Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
KDE GNOME GUI Software Linux

Linus Switches From KDE To Gnome 869

Posted by timothy
from the seldon-plan dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In a recent Computerworld interview, Linus revealed that he's switched to Gnome — this despite launching a heavily critical broadside against Gnome just a few years ago. His reason? He thinks KDE 4 is a 'disaster.' Although it's improved recently, he'll find many who agree with this prognosis, and KDE 4 can be painful to use." There's quite a bit of interesting stuff in this interview, besides, regarding the current state of Linux development.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Linus Switches From KDE To Gnome

Comments Filter:
  • by gcnaddict (841664) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @03:23PM (#26591005)
    I first read the summary wondering why anyone cares what Linus uses, but then I noticed that he agrees with the general consensus that KDE4 isn't turning out as well as everyone had hoped...

    Here's to KDE doing better with v5.
    • by Artraze (600366) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @03:33PM (#26591135)

      Actually, it's really just more like KDE4 is turning out to be much more work than everyone expected. In less than a week, they'll be putting out 4.2 which will essentially be the first major bugfix/upgrade of KDE4. Version 4.0 was little more than a developer release, and the transition to 4.1 was aimed to include the minimum functionality necessary to actually allow it to replace 3.5. With 4.2, KDE4 should finally be (nearly) what it was intended to be, and further releases will probably focus on simply adding features.

      In short, KDE4 is basically a year late.

      • by yog (19073) * on Saturday January 24, 2009 @03:47PM (#26591311) Homepage Journal

        "In short, KDE4 is basically a year late."

        Late for what, though? I initially tried KDE4 because it came with the OpenSuse 11 upgrade and discovered it had a number of broken features. They also said that it was still in beta. I moved back to 3.5 and have had no problems. KDE 3.5 still works great and has plenty of eye candy for when you're bored.

        Sometimes I get annoyed with something in Linux, and then I stop and think, wait a minute, this stuff is all free and people have volunteered their time to write a lot of it, so why should I be complaining. I'm just glad that it exists!

        At this point, I use almost all open source software--browser, word processor, database, spreadsheet. I'm using H&R Taxcut this year, probably the only software I still purchase on a regular basis.

        KDE (and Gnome, too, for that matter--on my Ubuntu laptop) is a fantastic system, very flexible and customizable. I find Windows annoying these days when I am forced to use it--everything's so fixed and locked down. It lacks so much stuff out of the box--you mean I can't just read pdf documents? or have virtual desktops? I need to download Firefox? I find the Mac only a bit better, but on the other hand the Mac allows you to use a nice Unix shell window and that makes everything all better :)

        My next step is to extend my computing experience to the handheld, probably replacing my Palm T3 with an iPhone or Android phone over the next year or so. I have great confidence that I'll be able to synchronize and interoperate very well with a KDE/Gnome environment, less so in Windows (which will likely come with a rigid set of drivers and dependencies). But in using stuff on Linux, I find myself wrapping things up in convenient scripts and customizations that in the long run work better than Windows. Linux usually is "late" with stuff but the wait is usually worth it.

        • by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @04:55PM (#26592033) Homepage Journal
          Sometimes I get annoyed with something in Linux, and then I stop and think, wait a minute, this stuff is all free and people have volunteered their time to write a lot of it, so why should I be complaining. I'm just glad that it exists!

          Think about that next time you walk through Wal-Mart looking at the average shopper. After all... $God$ gave us those "hotties" for FREE. Why SHOULD you complain?~
        • by tobiasly (524456) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @07:47PM (#26593761) Homepage

          I'm using H&R Taxcut this year, probably the only software I still purchase on a regular basis.

          Have you tried TaxAct.com [taxact.com]? Their $17 "Ultimate" bundle includes both Federal and one State, plus e-filing for both is included! I got so sick of TaxCut and TurboTax becoming more and more expensive each year, and either charging me to e-file or else making me send in a rebate. I've used all three, and TaxAct is as good as the others.

          Plus unlike the others they don't play the Vista game of offering multiple versions each with different features that try to get people to pay more out of fear they'll get stuck with the wrong one. It handles self-employment income, capital gains, deductions, etc. all in one package. I had my reservations at first since it costs about 1/3 of the others but I used it last year and was very pleased.

      • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Saturday January 24, 2009 @03:50PM (#26591349) Journal

        In short, KDE4 is basically a year late.

        And it is for that reason that I have such frustration with it...

        It used to be, I could in good conscience make jokes about Windows, about how when Microsoft makes a "beta" release, it's what the rest of the world would call an Alpha, the release is really Beta quality, and SP1 is release candidate 1. By SP2, the product might be ready.

        I could laugh about how Microsoft, and occasionally other proprietary shops, would follow that model, as opposed to the open source model, where the versioning seems to go, alpha is unstable (so beware), beta is good enough to use, release candidates are pretty solid, and release versions you can bet your business on.

