thinking ahead to 4.5: features or polish?
Aaron J. Seigo
aseigo at kde.org
Wed Nov 4 00:41:48 CET 2009
hi all ..
i spent some time today thinking about challenges as well as opportunities
that exist for our little Plasma baby who is growing up at an amazing pace.
just to give you an idea of where we're at in terms of raw code production,
here are some sloccount counts:
and we have so many little buds of progress elsewhere too:
media center components: 6,608
mobile shell: 1,147
we have been pounding out feature packed release after feature packed release
and 4.4 will be no different in that regard.
of course, it's not the only way we're growing. were also growing the user
base as more of our desktop users come online and we start to reach out into
new areas of the market such as netbooks and phones. we're also growing in
*dum de dum dum* bug count. right now we have 745 open bug reports, not
counting wishlist items. that's not as bad as it might sound; it's somewhere
around one bug per 240 lines of code. but it's still substantial.
as i mentioned at T3, plasma has developed a bit of a rhythm from release to
release: January brings lots of new features (esp big ones) and some polish,
July brings lots of polish and some new features (mostly smaller ones).
4.4 will certainly be a big feature release: netbook, remote plasmoids, new
of places, nepomuk integration .... but what about 4.5?
well, i'm seriously considering putting a moratorium on new features in 4.5
and instead focusing on making it a polishing release.
when we started out with KDE 4, one of our goals was to create an object of
desire that people would pick over the "high end competition" such as MacOS.
we achieved so much towards that goal, and now our biggest sore points are the
such a polishing release would consist of:
* completing features that have made it thus far in a "mostly done" state but
not quite finished
* cataloging and improving families of (mis-)features like this:
* a concentration on killing bugs right from the start of the release cycle
* measuring memory and cpu performance and improving on both
* tightening down our artwork and configuration UIs for consistency and extra
if we go ahead with this, then our pre-release IRC meetings and T4 would be
the where we would mark out our targets and decide how to tackle them.
my concerns in such a move are:
* it would destroy people's desire to work on plasma by making it more boring
and difficult than it currently is with all the emphasis on great new things
* people would ignore this set of goals and work on features anyways,
splitting our community up and causing some tensions we don't have with our
"wide open" policy
* we wouldn't have enough to show at the end of it for our users to go "wow"
if we decide that this is something we would like to take on, we would need to
make it fun and cool to do this hard work. i'd be sure to share bug count
stats, performance measurements and track our goals on a regular basis to keep
us moving. if new people came along with new features or we found we Really,
Really(tm) needed something (e.g. if we got some kick ass bluetooth work
donated), we'd have to be flexible enough to allow some of that to happen but
disciplined enough not to get sidetracked ourselves.
now, i'm still working through all of the implications of this and really
haven't decided yet whether it's the best of ideas yet. and it would
absolutely require that the overwhelming majority of our team here would want
to see this through.
so i put the question to you: what do you think? should we do this? should we
not? why? why not?
(and just to head off all the "oh yes, please do!" comments from the people on
the list here who follow the threads but who aren't active contributors to
some part of plasma: let's keep this discussion to those who are working on
the code and artwork for now. thanks :)
Aaron J. Seigo
humru othro a kohnu se
GPG Fingerprint: 8B8B 2209 0C6F 7C47 B1EA EE75 D6B7 2EB1 A7F1 DB43
KDE core developer sponsored by Qt Development Frameworks
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