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Ask Slashdot: Why Aren't You Running KDE? 818

First time accepted submitter mike_toscano writes "At least some of us have recently seen Linus' most recent comments on his experience with Gnome 3 — he didn't have many nice things to say about it and as you know, he's not the only one. On the other hand, there have been some great reviews and comparisons of KDE with the other options (like this one) lately. Sure, early releases of 4.x were painful but the desktop today is fully-functional and polished. So the question: To those who run *nix desktops and are frustrated by the latest Gnome variants, why aren't you running KDE? To clarify, I'm not asking which desktop is better. I'm really talking to the people who have already decided they don't like the new Gnome & Unity but aren't using KDE. If you don't like KDE or Gnome, why not?"
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Ask Slashdot: Why Aren't You Running KDE?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:09AM (#40283727)

    You can’t completely break something for a long time and expect people to jump right back when you fix it. I, like many others, had to go elsewhere when kde3 became impractical to keep running and kde4 was completely broken. What I have now works great, and more importantly, kde4 doesn’t have any killer features that appeal to me that I don’t already have in my openbox/xfce4 setup.

    All I really want is good multi-monitor handling (including separate panels for each monitor) and the expected standards for managing windows. KDE 3 provided that with minimal fuss KDE 4 initially didn’t. My openbox+xfce4 setup provides it with a little work and minus all the eye candy I disabled anyway.

    People will gradually migrate back. I might give kde4 a try the next time I build a machine... but for now, I’m happy with my setup and have no reason to switch back.

    • by ekimd ( 968058 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:51AM (#40284409)
      I've also found happiness elsewhere. A combination of XFCE + OpenBox does EVERYTHING I need *and* want.
      • by doublebackslash ( 702979 ) <> on Monday June 11, 2012 @12:59PM (#40285567)

        I've found XFCE to be a VERY sweet spot for me as well. I use the default WM, just heard of OpenBox via this thread.

        My favourite thing is raw speed. Absoloute unquestioning speed. XFCE doesn't get it my way, it doesn't take time to play an animation whenever I do something. It snaps to attention and that is a BIG deal when I'm developing. Alt-Tabbing around, switching virtual desktops (with keyboard shortcuts, natch), raising and lowering windows, etc are all things that should happen fast. The next screen update if possible. The other desktop environments have forgotten that. I like animations and all the eye candy at first, but when I went to get something done they just got real annoying. Not to mention all the things that they want to change just... because? I don't know.

        Unity wants me to change my workflow, lack(s|ed) basic configuration, has the "unified menu" (really hate those) and a whole slew of other problems that I never found because when I realized it wouldn't let me launch more than one instance of an application (a terminal, for example) without performing some ritual (I never found out how) I restored from backup as quickly as I could. Unity, in my experience, is slow braindead garbage designed with goals nearly orthogonal to my own needs.

        Gnome I've not tried since it arrived stillborn in Ubuntu 11.10? (I think? It crashed for me hourly. Didn't take long for me to change when that started). The last time I looked at KDE it simply didn't give me controls to do certain things, forget what but it was keyboard shortcuts for window management. It might have been virtual desktops but I could be wrong. I like to be able to swtch desktops with *absoloute* keyboard shortcuts instead of relative ones. I don't give a half a rat's tail about the "geometry" of my work spaces. Hint: There isn't one! Its all just an abstraction! I don't want to have to give a moments reflection on "where I'm at" in my virtual desktop space to know how to get to my "destination"! I know that I want to get to virtual desktop 3 so I hit ctrl+alt+down and I'm there. I make habits of putting certain things in certain places so it is reflex to jump to the right place to find them, no thought required and no distraction from my train of thought.

        Anyway, KDE seemed incomplete. Lack of controls that irked me (and I DID try. I like the look of it and I recall it being speedy enough. Just felt like I was typing one handed, for lack of a better analogy)

        XFCE fit the bill for me in every single way. Right now everything else seems like a pain in the neck that is trying to get in my way, change my workflow to a painfully slow one, or is jsut plain broken / incomplete.

        • by sdnoob ( 917382 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @01:08PM (#40285689)


          i haven't run kde since openlinux (yes, i bought it at retail way back when. wtf was i thinking).. it was gnome after that until ubuntu and gnome3 fucked that up. now it's xfce and lxde:

          xfce is the new gnome2, and lxde is the new xfce.

    • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:54AM (#40284441)

      My reason is simple. I just don't care anymore. Whatever the Distribution gives me by default, ill go ahead and use. Just as long as I can put an icon for my terminal I am good.

      I use to care, but then I spent more time finding the perfect GUI then I did actually doing work. So if it has Unity, Ill deal with it. Is it my favorate... No but it isn't worth it for me to try over and over again.

      I am not running KDE because it wasn't my default choice. Why am I sticking to my default choice... Because I really don't care. And whatever distribution I choose I stick with the default choice because all the bits and pieces are working. No broken links, copy and paste works, and if I need help online, I can get the easy answers from the beginner page even though I am not a beginner, but I prefer the beginner pages, because I usually get the straight forward answer to the problem, vs the Advanced Pages, where I need to discuss why am I trying to do something. Vs just getting info on how to do it. Besides I usually just need help with whatever new UI crazyness that comes out that I haven't figured out quickly.

