Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 27th Nov 2008 21:45 UTC, submitted by lemur2
KDE The KDE team has released the first beta of KDE 4.2, slated for release coming January. Quite a lot of new features have been added, as well as lots of bug fixes and performance improvements. This release also makes a lot of strides to feature parity with KDE 3.x, by adding those small little features that KDE 3.x users are barely aware of, but which were missed in KDE 4.0/4.1, such as taskbar grouping, multiple rows in the taskbar, panel auto-hiding, a traditional icon desktop through 'full-screen' foderview, and so on.
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RE[2]: speak for yourself
by lemur2 on Fri 28th Nov 2008 09:11 UTC in reply to "RE: speak for yourself"
lemur2
Member since:
2007-02-17

Careful with the cockiness. Last November people were saying that KDE4 was just around the corner. And it's been a year of embarrassment and back-pedaling for KDE4 fans whether they admit it or not. Speed of light?


Everything is relative.

Features are indeed re-appearing (and new ones appearing for the first time) in KDE4 at the speed of light compared to the rate at which the same features appeared in KDE3, or KDE1 or KDE2 for that matter, or equivalent features appear in GNOME, or indeed in OSX or Windows.

KDE4 is far more of a re-write than people realise. It is like a whole new desktop, only it is emerging far, far faster than any desktop project before it that I am aware of.

Personally, I think this speaks volumes as to the quality of the underlying supporting code.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[3]: speak for yourself
by sbergman27 on Fri 28th Nov 2008 09:27 in reply to "RE[2]: speak for yourself"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

And it's been a year of embarrassment and back-pedaling for KDE4 fans whether they admit it or not.

"Everything is relative..."

Thanks for helping make my point. ;-)

KDE4 is far more of a re-write than people realise.

Apparently that's only true when it is convenient from a PR perspective. Because 10 months ago in this very forum, when I referred Aaron Siego to this:

http://tinyurl.com/4gus

he said:

"...except that the article doesn't particularly apply to what we did. the vast majority of the code base did not see a rewrite (don't like new names like 'okular' fool you, for instance), most of the new code was filling in gaps that were never filled in the first place..."

So yeah. I guess when it comes to KDE4 PR everything *is* relative, in a way. Spin aside, yes, KDE4 really was a rewrite. And Joel's advice has proven to be right, again.

Edited 2008-11-28 09:39 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[4]: speak for yourself
by werpu on Fri 28th Nov 2008 10:15 in reply to "RE[3]: speak for yourself"
werpu Member since:
2006-01-18

"And it's been a year of embarrassment and back-pedaling for KDE4 fans whether they admit it or not.

"Everything is relative..."

Thanks for helping make my point. ;-)

KDE4 is far more of a re-write than people realise.

Apparently that's only true when it is convenient from a PR perspective. Because 10 months ago in this very forum, when I referred Aaron Siego to this:

http://tinyurl.com/4gus

he said:

"...except that the article doesn't particularly apply to what we did. the vast majority of the code base did not see a rewrite (don't like new names like 'okular' fool you, for instance), most of the new code was filling in gaps that were never filled in the first place..."

So yeah. I guess when it comes to KDE4 PR everything *is* relative, in a way. Spin aside, yes, KDE4 really was a rewrite. And Joel's advice has proven to be right, again.
"


Well it depends on what you see as major rewrite. Thing is if you look into the core codebase of KDE, that it is one of the best and cleanest codebases I have ever seen in my life. And that says a lot for a C++ based system which are inherently awful.
The core mechanisms were excellent from the beginning. One of the reasons why kde is so much faster targetting new grounds than Gnome, they got it right from the beginning. Gnome still suffers from the fact that they are in C instead of an OO language and they try to make everything different than KDE and then come up with a similar solution.

So the major issues in KDE4 are probably some cleanups in the frameworks which were overdue, the sound system for instance, and the complete change of the desktop metaphor. Why should they change things like the component model etc... when they are perfectly viable and flexible!

KDE probably currently still is the best desktop environment from a software engineering perspective with NextStep/OSX being second!

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[4]: speak for yourself
by lemur2 on Fri 28th Nov 2008 10:24 in reply to "RE[3]: speak for yourself"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"And it's been a year of embarrassment and back-pedaling for KDE4 fans whether they admit it or not.

"Everything is relative..."

Thanks for helping make my point. ;-)

KDE4 is far more of a re-write than people realise.

Apparently that's only true when it is convenient from a PR perspective. Because 10 months ago in this very forum, when I referred Aaron Siego to this:

http://tinyurl.com/4gus

he said:

"...except that the article doesn't particularly apply to what we did. the vast majority of the code base did not see a rewrite (don't like new names like 'okular' fool you, for instance), most of the new code was filling in gaps that were never filled in the first place..."

So yeah. I guess when it comes to KDE4 PR everything *is* relative, in a way. Spin aside, yes, KDE4 really was a rewrite. And Joel's advice has proven to be right, again.
"

Well, to some extent, Aaron Siego was telling it like it is.

There are parts of KDE3 that are unmaintained, and are "creaking at the seams".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARts

So the article you linked to, "Things You Should Never Do", claiming that you should never re-write working code:
"The idea that new code is better than old is patently absurd. Old code has been used. It has been tested. Lots of bugs have been found, and they've been fixed. There's nothing wrong with it. It doesn't acquire bugs just by sitting around on your hard drive."

That really didn't apply in the case of KDE. The audio subsystem in particular was getting decrepit ... not because the arts server itself was "acquiring bugs just by sitting around on your hard drive" but rather because it was static and KDE audio applications were beginning to require more than it could deliver. A KDE3 system often ends up with multiple sound servers ... arts, parts of alsa, gstreamer, xine, SDL, maybe Jack as well, and possibly pulseaudio ... doing slightly different but overlapping things, and often stepping on each others toes.

