F42 Change Proposal: Fedora Plasma Workstation (System-Wide)

I have very mixed feelings about this.

First, I want to agree that the current state is not very fair, as “Workstation” is presented as “Fedora” and the rest is a “Spin”. I attribute 50%+ of GNOMEs marketshare on Fedora to this presentation.

I think KDE and GNOME are both awesome desktops, COSMIC will likely become one in 1 year or so. So I would agree wirth @bonsai465 to have 2 Workstation Desktops.

I also agree with @bonsai465 that KDE is a good second best experience, where things like Budgie are not as polished.

I dont agree at all with @steiner that Brodies audience, just as people actively writing here, are GNOME-haters. They are enthusiasts, just like enthusiasts would more likely use a “Spin” than “Workstation”. And I think that KDE has such a big userbase, even though often treated like “the ADHD desktop” is remarkable.

I disagree with @barracuda0207 as the stated points where GNOME is similar to MacOS are things I wouldnt even think about. There are a ton of similarities, just like KDE is in many parts a Windows clone. GNOME and KDE are not 100% innovative and that is okay.

I want to stress that the KDE Plasma Experience on Fedora is great, I highly prefer it over Ubuntu based OSes.

I agree with @farchord that KDE is just as close to the edge as Fedora, and both are a great combination.

I agree with @mblasko that having “Workstation GNOME” and “Workstation KDE” may be too complicated for many users. I would just add short videos of the Desktops, say “both are nice, use what you want” and call it a day.

I really like this way of presenting as mentioned by @barracuda0207.

I can imagine that letting people decide “by intuition” could lead to many people using KDE, even though they might prefer GNOME. But thats just a small thought.

I really like the comment by @doomsdayrs about neurodivergent experience with GNOME and KDE and think I agree.

I would be hesitant to install something so untraditional on old peoples PCs, but thinking about it, its actually so much simpler. Pressing the home button, or the Meta key is basically the same.

My personal spam is in this breakout topic

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I3/Gnome End user here;

Hey all! thank you for opening this up to discussion. I would like to articulate my thoughts on this.

The good

First being Windows parody, one of the big challenges with Linux as a whole is the transition from Windows to Linux. KDE, is just better with this; more tooling out of the box, things are where Windows users more/less expect them, and program/window management feels familiar. I believe that this experience can help lubricate this transition.

Secondly, i believe there are generally more features, and more flexibility with KDE. Generally speaking, there is a script, panel, add on, global theme, for just about ANYTHING, and giving users these tools right away is often helpful for immediate user retention.

Third and finally: Separation from libadwaita; this is a personal grudge and a bit of a thorn in my side. With libadwaita increasing in popularity, I believe user mobility is being greatly suppressed, a major distribution stepping off gnome could help motivate things in a different (potentially better) direction.

The bad

First, and foremost, the 15 min, and 4 hour KDE bugs are still a MAJOR issue (i have a laundry list i won’t get into right now). The entry user experience, as powerful as it is, can be a minefield of instability for new Linux users (and the often in-optimal hardware that accompanies). In addition the recent incidents with KDE’s marketplace leaves something to be desired.

Second, while the windows-esc nature of KDE can help lubricate the transition. It can also mislead, and cause false expectations from a UX perspective. Its important to recognize, Fedora is not windows and it never will be. Gnome isn’t trying to be anything that its not, its not windows-esc; but who’s to say that’s a bad thing?

In summary

I don’t think the transition of the flagship makes much sense. However, I think promotion from the “Spin” status (basically a change in marketing) could help nudge KDE into more visibility, and get the help it needs and deserves from the community.

Generally I think the “rip it off like a bandaid” approach is deeply flawed, because at the end of the day it harms the NEW users the most. The users that are critical to gain marketshare, are the very users who could be impacted the MOST from a change like this (for better or worse).

Keep in mind this is all my perspective, and should not be taken as anything else.

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Just throwing in some more data/feedback as a Fedora KDE Spin user.

