Huge thanks!

Story: How a “Welded-to KDE3.5 User” Began a Move to KDE4.4 Part IIIITotal Replies: 7
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Mar 09, 2011
3:31 PM EDT
Yeah, OK, I plead guilty as charged.

Huge thanks to you Dr. Young and Mr. Jarvis, for asking / answering the questions which I myself was too lazy to ask.

It pretty much boils down to the 'volunteer-aspect' it seems: That's probably where KDE is different from Ubuntu and Linux.

If some kernel-driver needs to be written, some company might pay a developer who doesn't have interest in developing the driver. If some Unity-stuff needs to be written the way Mr. Shuttleworth and his team wants to, they can pay some developer - even if that developer likes Gnome better.

But for KDE, it's indeed what Stuart said: Volunteers only do what they like!

That's why tons of people are leaving Microsoft (and now Nokia) I suggest: Because they're directed to do work they don't like. There are lots of Maemo / QT programmers at Nokia who just left because Microsoft / Nokia management decided they should work with Silverlight and .NET instead.

Being paid and doing what you like can go together, I think. The best example would probably be Miguel de Icaza, being flamed all over the internet, but still continuing his work on Mono/Moonlight, and I think the most important reason is because he simply likes it!

From my limited work in voluntary 'commitees' (like "study evualuation committee", "students committee") I know how hard it is to activate people, make them join, let them take initiative and make them 'contributors'. From the 400 leaflets I put in "postcases" (every student had his/her own in the hallway), maybe two people came. But of course, at least 200 people were complaining - and wondering why nobody did anything.

It looks a bit like the situation with KDE4!

Nonetheless, I think the KDE team did a marvellous job, and too few people understand the sheer size of the KDE4 project (most look no further than the UI!) and they forget how few people actually code in comparison to paid - large projects.

I attended some KDE presentations both at FOSDEM in Brussels, BE (several years) and at T-Dose in Eindhoven, NL. One particular day, I remember how someone from KDevelop4 explained what they were doing (porting to QT4/KDE4 of course!), and how many features were missing.

Then, somebody in the audience asked how many people actually submitted code? "I think now there's eight of us..." was the reply. Consecutively, somebody asked how eight people were able to put together a development environment which was about 'half as elaborate as Eclipse', while at the same time 1000 (!) people were developing for Eclipse.

I think that's the most important reason KDE and it's projects (like KOffice) are sometimes found to be lacking: It's hard to involve people, it's hard to hear the silent majority while ignoring the vocal minority, you can't ask volunteers to ask stuff they don't like, and there's too little contribution to make KDE fix all perceived problems.

Oh, and I should add: parts of KDE 4.6.1 is compiling (or will I hope, after 200 other packages) as I type. Not whole KDE, as I thought 1,2Gb was a bit too outrageous of an amount to compile, but at least the parts I use / like, which is Konqueror (based on WebKit now it seems?), Kontact, KTorrent and some more. So, even before reading the article, I already took Stuart's advice. Let's hope he's right!

Mar 09, 2011
8:27 PM EDT
For Hkwint..........Nevertheless, my sincere thanks Hans for the very kind words you said in the post above, and also again I reiterate that if you hadn't triggered my moves, they wouldn't have happened. Stuart is really the one who deserves even greater gratitude. Without his very thoughtful input including going to members within KDE, the article wouldn't exist. Thanks again, most sincerely.

I also think you have, in your post, outlined something that was implied by the article but never really stressed. It is now my belief that anyone can change the direction of KDE development, but it depends on two things: you must somehow become personally involved in the development of KDE yourself and then propose "directions" that appeal to you. From then on, it's "survival of the fittest" and those "directions" will be taken up if there is sufficient backing. Now I am not a software programmer and therefore I cannot be a developer in the traditional sense, but there is no reason why I could not offer my services for documentation development as I have had experience in that area. And there is my entrance key to suggesting other improvements or innovations. Certainly, from the little I am seeing, I think anyone that would contribute to KDE development (in whatever way they can) would be welcomed with open arms.

