September 26, 2008
I’m not a gentoo fan. Mainly because I don’t like the idea of being a ‘fan’. Being a fan in the Free Software world usually means being an extremist and i hate extremism.
I nonetheless use almost exclusively Gentoo on all computers, laptops, servers and other divx boxes I have or maintain. That means a lot of them and it makes my Debian friends laugh. Who cares ? I use Gentoo and Free Software because I find this convenient, and I like the ideas behind them.
Yet I don’t share the optimism of people who think that gentoo is growing. On July 29th, KDE 4.1, the first almost-usable KDE version since the 3.5 branch, has been released, and since then, guess what have happened in the gentoo-KDE land ? Nothing. By nothing I mean first that not a single ebuild, even masked, even hard masked, has reached the official portage tree, and secondly, that despite the huge KDE user base in Gentoo, not a single official statement has been done concerning this issue. Because, believe me or not, there is an actual issue. Nothing was said on the main Gentoo page, almost nothing on gentoo planet (only one post focused on whether KDE should install in a different place or not). In the gentoo land, everybody speaks about everything but KDE in gentoo. Has the meaning of ‘g’ in gentoo recently changed ?
When you try to know a little bit more about this, it’s getting worse. Rumors are that developers have fought each others and the KDE team is just no more. It’s a new KDE team that is here for whatever reason (to which, by the way, I send my very best support, for the development of new ebuilds, for being put under such light/pressure, and for being sent in this lion’s cage that seems to be gentoo devs). I don’t know anything about this, but it’s not the first time I hear about huge tensions between gentoo developers, and this worries me a lot.
I don’t want politics, I want developers, I want Free Software developers. If I wanted politics, I would have gone for Debian, which, by the way, have had packages for KDE 4.1 and 4.1.1 for long.
Growing is not something easy to handle. It seems to me that KDE has managed to do this very well : a lot of work has been done in the few last years to ‘scale up’ and I think they managed to do this hugely needed step. Gentoo still has to improve a lot in this area. As a user, my expectations are the same as what you can read everywhere : transparency, transparency and transparency.
I love gentoo, i can understand a lot of things, I can wait, I can deal with human resource shortage, I could even help. I’m used with all of that because that is so common in Free Software and that is part of the deal. But I can’t bear darkness and closeness.
I will not conclude by threatening to leave for another distribution. I’m most than happy with gentoo as a distribution and I will keep on using it as long as it is possible. I have a KDE checkout anyway on my main computer. If things are going worse though, I’m not sure I will dare trying to work on the ebuilds.
I’m ready to ignore the “If you’re not happy with gentoo leave it” type of comments.
- KDE 4.1.2 tagged
- Debian is following KDE releases closely
- nothing (as of today, keep an eye on this link to check about KDE 4.1 or 4.2 inclusion)