37 comments on “How Important is KDE 4?

  1. Pingback: KDE 3 vs KDE 4: It’s Finally Over « Jon Reagan's Tech Blog

  2. Well, I think it is just your opinion. KDE 4 is still going strong, and gaining its pride back as the best Desktop Environment for Unix os. I know a lot of people turned back to KDE after 4.2, and even more after 4.3. OpenSuse users just recently chose KDE as their default DE for next OpenSuse.

    I am a long time KDE fanboy, for these few days I have been trying the latest Gnome again after almost 3 years, but seems that I need to switch it back to KDE 4.3.1 to stop me cursing day and night. Some reasons:
    1. It is ugly, and I need to spend few hours just to make it a bit pleasant to my eyes.
    2. Their usability is disaster. All and fonts widgets are oversized, wasting my screen space. Not to mention the brain-damaging button ordering. Or nautilus that by default use spatial file browsing.
    3. Gnome might consume only 3/4 of memory used by KDE, but it is not any faster than KDE, I find it very sluggish even though I only use GTK+ apps.
    4. Some applications have inherent design flaw. Empathy is useless. Pidgin waits for NM forever if I don’t use NM to connect to internet (yeah I know it is because pidgin by default is compiled with –enabled-nm, but it is still a big flaw). Pidgin refuses to blink in the task manager, even though I
    5. Some of the settings placement are counter intuitive, some even are not available! (Or maybe available via the regedit-alike gconf editor)
    6. That brain damaging open/save dialog!
    7. Integration among apps is not as good as KDE.
    8. A lot more, better for me to save my breath and just go back to KDE instead of continue cursing.

    And about KDE, it is designed to be good. Good design takes time, and initially it might be rough (because of major overhaul, especially on the desktop front). One recent proof is KOffice. It might be as good as OOo yet, but because of its good design, slim, and portable, recently Nokia chooses it to be used in the next-gen maemo. And Qt is a superior library compared to the bad old GTK+, GTK+ can match Qt only by Mono, but well, Mono is Mono …

    I’m sorry, but saying KDE is KDE vista is like me saying Gnome is a hybrid of Mac OS X and Windows. Gnome is Mac OS because its UI resembles Mac OS X a lot. Gnome is Windows because it likes Windows technologies, like CORBA (hey, where is your bonobo Gnome?), gconf and gconf-editor, and *cough* Mono. In fact, KDE doesn’t even look like Vista. But Gnome really likes Windows technologies (maybe because it is invented by a MS zealot?)

    Pardon for my long rants, perhaps I should write it down in my own blog. Have a good day.

    • Pride it may have, and I hope the software stabilizes and sees improvements in reliability. I really want there to be a 50/50 split in usage between KDE and GNOME as it provides so much more choice for the end user. If it were not at that level of equality between desktop environments I would like to see everyone in the community who is actually dedicated to Linux becoming a mainstream operating system to go and support one particular software, as the modularity takes away from our efforts as a whole.

  3. hi!
    1. be careful wih statemens claiming that the all over project is a mess (and “… put together in minutes…”)

    2. be more precise. do you know the difference between kde und kubuntu/opensuse/…? seems like you´re confusing things, since you most propably don´t know what the source for the things you critize are.

    3. what do you wanna achieve with your article? do you wanna entertain people? give them information? (i´d really question that). sorry to say but i´m really bored of articles that have no…real use (and are miscrediting many people´s hard work without knowing in depth)

    martin

    • The statements I have made in my article may not be the mainstream softie article in favor of a system just to gain brownie-points from the community. I am honestly not afraid to say it like it is (or like it is in my opinion at least). My purpose for this article was voice my opinions, questions, and criticisms of the new KDE 4 in order to find out how it is working as a desktop.

      I am concerned about where the project is because I work to promote the software to the general public. I know that businesses and individuals simply do not play around with their software, and would readily get a Mac before having to deal with many of the complications raised by beta-grade software. The statements you quoted have been taken out of context: the point “looks like it has been put together in minutes” is referring to the artwork and how close it is to becoming a bit cartooney. That is certainly not something that applies to the whole project or describes the actual amount of time put into the artwork.

  4. Pingback: So you want to know how important KDE 4 is? « Terminal Variant

  5. Wow, can you say agenda???

    Where to begin.

    “Just by looking at the KDE project, it appears as if development has slowed down.”

