A month ago I was at the 2010 edition of the RMLL in Bordeaux, France. I was one of the guys representing KDE in the associative village. This post will tell you what happened there and what were my impressions. RMLL is the biggest event regarding free software movement outside Paris. For this event, KDE was represented for the first time. The event was from 6th to 9th of July in Bordeaux I university in Talence and on the 10th and 11th of Jully on the Garonne river’s dock in Bordeaux city center.
Who was here ?
Unfortunately, the aKademy 2010 taking place in Tampere, Finland was running at the same time, so it was hard to find any developers to be at the RMLL. In fact we was only KDE translators and fans. So the staff was :
|Name||Present from||To||Role in KDE|
|Geoffray Levasseur||Monday 5th of Jully||Sunday 11th of Jully||Translation, beta-testing and bug repporting|
|Hélène Dervillez||Monday 5th of Jully||Thursday 8th of Jully||User|
|Ludovic Grossard||Wednesday 7th of Jully||Friday 9th of Jully||French documentation translation coordinator|
|Philippe Nenert||Monday 5th of Jully||Thursday 8th of Jully||User|
I wish to thank Jimmy Pierre and all the guys from the OpenSuse stand who helped me on the weekend when I needed to leave the stand from time to time.
What the non-KDE users think?
There are three kind of non-KDE users. Those that still don’t use a free system, mainly using Windows or Mac-OS, those using an other desktop environment and those who were using KDE before and change to an other desktop environment.
Those who never used Linux or BSD are always very impressed by the quality of the environment and surprised by the number of application we are purposing, especially Windows users. Most of them didn’t know anything about KDE but were interested in free software. Multi-desktop, Plasmoids and 3D graphic effects are considered far more impressive than what they can see with Windows, breaking some myths like “Linux is ugly”… So, many good points but the myth “Linux is hard to use” is harder. When demonstrating with some software, they agree with the global easeness and power to use those softwares but some questions like “will I be able to install the XXX software I like” and I always answer that this will not be a problem because the equivalent YYY exists (and is very often better) and they sometimes are scared of changes. Globally they agree to try as they see the advantages, mainly financial, the philosophic argument being more like a bonus. Live CD example had more success than the dual boot one even if every body agreed that it’s a good idea.
People already using Linux and/or BSD have more knowledge about KDE. There’s one exception: freshly converted users. In France, I have a problem with some LUGs that don’t ask what the user want and always install a f****g Ubuntu while install-party! This is why many new Linux users don’t know anything about other Linux distributions and nothing about KDE (or any other desktop environment). They, so, are doing the same mistake as the computer vendors that in the same way don’t give the choice with an other too much known operating system. Nevertheless, those people are always pleased with the KDE environment and many says that they will try by installing the needed packages or even by trying an other distribution (OK, OK my promoting effort was quite more in favor of OpenSuse than KUbuntu but for a good reason: much more better integration). The experienced user always know KDE, tried it, and made the choice according to their taste and priority. They always agreed with the quality of some of our application mainly K3b (nearly always in fact), Amarok, digiKam and the PIM suite.
The very delicate point is with people that was using KDE 3.5 and stop using it because of KDE 4. Most of them tried KDE 4.0 or 4.1 and were very disappointed by the new desktop considered as heavy and unstable and more of this, they did not accept the loss of some functionality and applications. Most of the time, they think that they’re not very happy with their current desktop environment as they’re waiting for something like KDE 3.5. In fact, there is a lack of communication from us because many false ideas are running. Konqueror can’t be the universal tool because it’s no longer the file manager, I don’t want/need 3D effect, I don’t like the new menu/desktop, where are the desktop icons…. I’ve heard all of these many times. Why not creating a KDE 3.5 theme for those users? That’s simple: make Konqueror as default file manager, disable 3D effect, put the old fashioned menu as default and activate the desktop icon layout of Plasma. I was able to show this to those people and they enjoy it. I advise them to choose something like Mandriva where default settings are much more like those of KDE 3.5. About lack of functionality and stability and performance issue they note that those problems are now solved.
No need to convince someone already convinced… Curious of what they like or not, what is their favorite or hated applications I did ask many questions. The result was very aligned… What they like about the desktop is the global coherence inside KDE applications and the desktop, the beautiful and effective things they can have with Plasma and KWin (same as the opportunity to impress friends who are still with Windows ) and the very good quality of the applications. Speaking about applications, the most cited are K3b (I was impressed by its popularity even with non-KDE users), Amarok, digiKam, Gwenview and the PIM suite (mainly KMail).
What they sometimes don’t like is the slowness of the desktop and the lack of stability with KWin and Plasma (too much crash), the too much discontinued support with Plasmoids (mainly with some exotic ones they can have with Mandriva or OpenSuse). About applications that need more love (yes, I sometimes read the developer’s interviews), the most cited is Kopete (mainly about audio/video support) and Dolphin. and Konqueror (mainly their stability, and Flash support for Konqueror). Some developers told me that the new KDevelop 4 has very poor versioning system integration. A feature that many KDE 3.5 aficionados miss is the ability to log in as administrator with a button with some configuration modules. Some people told me that they miss Quanta.
Here is some souvenir…. Enjoy!