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KDE 4 Promises Large Changes 401

HatofPig writes "As the dust settles from aKademy 2005, the annual KDE conference, it's a good time to take a look at what the KDE developers are working on. Though KDE 3.5 isn't even out yet, developers are already working on KDE 4. Plenty of work has already gone into porting existing code to Qt4, the GUI toolkit upon which KDE is based, and KDE developers are working on projects that could radically change how the world's most popular free desktop looks and works."
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KDE 4 Promises Large Changes

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  • by gilesjuk ( 604902 ) <> on Thursday September 29, 2005 @07:04AM (#13674540)
    These need to be the main focus of KDE now. There's tons of features but it needs to be faster and more rock solid.

    It's a nuisance when Windows Explorer on an average Athlon is slightly more responsive than Linux and KDE on an AMD64 x2. Also Konqueror struggles with some pages, rendering them really slowly.
    • by Ganniterix ( 863430 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @07:13AM (#13674570)
      I don't think that it is a major killer for KDE to be slightly less responsive. I think if linux wants to be taken more seriously by non-geek people, it has to drastically imporve the artwork in the GUI. Even the hard-core developers and internet geeks, as soon as screen shots are out... they hammer down servers to look out for the eye candy. A generic user does not even notice the slightly slower response time, but he will notice if Windows Vista looks better than KDE 4. So ... my two c.. I think KDE is taking a very good direction. Better art-work, means better eye-candy, and more attracting generic users. (I am making an enormous assumption that a generic user will still be able to run popular household applications on the Linux box ...)
      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 29, 2005 @09:44AM (#13675407)
        What kind of crappy KDE releases are you guys using? KDE has been consistently faster for me on both my current system, AthlonXP 1800 with 1GB, and my last system, Athlon 1400 (thunderbird) with 512MB. And that is both in actual operation and in perceptable response time.

        And I'm not exactly sure how more "eye-candy" is going to attract anyone, since windows is already the ugliest desktop around. I think being pre-installed on 99% of hardware wouldn't hurt the chances of people using Linux. But until it is they're just going to go "I won't want Linux, I just want something that's easy to use for email and web and ebay." Which Linux is already far better for than windows since you don't need to know ANYTHING about it do to those things (if the system is pre-installed) and it'll definitely run a lot smoother, and at least for the time being more securely.

      • Not to fear. We're going to implement a system where KDE detects what eye-candy can be shown without severely impacting performance. We're not ignoring speed, or stability... we're aiming to incorporate all of these.

        Also, our "eye-candy"'s main point is to make it easier to use. All our eye-candy has a function, its not just for show.
    • i agree, Konquerer makes for a great file manager, but as a web browser it needs work, i think i will stick with Firefox or Opera for web browsers...

      there is a project called SimleKDE i am going to keep an eye on- [] i hope SimpleKDE makes a good fork (little brother) of KDE...
      • by IdleTime ( 561841 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @10:13AM (#13675657) Journal

        I use KDE but not Konquerer, but I would be very interested in hearing what the background for your bombastic statement is? What work exactly is needed?

        I'm sick and tired of people who throw out unsubstantiated claims like this without a single example to back it up. Most of the time I feel these claims are made by anti-KDE people since such a claim without further information only has one purpose, to make KDE look bad. If you have one or more examples of what work is needed, I expect that you have either:

        a) Created bugs or enhancement report on the issue or at least checked that it is in the pipeline.
        b) Used any other means to make sure that the right developers knows about the flaws you claim.

        If not, then I understand that you are just trying to be a troll.
    • by Nasarius ( 593729 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @07:34AM (#13674644)
      It's a nuisance when Windows Explorer on an average Athlon is slightly more responsive than Linux and KDE

      Interesting. I've found the opposite to be true, especially with the Start/K menu. If you want to speed up Konqueror's file browsing features, turn off stuff like document previews.

      • I did a comparison once a couple of years ago. On a dual-boot system at work I timed booting from poweroff to a finished Slashdot render in a browser. FreeBSD+KDE+Konqueror was ten to fifteen seconds quicker than WindowsXP+IExplorer.
    • I have an 800mhz duron and KDE on it is faster than any windows I've ever seen (including the same system). It's got a lot of ram though, that might be the difference.

      As for web page rendering, if you look at the benchmarks konqueror is the fastest Free browser, beating all the gecko-based ones hands down. Where it does get slow is running javascript, that needs to be improved.

      • It's got a lot of ram though, that might be the difference.