    Uhmm wrong, its quite the opposite infact lets take a look at the pretty graph though just to make sure http://kde.mcamen.de/statistics.html. Yup looks like a fairly active project to me.

    “Most of the comments I have received are not in favor of the new desktop environment”

    Unfortunately thats because happy people tend not to be nearly as vocal as the disgruntled. Read into that what you will, but its true with just about everything in life.

    “I wonder if KDE 4 has hurt the KDE project?”

    There are many ways you can try to measure the popularity of of an OSS project. i could point back the commit graph as an indicator of project health, but google trends seems like a good choice, http://www.google.com/trends?q=gnome%2C+kde&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all&sort=0. What we see here is that gnome and kde have stayed pretty much the same relative to each other for the last 4-5 years with gnome slightly ahead, although kde seems to generate alot more news. Oh and the czechs seem to really love KDE.

    “The major problems with KDE 4 in its current state is its patchy development, performance, and reliability”

    I just spent the last 30mins looking online for some good performance comparison stats for kde3 vs kde 4 vs gnome vs anything else, and can’t find any. Meaningful performance stats are really hard to generate, unless you actually get your hands dirty and run a profiler on a given app.
    Early kde 4 performance problems were generally down to poor quality gpu drivers NVIDIA being the worst, although newer releases are far better.
    As for reliability i’ve had no issues at all with kde 4 since 4.2 and beyond. Infact the thing one my computer that ever crashes these days is 64bit firefox with 64bit flash. But hey thats just me.

    “just by taking a look at the major KDE applications such as Konqueror, KMail, and KOffice, they are in not as mature as their mainstream counterparts, or for that matter the other competitors in the Linux arena.”

    So you telling me that K3B isn’t an amazing and full featured burning tool, or that Dolphin isn’t a great browser or that gwenview isn’t a fantastic image viewer etc… etc… Each to there own bud. Also its mightily unfair to put down a project like koffoce that only just had its point 0 release, although Koffice already beats Open office on the importing of .doc files, especially around tables i find.

    “Perhaps this is the reason that KDE 4 has failed to make an impact on the major distributions and unseat the much-criticized GNOME desktop environment from being the most popular desktop?”

    Actually this is mainly down to the historical nature of QT’s licensing which would mean a commercial company would have to pay a license fee to build a closed source QT to inlcude in their distro. Although now that NOKIA have bought QT and are basically replacing GTk with QT on neomo etc… This might change.

    “The overall look of the system is nowhere as clean as it was in the earlier versions, and instead today it is a translucent mess.”

    Thats your opinion, i happen to quite like the default kde 4.3.x look, and i also think the default gnome icon theme looks like it belongs in the early nineties and that cheese flavoured ice cream is really nice. As i said personal taste, at least kde is customizable.

    Anyway, i started out trying to make this clear and concise but i think i failed:P ahh well, nuts to it

  6. “the major distributions such as Ubuntu, Fedora, and Debian all use GNOME as their desktop environment of choice, and there are not really any major distributions with commercial backing that use KDE”

    i’m pretty sure that the statistics show it to be a pretty even split between KDE and Gnome, with the fag-end of the scale occupied by the other minor DE’s. it is also funny that you are unaware of opensuse’s recent choice regarding DE’s even though you carry their banner.

    “Surely distributions could work on implementing better software into their version of KDE 4. Applications seem to be a sticking point”

    odd, it is mainly because of the excellent library of kde applications that i like to use KDE as my DE of choice. my experience at least seems gretly different from you own.

    “I can only hope KDE becomes stable at some point in the near future, perhaps by choosing to make their “4.5″ release their stable release fit for refinement and development”

    you seem trapped in the paradigm of continuous incremental development as espoused and practiced by gnome, a fact which blinds you to the reality that other development methods exist which include the periodic code ‘revolutions’ adopted by KDE. both work, both are good, both are successful, but if i were to adopt your style of thinking i might equally retort about the danger Gnome being left behind as it cannot adapt and adopt to the computer needs of the day as its competitors do. but i won’t.

  7. Hiya! I just thought I’d pipe in among the KDE4 fanboys and say that I agree with your post. KDE4 has deeply split the KDE community.

    As for myself, I’ve been a Slackware user for years and years, and PV’s recent decision to move to KDE4 as the only supported version of the desktop led to my abandoning Slackware as a distro.

