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Jos Poortvliet talks about KlyDE [Interview]

KlyDE, a light weight KDE experience was announced recently, there is a lot to know about this new project. We reached out to Jos Poortvliet, openSUSE community manager and one of the core team members of the  KlyDE project to understand more about this project. Read on…

Muktware: Jos, can you explain what is KlyDE?
Jos: I’d summarize it as ‘a Plasma Desktop with a more conservative standard configuration’.

I use the term conservative both in terms of resource usage and user type. If you want a traditional desktop without search or powerful email & calendar tools and compositing and effects, this is your thing. Of course, omitting these things also saves some resources.

Muktware: When and why was KlyDE conceptualized?
Jos: Will can tell you the story better than I can. But thoughts around a more slim, streamlined KDE based desktop have been going around for years. It’s just that nobody actually sat down and did it…

Muktware: What does the name KlyDE mean?
Jos: We’ll let you guess ;-)

Muktware: What is the focus on KlyDE besides it being light-weight?
Jos: Simple. These don’t have to go together, we know that, but for our purpose, they do. Keep it simple. For power users, a full Plasma Workspace is probably the most efficient and extensible tool there is.  But many people need something simpler, more basic. They currently use XFCE or such but we think KDE can fit them just fine – it only needs a different initial configuration.

Muktware: Why do you think there is a need of ‘light-weight’ KDE (distro)? Is KDE resource hungry?
Jos: Depends on how you look at it. Not really for the given level of functionality although there is of course always room for improvement and in some areas there sure are still some issues. But what if you use a subset of those features? Then you can call it resource hungry for what it offers to _you_. A more reduced feature set with the flexibility to add a few things might then be a better fit. That is what Klyde aims to offer – we won’t hack and slash things out of the default KDE Workspaces and applications, we aim to just offer a more constrained set of defaults.

Of course we hope some of this will benefit upstream. Like the work we did to make a simpler system settings: it would be great if some of the reorganization and cleanup can end upstream. But there still is quite a bit to do, for now we mostly hacked stuff to get it to work as we wanted. The ‘proper’ solution will take longer…

Muktware: What is the target audience of this project?
Jos: As the hackweek page said:

This should be of use in both server environments needing a minimal desktop for sysadmin; for fixed function users using browser based tools, and for knowledge workers/power users that want their own cocktail of mail client/calendar/productivity tools without having the KDE middleware for this function running in parallel.

Muktware: Is KlyDE a KDE distro in it’s own right? If not then what is it?
Jos: It is ‘just’ a different standard configuration on top of openSUSE, for now. We offer a pattern which is much more minimalistic than the default one and we offer a replacement of the openSUSE Branding packages which contain the Klyde-specific configuration settings. But the configuration we did is in a github repo and should not be hard to apply to other distributions…

Muktware: Is KlyDE some kind of KDE ‘fork’ or derivative?
Jos: Nos, it isn’t.

Muktware: What kind of packages will be default in KlyDE, what is the basis of this choice?
Jos: What do you mean? You mean what software the standard pattern ships? Minimal is the keyword. It comes with Dolphin & Konsole and the super basic things like Klipper and such but not much more. The rest you’ll have to pick by yourself… At the moment I include Rekonq on the Studio image but that ain’t part of the pattern and I’m not sure if it should. Browsers are very personal ;-)

Muktware: Can KlyDE work be used by other distros as well?
Jos: At least I have the ambition to have our config files available for other distros, and I know Will wants the patches to go upstream, too. Maybe some of the config work can, in part, go upstream too. The packaging work is of course openSUSE specific.

Muktware: What will be the base of the KlyDE?
Jos: The normal openSUSE KDE packages.

Muktware: What kind of contribution is the openSUSE developers making to the project?
Jos: They do the work ;-)

We are looking for aspiring bloggers and journalists for The Mukt. If you are interested, apply now!

Muktware: Are you looking for more developers to help the project? If yes how can someone contribute?
Jos: Sure, of course we look for help. We could use both packaging and development. Like the simplification of Systemsettings, there is a need for a real do-over of the way systemsettings works at the moment. This is being discussed but help would be very welcome!

Swapnil Bhartiya

A free software fund-a-mental-ist and Charles Bukowski fan, Swapnil also writes fiction and tries to find cracks in the paper armours of proprietary companies. Swapnil has been covering Linux and Free Software/Open Source since 2005.

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