forbid, they
take some time to work on things that actually bring them
self-fulfilment in what, after all, they are doing as a labor of love,
in their free time?

Who are we, to so vocally, loudly, and yes, sometimes even meanly,
criticize, condemn and attack these remarkable individuals, as I have
seen time and again and time and again, from news sites to mailing lists
to forums, the very forums and mailing lists set up by these
individuals, so we can have a voice and participate in what they create
for us?

And, yes, it sometimes makes me sad, b/c they do so much, and such great
quality work, and all of that is met now with this deafening chorus of
dissatisfaction, complaints, and demands for more, b/c their Herculean
efforts do not satisfy those, who contribute - what exactly?

Where are the contributions on the donations page, so KDE can afford to
hire some developers, to help take the strain and improve KDE faster? 
Where are the volunteers, who help with the tedious task - a task no
developer enjoys any more than us - of trudging through the bugs
database, thousands of entries, to find a report that is useful and
specific and reproduceable so it can be fixed?  Where are the ones, who
get angry, yes, angry, that there is not more documentation, not more
tutorials, when these are things, that any of us can also provide, and,
in many cases, because of native languages, we could do much better? 
Why is it, that those who do the most, are the ones, who must do it all? 

So yes, at times I do get angry and disparaged, I get angry b/c I see my
friends and colleagues getting reams of negative stories written about
them, when their contributions should, at a minimum, receive
appreciation; but when, really, their contributions to our commuity, our
society, our world, to our very freedom and liberty, which hang so
perilously in the balance, are so magnificent.  KDE has given me a way
out, has given me something I cherish daily, its hiccups here and there
and all.

In short, I see injustice, and I want to see it stop, but I do not know
how to stop it.  I do not know how to make us see, how unfair we are
being, to make us see, that if we make life ever more uncomfortable for
those who do all these great things for us, it is far more likely that
they will depart in disgust than work even harder - as working even
hard, is something, which just is not possible.  Each already does the
work of 20.  But we demand more, and we demand it, now, and in return,
we offer nothing but to take advantage of what they have done.

A voluntary community, to survive, must be one, that the members enjoy
to work in.  That they receive some satisfaction, from the energy they
contribute.  Can we not see, how all this criticism is draining,
despirting, demotivating.  How it weakens us, how we weaken ourselves,
and strengthen those, who would take our liberty and our freedom, who
would live in mansions and frolic in exotic paradises and not even hear
your bitter dissatisfaction with how much worse it all has become.

And when I try to write, perhaps not as patiently as I should, to
explain what we are doing, I am met with curses, with accusations, that
it is I, that am rude, it is I, that is out of line, it is I, who does
not understand, it is I, who has nothing nice to say.

And then sometimes I, too, wonder, why *do* I bother?


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