The K Desktop Environment (KDE), one of the biggest players in the Linux desktop environment, is currently included in Fedora Core. There is a movement underway to get it moved to Fedora Extras instead. From Fedora Extras, the community will be able to develop and maintain the Fedora KDE packages beyond what is currently possible with KDE in Fedora Core. This is our plan to Unleash KDE!
About the Initiative
Members of the Fedora Community, particularly some who are close to Fedora Extras, would like to see KDE get better care. We want to be able to take care of it the way we think it should be cared for, and The Fedora Project and Red Hat are ready to let us. We want to Unleash KDE!
KDE is currently included in Fedora Core. The goal is to get it moved into Fedora Extras, where the community will have better access to contribute to it and guide its development as a package for Fedora distributions. We see Fedora Extras as a way to Unleash KDE!
It would take time to migrate KDE out of Core and into Extras. Fedora Core 6's release is just around the corner. The hope is that a lot of the groundwork for this effort can be finished in time for Fedora Core 6. We would probably be looking at finishing this move for the release of Fedora Core 7, which will likely happen in early 2007.
While in Fedora Core, KDE is maintained almost entirely within Red Hat. Since Red Hat works primarily with the GTK+ toolkit, KDE is not their specialty. They continue to devote a great deal of effort to KDE, but often fall short of what many KDE users and supporters would like to see. Moving KDE to Fedora Extras would remedy this, allowing the talent behind Fedora Extras to give KDE the care that KDE users want. This would give the KDE community the chance to make KDE in Fedora what they want it to be.
For years, Red Hat has been accused of getting KDE wrong. While KDE is in Fedora Core, it is hard for the community to push KDE's development and packaging for Fedora in the direction they would like. Many options are available for feedback and contribution, but control over packaging is ultimately unavailable to the community. If we get KDE into Extras, we, the community, can direct how KDE is packaged for Fedora. We can properly represent KDE to the Fedora user base, and can maintain it will all of the proficiency of the community's talent.
From a developer perspective, use of the Extras build system and QA processes will also be advantageous.
This would be the ultimate opportunity to help form KDE for Fedora to take advantage of its full potential.
Before this move can happen, certain things need to be available. One of these is the ability to install (from hard media) Fedora with KDE. One possible method for this is the ability to roll Fedora CD sets from both Core and Extras packages. This will allow shippable media that includes KDE. This also blurs the line between Core and Extras, as it should. The user shouldn't really need to know or care if the software comes out of Core or Extras -- it comes out of the Fedora Project. Also, Extras needs to be available during network installs for pulling in packages that way.
Fedora Core 6 now features this capability. Refer to http://www.redhat.com/magazine/024oct06/features/fc6/?sc_cid=bcm_edmsept_007 for more details.
Involvement of Upstream
Upstream KDE needs to be contacted and included in planning. Part of the reason we are thinking of moving KDE is so that the KDE in Fedora is closer to upstream KDE, and Fedora users finding KDE bugs can accurately report these for the betterment of KDE itself. Upstream developers need to be in the planning process to ensure that what we are doing is correct and as good for KDE as it is for the users.
A team needs to be brought together to take on the role of maintaining KDE within Extras. Tracking upstream, managing bugs, doing security releases, etc.. A good solid team needs to be in place and ready to go once the shift is made. Fedora doesn't want to just drop KDE and hope somebody picks it up, we want to move it and make it a painless and benificial experience.
What Won't Change
Fedora Extras is part of the Fedora Project, and certain concerns will continue to apply. For example, we will still be unable to include MP3 support. The Fedora Extras KDE packages will still have to meet all of the Fedora Extras package requirements.
The Fedora Project will continue to reserve the right to make necessary changes to be sure that KDE will continue to run properly and best serve the needs of Fedora users. We do want to allow KDE to more closely follow upstream, but occasional patches may still be necessary.
Will I still be able to install KDE as I'm installing Fedora Core?
Yes. Work is underway to allow packages from Fedora Extras to be selected at installation time. There is also work underway to enable CDs to be produced with packages from Fedora Extras. The combination of these efforts will allow KDE users to install KDE as they initially install the system, making the fact that KDE is in Extras seem almost seamless. The overall goal is to allow users to use both Core and Extras packages without any knowledge of the difference between the two.
Does Red Hat still care about KDE?
Yes. Red Hat's specialty is with GTK+. KDE and KDE applications are built on Qt. This means that KDE is outside of Red Hat's normal scope. Red Hat continues to provide support for KDE, but moving KDE to Fedora Extras will allow the KDE community to take proper care of KDE, while still being immediately available to Fedora users. Red Hat would continue to provide assistance to the community in maintaining KDE, and they will continue to provide and support KDE for Red Hat Enterprise Linux users, too.
Who will be the package maintainers for KDE in Fedora Extras?
Fedora people in the KDE special interest group in Fedora Extras will be involved in this effort. The primary maintainer will be RexDieter who is the main person behind the popular http://kde-redhat.sf.net repository. RexDieter is a Fedora Project Board member and already maintains several KDE related packages in Fedora Extras.
Why doesn't Red Hat hire KDE developers instead?
When there is so much talent in the Fedora Community just waiting for a chance to help maintain KDE, there's really no reason for Red Hat to hold it back and try to hire others to do the job. The Fedora Community can provide stronger maintenance than what Red Hat is currently equipped to offer.
What does this mean for me as a KDE user?
This means that you will have superior KDE packages available. You will still be able to install and use KDE in much the same way as you do today, but the community will be able to produce packages with the insight of the KDE user base. Further Fedora KDE packages will better represent what KDE is meant to be and what it is capable of.
- http://www.kde.org/ - Home of the KDE project
- Fedora Extras
~-Written by PatrickBarnes, community member and proud KDE user.-~