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Poll: Should KDE 3.5 x Be Maintained in Future Slackware Releases
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Should KDE 3.5 x Be Maintained in Future Slackware Releases

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Old 05-29-2008, 03:02 PM   #1
Woodsman
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The Future of KDE 3.5.x on Slackware


I have been casually watching the development of KDE 4. Since Pat's affirmation announcement about KDE 4 I have been watching more closely. My own personal opinion, and that is all --- opinion, based upon reviews, screenshots, blogs, reader commentary, etc., is that I am not particularly tickled or enthused about KDE 4. I have not installed or tried the new environment and that is unlikely to happen for several months as I simply have too much else on my to do list.

Pat seemed enthused about KDE 4 and all but endorsed the new version. In short, the proverbial handwriting seems now on the wall with respect to KDE on Slackware. Although I now travel into the land of speculation (always dangerous ), I suspect the next Slackware release will contain KDE 4. What will remain to be seen is whether KDE 4 is included in the main tree or in extra, and conversely which tree KDE 3.5.x is maintained. Of course, there is always the chance 3.5.x will simply be dropped once KDE 4 is included. Traditionally, although Pat maintains support for previous releases for many years (version 8.1, now 6 years old, was patched as recently as April 28, 2008), he also has been reticent about maintaining KDE releases. He always maintains security patches, but does not upload a new KDE release in between Slackware releases.

Computer usage is, and remains, about choice. End-users have many choices about the software and operating systems they choose. I suspect I am not the only person not intrigued with all the KDE 4 headlines. There is something to be said with holding onto and maintaining old ways. Humans are creatures of comfort and all animals prefer to maintain their comfort zone. Most Slackers in particular tend to be slow to change and tend, like computer users everywhere, rather staunch about the desktop they prefer. Should KDE 3.5 x be dropped in the next release, that would leave many Slackers faced with some uncomfortable decisions. The gamut of what those decisions could include are easy to envision. The discussion is not about what is "right" or "wrong," as that kind of discussion is fruitless. The discussion is always about "what works for me and what works for you."

Like an old pair of blue jeans or a well-worn chair, I have grown comfortable with KDE 3.5.x. I like the "classic" desktop model. I have tinkered with Xfce and remain open to learning more about that desktop, but KDE contains the base tools I need and want. Should KDE 3.5.x be dropped from Slackware, I suspect I will have to compile my own version of KDE 3.5.x. I have done so with many packages, including modifying stock SlackBuild scripts to include my own patches or tweaks.

Using an "old" desktop is nothing new to me. I continue to use NT4 for my basic Windows needs. And as a basic office worker, KDE 3.5.x still works too.

Within the KDE community, I suspect that KDE 3.5.x will be supported in one form or another for several years. Then again, perhaps not. I never have been successful predicting the future.

As I wrote, I realize I am traveling in the realm of speculation. I do not see myself leaving Slackware over the transition from KDE 3.5.x to KDE 4, because Slackware is the only operating system that stays out of my way and generally, does not force me to work in any preconceived manner. Yes, that means far more do-it-yourself efforts, but I am that kind of person anyway. So recompiling and maintaining KDE 3.5.x on my own is not so far-fetched. I suspect others will continue to support 3.5.x too, such as through SlackBuilds.org, slacky.eu, or linuxpackages.net. However, dropping KDE 3.5.x would indeed force me to work in some sort of preconceived manner.

Still, I'd like to open this topic to serious discussion about this issue. Based upon various LQ polls, KDE is the most used desktop provided with the stock Slackware for those people who responded to those polls. So there are many people in this same boat, so to speak, with respect to the future of KDE on Slackware.

I would like to see KDE 3.5 x supported for the next several Slackware releases, or even until that version is finally dropped of all native support from KDE developers. Even if that means 3.5.x is relegated to the extras tree. What do you want to see?

P.S. Please, please --- no fruitless comments such as "I use Fluxbox/OpenBox/BlackBox/Xfce/Gnome Dropline, so who cares?" And please refrain from the old and worn comments about KDE being bloated. Please keep this thread focused on the future of KDE 3.5.x with respect to the stock Slackware. Thanks.
 
Old 05-29-2008, 03:19 PM   #2
raconteur
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodsman View Post
[...]I continue to use NT4 for my basic Windows needs.[...]
If you only knew how difficult it is not to unleash the rabid hounds on that little gem. But, I'll let it pass.

Patrick has always had a philosophy that Slackware will be stable at the expense of being on the bleeding edge of software releases.

