Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 1st Feb 2008 10:45 UTC, submitted by Ward D
KDE "With the recent release of version 4.0, the KDE open source project has garnered a lot of international attention. One of KDE's lead developers, and best known personality, Aaron J. Seigo is in Australia to speak at this year's Linux.conf.au on his vision for better desktop computing. Computerworld spoke with Seigo, a native of Calgary, Canada, about his view of the world and how a little bit of innovation will permanently change how people interact with software."
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Criticism
by RandomGuy on Fri 1st Feb 2008 12:23 UTC
RandomGuy
Member since:
2006-07-30

Hmm, it sounded a bit like the criticism had a discouraging effect on Aaron.

I think most people weren't actually criticizing the release itself but rather the name. Maybe calling it developer release or something would've muted a lot of critics. Yeah, it's sort of bike shed painting but on the other hand a different title might have saved you a lot of explaining.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to bring this issue up again.
I merely want to say:
That so many people bitch about KDE shows that there are a lot of people out there who really like it. For every tiny issue that we bitch about there are hundreds of things that you're doing right.

That most issues raised are actually minor ones like naming or colors goes to show that overall KDE is headed in the right direction. Aaron, please try not to get too defensive about it. I know it's hard because there are also a lot of people who are only saying "It sucks!" without giving reasons or even wanting something to improve. But try to differentiate between those two groups.

I feel that if I like KDE I _should_ complain about everything that could be improved.
Having said that:
Nice interview. Keep up the good work!

Reply Score: 11

RE: Criticism
by Doc Pain on Fri 1st Feb 2008 12:50 UTC in reply to "Criticism"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

I feel that if I like KDE I _should_ complain about everything that could be improved.


You're right, I think I can suggest this behaviour, too. As long as the critics are fair, elaborated in an educated way without insulting speech, and if they intend to offer alternatives or suggestions how the improvement could be realized, then they are not useless. In my opinion, comments like "KDE 4 sucks, go delete it!" or "You Linux guys must be completely stupid for reinventing everything" should be directed into /dev/null immediately. :-)

Allthough KDE isn't something I would use personally, I've followed the improvements since KDE 1.0. This project really shows how "ordinary people" can create a really promising, straight foward, modern and still appealing product for the masses' desktops.

You've been mentioning examples like colors and naming conventions. Hmmm... allthough these are nearly irrelevant (for KDE's function), they are important for marketing, and this is where many open source projects have to be... *duck* ... more like... MICROS~1 ... no. No! I didn't say this! :-) Okay, marketing can always improve to get excellent free software to the customer's site where he surely will be happy to use it instead of the stuff he usually gets. This can be achieved through simplest cognitive psychology (colors: "Hey, this looks cool! What it it?" - gaining interest) and interindividual communication (naming: "I'm using Kopete, what client do you use?" - introducing names, gaining interest). But still, it's not about oh joy oh market share everytimes. For free software, it's about usage share (and mind share) in the first place. I'm sure KDE will be a good way to introduce Linux and UNIX to more fields of use.

Good work, KDE developers!

If just KDE's german internationalisation would be a bit better... :-)

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Criticism
by OSGuy on Fri 1st Feb 2008 20:36 UTC in reply to "RE: Criticism"
OSGuy Member since:
2006-01-01

Although I feel very bad for criticizing my favorite desktop environment, I am a genuine guy. This means I can't say I like something if I don't. If you pretend you like something, it will never get fixed. At least, back in the original article, the critics I made in my comment also give you a direct/indirect answer for a work around. I would like to apologize if I hurt someone's feelings and I mean this but I meant no offense nor I meant to underestimate the quality of the developers (if they saw it this way).

Reply Score: 2

RE: Criticism
by backdoc on Fri 1st Feb 2008 16:49 UTC in reply to "Criticism"
backdoc Member since:
2006-01-14

I modded you up, before I read the article. I agree with you in most every way, except for the part about ASeigo sounding discouraged.

I didn't get that impression. In fact, I'm always impressed with how he seems to stay so positive.

If you read this Aaron, don't let the negative few, who also happen to be the most vocal, override the positive many. There are lots of people out here who truly appreciate the work of the KDE developers.

Reply Score: 8

RE[2]: Criticism
by Shade on Sat 2nd Feb 2008 20:29 UTC in reply to "RE: Criticism"
Shade Member since:
2005-07-07

To be fair, if you skim the mailing list archives you can see a certain amount of 'developer stress' in the immediate run up to KDE 4. (Aaron in particular.) With that being said, it seems most of that has gone away with 4.0.0. Even if people argue the quality of 4.0.0 (which has been fine for me) it has been good for the people that actually make KDE, IMHO.

Reply Score: 2

Greate read.
by SReilly on Fri 1st Feb 2008 12:53 UTC
SReilly
Member since:
2006-12-28

I really enjoyed the interview. It's interesting to see what motivates a successful project like KDE to make as large and potentially catastrophic a shift as the 4th release. After all, and Aaron mentioned something similar, people do like things to stay pretty much the same.

As for goals, the KDE team is not short of ambitious ones. Taking on Apple in the GUI design arena certainly proves that the team has set themselves high standards and so far seem to be doing very well indeed.

I like the idea behind the desktop shifting and changing in response to what task you are currently performing. IMO, it's about time the desktop became dynamic, less application centric and more task orientated. After all, isn't the whole idea of the desktop to be able to facilitate the completion of tasks?

Good luck to all the KDE devs and keep up the good work.

Reply Score: 9

Nokia + Trolltech
by NotInterested on Fri 1st Feb 2008 13:03 UTC
NotInterested
Member since:
2008-01-02

Actually what I was looking in this interview was anything related with the recent acquisition of Trolltech. Aaron seems confident(but cautious) that Nokia will play well and that it will turn up as a good thing for KDE.

Well they BETTER play well, otherwise I 'll feel really stupid that I bought my precious Python QT book!

Reply Score: 2

I love KDE
by diegoviola on Fri 1st Feb 2008 17:51 UTC
diegoviola
Member since:
2006-08-15

Aaron you rock my world!

KDE for life ;)

Reply Score: 5

Eloquent
by jboss1995 on Fri 1st Feb 2008 19:17 UTC
jboss1995
Member since:
2007-05-02

Vary good speaker. The Boeing 747 similie was excellent. Wow, this guy writes as good as he codes. You don't find that offton. The vision of the KDE dev will make KDE the best Desktop/OS on the market. I think it will be something special.

Reply Score: 4

...
by Hiev on Fri 1st Feb 2008 19:45 UTC
Hiev
Member since:
2005-09-27

Jono Bacon has a reply here:

http://www.jonobacon.org/?p=1113

Reply Score: 1

RE: ...
by segedunum on Fri 1st Feb 2008 22:12 UTC in reply to "..."
segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

Interesting response from Jono, thanks.

1. It's not really just the desktop. We've all suffered from Ubuntu and Canonical's daft, and sometimes proudly proclaimed, decisions. From the 'no open ports by default' proclamation that then went on to feck CUPS, to the EVMS (Enterprise Volume Management) trouble people had, even though they weren't using EVMS!

2. There is no unwritten rule at all, as some Canonical people seem to be hinting at (see below), that KDE 4.0.0 had to be a part of Kubuntu 8.0.4. You use the desktop that is good enough at the time, and evolutionary for the needs of longer term support.

https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/kubuntu-devel/2007-December/002111...

3. The way this should have been handled is that the next in the line of KDE 3.5.x should have been used for 8.0.4, which is more suitable to the needs of long-term support.

4. This decision should have been taken earlier, and not done as a knee-jerk reaction to some of the responses to KDE 4.0, as it appears. I don't understand it either, as KDE 4.0 came far too late for inclusion in the 8.04 development process regardless.

5. There seems to be an assumption in that posting above that upstream support will not be forthcoming with KDE 3.5.x in 2011. However, that is a question I have never seen asked openly with KDE's developers. KDE people, including Aaron, have stated that KDE 3.5.x will continue to be supported (there was a release at the same time as KDE 4.0), and like everything in the open source world, if there is demand then it will be there. I mean, you would have thought that Canonical could have hired one or two people to help Jonathan Riddell out - especially if people are forking out for support contracts.

Instead, we get this lovely assumption:

"The KDE upstream position appears clear, KDE 4 is the focus of developer attention; KDE 3.5 will be supported as long as KDE 4 isn't suitable for support."

I have never seen this stated as KDE's official position on 3.5.x, and considering that this forms the basis of Canonical's official LTS decision, you would have thought that they would have went out and actually, you know, sought an official position of some kind.

