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Month: August 2012

Re: [trinity-devel] Tim: TDEHWLIB

From: Darrell Anderson <humanreadable@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2012 17:01:10 -0700 (PDT)
> To put things bluntly, unless we attract new developers TDE
> will become a niche product very quickly.  The bugtracker is evidence
> of that; I can't keep up with the workload (not for free anyway) and neither
> can anyone else around here from what I can see.  Things keep
> changing for the sake of change and all anyone can do in the Linux desktop world
> nowadays is keep reinventing the wheel, wasting time and effort on a
> less functional, uglier, more simplified rewrites of programs we already had
> years earlier.
> We have lost one good developer (Serghei) already due to
> additional splintering of the KDE3-continuation projects.  I don't
> know if the momentum exists to keep the traditional desktop alive at
> this time, or if it will simply need to be re-invented many years from now
> after it has completely died out.
> This is not a pleasant thought.  I don't know what
> happens to a society when productive tools to execute complex, creative tasks are
> made unavailable to most individuals, and I really don't want to
> find out.

Nor do I. This is not a fun topic, but one that has been brewing a while. :-(

We need to face reality.

Of late I have grown cynical about free/libre software. As noted, too many changes for the sake of change. A significant idea behind Trinity is we offer a desktop environment that does not change for the sake of change and supports traditional desktop computer workflows. While we have not changed, the underlying support structure has changed. As we have seen the past few months, the changes have raised havoc with our ability to keep pace.

We're not alone. Browsing the web indicates many people are frustrated by these changes.

Regardless, these underlying changes have created a buggy Trinity. I am using Trinity GIT, but the paper cuts, regressions, and build issues are hurting. The cumulative effect is frustrating.

From my perspective we already are a niche project. Progress is slow. As noted, we lack developers. The bug tracker grows. Usability and buildability deteriorates.

I suspect the OpenSuse KDE3 folks are drowning too. Browsing the web indicates the OpenSuse KDE3 project is just as much a niche project as TDE.

Can we join forces? Together we might remain a niche desktop, but with a combined effort we could see meaningful progress.

I suspect the KDE3 and Trinity camps could work together --- but the proverbial olive branch is to strip the TQ interface from Trinity. Basically, that interface layer is why certain developers left Trinity. I appreciate that if we want to use Qt4 tools we must avoid symbol collisions. A fundamental question is whether using Qt4 tools is sufficient reason to keep the two camps separated. If that layer was removed and we merged forces, will we all collectively be better off? Or is going our separate ways, which is to eventual project deaths, the preferred option?

I don't know how much backporting or patching the OpenSuse people are doing with KDE3. My experience using both KDE3 and TDE concurrently is TDE provides some nice additional features that KDE3 lacks. Despite the growing bug tracker size, TDE offers some good bug fixes lacking in KDE3. That is, using Trinity sources without the TQ layer probably would sound inviting to the KDE3 developers.

My gut says that without additional developers or a combined effort that both KDE3 and TDE are, for all intents and purposes, dead.

I don't have answers but I am looking at options. I am preparing myself for changes. I could continue using an older Slackware release to avoid the problems of HAL-less support. Possibly in several months Trinity has excellent HAL-less support, but will anyone other than niche users care? One way or another, any related decision means I stop supporting Trinity in Slackware and only offer my build scripts and support myself.

Or I use a different desktop such as Enlightenment, LXDE, or even KDE4 as my basic HAL-less foundation and then use certain Trinity apps on top of that foundation. Yes, even KDE4, despite the evil triplets and the ugly Oxygen.

Or I use a completely different desktop environment, learn a new set of apps, and move on.

I'm looking at my workflows and am facing tough decisions. I suspect I'm not alone. All options, including a buggy Trinity or a poorly redesigned KDE4, are not fun options. These options all include some pain to one degree or another. Returning to the propriety world of operating systems is not an option for me. Therefore as free/libre developers continue shooting themselves in the foot, my choices reduce to what causes me the least pain and not what causes me no pain.

The idea of the OpenSuse KDE3 people and TDE people working together is more palatable to me than other options. If eliminating the TQ interface layer is the means to motivate both camps to join forces then I vote to strip that layer. Without joining forces I see no future for either desktop and will reconcile myself to making some tough decisions.

Someone once wrote that people should accept what can't be changed, seek courage to change what can be changed, and seek wisdom to know the difference. We can't change the underlying changes taking place in free/libre software. Those changes mean swimming in the rapids for a long while to find less turbulent water, or swimming ashore and getting out of the water. In the end, there is no shame if we decide to close shop. We lasted much longer than anybody expected or hoped. There is no shame in standing for a cause and one day ending the cause. Standing for a cause requires courage. Or we decide that a very slow moving niche project is acceptable. One way or another, something has to give. We need to deal with the reality that we lack people and can't keep pace.