Dolphin 2.1 and beyond

You have probably heard last week that Peter stepped down as Dolphin maintainer. I would like to thank him for the good collaboration that we had during the last years. It was a great pleasure to work with him, and I think that his departure is a big loss for KDE.

He entrusted the future maintenance of Dolphin to me, so I will do my best to keep it in good shape. I think that ease of use and stability are what users appreciate most about Dolphin, and I want to make sure that it stays that way.

My most important medium-term goal is to attract new developers. I think that this is of vital importance for a number of reasons:

  • Any software project with a low bus number is in great danger.
  • I am the maintainer now, but that does not mean that the amount of time that I can spend on Dolphin development will suddenly increase. I will try to read all incoming bug reports (note that it can take a while until I look at a newly reported bug – even maintainers have a real life and go on holiday sometimes) and try to reproduce them, at least those that can be reproduced using my hardware and software setup. I will also try to fix a couple of bugs for each release. But I cannot implement any major new features if I have to do it all alone.
  • I do not like to work alone. I have always enjoyed discussions about code with Peter and other developers, and I quite like the idea that all commits should be reviewed. Obviously, discussing patches and review for everyone is only possible if the number of people who contribute to the project on a regular basis is greater than one.

To make it easier for potential new contributors to find something to work on, I would like to start a joint effort to go through all Dolphin bug reports, close obsolete ones and assign useful keywords to those that can be reproduced easily.  Real life will keep me busy for the next couple of weeks, but then I will get in touch with the Bugsquad and get something organised. Any help will be welcome :-) I think that participating in a joint bug triaging session is a nice way to start contributing to a free software project – as I mentioned in an earlier blog post, my involvement in KDE started with two Konqueror bug days a couple of years ago.

Not only code contributions, but also help in other areas is appreciated, of course. Those include:

  • Triaging bug reports at bugs.kde.org. It really helps a lot if triagers add useful information to bug reports, point out duplicates, ask the reporter for more information, and thus reduce the number of bug reports that need the maintainer’s attention. It’s also nice for users that their reports can get quick replies even when the maintainer is busy with other things.
  • User support at the forum. It’s amazing to see how fast a group of dedicated forum members replies to most user questions and resolves many of them. I think that this improves the user experience considerably.
  • Documentation and translation. Especially Burkhard Lück does a great job keeping the documentation of Dolphin (and other applications) in good shape.

If you would like to contribute to Dolphin or KDE in general, but you do not want to write code, getting involved in one of these areas is a great way to help the project to move forward.

Summary: If you want to get involved with Dolphin development, you are more than welcome! If you don’t know a good place to start, stay tuned and wait a couple of weeks for my next posts.

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26 thoughts on “Dolphin 2.1 and beyond

  1. markg85

    Hi Frank,

    It’s good to see someone take over the Dolphin maintenance. To bad Peter didn’t want to do it anymore.. Anyway, what you’re telling in this blog post worries me a bit. You basically said that other developers need to step in the dolphin adventure as well to be able to add new features, otherwise it’s likely to be bug fixing only. That got me worried. Dolphin was improving so much with every release and is imho the best application in KDE and it would be a pity if that very nice trend isn’t going to continue.

    Having said that, i’ve not been highly active in dolphin’s past, but have been contributing some patches as well as the occasional mass bug triaging. That’s about it. I would like to help you out with bug triaging and keep the dolphin bugs to a minimum. I’d also like to advice you to post a message on plasma-devel or kde-core-devel (or both) with a doodle link (like this: http://www.doodle.com/8dxigcxwr6527z5t) to schedule a time and day for mass bug triaging. Somewhere in 2 weeks or so.

    Looking through bugzilla right now :)

    1. freininghaus Post author

      Thanks for your help :-)

      A mass triaging in 2 weeks is not doable for me. As I said in the post, I’ll be quite busy for the next couple of weeks.

      1. markg85

        then 3 weeks :p or even 4.. But you need to post a doodle link for that on the mailing list quite some time in advance. Right now is a bit to much in advance, but about 1 or 2 weeks before your intended start would be nice.

