As you may have already seen, Project Timelord is out in the wild. While Kubuntu 9.10 is undeniably a decent release and undeniably better than previous releases, it is not an outstanding release. The potential to be the best KDE distribution in the world is there, but something is not quite right. For example, KDE translations are pretty much fixed, but our Kubuntu-developed often suffer from a lack of translators as well as a general inattentiveness to localization bugs, which is made worse by a lack of feedback from justifiably frustrated users. Kubuntu tools are written for KDE4, but perhaps stick out too much and don’t fit in with the system as well as they should. Our early KDE4 packages for Hardy left a bad reputation, and now any bug– KDE or Kubuntu’s fault– gives disgruntled and suffering users to brand Kubuntu as “just that buggy, second rate KDE distribution” on the internet. Kubuntu is good, but to break free of its past and at the same time become great, major changes will have to be made. What Kubuntu needs is a Doctor.
Hopefully, anyone from this generation or the previous has heard to the Doctor. The Doctor is a man with no name, the lone survivor of the Last Great Time War, and the last Timelord in existence. With the last of the TARDISes, he roams through time and space with his companions keeping the universe safe from perils both manmade and alien. Project Timelord was named that because:
- We thought it sounded good at the time
- Harald and I are both Doctor Who fans (Jonathan Riddell probably does too)
- Kubuntu needs repairing, and who better to fix something up than the Doctor?
What is Project Timelord About?
I really would recommend reading both the announcement as well as the complete Timelord specification, as they will do a much better job of explaining Project Timelord. They’d better do a good job too, since I spent a lot of time writing them. Basically Timelord is a roadmap of todo items, brainstormed by Kubuntu’s finest. Thought to maintaining the status quo was thrown to the wind, and we seriously took a look at what our biggest weaknesses or perceived weaknesses as a distribution are. The result is a list of solutions that may in some cases be radical change from the status quo. We will do whatever is necessary to make Kubuntu the best.
In essence, Project Timelord is taking a look at what we currently do and doing a sanity check on it. For example, Timelord asks:
- Do we have the resources to maintain translations in Launchpad?
Probably not at the moment, no. Launchpad translations is a solution for a problem we don’t have, and if we cannot maintain it without a massive amount of work or at the cost of people wanting to translate our Kubuntu-specific apps, then we should not use it.
- Do we have the resources to track bugs in KDE itself at Launchpad?
While tracking things at both places does have its benefit when done properly, it really cannot be done properly by two people. Until our bug team grows, the recommended course of action is to send upstream bugs upstream where the belong, lest upstream never sees them at all.
It is questions like these that Project Timelord attempts to answer. (Really, go read the spec for more details ) If we can follow the proposed roadmap, I am sure that Kubuntu will rock for Kubuntu 10.04 and beyond, eventually becoming the best Linux distribution possible.
But All of This Requires You
As a co-brainstormer of Project Timelord, I believe that if we follow Timelord’s solutions sincerely that Kubuntu will look into the heart of the TARDIS and become reborn! The best part about it is that you can help us make Kubuntu the best Debian/Ubuntu-based KDE distribution, nay, the best Linux distribution around! Feel free to hop onto IRC or fire a mail to the kubuntu-devel mailing list; we are looking for people of all talents! Whether you can triage bugs, write python or C++, help out other users on IRC, make great artwork or have any other skill, we look forward to you helping us making Kubuntu the best it can be!
P.S. I will actually probably blog in a bit about the first developing “fruits” of Project Timelord, kubuntu-notification-helper, soon. (A C++ replacement for update-notifier-kde)