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KDE GUI Software

KDE Responds To Misconceptions About KDE 4 279

Posted by Soulskill
from the feedback-is-good dept.
Jiilik Oiolosse writes "PJ at Groklaw speaks with a member of the KDE team about some of the common myths circulating about KDE 4. 'There has been a bit of a dustup about KDE 4.0. A lot of opinions have been expressed, but I thought you might like to hear from KDE. So I wrote to them and asked if they'd be willing to explain their choices and answer the main complaints. They graciously agreed.' Among the topics discussed are: 'Releasing KDE 4.0 was a mistake,' 'I cannot put files on my desktop,' and 'KDE should just have ported KDE 3.5 to Qt 4 and not add all that other experimental stuff right away.'"
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KDE Responds To Misconceptions About KDE 4

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  • I heard... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 12, 2008 @04:24AM (#24162941)

    that if you install a mirror plasmoid and say "goatse" three times, RMS will appear and strangle you with his beard.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by slimjim8094 (941042)

      (Score:5, Informative)

      Only on slashdot...

  • Happy to wait (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spacejock (727523) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @04:28AM (#24162949) Homepage
    I've always preferred KDE over Gnome, but unlike many I didn't rush to install KDE 4.0 (what with it being an incomplete beta and all.) I didn't get XP until it had been out for years either, and by the time I'm considering Vista it'll be lying in a shallow grave from the sound of things.

    Basically, I see KDE 4.x as something to play with alongside my regular desktop. I'll jump onboard properly when things calm down, but in the meantime I have work to do.
    • Re:Happy to wait (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Psychotria (953670) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @06:13AM (#24163303)
      Yeah, I am in the same camp. I have been compiling SVN head since 4.0. I love what KDE is becoming. But stuff like what I am pasting below is where the UD (minus the F) is coming from. To say that the first release of Dolphin will be binary compatible with all future releases of KDE 4.X (which is what the quote is implying) just doesn't seem right. Doing svn update changes things constantly (including the base libs and the headers). KDE base libs stable and binary compatible until KDE 5? I can't see it.

      From this point on, our libraries will remain binary compatible until 5.0. Not releasing 4.0 at that point means holding back hundreds of application developers from porting and releasing their applications. Not releasing would hurt these applications - they wouldn't receive the attention to detail they deserved. We're talking about core applications like Dolphin [...]

      • Re:Happy to wait (Score:5, Informative)

        by Dragonslicer (991472) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @06:43AM (#24163389)

        To say that the first release of Dolphin will be binary compatible with all future releases of KDE 4.X (which is what the quote is implying) just doesn't seem right.

        What's wrong with it? All it means is that nothing that's in the API in 4.0.0 will be removed or changed in an incompatible way for the lifetime of 4.x. Plenty of new features will be added, but they won't break any existing code. Programming languages like Perl, Python, and PHP (usually) do this all the time.

        • Nothing is wrong with it... so long as Dolphin remains static (which it won't)
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Narishma (822073)
            And no one said it will, Dolphin is not in kdelibs.
          • Re:Happy to wait (Score:5, Informative)

            by pherthyl (445706) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @10:54AM (#24164543)

            You misread that quote. They are saying the libraries will remain stable until KDE 5.. That means kdelibs and such. Then they go on to say, since the libraries are stable, they should release to benefit the relatively complete applications that have built on these libraries (like Dolphin).

            They're not saying Dolphin won't change. Just the underlying libraries.

            Binary compatibility means nothing when talking about programs. You can only apply the term to libraries. (And even then it doesn't mean that the library "remains static", just that no features are removed or changed such that it would break existing programs that rely on them).

    • Vista (Score:3, Funny)

      by toby (759) *

      by the time I'm considering Vista it'll be lying in a shallow grave

      Not too shallow, I hope - it already stinks.

    • KDE 4.0 as a beta (Score:5, Interesting)

      by golodh (893453) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @06:35AM (#24163365)
      Wise words! Just wait patiently for the KDE developers to sort things out and make sure you have an alternative.

      However I firmly believe that KDE really messed up when it comes to mamaging user expectations.

      Call something KDE 4.0 and people will believe it's fully functional ready to roll. And find themselves sorely disappointed. Call it "KDE 4.0 Developer Release" and people will understand what it is and is not.

      One thing that irks me in KDE's reply though is that they give the impression that they clearly communicated what KDE 4.0 was and was not. I disagree. I visited kde.org a few times to find precisely that information, and it simply wasn't there.

      That's why I was so happy with SuSE's honest and up-front statement about KDE 4.0 (see http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=528652&cid=23135548 [slashdot.org] ) that told me everything KDE.org didn't. No amount of post-furor explanations will take that away.

      • I'm unhappy... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by mangu (126918) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @08:26AM (#24163835)

        Just wait patiently for the KDE developers to sort things out and make sure you have an alternative.

        But are they on the right path? From what I have seen in KDE4.0, it seems to me that everything they have done is a step backwards.

