As mentioned yesterday I am currently going through all open feature requests for KWin. This of course tells me quite a lot about what our users want to see in KWin and where we have rough edges. Of course everything there has to be seen with some bias as some reports are really old and KWin has done a transition from being a window manager to a compositor and window manager. Given the age of KWin there has also been a dramatic shift in the targeted user audience of KWin and Linux in general.
One of the patterns I noticed in going through the requests is a high demand for our window specific rules framework. In fact I noticed so many requests for them, that I decided to create an own bug component for bugs and requests specific to the rules framework. This shows that the scripting capabilities currently added to KWin are useful and that there are many users who will appreciate that work.
Another area which has quite a rather large amount of wishes is Present Windows and Desktop Grid. This validates my assumption that it is one of the most powerful features we actually have for window management and that we have to make this more prominent. Personally I have quite some ideas to improve this in 4.10.
On the other hand there are hardly any requests for our other effects and if at all it is for accessibility features. When we introduced desktop effects there were many requests to add this effect and that effect, mostly with the reason that compiz has it, too. The more fancy, the better. Lately we have hardly got any new wishes for adding more eye candy. This quite validates some assumptions I already had. As desktop effects are quite normal nowadays on all systems there seems to be no need any more to have the show off effects. Who wants to burn down windows anymore? That was awesome back in 2005 as no other system could do something like that, but nowadays it looks already quite old fashioned.
Another area which really sticks out are advanced window management features like Focus Follows Mouse, Focus Under Mouse or Window Shading. Concepts probably not known to most users, concepts dating back to the early times of X11 and not really used by our current developers. If I think back to the developer sprints I have been over the last years I have not noticed anyone who used Window Shading.
Overall the feature request highlight something I expected before: feature requests are only reported by very advanced users. Only a very small sub group of our user base is able to report them. And that is no surprise. In most cases we can safely assume that a user of the KDE Plasma Workspaces does not know anything about KDE. Even if she does it is unlikely that she knows anything about KWin (try to find the word KWin in our UI). Even if the name KWin is known it is unlikely that a user knows that she could report a bug or feature request. KWin does not have a Help menu with a “Report Bug…” entry. So there is a huge entry barrier for reporting feature requests.
It shows again that bugzilla is hardly useful for interaction with the userbase as your userbase is not represented correctly. For KWin this will of course be fixed by no longer accepting feature requests in the bug tracker, but sending users to the brainstorm section.