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User Revolts

Feb 01, 2011, 23:02 (16 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Bruce Byfield)

"Why are newer versions of free software being rejected by significant numbers of users? Three years after the KDE 4 series began, some users continue to reject it, either preferring KDE 3 or looking for alternatives. GNOME 3.0 and Ubuntu's Unity seem likely to face a similar reaction -- and they are not even in general release yet. Similarly, enough people reject the Amarok 2 releases that Clementine, a music player based on Amarok's first release series, seems to be thriving. The phenomenon is relatively new, but very real, and seems indicative of changes in free software usage that are going relatively unrecognized.

"Exactly how widespread the reactions might be is nearly impossible to estimate. Because the unsatisfied are vocal, their numbers are probably smaller than they appear. Certainly, they seem less than half the total users, since many people seem more or less satisfied with newer releases. My own unscientific impression is that the unsatisfied are no more than 25-35% of all users, and may be less than that.

"Whatever the numbers, there is nothing wrong with the reaction. After all, free software is all about choice. If anyone cares to keep KDE 3.5 or GNOME 2.32 alive, the licenses positively encourage them to do so."

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