With the release of KDE 4.9 in August there will be the Dolphin 2.1 file manager and that will be the last release to be handled by Peter Penz, someone that's been working on Dolphin since before the KDE 4.0 release. After the 4.9 release is out the door he will be handing control over to Frank Reininghaus. When this handover is complete, he doesn't even expect to provide bug-fixes or even continue using KDE as his main desktop environment.
Why is Penz doing this? Below is a brief excerpt from a blog post he penned this morning.
Sadly for me this still would not be enough to keep on maintaining Dolphin, as there is another reason to quit contributing: I'm using KDE since version 1.2 and I never cared what market share KDE or Linux on the desktop has. However to me it was important that the desktop-environment I'm using and spending time for can compete with the desktops-environments from Microsoft and Apple. As user I always had the impression that I can do my regular tasks like reading e-mails, browsing, managing my photo- and music-collection, rarely writing a document, maintaining my contacts, adding calendar-entries... in a more efficient and comfortable way than on the other desktop-environments.He goes on to explain how the user interfaces are becoming simpler while the functionality of the applications are increasing without an effective UI, increasing complexity of non-UI elements of applications, etc. "Working on the non-user-interface parts of applications can be challenging and this is not something that most freetime-contributors are striving for. But if there are not enough contributors for the complex stuff behind the scenes and if no company is willing to invest fulltime-developers to work on this... - well then we are losing ground. And even if Gnome seems to get more support from companies, I don't see a big difference to KDE here. Probably my explanation/guess/theory is nonsense and utterly wrong. But this does not change my point of view that at least for my tasks I can work in a more efficient and comfortable way on other desktop environments in the meantime. And this aspect makes it hard to keep up the motivation for investigating a lot of spare-time into KDE."
But at least for my regular tasks as user this has changed during the last couple of years. It is tricky to give examples without pointing fingers to parts of KDE where I think we are not competitive anymore, so I won't do this.