        But KDE4 was an alpha release. 4.1 was a beta release. Surrounding projects have done no better -- Amarok currently will not transcode automatically from flac to aac for ipods; it insists on mp3. This is a bug; it used to work. The stable Amarok won't fix the bug, because it's being depricated in favor of the kde4 version of Amarok, which doesn't yet support transcoding. WTF?

        Kubuntu has done spectacularly bad as well. My mouse didn't work. Why? Because they included an update to the Bluez stack, to support a change to the kernel, but the KDE4 Bluetooth support hadn't been updated to support that new Bluez stack. Their solution? Drop bluetooth support in Kubuntu Intrepid. WTF?

        It has been pretty much my own private Daily WTF as I continue to use KDE4. It's not yet so bad I'm going back to GNOME, but by this time next year, I suspect I'll be using something like Fluxbox again.

        • by MrHanky (141717) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @04:18PM (#26591681) Homepage Journal

          And it is for that reason that I have such frustration with it...

          It used to be, I could in good conscience make jokes about Windows, about how when Microsoft makes a "beta" release, it's what the rest of the world would call an Alpha, the release is really Beta quality, and SP1 is release candidate 1. By SP2, the product might be ready.

          They all do this all the time, though. OS X 10.0? Shit. 10.1? Slowly getting there. 10.2. Almost done. 10.3 was the first OS X release that was really good. Gnome 2.0 was as unfinished as KDE 4.0, but at least Gnome removed all the half-baked parts for "usability" reasons. KDE 4.0 was just a broken mess. But I've been using it since a 4.1 alpha or beta, and I like it better with each release.

        • by Klaus_1250 (987230) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @04:59PM (#26592095)

          But KDE4 was an alpha release. 4.1 was a beta release.

          The KDE dev-team clearly communicated to the world that 4.0 and the next few releases would not be a full alternative to the 3.5-series. They specifically reminded people that 4.0 would be a release for early adopters and developers, with tons of features missing, limited configuration/customization options and stability bugs. So yes, KDE4 was alpha, but everyone knew that.

          Personally, I decided to wait until at least 4.3 to check it out. Why on earth, the rest of the world decided to jump on 4.0/4.1 and cry out in anger that the kde-dev team was right... No clue.

          • by FishWithAHammer (957772) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @05:51PM (#26592589)

            Because that's not what a .0 release is. Numbering systems have an accepted meaning. Shit, even Apple calls their products 10.x.0. If they'd called it KDE4 Alpha 1, nobody would have cared. (Well, those of us who don't think that KDE went down the tubes when people started listening to aseigo, but I digress.)

            People here bitched that Vista (Windows 6.0) wasn't perfect, why should KDE get a pass? If you label it ".0", you're making a claim no matter what else you say. Whether that's right or wrong, it's how it is.

        • by Tanktalus (794810) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @05:05PM (#26592157) Journal

          I've been using KDE 4 since pretty much the day 4.0 shipped. I'm even running a KDE 4.2 snapshot (4.1.96). Generally speaking, the KDE folks have been pretty up-front about the details: when I installed 4.0, I knew full well that it wasn't intended to replace 3.5 yet. When I installed 4.1, I knew full well that functionality (especially IMPORTANT functionality like kmail) was getting there, but I shouldn't expect any polish. As I've been installing the snapshots, I knew that they were snapshots and should expect to open bug reports.

          It's not like the KDE folks were hiding this. Sure, they were overly optimistic, but they didn't hide these things from the users. If your distro hid it from you, that's a different issue - they'd probably hide it from you if they were embedding unstable-as-advertised gnome or anything else. Take that up with your distro.

          I expect KDE 4.2 to be a vast improvement, mostly in stability, over 4.1. But I don't expect it to be as stable as 3.5.10. I'm hoping they get there within the next 6-12 months, but I don't expect the 4.2 release to be there.

          The difference, though, is that with MS, you're paying for a product to work. With open-source, you're not paying for it, and they (generally) tell you what to expect. If you can live with it, great, open bug reports as you find them. If you can't live with it, then don't use it - use the old version, use another piece of software that fills the same role (gnome as an example in this case), or go proprietary. I don't think it's quite reasonable to compare MS's .0 releases (at full price) to open source .0 releases ("release early, release often"), and thus I have no compunction against slamming MS's release policy. I instead compare it to $work's release policy, since I get paid for proprietary coding, as I think that's a much more fair comparison.

      • by arth1 (260657) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @04:11PM (#26591603) Homepage Journal

        Actually, it's really just more like KDE4 is turning out to be much more work than everyone expected. In less than a week, they'll be putting out 4.2 which will essentially be the first major bugfix/upgrade of KDE4. Version 4.0 was little more than a developer release, and the transition to 4.1 was aimed to include the minimum functionality necessary to actually allow it to replace 3.5. With 4.2, KDE4 should finally be (nearly) what it was intended to be, and further releases will probably focus on simply adding features.

        In short, KDE4 is basically a year late.

