Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 27th Jan 2009 18:41 UTC
KDE The release of KDE 4.0 was not a smooth one, and left a number of users a bit disgruntled. Still, the release showed so much potential that it was oozing out of every pixel. KDE 4.1 improved significantly in many areas of concern, but it wasn't yet ready for everyone. With today's release of KDE 4.2, the KDE4 vision is ready to face not only developers and enthusiasts, but every users. We have taken a look at the release candidate for KDE 4.2, and we have a short interview with KDE's Aaron Seigo.
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RE[3]: Great Release
by Adam S on Tue 27th Jan 2009 20:28 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Great Release"
Adam S
Member since:
2005-04-01

Counterpoint: it did lots of harm. Lots of people ditched KDE, lots didn't use 4.0, and the team, I think, still suffers from some users who feel burned.

Furthermore, it's erroneous to say that if they hadn't released, they wouldn't be up to 4.2. First of all, it wouldn't matter the version number if it was actually complete and worked. Secondly, why would you assume the work would go slower? Because there are fewer people using it? So you are, in fact, advocating the release of incomplete, buggy, untested software to users? Just checking.

If I realize an empty zip file and call it an OS today, I can't after 4 years or work go back and later say "had I not released that zip, I wouldn't be here today."

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[4]: Great Release
by coolvibe on Tue 27th Jan 2009 20:53 in reply to "RE[3]: Great Release"
coolvibe Member since:
2007-08-16

KDE 3 wasn't gone. It never was. It's still here now. If you didn't like 4.0 (or 4.1), you could have stuck with 3.5.x or used GNOME, or XFCE, or some other environment, so basically your point is moot.

Sure, you tried it and didn't like it. That's why there's choice. Hell, you can even run several DEs side by side.

Stop complaining, or help out to make it better. Or fork it and make it better. It's not like you have to pay for it or something.

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[5]: Great Release
by averycfay on Tue 27th Jan 2009 21:00 in reply to "RE[4]: Great Release"
averycfay Member since:
2005-08-29

I don't think it's as clear cut as you make it out to be. x.0 from the beginning of computers has signified that the developers think the release is ready for general consumption. KDE made a 4.0 release and expected everyone would read the blog posts about how it should still be considered a development version. No one did apparently. I don't think you can fault the users in this instance. KDE could have released 4.0 as beta4.0 or something else like that and continued on with beta4.1, but they didn't.

The whole situation probably *has* hurt the project a bit too. People hate it regressions probably more than anything else. I know a few different people who stopped using ubuntu completely (including myself) because of the whole premature pulse audio fiasco.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[5]: Great Release
by Adam S on Tue 27th Jan 2009 21:05 in reply to "RE[4]: Great Release"
Adam S Member since:
2005-04-01

Stop complaining, or help out to make it better. Or fork it and make it better. It's not like you have to pay for it or something.


RED HERRING! Man, that annoys me so much! It's the absolute lamest argument in the book. It amounts to this: "It doesn't matter if we release shit, because it's free, so shut up, you can't say anything bad about it unless you coded it yourself."

So weak. It doesn't matter if it's free. It doesn't matter if I forked it. Those arguments are red herrings and don't address the actual real issue, which is that KDE4 was not up to snuff. True or not, your "you didn't pay for it" makes no difference.

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[5]: Great Release
by lemnvonletea on Wed 28th Jan 2009 11:28 in reply to "RE[4]: Great Release"
lemnvonletea Member since:
2009-01-27

if nobody complains or points out the flaws (subjective as they might be), the devs would have a hard time improving the software.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[4]: Great Release
by Kokopelli on Tue 27th Jan 2009 21:49 in reply to "RE[3]: Great Release"
Kokopelli Member since:
2005-07-06

Counterpoint: it did lots of harm. Lots of people ditched KDE, lots didn't use 4.0, and the team, I think, still suffers from some users who feel burned.


