Practical Technology

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KDE: It’s time for a fork

June 28th, 2008 · 66 Comments

OK, I’ve now tried KDE 4.1. I’d been assured that it would be better than KDE 4.0x. It is. That’s the good news. The bad news is that I still find KDE 4.1 to be inferior to KDE 3.5x.

KDE’s developers believe that KDE 4.1 “can fully replace KDE 3 for end users.” I don’t see it.

There are some fundamental changes for the better. Qt4, the cross-platform application framework, which underlies KDE 4 takes up less memory and should result in faster performance. I haven’t seen the promised performance benefits, but then KDE 4.1 is still in beta, whatever ‘beta’ means. So, in this setting—Kubuntu 8.04 and openSUSE 11 on Intel dual-core systems with two gigabytes of RAM—I’ll let KDE 4.1’s poor performance go by without additional comment.

My real problems with KDE 4.1 is far more fundamental. The developers believe that they have a better way of handling the desktop. For them, I’m sure they do. For users, this user anyway, the new desktop fails at a desktop’s main job: enabling the user to get their work done as easily as possible.

Take, for example, that in the new Dolphin file manager, the developers claim, and I quote, “Selecting files is made easier by a small + button in the top left corner that selects the file, rather than opens it. This change makes using the file-manager in single-click mode much easier and prevent accidentally opening files, while being intuitive and easy to use.”

OK, so what part of using a small + button to select a file sounds easy to you? The rationale for creating Dolphin in the first place was to make a file manager that was easier than the powerful but complex Konqueror. This small addition of a button strikes me as a perfect example of making something more complex than it needs to be. This is especially annoying since the idea was to reduce complexity, not add to it.

I could go on, but I’m not going to bother. KDE 4.1 is full of visual improvements that dont’ improve anything. You can see KDE 4’s Plasma interface for yourself. Maybe it will work for you. It certainly doesn’t work for me.

KDE 4 developers, lead by Aaron Seigo, wanted to make a radical change to the desktop. They have. However, in so doing, I don’t think that they have made that classic engineering mistake of making something that’s great for them, but not for users.

Seigo assures me that he can explain what KDE developers are doing to me. I’m sure he sincerely believes that. Unfortunately, in so doing, he’s making my point for me. Desktops shouldn’t need explanations They should just let you do your work. KDE 4.1 gets in the way of my doing work.

Is it because I’m an old foggie? Maybe.

But, I doubt it. I pick up new desktops and interfaces all the time. Switching from one system to another is second-nature to me. KDE 4.1 has taken KDE down a path I don’t want to follow. So, I have a suggestion. Fork KDE.

This is open source. All forking a project really requires is that developers and end-users decide that another path is a better path. So it is that I’m suggesting that if some developers decided that they could build a better KDE by revisiting KDE 3.5’s vision of the desktop, they’d find many users more than willing to give it a try.

For starters, rebuilding KDE 3.5 with the latest version of Qt should result in a faster, more effective KDE 3.x—KDE Classic?–even without any new features or other features backported from KDE 4.1, that already sounds like a compelling desktop to me. What you think folks? Is KDE Classic worth a try?

Tags: Desktop · Development · Linux · Open Source · Operating System

66 responses so far ↓

  • 1 csanchisb // Jun 29, 2008 at 5:29 am

    Hi, I’m a long-time KDE user and a recent reader of your blog (after many of your articles here and there). I see your point with KDE because the fact is that I can’t work with it either and I’ve been on the bleeding edge with Opensuse’s unstable packages for long so I wouldn’t miss any improvement (I haven’t really had that many crashes after all). But I’m not sure forking such a large project is feasible at all or even good for it. What about all the application developers? Do you think they would follow? Actually applications have really improved a whole lot (despite some minor annoyances like the plus button in dolphin), so the only real problem is Plasma. It is far too radical, but most important: it’s not mature at all. I guess a simplified desktop shell acting like 3.5 would make users like you and me happy while Plasma (which does have some strong points) takes its time to evolve into something useful, just like you will have the KHTML and the Webkit components as two options (although I can see a clear winner there, that is, the most mature, Webkit).

  • 2 tooth // Jun 29, 2008 at 10:07 am

    i don’t find much practical about this article or the previous. it has much more the feeling that you just want to dislike kde4, and seems your reaching. you really didn’t say anything, all you actually talked about was a button in dolphin. the rest was vague at best. you serious? you found nothing worth mentioning in this ‘review’ of improvements from 4.0.x to 4.1? nope, just a button to talk about.

    after reading i don’t have any specific understanding of why 3.5 is so much better than 4.1, it all just sounds personal.

    btw, use the below link for the plasma project. the one you linked should be taken down, as i’ve never seen it update. but i wouldn’t be surprised if you already knew this and just choose to link a sorely outdated page.
    http://techbase.kde.org/Projects/Plasma

    “This is open source. All forking a project really requires is that developers and end-users decide that another path is a better path.”

    thats all? great, good luck with that.

    “So it is that I’m suggesting that if some developers decided that they could build a better KDE by revisiting KDE 3.5’s vision of the desktop, they’d find many users more than willing to give it a try.”

    why would they decide that? you made zero arguments to support this idea.

    “For starters, rebuilding KDE 3.5 with the latest version of Qt should result in a faster, more effective KDE 3.x—KDE Classic?–even without any new features or other features backported from KDE 4.1, that already sounds like a compelling desktop to me. What you think folks? Is KDE Classic worth a try?”

    I have this idea for software that will work great for ME. all I need is some talented programmers to do it. I don’t care if it works for other ppl so long as it works for ME. any takers? there must be someone out there in the opensource world will to do this for me, right?

  • 3 sjvn // Jun 29, 2008 at 11:39 am

    You seem to be missing the concept. This is an opinion piece. This is my opinion. Here’s why I have it. I find KDE 4.whatever gets in the way of my getting work done. I like KDE 3.5x–I’ve said that over and over again in other stories so I didn’t bother to repeat myself. The real short version is that KDE 3.5x gives me far more control over the OS than any other GUI on any other OS.

    Now, I’m not the only person to feel that way–read the comments both here and elsewhere about KDE 4. I may be the first to suggest that forking KDE may be a reasonable idea.

    Having made that suggestion, we’ll see if anyone else agrees with it.

    Steen

  • 4 aseigo // Jun 29, 2008 at 11:54 am

    what we’re doing *to* you? interesting turn of phrase there. almost like we’re holding you down and hurting you. man, i must be a really nasty person to be writing software that can do *that*. ;)

    joking aside, i offered to sit down with you and listen to your concerns and discuss things with you. that’s communication. that’s an offer to help and to listen.

    have you sent me an email? skyped me? anything? no… it seems you took a genuine offer and replied with yet another internet rant on your soapbox. obviously that’s your prerogative.

    i wish you the best with your fork.

    > Desktops shouldn’t need explanations

    most engineered products have explanations for the design choices. that’s a sign of design and purposefulness, and what i was talking about when i talked about explanations.

    but what you are talking about, i suppose, is documentation on how to use things. to which i’d offer two thoughts:

    i don’t know how much software doesn’t come without documentation. heck, the kitchen blender i bought last week to make hummus with came with documentation even. (and yummy recipes) the first macs (wonders of intuition they were) came with a whole interactive tutorial application that walked the user through using things.

    second, there are many who have been using kde4 just fine. maybe kde4 is written in a way that works for them. *shrug*

    but Steven, to be perfectly honest, this series of blog entries of yours has become very much an extended public rant on your behalf, one that is increasingly pointed at me personally. (how many other people did you name?) i’m not sure what you are looking to accomplish, but it certainly isn’t to see if the software you have tried actually does what you want it to.

    i hope you enjoy using kde3 or whatever you use in the future. maybe you can indeed find a way to take all those people who are similarly unhappy and find them a place where they can be happy.

