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athens digital week, day 0 [Oct. 16th, 2008|02:15 pm]
[Location |athens, greece]

My incredible streak of luck -- running into Fedora users on airplanes -- continued today en-route to Athens. I was in an aisle seat, and the man in the aisle across from me pulled out his laptop, and I noticed the Fedora 8 boot screen. I used that as an excuse to say hello, and John (for that is his name) mentioned that he had seen the Red Hat logo on my fleece.

I introduced myself, told him a bit about my history with Red Hat and the Fedora Project, and we had an interesting chat for about half an hour or so. John has a Ph.D. in Neuroscience, and has ties to Cal Tech, MIT, Harvard, and Massachusetts General Hospital, where he is working with a team of researchers on artificial vision as a means of restoring sight to the blind. Since he's based in Boston, I promised to give him information about our next FUDCon.

In response to John's query about the 13 month support cycle for Fedora, I talked about the relationship between Red Hat and Fedora, the stability vs. innovation themes of our enterprise and community distributions, and how Fedora's focus in the past few years has been to promote innovation and developer utility, because the "Red Hat family" has RHEL providing the operating system for people who want conservative changes to their package set, and the ability to install a machine, run it for 7 years, unplug it, and throw it away.

John is still using Fedora 8 in part because he's not a big fan of KDE 4 -- an interesting data point. When I mentioned that Fedora 10 would include KDE 4.1 (addressing a lot of the stability problems that people have disliked in Fedora 9), he indicated that it wasn't KDE 4.0 versus 4.1 that was the problem, but more that he simply preferred the general KDE 3 architecture. This is not the first time we've heard about loyal KDE users who prefer KDE 3 to KDE 4, but it's an anecdote that I thought our KDE team might want to hear. I wonder if there is sufficient demand for the older KDE as to warrant a Fedora Spin that is essentially "Fedora 10 but with the latest KDE 3.x code instead of KDE 4.x code". I use GNOME, so I don't presume to make suggestions. I'm just trying to offer some reporting, and let the KDE experts make the decisions that they think are best.

I also showed him powertop, and the changes that I'd made to my rc.local script in response to powertop's suggestions. Everyone who uses a laptop, and who hasn't already heard of powertop, enjoys learning about it.

When I get back to Amsterdam, I will be mailing him some Fedora swag.

I'm about to land in Athens, where I will head to my hotel, hopefully get on the internet for a bit, and then meet up with Dimitris and Diego for some dinner and wandering around the city.

[User Picture]From: jzb
2008-10-16 01:11 pm (UTC)

KDE 3 and KDE 4

Not sure about Fedora users, but we had a huge demand with the openSUSE community for KDE 3x in our next release. We've decided to include it for this release, and then are asking the community to take over support for it. It can live in our build service as long as our contributors want it.

I switch back and forth between GNOME, Xfce, KDE 3x and 4x. The 4.1 series is much better, and I suspect 4.2 will be *really* interesting. But between the two releases, I still find 3x preferable. I am not sure if that's just a matter of personal taste, though.
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From: kevin_kofler
2008-10-17 02:51 am (UTC)

Re: KDE 3 and KDE 4

But you (openSUSE) have set up KDE 3 and 4 to coexist from the beginning, using separate prefixes (which violates the FHS) and separate configuration directories (which means migrating from KDE 3 to 4 loses all settings).

Our set up in Fedora is such that KDE 4 is a drop-in replacement for KDE 3, using the same /usr prefix, the same settings etc. Shoehorning a KDE 3 into that without causing conflicts is a lot harder than just keeping your KDE 3 packages which install to /opt/kde3 alive (we never had such packages, they'd have to be created first - our KDE 3 packages conflict with KDE 4).

You'll also have to consider how long you want to support the dying KDE 3. We are not alone in dropping it, for example Kubuntu is also dropping it in their imminent release (Intrepid Ibex). Keeping it alive until KDE 4.1, 4.2, 4.3 or whatever 4.n can make sense, but forever?
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[User Picture]From: jzb
2008-10-17 12:48 pm (UTC)

Re: KDE 3 and KDE 4

"You'll also have to consider how long you want to support the dying KDE 3. We are not alone in dropping it, for example Kubuntu is also dropping it in their imminent release (Intrepid Ibex). Keeping it alive until KDE 4.1, 4.2, 4.3 or whatever 4.n can make sense, but forever?"

I doubt it will be forever. In fact, I doubt it will be much past 4.2, if that release solves most of the pain points that 3.5 users have been feeling. (I think it's about 40% that 4.0 wasn't polished enough for most people, and about 60% that it was just, you know, too different from 3.5. It's a radical change, and we all know how much people like change...)

However, as long as there are enough contributors who want to keep it going, they can do so in our build service. Note that *doesn't* mean it will be shipped as part of the "official" distribution DVD. It means that they'll live in the build service and people will be able to create live CDs / DVDs using the tools we provide.

Whether enough contributors *want* to keep KDE 3x alive is another question. I hear a lot of support for 3x from users, but I haven't seen a huge movement from contributors yet to keep the series going. The nice thing about open source is that they *can* keep the series going if they put the work in to do so.
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