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KDE GUI Technology

KDE Rebrands, Introduces KDE Plasma Desktop 364

Posted by timothy
from the postitioning-for-clarity dept.
Jiilik Oiolosse writes "The KDE community has killed the term K Desktop Environment (previously the Kool Desktop Environment). 'KDE' had previously ambiguously referred to both the community, and the complete set of programs and tools produced by the KDE community which together formed a desktop user interface. This set of tools, including the window manager, panels and configuration utilities, which KDE terms a 'workspace,' will now be shipped under the term 'KDE Plasma Desktop.' This allows KDE to ship a separate workspace called 'Plasma Netbook,' and independently market the various KDE applications as usable in any workspace, whether it be the Plasma Desktop, Windows, or XFCE."
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KDE Rebrands, Introduces KDE Plasma Desktop

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  • Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @06:02PM (#30231072)
    That won't be confusing.
    I say that as a KDE user.
  • Clarity? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cgenman (325138) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @06:06PM (#30231094) Homepage

    Great! Now Linux will still have two major competing desktops. But now one of them could be one of several separate versions, or some applications on a different desktop, or a version of Windows running Koffice. Thanks, clarity committee!

    • by FooAtWFU (699187)
      Ah, it'll be fine. We'll just rename the alternative windowing system's distribution 'Plasmubuntu'.

      (*shudder*)

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by R.Mo_Robert (737913)

      Thanks, Klarity Kommittee!

      There, fixed that for you.

    • by vlm (69642)

      Thanks, clarity committee!

      Uh, that would be "klarity", not "clarity" thanks.

    • Re:Clarity? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheModelEskimo (968202) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @06:27PM (#30231252)
      Two? Linux will always have a million+ competing desktops. Linux is there to be customized, man, from the kernel on up. The fact that we currently think of the desktop as some specific thing is messing you up. Think about workflows. Think about a personal brand of work-fu or play-fu that you develop in partnership with your Linux machines. Your workflow is so good, you take on an apprentice to teach it to. He's thanking his lucky stars that someone who can create workflow experiences like you can would be willing to let him in the door to learn the trade.

      I've said it before: You talk like Windows(TM) and Mac OS (TM) are these wonderful things because they're monoliths. But we've learned from monoliths and their creators that there is no "clarity" in that direction, only broken promises. One size doesn't fit all. The new landscape of devices and interfaces will give you clarity and specificity in exchange for your old monolith. If you won't trade it in, prepare to be left in the dust.

      We'll look back at monolithic desktop computing and wonder what on earth kind of idiots we were to sit in front of this thing all day, all using the same basic type of chair, same keyboard with carpal tunnel syndrome included, and interfaces that worked like something only a masochist would use.

      Anyway, back to writing another Nautilus script.
      • Re:Clarity? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by camperdave (969942) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @06:38PM (#30231364) Journal
        One size does fit all from a support point of view. If I want to walk a windows user through changing the desktop resolution, it's easy. If I want to find out which printer is their default printer, again easy. Good luck doing those in linux. Everything is all over the place. Linux will not gain mainstream acceptance until it is easy to support.
        • by Korin43 (881732)
          Question 1: To get to your applications, there is a button on the top or bottom corner of the screen. Is it a K or a foot print? After that ask questions related to KDE or Gnome. It's not that difficult. Much easier in fact than convincing someone to tell you what version of Windows they have.
          • Question 1: To get to your applications, there is a button on the top or bottom corner of the screen. Is it a K or a foot print?

            "It's a ring with three balls at the corners." Am I running Ubuntu Desktop (with GNOME Desktop) or Kubuntu Desktop (with KDE Plasma Desktop)?

            After that ask questions related to KDE or Gnome. It's not that difficult. Much easier in fact than convincing someone to tell you what version of Windows they have.

            "Hold the Windows key (that's the one with the flag next to Alt) and press R. Release all keys, type w i n v e r, and press Enter." Easier, but "much easier"?

        • by Gordonjcp (186804)

          Everything is all over the place. Linux will not gain mainstream acceptance until it is easy to support.

