05 January, 2008

KDE 4.0 - why now?

After a few posts about why we release KDE 4.0 while it's in a not-yet-perfect state, Aaron wrote an excellent post about it. Even though is post was pretty much perfect, I want to add a little thing to it - maybe obvious to most, but probably insightful to others.

As many of you might know, KDE is a large project. Under the KDE umbrella are projects like Kalzium, KTouch and KStars from KDE-EDU (each saw a lot of work). Of course, there are the games, receiving new graphics and features. KDEGraphics, which contains Gwenview (video), Okular, and kolourpaint. And let's not forget the many KDE Base applications like Kate or Juk from the KDE multimedia area. And of course I'm skipping over many other useful KDE applications.

These applications are, for most part, ready for release. Actually, the games and educational applications could have had a release a year ago. The latest OpenSuse, 10.3, already ships some KDE games and KDE Edu applications from KDE 4!

We could let these applications wait for another 6 months - sure. But that would hurt them. They would lose users (no release = no new features & fixes so users will start to look somewhere else). They would not gain new developers (which are, after all, often attracted to cool projects - and you're not that cool if you don't release). They might even lose developers (developers often develop because they want their code to be used. Not sit bit-rotting in a big repository somewhere).

So, a choice had to be made. Wait more, let the parts of KDE 4.0 which aren't up to 3.5 standards mature, while other parts of KDE would slowly start to deteriorate? Or do a release in true FOSS spirit, bring it out while it's fresh, and hope that it will infuse a stream of new developers to help us make it more mature?

Well, you all know what happened. Yesterday tagging. Release in a little over a week. I think the right decision was made.


  1. s/loose/lose/g ;-)

    nice read, aside from that typo :]

  2. I agree with everything, but i think that kde 4.0.0 without kdepim will be a big miss. Missing something like kmail will probably keep some/a lot of people distant from this release, because is a big piece of cake which is missing, not just the cherry
    (personally i think i'll install kde 4.0.0 to help with bug and wishes and stay with the old kdepim.. ;) )

  3. Well, of course you should stay with KDEPIM from KDE 3 - that's why KDE 3 apps work fine in a KDE 4 environment ;-)

    The devs are doing pretty cool stuff with Akonadi, so let them play for a while longer, and we'll see how it turns out for KDE 4.1!

  4. Hey Jos!
    First of all: I like Kde and i used it for years. I also like kde4 - i love dolphin, i can spend the hole day watching the oxygen-theme and so on. And THIS is the reason you should not had released kde4 so soon: No one will see this, they just see the completely useless panel or the fact, that you can hardly move icons on your desktop...
    If things are not perfect, it would be ok. But the panel e.g. could not be worse and needs some finetuning.

  5. I think it's great. those of us that want to use the latest will do so, & help get things up to where they need to be for average users. the more conservative people are going to wait anyway, even if 4.0.0 was bug free it wouldn't immediately be used by everyone.

  6. congrats & kudos for this superb realease!!

    hey!!...just some thoughts

    Yesterday I installed kdemod 4.0, at first glance, man!... :<) I was knocked with this "New" paradigm design, all the styles and so on, very detailed work.

    The _only_ one thing that pissed me off (badly) was that I couldn't disable plasma .

    The one thing that I like _the_ _most_ of KDE3, is that everything can be disabled.From toolbars icons and everything.

    Can't kicker, kcontrol, and other kde3 'good-oldy-friends' , be ported on to kde4??
    I'll guess, well you get the idea, some stuff to allow users to choose either a plasmified desktop or the 'good oldy', loaded with kicker and friends .

    Would be like the analog to W95 style on winXP,
    "kde3 look & feel under kde 4".

    err, just some thoughts, my 1 cent..

    cheers, happy 2008

  7. @joekey: you could kill plasma, and run kdesktop and kicker from KDE 3. Not sure how that would work, though.

    Plasma isn't incredibly configurable from the gui yet, but there are ways around that, from what I've heard. The panel is just a plasma applet, so you can install other ones (as soon as they've been written), and afaik it is a bit more configurable if you're willing to dive into some config files.

    But currently, what you see is what you get. Configuration options will come in later releases, either with independent plasma releases or with the next major KDE release.

  8. Oh, and I believe KDEMOD comes with RC2, not the final release - and the difference between these two is rather big. The final panel might do a slightly better job by default, though it still can't be easily changed.

  9. @jospoortvliet

    ok! :<). thanks for the tip.

    I'm on it right now, editing kicker config file to point to the kde 4.0 programs. Still can't
    come around a way to draw background with konqui instead of plasma. Spits out some bizarre kbuildsycoca4 error.

    Well, well, I guess is too soon, I mean further customization will come when the release is out :)

    But just that is the only thing that kde3 is better, on others like startup time and memory it kicks kde3 butt.

    On Kde 3, hack after hack, and fix after fix has been added.

    Anyways it's not a bad decision when 4.0, gets onto the wild, it will attract customization & hacking.


  10. @ Jos,
    just reporting back. to tell that running kdeskd 3.5 on top of 4.0, isn't exactly the best combination, dragging is ugly :-(

    Anyways I'm starting to like a lot plasma, it's like bungee jumping. :P

    Do you think it's safe to say "RIP" taskbar?

    And about kdemod it has been updated!! currently there some packages, from tag release, and other are RC_2

  11. @Joekey: Looks like you just got to live with Plasma for the time being, until it gets the features you want from it ;-)

    I won't be trying KDEMOD for a while yet, I think I'm gonna wait until KDE 4.0.1 is out... After all, I still have a KDE 4 checkout so I can use the apps anyway.

  12. @Joekey: Here you go!


    Having more plasma panels ;-)


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