        The mantra seems to be that it will all come together in KDE 5.
        Presumably by the same people who wait for Perl 6 and Hurd.

        In Real Life(tm), we have to go with what's out now. And, quite frankly, KDE in its current version just doesn't cut it. Bugs and inconsistencies, bloat, too many kitchen sink apps, and version-dependency hells. Sure, Gnome isn't a lot better, but at present it is better.

        Personally, I would like to see a new WM/GUI that doesn't load 240 interdependent libraries, but still provide all the features -- when wanted and asked for, but not a millisecond before. The whole integrated approach bugs me quite a bit.

    • by jellomizer (103300) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @03:38PM (#26591181)

      I still go on a who cares... If you like KDE 4 and everyone else doesn't who really cares. If you don't like GNOME who really cares.
      I can't speak for everyone but what is the point of caring what Linux, RMS, ESR, Bill Gates, President Obama... personal preferences are. The same goes with changing your mind, I switched from DOS/windows 3.1 to Linux back in 1994, Then I switched from Linux to Solaris in 2000, Solaris to Mac OS X in 2002. While I was primarly using Linux and Solaris I jumped around windows managers. FVWM, MWM, CDE, Enlightment, GNome, KDE, back and forth. You know what there are also some really smart people who Like Vista!
      Every software sometimes they give you tradeoffs that you don't want. But for some other people they like those tradeoffs. KDE 4 may have moved in a direction that Linus doesn't like as well as a bunch of other people. However There are some people who do like what the tradeoffs were.

    • by Zephiris (788562) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @03:41PM (#26591221)

      KDE 4.0, and to a lesser degree 4.1, lacked quite a few nice customization features that KDE has had for the longest time. KDE 4.2 refixes the taskbar configuration...so you can actually do something useful with it again.
      KDE 4.0 and 4.1 are nowhere near as functional or customizable as 3.5, 4.2 restores virtually all of it as well as adding compelling new standard/addon features.
      4.0 was supposedly 'just a developer preview', and I personally think they dropped the ball on 4.1. Everyone was expecting it to just be 'ready'.
      Though, one begs the question.
      If Linus is an advanced user, why was he pressured to upgrade from 3.5 to 4.x in the first place? Couldn't he have just kept using 3.5 if that's what he preferred, rather than the GNOME which he hated?
      I know the 'user friendly' distros tend to be a bit aggressive about pre-planned obsolescence, but that's little excuse not to find a supported and proper way to use the software and specific versions you prefer.

      • by 4minus0 (325645) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @05:21PM (#26592311)

        4.0 was supposedly 'just a developer preview', and I personally think they dropped the ball on 4.1. Everyone was expecting it to just be 'ready'.

        Agreed. Fortunately openSUSE still includes KDE3.5.x and I'll stick with that until KDE4 improves or KDE3 support is dropped entirely.

        If Linus is an advanced user, why was he pressured to upgrade from 3.5 to 4.x in the first place? Couldn't he have just kept using 3.5 if that's what he preferred, rather than the GNOME which he hated?

        I've read that Linus historically uses quite n00b friendly distros. He's never even run Debian due to its (perceived or otherwise) installation complexity. He's stated that he just wants to work on the kernel and not fiddle with the distro. See this interview [oreilly.com].

        According to the Computerworld article, Linus upgraded Fedora $version and it bumped him to KDE4 without offering a choice. I think it all boils down to Linus' desire for the distribution to Just Work(tm). I'd imagine he simply doesn't have time to fight the distribution itself to shoehorn it into something resembling a usable environment.

        Cheers

      • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Saturday January 24, 2009 @05:33PM (#26592427) Homepage Journal

        If Linus is an advanced user, why was he pressured to upgrade from 3.5 to 4.x in the first place? Couldn't he have just kept using 3.5 if that's what he preferred, rather than the GNOME which he hated?

        Because he is running Fedora, the alpha/beta (depending on the release, but not planned in advance) for RHEL. Note that he did not complain that Fedora did this. When Red Hat Software announced that free Red Hat was going away and being replaced with Fedora, they explained that it would be bleeding-edge, and provide a testing ground for new technologies before they made it into RHEL. Linus simply said that he's not using KDE because Fedora pushed it at him, he wants to run Fedora ("for historical reasons") and that since KDE4 wasn't ready for use, he's using GNOME instead.

        It's worth mentioning however that Kubuntu did this too. Fedora is supposed to be beta quality software. Kubuntu is supposed to be release quality software. But my perception (based on quite a bit of use across both desktops and servers) is that Ubuntu has been sacrificing quality for an aggressive release schedule and new features with every release.

    • by aliquis (678370) <dospam@gmail.com> on Saturday January 24, 2009 @03:45PM (#26591291) Homepage

      I don't understand why he couldn't use KDE 3.x until 4.x was more usable?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Well, he's using fedora and it doesn't have kde3 since F9.
        I'm also using Fedora for several years. I've been a die hard kde fan, but switched to gnome after I had enough with kde4 as well.
        The kde developers said you can always stick with kde3, but truth be told you can't.
        Not to mention that kde 3.x hadn't been properly maintained since they started working on kde4, with latter updates sometimes braking things that were working fine previously.

