Why KDE4 is called KDE?

Kevin Krammer kevin.krammer at gmx.at
Tue Dec 8 15:20:28 GMT 2009

On Tuesday, 2009-12-08, Thierry de Coulon wrote:

> That was NOT my point. When I discovered that KDE 4 was not working the way
>  I like, I thought I come here and say it, and maybe someone listens and
>  implements what I would like. Of course I was ready to read that "we are
>  sorry, but for this or that reason we can't / don't want to implement
>  this".

Sounds reasonable.

> But what I got for an answer (and I see others continue to get the same,
> although I don't know if this answer come from developers or from people
> speaking "for them", officially or not) is: it is so, change your way of
> using your computer or go look some other place, you did not pay for your
> software so how dare you come and criticise?

I am not sure if this "you didn't not pay for it" ever comes from a 
contributor even less a developer.
It would basically undermine the possibility of actually being contracted to 
work on KDE, which is probably a dream most FOSS contributors would like to 

What I've seen though is people saying that their priorities are working on 
the concepts they think will give the best possible result. I've so far never 
experienced an exchange where developers said that they will actively block 
any work in any other direction.

One of the nice advantages of Free Software is that different strategies can 
be evaluated in parallel and still share common code.
One of the nice advantages of Unix like operating systems is that a lot of 
functions are implemented as separate processes and thus allow for replacing 
some functionality with alternatives while keeping others.

This last one is why I personally really welcomed the clarity of the new 
branding schema.
In the past I often had people tell me they are not using KDE while in fact 
they were running lots of our applications, while they actually tried to 
convey that they are not running the KDE workspace.

> So what some people on this list have been saying is: we love KDE, we have
> been using it for 10 years, but we don't agree with the new concept, so far
> that we fear we have no other choice but to abandon KDE if it continues
>  this way. We (at least I) had been expecting either concern from the devs,
>  or at least some "sorry, but we can explain why we have to go this way"
>  answer - instead we get some sort of "if you don't say that KDE 4 is the
>  greatest then you are against us and you'd better go some other place" and
>  "you don't pay for it, so be glad you get it at all and shut up"
>  answers....

Hmm, when I switched earlier this year (around April IIRC), I've only found 
parts of the workspace to be different, mainly desktop and panel.
Everything else, including other parts of the workspace like the window 
manager, seemed to be just differently styled (though I could have switched 
back to Plastique if I would have wanted to).

As I wrote in another comment here the only thing I remember being different 
was the search for text thingy. While it is often better to not have a dialog, 
it behaves subtly different in some situations I've really growns accustomed 

However, changes are only visible to those using a feature which got changed, 
like in my case the search functionality.

What are the applications and features that have changed for other people?

> So tu sum up my point:
> - producing software makes little sens if no one uses it

Mostly correct, but there is certainly some value in praticing the art :)

> - if you produce commercial software, and no one uses it, you don't get
>  money, so you have to listen to your users if they are unsatisfied.

If no one uses it, which users do you listen to then?
Most of the time I've experienced either looking what a competitor is doing or 
getting feedback from your customers.
How many commercial software producer are doing market research aftrer 
creating a product and finding our nobody buys it?

> - if you produce "free" software, and don't get money from it, you can
>  ignore unhappy users because they don't pay for it so it makes no change
>  for you if they don't use it.

Hmm, good point.
Unless you want to increase the number of people using your software beyond 
those already happy with it.
But that could have a different priority than other things like making it easy 
to maintain the featureset your users are using, etc.

> Of course this is a caricature, but it is sort of how I feel the KDE devs
> are "represented" on this list.

Yes, could be, but a lot of the over generalization happend due to not being 
able to address certain KDE products separately, so people complaining about 
one such product would do that in a form that leads to misinterpretation and 
thus actually unrelated reactions.

I am confident that this will improve a lot over the next couple of months 
when it will become easier for discussion participants to see which product is 
actually discussed.


Kevin Krammer, KDE developer, xdg-utils developer
KDE user support, developer mentoring
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