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KDE 4.1 Beta 2 – Two Steps Forward, One Step Back? 431

Posted by timothy
from the everyone's-a-critic dept.
jammag writes "Linux pundit Bruce Byfield takes a look at the latest KDE beta and finds it wanting: 'Very likely, KDE users will have to wait for another release or two beyond 4.1 before the new version of KDE matches the features of earlier ones, especially in customization.' He notes that the second beta is still prone to unexplained crashes, and goes so far as to say, 'Everyone agrees now that KDE 4.0 was a mistake.' I'm not too sure about that — really, 'everyone?'"
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KDE 4.1 Beta 2 – Two Steps Forward, One Step Back?

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  • Everyone? Why not? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 05, 2008 @08:26PM (#24070979)
    "Everyone" agrees that Vista is "a failure", even though it's really not. So why can't dumb generalizations be applied to software that's supposed to be perfect in every way?
    • by emeade (123253) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @08:41PM (#24071083) Homepage

      Good thing KDE 3.5.9 is still available so users have a choice to avoid "failure", unlike XP which will only be available to System Builder Licensees.

    • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @08:45PM (#24071123)

      "Everyone" agrees that Vista is "a failure", even though it's really not. So why can't dumb generalizations be applied to software that's supposed to be perfect in every way?

      The thing though is, I can take KDE 3 and use it till the year 5436656563577 or beyond if I feel like and still patch it. With XP I can't really even get it anymore and I can't patch it and modify it. With KDE 4 I can customize it by customizing the source, with Vista I can't.

    • by arotenbe (1203922)

      "Everyone" agrees that Vista is "a failure", even though it's really not.

      I think most people agree that Vista is more of a failure than XP was. Why? Because Microsoft is losing market share with Windows now and they weren't then. If Microsoft had released Vista two or three years earlier, it wouldn't have been so much of a "failure". But people got tired of waiting, and starting moving to OS X and Linux.

      • by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @12:29AM (#24072477)
        That's backwards. Microsoft is losing market share partially because Vista is a failure. And Vista released 2 or 3 years earlier might have benefited from less competition with cleaner, more capable systems such as Linux for servers and Apple for desktops, but it would have still suffered from being seriously bloated and mistaking DRM for security.
    • Perfect? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by HalAtWork (926717) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @10:07PM (#24071697)
      KDE 4.0 and 4.1 are not meant to be perfect in every way. They are meant to establish a new scheme of APIs and a new design dynamic. It is a big overhaul that is in its beginnings. Nobody is claiming KDE 4.x is feature comparable to 3.x right now. This is just one person's view, and this [arstechnica.com] is another view with excellent counterpoints. It is a failure where people are expecting too much of it in its current state.

      Vista is supposed to be a workstation solution ready for every day production use right now. People are considering that to be a failure in its current state as well, and you are right, these two alleged failures are similar. But one product that is at an early start (4.0 & 4.1 beta, the more mature 3.5+ still seeing a lot of active development and use due to its maturity) and the other has the promise to be mature enough to use right now. You are not forced to upgrade to KDE 4.x, but Vista is required for some of today's games and applications because they don't run in earlier versions. This is the difference.
      • Re:Perfect? (Score:5, Informative)

        by cheater512 (783349) <nick@nickstallman.net> on Saturday July 05, 2008 @10:44PM (#24072001) Homepage

        I dont see what people are complaining about.

        I've been using KDE 4 for months and while it isnt perfect, the glitches are minor.
        My biggest complaint is the rendering of the date and taskbar is...quirky (for me anyway on 4.0).

        The pros outweigh the cons for me.
        Dolphin is absolutely brilliant and Kwrite's tweaks are fantastic.
        I'd die without Okular as well.

        KDE 3.5 looks so old fashioned now. :)

        • Re:Perfect? (Score:4, Informative)

          by honkycat (249849) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @04:40AM (#24073373) Homepage Journal

          My problem with KDE 4 was the size of the panel and the decorations. I'm on a laptop with limited screen real estate, so I like window manager decorations to be as small as possible. I wasn't able to reduce these without breaking all kinds of things.

          The last thing I tried, might have been a beta of 4.1, don't recall, was closer. I think I could resize the panel to be smaller vertically, but this screwed up a lot of things visually. I'll wait, I'm happy with KDE 3.5.

      • Re:Perfect? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by mh101 (620659) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @11:01PM (#24072101)

        KDE 4.0 and 4.1 are not meant to be perfect in every way. They are meant to establish a new scheme of APIs and a new design dynamic. It is a big overhaul that is in its beginnings. Nobody is claiming KDE

        I agree. The same could have been said about Mac OS X 10.0. Give it a while to mature, and people will likely be talking about how much better it is than the pre-4.0 days.

