KDE Hopes for a Flood of Ideas

A project that has no goals — no bugs to fix, no features to implement — has only stagnation to look forward to. The best prevention for this kind of stagnation is an active community of users who are quick to share what they want with the developers — even if there is the occasional users vs. devs feature stalemate. The KDE Project has no shortage of community-contributed ideas, and to keep the concepts flowing freely, the powers-that-be have implemented a new feature of their own: A designated section of the KDE Community Forums christened The "Brainstorm" Forum.

What exactly will be taking place in this special forum? A mix of things really. The initial step will resemble a digital suggestion box, with users encouraged to post their hopes and dreams — well, alright, most desired features — which will then go into a moderation queue. Forum staff will perform a triage of sorts, reviewing all submissions and removing duplicates, spam, and such — though not explicitly stated, one presumes removals will be limited to such "clutter" and will not involve decisions on legitimate requests. Once a request has been approved, it will move to community voting, where other members of the KDE community will have the opportunity to support or oppose the feature request — within the bounds of the community's Code of Conduct, of course.

At regular intervals, the most-supported requests will be passed to the KDE developers for consideration. Of course, whether the feature is implemented will still hinge on the availability of a developer to code it and the willingness of the developers as a whole to permit it. However, by organizing feature requests apart from the developers — rather than mingling them in a bug-tracker — the community reduces the administrative workload on its programmers, providing them with more time to code the requested features.

Moreover, having an organized system of community voting will make the community's wishes much clearer, and perhaps reduce the number of features doomed to the dreaded "wontfix" pile. It's easy enough to toss aside something with supporters measured in single digits; it's altogether another when it's double-digits — in percentages. After all, if enough users want something, they'll eventually get it, one way or another.

For now, the system is being described as a "first public test run" — a beta, if you will — and all KDE users are encouraged to visit the new forum, try it out, and share their thoughts on the process. A reminder, though, from those powers-that-be: The Brainstorm is for feature requests only — crashes, crunches, and other miscellaneous catastrophes should continue to be fed to Bugzilla.


Justin Ryan is a Contributing Editor for Linux Journal.


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My idea: No more KDE!

Anonymous's picture

This is a rant! :)
Before the arrival of KDE4x I had used KDE for about 10 years non-stop on different distros, and no intention to change. At work I am looking after 50-60 (development) linux desktops, and could mostly rely on, that when you updated the machines the functionality would be roughly the same.
The update to KDE4x came as a shock, and we had user questions/complaints to no end. One week we decided to bite the bullet. While some users actually quite appreciated the eye-candy, but when it came down to taking part of the systems performance, many got stroppy, because they could do the work no longer the way they used to. There were also issues and comments about the interface intuitiveness or the lack thereof. So finally we decided to do without KDE, and for me it was a sad day. From my point of view it looks like great effort by the KDE developers, but straight over the heads of my users, so it appears.

Within 1 week we migrated all machines to Gnome and installed from there Xfce. Contrary to Gnome and KDE, Xfce does not come with a lot of applications, but it looked robust and functional enough to satisfy our needs. The application problems we solved by installing desktop-independent substitute tools, with functionality comparable to the old KDE35. Wow, its been a bit of a ride, but so far we are going strong.
To the KDE-folks: whatever the problems with KDE3.5 were, to my users they appeared to have been smaller than the issues with the new desktop.
My idea for the KDE devs: next time you intend to radically change the user interface, give the users a choice, in case they think there wasn't so much to improve on in the first place.

My idea

Boudewijn's picture

My idea for you, since you are obviously a sysadmin for a large company is this: why the deuce did you decide to update to KDE4 despite all of the messages you, as a professional, _must_ have had before 4.2 was released which was, clearly, announced as the first release of KDE4 for the majority of end users. Which it simply is. If offers compelling advantages over any other desktop environment. KDE 3.5.10 was only released last year, in August.

You were using Fedora, perhaps? And blindly updating to the latest version whenever it came out? You failed as a professional, really. And now you take a completely unrelated news item to trot out the same tired, uninformed rant that's been posted all over the internet by a smallish group of people who should have know better, could have know better and frankly, must have known better: I don't believe their protestations of ignorance for one moment.

Because of your lack of professionalism, dear Anonymous, you have saddled your users with an inferior working system.