    So yeah, I feel strongly about it. I love Slackware, but that was my threshold of pain. After giving it a try in Slackware 13 (which is KDE 4.2.4), I discovered that it’s still agonizingly slow, buggy and crash-prone, and still lacks basic usability as compared to KDE 3.5.10.

    To add insult to injury, the only way KDE 3.5.10 was packaged for Slackware 13 was in the /unsupported branch. Thanks, Pat. Good to know you care.

    I participate frequently on the Slackware forums at LinuxQuestions.org, and from the response it got and from the polls I’ve seen there, it led to a lot of pretty frustrated Slackware users.

    I can’t speak for users of other distros, but the premature rush to leap headlong onto the KDE 4 bandwagon in Slackware has been divisive and painful to say the least. I know I’m not the only one who has dumped Slackware as a result.

    Is KDE4 comparable to Vista? Well, in pure usability comparisons, I actually find Windows Vista to be a lot more user friendly and more stable. And that’s pretty sad. Heck, KDE4’s menu is even a ripoff of Vista’s menu. They didn’t even bother TRYING to make it look different.

    In terms of a bad direction for a project to go, and then foisted upon users who don’t want it, yeah, I think that’s a fair comparison as well. It’s caused me (and users like me) to scramble to find a different environment in which to live in the Linux world, and because the KDE devs also decided to use the opportunity to break and massively change most KDE applications I’d grown to know and love as well, I’ve had to go on the biggest, most disruptive and annoying app hunt I’ve had to endure since I switched from Windows to Linux in order to replace a pile of programs that simply don’t do it for me in the KDE world anymore.

    I know, I know, someone’s going to reply here with a smartassed “well you don’t HAVE to use KDE 4, you can just stay on KDE 3 forever!” which is BS (I see those comments on my own blog all the time). KDE 3 is effectively dead now, since most distros have jumped on the KDE 4 bandwagon, whether it’s ready or not.

    And of course, there’s the “well stop complaining and contribute code if you don’t like it” crowd as well… which is also BS. You don’t have to be a programmer in order to have a legitimate beef in the design, quality, or stability of a project. Let’s not forget that this should be about END USERS, not “put up or shut up” elitism among developers.

    There’s also the “well that’s the way it is, get with the times” idiots too, and to them I say “I AM getting with the times. I’m moving on from this borked KDE world and on to better ways of doing things.”

    And of course my favorite “you GNOME fanboys are all alike!”, to which I’ll just pre-emptively say that I don’t actually like GNOME. I’ve been mostly a KDE user, and that ended pretty much with Slackware pounding the last nail in the KDE 3.5 coffin.

    Which is why I am rightfully snarky on the subject.

    At any rate, don’t let the fanboy trolls wear you down man. I think your assessment of KDE 4 as flawed, divisive, problematic, and harmful is right square on, and it’s going to be at LEAST another year’s worth of heavy development on the part of the KDE development team before I’m willing to even bother trying that steaming pile again.

    • I completely agree! Although I have hopes for KDE4, and I like the idea of Plasma (from what I’ve read), I *hate* that KDE4 isn’t as configurable as KDE3.

      Further, my laptop is memory challenged–thus, I’ve been looking for a better Desktop. It annoys me, but the answer always seems to come back to KDE3!

      Unfortunately, I don’t have time to try to write something better…

    • Thank you so much for posting that!

      I’m also just a “End User” but I love KDE 3.5.10 – its not perfect but It did a good job to stay out of the way and don’t make angry.

      Now 12 Hours KDE 4.3.1 and I feel the urge to write this more or less stupid rant.

      No In fact I don’t think it is stupid a rant – There should be a lot more of this rants – Because it looks like KDE (like GNOME) has some serious User-Interface Issues.

      I have huge respect for everyone working on the Project and I admire the C++ Skills and the effort everyone is putting into it. No discussion here.

      And I like a lot of Parts of KDE4 but:

      The main fuckup they did is this one:

      They focused on bling-bling eye-candy and widget bullshit and forgot to THINK about the actual tasks users want to accomplish.

      Windows 7 did it unobtrusive and good Looking – you can EASILY reconfigure and disable the eye-candy but the main thing is: the eye candy is well thought out. The same does Mac OS X – they thought about the users

      and if someone things about: but you can reconfigure this and that and in 4.x will be everything better… fuck you.

