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Is KDE 4.0 the Holy Grail of Desktops? 511

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the what-does-that-make-gnome-then dept.
An anonymous reader writes "With KDE 4.0 being expected some time this year, expectation runs high in the linux/unix users camp and the media read a lot between the lines of what the KDE developers say and do. In some ways KDE will provide a standard as to how a desktop should look and behave. This interesting article wonders whether KDE 4.0 will become the complete desktop which will meet the needs of a wide cross section of computer users. One of the common complaints that some Linux users have over KDE is that it is too cluttered. And by addressing this need without putting off the power users, the KDE developers could make it an all in one Desktop. Keep in mind that KDE 4.0 is based on Qt 4.0 and so can be easily ported to Windows and other OSes too which makes this thought doubly relevant."
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Is KDE 4.0 the Holy Grail of Desktops?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 29, 2007 @11:04AM (#18528489)
    Vista will be superior, ALWAYS
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Unfair moderation, this post obviously deserves +1 sarcastic
  • Why? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by gravesb (967413)
    Why would you run another desktop on top of Windows? Wouldn't you take a performance hit for running two desktops, in essence?
    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Informative)

      by 0racle (667029) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @11:08AM (#18528541)
      You can pass a switch to disable explorer as a shell. That is why things like LiteStep are called Shell Replacements.
    • by brunes69 (86786)
      Ever since Windows 3.1, and even today, you do not have to run "Explorer" as your desktop.

      A lot of people don't realize this, but the whole of the windows "desktop" - the task bar, the icons, the menus, the right click on the desktop, all runs under a single instance of the "explorer" process.

      Via the registry you can change your shell to anything - including the old progman.exe from Windows 3.1 if you have it lying around (heck it even shipped with Windows until Windows 2000). I have switched my shell to Af
    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ookabooka (731013) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @11:12AM (#18528623)
      Why would you run another desktop on top of Windows? Wouldn't you take a performance hit for running two desktops, in essence?

      Say you want to transition your office or whatever to use all Linux and OSS. You can get them used to open office, but they still be a bit put off when you make them switch to KDE. This way they can get used to "linux" while still having access to their favorite windows apps. I think it'd be a great idea for preparing people for a transition.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fldc (167665)
      It's not about running a whole new DE, it's about running KDE applications on other platforms.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by pingveno (708857)
        To expand on that, applications such as Kontact (KDE's PIM) could relatively easily ported to Windows. For dual booters (such as myself), using Kontact on Linux and Windows using a shared set of data files would make using Kontact much more tantalizing.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Eideewt (603267)
      It would be nice for people who are stuck on Windows to have a more functional desktop available.
    • Re:Why? (Score:4, Informative)

      by logixoul (1046000) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @12:13PM (#18529533)
      The workspace (that would be mostly KWin and Plasma [kde.org]) won't be ported [kde.org] to Windows. Only applications will.
  • by LaughingCoder (914424) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @11:08AM (#18528549)
    ... in 3D like pages in a Rolodex, then I'm not interested. (sarcasm off)
  • Because if they did, they might notice that blog post talks more about Dolphin than anything else, and has virtually nothing to say about whether or not KDE 4.0 is the Holy Grail of desktops.

    Hope they get some click-throughs from the traffic though.
  • by petabyte (238821) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @11:12AM (#18528635)
    Ok, I recently switched from Gnome to KDE 3.5 and really have no plans to go back, but saying something which isn't even close to finished is "most-bestest" would seem to be jumping the gun.

    I'm sure we can find as many blog entries about how Vista is most-bestest, or Gnome, or Xfce. Of those, I'd only ever buy the Xfce argument but to each their own.
  • by bogaboga (793279) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @11:13AM (#18528641)
    I say that KDE developers at least listen because I have had problems raised and solved by these folks quite fast in the past. For more information, one could visit http://bugs.kde.org/ [kde.org]. My "quarrel" so far has been why they will not have 1 (one) toolbar for Konqueror like Firefox. This one issue has got lots of mention but these folks still expect the distros to cleanup KDE, which they rarely do.

    I also hope that this release will make KDE fonts look sharp, crisp and beautiful by default. It is unfortunate that many times, we in the Linux community have to seek Microsoft's help on fonts in order to have a desktop that is a pleasure to look at.

    • by jZnat (793348) * on Thursday March 29, 2007 @11:33AM (#18528947) Homepage Journal
      Have you tried using the DejaVu fonts [sourceforge.net] (a derivative of Bitstream Vera [gnome.org])? In my opinion, they look far better than the Microsoft core fonts, especially when you use subpixel antialiasing on an LCD screen. They also support a lot more glyphs than Helvet^WArial, Times [New Roman], Courier New, Verdana, and Tahoma.