        That's the entire difference. Most modern operating systems (and I'll exclude OS X here) don't rely heavily on the processor to do work, and thus, aren't optimised for one platform, and just use the processor as they see fit. As most DEs don't do work that's that processor intense, it's not a problem (although, I will have to admit that there is currently a bug/feature/something wrong with Nautilus that causes older computers to have a heart atta
    • It's a nuisance when Windows Explorer on an average Athlon is slightly more responsive than Linux and KDE on an AMD64 x2.

      Let's be honest here, you're really comparing apples to oranges when you compare completely different hardware like that. KDE and Win overall performance *as a desktop on the same hardware* is similar. KDE certainly isn't perfect, particularly it's task bar, but I'd be hard pressed to say Windows is so much better. On a side note, for a desktop, I think dual CPU boxes simply aren't wor
      • Let's be honest here, you're really comparing apples to oranges when you compare completely different hardware like that. KDE and Win overall performance *as a desktop on the same hardware* is similar.

        Huh? His point (its validity aside) is that Windows is faster on slow hardware than Linux/KDE is on faster hardware! It's not apples and oranges, it's a fortiori.

    • Also Konqueror struggles with some pages, rendering them really slowly.

      echo "KDE_NO_IPV6=true" >> /etc/environment

      But I think they did something about it anyway; I've recently installed SuSE again and at first forgot to set the variable but I've yet to find a page with the painfully slow rendering that was caused by the ipv6 lookup lags in earlier versions.

      Also SuSE (well their performance enhanced version; get it here []) has the fastest KDE I've ever seen.

  • by LLuthor ( 909583 ) <> on Thursday September 29, 2005 @07:10AM (#13674557)
    If there are any KDE devs reading this:


    Its really sad that Windows with all its services and stuff uses 1/2 the RAM of KDE alone.
    • Amen brother. Gnome people -- that goes for you, too.
    • This is a true story ( I am sad to say ) though many will not want to believe it.

      I met a very attractive woman( hot blond ). As amazing fortune would have it, she was a reader in her spare time, of similar politics, was very witty and loved joking around. As if that could not get any better she was a linux users and attended linux meetup groups.

      She recently switched to windows xp. I was shocked and I asked her about it. She told me that she wanted to use a remote client to work on her work machine from
      • by Nasarius ( 593729 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @07:56AM (#13674741)
        The slowness of remote access has absolutely nothing to do with "outperforming the premier Linux desktop". Such things work on a much lower level. VNC does suck compared to RDP, but look at NX [].
        • ... would load a Commodore 64 binary file named SIG from device 8, the first 1541 drive.

          Completely non-portable, you insensitive clod. Still, those of us reading Slashdot from a C64 might be tempted to load and run your binary SIG, thus potentially spreading a virus.

          At least you could do:
          10 DOPEN#1,"SIG"
          20 INPUT#1,S$
          30 DCLOSE#1
          40 PRINT S$

          Just as non-portable, but would actually work and not cause a security nightmare from running untrusted binaries. We 64 users have enough trouble with CSS not to have sec
    • by Rapsey ( 241302 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @07:59AM (#13674752)
      The overall memory usage is not that high. On my system a huge part of the used memory is cache. Even if it shows that my memory is almost full I can easely run a game that takes up atleast half of my RAM without problems.
      I can run alot more applications at the same time on my machine when im in KDE, than I can when im in winxp.
      • Seconded. My laptop has 512MB RAM and currently KDE (2 Konsoles, Konqueror, KMail, KOrganizer, KPilot), Gaim, & daemons are using 145 MB, with the rest cached. top reveals that my three biggest memory users are Konqueror, KMail, and X, taking up about 25% of my total memory.

        Windows, OTOH, maxes out my memory as soon as it starts up, all the while dumping everything into the paging file.
      • That may be you. I'm running amarok and I see two amarokapp processes each one eating ~ 44 MB of RSS. From those, only 23 MB are shared...

        Then I use kopete, 36 MB of RSS and 25 shared.

        Akregator, a app whose objective is manipulating fucikng text and rendering it in a preview via khtml kpart, 28 MB with 18 shared

        KDE eats LOTS of memory man. I'm wasting lots of ram on caches etc. but KDE eats its share...
    • It's only fair to compare KDE 4 to Windows Vista when they come out.

      I for one have been folowing the progress of KDE since its 2.0 days and all I can say is they do an amazing job. Yeah, I agree, it always used a lot more memory than the Windows Explorer shell but I bet you would never notice that if you were not with you eyes on the memory gauge. And I can bet you that in the unlikely event some component in KDE crashes, you don't need to restart.

