Yes, do it over the weekend

I’ve written about it before, but jeez. People just never learn. KDE is going to release KDE 4.0, a major version, on a Friday. I’ve seen XFce getting released on Saturdays too. That’s when the traffic on the net is the lowest, and guarantees that fewer people will learn about these releases. Gnome usually releases major versions on a Wed or Thu, but KDE really needs to get a clue about PR, along with usability and aesthetics (it’s still not as visually polished as it should be, and Qt is as guilty as KDE itself for this — bad widget spacing).

Update: Oh, God, it looks like crap. How is it possible to not be able to get it right after all these years? It just doesn’t look modern, it doesn’t have the attention to detail and targeted design that OSX has (and to some degree, Gnome too). And no, it ain’t just a theme issue. It’s a design and Qt issue too. I can find 100 things wrong on each screenshot I see. I don’t need to use this thing before I have an opinion about it. Aesthetics put me off immediately after looking at these pictures.

11 Comments »

Andrew wrote on January 11th, 2008 at 5:45 AM PST:

Unlike commercial software, I doubt very much it matters which day it is released on, there are no financial considerations, and the people most likely to use it probably have the weekend wide open :).

For those outside the *nix camp, they have the release party.


laura wrote on January 11th, 2008 at 9:21 AM PST:

Why do you suppose people should lear from you, bitch? Shut the fuck up, stop posting this kind of shit.


Andrew wrote on January 11th, 2008 at 9:40 AM PST:

Well, you’ve certainly got a fan haven’t you? 😛


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Eugenia wrote on January 11th, 2008 at 1:04 PM PST:

“Laura”, you are an idiot. I would usually delete such comments, but I will leave this one up to remind me how stupid some people are.

Andrew, it does not matter if it’s a commercial company or not. They are people who create software and they DO want others to take notice about it. By releasing *anything* between Fri-Sat-Sun (FSS), it is guaranteed to have up to 50% less impact. Sites like Slashdot, Digg and OSNews are going to immediately report about the release (they won’t wait until Monday), and these sites are considerably down traffic-wise during FSS. And as for the non-community sites, pro journalists who will go to work on Monday, might even pass it up after a mountain of press releases in their inbox by then. Plus, it will already be “old news” for them by then. No matter how you see it, releasing during FSS, is a bad idea. I am in this business since 1999 btw.


Kevin wrote on January 11th, 2008 at 2:14 PM PST:

Eugenia, I wanted to say I enjoy your blog and read it often. I appreciate your insight into the things you post about. I hope you continue to use it to the same degree you currently use it, if not more. There are lots of bookmarks here I have saved! Thanks and happy new year.


Kevin (no the Kevin from above) wrote on January 12th, 2008 at 12:02 AM PST:

Eww. That is bad.


Steve Bergman wrote on January 12th, 2008 at 6:16 PM PST:

I have cajoled a number of people on OSNews today about KDE4 not living up to the hype. But I kept trying to give it a certain benefit of the doubt. And then I noticed packages available for Ubuntu Hardy and installed them just to have a first hand look. And *MY GOD*! It’s horrible! It is just absolutely and incredibly horrible. The screenshots I had seen did not show the absolutely *hideous* desktop icons and the weird translucent boxes that surround them. Or the completely irregular way in which they are autoaranged. The panel is twice the size it should be, with no obvious way of resizing it or hiding it. The window manager *does not seem to know* about the panel, placing the bottom of windows under the panel. All of the windows for configuring the desktop come up large enough that the Cancel, OK, Apply buttons are under the panel… and *are not resizable*! The only way to click “apply” is to hit tab and enter and hope you’ve pushed the right button. And this is at 1280×768.

I cannot believe that they actually released this!

The screenshots do not do justice to how unbelievably badly done KDE4 really is; I had no idea.


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Eugenia wrote on January 12th, 2008 at 6:18 PM PST:

Well said Steve. Plus, they should have made the clock on the bottom right of the panel bigger, I can hardly read the time.


Morgan wrote on January 12th, 2008 at 6:31 PM PST:

Just going by your linked screenshot, and not having seen the anything else yet, I have one major issue with this interface. There is simply way too much whitespace! There’s too much between icons, too much on window panels, too much in the launcher menu. The taskbar is also too large, and if Steve is right in his comment above, it cannot be resized as it could in past versions.

Perhaps I’m just a bit biased as I’ve very recently switched back to OS X after a couple of years of Debian and Windows XP, but I am highly cognizant of the need for a great interface, and so far KDE 4 isn’t there.

As for the release schedule, well for someone like me who no longer works in the tech arena it’s not an issue. I can see how it would affect those who might use KDE at work or school though.


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Eugenia wrote on January 12th, 2008 at 6:42 PM PST:

>so far KDE 4 isn’t there.

It will never be. The reason is, KDE devs are not into good aesthetics. And the few who are (e.g. Aaron Seigo), don’t seem to either have an impact or have a good taste themselves. Aaron was going on and on about much better KDE4 will look like, but BASIC things like arrangement, whitespace, icon perspective, toolbars etc, are still looking like crap. But as I said, only 60% of that blame goes to the KDE devs, the other 40% goes to QT itself for not being optimized for good aesthetics itself, and so when you use default Qt generated code, you end up with shitty looks.


Steve Bergman wrote on January 12th, 2008 at 6:44 PM PST:

One other thing. Where is all this KDE configurability people are always going on about? Other than setting the background to something more usable than full white, which seems to be the default, and turning off that obnoxious bouncing cursor, I was not able to find where to change *a single one* of the hideous default settings. No obvious way to resize or hide the panel, as I mentioned. No way to change that clock font. But when I opened the “File” menu in Konqueror, I’ll be darned if it did not have options to open the current web page in any one of about 10 different text editors and other web browsers. Useful options, those. At least “Cervisia” is no longer one of them. You may recall that it used to be. So I guess that was the UI simplification they kept talking about.


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