They will come back though as long as KDE offers what the wandering user is looking for in a desktop. I think we will find over time that there will be a new generation of converts form other DEs who like the new style. It is all give and take.

Reply Parent Score: 8

RE[4]: Great Release
by lemur2 on Tue 27th Jan 2009 22:00 in reply to "RE[3]: Great Release"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Counterpoint: it did lots of harm. Lots of people ditched KDE, lots didn't use 4.0, and the team, I think, still suffers from some users who feel burned. Furthermore, it's erroneous to say that if they hadn't released, they wouldn't be up to 4.2. First of all, it wouldn't matter the version number if it was actually complete and worked. Secondly, why would you assume the work would go slower? Because there are fewer people using it? So you are, in fact, advocating the release of incomplete, buggy, untested software to users? Just checking.


Yes. That is the way that free software is developed. Release early, release often. It is the ONLY known way to develop something as complex as a complete new desktop system in a couple of years.

Research about it if you have the time. Google for "The Cathedral and the Bazaar".

Both Windows and Mac OSX took 10 years or more to go from scratch to a similar level of function as KDE4 has undergone in just two.

Edited 2009-01-27 22:01 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 8

RE[5]: Great Release
by sbergman27 on Wed 28th Jan 2009 00:12 in reply to "RE[4]: Great Release"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

Research about it if you have the time. Google for "The Cathedral and the Bazaar".

I guess we missed the part where you have to give half-baked versions of the software an X.0 version designation. Your ongoing "release early, release often" mantra doesn't apply to that particular feat of poor release planning. As google ninja noted a while back, poorly applied, "release early, release often" just translates to "it's alright to release poorly tested and unready crap, as long as you do it a lot".

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[5]: Great Release
by tyrione on Wed 28th Jan 2009 02:06 in reply to "RE[4]: Great Release"
tyrione Member since:
2005-11-21

What a load of crap. KDE isn't an operating system. It's a Desktop Environment. It relies on thousands of other projects to remotely get to a modern state. It is constantly broken and guess what? The same projects that run on Linux run on OS X.

Fortunately, OS X which is constantly updated throughout the release cycle of it's .x existence doesn't retort with, ``suck it up. The updates are free. Release often and deal with it because that's the way of all Software.''

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: Great Release
by harryF on Tue 27th Jan 2009 22:03 in reply to "RE[3]: Great Release"
harryF Member since:
2005-07-06

If I realize an empty zip file and call it an OS today, I can't after 4 years or work go back and later say "had I not released that zip, I wouldn't be here today.


empty zip? Wow, did you even look at KDE4? The fantastic APIs and Services, the new possibilities with Qt4, features like Solid or Akonadi?

Yes, I'm sorry that end users didn't enjoy it as much as developers did. Then again, at a seminar for professionals, it would be strange to argue that the beginners didn't enjoy it.

KDE 4 gave me as a developer a big boost to play with the code and make KDE better. That, it achieved very well, and we wouldn't be at KDE 4.2 without the increase in development that KDE 4.0 brought with it.

So congratulations to a great KDE 4.2 release, and to all releases that made KDE 4.2 happen.

Reply Parent Score: 7

RE[4]: Great Release
by shiny on Tue 27th Jan 2009 22:21 in reply to "RE[3]: Great Release"
shiny Member since:
2005-08-09

Counterpoint: it did lots of harm. Lots of people ditched KDE, lots didn't use 4.0, and the team, I think, still suffers from some users who feel burned.


What do you mean by "lots of people"? Have any numbers/articles to support your opinion? And how do you measure project harm anyway, after only the couple of months?

Besides, the "ditching" argument is plain stupid. If people are leaving KDE3 because they disliked 4.0, although their KDE3 still works perfectly, that says a lot about the people. Consider this: if KDE4.0 wouldn't have been released until today, we'd all be using KDE3 so far. How is showing to the people one year earlier a bad thing?


