Freedom Maximized!

UPDATE: This was an April fool’s post! However, we actually do plan to realize its basic idea. For more about that, see the next post

Whenever you introduce bigger changes to something people like, you’re certain to leave some people behind. GNOME had that experience with GNOME 3, where the resentment from users unwilling to adapt to change lead to forks like Cinnamon and MATE as well as GNOME’s partial backpedaling in the from of GNOME Classic/Fallback. Windows 8 got so much flak that it seems like with every 8.X release they’re moving back a little towards the Windows 7 way of doing things.

And KDE knows what happens when you alienate a group of users since the moment when the anger of some people over KDE 4 lead to the first prominent fork of KDE software, the Trinity Desktop Environment.

Now with Plasma Next, we of course want to introduce some fresh new concepts (otherwise, what would be the point of doing something new?), but we still don’t want to alienate our current users. That’s why we want to give users the opportunity to choose whether they want an all new experience, or stick with what they know. However, since we know that our users like choice, we shouldn’t stop there. Trinity shows that there are some people who still want the experience from the 3.x days, so why not give them what they want? And while we’re at it, I’m sure there are some folks who still nostalgically look back to the KDE 2 days, so we should serve them the experience they like, too!

That’s why I came up with the idea of a “Choose Your Plasma Experience” dialog at the end of the installation process of distributions shipping Plasma:

Proposed dialog Choose Your Plasma Experience

Proposed dialog “Choose Your Plasma Experience”

The chosen experience would affect the Plasma theme, the selected Plasmoids, Panel config, widget theme, window decoration and everything else that makes up the desktop experience, even down to the available features! In case of popular demand, we might even integrate KDE 1 support, though it would pain me to have to put five screenshots in that dialog ;)

To move this idea from bold words and mockups in a blog to actual software, of course I need developers and designers on board. I talked to Àlex Fiestas about the plan and he said that though recreating the KDE 2 or 3 experience certainly won’t be easy since it was made with totally different technology in a totally different age, he agrees that it’s worth the effort if it makes our users happy. Jens Reuterberg from the Visual Design Group understandably would love to see the results of his team’s work in Plasma Next to be used by everyone, but prefers to see Plasma Next smash the competition to pieces in the war for the user’s favor, and stand victorious on the battlefield of design!

So with both developers and designers on board, we can set out to give our users more freedom than they ever expected!

About these ads

Researcher on usability / usable security / user experience Volunteer KDE usability consultant Open Access / Open Science supporter

Tagged with: ,
Posted in KDE
33 comments on “Freedom Maximized!
  1. Heiko Tietze says:

    Good idea! But KDE 2… that must be an April joke :-)

  2. […] new dialog for choosing the Plasma Next look and feel has been proposed in a blog post by Thomas Pfeiffer, member of the KDE community and creator of the KDE Human Interface […]

  3. lhugs says:

    Do you integrate old bugs, too? I’d love seeing my kmail crash and freeze like in the early times of 4.x! It so boring at the moment ’cause it just works.

  4. ecureuil says:

    KDE used to have kpersonalizer which was quite nice. It would be great to resurrect it but choice of differents themes should be geared to the different personas IMHO :

    http://techbase.kde.org/Projects/Usability/Principles/KDE4_Personas

    I don’t think our users are very interested in aping old KDE stuff but having a theme adapted to somebody coming from Windows XP would be great.

    • Two words: Stay tuned!

      • CrazyGuy says:

        You know… I do believe this is an Apri’ls joke. But, honestely, KDE has that capacity and it would be great to be able to mimic other DE easily.

        Of course i don’t expect it to mimic EVERYTHING, but the most basic/rapid configs would be great!

        UI that i would like to see were:

        Windows XP, Windows 7, Win8, Unity, MAC and, probably the most dificult, Gnome.

        They could work as themes… and while this might be a joke, it would not be such a bad/crazy idea…

  5. Ian says:

    They need to be all the same programs on the screen to make a decent choice so you can see the full differences between all the KDE versions.. hopefully i’ve not been april fooled..