      • Re:Perfect? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by TheNetAvenger (624455) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @02:48AM (#24073019)

        KDE 4.0 and 4.1 are not meant to be perfect in every way. They are meant to establish a new scheme of APIs and a new design dynamic. It is a big overhaul that is in its beginnings.

        And Vista isn't? Are you new or just Slashdotted?

        Vista comes with several new API sets are out of 'in theory' technology in other realms of computing, yet people look at it and think, oh, it isn't much different than XP. It looking and working as much like XP as it does is one of the things Microsoft got right with Vista.

        Go read up on the Vista APIs that are not only a foundation in new technologies, but an entire new method of programming, based on some very advanced beyond 'object' programming principles.

        Then take a look at the Vista WDDM. It is not just another driver model, but a new video subsystem model that goes from the hybrid kernel/user mode all the way up to the vector based composer.

        If you look at the complexity of the WDDM and yet how applications, from GDI and Win32 to OpenGL/DirectX and even overlays look like they did on XP, yet are being processed and drawn by a very new engine and work virtually flawlessly it is quite a feat. As Vista isn't just taking bitmaps of the Windows like KDE is doing or OS X does, but the WDDM shoves a lot of old drawing technology through the 3D GPU, from some basic GDI functions to font rendering and even offers up the 3D GPU for decompressing bitmaps when older applications read and draw them.

        Next thing to notice about the WDDM is the GPU scheduler (pre-emptive 3D), virtualization and multi-processor GPU inherent abilities that current no other OS even offers a close substitution.

        I actually don't think KDE 4 is bad, and has started the open source world to push forward in thinking beyond clever code and start to think all the way to the end user.

        Vista is supposed to be a workstation solution ready for every day production use right now.

        It is more stable than XP, more secure than XP, easier for business to deploy (mind numbing easy even), and unless you are trying to get it to run on 512mb, outperforms XP.

        Where has Vista failed in this?

        I get the whole SlashDot we hate MS, but from a Window's user or business user standpoint, where does Vista fail? There are the mindless ramblings of several people's friend of a friend stories; however, outside of the 'we wish' slashdot world, most Vista users are more than happy and would fight over going back to XP.

        You are not forced to upgrade to KDE 4.x, but Vista is required for some of today's games and applications because they don't run in earlier versions. This is the difference.

        What games run KDE again? Short of a few desktop games, they are not running 'via KDE', therefore, how would the KDE version have any reference on this?

        Vista has a new gaming API, and even in the non-DX10 area included things needed for Windows Live out of the newer networking APIs (i.e. Halo2 Vista only 'originally' release).

        Outside of that, games that are Vista only are too few and far between, which is sad because game makers have pulled back full DirectX10 support and instead are delivering hybrid games that have a DX9 engine with some DX10 enhancements turned on. (XBox 360 games are closer to pure DX10 than most DX9/DX10 hybrids being released now.)

        We have yet to see a DX10 game that is fully DX10, which will be Vista only.

        If a game requires a 'new' version of OpenGL are you going to argue the game is bad?

        The difference here is DX10 goes past the basic libraries of OpenGL and older DX9. Since, yes, DX10 does expect the OS to be Vista because it relies on the OS handling GPU scheduling, virtualization, etc.

        OpenGL has no OS dependance it can rely on, and can be both good and bad. We know the good side of this, but on the bad side, the level of features or performance it can offer is limited as it can't expect anything from the OS in new technologies. Unlike DX10 that can expect the OS to handle GPU RAM for the application an

        • Re:Perfect? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Kreigaffe (765218) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @06:29AM (#24073683)

          You won't be seeing any DX10-only games for a few years.

          Expect them to say "Win7" somewhere on the box, in other words.

          Lots of people didn't upgrade to Vista. I didn't. It's one of the strange things about gamers -- they tend to be quick to adopt new hardware, but new SOFTWARE? Some are.. many aren't. Good lord, were you playing any Valve games when they upgraded to Steam? MONTHS went by and servers remained on the old VAC system -- people didn't want to fiddle with what worked.
          Same goes for Vista. It launched and all the reports had awesome phrases like... driver issues, massive slowdown, not working, and oh can't play.
          Probably only 1/4 of the guys I know who play games often, have Vista.... and some of them work for Microsoft, so that almost doesn't count.