        Basically, the problem is: if it's working fine, why change? For instance, I'm still using the KDE-classic icon set because I see no reason to get glossier icons, I recognize instantly the old icons and that's what matters.

        The big point about KDE has always been its capability for personal configuration. I prefer to use just one desktop, so I don't have a desktop selector applet in my taskbar. I prefer not to put icons on my desktop, since the desktop is always covered by the windows I'm using, so I have my favorite apps icons in my taskbar and use konqueror in the file management mode to open documents. That's the way I prefer, other people think differently, but KDE3.5 lets everyone be happy with their choices.

        I've never adapted to Gnome, because the philosophy is different there, it seems to be about making it easier to do things, at the expense of configurability. Well, for me the easiest way to do things is to do them the way I find easier, not the way someone else prefers.

        I can hear people telling me, "OK, if you don't like things as they are, just go ahead and change them, the source code is there". Well, I have neither the time nor the inclination to start developing the KDE user interface. I'm not complaining, they were under no obligation to develop KDE for me anyhow, but let's say I'm lamenting the way things are going.

        • Re:I'm unhappy... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by pherthyl (445706) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @10:59AM (#24164559)

          >> Basically, the problem is: if it's working fine, why change? For instance, I'm still using the KDE-classic icon set because I see no reason to get glossier icons, I recognize instantly the old icons and that's what matters.

          Familiarity is nice to avoid retraining, but you won't be attracting any new users/devs with ugly interfaces. Sounds shallow but its a fact of life. Aesthetics matter.

          >> The big point about KDE has always been its capability for personal configuration. I prefer to use just one desktop, so I don't have a desktop selector applet in my taskbar. I prefer not to put icons on my desktop, since the desktop is always covered by the windows I'm using, so I have my favorite apps icons in my taskbar and use konqueror in the file management mode to open documents.

          All of those things are possible in KDE 4 (at least the version I'm using, perhaps even in 4.0.x).

          I think the configuration culture hasn't gone, but there does have to be a better reason to add an option now. Some options are simply missing because they haven't been added back, but will be as soon as possible.

        • Well ... about KDE taking the "right" path. By and large I'm not that pessimistic. What I think people are finding out is that the MS-Windows' GUI isn't all that stupid and it takes quite a lot of work to make something that's just as good.

          KDE is built on top of Trolltech's QT framework, which I think is a good thing, and Trolltech just updated to QT 4.0.

          So one way or another KDE will have to follow suit. This means a top-to-bottom rework anyway if you want to take advantage of all new QT4.0 features (w

    • by bloodninja (1291306) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @06:50AM (#24163411)

      ...by the time I'm considering Vista it'll be lying in a shallow grave from the sound of things.

      Then you could probably install it by now.

    • by jo42 (227475) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @07:20AM (#24163517) Homepage

      I'm still waiting for the KDE User Network Tool...

  • by Freggy (825249) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @04:35AM (#24162971)

    KDE 4 has great ideas, but kde 4.0 was not ready for use by the masses and was very buggy (I have a collegue using 4.0.5 and he's constantly having kwin crashes and other problematic behaviour especially with dual screens in either extend and clone mode).

    While KDE 4.1 will be a lot better, again several important features have been moved to 4.2. For example with KDE 4.1, users will have a desktop where they can put desktop icons the a folderview widget or outside of that widget, on the plasma desktop itself. These two "desktop icon types" have very different behaviour, which will be extremely different to understand to non-geeks. This will be really fixed in 4.2 where it will be possible to set the folderview as the desktop itself. The number of plasma widgets shipped by default in KDE 4.2 is still rather limited (no good RSS reader, weather applet, system monitor etc). Phonon/xine/knotify4 as included in KDE 4.1 is not very friendly for your laptop's battery life. All of this will probably be fixed for KDE 4.2.

    I heard the administrator mode in systemsettings is not working and that a migration to policykit to make this work, is planned for kde 4.2. GNOME is using policykit already since a year if I'm not mistaken.

    So while KDE 4.1 is a great release for advanced users (I'm typing this from KDE 4.1 RC1 with nice desktop effects!), you don't want to migrate your average non-geek family member friend or collegue to it.

    It's unfortunate that KDE developers still try to deny or at least greatly minimize the impact of these kind of problems. A little bit more understanding from both sides (developers and users) and a bit less technology hyping, would be a nice thing.

    • by R15I23D05D14Y (1127061) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @04:49AM (#24163009)
      The developers are not denying anything (except comments like 'KDE is dying!'). They just didn't realize that calling the package that included the completed KDE4 libs "KDE 4.0" meant that distributions would start pushing it out to users, and publicizing it before it was objectively 'ready'.
      • by peragrin (659227) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @05:59AM (#24163257)

        That is pretty much it too. KDE 4 is changing everything about KDE's underlying structure with the hope of unifying things in ways that were literally hacks before. The concepts are great to the point of moving away from the "desktop" unfortunately they as you said finished up the libraries and hadn't finished up the front end.