    • by SgtChaireBourne (457691) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @04:08PM (#26591579) Homepage

      KDE 4 is not a year late, it's just being pushed out by the distros before it is ready instead of working with KDE 3.5.

      KDE 3.5 still works great. KDE 4 is not yet in alpha stage, which is fine for those that like the bleeding edge. The side effect is that it is still really is slow, awkward, buggy and incomplete.

      So, I'm not sure why Torvalds feels compelled to highlight this. The fault is not necessarily for KDE 4 using a long time to take form. The real mistake, perhaps an intentional one, is for distros like Ubuntu to roll out a clearly unready desktop. One really could question the intent there.

      If Ubuntu, and others, were serious about helping rather than harming, they'd set up a nice KDE 3.5 as a default for options like Kubuntu or KDE-Fedora. Remember, years ago, Red Hat had tricked out both leading desktop environments with common themes, bells and whistles. I'd like to see a return to those brief moments of common sense.

      A side effect of the unreadiness of KDE4, hiding of KDE 3.5 and the turds that M$-Novell is dropping in the GNOME punch bowl, is that users are discovering Xfce [apt], Fluxbox [apt], FVWM-crystal [apt] and many others. (Ubuntu URLS there) Speaking of running window managers without a desktop environment, Compiz can be run like that, too.

  • It makes sense... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rgo (986711) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @03:23PM (#26591013)
    Gnome doesn't get in your way. It doesn't shout "PLEASE CONFIGURE ME!" in your face as KDE does.
    • Re:It makes sense... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by htnmmo (1454573) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @03:32PM (#26591127) Homepage

      That might be what's wrong with KDE but I think it's important to note WHY Gnome might have done things better.

      Gnome has a lot more backing from big names in computing and KDE doesn't. It's not just big money, it's a lot of experience in user interfaces. Companies like Sun, Novell, IBM have helped Gnome be better suited to users.

      Sun's accessibility contributions were a big plus.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Bearhouse (1034238)

      True, but then again, many people cite the 'ease' of configurability of KDE as being why they like it.

      A halfway-house would be nice - good default installation but easy tweaking via GUI as users got more advanced and confident. A bit like - dare I say it - Windows does it. Then again, even with windows you still end up having to download stuff like TweakUi or other powertools - or directly ediing the registry - for some stuff, (or using the console, which is OK).

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RichiH (749257)

      True, Gnome simply ignores your wishes. And _if_ you want to configure Gnome stuff, it's either text files or their version of regedit.

      No bad feelings, everyone should use what they want. But to claim that Gnome is easy to use is a misrepresentation in _my_ opinion.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by JamesP (688957)

      Gnome doesn't get in your way.

      YES IT DOES. EVERY TIME

      - It does when tabs don't wrap around in gnome-terminal when they do wrap in Konsole/XFCE Terminal/Screen

      - It does when some feature insists in working in a completely weird way and there is no way to change it

      - It does with that weird separation of functions in the top bar

      - "Start Menu" goes on bottom left for a very good USABILITY REASON

      - GTK file dialog COME ON (even though it's not 100% gnome's fault)

      If I need speed I go for XFCE. I can't STAND using Gnome

  • Temporary measure (Score:5, Insightful)

    by oever (233119) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @03:31PM (#26591111) Homepage

    Linus will be back. KDE 4.2 is turning out very nice and I'm sure he will give it a try. By upgrading his Fedora he was more or less forced to choose between GNOME 2 or KDE 4.0. Fedora should not have chosen KDE 4.0 over KDE 3.5. Only now with version 4.2 has KDE reached an acceptable level of quality again.

  • KDE 4 is a downgrade (Score:5, Informative)

    by kasdaye (1243382) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @03:32PM (#26591115)

    I used to use KDE 3 (Kubuntu) and I, somewhat recently, installed the latest version of Kubuntu with KDE 4. To be as clear as possible: KDE 4 is a trainwreck. At first I took it in stride and figured that a brand new release might be a little buggy, no harm. I'm using KDE 4.2 RC1 now and it's still horrible.

    • by go_epsilon_go (802226) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @03:52PM (#26591385)
      It seems that nobody remembers the transition between KDE 1 and KDE 2. KDE 2 was a major redesign over the 1 series, and at the beginning had the same issues that KDE 4 right now has. But eventually it grew up into the beautiful 3.5 series. So I think we'll have what we're expecting from KDE 4 around 4.5 version. Go KDE! Just my 2 cents.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Lord Lode (1290856)
      The only thing I liked about KDE 4 was the graphical effects, e.g. the look of the alt+tab, composite desktop, etc... I wish that the KDE guys had made KDE 3.5 with the KDE 4 graphics, but not touched everything else with weird downgrades of once productive functionality. If they had done that (just update the graphics and using the new Qt), they'd have had less work and thus a release in time, and I would have been a LOT happier with the release to not see all my productivity broken by it.
      • by Darkk (1296127) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @04:19PM (#26591695)

        They couldn't because a decision was made to make KDE 4 more compatible with the future is to redesign it now and go from there.

