Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I have had a blog knocking about in the back of my head for a while. It involved the fact that nothing stays the same in tech: That one can not cling to Windows XP forever for example. It has been a general theme of most of my writing and teaching over the years that one can jump from MS Windows to Linux to OS.X and not suffer serious brain injuries. I came across this article today over at OSnews.com: Don't Blame Windows and KDE for Your Own Aversion to Change by Thom Holwerda

Well, for the most part, there is one post I won't have to write.

Change is not good or bad in and of itself of course. Change just is. It happens, and you deal with it or you don't.

I have famously not been a big fan of MS Windows for a while now, and my reasons have nothing to do with change per se. I just did not like losing large portions of my working life to fighting massive virus outbreaks, or rebuilding computers six months after I had last rebuilt them (Win 95 / 98), or dealing with the garbage that is the Windows Registry. These were all things that were the results of changes, that were, from my point of view, bad.

At the same time (and this will surprise some) I have also been watching Vista closely, and one of my office desktops is Windows 7 Beta. I even kind of like it (but not its registry: Still there). I do not understand the why of some of the changes. They seem arbitrary: What used to be in one place is now, from my point of view, randomly moved to another place. Not sure why. But can I learn where they moved stuff around to and become functional again pretty quickly? Sure. Besides, these days most of the OS is just there to run the web browser, and Firefox and it's brethren are also something that change over time. 3.1 of FF is working far better on my Mac than 3.0.5 was, so change is often very good.

Thom's points about KDE 4 are really well taken. Linus Torvalds famously left KDE for Gnome recently (and here is another post I won't have to write, because Bruce Byfield already wrote it, dang it), and with all the same kinds of bluster that Thom points out about Steven J. Vaughn-Nichols in his piece.

My problem with KDE 4 was not that it was different, it was that it was incomplete. Functionality was not moved, it was just plain missing. Stability, long a hallmark of KDE, was also gone. KDE 4.0 was a beta. KDE 4.0 felt like what Ubuntu 9.04 (last post) feels like right now: A work in progress.

In point of fact, I use Gnome more than KDE not because of anything about the environment and everything about one application: Evolution. This is a work related thing. Evolution is how I read my email and my calendar off MS Exchange, and Evolution is a Gnome project. Evolution, at the moment, works better under Gnome than KDE. That has changed back add forth many many times over the years. And if KDE had a working MAPI interface to their PIM environment (Kontact), I would switch back in a heartbeat.

Some things change, for better or for worse, but one thing that has not changed yet for me is my need to know when my meetings are at.

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