      I’m using Linux since 2.2 and Windows from 3.0 – the ui is just a mess. They failed at handling the complexity – and they FORGOT their main audience – experienced users or programmers or scientists that want to work productive and get their shit done easily.

      I mean ok – its unstable – but at least make it feature-complete and THINK ABOUT THE USABILITY BEFORE !!!

      and only add stuff it is has a big additional value. No fucking files in a ugly black windows with a huge meaningless symbol pane next to it is stupid by all means. Sorry.

      I have the feeling that the KDE4 UI is written for 16 year olds that like to play around with buttons and knobs.

      At least BE HONEST. And say you fucked up and don’t kill anybody (not me I’m just flaming but there were lots of reasonable critical posts) who opposes your opinion.

      KDE4 is not bad – but the usability is just shitty and everything to make work me is NOT THERE and it used to be THERE in 3.5.10 – this sucks.

      I don’t blame anyone for the bugs but I blame the guys for not realising that stupid javascript widgets and ajax fuckery are not the solution if you are unable to configure a solid system everyday use.

      GNOME is even worse than KDE.

      I guess – as this post is not productive at all – I stop here and switch to xmonad and try to learn as much commandline as I can. You can’t image it but the commandline guys some 30 years ago actually THOUGHT ABOUT THE CONCEPTS. At least there stuff doesn’t crash randomly or funny pictures get painted all across the screen.

      I’m really sad. However I hope KDE4 will become some day something great that I can enjoy again.

      Sorry – I’m pissed

    • Slackware 13

      The KDE 3.5 release wasn’t fully functional. You’ll have to hit the forums for a better version.

      For fresh install
      Start with the Slackware-13 set
      replace kde folder with the one from 12.2

      In the “L” folder :
      replace qca with qca from 12.2
      replace qt-r1008952 with qt-3.3.8b from 12.2
      add qca-tls from 12.2
      add arts from 12.2
      add dbus-qt3 from 12.2

      http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/slackware-14/how-do-i-upgrade-from-kde-4.2-to-kde-3.5-749773/page3.html

  8. This article comes across to me as from a regular Gnome user trying to make an appeal. I like to hear criticism! I really do. Bang it, bash it, whoop it up all you want… It doesn’t bother me a bit… except if you really don’t want anything to do with the thing. This post doesn’t come across as something to help the project but rather, possibly, just an exasperation?

    As for one thing that I do agree with (to my knowledge) is that KDE doesn’t seem to have the checks and balances that Gnome has in overall design. I gotta admit though that my knowledge is limited (pretty much due to being a regular reader of planet kde). The planet comes across as more of an individual adding a contribution rather than a collaboration or designing to fit into a greater scheme. KDE does now have a usability group (that’s not the right name) but it’s something like that. Be interesting to see if this has any effect on this.

  9. i usually dont mind the clueless on the net (although i dont think they should be allowed to mate) but no one can talk about a subject and be this utterly clueless. impossible.
    if you took the crappiest and most silly KDE4 posts of the past 12 months and vomited them out, they still wouldnt come close to this chef doeuvre of bad faith…

    im not going to do a point by point rebuke because it would be like shooting fish in a barrel and this guy does a nice of it;
    http://softvision.wordpress.com/2009/10/04/so-you-want-to-know-how-important-kde-4-is/

    my fave is; “Just by looking at the KDE project, it appears as if development has slowed down.”

    WTF…. are you serious….

    here is an excerpt from the august release of KDE4.3;
    ‘…The KDE community has fixed over 10,000 bugs and implemented almost 2,000 feature requests in the last 6 months. Close to 63,000 changes were checked in… ‘

    10,000 bugs and 2,000 feature requests in 6 MONTHS….

    Patchy development you say…
    totally clueless i say.

    • I was referring to the development of new features when I wrote that “development has slowed down.” Honestly, I am borderline on deleting your comment, but decided to keep it as an example of the classic troll. Please remember to be respectful, and decent. Otherwise you will simply hurt the image of KDE supporters.

      • That’s funny, I thought your whole blog post was a troll piece. Rene’s reply in his blog is a good rebuttal.

  10. “how important is KDE?”
    in my opinion, not very. unless it is used as a means to discourage it’s use. it’s pretty and all that, but not worth the heavy cpu cycles and extra ram to make it effective.