I look forward to KDE4, the 4.1 beta is out now and getting passing marks. I'm not sure I see any advantage to keeping older releases of desktop environments available. KDE has avoided most of the pitfalls that plague other desktop upgrades where radical changes in GUI never fail to alienate users. That isn't the only selling point for me, but it is significant.

That particular facet of the new KDE release seems to conflict with your reason for wanting to keep 3.5... that it is familiar and comfortable. I certainly understand that, but I've found that with KDE, the learning curve is virtually nonexistent.
 
Old 05-29-2008, 03:21 PM   #3
BobNutfield
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KDE has remained pretty much the same desktop since 3.2. There have been tweaks and polishes, but, as least in my opinion, it has become stale. I HAVE toyed with KDE4 on several different distros, and the only one that it appears to be stable on is OpenSuse. It remains a good example of "crashware" on all of the others, particularly Kubuntu. It is also very "Vista-esque" in its general look and feel. However, when it does become stable, I think it is a big improvement to KDE. It is organized better, applications are not scattered everywhere as they are in 3.5.

As far as the future of 3.5, as it stands now I cannot see KDE4 becoming a part of a stock Slack install any time in the near future. Others may disagree, but it does not fit with what I believe Slack stands for: a rock solid system. So, I am betting KDE 3.5 is going to be around for quite some time yet.

If and when Pat decides to include KDE4, it will be because it is the ready, and it certainly isn't yet.

Bob
 
Old 05-29-2008, 03:33 PM   #4
T3slider
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I really like KDE4. Call me crazy. There's no way in hell I would use it right now -- it's unstable and it's lacking way too many features (you can barely customize anything in KDE4 compared to KDE3.5 as it stands right now). However, I definitely see promise for the future. I have no doubts that KDE4 will not be included in Slackware until it's stable and full-featured. I'm not expecting another major Slackware release for quite a while, so they still have plenty of time to improve KDE4. With Fedora including KDE4 by default, the bug-fixing and feature-requesting processes will probably be accelerated to a new level compared to the relatively limited number of beta and alpha testers out there.

Basically, I think that by the time KDE4 is included in Slackware, it won't be that bad. And if you *really* don't like it and want to stick to KDE3.5, it's your choice.
 
Old 05-29-2008, 03:49 PM   #5
symatic
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Quote:
Should KDE 3.5 x be dropped in the next release, that would leave many Slackers faced with some uncomfortable decisions.
For me, the quick answer is yes. I answer yes with the idea that whatever version that includes 4.x will be stable(talking rock solid). If you want to keep 3.5.x around and officially supported use 12.1 or whatever version still includes 3.5.x. I am very interested in KDE4 and hope that I will enjoy a nice stable DE. Keeping kde 3.5.x and KDE 4.x sounds very polarizing and quite a hassle. Sooner or later support must be dropped for the obsolete.
 
Old 05-29-2008, 03:57 PM   #6
digger95
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I simply trust that Pat won't include an unstable product in a Slackware release.
 
Old 05-29-2008, 05:15 PM   #7
[stinger]
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This depends on KDE as much as Slackware. I do not expect KDE 4.1.x to replace 3.5.9 in Slackware until it is stable enough to be considered suitable for a production environment. If KDE 4 is not ready in 8-10 months, it won't be in Slackware. If it is ready it will be, and KDE 3.5.9 will be maintained like any other component of previous releases - through security patches.

If KDE 4 is in the next Slackware release and I'm not content with the level of stability, then I'll stick with 12.1 until I am.

Seems pretty simple to me. I'll be buying the release regardless as I have had a subscription since 10.2 and $29.95 won't break the bank even if I decide not to install it.

Cheers
 
Old 05-29-2008, 05:21 PM   #8
Hangdog42
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However, this whole discussion begs the question: What if KDE isn't supporting 3.5? My understanding is that KDE4 is largely a new codebase, and I can't imagine that they are going to devote many, if any, programmer hours to maintaining two code bases. It could be that moving to KDE4 is the wise choice simply for maintainability.
 
Old 05-29-2008, 05:30 PM   #9
XavierP
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I suspect that, unless the next release of Slackware is a long way off, that Pat will hang onto 3.5.9 for a while but stick 4.x in Extras. He's normally content to stick with the stable and tried and tested versions before going to a newer version. No biggie, if a Slacker wants v4.x s/he will go get it for themselves.
 