          If you're in a situation where you need to support a lot of Linux machines, use the same desktop on all of them. If someone wants to use something else, make it clear that you won't be able to walk them through common fixes. Don't be a dick about it though; if someone wants the login details for the IMAP server, don't say "oh I can't tell you because I can't walk you through how to set up kmail", just

          • That's all well and good if you're in charge of the user's machine. What happens if you're a printer manufacturer? Are you going to force a user to use KDE so that you can talk them through which icons to click to get the printer working?
            • They now have to support Windows XP, Vista and now Seven. Supporting both Gnome and KDE doesn't seem much, and that covers what, 90% of the users?

        • Hm, you're looking at next week; my post is looking at next decade. The "support" you offer now will be vastly different, and changing screen resolution will be long obsolete except in enthusiast (read: hacker) markets.

          The futuristic thing most closely related to screen resoluation is screen magnification, which will have been abstracted even further from the hardware in 10 years. If you've already used a system that has it, you might know why it's better, and different.
        • Re:Clarity? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by causality (777677) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @07:11PM (#30231652)

          One size does fit all from a support point of view. If I want to walk a windows user through changing the desktop resolution, it's easy. If I want to find out which printer is their default printer, again easy. Good luck doing those in linux. Everything is all over the place. Linux will not gain mainstream acceptance until it is easy to support.

          What follows is my personal opinion. Ideally, Linux can be the one (or one of the few) environment that caters to users who are technically inclined, know what they're doing, and either already know how to handle desktop resolutions and printers or are willing to combine basic literacy with Google in order to inform themselves. Users who don't want to learn how the machine works already have two major systems designed specifically for them: Windows and OSX. To me it makes perfect sense that Linux would be Open Source because Microsoft and Apple both recognize that the real money is gained by appealing to the general public and the general public is nearly technophobic.

          I say that because I strongly believe that anyone who is literate and has access to Google can inform themselves. There is no conspiracy or secret cabal trying to hide any of the information one would need in order to understand any system I have named. It's out there, it's available, and it's accessible; it's purely a case of the average person not wanting to utilize it or otherwise to educate themselves. These are the folks who find "easy to use" and "supported by a vendor"** worth paying for. Therefore, the beauty of Open Source allows Linux to exist independently of the financial success of any particular company or organization so there is no reason to appease a crowd that major vendors already cater to. I also don't believe Linux could hope to displace Windows on the desktop without sacrificing many of the things I really enjoy about it. For these reasons, I am not concerned with whether Linux will ever bankrupt Microsoft and I don't view that as its purpose.


          ** I am far less familiar with OSX so I'll limit my comment here to Windows and Linux. I'll add that I don't really think Windows is very easy to use. I personally find it cumbersome, sometimes tedious, and sometimes difficult to automate. I would describe Windows as "easy to learn" but learning all about it doesn't make it much more convenient to use. I would describe Linux as having a much steeper learning curve by comparison, particularly if you are thorough and intend to master the command line. However, once the investment of overcoming that learning curve is made, you then find yourself with a system that doesn't get in your way or second-guess your actions. The more you master Linux, the more you can automate and the more you can get it to do with less and less effort on your part. The more you learn about it, the easier it is to perform complex tasks with an economy of expression that is difficult to find in a non-Unix system.

          Also, the times I have needed support for Linux, what I found was a community of volunteers who welcomed me with open arms and provided a level of support that rivals or exceeds anything you would get with a commercial support contract. All of this was from volunteers who do what they do because they care. I believe that part of what made this possible is that the questions they were answering concerned real bugs and real problems. They were not drowning in a sea of trivial issues of the sort that are well-familiar to anyone who has ever worked a front-line technical support role. This allowed them to focus their efforts on issues that really did require the attention of experts which, in my opinion, makes a big difference.

          • Re:Clarity? (Score:4, Insightful)

            by westlake (615356) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @09:30PM (#30232706)

            Linux can be the one environment that caters to users who are technically inclined, know what they're doing, and either already know how to handle desktop resolutions and printers or are willing to combine basic literacy with Google in order to inform themselves.

            Two words: Pulse Audio.

            It shouldn't be necessary to Google for solutions to problems that haven't existed for the OSX and Windows user since the dinosaurs last walked the earth.
             

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by sowth (748135) *

              What does pulse audio have to do with this discussion? KDE uses aRTs for audio. Linux in general uses ALSA, unless you want to do something weird and unusual like play sound on another computer across a network.

