Mailinglist Archive: opensuse-project (783 mails)

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[opensuse-project] Re: openFATE feature 306967, KDE default
  • From: Jim Henderson <hendersj@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 2 Aug 2009 23:38:39 +0000 (UTC)
  • Message-id: <h5581u$tn8$2@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
On Mon, 03 Aug 2009 00:36:56 +0200, Gerald Pfeifer wrote:

On Sun, 2 Aug 2009, Jim Henderson wrote:
Lubos, you keep saying this, but how does an equal selection imply one
is more important than the other? I really don't follow your logic

The desktop environment selection in the installer is the sole and very
prominent case where we don't provide a default choice of technology
(or, in fact, where we highlight technology options at that level).

But at the same time, the desktop selection is a *personal* choice and
reflects the users' preferences. Lubos prefers KDE, so he is free to
choose that. I prefer GNOME, so I'm free to chose that.

Let me bring another idea to the conversation.

It has been argued (not in this discussion, but elsewhere) that the
complexity of KDE's multiple options is something that overwhelms new

Now, new user coming to Linux installed openSUSE 11.2 (or later) and KDE4
is the default selection. First impressions of new users about Linux
*could* (I'm not saying will, because I haven't used KDE4 very much at
all myself) be that Linux is complex, difficult, and while it provides a
lot of customization options, they find the multitude of options
confusing. So the first impression is "Linux is complex and difficult"
because KDE isn't developed for the "new user", it's developed (as I
understand it) for the *experienced* Linux user.

*I'm* a better fit for the target audience for KDE than someone who's
never used Linux before.

Next, there's bound to be a bunch of hacked off KDE3 fanboys who would
prefer to see KDE4 relegated to a second option because it's not mature/
not ready/not as flexible/doesn't work the way they're used to things
working. So once a decision is taken that KDE becomes the "default"
selection, now it becomes a discussion of *which* KDE becomes the default.

So now we get an additional level of complexity. Do we go with the shiny
new KDE4 so openSUSE is perceived as cutting edge, or do we go with the
stable/established KDE3 release because it better meets the needs of KDE

At what point does the discussion about the default selection stop?

We do not have this for postfix vs sendmail vs exim, vi vs Emacs vs
Xemacs, nor many others.

This is true, but these components also are expert usage components -
people who prefer sendmail over postfix (or vice versa) are *experienced*
users who know the pros and cons of using one over the other and have
made a conscious choice because of their installation's needs. The DE
selection is something that influences every user, new and experienced,
and is the most visible piece.

And while this is not the topic of the present
discussion, it can and has been argued that skipping the entire dialog
by default like we do in all those other cases would simplify
installation, especially for non-expert users. To be clear, I am not
suggesting such a more drastic change though it would make sense from a
usability point of view. Sometimes community trumps usability.

I would think that usability would be the #1 end goal - if a system is
unusable (or less usable, don't take my comment to imply that KDE has
usability issues, I don't believe it does), if the goal is to grow the
community, than usability should trump community. I guess it depends on
whether you want to satisfy an existing community to the extent that that
satisfaction trumps increasing the size of the community dramatically.

SUSE has gone through a lot of transformation over the years - moving
from being (as I understand/recall) a Slack-derived distribution to using
RPM for package management. I'm sure at the time that happened, many of
the existing community hated the change, citing instances of "RPM hell
similar to Windows' DLL hell", problems with dependency resolution, etc,
etc, etc. Yet the change was made to use RPM because that's what was
decided would move the distribution forward.

Jim Henderson
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