Friday, January 25, 2008 6:22:32 AM
Yesterday I ran KDE 4.0 for the first time. My plan was to use OpenSuse 10.3, but that one failed miserably, broken packages. And Yast is horrible, the screen was flickering all the time while using it. Next stop was OpenSuse KDE 4 Live CD, and that one actually worked, and I saw something I liked with KDE 4.0 developer release. (running OpenSuse 10.3 made me realize that I do not like KDE 3.5, at least not in that distribution)
Since Ubuntu 7.10 does not run on my test machine, next stop was Debian. I installed testing, upgraded to unstable, and installed KDE 4.0 packages from experimental. It worked without any extra configuration, so now I have a test install with KDE 4.0.
I have access to Gnome applications and KDE 4.0 applications, which is good, since I am used to Gnome.
I have not experienced any big issues with KDE 4.0. I like the default look, the Dolphin file manager is really nice (it borrows the Vista-way of being able to traverse quickly in the parents directories, Vista's best feature). I do not like using Konqueror as a web browser, it hasn't borrowed enough features from Opera yet.
I still have a lot of things to explore, I haven't tried developing anything yet for KDE 4.0. I think I can use my current Debian unstable/KDE 4.0 setup for a few hours a week without feeling that I will hit the wall all the time.
Sunday, January 6, 2008 10:17:38 PM
About a year ago, I first read about was KDE 4 was all about. I found an article in an overpriced magazine, and saw some things that I liked, use EcmaScript to write KDE 4 applications, and a much richer standard API for building things like instant messengers, etc.
Before that, I thought KDE 4 was a mismanaged project with unclear goals that was never to finish.
From a technical perspective, I find KDE 4 very interesting. I am not a KDE user, never have been, even if I have run KDE based distributions, but not for very long. I liked what the Gnome people were doing with Gnome 2, so I decided to focus on that.
It just seems fun developing KDE applications, and I hope that I will get around developing one. I don't really know how much it will differ from developing for QT 4.3, I guess not much for most applications.
The KDE 4 people have been criticized for their handling of the KDE 4.0 release, that will be ready very soon now. Their betas have been more like alphas, and their release candidates have been more like betas. KDE 4.0 is a developer release, but not tagged as such. I think that is a mistake. Gnome did the same thing with Gnome 2.0. Be Incorporated used the term developer release for their OS before they had something that they were proud of releasing to the general public. I think they did 9 developer releases before they made the 1st public release of BeOS. Since I bought a used BeBox, I was using one or two of the developer releases. This was a very good model, I knew what I had to expect, and it did not stop me from using BeOS, since I was in the target audience of the developer releases.
After listening to a radio interview with the KDE developer Aaron Seigo (very interesting), he explains their decisions for 4.0. KDE 4.0 is KDE 4. And then he says that KDE 4.1 will be a rather quick release, but that it will probably not be KDE 4 for the masses. Here, he creates a big communication problem, what is the first version of KDE 4 for the public? Gnome solved this differently, they said that Gnome 2.2 would be the first public release, so the .0 release that was the only developer release. I don't think that was a good solution either, but it made more sense. If they had failed with 2.2, it would have been another story.
Aaron argues that open source development is very different from proprietary development, and that .0 in open source development often means not ready for the public. I do not think that is a good model for already released products (or any products really). It is just a case of marketing, and it is not better when done in open source products than in proprietary products. A good KDE 4 DR 1 would have given you enough of testers and developers, and they had been free to do as many polished developer releases as necessary. For open source projects to be a huge success, they need to be as professional as the developers of proprietary software.
I will try out KDE 4.0 after it is released as soon as I find some spare time. I have high hopes, and I will treat it as a developer release. In the spirit of open source, I will from now on rename it to KDE 4 DR 0 (instead of 1, since I do not want to create too much confusion when comparing it to the official numbers), and use that name in the coming blog posts.