        KDE 4 is a major change and devs are trying to adapt to that change. So it's natural there are going to be some bumps along the way. Maybe V4.5 will be the version to use.

        Some people don't like change at all and probably still running Windows 95.

  • by Dystopian Rebel (714995) * on Saturday January 24, 2009 @03:34PM (#26591151) Journal

    Linus has plenty of other things to say in this interview. Why focus on this less important aspect of the discussion?

    Because LT doesn't like how KDE is right now? That's his choice, just as it was to like KDE more than Gnome before.

    Software is not perfect and it only achieves usefulness by stages, as LT himself mentions in discussing Git. A living project is a changing project. Not everyone is going to like the changes.

  • by pagaboy (1029878) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @03:35PM (#26591157)
    Linus says...

    I used to be a KDE user. I thought KDE 4.0 was such a disaster I switched to GNOME. I hate the fact that my right button doesn't do what I want it to do. But the whole "break everything" model is painful for users and they can choose to use something else.
    I realise the reason for the 4.0 release, but I think they did it badly. They did so may changes it was a half-baked release. It may turn out to be the right decision in the end and I will re-try KDE, but I suspect I'm not the only person they lost.
    I got the update through Fedora and there was a mismatch from KDE 3 to KDE 4.0. The desktop was not as functional and it was just a bad experience for me. I'll revisit it when I reinstall the next machine which tends to be every six to eight months.

    Which isn't exactly the same thing, and probably not many people at KDE will be all that surprised. KDE4 is new, it has teething problems. It was risk, but we'll find out later if it was a risk worth taking.

    • by Hairy1 (180056) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @05:10PM (#26592207) Homepage

      Which isn't exactly the same thing, and probably not many people at KDE will be all that surprised. KDE4 is new, it has teething problems. It was risk, but we'll find out later if it was a risk worth taking.

      You don't roll out half baked software over the top of working software. If KDE 3.5 was working for people releasing something that would cause users significant grief is simply irresponsible. We are beyond the days where Linux users were all geeks who used Linux as a learning platform, and who wouldn't care too much about broken features.

      Linux is now being used seriously by people in their day job. Yes - Linux is "free" - but it is also such a vital piece of infrastructure that there is an expectation that delivery is equal quality OR BETTER THAN commercial alternatives. Open source should be an evolutionary process - you don't expect things that were previously working to become broken.

      However, this whole "start fresh" idea has occured several times. It can potentially kill a project. It is not unique to open source, and every time I've seen it done its been done badly. Is it harder to refactor an existing application into shape? Yes. However, refactoring tends to be far less painful for users who will have a working system throughout.

      Some people claim that if users want to keep using the old app they can. This is true, except in open source people will tend to abaondon applications not in active development. Although a new "fresh" version is on the way a project in this state looks to the external world like an abandoned project.

      I know one project that took over three years to rewrite a vital library. The old version worked, but had bugs. The bugs were going to be addressed in the new version, but it took so long to do that we were forced to find something that was actually maintained.

      Open source isn't a toddler any more. It has grown up, and people now depend on it. We cannot afford to be using users as our QA department. We could afford to do this in the past, and certainly there is are still hackers who don't mind installing the latest builds, but we cannot assume that all our users are going to be grateful for whatever we ship. It must be quality.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ion.simon.c (1183967)

        Open source isn't a toddler any more. It has grown up, and people now depend on it.

        Wonderful. Until you start paying someone to manage an OSS project, you can't expect someone to do things your way. :)

        Moreover, it's up to the distros to decide whether or not they package KDE 4, or xfce or whatever. The KDE devs should (and are) free to do whatever the hell they (or their corporate overlords) please. I think that your rant would be better directed at the distro maintainers who're calling KDE 4.0/4.1 stable software, rather than the KDE team.

        WRT KDE 3.5.x: bug fix releases will still be mad

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by centuren (106470)

        You don't roll out half baked software over the top of working software.

        In this specific case, Fedora is responsible for that decision. The real question seems to be why are distributions jumping to these releases of KDE. I understand how a commercial product might want to be able to advertise having the latest version of everything, especially if it can result in some pretty screenshots (as KDE4 can), but how competitive does Fedora need to be here?

  • by VolkerLanz (1005127) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @03:41PM (#26591237) Homepage
    There are six pages of interview with Linus. Him now using Gnome instead of KDE is covered in three and a half paragraphs. Come on, this is a little sensationalist, picking on this rather minor issue for the headline, isn't it? No, I'm not new here, I just like to point out how childish that seems.

    Linus says KDE 4.0 was a "half baked release". Yes it was. He complains he got the update pushed through Fedora and that it "was not as functional". I'm sure it wasn't. He also might want to reconsider his choice of Linux distribution if he isn't happy with their update policy.