  • 5 sjvn // Jun 29, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    Sorry you see this as personal. I don’t.

    I dislike KDE 4, not you.

    Steven

  • 6 aseigo // Jun 29, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    “The real short version is that KDE 3.5x gives me far more control over the OS than any other GUI on any other OS.”

    and KDE4 has more control features than 3.5 does. it’s missing a few that 3.5 had, and we’re filling in those holes as we go.

    what i do hear, however, is that *you* feel more in control with 3.5. as a personal POV, i honour that. i’d be interested in know what aspects of things lead you to this feeling. if it is indeed the icons on the desktop, we’ve already addressed that. if it is dolphin, use konqueror. there’s a reason we continue to work on konqueror: it works better for some people.

    but by not even wanting to have any discussion even when it was offered, you have your eyes squeezed shut while your mouth is wide open. when i’ve done that in the past, i’ve found it leads to me doing and saying some rather silly things.

    “Now, I’m not the only person to feel that way”

    the appeal to popular opinion. with no actual numbers, just a vague “other people”. yes, i can find other people who agree to just about anything. did you know that a fire goddess, Pele, lives in the volcano on the island of Hawaii? that google is a covert branch of the CIA?

    “–read the comments both here and elsewhere about KDE 4.”

    and you can read all the comments, and reviews of KDE4 in OpenSuse 11 i might add, that say otherwise.

    not discounting your personal POV here, just wanting to remind people that in spite of your soapboxing here, there’s a lot of satisfaction with things out there as well.

    and here’s perhaps an even weirder shocker: there are tons of people who *hate* kde3. odd, huh? what’s wrong with *them*?

    “I may be the first to suggest that forking KDE may be a reasonable idea.”

    nope, there was a thread on kde-devel 2 weeks ago suggesting this. maybe you two could hook up.

    “Having made that suggestion, we’ll see if anyone else agrees with it.”

    you need people to do more than just agree, you need people to take action. maybe you cold set up a project page on sourceforge?

    actually, better idea: you bring the developers and i’ll see that they get svn accounts so they can work in a 3.5-to-Qt4 branch in KDE’s svn. i’m serious: that’s how free software works.

    on the other hand .. let’s say none of this pans out the way you expect: nobody steps up to do any real work, KDE4 continues to mature into a fine product. i wonder what will become this particular series of blog entries? i have a long memory, Steven, and will make certain that you receive all kudos you earn from this exercise whichever way it goes.

  • 7 aseigo // Jun 29, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    > Sorry you see this as personal. I don’t.

    well, you singled me out by name. that’s a person-to-person communication, from you to me. to single someone out in a rant like this, then say “it’s not about you, really!”, is really disingenuous.

    i don’t think you are out to get me (aka “it’s a conspiracy!”), but i do think it’s obvious you have begun to focus on certain individuals. or rather, individual. you didn’t, after all, mention the Dolphin project lead by name, did you? ;)

    i should probably make something else clear to your readers: i don’t lead “the KDE4 developers”. i’m maintainer of Plasma while also doing public service in an organizational role in a non-profit associated with the project. that’s all.

    in any case, i’m just surprised that a public offer to communicate on my behalf (in the comments of your last entry) became the excuse for, and in places the focus of, this entry.

  • 8 sjvn // Jun 29, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    These blog entries will stay up, along with your comments, for as long as I can keep the site up.

    For better or worse, agree with me or disagree with me, I stand by my words. Sometimes, I get it right. Sometime, I get it wrong. In either case, the record remains.

    Steven

  • 9 firephoto // Jun 29, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    Wait, in the last rant you said you were “going back to GNOME”. You also seem to be compairing everything else to ANYTHING that is labled as KDE. KDE3 is not KDE4 and will not be KDE5. KDE3 has one desktop, KDE4 has another so if you like the KDE3 desktop then you really should use the KDE3 desktop because that’s what you want.

    You also mention things seem slow or not of good performance. This could be a result of debug builds or just how the distro packages you tried are built but without a doubt KDE4dot1 is faster and uses less memory when built correctly. You most likely are pointing the finger at the KDE project for a problem that originates with the distro which happens almost everyday in the ‘rant and call it a good journalism blog’ era we live in. I know for a fact that one of the distros you used patches their KDE4.1 in the way they like it which is not the way it is developed upstream and the other one might be doing it too… anyway, the best KDE packages I’ve seen so far are the ones built exactly like the techbase references say to build it so the distros are dropping the ball if they can’t meet that criteria for performance.

    You really do seem to be just jumping on the ‘rag on KDE’ bandwagon too lately as if it’s fashionable. This doesn’t help, and neither does just wanting a version of the old desktop that is exactly the same but ‘new’ and if there’s problems with that old desktop maybe you should be complaining about those so your desktop of love can be fixed? Really, any monkey can make last years desktop with their name on it. 10 years ago we didn’t have a mass market of touch screen devices but some people seem to think we need to keep the desktop of 10 years ago alive for another 10. It’s not the best, it’s what people are used to and most people are dumb and refuse to do something different.

  • 10 sbattey // Jun 29, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    It sounds to me like you’re bitter. Not that you really care about your words.

    You are afraid that Aaron is right, and that make you feel threatened. It’s a common human response the the chance they may be wrong. It’s okay.

    Not once you have firgured that out, why don’t you actually give kde 4.1 a chance. I bet the longest you have used it is a few hours, which is not enough time to get used to it. Some tips:

    ALT+F2, very helpful.
    When you click the K, the text box is autohighlighted (basically: start typing to program name)
    change the appreance in systemsettings

    It’s all very simple.

    Why don’t you try out KDE 4 for as long as a week and maybe you will start to like it.

    Or maybe you should try it for Months like I have been. I love it!

  • 11 mangoo // Jun 29, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    A couple of months ago there were only articles showing the good sides of KDE4.

    I’m really glad some people are more critical and also see the downsides of KDE4, especially, when compared to KDE3.

    Hopefully, this will allow KDE developers improve their desktop environment – this is how open source works, after all.

  • 12 tooth // Jun 29, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    “I dislike KDE 4, not you.”

    thats speaks volumes. i think you don’t want to like kde4, and you want others to feel that way too.

    thats my ‘opinion piece’. i like that label. i guess when i do a piece of journalism and give it that label i have no obligation to research the topic at hand.

  • 13 Roberto J. Dohnert // Jun 29, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    I agree KDE 4 is the Linux worlds Windows ME. Whereas Vista now kicks a$$ at SP1 KDE 4.1 still disappoints. My experience is that it has a lag about it and its not as efficient as KDE 3. When I built PC/OS and was searching for the perfect desktop environment I chose XFCE because for right now its the only desktop worth a damn. If the OSS community found a way to salvage KDE 3, I would definately be looking to contribute.

  • 14 azbobcat // Jun 29, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    The funny thing about KDE4 is that it is NOT really “NEW”. The idea of “containers” first came out with — are you ready for this?? MICROSOFT WINDOWS 3.0, 3.1, and 3.11 Widows For Workgroups — of course they were not called “containers”, they were called windows, but the idea is still essentially the same: Windows within windows, and within the windows were a group of associated applications. In the window for say Games you found all your games, in the window for Office Apps, you found all your office stuff, etc. and — just as in Plasma — the window could be shrunk down to an icon on the Desktop. I understand the the Plasma idea is a lot more advanced, but it is still essentially the Windows within a Window idea. It seems that after numerous complaints for those of us who like a standard Desktop the KDE developers came out with something called “Old Skool”… the only thing is that the “Desktop” is itself within a “container”. I don’t get it: For those of us who like our Desktops empty to which we can add icons that launch various apps, etc. why can’t we have it like that? Why can’t you ADD “Containers” to the Desktop rather than have “containers” there by default.?? What would this entail? Writing some code that says “create” or “add” container. In short when KDE came up you would have a blank Desktop that could not be shrunk to an icon; on this desktop you can add apps you can launch from as in the “Old Skool” way; OR… you can get all fancy and create “containers” to which you add all sorts of things that can then be shrunk to an icon on the Desktop. The problem is that the KDE 4 developers are trying to force feed the USERS with a radically “NEW” idea which in itself is rather OLD having its roots back in the days of M$ Windows 3.0, 3.1, and 3.11 WFW. If the Fedora Project and/or the KDE Project don’t get their collective acts together I think I’ll stay with Fedora 8 and or either seek out a new distro or find a different GUI. I say FORK KDE!!!

