KDE must have grown so big and old that it became unpopular to be associated with it. At least I cannot help having this sentiment after observing a couple of sub-projects trying hard to not be tied to KDE too closely.
Granted, the times when K* versions of applications popping up every day were a bit excessive. But the „kool“ umbrella apparently helped to form a critical mass of developers, translators, documentation writers and others. More creative names for new components were introduced later when the desktop got polished for a wider audience.
The last few years saw a couple of sub-projects leaving this pool or not wanting to fully join in the first place. A couple of them are still located in the kdesupport module, others – like the newly announced ex-KOffice Calligra Suite will move elsewhere.
Granted, the authors always had some specific individual reason for their decision. Even if it’s just their personal preference – a right which should be preserved in an open and free software project like KDE. In this post I am just looking at this with from bird’s eye view. Similar to the view on the subject being different in macroeconomics compared to microeconomics. This allows just generalized assumptions about the motivation of individual entities. Factors one can presume:
- Autonomy (release cycles etc.)
- Impatient git users that cannot wait until KDE switches.
- KDE frameworks considered a a burden to the spread of their software. Think of the recent discussion about the dissolving of kdelibs.
- Different target platforms like mobile devices.
- Lack of trust into KDE’s strength and future.
What I am more wondering about is the effect on the project as a whole. Fragmentation is a challenge. Not only for technical reasons (e.g. management of source code, documentation and translations) but also for brand awareness. Having a common brand not only helps with attracting users but also contributors. As far as the focus on a specific platform is concerned….the more the better. Let’s just keep in mind not to get attached to a single one too much. KDE has already outlived some vendors in the past. And with regards to git: I love it. How KDE will deal with one of its strengths (distributed nature) will be interesting to see as it can also become a challenge to put things together in the end.
I listed the last point solely because I sometimes get the feeling that some more self-confidence in what we are doing is required and warranted 🙂