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Fifteen years of KDE

Fifteen years of KDE

Posted Oct 19, 2011 11:20 UTC (Wed) by niner (subscriber, #26151)
In reply to: Fifteen years of KDE by acooks
Parent article: Fifteen years of KDE

KDE 4.4? We are at 4.7.2 now. 4.4 is almost two years old. Why would you try a completely outdated version?

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Fifteen years of KDE

Posted Oct 19, 2011 11:42 UTC (Wed) by acooks (subscriber, #49539) [Link]

Correction, it was KDE 4.6, but I don't think that changes anything.

Fifteen years of KDE

Posted Oct 19, 2011 13:07 UTC (Wed) by boudewijn (subscriber, #14185) [Link]

Well, you say that only if you could get rid of plasma, KDE would be modular and user-friendly. That sounds like nonsense to me...

In what way is KDE not modular according to you? Because you can use KWin without plasma-desktop? Because a KDE application like Krita runs fine on any other desktop than plasma-desktop? Because plasma is modular enough that you can create an old-fashioned Windows 95-like desktop with a start-menu, a panel and icons on the desktop as well as a finger-friendly information-on-the-desktop tablet gui?

And in what way would KDE be more user-friendly for you without plasma-desktop, always accepting that any judgment on user-friendliness given here on LWN is bound to be highly subjective and completely skewed because of the reader base?

And while KDE 4.4 was perfectly usable for someone who used to use KDE 3.x (KDE 4.2 was already in that stage), yes it matters which version you were talking about, because KDE 4.6 is much better again.

Fifteen years of KDE

Posted Oct 19, 2011 16:06 UTC (Wed) by acooks (subscriber, #49539) [Link]

This is exactly the problem. The people who want to catch the next big wave in computing (eg. the semantic/social/3d desktop or tablet computing) have the desire to argue about these things, while the people who don't want their work environment disturbed, simply want to carry on with their work. This is why there are so many people complaining about KDE4 and Gnome 3 and yet there isn't enough drive to keep the old codebases alive as healthy forks. It's also a lot easier and less time consuming to shout "KDE sucks" than to get involved in a detailed discussion of the problems.

To be clear, afaict plasma consists of:
1. the bar at the bottom of the screen, which contains application launchers, status indicators, the "cashew", etc.
2. the desktop with its "cashew"

I don't particularly care if plasma is actually something else entirely. Those are the two items I have not been able to get rid of. If you could post a link to some instructions for running a kde session without those two things, but with an alternative panel, I'll gladly give KDE 4 another try. Ideally, I think what I would like is to have kicker from KDE 3.5 back, but without having both kde3 and kde4 libs taking up memory.

1. I don't want any wallpaper or icons on the desktop, or at least I want the option not to have it on my work PC. I also don't want to see the cashew or any of its plasmoids or transparency effects.
2. I don't want any fancy effects, save for seeing the content of a window while it's being resized or moved and anti-aliased fonts.
3. I don't want to toggle state on the panel to be able to move a launcher icon or add an application launcher.
4. I want the ability to right-click on the panel and add a launcher for any executable anywhere on the filesystem, with an icon in any of the common image formats, found anywhere on the filesystem, without changing into a special editing state.
5. I don't want any social or semantic anything when I'm trying to write code or fix something and I don't want it taking up resources in the background.
6. The multi-monitor support in 4.6 is broken. There were multiple times when KDE would corrupt some config setting and refuse to start. This happened when I had a second monitor attached before power-down (at work) and only the LVDS at start-up (at home). Recovering from that requires either a deep understanding of the config back-end or deleting the .kde4 directory and dealing with the unpleasantness that follows.

KDE might have improved in numerous ways between 4.2 and 4.6, but the things that caused me grief haven't improved afaics.

I find it ironic how new desktop environments like XFCE and LXDE have evolved to service the needs of the boring old farts who just want a lightweight desktop without the gimmicks, while the old projects are trying to attract new users and change the way their existing users work.

Fifteen years of KDE

Posted Oct 19, 2011 16:54 UTC (Wed) by mgraesslin (subscriber, #78959) [Link]

If you don't want Plasma-Desktop ending is as simple as "kquitapp plasma-desktop". There are many standalone panels such as Cairodock, AWN available which you can run in a KDE session.

There is also Kor which is a small desktop shell.

And if it is just the cashew: there is a Plasmoid on kde-look called something like "I hate the cashew" and which removes it.

You mention a lot of "I don't want..." things and all of those are not mandatory.
1. You don't need a wallpaper and by default there are no icons on the desktop. The cashew can be removed and translucency can either be switched off or you can change the theme.
2. so turn off all other effects. Plasma works fine without compositing or with compositing. It's all in one source base and we keep functionality (no reimplementation like Unity-2D or GNOME Shell fallback mode).
3. Well that is the compromise to also support users who are not as adapt with the Computer as you are. And I doubt that you configure your panel each other day ;-)
4. Right click open window -> Advanved -> Show a Lauchner for Foo when not running. For anything else as .desktop file try to just drag'n'drop it and be surprised what KDE can do :-)
5. So turn it off
6. there are so many different things referenced as multi monitor that it is hard to answer. But looking left and looking right I see that multi monitor is not broken ;-)

Fifteen years of KDE

Posted Oct 19, 2011 17:02 UTC (Wed) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

to answer your comments

1. wallpaper, you always have had some background, you can change it from the default picture to some simple patters, just make that image and set it as your wallpaper (the image can be all black if you want)

icons on your desktop

on my desktop there was one window with some icons in it by default, but hitting the close button on it eliminates that, so I now have no icons on my desktop, just the bar at the bottom.