      • by sirius_bbr (562544) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @06:19AM (#24163321)

        Well, to be fair, calling it KDE 4.0 suggests it's relatively bug-free (else it would have been 4.0-beta), and feature-complete (else it would have been 4.0-alpha).

        From what I've read it was neither of those...

      • by Rhabarber (1020311) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @06:46AM (#24163401)
        Hmm, is that really the case?
        I'm on gentoo. Kde-4.0 is hard masked which means it's not officially in the tree. You can unmask it if you really want to play with it but in order to do so you have to edit some config files which makes sure you know what you're doing. Kde-4.1 will eventually go into unstable (there you also find gnome-2.22, firefox-3, openoffice-4 etc).

        Did other distros directly push kde-4.0 to stable?

        Firing up ditrowatch I get 8 distributions with kde-4 and around 400 with kde-3. Among the 8 are Ubuntu, openSUSE, Feodora and PC-BSD.

        Hmm, looking into the Ubuntu package database, I see kde4 is an extra package (no automatic update?) in Universe which has (I quote) no guarantee of security fixes and support.

        It seems to be in Feodora-9, though. Is there a stable/unstable or whatsoever?

        And it is in the just released openSUSE-11. Same here. Is it really in the default install?
        • by CastrTroy (595695)
          I'm using Mandriva 2008.1, and it's an option on there. The default KDE is still 3.5, but it's really easy to install KDE4. You can install them both at the same time, and the settings and all libraries are separate, so you can play around with 4, without having to commit to using it.
      • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @07:03AM (#24163455) Journal

        They just didn't realize that calling the package that included the completed KDE4 libs "KDE 4.0" meant that distributions would start pushing it out to users, and publicizing it before it was objectively 'ready'.

        Why, exactly, is it surprising that, when the product is announced to be "out of beta and released", it will be pushed out to end users?

        If it's not "objectively ready", then it's not even beta, it's alpha. If the libs are ready but not the desktop itself, then release "kdelibs-4.0", and keep the version of the desktop itself at alpha until that part is finished.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by CastrTroy (595695)
          Isn't that the whole point of the distro though? They should do some testing to ensure that packages they release with their distro are really up to snuff. Just because somebody decides to call something ready, doesn't mean it should be included in the distro. Different distros take different approaches with what they consider ready. Debian stable usually stays well behind the curve, while Fedora seems to be quite bleeding edge. I also think KDE should have made it really clear that it wasn't feature c
          • by Nimey (114278)

            Yeah. If Canonical can look at KDE4 and say "no, this isn't ready, we're sticking with KDE3, but here's an alternative distro if you *really* like pain", why can't the other distros at least see that they should keep KDE3 at least until the following release?

      • by Wheely (2500) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @07:20AM (#24163519)

        This isnÂt true.

        If you went to kde.org after KDE 4.0 was released, looked in the "download" section and selected the current stable release, you got KDE 4.0. The old 3.5.* was called legacy or something. If the developers didnÂt expect distributions to start pushing it out, they shouldnÂt have said it was the current stable release.

        I notice its changed now.

      • by leereyno (32197)

        So in other words seasoned developers somehow didn't know what an X.0 release signified?

        BULLSHIT.

    • "Egotards"

    • by segedunum (883035) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @05:27AM (#24163141)

      It's unfortunate that KDE developers still try to deny or at least greatly minimize the impact of these kind of problems.

      Problems with what? You're running around like a geek trying to run a piece of software that hasn't been out for even a few months and you're complaining it has shortcomings and some things missing? Stop press, news at 11.

      Meanwhile, back on planet Earth people are still using KDE 3.5.x, they will probably use successive versions of it as well, and when the general consensus is that KDE 4.x looks OK then you'll start to see a natural move to it. That's what naturally tends to happen with these things. You just......................stop worrying. If you're an early adopter then that's exactly what you are. I hear that people actually pay for licenses for that privilege, and they complain less than the furore we've had with KDE 4. Go figure.

    • Personally I had a fairly major show stopper with KDE 3.5 and a commercial app that still has some pretty old code. What people forget is that KDE is a collection of a lot of parts so I could simply replace kwin (where the problem was) with a different window manager and users still had a working KDE desktop -icons, panel, everything people think of as KDE really.

      The thing to do with the new version may be just to identify the bits that misbehave on you and use something else in their place.

      Things aren't r

    • by pherthyl (445706)

      >> For example with KDE 4.1, users will have a desktop where they can put desktop icons the a folderview widget or outside of that widget, on the plasma desktop itself.

      No. Support for icons on the background has been removed. Icons can only live in the folderview widget.

      >> Phonon/xine/knotify4 as included in KDE 4.1 is not very friendly for your laptop's battery life.

      Really? Can you point me towards a test? This is the first I've heard of this issue.

  • by SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @04:47AM (#24162999)

    The OSS community have managed to build a better browser than IE, but how come they haven't been able to duplicate the Apple GUI experience? Is it just a case of OSS lagging behind commercial companies etc., and soon Linux will be on par with OS X. Or is there more to it than that, such as difference philosophies or lack of people with good a understanding of user psychology and graphic design principles?

