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Does KDE need users?

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  • User profile image

    An interesting question that was posed (not so much) by Randdall C. Kennedy over at Infoworld. He quotes a post from Jason Harris, one of KDE's leading lights.

    KDE, like many other open-source projects, doesn't really need users at all, whether they are poisonous or not. What we need are contributors: that's the life-blood of our community, what keeps KDE growing and evolving. To the extent that users can and do become contributors, I will grant that we need a userbase as a pool of potential future contributors. But I am simply baffled by any argument that we "need" to have a large number of people that never do more than use KDE. Why do we need them?


    When I say we don't need users, I am talking by definition about people who do not contribute to KDE: they do not report bugs, they do not write documentation, they do not translate, they do not promote...they simply use our software.

    Now, I have nothing against users, although this post probably sounds pretty harsh. Other than the vocal poisonous minority gnashing their teeth on the dot and elsewhere, they do us no harm. I'm happy to see lots of people using our software, and I hope they find it useful and enjoyable. But in terms of what we *need* for the continued vitality of the project?

    We need contributors, not users. We need contributors like Microsoft and Apple need customers.

    See the full post here.

    Randall's taking a lot of flack from open source folk, claiming that he's taken the post out of context. Personally, I don't think he has.

    I can understand that KDE needs contributors, but I also believe that there is nothing wrong with using software, without contributing to its development and maintenance.  If this isn't the case, then wouldn't that make KDE a closed shop which exists just for the benefit of programmers?

  • User profile image
    Maddus Mattus

    In GPLv5 you cannot use the software till you actually contributed to it.


    He got it the wrong way around. Userbase is key to the development of projects. If you have a large userbase you will get more contributions because it's a popular project. But I get where he is coming from.

    damn users

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