  2. nece228

    It is so good to know that after peter left there are still developers who will take care of such amazing project. So thank you for contributing already! And i like your ideas too, so wish you all the best.

  3. Àlex Fiesatas

    One of the first thing we should do is rethink the nepomuk integration! I’m sure Vishesh will be glad to sit down with you and hack on it :p

    Congratulations for the maintainership, it ain’t going to be easy but I’m sure you will get more developers to join dolphin, it is an appealing project.

  4. Thomas Thym

    Thanks for your work and for taking over maintainership. And thanks to you markg85 for stepping up and helping. We need more people like both of you. Keep on rocking!

  5. isemenov

    Well, we have to be honest here.. Peter pulled off a complete architecture overhaul. He designed and implemented a model-view framework from scratch, which one single person can not do by definition – you need a team of designers, architects, coders, testers to do that. I reckon there are only a couple devs in the kde project that are that experienced and self-contained. Thus, Peter’s departure is a great loss for the whole kde..

    Still, I don’t mean to say that Frank won’t be able to maintain Dolphin, sure he will be able. I’m not sure though if any major changes can occur in Dolphin in the future. However, to be honest with you, Dolphin doesn’t need any more changes.. I hope that all those “give me qt quick on the desktop, mobile, in my car and and in my yard” aren’t heard and that the existing consistent and easy to maintain UI will be saved.

    1. markg85

      QUOTE
      I hope that all those “give me qt quick on the desktop, mobile, in my car and and in my yard” aren’t heard and that the existing consistent and easy to maintain UI will be saved.
      END QUOTE

      ehh, i respectfully disagree there. I think the hybrid applications that use C++/Qt as the backend and QML as the GUI is the way to go. It’s difficult at first to develop but once the initial steep curve is overcome it becomes a LOT easier to develop and/or modify the UI. Something that is of great benefit to developers.

      The only issue that there is right now is which components to use. Plasma Components or the Qt Desktop Components. Both are in a workable state, but both are also far from finished. If you’ve read peter’ post it was even his intention to move to Qt Quick (thus either of those component sets) in the longer term.

      1. isemenovisemenov

        Well, Peter has stepped down, and the Dolphin UI is saved for a couple more years, simple as that. No offence to Peter, I’m light years behind him as a programmer, once again, he alone seems to be able replace a whole team of devs.

        Maybe KDE e.v. will have a conference or a vote later on and decide once and for all if there is going to be any inconsitent ui in KDE or not. For the time being, there are BUGS to fix, bugs that normal users experience and that don’t allow the user to do their job, that’s it. This is what matters, not qml or plasma or what not, don’t waste your time on irrelevant things. Nokia bought Qt, created this whole qt quick thing for their mobile endeavor, then the endeavor failed, then they switched to WinPhone, but the KDE devs had to test this functionality and after testing it, some of them seem to have got too much impressed by it. Far too much for a technology that was created only to be trashed by its own inventor.

  6. isemenov

    Oh and of course, hello from a fellow bug hunter. I will be in touch with you, since while fixing folderview, I use the Dolphin code for insight sometimes, and generally these two components have very similar functionality. Let’s fix some pet peeve bugs that have been annoying people for ages!

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  12. SudaNix

    I also have the same pervious question, and what is the steps that I need to follow?

  13. freininghaus Post author

    @Julio, SudaNix, and Georgi: Thanks for your help! I’ll write a new post this week with some steps that you can take to get started with Dolphin development.

  14. Morgan Cox

    Dolphin is simply the best file manager for any desktop for any O.S. – I hope that new features will be added soon and wish everybody involved the best of luck – I will help with bug reports…

    Keep rocking the free (open source) world!

    KDE now is simply the best desktop out.

  15. Dmitry Krasilnikov (fox)

    Thanks for your work!! I’d also like to help with project as a developer. I’m looking forward for new posts with steps to start!

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