This is a read-only archive. Find the latest Linux articles, documentation, and answers at the new Linux.com!

Linux.com

Feature: Graphical Environments

KDE 4 problems highlight shift from community users to consumers

By Bruce Byfield on July 16, 2008 (7:00:00 PM)

Share    Print    Comments   

The reasons for the user revolt against KDE 4, which we reported on yesterday, are still being sorted out. They appear to be a complex mixture that includes the assumptions that KDE used in its planning, the rush by distributions to include a release that was not ready for general use, and sensationalism in free software blogs and journalism. One reason that has yet to be discussed is one of the potentially most significant -- the apparent shift in the FOSS user base. Judging from the quickness and thoroughness with which KDE 4 was rejected, the audience for free software seems to have shifted from a small group of knowledgeable users that treasures innovation to a larger one that values convention and familiarity and is actively suspicious of change.

In many circles, KDE 4 was greeted by an outpouring of emotions that you can deduce by the number of exclamation marks in the postings. Somebody, it seems, dislikes just about everything about KDE 4, from the icons to the menu to the use of Dolphin as the file manager. Some of these complaints, of course, are justified, but the complaints gallop off so quickly, in so many contrary directions, that the only way to reconcile them is to look for an underlying cause.

This cause, I suspect, is a dislike of anything radically new or different. Consider, for example, this anonymous comment on Groklaw: "Yes -- a boring, old, unchanging OS, that does its job as only a tool is basic to the desired simplicity of what any business wants! ... KISS -- keep it simple stupid." Although claiming to talk for business users, the poster can only be presumed to talk for himself, and what he -- and many others -- is saying is that they prefer what they know, and distrust change.

That's an illogical attitude. The KDE 4 desktop may be more stylish than earlier desktops, with its photorealistic icons and vector graphic rendering, but it's still a desktop, with a recognizable menu and panel. If some functions, such as adding an icon, are performed differently, they are not that hard to discover. Nor do you have to probe very far to discover that, if you dislike, for instance, the new menu (which I do), you can swap it for a classic menu. Meanwhile, the KDE 4 ports of standard programs are more conservative than that of the desktop itself. Many have facelifts, and most sport new features, but they are still recognizably the same program.

The trouble, of course, is that fear is not lessened by logic. For a sizable proportion of desktop GNU/Linux users -- or, at least, a vocal minority -- change is no longer welcome, but something to be avoided, except perhaps in bug-fixes or minute increments.

Because those with a fear of change are likely to be those newest to the free desktop, the chances are high that they will voice their complaints, not as constructive members of a project's community, but in the only way their previous experience with proprietary software has taught them -- as consumers who have to scream their anger or exaggerate it in order to get the attention of the leaders. Such is the consequence of free software's growing popularity.

Looking for solutions

This situation leaves developers of large and popular projects with a dilemma. On the one hand, most free software developers want to add and enhance features. At times, too, they want to overhaul the code to make it more efficient. Their pride and interest in their work demands that they improve it, yet this desire may run counter to the desires of their most vocal users.

So what can developers do? The old hacker's cry of "Code it yourself, then," is not the answer. Nor can they ignore the users -- those complaining will simply bombard the project with postings on its mailing list and rants on their blogs. If they can't find a forum for their voices, they will hijack one. Before long, core developers will spend more time answering criticisms than programming.

Yet giving in to the complaints is no better as an alternative. While most desktop projects these days try to pay attention to user feedback, projects can do only so much to accommodate those who want no change; developers are not going to stay around if their activity is reduced entirely to bug-fixes.

So what is the solution? Introducing changes at a slower rate, so that users are not overwhelmed? Involving users more closely with the development process or communicating goals more clearly?

Large FOSS projects take note: Not only can you no longer assume that users will accept change. You may need to learn to live with the fact that many users will actively resist it, and will respond to it in the most adversarial way possible. Ignore that possibility, and you may find your project mired in the same morass in which KDE now finds itself.

Bruce Byfield is a computer journalist who writes regularly for Linux.com.

Share    Print    Comments   

Comments

on KDE 4 problems highlight shift from community users to consumers

Note: Comments are owned by the poster. We are not responsible for their content.

KDE 4 problems highlight shift from community users to consumers

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 10.159.1.187] on July 16, 2008 07:51 PM
Just to put a note here: I really like the way KDE4 is going. I am currently using 4.1 and it will sure stand out in the crowd of DE's. I have a suggestion to those that don't like it: wait for the final 4.1 or 4.2 and then change it to look and feel the way you like it. I'm quite sure that you will be able to.

#

Re: KDE 4 problems highlight shift from community users to consumers

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 84.55.88.109] on July 17, 2008 02:07 PM
Hi!
When I started to learn about linux one of the great things I learned was the modularization of things and the customizability as well. This is offcourse a good thing it means you can connect diffrent projects or small apps and get new ones or apps with new features if for example a project stops developing. The negative side of this is offcourse the problem new users find when trying out linux and looking in a distros repo just to find alot off strange names and unfamiliary apps. Also the sheer mass off availble apps is hard to grasp or know witch apps to use and witch are good choices.
As the reasons behind the KDE 4 projects recieval I say it is because of two things.
First NEVER ever do big landings of new technology\code it usualy never gets recieved well by new users especialy when it is something that is seen by the users. UI persistancy is crucial if you gonna change do it very slowly over long period of time so that users can smoothly and suddly be familiarised with the changes and so that your user experience testers can get feedback and inform develpers of their findings. Because u do have UI\HIG testers and apointees dont you if you dont get them asap they are the best qa u can have before new releases. Ooops that was my nuber two thing alwasy use UI\HIG tests done before new releases even just an knoledgeable person responsible for it can do alot of things to shape the project up to expectations.
Thirdly release often and release on time. If u only make small changes then u can do this without any problems just look at the kernel develpment and ubuntu offcourse. This means if one feature didn't make it into this release it can make it into the next that aren't far away.
nuber four on my lis5t is never use a bad numbering scheme when releasing. For example when releasing KDE 4.0 it implies a big change sure it might be that this marks the completion of a long development effort but if you have released often and on time with 3.5, 3.6, 3.7 and so on with small improvments the 4.0 release wont seem dangerous and wont seem like such a big step even if it is and you know it this is were the pr and marketing part of your project must make an effort to show the improvements made over time. and explain the develoment modell. Also never put in unfinished code or unstable in releases to distros if people realy want the newest new let them come and get it themselves. Also use the beta suffix when pre release code is concerned.
Well thats all from me.

#

KDE 4 problems highlight shift from community users to consumers

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 208.98.225.157] on July 16, 2008 07:52 PM
I think KDE actually did the best possible thing for their users. They're developing a good, new desktop platform AND they're keeping the old one around and keeping it updated with bug fixes. Seriously, what more could the end users ask for? If someone doesn't like the new version, then don't use it. KDE 3.5.x is still there.

#

KDE 4 problems highlight shift from community users to consumers

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.117.228.210] on July 16, 2008 08:16 PM
Several of the distributions made the problem worse by making KDE 4 the default install. While it is clearly labeled as a BETA on the openSuSE web site, the KDE install CD disk wont install 3.5, only the DVD version will. You can fix that in package management after installing, but you still have to FIX it. My personal complaints are things like breaking the cut/paste/properties contract with the user, and in general, I dont share the performance complaints. I have to agree with Tony Unrau, "KDE and open source is not ever obligated to please users. We are not obligated to fix bugs. We are not obligated to implement things that you demand. We are not obligated to provide open forums for you to attack us personally." The people who create KDE are like a volunteer fire department. They will do what they want to do, as long as they like to do it, and no longer. Consumers want stuff that works in a way they can understand. Maybe that's not KDE now, but the way it used to be. Somebody who doesn't like that situation is free to fork KDE into NewKDE, and bring the best of the past with the best of the future. But somebody out there does have to please the users, ifr we ever want to get above 1% market share.