  • 15 AnMaster // Jun 29, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    I fully agree, I hope someone forks KDE 3.5.9, or they improve KDE 4.x to be as good. But KDE 4.1 isn’t that good yet… However you would still need to port it to QT 4.x, I got no idea how hard this is. QT 3 is dead as far as I know.

  • 16 tooth // Jun 29, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    “If the Fedora Project and/or the KDE Project don’t get their collective acts together I think I’ll stay with Fedora 8 and or either seek out a new distro or find a different GUI. I say FORK KDE!!!”

    thanks for the warning. heads will be rolling.

    i’ll tell you why i hate seeing ppl say kde needs to be forked. it most likely comes from ppl not involved with the kde project. ppl who are unlikely to contribute any code to any opensource projects what so ever. ppl who just use the software and do very little to help develop it. another side affect, is people seem to have very little understanding of what they are talking about, yet still feel the need to comment.

    as for the rest of that post. *blinks*

  • 17 rpedrica // Jun 29, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    It’s interesting that most, if not all, of your articles have a negative connotation. In my comment on your previous article, I mentioned that it’s always easier to be negative than positive and suggested that you take your comments and pump them into the KDE community to cause change, as your require. That’s the heart of open Source – community. But instead all you’ve done is put our more of the same negativity.
    So I’ll say it again – get involved and make the change. If you’re only interested in blowing your horn, then the value of your posts decreases to the level of uselessness. Comment without action is a waste of breath.

  • 18 diprovo // Jun 29, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    I am a KDE user from the first hour and I enjoyed KDE throughout the years very much. But I have to admit that the promise of KDE4 was for me a disappointment after all. I don’t like the menu structure. Sure, it looks great, but when I am navigating for an application I have not any overview and I am lost. And Steve is right with his criticism about the mouseover effect of the icons on the desktop. Sure, it looks great at first glance. But it is not functional and why not use the right mouse button for adjustments?
    In my opinion is the underlying paradigm of KDE4 too much design oriented with a loss of functionality. I can also say “It looks great but I cannot work with it”. Who said that before?
    Whether or not there will be a fork, this kind of criticism is the feedback of concerned users. Because after all KDE is a TOOL that is used by users. And it is nice when that tool is bright and shiny doing the job.

  • 19 sjvn // Jun 29, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    Just a few points.

    I’m negative when I think I have a reason to be negative. I like KDE. I dislike where it’s going.

    So, why not join the development community? Because, I’m not a a developer, I’m a journalist/analyst.

    Look at it this way. You’re playing baseball. Some of you are on the KDE team. I’m writing about what I see as wrong with the KDE’s team recent play.

    Steven

  • 20 NiQCo // Jun 29, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    I totally agree with this article. I’ve been a KDE user for years but I have decided to stick with 3.5x because it offers me the better desktop experience for now.
    KDE 4 just doesn’t give the end-user any important reason to have to live with all its shortcomings. It’s sad ’cause KDE 3.5x was (and still is) a great desktop. I mean, why reinvent the wheel? KDE is now just a desktop for developers… but what does it provide to end user? Nothing but stupid Kickoff menu which is just counterproductive, Dolphin which is way less complete than Konqueror (I didn’t find it complex btw, just complete which not the same), Plasma which is almost as useless as Dashboard on OS X… Yes, they are great technological improvement behind KDE 4 (Phonon for example seems really interesting) but again, that’s just for developers, not end-users and that’s what this article is all about, it’s an end-user point of view! But it seems difficult for KDE 4 to be criticized (look at tooth comment to see what i mean…)…
    Radical changes can be good when necessary. We saw it with Mac OS, OS Classic was falling apart and switching to a radically new structure and interface was a necessity . But I do not think that was the case with KDE, it didn’t need be that radically different… even more that it doesn’t provide to the user anything really useful, which was not the case with OS X.
    I will give KDE 4 a chance but I tried 4.1 and it didn’t convince me either… maybe 4.2? Anyway, it will need to be better if KDE doesn’t want to die: look at all those distros using both KDE4 and GNOME, the reviews are mostly all done under GNOME because KDE4 is simply useless or unstable and the current main one, Ubuntu (like it or not), is not even officially supporting KDE 4 for LTS…

  • 21 patrokov // Jun 29, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    I still don’t understand what’s so “complex” about Konqueror. It works exactly the same way that Window Explorer works…except that IF you want to you can split the screen and have tabs, and use virtual folders through smb: and fish:, and it can open terminals…but only IF you want to. Otherwise, it’s no different than the Windows Explorer which we’ve used since 1995 (which in turn was dumbed down to my chagrin from Win 3.11’s more versatile File manager, which in turn was dumbed down from the Norton Commander).

    I still fail to see the point behind Dolphin. If we keep simplifiying and dumbing things down, eventually we’ll be left with just the command line.

  • 22 aseigo // Jun 29, 2008 at 10:59 pm

    to everyone commenting on dolphin, let me help you:

    there’s a reason we kept konqueror.

    what was that reason? choice.

    you continue to use konqueror, which we continue to develop.

    those who couldn’t manager with konqueror can use dolphin. which we also continue to develop.

    in fact, we share a lot of code between them.

    that those of you who enjoy konqueror (and i’m one of them, btw) would even be at all annoyed that other people who weren’t served now have a choice says everything.

    the word is “selfish”.

    look beyond yourself and see everyone in the world. at that point you will understand that we need choices. which is what we are providing in kde4 with konqueror and dolphin.

    it’s a big of cognitive dissonance for some to no long be the ONLY audience, but to be ONE of the audiences … freedom’s like that though.

  • 23 FreedomSight » Blog Archive » I’m Pissed at Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols // Jun 29, 2008 at 11:46 pm

    […] been writing disparaging things about KDE4, and one of the developers took exception with his claim that a lot of people were unhappy with it. […]

  • 24 Chani // Jun 30, 2008 at 1:00 am

    @csanchisb:
    ” I guess a simplified desktop shell acting like 3.5 would make users like you and me happy ”

    er… is nobody aware that you can run kde3’s kicker and kdesktop alongside kde4 apps? seriously, if plasma doesn’t work for you yet, that seems like the sensible thing to do… kde3 isn’t going anywhere, unless your disrto goes crazy and tries to drop it or something…

    @sjvn:
    fork kde? bwaaahahaha.
    be my guest. please, everyone who’s been ranting and raving about how much kde4 sucks without being helpful at all: get together, start a fork, and leave us alone so we can actually get work done instead of wading through your endless drivel.

    my ‘opinion’ is that we won’t see a single line of fork-kde code: the people who suggest it are all talk and won’t actually do anything constructive at all.

    …why am I even here? I should be coding. the internet is such a distraction :P

  • 25 Tech Bread » How istechnologychanging the world of Washington DC? // Jun 30, 2008 at 1:02 am

    […] KDE: It s time for a fork […]

  • 26 sebr // Jun 30, 2008 at 1:04 am

    You’ve clearly expressed that you are not a software developer but an analyst/journalist. You also say that you are only interested in stating your opinion. You need to choose a niche and stick to it: either be a journalist, state the facts and keep your opinion out of it; or explain why exactly KDE needs a fork. Otherwise, you’re playing the role of the propaganda spreader.