    We've been through this a million times here and on most any other tech site on the whole of the web: KDE 4.0 wasn't ready for general use, KDE themselves said so, it might have been a mistake to release it anyway, or not, the communication could have been a lot clearer, yada yada yada.

    Linus thinks so, too. Fine. Also, yawn.
  • by squoozer (730327) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @03:45PM (#26591289)

    I love KDE, I have done from the start, but there is no getting away from the fact that the way the switch to KDE 4 has been handled is a completely disaster (I've been using KDE 4.1 for a few months now). I can sort of see why the team directing KDE have done this but I'm sure it could have been handled a lot better than it has been.

    Hind sight is a perfect science but before I radically changed KDE I would have made damn sure that the most popular software that relies on KDE was going to have a version ready about the same time KDE was released. Not having a KDE 4 version of Amarok for example is terrible.

    Over all I think KDE will end up stronger for this change. The bits that are working are really nice I'm just worried that it will take 5 years to get to the point where full advantage can be taken of the effort that has been put in. In the end I think KDE will be the dominant desktop but Gnome must be seriously gaining support at the moment.

    • by kimvette (919543) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @04:10PM (#26591591) Homepage Journal

      The latest build of amaroK (2.0.1) is a heck of a lot better than the previous KDE 4.x amaroK builds. It still doesn't support syncing with MP3 players or mass storage devices but now the play list is searchable. I can live with it - if I need to sync with a player I can use the KDE3 version, but for just listening the KDE4 version is usable.

      Now to be fair to the KDE team, much of it was a total rewrite and they have made it clear that KDE4 and early KDE4.1 will be missing a lot of legacy features, and that those missing features will be ported in as time goes on.

      I hated KDE 4.0 - it was missing the folder view for the desktop. Ever since the Amiga and the original Mac I've expected the desktop to be a folder, and when I ran Win3x I ran Norton Desktop, which gave me a desktop folder metaphor.

      I find the current KDE4 to be about as good as KDE up through 3.1 - usable, but not ideal, which made the availability of Gnome really nice. KDE 3.5 made me a diehard KDE user. I use KDE4.1 + compiz-fusion for my desktop environment, and have KDE 3.5 installed so I have access to all the apps with the kio slaves for work. I've come to hate gnome, with all of the dumbing down of the environment that has gone on for 5+ years -- ESPECIALLY the file open/save dialogs.

      Also KDE isn't just for power users; I've sat novices in front of both gnome and KDE 3.5 and they invariably find their way around KDE 3.5 a lot easier. They can sit down and just use it without having to ask many questions.

      Many accuse KDE of trying to be Windows, but my experience is that it has provided the best of Mac OS X and the best of Windows, a lot of additional functionality power users need (such as the kio slaves in konqueror, PLUS tabbed file management), AND provided the ability to extensively customize settings without having to recompile. On top of that, gnome uses a registry-style database for what settings you CAN tweak, and forces you to use gconf, whereas if there is a setting here or there that KDE does not provide a GUI for, you can tweak a config file and not have to recompile anything.

      Linus has changed desktops before, and when KDE 4.x becomes more feature-rich expect to read remarks that he's changed back to KDE 4.x. IMHO, this is non-news. Something newsworthy from Linus would be that he's retiring from Linux kernel development, or he's decided FreeBSD is the way to go, or he's released the 3.0 version of the kernel.

      KDE4 is not a disaster by any means; the current situation is the lack of understanding that the KDE team is releasing limited but stable features, and that KDE4.x is not considered feature-complete by anyone at this time.

      If you're missing KDE 3.5.x functionality and need it, perhaps you need to choose KDE 3.5.x, or at least do what I am doing and run KDE 3.5.x and KDE4.x side-by-side.

      There are a lot of things missing from kwin that I really like and miss, but I am using it understanding that the environment isn't complete by any stretch of the imagination.

  • by quo_vadis (889902) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @03:52PM (#26591365) Journal
    I think Linus is right on this one. I have been using KDE based linux desktops on my primary computer for ~7 years now. KDE 4 is a huge step back. The even bigger problem is that linux distros (Kubuntu and OpenSuse) are happily pushing KDE4.1 as the default KDE desktop. In fact with Kubuntu 8.10, there is no option. For KDE 3.5 you have to use 8.04. KDE 4 takes the GNOME approach to desktops (i.e. user's IQ is equivalent to a mostly dead rodent of unusually small size and any options would confuse poor afore mentioned user and therefore options are bad). Before the GNOME loving flames begin, yes I know there exist external tools to start fiddling with options, but the amount of flexibility is not the same as KDE 3.5.10.

