, but I am concerned that these "Beta" releases are really alphas. I would figure that once the platform has stabilized, and "KDE4.0" "platform" is done, there is still a large amount of work putting together a complete "KDE4.0" "desktop". The difference between the "platform" and the "desktop" (in my mind) is that the platform is now ready for 4.0 desktop applications to be written in. When those applications are complete, then the "KDE 4.0" desktop can actually launch to the users.
Or are we just hoping that Koffice 2.0, plasma, and other Kore eKsperiences will be done at the same time and integrate seamlessly?
i figured i'd answer it more prominently with another blog entry because i hear this often enough and feel that it really does miss a number of fundamental issues.
before i get into it, though, with regards to "assume they'll integrate seamlessly" there are no assumptions being made at all. as we develop the software we're all keeping an eye to harmony and consistency.
so .. first off is the issue of how open source development works. open source development strives towards complete products, but it does not make every release a complete product. in fact, it can't. because if it just holds on and holds on waiting for some mythical completeness ... you get e17. if you release "early, often" you get dot-0 releases like the linux kernel (which usually suck in various splendorous ways), but you get the momentum needed through extended testing and 3rd party development to push towards a completed product.
what i'm saying is that we can't hold on to kde 4.0 until everything is "done", as Scorp1us talks about. to do so would extend the release cycle beyonds its already silly length and eventually bring the project to a grinding halt. releases are necessary to keep momentum, to keep discipline (esp amongst lib development) and to increase both testing and 3rd party development.
our proprietary competition hold on for years and do extensive beta testing and what not and then release a "finished" product (which, btw, usually also sucks horribly in its first incarnations *anyways*). most people don't get to see the stage we're going through right now with 4.0, because in a proprietary world that'd be what goes out on the pilot programs.
but i also take grand exception to the idea that "Kore eKsperience" (hehe) applications are not there yet. dolphin, okular, gwenview, konsole, kdegames, kdeedu .. shall i continue? they are all massive improvements over their kde3 incarnations and work rather well and stable right now. those efforts deserve both our recognition and support.
so i feel that looking at koffice 2.0 not being out with 4.0 (which is silly: they have 'always' had their own release cycle) or that plasma is so new, or that kwin is still making its way towards the composite holyland, etc, and gauging everything by that is to discount all the work the people have put into the other apps.
there is a metric ton of really great applications in svn today, which is another reason to get the releases flowing.
yes, 4.1 will be even more interesting that 4.0. that wasn't a hard thing to predict. how long have i been saying that 4.0 is a lot like 2.0 in that regard? many of the new usability guidelines will probably take multiple releases to become pervasive and we're bound to see improvements across the board (features, stability, performance). but here's the salient point:
without 4.0, and soon, 4.1 will not only be longer off ... it may well be put into jeopardy.
this is not to say that 4.0 is a compromise or a rush, but that 4.0 is exactly what it needs to be and what it can be. none of us have rose coloured glasses on; in fact, if you want to hear the harshest and most realistic criticisms of where the codebase is right now ask a real kde developer. they'll tell you =) that awareness is helping make things come together, but it shouldn't hold us back from releasing. it's been long enough, it's now time to get back on the release train and start making regular stops.