November 4, 2018

Red Hat Drops KDE Plasma, Some Thoughts

RHEL 7 Desktop
Well, we almost missed this one. With all of the hoopla surrounding IBM's purchase of Red Hat, the news that red Hat's Enterprise Linux was going to drop KDE Plasma as an option going forward kind of blue under the radar. In fact, were it not for a Google Alert for 'KDE' letting us know this recent announcement, we probably would have been oblivious to it all together. Though some news outlets have covered it, we could be forgiven for missing it - after all, it was the weekend.

But then it hit us. The headline was pure click-bait and probably scared the bejesus out of a lot of readers:

"Red Hat killing off KDE" (1)


"Red Hat killing off KDE" - From
Comment on "Red Hat killing off KDE" - From

and another exclaiming:

"We (may) now know the real reason for that IBM takeover. A distraction for Red Hat to axe KDE" (2)


So here we are and the news has broke that indeed KDE Plasma will not be available in Red Hat Enterprise Linux after this current versioning is retired. However, there are a few things to note here from my perspective on what all this really means:

- If internet comments are to be believed, it has been said that currently only KDE 4 is even offered (as an alternative to Gnome) for RHEL on the desktop. Long depreciated and no longer used by any major distribution anywhere, KDE 4 has been relegated to the past, replaced of course by the introduction of Plasma 5 back in 2014. For a company like red hat to even offer KDE 4 to it's customers, again if this is true, is certainly not doing them any type of service or favors.

- KDE is officially supported by Red Hat through the calendar year 2024. So that is quite a ways off anyway...

- Not many people use RHEL on the desktop. I think as a percentage we are talking about a really small number here. So again, it really is no big loss.

- Red Hat's free desktop OS, Fedora, does have a current KDE Plasma option so really KDE is not going anywhere, except again out of supported desktop client enterprise licenses. And again, this number is extremely small.

So in summary, all that is really being said here is that after the year of Our Lord, 2024, KDE 4 will not be available for desktop client support purchases and / or licenses on desktop installations going forward. And again, this number is so small it is probably statistically irrelevant anyway. But it does make for a good headline, and those who wish to bash KDE in the never-ending desktop environment wars can point to articles and news announcements declaring the death of KDE in Red Hat's desktop offering as proof that their side is winning.

But really, it just amounts to a whole lot of nothing much at all.

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