KDE at LinuxTag 2008, Day 2 – Taking over the World

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The second day at LinuxTag is over. It showed how KDE is steadily taking over the world.

Today a group of CIOs did a guided tour through the exhibition halls, and of course the icing cake was the KDE booth. There the main question was: how can KDE be interesting for such people, for companies.

And the answer was never easier than with KDE 4: through portability. The KDE 4 libs are amazing, and additionally the already existing apps on top of it are excellent programs. The key point for such people is however Kontact (which was also presented in a talk today which I unfortunately missed). Kontact provides an easy to manager group ware client compatible with a lot of different servers out there – and now it is also available on all three big platforms. This makes it possible for business people to have one central place for the configuration for all platforms while the client itself is fully integrated with the native platform look&feel.

And the most important thing is: this is not theory, it exists already. In fact, the booth of the BSI, the German Federal Office for Information Security, shows Kontact running natively on Windows and on Mac OS X. Here are three screenshots for comparison (thanks to the BSI for the Mac OS X and Windows screenshots):

KDE's Kontact on Linux

Kontact on Linux.

KDE's Kontact on Mac OS X

Kontact on Mac OS X.

KDE's Kontact on Windows

Kontact on Windows XP.

The versions displayed are based on the current in development KDE 4.1 libraries. But they are already working, and it is just a question of time until this becomes stable enough to use it in daily business life. This ports would not have been possible without the help of the BSI – which does support and promote Kontact and help with the development of security plugins – and also Kolab who do an amazing job in the world of group ware.

So, at the moment there is only one serious group ware client out there which runs on all three major platforms. And it does not only run there, it is natively integrated, users will immediately feel at home in them. The importance of these two facts can not be underestimated, and in the mid term more and more companies will consider Kontact – and therefore KDE – as a possible solution for their often mixed setups. And with Kontact other useful apps like Konqueror, Dolphin, Okular and others – which could again be configured at one single central point – are in reach as well.

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14 thoughts on “KDE at LinuxTag 2008, Day 2 – Taking over the World

  1. This is really awesome!

    I have been waiting for Kontact on Windows for ages!! :)

    Replace outlook and use Kontact (which is great) especially because we use Kolab.

    I’m going to try see if I can get Kontact to work on Windows…

  2. Awesome. Kontact really needs some corporate/gov’t support to get the boring parts done. Will be nice when I can use it at work to connect to exchange.

  3. While Kontact is a nice piece of software and the features are there, it’s starting to look a bit dated. Especially the Calendar-view looks confusing, but I can’t really put my finger on what it is exactly.

  4. KDE, exactly like it’s older sister – Vista, is steadily taking over the world. Bravo! Way to go!
    If I was forced to chose between a distro with KDE and Vista, between Konqueror and IE, between Koffice and MS office, without blinking once I would chose Vista, IE (you would really have to torture me to use it thought) and MS office.
    Amazing libs and stupid desktop environment. Something must be wrong with this picture. Well, my vision is not perfect, but clearly the Konqueror hobbyist mentality, if left unchecked, will bring the whole KDE down.

  5. You have hit here on the one thing I was most interested in for the KDE 4 roll-over: Kontact. I’m currently trying to download one of the daily virtual images for KDE 4 – but it seems to have faltered overnight. Is the new and improved Kontact included in that image?
    Janne: I agree on the dated look. If you want to put your finger on it, load up Sunbird or the Lightning plug-in for Thunderbird and you can see where Kontact is lacking. The difference between the two being that Kontact actually works…. :)

  6. vi: apart from being a foolish troll, you have to be someone who has never worked in something that almost try to be “corporate”, or you won’t make such a stupid comment when talking about Kontact.

  7. Looks good on Linux..
    So so on Mac OS X..the buttons look a bit ugly around the edges, or is it the way all Mac applications look? Never owned one myself.
    Windows – well integrated into it, but I wish they showed us how it looks with XP’s default theme/Vista default theme, not the classical theme.