#

KDE 4 problems highlight shift from community users to consumers

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 207.245.124.66] on July 16, 2008 08:16 PM
... finally, the fundamental reason why the Gnome / KDE split is actually a good thing comes to the fore. From what I've seen, it seems like Gnome has been heavily emphasizing "dumbing down" the desktop for some time, aiming for consistent and, well, pretty enough but boring, where KDE is more about power users, custumizability, and bold creative moves. (And yes, they both do both, quit fighting eachother.)

Overall, F/OSS needs both. I hope they opt to stick to refining their own vision and suggesting people sort themselves out rather than try to please all the people all the time.

#

KDE 4 problems highlight shift from community users to consumers

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 71.161.157.9] on July 16, 2008 08:30 PM
Obviously for it succeed the new version must not have less functionality than that which is replaces.
examples which I do hope will be resolved:
- places in Dolphin are not bookmarks (bk's should be available everywhere)
- should be able to select somewhere Dolphin or Kong as default fm (if there I'm missing it)
- new control center - is hard to find the bin name, layout is confusing and copied from *buntu and search is not fully funtional (devs should look at 3.5.x's or advanced search in ccsm)
- much is not yet working or available in Konq such as previews when hovering, mp3 meta data in properties, open a bookmarks folder in background tabs, imbedded find, etc
- plasma and panels still missing too much such as hovering previews, quick start, moving of widgets in panel, hiding in system tray, should be a widget that will run 3.5.x applets
- icon on desktop, personally don't care but this seems pure discretionary on the developers part

But what bothers me most is that I don't think the user community has been communicated with very well. What we should expect in 4.1, 4.2, etc or what the diff. are in the beta's and rc's, what doesn't yet work, what functionality won't be ported. I know the commit digest exists but it's more towards svn than what actually shipped.

I'm using 4.1 and it and kwin are stable and I'm convinced that eventually it'll be there but I just don't feel that the community is being involved/communicated to (but then again I might not know were to look).

Finally I do thank the devs cause what they've done is impressive

#

KDE 4 problems highlight shift from community users to consumers

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 69.148.169.216] on July 16, 2008 08:40 PM
Nope, although I liked yesterday's article, I think you got it wrong here. I think the only fear here from users was that developers were actively ignoring users' interests. Most people love KDE for the options it gives. Most users wanted to know when that flexibility for options would be returned gracefully and easily to KDE4. Traditionally KDE has stood for options, flexibility and power (as in *I the User* get to change things easily}. Instead we got a lot of "oh, you're afraid of change" and "we know what you should like, so just tell us how good we are."

The above aren't direct quotes, but very much the stench of the discourse. Don't misinterpret this as simple backlash to change. That would be as sensationalistic as saying that all KDE3 users want a fork of KDE4. Please give users some credit. Ignore the PR spin from "KDE Damage Control'.

#

Re: KDE 4 problems highlight shift from community users to consumers

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 69.148.169.216] on July 16, 2008 08:56 PM
Sorry, I guess my last sentence was a bit harsh. I'm just tired of hearing the users blamed for expressing concern and/or interest in the desktop they're using. Surveys are fine, but over-simplifying user motives is the main problem here...not a remedy, or even a guidepost for future development. I wish all KDE developers the best in meeting their challenges. To me, there's no question that they are appreciated.

#

KDE 4 problems highlight shift from community users to consumers

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 192.168.0.59] on July 16, 2008 09:08 PM
You are right to say that there are more users than contributors these days. What did the developers think would happen if a lot of people used their work? Did they think that the number of people who were interested in and/or capable of writing code would increase? Most people (99.99%) want to use software not write it. They also want to use documentation not write it, and they want to get support not give it. Why? Because 99.7% can't do any of that stuff and another .2% who could aren't interested (count me in that group).

You are wrong to say that users don't like change. They love change they understand. They hate to be told that if they were fully capable of understanding what feature X will be capable of doing they would be tickled pink. FOSS people like to think that marketing is just BS (disclaimer: I am not in marketing or sales, I'm a finance guy). But it is not, it is communicating with your customer (user in this case). With regard to KDE: Best case - Marketing done poorly, Most Likely Case - arrogant developers who thought they didn't need to market to users, Worst Case - really crappy software.

By the by, while I'm on the subject, here are two quotes from Seigo: "we did not do as good a job as we should have of managing some of the conversations" and "the tone was set by this small group of people who were loud, ill-mannered, and obnoxious. And that set a tone, and a sort of mob mentality set in." How would that sound coming from Ballmer about Vista? If you said,"Like whining," you win the prize.

#

Re: KDE 4 problems highlight shift from community users to consumers

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 205.250.159.224] on July 17, 2008 06:59 PM
"By the by, while I'm on the subject, here are two quotes from Seigo: "we did not do as good a job as we should have of managing some of the conversations" and "the tone was set by this small group of people who were loud, ill-mannered, and obnoxious. And that set a tone, and a sort of mob mentality set in.""

The second is a direct result of the first. I'm not so sure he's whining as much as I am that the KDE devs had an opportunity early on to set the tone of the predictable, in some ways, conversation and then lost control of it once the, again predictable, attacks set in.

Some people resist change and some actively hate it.

Never mind that openSUSE and Fedora should never have made KDE 4.0.x the default KDE install when it was clear to the distros that this was beta code and more suited to developers than for daily use. KDE did make both clear, incidentally.

There's a great deal of damage done to KDE's brand with this and, at least. part of the blame can be laid squarely at the feet of the packagers of the above two distros.

KDE 4.1 is a vast improvement over KDE 4.0.x and is, so far as I play with it, ready for daily use even if a number of important KDE apps aren't ready for KDE 4.x yet. So it's not perfect.

Nit picks from me are the KDE control centre which actually removes choice rather than enhances it, the damnable kickoff menu and the inability to choose which file management you want to use, Dolphin or Konq. (I'm of the give me Konq or give me death camp. :-) )

As for the rest of it from what I see with 4.1 time will resolve a lot of the complaints and 4.2 will bring in the missing KDE apps such as KOffice.

We live in interesting times, don't we? :)

ttfn

John

#

KDE 4 problems highlight shift from community users to consumers

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 213.203.159.55] on July 16, 2008 09:10 PM
The reasons for the user revolt against KDE 4, which we reported on yesterday, are still being sorted out... One reason that has yet to be discussed is one of the potentially most significant - the apparent shift in the FOSS user base.

The shift in the FOSS user base started happening years ago, and it is absolutely necessary that it continues, if FOSS is to survive. This is a much more general issue than the current KDE4 morass, of course, and I do NOT mean with this that the complaining users are 100% right. While we're at this, however, I'd like to remind to the community a couple of things I wrote that may help KDE4 or any other community of FOSS developers/advocates to figure out how to handle this user base shift in the future:

Seven things we're tired of hearing from software hackers (http://digifreedom.net/node/56)

A Free Software manifesto for all of us (http://digifreedom.net/node/57)

Feedback is always welcome, of course: my email address is on the website).

Best Regards,

M. Fioretti

#

KDE 4 problems highlight shift from community users to consumers

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 147.9.205.37] on July 16, 2008 09:13 PM
"most free software developers want to add and enhance features." The problem with KDE 4 is _not_ the new or enhanced features is the basic ones that are still missing, in my opinion the problem is version numbers KDE 4.2 should have been called KDE 4.0 and when KDE 4.2 will be released KDE people should have the big release party not when they released KDE 4 (just so people won't be confused but what goes on)

#

KDE 4 problems highlight shift from community users to consumers

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.253.108.249] on July 16, 2008 09:17 PM
I've been using KDE 2 and 3 since 2001. I have not yet tried version 4. This is my first comment on the situation. I'm a user, not a developer, so I fit into the camp on the outside of the inner circle.

