Is KDE 4 beginning to bloom?

Compiz, KDE, Gnome, Fluxbox, etc...

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Sagely Hen
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Is KDE 4 beginning to bloom?

Post by Fitzcarraldo » Sat Dec 05, 2009 2:55

Here's an interesting YouTube video with a preview of the yet-to-be released KDE 4.4: KDE 4.4 Preview.

And here's an article about it: KDE 4.4 Desktop – An Early Preview

I think KDE 4 is becoming a rather good desktop environment.

I disliked KDE 4 intensely in its first incarnation, and not just for the surprising number of bugs. I even started looking around for an alternative desktop environment (excluding GNOME, though, which I also dislike). I have moaned about KDE 4 in forum posts on more than one occasion. However, it is improving with every release (I'm now using 4.3.3) and it is clear that it will continue to do so in future releases.

Even something as simple as configuring KDE 4 to provide a 'classic' desktop has made a positive difference for me. Despite my initial misgivings, I am now able to say that I no longer feel alienated by it, have discovered some new, good features in it, and intend to continue using it. I also look forward to its continuing development, and fully expect it to be a great desktop environment by the time it reaches the maturity of its 3.5.10 ancestor.

There are still some annoying features in KDE 4, but I think the benefits now outweigh them. And I have to say that the potential for KDE 4 to become something special is starting to show through the mist, although a lot of work is still required not only in KDE itself but in applications such as Amarok, K3b and so on. Bluetooth under KDE 4 is in need of some major love: like many laptop users, I use it a lot and have experienced a lot of grief with this aspect of KDE 4.

The plasma desktop is oversold in my opinion: it's not the great innovation or the essential feature that some make it out to be. But neither is it the major stumbling block to efficient use that some make it out to be. Anyway, the vector graphics and the underlying changes to the software do provide the scope for future developments that were not possible with KDE 3.5.10, which is not such a bad thing. The above-mentioned video is evidence of that.

I find the KWin Desktop Effects sluggish, less polished and less comprehensive than Compiz, and I hope the KDE developers don't ignore Compiz for 'idealogical' reasons, and indeed take into consideration the Compiz developers if they can (which I think would be a win-win situation). I would of course also welcome improvements in KWin's native Destop Effects, but I hope that the KDE developers don't try to discriminate against Compiz. I want to continue to use Compiz with future versions of KDE 4.

Given the improvement in KDE 4, now at 4.3.4, and the ability to easily configure it to have the 'classical' look and performance of the desktop, kicker menu and panel, I am a little surprised to see the occasional ongoing criticism of KDE 4. It's something that was common during the earlier versions, but I think now more and more people are starting to feel comfortable, or more comfortable, with KDE 4. Constructive criticism is what KDE 4 needs more than anything now, because it is this that will improve it further. The potential for it to become excellent is there, and I, for one, am relieved.

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Re: Is KDE 4 beginning to bloom?

Post by Marius » Sat Dec 05, 2009 5:15

Fitzcarraldo wrote:I even started looking around for an alternative desktop environment (excluding GNOME, though, which I also dislike).
An interesting statement: looking for an alternative to KDE excluding GNOME. A contradiction of sorts, as the "alternative" desktops tend to be minimalistic and fast, i.e., nearly exact opposites of KDE. The only thing they seem to share with KDE is that unless they have been hand-polished, a lot of things in them seems to be broken (I am talking about how they are packaged in major distributions: almost always suffering from the role of poor relatives of mighty GNOME and KDE).

I have been using GNOME as a default desktop environment for nearly 9 years now. That was more a matter of convenience than of personal choice since Red Hat and Red Hat related distributions are encountered at the majority of leading international research institutions in fields like Mathematics and Physics. They replaced SUN and Solaris that had been reigning at the same institutions prior to the appearance of the Pentium processor. And the first thing you do after having been given an account on a machine that you will be using as a visitor for a few weeks or a semester, a month, or two, is not trying to undo all the defaults, but starting to work.

So, having admitted that I never felt any particular love for GNOME, every time I was "checking" KDE, I was quickly reverting to GNOME: I preferred its stability and solidity over somewhat infantile frills of the early KDE.

Having been playing with KDE 4.3 in Sabayon 5.o, I agree that KDE matured and became a nice environment (even though I still find hard to swallow some of its oddities). But so did GNOME.

With the outstanding job that Ian did in the aesthetics department, in Sabayon they both really shine. I am prepared to tolerate their faults.

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Re: Is KDE 4 beginning to bloom?

Post by wolfden » Sat Dec 05, 2009 14:23

A few years ago I forced myself to learn gnome after being a KDE user for most part and I committed to using gnome for 1 year and I took to it very well as the year went on. At first it was like wow, dunno if I can do this, but I'm glad I forced myself to use it.