    • by jacquesm (154384) <j@SLACKWAREww.com minus distro> on Saturday July 12, 2008 @04:49AM (#24163013) Homepage

      I have both mac os/x and linux here and I *far* prefer KDE (3) over os/x, I just can't seem to get used to the main menu switching all the time depending on what has focus. I prefer 'stateless' designs over state any time.

      • Yes, I prefer KDE 3 as well. But what are your thoughts on KDE 4? I ask this because KDE 3, by de facto, is going to disappear.
        • by MrHanky (141717) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @07:13AM (#24163493) Homepage Journal

          I've been using Debian's experimental KDE 4.1 alpha/beta packages for a few weeks now, and my impression is that it's still KDE, and still too buggy to recommend to other users. Debian is probably several weeks after SVN, though.

          My main problem right now is that most of the hotkeys have disappeared (a bug, not a design decision, I assume), and that I can't move plasmoids in the panel (supposed to be fixed by now, but not in Debian's packages). I don't miss the desktop-as-folder paradigm, but I do miss good information on how to create one's own plasmoids. Also, Kmail/Kontact crashes a lot.

        • 3.5.10 is going to be released in August. How does that equate to disappearing?

          Listen, I'm running KDE 4.0 on Kubuntu (alongside 3.5) and I don't think there's anything seriously wrong with it. That was surprising to me given all the "unusable FUD" I've been reading about the last 6 months.

      • by Enleth (947766)

        And yet I'm using KDE3 with the OS X-style menus enabled and the window buttons moved to the left side of the title bar. No, I don't like OS X as a whole at all (especially the widget style) - but I like those two ideas, so I've copied them to my desktop. Believe it or not, on a 12" screen and a tracpoint, the "infinite-height" menus are extremely handy. You see, it's all a matter of preference.

      • by EvilIdler (21087)

        I use OS X and KDE3, also. I don't mind the menus. I like the reminder about what OS I am in, though, so I don't mimic that in KDE. The menu also has another purpose: It hints of what program you've currently got in focus. To the right of the apple, there should always be the name of the active program. Most X11 window managers don't actually make things that clear.

        What I'd like to have is a file browser as nice as Konqueror or Dolphin in OS X by default. Finder is just too simplistic. Even Windows Explorer

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by poopdeville (841677)

      Graphic design principle are important (as are typographic principles, and so on), but...

      Apple has kept the same keyboard shortcuts for EVER. Apple-C defined the 'copy' operation with the Lisa, in the early 80s. Apple-X is cut, Apple-P is paste. The symbols on the keyboard aren't the same anymore, but the keys are.

      Don't think I'm accusing MS (or anyone else) of anything -- they have been consistent too. But KDE broke their consistent streak with KDE 4. That can be a good thing, when a project has a use

      • by pherthyl (445706)

        >> But KDE broke their consistent streak with KDE 4.

        Whaa? Your example was about keyboard shortcuts. Well those sure haven't changed in KDE4. Some other stuff changed, but I don't think any KDE3 user would have trouble navigating in KDE4 (minus the buggyness of 4.0, I'm talking about the design).

    • by argent (18001) <[moc.agnorat.6002.todhsals] [ta] [retep]> on Saturday July 12, 2008 @05:37AM (#24163169) Homepage Journal

      how come they haven't been able to duplicate the Apple GUI experience?

      Because they're trying to duplicate the Windows GUI experience, complete with periodically pissing off half the user base by changing the entire interface for oddball reasons.

      They say "the desktop hasn't had a radical redesign in X years!" So what? The command line hasn't had a radical redesign since the Bourne shell, unless you're using Plan 9, and that was about 30 years ago. You don't *need* a radical redesign of things that work well. You don't *need* to break applications and force people to upgrade to a new API, either. Yes I'm looking at YOU, Trolltech... what's the point of using an OO programming language if you don't take advantage of the fact that you can have multiple methods with the same name, so you don't HAVE to remove the old calls when you change the calling sequence?

      That's like when Microsoft declared "all new code will be in .NET" and had people hanging on to Visual Studio 6 for years because that was the only way to stay backwards compatible.

      (and, no, I don't think Apple's going to get everyone to dump Carbon either)

      Yes, you occasionally have to break stuff, but unless you're doing it because of security problems you do it after a transition period, and I don't think (for one random example) "directory.exists(name, TRUE)" counts as a security hole.

      Or is there more to it than that, such as difference philosophies or lack of people with good a understanding of user psychology and graphic design principles?

      All of the above. Not that Apple's user interface is perfect (god knows it isn't), but it's proof that you don't have to blindly clone everything Microsoft does to produce a great user experience.

    • by alderX (931621) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @05:40AM (#24163183)
      I'am not so sure if the Apple GUI experience can be described as superior. I have a Mac Mini with dual boot into OS X and Linux with KDE 3.5 on top. Overall I think OS X looks cooler and more professional designed, but from a usage and efficiency point of view into the KDE environment better fits my needs.