Furthermore, it's erroneous to say that if they hadn't released, they wouldn't be up to 4.2. First of all, it wouldn't matter the version number if it was actually complete and worked. Secondly, why would you assume the work would go slower? Because there are fewer people using it? So you are, in fact, advocating the release of incomplete, buggy, untested software to users? Just checking.


Well, this is a place where we definitely disagree. I stand behind my words, if KDE 4.0 hadn't been released back than in a state in which it was, it wouldn't today been close to the quality it actually has now. As much as it sounds unpleasant, Free Software projects, especially big ones, needs users to both test it, spread the word, and in the end - contribute. Because userbase is where contributors come from. Release early, release often, thats how FLOSS works. Unless they have millions on a bank account, that is ;)

If you want a solid proof of work done in one year between 4.0 and 4.2 take a look at Techbase and Userbase:

http://techbase.kde.org/
http://userbase.kde.org/

Stuff like this just doesn't write by itself. Community is active and growing. That's what counts.


If I realize an empty zip file and call it an OS today, I can't after 4 years or work go back and later say "had I not released that zip, I wouldn't be here today."


It's all a matter of balance. Finding your community is a way to ensure your that project lives on. The earlier the better.

Reply Parent Score: 8

RE[5]: Great Release
by lemur2 on Tue 27th Jan 2009 22:34 in reply to "RE[4]: Great Release"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"Counterpoint: it did lots of harm. Lots of people ditched KDE, lots didn't use 4.0, and the team, I think, still suffers from some users who feel burned.
What do you mean by "lots of people"? Have any numbers/articles to support your opinion? And how do you measure project harm anyway, after only the couple of months? Besides, the "ditching" argument is plain stupid. If people are leaving KDE3 because they disliked 4.0, although their KDE3 still works perfectly, that says a lot about the people. "

Actually, I suspect it says more about the "impressions" that some people are trying to create about KDE 4. Someone seems to be trying to spread a negative meme about it, methinks.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meme_(Internet)#Advertising_and_marketing

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[5]: Great Release
by Adam S on Tue 27th Jan 2009 23:31 in reply to "RE[4]: Great Release"
Adam S Member since:
2005-04-01

What do you mean by "lots of people"? Have any numbers/articles to support your opinion? And how do you measure project harm anyway, after only the couple of months?


http://linux.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/01/24/1842218

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: Great Release
by StephenBeDoper on Wed 28th Jan 2009 17:52 in reply to "RE[4]: Great Release"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

As much as it sounds unpleasant, Free Software projects, especially big ones, needs users to both test it, spread the word, and in the end - contribute.


That being the case, it seems a little counter-productive to have users taking away the impression that they were effectively tricked into doing alpha/beta-testing.

Well, this is a place where we definitely disagree. I stand behind my words, if KDE 4.0 hadn't been released back than in a state in which it was, it wouldn't today been close to the quality it actually has now.


To quote from the beginning of your post, "Have any numbers/articles to support your opinion?" That question / challenge applies just as much to your statements as it does to Adam's.

Is there any substantial reason to conclude that KDE 4.x wouldn't have advanced as much if KDE 4.0 had been labeled as a "Developer Preview" instead of a point-oh release?

Reply Parent Score: 2

You just can't win
by mounty on Wed 28th Jan 2009 06:16 in reply to "RE[3]: Great Release"
mounty Member since:
2005-12-12

Look at SkyOS; the big complaint is that it is in perpetual beta, that no one can try it out etc.

KDE 4.0 was released with lots of caveats, that it was only for interested enthusiasts, that it was a not quite ready for the masses etc. It's really most unfair of you to criticise it on that basis; its deficiencies were plainly advertised.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: You just can't win
by StephenBeDoper on Wed 28th Jan 2009 18:12 in reply to "You just can't win"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

Look at SkyOS; the big complaint is that it is in perpetual beta, that no one can try it out etc.


