Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 27th Jul 2012 12:41 UTC
Gnome Honest question. Do you think the GNOME project is as healthy today as it was, say, 4 years ago? Benjamin Otte explains that no, it isn't. GNOME lacks developers, goals, mindshare and users. The situation as he describes it, is a lot more dire than I personally thought.
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You have to realize that Plasma was an attempt at doing things different and getting new developers.

KDE around the time of KDE4 was running into a similar issue that GNOME is now. KDE never had as many full-time developers, but many of the best contributors got married or was promoted to jobs where they no longer had time to contribute to KDE in their spare time. And while KDE has always had hundreds of application developers, the core-library team was bleeding, and new developers couldn't get in due to requirements of very high quality code and no feature regressions.

Plasma to begin with just a plan, sort of vaporware, it was a cool idea that anyone could take part in and it didn't require feature-for-feature compatibility with KDE 3.5, it just had to do something new and cool.

It worked, KDE got lots of new developers, who wrote slightly more buggy code than the old guys to begin with and the deadlines slipped and Plasma was not quite ready in KDE 4.0 or 4.1, but here years later, Plasma works great, and these "new" developers are the old skilled veterans maintaining KDE.

Btw. Please keep in mind that GNOME and KDE comunities are very different beasts . A few years ago, I think the stat was that GNOME had 50 full-time developers, and around 50 volunteers. KDE has less than 10 full-time developers, but more than 600 volunteers. Now KDE has around 5 full-time developers but around 800 actively contributing volunteers. When GNOME is loosing full-time developers, it is a big problem for them, they have to either get new corporate backers or change their community and recruit more volunteers.

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