      For instance:
      o The Alt+Tab vs. Alt+Tilde thing - I understand the technical difference between switching applications and multiple "documents". Still I often have the case where I have 2 Terminals and 1 Firefox open and need to constantly switch between them. Here I don't want to think about if it's another application or document I want to switch between. I just want to do it and I can with KDE, Gnome, Windows, OS/2 but not OS X. Ok there is an extra tool (forgot the name), but that one didn't work flawless eather.
      o Virtual Desktops - Well that something a lot of Nerds seemed to miss, something which the OSS community had in their products for years. Not having it can result in considerable clutter on the screen which is exactly how my OS X screen looks like. Great to see that Apple finally came around and introduced it in it's latest version.
      o Zoom vs. Maximize - One IMHO really strange thing in OS X is the Maximize button which actually is a Zoom button. The window size gets proportionally increased until it reaches the horizontal or vertical limits - whatever comes first. It's not possible to really maximize a window to cover the entire screen. Exception to that being that applications can alter this behavior and e.g. Aparature is doing so - showing the same behavior as this botton does in KDE, Gnome, Windows, OS/2,...
      o Resizing a Window - To resize a window you have to drag the lower right corner and only the lower right corner. Why can't I use the left side border of the window if I choose to? Also something that's possible nearly everywhere else.
      o Focus follows mouse - ...
      o Rename a file - You can do tons of things (like copy, move to trash,...) within the context menu of a file. But still you can't rename it. Instead you have to click on it once and then again on the name below the icon. I find this quite inconsequent and also not very intuitive - actually I had to google it.
      o Consistent UI appearance - It's true that Qt, GTK etc. based applications look different. But so do OS X applications where you have the white style, this brushed metal style and another one which escapes me right now.

      So don't get me wrong, I didn't want to rant about OS X. It's my favorite UI from a design and "looking at" point of view. But if it's about daily work with it, then points like the mentioned above are really in my way. With KDE it's vice versa for me. It doesn't look that good, but I lets me do the job and it's more consistent with what you would expect coming from other UI's.
      • Consistent UI appearance - It's true that Qt, GTK etc. based applications look different. But so do OS X applications where you have the white style, this brushed metal style and another one which escapes me right now.

        That's [bla.st] true [arstechnica.com].

      • by TheLink (130905)

        "Still I often have the case where I have 2 Terminals and 1 Firefox open and need to constantly switch between them"

        What I want is something like this:

        http://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=121349 [kde.org]

        Summary: you do alt+1, alt+2, alt+3 and so on till alt 9 for the 9 different apps/windows in a "stack" of windows. You press alt+0 to "renumber the stack" by most recently used windows - 1=most recent, 2=next etc.

        I don't really care what keystrokes are used as long as it's not too difficult. I don't want to do stupid

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by alderX (931621)
          Interesting concept. The first part reminds me a bit about switching screens within the GNU screen tool.

          I use it quite often, but found the key combination "Ctrl + A then 0-9" a bit unergonomic. Also I kind of forget if it's screen 4 or 5, so I have to cycle through them with Ctrl + A 4, Ctrl + A 5,...". So I think it is faster to do the same thing multiple time ("Alt tab tab tab") than doing different keyboard combinations. It IMHO is just faster to repeat the same thing over and over again than thinking
          • by TheLink (130905)
            Well if you can hold down the alt key and just press 4 and 5, you'd very quickly find out which window it is.

            I'd say it'll be much faster than the "tab tab" stuff - hold down alt, and just roll across 1234 to find the screen you want (assuming a fast enough computer). If you're in a particular "context" 1 could be code, 2 = spec, 3 = logs, 4= google, 5= man page. And I assume that many people would be able to remember all of that after a few minutes.

            Alt tab is fine if you are switching between just two wind
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by osu-neko (2604)
        Heh. For the most part, you've just named a list of reasons why I prefer OS X over the alternatives. Probably the biggest thing on the list is the Zoom button. Windows got it completely wrong, and nearly every other GUI I've seen utterly borks it too. My biggest complaint about non-Mac GUI's was always the screwed up Zoom button, which would senselessly expand the window far beyond the limits of the contents, leaving huge amounts of empty space in the window blocking windows and desktop behind it for no
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by v(*_*)vvvv (233078)

      haven't been able to duplicate the Apple GUI experience

      Waiting for clones. That is precisely why OSS has *always* been behind.

      lack of people with good a understanding of user psychology and graphic design principles

      Yes. They are in high demand. Apple hired all of them.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dodecalogue (1281666)

        I very strongly agree with this sentiment. So much effort in OSS has been to try and pull in a userbase by mimicking what the user is already used to, and in many cases dissappointing down the road by the simple fact that the product is not microsoft/apple.

        With no (or anyhow little) risk of lost revenue, one would think that all kinds of fantastical innovations would be spilling out of the open source movement in areas of desktop, input and output, etc. It's all gotten so incestuous that any small change se

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by gaggle (206502)

      On reason is that great design means fewer options, and OSS inherently favors control and flexibility because all the apps are written to and by superusers. So there are these goals that oppose each other, and cutting through it all is difficult when your programmers owe you nothing. It takes a clear vision to achieve the elegance Apple pulls off.

