[CS-FSLUG] Linux Today - Is desktop Linux too fragmented to succeed? A friend tells it like it is!!

Eduardo Sánchez lists at sombragris.org
Tue May 5 07:29:56 CDT 2009

On Monday 04 May 2009 15.47.18 Timothy Butler wrote:
> > It's perfectly doable, and I don't think it's much of KDE's
> > business. Right now I can run KDE3 and KDE4 apps simultaneously
> > because Slackware
> > provides a KDE3 compatibility layer (with selected libraries, and
> > so on). This comes at the cost that right now I am not able to
> > compile KDE3
> > stuff on this machine (only KDE4 stuff). But the point is that
> > binary compatibility *can* be done in a matter of something as
> > simple as installing packages, and even an undermanned,
> > underpowered and simple distro can do that in a very simple way.
> > Why the Fedoras and Ubuntus of
> > the world can't, then?
> 	I am surprised Kubuntu doesn't bother, since it is KDE focused.

I am not surprised at all, since it follows the Red Hat philosophy: 
Compile with absolutely zero optimizations, make a lot of changes and 
patches to upstream releases, and release them to the unsuspecting 
public without testing, or even warning. Feature bloat comes first, and 
stability and speed a very distant second. The result is that the 
perceived improvements are small, and the regressions are many.

It's not that I'm bashing the Ubuntu family; but there are some things 
that, while simple, would require an adjustment of their whole 
philosophy of doing things.

> 	How do KDE 3 and KDE 4 apps interoperate? For example, I can run an
> app written for Mac OS X 10.1 and one for 10.5 and not know which is
> which.

I can also run KDE 3.1 and 3.5 apps and not know which is which ;) (just 
a joke...)

> Likewise, I can run many Windows XP, or even 3.1, apps on
> Vista and not have a clue which is which.

I did not use Vista that much, but for the looks I can tell whether an 
app is a Win 3.1 app, or a Visual Basic app, or a .NET app, or a Borland 
Delphi app (the icons on the buttons are a dead giveaway for the 

> 	At least in the past, for example, KDE 2 apps did not integrate well
> with KDE 3 apps, even if both libraries were installed. How's the
> situation with KDE 4?

Now, on your question on KDE integration:

They do it very well, in general. I use Kile (KDE3 LaTeX editor), and it 
automatically calls Okular (KDE4 doc/PDF viewer) as needed after each 
compile. Similar integration stuff happens. It's not perfect, though. 
There are rough spots: I cannot use the embedded Konsole in Kile 
(because there is no KDE3-Konsole in my environment). And the looks 
might be different.

The "looks" question can be solved by simply using a common theme across 
KDE3 and KDE4, such as BlueCurve. But the other stuff is not as easy as 
one should think.

However, take into account that this state of things happened only 
because I am using special distro packages. I could have a complete KDE3 
environment and a complete KDE4 environment living next to each other 
and enjoy full functionality on either desktop environment. I did 
exactly that for KDE 4.0:

* I had KDE3 as usual, on /usr;
* I compiled KDE4.0 in the previous KDE location, /opt/kde;
* I changed my ~/.kde settings to ~/.kde3;
* I made a symlink, ~/.kde --> ~/.kde4

Then, after running KDE4.0, I had two completely different directory 
settings and I could even switch between the two environments. And while 
using KDE4, I could use any KDE3 app. But I recognize this is major 

My point is that it is doable.

> 	I think the big thing, though, is that KDE does keep breaking the
> ABI even if you can kludge around it.

So what? Gnome did it. Mac OS9 -> OS X? Apple did it, too...

> Mac OS X has not broken its
> ABI. And, when they switched architectures, Apple went to great
> lengths to hide even something as complex as an emulator or another
> architecture (!) so that the user never sees it.

I think this is because they really made the mistake of switching 
architectures... IMHO they had the advantage with POWER.

> 	I'm thinking that kind of smoothness is probably best handled by the
> DE project, not by the distro builder....
> 	-Tim

Yes and no. There should be clear layers, well documented, and the hooks 
to make them possible. While not perfect, I think KDE approaches that.



Eduardo Sanchez, B. Th.
Traductor Público Inglés-Español
 Waste not your Hour, nor in the vain pursuit
 Of This and That endeavor and dispute;
   Better be jocund with the fruitful Grape
 Than sadden after none, or bitter, Fruit.

	-- The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam


More information about the Christiansource mailing list