Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Fear and Loathing in KDE Land?


Full disclosure: My only contributions to KDE project are several bug reports and perhaps a few new users. So my qualifications to comment on the issue is of course almost non-existent. But hey, I've been a faithful KDE user for all these years, and so I think I have some right to make comments at least from a user's perspective.
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There's been some discussions on KDE land regarding replacing Nepomuk (or Nepomuk-KDE for the politically correct) with a new project named Baloo.

The Baloo project is headed by KDE developer Vishesh Handa, who apparently was very much involved in Nepomuk as well. Baloo wasn't announced officially to the 'public' till now, but thanks to recent Phoronix articles, it's been gaining some attention. The article titled "KDE's Nepomuk Doesn't Seem To Have A Future" went on to say:

"It appears there isn't much of a future left to KDE's Nepomuk framework that was developed at a cost of 17 million Euros... It's going to be replaced going forward in the KDE land."

The tone of the article hasn't pleased everybody. Now there's some storm on KDE promo mailing list with KDE guru Aaron Seigo suggesting that the new project should've been branded as just another version of Nepomuk. Many members, and especially Vishesh Handa, the project maintainer are opposed to this idea and want Baloo to remain as a new project, one that replaces Nepomuk.

I've been a moderate fan of Seigo, but reading through the mailing list, I couldn't stand the stink of his PR bullshit.

Some things that everybody (even Seigo) seem to agree on:
  • Nepomuk wasn't the greatest piece of software
  • It hasn't got any love from users
  • The 'semantic features' introduced by Nepomuk had few users
  • Baloo is significantly better and faster than Nepomuk ever was

As for me, the very news that Nepomuk is going to be removed is reason to rejoice. Nepomuk was a f**ked-up useless piece of bloat-ware. For some reason, its proponents were pushing the idea that 'rating and tagging your files' was the next big thing that users want to do. Then there was this desktop indexing/search that would suck the juice out of your desktop experience - something Java does to your online experience.
In fact, disabling desktop search and Nepomuk is the first thing I do after a fresh installation of Fedora. I wonder if Nepomuk had as many happy users as it had developers and PR dudes!

Seigo seems to think that Nepomuk-KDE (and KDE's association with Europian Union project) is something to boast about and he apparently fears that the PR team would lose this if they are to switch to Baloo. He proposes to brand Baloo as Nepomuk v2 (or v3 or whatever) so that the awkward situation of accepting Nepomuk's failure can be avoided or at least soothed.

I'd say that a press release announcing the death of Nepomuk-KDE would only evoke positive emotions from users. One may hide behind euphemisms and other PR tricks, but the facts of the case are undisputed.

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Read the mailing list entries: