KDE 4.0 communications: still sleeping well
July 9, 2008
Ten months ago, the Marble (that ones for you Sebas and Tackat) was a very different place: Ace of Base was still popular, France and Britain were still at war over the Kashmir, and scientists had just discovered the “crazy” gene through protein synthesis.
Ten 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 easy blog hits on my counter. But also because I fancy myself to be a technical Nostrodamus. God I’m slow, I just realized what his name meant; I think I just proved myself wrong.
In particular, the title to this blog refers to sleeping soundly every night, because of the line “But I have a clear conscience, because we’ve been promoting nothing but honesty from a marketing perspective since inception.” Did we hit or miss on some features or level of perceived stability that we predicted/estimated/projected? Sure, you can’t always be right 100% of the time, unless for example you’re the creator of Parley and you code it that way. We tried to be accurate – beta and RC announcements showed actual screenshots and had disclaimers. Troy reported on actual SVN code in his series of articles. We were quite cognizant of this effort. Trust me, I loaded the early beta liveCDs and tried them.
The hype and excitement we tried to generate? Who could that have been for? Hint: “The aim of the KDE project for the 4.0 release is to put the foundations in place for future innovations on the Free Desktop. The many newly introduced technologies incorporated in the KDE libraries will make it easier for developers to add rich functionality to their applications, combining and connecting different components in any way they want.” Did it work? As Sebas recently blogged about, our intrepid sysadmins noted 166 new svn accounts this year. That’s nearly a new account every day. Nearly a new account every day since 4.0 was released. 166 coding and contributing freshmen admitted with aspirations of an advanced degree in kicking ass.
Think about the blogs you’ve read on the planet over the past year. Slowly but surely, developers and community members announced “Personally, KDE 4.0.X is now stable enough for my needs, I’ve switched over.” And it of course depends on the person. Some still aren’t there. I’m not. I checked on the recent liveCDs and we’re getting close. The debate is whether I find 4.1 stable enough to switch right before heading out to Akademy. But I’m getting close.
We in the MWG are frequently talking about the technology curve. Those brave core, veteran KDE developers may have switched over even before the release to help personally identify bugs during use. Then over the last 6 months more and more developers are starting to use 4.0.X. Now we start to get reviews that openSUSE provides what many consider to be the first somewhat stable 4.0.X experience. Complaints are shifting from “I logged in and my monitor immediately blew up” to less severe “it’s still kinda slow and buggy” to “the panel doesn’t work the way I expect”. A little better all the time (Beatles reference).
There will be plenty more to read on our reflections on the start to the KDE 4 era, I can promise you that. But I just wanted to blog quickly because of the image Sebas posted from an old, original (and collectable!) “Don’t Look Back” series. We’re in the upcoming months (KDE 4.1.X and 4.2.X) getting to the part of the technology curve where early adopters will find that KDE 4 best suits their needs. They’ll be ready for some pain points to reap the benefits, and they’ll be evangelists and advocates by the potential they see. They’re already springing up. These people are yet more potential future contributors, and they get general computing use cases. When they burn a CD the differences between K3B, Brasero and Nero interfaces don’t phase them. Hint: If you’re complaining that folderview is confusing, you may not be in this group. That image isn’t about baiting users into trying a version we know will give them a bad first impression, it’s about targetting savvy users that like challenges and like to learn and like to be early adopters.