    • Why the GNOME logo? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by unixisc ( 2429386 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @12:06PM (#40284663)
      Why does this story have the GNOME footprint logo, when the thread is about KDE? That's retarded. KDE should have been the first keyword, and the KDE logo should have shown up.
    • by hmmm ( 115599 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @12:13PM (#40284781)

      You can’t completely break something for a long time and expect people to jump right back when you fix it. I, like many others, had to go elsewhere when kde3 became impractical to keep running and kde4 was completely broken.

      +1 this. I'm sick of distributions which I've gotten used to and liked who suddenly throw themselves (and my productivity) off a GUI cliff. I don't care if you're putting in place the building blocks for some super duper new GUI, I use my computers to get things done and don't like having a "WTF?" moment when I upgrade.

      I used and really liked KDE for a long time, and along came 4.x . Suddenly I was left with a half working GUI, and was told that "well you shouldn't have upgraded should you?" and "it'll get better when we fix all the bugs". This is my problem now is it?

      MS are about to run into the same issue with Windows 8. Taking a well known and, maybe not loved but tolerated, GUI paradigm of a desktop and discarding it. It's going to cause chaos and resentment amongst their user community, many of whom will look at alternatives.

      I greatly respect everyone who contributes to open source, and I know you put your heart and soul into it, but for most of us our computers are not toys that we sit and tinker with endlessly to display snazzy new GUI effects, they are the tools we use to get things done. Once you lose the trust of the user that they can rely on you to provide a stable and easy to use OS you will have an incredibly hard job getting them back.

      • by GPLHost-Thomas ( 1330431 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @12:27PM (#40284999)
        Something you probably don't get though, is that distributions have no choice. They don't make decisions for upstream authors, THEY decide to fu**-up, and package maintainers just take that, because that's going to be the only thing that upstream does support for.

        This being said, I 100% agree with your "WTF" moments, and the fact that I don't like the GUI I've spent so much time with may change radically. In fact, I'm currently using GNOME 2, and I still think KDE 3.5 was better. I'll probably switch to LXDE when I'll have to upgrade form Squeeze to Wheezy. It's getting worse on each upgrade...
        • by jmauro ( 32523 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @12:47PM (#40285333)

          Something you probably don't get though, is that distributions have no choice.

          That is wrong. Distributions actually have all sorts of choice in the matter. There is nothing preventing them from keeping to ship the older versions KDE3 or Gnome 2 while all the upgrade chaos goes on. It's open source so if the upstream maintainers don't want to do it there is nothing that prevents them from maintaining the older version themselves, getting together as a group to maintian, or even just leaving as is and not following the upgrades.

          They instead choose to foist all this on their users for reasons that escape me (though being the path of least resistances for them might be why). To say they have no choice in the matter is just wrong.

          • by ( 1706780 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @01:12PM (#40285737)
            You make a good point . Slackware continued with KDE3 for quite a while after 4 started shipping, and Mint forked Gnome2 as MATE and they're still shipping it. They also made Cinnamon which uses some pieces of Gnome3 but with most of the features you loved from 2, I'm using that at the moment and personally I think it's brilliant. So the distros do have a choice.
          • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @02:29PM (#40286743)

            The distro maintainers are absolutely at fault. They are under no obligation to include anything from an upstream project. To use the obligatory car analogy, suppose a car company is building a car from a big box of parts, and their job is to use these free parts to make a car that works well for people for practical purposes. One of the parts in the box is a really cool new engine, but it only runs on natural gas (not commonly available for refueling) and it has all kinds of bugs and problems. Why would the company put that new engine in their car, instead of the (also freely available) gasoline piston engine they have available, which works well and has few problems, when they can wait for the people making that engine to improve it to the point where it's better than the gas engine, or at least a worthwhile alternative that they can offer to customers?

            The reason the distros include this buggy new software as soon as it's available, replacing the more stable but older versions, is because they want to advertise how they have the fancy new item; they want to look like they're cutting-edge. This is a bad way to go about things though; it just shows they don't do any real testing (obviously no user testing, so that users can tell them "this thing sucks balls! give me the old one back!"). People who want to get real work done don't want to be beta testers for every new thing out there. But by the same token, they also don't want to be stuck with ancient (and buggy) versions of software just because someone arbitrarily set a "freeze" date at some point, like they do with Debian "Stable". Pragmatic people wanting the best productivity want the latest stable versions of software, so they have all the security fixes and bug-fixes, but without any beta testing; that stuff should be left in experimental branches. They do want recent versions of the kernel, however, so they get good hardware support; highly stable software isn't much use if it doesn't run on your hardware and you have to go track down a 3-year-old system to run it on. They also want the latest bug fixes and updates for things like browsers; a browser isn't very useful if it's years out of date and doesn't show websites properly (e.g., doesn't have full HTML5 support). But a desktop environment is different; there's few compatibility worries there--it doesn't restrict what hardware you can run, or affect what websites you can see, it's mainly just a user interface. But it's how you do all your interaction with your computer, so it needs to be more stable and usable than anything else on your computer.