          There's also the fact that DX10 requires TWO upgrades -- a new video card AND a new OS. And not just any video card.. in order to really get any use out of DX10 for anything more than taking pretty static screenshots, it's gotta be a GOOD video card.
          Very expensive.
          Game companies realize this and have and will continue offering support for WinXP / DX9 until the market is saturated with DX10-able computers and video cards. It'll be a while.
          Good rule of thumb? Assume someone bought a new computer 6 months before Vista was released.
          When that computer plus a mid-to-top range DX9 card will need to be upgraded to play new video games, THAT is when games will start transitioning to DX10 -- though at that point they would still want DX9 support. Rather than DX9 games with DX10 support.

          Game designers love new technology, sure -- but they like having an audience large enough to actually make money, too.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by TheNetAvenger (624455)

            Lots of people didn't upgrade to Vista. I didn't. It's one of the strange things about gamers

            I'm a gamer as well, and on my personal systems I faced the early Vista release problems that a lot of people did. The WDDM was a complete re-write for NVidia and ATI, and by the time they got to a stable level they were behind on optimizations. Also a lot of the optimizations are game specific and work differently than the XPDM, so they needed a lot of customer feedback to even get close to the 6 years of the XP

        • Re:Perfect? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Fweeky (41046) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @07:05AM (#24073793) Homepage

          It is more stable than XP, more secure than XP, easier for business to deploy (mind numbing easy even), and unless you are trying to get it to run on 512mb, outperforms XP.

          More stable, unless you're running certain very common drivers. Funnily enough they're the main thing which take out XP too. I've also seen vanishingly few benchmarks where Vista outperforms XP, even with SP1; their +5% performance gains after a year of tweaking have merely served to achieve a vague parity in most situations, and in some cases they needed way more than that. And woe betide you if you have any applications which actually used all your 2GB; game memory requirements don't shoot up for Vista just for the sake of it.

          Vista has a new gaming API, and even in the non-DX10 area included things needed for Windows Live out of the newer networking APIs (i.e. Halo2 Vista only 'originally' release).

          Heh, did you really mention Halo 2 just there? The game which looks like it came out of the early DirectX 8 era and who's Vista requirement was quickly evaded by a small third party loader application? You don't need a new OS for a couple of networking APIs.

          which is sad because game makers have pulled back full DirectX10 support

          Sorry, but what did Microsoft think was going to happen? That people would flock to Vista in their tens of millions because, oh, never mind all the DRM bollocks and increased system requirements for less real world performance, it actually has a decent IO system (which you probably won't see the benefit of with a single 7200RPM drive, especially with the hilariously slow file copying for the first 13 months), more userspace drivers and a really fancy hardware compositing graphics pipeline? Lets face it, anyone who would even slightly understand what any of that means will mostly stop at "DRM bollocks".

          OpenGL has no OS dependance it can rely on, and can be both good and bad. We know the good side of this, but on the bad side, the level of features or performance it can offer is limited as it can't expect anything from the OS in new technologies

          Erm, it sure can depend on OS features -- in case you hadn't noticed, OpenGL is a graphics API, and the way it's implemented can take advantage of whatever OS capabilities you like. The only difference with Vista is the driver developers have to work out how to make use of the new OS GPU stuff instead of being able to deal with it all themselves. And let's not forget, this is probably the number one source of system instability on Vista. I guess it's lucky (and fairly impressive) that at least some of the crashes are all in userspace and recoverable.

          don't be pissed because a new game requires the new system.

          Why not? I'm not "upgrading" for one game, especially when it's not doing anything it couldn't do in DX9. I'm especially not upgrading when Microsoft try to force the issue by artificially limiting crappy games like they did with Halo 2. Sure, feel free to go make your DX10-specific wondergame, just don't be pissed when it bombs because you cut out 90% of your target market.

          Vista is a much larger shove forward in new technologies and APIs than KDE.

          Sure, some of it looks rather nice, and it sounds good on paper, but from a user standpoint most of that's irrelevent even if it did translate into real world improvements (much of it, seemingly, does not). About the biggest thing most people will notice is slightly smoother window handling, the need for more memory and, oh, look, another video driver crash.

          Vista, to me, feels something like the Windows version of FreeBSD 5; lots of things have changed, it's been ages since the previous release, things aren't really tuned especially well, and some stuff which looked awesome on paper is turning out to be more trouble than it's worth. Whether the same applies to KDE4, I can't say; I've never really cared for the big DE's :)

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            Vista is a much larger shove forward in new technologies and APIs than KDE.

            Sure, some of it looks rather nice, and it sounds good on paper, but from a user standpoint most of that's irrelevent even if it did translate into real world improvements (much of it, seemingly, does not). About the biggest thing most people will notice is slightly smoother window handling, the need for more memory and, oh, look, another video driver crash.