    “It’s time for a fork” is a meaningless statement without any sort of credible support. Why is KDE3 better than KDE4? Because you said so, it seems. Why is a fork ‘needed’? Maybe to help you fit back into your comfort zone or because you as a journalist deemed that it is the better path.

    And attacking Aaron personally is a low blow, further reducing your credibility as a ‘journalist’. If you are trying to write a well informed and respectable article about certain technologies and analysing the direction of KDE, then you might find it more appropriate to direct your comments at the technologies rather than the individuals behind them. This just causes pain and hurt for the developers that have spent countless months developing for people like you and at the very least deserve your respect.

  • 27 azbobcat // Jun 30, 2008 at 1:59 am

    What tooth is missing is –well — some teeth: S/he is missing the fact that KDE 4 should NEVER have been released as a replacement for KDE 3.5.x. KDE 4 is still to date essentially a beta release. SUSE has it right: IF you are going to include KDE 4.x in your distro, then you should also include KDE 3.5.x as well. Unfortunately the brains at the Fedora Project try to force feed KDE 4 as the ONLY KDE to be included in Fedora 9 and — unless the Fedora Project Leader asserts his influence — Fedora 10. It seems as the only function of Fedora users is to be official test guinea pigs for Red Hat’s RHEL, whose wants and desires are not to be taken into account. Too bad that the Fedora Project can’t learn something from its chief competitor.

  • 28 xvalentinex // Jun 30, 2008 at 2:52 am

    Ugh, some people just aren’t getting it.

    The new backends that KDE4 is built on Phonon et al. Are there for the end user. Yes the end user will probably never touch it, but it creates a simpler interface for developers to interact with your hardware and backends. Thus, allowing developers to focus more on a feature rich application versus trying to support hundreds of different hardware/software scenarios.

    Dolphin is an awesome file manager. The ability to tag files/folder with meta-data and then search it with Strigi is something thousands of people have been wanting for years.

    Am I saying KDE4 is perfect? Not at all. It has bugs and kwin/plasma crashes every so often. Of course I’m using the latest 4.1beta2. I’m sure most of these will be fixed by the “ACTUAL” 4.1 release (it’s still a month out folks). Partly because rather than complaining that it doesn’t work, I file bug reports, participate in existing ones, and join in Krush days.

    I like the poster’s comments above where he suggests actually using it for a week. Any one that does will surely see the potential for KDE4. I honestly doubt you would find many users to support a fork, as claimed.

    Oh well, it doesn’t matter. Some people will always fight progress and be annoyed by change. I just hope it doesn’t discourage the KDE team. Good luck with your fork. And please kindly delete my account, as I am uninterested in anything further from your blog.

  • 29 All the KDE 4 controversy « The Defiant // Jun 30, 2008 at 4:21 am

    […] which is what causes all the controversy here the way I see it. All the critical posts by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols and many other bloggers/reviewers regard this radical change: suddenly KDE forces users to change […]

  • 30 iudo // Jun 30, 2008 at 4:43 am

    @sjvn

    “The real short version is that KDE 3.5x gives me far more control over the OS “.

    Can you motivate with examples this sentence?

    I mean, in your post is not clear where is this huge loss of control… You don’t like how to select files in dolphin… uhm very interesting, but where’s the lose of control?
    Then you search and don’t find in kde4 the announced revolution of desktop, and after that you say “Desktops shouldn’t need explanations They should just let you do your work”… Funny! And how desktop should let you do your work? In the MS Windows way? Or OsX instead? Sorry for you, but every engineered products need design choices to reach their goals. And these choices leads the user to the necessity of getting used with them. It’ s absolutely normal that if you are used to another way of thinking desktop, you’ll find difficult getting used to a new one.
    You also seem to dislike the visual improvement introduced in kde4. I don’t understand what’s wrong in that? Ok, visual improvement in itself does not improve anything, except…. uhm… visual appearance? What’s a problem if a desktop environment has a more powerful skin engine and if has better appearance than his predecessor?
    I really don’t find any point in your observation except some singular points of view that does not justify the polemic and catastrofic tone of the post (a fork?!? bah…).
    It seems to me like you wanna only start a flame…

  • 31 josvazg // Jun 30, 2008 at 5:02 am

    KDE 4.0.x seemed very unstable and limited and Plasma/kwin seem a joke compared to compiz (which now is quite stable even within Kde).

    Haven’t tryed 4.1 yet, but big changes need to have been done in order to change my first impresions on KDE 4, which can be expressed in a single phrase: “I won’t migrate to KDE4 just yet!” And i don’t think KDE 4 would appeal to me until 4.5 at its current pace (or it might be more probable my switch to Gnome, who knows!)

    Another point is that KDE4 seems a step in the wrong direction in terms of development cycles. It imitates too much the Microsoft and Apple (closed source) way of doing things, that is, wait a LOT to have something not so revolutionary in the end. KDE4 looks and feels like Vista, slow, bloated and a big depart from the previous versions (but even more unstable). Is like “3years in the making just for this!” While Opensource tends to be more fast and incremental (“release soon, release often”)

    This is only one (my) point of view. It might not be representative (I might be a strange person)… time will tell. But it doesn’t seem that people are switching to KDE4 like crazy for the time being.

  • 32 shevegen // Jun 30, 2008 at 5:43 am

    Hi there,

    first off I have a small complaint about the comments and the layout here. It is nothing too serious but I think I should mention it once.

    On my widescreen the layout seems very narrow. I think only 35% of the screen is occupied, and the comment boxes are very small and hard to read, maybe 15% in width. What is even worse is that there are many comments :) and I dont want to read through them because they are too small. Maybe one day when you reconsider the design of your blog, you can make it a bit wider/large.

    Ok, now to the points:

    I agree on some points, but I think it is more important to point out where I disagree. (I am not KDE dev, only a User, and I also use ruby-qt ruby-kde)

    “Qt4, the cross-platform application framework, which underlies KDE 4 takes up less memory and should result in faster performance.”
    You forgot one huge advantage, which is evident if you compare ruby-qt3 and ruby-qt4 apps. Qt4 looks a LOT better. I say this because I am using ruby-gtk most of the time, but ruby-qt4 convinced me that I started to learn it too. (Unfortunately… there is a ruby-gtk wiki but no ruby-qt or ruby-kde wiki. I hope the kde guys realize that there are some hobby programmers who like to program but will refuse to use C or C++ for many reason)

    Ok, my bottom line here – Qt4 really IS a huge advantage over Qt3.

    Another point you mentioned is the file system and konqueror/dolphin. Let me tell you that this may be right, but you forget “powerusers” like me. I like KDE, but why did i come to like it? Because of the apps.

    I fell in love with konsole years ago. It is the most important app i use on my linux box. I also love yakuake, and quadkonsole (though sadly this seems to be discontinued)

    I think the KDE guy should focus on enhancing these apps more. I use many ruby scripts to do several tasks, I dont need a Desktop environment. My favourite WM is actually fluxbox, it starts fast and is fast, without sacrificing more (like when I would use ratpoison… I always think I am missing something if i use these things. That includes Xmonad)

    But I like to use cool apps. Take K3B. I no longer really need it (i automated burning cds and dvds and creating isos with ruby scripts), but it is a joy to use. A really nice app. This is exactly where apps should come to – feature rich, usable, empowering the user, helping the user.

    Take another app i like a lot – ktorrent. This is a REALLY great app. :)
    It has grown fast and nicely, big big applaude to the guy(s) developing it.

    Others are praising amarok, but I havent used it yet (i dont really have a need for these things anymore).

    This is btw an interesting thing because I never liked konqueror much. It is good to have it, but firefox beats konqueror for WWW. And as a file manager, sorry… I think the internet explorer is more USABLE (!). I say this even after 5 years of heavy linux usage.
    I dont like Microsoft, but I think a few things they really did in a clever way. I am not complaining though, i just want that developers listen to powerusers too.