          • We are talking here about package maintainer not upstream authors. That's a big difference. You don't expect someone who maintain packages to ALSO fork something as big as KDE, do you? Or maybe you don't care about security patches?
    • by DrJimbo ( 594231 )

      Another +1 for this. It took me a while to customize e16 to my liking but now that I have there is no reason for me to go back to KDE. The lack of decent multi-monitor support in KDE4 was also a deal breaker for me. Being called a whiner and worse when I complained about the problems I encountered makes me even less interested in ever going back.

      I was actually a KDE developer when all this happened. The horrible end user experience and the way the transition was mishandled for years caused me to l

    • At the time when everone said KDE was broken, Gnome felt difficult to use and and customize. I honestly have never understood what people saw in Gnome even before it had its nervous breakdown.

  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:09AM (#40283741) Journal

    Why Aren't You Running KDE?

    Because Xfce (personal use) and no windowing or graphical interface at all (work servers) completely satisfies all my needs?

    I use Xubuntu at home on two desktops and a netbook and have yet to encounter the inability to do anything while at the same time requiring very little of my time to maintain it. I'm sorry if this sounds like a plug for Xfce, it's not. I'm simply responding by asking a counter question: what exactly am I missing if I use these machines for web surfing, e-mail and lots of hobby development? I'm forced to maintain a Windows 7 x64 partition for Diablo III, netflix and some other crappy windows stuff I can't shake so maybe I'm unaware that with KDE we can now satisfy some of those things?

    Can someone tell me what Linux Jesus means when he says:

    Simply because my old F14 comes with ancient X versions that don't contain all the fixes to make intel 3D really work well. And yes, things really do work better on the graphical side.

    Intel 3D? Does he have a 3D monitor? Are these more than just novelties now?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tribaal_ch ( 1192815 )
      Intel 3d refers to intel graphic cards with accelerated 3d rendering (openGL etc...).
    • by Rhaban ( 987410 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:23AM (#40283987)

      I use xfce on mint (lmde).

      I tried several flavors of kde, I really like it, but it just isn't good enough. I had huge problems with Kubuntu (several years ago: kde 4.2, I think): no simple tool available to set up wifi connection, an update that broke my desktop entirely... I decided I'd try it again later.
      Some months ago, I installed an opensuse with kde on my work laptop (a dell e6510). I had some performance issues and I didn't know where they came from: some database update scripts took almost 2 times as long as on my coworker's similar pc to complete, and sometimes the load would freeze the desktop for several seconds.
      I did not think it was kde, but I tried and installed xfce. The performance problems disappeared instantly. And they came back if i chose kde as my desktop manager when turning my computer on.

      More recently I decided to change distribution, and went for lmde with xfce. I don't think I'll try kde again.

      • I've been using the same thing since Ubuntu drove the bus off a cliff with Gnome3 a year or so ago. I never really was into the "make look pretty" aspect of customizing a desktop. XFCE4 is just so damn flexible. I still have yet to run into a limitation of my own personal and development uses.
      • KDE4.2 was still really beta quality; the newer distros with 4.8 are much better. There's a simple WiFi tool like you mention, and everything else works pretty well. The one primary complaint I hear KDE users bitching about these days is Kmail; apparently they changed to using a database for storing emails and ones who like to use maildir don't like that, or maybe there's some problem with migration, I forget exactly. Anyway, if you're not using Kmail, check out a new KDE distro, you might like it.

    • Because I run fluxbox- KDE runs a load of crap in the background, which is one of the basic reasons I gave up Windows looooooooong ago.

      On fluxbox (and openbox, and blackbox) everything has been customizable for years now (key+click combinations etc, window layouts) which makes it ideal for applications that demand lots of hotkeys. Okay, it might not be flashy and 3D accelerated (unless you really try to make it so) but who cares: the memory footprint of the whole window manager is negligible.

      And if you miss

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        And if you miss your $favouriteKDEapp or $favouriteGNOMEapp, remember that the executable can be launched from a terminal window.

        I'm finding this less and less true as KDE apps become more tied in with each other (kind of like a certain other much maligned OS). They all expect a bunch of services to be running in the background and properly configured. You almost have to setup a kde desktop minus the actual desktop just to run tools like dolphin. Gnome was always this way (I still remember when launching gnome's editor would kick off nautilis).

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Diablo III seems to play fine under Wine: []

      And I heard that netflix works on Android. Presumably you could install Android x86 in a VM.

