talking bluntly of KDE 3.5 and 4.0
Now that 4.0.0 is tagged and out and that bit of worry and concern is behind me for the moment, I wanted to take a moment to talk really bluntly about 4.0. In particular, I'm going to address some of the common memes in fairly random order that i see about kde 3.5 and 4.0. I'm going to speak bluntly (though not rudely =) so prepare yourself
Meme 1: What is the future of 3.5?
This year, as with most years since KDE3 emerge, there have been huge deployments of KDE 3 based software. These deployments will not shift for years to come, no matter what KDE4 is. This is because large institutional deployments (government, corporate, educational, etc) typically have 3-7 year cycles (sometimes even longer) between major changes. Patches and security fixes? Sure. Major revamps? No. This alone ensures that KDE3 will remain supported for years. Why? Because there are users. That is how the open source dev model works: where there are users, there are developers; as one declines so does the other. The developers tend to be a step ahead of the users for software that is progressive, but you'll also find the have a foot in here and now (as well as the past, often).
KDE3 is still open in our svn so that bug fixes, security fixes, etc. can continue to be made. KDE 3.5.x is a rather solid desktop system and really doesn't need a huge amount of work given what it is today; the work to move it to the next level is what we refer to as KDE4, of course. This means that the efforts needed to put into it aren't huge to keep it viable. However, efforts that do go into it are welcome.
While the core KDE team will continue to concentrate our work on KDE4 since that is the long term direction of things, it is fully expected that our partners (which also include some core team members among them) will continue supporting and even developing on KDE3 issues. The central project will also be around to lend helping hand with advice and what not; I did that for a person the week before I left for holidays in December, actually, so it's not wild hypothesis but solid theory.
For those familiar with the open source method, the above probably sounds .. well .. obvious. That's because it is .. for those familiar with the open source method. We will find in this blog entry that many of the concerns people raise come from not acknowledging how Free(dom) software is created via the open source method.
Meme 2: KDE 4.0 isn't what a business would do