Linked by Corey Taylor on Mon 11th Nov 2002 20:00 UTC
KDE As announced at The Dot, KDE 3.1 RC2 is now "Ready For A Hammering." Well, okay, so I decided to hammer away and here is my preview.
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About this preview
by Anonymous on Mon 11th Nov 2002 08:11 UTC

Too much weight on installation and eye-candy. And why shouldn't it be released this year? Final sources will be tagged in November and perhaps the release together with the binary packages provided by distributors will slip into early December.

KDE 3.1
by Alex (The original) on Mon 11th Nov 2002 08:24 UTC

KDE is doing good and I am glad to see they are making a good progress.

by Rayiner Hashem on Mon 11th Nov 2002 08:27 UTC

As I read the review and didn't see any scalding criticism of KDE's UI practices, I suddenly thought Eugenia had gone soft on us. Then I read the byline, and it all made sense ;) That said, I've been using KDE 3.1 since the alpha version, and I'd like to share my experiences.

Installation> emerge kde., that's about it.

Look> KDE is drop dead gorgous in the 3.1 incarnation. The look in general is just a little more polished. I've got a nice screenshot up at using a blue Liquid theme, and another at showing a purple Keramik theme. The new crystal icons look great (I dig the navigation icons in Konqueror) but in some places (the Noatun playlist toolbar in the bottom right hand corner of the first shot, for example) the relatively simplistic icons kind of clash with the lush crystal ones. Overall, the Liquid 0.96 release (which requires KDE 3.1) has made me a believer. It's just awesome. Dig the beautiful Noatun control buttons! Keramik is great and very original, but Liquid (owing to it's maturity) is more polished. One caveat: Liquid's handling of web widgets still needs some work with respect to font spacing and padding.

Fonts> I don't know what kind of problems the reviewer was having with fonts, but Qt 3.1 (and thus KDE 3.1) uses Xft2/fontconfig by default, just like GNOME 2.0 in RedHat 8. This doesn't carry any quality advantages in and of itself, other than the fact that it allows more tweeking of the hinting process. For real quality enhancements, FreeType 2.1.3 is the answer. (OT - I booted back into XP the other day after more than a month. Yuck. FreeType has officially overtaken Cleartype ;)

Stability> Like I said, I've been using this thing since the alpha releases, and ever since beta2, KDE 3.1 has been more stable than 3.0.x. That said, Noatun is still a problem. It takes some messaging of the mimetypes to get it to play Shoutcast URLs properly, and it's still got several irritating bugs related to playlist handling. Also, changing the playlist plugin will almost certainly crash the program. Noatun has consistantly been a weak point in KDE, but its developer seems to think its finished. Hopefully, Kaboodle (which is basicall Noatun-lite) will pick up some of the slack. In other news, though, KDE 3.1 will supposedly have Xine support built into aRts, meaning that anything Xine can decode (and that's a *whole* lot) will be available to aRts programs. Since Noatun is just a front-end for aRts, this means that Noatun will finally be able to play DVDs and DivXs. All this is theoretical, though, because currently the code is disabled in RC2.

Speed> Great. I've never had a problem with KDE 3.x's speed, but then again, with 2GHz, I really shouldn't. But 3.1 does seem a tad faster than 3.0, especially in Konqueror. Qt 3.1 in general seems significantly faster. Eg. Start up QT Designer with a complex theme like Keramik or Liquid. Abuse the window. Marvel at the smoothness.

Usability> Here's where KDE takes it's hits. Normally, I couldn't care less about complexity, but KDE's menus are complex to the point where it actually hurts efficiency. The right-click menu in Konqueror, for example, has no less than 16 entries. The default Konqueror toolbar has far too much crud in it. And it's redundent crud too, all of it is already in the menu. Note how simple the toolbar in the screenshot is. Konqi should come with something damn near that by default. In some configuration panels the layout of widgets could use some work. Some of the configuration text (particularly in the localization panels) could use some editing by an English major ;) On the plus side, Qt's widget auto-layout engine is *far* superior to GTK+'s. In terms of the asthetics of widget layout (positioning, padding, spacing, alignment) Qt's widget layout easily beats most Windows apps, and equals the most well made Windows apps. Only Mac OS X has more "organic" layout.

