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:
- Dot stories
- Mailing lists and IRC channels
- Screen shots and videos
- Developer sprint reports
- Commit Digest summaries
- 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.