"Indeed, we enthusiastically buy their hardware and port our systems to it."
Posted Aug 30, 2012 11:36 UTC (Thu) by pboddie
In reply to: "Indeed, we enthusiastically buy their hardware and port our systems to it."
Parent article: Look and feel lawsuits, the second time around
Linux Desktop people need to figure out how to do less in their Desktop Environment, not more. Identify those things that really must be integrated, and then carve off all the other apps to let them develop (or fail) on their own. The fact that each DE has it's "official" browser is silly. Nobody uses it, they all use either Firefox or Chrome (or possibly Opera). E-mail clients are in the same category. They should not be part of the DE, they should be separate apps (possibly developed by some of the same people), and if they are good, people will use them, even on different desktops.
I only partially agree with this. People shouldn't write applications just to uphold some community brand - it's like stuff like KOffice back in the days of KDE 1 through 3 where tracts of functionality just didn't get the quality assurance attention it needed for people to be able to rely on it - but then again, people shouldn't just bundle stuff together and pretend it offers a complete solution, either - that's like GNOME Office or, apparently, WordPerfect Office back in the day - because although some of the applications may function well, combining them may end up being a frustrating exercise.
This latter situation indicates what is really needed: the capability to integrate applications and provide common services. Indeed, the Free Software desktop would have been, and has been in part, the ideal venue to realise a component-based desktop without people wanting to throw infrastructure overboard in order to assert their own application's branding.
I recently discovered that Digikam on a KDE 4 system couldn't access a camera (only giving an unhelpful message about Solid on standard error, which obviously isn't by any means sufficient or useful) whereas Gwenview would happily import pictures using its own dialogue, and Dolphin would also show the virtual filesystem for the camera (once the location bar had been revealed and persuaded to actually function properly). But really, we should have moved beyond application-specific menu options a long time ago - people shouldn't be forced to go to a specific application to do something associated with a physical device - and if there really remains a need to expose such functionality as an application operation, the applications should be using common services in the same way.
All this having been said, I appreciate applications like Kontact in KDE 3 and the decision to develop them as part of a desktop project. Frequently, the alternative is something like Thunderbird which has a somewhat patchy reliability record and whose future is cast into doubt every time the weather changes, despite lots of organisations supposedly finding it "indispensable". An e-mail client fits into a wider vision of providing a usable desktop and if no-one is stepping up to provide something good enough, then it's understandable and justifiable that a desktop project would undertake the effort to deliver one.
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