The critics are wrong: KDE 4 doesn't need a fork
After the recent release KDE 4.1 beta 2 and openSUSE 11 with KDE 4.0.4, some critics have been especially vocal in expressing their displeasure with the KDE 4 user interface paradigms. The debate has grown increasingly caustic as critics and supporters engage in a war of words over the technology. The controversy has escalated to the point where some users are now advocating a fork in order to move forward the old KDE 3.5 UI paradigms. As an observer who has closely studied each new release of KDE 4, I'm convinced that the fork rhetoric is an absurdly unproductive direction for this debate.
As KDE 4 begins to replace the stable 3.5.x series as the default KDE environment in major distributions, users who are now migrating to the new version are being exposed to a lot of the rough edges. This has ignited a new wave of complaints.
Steven singles out KDE 4.1's desktop folder view plasmoid for criticism, but I regard it as one of the most promising features in KDE 4.1. In fact, I think the new desktop folder view offers some of the first truly compelling evidence that Plasma can deliver on its potential and provide more than just a conventional widget layer. I think it's innovative and it increases the efficiency of my workflow.
The value of conventional desktop icons is that they allow users to organize their files into spatially relevant groupings. But most users just treat the desktop as a dumping ground for temporary content because moving things to and from the desktop requires more interaction and isn't always feasible if you need your project to have a consistent path.