I don't want to switch to version 4 until I feel it implements all the features I currently use in version 3. That is not a problem for me. Version 3 isn't going away any time soon.

I have watched the discussions about all of this for some time. Much of it is hyperbole. Some of it is justified. The only part that really bothers me is when I hear developers say they don't need users. Without users no project can be influential. Some developers may not care, but I never heard of a developer that did not like the idea of working on a project that received much attention, or of one that stuck with a project long after realizing it would never have users.

When I heard some of KDE's developers saying they don't need users, for the first time since I started using it, I seriously considered switching to a different DE. I don't know if I want to use someone's software when they have such disdain for users. Hearing such remarks makes me feel like an unwelcome intruder on someone else's territory and leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

It's true that developers don't have to accommodate user requests for features. It's true that they don't have to like users. It's true that they can say anything they want about users. It's also true that what they say and do will follow them, whether good or bad.

#

Move on, nothing to see...

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 147.206.4.254] on July 16, 2008 10:34 PM
KDE is not in a morass. The KDE folks have been absolutely clear that KDE 4.0 is not finished and is not for "regular users" - they described it as "the release that will eat your children". If you want to quibble that it should have been called "beta" or something, fine, but the whole thing is just a straw man argument.

I'm pretty strongly on the side of the KDE guys on this one - none of you are paying them a cent for what they do. Given that, the only polite role for criticism is if it is honestly intended to be constructive. I don't see any other valid justification for "complaining" about a free gift.



#

The article is as flawed as the KDE 4 release

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 216.50.65.6] on July 16, 2008 10:51 PM
The article starts off with "KDE 4 problems highlight shift from community users to consumers" which is wrong. The people that have adopted KDE is the same community that has always been first adopters. All the musing is then wrong.

Then the article says:
This situation leaves developers of large and popular projects with a dilemma. On the one hand, most free software developers want to add and enhance features. At times, too, they want to overhaul the code to make it more efficient. Their pride and interest in their work demands that they improve it, yet this desire may run counter to the desires of their most vocal users...So what is the solution? Introducing changes at a slower rate, so that users are not overwhelmed? Involving users more closely with the development process or communicating goals more clearly?

The problem is that KDE had an itchy release finger and pulled the trigger a full 6 months, if not a year before it was ready. The reason why it wasn't ready was that Plasma was not ready, and all bets were on plasma.

Here's what should have happened:
KDE Port to Qt 4. Call this "alpha" and put all developers on notice to adjust to the new API.
Reconcile and package the ports of all critical apps identified for porting. Call this "beta".
Regression test and fix. Call this "rc"
Release. Call this "4.0"

Meanwhile, plasma development can be done in paralell. In fact, it should have because the QGraphicsView which plasma relies on wasn't in the original Qt version used by KDE. This should have been an obvious decision to not rely on anythign Plasma for release. Its a no-brainer. Then, for 4.1 start introducing plasma components to replace the old KDE 3.5 style components.

So, between 4.0 and 4.1, release Plasma as "alpha"
Develop Plasma versions of apps, giving notice that plasma is seeking feedback during their port to plasma.
Release 4.1 "alpha" and Plasma "beta" when all core Plasma apps are developed
Release 4.1 "beta" when developers have gotten back to you on plasma issues, and those issues are deferred or fixed.
Release 4.1 "rc" when plasma and plasmoids churn is sufficiently low
Relase 4.1, with plasma, plasmoids.

There is nothing in here to dictate that plasma or plasmoid development can not be concurrent to 4.0. The only think limited in 4.0 would have been to not have any reliance on plasma. This would have been a much less painful iterative approach.


#

And your comment is as flawed as you think the article is

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 192.55.52.3] on July 17, 2008 12:09 AM
If only because KDE 4.0 could not have been released without Plasma, since it is one of the "pillars" of KDE4.

#

KDE 4 problems highlight shift from community users to consumers

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 190.16.7.124] on July 17, 2008 02:22 AM
Well, first i wanna say to all of you that state: 4.1should have been "the 4.0", but don't you all realize that all the bugs than weren't resolved in 4.1, because of the lack of testing would have made of the "4.0" a lot more buggy?
That's why the developers released 4.0 as the first release of kde4, and they explained this so well, they did this in order to find and squash all the bugs in the 4.0, if i wold have been labeled as a RC many less people would've use it and there would be a lot more bugs...
Second thing i would like to point out is that developers don't need user that are costumers, that criticize instead of compromise with the proyect and help, finding bugs and reporting them. They don't need that kinf of users and that are the ones that they refer to when they say: "KDE and open source is not ever obligated to please users (that criticize instead of compromise). We are not obligated to fix bugs. We are not obligated to implement things that you (users that criticize instead of compromise) demand. We are not obligated to provide open forums for you (users that criticize instead of compromise) to attack us personally"
Third and final point, there are no costumers, no products in FOOS, theres community effort, sure you can sell, sure you can make a product off of that (Novell, Red Hat, Canonical), but that's not KDE, because, they don't get paid, there are volunteer, that try to please everyone, with no reward at all, and most of you complain, think that those are people, who work in their free time developing a software that we all love, and all they get is negativity thrown at them, just for making a few changes, instead of acting like a costumer, angry that he didn't get what he expected because he bought it, act like a member of the community and see in what ways you can try yo help, after all you didn't payed for kde, so why you should complain... And about marketing...can you market a gift...? if someone made you a cake with all his love, would you have told them that it doesn't meet your expectations and that person should remake the cake? Or someone who told you that it would try a new recipe and that i would be delicious and spend 3 hour cooking for you and you told that same person that you didn't like the cake..? Seriously, how can you say that to a person... you can make konqueror the default browser, you can switch to the old style menu, you can adjust to plasmoid, you don't like them? turn them off...folder view? once you use it, you'll see that is better that having icons...and if you still prefer icons, you can have then too, fork kde? that would lead to kde4, there's no other way to do things...and if you don't like something you can promote a solution, backing it up with rational arguments and propose it and even develop it and if is a good would it's definitely going to get included, what are you all complaining about?!!!

#

KDE 4 problems highlight shift from community users to consumers

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 71.178.62.17] on July 17, 2008 03:18 AM
Bruce:

This article, and the one you published yesterday, both suggest that KDE made it crystal clear that the 4.0 release was, essentially, a developer's preview. This is false. Announcements from KDE suggested that this release was ready for prime time.

Look at the release announcement:

http://www.kde.org/announcements/4.0/

All it talks about is improvements and new features. It does not say anything about "developer preview." It does not say it is not ready for everyday use. It does not say it will crash every thirty seconds.

The 4.0 release number, and the KDE press, say to many users that the 4.0 was ready for daily use. You cannot expect all users to sit around and read Linux lists and blogs all day so that they will know that the 4.0 was not ready. I agree that distributors shoulder a big part of the blame here--they should not have distributed something that was not ready. What good is a distributor if he is bundling half-baked software? Fedora put only KDE 4.0 in its recent release, causing me to make a mental note to not use Fedora because they will bundle half-baked software. But KDE, with the 4.0 number and the "Look at this brand new ready thing" release announcement, did not help matters.

KDE should have released the thing as 4.0 beta, with a prominent statement about its half-baked nature. The failure to do so led to the predictable backlash. No problem though. KDE and other prominent projects have learned an important lesson. If you're going to release half-baked stuff, do a better job of communicating that it is half baked.

#

KDE 4 problems highlight shift from community users to consumers

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 67.213.101.95] on July 17, 2008 03:36 AM
The previous poster is correct when he gives the link to the much-hyped announcement at KDE about 4.0. Nowhere does it say "developer preview", "beta", unstable, or vastly feature-incomplete.