  11. “Just by taking a look at a list of distributions out there, the major distributions such as Ubuntu, Fedora, and Debian all use GNOME as their desktop environment of choice, and there are not really any major distributions with commercial backing that use KDE as their primary desktop.”

    openSUSE has KDE as their default desktop; Mandriva has more KDE than Gnome users and customers; the KDE version accounts for 30% of the BitTorrent downloads of Fedora; the next version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux will be the first ever to include KDE due to increased demand from commercial customers; many other distros like Arch Linux and Gentoo have very strong KDE communities that are arguably larger than their respective Gnome communities; the list goes on. KDE is doing fine, but thanks for worrying.

    “Sometimes I believe GNOME, in spite of its lack of controls for the people who want them and a lot of features, has a better development process. A focus on making the software stable and conservatively thinking out how new features should be implemented seem to be an advantage for the GNOME project. […] I believe that KDE 4 development has come too slow, and for an impation community that expects development to move at a pace that can compete with proprietary competitors with similar or better quality, KDE 4 is really not up to quota.”

    This paragraph is all over the place, with you seemingly accusing KDE of going both too slow and too fast. In any case, I can’t think of a single proprietary competitor with a development pace that comes even close to that of KDE. Care to suggest any?

    “Of course, this does not go over well with a community known for using old, outdated hardware to run their Linux systems.”

    Interesting, I didn’t know that the KDE community was known for using old, outdated hardware in particular. Could you cite your basis for that claim?

    In any case, while KDE 4 certainly places higher demands on other parts of the software stack to function correctly and with good performance, most notably the graphics drivers (cf. nVidia, who had to get off their ass and actually expose their hardware features in their drivers as far as 2D acceleration goes thanks to KDE 4), its performance is generally fine on reasonably modern hardware, and continues to improve. A lot of this is actually about Qt 4 rather than KDE, mind you. Qt 4.6 will provide further significant performance improvements in many areas of KDE 4.

    “People care about the work they do on their computers, and having that at risk is certainly not in the interest of both companies or mainstream users. Perhaps this is the reason that KDE 4 has failed to make an impact on the major distributions and unseat the much-criticized GNOME desktop environment from being the most popular desktop?”

    All FUD and conjecture. Can you provide a proper basis for the claim that KDE 4 places its users at risk? Can you provide a proper basis for the claim that GNOME is the most popular desktop? The “has made no impact on the major distributions” bit is patently wrong, see above.

    “Applications seem to be a sticking point, and the fact that many major applications are rarely written specifically for the KDE desktop is not a good sign for the acceptance of the system by developers — a potential problem for them in the future.”

    Wowza, this one really goes above and beyond. Collecting numbers from distribution repositories or comparing kde-apps.org against similar Gnome/GTK+ catalogues, there are easily way more KDE applications than Gnome applications — even if you include GTK+ applications. If you specifically only count *Gnome* applications (i.e. those that use Gnome platform libraries and follow the Gnome HIG), the number of applications “specifically written for the Gnome” desktop is even lower. By comparison, there are only relatively few Qt-only applications; by far most Qt applications for Linux are in fact KDE applications and thus “specifically written for the KDE desktop”. That is definitely not the case for GTK+ applications, few of which are actually Gnome applications. But even the number of KDE apps without the Qt-only apps rolled in certainly outstrips the number of GTK+ and Gnome apps combined.

  12. openSUSE does not use KDE as its default desktop. If it did, the default link for a download (which there is none) would be a KDE version. Instead at installation you get to choose which desktop you want, and surprisingly (at least for you) GNOME is at the top of that list.

    I don’t have solid statistics to point out that x percent of geeks use old hardware, but if you have ever worked extensively with the community at installfests, conferences, etc. as I have, one common factor and something I see often are older, lower performance computers, mostly used for the purpose of testing/running Linux. I noticed you wrote “its performance is generally fine on reasonably modern hardware”. Well, like I mentioned before, the frankenstein computers that I have seen and worked with are not necessarily new, and can cause trouble for those who might be trying to run KDE 4.

