Bashing KDE has become the new black. I’m pretty sure that it started out as legitimate concerns about KDE’s direction, and then some out-of-control internet flamers/trolls/foaming at the mouth crazy people jumped on the bandwagon. By now, KDE4 is actually the AntiChrist and we will all be murdered in our beds.
Let’s back up here for a bit. KDE 4.0 was by no means a stable, feature complete release, so releasing it with a “4.0” number was a bad idea. I think we can all agree on that.
But to be fair, the KDE devs told everyone at the time that it wasn’t stable or feature complete. Of course, people went ahead and installed it anyway. Even more baffling, some distributions included it in their releases, sometimes as the only KDE alternative. Possibly some people at the helm of Fedora were very high when they decided to do that.
Enter the complaints: “This is not stable or feature complete!”. Well, duh.
Unfortunately, the complaints went further than that. What the KDE devs are trying to do is to radically change the way we use our desktop, and people don’t like change. I can actually understand this. As far as I can see, getting used to KDE 4 will take some time…but then again, the same applied to switching from Windows to KDE, from KDE to GNOME, from GNOME to Openbox…you get used to everything. Change isn’t necessarily change for the worse.
Again, I can understand why people complain here. It’s only natural. But it’s not just complaints, is it? I’ve seen people on message boards demanding from the KDE devs that they keep things the way they want them to be. Worse, I’ve seen someone claiming that he wouldn’t touch KDE again until he got an apology from the KDE devs, for screwing up his beloved KDE. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, but don’t ask me for more examples. I tried to stay away from the KDE4 hoopla, but it’s just impossible.
And now some people want to fork KDE. I think it was Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols who first suggested it, and now this guy suggests exactly the same thing (while presenting it as his own idea, mind you). Forking KDE, what a great idea. They probably hugged themselves in their sleep when they dreamed that one up.
As can be expected, reactions are divided. Some people think it’s a great idea, smart people point out that it’s impossible. See, the ones who do want KDE forked, don’t want to do it themselves. They don’t have the time. Or the knowledge. That’s because nobody does.
Consider the work that goes into developing KDE. We’re not talking about an abandoned music player, or a chat client, or an office suite, or even a graphical server. It’s an entire desktop environment! Companies like Trolltech, Novell and Mandriva employ developers to work on it, and there are many, many others who work on KDE as a volunteer. I think “thousands” isn’t an exaggeration here, not when you consider all other projects that use KDE as an umbrella, like K3b and Amarok.
Furthermore, KDE is sponsored, and not by small names. We’re talking about Intel, Novell and Mark Shuttleworth here. How are you going to match that?
You won’t. But hey, that stuff isn’t important anyway. Let’s all think of names for our new KDE instead.
In the end, it doesn’t matter what people think anyway. We don’t decide what the direction of KDE will be, the developers do. Should they listen to what users want? Yes. But they’re the ones doing the work, and the final decision of how things will be done is up to them. If they’re as spectacularly wrong as some people would like us to believe, KDE4 will be used by absolutely nobody, and the KDE devs will realise their failure and commit suicide. KDE 3.5 will be forked and remain just as it is now forever and ever until the end of time and possibly beyond. Problem solved.
I for one will wait until KDE 4.1 comes out, and I’ll give it a fair chance. If I like it, I’ll use it. If I don’t, I’ll use one of the alternatives.
But that’s probably just me being too rational about it.