            The key word in parent's statement was "technologies". From user's persp

  • by armanox (826486) <asherewindknight@yahoo.com> on Saturday July 05, 2008 @08:28PM (#24070991) Homepage Journal
    You know, I thought that the idea of Beta software was so that people could report unexplained crashes back to the developers....
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      yup! your right! [wikipedia.org]
    • by Pulzar (81031) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @08:51PM (#24071161)

      The article hardy complains about the crashes, it just says that you probably don't want to install it on your desktop, but try it with a live CD instead (and never mentions the crashes again). The summary, as usual, is a little misleading.

    • by mpyne (1222984) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @09:19PM (#24071373)

      You know, I thought that the idea of Beta software was so that people could report unexplained crashes back to the developers...

      And it certainly works for that. A released version always gets more widespread testing though, and KDE is not the only project that experiences this effect. After all, how often do you see the advice to not use a .0 release because it's buggy? That's because people don't test alpha, beta, or RC releases.

      We delayed the release of KDE 4.0 for two months because it wasn't ready for release, and then debated internally (you can check our public mailing lists) before the release as to whether it should be called 4.0 or another release candidate. In the end it was judged that the known bugs were not serious enough to block release. Keep in mind that there were (and are) a lot of feature regressions which get fixed up over time. But they were not due to us designing them out, it was due to the fact that they did not get ported over in time.

      • by techno-vampire (666512) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @10:17PM (#24071775) Homepage
        But they were not due to us designing them out, it was due to the fact that they did not get ported over in time.

        So, would it be fair to say that you haven't removed any features, you just haven't gotten them all working yet? If so, that would give KDE users something to look forward to, instead of something to complain about.

        • by mpyne (1222984) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @10:34PM (#24071929)

          But they were not due to us designing them out, it was due to the fact that they did not get ported over in time.

          So, would it be fair to say that you haven't removed any features, you just haven't gotten them all working yet? If so, that would give KDE users something to look forward to, instead of something to complain about.

          Well this is my personal feeling about features/configurability:

          1. Adding an option to do something that the program should be able to figure out is a bad idea. So in that regard we should be trying to minimize option dialog clutter by making programs smarter.
          2. Programs need to be useful however, including meeting the expectation of users of previous KDE 3 versions of the program. So yes, the idea is to get everything that was working in KDE 3 to work in KDE 4.
          3. In the case of Plasma, it is a replacement, not a port, of kicker, kdesktop, etc. The Plasma devs are not trying to force people into using one specific desktop metaphor or anything like that. Even the much maligned KDE 4.0 release had support for desktop icons (which was a feature regression in my case since I disable them. ;) KDE 4.1 will have a type of applet called a folder view that will show a file view for any folder, not just the ~/Desktop. So you can use it full-desktop if you'd like (although IIRC the desktop background will be obscured) but you can also have more than 1 (i.e. a coding directory or a web site directory). Or in other words, in cases where a KDE application is replaced outright we'd like to implement the useful features of older version but it may not necessarily be a 1:1 correspondence if we feel there is a better way to implement the feature.

          So yes, the idea is to make things that worked before work again if it doesn't work now. Of course the usual disclaimers apply, full refund if it doesn't work, patches always accepted, help always appreciated, etc.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Jesus_666 (702802)

            Adding an option to do something that the program should be able to figure out is a bad idea. So in that regard we should be trying to minimize option dialog clutter by making programs smarter.

            Just don't overdo it. Few things are as aggravating as "smart" software that isn't - and software that autoconfigures itself for the most common use case when I want to use it differently falls under that category.

            In general, I like the idea of smart programs only when you can disable the "smart" logic. Otherwise yo

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by donaldm (919619)
      I personally found KDE 3.5 quite nice to use, however when I updated to Fedora 9 I got KDE 4.0 beta which had IMHO annoying features associated with the fonts on the panel not scaling when I put the panel on my right hand side of the screen (does the same thing on the left as well). Top and bottom is ok but not have you did a left or right switch. What I disliked was the fact you could not grab the bar with your mouse and move it like you could with KDE 3.5 (and all other versions of KDE), instead you neede
  • Shouldn't that be.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by superphreak (785821) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @08:34PM (#24071037) Homepage
    KDE 4.1 Beta 2 â" Two Steps Forward, One Step Back?

    One step forward, two steps back? If the "old version" is better than the "new version" ???
    • by nanday (935437) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @08:50PM (#24071149)

      Contrary to the contributor's comment, I'm saying that 4.1 *is* better than 4.0, but not as much as better as people hoped, and that, in Folder View, it introduces a new source of controversy.