      I haven't really used the new fonts from Vista, however, so those might actually look nicer for all I know.

      Also, if you have a copy of OS X, it's always a nice idea to copy all the fonts from /Library/Fonts/ and use Fondu [sourceforge.net] to extract the fonts in the dfont resource fork files. That way you get some nice fonts for printing (from Adobe) and some nice designer fonts as well.
  • by brennanw (5761) * on Thursday March 29, 2007 @11:13AM (#18528653) Homepage Journal
    Hardly.

    Don't get me wrong -- I'm a huge fan of KDE. KDE is the project that made me think "yes, I will eventually be able to learn to use Linux" -- that was back in its 1.0 days. Now I use Linux full time (I still consider myself a beginner though). KDE is a good desktop -- it's knaming konventions are a klittle kstrange, but it's still a good desktop that makes basic Linux use a lot easier while not actually preventing you from getting into the guts of everything. It's my desktop of choice (I use Kubuntu).

    But the Holy Grail of Desktops? There is no such beast, and there are too many opinions about what such a beast would be. There are too many people who want too many different things in their desktop. For my part, I want to see some desktop incorporate all the OO elements from OS/2's Workplace Shell... I've yet to see it happen. That's my "Holy Grail," and I expect if it were ever implemented it would be anathema to someone else.

    The very thought that it might be able to "meet the needs of a wide cross section of computer users" would automatically make it fail in the eyes of some. I know and have spoken with some usability nuts who claim that there is One True Path to usability, and anyone who wants to do things differently is simply doing things WRONG, and that they need to learn the One True Path and experience how much better it is. "Acommodation" would be a design flaw from that perspective.

    All that aside, I'm looking forward to KDE 4. One thing I've come to expect from the KDE developers is that everytime they release a new version of KDE I wind up liking the new version significantly more than the older version, and I think that's the most realistic expectation you can hope to have about software...
  • Windowmaker (Score:4, Insightful)

    by eric76 (679787) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @11:17AM (#18528719)
    As far as I'm concerned, the perfect desktop is Windowmaker.

    I use it on OpenBSd and Linux and it works nearly perfect.
    • Re:Windowmaker (Score:5, Informative)

      by Wyzard (110714) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @12:03PM (#18529403) Homepage

      WindowMaker is a window manager, not a desktop environment. A desktop environment consists of a window manager and related UI items, plus (more importantly) a development platform for applications.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Bandman (86149)
        Not to mention really mindless twiddle games, preferably one where a snake-thingy eats fruit of some nature and must avoid his own tail.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Bandman (86149)
      I'm with you. My development environment is vi.

      /of course, I'm a network admin, and don't program much beyond shell scripts, and the odd PHP application.
  • by CmdrGravy (645153) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @11:17AM (#18528727) Homepage
    I think I must have got the wrong article from that link. The one I read said that there may be a replacement for Konqueror called Dolphin but that Konqueror would still be available if people wanted it.

    Was the one about KDE Being The Holy Grail Of The Modern Desktop anymore interesting ?
  • by richdun (672214) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @11:18AM (#18528745)

    what-does-that-make-gnome-then

    The Holy Hand Grenade

  • I prefer Gnome (Score:3, Insightful)

    by stratjakt (596332) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @11:22AM (#18528789) Journal
    KDE looks so tinker-toy with all its icons and crap.

    Though, they both seem to have issues with me customizing them. Yeah, it's possible, but the options I want are always hidden in some gconfedit.cf.conf.1.3 bullcrap file somewhere.

    I don't want a new window every time I click a folder. I like to store my files heirarchically, and nest directories. I don't see how this makes me a bad person. Don't bury the option to turn that shit off. It was annoying in Windows 3.1, it's just as annoying on a linux box.

    And KDE really needs a "lite" checkbox somewhere, to turn off all the bling blang for those of who choose not to "keeps it real".
  • by UPZ (947916) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @11:23AM (#18528809)
    This will be the year of Linux Desktop!!!!

    yawrrrrrr!
  • by Limburgher (523006) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @11:34AM (#18528959) Homepage Journal
    . . .does it run on Emacs?
  • Power != clutter (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The_Wilschon (782534) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @11:35AM (#18528979) Homepage

    One of the common complaints that some Linux users have over KDE is that it is too cluttered. And by addressing this need without putting off the power users,
    Don't conflate power users with clutter users. Some power users like the clutter, but many want the cleanest interface possible (without sacrificing any power, hence the name "power" users...). For instance, you see a fair number of power users running things like fluxbox, ratpoison, and evilwm instead of the window managers from KDE or Gnome.
  • by jZnat (793348) * on Thursday March 29, 2007 @11:49AM (#18529181) Homepage Journal
    For one, the KDE 4.0 development snapshots are using Qt 4.2, and by the time KDE 4.0 is released in a few months, Qt 4.3 will probably be released and used as well.