    KDE 4 unfortunately takes the GNOME approach, and removes flexibility. Worse still, all the developer time for KDE 4 is now going into polishing the interface (which while shiny is no better or more intuitive than KDE 3.5) while not bothering fixing apps people actually use. For example, on KDE 4.2, if you add a webdav calendar from a https source which has a self signed cert, you will be prompted every time it reloads, whether you want to accept the cert or not. Yes thats right, even if you click accept cert permanently, the DE is incapable of understanding it. This has been outstanding for a while, but all recent activity seems to be towards fixing desktop effects or making the kicker work. Its ridiculous.

    /rant
  • It IS a disaster (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lord Lode (1290856) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @03:59PM (#26591489)

    I've used KDE 4.1 for a month. Then I switched back to KDE 3.5, and was the happiest guy in the world to have my good old desktop back! I use Kate a lot for programming C++ and Actionscript projects. In KDE 3.5, Kate rocks. In KDE 4.1, they have, on purpose (by design) ruined the search function of Kate (no whole word option, it doesn't search for the same word in the different open documents), making it unusable for programming (especially refactoring). They have totally made the file managers unusable. No proper working tree. Konqueror can have a tree, but it has the most annoying horizontal autoscroll thing ever (again by design), and you can't drag anything to it. The unzip tool (Ark) is a joke (I've never seen it working). No possibility to have two rows in your taskbar. I *need* to have one row that acts as quick launch for programs, and another row that has the buttons of open windows, one for every window, and only the windows on the current desktop of the multi desktops. Terribly annoying behaviour in file managers and file open/save dialogs, it's so extremely hard, almost an annoying computer game, to select multiple files. Anything from dragging a rectangle around multiple files, to using ctrl + clicking, are all not working properly due to various reasons (such as when beginning to drag the rectangle, it thinks you want to drag 1 file, instead of dragging something around rectangles). Filenames in such lists are clickable everywhere, instead of only on the text of the name, and are in a very wide column by default, which is a second cause for making it hard to drag a rectangle around multiple files. The non-SVG cards in the card games are rescaled in a terribly ugly way, and the SVG card decks all have an ugly design.

    But the productivity loss with kate and the file managers is still the worse of all, KDE has become unproductive as hell for me, and I use KDE 3.5 as long as possible.

  • by ClosedSource (238333) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @04:16PM (#26591661)

    "I make controversial statements without thinking a lot."

  • by bcrowell (177657) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @04:36PM (#26591879) Homepage

    Thank God Linux gives you choices about this kind of thing. One of the reasons I would never even consider switching from back Linux to a proprietary OS is that on Windows or MacOS, you don't get any choice about which desktop or window manager to run. Bought a Mac but don't like the Finder? Tough luck.

    Personally I dislike having a screen littered with little icons representing files, and I also seem to have much higher expectations about performance than a lot of people. That's why I use fluxbox. Linus can choose kde and then switch to gnome if kde has what he feels is a bad release. I don't have to agree with Linus, Linus doesn't have to agree with me, and likewise for everyone else.

    Sometimes OSS is about zero cost, sometimes it's about freedom, but sometimes it's just about being able to change something because only you know what's right for you. It's exactly like the famous story about Stallman's indignance about the closed-source laser printer at MIT [wikipedia.org]. He knew what was right for him as a user. He knew that the printer was on a different floor of the building, so he needed a good way to find out the printer's state without having to go and look at it. Xerox couldn't anticipate his situation, and he didn't want them to; he simply wanted to be able to modify what his university had bought from them so that it would be appropriate for them as users.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by value_added (719364)

      Personally I dislike having a screen littered with little icons representing files, and I also seem to have much higher expectations about performance than a lot of people. That's why I use fluxbox.

      Agreed. But then I use fluxbox, too, so no surprise there.

      What is surprising, and why I read these Gnome/KDE flamewars is the degree to which both sides screw up, leaving the community as a whole in disarray. On the one hand, you have Gnome, a perfectly usable desktop that could fit nicely into any corporate o

  • Me too! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by JoeCommodore (567479) <larry@portcommodore.com> on Saturday January 24, 2009 @04:37PM (#26591889) Homepage

    Upgrading Ubuntu to Intrepid Ibex, I just tried KDE 4.1 (from using KDE 3.x for the past few years years) and found it to be REALLY slow with the fancy effects, and wasting of a lot of screen real estate with the new styles. It definately was getting in my way of trying to get stuff done.

    You can't arrange files the way you like, the desktop is practically off limits except for KDE toys, the new K menu (being bulkier and over-animated) sucks, themes are gone (no way to "fix it"), etc.

    Gnome may not be my choice but like KDE it Just works, maybe not as well as KDE 3 but it certainly is far better then the Fischer Price like KDE 4 interface.

  • by theendlessnow (516149) * on Saturday January 24, 2009 @06:07PM (#26592755)

    People wonder why move away from KDE to Gnome. We all KNOW that KDE4 is a radical step... and it simply needs maturing. So why not just look at KDE4 and stay at KDE 3.5 until things are truly ready??

    Simple.

    Imagine if Linus gave the world a new Linux kernel. It's a radical step. It mostly works except it has no dynamic device management, most drivers aren't ported yet and networking isn't quite there. Imagine if he said that all work on the prior kernel had stopped, and only the new kernel would have the security and features needed for the future.