I can already think of one thing I would like to change in KDE4 and that is in a menu that you open by right-clicking on the main panel. One of its options asks you if you want to delete that main control panel. Click that accidentally and you are in deep problems if you are a novice because you have just lost all controls. I'd like to see that put in Personal Settings, or alternatively, have two separate "Are you SURE you want to do this ?" steps, not just one. I haven't dared to select it to find out if there is an "are you sure" question, and each time I open that particular menu, it's a sort of "Oh lord, here I am on the razor edge again". I am reasonably sure I could reconstruct the panel, but I don't want to have to do it. So for KDE4 devotees, here is a quick question: if you DO accidentally delete your main control panel, can you get the starting default back exactly as it was ? So that then all you have to do is add your favourite widgets.......


Mar 12, 2011
12:52 PM EDT
Having had the advantage of sitting in the passenger seat for this whole series in which Tony has gone from exploring the structure of the new KDE 4.x software to the structure of KDE project itself I think that the powers that be in KDE could have eased the non-technical users into the 4.x series a lot more painlessly if they really wanted too. If one of the great things about Plasma is that it can be made to act like different OS's then I think something worth working on for the KDE team are 'manuals' that show you how to quickly make any KDE 4.x look and act like OSX, Windows, UNIX, or serendipitously the old KDE 3.5 series even..;-)

Being able to easily make KDE act more familiar will make those 'least astonishments' happen like they should when I start to explore plasma more. Exploring and making changes to a DE I am already familiar with is easier on a non-technical user than being given something totally new and trying to make it look and act the way you are familiar with first..


Mar 12, 2011
3:16 PM EDT
eh fooey on the rants, ignore this.

Mar 12, 2011
3:29 PM EDT
eh fooey on the rants, ignore this one too.

Mar 17, 2011
3:54 AM EDT

I think in either KDE 4.5 or 4.6 plasma gained the ability to add a default panel. When you create a new panel you get to choose whether you want an empty one or the default one:

The default panel looks like this:

Mar 17, 2011
4:53 AM EDT
@hkwint Thanks for the kind words. You are spot on about the difficulties in getting (enough) people involved and then getting work always in the right areas. Perhaps it is one of those 20%-80% things when you compare say KDevelop to Eclipse. 20% of the work creates 80% of the visible features, the other 80% goes into little features not many people use, stability, polish etc etc

@Ridcully It's a bit harder now to accidentally delete a panel - you have to go into a submenu to find the item and the you also get asked whether you are sure you want to remove the panel. I never accidentally lost one in the past, but the ease of access to the remove panel button did bother me a little. As priosrb said, you can also quickly add a default panel now - though the default settings may not suit you of course.

Mar 17, 2011
7:16 AM EDT
@stujarvis (and also @priomsrb)........Many thanks Stuart.......I am currently running in openSUSE11.4 and KDE4.6 in a test installation (this is coming from that setup right now) and using my favourite "cut down and simplistic mode" and it's absolutely lovely. If you follow all the steps I did in the first three articles in my series, it has all "just worked" and now that I know what I am doing and what to do, dead easy. Since this installation is still in "playabout mode", I found out for myself what deleting the panel steps are necessary and how to get a default panel back. It's much better than it was, and even if I accidentally delete the panel, I can get a default one back and adjust it quickly, so: NO PROBLEMS !!!!!! The default suits me fine apart from minor adjustments in height and a little playabout with the clock display......apart from that......great.

In "KDE3.5 mode", KDE4.6 runs like a scalded cat and seems to do everything I could wish.......It's actually now at the point where I almost feel ashamed of the diatribes I pointed at KDE4 to begin with......This is now running smoothly and very well as far as I am concerned.

One little bonus is that my old and bold "Crossover Office" is actually behaving even more nicely in this latest edition as regards the displays, but I don't know whether the cause is KDE or openSUSE drivers......I use version 7.0, (even though it is so old) simply because Photoshop7 runs to perfection in that version.....There are some minor glitches you must deal with, but once you understand what to do, that old version of Crossover just "works".

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