    Another gripe is that KDE 4.0 is the base KDE 4 release; that is, it will contain the foundation for all KDE 4 applications along with its "core" applications all updated to use said base. KDE 4.0 (like KDE 3.0 and presumably 2.0 and 1.0; I'm not that old a Linux user sadly) will be more of a "proof of concept" release that updates all the KDE 3.5 applications to use Qt 4 along with the new "Pillars of KDE" (check the Dot [kde.org] for articles about it). However, it is expected that KOffice 2.0, Amarok 2.0, KDevelop 4.0, and several other key applications will be released with KDE 4.0, and those are major upgrades beside the typical updated usage of KDE libraries, Qt 4, and all the other things updated with KDE 4.

    What I'm getting at here is that KDE 4.1 and beyond are the Holy Grails if anything; at this point, the developer interest in KDE should spike to above KDE 3 levels (especially due to the new platforms it supports: Windows and Mac OS X) and the new applications and innovations will begin. Just look at the major differences between KDE 3.5.6 and KDE 3.0 for example to see how much a major revision tends to change over time and include new programs. Basically, KDE 4.0 is the beginning of the quest for the Holy Grail (not to mention all the Python usage in some KDE distros like Kubuntu), but the Holy Grail itself will be a future release of KDE 4.

    If you speak from a developer's standpoint, KDE 4.0 can be argued to be the Holy Grail, but not from the user's standpoint.
  • by pandrijeczko (588093) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @11:50AM (#18529191)
    Firstly, I think it's important to separate the "show offs" from the "power users". In other words, if certain people want pretty graphical features in Windows, KDE, Gnome, etc. etc. then let them have them - but also allow them to be turned off for people like me who want functionality, integration and speed with no interest of wasting *always* important CPU cycles on eye candy.


    Personally, I find the defauly Windows XP GUI patronising and completely unusable - I much prefer the Windows "Classic" desktop, the only thing missing from it is a proper dual pane file manager that shows one directory in the left window, another in the right window and a number of easily accessible commands for working with files beneath each window (a la Midnight Commander or Directory Opus).


    KDE is also nice but far too flashy and bloaty for a power user like me - given the choice between KDE and Gnome, I choose Gnome but even then with some reservations about the wasted screen real estate with Gnome.


    But if I need a GUI enviroment that just allows me to have multiple shells or apps running, without too much need for filetype integration (so that when I double-click on, say, a JPEG image icon, a viewer application opens the image for me) then XFCE4 is a good compromise for usability and speed.


    I can see *ABSOLUTELY NO NEED* for 3D file explorers on 3D desktops unless you simply want a fashion accessory just to show off to friends. Unless you use a PC for gaming (which admittedly I do quite a lot), then everything else you do on it is about productivity and using an application to get a job done quickly and easily - if any desktop effects do not make that productivity work any faster, then they are a complete and total waste of time.

  • by KrisWithAK (32865) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @11:52AM (#18529229)
    If you are a full-on Free Software advocate and only care about writing free/open source software, then I can see why KDE/Qt is usually the best choice. On the other hand, if you are interested in commercial development, like myself, you need to look at pricing as well. If you only want to develop for Windows, then the "SDK" is free and the "IDE" can range from free to a couple of grand with a premium MSDN subscription. But Qt itself costs around $1780 to $6600 on a per developer basis depending on console/GUI one/two/three platform development. If you work for a company with any clout, you can probably cut that cost in half for either platform.

    Although I'm not doing anything now, the first thing I would use for a lean startup cross platform development is ACE [wustl.edu] with wxWidgets [wxwidgets.org] on Visual Studio Express [microsoft.com] or Eclipse with CDT [eclipse.org].

    It is just my opinion, but I think the pricing for Qt is too high. I wonder how big the Linux Desktop "pie" could grow if we could all settle on Qt if it fell under LGPL or BSD? Trolltech's smaller piece of a bigger pie, might still be bigger than the one they have now. Putting GPL/Free Software asisde for a second, from a commercial perspective, I don't want a "new Microsoft" on the Linux Desktop. Perhaps someone with some cash could revive the Harmony Toolkit [wikipedia.org]...
  • by dildo (250211) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @12:27PM (#18529721)
    Whereas KDE policy is "If you disKover some empty spaKe, add an useless feature or somethinK very very irritatinK. The iKon must be shiny, rotatinK, and Kontain at least one K.", the GNOME policy is the opposite: "If you find a feature, it might confuse a user, so remove it." [1]

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