I just did a core install with gnome overlay and added the gnome-shell. I am worried about gnome 3, hoping it don't go overboard with "enhancements". I like the ability to customize my gnome and keep the simple look. I actually like to setup awesome + gnome for a minimal desktop. To me gnome-shell is really useless, just makes it look fancy. I'm not a widget fan and other clutter. Gnome 3 is gonna be interesting that is for sure.

I do have one install that has KDE4. It took me sometime to relearn KDE4, but as I did I found it pleasant. I can see why people like it. I even ran the trunk 4.4 KDE for a while with kde-testing overlay, but eventually returned to stable release version. I actually prefer the KDE4 to the KDE 3 series, granted I don't use the KDE4 environment every day so I might be missing out on some of the newness issues. I guess one has to keep in mind that there is usually more than one method to doing something in linux.

For now I will keep up with awesome, gnome and kde. It's nice to have choices :D

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Re: Is KDE 4 beginning to bloom?

Post by Fitzcarraldo » Sat Dec 05, 2009 16:26

Guys, my one comment on GNOME was just an aside; I didn't want to compare KDE 4 and GNOME or to criticise GNOME. I used GNOME for two years in parallel to KDE 3.5, and would use it again if necessary, but it would not be my first choice: I just prefer KDE, both in terms of the look and feel, and in terms of the functionality. But that is just down to personal preferences.

The purpose of my post was to discuss KDE 4's improvement and potential to improve further, not to get into a KDE vs GNOME discussion. KDE 4 is really getting to a stage where it's becoming a sexy desktop environment and very configurable. These are things I'm pleased to see. And a lot of bugs have been fixed, which was one of the things that really annoyed me -- and everyone else, of course -- about the early releases of KDE 4. Stability is now mostly back, which is a relief.

I'm looking forward to seeing the new device automount feature in KDE 4.4 if it is provided with the release of SL that ships with KDE 4.4 (see my post SL Feature Request: Device automounting in KDE 4).

The video link in my first post really shows how far KDE 4 has come visually, and it's quite exciting if you're into the looks aspect.

I made my comments about Compiz and KDE 4 because I think Compiz still has an important role to play, and I realised how much I missed Compiz while I couldn't find a bug fix for the Radeon driver for my ATI GPU, thankfully now solved. A lot of Compiz may be eye candy, but boy it makes the desktop experience a lot of fun. Here are a couple of stunning KDE 4.3 + Compiz videos that really motivated me to re-install Compiz after a lengthy hiatus:

Linux KDE 4.3 with Compiz Fusion 8.2
Linux KDE 4.3 with Compiz 8.2 and Cairo-dock 2

OK, they are openSUSE, not SL, but the same can be done on SL with KDE 4.3.3 and Compiz 0.8.4. When you look at videos such as these you realise that Linux blows Windows out of the water.

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Re: Is KDE 4 beginning to bloom?

Post by Fitzcarraldo » Sun Dec 20, 2009 13:52

Ten KDE 4 Tricks Worth Knowing About. I didn't know about Dolphin's Inline CLI. Nice!

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Re: Is KDE 4 beginning to bloom?

Post by Thev00d00 » Sun Dec 20, 2009 14:16

I love that feature of dolphin! Its excellent! f4 for an inline one, or shift + f4 for a new console opened in that location.

Then from konsole you can open the current directory in dolphin, it has speed up my workflow alot since i discovered those, and miss them sorley in gnome when i use that (i prefer kde but am DE agnostic :) )
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Re: Is KDE 4 beginning to bloom?

Post by ashley194 » Sun Dec 20, 2009 18:34

Didn't know the Shift + F4 feature, very handy 8)


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Re: Is KDE 4 beginning to bloom?

Post by mikey0000 » Wed Jan 27, 2010 3:37

I'd say so 4.4rc2 is quite well polished, however I still have yet to see desktop search work (file wise) I always seem to have strange problems with strigi, everything tells me it should be going but search in krunner and dolphin don't do nothing (again file wise not apps)

Im really liking the group windows, quite useful
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Re: Is KDE 4 beginning to bloom?

Post by tekwyzrd » Wed Feb 03, 2010 18:51

I installed the kde 4.3.98 aka 4.4 rc3 from the limbo repository. It took a bit of effort since many components weren't selected and the only kde-meta was for 4.3.4

Anyway, three of my biggest annoyances have finally been fixed. Two are improvements to konqueror. First, I can finally paste into a folder via right click menu. Until this version I had to use copy to or open the folder and paste. Second, there's finally selection options (edit/selection). It would be nice to see the selection options in the right click menu for a folder along with "Create New", "Open With", etc. The third is am improvement to the quick launcher widget. It is finally possible to add launchers from the application launcher menu via a pop-up box as was the case for kde 3.5 rather than having to drag and drop or search for .desktop files.
Former Sabayon user (2005 - 2013) and current Arch user.
I liked Sabayon until it switched to Rigo and becoming the gentoo equivalent of Ubuntu. Extreme browsing? Extreme gaming? Extreme work? Extreme development? Like, totally gnarly, dude!

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