Old 05-29-2008, 05:33 PM   #10
[stinger]
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hangdog42 View Post
However, this whole discussion begs the question: What if KDE isn't supporting 3.5? My understanding is that KDE4 is largely a new codebase, and I can't imagine that they are going to devote many, if any, programmer hours to maintaining two code bases. It could be that moving to KDE4 is the wise choice simply for maintainability.
They may be required to support it until whatever obligation they have to commercial distributions that included KDE 3.5 expires. I have no idea if such agreements exist, but when I used SuSE (some time ago - 8.2) they were supporting releases for either 2 years or 2 release cycles - I can't remember which. I would expect that any support would include KDE. But, then again, with all the patching this distros do already perhaps they would maintain things on there own.

Just some random thoughts.
 
Old 05-29-2008, 05:35 PM   #11
Cuetzpallin
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Im waiting too for a stable release of KDE 4 like symatic.

I think that KDE 4 will come when it must come, I mean when will be stable and KDE 3.5.x will be having support while it's useful.
 
Old 05-29-2008, 09:30 PM   #12
rworkman
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I won't comment on the speculation too much, aside from saying that it's pretty much public knowledge that Pat wants kde-4.1.x to be in the next Slackware release. That, of course, depends on whether it's stable/reliable enough for Slackware at that point; it's currently slated for release in July, and a lot can change between now and then. I've been following the development very closely, as some of you know, and have been packaging the 4.1.x development snapshots each week. It's certainly not ready yet, but it's only at beta1, so that's expected.

If you have a stake in this whole endeavor, then I strongly encourage you to dedicate a 12.1 box to testing these builds and file (and find fixes for) bugs on kde's bugzilla. Perhaps I/we don't stress this enough, but community involvement in stuff like this is *extremely* important - it takes a *lot* of time to research a bug and hopefully find a fix or patch if I/we (meaning the Slackware team) are the only ones doing the research, but if each user who's encountered a problem would research just that one problem and clue us in on where the fix/patch/whatever (or just information about the problem) is located, that's a tremendous time-saver.

For anyone who's not aware of the location, the 4.1.x development stuff is at http://kde4.rlworkman.net
 
Old 05-30-2008, 12:35 AM   #13
orbit
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I have not actually installed KDE4 yet, as it seems far from being a stable desktop;
but from screenshots it does contain some elements that look like they might be promising. (Q. How resource hungry is KDE4 compared with KDE3?, will it run well on older hardware or is it moving into the Vista-must-have-state-of-the-art-hardware-or-it-runs-really-slowly realm?).

Currently I am very happy with KDE-3.5.9, although rather than having to replace KDE-3.5.9 to install KDE-4.* I would like to see the possibility of being able to install KDE-4.* parallel with existing KDE-3.5.9 Desktop environments.
This would definitely remove the fear factor of 'Destroying your system' if the KDE4 install goes wrong, as well as allowing a much wider user base for testing KDE4, but at the same time maintaining users confidence and usability in their fully working and customised KDE3.

If Pat & Team could organise Slackware with this option and ability to install both KDE's and then let users have the ability to logout and change desktop sessions; that would get my vote.

Cheers

Orbit
 
Old 05-30-2008, 02:26 AM   #14
hitest
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Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by raconteur View Post
Patrick has always had a philosophy that Slackware will be stable at the expense of being on the bleeding edge of software releases.
I'm a newcomer to Slackware; I've been Slacking since 10.0. In the years that I've used Slackware Pat has never let me down. Slackware is stable, durable, and battle-tested. I'm comfortable using any software that Pat deems ready for inclusion into the stable branch:-)
 
Old 05-30-2008, 05:06 AM   #15
ppr:kut
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Having used kde4 some time now, I'd say 4.1beta1 is a huge step forward. Most kde4 apps itself can be considered stable and do already have a lot of improvements over their kde3 pendants. What makes the rather good KDE4 look somewhat unstable is more or less plasma, and probably strigi. In the case of strigi, you can simply disable it, so that it won't disturb you. Plasma on the other side, well, it has potential. Currently there are some glitches, a little too much random crashes and so forth, to call it stable. However, it actually is usable as well. And the kde-devs themselves know about the state of plasma. So, yes, plasma is fresh and young. It does need time to mature further. But the pace it leaps forward is just awesome.
From my point of view, we will have a usable kde4 by 4.1.x. After all, the next Slackware is not going to be released in August, so IF kde4 will be included it will be 4.1.3, 4.1.4 anyway, or even one of the 4.2 series. About kde3, I think completely removing all of kde3 wouldn't be good. A lot of apps do still depend (and will depend in the future) on kdelibs and/or qt3. So, at least keeping those 2 packages just a few more releases would be best. By then, most apps should have been ported over to kde4, or have a matching equivalent.
 
  


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