Moreso, the exact wording/information for KDE4 when selecting to choose kde 3.5 or 4 in openSuse 11 is:

"KDE (4) is the most recent evolution of KDE. It comes with many new KDE technologies, but is less mature than the other desktops".

Does this scream "feature incomplete"? Or "unstable". Or "not ready for prime time"? I think not.

So KDE got the media to over-hype a feature-incomplete, buggy and unstable alpha (beta at best) as the Second Coming. OpenSuse was certainly complicit also, other distributions may have been too.

Then, when ordinary users expressed their dismay, what did we hear?

- "Just wait till 4.1"; if that's the case, Microsoft would be considered a sooth-sayer compared to the entrail-reading and false hope of KDE developers. It will be KDE 4.2 or 4.3 (most likely) before this schmozzle becomes usable and comparable in functionality and usefulness as 3.5.9.

- We have to move to KDE 4 because 3.5 is "dead" ... no more work will be done on it. Followed by furious back-tracking and denials that the "dead" statement ever meant that.

No, KDE fumbled this one in a major way, their reaction was to treat ordinary users as dummies and 3.5 clingers, and they may also have not realized that, in the end, it's the adopting masses that use their product (or reject it).

#

Re: KDE 4 problems highlight shift from community users to consumers

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 121.45.11.227] on July 17, 2008 02:35 PM
>"Just wait till 4.1"; if that's the case, Microsoft would be considered a sooth-sayer compared to the entrail-reading and false hope of KDE developers. It will be KDE 4.2 or 4.3 (most likely) before this schmozzle becomes usable and comparable in functionality and usefulness as 3.5.9.

I would take a very different view, as I am running KDE 4.1 RC in Kubuntu64 right now. After a few teething issues I have got it going fairly nicely.

http://ourlan.homelinux.net/img/?Qwd=./images&Qiv=name&Qis=M

#

I think I can put it in one sentence for you

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 71.188.230.65] on July 17, 2008 04:04 AM
Users need to be eased through major changes. even positive major changes.

The KDE devs can't really be blamed for not seeing this coming, but I hope the whole community learns from this. KDE 3 is still the default for most distros, but it's been dwarfed by KDE 4 on the kde.org website. You got the feeling that KDE3 is being abandoned, when that's not really true at all. There's a new KDE release coming out. When I learned that, it was beginning of a slow process of relaxing.

I'm running KDE 4.0something right now, in opensuse11. I'm not at all convinced yet, but I'm intrigued.

The less I feel pushed toward KDE 4, the less frightening KDE 4 appears.

#

KDE 4 problems highlight shift from community users to consumers

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 71.188.230.65] on July 17, 2008 04:32 AM
Incidentally, the first thing this demonstrates is that PEOPLE LOVE KDE! Let's not forget that aspect of it. That's where this whole "out of my cold dead hand" mentality comes from.

And you're dealing with human nature, particularly Linux Geek nature. People do fear change, particularly change from outside. And Linux geeks in particular just may have a problem with outside authorities imposing change on their desktops. It's a big reason why we're Linux geeks, right? Next time, I would suggest keeping the old option, and keeping it safe and visible. Prominently display your KDE 3 or your Gnome 2, or what have you... if you're planning a fundamental change.

People ALWAYS resist revolutionary ideas, but if I was in the position of the KDE devs, I would probably expect that a really great desktop would sell itself. I would like to be the first to thank the KDE team for taking the hit on this, for absorbing this important lesson that we all needed to learn. Human nature. It exists. It's a factor... and allowances must be made for it.

#

KDE 4 problems highlight shift from community users to consumers

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 70.190.71.172] on July 17, 2008 07:45 AM
I've been using KDE since the 0.X days. I was around for RMS' hissy fit about the Qt license and the creation of Gnome as a "response" to KDE. I've watched KDE grow and mature into a functional desktop system in which each new release was an improvement upon what came before.

Until now....

KDE 4 is a marketing failure. (Marketing != Advertising). Instead of seeking feedback from their users and improving the system that was already in place, the developers decided to go off on a tangent and do something else. Then they compounded this by making the mistake of releasing a beta product as an X.0 version. Had they avoided either mistake then the backlash would not have been so bad. Had they released an evolution of 3.5.x instead of a devolution, they would have been fine. Had they released KDE 4 as 3.99-preview then they also would have been fine. The KDE team REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, needs to recruit some marketing people who will keep them from making similar mistakes in the future.

If they want to make a desktop that people will USE, they need to understand the needs and expectations of those users. Pulling a "We don't care, we don't have to, we're the developers" is a great way to become the next XFree86. Complaining about users being resistant to change is also a non-starter. Change is good, but only when it doesn't break things. Change for its own sake, or because someone thinks that something is "cool," is just flat out juvenile. Ford can innovate all day long, but only so long as those innovations comply with the usage habits of their customers. Configuring a car to where the back wheels do the steering may very well be "cool," but almost no one is going buy such a vehicle.

I don't know what KDE 4.1 looks like. If they have truly fixed it, then great. If they haven't then I'm going to have to look at moving to a different desktop.

I don't like having to say negative things about KDE. I don't like the fact that my comments are going to upset the developers. I have not read the personal attacks against them that have been described in this article, but I can tell you that such attacks are completely uncalled for. My criticism are not intended as a personal attack. Everyone screws up, and this year it is the KDE developers' turn. Maybe it will be my turn next.

#

KDE 4 problems highlight shift from community users to consumers

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 58.173.240.57] on July 17, 2008 08:30 AM
I upgraded PC and desktop at the same time and decided to try KDE4 to see what it was like. I almost reverted back as it was a little to different and appeared to have some bugs. However I thought that here is a chance to give something back to the community. I am not a programmer but am capable enough to submit reasonable bug reports. I am happy that I stayed with KDE4 as I have grown used to it, like its look and feel and can see the potential for a really smick desktop developing and hopefully with a tiny bit of my help.

Been using the SUSE11 GM release now since it was made available and have all that I need working on it and my family are using it as their email, web, TV and games machine without a single complaint.

#

KDE 4 problems highlight shift from community users to consumers

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 91.60.190.47] on July 17, 2008 08:33 AM
I think that the KDE Developer did it right.
It is a fact, that a community-project needs developers and testers in the first place. Normal Users are nice, but are not nearly so important then developers and testers. An other fact is, that many developers and testers don't touch beta software. Thanks to the publication of KDE4 instead of a KDE3.99_please_test_and_port_your_apps, many more testers and developers started to work on KDE4 and the development speed is increased by many times. You can be sure that a KDE in the shape of KDE4.1, would be more than a year away without the new developers and testers that the KDE4.0 release activated.
Yes, some users were alienated, but most user are only interested in getting there job done with a nice warm feeling and don't care about the past. With KDE4.3, most of the alienated Users will come back, because KDE4 will then give them a experience that they like and this is the important thing. But again... the state that they like, would be years away without the new developers and testers that the release of KDE4.0 activate.

#

KDE 4 problems highlight shift from community users to consumers

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 192.168.1.50] on July 17, 2008 09:03 AM

Yes, big marketing problem. KDE should have supported running KDE3 alongside KDE4 for longer - this is why Fedora for example offer only KDE4 in F9 "because running KDE3 and 4 together is not supported upstream". THAT was the problem - not supporting running the two in parallel - NOT releasing KDE4. Sure it would have required extra developer effort, and perhaps it just wasn't there, but if KDE was a business it it what they would have had to do.

However, I have been using KDE 4 trunk for the past 4 months on my production computer. With Fedora 8 if there is a problem I can switch back to KDE3.5 (or XFCE) with a minimum of fuss, my emails are all still there etc. There have in fact been very few showstoppers that have made me need to switch back. As a result I have been using KDE4 and reporting bugs - which I hope has helped the quality of KDE4. If they had NOT released KDE4, then I wouldn't be.