  6. Totally awesome! Being a hipster using KDE is always a bit shady as it is the only thing that is not retro in my life. Bring me back retro KDE!

    ps. As I really hate Gnome, but like their UI, could we have an option for Gnome UI too?

  7. Rich Oliver says:

    I’ve never understood why we needed to have multiple competing Compositors: KDE, Gnome, Unity (unity must even have its own display server protocol) etc to have different style user interfaces.

  8. dhardy says:

    Being caught out once is enough for today.

  9. eyome says:

    Hi, for me, the most coherent, the most consistant it will, the best it will.
    For example, for plasma, I think this is a very good technology, but I don’t feel it really elegant, above all the popups…IMHO, popup in Gnome3 are more beautiful, more coherent with his theme. I don’t know why, I don’t know how they do that (maybe thanks to their unified menu on the top right?) but it’s what I feel…
    Another thing, I think Kde desktop has, by default, to many things who distract my eyes: for example, thumbnail on apps in the icontasks when we put the mouse on it.
    I disable it in kwin and icontasks settings…
    Last thing, please, retry to modify ksystemsettings ; have 2 or 3 locations to set a theme it’s not…sexy…
    Maybe you will have to simply some things to improve all…

  10. A. says:

    Haha, April 1st! Incredible how many readers got fooled by this one.

  11. Hey Colomar, si prega di dare uno sguardo qui per questo, http://git.chakraos.org/kapudan.git , Chakra,Manjaro, Pardus usano già un tool simile after installation (Kaptan,Kapudan,Turbolence) different name same tool

  12. Jay says:

    you really think it’s worth to go through the pain to create the experience of kde 3 and kde 2?

  13. Your most important user says:

    If only you could implement KDE 1, then I might use KDE again (please also return to the old naming: KDE == software, KDE != people). But you’re not going to implement it because there would be 5 screenshots? That’s typical for KDE, you never listen to the users, we users never digested the switch from KDE 1 to KDE 2. You destroy all choice like in Gnome: we can only choose between KDE 2, 3, 4 and 5. Please also go back to SVN, that was at least usable. Provide your homepage on gopher (I could never grasp why HTTP was superior to gopher). Never switch to Wayland, X is way superior than everything that comes after it (although not superior to whatever preceded it). I almost strangled myself using this ugly modern technology called a “blog”, why can’t you just post things on Usenet like in the good old days, I would happily read it using KNode (of course only its KDE 1 version).

    • Burke says:

      Haven’t read what you wrote, but it (whatever “it” is) works for me. Must be your faulty setup. Or you. Maybe updating your machine to this mornings git snapshot will work.

      • Your most important user says:

        You may have noticed that my post is an April’s fool, just like the original blog post ;-)

  14. KDE to KDE 2 to KDE 3 seemed like a natural progression…then KDE as we knew it suddenly ceased to exist

  15. Eduardo says:

    April Jokes aside, I really miss some aspects of KDE1’s industrial design. I liked the widget set (which I could mimic using Qt’s Windows classic style) and the window decoration, which sadly is not available anymore. I even went to file a bug which was promptly closed due to lack of manpower. If anyone would recreate the KDE1 window decoration, I’d be a very happy camper. And I am serious :)

  16. bob says:

    I happen to think this is a good idea and If you are serious about it I would add one small note of caution: I’ve suffered through frustratingly “locked down” desktops or otherwise horribly configured machines, the result of which is that I get slapped about by annoying configuration dialogs that programmers naively think users will “only see once”.

    So yes it would be good to allow users to easily reconfigure their desktop to mimic the configuration they prefer but yet another prompt at startup might not be the best way to do it, making it a general part of the settings or a standalone tweak/configure tool would be preferable.

  17. […] many of you have noticed, yesterday’s blog post “Freedom Maximized!” was indeed an April […]

  18. […] esta semana, además de comentar la broma del April’s fool day de Thomas Pfeiffer sobre cual debía de ser el aspecto final de Plasma (aunque después esta idea se está […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 29 other followers

%d bloggers like this: