something about KDE 4.11

I have spent the last two weeks working to make print-manager experience in 4.11 the best I could. And this post should be about it. Sadly it’s not.

Whenever I write free software I write because I want to, because I have the need and since I don’t paid to do this I spend the time I can. Besides the selfishness I value user feedback a lot, Apper is an example of user feed back, not perfect yet but lots of things there changed because of this, yet sometimes one has to take a final word.

There has been some noise over the last years about “not invented here”, forks and diversity. People blame the Linux ecosystem of having no direction, no focus and hence failing on the Desktop. But they forget to remember that even Countries with much more control were divided because people are different. Heck yes everyone is different so there is no way of pleasing everyone, and this is what I like in Linux.

I’d rather be using OSX if it wasn’t for that, really OSX has awesome applications, iPhoto, Mail, Finder… and now I even have a MacBook, I could instead be build OSX apps and making money! Why don’t I use it?

Because I can’t change it. No matter how good it is for lots of people, it’s not good for me at several points. And heck our Desktop if much far from what I wanted a Desktop to be but still I can help changing this and have lots of fun.

So why am I sad? Simply because I’ll need to fork a component which I was actually willing to improve, and no it’s not because my improvements were rejected or ignored, but because some people don’t like Switches. Yes, you don’t like it either? Fine, but take a look on what has just happened:

Before 4.11
After 4.11

Now think for a moment what is that checkbox trying to tell you

  • Cable connected [Check]
  • Output enabled [Check]
Before 4.11
After 4.11

What about these?

Easy, that’s the list of printers I want to go shopping 🙂

No I’m not questioning if you like switches better that checkboxes, I’m fine if you do, I’m questioning the API that was changed post freeze, without being listed on the feature plan and that has just given me more work to do.

A checkbox must have a description text unless it’s a list of things, even then it is bound to some action normally described with a text or an icon. So even if I was ok with the change I’d need fixing this at soft freeze.

Yes I could instead just fork the component and don’t waste time writing a blog post. But as mailing list didn’t work out (I raised my points on three different threads and suddenly it got commited) I’d like to hear what users of printer-manager or kscreen or any application using Switches think about.

Granted I’ll keep the switches there, hopefully I’ll manage to find time to write a better one as I agree with the fact that this one is indeed confusing. But not because it’s confusing that we should replace instead of fixing.

And let me apologize for making this public, but we ain’t an evil company that must hide into mailing lists. I believe users should be able to give feedback even it goes to /dev/null.

This is my personal opinion.

and that being said I must say I’m very sad, really.

UPDATE: I have changed this text a lot trying to make it not sound like a personal critique or FUD. But then I didn’t notice I removed the last sentence which was the actual reason of this post. I did notice some users a bit confusing about what was the conclusion but only now I see the text got lost (as you can notice on the text above I did mention feedback but what feedback?)…

So the question was “How do you feel with these screenshots, do you think if a plasmoid is written for Plasma Active where switches are allowed, they can run as checkboxes on the Desktop (with no change)?”

In other words “Does my plasmoid on the Desktop looks fine now? So that I don’t have to actually create an specific version of it for the Desktop.”

IMO taking the decision apart which is not what I planned to change (as I know it wouldn’t just because of blog) I think simply replacing a switch with a checkbox without any change is not sufficient for the applications. All the work I do on System Settings module use QWidgets and  though I love switches and feel that there are at least two modules that I maintain that could have them they don’t have switches. The reason is simple, there is not QSwitch or KSwitch, they never existed so I never intended to write one as I’d simply look different, once Plasma started shipping one on their API I was very happy and when programming with QWidgets I envy the Plasma for having it….


something about KDE 4.11