My 2c - you ain't seen nothin yet. KDE4.1 will be solid but not too innovative. 4.2 will be buggy again with the new stuff (akonadi, nepomuk etc) but by 4.3, KDE will blow away the Gnome and Vista competitors.

#

KDE 4 problems highlight shift from community users to consumers

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 62.148.134.162] on July 17, 2008 09:44 AM
"The shift in the FOSS user base started happening years ago, and it is absolutely necessary that it continues, if FOSS is to survive." - Wrong.

"Normal Users are nice, but are not nearly so important then developers and testers." - Correct.

FOSS is either what people do together because they like it (for lots of reasons) or what a company is offering for free (normally hoping to get profit elsewhere). In the first case, Normal Users are irrelevant. In the second case, it must be clearly understood whose problem they are.

#

Re: KDE 4 problems highlight shift from community users to consumers

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 213.203.159.55] on July 17, 2008 04:01 PM
""The shift in the FOSS user base started happening years ago, and it is absolutely necessary that it continues, if FOSS is to survive." - Wrong."

Hmm, maybe you're right, sorry. I should have really written, instead:

The shift in the FOSS user base started happening years ago, and it is absolutely necessary that it continues, if FOSS is to remain relevant (in society as a whole, not just inside geek circles) and play any meaningful part in the building of a better world."

There is no way in hell that a tiny bunch of excellent people, only because THEIR own brains are centered around software, will be ever be able to make the other 95% of humankind use, love, look at or contribute in any way to software development in the same way.

So those excellent people can either retire in their crystal tower, because sure, they don't need
any user-only parasite/whiner to keep building their perfect toy. Or they could think a bit more about how to manage such a relationship, because without _political_ support from the masses, FOSS remains just a toy. Which would be really bad, because FOSS _is_ a necessary part of a better society. I could go on and on on this, but I've already written most of what I want to say in the Opinions section of Digifreedom.net. Direct feedback, preferably by email is always welcome.

Of course, all this is a much more general discourse than this particular KDE 4 PR / marketing failure, misunderstanding or whatever it is.

Best Regards,

Marco Fioretti

PS: incidentally, you may be interested to know that B. Byfield himself said that "Unquestionably, the FOSS community has failed to reach the general public, and too many of its members have grown complacent and smug through talking only to themselves. By encouraging a debate on these subjects, Fioretti is providing a long-needed corrective." (http://digifreedom.net/node/75)

#

KDE 4 problems highlight shift from community users to consumers

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 78.31.154.171] on July 17, 2008 10:42 AM
Until a few days ago i was also fiercely suspicious of KDE4, until i had the chance to test a 4.1 beta on Mandriva 2009 alpha 2.
Boy, what a pleasant surprise. It really didn't take me that much effort to tweak the desktop look, feel and functionality at will.
Furthermore, contrary to some misleading comments i have read on many blogs, Dolphin does a superb multi-protocol job and supports tabs. Just like Konqueror, but fancier (IMO :)).
I plan to adopt KDE 4.1 a lt sooner then i thought.
Regarding habits and routines, as the article rightfully outlines, desktops do not vary that drastically. At the very core of each DE there are the same good old point and click triggers.
If i was to stick to procedures i've got used to over the years, i would have never left the Windows swamp 6 years ago.
KDE 4 is starting to taste really good and i bet my ass it will be ready for prime time before 2008 dies out.

Nuno Zimas.

#

The Split in the FOSS User Base

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 208.101.154.165] on July 17, 2008 02:09 PM
As Bruce indicated, there *are* two different types of people in the FOSS user base: the consumers and the professionals (programmers, sys admins, etc.). To deny this is true is to deny the evidence right in front of your face. As FOSS becomes more a part of mainstream computing, it is going to have to deal with this split, or it will face one firestorm after another. We've already seen signs of this in the discussions on GPL3 (Most consumers want something for nothing, and don't care about the freedom part of FOSS, or the related restrictions). It's a culture clash that needs to be understood if all the shouting is to be cut off before it starts. You can't please everyone, it is true, but if you don't spend the time to communicate your intentions, you may end up pleasing no one at all. I believe the only sin here with KDE 4.0 was insufficient communication due to a wrong assumption about the user base. FOSS is bigger than it once was, and I think it's time the people behind it begin taking that fact into consideration. With a bigger user base comes bigger problems, and more "customers" to please. Complaining that discontented users should learn to "fix it themselves" does more harm than good, as does the assertion that they're not out to please users in the first place. Truth is, if you aren't trying to help the end user, and improve the computing experience, then you shouldn't be working on something as major as KDE in the first place. Software is made to be used, not to sit on the shelf and look pretty.

But then, I'm a FOSS consumer, and Windows expatriot, so perhaps my opinions don't count.

#

KDE Needs Adult Supervision

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 127.0.0.1] on July 17, 2008 04:13 PM
In addition to the failed release, the KDE team is working very hard at blaming users - the ones they failed to listen to during development. "Users misunderstand. Users are afraid of change. Users are too fussy. Users are too demanding."

Users would be more sanguine if developers at least showed some respect for their intelligence and took some responsibility for this debacle.

#

KDE 4 problems highlight shift from community users to consumers

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 66.59.110.101] on July 17, 2008 04:43 PM
Serious question: How many people who advocate the "community of users" approach over the "consumer" approach are willing and _able_ to contribute significantly to a project as large as KDE? Even if that number is an incredibly large portion of all KDE users, it will shrink as more "regular users" try Linux.

I think I'm pretty involved in my particular "Linux community" of Slackware users. I post questions and solutions in the official support forum, and even volunteer some time on a FOSS application helping to maintain its wiki and test its features.

However, I'm firmly a user and not a programmer. I'm familiar enough with some programming and scripting languages to read the code and make small modifications, but that's about it. Oh, I'm also pretty good at compiling software from source -- something that most distributions render less necessary due to automated package handling.

The thing is, I'm a pretty advanced user when compared to nearly all the computer users I know. Being able to write short scripts, edit configuration files, and dig into the intracacies of make and cmake put me light years ahead of most users, but make me a bottom-feeder compared to real Linux power-users.

I wouldn't even know _how_ to contribute to KDE 4 aside from testing it and issuing bug reports. Frankly, that level of involvement still requires a pretty significant dedication of time and a willingness to accept bugs and problems. I might be willing to dedicate the time and risk computer problems, but most people aren't.

My point is simply that no FOSS project can expect much cooperation from its users simply because, as Linux becomes a lot more popular, most Linux users probably _can't_ help.

#

KDE 4 is a major leap forwards, just needs Steve Jobs market it

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 78.31.154.171] on July 17, 2008 05:07 PM
What we need is a fashion guru like Steve Jobs to sell out the grossest bugs as cool edgy features (if properly wrapped in some "iWhatever" label).
The increasing Linux flock will then feel part of a trend, not a forefront experiment.
This debate is more about marketing rhetoric, dev strategies and timetables than the outstanding technical milestone KDE4 represents.

#

Re: KDE 4 is a major leap forwards, just needs Steve BALLMER to market it

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.117.228.210] on July 17, 2008 07:38 PM
Join the snake oil salesman crowd. There is nothing in KDE 4 of any value. If you go back to the fundamentals of object oriented design, you would find the guiding principles of user interface design. The Xerox Star, Apple Lisa, even Windows all came from that. In the programming world, you create abstractions, so that the implementation can change, but the contract as a provider of services remains the same. And this is the failure of the KDE 4 team. They are bad programmers. They break contracts willy nilly, and they have nothing - nothing of value - to replace it with. Change the name of everything. Make point, click, cut/paste properties all function every once and awhile. Abuse the user when they complain because you NEVER DID YOUR REQUIREMENTS ANALYSIS in the first place. Might be a fun exercize for some graduate computer science project, but my engineering professor would have failed you. As you have failed us - those of us who mistakenly thought we could use your "gift".

