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Ralsina.Me — Roberto Alsina's website

Posts about kde (old posts, page 14)

Developer-centric and proud of it

Ok, as ev­ery­one and its goat in the free soft­ware/open source/pet-­keep­ing com­mu­ni­ties al­ready has read, Eu­ge­nia [1] has been up to her old an­tic­s.

The lat­est shape of her dis­con­tent is, de­vel­op­ers of GNOME (and late­ly of KDE, too [2]) are de­vel­op­er-­cen­tric in­stead of user-­cen­tric.

Ba­si­cal­ly, the gist is that de­vel­op­ers have a re­spon­s­abil­i­ty to keep in mind their users de­sires, and fol­low their wish­es when de­cid­ing what way their projects should go. That these "peo­ple" are de­vel­op­ing said soft­ware in their free time and giv­ing it away is unim­por­tan­t, she says, the user's voice shall be heard. [3]

Well, I am not a de­vel­op­er nowa­days, at least not of shared soft­ware [4] but I still re­call when I was one. And I am cranky. And I have lit­tle care about what peo­ple think about me. So...

Let me ex­press my feel­ings when I read her ed­i­to­ri­al (and an­oth­er one called the rid­dle of the sphinx, I think [5] ).


I have read, in the ed­i­to­ri­als and (spe­cial­ly) the clue­less talk­back­s, the fol­low­ing:

  • If you are go­ing to do a half-assed job, don't put it on the in­­ter­net

Well, dude, pre­tend it's not there. That works for me when I con­sid­er ja­pa­nese ten­ta­cle porn, it can work for you and a mail clien­t. If you pre­tend it's not there, it won't both­er you. Then those who tol­er­ate half-assed jobs can live a life of jol­ly ful­fill­men­t.

  • The us­er has in­­vest­ed ef­­fort on learn­ing and us­ing the pro­­gram, so the de­vel­op­er owes him some­thing.

I sup­pose the so­lu­tion for that is not al­low­ing peo­ple to use the soft­ware un­less they ac­cept that it is pro­vid­ed as-is... oh, wait­... that's al­ready true. Nev­er mind.

  • That since GNOME (or KDE) claim to pro­­vide use­­ful and user-friend­­ly soft­­ware, by fail­ing to fol­low the user's lead we are en­­gag­ing in some sort of false ad­ver­tis­ing.

Co­ca Co­la promised me "Ev­ery­thing is bet­ter with Co­ca Co­la". Then I tried pour­ing a can in­to my com­put­er, hop­ing it would make it faster, or some­how bet­ter in some way. I have to tell you, those bas­tards won't know what hit'em!

  • Post­ing bug de­scrip­­tions in bugzil­la is too much work.

Well, try fix­ing one some­day, mis­sy! That's WAY hard­er. You are say­ing that us­ing a lit­tle en­er­gy is too much work, to peo­ple who spend hun­dred times more as a con­se­quence.

It's like com­plain­ing that plant­ing seeds is too much work, when you lat­er get a har­vest. Well, if you think, so, drop agri­cul­ture.

  • That the de­vel­op­­ment is some­how skewed to­wards de­vel­op­er­s, not user­s.

Well, to that I have many an­swer­s. Let me share a few.

  1. So? You say that as if it's a bad thing.

  2. Well, that's good for the de­vel­op­er­s.

  3. What mag­ic po­­tion did I have to drink to be­­come a de­vel­op­er? De­vel­op­ers are just users who are way too in­­­volved in the pro­jec­t.

  4. As a lawyer once said, since phoeni­­cians in­­ven­t­ed mon­ey, the ques­­tion "what can I do for you?" has a sin­­gle an­swer. Well, think about it.

  5. No, it is­n't.

Fi­nal­ly, let me tell you the de­press­ing part. In a com­men­t, Eu­ge­nia said she dropped GNOME for Win­dow­Mak­er. Let me show you what she said:

RE: So Eu­ge­nia re­fus­es to use GNOME? By Eu­ge­nia (IP: ---.os­news.­com) - Post­ed on 2005-03-10 20:32:31

I moved back to Win­dow­Mak­er, yes. At least I don't ex­pect any­thing more from it, be­cause it is not a prom­i­nent en­vi­ron­ment and I know it's a much small­er project with few­er re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

Talk about throw­ing the ba­by away with the bath wa­ter. She is sim­ply say­ing that she choses to use worse soft­ware (ac­cord­ing to her need­s), be­cause... well, I have no idea why.

Be­cause she has low-e­nough ex­pec­ta­tions about Win­dow­Mak­er that she won't be dis­ap­point­ed? That road leads to dat­ing ex-­con­vict­s, you know.

In the end, well, I have no idea what peo­ple think. I sim­ply don't un­der­stand the world. I mean, I in­tense­ly dis­like GNOME, and even a few peo­ple in­volved in it, but it's just code. And code that is worth mil­lions of dol­lars. And it's there, dudes! It's like find­ing a stack of bul­lion in your doorstep, and not on­ly that, but on ev­ery doorstep [6].