      I run KDE 3.5_beta1 on Gentoo right now and have had no
      • by ciroknight ( 601098 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @08:31AM (#13674912)
        It's only fair to compare KDE 4 to Windows Vista when they come out.

        Wait.. what? In that case what is it only fair to compare GNOME to? Let me try my best to explain something to you; in the computer world, the only thing a version number tells you, is how new the product is (now pay attention to this part) in relation to itself. That's right. KDE 4 means that it's the 4th iteration of KDE. Thus, if you want fair comparisons, you have to go to features.

        Now, since a feature set hasn't been frozen for KDE 4 yet, any comparison is simply "speculation", and thus, it's completely and totally fair to compare KDE 4 to KDE 16 to Aqua circa OS X 10(.0). Of course, these comparisons don't mean jack, because you can only speculate on what's going into it, whereas on the other side of the equation, you have a list of what's there, and what isn't.

        As for the current generation of desktops, comparisons are completely valid there too (imagine that)! Simply take a list of features that both desktops have, and look at both of them, noting what's the same, and what's different. This is what we call "comparison". Thus, if I want to compare or contrast KDE to the look and feel of Windows 95, that's perfectly valid. My conclusions based on that comparison may or may not be correct, and you may or may not like them, but the point remains that the comparison is completely and totally valid.

        The Open Source world needs to be apt to be compared if they refuse to innovate. The reason why so many Apple products are awe inspiring is simply because there is nothing available yet to compare them to, and that's what drives a lot of appeal and dislike of Apple; people have to build their conclusions as they see it, as they use it for the first time, instead of drawing the knowledge from what functionality already exists. (Of course, I'm simply using Apple as an example here, there are a lot of companies out there that are perfect drop in replacements for them, but they're the easiest to think about, and Slashdot readers can probably relate better to a computer company than a speed boat company).

        Now, lastly, the points that you make about KDE can be made about practically any modern desktop environment, that's right, every single point you made (well, perhaps not the Windows Explorer one, but then again..) can be used to describe practically any DE existant right now. I can't tell you the last time I installed a DE that didn't come with a desktop, file manager, instant messaging, mail, address book, calendar etc. But I can tell you the features which exist within those applications, and I can tell which ones are exclusive to which DE/Application.

        Please, comments in praise are great, but you really need to give reason why that praise belongs there, and draw valid conclusions with your arguments, or else you're just talking out of your ass like 98% of slashdotters.
    • On how much RAM should it work then? 256MB is the absolute minimium these days, with 512MB being the standard on computers. On my machine, KDE with bunch of apps (Konqueror, Kontact, Konsole at least) takes about 140-170MB of RAM. With 256MB it should work just fine, with 512MB being great.

      Why are people so concerned with KDE's memory-consumption? So what if Windows eats slightly less RAM than KDE does? KDE also does a lot more than Windows does. Even if KDE eats a bit more RAM, it will run comfortably on a
  • Imagine that... Superkarumba [] support built right into the desktop, RuDI [] will mean more compatibility for KDE widget sets and libraries for all applications, KHotNewStuff (snicker) will get kool and new applikations from the web...

    It'll be like a second Christmas!

  • What linux needs for the desktop market is an easy to use, and simple desktop. The problem with this on current installs is the lack of communication between desktop and kernel etc.

    For example, Sometimes, sound on linux can be an absolute bitch to get going. Even something as trivial as playing an AVI caused me *way* too much drama. Not that I couldn't get it to work, but then if I wanted sound to work with other things, I need to use a sound daemon. Fair enough, thats not too hard - but then the audio/vide
    • I currently use XFCE on top of Slackware. It's slim enough to work on old hardware, GTK based for eye-candy purposes, and configurable almost entirely by mouse. Much more pleasant to use than either GNOME or KDE, but less stark and more integrated than a desktop patched together with Fluxbox et al.
    • I think you're right. It's important to realise though that the problems are not the obvious ones - basic UI consistency and so on is not that disastrously bad. Rather, it's the "user experience" that is the problem - the number of FAQs, the number of different utilities for the same "user purpose" , and the general need to have specialist knowledge to get item X working with item Y. For my money, a good comparison is with iTunes/iPod and windows based DRM MP3 players - iTunes/iPod just works, and does so
    • For example, Sometimes, sound on linux can be an absolute bitch to get going. Even something as trivial as playing an AVI caused me *way* too much drama. Not that I couldn't get it to work, but then if I wanted sound to work with other things, I need to use a sound daemon. Fair enough, thats not too hard - but then the audio/video sync was out because of the latency in the sound daemon.