    KDE’s development process is slowing, as pointed out that the gap between 4.3 and 4.4 will be roughly seven months, give or take a few days. This gap, more time than a normal Ubuntu or Fedora release, should see new features intelligently implemented and a stable environment. Instead, most releases are filled with beta software coming from the many different teams within the KDE community. It’s not all a bad thing, but with the extra time I expect software that is ready to roll, without many issues. Proprietary companies are rolling out new software, not on a fixed schedule, but at a rate that includes a professional package that people can use without fear of major failure in a fairly quick amount of time. By the time KDE 4 has reached a stable point that would be equivalent to proprietary systems, I would estimate it to be the year 2011. That would be what? 3, 4 years of development?

    The number of issues I have faced with KDE 4 has been rather annoying. No, I don’t have numbers for this either, but then again no one does. I have worked enough events helping out the community deal with KDE 4, and they have faced innumerable problems trying to fix their broken installations. The majority of support requests I have received, when on a desktop environment to D. E. level, I have found that there have been more issues with KDE than GNOME, which really is expected since KDE 4 is still rather young in it’s development process. I simply believe that the KDE project has tried to spread itself too thin, and have sacrificed quality for a hodge-podge of new features crammed together.

    The number of KDE apps may outnumber the GNOME apps, but how many are either Enterprise-quality or actually useful? I am not referring to the small individual developer applications, KDE has a plethora of those trivial and useless applications, but instead I refer to the large applications, such as Evolution, Firefox, OpenOffice, IBM Lotus Symphony, all suites that have been modified or designed to fit the GNOME desktop.

    Of my entire time working with the Ubuntu project, note that I personally distributed over several thousand Ubuntu CDs with GNOME preinstalled. The number of people I met using KDE was relatively low, in spite of the fact that many people including myself used it at one time or another. Most people used GNOME, and just about all new users used GNOME as well, since it was a bit more clean and professional. Only the power users or experienced geeks really wanted to try their hand at KDE 4. Overall, KDE 4 was not promoted by my team for new users, but instead supported since we knew new users would have trouble using software that was prone to issues of some sort.

    It is not all doom-and-gloom. I do believe KDE 4 will reach a stability point. I just hope that it is professional and clean enough to present to new users to get them to consider Linux over Mac OS and Windows. So far, openSUSE 11.2’s upcoming release with KDE 4 actually looks pretty nice.

  13. “openSUSE does not use KDE as its default desktop. If it did, the default link for a download (which there is none) would be a KDE version. Instead at installation you get to choose which desktop you want, and surprisingly (at least for you) GNOME is at the top of that list.”

    openSUSE 11.2 will pre-select KDE 4 at installation time, as has been well-publicized. The openSUSE project decided this was a proper reflection of KDE’s significantly greater popularity within the openSUSE userbase compared to Gnome, to paraphrase their announcement.

    “Well, like I mentioned before, the frankenstein computers that I have seen and worked with are not necessarily new, and can cause trouble for those who might be trying to run KDE 4.”

    Unfortunately, the problem is often not actually the hardware, but rather the drivers. While the result may be the same, I don’t think KDE should reward poor driver development (or support thereof) and hold itself back by targeting those kinds of systems. That’s no way to compete with the proprietary offerings, either.

    “KDE’s development process is slowing, as pointed out that the gap between 4.3 and 4.4 will be roughly seven months, give or take a few days. This gap, more time than a normal Ubuntu or Fedora release, should see new features intelligently implemented and a stable environment. Instead, most releases are filled with beta software coming from the many different teams within the KDE community.”

    KDE 4 generally is on a six-month release cycle. The reason KDE 4.4 is not and was pushed back to early February instead of early January is because it would have been a poor idea to execute a release directly after the Christmas holidays during which many people are unable to attend their development duties. The release cycle is thus in fact not really longer or “slowing”, but the fact that it’s seven month long is rather to keep the actual development time (and more significantly, the bugfix and polish time given the segment of the cycle the holidays fall into) similar to the usual six month cycle taking the disappearance of people during December into account. In other words, this was done to ensure proper quality assurance.

    “The number of issues I have faced with KDE 4 has been rather annoying.”

    KDE 4.0 and KDE 4.1 have been rough, there’s no denying. Things started coming together with KDE 4.2, and KDE 4.3 is a nicely polished release series. The climate in the IRC channels and on the blogs has reflected this, and feedback has been largely very positive in my experience. This is not dissimilar to other next-gen release situations: Mac OS X 10.0 was essentially unusable, it became bearable by 10.2, and a nice desktop OS with 10.3. Gnome 2 was also a very rough experience initially, and watch out for all the upcoming crying about Gnome 3, which at present, as far as I know, has a hard dependency on OpenGL, thus leaving far, far, far more “old hardware” users in the dust, and is incompatible with any window manager but its own by virtue of putting the desktop shell into the window manager, which I would consider a layering violation.

