As you probably know already, openSUSE 11.0 is out, and undoubtedly doing magical things for users around the globe (if not for me just yet–that should happen in the next week or so).
The openSUSE development team was faced with a difficult dilemma with this release. The KDE 4.0 desktop environment was released in January, with an entirely new way of doing things. The Plasma desktop, Phonon multimedia framework, and Solid hardware framework represented some spectacular changes from the familiar KDE 3.x interface in place since 2002.
Unfortunately, some key pieces of the complete desktop (including the KOffice suite, Kontact personal information manager and Amarok multimedia player) had not yet migrated successfully to the new platform. So KDE 4.0 was defined, rightly so, as a work in progress, while v4.1 would be the more stable, mature platform.
Meanwhile, the openSUSE community had set itself the task of releasing new versions twice a year, making openSUSE 11 due in June 2008. The question loomed large early in the development cycle: Which KDE should be the default KDE desktop? The team decided to go with KDE 4, and worked hard to make it as usable as possible.
Since the release, there has been much controversy on the openSUSE lists about this decision. Benjamin Weber tries to put out the fires and clarify things in this post:
- openSUSE is not forcing people to switch to KDE4. Users can switch to KDE4 when they wish. Both are included on openSUSE 11.0.
- If you find bugs in or are missing functionality in KDE4 please file bug reports so it can be fixed.
- If you have an opinion regarding when the timescale for moving to KDE4 you are free to get involved and influence the decisions. You do not have to resort to insulting developers on the mailing lists to be heard, in fact insulting developers so is a good way to ensure that people disregard your opinion.
Fundamentally, this is the only fair solution