Why KDE4 is called KDE?
eyolf at oestrem.com
Wed Dec 9 02:28:31 GMT 2009
On 08.12.2009 (06:36), Boyd Stephen Smith Jr. wrote:
> On Monday 07 December 2009 23:44:25 Thierry de Coulon wrote:
> > May I ask what changes with free programs as long as you are no programer?
> > I love this affirmation but it's very theoretical for the average user....
> No, it's not.
> With free software any programmer with the necessary skills can modify the
> program; even if you lack the skills there are a number of ways to get the
> modifications you would like done. It might not be without cost, but it is
However much I agree with the principle of open source/free software, this
argument stays for the most part in the "principle" area. In PRACTICE
(which is what the OP implied with the "average user"), there is little or
no difference between open and closed software. Sure, you can see the
source code, but how many do? I usually don't, because I'm not a
programmer, and mostly it doesn't mean anything to me anyway. And I would
NEVER dare to tinker with source code for anything bigger than a bash
script (well, I have, and it turned out horribly...).
So, in sum, the "you can see the source code and do anything you like with
it" is a meaningless statement to anyone who is not a programmer: NO, I
can't do anything I like with it -- I can't do anything AT ALL with it.
Ideologically, it may be a valid point, but in practice it's not.
Besides, what you describe is in effect a fork -- a one-person or
one-organization fork, but a fork all the same. Unless the changes are
trivial or the application is very modular, chances are that it will be a
dead end: for every upgrade of the source code, you'll have to incorporate
the changes, hoping that they don't break something. If I am a big
corporation with enough money to spend to pay a developer to implement my
wishes, I would still be caught in this trap. And since I'm not, it's
still just a dream scenario.
What I CAN do something about is configuration, i.e. the practicalities of
how I interact with the program: keybindings, interface choices, etc.
Which is why I would have wished customization options to be on the top of the
list for any developer. I spend a considerable amount of time every day in
front of a midnight commander window; half of that time, I wish the
developers had devised a way to customize the keyboard bindings. Can I
change it in the source code? Probably -- I just don't have a clue how.
We can defeat gravity. The problem is the paperwork involved.
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