    I imaging a lot of people wouldn't trust Linux kernel development anymore... and thus we have the state of KDE. The KDE folks could not have trumpeted KDE 4's arrival more loudly. They were(are) PROUD of it and believe it is OBVIOUS that it is so much better than KDE 3.5. So why complain? You folks who believe that KDE 3 is better than KDE 4 are just plain WRONG. Why? Because the KDE developers SAY SO. Who are you do disagree?

    (you gotta admit... it makes you want to switch to Gnome... doesn't it??)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by HermMunster (972336)

      It's a step in the wrong direction as far as the desktop goes. Their desktop metaphor is terrible. Users have desktops and large monitors for a reason. They want sprawling desktops that they can organize and use according to their habit. Limiting us to a tiny box which doesn't in anyway resemble a desktop (rather it resembles an inbox on a desktop) is the wrong thing to do. KDE4 won't gain acceptance in any significant way till they put the desktop metaphor back to what we had before.

  • by Qbertino (265505) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @06:07PM (#26592761)

    KDE 4 is unfinished. It says everywhere in the official sources. Since KDE 2 the .5 releases basically where the stable targets. It's only with 4 that with the .0 release they didn't care about finish at all, and thus provides Über-suckage. 4.5 will be the stable finished 4 release. No news here. What's the big fat hairy deal?

    That said, KDE 3.5 still kicks Gnomes ass usability and integration wise. However - and this *is* true - Gnome has actually stopped sucking in 2008. For the first time in history Nautilus is usable also for non-total-fanboys, and allthough the featureset and power is no where near that of Konqueror, it also has become intuitive to use. For the first time ever since I moved from Debian, I'm using Ubuntu instead of Kubuntu (also due to the flak KDE 4 has gotten) and for the first time I didn't remove it after 10 minutes.
    It is far away from the KDE featureset and I'm still convinced that a well configured KDE 3.5 is the best desktop in the world and also outperforms Mac OS X usability wise (fyi: I'm typing this on a mac), but the Ubuntu foundation work done on my Dell Volstro is so awesome, I don't really care that much about any nitpicky details. Maybe I'll dick around with E or something if I get bored by it. Both Gnome and KDE are so far beyond Windows - which I use at work - that it doesn't really matter that much to me. Especially with the improvement Gnome obviously has seen lately.

    Since Linus actually cares squat about the Desktop, as long as it works, his statements actually make sence in current context. No surprise here either.

  • KDE4 Lacks A Desktop (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HermMunster (972336) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @06:19PM (#26592859)

    Some might disagree but we have desktop metaphors on computers for a reason. When I use my computer I put things on the desktop, move them around, arrange them to my liking and habit. Without a true desktop metaphor I can't do that. KDE4 doesn't give me a true desktop metaphor.

    KDE4 is implemented messy. They spent so much time on their start menu that they lost all sight of the desktop. The start menu needs revising even after all their work.

    Putting my desktop in a tiny Window is just crazy. I have a large screen monitor for a reason.

    Having such a conflict with compiz and the native compositing manager in KDE4 harms acceptance. Nothing like having my desktop slowed down because KDE won't give way to Compiz when it is installed (and I mean give way all the way).

    Without a regular desktop metaphor KDE4 will continue to fail.

  • by aussersterne (212916) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @07:29PM (#26593599) Homepage

    I came to Linux from SunOS in '93, switched from FVWM2 to KDE during the betas for KDE 1.0 in 1998 and used KDE all the way until last year, 2008.

    I suffered as a reviewer through the truly horrible GNOME 1.0 release and the flames that resulted from my negative review and tried GNOME over and over again through the years, always strongly preferring KDE.

    Then last year I finally upgraded from Fedora 5 to Fedora 9 and with it came KDE 4. I found it to be nearly unusable but used it nonetheless, still biased against GNOME for various reasons (including nonconfigurability). 4.1 came out and it was just as unusable.

    The thing that finally made me switch are the molasses-slow file previews in Dolphin/Konqueror. In combination with everything else (compatibility, slowness, problems with the nvidia drivers, instability, lack of functionality in comparison to KDE 3.x) it just pushed me over the edge. In 1991 I would never have dreamed of using a "file manager" of any kind on my SunOS+X11 desktops, but this is 2009, not 1991, and when even the file manager is too slow to use (a 5-second preview of a folder in GNOME vs a 1-hour preview of a folder in KDE) then there's just no hope.

    So I switched to GNOME last year, stuck with GNOME when upgrading to Fedora 10 this year. I've continued to "check in" on KDE, but despite repeated rounds of updated packages through yum, none of the problems that drove me away appear to have been solved. :-(

  • 2 weeks (Score:3, Funny)

    by tabby (592506) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @07:56PM (#26593833) Homepage

    I'm suprised he didn't just write his own.

ASCII a stupid question, you get an EBCDIC answer.

Working...