      I twisted the original saying to reflect my opinion.

      -Bruce Byfield ("nanday")

  • Damn. I've got 2 users on xubuntu because ubuntu with gnome is too "bloaty and funky" for them, and kubuntu is too squirrelly. Neither is all that happy, both have been looking forward to a fully usable kubuntu with the 4.1 (because it "seems more like windows"), but maybe I should begin looking into E17 for them? I just hate this kind of crap, wish we could all just use ion3 or wmaker. But these are people who'll willingly click through a half dozen GUI menus no prob, but as soon as I say "It's easy -- jus
    • Re:Too bad. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AndyCR (1091663) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @08:50PM (#24071155) Homepage

      Neither is all that happy, both have been looking forward to a fully usable kubuntu with the 4.1 (because it "seems more like windows"), but maybe I should begin looking into E17 for them?

      Or perhaps they can stop expecting it to be something it isn't and get used to Linux as a real operating system, not "that shoddy free Windows clone" they expect it to be.

    • Re:Too bad. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Miseph (979059) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @09:04PM (#24071253) Journal

      Short answer? Mnemonics.

      Long version: it's easier for most people to fudge through something they vaguely remember doing by pictures than it is for them to memorize a set of arcane terminal they vaguely remember. People who do things other than program and learn Linux inside and out have all sorts of other random esoteric knowledge buried away, and there's only so much that a single person can keep in their head. These people are called end users, and frankly, if you don't understand why politely asking them to "simply" learn the terminal commands is a mind-numbingly stupid proposition, I seriously recommend staying the hell away from UI design.

      • it's easier for most people to fudge through something they vaguely remember doing by pictures than it is for them to memorize a set of arcane terminal they vaguely remember.

        I've found that the documentation is such that I only need a vague memory of the terminal, just as I only need a vague memory of the GUI. Obviously, YMMV.

        That said, while I find the terminal is more productive, I also find that many GUIs are much more discoverable than their CLI counterparts, and that the learning curve is far less.

    • by bmo (77928)

      "'It's easy -- just open a terminal and type' I've lost them..."

      I find that all depends on the age of the user. If the user is old enough to have been familiar with DOS at the command line, it's really no problem.

      --
      BMO

    • Terminal Vs. GUI (Score:4, Insightful)

      by name*censored* (884880) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @09:58PM (#24071637)

      I never have understood why they have that mental block, it's so limiting.

      The thing about CLIs is that they do anything you want them to instantly, if you know what you're doing. The disadvantage to CLIs is that, unlike GUIs, they offer absolutely no prompts - in a GUI there's always words or pictures at least labelling the buttons, even if it's just "load". Another "advantage" to GUIs is that they're "safe" - anything you want to do in a GUI requires at least 2 steps, so it's nearly impossible to do something dangerous accidentally (I'm counting loading the application as a step - in a CLI you can almost always open-and-execute-command in one step). This idea has become so deeply ingrained in people regarding computers (see: Any "hacker" in a movie, general societal impressions of 1980s supergeeks, etc). Most people are actually terrified of command prompts for this very reason - although they might describe it more as "it's confusing"/"I don't know what I'm doing here"/"What if I get it wrong and break something?". Hell, I remember being terrified of "breaking windows" the first time I opened command prompt to do something innocuous (maybe it was proper DOS back in those days though..).

      This is basically why most geeks use CLIs when they can - because it's much faster and more efficient to do something you know how to do, while most newbs prefer GUIs - it's safe, easy, faster for doing multiple unrelated things at once, and they're used to it. Personally, I'm glad that there is this mindset - I'm getting a little tired of having to fix my friends' and parents' computers, I hate to think what damage they could accidentally do if they managed to get a dangerous command out in a command line (I can't imagine them accidentally deleting everything with a GUI - there's no one-step rm -rf or del /y C:\* for a GUI).

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by hey! (33014)

        The thing about CLIs is that they do anything you want them to instantly, if you know what you're doing.

        What you are saying amounts to this: speaking a language is more flexible than communicating by drawing pictures. That much should be obvious. What isn't so obvious is this is what makes being able to communicate in pictures so useful in many situations. The flexibility that gives language is power is sometimes a burden, particularly when communicating about simple concrete things (or in the case of c

  • only mistake. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 05, 2008 @08:38PM (#24071069)

    I certainly don't think KDE 4.0 was a mistake beyond calling it "4.0" which led a bunch of idiots to expect something "finished", and that despite the up-front warnings that it wasn't finished.

