Occasionally, intelligent conversation erupts online--this time as the KDE open-source community tries to figure out whether it needs users or simply contributors. Jason Harris suggests:KDE, like many other open-source projects, doesn't really need users at all, whether they are poisonous or not. What we need are contributors: that's the life-blood of our community, what keeps KDE growing and evolving. To the extent that users can and do become contributors, I will grant that we need a userbase as a pool of potential future contributors. But I am simply baffled by any argument that we "need" … Read more
Red Hat on Tuesday released the ninth incarnation of its enthusiast version of Linux, making a move that rival Ubuntu couldn't: the inclusion of the KDE 4 user interface.
That's because Fedora and Ubuntu have different approaches to new projects such as KDE 4, which is new, significantly different from KDE 3.5, and not yet settled down.
Red Hat has two versions of Linux, the free Fedora that's designed as a proving ground that can get new projects into the hands of early adopters while helping those projects to mature, and the subscription-fee-based Red Hat Enterprise Linux … Read more
Recent research suggests that much of the core development work on open-source projects is done by paid developers. Is this a bad thing?
The answer is in the data. I just finished reading Evangelia Berdou's Ph.D. thesis "Managing the Bazaar: Commercialization and peripheral participation in mature, community-led Free/Open source software projects," and highly recommend it to anyone seeking to understand how open-source communities operate, especially in light of the increasing encroachment of commercial interests into open-source development communities. Berdou looks at paid vs. unpaid developer contributions to GNOME (GNU Network Object Model Environment) and KDE (K Desktop Environment) and reaches some interesting, if unsurprising, results.
Berdou starts with four primary hypotheses, only two of which end up making the grade:Paid developers are more likely to contribute to critical parts of the code base. Paid developers are more likely to maintain critical parts of the code base. Volunteer contributors are more likely to participate in aspects of the project that are geared towards the end-user. Programmers and peripheral contributors are not likely to participate equally in major community events. (134)
Only Nos. 2 and 4 end up surviving her analysis, though her data (and my experience) suggests that No. 1 is also true.… Read more
KDE programmers released a significantly revamped version of its Linux graphical interfaces software on Friday, incorporating several features that also appear in Windows Vista and Mac OS X.
Among new features in KDE 4.0 are a start menu on steroids called Kickoff, new ways of viewing widgets and applications, a revamped file browser, and a new look to some entertainment applications that I hope will help pioneer a new user interface technology.
There are two dominant software projects that provide Linux with a graphical user interface, but only one of them will get long-term support in Ubuntu's next version of the open-source operating system.
GNOME, the default user interface for Ubuntu, will receive the support, but KDE won't. The reason, according to Canonical, which sponsors Ubuntu and is trying to make a business of selling the support contracts, is simply that KDE is at an awkward transitional period between two versions, the old-line 3.5 and the imminent and significantly different 4.0.
Developer interest is focused on KDE 4.… Read more
Novell released OpenSuse 10.3 Thursday, its latest free version of the open-source operating system.
For those who need a refresher, OpenSuse is the faster-moving but mostly unsupported version of Linux from Novell and various outside contributors. It competes most directly with Linux versions such as Canonical's Ubuntu and Red Hat's Fedora. Novell has tried for years to pit it against Windows as well, even as it cooperates with Microsoft in a legally thorny partnership. Novell's supported product, Novell's Suse Linux Enterprise Server, is sold in the form of an annual support subscription.
Like most versions … Read more