              Since when have MS Windows users been able to send their application's sound across the network without special software? Such software is probably expensive or has just as many problems as pulse audio anyway. How many regular people actually do something like that and why should anyone care?

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by chromatic (9471)

          Linux will not gain mainstream acceptance until ....

          Almost every sentence I've read which starts that way ends differently. This leads me to believe that customization is, in fact, important.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Hatta (162192)

          "If I want to walk a windows user through changing the desktop resolution, it's easy. If I want to find out which printer is their default printer, again easy. Good luck doing those in linux."

          Getting a user to type 'xrandr -s 0' or 'lpstat -p -d' is easier than getting them to navigate a GUI you can't see.

        • Re:Clarity? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by visualight (468005) on Thursday November 26, 2009 @01:11AM (#30234014) Homepage

          Linux will not gain mainstream acceptance until it is easy to support.

          Actually that's not true, Linux is already much easier to support than Windows, but I'm others here will jump at the chance to explain that to you so I won't get into it.
          The biggest barrier to mainstream Linux adoption is Corporate email, messaging, and calendars. I've worked for several Linux focused companies the last ten years, one of them even had 'Linux' in it's name, but all of those companies still used Exchange for company communications. What I've realized is that IT departments are not choosing Exchange for _any_ technical or security reasons, they are making this choice because to choose anything else means they have to own that choice. With any other solution they actually have know pretty much everything there is to know about the package(s) they're implementing.

          In most companies (that I've been exposed to of course) most of the IT staff are Windows only, maybe a few Ubuntu 'installers' sprinkled around. These people know where all the wizards are and which boxes need checkmarks but that's pretty much it. When there's a Linux based alternative to Exchange that this class of people can choose without feeling any risk, THEN you will a massive expansion of Linux on the desktop.

          PS:I mean no slight to the intelligence of the IT staff -the OS they are using is essentially closed to them so they are merely not in the habit of digging deep, or radically altering the behavior of the OS or application stack. Also, job security is a really really powerful motivator when you have a family to care for, I can't fault anyone for making the safe choices.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by fnj (64210)

          Oh, fiddlesticks. Just change the way you look at it. There is no "linux" the way you want to use the term. There is Gnome on linux, and there is KDE on linux. You can walk a Gnome on linux user through changing desktop resolution if you are familiar with Gnome on linux. You can do the same for KDE on linux if you are familiar with KDE on linux. If you are ambitious, you can make yourself able to do both. And so on for Xfce, and a myriad of others. I wouldn't advise tring to become a "wizard" with a

      • by Risen888 (306092)

        I'm really sorry I already posted to this discussion and can't mod you up today. God bless you.

    • Well hopefully it will kill the misconception that you have to use one DE or another.

    • by ae1294 (1547521)

      Obviously we have come to the proverbial fork in the road.

    • by Kjella (173770)

      Well, I would guess the difference between KDE desktop and netbook would be like Ubuntu and Ubuntu Netbook Remix, not heard any complaints there. And for the other part, there the division already exists you just don't hear much about it. Many KDE4 applications run on Windows now, so already there's a confusion since KOffice does in fact run outside KDE the environment.

  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @06:07PM (#30231102)

    ...I couldn't help but think of this scene from Red Dwarf [youtube.com].

  • XFCE (Score:3, Funny)

    by oldhack (1037484) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @06:21PM (#30231188)
    X fecce is awesome. Crap name though.
  • It's now to be known as the KDEPDXFCE?

  • by Punto (100573) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .botnup.> on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @06:24PM (#30231226) Homepage

    will it be able to leverage the synergies of social media 2.0 user-facing semantics?

  • independently market the various KDE applications as usable in any workspace, whether it be the Plasma Desktop, Windows, or XFCE.

    Where's my Amarok on winders, and why does a simple port need all kinds of name changing foolishness?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Simon (S2) (600188)

      Where's my Amarok on winders, and why does a simple port need all kinds of name changing foolishness?

      uhm... here? [kde.org] together with all other available platforms?

  • Gibberish (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    There are only two appropriate responses to that summary:

    - huh?
    - wut?