    So basically I want to say that while most people NEED a DE, I dont need one. And I think many others neither.

    The thing that interested me mostly in KDE4 was plasma/plasmoids. I hope i can write nice little widgets in ruby-qt. I have several hundred small applications in ruby-gtk. Its quite nice but it would be much cooler if i could integrate it all.

    That being said… i think dbus looks less elegant than dcop :(
    I hope they think about a sugar API around it so that I dont have to type those annoying looking URLS. (Actually, its no real complaint because I use ruby to generate this already so I dont mind… i just feel visually annoyed about the dbus command lines, compared to dcop…)

    Anyway, last but not least, I think KDE4 will eventually be better than KDE3.

    Right now though, I still think there are too many issues with it, take strigi btw – kdelibs wants it, but strigi is updated a lot lately. Things should settle more before declaring something “stable”.

  • 33 shevegen // Jun 30, 2008 at 5:45 am

    Btw (sorry that I didnt add it to my comment)

    I disagree with the previous poster:
    “Comment from patrokov ”

    “It works exactly the same way that Window Explorer works”
    -> No it does not. There are countless little differences, and this also includes the engine and widgets used. On WE I always had the feeling that things are packed together more, whereas on KDE i always had the feeling they were too generous with adjusting space.

    But the thing that is bothering most is that I dont see any easy way to change this. I think users should always be able to change it, even if it is only via hidden ways.

    I dont like if developers decide for me. And this is btw why I do not use gnome. I simply can not stand developers “sticking to a HIG” that makes decisions FOR ME.

  • 34 dig // Jun 30, 2008 at 5:55 am

    > enabling the user to get their work done as easily as possible.
    Having exactly the same problem here. These days desktops become everything except they are meant to be; should I say that you have to put another 1Gb or RAM just to use them normaly?

    So I switched to something else; I found EDE (http://equinox-project.org) to match my taste. There are some rought edges in it, but at least now I can use CPU power on something else ;)

  • 35 Hercules // Jun 30, 2008 at 6:25 am

    Fork KDE? Do you have any idea of the underlying KDE3 technologies? Suppose you magically find dozens of developers willing to port KDE3 straight to QT4. Those are just a few issues:
    a) The slowness / bad performance wil be just the same due to a bug in nvidia’s driver that slows down QT4
    b) aRts: It looked like a good idea years ago. Never quite made it. You will need to take it out of the codebase. Shouldn’t it be replaced by another multimedia system?
    c) DCOP: Again, neat when introduced, in KDE2 mind you, but needs to be replaced by the modern, more robust DBUS.
    I suspect these are not the only issues but I’m not a KDE developer so I don’t know any better. So, in the end, you would have a new old (sic) KDE that wouldn’t be binary compatible with neither KDE3 nor KDE4 apps. Bye-bye kde-apps.org, bye-bye k3b, kaffeine, ktorrent etc. Not to even mention the zero modernisation of the UI concepts (but you and people like you seem to be OK with that).
    Fortunately, I have good news for you. What you want is almost done. It’s a very cool project named KDE4 that manages to maintain all the virtues of KDE3 while introducing cool new concepts and technologies. So, yes, it will be different but the spirit remains the same. Now get over yourself and start getting used to it.

  • 36 aj // Jun 30, 2008 at 7:19 am

    There is no need to fork KDE. The only thing necessary would be porting kdesktop and kicker (including some basic applets) to Qt4.

    This would make the transition much easier. A lot more people would switch to KDE4 because there is no need to wait for neccessay features. And there would be enough time so that Plasma can evolve.

    Actually I like Dolphin. Breadcrumb navigation is nice as well as the new sidebar. But my primary file manager still is Konsole. I also like the improvements in kwin. But there is not much else why I should move to KDE4. Dualhead/Twinview still does not work correctly and for moveable widgets I have to wait for 4.2.
    Mentioning aseigo explicitly is ok in my eyes because he is a core developer and the one blogging about plasma (“Sensation, now you can _move_ and _resize_ a panel”, “We removed the desktop icons, hurray!” – sorry a little bit exaggerated). The criticism was in no way personal. If linking to plasma.kde.org is obsolete, please shut down the site. Or do a redirect because it is ranked first on google for “kde plasma”.
    The primary mistake was the marketing by releasing as version 4.0 and too much unfulfilled promisses about cool features (look at all the mockups..). Better do it the Google- and Apple-way and surprise the users :) Else you end up like the Redmond company promissing WinFS for over ten years now…
    As a user since the frst alpha of KDE many many years ago, it was a new unpleasant experience that a new release does not only contain new features but also removes commonly used ones.
    But I also must admit that as a developer I am excited about the technology (Qt4, WebKit, phonon, decibel) and I hope that this criticism soon becomes obsolete :)

  • 37 john // Jun 30, 2008 at 7:51 am

    @tooth

    “i’ll tell you why i hate seeing ppl say kde needs to be forked. it most likely comes from ppl not involved with the kde project. ppl who are unlikely to contribute any code to any opensource projects what so ever. ppl who just use the software and do very little to help develop it. another side affect, is people seem to have very little understanding of what they are talking about, yet still feel the need to comment.”

    Jesus! Are you serious? Wake up! Linux + KDE is not only about developers as it used to be (and as some people still want to think of it). I don’t know, maybe it has grown too much for some to handle it.
    You have to get accustomed to speaking to *users* not only developers! Nowadays linux (and KDE) is no more (I’m sorry for the romantic programmers) a project but it has become a PRODUCT.
    Linux is being used in the industry, distributions are being sold, people are establishing their jobs on it while others invest money in it. KDE has become a competitor, a strong one imho, to Windows and OSX but as opposed to these two it has a great advantage that you, speaking like that, seem to be forgeting… KDE is open source and has a COMMUNITY behind it.
    A community is made of the best developers in their field but in the same time of first time dummy users and guess what… the dummy users get to speak too and their voices should be taken into account! That’s the greatest resource the open source world has and if you choose to ignore it you ‘re making a big mistake.
    Contribution does not only mean writing code. An opinion, a thought and yes, a critic too IS a contribution.

  • 38 burpnrun // Jun 30, 2008 at 9:02 am

    Congratulations to the article’s writer! It’s 99.99% bang-on (but I don’t know about the forking part or alternatives). I do know that, as a mainstream user, KDE4 is unusable. Aseigo admits that there is much functionality to be ported from 3.5.9 yet. Yet I see no schedule.

    My best guess is that 18 months would be a good timeframe for users planning on taking a serious look at KDE4. In the meantime, 3.5.9 remains a viable choice for a stable, but more importantly, productive desktop. OpenSuse packagers should *not* have included 4.x as an installation option, or should have included stern warnings that 4.x is, at best, a very early alpha or “concept” release of what a new desktop metaphor would look like. No doubt other distros will be leery of promoting KDE4 as a viable alternative at this time.

    I can understand the emotional investment that Asiego has in Kde4. But the article writer is correct: the desktop should not get in the way of the mainstream user’s productive needs, and that is what KDE4 does. The market will sort out what happens to KDE4 if, as threatened, 3.5.9 is allowed to languish and (in time) there’s only the (current metaphor of) KDE4 to select as a KDE environment.

    Myself, I’d rther move to Gnome than put up with KDE4 in its current manifestation, if 3.5.9’s excellent desktop runs out of support from KDE.org. Or switch back to Windows XP after a 2 year absence. That’s how strongly I am against the KDE4 desktop metaphor. I am “for” using open source, but not when it gets in my way for a productive environment.

  • 39 xvalentinex // Jun 30, 2008 at 9:43 am

    I am curious. What exactly is preventing a user from getting their job done in KDE4?