      Well that, and Apple's gigantic wad of money they spend on human interface research :)

    • by dbIII (701233)

      but how come they haven't been able to duplicate the Apple GUI experience?

      Because the Enlightenment guys got a nasty letter from Apple about that theme.

  • Misconceptions? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by VincenzoRomano (881055) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @04:59AM (#24163045) Homepage Journal
    Simply put, I had to revert to KDE3 in order to be able to work with my laptop.
    If KDE4 is not finished, why announcing it as a deliverable product?
    What everyone expects from a new major release is no less features and stability than the older ones.
    Whenever this is not the case, a flop is waiting at the corner (as a lot of people learned from Vista).
    • Re:Misconceptions? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Basje (26968) <bas@bloemsaat.org> on Saturday July 12, 2008 @05:33AM (#24163151) Homepage

      I agree. The work was not finished, and calling it 4.0 creates expectations. In the article, the kde devs say they communicated it was not to be taken as finished. But their most potent statement, the version number, says something different.

      It continues to make that statement. Big distributions as kubuntu and opensuse offer kde4.0 as a default choice. Not because they don't understand 4.0 isn't ready, but because the demand is there. People will pass if the latest version is not available. If the goal is to make a successful desktop, communication like a major version number should be aimed at the end users, not at the developers.

      • Big distributions as kubuntu and opensuse offer kde4.0 as a default choice. Not because they don't understand 4.0 isn't ready, but because the demand is there.

        Maybe it's just me, but I'd say that this is clearly the fault of the distributions.

    • Re:Misconceptions? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Ash-Fox (726320) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @05:38AM (#24163175)

      If KDE4 is not finished, why announcing it as a deliverable product?

      What distribution ships with KDE4 as the desktop by default? I'm not aware of any.

      What everyone expects from a new major release is no less features and stability than the older ones.

      I didn't expect a feature complete KDE4.0, but that is because I actually read the announcements by the KDE team.

      Whenever this is not the case, a flop is waiting at the corner (as a lot of people learned from Vista).

      How does Vista have less features than XP and where does it lack functionality where XP has?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        If KDE4 is not finished, why announcing it as a deliverable product?

        What distribution ships with KDE4 as the desktop by default? I'm not aware of any.

        Uhm, Fedora 9, OpenSUSE 11.0 ?

        • by Ash-Fox (726320)

          Uhm, Fedora 9, OpenSUSE 11.0 ?

          I am pretty those distributions prompt you for what desktop environment you want to use, not use KDE4 by default.

      • What distribution ships with KDE4 as the desktop by default? I'm not aware of any.

        OpenSUSE does [opensuse.org].

      • by LarsG (31008)

        I didn't expect a feature complete KDE4.0, but that is because I actually read the announcements by the KDE team.

        Aye, there's the rub.

        Everybody sees the version number, but only those that read the KDE announcement understood that "4.0" really meant "not at all finished yet".

        In the rest of the world "x.0" means ready for end-users, but somehow the KDE team still fails to understand that and gets all "Dude, we said it in the release announcement. Ain't our fault that people think x.0 means finished product even if that's how the rest of the world does it. Really, it is the world that is at fault for not reading the ann

        • by Ash-Fox (726320)

          Everybody sees the version number, but only those that read the KDE announcement understood that "4.0" really meant "not at all finished yet".

          It's just a version number at the end of the day, it doesn't mean anything. I don't know why you people are attributing non-sense over version numbers. Even Microsoft does minor version changes like 5.0, 5.1, 5.2 for some major releases and that's considered a major OS release, even though if you were really following this logic of version numbers, it 'should' of been

  • by harlows_monkeys (106428) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @05:14AM (#24163091) Homepage
    The first impression I get, after a quick skim of the article, is that it sounds like they are having the same kind of problems with KDE 4 acceptance that Microsoft is having with Vista. Their users like the previous version a lot, don't see the value of the changes, and so on.
  • I've tried various distro's with live CD's which use KDE4, don't want to mess a working system. It looks nice, I like the idea of the applications being put on the desktop like you can with Karamba, but with less CPU usage.

    One main gripe for me is the file manager, it looks average, but is less useful. Not being able to open multiple tabs of different directories, ergo making drag / drop copying harder is a pain. It's like the developers wanted to regress to the shitty Windows way of it's file manager works

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Ash-Fox (726320)

      I don't want multiple windows open for an application, which is what I have to do with Windows explorer, and now Dolphin (the KDE4 file manager).

      Why don't you just switch to Konqueror? KDE4 gives you that flexibility.

    • Dolphin in KDE 4.1 Beta 2 supports tabs. CTRL-SHIFT-N.
      I don't think you can copy from the current tab onto another tab, but that may be coming.

