Review of KDE-Based JingOS 0.8
The video review is here:
Here are my written thoughts.
Gestures are a great starting point. They are buggy, yes, but they also are 1:1 (which is not taken from KDE Plasma, although some of the gesture code is) and they are quite useful. Tocuhscreen gestures are also very effective and the animations are good. This receives a big thumb up from me.
The shell is an adaption from Plasma Mobile, but not much of that is to be found. We have a custom Notification Center, System Tray and Task Manager that very much look like iPadOS. Which is not necessarily a bad thing (it looks good!) but at the same time, it's not very original. I could not find any big issues in the shell besides some bugs (e.g.: apps not opening when clicked with touch). But given that this is a 0.8 version and not a 1.0 version, it's expected.
Few, pretty and barebone. They are very simple apps that do their job nicely. They are quite clearly designed for touch over keyboard and mouse, but that's what you'd expect from a iPadOS “clone”. If you – however – seek any more functionality than that, you'll have to go to the appstore which contains non-jingos-native applications. They do not magically work with touch, of course, so only download those that would be touch-able on normal Linux as well. But in the future, it's clear that JingOS hopes to build a ecosystem of Jing native applications.
This is the first jingOS version with system settings. Which is nice, but it means that many settings lack. This is why KDE System Settings are also installed. Weirdly enough, some KCMs are also missing from KDE System Settings, leaving the user unable to configure the screen resolution or the keyboard layout. And I'm a DVORAK user. Yes, this review drove me insane.
There's something that worrys me: it seems like much of JingOS code is not currently open source. Some applications are – mostly those that are taking from KDE and re-skinned – but the shell itself isn't. Maybe I just could not find the source code, but I think they did not yet upload it at all. Update: Current repository is: https://github.com/JingOS-team/JingOS According to the devs, all code should be here from later today. There were also some licensing issues with original KDE files. Apparently some of the gestures files credits are not given, plus some other licensing technicality which I did not understand. However, the KDE eV Board is in contact with JingOS, so I'd expect these issues to be ironed out eventually.
Now, this is just a preliminary review, as the product only came out today. I wished to do a more in-depth review, but JingOS provided to be an environment not very friendly to different hardware compared to the one it's tested for: no way to change screen resolution (which is wrong by default)? no way to change the keyboard layout? I've also had issues installing third party applications, such as the screen recorder. The one I managed to install (SimpleScreenRecorder) did not work, as JingOS uses Wayland.
The v1.0 will be released in June, and by then we should also have the first all-jing device (the JingPad). Hopefully, I'll be able to get a clearer idea of what JingOS is or will be by then.
“KDE Should not be political”. I've heard this sentence many times, especially when KDE supports LGBT. But it's wrong. Let me explain.
First of all, let's have a clear definition of what is and what isn't “political”; if we all disagree on the meaning of “political”, it will be hard to continue this discussion, right? Well, the problem is that there's no good, universal definition of what's politics and what isn't (I've heard many different ones and I have my own).
So let's actually not define the word “political”, as we don't actually need to. Rather, let's quickly list some things that go from “clearly political” to “maybe political”.
This is political, and I hope we can all agree here. To support or oppose a particular government or party, or to collaborate with them, is pretty clearly meddling with politics. Just think if KDE supported the Democrats in the 2020 American elections. Feels a bit weird, doesn't it?
The (maybe proposed) policies or laws from a government are more specific and a bit less “political” compared to parties. This is because a policy/law usually regards a certain topic, whereas a party or government necessarily act on many different topics. Let's make another example here; imagine if KDE decided to speak up against the horrible Polish LGBT-free zones. You might agree, you might disagree.
This is where we actually find LGBT, amongst many others, such as Fridays For the Future, or Black Lives Matter. These are (international) movements that ask for a change regarding a certain topic, be it the acceptance of all genders and sexuality, preservation of nature, fight against racism, etc. You might call these things political, you might not. I don't really care. But if you are reading this, you are most likely part of at least one social movement I'm also in: Free Software. Yes, it is a social movement!
Finally, here's a group that interacting with is usually not considered politics. This is about all of the organizations that are not part of a government and that are no-profit. KDE itself is a NGO, as far as I'm concerned. Sometimes NGOs are politic: as an example, in Italy there was a strong anti-NGO right-wing rhetoric because they were saving drowning immigrants in the Mediterranean. Wow, this became political so quickly.
Now we should ask ourselves: should KDE support other NGO? Well, I think it's very much appropriate for KDE to support an organization, when this organization aligns with the values of KDE. I'm pretty sure we have done so in the past; just our tweets in endorsement of new GNOME versions could probably be taken as “supporting another organization”. And GNOME values do align with ours: they also value free software, transparency and so on. Sure, there are disagreements, but the general values are aligned.
So, let's start going back.
Let's get back to social movements then, and ask the difficult question again. Should KDE support a social movement? Well, KDE is already doing so with Free Software. Again, it makes sense to support a movement when it's aligned with your values and directly impacts you. Free Software is directly aligned with KDE values and directly impacts it. Quick FAQ before going on: what's KDE? it's a community of people working on open source software together. So, should KDE support LGBT? Let's break it down as we've seen: Are LGBT values aligned to KDE's? Is the support of non-cis non-hetero folks aligned to KDE values? Turns out it is, as the KDE CoC clearly states that any form of discrimination (be it based on sex/gender, or sexual orientation) have no place in KDE. Second question: do LGBT values directly impact KDE? The answer is clearly yes: there are many non-cis or non-hetero people in KDE (remember, KDE is the community, not the software). The same logic applies to Black Lives Matter: KDE values do contain “do not discriminate based on sex” and that directly impacts on the community as we are not all white in here. As you can see, KDE has all the rights to support social movements like Free Software, but also those that – just as much as Free Software – are aligned to our values and impact on our community, like LGBT.
Should KDE support or oppose some specific government policies? Well, of course yes, we've done it in the past with no backlash. Remember the whole “NetNeutrality” thing? Well, that was an (American) government policy that was opposed. I've heard no “stop! this is political!” when KDE spoke up for Net Neutrality. That's because the policy was against KDE values, and it directly impacted KDE. If there was a law that's aligned to KDE values and directly impacts it, KDE should naturally be able to support it as well. As an example, KDE should support a policy that makes all public code open source if there was on. So, KDE should totally be able to support or oppose a particular policy, given the same criteria as before.
All nice and fun, but it has to stop here, right? Well, probably. The problem is that Govs and Parties – differently from organizations, policies and movements – do not deal with a particular, specific topic, but rather have values in many different ones. This makes it hard for KDE to be aligned to them. We might be aligned with a party “do not discriminate”, but are we aligned with “we need to tax the rich”? Probably not. Does that disregard the possibility of supporting that party entirely? Well, I think so. This does not mean that we should never, ever do that. If a party (let's say, the Pirate Party) had a declaration of values that's very much aligned with KDE ones, and if those values directly impacted KDE... well, there's no reason why we shouldn't support them. After all, we're already supporting social movements and policies, and we're already very much “political” by many meanings.
My name is Niccolò Venerandi. If you want to support me xor my work for KDE, check out: Liberapay: https://liberapay.com/niccolove Paypal: https://paypal.me/niccolove Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/niccolove