2. if you go to system settings, desktop effects there is a checkbox that will turn off all of the fancy animations and similar effects. seeing the contents of the window as you move it and anti-aliased fonts aren't affected by this checkbox.

3. I think you are out of luck here. but at the same time, I don't see how you would manage a launcher bar without having a modal interface, what clicks or gestures would you make to do the editing/rearranging functions that would never have a meaning outside of editing? left, right, and middle click are used, as is drag-n-drop

4. the difficulty in adding an arbitrary program to the launch is annoying, but since it's not something I do frequently, I don't worry about it a lot. what I do is to pick an app from the KDE menu and right click on it to select 'add to panel', I then right click on the result and select 'edit'. I can then change the command line, icon, name to be anything I want it to be.

5. nepomuk is trivial to turn off, go to system settings, desktop search and unclick the 'enable' button

6. I use multi-monitor support and while I have had problems with it not remembering my settings from login to login with prior versions, the version shipped with kubuntu 11.10 seems to be working for me so far.

Fifteen years of KDE

Posted Oct 20, 2011 13:22 UTC (Thu) by jwakely (guest, #60262) [Link]

> And while KDE 4.4 was perfectly usable for someone who used to use KDE 3.x (KDE 4.2 was already in that stage)

I think that depends on your POV and whether you are happy to abandon using your preferred terminal dimensions. Even when I finally get to run 4.8 it'll take a long time to forgive - a small thing, maybe, but it left a bad taste in my mouth long after the showstopper bugs in 4.0 were fixed.

Fifteen years of KDE

Posted Oct 20, 2011 13:36 UTC (Thu) by jwakely (guest, #60262) [Link]

P.S. the reason it upset me so much is that konsole is the one KDE app I use *constantly* and for essential tasks, and until my distro gave me KDE 4.0 it had been by far the best terminal emulator I used. Adding lots of flaky eye candy was annoying, but it got less flaky and could be disabled. Adding flaky eye candy *and* breaking the single app I rely on? ... grrrr!

Fifteen years of KDE

Posted Oct 20, 2011 13:39 UTC (Thu) by niner (subscriber, #26151) [Link]

What I don't understand about this bug: why didn't it affect me? I use konsole every day and ususally to edit files in vim. And the konsole windows usually have far more than 24 lines.
Did the window have to be exactly 80x40 to cause the bug?

Fifteen years of KDE

Posted Oct 21, 2011 13:18 UTC (Fri) by jwakely (guest, #60262) [Link]

Yes, it only happens for 80x40, so the workaround is "just" to stop using that size.

It's alright to stay on the old version - stability and legacy are good things!

Posted Oct 19, 2011 13:30 UTC (Wed) by k3ninho (subscriber, #50375) [Link]

I don't know why you left KDE 3.5 when 4.0 came out -- the software wasn't broken and your workflow didn't need fixing. You probably want to be honest about your intentions, and not blame a developer release getting in the way of your work when what got in the way of your work was you wanting to play with a new toy. Whichever version you tried, 4.0 didn't get in the way of my work and has steadily improved over the last 3+ years.


It's alright to stay on the old version - stability and legacy are good things!

Posted Oct 19, 2011 16:50 UTC (Wed) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

probably the reason he switched to KDE 4.0 is that the distro he was using made the mistake of switching, and he was forced to choose between not upgrading the distro or switching to 4.0

I don't know of any distro (other than probably gentoo) that offered the option to use either 3.5 or 4.0

It's alright to stay on the old version - stability and legacy are good things!

Posted Oct 19, 2011 17:26 UTC (Wed) by niner (subscriber, #26151) [Link]

openSUSE offered both until 4.3 was released and found to be good enough to not warrant the doubled maintenance effort anymore.
Seems like openSUSE is an often overlooked but all in all very nice distribution.

It's alright to stay on the old version - stability and legacy are good things!

Posted Oct 19, 2011 20:09 UTC (Wed) by Anssi (subscriber, #52242) [Link]

Mandriva did the same, 3.5 alternative was only dropped when 4.3 came.

Why 4.4

Posted Oct 20, 2011 15:29 UTC (Thu) by tsr2 (subscriber, #4293) [Link]

4.4 is the version shipped with Debian Squeeze. It is my only experience of KDE4 and it was still flaky at the .4 release.

Out of the box I found the user experience painful and even after using it for a couple of months I never managed to configure it to be anywhere near as usable as KDE3.5, so I got rid of it.

I now have one desktop running Linux Mint and my other desktop is running Trinity desktop Environment. If Mint goes to GNOME 3 I will try GNOME 3, but I expect I will eventually run Trinity on both boxes.

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