  • Because I run XFCE (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bananatree3 ( 872975 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:10AM (#40283753)
    Thank you, good day.
    • by ElPedroGrande ( 1235420 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:15AM (#40283829)
      Exactly. XFCE or LXDE are both vastly superior to KDE. Plus, feet are yucky.
    • XFCE Convert (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Hyppy ( 74366 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @12:31PM (#40285077)
      I couldn't agree more. I first moved to XFCE when I was looking for a lighter window manager on an older computer. This was about a year ago, and I haven't looked back. Everything just works, and failing that, is fairly simple to configure. No godawful semi-maintained nigh-mandatory extensions lists, no configurator-cum-registry, no fighting with dozens of default helper services. It's just... functional. Is that too much to ask?
  • fwiw (Score:5, Interesting)

    by stoolpigeon ( 454276 ) * <bittercode@gmail> on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:11AM (#40283757) Homepage Journal

    much further down in the thread Linus says, "And for all the people wasting everybodys time with "Why don't you use Unity/KDE/xfce/xyz" - I've tried them. They are even worse, and equally importantly they aren't the normal window manager. I'm really not that odd." - There is a lot more in the comment and if I could figure it out I'd link directly to it - but if there is a way to do it, I couldn't figure it out. Scrolling through this thread made me think there is room for lots of improvement in g+

    As for me - I do run KDE and love it. I have for years and stuck with it even through the switch to 4, which was a touch frustrating at times but not nearly as horrible as so many made it out to be - in my opinion.

    • by fnj ( 64210 )

      That is an utterly mystified comment on Linus' part. "Even worse"??? "Not the normal Window manager"??? Is he [expletive deleted] kidding?

      I don't believe that is really Linus in the discussion. It just doesn't sound like him. For example when he remarks "Gnome3 is actually fairly close in 3.4". ????? HUH ????? First he goes on and on about what a crock Gnome3 is, and then he casually tosses out that there's really not much wrong with it? Seriously?

      I can't figure out how to link it either, so for the recor

  • by carrier lost ( 222597 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:11AM (#40283763) Homepage
    Because I am Enlightened []
  • by satuon ( 1822492 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:13AM (#40283801)

    Actually I'm running KDE for the last year, since I noticed that Alt+Tab works substantially faster and it generally feels faster than the new versions of Ubuntu with Unity/Gnome 3.

    • Re:I'm running KDE (Score:5, Informative)

      by fa2k ( 881632 ) <.pmbjornstad. .at.> on Monday June 11, 2012 @12:42PM (#40285251)
      I'm running KDE too. It has a useful file manager, and it is very configurable. Don't like the alt-tab switcher? There are 4 to choose from :D The defaults are generally OK too, so only a few things need changing. It's not perfect, there could be something better in terms of window management, but I haven't seen it yet. KDE doesn't become useless when you have about 8 windows per workspace, and that's more than you can say about most DEs...
  • I am running KDE. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lord Kano ( 13027 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:16AM (#40283849) Homepage Journal

    I use KDE 3.5.11 courtesy of the trinity project. I never liked gnome and I despise KDE 4.x.


  • Running KDE 4.8 (Score:5, Informative)

    by ( 1140205 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:17AM (#40283863)
    The early series 4 KDE were appalling, and thin includes upto 4.4.
    4.8 is good, you should all come back to the light side.
    • Re:Running KDE 4.8 (Score:5, Informative)

      by unixisc ( 2429386 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @12:11PM (#40284759)
      Those who are worried about the bloat could look @ Razor-qt, which is Qt based. Essentially, Razor-qt is to KDE what LXDE is to GNOME.
  • I am (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ChunderDownunder ( 709234 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:17AM (#40283867)

    I was using kde 3.x - migrated to gnome. Hated unity. I tried mate, cinnamon, lxde, xfce and then thought I'd given kde 4.8 a try.

    It's much improved from 4.0!

  • by Uncle Warthog ( 311922 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:19AM (#40283903)

    I completely gave up on GNOME back in the 2.x range as I saw features get continually moved, removed, or just made harder to configure. I loved KDE3 and tolerated KDE4 between crashes (now, thankfully, gone in newer versions) until I realized that as KDE versions got newer and newer, they also got slower and slower on my, admittedly aging, hardware. I've since switched to XFCE and haven't looked back. Much.

  • by gallondr00nk ( 868673 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:20AM (#40283929)

    For me, Linux or BSD is about performance. If I wanted an integrated desktop experience with bells and whistles, frankly I'd stick with Windows XP or maybe go for XFCE.

    Personally, I use Openbox. It's fast as hell and exceptionally customisable. I've ran it on machines ranging from modernish laptops to a creaking old 233MHz Thinkpad 600 and I cannot fault it. For me there is nothing missing that cannot be added (i combine mine with LXpanel and PCManFM).

    Openbox doesn't get in the way or chew up system resources, and IMO that is the whole point of a window manager. I'm glad KDE exists, but it simply doesn't interest me.

  • by kmahan ( 80459 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:20AM (#40283933)

    KDE would be more usable for us developers if the KDELibs crew would (re)implement the basic --geometry command line feature. Removed in KDE 4, available everywhere else. It has been listed as a bug since the release of KDE 4. []

    Please vote for this and maybe the KDE developers will take notice.

    • by VON-MAN ( 621853 )
      For those that _truly_ think this is an interesting argument, "man x" says:
      xeyes -display joesws:0 -geometry 1000x1000+0+0
      So, no that's _not_ useful feature in KDE4. But mind you: the widthxheight _do_ work in KDE4, the placement doesn't.
  • Because ROX (Score:4, Interesting)

    by oGMo ( 379 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:22AM (#40283963)

    Because I've been using RiscOS on X [] for awhile and see no reason to change. It's not "gnome" (though it uses gtk). It's interactively very fast even on slow hardware. It's functionally very fast; apply all sorts of filters, selections, and commands to the current window, or bring up a shell in the window's cwd by typing "x". It's an augmentation of the terminal, not a UI for casual users. It's extremely screen-space efficient, since I can do everything and keep all the menubars and toolbars off, and the icons small. It offers a nice direct-manipulation-oriented interface (i.e., comprehensive DND).