  • Eh... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Zygfryd (856098)

    People really need to cut the KDE developers some slack. The devs specifically said that the first releases will be lacking, it's a major rewrite after all. Keeping that in mind, they're doing a wonderful job. Would you rather the release schedule looked like e17's?
    Also, lots of the people flaming KDE4 sound like the KDE team owed them something... that's really so embarrassing for the open source community.

  • by MaulerOfEmotards (1284566) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @06:39AM (#24163379)
    I have tested KDE4 on my Mandriva install as well as on a few LiveCDs and am very positive about it. It is aesthetically pleasing, offers wonderful functionality, enormous flexibility and extensibility, and gorgeous eye candy not on the expense of usability or ergonomics.

    Many people uphold OSX or Vista as the pinnacles of desktop beauty, and in the case of Mac, usability and user experience, yet the beauty possible on modern Linuxen desktops is not only equal to that of the Big Two, but in fact far surpassing them. Yes, I am talking a lot about "beauty" and "aesthetics", terms that programmers and techheads usually spurn or dismiss as irrelevant or superfluous. However, because it is not in the front of many geeks' minds does not mean it is irrelevant (especially considered I being a programmer myself) - beauty is important! In KDE, in particular KDE4, and especially coupled with technologies such as Compiz-Fusion and/or Metisse, the Linux desktop is far ahead any competition in presentation aesthetics, a fact seldom recognised.

    That said, I am not using it on my production system and will not until release 4.2.

    The problem as I see it, and the mistake made by the KDE dev team, lies in using a version numbering system that makes great sense for them but has little relation to how it will be interpreted and understood outside the development circles. For the devs, according to TFA, the "4.0" in KDE 4.0 means

    is just the beginning. KDE 4.0 has the beginnings of a publicly usable desktop and applications. KDE 4.0 also marks the stability of the libraries and their programming interfaces so application developers can actively start using them in their application. The new features and frameworks need some time to be implemented in a user-visible way. In that light, KDE 4.0 marks the beginning of the availability of KDE4-technology-based applications.

    For most of the world, the release of a new major version means both something new and exiting, which KDE4.0 certainly delivers, but also a finished and usable system that will be refined, embellished and updated. The KDE devs, on the other hand, means it as a platform on which a functioning system can and will be built. Their mistake lies in not realising that public perception of "4.0" would differ from their intention.

    That said, this is a very common mistake in all human communication. Seldom indeed does intention transmit perfectly into perception.

  • by v(*_*)vvvv (233078) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @06:54AM (#24163423)

    If anyone was wondering why KDE 4 was so user unfriendly, then this article pretty much says it all. None of the answers are user friendly. They are all argumentative and poor excuses at best.

    KDE 4.0 is the starting line, not the finishing line.

    Isn't that the precise definition of BETA software? They released KDE 4.0 Beta as the finished product, and are now ARGUING that it is not finished, but a "new beginning." Well, thanks for telling us beforehand, which btw would have been as simple as adding "beta" to the name. If 4 is so backward compatible and "user friendly" then why have so many users failed to "make use" of KDE 4? If they listen to their users, then why do they feel they haven't been heard? If you disagree with them then fine, but you cannot argue with them and expect to win anyone over and claim that that is listening.

    • by itsdapead (734413) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @09:08AM (#24164045)

      Please extend some tolerance to these people - they're clearly making a credible effort to emulate the commercial software sector by communicating in marketing bullspeak (which is especially difficult for native speakers of Ancient Geek) - so the occasional misunderstanding is inevitable.

      E.g. when the TFA says:

      Many of the official release announcements posted on kde.org contained the following text: "The aim of the KDE project for the 4.0 release is to put the foundations in place for future innovations on the Free Desktop. The many newly introduced technologies incorporated in the KDE libraries will make it easier for developers to add rich functionality to their applications, combining and connecting different components in any way they want."

      What they are trying to say is "KDE 4.0 doesn't have all the user features in it yet - we're only releasing it so that developers can start working with the new libraries - users should stick with 3.5 for a while yet".

      However, due to their inexperience with the subtleties of Bullspeak they've inadvertently used the "future speculative masturbatory" tense (by conjoining the word "innovation" with hyperbolic capitalization of "Free Desktop") thus indicating that the entire paragraph is intended to be glossed over and treated as a general endorsement - so its unsurprising that people have gone ahead and used 4.0 in user-facing systems.

      The KDE developers should be praised for their attempt to attain synergy with the wider enterprise by leveraging the didactic techniques of content-neutral intercourse, and the community should exhibit greater empathy when this initiative leads to non-positive communication outcomes.

      • Thank you for putting in humorous terms what was going through my mind as I read that entire Groklaw article: it sounds like guilty fast-talk, but really just needs an editor.

        Now, my patience had already worn thin by the time I got to the end of the intro — "Some people asked for the images to be links to larger images because I shrank them for dialup but omigod I didn't know how to make them go like that but then someone told me how to make them like that so now if you click? The image? You get li

    • by Fri13 (963421)

      Isn't that the precise definition of BETA software?

