The Vision of KDE

KDE's current vision written in 2008 is rather outdated with its praise of KDE 4. So we should rethink what we want to achieve in future.

Basically, a vision describes the goal of a project. It can be emotive and a source of inspiration, for instance by outlining how the final product makes the world a better place. It is roughly similar to a purpose or an aim, and guides through the development. Examples for famous visions are:

  • “Landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth by the end of the decade” by John F. Kennedy in 1961 starting the race to the moon (JFK’s moon speak)
  • “Information At Your Fingertips” by Bill Gates in 1995 about his vision of personal computing (Comdex Keynote)
  • “1000 songs in your pocket”,  about the first iPod in 2001 (Apple’s promo video)
  • “Get things done with ease, comfort and control”, Gnome’s current slogan about their desktop environment (Gnome 3)

A good vision describes the project’s final goals with a few words. It explains who will use the product, and how he or she will make advantage of it. A vision shared over all stakeholders, developers and users keeps all people involved. The major purpose is team-building. The last example about Gnome’s goal (which is actually never called a vision  but rather applied as bottom-line) would be a not so good vision because it describes the current status and does not give any perspective for the future. A good vision can be reached, eventually!

Some Proposals for Discussion

  1. Cutting edge technology Recently, someone discussed his idea in terms of ‘cutting edge technology’. KDE, in his opinion, has the most recent framework and therefore we should just try out his suggestion. Cutting edge is not necessarily to understand as unreliable and high risk software, but as the first to introduce new ideas.
  2. All-purpose full-featured software Someone might understand KDE to be in direct competition to Gnome (or rather Unity, Mate). Positively, KDE does not oversimplifies things and provides all options to users. Since this difference is for the most users the killer feature it could be used in the vision.
  3. Powerful, yet easy to use Not only the UX guys want to have a system that is ‘easy to use’ but most developers want their apps to be awesome for all people. Assuming the end user will less and less care about the underlying technology the usability becomes more and more relevant. Following this consideration we should have a vision to be easy to use for everyone.
  4. Elegant software Often KDE is discussed in terms of elegance, which is a summary of all legacy vision aspects. Elegance is a synonym for ‘beautiful’ that has come to acquire the additional connotations of unusual effectiveness and simplicity.
  5. KDE: a community for all people Actually, open source software and in particular KDE is not comparable with other projects because many people fight for the greater good. To give this aspect the right importance we could include it explicitly in the vision.
  6. KDE: Qt5 at its best Last but not least the major technological difference of KDE to other desktop environments is the use of Qt. So we might simply adopt all of Qt ideas and vision.

And now…

When talking about a generic vision the fact that KDE consists of the desktop environment, the software compilation, and the community has to be considered. So these first thoughts are rather short but should serve as a starting point for a discussion. Now it’s up to you. Please let us know what you think about this topic, where you want KDE to be in 10 years, and how you would describe the vision.

What is your vision of KDE? (Check all aspects that are important for you)

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