    Even if KDE offers all of this, it would have to offer quite a bit more in addition to make it worth switching.

  • by Korin43 ( 881732 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:22AM (#40283971) Homepage

    I used it for a short time. Couldn't get over how poorly designed the start menu is. All I really want is (1) the ability to start programs and (2) the ability to switch between said programs. KDE does (2) well, but (1) sucks. Maybe this has been fixed by now, but GNOME's ctrl+space+"fi"+enter is significantly faster than KDE's click+click+click+click+...

  • Finally... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Galactic Dominator ( 944134 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:22AM (#40283975)

    I had been waiting some time for a comment section completely devoid of any technical argument.

  • by Wubby ( 56755 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:22AM (#40283977) Homepage Journal

    because with KDE 4 they change the fundamental design philosophy of the project. I didn't want easy of use, I wanted control, which I why I originally left GNOME for KDE before that.

    Now with GNOME making the same design choices, I'm left with MATE, which is just a fork of the the GNOME I want to use, but it's still lacking right now.

    I understand that they want the interface to be easy for anyone to approach, but what about those of us who want to do more than just browse the web and share pictures of the grandkids?

    I'm loosing all the features of the Linux Desktop that I left Windows for in the first place. *sigh

  • by pgfault ( 796282 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:25AM (#40284003)

    We're a Linux shop with around 400 desktops and have been running KDE for a decade. KDE3 was rock solid. KDE4, not so much. The KDE4 direction of "let's index everything" with nepomuk and akonadi doesn't work so well when home directories are NFS mounted. In fact, it killed our fileserver. Further, why on earth would I want 400 instances of mysql_community_server running and creating a 128MB DB for each user in their home directory just to index their PIM?

    In general KDE login times have been getting longer and longer, and the overall flakiness of KDE up to 4.6 have led us to dump KDE in favor of XFCE. Initial feedback from users has been very positive, and we'll be completing the transition this summer.

    KDE4 may have some features that are fine for a standalone desktop at home, but it took a giant step backward from KDE3 in terms of usability in a networked environment at work.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's not just that nepomuk and akonadi are poorly implemented, I personally don't like the idea of a semantic desktop. Why index everything? In years of use I've never had the need. These things need to be optional. Without them I would try KDE and I am one of the guys who was abandoned by gnome (happy xfce user now).

      • I'm pretty sure aliens brainwashed them all. Because I can't really understand how they can say "you don't understand anything, you need this" with a straight face when people actively inform them they don't need this semantic madness. Seriously, it got down to insults. Devs insulting their own users, that's pathetic.

        I'm still using KDE, although I've faked a few packages to get rid of this. Not quite user-friendly but works. Loading times still suck, though.

    • by Rob the Bold ( 788862 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @12:20PM (#40284893)

      Nepomuk and akonadi, whatever the hell they are, seem to break KMail for me. Sometimes just for a few minutes, sometimes until a reboot, sometimes for an entire version.

      Now, I'm sure I could google around a little more than I have already and possibly figure it out what they're for, but frankly I don't care. They appeared at some point after KDE 4 (at least that's when I learned of their existence) and promptly started crashing and breaking things and bringing up system crash feedback dialogs. Really? If they worked properly -- that is to say, I wasn't aware of them -- I'd be just fine. But I'm not interested in beta testing an email client/contact organizer.

      Complaining doesn't seem to help. The KDE forums are full of KMail bugs that are "unreproducible" according to the developers.

      The system default email client really should "just work". If newer technology isn't quite ready for prime time, then don't use it until it is. Email is a pretty mature class of application, and doesn't really need to be on the bleeding edge of anything. Sure, it's free. But that was no reason to break it.

    • I never liked the implementation of Nepomuk and Akonadi, but I like the concept. Since switching to a Mac desktop and experiencing integrated search that actually works, I have to admit that it's a pretty neat idea when done well.

      Further, why on earth would I want 400 instances of mysql_community_server running and creating a 128MB DB for each user in their home directory just to index their PIM?

      I have a $120 2TB drive in my computer. I'd gladly allocate $0.008 worth (128e6/2e12*120) of that space to a working indexing system that helps me access my files faster. Why would I not want that?

    • by Sipper ( 462582 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @01:59PM (#40286341)

      You can turn Nepomuk OFF. Unfortunately, Akonadi is another story. [more below]

      We're a Linux shop with around 400 desktops and have been running KDE for a decade. KDE3 was rock solid. KDE4, not so much. The KDE4 direction of "let's index everything" with nepomuk and akonadi doesn't work so well when home directories are NFS mounted. In fact, it killed our fileserver. Further, why on earth would I want 400 instances of mysql_community_server running and creating a 128MB DB for each user in their home directory just to index their PIM?

      I don't blame you one big for moving to XFCE; AFAIC it's the next-best alternative to KDE4. You're probably set with XFCE for the near future, but I'll point out the following in case in the future you retest KDE4.