Yet for all that, I stand by my earlier comments. You have a right to do what you please. You don't owe me any bug fixes. You dont owe me any features. If I don't like what you did, I'm free to fork it and build something that I like. I have no right to personally attack you, I've never ever met you. I have a right to do what I please, and to tell you your handcrafted mohair rug really isn't going to look good in my house. I dont owe you and work finding your bugs, telling you about your broken contracts, or trying to explain to FOSS people why marketing and market share are important, even if the software is given away. I don't owe you a feature list of things I want and things I dont want. I dont have to like what you did, simply because I didn't pay for it.

KDE4 is not an "outstanding technical milestone". Its an example of software made for the wrong reason, without conscience, without consultation. It doesn't implement anything I use. It breaks thing I do use. I have better alternatives that are just as free. Perhaps it needs time to grow into something useful. Perhaps it will never be useful. The really nice thing about Linux and FOSS is I don't have to wait for stuff that works right now.

I hope this does not give anyone any less incentive to be a part of Open Source, FOSS, Linux, whatever. Take it for what it is, and leave the playground insults at home. Make a better product or contribute to one. Do something positive.

#

KDE 4 problems highlight shift from community users to consumers

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 162.66.50.3] on July 17, 2008 05:25 PM
Well i think all the criticism that KDE4 received is in a way a good sign. It does indicate the shift from participatory role to more of a consumer role in terms of end users. But that DOES indicate a very positive sign for Linux in general. I guess these people came from Windows and started using KDE as KDE is probably the closest feeling for them. Nothing wrong if they expected a completely polished product. They were right in their expectations! BUT these are those users who got mislead by the fact that some distros shipped it as the default KDE version. They were cajoled into believing that its a finished product while the KDE developers themselves were still shouting over the rooftop that its not a final product. Those who have software development experience of any kind can probably understand but those laymen (the so called consumer or end user ) who buy a $400 laptop off the shelf just for surfing or playing games may not be in a position to realize the philosophy behind the release. All they care about is that their PC just works. Or even those new to linux (frustrated with Vista crap of course and thus looking for a better alternative) will expect things to work smoothly and not face any issues to begin with (at least). Its these 2 categories of people who will probably have the maximum bitter taste to their mouth with the KDE 4 problems. If they have enough patience they will definitely find their investment worth it. It will definitely pay off. No point in attacking the developers of KDE on personal front as they didnt leave those bugs intentionally in there. Thats the very nature of software development. Sometimes time does win against all of us. They will definitely get rid of them - given chance and enough time. And then please remember that Linux or KDE is a community initiative. Nobody gets paid to do this work. I would like to ask this question to those who are complaining ... can you give the same attitude to Microsoft for dumping something as bad as Vista on you? Vista is million times buggier than all the KDE bugs put together from all the releases ever. What could you do about it? They didnt even listen to you when they killed XP. The MAX you can do is to not to buy a PC with Vista...but then thats about it. There is no one sitting there answering to your criticism - as they dont even care for you and for what you feel abt their product or the. Then what are you running after KDE developers for? At least thank them that - may be in a bitter tone but at least they showed the courtesy to reply to your criticism.

#

KDE 4 problems highlight shift from community users to consumers

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 82.37.194.29] on July 17, 2008 05:45 PM
Hi

I have to admit I'm fairly quiet in the main, and don't often post comments here, even though I have been a linux user for nearly 10 years now. Generally speaking I have favoured the KDE desktop right from the beginning, and yes, KDE4 is quite a leap, but then so was the leap from 2 to 3.

Personally, I think KDE4 is a fantastic desktop environment, and yes I'm still on 4.0 on FC9, and also using it on Kubuntu. Yes, it does take some getting used to, but the 'Favourites' menu is an absolute boon, as is the menu search facility. Granted, the 'run command' option would be a handy menu option as well, but the keyboard shortcut Alt + F2 provides you with an improved 'run program' dialog.

KDE is definitely moving in the right direction, and with 4 they really have opened up a wide gap between themselves and all the other desktop environments. As they slowly move on to a more polished version (4.1 etc) then things can only improve still further.

Already I'm looking forward to KDE 5 :-)

To the KDE team I say, WELL DONE, and CONGRATULATIONS on producing Linux's finest selling point, especially when used in conjunction with, Firefox, Evolution (with the exchange connector) or Thunderbird, and OpenOffice 2.4

Cheers

Tony

#

KDE 4 problems highlight shift from community users to consumers

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 203.208.110.183] on July 17, 2008 06:26 PM
This is simply the most stupid article I've read all week.

This whole, "user revolt against KDE 4" and "the quickness and thoroughness with which KDE 4 was rejected", stuff is nonsense and contains enough FUD to be a completely worthless pile of steaming excrement.

Most of the criticisms I've seen are actually quite ignorant and that ignorance reveals that these critics aren't actually using anything more than a screenshot of KDE 4.0.x on their predominantly GNOME desktops (yes I'm having a go at you miserably ignorant asshats). All the majority of critics have shown me is that they know nothing about KDE 4.x beyond that screenshot.

I'm using KDE 4.1 RC1 at the moment and though there is still much to be done, it is quite obvious that the KDE community is highly focused and steadily, line by line, succeeding at turning its highly ambitious dreams into reality. KDE 4.1 is already a very significant and impressive piece of work and future releases will continue to build on this.

That highly vocal rent a crowd of critics are just, to borrow terms from Linus, a "bunch of masturbating monkeys".

#

Re: KDE 4 problems highlight shift from community users to consumers

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.117.228.210] on July 17, 2008 07:50 PM
Wow. Such enlightened commentary. Your family must be very proud of you.

FUD exists when there is fear. We do not fear you. FUD exists when there is uncertainty. There is no uncertainty that the release of KDE 4 could have been handled better. There is no doubt that the way you have abused people in your post indicates that the prejudge people without ever having met them, and that your opinion of yourself may be in error.

I don't use Gnome desktops. I don't take screenshots of KDE 4 desktops. I fixed the mistake of KDE 4 and run quite happily on KDE 3.5

As said previously, there is nothing of value - yet - in KDE 4.0. If they don't listen to the people you deride as a "bunch of masturbating monkeys", there never will be. After all, being the latest and greatest is Vista's claim to fame.
KDE 4.0 is "a piece of work", as are you.

#

Let's learn from the Linux success stories instead of envisioning failure

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.117.228.210] on July 17, 2008 08:42 PM
"But the metatopic of the Largo IT guys' rant about printing isn't really printing. It's a deep, full-voiced chant that goes, Listen to your users, watch your users work, and see how you can make their work easier. (repeat)"

http://www.linux.com/feature/119109

I envision a day when there is user oriented computing. When people will be able to create the software they want, and it will make their lives simpler. They will band together in groups of mutual self-interest, and create what needs to be created, listen to each other, and build a consensus that no one can deny, that no one can refute is better than anything that came before.

And they called it GNU/Linux.

#

KDE 4 problems highlight shift from community users to consumers

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 158.140.1.28] on July 17, 2008 10:19 PM
If you do not like the way KDE is going, stop complaining and do something about it. Personally, I really like KDE 4. For me, the daily SVN snapshots are really stable.

#

KDE 4 problems highlight shift from community users to consumers

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 12.210.52.46] on July 18, 2008 12:30 AM
I switched from Windows to Kubuntu about 2 months ago, using the KDE 3 desktop, which I have liked very much. I recently tried the KDE 4 desktop and found it unusable. As a coder myself, it is very obvious to me that what I was trying to use was a very much UNFINISHED piece of software. The main two issues where 1. Not able to customize the desktop like KDE 3 and 2. Stability was terrible. The whole new innovations of everything is a widget concept might be good, or might not. I have to reserve judgment until I can give it a legitimate try out on a finished piece of software. I know the KDE people are going to fix all these issues. Just give them a chance.

