KDE 4.0: revolution or hype?

Big improvements to come in 4.1 release

The next-generation of the KDE open source project, version 4.0, has been touted as the beginning of a new era in desktop computing, but only two months from the first release some users are wondering if it's just all hype.

As reported by Computerworld, KDE 4.0 will bring a collection of new technologies to the Linux and Unix desktop, but there are uncertainties around how much of it will be included in the initial release.

KDE user Andreas Pakulat expressed doubt about how the release will take shape in a blog post titled "Where's the KDE4 desktop?".

"There's still [two] months of work happening and KDE 4.0 is not primarily targeted at the broad user base that KDE4 is [but] still I think the desktop is not in the shape I would've liked to see it for the 4.0 release," Pakulat wrote, adding a few applications crash a second after starting.

Pakulat is also disappointed with the new system settings application and the new Oxygen style.

"I can't see myself 'eating the KDE dogfood' before 4.1 at the moment - at least not unless there's some major improvement in the next [two] months," he wrote.

Responding to the claims, spokesperson for the KDE project Sebastian Kugler told Computerworld the problems identified by Pakulat are "mostly small issues".

"For example, all those crashes in applications he reports might have one and the same bug as a cause," Kugler said. "I've used most of the applications some time ago, and they're not that bad."

Kugler is unhappy with the blog post because "it's not a problem to state which problems there are".

"Sure, it's beta, it inevitably has problems, but stating 'I'll not use if until 4.1' is very wrong and does harm," he said in an e-mail interview. "We need to eat our own dogfood [and] we need to be annoyed by bugs and see them in the first place and fix them, rather than whine about them."

Furthermore, Kugler believes if nobody uses the KDE4 desktop, it will never become stable enough to tell the users "this is ready for consumption".

Will KDE 4.0 be a revolution or hype? That depends on a person's definition of revolution, according to Kugler, because everything that was "hyped" is already there.

"4.0 will probably not be the revolution, and we won't take over the world in one day," he said. "We will, however, increase the profile and the market share of the free desktop significantly over the KDE4 cycle. An important point one needs to remember is that KDE 4.0 is only the beginning. It'll be the first desktop to be exposed to the user, and it's the base for our work for the next, say, five years."

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Rodney Gedda

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