      Nepomuk can be turned off (on a per-user basis) by going to K->System Settings and then Workspace Appearance -> Desktop Search and turning off both the "Strigi Desktop File Indexer" and also "Nepomuk Semantic Desktop". Performance for Strigi indexing is still awful even on a local disk, let alone NFS, so I regularly turn these both completely off. Nepomuk still needs to be turned off IMHO, otherwise the Virtuoso database backing it slowly grows as you use the system. It isn't easy to find exactly what this does and what use you can make of it, but the following is a good resource that explains it: []

      Unfortunately Akonadi cannot be completely turned off AFAIK -- and what's sad is that (as you correctly pointed out) it does not store information, but rather only indexes PIM information. By default Akonadi has a dependency on MySQL, and EACH user that logs in requires starting a dedicated instance of MySQL server. That's a huge WTF right there. However -- you can reconfigure Akonadi (on a per-user basis) to use SQLite instead of MySQL in .config/akonaki/akonadiserverrc. But another WTF is that this has to be set up on a per-user basis. Apparently at one time there was a server-wide setting available, but if it exists today in KDE 4.8 I'm unable to find it or even a reference to it. :-/

      With Nepomuk turned completely off and Akonadi set up to use SQLite, KDE4 is performs much better. Unfortunately there are certain things that Akonadi apparently cannot store in SQLite, so supposedly there can be issues with using it, but in practice I haven't run into any of them.

  • by Cthefuture ( 665326 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:25AM (#40284011)

    KDE is one of the few environments that actually works with my setup of four monitors in a dual twinview (xinerama) configuration. Unity and GNOME3 do not work at all with this setup, they render only on half the screens, the mouse doesn't work at all, and other problems.

    Currently I have to run a bastardized mix of XFCE and OpenBox to get everything to work because the XFCE window manager doesn't work correctly either. MATE (GNOME2) desktop seems to work and I have been thinking of switching (back) to it but it seems kind of buggy. It will probably end up being what I use though.

    But on topic, I would love to just use KDE because it works right out of the box without me having to tweak or worry about anything. BUT, it's just too weird and often has annoying bugs/crashes (sort of like Opera actually). It looks weird and doesn't work like I think. I can't really explain exactly what it is other than "weird". It feels confusing and hard to use. If I could pick one example application that showcases the weirdness of KDE it would be the Amarok app. Good grief that thing is bizarre. The UI is so funky and doesn't work anything like what I need. For me that app is a good reflection of KDE as a whole. Bizarre, ugly, and unintuitive UI. I can't get any work done in that.

  • by caseih ( 160668 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:26AM (#40284017)

    Now that Mate is available on a somewhat stable basis for Fedora 16 and 17 (external repo), I have no reason to change. Gnome 2 worked well for me, and I like the look and feel.

    KDE still doesn't feel right to me somehow. Personal preference, obviously. And part of it might just be the way Fedora packages it. Oddly enough KDE apps look and feel great with the Gtk theme when run under the Mate desktop.

    If I was stuck with Gnome 3, I'd give KDE a serious look, but since there are now good alternatives (XFCE, Mate, Cinnamon), I'll be trying them first.

  • by czmax ( 939486 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:27AM (#40284035)

    I don't know who this "Linus" guy think he is. Just because his name looks kinda similar to "Linux" doesn't mean he has the right to be jerk. The community should flame him off the forums because he apparently doesn't understand the open source ethos.

    If he was a real programmer he'd just dig into the code and fix these problems. This is why linux desktop hasn't taken off -- all these moochers who just want their computer to work without putting any effort into understanding the underlying system and not being willing to chip in and help the effort.

  • fvwm (Score:5, Informative)

    by hymie! ( 95907 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:28AM (#40284061)

    Because fvwm does exactly what I want it to and need it to.

    • Re:fvwm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:38AM (#40284203)

      Same here. Since being exposed to the fvwm-pager more than 20 years ago on SunOS, I am not happy without at least 3x2 desktops and usually have 3x3 with edge scroll. I also use the auto-raiser, tuned exactly to my reflexes.

      Why people go for eye-candy over functionality in a tool is beyond me.

  • by Snodgrass ( 446409 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:30AM (#40284085) Homepage

    I don't like the requirement of moving my hand off the keyboard and over to the mouse just so I can navigate.

    It's i3 for me.

    Plus, the start menu paradigm is retarded, and the last time I bothered trying KDE they were just trying their hardest to be a shinier, blingier Windows.

  • by sticks_us ( 150624 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:34AM (#40284115) Homepage

    I'm somewhat of a X desktop transient, switching between KDE, Gnome, and Xfce (variety is the spice of life, and all that rot).

    I spend most of my days in Emacs or a term window, and I frankly don't use 90% of the features these desktop managers provide. After a few months with one of the "big three," I always come back to GNUstep. It's totally minimal, and you can do EVERYTHING without touching a mouse. It's as unobtrusive as possible.