Call me crazy, but I'd like to think that there's a reasonable middle ground between "perpetual beta" - and "beta-quality software labeled as a finished release."

KDE 4.0 was released with lots of caveats, that it was only for interested enthusiasts, that it was a not quite ready for the masses etc.


And I suspect that simply labeling it as a Developer Preview would have more effective than all of those caveats combined.

It's really most unfair of you to criticise it on that basis; its deficiencies were plainly advertised.


More unfair than criticizing users for expecting that software carrying a "x.0" version number to be release-quality & relatively complete?

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: Great Release
by mat69 on Wed 28th Jan 2009 11:34 in reply to "RE[3]: Great Release"
mat69 Member since:
2006-03-29

Secondly, why would you assume the work would go slower? Because there are fewer people using it? So you are, in fact, advocating the release of incomplete, buggy, untested software to users? Just checking.

I think you have a misconception of FOSS here.

In FOSS there are no closed and then open beta tests like you find in the proprietary world here there is constant testing by the users and developers. Users can report bugs, make suggestions and even create patches -- often not easily possible in propritary projects.

The price for this?
Sometimes buggy software with only few features, but only if your distributor ships it. If you install it yourself and ignore the warnings than that is your fault as you as user ignoring the set paths by your distribution have the responsiblity for your actions.


Another different part is if none uses your software gives feedback etc. you do not have the same motivation and "pressure". Sometimes you have to release something and then you'll have the motivation to add and fix a lot for the next release.

You can easily look at the statistics to see my point. The last weeks before a release there are more commits than normally, the same happens if you get closer to the different freezes. People want to get their stuff and the fixes in and work pretty hard for that. Without these "deadlines" (=release, time before release) you would have no reason to work that hard in your freetime.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[4]: Great Release
by Krul on Thu 29th Jan 2009 17:20 in reply to "RE[3]: Great Release"
Krul Member since:
2009-01-29

A lot of people seems to forget that KDE is a project that relies heavily on volunteers. 3.5 was released in 2005, if they had waited until now to release 4.0 it would have been more than 3 years of silence from the KDE team.

What happened after 4.0 was released was that

a)Users got involved. They didn't just tried a beta version for 5 min. and said, "well is a beta version, I will check it back later". They actually filled bug reports, and wrote lengthy blog entries about the missing features that they more desperately wanted.

b)People with coding skills started to scratch their own itches. Instead of just looking at the beta version for 5 min and said, "well is a beta version, they still have time to close this bugs", they said "What a mess of bugs! it looks like I will have to close this bug myself" and then they helped.

c)Developers started to work on the framework. Again once 4.0 was released instead of keep waiting some developers saw the potential and started to use the new framework. Remember the framework was supposed to be ready by the time 4.0 was released, but it hadn't been seriously tired until them. A lot of bugs, missing parts and the like were found after people started to actually use this frameworks.

d)Potential developers noticed KDE 4. This is an important point. While the KDE team was building the pillars of KDE 4, other projects were making good progress on the user visible part and were attracting all the attention. After 4.0 was released lots of people saw the potential and decided to join, instead of deciding to help in another projects. The number of svn accounts went up after 4.0 was released which helped to accelerate the developing process.

So when people say that 4.2 is better now because of 4.0 this is why they say it. Even so it wasn't an easy choice and is debatable if this advantages are enough to compensate the damage to the public image of the project. I think they made the right call but it was definitely a controversial decision.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: Great Release
by Panajev on Thu 29th Jan 2009 18:03 in reply to "RE[4]: Great Release"
Panajev Member since:
2008-01-09

a)Users got involved. They didn't just tried a beta version for 5 min. and said, "well is a beta version, I will check it back later". They actually filled bug reports, and wrote lengthy blog entries about the missing features that they more desperately wanted.

