Recently a patch was sent to the KDE file manager development list to implement tab functions in Dolphin. Following this patch a discussion about pro and cons of tabs in Dolphin has started.
Dolphin, the new easy-to-use default file manager of KDE 4 (in contrast to Konqueror, the power-user default file manager for KDE 4) was designed as a very lightweight and easy to use file manager without the rich feature and configuration set Konqueror has.
For most developers this included also to not have tabs.
I have talked with several individuals some which say tabs should be allowed. Others are saying that tabs shouldn’t be allowed. I think the best compromise and solution to making everyone happy is to make a setting for tabs and by default the tab feature is disabled keeping dolphin simple.
But most developers rejected the idea due to different reasons:
Ouch, honestly it doesn’t look like a good idea to me. It’ll be yet another setting for a feature you can already have elsewhere. [...] That’s what we’ve done in the past, and why our userbase complains about the complexity of our settings dialogs.
Also, it was mentioned that Dolphin and Konqueror share many parts of the code base – and that Konqueror indeed supports tabs. From that point of view the better way would be to share more features of Dolphin with Konqueror.
But at least the current Konqueror version is missing quite some Dolphin tools and abilities.
However, Peter Penz made a good point:
So Dolphin aims for a different target audience and we must somewhere draw a line to stop adding features just for trying to make everybody happy. I admit that drawing this line is very difficult [...]
For him tabs are on the “power user” side of the line because tabs need a collection of configuration options (see Konqueror’s options for example).
An additional point of view could be provided by the usability experts maybe, but in the end it is simply a decision someone has to make – whether to include tabs or not.
I just hope, in case the tabs will not be included with Dolphin, that Konqueror integrates the nice stuff from Dolphin and stays the power user tool I’m used to and I really like to work with.