    I am bound to an email client, almost as though it’s a part of me. (KDEPIM is working fine)

    I have to read/write PDFs. (Okular is awesome)

    I am constantly writing/modifying spreadsheets. (Never a fan of Koffice, but oocalc works fine).

    Firefox works just as normal, faster now that 3.0 is out.

    I need to keep a very organized file structure, dolphin works great, and is better than konq in my opinion.

    I need to sftp files to servers, dolphin supports fish just fine.

    I need to transfer music files to my phone to listen to them. The new device notifier makes this really easy.

    I need to document and photograph sites. The new Gwenview is a gem.

    I need to write presentations, oocalc still works fine.

    krunner simplifies all this much better. I just type a name of contact and start writing an email, start typing some meta-data on a file it’s right there, start typing the name of the program I want… well you get the idea.

    People keep saying it’s bloated and slower, but I don’t see it.

    So please give me some examples where KDE4 is not letting you “get your job done”. Where it has so disastrously failed that someone needs to fork it forthwith. If it’s because of a plus next to an icon, that seems marginal to me. Just pop over to bugs.kde.org, open a feature suggestion that let’s you disable it.

    It seems that all this is really about visual taste and preference. Personally I love KDE4’s new style. Perhaps a plain Desktop Manager like Gnome would better suite all of the forking proponents.

  • 40 wftl // Jun 30, 2008 at 10:43 am

    Note: this is basically an echo of my blog post on this subject. Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols suggests that it may be time for a fork of KDE, mostly because he doesn’t believe that KDE 4.1 is heading in the right direction. It’s obviously an interesting and emotional topic as the comments will attest. I’ll quote a small portion of one of the comments. A writer who goes by burpnrun said, “I can understand the emotional investment that Asiego has in Kde4. But the article writer is correct: the desktop should not get in the way of the mainstream user’s productive needs, and that is what KDE4 does.”

    First of all, the Asiego (sic) in question is Aaron Seigo, a KDE luminary if ever there was one. The article writer is Stephen J. Vaughan-Nichols. Now, Stephen may have said a lot more about KDE 4 in earlier postings but in this article, he points to one feature of one icon in one application. Not much to go on really. However, he does, indirectly, remind us of an important aspect of Linux and the world of FOSS (free and open source software).

    When we talk about Linux and open source software, we invariably bring up the whole notion (and glory and burden) of choice. You can choose to run GNOME, or KDE (3.x or 4.x) or WindowMaker, or EvilWM, or whatever turns your crank. Or to put it another way, whatever helps you get your work done in a way that works best for you. Freedom is great! It’s also damned inconvenient because you have to take a stand. Both Stephen and Aaron must be commended for their willingness to take a stand. Freedom reigns and we move forward.

    Like SJVN, I have run numerous distributions and desktop environments and I move from one to the other with little fuss. I am one with pretty much all of this stuff. I run GNOME from time to time, but I prefer KDE. Heck, I still log into WindowMaker from time to time and nothing beats IceWM on some of the older machines I find myself using from time to time. However, I am one of the people who find KDE 4.1 so incredibly useful and so much more tuned to the way I want to work, that these days, I find myself longing for my KDE 4.1 desktop whenever I run anything else.

    KDE 4.1 is a bold move; a fresh and exciting rethinking of the desktop. And frankly, it is (in my opinion) more than time the desktop was rethought. I honestly believe that the most exciting, innovative, and promising shift in the desktop has to be KDE 4.X (complete with all the new and sometimes seemingly odd changes) and I want to follow that excitement. That’s part of the reason I went through my distro crisis of faith lately (I switched back to Mandriva, by the way).

    All this discussion, and yes, criticism, is also good. Evolution doesn’t just move forwards. It moves sideways, tries things here and there, abandons a few, then continues its move forwards. A few years from now, when we look back at the evolution of the computer desktop, I’m sure we’ll be pointing to these discussions, and KDE 4, as part of that evolutionary process. Sitting here in July 2008, it’s not all perfect and rosy, but things are not only a changin’, they are a improvin’, too.

    And yes, that is my opinion.

    — Marcel

  • 41 vi // Jun 30, 2008 at 11:37 am

    Aseigo, this is personal.
    re your good memory ~ when your contributions make KDE4 into an outstanding product, please, do not forget to make sure that Steven gets into credits. After all you are avidly reading his opinions, and as a result you, and numerous others, are clearly stimulated to make plasma and KDE better.

    Few other reminders/thoughts
    1. Plasma and KDE needs your attention way more than this blog
    2. You are not KDE
    3. Please, please, please take that picture from your blog down. I personally do not believe that that “cool” idiot portrayed there could be you.

  • 42 dsmithhfx // Jun 30, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    I agree with the general shortcomings of kde4x (not having tried 4.1 yet). It is full of promise, yet immature in many ways. Too much emphasis on eye candy, not enough on usability, functionality and stability — in spite of what I assume have been heroic efforts. But when heroic efforts are required, the battle is usually already lost.

    I hope (and expect) those things will improve. In the meantime I have decided to give xfce4 a whirl (on both opensuse 11, and sidux 2008-02). I’m quite liking it. Despite a dearth of apps and applets, as compared to kde 3.5 and to a lesser extent gnome, it leaves the two mainstream linux desktop environments in the dust, in terms of usability, simplicity, low memory and storage footprints, and responsiveness.

    Both gnome and kde could do with a rethink, along the lines of ‘lite versions’. Compiz brings utterly nothing to the table, beyond ‘me too’ of OS X and Vista’s worst traits.

    Should kde fork? I don’t think so, and the suggestion betrays a certain lack of understanding about free software development — as several other posters have already amplified upon, so I’ll leave it at that.

  • 43 nerdd.net | news and opinion // Jun 30, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    KDE: Its time for a fork | nerdd.net…

    \r\nIt\’s time to revitalize KDE 3.5–Classic KDE.\r\nThe funny thing about KDE4 is that it is NOT r…

  • 44 Dorin // Jun 30, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    I’ve been using Kde 3 for a couple of years, and the latest Kde 4 for a few months now and I definitely like where it’s going. I think the design decisions made such as to replace the desktop shell, to create a simple file manager, the addition of phonon, nepomuk, and solid were a necessary step for the project to move forward, and I am pleased to see what the devs have accomplished.

    I can see how it can be confusing and frustrating at first for people trying it out for the first time. But please remember that you’ve only seen a beta release. This is how open source works. Don’t expect 4.0 to be complete and to give you the same features that you had on kde 3.5 when developers clearly warned otherwise. Don’t expect 4.1 beta to be completely usable and bug free. Please stick to kde 3.5 if that is the case.

    Steve, you didn’t give any clear reason why you don’t think Kde 4 isn’t heading in the right direction, other than, maybe, the fact that dolphin and plasma don’t appeal to *you*. To be honest your article gave me the impression that you either are resistant to change and not willing to see the improvements in the new version, or that you wanted to attract more visitors to your blog by spreading FUD and starting a flame war, or both.

  • 45 I Love KDE4 « A Conservative Techie // Jun 30, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    […] Love KDE4 It’s amazing the whole let’s fork KDE and keep the 3.5.X series but port to KDE and the hate people have towards the new […]

  • 46 jmdennis // Jun 30, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    I have been using computers for a long time and have used many different operating systems. Right now I am using Windows XP at home and KDE 3.5. what ever at home. Before this I used Mac OS 7 all the way up to OS 10.4 as I could not go any higher as my system did not support it. Because they made the switch over to Intel I decided to just buy a used system off ebay and run Linux or BSD on it. I do not mind change and like to learn new things but things need to be made easier for end users to get people like my mom on the computer.
    I for one did not like that KDE 4 went from beta to final production just to get developers on board. I know for the Mac and Windows they release versions for the developers to get on board and for the most part they do. They have some problems on release date and most companies will not go to the new Windows version until service pack 1 is released just for the simple fact that they want the bugs worked out. I do not mind the open source way of sending out a lot of little updates but when you release a major version like version 4 it should be solid for most users and not just developers. I tried this on Fedora and one other which escapes me at the moment. The KDE bar is to much like the one used in OpenSUSE and I do not like that one either. I know that I can go back and each time I install it I used the older one. I do not mind change and some times change is good but in this case change is bad. From a developer point of view it will be great as you can worry more about your own application and just use the resources of the OS for the rest of it but from a user stand point it is harder to work with. I have not tried 4.1 yet though and probably will not unless I see a lot of improvements which sounds like are not happening. I am glad their are options and I may try EDE at some point. I tried it for about a month before wiping my system and going back to the older version as that just works for me. I am glad that 4 works for some but it makes life harder for me. What ever happened to the standard they were trying to make that made the OSes more user friendly. This I would love to have happen.

