Following the “tradition” undertaken by the KDE project in recent years, the time has come to renew the votes or, without being so smug, to renew the goals of the project for the next two years . Does the matter ring a bell? Well, the novelty on this occasion is the explicit call for the participation of whoever wants it.
Explicit call, because implicitly it is always there: the KDE project continues to be a community effort to which anyone is invited to join and collaborate, although this call is of a different nature than usual, since it is about helping to shape to the future of KDE, no less. Do you have any idea about it?
According to the KDE blog , “KDE’s goals set a direction for the community and help focus efforts on areas considered important by the KDE community itself. Every two years, new goals are selected to reflect the current priorities of the communities.”
We have had a few examples of this initiative since they started it. Thus, in 2017 three objectives were set: first-level usability and productivity for the basic software, privacy software and simplification in the incorporation of new collaborators . Have they been fulfilled? While the last one is difficult to determine without being part of the project, the other two have covered in a relative way. Or, to put it another way, much more could have been done.
In 2019 the goals were renewed, incorporating the need to improve Wayland support, software consistency, and giving applications the importance they deserve in an environment like KDE’s. It is worth asking again, have they fulfilled it? Again, the answer is relative , because there are areas where it is and others where it is not so noticeable.
In 2021 the operation was repeated, but in a somewhat different way, with more specific objectives for that year, such as continuing to improve Plasma support for Wayland, continuing with consistency, this time with the visual aspect, with features such as the fingerprint authentication support … Let’s say that the outbreak of the pandemic in our lives disrupted setting goals that are as ambitious as they are ambiguous.
Analyzing all these proposals from the perspective of an intensive user of KDE software, I could say that progress has been remarkable, but much remains to be done , apart from the proposals, but also with respect to what is marked by them, some of them so complex that not even in private competition have been achieved.
There is a bit of everything: Wayland support, for example, has improved a world in recent years, but it is still not quite ready for production, which was the goal. Or not at the same level as X.Org in all cases. That is my experience. Has the first-rate usability and productivity been achieved for the basic software, or the desired consistency? Again, it all depends on how you look at it.
On the issue of consistency, specifically in design and usability, the traditional UI/UX binomial, a very important leap has been taken, although there is still much to be done and, in fact, it is being done. But other objectives, such as those related to productivity or privacy, I think have received less attention than is desirable. However, an in-depth analysis would require more dedication and this is not the time.
This is the time to contribute ideas to build the future of KDE; background ideas on which to work during the next couple of years and for this you have to participate in the call in question, registering in the KDE Phabricator and contributing your own. For now there are several of different types certainly interesting. For example, to improve the accessibility of tools, improve documentation…
Personally, the one that I liked the most is the one by KDE developer Nate Graham about professionalizing KDE at all levels, while there are much more mundane ones, like making Flatpak a first-class method of distributing applications KDE, when not directly laughable, such as improving the visual and icon themes of third parties.
Opinions… what deep and ambitious improvement could use the KDE project? You can leave a comment here, but if you’re serious, go where it belongs. For me, with a strong impact on what has already been raised, see the consistency of design and usability, I agree.
if you’re interested in the latest from KDE, that’s KDE Plasma 5.25 , the latest version of the desktop, released just a few days ago.
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