Mailinglist Archive: opensuse-project (68 mails)

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Re: [opensuse-project] openFATE feature 306967, KDE default
  • From: "Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier" <jzb@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 31 Jul 2009 09:43:06 -0400
  • Message-id: <81d32afc0907310643j33c90e71he3de4dac02568869@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
On Fri, Jul 31, 2009 at 8:06 AM, Michael Loeffler<michl@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
There are pretty many pros and cons and even more people with their opinion
about the feature

Indeed. :-)

Here's my opinion -- also published on my blog here:

(Note -- this is my opinion, which is why it's on my personal blog +
not on Spotlight...)

The most popular feature in openFATE[1] (at least of this writing) is a
proposal from KDE e.V. member Frank Karlitschek to make KDE the "default" in
openSUSE. Michael Loeffler has also blogged about this[2] and put it on
the opensuse-project mailing list.

A couple of arguments have been given in favor of this proposal, but none that
are particularly compelling. Let's look at some of the reasons that have been
put forward by Frank:

* It is confusing for new Linux users if they have to decide between KDE and
GNOME during the installation.

* Unique Selling Point. It is important for openSUSE to provide something
that Ubuntu and Fedora don´t provide. It would be beneficial for openSUSE to
be the only big KDE distribution.

* This could attract more developers because KDE developers need a nice
distribution to develop on.

* This would increase the popularity of openSUSE in the KDE user community.
The negative impact on the GNOME community is not that bad because Ubuntu is
the most popular GNOME distribution.


The first point, that it's "confusing for new Linux users," has some merit --
choice means having to think about the relative merits of the options put
forward, and since most new Linux users don't have a lot of information to
decide it probably _is_ **mildly_ _**confusing. But limiting choice, in my
opinion, isn't the best option -- the best option here is to _do a better job_
at informing new users. Or, perhaps, encouraging new users to grab a live CD
instead of the DVD and _test drive both_ before making a decision.

The next point, that this would be a "unique selling point," because Fedora
and Ubuntu don't provide a default KDE desktop is not convincing at
all. We have a
"unique selling point," now -- which is we offer two outstanding desktop
environments to choose from at install time. (And, of course, Xfce and other
Window Managers if you delve a bit deeper…)

And of course, there's Kubuntu -- which provides KDE as its default. So, how
unique would we be again?

**For me, our selling point is choice:** Come for GNOME, come for KDE, we have
both, plus Xfce, and a whole slew of other great software (like YaST, Zypper,
etc.) and project tools (the openSUSE Build Service).

More developers, really? Promise?

Point three (attract more developers) is sort of the main point of interest
for me. We all want to see more contributors to openSUSE, so _if _this was
likely to attract more developers, it might be worth considering.

But why would this attract more KDE developers? Apparently because we'd be
sending a political statement that we put KDE above GNOME. Nothing would
change, technically -- we'd just be giving the KDE option a bit more oomph.
This doesn't make openSUSE's KDE any better in and of itself. It doesn't
provide any technical tools that make openSUSE better for developers.

openSUSE is _already_ a "nice distribution to develop on." We're extremely
KDE-friendly, we have a great KDE implementation, and we have the openSUSE
Build Service. Thanks to our existing KDE community, we're one of the first
distros to have KDE packages (damn good ones) following each KDE release that
are dead-easy to install on the testing distro and on the stable releases. I'm
not knocking the other distros here -- just saying, it seems to me that all of
the components for a great KDE distro already exist in openSUSE -- minus the
political flag that says "we like KDE better than GNOME, we recommend KDE over
GNOME" or whatever.

The flip side of that is -- will we lose GNOME developers (or other developers
who work on other tools but prefer the GNOME desktop) because of this
statement? I think that's likely.

Which brings me to the final point:

Increase popularity of openSUSE in KDE user community?

This may be the case. If we make KDE our "default," it might well inspire some
brand loyalty to openSUSE amongst KDE users. Again - what's been proposed
doesn't make our KDE better (or worse) it just means that the project has
decided to recommend one above the other.

openSUSE has been extremely supportive of the KDE user community. We're
shipping two KDE desktops in 11.1 (and 11.0 before it) because we wanted to
provide the right desktop for our KDE users who wanted the "classic" KDE or
the new KDE. That wasn't something that many other distros did. Actually, I
don't know of any other distros shipping both releases at the same time, but
with so many distros out there… let's just say none of the "major" distros
have taken this path.

The second half, though, is what I disagree with most strongly: "_negative
impact on the GNOME community is not that bad because Ubuntu is the most
popular GNOME distribution_."

The impact on the overall GNOME community may not be that great. The impact on
the openSUSE GNOME community, though, is not going to be good. How many of our
contributors are going to feel alienated because their platform of choice has
been downgraded to second choice? How many users will choose Ubuntu because
we're signaling that GNOME is (ever so slightly) less important to us. If this
is of great importance to KDE developers and users that we choose one over the
other, then the logical assumption is there's going to be equal backlash from
GNOME developers and users at being the second choice.

Granted -- there's no real change in the quality or availability of the
desktops in either case -- it's the political signal that we prefer one over
the other. Sometimes a political signal is a good thing. Given two equal
choices, I'll shop at or patronize businesses that signal (for instance) that
they're politically progressive, or that they support the environment, etc.

If the issue was merely sending a pro-KDE message, I'd be quite in favor. But
it's not neutral to GNOME (in my opinion) because we're effectively choosing
one over the other -- even if that's not the spirit in which it's intended
(and I like to think that Frank is trying to send a pro-KDE message, not an
anti-GNOME message), I'm concerned that it will be interpreted wrongly.

I appreciate the desire to make openSUSE a welcome home for KDE developers and
users. I just think we could find a better way to accomplish it.



Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier <jzb@xxxxxxxxxx>
openSUSE Community Manager:
Blogs: |
Twitter: jzb | Identica: jzb
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