      No, it is definition of version numbering!

      KDE 3 > New idea of KDE4 > Alpha > Beta > 4.0.x > 4.1.x > 4.2.x

      1.0 (or 4.0) does not mean it is finished or ready. Then we woudn't have any other version numbers than alpha > beta > 1.0.

      What is 1.1 or 1.0.0.1 then if not better software?

  • We only failed with KDE 4.0 if we measure the work based on others' criteria, not our clearly stated goals.

    This particular line is especially pathetic — even if truthful. Yes, according to others, we royally screwed up, but, fortunately, we had our own definitions of the goals.

    To see this guys try to wriggle out of this shame is as unpleasant as trying to use their software. They've "redefined" an alpha pre-release as a "4.0". They've followed up with several minor post-releases (it is at 4.0.4 right now, is not it?) — which continue to be both feature-incomplete and buggy. But, I guess, if none of that was among their "clearly stated goals", things are dandy...

    To call release of Plasma — the "new development from the ground up" — a "success" by any definition is a bad joke. The software screws itself up every once in a while so badly, the Internet-forums are already full of of advises, like this [fedoraforum.org] "just delete .kde/share/config/plasmarc".

    KDE appears to have grown a serious marketing department some time ago — I noticed this during their pre-release "tension build-up", which was not unlike that of a new X-Box or iPhone. Heck, their "release party" was Google-sponsored [kde.org]! Except the new X-Box and iPhone work (save, maybe, for a few glitches). KDE4, on the other hand, does not — by anybody's definition, except, maybe, their own.

    This most recent "gracious" response is just another marketing spin-attempt...

    • by X0563511 (793323)

      What the hell?

      If I say "I'm going to to A, B, and C" for this next release, and don't implement D, I've failed. At least thats by your words above. No, it means I did exactly what I was intending to do. Just because it's not what YOU wanted, doesn't mean it wasn't a success.

      As far as your gripe about Plasma... well, it's new jackass! New software has bugs. If people reported them right and provided useful data, instead of just knee-jerk repairing the damage, it would get fixed.

      These people have done a hell

      • by mi (197448)

        If I say "I'm going to to A, B, and C" for this next release, and don't implement D, I've failed.

        Yes, you have, if the missing D is what any sane software user and developer would expect from anything called release. If you bought a car without the wheels, would not you be upset, even if the absence of wheels were outlined in fine-print somewhere in the purchase agreement? (Where would we be without car-analogies!)

        As far as your gripe about Plasma... well, it's new jackass!

        Thanks, love you too, fellow Slash

    • by Koiu Lpoi (632570)
      This explains everything. [photobucket.com]
  • I had been playing around with a couple different linux/BSD combos on a client's machine. Everytime I always installed KDE 3.5 or the distro loaded KDE 3.5 by default (PC-BSD, etc..)

    The client took OpenSuSE 11 and installed it with KDE 4, thinking "Hey 4.0 is greater than 3.5".

    My gut reaction was to cringe and he asked me why. And I told them that KDE 4.0 had issues and the other part of it was it was too new. It hadn't been out long enough in my book to switch.

    And there have been some odd things happen

  • by scorp1us (235526) on Saturday July 12, 2008 @10:14AM (#24164347) Journal

    Just shows that KDE made the wrong decision. Not technically mind you, just the wrong release decision.

    When you have to go back and justify your actions, that means you did something wrong in the eyes of the consumer. If you continually find yourself doing this, you're going to have an uphill battle.

    While plasma is nascent technology, I think everyone sees it as cool.

    I think starting with a port of KDE to Qt4 would have been the best idea. It would have provided a crucial step between designs and shown off Qt4's improvements over Qt3. Then with everything ported release 4.0. Then in 4.0 deliver a beta of Plasma and/or a release of Plasma in 4.1. There was absolutely no need to ever include plasma. Plasma is based off the QGraphicsView class. At the time Plasma was started and even up until the 1st release, you could not put a widget in the GraphicsView. This should have been a show stopper, or at least a "wait for" feature before Plasma was forced on people. That one feature should have made it clear - port to Qt4 and release as 4.0. But that's not what happened.

    Still we have KDE saying "no, we're right" despite the various criticisms. If KDE really listed to their users they'd say "we're changing our release policy to a user-centric one"

    Disclaimer: KDE is my favorite desktop, I only have interest in it succeeding, and that is why I am critical of it. But I realize that the user, not the code is the most important factor.

    The bolt-on technology should have come second. It is completely optional. It should have been separated out like Aero is from Vista.

  • Why complain? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I've never tried kde 4, but after reading here, I just don't understand what there is to complain about, if you are using a major distro.

    kubuntu - has always been unstable.
    fedora- ment to be experimental.
    suse- warned their users before.
    freebsd- hasn't included kde 4 yet.
    debian- hasn't included kde 4 yet.
    gentoo- a typical gentoo user is used to this.

    and so on

    This looks like a lot of noise over nothing. Those complaining are probably gnome users who never used kde. I just cant understand that end users have b

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