What will KDE 4.0 be?

September 19, 2007

Rumor has it that KDE 4.0 will be released into the Wild ™ within 3 months. And there are still open questions about the perceived set of features and stability. Such is the nature of the Open Source Beast. A feature seen as a certainty two years ago may be questionable six months ago and doubtful today. Yet people may cite a mailing list thread or an IRC conversation from days gone by: “On February 5th at 12:30, Matt Rogers thought that Kopete would be able to transform into Megatron using QTransform. This is bullshit!” To my faithful readers, I promise you: To the best of your knowledge, there is no KDE community conspiracy to announce ideas and features and purposefully not implement them in KDE 4.0. That you know of.

I personally have witnessed several situations where people have family emergencies, literally family emergencies…and either try to do what they’ve promised on time or apologized. They actually apologize for having a family emergency get in the way of KDE progress. Can you imagine? And yet they stay silent when message board jousters worry about whether Application A will have sexy new feature B.

So what will KDE 4.0 be? It’ll be the best we as a community can make it. And it’ll be an awesome foundation for the next several years’ worth of releases. No more and no less. To speculate as to whether a certain user type should trust KDE 4.0 as their default desktop or whether a particular distro should use KDE 4.0 as a default immediately may still not be crystalline even in this late hour. But I have a clear conscience, because we’ve been promoting nothing but honesty from a marketing perspective since inception. KDE doesn’t have customers, it has friends and family. Why would we try to bullshit our user base?

When I worked downtown at Accenture I had window that overlooked a skyscraper construction project. I got to watch an old 10 story build be torn down and slowly replaced by a 30 story building, day by day. I could see the incremental progress, but I never saw a blueprint of the final design. Press, media, enthusiasts and community members have all had access to progress day by day though:

  • Blogs
  • Dot stories
  • Mailing lists and IRC channels
  • Screen shots and videos
  • Developer sprint reports
  • Conferences
  • Commit Digest summaries
  • Interviews
  • Live CDs and virtual images of beta releases

We made a commitment to stay relevant through a very long release cycle through these channels and I think we’ve done that. It’s because our community has been superb at sharing their interests and progress that we’re on the tech sites daily, not because we’re overselling something we won’t deliver. In the world of the cathartic Cathedral and the bizarre Bazaar, we may not have a formal blueprint of the final design to show you. But you’ve watched the incremental progress every step of the way. Is there anything I can promise? Yes: KDE 4.0 is not the finished skyscraper. Not by a long shot.

Marketing for Dummies


5 Responses to “What will KDE 4.0 be?”

  1. Filip Says:

    Let’s start by saying that I, personally, believe that KDE4 was marketed very well. KDE4 really has sparked a lot of interest. There’s plenty to read on the dot and on Planet KDE every day. With all that exposure comes a lot of critisism. The open source community is not used to working like this. They were used to working in the open, yes, but in a very narrow niche. This limits the exposure quite a bit.

    Of course KDE 4.0 won’t be a finished construct. Like Vista wasn’t all that finished when it was released. For a while, KDE3 will be KDE4’s biggest competitor (PS2 vs PS3, XP vs Vista). Don’t worry about it! Dare to say the wow starts now even if it takes two servicepacks to clean up the program! We understand stuff won’t be perfect on release, if you want perfect, go with KDE3 for now. But it’s going to be great, and you shouldn’t be afraid of showing that you are proud of what will be achieved.

    Remember that the not-so-vocal majority is very excited and has quite a bit of confidence in the KDE-team.


  2. mr troll Says:

    KDE has not been marketed at all. Marketing is all about understanding the customer (the need) and the product (the offering) and integrating those two. KDE folks has no clue of their customers. All they have are an other nerds and engineers, which is the path to destruction. Especially the usability of KDE is plain horrible, but also the actual feature priorisation (what to build) is plain awkward.

  3. A KDE Advocate Says:

    @mr troll

    “Munich’s KDE distribution LiMux has been certified to meet the international usability standard ISO 9241. The use of KDE 3 as an “effective, efficient and satisfactory” working environment is named as a decisive factor for passing the certification.”

    Source: Munich’s KDE Desktops Usability Certified

    So take your lies and FUD shove them where they belong!

  4. Aron Stansvik Says:

    Great post! But I think you forgot a pretty important item on that list there:

    * The code.


  5. […] months ago, I wrote this blog entry about the pending 4.0 release.  I’d like you to go back and reread it.  Sure, I’m only asking mainly to get some […]

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