naming the next major release

Aaron J. Seigo aseigo at
Mon Aug 19 19:56:35 UTC 2013


after seeing the Nth time that we don’t know if the next release will be 
called Plasma Workspaces 2 or something else, i’d like to find consensus on 
this point so we can move forward in communication with confidence.

the first point that we’ve all been around a million times, but i will cover 
again for completeness:

	Do we need a single name for all the bits that go into our desktop shell?

yes, we do.

a) the PR reason: it is impossible to communicate clearly about “those 20 
things that fit together but which all have different (and kooky) names” and for 
that reason it is very hard for people to identify with or understand such a 

b) the developers reason: it allows us to draw a clear line around the 
workspaces (desktop, netbook, active, etc.) and everything else KDE produces. 
this is key for broader use of our libraries (Frameworks 5) and our 
applications: when people don’t understand they aren’t connected to the 
“desktop platform” they don’t use our libraries or apps if they don’t use our 
desktop environment.

c) the community reason: as has been said a number of times, many of us yearn 
for a greater sense of belonging in the workspace efforts. whether that is stuff 
like bluetooth, network integration, desktop wallet, panels, desktop layers, 
window management .. it all really belongs together in that it is written to 
be used together. to be usable together we need to work together. to work 
together we are helped by having a common identity.

so we need a name we all share. the current working title has been “Plasma 
Workspaces 2".

there are 3 parts to the PW2 name:

1. Plasma
2. Workspaces
3. ‘2’

so, one at a time:

1. Plasma is a brand that has already received a good amount of investment, 
and we need a distinct nomenclature from ‘KDE’. 

we can’t just use “Workspace” either, with the idea of using “KDE Workspaces” 
because then what do we call Desktop vs Netbook vs Tablet? if “KDEK 
Workspaces” were the name, then we’d end up with KDE Tablet Workspace which 
sounds dreadful and is completely non-descript. KDE Workspace Tablet is 
grammatically awkward to the point of being wrong in English.

2. “Workspaces”gives us a way to umbrella all the Plasma primary UX that we 
provide (desktop, netbook, mediacenter, tablet, ... whatever comes in future). 

that said, “Workspaces” is the least meaningful bit of the 3 words. without it 
we have just KDE Plasma. the reason we added Workspaces was to differentiate 
between the user products and the underlying technology.  we do, however, 
refer to it as Plasma Desktop (no workspaces in there), Plasma Active, etc.

“Workspaces” is also a word that most people do not know / understand until it 
is explained. this contributes to the weakness of this part of the 

it does allow us to say, however, things like “KDE Plasma Workspaces includes 
Plasma Destkop, Plasma Active ..” which rolls off the tongue nicely. however, 
we could do the same without making Workspaces a proper part of the name and 
just use it a regular noun in conjuction with the name “KDE Plasma”. this 
would result in phrasing like:

	“KDE’s Plasma workspaces come in Desktop, Netbook, Tablet and Mediacenter 

	“KDE’s Plasma provides user experiences for desktop, netbook, tablet, ..”

given that we are moving to a “grand unified shell” approach where the different 
user experiences flow seamlessly from one to the next, it may make sense to 
drop the concept that there is such huge differentiation that they are the 
“Workspaces” and instead are just “Plasma” which happens to morph to fit the 

3. ‘2’ ... why “two” if this is version 5? well, libplasma is actually going 
to be version 6 iirc, so it isn’t the library. i also am not a big believer in 
branding after version numbers. neither are any of our proprietary competitors 
who have a lot more marketing and communications savvy than we tend to. ;) 
what i like about 2 is:

* it communicates this is something after the first. it’s that whole “two point 
oh” thing, though hopefully less hype than, say, “web 2.0” ;)

* it’s simple and direct

* ‘2’ is a couple, and a couple is a nice human idea :) this is borne out by 
the “1, 2, many” pattern in many ancient languages. we know 1, we know 2, 
after that it’s just an abstract concept.

Sooooooooooo ... here is my proposal:

	We call it Plasma 2 and use that as a rallying call to 
	focus on its unified user experience 
	across the spectrum of devices people use today.

as developers, it will remind us of our goals.

to our users, it will be the symbol of this idea of all these individual 
components that work together beautifully no matter what device you put it on.

yes, this means we drop “Workspaces” as clumsy, hard to understand and no 
longer fully applicable.

Other proposals, ideas, tweaks to the above most welcome, but let’s try to 
come to a consensus on this matter before the end of this month.

then we can all move forward in confidence together, whatever it is we decide.

Aaron J. Seigo
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