Power> Here's where KDE really shines. It's hideously powerful. Konqueror has more KIO (interfaces to stuff like ftp, samba, etc) plugins than you can shake a stick at. There is extensive support for collaboration and integration between applications. There's scripting via DCOP (kinda like 'hey' for BeOS). This is the kind of stuff GNOME is lacking, and the kind of stuff you only discover after using the environment for a good chunk of time.

Overall though, I'm dearly in love with this release. The usability issues can largely be customized away, though I concede that they will definately get in the way of newbies using the environment. I wouldn't want to see it go with the "stripped down" look of GNOME, but some streamlining would be nice.

Re: Wow
by Anonymous on Mon 11th Nov 2002 09:00 UTC

> The new crystal icons look great (I dig the navigation icons in Konqueror)

The Konqueror navigator icons has been changed once again for the 3.1 release. They look now like white tablets with blue arrows.

Annoying thing about keramik
by Jonathan Belson on Mon 11th Nov 2002 09:48 UTC


I don't mind the look of keramik, but i find it makes it difficult to access the popup 'window' menu (left hand side of windows bar).

I click to make the menu appear, try to move to it but then it disappears :-S Maybe it doesn't work too well with 'focus follows mouse'


by anonymous - Bert on Mon 11th Nov 2002 11:22 UTC

Didn't your parents teach you about root logins? :-) Seriously though, it's nice to see KDE coming along as it is.

by bob on Mon 11th Nov 2002 11:41 UTC

Ah, where is the time of Keep It Simple and Stupid.. From my experience with KDE3.0 and looking at KDE3.1 screenshots, I must say that alot of menus are way to cluttered. (context menu on desktop, the K menu, context menu in konqueror). The KControl has way too much options in it IMHO. It takes a relatively long time before you find a specific setting. It looks pretty (except the keramik window border), but they should seriously do a usability review, and keep the principle in mind that has made Unix so powerful, flexible and consistent: KISS.

KDE is great
by Sergio on Mon 11th Nov 2002 13:24 UTC

If average Joe will use Linux in the future, it will be probably because of these KDE guys. They are doing great and I hope Gnome guys start to give their full support to KDE and abandon Gnome for good.

compiling, etc
by Static on Mon 11th Nov 2002 13:28 UTC

its a nice window manager... but it'd be even better if it didn't require 256-320 mb of ram.. 3.1 seems to require about 32mb more than 3.0, imho..

well i think kde 3.1 rocks!
by EcHo2K on Mon 11th Nov 2002 14:06 UTC

i just emerged kde 3.1_rc2 a couple of days ago on my Gentoo laptop, and i have to say it really rocks.

for the first time since i started using linux as my ONLY os i found i could do almost everything WITHOUT using the CLI, so i think it's a big step towards full acceptance of Linux on the desktop, sorry for Gnome fans (i was one of them, and still think that Gnome has a more "professional" look) but KDE is more useful, it's development is faster and generally is simpler to use (anyway i still prefer the Gnome's panels concept, i think is more versatile than KDE one).

To the author of the article:
if you like playing around with your linux box you should really give up RH, they simply want you to do your stuff in a RedHattish way, not your own way, as you can see a standard KDE install is more usefull and cool than the RH-Desktop (that isn't neither KDE neither Gnome...). Above should really consider using Gentoo, is the only distro that makes me feel in COMPLETE DOMINANCE of my sistem ;)

On fonts and icons..
by SadEagle on Mon 11th Nov 2002 14:35 UTC

The reason you don't have AA, and that the icons looks jagged at the edges is actuallly the same - it's that Qt can't detect Xft on RedHat8 -- as the header setup is apparently different from what it expects..