  • 47 stolennomenclature // Jun 30, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    I dont have a problem with the authors comments. Hes stating his opinion – thats what a blog is for.
    I have not really much experience with KDE4, but I did install the QT4 version of Dolphin in Ubuntu, and was surprised at how visually crude and amateurish it looked compared to the QT3 version. Apple wont see KDE4 as much of a threat for a while yet if this is in any way typical of what we can expect. The KDE4 desktop looked ok in Fedora 9, but nothing worked properly so I cannot comment further, except to say that the handles that appeared around an icon seemed like a backwards step to me. Perhaps if these appeared when using a shift-click might make more sense, but as a general rule i found it uncomfortable and odd.

  • 48 Golem // Jul 1, 2008 at 4:04 am

    Come on … the only true reason for a Fork is the lack of options … if u think that kde is going in the wrong direction and u dont see the option to customize it in the way u like, you fork.
    Where is the lack of options in kde4? … well, 4.0 was not really flexible and customizable … but 4.1 seems to be really customizable … and if u like kde3 interaction u can reach it in kde4!
    So, where is the problem? … would you like to have kde3 desktop as default when u install kde4?
    In every new sw release new things are highlighted … and default options must show what changes and a lot of people are complaining about choices/options, but everybody has a different individual idea of the right default choice.
    So … the effort will have to keep old interaction available … but can’t realize every single view.

    At the end … 4.1 is much faster than 3.x, also on old machines. If you want a benchmark you can’t base your analysis on a prepacked kde … here it is compiled from sources on a “DE-free” meta-distribution … and it is fast … with only 528 Mb and an ol Amd64 proc.

  • 49 swbobcat // Jul 1, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    “Where is the lack of options in kde4? … well, 4.0 was not really flexible and customizable … but 4.1 seems to be really customizable … and if u like kde3 interaction u can reach it in kde4!”

    Really?!? So I assume I DO NOT have to have “containers” polluting my desktop; that I can have a plain ol’ Desktop a la KDE 3.5.x on which I can but application icons from which I can launch said apps ( NOT have the desktop within a “container” which can then be shrunk to an icon on the desktop). This really is NEWS to me. Plasma is all ABOUT “containers” including the “Ol’ Skool” [tm] Desktop… which of course was conatined within a… “container” that could be shrunk to an icon. You say KDE 4.1 is “flexible” well everything about KDE 4 has been anything but flexible: KDE 4 is a rigid format wherein the user has little choice — as long as you work WITHIN that format that’s another story, but you can’t have a KDE3.5.x -like look or function.

    “At the end … 4.1 is much faster than 3.x, also on old machines. If you want a benchmark you can’t base your analysis on a prepacked kde … here it is compiled from sources on a “DE-free” meta-distribution … and it is fast … with only 528 Mb and an ol Amd64 proc.”

    Now this statement make NO SENSE: “An ol Amd64 proc.” If you have an OLD machine you are talking a 32 bit machine, not a 64 bit machine. Yes I have an “ol” AMD Opteron 246 processor and have 2.5 GB of RAM so it should work fine, still unless KDE reinvented KDE 4 between version 4.0 and 4.1 KDE 4 is a huge resource hog that is horribly bloated. So I’m not sure where all this speed is coming from if anything KDE 4 is far SLOWER than KDE 3.5.x

    But you’re right: If the KDE devels have any sense in their heads they will combine the best features of KDE 3.5.x *and* KDE 4.x so that it is truly customizable: those who want a plain vanilla Desktop — WHICH CAN NOT THEN BE SHRUNK DOWN TO AN ICON — sans containers can put their icons on the Desktop, those who want the Plasma look with all its “containers” and other eye candy can have it that way too.

    Too if the Fedora Project Leader has any sense he will include KDE 3.5.x as well as KDE 4.x in Fedora 10. I seriously doubt what you say is true, and even if true the problems with KDE 4 are well known, and the reason for so many negative comments about KDE 4 is 1) it was over hyped 2) it was over promoted 3) it under performed. I suspect you are doing just that with KDE 4.1. I want the option to be able to CHOOSE KDE 3.5.9 in Fedora 10 as well as to be able to experiment with KDE 4.1 which as far as I am concerned is still in beta testing — regardless of what KDE devels are telling us USERS.

  • 50 madmustelid // Jul 2, 2008 at 3:19 am

    Oh my.

    I just left GNOME when I upgraded to hardy because I was totally fed up with having to watch for Mono and other tainted stuff like a hawk.

    It was quite nice to get back to KDE (I was a Suse user for years until Novell bought them).

    Now it seems that there’s an unalterable law of nature that every GUI application (and that’s all desktops are, let’s face it, functionally rich though they be) must go the way of bloat and eye candy.

    So I have a lot of sympathy for sjvn’s attitude, but I don’t think a fork is either necessary or desirable. KDE has gone as far as it sensibly can, I think. The situation is not unlike the birth, development, growth, and death of species – nothing lasts for ever, things just thrive for a while. I suspect KDE’s near its peak, though of course I’m probably wrong.

    Poisonally, I shall switch to Xfce, while that remains sufficiently lightweight and simple.

    If that goes to the bad, I suspect something else will turn up. If not, then using just a simple Window Manager (IceWM, anyone?) woul;d be no great hardship.

    Don’t you love choices?

  • 51 La lotta tra il nuovo ed il vecchio KDE at Linux e dintorni // Jul 2, 2008 at 4:07 am

    […] Link- articolo giornalista […]

  • 52 Golem // Jul 2, 2008 at 10:08 am

    @swbobcat
    I think that in final 4.1 you will find a “launch option” for the fileview container to block it fullscreen without the possibility to shrunk it to an icon.
    From kde 4.0 to Kde 4.1 … a lot of costumization options/menus have appeared … and 4.1 is not ready yet … and I believe that the svn evolution I’m seein wil continue until the end of July.

    I have an Acer Aspire 1520 … a 5 years old AMD64 laptop … is that old enough?
    I see a big difference of speed for kde when I use the “packaged” version for suse … or the svn vesion on my gentoo. The svn version i much faster than kde3.5.9 … and it has still a lot of Debug code inside. The precompiled Suse version is “strange” … it seems that effects are on even if they are disabled … so, it’s not as fast as the svn on gentoo.

  • 53 geoff_f // Jul 2, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    I’m with sjvn on this. KDE 4.x seems to focus on the ‘look’ rather than how users get their work done. I would prefer that applications would remember their settings next time I open them. Things like window size and position, what the headings were for columns, their spacing, etc. Even more fundamentally, if I have selected ‘detailed’ view in Dolphin, and have taken the time to set it up how I like files to be shown, I don’t appreciate all of that being wiped and replaced by the default ‘icon’ view Every time I open the application. Having to set that up repeatedly is just getting in the way of getting my work done.

    I would prefer all this to be remembered automatically (as it is in Windows); but at least I can set it to be so in KDE 3.5.x, and get on with my work. KDE 4.x, at the moment, just gets in the way. It has a long way to go before it becomes anywhere near as useful as its predecessor, which is really a shame, as there is a great repository of extremely useful codebase potentially about to go to waste.

