Why KDE4 is called KDE?

Draciron Smith draciron at gmail.com
Thu Dec 10 06:59:13 GMT 2009

On Thu, Dec 10, 2009 at 12:28 AM, Thierry de Coulon <tcoulon at decoulon.ch> wrote:
> Of course that is true, I doubt anyone (at leat any FLOSS user) will contest
> that. But there remains the fact that some, on the lists (and I mean all the
> lists I read that have to do with FLOSS) wipe away citicisms and/or
> suggestions or rants with this simple argument: the code is free and
> accessible, if the program does not do what you want, change it you self.

The avg Linux user is no longer a coder or even a techie any more. In
the last few years I've converted many people to using Linux who
wouldn't know what a TCP/IP packet was if it did a strip tease in a
crowded room :)

That they cannot change it doesn't somehow make their voice any less important.

> No one contests this is _possible_ in theory, but to the average user it is
> not. I do code (a little, not very well) in basic or tcl/tk, long time ago in
> fortran, I can't even understand C or C++.

I once made a living writing C code and have written small C++ apps as
part of things I've done but like you I do not code in C++ by choice
nor am I even remotely compentant in it any more. Been many years
since I wrote a line of C++ code and my greatest involvement in a C or
C++ code was to go into broken tarballs and remark out lines to get it
too compile successfully or find dependancies that were there but
above the specified range in the make file. Things like that.

> The result that I depend almost as much from my "master" than a closed source
> user, however with the hope someone else might do it.

While I agree with your point but not because of the language but
because of the complexity. I could easily master enough C++ to port
the old panel over to KDE 4 but the dependancies involved, the other
parts of KDE that would touch, now THAT is the hard part. While the
panel might compile, when you ran it KDE might puke twice, roll over
and curse your mother before it died :)

Something as complex as KDE is too big for even an experienced coder
to just say Oh I'm going to make major changes today and do it. Minor
tweaks used to be common. I used to tweak stuff all the time back when
I first started using Linux and my C skills were still fresh and
sharp. Then along would come and update and my work would be
obliterated. Didn't take long to give up on that.

So a fork is necessary rather than individual tweaking. That's where
we disagree. Forks happen all the time. Audacious if I remember
correctly was a fork off XMMS. Wasn't K3b a fork off something earlier
and primitive? Don't remember but man I am glad they created it. Until
K3b came out I did all my burning from the command line. No viable GUI
alternate really. What was out there was buggy at best and unusuable
as often as not.  KDE itself is the result of a group of dissatisfied
users who got together to do something about the horrid UIs out there
at the time. Before KDE I was using FWC something or another. Man that
was clumsy and bereft of features. Gnome wasn't any bettter, more
features but more bugs too. Those were the only two in existence far
as I knew. Then I found KDE and fell in love with it imediately.
Wasn't offered by any of the major distros yet. Had to hand compile it
and chase down a ton of dependencies but it was well worth it.  When
Redhat started offering it as an RPM and part of the default installs
I was overjoyed.

> To go back to the origin of this talk, obviously telling a normal user either
> to join the devs and code some functionalities himself, or to tell him that
> the KDE 3 code is free and he can continue developping it himself is just
> ridiculous.

One person yes. A group no. A group can accomplish a great deal. Look
at Ardour or Rosegarden or the Gimp or K3b. One man couldn't write and
maintain those. A group does and can.  All of them arose from
dissatisfaction with what existed out there at the time. There is a
great deal of dissatisfaction with KDE 4. Thus a fertile bed for a
split. Depends on whether the right people get involved or not.

Kevin however has pointed out that splitting all of KDE may not be
necessary, a split on the desktop/panel should really suffice as
pretty much all the gripes with any weight behind them revolve around
the UI rather than the core of KDE which most of us never see, but it
lives and breathes under every app we run in KDE.

> Supporting (and loving) an idea or a concept does not mean supporting it
> blidly and making it a sacred cow, so I understand most criticisms on this
> list as the expression of people who _do_ like and support KDE, but just
> happen to be unsatisfied with the way it's going. One can tell them that does
> not interrest him, but not that the code is free, because that does not help
> the leat a normal user in practice.

Nothing sacred about KDE. It's just beloved. Big difference between
beloved and sacred. Offer me abilities and I'll happily use software.
KDE 2/x to 3.x was a smooth and happy transition for me. There were
some issues in my 1.x to 2.x migration but I forget what those were.
In both cases there were no show stoppers like I'm seeing with KDE 4.
which has ripped the VERY reasons I love KDE out of KDE and offered me
no practical alternates to how I do stuff. I'm about to resort back to
pre-KDE days and run everyhting from console window command lines.
That's a huge step backwards and far from resisting change or making
something sacred. It's destroyed the very things that made KDE easy
for me to use and that saved me tons of time every day.

Everything you do on a computer is a series of trade offs. In the case
of running feature rich desktops like KDE and Gnome you trade some
performance in the process. However for me, since none of the features
support my needs any more I'm paying the price and not getting the
gain. Just doesn't make sense. So my alternates are to attempt to
join/start a fork or switch too a lighter desktop and gain performance
out of it but spend more time doing stuff I used too do. Running KDE 4
long term is just not an option at this point.

> regards,
> Thierry
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