Either, as it appears, KDE 4.0 is being used as a stick to beat Kubuntu with, or this is the latest in a long line of daft and stupid decisions from Canonical and Ubuntu. I can't really decide which, but I'm going to go with the latter because there is a history there.

Edited 2008-02-01 22:21 UTC

Reply Score: 7

RE[2]: ...
by elsewhere on Sat 2nd Feb 2008 04:28 UTC in reply to "RE: ..."
elsewhere Member since:
2005-07-13

I would only add that Shuttleworth has used KDE to try and gain attention, as he often does.

The "KDE proclamation" with it's one-off contribution and lack of follow-through came almost immediately after the overblown hulabaloo over the misconception that Novell was standardizing on Gnome. Similar to the way he sent an open letter to openSUSE devs after the Novell/MS deal, inviting them to come and join the *buntu team if they value the ideals of freedom.

See a pattern?

There was a relevant response to Jono's post, to the extent that KDE users seem to have a sense of entitlement. It pointed out that KDE users shouldn't complain, because when all of the distro's were KDE based, Gnome users never complained, they simply found a distro that matched their needs. It's actually a valid point. There are many other distros out there with strong KDE implementations, even Fedora is dipping their toe in the water.

Shuttleworth is entitled to do whatever he wants to do with Canonical and Ubuntu, and all the more power to him. People should remember there are alternatives.

The only frustrating thing is the way he dangled the carrot of improved KDE investment for the sake of gaining blogosphere points, and then never followed through. I agree with the sentiment in many of the responses to Jono's post; if you want to be Gnome-centric, then at least admit that you're Gnome-centric and be happy with it. Don't leverage the KDE community as a fall-back by stringing them along, on the off-chance your aspirations for Gnome don't come through.

On a related note, Troy Unrau posted a repsonse to Jono's response to Aaron. And so the circle of life continues... ;)

http://troy-at-kde.livejournal.com/15089.html

Reply Score: 6

RE[3]: ...
by segedunum on Sat 2nd Feb 2008 15:45 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: ..."
segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

It pointed out that KDE users shouldn't complain, because when all of the distro's were KDE based, Gnome users never complained, they simply found a distro that matched their needs.


I wouldn't say that all the distributions were ever all KDE based, because they weren't. I also wouldn't say that Gnome users didn't complain, because when Suse had a less-than-great Gnome implementation, people complained there. Gnome support in Suse and other distros that have tended to use KDE more (like Mandrake) has now got infinitely better, as well as the continued love and support of KDE. The same cannot be said of the reverse with Gnome-centric distros, sadly. The arguments there also seem to boil down to stuff that makes little, if any, logical sense.

I'm rather sick of people telling me now that this desktop is the default on this distro, and this desktop is the default on another distro so I should then use said desktop purely based on that.

Edited 2008-02-02 15:54 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: ...
by elsewhere on Sat 2nd Feb 2008 18:38 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: ..."
elsewhere Member since:
2005-07-13

I wouldn't say that all the distributions were ever all KDE based, because they weren't. I also wouldn't say that Gnome users didn't complain, because when Suse had a less-than-great Gnome implementation, people complained there. Gnome support in Suse and other distros that have tended to use KDE more (like Mandrake) has now got infinitely better, as well as the continued love and support of KDE. The same cannot be said of the reverse with Gnome-centric distros, sadly. The arguments there also seem to boil down to stuff that makes little, if any, logical sense.


Fair enough, it was a bad choice of words on my part, and didn't mean to imply that all distros were KDE at one point.

But looking at Fedora, as an example, which historically supported KDE only as far as acknowledging it's existence, a purely community driven project was created to ensure the availability of Fedora packages for updated KDE releases and related software. Interestingly, they're now embracing KDE a little more warmly, but I suspect that is more oriented towards their objective of becoming a new "standard" for base distributions, as Ubuntu is becoming.

If you look at Slack, which is KDE-centric, the community stepped up and created separate Gnome packages and many choose to use those.

Any distribution that favors one DE to the neglect of the other will ultimately find themselves at a disadvantage if only for neglecting choice, that is if they have any aspirations of becoming a widespread general purpose platform (and not all distros have such aspirations). I know from feedback just within the openSUSE forums, for instance, that many users prefer having both DE's installed and switch back and forth to suit their mood, or just for variety. Neither DE at this point offers a clear enough advantage over the other from a user perspective to warrant arbitrary decisions on which one is "better", and the linux desktop userbase is so relatively small at this point that there is hardly a saturation point that has been reached.

