A KDE 4.0 release party around January and the Gamma plan

kde-logo-official
For quite some time know the KDE team thought about having a KDE 4 release party some months after the original KDE 4.0 release. According to that plan the KDE 4.0 release in October will be official, but not press-release-official – that one will be celebrated some months later.

The plan isn’t new and was already discussed around last Akademy. But now it seems to be official that the big KDE 4.0 release party for the press and industry partners will be around January – months after the originally targeted release date.
This indeed makes sense in certain circumstances: if you put some time between the release date and the party you have quite some advantages. Even a shifted release date wouldn’t spoilt the party, tickets can be booked in advance, people and work can be organized, etc. Also you can fix last-minute bugs and serious showstoppers. And 3rd party content providers and application developers can pick up the new platform and create an ecosystem. Think of new plasmoids, background images, new icon sets, themes, all the famous 3rd party KDE apps (digikam, konversation, k3b, kile, Amarok, ktorrent) and so on.

However, this decision also has quite some shortcomings: the release party is supposed to be the KDE 4.0 release party, not the 4.0.1 release party. That means that there will be no minor release between October and January – although the development will go on of course, and especially the bug fixing will continue. The question is how the October release will be called. The term Gamma was already mentioned and would fit to follow a Beta release, however it would be the first time that KDE comes up with a Gamma release I think.

In the end it doesn’t really matter for early adopters how the release is called. Most distributions (especially the KDE centric ones) are not going to pick up KDE 4 as default in the 4th quarter releases so there are no problems either. But this issue has to be explained to the industry and to the press and I wonder how these will take it. The KDE team will definitely have to work out some good explanation.
On the other hand there are strange release dates, version numbers and names all the time in the software world so this KDE 4.0 release thing might not be too strange.

14 thoughts on “A KDE 4.0 release party around January and the Gamma plan”

  1. “eplaining to the industry?”
    How about:
    “It wasn’t stable yet, that’s why we’re late. But it works fine now. Cheers & Happy new year!!”
    I would consider that completely acceptable (it’s free after all), believable and reasonable. Anything else I would consider euphemistic.

  2. The current ‘best name’ floating around is “Technology Platform Release” for the October release… I’ll have to get on this problem shortly. The problem is that sometimes there is resistance to change of our previous mechanisms🙂

    Cheers

  3. We can compare that situation to the Linux kernel 2.6. It took about ten minor releases to become the default kernel of some distro’s…

    What is happening to KDE4 is completely normal.

  4. Victor, you’re right, but there are also big expectations for KDE 4.0, and if the first impression is really bad this might harm KDE…

  5. I know what you mean, but let me reproduce what I just posted on another blog:

    There is nothing embarrassing with KDE4 current situation, the same thing happened to Linux kernel 2.6. It took about ten releases to become the default kernel of some distro’s…

    The difference between KDE and the Linux kernel is that there are people who are uncomfortable with the success of KDE among Linux users, even though it has less corporate backing and PR than some other projects, whereas the Linux kernel does not have a popular “competitor” in the Open Source world, so people do not care too much about “embarrassing incomplete releases”.

    The KDE leaders only need to find a way to stop those biased critics from raising their voices. This is the real problem.

  6. The problem with KDE4 is that it promised too much too soon with nothing but faked animations and fancy words to sell it.
    Expectations are high and get higher with every delay. Most of us start to think it won’t be such a big deal, just the same jump that happened between the 2.x series and 3.x. And it won’t bring anything really NEW (not present in competitors like OSX, Vista o Gnome)
    At the end of the day it is just a rewriting from qt3 libs to qt4. Loads of developer hours just not to get deprecated and achieve a little bit more of performance and, if we get lucky, better app startup times (one of the weakest points of KDE AND Gnome vs Vista or OSX)

  7. Jose, while I do agree that there have been strong promises it is simply wrong to say that it is just the qt3 -> qt4 port. That is an important part, but just one. The other underground changes are huge, and most of them are actually done (Phonon, Solid, Plasma, Oxygen for example).

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