  • by Saija (1114681)
    my Plasma Wristwatch [linuxjournal.com], or KDE Plasma Wristwatch:

    KDE Workspace
    KDE provides workspaces. These provide the environment for running and managing applications and integrate interaction of applications. The workspaces are designed as generic environment for all kinds of desktop applications, not only applications built on the KDE Platform. They integrate best with applications following the standards used by the KDE Platform. There are different flavors of the workspace to address the needs of specific groups of users or adapt to specific hardware platforms:

    • Plasma Desktop or KDE Plasma Desktop. This is the workspace for desktop computers. It's built on the classical paradigm of a desktop environment.
    • Plasma Netbook or KDE Plasma Netbook. This is the workspace for computers with a small display, e.g. Netbooks.
    • Future KDE workspaces tailored to specific devices will follow a similar naming scheme
    • I run ubuntu on my eeepc 701, which has a smaller screen than most other netbooks and I find the stock gnome to be perfectly okay.

    • >PulseAudio: the bane of my linux desktop experience !

      Works great for me!

  • Dammit slashdot (Score:2, Informative)

    by Jello B. (950817)
    No they didn't, they renamed it the KDE Software Compilation. Get your god damn facts right.
  • Stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by realmolo (574068) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @06:55PM (#30231542)

    You know, the KDE guys just don't get it.

    They almost remind me of Commodore, during the Amiga days. They have this really cool technology, but it doesn't work as well as you want it to and has some glaring deficiencies, and their marketing department is absolutely clueless.

    • Almost. They do have this really cool technology, there are glaring deficiencies but their marketing department isn't clueless. Go read the article, look at the diagrams and think it through. This move on their part makes complete sense and only makes official what has been unofficial for many years. Plus, by using their new scheme it removes some of the confusion around where and how KDE software works.
    • by w0mprat (1317953)

      You know, the [insert OS team here] guys just don't get it.

      There, fixed that for you.

      You were too specific, what you said actually applies to many software development outfits. (Queue next FTFY with 'Many'->'ALL' in 3..2.) We're blessed with so much excellent, stable elegant, technology at a line-by-line code level, that potential somehow seems to be mangled by the time it's put together as a package such that it barely works. Linux Desktop: where whole ends up being less than the sum of the parts.

      I don't know whether it's a pathological deficiency of right

  • by stevew (4845) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @08:43PM (#30232350) Journal

    Great move - now you guys are going to have the Copyright Police after you!

    The term "Netbook" is copyrighted by Psion Teklogix,... just ask them, they'll tell you! ;-)

    Why would you choose a term that is already means a piece of hardware, and is copyrighted already to boot??

  • by Lemming Mark (849014) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @08:53PM (#30232436) Homepage

    Plasma isn't just that thing for making desktop widgets of dubious usefulness. What KDE has actually done is, in my opinion, a fairly smart design move regardless of whether you like their implementation.

    Desktop widgets aren't applications, they are people extending the functionality of their desktop. What the KDE folks saw was that a well-designed API could be used to write the desktop UI itself (task bar, clock, pager, whatever), the things we used to use taskbar applets for (media player control, etc) and the flashy new desktop widgets. Instead of having a basic desktop and plastering a widget API on top, they've gone and unified the whole thing so you can use the same API to write taskbar applets, widgets or write replacement taskbars or ... whatever. The various desktop elements are separate building blocks (plasmoids) that can be assembled together. They've also produced loads of bindings for this API to give folks the chance to write stuff in their favourite language.

    The plasma netbook interface then takes some of the default building plasmoids, adds some new ones and then glues them together in a different way. So you can get a similar family look and similar functionality (and, fundamentally, the same desktop) but in a way that's optimised for a different form factor of device. I think that's actually pretty neat and somewhat reminiscent of the way you can configure and compile the core Linux kernel down for tiny machines or up to big iron whilst still getting the benefits of a common codebase.

    There's a load of other cool stuff including a standard set of "data engines" which separate producing data from displaying it, thus making it easy to glue data sources together in interesting ways. Despite the various feature regressions that rewriting the desktop led to, it's a really neat architecture and should hopefully stand them in good stead for the future.

  • Krikey! (Score:3, Funny)

    by RoboRay (735839) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @08:56PM (#30232468)

    If this means they're going to stop using kwirky misspellings of various words for the names of every program, I might actually be konvinced to start taking them seriously.

  • Geesh, is that misconception ever going to die?