      If you stick with KDE, you will be fine. You run artsd as the sound daemon - KDE will start it up for you - and since arts

    • The point is, that as long as simple issues like playing a video become mammoth tasks, then the average person will just stick with something simpler. Hell, 90% of the time I can just install Windows and everything will work right out of the box.

      You are blaming this on KDE, whereas primarily you should be blaming the hardware manufacturers for not providing support for their hardware, on people who ship their media in proprietary formats, and on the peddlers of those proprietary formats for not providing

    • Where ease of use is concerned OSX is enjoyed more by full-time owner-operators than casual users. This stands out in a class-room situation where (in my experience) students coming from Windows take some two-weeks of guided support getting used to OSX, whereas KDE takes them little more than a day. As a teacher that has to work with both platforms from time to time, OSX lags heavily in this area, whereas KDE really gains.

      I don't know about the 'market share' you talk of, but Linux, for whatever reason,
    • Last time I checked, a core install of windows would only play wmf,old avis, and maybe a couple other formats. Linux core installs usually place xvid, divx, omg, and about 52 other formats right out of the box. If your soundcard isn't installed correctly, that's not for the desktop to figure out, that should have been done when the os was installed. No matter which desktop you run under, if you soundcard doesn't work, then it won't work. Improving the desktop can't help that.
  • by orangeguru ( 411012 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @07:29AM (#13674623) Homepage
    Just getting bigger not better is my first impression. My PC is often faster and more responsive under W2K then under Suse/KDE. It only can get worse with even more gimmicks.
    • Re:Bloatware (Score:2, Informative)

      Read about Qt 4 here []. If Trolltech are to be believed, we are getting more features and better performance. It's not a case of the two being mutually exclusive.
    • So, you are using a modern KDE on modern computer, and compare it to 5 year old Windows on modern computer? Hey, I bet that Windows95 is A LOT faster than KDE is on same hardware, KDE sucks! DOS was even faster!

      Fact is that software tends to get slower over time. You don't really notice it since hardware gets faster. But if you took old piece of software and installed it on modern piece of hardware, it would be very fast indeed. There are several reasons for that slowness. For starters, new software usually
  • I guess the acid test for KDE 4 (as for KDE 3) will be KBear, then - the strangely named fpt client with the strange user interface that seems to come with each release whether you want it or not.

    Will it run this time? Or will it revert to its lovable self and crash shortly after starting up, taking the kicker down with it?

    Madames et Messieurs, faites vos jeux!
    • kbear [] never got into any official KDE release. The instability of the project is full responsability of its author and the project itself seems dead for almost 2 years now.

      Why did you have to mix kbear (as any other independent app) with KDE itself? Just because its made for KDE?

      Would this mean that if I, eventually, developed a nice calculator for windows that says 2+2=69 instantly Windows would be so buggy that 2+2=69?
  • change (Score:2, Troll)

    by Tom ( 822 )
    that could radically change how the world's most popular free desktop looks and works.

    Good! It's about time that they move ahead, and I so hope that they finally abandon the "let's copy everything from windos" meme, which is not a winning strategy. If you want to copy, at least do it from the original (MacOS) and not another already crappy copy (windos).

    #1 reason I'm not using KDE: It looks and works like windos, and windos usability is rock bottom.
    • Well, Windows Explorer is very unstable, and sucks a lot of memory, but it is VERY usable. It *reacts* quickly, thats a crucial point. With Nautilus, sometimes I select a bunch of files I want to move, and want to drag, and - nothing happens! Then after an eternity the drag&drop icon appears. Annoying stuff like this happens with Explorer too sometimes, but not as often as with Nautilus.
      • by Tom ( 822 )
        It *reacts* quickly, thats a crucial point.

        You must be using some other windos, or run windos the way it was designed - single tasking. Both on my work NT and my home XP systems explorer is sluggish and sometimes very close to utterly unusable if there is any considerable work being done in the background.

        My bash, on the other hand, is always snappy, no matter how red the CPU usage bar is. ;-)

    • Re:change (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Bogtha ( 906264 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @08:00AM (#13674757)

      #1 reason I'm not using KDE: It looks and works like windos

      And yet the #1 reason lots of other people won't use KDE is because it doesn't work exactly like Windows. The KDE developers are stuck in a catch-22 situation - if KDE resembles Windows in any manner, people flame them for just copying a poor desktop, and if they try and do something new, people flame them for doing things differently to Windows. Either way, they can't win. Even the compromise they have now - default to Windows-like and offer the ability to configure it differently - isn't enough for some people.