This type of architecture problem in KDE3 needed to be fixed. Phonon fixes it in KDE4.

Since the underlying architecture was "crumbling" under the weight of modern desktop applications, and it needed to be fixed in multiple, fundamental places such as this ... why not take the opportunity to sanitise and refactor the whole desktop architecture and remove the development roadblocks such as this?

The fact that the KDE team did remove such millstones is now reaping its rewards, and KDE4 development is now happening at a far, far faster rate than any desktop before it.

This, I truly believe, is because the underlying support for the KDE4 desktop was designed, rather than simply evolved like every other desktop system currently in use.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[4]: speak for yourself
by setec_astronomy on Fri 28th Nov 2008 10:36 in reply to "RE[3]: speak for yourself"
setec_astronomy Member since:
2007-11-17

I know that there is - lets put it diplomatically - a little bit of tension between you, some KDE devs (namely aseigo) and some of the more vocal KDE4 supporters / advocates / fanboys / ... . I really appreciate your insights, your experience and your tell-it-like-it-is attitude in your comments. I really do. You have some beef with KDE4 and/or the impression that was created (by whoever it was) what it would be like when it was about to get released, I get it.

And I will not go into details and forth-and-back argumenting, that the parts of KDE4 that were more or less rewritten from scratch were things like plasma (which gets the lion share of public critism) or phonon that introduced new functionality in a way incompatible with the old code base, while other components (like the mentioned okular) were more or less only adapted to the new Qt4 framework.

I would have expected from you the courtesy to include a link to the quote from aseigo, especially since you did not include it in its full length and context
(I will take the liberty to do this, cf
http://www.osnews.com/thread?295910 ).
We will have to agree to disagree on a lot of things in that context, which is Ok. Everybody should be allowed to have one topic where he or she has not to be rational all the time (you decide to whom of us this applies here :-) )

What I object to is the dogmatic adherence to the "never rewrite from scratch" mantra from joel (who I also have a lot of respect for, rest assured).

It's not a law of nature, it's a rule of thumb. And it's a good rule of thumb, don't get me wrong. Like the "a good chess move has at least three positive effects" rule of thumb I got teached when started to play the game.

Code bases that are written and maintained with future challenges in mind and kept up do date in general show no sign of bit-rot and offer indeed little incetiative to rewrite. But there are situations, when doing a rewrite *is* the sensible thing to do.

Plasma started out because there was a desire to decouple the "visible" parts of the desktop from the code base of KDE itself (KDE devs, please correct me if I'm wrong). The code for kicker was not fit for decoupling, it was not even easy to maintain. I can understand why they decided to seize the opportunity to rewrite the presentation layer of the whole desktop to get a fit-for-the-future code base for KDE4 and KDE5. Especially, since KDE3 is (and will be for at least the next year) still maintained, rock solid and workable.

Recently there was this guy on (i guess it was aseigos blog? Funny ...) who stated that plasma was a poor quality code base because "it uses dynamic_casts" all over the place. He was not able to produce a single file/line instance where he could demonstrate the abdundance of unnecessary casting (or even better a way to avoid those casts), it was just that following the ( in principle sensible and good, but still not as good and less general as the "never rewrite from scratch" ROT ) "never do (dynamic) casts, they are the evil" ROT religiously left him with no other choice but to condemn code.

It's one thing to know your rules of thumb by heart. It's an entirely different thing to apply them in the right context and acknowledge that scenarios exist where they don't appy.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[4]: speak for yourself
by Morty on Fri 28th Nov 2008 10:42 in reply to "RE[3]: speak for yourself"
Morty Member since:
2005-07-06

"And it's been a year of embarrassment and back-pedaling for KDE4 fans whether they admit it or not. "Everything is relative..."
Thanks for helping make my point. ;-)
KDE4 is far more of a re-write than people realise.
Apparently that's only true when it is convenient from a PR perspective. Because 10 months ago in this very forum, when I referred Aaron Siego to this: http://tinyurl.com/4gus he said: "...except that the article doesn't particularly apply to what we did. the vast majority of the code base did not see a rewrite (don't like new names like 'okular' fool you, for instance), most of the new code was filling in gaps that were never filled in the first place..." So yeah. I guess when it comes to KDE4 PR everything *is* relative, in a way. Spin aside, yes, KDE4 really was a rewrite. And Joel's advice has proven to be right, again.
"

As it stands Aaron Siego are still right, and your point is not made as you miss some rather large part of the equation. The KDE source code, the over 4 millions line of it. It all boils down to simple facts, not twisting by PR spinning as try to put it.

With the huge amount of code that is KDE, even what you usuall can call small rewrites like 1-10% of the codebase, it will amunt to lot of code. But it will still be far short of a total rewrite.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[4]: speak for yourself
by segedunum on Fri 28th Nov 2008 17:26 in reply to "RE[3]: speak for yourself"
segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

Spin aside, yes, KDE4 really was a rewrite. And Joel's advice has proven to be right, again.

Hmmmmm, no it wasn't, and you misunderstand Joel Spolsky's meaning if you think KDE 4 was a rewrite. It wasn't, and there are pretty large examples of existing KDE3 code that have been added to and refactored, because that's what has happened here. Stuff like Plasma is indeed new code, so it can't have been rewritten.......because there was no code before.

Joel gave an example of Navigator 5 (which became 6) which was a complete rewrite of everything. That's why it took so long, and why we didn't even get a 5.0 version ;-). If KDE 4 was a rewrite then we would have seen nothing at all for years as happened with Navigator - and that was only a browser, not a desktop! ;-)

Edited 2008-11-28 17:28 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3