Saturday, July 23, 2005

Who am I?

You can see who I really am by looking at my personal website at www.jamesots.com, but how am I involved with KDE?

My first foray into the KDE world was when I was a student at Warwick University. I don't remember which version it was, but I wasn't impressed. I had a slow computer, and KDE made it crawl. So I used fvwm, and only used my linux box for playing with, and used Windows for everything else. I even bought legal copies of Windows for my machine, although most other stuff I was using was pirated. Then eventually I decided that I should be using legal copies of all my software, but I couldn't afford it. So I wiped my computer and installed SuSE Linux, which I could afford. It came with KDE as the default desktop environment, and it was much nicer than what I'd seen a few years before.

I now use Linux with KDE on my main computer, and only boot up my Windows machine when I need to do Flash development or use Embedded Visual C++ (although with MTASC and other such tools I rarely need to use Flash MX any more). KDE has been improving in leaps and bounds, and when I switch to a Windows machine I'm always amazed at how clunky and inefficient it is. And these days, desipite having a four year old laptop, my system still flies!

I've been delving around inside the code of KDE for a while, but I'm a Java programmer at heart so I've never got too far with it yet. I've fixed a few things here and there, but nothing spectacular. But I regularly read a few of the mailing lists, and keep checking out the commit digests and things like that, to keep up to speed with what's going on. Half the problem is knowing where to start - there are so many things I'd like to do with KDE, but I have very little time as I have my own web design and software development company to run as well. And now there's the added stumbling block of not wanting to work too much on KDE 3 when KDE 4 is around the corner. So I should just set up another machine to play with KDE 4 on, but I don't have the money either...

...because I'm moving to Canada soon, to get married to the most amazing girl I've ever known. Which will boost the number of North American KDE developers considerably! (The moving, not the marrying. Obviously.)

So, what kind of stuff am I interested in doing to KDE? Consistency, usability, beauty, performance. Which in my mind, are all inextricably linked. If a system isn't consistent, beautiful or performant (is that a word?) it isn't usable. If it's not usable it doesn't have good performance (because you take too long working out how to do stuff). BUT... to make a system usable doesn't, to me, just mean that newcomers will find it easy to use. I've been using computers for years, and I want KDE to be usable to me too. So that's the million Canadian dollar question - how do we do that?

I don't know.

1 comment:

Ian Monroe said...

I think you need to narrow your focus from KDE to something more specific within KDE. :)