Why KDE4?

Duncan 1i5t5.duncan at cox.net
Fri Dec 11 19:39:48 GMT 2009

Kevin Krammer posted on Fri, 11 Dec 2009 12:14:41 +0100 as excerpted:

> On Friday, 2009-12-11, Patricia Max wrote:
>> KDE3 on my new fedora system is.  If that's not possible (and I'm not
>> sure from what I've read if it is or is not possible), then I can use
>> XFCE.  I guess.  Or stick with my old buggy system which functions
>> about the same way I do much of the time!
> Redhat is also mostly Free Software, usually more than any other
> enterprise distributions.  Additionally there is CentOS, which
> basically is package compatible with the RHEL release of the same
> version number.

Agreed, and RH/CentOS was what I would have said but didn't bother, since 
I do the list as a newsgroup, thru gmane as mentioned below, and didn't 
feel like sending it via mail as well, when the decision was apparently 
already made.

I personally prefer a community based distribution on one axis, and a 
from-source distribution on another, so Gentoo fits my needs rather 
better than RH/CentOS, and Debian would fit quite well if I wanted 
community based but binary. 

However, Red Hat is well respected in the community for their VERY active 
support of freedomware, to the point that they go out of their way to 
make the trademarks easy to strip, putting them in separate packages, 
etc, for those like CentOS that wish to do so.  CentOS is then 
(independently) assembled from Red Hat sources without those trademarks.  
Point of fact, however, far from grudgingly let it happen because they 
/have/ to (which they really wouldn't /have/ to anyway, especially not 
with their own packages), Red Hat actually uses the existence of CentOS 
as an important sales tool, using it to demonstrate the lack of lock-in 
that FLOSS offers, with CentOS one step away on a continuum of community 
choices available that are NOT Red Hat, if a company decides they want to 
switch providers, for money or whatever other reason.

Of course, Red Hat also signs the checks for many developers in the
free/libre and open source software community as well, including core 
kernel devs as prominent as Alan Cox, and the glibc primary dev Ulrich 

Bottom line, I don't know how anyone can honestly question Red Hat's 
FLOSS commitment.  They're the Enterprise distribution of choice in the 
community for a reason.  And for those folks who want or need enterprise 
stability and supported products but don't need the direct support or 
want the cost, CentOS is Red Hat without the trademarks, and a suggestion 
even Red Hat themselves doesn't have a problem making.

So for continued KDE 3.5 support, I'd probably go with either stable 
Debian, if I wanted a community based distribution, or Red Hat or CentOS, 
if I wanted a corporate backed distribution.  Both continue to support 
kde 3.5 and will likely do so for some years yet, tho I'm not /real/ 
close to either one so I'd suggest verifying how long that support is set 
to continue, before I jumped.

>>  running things from some GUI, etc.  And last, but not least, when I
>>  read about "folders" on Unix, I want to scream.  That term is not part
>>  of my Unix vocabulary.  It was not part of system V, it was not part
>>  of BSD, it was not part of other Unix flavors such as SunOS, and it
>>  was not part of early linux systems.  It belongs to Bill Gates.  In
>>  fact, I don't see what it has to do with KDE4 since directories are
>>  (should be) filesystem entities, not a window system entity.
> Fun fact: when this was being discussed there was a strong resistance
> among KDE developers to use the term "folder" when referring to a
> directory, since while this is correct it is not as accurate as
> possible.
> Like referring to a square as a rectangle, which is also correct but not
> as accurate as possible.
> In the end it was agreed that when it is the graphics representation of
> any kind of folder, it is addressed as a folder to get better
> consistency. E.g. a mail folder in KMail could be the UI representation
> of a directory (e.g. maildir directory), but it could also be the
> representation of an mbox file.
> Or in a file manager where a folder icon could be the UI for a directory
> but also for something like an introspectable archive file.

Using "folder" for "filesystem directory" grates on me as well.

Personally, I use a (relatively) simple rule.  If it's a directory on the 
filesystem, that's what I call it, a directory (dir for short).  If it's 
a "virtual" folder, it's a folder.  So when I'm dealing with kmail, I 
call them folders.  When I'm dealing with files or filesystems (including 
RAM based filesystems such as tmpfs, proc, sysfs, debugfs, dev as 
normally administered by udev, etc), they're dirs.

A week or two ago there was on the kde lists (either here or the linux 
specific one, IDR which) some discussion of kioslaves such as audiocd, 
that present a virtual filesystem interface to users thru kde apps 
understanding the kioslave API.  I had to decide on that, but went with 
folder IIRC, because it's neither kernel based nor userspace based using 
fuse, so only kde apps saw the virtual files, not the command prompt, 
etc.  If the same functionality was implemented using fuse, however, thus 
presented as a filesystem to the whole system not just kde/kioslave API 
understanding apps, I'd have used directory.

But I don't make a big deal of it, as I often will for say, someone 
posting in HTML, or even top-posting, both of which I'll politely ask the 
poster to change, if I respond at all.  If they use folder where I'd use 
dir or directory where I'd use folder, I just do the mental translation 
and move on.

>> So it's been interesting, and if anyone wants to flame me or my
>> thoughts, you will have to flame me at my private address.  I can't
>> handle the volume of email that "Why KDE4 is called KDE?" has
>> generated.   When I subscribed, I wanted a few hints to make KDE4 work
>> like KDE3 because it's what I am used to.  That does not seem
>> possible, so I will leave the list.  Thanks for an interesting
>> experience.
> A thread like this is a rather rare occurence, the list is usually more
> focused on specific questions.
> However, since you are a person with strong Unix background, you might
> prefer to use the newsgate way in either case:
> http://dir.gmane.org/gmane.comp.kde.general
> You know, scoring and stuff.


That's the way I read the lists.  I'm not much for web forums, or indeed, 
mail based lists, if that's how I'd have to read them.  But I routinely 
spend hours a day on the various newsgroups, including lists presented as 
newsgroups, on gmane.

Besides, I'd not want to clog my mail inbox in any case, and if I were 
more the webmail type and less the newsgroup type, I'd probably setup 
separate gmail accounts for each set of lists (kde, gentoo, pan, other) I 
follow, thus keeping the mail out of my "real" emailbox that way 
instead.  I know a lot of people that /do/ use gmail for their lists, 
even if not for their regular mail, but gmane is surprisingly popular as 
well. =:^)

Duncan - List replies preferred.   No HTML msgs.
"Every nonfree program has a lord, a master --
and if you use the program, he is your master."  Richard Stallman

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