  8. vi, it would help if you actualy write something usable. The “hobby” mentality doesn’t really fit in here because the Kontact development is indeed highly professional. Also, you are not clear about the aspects because you would prefer Vista to KDE. You might want to shed some more light on the details – if you have any.

    Rooster, yes, Kontact is included within KDE4Daily.

    But about the look on Windows XP: please keep in mind that this is a devel version – but if you find some design issues please point them out in the bugzilla! Feedback is important right now :)

  9. I hate to rain on everyone’s parade, but Kontact is unusable with egroupware and exchange and only works well with Kolab, which is great if you can afford to deploy that, but I have lots of clients that use egrouwpare or exchange and kontact is an absolute disaster with both.

    I understand that it is hard to support a proprietary product such as exchange, but I cannot understand why it works so poorly with egroupware, an open source project. With egroupware, I get double entries, no reliable syncing, just one big mess.

    So, I would love to think that kontact is indeed ready for the corporate world but that’s far from the case. We are being forced to use outlook through wine or evolution because both actually work much better, which is a sad thing as those are the only two non-kde apps that my users end up using.

  10. NotSoFast, you are right that the eGroupware server support in Kontact isn’t in a good shape. However, this doesn’t say anything about the other free software groupware servers. Scalix works as well as Kolab. OpenGroupWare, OpenXChange and Citadel are working also pretty well, only support for notes and shared notebooks is missing. Last but not least, Novell Groupwise is supported, although notes are missing there as well.
    So, don’t judge Kontact’s abilities regarding communication with free groupware servers just because eGroupware doesn’t work.

    Having said that, you are not alone with your experience regarding eGroupware. The problem is that Kontact still uses a XML-RPC connector for eGroupware, which was never stable. In fact, the kontact guys always said that it is not ready for production!
    There is work going on to switch the connector from XML-RPC to GroupDAV – if you are interested in the state of the new connector or would even be willing to test it, just drop the Kontact developers a note, or mention it here and we contact them together.

  11. “The difference between the two being that Kontact actually works”

    Actually I use Thunderbird with Lightning and find it works quite well. I even have it syncing with my smartphone without issues.

    I really really want to like Kontact but just can’t. There are several simple feature lacking that prevent it. For example, HTML mail support. I know traditionalist shy away from this but when my boss (Outlook user) forwards his HTML mail to me and I can’t forward it along with a reply because my e-mail program doesn’t support it, that is a usability problem for me.

    I am also really really not fond of KDE4. I have switched back to gnome because of it. If KDE4 is the vision for the next generation of KDE I am done with KDE. I really really like KDE3. Perhaps the instability of KDE4 is what has left a bad taste in my mouth.

    I was very disappointed because KDE development has been very strong in the past. Just my opinion but if you are strongly marketing a new improved desktop, especially one that hasn’t had all of the apps ported yet so its application base is rather limited, it had better be rock solid to impress with what is available. My experience so far, including on supposed 4.1 stable versions, is limited application support and severe instability with programs exploding left and right.

  12. The problem with Thunderbird/Lightning is that it currently hasn’t released a version which is really working with Groupware servers.
    Afaik Lightning still doesn’t test for collisions when merging calenders, and that is bad.

    About the html mails, I never bothered with that feature, but it should be available, you’re right. Did you ever check the state of editing html mails? Is there a bug report?

    About KDE 3 vs KDE 4: If you have tested KDE 4.0 and switched back to Gnome because of that: well, the Gnome guys are good friends, so there is no problem with that.
    However, I tested quite some KDE 4.1 installations, and do know that, while it of course still has some bugs, and actually one or two really annoying, it is not “programs exploding left and right”. If you see that you might check back with your distribution packages or write a bug report to see what’s the cause is – it is definitely not normal.
    Additionally, if the performance is that bad, check if you run Nvidia hardware. If so, you won’t have much fun with current/future Gnome/OOo versions either because they all suffer the same problems.

    Last but not least, I’m not sure what you mean by “imited application support” – KDE provides a basis to build applications on top of it. And that apps are working. Of course there are 3rd party apps like Amarok, Digikam, etc., but if these are not ready you can hardly blame KDE.

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