KDE's future...

Akonadi, Nepomuk and Strigi explained « Thomas McGuire’s Blog

I was just reading this blog post, and found it quite interesting, because I had been wondering what akonadi was. It has a small episode every time I start KDE in arch… but now I’m more intrigued, and less minded to try to kill it.

So it sounds like an even greater march of desktop integration and information collating, which can only be useful (although will probably have some of the more privacy minded users turning it all off as soon as they’ve installed it…)

Has anyone found any other interesting posts about their future plans?

KDE4 has attracted a lot of people wanting to implement advanced ideas because it is often easier to do this within an evolving than within a mature framework.

Nepomuk is just one of these and there have been numerous talks on the subject at KDE’s annual get togethers which have been available at kde.org.

The assumption is that, as the amount of data the average user stores increases, the traditional file managers and desktop search engines will no longer be able to cope. So creating not just a new look but a new way of interacting with your computer has been part of the design philosophy for KDE4.

That blog is all very nice and academic, but it still comes down to 2 things -

  1. ALL these blasted “background search thingies” are a pain in the rear for a “normal” desktop user.

  2. Quote - “The ‘bad’ news are, we won’t drop the dependency on Nepomuk, because this is a technology no other desktop environment provides so far and it gives us all the nice features we want to have”.

Who the hell is we? Is that the “Royal we”?

Microsoft’s OS provides a nice “blue screen of death”, that’s also “a feature no other OS has”, can we also expect that to be incorporated soon?

Sounds like yet another “Führer Direktiv” to me! No real concern for what the “real” end user wants, simply "ooh, it looks nice and shiny, and sounds like a good idea, we’re going to make everyone have it even though it’s a big steaming pile of cr@p!

I really hate these sneaky background things, and one of the first things I do is either remove them the “legal” way, delete the executables directly, or use the –nodeps feature of rpm to rid my system of these evil nasties.

And trying to validate it by saying that it is only a problem on old hardware is a load of rubbish too, these things have a habit of cutting in when you really don’t want them to.

They can make a distro look hopelessly slow by lengthening boot times, and slowing disk I/O down to a crawl.

One thing that unnerves me whenever I have to use a Microsoft OS is that the disk is busy thrashing away in the background. I have no idea what it is doing, it makes me feel extremely insecure.

Do we really want this “feature” in Linux? I certainly don’t!

I agree!
No we don’t need these in Linux! The only thing I want happening in the background is app auto-saves, system required firewall checks as traffic is encountered and the like. Indexing, pop-ups, adware, and the like should need to be specifically requested by me at times of my choosing!:\

Well, if they provided an off switch for it, as you yourself point out, I guess it wouldn’t be so bad would it? :wink:

And trying to validate it by saying that it is only a problem on old hardware is a load of rubbish too, these things have a habit of cutting in when you really don’t want them to.

Playing devil’s advocate; that’s a technical problem, and in principal resolvable. It’s like the memory caching thing. Nobody complains, even though it aims for close to 100% use - simply because it knows when and how to drop everything and do what you tell it. I suppose only if they figure that out with these indexes will most people leave them on…

amazing, a hacker that achieves simply user privileges will have a slick, fast, semantic database to locate names, DOB, SS and account numbers. Very efficient. :slight_smile:

which is not to say that i’m against the idea, to me it seems that we are bringing to the desktop tools to deal with the data mountain that a lot of users have and continue to build (myself included). I just hope that there is proper thought given to prevent a Microsoft-style “bring the neat functionality without regard for security” blunder.

With respect John, your first statement could be the mantra of any pioneering organization or “new ideas” think tank. Just substitute any whacko (or serious) name instead of KDE4 - it works for them all. :wink:

The point is that the KDE project is a well established provider, with a succesful KDE3 following, whose existing users need to be considered when they redesign their interface i.e. KDE4, not afterwards. That means maintaining user control over what applications run on their systems. We don’t want another Beagle forced upon us, do we (?).

Herein lies a fundamental problem. The KDE project appears to be involved in two different types of software: application software and system software. Application software performs tasks that would be done manually if computers weren’t available. In contrast, system software is required to make the computer useable and useful. I would argue that the “DE” in KDE is closer to, if not part of, the operating system, i.e. it’s system software, especially from a user’s point of view. KDE needs to understand where the operating system software role ends and the application software role begins. They have form on this problem. The choice of applications to be installed on a personal computer must rest with the owning user.

I just hope KDE’s future isn’t in the hands of the blogger who struggled to explain the term semantic data. Put simply it’s “data about data”, and if it’s not properly defined and cleansed, it can be about as useful as “talk about talk”. One layer compounding the problems of the underlying layer.

Programs that collect data such as Browsers, PIM’s, email Clients, Note-taking programs, etc. are undoubtedly application software and so are the user programs for searching and collating that data. Programs that query semantic data, and utility programs that create it, are application software. The choice as to whether that stuff runs or not on my machine is, you guessed it, MINE!

The we is the people who are contributing to and supporting KDE, not least the Brazilians who have the largest single implementation of KDE anywhere in the world and who are very keen on many of the things that the KDE developers are considering.

The KDE developers would be foolish not to listen to their largest group of users.

I agree. No-one is forcing you to use KDE4 and KDE3 will be supported for the foreseeable future.

The KDE developers have simply tried to think what people will need in the future and develop something that will meet people’s future needs. They may have got it completely wrong - in which case KDE will be sidelined by applications that better suit people’s needs.

But, as someone once said to me, the person who has never made a mistake has never achieved anything either. Playing it safe is never a long term option in this area.

I also imagine if it gets too tied up in this kind of thing it will fork - there’s already KDEmod.

But I can’t see them shooting themselves in the foot like that. Maybe I’m just young and optimistic. :slight_smile:

One of the advantages of it being essentially (at least for a home user) costless to jump ships from one distro to another, or one DE to another, is that they’re kept on a relatively tight leash by their users…

Found some more discussion of ‘the semantic desktop’ here;

Vibrant Community Propels KDE Forward at Akademy 2009 | KDE.news

I can definitely see the sense to it - if they can make it all chug along silently in the background when you aren’t busy, and not be a major security concern. But those could be quite big ifs…

Still having trouble tracking down recordings of the talks about all this though. Found a few old ones here;


If anyone knows of any more, I’d be interested to have a browse…

True, but I wasn’t suggesting a KDE3 versus KDE4 scenario. Just using KDE3 to describe the users’ experience level. I expect that most will embrace KDE4. That will be easier if new but performance degrading software isn’t locked in during installation, and forced on the user. The one thing that could put users off KDE4, is a forced hardware upgrade (Vista moment). Not every desktop requires these new search tools now.

IMHO it’s a bit of a hype to go against desktop search engines. Compared to beagle, Nepomuk is an immense leap forward. And…everybody’s got something to say about how beagle/kerry and nepomuk slow down performance. Yet we all have compositing and desktop effects enabled.
To all those complaining about mentioned programs: see what happens if you turn off compositing/desktop effects. You will be amazed by the increase of overall performance.

Given your oversexed hardware, don’t you think it’s just a wee bit arrogant to be talking in those terms when it probably doesn’t affect you adversely.

Saying “Yet we all have compositing and desktop effects enabled.” might just be wrong. I don’t for starters. :expressionless:

I totally relate to that!

Not my experience here with a relatively slow laptop (turion 64 single core). Although there’s a performance hit, it’s not perceptible in (my) day-to-day use. Only time I use do disable it is when running google earth, and that is out of habit, must check if it’s still necessary. Of course, YMMV.