Barack Obama4th November 2008, Chicago, USA
Here my little rant and praise place, where the daily experiences of my programming work are expressed.
I publish them with the idea that others might find it useful and benefit from it.
(excerpt of the discussion)
*Jos*: System Settings is a bloody mess, we all know it.
*Rene*: If it's a mess you recognize (!!) why not fix it? (I would if I could) Can you honestly tell me why it's not fixed? Is it too complicate, or is there no consensus among the developers that it is a mess or nobody cares or dares to fix it?
*Jos*: It is not fixed because it is HARD to fix. I know it seems easy but it's not, both for technical and practical reasons. ... the System Settings modules are NOT under anybody's control. They are maintained by the maintainers of the applications or subsystems they are associated with. Changing them would require the collaboration of (very rough guess) over 50 people from all around the world, many of which are not even active anymore, who live all over the world, do this in their free time, have different ideas about usability and have different priorities. It is HARD.
*Rene*: I am fully aware this all seems like details to you, but from a user point of view, this is a major annoyance, and reason not to use KDE, as rediculous it looks like, and I can tell you, when people review KDE for schools or even business (I once made that call for a business solution using KDE), at the end the mess on the "Systems Settings" is reason not to use KDE. And I ask you to read this carefully: it's not disregarded because the icons are wrong, but because it's a mess, and if you can't get even "Systems Settings" coherent, how about the real challenges of the desktop coherently resolved? You communicate an immature state of software with it, even it might not even be true (most of you would argue the backend is great). 10 years is just too much to have this not fixed . . . (that perhaps is the terrible truth)
If you cannot resolve the "System Settings" mess, something as simple as that, how can I expect that something more complicate as "System Settings" to be resolved?
*Jos*: As I said, it is a hard issue. So saying "if you cannot resolve something as simple as the System Settings mess you can't resolve other things" is wrong: it is NOT simple. It just SEEMS simple to an outsider, that is what I tried to explain.
*Rene*: Simple vs Hard: let me explain, of course I believe you when you say it's hard, you explained it, but this should not be hard, but simple. Something here has gone wrong, for 10 years, something as "simple" as a "System Settings" should be simple to fix, but it's obviously not - why not? Because of systemic software decision which allows 50 people able to contribute but at the same time stalling the fixing of a mess - this is the message behind our discussion.
*Jos*: The way KDE is set up is the reason why it has been successful for 17 years now - it might have unfortunate side effects but I can make a good case that if we had set it up different, we wouldn't even HAVE a System Settings in the first place as KDE wouldn't have made it to 2013.
So, while it is annoying, the way we work inherrently leads to the System Settings mess (and more like that) AND it is what enables us to be successful. Can't have your cake and eat it too. We simply have to put in the extra effort to fix this, it is as simple as that, and we will.
*Rene*: I think you are missing something very important in your perception, and I like to elaborate on this more. I have been studying collaborative groups for quite some time, a group can be formed such that the diverse views aid to a final conclusion (this process might look trivial but is not, consensus that is). You have 50 contributing developers stalling a fix which affects ten or hundred thousands of user, or even more? This is a systemic dictatorship you have formed, 50 contributing developers stall a fix, and you tell me "AND it is what enables us to be successful", no, this limits to be really successful, to be adopted by a BILLION people. You allow a small group to dictate, based on sole technological system decision (how modules expose their configuration) the actual outreach of the entire KDE system.
*Jos*: KDE can't be successful without contributors. We have a culture of bottom-up guided decision making and killing that culture kills KDE. That culture is what led to System Settings being what it is - changing that has to be done in a way that fits with our culture. You can disagree with that all you want but that won't change reality
*Rene*: You confirm my worst view of KDE - that is systemic technological mess (obviously), but also culturally by those who contribute. I have no problem as long you KDE developers don't think you actually develop a viable alternative to Win7 or MacOS-X this way. When the mess is part of the cultural identity, so be it - I don't like the mess, I am wasting time and attention, and when it can't be resolved then it makes no sense for me to use it.
(end of excerpt of discussion)
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