#

KDE 4 problems highlight shift from community users to consumers

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 97.88.184.206] on July 18, 2008 05:21 AM
> As a coder myself, it is very obvious to me that what I was trying to use was a very much UNFINISHED piece of software.

Finished in the world of software that is developed all the time. There is no such thing.
You might be programmer, but you don't understand free software development.

Some other wanted to mark it as Alpha or Beta. What is purpose of using such marks on software that has only release snapshots from day one to the time it is abandoned, The day nobody work on software is the very moment when FOSS software is finished.
Even KDE3 is unfinished. There will be no new features, but it will be changed to fix the bugs.

Some where asking for thorough research of demands. Well, it is done right now in FOSS way, not commercial entity way. Listening users that have more to say, then "it is is unfinished, it is buggy, it is too early" . Those that have particular idea, or complaint developers can listen, as they know how to deal with feature request or bug, but:
- it is unfinished is valid for all FOSS software. It is usable and unfinished as long as someone has idea what to add and there is developer willing to code that.
- it is buggy is valid for all software, only commercial entities don't like to advertise that.
- it is too early; how to develop features and remove bugs if you don't release it ? FOSS has no closed testing facilities, except users willing to run software.

Actually much of the fuss was created not by real KDE users, they usually have defined comments that developer can deal with, but by people with agendas.

#

Changes that work

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 76.191.215.166] on July 18, 2008 05:22 AM
Some of us want a different kind of change. We support change from KDE, but we want new software that works. We want descriptive titles that mean something.

We want change from enthusiasts like yourself who appear to expect that new open source software should be inferior to proprietary software. Open Source has advantages that should increasingly lead to superior software.

But development of that superior software depends upon developers and pundits who tell it like it is. KDE releases should work a lot better. You should make it your responsibility to write evaluative articles that reflect the truth. Those are changes I would like to see.

#

Avoiding the issue?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 75.145.180.221] on July 18, 2008 06:54 PM
Hmm...while I found the original article rather (purposefully?) inflammatory, I think the idea that the dynamic of the FOSS userbase is shifting from community to consumer is VERY interesting, or rather, its implications for software projects. I don't think there's any question that as the user base grows, the dynamic will shift. How that affects projects' communication and development is a really interesting idea that I'm not convinced many of the comments have gotten at.

#

KDE 4 problems highlight shift from community users to consumers

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 208.47.135.227] on July 18, 2008 07:05 PM
My two cents. I am in the firm believe that improvements even a complete overhaul on software should easily allow for the look and feel of the older software. A skin per say. The main reasons I use open source software is that the api's stay the same from revision to revision. There are slight hiccups from time to time like tar I use to use tar -xyf on .tar.bz files now I use tar -xjf but for the most part the tools work as they have always worked. GUI's should follow this too but have a large margin of freedom. Radically different in architecture is fine but if it does not allow for a face to act and look like the old software then it breaks usability.

#

This article neglects to mention the good reason to reject (or delay the acceptance of) KDE4

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 12.210.254.144] on July 20, 2008 06:27 AM
Functionality! Things in the beta releases do not work. This is for sure not to be blamed on KDE4 since it is beta version but mainly on distributors who choose to include kde 4 to be the default release. Most linux users are professionals who would like to spend most of their time in their own speciality but when they are stuck with a desktop that lacks basic features as drag and drop of files between windows they might simply switch to gnome or xfce.

The other thing that annoyed me with KDE4 is the lack of configurabilty. I felt like I am using a product that is similar to windows in away! It is like they are telling me "This is how the pannel should look like. We know better what makes you feel comfortable!".

I do not mind learning new stuff. Actually, I even prefer big changes and figure my way out in the new city. But things, many things, in kde 4 just do not work. I do not say I gnome is bad but I really like KDE, the way it was and the way it's heading. However I also regret the fact I am forced to switch away from KDE since I upgraded to FC9.

#

KDE 4 problems highlight shift from community users to consumers

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 91.68.136.37] on July 21, 2008 05:39 PM
As others have said, the problem for me with KDE 4 wasn't change, and, as a software developer, I don't think that my reaction is entirely down to technophobia. It was more down to installing KDE4, spending a day trying to do a normal day's work, and realising that I still hadn't found half the functionality I wanted. I'm sure it's all there somewhere. But, if I wanted to learn a new GUI for the hell of it, I'd try Gnome or OSX.

FOSS fans often underestimate the importance of the interface. Comments along the lines of "it's just an interface, you can learn a new one" are in my view rather silly. Sure, I could learn a new interface, but I'd rather be productive. I'm sure I could learn to drive a car using tank-style controls, and it might even give me more control in some circumstances, but I hope car manufacturers stick to the same old boring steering wheel and 2-3 pedals. And a large part of why Windows users like Windows (and, for that matter, are not thrilled with Vista) is that they know how the interface works.

A sucky interface you know is almost always preferably in the short term to an elegant one that you don't know. KDE3 isn't that sucky, and my motivation to make peace with KDE4 is pretty low, especially if KDE5 is going to be completely different again just because someone thinks change is good for me.

#

KDE 4 problems highlight shift from community users to consumers

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 99.242.53.113] on July 22, 2008 01:43 AM
The main disappointment with me for KDE4 was the poor performance. While KDE3 ran pretty much smooth as silk on my machine, KDE4 runs painfully slow on my machine. Total disappointment since Qt4 was supposed to bring performance *improvements* -- and it does -- it's just too bad KDE4 took the good work Trolltech did and, IMHO, botched it up by focusing on "pretty graphics" (which I think are dog-ugly in KDE4 but I'm digressing...) instead of performance and features.

#

KDE 4 problems

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 195.34.211.153] on July 28, 2008 07:57 PM
The reason I chose KDE was its configurability. With KDE 3.5, I was able to see which desktop I was on by looking at the wallpaper, I could choose a directory for saving files in konqueror from a sidebar that I modified, etc. This is all gone in KDE 4.0 that is the compulsory KDE version in Fedora 9. It seems that less features that allegedly would be confusing to new users (switching from Windows) was the design principle. Yet knowledgeable users used to choose KDE over dummy Gnome because of those features. Many things simply do not work, like stopping animations in konqueror, or kget. KDE 4.0 should not be forced on users in Fedora 9. I am desperately looking for an easy solution to switch from Fedora to Kubuntu.

#

KDE 4 problems highlight shift from community users to consumers

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 72.251.13.12] on August 02, 2008 02:46 AM
I haven't seen kde4. My comment is based on the so-called shift. I use computers. I write small programs if I need to do something and writing a program is the most convenient way to do it. In other words, I don't have difficulty using whatever software does the job and is simplest to use. I have found lots of software which is unnecessarily obtuse and the authors couldn't have made a simple task more complicated even that their goal was to do just that. (cups is THE prime exampe, GTK is another - couldn't the authors have stuck with the standard nomenclature for X resources? Mozilla is another. Now I have a zillion files with some crap defined in no obvious place instead of a single app-defaults file an executable and a few libraries.) Different doesn't mean better, even though better may be different. Stupid could also be different. But let's look at the icon thingy. Who the f*ck cares about nifty icons? Is there something wrong just having a menu posted? Got to have that anyway, unless I want to create an entire package with icons just to run a simple program. That's why I (and most everyone else opens an xterm and uses a command line.

How about something REALLY useful like a decent graphical scripting language instead of fluff? That might be incentive to use a particular interface. By decent, I mean something that falls short of doing everything at the expense of being just as hard to use as writing in a low level language (e.g., is dtksh really simpler than just using motif?)

So yes, I have a ``consumer mentality,'' to the extent that whatever new ``features'' are supposed to make something nifty ought to more than offset the inconvenience of figuring out how to use the new features for something useful not to mention possibly having figure out how to do simple tasks all over again. I personally thought CDE was ok, but the icon shit meant the basic concept, the drag and drop and anything but the underlying mwm was pointless. Different, but pointless. Again, I don't know anything about kde, but the premise that somehow people are lazy, resistant to change or lack vision just because they want their computer to do things in the simplest way possible, is rather bizarre. At no point did that article say anything about kde making anything EASIER, only that it wasn't too hard to figure out how to do something you already know how to do. The article didn't say that there was any advantage to kde, only that any effort involved figuring out how to do something you already knew how to do shouldn't be a disadvantage. This is not what I would call a good way to promote kde, at leeast to anyone who isn't wrapped up novelty for its own sake. Maybe kde is awesome and sets a new standard for being intuitive and easy to use. If so, the article at the top of the page never said so and never said anything about it that was a plus. (BTW, mswindows sucks worse than doing integrals on abacus, so don't get the idea I'm an ms troll.)

Just because I have the technical skill to be a ``community user'' doesn't mean I can't appreciate software that was written with the ease of use mentality of a ``consumer.'' I don't appreciate Rube Goldberg's ingenuity in designing software any more than I appreciate it in designing remote controls for TV sets. If you want to make a case for kde, then make it based on some aspect of making life simpler, in which case, different is ok.











#

KDE 4 problems highlight shift from community users to consumers

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 58.105.235.40] on August 14, 2008 10:10 PM
After reading this article & some comments above, I feel compelled to add another potential $0.02+GST offering ..from Oz. Actually, it's probably closer to $2!! (I have a little insight/history to offer. no bullsh!t here)
<history>
I started on System 80(in Oz)/(known elsewhere as a Video Genie) in 1981,
even then the Microsoft Basic ROMs had BUG or two with the Math routines!!!!
That wasn't really considered much of an issue as ML(Machine Language-Native z80 Code) programs were used.
Networking:- with a Little-Big-Board meant RS232 based interconnect often custom programmed communications
and Modem flew along at a blistering 300Baud, if one could afford $1000+, you could speed up to 1200/75.
I (eventually learned to code in z80) and most people more often bypassed the ROM code anyway, interestingly,
people would 'program around' the Buggy code when used as ROM contained some other handy routines otherwise.
Then in early 1990's with a '286-12MHz' PC XT Compatible & DOS3.3/4dos & Novel Netware Lite,
Networking was huge at 1Mb/s. I caught my first Virus, JUNKIE, lived in the Partition Table and quite harmless,
unless your disk was closer to full!!!!!
I tried the touted Windows 3.0 & was then real unhappy about losing 15+MB of a 20MB Seagate MFM RLL'd(30MB) H/D devoted for a GUI!!!!!!
Even though Windows 3.0 was PIRATED, it lasted no more than a couple of hours of 'trial' before it was hastily blown away completely & never saw the light of day again and then re-installed the DOS 5
.9/4dos combo again.
Restoring the previous data/files that amounted to some 5+MB leaving 15+MB free again!!!!!!!!!!!!!
By around '93, WFW3.11 was the push, it appearing for the most part, dare I say, quite stable and functional,
just a minor memory/management leak issue..
Though OS/2 2.11 provided a much faster, more efficient & stable base, Microsoft had learnt Marketing much better than Programming, which ultimately, together with IBM's arrogance, lost IBM any possi
ble hope of leading the pack.
I have to admit, that I even developed several applications for WFW3.11 mostly Utilities/Hardware interfacing.
The Company I was working for then, was a 'M$ MSDN propronent ', they were $$ tightasses, I guess as many were,
hence MSDN=cheap S/W.
</history>
Hitting 1994, Win95 was the final straw, I gave up on serious software development but the company pushed ahead.
Starting with Linux 1.2.8 on a 486/DX2-66 16MB RAM, it was extremely hard to install right due to being NEW
but once installed it was remarkably stable and frighteningly fast by comparison.!
We setup a controlled test, comparing the DX2-66+Linux to a XL Dual P100MHz DEC+NT Server 3.51 in network performance test that may have seemed at an unfair advantage, but that little 486 blew the do
ors of that NT Server.
We are talking DX/2-66 pushing a 640MB CD xfer in 18Mins on a 10Mb/s Network vs.
Dual P100MHz that could only manage a best time of 22Mins on the same 10Mb/s Network no matter what
was tweaked.
Same Data, Same N/W connection That hooked me solid..
After that effort we built a DEC P90 32MB Workstation with several Int IDE/Ext SCSI drives & Tape
+Linux1.2.13/Samba/Netatalk and gave users the choice, but never told them one of the servers was Linux based, not initially, at least. When the Linux 1.2.13 was released, Masquerading(M$=Internet Co
nnection Sharing) was featured which made firewalling a Private Network cheaper, since the closest was a Cisco Router!! and M$ didn't have ICS yet.
Around then, OEM's threatened to drop Windows ('95) unless a fix, mostly Network issues 'M$ touted minor bugs' that:
-installing, meant one piece of hardware at a time in a certain order other wise the install would more likely fail.
-could bring down a Company Server in a 'few mouse clicks' by any user.
-allow create a document on network storage but once closed, not allow changes to the same by the same user!
-typically crashed at the most inappropriate time, usually when Executives were trying to Print.
Other than that it was great!
M$ tried few iterations of Win95 to try to solve problems
Win98 was when they did the deed on Netscape, imbedding a totaly horrific thing called Internet Explorer,
(Sorry Spyglass) citing that 'it was part of the system' (That must have been an invitation to virus developers)
Nothing seamed to work in it, pages never seem to display properly, it also lacked many features standard with NS
we continued to install Netscape(we affectionally named NutScrape), users were comfortable with that anyway.
The rest as they say is history, I learnt how much worse Windows was to become, and how much better Linux was
developing.
<Typical Pro real O/S, anti M$ rant>
As I devoted(read as: total NON M$) user of pure Linux (Slackware), the running my successful I.T. Services Business for OVER 10+ years, is entirly based on Linux, from the Desktop, Se
curity, Backend & Accounting.
E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G is Linux based where possible with the exception of a couple of embedded devices!!!!!
I've laughed endlessly & silently over the last Decade+ of M$ users with Viruses, Spyware, Bots, Trojans, Phishing Scams due to the Worlds most Promoted, Bloated, Bug Ridden O/S, toget
her with a cult following of 'BASIC' Buggy Apps, AND support due to the endless Bug Fixes, Patches & Security Updates that cause more problems than they fix.
(I think I'll stop here, to save anybody who's on limited bandwith ;-D !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
(Almost getting to the point of this rant).......
Microsoft has drip fed the masses (I wish I had M$'s Marketing!!) for the best part of a Decade+5 with ultimately nothing better than some Often Promised features & innovations, ultima
tely becoming watered_down occasional
GUI revamps, whilst always claiming HUGE innovation, often stolen from squashed Truely Innovative companies that dare to encroach on the territory of the Software Giant of who has take
n aim to 'innovate' the competing technologies as their own if they feel a minor threat, while attempting/claiming to 'walk the walk & dance the innovation dance'
</Typical Pro Real O/S..anti M$ rant>
SO
Any wonder this cult following of unfortunate, misinformed people are sceptical of anything that promotes true innovation and advancement. After all, if you tell someone that Black is
White enough times, they'll eventually believe you. It is truely a sad state of affairs, when true advancement in any technology is viewed en-mass as something
to be feared.
Even worse I know of several developers who truely believe that IE is standards compliant and hence
believe that the Mozilla line of products is NOT standards compliant!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

#

This story has been archived. Comments can no longer be posted.



 
Tableless layout Validate XHTML 1.0 Strict Validate CSS Powered by Xaraya