Why don't peo­ple sim­ply look up and thank the in­vis­i­ble dwarves who must have toiled in dark­ness for years in or­der to rip it off the earth? [7]

No, what we get in­stead is a bunch of jew­el­ers ask­ing for fin­er crafts­man­ship in the good­s, or else they are just gonna buy some bul­lion from some­one else.

You know what? De­vel­op­er-­cen­tric is good. In an ab­so­lute, ob­jec­tive, mea­sur­able way. Be­cause it's de­vel­op­er-­cen­tric you get de­vel­op­er­s. de­vel­op­ers make code. Code brings user­s.

If all you at­tract are users be­cause be­ing a de­vel­op­er is a pain the but­t, you have no de­vel­op­er­s, thus no code, thus no user­s.

What do you think is bet­ter for users in the long ter­m?

So, say it loud, I'm de­vel­op­er-­cen­tric and I'm proud. At least this old hack is.

[1] of OS­NEWS.­COM fame. You de­cide if that's a good or bad thing.

[2] A new post in her site. I sup­pose she has to feed the hit-­mon­ster.

[3] That be­ing pub­lished in a big site that lacks thread­ed replies in 2005, and a wom­an who, when she gets a com­plain about it, said she was do­ing it in her spare time, so stop both­er­ing her. No, I don't get it ei­ther.

[4] Is­n't that much nicer-­sound­ing than open source and much less an­noy­ing and pompous than free soft­ware?

[5] Which is, I think, #4 in the list of "ten ti­tles you should nev­er use in an opin­ion piece". #1 is What I did last sum­mer, but I di­gress...

[6] And by some eco­nom­ic mir­a­cle, it has­n't caused yet a glob­al de­pres­sion in the val­ue of bul­lion.

[7] Well, at least we work in com­fort­able chairs.

Ok, so not **everyone** read my calculator rant

First of al­l, a note: I in­tend all this post as en­cour­age­ment to Emil­iano, the au­thor of Kalcoo­lus.

You see, he turned bc in­to a on-screen key­board thing . I don't like that UI much .

I can't post com­ments on kde-look (for­got my id, or maybe nev­er reg­is­tered), and I am not go­ing to reg­is­ter just for this, but it's in­ter­est­ing to see how the same idea is re­cy­cled over and over and over.

This app seems to be a con­fla­tion of the fol­low­ing:

  • Writ­ing fron­­tends is good, be­­cause you don't need to write the hard part

  • A GUI cal­cu­la­­tor has to look like the re­al thing, in the name of us­a­bil­i­­ty

Well, the bad news is: writ­ing fron­tends is frag­ile. What you want are li­braries. And if GUIs had to look like the re­al thing, the UI to Skype would be a numpad, the UI to Amarok would look like an Ipod, and the UI to KWord would look dif­fer­ent .

So, please, Emil­iano, put a CLI in it. Pret­ty please? :-)

Games using PyQt

As some may re­mem­ber, a long time ago I start­ed writ­ing a Be­jew­eled! looka­like us­ing PyQt.

While that game is ac­tu­al­ly playable, it most­ly showed me I had no idea how to write a de­cent game ;-)

So, I have been for a cou­ple of weeks try­ing to cre­ate a high lev­el pack­age for cre­at­ing games, specif­i­cal­ly board games (yes, I clas­si­fy Be­jew­eled as a board game).

Well, it's work­ing. I am writ­ing a few li­braries, and I am writ­ing three games us­ing it.

  • Scroogle: a dumb bog­­gle/scrab­ble mix­­ture

  • Name­­less1: The be­­jew­­eled clone

  • Name­­less2: A crafty-­­com­­pat­i­ble chess­board

Since I have ab­stract­ed stuff like pieces, squares, and such, these games are quite small in size, which means easy to im­ple­men­t!

For ex­am­ple, scroogle can keep score, use a dic­tio­nary for word val­i­da­tion, re­place used tiles with new ones, so it's ba­si­cal­ly com­plete.

It's un­der 200 lines of code.

The chess game is, again, al­most com­plete, ex­cept for stuff like sav­ing games, or board edi­tion, but you can play ( it can't tell if you win or lose and has no timer, though ;-)

It's 210 lines of code (the crafty in­ter­face is 70).

Why am I men­tion­ing this? Well, I think that if I ev­er make this good enough to re­lease it, de­vel­op­ing sim­ple games for KDE will be­come much eas­i­er.

And those games will be a 80KB down­load, in­clud­ing art.

That would be good, would­n't it? But...

... if you are think­ing of writ­ing a game, I need your help. I want you to try us­ing this, so I can fig­ure out if it's good or how it should be changed!

Please con­tact me if you know a lit­tle PyQt and want to write games!

I remember worse!

Fun­ny ar­ti­cle at Glitch­NYC about look­ing at KDE 2.0 to­day.

But hey, I wrote a them­ing en­gine for Qt 1.x, so I'vee seen, re­mem­ber, and even mucked up with worse stuff :-)

Interview at KDE Hispano

Late, but linked: I was in­ter­viewed by one of the nice guys at KDE his­pano, some­thing like Tin­k´s old in­ter­views. In span­ish.

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