      • Re:change (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Tom ( 822 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @09:06AM (#13675070) Homepage Journal
        And yet the #1 reason lots of other people won't use KDE is because it doesn't work exactly like Windows.

        Yes, you have a point there. If you copy something, then any difference to the real thing will be noticed more, the closer you copy. Essentially, you can make a 100% clone, or you can make your own thing, anything inbetween will be perceived as bad.

        The way KDE does it, nobody is really happy with it. I figure it's "good enough" for a large share of people, and since many of them are ex-windos users and have grown up to live with "good enough" being all they should ever expect - it kinda works.

        5 years ago, there was much hope for the Linux desktop. Today, even I seriously consider buying myself a Mac. And that's after my main machine has been a Linux machine for over 10 years now.

        Either way, they can't win.

        Learn a lesson from the real leader in computer desktop UI. Copy the Mac or come up with your own alternative. Do things because they are good things and not because windos does them.

        Ah crap, I tried convincing the Gnome UI group when it was formed (and I was an early member) and couldn't. Now we have two badly copied windos-like UIs for Linux. And we all pretend to be surprised that it's not making as much progress taking over the desktop world.
        Hello? You can't overtake anyone if all you ever do is drive slipstream.

    • #1 reason I'm not using KDE: It looks and works like windos

      How exactly? They both have a taskbar? Windows? "Start-menu"? Icons? Why is KDE a "copy of Windows", whereas some other desktop is not?
  • Is it just me, or does 'Appeal' sound a whole lot like 'Apple' ?
  • by ardor ( 673957 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @07:53AM (#13674728)
    In Windows I use TortoiseCVS/SVN. It absolutely rocks. Using Cervisia after using Tortoise is anything but pleasant. I don't want to offend the Cervisia devs with this, but I would be glad if a new Cervisia release would integrate in Konqueror like Tortoise does with Explorer.
  • My suggestions (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @08:05AM (#13674786)
    1) Consolidate and halve the number of pref panels. There's too many, they're all over the place and they contain advanced & seldom used features mixed in with the common features. Throw that crap out of the window and pursue something more minimalist and therefore easier to use. If Apple (and to some extent GNOME) can do it, then so can KDE.

    2) Work with GNOME, Trolltech and Free Desktop and produce a common widget theme engine. I don't care if an app runs QT or GTK, I don't care if it's part of KDE or GNOME. I do care that the average Linux desktop looks severely schizophrenic and unpredictable from one app to the next.

    • Re:My suggestions (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ardor ( 673957 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @08:15AM (#13674827)
      1) is correct, but also pretty ironic, given that there are so much zealots who say exactly this (too much prefs stuff in the control center) and then say "edit bla.conf" when anyone asks how to get sound working (provided the zealots don't quit with a "RTFM"). The advanced options shouldn't disappear completely (like GNOME did). Instead, they should be hidden behind an "Advanced options...." button. For example, the Windows desktop settings behave this way; the most common options are visible immediately, but for editing graphics driver options or setting the monitor refresh rate etc. one has to go to the Advanced Options part.

      2) There is already something for GNOME/KDE integration: a GTK theme engine based on Qt. Thus, GTK apps look like Qt/KDE ones. Of course, its only useful if you use KDE...
    • Re:My suggestions (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Waffle Iron ( 339739 )
      If Apple (and to some extent GNOME) can do it, then so can KDE.

      Apple didn't do it. They use the Model T paintjob approach: They just don't let you tweak a lot of stuff that you should be able to tweak.

      I use a lot of the obscure preferences in KDE. There are plenty of dumbed down alternatives out there already; KDE doesn't need to try to be another one of those.

  • What is called tenor here is already existing albeit in a very rough state as kate.
    It isnt really very functionnal yet, but it will be included in Mandriva 2006, which you can think of as a mistake from mandriva or as a gesture of trust and commitment toward that application and what it will become: []

    Personnally, I removed it, but I'm also glad my favorite distribution is doing this kind of choices. After all, they included KDE by default when it wasnt very popular to do so, and it was
  • that it was the most popular? No this isn't a troll I'm just finding it funny how so many people start saying things like that. On what basis do they deem they are the most popular?

"Well, it don't make the sun shine, but at least it don't deepen the shit." -- Straiter Empy, in _Riddley_Walker_ by Russell Hoban