KDE3x v 2x in terms of speed/stability?
by sander on Mon 11th Nov 2002 15:06 UTC

I was wondering if any of the KDE vets could talk about the difference between KDE3 and KDE2 in terms of speed and memory usage.

I installed Psyche on my test machine (a gracefully aging P2/266/256MB laptop) and it was dog slow. After playing around with Knoppix I reinstalled Woody with KDE2.2, and the speed difference was enormous. Is KDE2 faster than KDE3?

Also the fact that many distros still use 2.2 seems to signify something.

A very interesting read
by Sandwich Boy on Mon 11th Nov 2002 15:19 UTC

But nothing has made me long for the days of BeOS and Amiga more than this. Crikey, that was a convoluted install...

As someone totally new to Linux, I was surprised (pleasently) by what I saw in KDE 3.0 Not only is 3.1 a step up but it looks easier to use than the Gnome 1.4 I've been hacking away on in Suse8. Can anyone tell me which distro 3.1 is likely to ship with first? as I'm not even close to being ready to compile from scratch.

by Charlie on Mon 11th Nov 2002 15:26 UTC


Re: Gentoo
by richc on Mon 11th Nov 2002 15:40 UTC

Thanks......Not sure if Gentoo is the best distro for a new guy like myself but hey! gotta learn sometime....

Gentoo for sure
by EcHo2K on Mon 11th Nov 2002 15:54 UTC

KDE 3.1_RC2 is already in the portage-tree (it's masked ok, but you can unmask it ;) )

Comments on UI
by none on Mon 11th Nov 2002 16:34 UTC

"Now that you know why KDE is my preferred desktop, let me share why I turned my attention away from it to test GNOME 2 for awhile. KDE is ugly, GNOME 2 is elegant and simple. This is highly subjective, but KDE leaves much to be desired in terms of user interface aesthetics. "

I've always thought comments like this were just odd. KDE and Gnome are more alike then different and if anything I'd called Gnome more boring than KDE. While there are some differences in the UI, anyone could sit down in either Gnome or KDE and easily get their work done. Redhat 8.0 proved that beyond a doubt.

This reminds me of all the people who used to rant about how the early Gnome versions(which were truly horrible) were "more theme-able" which somehow made it better than KDE. Bizarre I know, I just to have a good laugh at those people.

by Cyco on Mon 11th Nov 2002 16:49 UTC

It's all about choice and taste, I switched from KDE to Gnome and I'm happy with my current desktop and doesn't feel any need to switch, tried'em both, liked the other better.

That said I don't see it as impossible that I sometime in the future switch back, cause Gnome development feel somewhat slower the KDE's progress, and if I'm not cutting edge I get violent spasms.

I just want it simple, fast and functional, something that does Linux justice speed wise but still looks clean and neat.

Application Startup time
by Noff on Mon 11th Nov 2002 16:55 UTC

My one complaint about KDE over GNOME is the speed at which the file manager starts up. Nautilus is instant, while Konquorer seems to take about 2 seconds. Once it is up it is quick but until then. There were rumors that this has been improved, but I was wondering if anyone has noticed a difference.

by linux_baby on Mon 11th Nov 2002 17:06 UTC

The KDE menu system is a mess, from a useability point of view. They need to clean it up thoroughly. Too many choices is overwhelming and intimidating for the user.

re: Intimidating
by stew on Mon 11th Nov 2002 17:41 UTC

I can only agree with that. While there surely are some people that want so many options, the configuration dialogs contain just too many things for a beginner and make it very hard for her to find what she needs. A major clean-up is necessary. KDE 4 should IMHO have rather less than more features.

startup time
by eric on Mon 11th Nov 2002 18:21 UTC

as Noff said my complaint is also startup time. I've heard that with more recent distributions (using gcc 3.2 and newer binutils) that is improved. Can someone say how long it takes to startup konqueror now? On my slackware 8.1 machine it takes at least 2-3 seconds. The windows file manager is instantaneous.