It's interesting to note, though, that commercial-oriented distros are almost always KDE-based, sometimes exclusively. Combined with the fact that KDE is far more prevalent than Gnome in "non-English" oriented distros, the tubthumpers in the Gnome community need to remember that Ubuntu and Fedora do not represent desktop linux, and that any assumptions of Gnome's success within a segment of the market will not necessarily map to the desktop userbase as a whole.

So my point is that the KDE community shouldn't really complain about Ubuntu or Fedora not supporting them, rather they should either take it upon themselves to deliver high-quality KDE support or simply find a distro that does. Ditto for the Gnome community. There's no shortage of distros providing high quality Gnome implementations.

The only thing that was grating about the Ubuntu situation was Shuttleworth's grandstanding about investing in KDE and making it a "first-class citizen". It's clear that it was nothing more than a PR stunt, but the KDE dev community and it's userbase should should let it go and simply move on to greener pastures.

I'm rather sick of people telling me now that this desktop is the default on this distro, and this desktop is the default on another distro so I should then use said desktop purely based on that.


I agree, but there is something to be said for a distro's choice in desktop default, since it usually implies a higher sense of effort and polish. But it should not be used as any sort of a measure across all distros.

Reply Score: 4

Good KDE distributions
by asupcb on Sat 2nd Feb 2008 07:25 UTC
asupcb
Member since:
2005-11-10

I've always felt that PCLinuxOS offers what is currently the best KDE-based distro and OpenSuse's distro also seems nice.

Reply Score: 1

cjcoats
Member since:
2006-04-16

As a long-standing (hard-core, power-user) KDE user, I have KDE configuration problem. I have been searching "kde.org" for some help with in, but the "search" manifestly does not work (for example, searching for "unclutter" does *not* come up with references I see before me on "http://docs.kde.org/cgi-bin/desktopdig/search.cgi?show=stable/en/kd...
the link to "http://docs.kde.org/kde3/en/kdebase/" on "http://docs.kde.org/index.php?language=en&branch=kde3" gives "You don't have permission to access /kde3/en/kdebase/ on this server." and the ""User Guide" link to "http://docs.kde.org/stable/en/kdebase/userguide/index.html" gives an empty HTML page.

At this point, I am quite exceedingly frustrated with one particular KDE behavior, and (since KDE is _so_ configurable, I want to learn how to configure my way around it. My desire is simple: I want to either disable "unclutter" and "cascade" on the KDE Window Menu without disabling that menu entirely, or else I want to move them from the top to some other place where they will not be activated inadvertently.

I am running (various versions of) KDE 3 on a variety of machines, and I have this problem on all of them. In the worst case (my primary office machine), I use 10 virtual desktops, each sized 2800x2560-virtual/1920x1200-physical, and frequently have as many as a dozen windows carefully placed on each desktop. If a mouse-finger slips, my carefully-laid-out configuration is completely destroyed. It's getting to the point that I am so annoyed I think about going back to FVWM2!

kwindowlistmenu.h lead me to think this may not be possible without learning the code base well enough to fix the problem (repeatedly!) at the source code level myself. Please tell me that is not the case; life is too short.

I have been working hard at trying to find a fix for this problem. Please help me. The KDE web-site clearly does not.

Reply Score: 1

superstoned Member since:
2005-07-07

you want to get rid of these two menu items? It took me a while to find them, they're in the windowlist aren't they? On top? Hmmmm. I know in apps the menus are xml files and can be changed, no idea if that's true for the taskbar stuff as well... Probably not. KDE 4 doesn't have such a windowlist at all, afaik, maybe you can ask the person who's gonna write it to allow you to disable it somehow. I'd go for a configfile, it's a pretty rare wish, I'd say.

Reply Score: 2

tyrione
Member since:
2005-11-21

I see KDE4 as our Boeing 747 - it nearly killed Boeing but catapulted them to the number one plane company in the world. It was monumental. We are re-imaging what a desktop should be, we are introducing social semantics to the desktop, and we are inventing something that looks nicer than what Apple has.

I'm just guessing that imaging == imagining

He's absolutely full of his own self.

Edited 2008-02-03 04:46 UTC

Reply Score: 0