    “Proprietary companies are rolling out new software, not on a fixed schedule, but at a rate that includes a professional package that people can use without fear of major failure in a fairly quick amount of time.”

    Right. Proprietary companies never ship software on fixed schedules, and never ship software prematurely. Uh-huh.

    “The number of KDE apps may outnumber the GNOME apps, but how many are either Enterprise-quality or actually useful?”

    Since you’re counting plain GTK+ apps as Gnome apps here, and even apps that use their own toolkit (XUL for Firefox, VTK for OpenOffice) with calling into a little bit of GTK+, you must also count Qt apps as KDE apps, considering Qt-only apps for example can receive KDE file dialogs (by virtue of the Oxygen style engine linking into KIO) and icons when running within KDE. Now, there are far more commercial, Enterprise-quality Qt apps on the market than GTK+ apps. Since I work in the television and broadcast graphics sector, where Linux workstations generally run KDE rather than Gnome due to this fact, let’s use the market-leading high-end compositing solution Nuke as an example – a Qt app. In fact, one of the reasons RHEL6 will be including KDE is demand from Disney Animation Studios — the successor to their legendary CAPS suite is a Qt app.

    “I refer to the large applications, such as Evolution, Firefox, OpenOffice, IBM Lotus Symphony, all suites that have been modified or designed to fit the GNOME desktop.”

    None of the applications you list are in fact proper Gnome applications, and all of them have integration issues on that platform. Additionally, OpenOffice has been extensively “modified to fit the KDE desktop” as well — out of commercial interest, due to many large-scale KDE office deployments in Europe (government institutions, etc). Simiarly, a lot of commercial money flows into KDEPIM (Kontact) development (see KDAB).

  14. To quote myself: “While the result may be the same, I don’t think KDE should reward poor driver development (or support thereof) and hold itself back by targeting those kinds of system.”

    After the ‘thereof)’, mentally add a “by hardware vendors”, as was the intended meaning of the sentence.

  15. “KDE’s development process is slowing, as pointed out that the gap between 4.3 and 4.4 will be roughly seven months, give or take a few days.”

    Oh, and while I called bullshit on this far more in-depth up there, here’s a general note on why this irks me: This is the first seven-month cycle out of four since KDE 4.0. “Slowing”, however, implies a discernable pattern. One-makes-a-pattern arguments are a clear sign of bad, agenda-driven debate style.

  16. To quote myself again, and call bullshit on that for a change: “None of the applications you list are in fact proper Gnome applications, and all of them have integration issues on that platform.”

    That’s with the exception of Evolution, obviously, which certainly is a proper Gnome app.

    • Integration issues you say? How about having much larger issues with KDE, where they must use GNOME libraries to work? Anyways, I’m done with this argument, I’ve made my point.

      • I have no idea what you’re referring to, sorry. If you’ll explain “How about having much larger issues with KDE, where they must use GNOME libraries to work?” I’ll happily react.

  17. KDE4 is what got me to switch from Gnome. I always hated KDE3, though I liked certain of the applications, especially Amarok. I was mainly a Gnome user for years, though I also had KDE installed. KDE4.3 is very stable on my Mandriva 2010.0 (Cooker) system. I have not booted into Gnome for months. The only thing that I miss from Gnome is the Nautilus file manager, but I can live without it. Anyhow, I have always used a mixture of Gnome and KDE apps. I use whatever seems to me to be the best of breed.

  18. i didn’t give a damn which DE i use (though i always had kde 3 on my box, due to usage of suse) actually, for years. now (with my gentoo box), i have to say that i actually *do* care which DE i’m running on my box. i had a few plasma instabillities with kde 4.1 and 4.2. however, 4.3 is *rock* stable. not a single crash.

    btw, kde on gentoo is *waaaay* faster than on suse. and i read that kubuntu version sucks big time (though it is supposed to be much better with the coming(?) release of karmic).

    my 0,02 €

  19. OpenSUSE is return to KDE 4.3 as default in next release.

    Major internal design change always causes huge numbers of bugs. KDE developers seam to have got that under control.