Not less features
by Rayiner Hashem on Mon 11th Nov 2002 19:05 UTC

I don't use GNOME because it doesn't have enough features! Catering to newbies is nice as far as it goes, but you gotta remember your base, the people that made you what you are. I agree that the menu clutter needs to be addressed, but all those features should still be there and easily accessible (maybe an "Advanced User" switch in KPersonalizer) to those who want it. I refuse to go digging around in some gconf-like thing like some bum digging through trash...

PS> As for startup speed, a lot of it is due to processing relocations. Konqueror on my machine starts up in about a second, about 40% of which is due to processing relocations for the dynamic libraries. gcc 3.2 and the newer binutils increased the relocation speed by about 50% vs older systems (it used to be much more than 40%) while glibc 2.3 and it's prelinking support eliminates it entirely. So whenever glibc becomes more common, so will increased startup speed for KDE apps. Windows explorer loads faster because it is a C program, it probably better optimized for load time, and Windows does some aweful things with DLLs (reduce sharability and increase memory usage for increased load performance) to enhance startup speed. Prelinking has the same benifets as the windows approach, but is much more elegant and doesn't incur the memory overhead.

by nymia on Mon 11th Nov 2002 19:49 UTC

I like the presentation of the article in the way it describes the process, with some sprinkle of opinions. It somehow shows the author actually did something about the subject, though. Definitely worth reading.

On the other hand, I was hoping the article would somehow itemize ( a walkthrough of ) the steps installing the code, though. That would surely help people like me who are too lazy to hunt for install documents just to get the code up and running.

I don't want less features
by med on Mon 11th Nov 2002 20:09 UTC

I love to have the choice. I want to decide how my computer should behave, by myself and not by anyone else. It is one of the reasons why i do not like windows, people in Redmond decide for me how _my_ computer should behave. Though it is true that too many options for beginners is a bad thing. I'd like to see something like "advanced options" for normal users and basic options only in the main tab for beginners. That way we would keep the configurability of KDE and it would be easier for beginners.
I've tested RC2 and i think menu is much better than in 3.0.x. The same for the control center. It is much nicer in 3.1, much easier to configurate. It becomes really intuitive. Good work!

Re: Nymia
by Rayiner Hashem on Mon 11th Nov 2002 20:13 UTC

I see there is no hope left for humanity. I'm going to go kill myself now...

Google -> "Installing KDE" -> First link on results page!

Compiling and installation
by Nick K. Aghazarian on Mon 11th Nov 2002 21:58 UTC

I actually found compiling rc2 relatively easy. I compiled and installed into /opt/kde31.

I haven't had a chance to test it yet because I'm still trying to determine a way to add kde31 to the login manager list. I would appreciate any pointers to where I might find that information. I'm currently running mandrake 8.2.

KDE 3.x be faster and probably uses less memory than 2.x. Same goes for 3.0 -> 3.1.

Re: Compiling and installation
by jj on Mon 11th Nov 2002 23:17 UTC

> I haven't had a chance to test it yet because I'm still
> trying to determine a way to add kde31 to the login
> manager list. I would appreciate any pointers to where I
> might find that information. I'm currently running mandrake

I don't know mandrake but in the good ole' days all you had to do was to edit Xsession in /etc/X11/xdm.

KDE : Konqueror bloated and KDE ugly?
by Fred on Mon 11th Nov 2002 23:37 UTC

This is really a dumb comment to make. Konqueror is speed, efficient, light weight and fully integrated into the KDE environment unlike nautilus. I love Gnome2 as well, so I'm not so biased to say that.

KDE is also remarkably good looking, even before this latest release candidate. Some people have no sense of style!

by Akim on Mon 11th Nov 2002 23:53 UTC

I only wish (as a newbie) that linux guys can make somethink up for installing programs. After reading some www sites I was "impressed" with apt for rpm but didn't found any cool sources, so what the fucx. I ain't no geek nor freek so going deep with compiling is not for me. When this will be resolved I switch full time; And also hope that there will be something ala dreamweaver on linux I still don't know why didn't started just like "gimp" for qt.