    It's a clear design improvement on 3.x in every way (though I don't particularly like or use the new desktop with its "plasmoids", I didn't like the 3.x desktop either, and the 4.x desktop can emulate it trivially - desktops widgets are just pointless, you just don't see them or the desktop for 99.9% of the time you're using the computer), it's just not stable yet.

    • by xaxa (988988)

      I certainly don't think KDE 4.0 was a mistake beyond calling it "4.0" which led a bunch of idiots to expect something "finished", and that despite the up-front warnings that it wasn't finished.

      Spot on! I'm not an idiot, but I wasn't really paying attention to KDE development in the last 6 months. I installed Ubuntu on a new PC yesterday, and noticed the "KDE 4" option, so I chose it. I didn't like it, KDE 3 was installed instead this morning. 4 had lots of minor bugs and a few bigger ones, things that just weren't finished, or were in KDE 3 but aren't in 4 (particularly customisation dialogues). It felt like actual beta software (before that word was 'cool'), it mostly worked, but there were thin

      • by penix1 (722987)

        That was addressed in TFA as not being the problem of the KDE team but the problem with the Debian based distributors rush in releasing it. That being said, I too tried KDE4 and disliked the interruption to workflow it presents. Change for changes sake isn't a good idea especially on the scale we are talking about here. It isn't the really new users, those who never tried Linux before, who are complaining so much as those who are familiar with the old KDE like myself. I can get far more done in far less tim

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by shadwstalkr (111149)

      I certainly don't think KDE 4.0 was a mistake beyond calling it "4.0" which led a bunch of idiots to expect something "finished", and that despite the up-front warnings that it wasn't finished.

      A bunch of idiots? Seriously? A release is a version that is complete with no known showstopper bugs. There is absolutely no reasonable excuse for the KDE team to have released what they had. They were nowhere near a release, and apparently still aren't. I don't think this was an eager, early release. I think this was a PR move to bring some attention back to the aging project, and the KDE team should be ashamed for deceiving the community.

      We've been waiting for KDE 4 for years, and I think you're way

  • well duh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ILuvRamen (1026668) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @08:43PM (#24071103)
    Gee, complaining about glitches in a beta. That's brilliant. Hmmm the beta has some glitches! It must suck! Let's write it off permanently as crap! Ugh, as long as they don't pull a Vista or Leopard and release it with tons of unresolved problems and actually call it done, you won't hear me complaining. But if the entire basic design of it sucks, that's another story. I personally haven't seen it.
    • "Gee, complaining about glitches in a beta. That's brilliant. Hmmm the beta has some glitches!"

      To be fair, I finally got beta2 to compile yesterday, and for me the panel was unusably crashy (the panel was crashing KDE to death literally - after about the third time the panel crashed and restarted itself, it would crash and take all the rest of KDE with it, leaving me with a blank black screen. Every other click or mouseover type event seemed to precipitate a crash, so this was a matter of 3-5 minutes of u

  • "I'm not too sure about that â" really, 'everyone'?"

    Well, if the writer of the article already disagrees, this is clearly wrong. Easy question to answer really.

  • What ars said... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hoplite3 (671379) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @08:56PM (#24071199)

    http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20080702-the-critics-are-wrong-kde-4-doesnt-need-a-fork.html [arstechnica.com]

    KDE4 will get better. There's a lot of promise in plasma. Until then, 3.5 is totally usable (I'm using it now). KDE has often put forward a lot of wacky ideas just to see what sticks to the wall. Good on 'em, I say.

    Look about the full KDE3 installation, you can find all sorts of ideas that never really made it. Drag and drop stuff, little file servers, and so on. Some of these things are probably in use by someone now. It's all part of KDE's great flexibility.

    • Re:What ars said... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by niiler (716140) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @09:28PM (#24071417) Journal

      Exactly. There's a new paradigm in desktop coming and IMHO, it is worth waiting for. I, too, use KDE 3.5.8. However, I have compiled KDE 4.0.4 so that I could preview and screencast some of the programs (such as the physics simulator, Step). It's not terribly stable [but it's beta, so I don't expect it to be], but I love it.

      I suspect that the rants against KDE 4 are from people who are either impatient (think of the world we live in), are complaining because they are happy with KDE 3.5 and are concerned that they will lose productivity in moving to 4.x, or simply didn't read the fine print that it's in beta at the moment.

      I am also unhappy with people who have not acknowledged that the the goal posts are moving. It seems that they are not hearing the complaints against the KDE marketing machine. But the bottom line for me is that I have a usable platform until the release is stable, and I'm perfectly happy to wait until it is. Hey, I'm getting it for free.

