just got off the phone with the lug radio gang. they had me on for a quick update of the goings on in KDE land. they also took the opportunity to grill me with a few of the usual questions about interoperability and linus. you can hear it on next week's show if you're interested.
and speaking of such things ... i've been sitting on my blog-hands the last few days thinking about what to say as the brush fire ignited from a spark of linus' torvalds pen swept across the community.
i really have nothing to say about the topic itself; there's simply nothing there for me to comment on. but the community reaction has been amazingly frustrating for me to experience.
but how to express that frustration in a way that makes any sort of sense is not easy. the question that keeps circling around my head is: if people are as passionate about this open source stuff, why do they engage in destructive behaviour that works directly against the efforts of those who are trying to make it better? this is not a soap opera for your benefit, this is a real effort being made by a relatively small number of people that, goddess forbid, ought to actually be enjoyable. and someone writing one impassioned email, even if that someone is the pope of linux himself, does not qualify as a reason to ignore that.
it is high time we agreed that we can be individuals when it comes to our project identity and purposes, but that we are generally working in the same space for similar ends: an open source desktop experience that kicks ass. there can be more than one result, but there is really only one directive..
i think it is also high time that we got to the business of making taboo out of the sort of actions that sew seeds of division within our culture.
that way when linus' says, "i like Foo and Bar sucks in this particular way" we can all just step back and say, "interesting. i always wondered what he did and didn't like. i wonder how bar could be made not to suck in that way?" and maybe the answer to that question is "nothing" or "bar is meant to suck like that, huzzah!". but it shouldn't result in tears and gnashing and arguments and fights and stories on the top geek web sites.
this isn't to say we always have to agree, we just have to stop ripping the clothes off each other when we find points of difference. it makes us look like foolish, and there are a lot of people watching. most of those people want to believe in what we're doing, but we keep giving them reasons to doubt.
so how do we move the people in our community in a positive direction? the obvious answer is leadership, but i think we need more than just small numbers of leaders that are self-selected from amongst the developers. not only are we only human (meaning we need to eat and sleep and do slip up as well), and there are very few of us relative to the numbers of people who aren't developers.
i believe it is time community leadership from amongst the user base stepped up and started doing the Right Thing(tm) in these situations. it's time those who write about the open source desktop stopped fanning the flames and instead wrote about strengthening the community (those can be controversial, click-makers too!).
when i see people like frank from kde-look.org and kde-apps.org sites i see the possibilities of such leadership (not to put any pressure on you frank =). those websites show the positive change (and not just for kde!) a committed user can create. he wrote those sites, maintains them and sets a really positive mood and a cool groove.
the community needs more franks.
in other news, i finally made a decision on how to address the transparency painting issues in kicker and simply removed the problematic shadow-around-the-text-labels code from the minipager for 3.5.1.
i also really need to get myself a dual screen system again so i can ensure things work properly there. there have been 3 regressions since 3.4: one in the new DnD pager code, one related to panel autohide occasionally doing odd things and one in the taskbar settings. all fairly minor, but all things that likely would've been caught if i were using xinerama on a daily basis. it's also easier to debug those situations with the right hardware ;)
which is a concern with plasma development since there will be so much from scratch code that will need to be tested thoroughly on both single and multiscreen setups.