Re: Installation
by Rayiner Hashem on Tue 12th Nov 2002 01:09 UTC

Um, you didn't find any cool sources for Apt4RPM? Do you realize that this is this thing called Google that lets you find things?

(Again, first link on page).

Now, is there some package you're looking for that isn't in the above lists? Note, it's unreasonable to assume that stuff like KDE 3.1 RC2 will be easy to install because it's a development package. People who use it have to be able to give detailed bug reports, which you probably can't if you can't compile it.

KDE vs Gnome, and Applets
by Smooth on Tue 12th Nov 2002 07:45 UTC

I like Gnome better than I like KDE for a few reasons. First, Gnome looks a lot more professional than KDE, although these screenshots indicate that KDE is catching up fast. Second, Gnome is also A LOT less bloated than KDE, which for me is a really good thing. But then again I like using Waimea WM, so you can see where I stand when it comes to "bloatness." Simplicity (with some eyecandy ;) is bliss for me. All those menus in KDE are a maze to navigate through--me no likey. But I'm sure they come in handy for people who don't like using the command line and stuff.

Another reason is that I don't like to have both QT and GTK+ taking up space in my HD. So I choose GTK+ over QT.

But the main reason I stick with Gnome are the applets. Good God, I find KDE applets extremely unattractive when compared to Gnome applets. Should that change, I would consider moving to KDE, because I do think it is a more mature desktop than Gnome.

As a sidenote, I seriously admire both KDE and Gnome. Absolutely wonderful pieces of software. It's great to have a choice. I'm gonna emerge and use the new KDE in my laptop, and keep Gnome, Waimea, Enlightenment, etc. on my desktop.

Last but not least, GENTOO RULES!!

Gentoo && KDE?
by Bart Verwilst on Tue 12th Nov 2002 08:51 UTC

Well, i think Gentoo Linux is close to being distro n1 for KDE (and ofcourse Gnome is fully accounted for as well). Ofcourse i'm a little biased (being a Gentoo KDE dev myself), but really... "emerge kdebase" gives you a complete basic working kde, without all the other packages like kdegraphics/kdetoys/.., while "emerge kde" gives you everything. No hassle with failed deps because and the resulting rpm-hunting anymore :o) I've fallen in love with Gentoo/KDE since the first time i lay eyes on it.. Though i think Mandrake is doing a great thing with KDE as well! Enjoy! (PS, KDE 3.1 final will be available in Portage +- 2 days after release, maybe even sooner! ;o)

by Christoph on Tue 12th Nov 2002 09:42 UTC

KDE 3.1 DOES select a anti-aliased font by default.

It chooses Helvetica only:
-If your pc is too slow
-pc does not support xft
-no true-type font has been found (Arial(ms),Nimbus(gs),Luxi(xfree),any other)
-you have skiped personal setup assistant

Really good ...
by Ookaze on Tue 12th Nov 2002 13:53 UTC

I use the number one distro for KDE 3.1 or any other package : my custom LFS. I have 3 X permanently running on my app server : mine with Gnome, my wife's with KDE and the one for root with XFCE. So I just can't understand the war between KDE and Gnome user, as I find each has its drawbacks and advantages.
The reviewer show me that RH8 is seriously flawed, as KDE 3.1rc2 is the first time I didn't have to tweak anything to make it compile (except for alsa 0.9.x that's still not integrated). And after closing my wife's session and reentering it, there weren't any problem, except the fact that Keramik (was it keramik) had taken the place of Mosfet Liquid theme.
I also hope that distros quickly go with gcc 3.2 and glibc 2.3.1, as several people using older versions seems to have speed, startup and stability problem. It's already very good, and I'm not even using the latest X from CVS (because of the Nvidia driver ;) )
About file manager, I find nautilus more powerful and globally better than Konqueror. One drawback of nautilus is that, as I stress it a lot, it crashes once every other day. I know it restarts immediately (taking 1 or 2 seconds), but then it forgets all the locations whre you had been before the crash.
But even with this, my Win XP client (that I use very rarely now) looks bad besides any of the desktop, be it Gnome, KDE or XFCE (I have two monitors side by side).
I wonder if people who use XP really use it. As my WinXP client has 640 M (more than any other PC I have), and still locks for several seconds with the file manager sometimes, I don't know why. It also takes more than 2 seconds to start the WinXP file manager, even without antivirus ...
Nautilus is way faster, and it uses fam besides that !!!

