trying to go for dinner with people at a KDE gathering can be an interesting affair. often a bunch of people will decide to go get some food and will make it as far as the curb, but then the mass will cease movement and start discussing various things. it isn't until someone, anyone decides to start moving in some random direction that the rest of the crowd finds their legs again. if the movers stop, so does the group. it's an interesting phenomenon to watch. or, if you're hungry, frustrating.
the KDE project as a whole sometimes works like this. the self-herding cats concept works really well for many development needs. i mean, KDE is absolutely full of examples of the kinds of amazing things that can be accomplished when a small number of people Do Their Thing(tm). but there are a lot of things that just don't come out very well when this is the only mechanism at work. for instance, it's really hard to get consensus on what does and does not belong in base libraries at times, or what our interface guidelines should consist of. what it takes is someone, or preferably a few someones, to start off in a direction and then, if it doesn't appear that they are walking towards the edge of a cliff, others will lend their support.
we have a lot to accomplish with KDE 4. it needs to kick serious lamma ass (to use a geiserism =). some of the things we need to do will require some leadership. this was discussed at great length in various forums at aKademy in August but little came of the discussions. we all just stood on the sidewalk, bellies rumbling.
for me, one of the most exciting things about Appeal is that it represents a small group of people starting to walk towards the metaphorical restaurant. and this is close to what some were looking for at aKademy. if Appeal has a good thing going and we aren't all full of crap, then others in the project will probably join in and start pulling in a similar direction as well. if we are full of crap, then nobody (or at least very few) will join the party and it will come to nothing. this is the strength KDE derives from its decentralized nature.
over the next few days i'll be blogging more about about what Appeal means to me. and you can tell me that i'm full of crap, but i think it's at least equally likely that you'll think we're on to something interesting and add your own unique contribution to wherever it is we're headed.