  • by clemenstimpler (1472471) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @09:22PM (#30232650)

    Step 1: "The KDE software compilation team happily acknowledges the bug report you have filed. Why we are happy? This bug report in fact concerns the KDE workspaces team. Or so we believe. Please be so kind as to file your bug report again at the appropriate place. If the KDE workplaces team should be able to prove that this is none of their matter, please be so kind as to reopen this bug. After reopening the bug here, please be aware that it will be triaged for at least nine months as a matter of policy. If you should be obnoxious, we may decide at our own will to extend the period to at least eleven months. Thank you very much for your assistance in making the K Desktop/Compilation/Workspace/Application Experience even better. Salvatory Clause: The expression "K Desktop experience" is only preserved for the purpose of backward compatibility."

    Step 2: "Thanks a lot for filing a bug report. We certainly appreciate your willingness to enhance the K Workspaces Experience (formerly known as the K Desktop Experience, an expression preserved only in order to preserve backward compatibility). However, we have noticed in your bug report that Amarok 1.1.4 has been opened while encountering your bug. Since Amarok 1.1.4 certainly cannot be regarded as part of the K Software Compilation experience, you should consider updating. If this does not remove the bug you have encountered, please be so kind as to file a bug first against the respective K Software Compilation. If this should not prove to be sucessful in the next two years, please reconsider opening the bug here. Before that, it will be futile anyway."

  • by hackshack (218460) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @10:27PM (#30233140)
    For me, at least, "rebranding" has always had a certain stink of failure about it. (I like KDE, BTW, so don't lose your fucking minds.)

    Witness:

    • Palm, Inc. > PalmOne + PalmSource > Palm, Inc.
    • Tropicana > Tropicana "generic crappy label" > Tropicana
    • AOL > LOL "remedial art-school" logo

    How did you feel while the respective companies were doing this? Is there anyone in the room that remembers reading the headline, "Palm splits into PalmSource and PalmOne," and thought, "Man, that's some sexy marketing right there. I need to get me a Treo but quick." No. We saw it and thought, "the shark has been jumped, the drain is being circled." Yes, you did.

    While I'm on a roll, for shits and giggles, let's look at the bastard sibling of rebranding, "editions."

    • Toothpaste. Now was that Crest Tartar Control plus Whitening, or Crest Whitening plus Tartar Control? And did you want that in paste or gel? I swear, we need meta-toothpaste, where it's formulated on the spot. You have a big board with all sorts of shit like "mint," "sparkly" (for the child or man-child in your household), "tartar control," and buzzword of the year, "whitening." Then you push a whole bunch and hit the MIX button, and get a toothpaste tube with all that shit custom-made. It'd be like ordering an HP server; it'd even warn you about compatibility issues! But I digress.
    • Windows 98 > Windows XP. Then it hit the fan. Windows Vista Home Basic + Home Premium + Business + Ultimate. I won't get into Windows 7, but suffice to say there's an edition for everyone, even your crazy next-door neighbor that listens to Yanni all day, has an alpaca fetish, and taught his kids to communicate solely in Klingon. (Sorry if I've touched a nerve amongst anyone here.)
    • Sun is particularly adept at this. You can almost taste the management schizophrenia: Solaris > Solaris Express Community Edition + OpenSolaris + Solaris > Solaris + OpenSolaris (not including Indiana, Nevada, et al. the distinctions between which I'm not sure anyone truly understands). Besides, half the stuff will be discontinued by the time you read this, so why bother itemizing it all?

    The moral of the story, kids, is that rebranding is for the desperate, and editions are for suckers.

    Peace out.

  • 3.5 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gatkinso (15975) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @11:20PM (#30233454)

    KDE folks: revert to 3.5 while you still have a user base.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by IrquiM (471313)

      Why?

      I used 3.5 until 4.2.2, and then switched. See no reason to switch back, as KDE4 delivers the required functionality and bling for a standard normal user.

    • Re:3.5 (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Kjella (173770) on Thursday November 26, 2009 @06:40AM (#30235474) Homepage

      KDE3 was a very solid house. But the foundation just can't take building anything more on top. Qt3 is dead, arts is dead, so much of the technlogy is dead. Maybe they got a little bit carried away when they designed KDE4 but the foundation had to change. Going back to KDE3 just isn't an option.

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