Dropline GNOME
by Anonymous on Tue 12th Nov 2002 13:53 UTC

If anyone is running Slackware, I just tried a GNOME distro called Dropline ( and it's very spiffy. If you're running Slack I suggest you try Dropline out. It's got sane defaults and looks gorgeous. (no I don't work for Dropline :-)

Re: Akim
by Anonymous on Tue 12th Nov 2002 15:11 UTC

You should try Lindows and its Click'n'Run feature.

By the way ...
by Ookaze on Tue 12th Nov 2002 16:12 UTC

It's already time to test RC3 ...

Getting Xft to work in Red Hat 8
by bob on Tue 12th Nov 2002 16:26 UTC

The problem with Xft and Red Hat 8 is that the X has Xft1, which seems to be detected by the Qt configure even if you have Xft2 installed. How I fixed all of this:

ln -s /usr/X11R6/lib/ /usr/X11R6/lib/

and then, in your qt-copy directory, after you 'make -f' and configure, run:

find . -name Makefile | xargs perl -pi -e 's,-lXft,-lXft -lXft2,'

The soft linking might be optional, but I'm not about to rebuild qt to find out. And yes, I had to include both Xft and Xft2, because it would appear that Xft2 requires Xft to link, at least on Red Hat.

Re: Getting Xft to work in Red Hat 8
by Troels on Tue 12th Nov 2002 17:18 UTC

As far as i could tell, qt found the correct Xft version for me.

I had 2 problems though.

It didnt find the headers, i needed to pass a -I /usr/include/Xft2 to qts configure script. (im not 100% sure about the path, you can find it by looking where the xft.h file is when you do a rpm -ql Xft-devel) (i cant check as im not near my redhat box)

The second problem was that it didnt link in fontconfig, which i fixed by doing this:
find . -name "Makefile" | xargs perl -pi -e 's/-lXft/-lXft -lfontconfig/g'
This problem took me quite a while to figure out as it compiled and linked just fine, but it had a bunch of missing symbols. I'm still not sure why it didnt do it by itself. But it could of course have been fixed since then.

For anyone else out there wanting to compile KDE, you don't really need CUPS to be installed unless you plan on using it instead of lpr when printing.

That Review isn't KDE worthy
by M.Derezynski on Thu 14th Nov 2002 14:08 UTC

Hi Eugenia,

I must say, this review isn't KDE worthy.

First of all, splitting the libraries/applications from header files or other files needed for "development" is a pure RH thing, and maybe on distros that build on RH.

You should not stress out so much in the fashion you do that installing all the "devel' RPMs is a thing that is required, and if you do, then please hint that it's a RH only thing. Sure, you were doing it on RH but it's not the only distro people will install/compile KDE on.

I would not have spent so much time about how to install it, especially if i would have had so many problems which apparently only occured because of my broken distro. For me it would have "just worked' (and indeed does, as i'm building RC3 right now on my box), and more on describing KDE itself. After all your review was not titled "Review of KDE 3.1RC2 build" but "Review of KDE 3.1RC2".

Fact is that Qt 3.1/KDE 3.1 builds on Slackware 8.1 out of the box, except for the things that don't come with the distro, there being only CUPS and libart IIRC, and even less flawed than many source packages around.

Then, the XFT issue is just hilarious. Building Qt and KDE with XFT and thus Freetype support is no problem at all; these days Qt builds with XFT by default and like nothing, and so does KDE. It must be a major flaw in RH to break this build. It would have been fair enough to point to some other screeshots of KDE 3.1 (or maybe at least KDE 3.0.x) with XFT and AA enabled, so people can check in how it looks.

Please keep in mind, isn't