  • by nanday (935437) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @09:10PM (#24071287)

    While having a story linked to on Slashdot always makes my day, the summary given with the link doesn't accurately report what I said:

    -- To say that I found 4.1 "wanting" is incomplete. I say that it is a major improvement over 4.0.x, but, based on the beta, isn't likely to deliver everything people want. I suggest that, while it has faults, it may be the most innovative free desktop currently.

    - I say that it crashes, not as criticism (it is a beta, after all), but to suggest that casual users might not want to spend the time compiling it, and should use a Live CD to explore it instead.

    - The full context in which I call KDE 4 a mistake is: "Everyone agrees now that KDE 4.0 was a mistake. However, what the mistake was -- and whose -- is a matter of opinion. KDE developers blame distributions for rushing to include a release that was never intended for everyday use, while users blame developers for changing everything." In other words, all I'm saying is that it's causing a lot of controversy -- a fact that anyone who knows how to open a search engine can easily verify.

    Trying to correct an impression that gets started in comments is difficult, but I thought I'd try anyway. So, let me spell out my opinion as clearly as possibly: I'm fascinated by the KDE 4.0 series with all its innovations (in fact, I'm using it on my laptop), but I think the KDE developers seriously misjudged user reaction, and that the software itself has a ways to go.

    I don't mind in the least if people disagree with me, or even condemn me; you get used to it, after a while. However, I would prefer if they disagreed with or condemned what I actually said.

    • by bjourne (1034822) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @10:01PM (#24071655) Homepage Journal

      The full context in which I call KDE 4 a mistake is: "Everyone agrees now that KDE 4.0 was a mistake. However, what the mistake was -- and whose -- is a matter of opinion. KDE developers blame distributions for rushing to include a release that was never intended for everyday use, while users blame developers for changing everything." In other words, all I'm saying is that it's causing a lot of controversy

      Err.. no. That is not at all what you are saying. If everyone is in agreement on a point, there can be no controversy on that point. Anyway, the "everyone agrees ... " statement was the most interesting part of your article and I was displeased to see that it was just grabbed out of the blue. If the KDE core devs feel that 4.0 was a mistake, getting to know why, what they think they should have done different and what they have learned would have been very valuable to know for other developers. If distributors feel that distributing 4.0 was a mistake, then I would like to know what they will do about it? Will they be more strict about upgrading to flaky libraries?

      But it is extremely uncommon for developers to admit that they have made a mistake. And I very much doubt that the KDE 4.0 guys think it was a mistake. You definitely made a mistake if you thought that an "everyone agrees" statement would slip. :)

  • by aussersterne (212916) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @09:12PM (#24071301) Homepage

    is the incredibly slow-ass file previews. What happened? I can now open up a folder of digital camera images and have Dolphin or Konqueror preview them, and 45 minutes later it will still be working to get all the thumbnails done.

    Compare to the current version of Nautilus (or the KDE 3.x version of Konqueror) that previewed more or less instantly... What gives?

    Other than that, I've not had any major stability issues or gripes with KDE 4.x (I'm using Fedora 9 and have switched from the new menu to the old "accordion-style" menu.)

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by mpyne (1222984)

      is the incredibly slow-ass file previews. What happened? I can now open up a folder of digital camera images and have Dolphin or Konqueror preview them, and 45 minutes later it will still be working to get all the thumbnails done.

      The code itself is actually much unchanged (at least insofar as it still uses KIO). Perhaps the problem is related to Strigi slowdowns for Dolphin in KDE 4.0? In addition Dolphin in KDE 4.0 would try to show previews for all items in a directory. IN KDE 4.1 many optimizations were done such that thumbnails are only generated for visible items. Hopefully this should help.

      • No idea, but Konqueror in 4 also shows the same problem for me. I admit, I haven't tried anything beyond Fedora's most up-to-date packages (still 4.0) but for the moment I am using Nautilus as my primary file manager, which pains me, because I am a longtime Konqueror user and like Dolphin a lot.

        Note that the previews for tiny images aren't too bad, but for large files, e.g. 10mb digicam images, they take ages (4-5 seconds each or more) whereas in 3.x and in Nautilus they don't.

        But otherwise, I like KDE 4 a

  • by zahl2 (821572) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @09:13PM (#24071307) Journal

    4 is almost a complete rewrite. It seems people have the impression that the reason all of the 3.5 desktop features weren't completed in 4.1 is because of a conscious choice. When actually, it is was just limited time. Feature freeze tends to stop the adding of magic ponys.