    Check the wikipedia here [], or dig the GNUstep website. []

    Another option in the "totally minimal" world is xmonad, there's a lot to like here as well. Wikipedia: xmonad [],

    Or, try the Xmonad website []

  • To clarify: When you create things in 3d you have a shadow, or no shadow and a reflection to create the appearance of three dimensions.

    Every version of KDE I have used has some icons with the sun in one position (say 9am) and the window chrome having the sun in another position (say 3pm). It looks like a bad photoshop job where you can just tell that everything was cut and paste with no concern for the overall look and feel.

    Maybe the folks over at Linux Mint will polish up KDE so it doesn't look wrong. But until then, GNOME or a consistent flat desktop is what I'll use.

  • by jmv ( 93421 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:37AM (#40284171) Homepage

    Both gnome and KDE have by now proven that if you use them, you *will* get screwed. Because as soon as you'll feel comfortable using any of them, they'll just stop supporting it and try getting you to switch to the new version that's awful and not what you wanted. They'll tell you "it's an just an early release, it'll get better". And indeed, it'll get better... and once it's good enough, they'll throw it all away again. I've learned my lesson and I'm now using XFCE, which I'm hoping will not go the way of gnome/KDE. I still need a few gnome config utils to get XFCE to do what I want, but I'm happy for now.

  • Pretty damn simple (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:38AM (#40284189) Journal

    When I open a movie from a network drive, it copies the entire file first as it is incapable of simply passing a network url to the movie application. Something that every other desktop manager out there can handle.

    It is this kind of "wtf" that is rampant throughout KDE. To me, it is the kiddy desktop, where people spend ages on getting some cool feature working but the basics are falling apart. In theory, it should be highly capable but in reality, it is so fragile and its defaults so inane, that to get it working just takes to long.

    That is part of the reason Ubuntu and Gnome 2 were so popular. They finally just worked. I am using Linux to be productive, KDE does not help me be productive.

    Oh and one final thing KDE team, learn that EVERY single app you build has a far superior solo version out there. I don't need a complete office suite with my desktop thank you very much.

    • by Hatta ( 162192 )

      Oh and one final thing KDE team, learn that EVERY single app you build has a far superior solo version out there. I don't need a complete office suite with my desktop thank you very much.

      This is very much the case. If you're going to invest a lot of effort into an office suite, why would you write one that most users of the platform aren't going to be able to use anyway? It would be great to have a third option for office on Linux, but if you have to install kdelibs and everything that comes with it, it's

  • by Nimey ( 114278 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:39AM (#40284207) Homepage Journal

    There's just something about how KDE's UI is laid out that rubs me the wrong way.

    Long-time Gnome 2 user here, probably switching to MATE. Don't care for Xfce and LXDE is too basic for my taste, as are most of the standalone WMs. Window Maker is fugly.

    My two favorite computer UIs today are Gnome 2.3x + Compiz and Windows 7 + Cygwin. They mostly just work, are good about staying out of my way, and have nice UI flourishes like live preview and Aero Snap.

  • by N7DR ( 536428 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:42AM (#40284259) Homepage

    the desktop today is fully-functional and polished

    I'm sorry, but I cannot regard as "fully-functional and polished" any desktop environment in which menus disappear just as I am about to click on them just because the desktop has received a notification. When KDE4 receives a notification it doesn't simply display the notification message, it also causes certain classes of other windows to be removed... and this includes the "K" menu. Several times a week that menu disappears as I am about to select an item, and I end up clicking on whatever was underneath the item just because I can't react quickly enough to the sudden removal of the menu.

    I have other gripes with KDE4, but they pale into insignificance compared to what is, to me, the bizarre notion that it's ever acceptable for menus simply to disappear. Obviously, the developers must disagree with me, but I honestly can't imagine why they think this is reasonable behaviour.

    Mostly my other gripes are along the lines of "feature X that was in KDE3 is either absent or poorly implemented in KDE4". Many things in KDE4 are better than they were in KDE3 (which I admit I often tend to forget), but the fact remains that when I switch back to the machine on which I keep KDE3, I always find myself somehow feeling more relaxed and in control.

  • by twistedcubic ( 577194 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:48AM (#40284355)
    Just personal tastes. Since I can run any useful KDE app outside of KDE desktop, the choice is really this: do I want to look at purple pastels and bubbly bubbles by default? I like my environment to look (what I consider) professional. So for me, it's conservative blue or gray, not hipster purple or pink with all applications starting with a K. Even Mac OS X, with its "lickable widgets", has found the right balance not to embarrass professional users. And no, I refuse to even spend a minute to change the default look, because I have numerous alternatives to KDE.
  • by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:50AM (#40284395)
    I don't use KDE because it has WAY too many settings, menus, tabs and dialogs all mixed together with the common stuff buried amongst the advanced stuff. It's a kitchen sink of desktops and I'm pretty certain that it would have enjoyed far more success amongst end users and enterprises if it had really dialled back on this stuff. Arguably GNOME 3 goes too far in removing stuff but there is no arguing which desktop a novice would find easier to sit down and use with no experience.
  • by FridayBob ( 619244 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @12:09PM (#40284707) Homepage

    Actually, I run Debian 6 with KDE 4.4 on my workstation. In fact, I've been running nothing but KDE on my workstation for over a decade, so I guess you could say that it's my all-time favorite desktop environment. I even prefer using Konqueror as my web browser!