b)People with coding skills started to scratch their own itches. Instead of just looking at the beta version for 5 min and said, "well is a beta version, they still have time to close this bugs", they said "What a mess of bugs! it looks like I will have to close this bug myself" and then they helped.

c)Developers started to work on the framework. Again once 4.0 was released instead of keep waiting some developers saw the potential and started to use the new framework. Remember the framework was supposed to be ready by the time 4.0 was released, but it hadn't been seriously tired until them. A lot of bugs, missing parts and the like were found after people started to actually use this frameworks.

d)Potential developers noticed KDE 4. This is an important point. While the KDE team was building the pillars of KDE 4, other projects were making good progress on the user visible part and were attracting all the attention. After 4.0 was released lots of people saw the potential and decided to join, instead of deciding to help in another projects. The number of svn accounts went up after 4.0 was released which helped to accelerate the developing process.

So when people say that 4.2 is better now because of 4.0 this is why they say it.


I understand that, same reasons outlined by Seigo himself, but it does not speak too well about either the development process of KDE, or the way it was presented to the users and developers alike during development, or the community itself.

Basically Alpha, Beta, and RC phases were not enough to bring enough attention from users which would find, report, and complain about bugs as well as from developers which would hear complains of users, try their application on the .0 release, make fixes, etc...

Seigo says he was worried about having the project stay in eternal Beta and thus having user and developers ignore it.

You yourself seem to say that not nearly enough users and developers alike did not pay much attention to the project when it was just a Beta because... it was just a beta! And this is like the big pink elephant in the room nobody is talking about.

Edited 2009-01-29 18:04 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[4]: Great Release
by superstoned on Sun 1st Feb 2009 19:05 in reply to "RE[3]: Great Release"
superstoned Member since:
2005-07-07

We did the release with the future in mind and the 99% of computer users who don't use KDE yet. This did hurt some of our current users (those who used distributions forcing 4.0 on them as sole KDE desktop). Not much we can do. If you think a bit about it, you might understand why KDE 4.0 released today wouldn't be as good as KDE 4.2 is right now.

First reason: developers. We gained a huge number of developers since 4.0 - over 300. Most of them would not have joined KDE development without 4.0.

Second reason: applications. Many applications only started porting when 4.0 was released. It's bad enough we don't have K3B today. It would be far worse if we had to wait another year.

Third reason: third parties. Imagine NVIDIA starting to fix their drivers right now. It took them a year to get them reasonably working with KDE 4 so if they started now you wouldn't be able to use KDE for another year.

Fourth reason: KDE is not one. The KDE software suite is huge. Big chunks of that were ready when 4.0 was released. Think Dolphin, the whole of KDE edu and most of KDE games. Not releasing those would have meant less developers, less testing and less motivation.

There are more reasons (for example motivation in the community - it's no fun to work on stuff which won't see the light for another year) but these are the most important. I would appreciate it if a reply would either refute them all or say "sorry, I didn't think of those".

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: Great Release
by Adam S on Sun 1st Feb 2009 19:21 in reply to "RE[4]: Great Release"
Adam S Member since:
2005-04-01

I did think of those. I appreciate them all, and I appreciate that the decision was a hard one. Personally, I think it's naive to suggest that you can release something as x.0, which historically, has suggested that software X is a relatively bug free major release, and then expect that most people have read your explanation that it isn't on a blog somewhere.

Nonetheless, despite the heated debate here, I'm very happy to see KDE as a whole moving forward and stabilizing on 4.x. However, I can't simply say "yeah, that makes sense," or essentially, I'm suggesting that every project can just dispense with the concept of beta and just release their unfinished software on the world, users be damned, with the justification that without doing a release, no one would have come around. As a user, that's not my problem. We saw the EXACT same thing with Vista - people weren't ready, and no one is letting them off the hook. BUt with KDE, valid criticism is hushed with snide remarks like "it's free, so either code it yourself or shut up."

But I do understand why.

Reply Parent Score: 1