I’ve read ettrich’s rant about possible improvments to KDE 4 over the current status.
Some things stated are very important, and some I think are way overrated and are mostly just “usability hype”. One of the issues for which ettrich’s got the most flak was his rants about “embedding is the Wrong Thing(tm)”.
I understand where people are coming from. The reason why KDE is currently the number 1 desktop environment in Linux is not (only) because its the closest thing in Linux to the MS-Windows explorer shell (look-wise), but mostly because it gives people – both end-users, power users and developers – the power of integration. Embedding is only part of it (I love the ability to browse the web and then click on a link to a PDF and view the PDF in the same windows – a natural extension to the browsing experience. The Mozilla/IE way of either launching an external application which takes years to load or embedding an additional interface inside the browser view port is annoying), but integration is more important – I can drag stuff from a web browser to my desktop, to a network share, to an email composer, to an editor, to the address book, to a media player and it does the right thing every time.
The problem is that this behavior isn’t pollished enough and new users can get confused by the enourmous amount of options they are offered. I’m personally not in favour of the current trend of truncating RMB menu enteries: when I right click a link in the web browser (Konqueror), I get the options of “sending to bluetooth”, “compress as
When things like that are being discussed, I’m reminded of the “bug” opened in the KDE Bugzilla about redundant enteries in KHTML RMB menu. One of the enteries that were quickly discarded (thankfully to be reinstated not much later) was the “Set character encoding..” menu. This item is a must for non-native english speakers who use langauge native pages on the web. Yet it was quickly discarded because “it clutters the menu”. We have to be extra careful not to cut away functionality that people actually use. Even if that means that 90% of the users only use 10% of the features (as the famous gurnisht law clearly and wrongly states), we don’t want to make the other 10% leave us because they can’t get any work done.
All in all, I’m confident that the KDE developers will know how to maintain the balance, and am not too worried. And if things break – we will always have Bugzilla 🙂