Practical Technology

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KDE 4.1: Have it Our Way


Over the years, I’ve grown quite fond of KDE for my Linux desktops. To me, it offered the right combination of ease of use and access to Linux’s power-user resources. Now, though, one of the forthcoming changes in KDE 5.1 is already annoying me and it’s barely in beta.

Aaron Seigo, a major KDE developer, has decided that KDE will no longer use desktop icons.. Pardon me? One of the other things I liked about KDE, as opposed to GNOME, is that it let me have the desktop my way. GNOME has a very clear idea of what makes up the ideal desktop. It’s just not my ideal desktop. I really resent KDE ‘telling’ me what my desktop should be. If I wanted that kind of attitude, I’d be a GNOME user.

What I find especially annoying is that, while there are ways around this radical shift, this vastly different desktop metaphor is the default. If they wanted to make it an option, I’d be fine with it. I’d never use it, but fine, make it available to users. If KDE users then en masse switch to a icon-less windowing system then more power to them for making it the default.

As it is Seigo describes how to set up a folder so that you can work out what he calls an “Old Skool” desktop. This won’t be an easy process. Oh, anyone who’s knows what’s what about a Linux desktop can put it together. Joe User, however, will be utterly bewildered by the process.

And, that, my friends, is my most important objection. This change is a radical one, and I don’t think it will make the Linux desktop one whit friendlier to most users. The developers certainly have the right to change the desktop any way they want, but I don’t think it’s going to help KDE gain any popularity.


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