    However, when I was asked to install a Linux workstations in an office environment a few years ago, I ended up going with Xfce despite my relative lack of experience with it. The reason I selected it is because Xfce is not nearly as resource-hungry as KDE and runs very well on old hardware -- even on 8-year-old machines with less than 1 GB of RAM. It doesn't look too bad either.

    There are some other questions I could ask of myself, like Why didn't I switch to Gnome when things got so rough with the new KDE4 in 2009? Pure habit. I survived that period by using the KDE version of Linux Mint for a year, before going back to Debian. Or, Why did I start using KDE in the first place (in 2001)? I think simply because to me it looked more like Windows (which I used for a total of almost exactly 10 years before that) than Gnome.

    In conclusion, my feeling is that a person's desktop preference is largely a question of taste and habit, so it will likely always be an uphill battle for the KDE developers to get, say, long-time Gnome users to switch to KDE even if the latter is superior. However, I think that more people would indeed consider KDE if it could also be made to run with a lot less memory and processing power than it currently requires.

  • by JohnFen ( 1641097 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @03:53PM (#40287939)

    I do run KDE, and have for years, but the changes that have been made in 4.x are, generally, frustrating and annoying. Yes, the later releases have fixed a lot of the most egregious problems, but my main problem is that the new paradigm is counterintuitive and gets in the way of what I want to do as often as not.

    So yes, I still run KDE but wish that I didn't, and will switch to something else as soon as I have the time & energy to devote to making the change.

  • by Spooky Action ( 2015322 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @06:24PM (#40289689)

    I'm a long time Linux desktop user. I watched all the different desktop environments evolve over the past 15 years and KDE has become far and above the best with Mint Linux's GNOME based MATE and Cinnamon a solid 2nd place. Lightweight desktops still are viable alternatives too but I wouldn't put desktops like XFCE, LXDE or Enlightenment in the same class as KDE, GNOME 3 Shell, MATE/Cinnamon and Unity. Not because the lightweight desktops are inferior but because they serve a different purposed and to that end, serve it really well. Overall KDE is well polished, simple and intuitive enough for beginners but doesn't get in the way of power users. If you haven't tried the latest versions of KDE I would recommend you do. You might be presently surprised.

  • KDE is outstanding (Score:4, Interesting)

    by salesgeek ( 263995 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @08:41PM (#40290743) Homepage

    KDE's current version is outstanding. We could spend all year talking about history, but KDE4.8 works pretty well, and frankly is a great option over Unity, Gnome and some of the lightweight desktops if you value functionality over light weight. If you like lightweight, don't go with a desktop, go with a window manager.

    Incidentally, you can tell someone who hasn't really used KDE by comments like "it lacks refinement" or "it isn't pretty" or "kde4 is slow". There's really not much I can say for people who say "I don't want to customize my desktop" as the default isn't bad and KDE's biggest feature is it's customization capability.

    That said there are two components that need to be better explained and left to the user to decide if they want them: symantic desktop and Akonadi. Symantec desktop (nepomuk) is basically text search engine and tagging toolkit that lets you rate, comment on and tag files. The search engine works now, but for people with networked home directories, it is not the right answer. Akonadi is the backend for the personal information manager applications. If you are not going to use Kontact (the KDE outlook clone), Akonadi probably doesn't need to run. If you are using Kontact, Akonadi offloads sending/receiving so the front end applications can be light and fast.

    I'm a python developer most of the time these days I use emacs, Wing, iPython, yEd (for charts and process diagrams) and do some documentation and proposals in LibreOffice. There are a few that have been part of KDE for a long time that make it especially nice:

    * opens a terminal in many apps. Handy.
    * KIO - allows you to open files pretty much anywhere without the need to mount drive. You get very used to being able to open and save files on all kinds of remote systems and services from the highly functional file save/open dialog.
    * Dekstops and workspaces - multiple desktops and multiple dashboards. Most are an away.
    * Plasma Desktop - You can pretty much customize it however you like. Want a start menu and panel ? OK. Want a mac like menubar? OK (xbar) MacOS like dock? OK. Mac style dashboard? Got it. Windows style widget bar, ok, you can do that. Want a quicksilver like launcher? (that's been there for almost a decade). Want files on your desktop? OK. Want remote files on your desktop? OK. Don't like the look? Change it.
    * Konsole, the KDE terminal app just works. And has a ton of features with an easy to detach tabbed GUI and some pretty nice automation features.
    * If you did a file manager shootout, it would probably finish Dolphin, Konqueror, Finder, MS Explorer, Kommander and everything else. KDE's file managers give you a lot of flexibility and outstanding integration with tools. Dolphin is designed for ease of use, Konqueror is an MS Explorer style kitchen sink and Kommander is a Norton Commander style app. All leverage KIO to be able to browse remote systems as if they are local and launch background tasks to move files around.
    * Amarok - Music player. Very well done. Probably the best one out there short of iTunes...
    * Kmail - A very well done feature rich mail client.

    Is KDE perfect? No. KDE went through its rearchitecting four years ago, and has emerged to be very, very good.

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