16 April 2009

What Could Open Source Do With $9.1 Billion?

I have just found this article which discusses the fact that Microsoft will spend $9.1 Billion on R&D this year. It makes the point of what Open Source could do with that kind of money.

The one point made in the article and one with which I totally agree is that with that kind of money open source developers could start looking to solve the issues that regularly stump people when using a Linux based system for the first time. As great as a lot of software is some applications do not implement the obvious functionality that a "user" would expect and the usability and documentation leave a lot to be desired.

It's a shame that as a community we can not raise money to drive development. I know we have a number of large companies that drive corporate Linux but perhaps the FOSS community needs it's own R&D budget that projects could request money from to have features added? Sort of Bounties on steroids?

7 April 2009

KDE 4.2 Hits Debian (Sid)

It appears from a number of posts I am seeing around the net that KDE 4.2 is now available in Sid.

This may make me look at Sidux again as it was a great easy to set up little distro. Ideal for my work laptop.

6 April 2009

KDE vs Gnome.... The Jack Wallen Article.

It seems like most people have a view on this article so here is mine.....

1./ "KDE 4 was rubbish". OK so I many have summed this point up but the reason being is that KDE is 15 months old and not the same code as KDE 4.2. KDE 4 was a release which the project quite clearly stated was not for public consumption. It was solely released to allow developers to get involved and see what would be required to port their applications to the new code base. It was released as a point release because that was what it was. It was a complete rewrite which was based on a new version of the Qt toolkit. If users decided to try it great (did they report bugs? Some did the rest just moaned). The sentence that reduces me most to laughter is that "KDE was (and is) the first-ever “Microsofting” of the Linux desktop." This, in an article on GNOME which now builds it's apps in Mono. Enough said!

2./ Start menu.....? Out of the whole desktop (and it's associated applications) the best Jack can find to pick bones with is the start menu. OK I can understand what he is saying but at least if I am unhappy with the Start menu I can change it (Lancelot anyone?) or even switch it back to a KDE 3 style menu. Not that I have tried recently but I could not change the menu setup in GNOME last time I tried (which I admit is a very very long time ago so feel free to tell me if I am wrong).

3./ Dolphin. Not sure if Jack realises Konqueror and Dolphin share the same code base for file management tasks. If all he can moan about here is the rating features, well next....

4./ So by the sound of it there will be nothing new in GNOME 3. Porting Qt 3 to Qt 4 required a massive amount of code changing and being refactored for new functionality and features. Gtk is providing flags to enforce Gtk 3 compatibility, I can see lots to new stuff in Gtk3 then! Additionally, people get involved in open source for various reasons and if people want to port KDE to Windows and Mac OS then great, go for it, it will only enhance the project. However, if KDE prevented those ports the developers working on them would not necessary if work on the main Linux project. People are not being removed from core coding duties to work on these ports so it's just yet another pointless, erm, point!

5./ What a completely pointless comparison. "According to the developers, KDE 4 uses approximately 39% less memory than KDE 3.5 does. GNOME 2.24, on the other hand, uses less memory than KDE 4. On my running system, from a fresh log in, KDE reveals 1268876 K memory usage in GNOME vs. 1279348 K memory usage in KDE 4. That is a change of 10472 K." Does he mention widgets, theming, anything remotely technical.... no. If your going to benchmark to geeks on a geek site (which lets face it TechRublic is) then do it right or be ignored.

6./ Widgets. No I can safely say I have never been told or read anything by KDE which says I have to use them. If you decide to cover your desktop with them great. If you want to use only 1 then thats fine. Personally I don't use a great deal thats my choice. Oh and by the way I believe we did not emulate Mac OS but rather we can use Mac OS widgets (and Superkarumba) on the Plasma desktop.

7./ I have customised my panel, I'm not sure what the problem is. OK some options that where there in KDE 3 are yet to be implemented. Some are not going to be. My (plain vanilla Arch packages) KDE is set up just the way I want it. Panel resized, theme applied. A second panel at the top (50%) with various widgets, different wallpaper .... I'll stop. There may be some options not quite there yet but I have 110% more control than a Windows user. I wonder if Jack knows KDE 4.2 is out....?

8./ What is in your system tray is up to you and your distro. On my Arch setup I have KMixer, Kopete (I added that), KOrganiser, WICD (which appears when it's loaded because I set it to load in the background), KWallet and Shaman (package manager front end). If Fedora decides to load your system tray up with junk then you shouldn't blame KDE. They provide the means not the madness!

9./ Confused :S If I build GNOME from source does that include Open Office?? Firefox ?? hmmmm I will have to try that ;) I have to say I though that GNOME used GNOME Office. Could it be that Fedora once again has changed the defaults?!?!? Firefox and Open Office will always be the darlings of OSS due to the fact they draw users to Linux from Windows.

10./ KDE does not equal Vista. I am totally confused by this and having had my wife ask me to remove Vista (on a brand new CoreDuo2 it ran like a retarded grub worm) and replace it with XP I can say hand on heart the two couldn't be further from the truth. I'm not sure what make Jack think that the desktops look the same. If I change my KDE wallpaper for a Windows one does that mean I am running Windows? KDE 4 has been building on the solid foundations of the KDE 4 release. With features and bug releases improving the code all the time KDE 5 will remain a long way off. History will look back on Vista for what it was. A badly designed, feature incomplete release that failed to motivate anyone other than Microsoft fan boys/girls to upgrade. XP is still more popular. Windows 7 is what Windows Vista should have been. Windows will continue to ship bloated poor quality software until Microsoft realise that it's time to ditch a 20 year old kernel and base operating system. GNOME could end up going the same way, maybe not but they do not seem to have an desire to move forward and bring new ideas to the desktop.

I have nothing against GNOME. I really don't. I have just always loved KDE's approach and community. I find the article a joke really. It's nothing more than one mans biased (and non technical) view of KDE 4 and a flame starter. The trouble is that it's a flame war which has already been done and dusted and to be honest no one's really bothered. However, if your going to write an article like this then you have to expect people to reply to it.

For my next post I will write how GNOME came about as a response to KDE, how it was written in a toolkit designed for, um, designers and how they have fought Microsoft by adopting Mono (anb C#) as a major development platform. ;)