Like the last year I went to the RMLL and came back with some stories to share with the community. I will not repeat what I’ve already told last year about KDE as it’s still applicable. Nevertheless, the situation with desktops is now quite different from last year. The availability of Gnome 3 and the newUbuntu default desktop environment, Unity, is changing the sight peoples have on KDE. Those changes are redistributing the cards for the users. The undeniable fact is the very bad reception of Unity for traditional free software users. This is resulting in a lack of interest of Ubuntu for many of them, searching for new solutions. In an other hand, Gnome 3 reception is unequal. If some traditional Gnome users still appreciate the new look and feel, some others don’t really like it. More of that some are thinking that the new desktop is not finished, comparing sometimes it with the unfinished status of KDE 4.0 when it get out years ago. But there’s also some old KDE users seduced by the new (and somewhat unusual) look and feel of Gnome 3.
About KDE directly, users are generally more satisfied by the environment and the quality of the software compilation than they was last year, and we had less negative remarks. The most negative ones that are still coming, is about usability of new functionality. Let me develop that point…
I’ll take an example: “Activities”. This functionality is very powerful but a recurrent question was “What is it? Why should I use this?”. Once, I do the demonstration they quickly understand how great this new feature is. But this is showing a communication problem: peoples don’t know how to use some new feature and worst what it is about (if they it’s existing)! When I was asking how to solve that problem, the response was clear: each time a KDE desktop update is done we should display a “What’s new?” window with (and that was looking important) links to demonstration video. This could be easily expanded to important KDE softwares.
A more technical concern was the possibility to clean KDE configuration files of the outdated entries or keys, avoiding the need to erase the user’s .kde directory from time to time (somewhat like every two years or one years with frequently updated systems).
The last (but not least) point is about KDE communication in France. When speaking with some french KDE contributors (or other projects contributors that like KDE) the problem of misrepresentation of KDE in France is very important. We need more KDE events so more peoples to work on communication (and no need of technical skills so any KDE fan can do it). The new Akademy-fr build on the Akademy-es concept is a good beginning but we need to perpetuate the event and it’s not done yet!