    KDE 4 line is more important that you can dream. KDE 4 is particularly designed to be OS neutral were able. So as it becomes stable its applications will start drifting on to windows. So now windows applications will have to compete head to head with KDE applications on there own platform. Remember number of users effect development of Open Source projects.

    Gnome is really not in the battle for overall control of Users minds. KDE is in that battle. They want all users on all systems. KDE vs .Net vs Web Apps.

    Effect of KDE 4 long term is undermining the importance of the windows api as a neutral platform just like everything else.

  20. One thing everybody needs to understand is that currently, KDE4 is pretty hardware sensitive, and different people are having different experiences, and your perception of KDE4 is going to be influenced by whether or not it works for you, and whether or not KDE3 worked for you. So please, be very careful about assuming someone else has an agenda because they’re describing something different from what you’re seeing.

    KDE4 is here. It’s severe. Get used to it.

    There’s no point in debating what’s happening any more. KDE3 isn’t getting upstream development. KDE4 is taking over every distro. If you like KDE3, you need to consider if there’s a way you can keep on using it, or if you need to make other plans.

    I’ve found a way that works for me to keep running KDE3 indefinitely. I build my own KDE3 live CDs with Slax 6.1.2 and packages from Slackware 12.2. I boot my CD, mount a hard drive partition as /home, I create a normal user, I change the root password, and you’d never know it wasn’t a hard drive install. Slax is one of the most robust live CDs ever. All my configuration data and work is retained by the hard drive, and I can even run it from RAM when I want to use the CD rom drive or get a little extra speed, without changing the configuration, and I have Kubuntu on the hard drive if I ever need access to newer software(I just updated to Karmic Koala). Because Slax is a live CD, I believe that I can compensate for one of the primary disadvantages of running older software– emerging security flaws– simply by rebooting frequently, thereby refreshing the / (root) system. A reboot brings the / root system back to zero, while my ~ home data stays intact.

    I think that many KDE3 users will discover that, once they start looking, and stop expecting the developers to solve their problem, they can find their own solution to their dilemma, though not necessarily without compromises or inconvenience. Solve your problem if you can, and then offer your solution to others.

  21. Funny you say KDE development is slowing – the 4.0 release might have scared many users away, but development really has exploded since then. As you say, much of the work is experimental – we’re trying to innovate here. Those experiments we started years ago, during the development of KDE 4.0, are starting to come together now. 4.3 is a desktop which has almost all the flexibility of KDE 3.5.x but avoids the downside in terms of usability nightmare, and begins to show what our new infrastructure is capable off.

    4.4 and 4.5 will introduce a bit more polish on the base of 4.3, but largely the cool stuff will be in the new features which are taking advantage of our the new infrastructure we’ve developed. Gnome is following us in this regard, btw, see for example tracker/zeitgeist (copying Nepomuk, luckily they cooperate) and the new desktop shell, an inflexible version of what Plasma could do.

    And the innovation we’ve done is noticed. OpenSuse’s decision on the default choice for KDE and Nokia’s dumping of GTK are just the beginning. Many formerly Gnome shops like Collabora are moving to Qt/KDE development now, and the KDE companies like BasysKom, KO GmbH and KDAB are flourishing like never before. Actually, if you’re looking for a job and have some Qt skills… 😀

    So this blog would’ve been the basis for an interesting discussion if it was posted in 2008. Now, it’s just obsolete.

  22. My 1st linux was suse 10.0 & I learnt to love KDE3. But when I saw KDE4 in action my next distro was ubuntu. I tried installing KDE4 alongside gnome last year in Ubuntu 9.04 but found it still wasn’t reliable enough as my desktop environment.

    Currently I’m using Ubuntu 9.10 but I use some KDE apps which work better (some some tasks at least) than their gnome equivalents… Klipper, Konqueror, kwrite

    I’ll probably go back to trying KDE again one day, but for the moment I feel I am enjoying the best of both worlds. The cleaner more solid environment of Gnome with the more advanced apps of KDE.

  23. I agree. It would be nice if there was more support for the trinity project.
    http://www.trinitydesktop.org/
    The kde3.10 desktop is far superior for home users and power users/developers. It is VERY stable.
    They are the only ones trying to continue development the kde3.x desktop.
    I hope it will be as stable and powerful and it has always been. I also hope there will be much more support for the trinity team.

    thanks all and God Bless

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