I think that changing the default to KDE Plasma would be good, although I’m biased towards that as a primarily KDE Plasma user. I believe that having the Fedora KDE spin upgraded to official Workstation status alonsgide Gnome would likely be the preferred solution for a lot of the userbase as opposed to outright replacing Gnome as the default workstation experience if one of these two solutions were to happen.

Would rebranding it from a spin to official workstation status alongside Gnome put the Fedora team under a more difficult workload? Or if that were to happen would it be mostly just a visibility/promotion on the download screen sort of change?

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This is a really important question I don’t think I’ve seen asked as of yet actually so I’m seconding if we’d be able to get an answer on this. Because if it doesn’t change much with regards to the workload that would make promoting KDE to a proper edition a lot easier.

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I don’t think FESCo/Proposers should withdraw/decline this proposal. I think this overall (especially if the way that ends up happening is both editions are considered “workstation” and just another option goes into the installer asking “hey, do you want kde or gnome”. Of course this would come down to the workstation working group though deciding this, then probably be taken up to FESCo/Council. I am advocating for dual editions though.

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Mixing GNOME and KDE is always a mess because they mess up each others icons. So no, not an option poorly I think.

I think this could be an option, maybe just in the installer but not necessarily demoting gnome. I think that’s a relatively reasonable compromise.

I think the problem is the confusion it could cause with newer users. Most new users have no idea which one is which.

Also I’d be concerned about any detraction from the live boot experience. While it could go to Gnome as it always has, it could lead to KDE not getting a fair trial in the install. I’ve personally used the live images often to try out a desktop environments or window managers before permanent installation.

(EDIT: grammar)

I think this could also be worked out. Possibly doing something similar to I think its opensuse that offers livecds of all of their editions so you can try it out. However, I don’t think that solution is necessarily a great one.

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I like that compromise, only downside is potentially massive images.

It would basically just be making the existing network image more visible. I’ve seen that mentioned here and there earlier in the thread

I think the SUSE offline install image is 3-4 GB and includes KDE, Gnome and Xfce and LOTS of applications.

Well, not as much as people might think! There was certainly some thought along those lines when we first settled on the idea in 2014. It was a very different time, and a lot of Red Hat was struggling to figure out how to work with the Fedora community (after kind of neglecting it for a while). This is also why we asked for the “What does Red Hat want?” talks at Flock back in those days. So, when this was first set up, building stronger connections in that way was on a lot of our minds.

But in practice:

The Red Hat Workstation product is a very different thing from Fedora Workstation in target audience and usage. We wanted the people making planning decisions for RHEL Server to engage with the Fedora Server working group, but… that’s never really been successful. These editions have some correspondence, but definitely make their decisions independently (even when Red Hatters are working on both — as you know, it’s complicated here behind the red curtain…)

There wasn’t a RHEL-for-cloud when we started Fedora Cloud Edition, and RHEL does not now have that split between Cloud and Server. Our communities decided that there is enough difference between these spaces that different decisions needed to be made. And there is no RHEL CoreOS product.

Fedora IoT is fairly deeply linked to RHEL for Edge, but I’d also love for that to thrive more on its own. We absolutely have a very different target market, and I think there’s a lot of room for this to grow.

This is all somewhat off-topic, but I think is worth saying: we’re already quite independent even with the links you mention. Fedora is still a crucial part of the RHEL development process, but what we do with the Editions is really very much in our hands as Fedora.

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This a matter of process and decision-making authority. FESCo nominally oversees the working groups (so that engineering decisions are not in conflict), but deciding what is or isn’t an Edition is a brand/trademark issue, and therefore solidly in the Council’s remit.

But, the Change process is for engineering decisions and decided by FESCo. That’s why I suggest that it should be closed or withdrawn.

I am going to take the privileged action of dropping the mic and closing the this topic. But, that doesn’t mean these tangential discussions need to stop. If you’d like to reply to this, or some other aspect of this thread, see Site tip: create linked topics for deep dives or tangents for how to create a continuation.

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