    In pursuing ‘simplicity’ and going mainly for looks, it seems that KDE developers are trying to create a KDE for GNOME users. My comments here are precisely why I avoid GNOME. It will also be why I will avoid a ‘GNOME-ised’ KDE.

  • 54 Golem // Jul 3, 2008 at 9:55 am

    @geoff_f
    I really would like to see 1 wishlist bug opened every 1000 complaints … that is the point.

  • 55 Desktop: Heftige Auseinandersetzungen um KDE4 - Linux Hilfe Forum // Jul 4, 2008 at 9:16 am

    […] H?hepunkt hatten einige BenutzerInnen einen Fork von KDE gefordert, darunter auch der langj?hrige Linux-Journalist Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols. Kritik In einem Blog-Posting kritisiert er dabei aber nicht nur die weiterhin vorhandenen Bugs […]

  • 56 moribund // Jul 5, 2008 at 9:37 am

    @sjvn:
    The thing I like very much about KDE (espacially as sorely afflicted ex-Windows-User) is choice: you have the choice to stay with KDE3 which is already a great desktop and wait till KDE f.e. 4.4 or to switch now. You have the choice to use konqueror or dolphin, since both will be developed further, you have the Choice to use one mouse-click or two (when you have problems to find a plus ;-)).
    So what is your problem? Windows-user waited 5 years for some crap like Vista – and they even don’t have KDE3.

    You’re telling aseigo, that this is nothing personal. As neutral watcher I have a very different impression. The way you’re talking about KDE4 sounds like you’re talking about an ex-girlfriend who has left you. ;-)

    I mean, your ranting about the + button: I’m a doubleclick-mouse kde-user, but even I are considering to switch to one-click for the first time. (Well, I have the choice.) I have my file-buttons always as small as possible, but even I have no problem the push the +. What are you? A tremble 70 years old man?

    @asiego: I came here to this site over a (german-written) artikel about this ranting here (http://derstandard.at/?url=/?id=3402840). In the thread there, where 20+ people discussed KDE4 everybody except for one person likes KDE4. Everybody understands, that it is work in progress, but that it is amazing work in progress (this has been explained often enough), that its absolutely worth to wait.

  • 57 KDE 4.1 / misc. | cost // Jul 6, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    […] Beispiele für diese – sehr emotionalen – Diskussionen sind Fork of KDE4/Qt3 (kde-devel) und KDE: It’s time for a fork (Practical Technology). Typischer Ausgangspunkt ist das Fehlen irgendeines Features, dann taucht […]

  • 58 mjt // Jul 6, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    > I pick up new desktops and interfaces all the
    > time.

    really? so, what new desktops and ‘interfaces”
    (whatever that is, without regard to desktops)
    are those? i’m only familiar with those that
    have been in existence for quite a long time,
    such as KDE and GNOME and CDE and XFCE,
    and so on. or maybe you’re talking about new
    “releases” of those desktops (?).

    > Switching from one system to another is
    > second-nature to me. KDE 4.1 has taken KDE
    > down a path I don’t want to follow.

    an easy solution – run KDE 3.x and quit ranting
    about KDE 4.x until it’s prime time. if KDE 4.x
    bothers you so much, have you provided any
    feedback through the proper channels? or are
    you simply voicing your feedback through your
    blog? (yawn).

    > So, I have a suggestion. Fork KDE.

    that’s laughable, to say the least. you should not
    “call the shots”, or at the very least, “make a
    suggestion”, unless you understand the underpinnings, which you admittedly don’t.

    you used to speak in a more positive tone, even
    when you had “negative feedback”, but you’ve
    become a ranter without providing positive points
    concerning a better direction.

    warm regards, mjt, author, “Inside Linux”.

  • 59 Fork KDE? What the fork? « Celettu’s Weblog // Jul 8, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    […] now some people want to fork KDE. I think it was Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols who first suggested it, and now this guy suggests exactly the same thing (while presenting it as […]

  • 60 Lantern Torch » Blog Archive » What's all the fuss with KDE 4? // Jul 8, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    […] and should be scrapped. Some have likened it to Windows Vista. Others have even suggested that KDE should be forked so that the KDE 3.5 line will remain […]

  • 61 of_darkness // Jul 12, 2008 at 7:22 am

    I think that a fork would have been truly nice:)

    I thougt kde4 was 2 be somthing intresting at first but when it was realesed and they stated that not all themes and styles and function in kicker and kde3.5 kwin is not to be ported to kde4 and when distros start dissing kde3 for somthing shine and uggly -yay uggly! kde4 is uggly at the moment atleast.

    and start think of changing theway you use the desktop and forching it on peaople is stupid, giving alternatives is fine be me but when dissing what works is simply insane.

    not that ether native linux style or win styl is the best but the hybryd is the smothest.

    i can think to start use kde4 desaktop whn plasma suports domino style, and window deckoration dekorator, and multiline taskbars (i have 3 vertical levels off the activytybar and 20windows + and no gruping)

    and singelklick is stupid and demands that you have full controll and are not tired and so on and so on..

    And why have a dilog whit someone that has a fixed mindset? nah beter starting a momvment of disident against it to force tham to change thaier minds and provide a fork.

  • 62 blackbelt_jones // Jul 13, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    I can’t be the only one who isn’t clear on this.

    What exactly is a fork? Is it taking the KDE 3 paradigm and continuting to build and expamd on it, or can it mean simply keeping KDE3 alive with bugfixes and security updates into perpetuity? Is there any reason why the second option wouldn’t be viable?

    The KDE establishment is terrified of a fork because it will thin the developer resources, and they warn that such a thing would be impractical and unlikely to secceed, and they’re probably right.

    But I feel pretty certain that I’d rather not switch. I have special needs. My desktop isn’t KDE, it’s fluxbox used to manage mostly KDE applications, with Konqueror and Kpager at the center of everything I’ve run KDE 4.1 for several hours now, and I know that I can live with KDE4, but I’d rather continue with KDE3. There’s no doubt about that, I already have my own Desktop paradigm, that I created myself from what was provided by others, and I couldn’t be happier. The world doesn’t revolve around me. of course, but maybe other people also have special needs. So a need for KDE 3 may exist.

    But do we need to move KDE 3 forward? As long as KDE3 stays secure, I don’t really see much need for new development. Indeed, people who want to resist change yet continue to change KDE3 seem kind of unreasonable to me. But this is not my area of of expertise. So can someone tell me if bugfixes and security updates, and nothing more, might be a low maintenance solution for KDE3?

    Does that count as a fork? A little basic talk about what a fork is might be helpful.

  • 63 ipsidixit.net » Blog Archive // Jul 17, 2008 at 3:21 am

    […] with discussions about the perceived issues with KDE4.On the one hand you’ve had people calling for a KDE fork to occur, on the other you’ve had some KDE folk stamping their feet and […]

  • 64 Reimagining The Desktop | North Davis Road // Aug 11, 2008 at 11:35 pm

    […] the emotional battle that had preceded them all.  Including one well publicized call for a fork in the project.  I’d have called this post FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) except for the […]

  • 65 Status update for KDE4 | FreeBSD - the unknown Giant // Aug 27, 2008 at 9:29 am

    […] of noise recently about the usefulnes of KDE4, its inferiority compared to 3.5, and some are even suggesting to fork KDE4. However, Martin Wilke is in the meanwhile doing a great job porting KDE4 to […]

  • 66 KDE: It’s time for a fork . . . is it really? | Marcel Gagné // Aug 27, 2008 at 10:17 am

    […] It’s time for a fork . . . is it really? Submitted by wftl on Mon, 2008-06-30 10:17 Over at Practical Tech Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols suggests that it may be time for a fork of KDE, mostly because he doesn’t […]