  • But I still find it more stable than 4.0 of about two months ago. That was the time I decided to just run off 4.1 checkouts, and I haven't had anything close enough to being a showstopper to switch back.
  • by dlevitan (132062) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @09:29PM (#24071427)

    KDE shot itself in the foot by making the KDE 3.x so polished. KDE 3.5 is essentially 9 years of evolutionary development from KDE 1.0. Unfortunately, its impossible to recreate 9 years of development and polish in only 3. I think that the long term prospects for KDE 4.x are great, but short term I'll continue to use 3.5.
    I've tried the first beta of 4.1 and while its much more functional than 4.0, its still not there and probably won't be for a few more releases. On the other hand, I remember that KDE 3.0 was, while more functional than 4.0, also much rougher than 3.5, so I can't complain too much.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 05, 2008 @09:31PM (#24071441)

    Come on folks. This is a Linux desktop. You have a choice. If you like KDE and want stability, stick with KDE 3.x. Want "cutting edge" or want to assist with development? Go with KDE 4.

    I suspect that KDE 4 was too ambitious and the developers tried to do too much. Perhaps just moving KDE 3 over to QT4 and _then_ doing a complete redesign of the inner workings. That at least would have had all the developers familiar with QT4 and allowed for an easier migration to the new whiz-bang version of KDE.

    I started using KDE in the pre-1.0 days and have participated in some development and documentation and sat some out; you just go with the flow.

    TFA seems to misunderstand the Linux culture in general.

  • by yorkshiredale (1148021) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @11:00PM (#24072085)

    The distros have had a big hand in the unpopular reception of KDE4.0.

    I've been a Fedora user since Core1, followed most of the revisions, and recently upgraded to F9. I have found most all Fedora major releases to be more stable and usable than previous.

    Upon installation of F9/KDE4.0, I thought something really bad had happened to my system (strange menu, taskbar screwed up, desktop icons weird). Only after some reading (yeah, should have RTFM first) did I learn it was all intentional - KDE4.0 !

    Having used it for a while, I admit it has potential. Due to the independence on display resolution, KDE4 looks much nicer on my old 1024x768 laptop than KDE3.x ever did. The guts feel great, the skin is flaky (I humbly await your jokes).

    But I wish Fedora (yes, I do realize that Fedora is a 'testbed' of bleeding-edge packages) had waited before including KDE4.0, perhaps giving an install option, or simply putting it off until F10/KDE4.x

    Fortunately, I didn't upgrade my office machine to F9 - I would be really in a mess if I tried to used it as productively as I can with F8/KDE3.x

    KDE4.x future looks bright, I'm more disappointed with the Fedora team that chose it as the only KDE desktop for F9.

  • by mpapet (761907) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @11:42PM (#24072307) Homepage

    It's a little different but everyone on /. who runs kde3.x will figure it out in a day. Our office just "upgraded" to office 200X with the new gui and waste far more time sorting out some features on the new ribbon gui.

    It's not rock-stable, but functional. A mix of 3.5 and 4.0 apps work pretty well. The newer Kontact isn't done and kmail works fine for me. YMMV.

    I'm easily running a mixed testing/experimental environment with no issues. If you are running Debian testing, just add new repos with experimental instead of testing, I defined the pinning such that testing is preferred, but it pulls experimental packages as needed. I would copy -R .kde kde-3.x to be sure you don't lose anything valuable.

  • by lbbros (900904) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @04:04AM (#24073253) Homepage

    I run semi-nightly builds of SVN from Project Neon [kde.org] and I can say I'm very satisfied with KDE 4.1. Compared to 4.0.x there has been a tremendous leap in features and polishing, and the new Plasma features make it better for me to work. An explanation: Plasma enables you to zoom-in and out of your current desktop. When zoomed out, you can add another desktop ("Activity") in which you can place plasmoids like the one you were using before. You can switch between them using keyboard or zooming in and then out.

    What makes it different from X11's standard virtual desktops? The fact that activities are completely independent from each other. I have one set of plasmoids on my "leisure" view, a different one in my "coding" view, and yet another one in my "writing" view. In this context, Folder View is absolutely brilliant, as you are not enslaved to ~/Destkop, but instead you can view many more dirs (including remote ones: anything that KIO supports works), and you can filter for file names/extensions (there are plans to do MIME type filtering in the future, IIRC). Like that, I actually work much better than with the old desktop paradigm (I *hated* when desktops became huge and pointless dumping grounds for anything).

    Some missing features have crept in since last beta, including moving the applets on the panel.

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