[kde-ev-marketing] the "gamma" proposal - details that need working out

Wade Olson wade at corefunction.com
Mon Jul 9 18:50:12 CEST 2007

On 7/9/07, Sebastian Kügler <sebas at kde.org> wrote:
> "Gamma" is a real release, but not targeted at new end users (so it really
> *is* 4.0, and *not* a release candidate. That thing has to be very clear.
> Troy's proposal, however, is about making a marketing splash about something
> that is technically 4.0.1 or 4.0.2 (so it has some fixes for critical bugs,
> polishing of default settings, some smaller usability improvements, more
> complete translations and a more comprehensive set of applications. The "End
> User Release" will get a cool name, a version number is quite technical,
> which is also something we want to address. Think of Windows XP (which really
> is 5.something), just as an example that the version number itself doesn't
> matter much.

My thoughts:

1) The concept of a new "stack" or "layer" is crazy.  Inventing a new
concept should be a warning sign that this is a goofy way of thinking.
 This is not the first or last software project by a long should to
get worried about making a target date, and I have yet to hear of a
problem being solved by making up something.

The fact is: we have publicly stated KDE 4.0 and October 23.  You either:
1) push the release date and say we're going to have more alpha, beta
or release candidates than previously announced OR
2) Release 4.0 with messaging that is painfully obvious to everyone
involved for any dot-zero release that we've talked about to death
"This is for early adopters only - the following types of users are
advised to wait until 4.0.X or 4.X"

> So why call it Gamma, and not final?
> - A 4.0 release, especially in the case of KDE will have glitches. Those
> glitches might be acceptable for our current user base, but they're certainly
> not to new target groups that we're looking at for KDE4. We're pushing KDE4
> into the mainstream market which is much more critical about small glitches.
> (This is based on research into target group characteristics, which I'm happy
> to share if you want.)

This is where clear communication with KDE distros is important.  If
you're in the minority that can install packages yourselves or
compile, bully for you and you don't mind some glitches.

But releasing and bundling with distro versions, we've also talked
about this to death.  We can only give our opinion and advice to
distros.  Some will get jacked up and release versions right away
(having people with anticipation and in a frenzy is better than the
indifferent alternative).

> - Right now, it's quite hard for usability and accessibility people to review
> KDE4, too much is moving. Same goes for translators. We need a real release
> for those people to contribute in a meaningful way. (The lack of people
> participating in HIG hunting shows this quite well.)

I agree with the first part and not all the second.  The code and
content progresses at a pace.  Whether you draw a line in the sand and
call it RC1 or gamma 12 or 4.0.0 on a certain date...yes we need a
deadline and a "release", but whether that's a release or release
candidate is arbitrary.

> - KDE 4.0 will miss quite some applications, we might be able to ship a basic
> set, but certainly not the comprehensive desktop we'd like to have ready.

Duh.  If we did, we could just call it 4.2 or 4.3.

> - The release event needs some very time-critical planning. If we slip the
> release, months of work will be ruined. (Imagine booking plane tickets for
> people to visit the release event, having everything in place, just not the
> release itself.)

Right.  And I assume the release time is on top of this very issue.

What I'm confused on is the whole concept of how these discussions or
worries has somehow mysteriously shifted the proposed date for a
release party anywhere.  Does anyone in their right mind think that
any state of the software in late November will be tangibly different
in Mid-January with all the holidays?  Do people really think that a
prepackaged speech or demo at a release party will be any different?

Sweet, the italian translation is 13% more complete and amarok 2.0
porting bugs went down from 112 to 109 and there's 3 more Oxygen icons
and 2 more plasmoids...I'm so glad we waited to do a release part for
4.0.2 for everyone...it would have been a debacle otherwise!!!
> - Marketing KDE4 towards the end-user, but giving distros virtually no time
> (well, one week) to prepare a finished product renders it vapourware (it's
> not available at that point).
> So technically, from a developer's point of view, it doesn't really change all
> that much. I think that the proposal is very sensible since it solves a
> number of very real problems we're facing. I feel this email is getting to
> long, so I'll address concern in future emails where I can, but leave it at
> that for now.
> In any case, I would like to ask you (the release team) to have a good look
> and think at it and support it.
> --
> sebas
>  http://www.kde.org | http://vizZzion.org |  GPG Key ID: 9119 0EF9
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