Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 27th Jul 2009 20:10 UTC
KDE For a very long time now, I've been on the hunt for a distribution that really put a lot of effort into their KDE4 implementation. This has been a frustrating search, full of broken installations, incredibly slow performance, and so many visual artifacts they made my eyes explode. Since KDE 4.3 is nearing release, I had to pick up this quest in order to take a look at where 4.3 stands - and I found a home in the KDE version of Fedora 11. Read on for a look as to where KDE 4.3 currently stands.
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kde4.3rc3 on openSUSE
by rkoot on Mon 27th Jul 2009 20:27 UTC
rkoot
Member since:
2006-01-03

luckily kde4 and compiz work well together ;) so if you have problems with kwin, just diable composite in kwin and enable compiz.

Edited 2009-07-27 20:28 UTC

Reply Score: 5

openSUSE...
by Anusko on Mon 27th Jul 2009 20:31 UTC
Anusko
Member since:
2009-06-30

Let's be fair, zypper is not the perfect package manager BUT it's already very good. IMHO openSUSE KDE integration is by far the best out there.

Reply Score: 3

RE: openSUSE...
by rkoot on Mon 27th Jul 2009 20:35 UTC in reply to "openSUSE..."
rkoot Member since:
2006-01-03

I absolutely agree. zypper is a huge improvement on zmd. and yast2 isn't that bad either. it used to be a utter disaster, but those days are long past.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: openSUSE...
by Boldie on Mon 27th Jul 2009 22:04 UTC in reply to "RE: openSUSE..."
Boldie Member since:
2007-03-26

OpenSUSE is a really nice KDE distro. But zypper and yast is killing me. It took a while but eventually it crapped out on me, badly. I really thought that dependency problems were a thing from the past. Sure I abused it, but I've abused apt a lot more with Debian and it never crapped out on me like OpenSUSE.

Don't get me wrong, OpenSUSE is a great distro with lots of easy going configuration and their KDE4 desktop is the best I've tried.

Now I'll take Fedora for a ride!

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: openSUSE...
by grat on Wed 29th Jul 2009 16:10 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: openSUSE..."
grat Member since:
2006-02-02

I don't know how people manage to break zypper / yast.

The only time I've had problems with either is doing a vendor change, and that works much better these days.

I also wish people would quit saying that Yast is the software installation tool under SuSE... Software installation is a small part of what Yast does.

Personally, I get confused by people who refer to Yast as "archaic", and then start editing config files by hand.

Reply Score: 3

RE: openSUSE...
by mgl.branco on Mon 27th Jul 2009 21:39 UTC in reply to "openSUSE..."
mgl.branco Member since:
2009-07-22

I could not agree with you more! too ;)
From my experience, suse keeps KDE repos nicely in order and updated and implement KDE quite well.
Whenever I'm asked, I do explicitly recommend NOT to use kubuntu.

Reply Score: 3

RE: openSUSE...
by molnarcs on Tue 28th Jul 2009 07:05 UTC in reply to "openSUSE..."
molnarcs Member since:
2005-09-10

OpenSuse is not bad, not bad at all. Coming from Kubuntu it was a great relief to discover the stability of KDE 4.2.x (updated from 4.1.3). However, the package management didn't cut it for me. For one thing, it was slow, way-way slower then Kubuntu (that's the only thing at this point going for Kubuntu). I had several problems with timeouts, especially the pacman repository, and bad synthesis.* (or something like that) downloads.

One-click-install never worked as advertised, except for the simplest packages out there. If you wanted to use it for anything complex, it would error out on some dependencies. But the worst problem was that if I wanted to have up-to-date packages for KDE, I had to change to KDE:Factory repo. It would have been fine if it was a one-time change, but later I learned that I have to keep an eye on Factory (read planetsuse, etc) because the content might change unexpectedly. Finally, I found it too much a hassle, plus SuSE in general seemed to be slower then the competition (especially startup times).

I ended up with Mandriva 2009 spring. Mandriva has all the polish of opensuse, plus a great KDE menu alternative similar to classic style but better (looks and good organization).

Don't get me wrong - if opensuse's package management works for you, there is no reason to switch. When it comes to KDE implementation, they are absolutely on par - I like Mandriva's more (because of the menu plus the default wallpaper), but that's just personal preference. Both are way better then Kubuntu.

The last Kubuntu that worked well for me was Feisty, but I kept using it through gutsy and hardy in the hopes that it would improve. Instead it went down down down - like my extra keys on my notebook stopped working in Gutsy, Hardy was a disaster when it came to the quality of packages (like they had both gwenview and kipi-plugins for KDE 4 in the repo, but the plugins wouldn't show up, and half a dozen other problems showing that the only QA they had was "if it compiles and installs it's good to go").

One downside of Mandriva was that it was a bit slower with updates, and I ended up using Fedora 11 like the author. However, I'm planning on switching back to Mandriva once the new version comes out. Fedora has up-to-date, good quality and well tested packages, good package management, and no GUI tools whatsoever (YAST or MCC-like) to configure your system, plus the menu is a terrible mess (like you can expect configuration tools in three different subsections without any apparent logic - administration/system/settings).

Well, the past 6 months was about good KDE implementation hunt for me, and evaluating the big four (Fedora/Mandriva/OpenSuse/Kubuntu) I'd definitely vote for Mandriva, with OpenSuse coming in a strong second position. And when I'm talking of evaluating, I really did use all of these for months (Suse 3, Mandriva 2, been on Fedora for about 1 month, Kubuntu before) on a daily basis to do my non-geeky work, not just install it for a few days or so ;)

DISCLAIMER: I've written this in a bit of a hurry, so it's bound to be full of spelling mistakes, etc. Spare me.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: openSUSE...
by mgl.branco on Tue 28th Jul 2009 11:33 UTC in reply to "RE: openSUSE..."
mgl.branco Member since:
2009-07-22

For one thing, it was slow, way-way slower then Kubuntu (...) One-click-install never worked as advertised, except for the simplest packages out there. If you wanted to use it for anything complex, it would error out on some dependencies. But the worst problem was that if I wanted to have up-to-date packages for KDE, I had to change to KDE:Factory repo. It would have been fine if it was a one-time change, but later I learned that I have to keep an eye on Factory (read planetsuse, etc) because the content might change unexpectedly.


Graphical installations in suse are sometime a bit slow. I admit that. From the console, are always quite fast to me. Comparing to ubuntu, having to add repos and keys and so on is a much broken method than suse click and go or yast way. Just an opinion.

About repos, yes, if you want the last KDE thing, yes, you must be aware of changes. But random users should not worry about that and install actualizations that goes into updates. They should be fine. Anyway, adding a repo is not such a big thing.

From my experience, Mandriva is solid distro for KDE fans.

Reply Score: 1

RE: openSUSE...
by xoulis on Tue 28th Jul 2009 08:17 UTC in reply to "openSUSE..."
xoulis Member since:
2006-05-25

I agree with you! zypper is very good, not perfect and gets the work done. On the other hand YaST2 is just great for me. OpenSuSE factory KDE (KDE 4.3 RC3) is by far the best user experience that i have tried till now...

Reply Score: 1

Not many good KDE4 distros
by Zolookas on Mon 27th Jul 2009 20:33 UTC
Zolookas
Member since:
2006-03-01

If you want good out of the box KDE4 experience, try Pardus 2009 distribution.

If you want to go do-it-yourself way, try installing Arch Linux and using kdemod repos.

Personally, i haven't tried Fedora with KDE. Kubuntu needs to be much improved to match Ubuntu's user experience.

Edited 2009-07-27 20:35 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Arch ftw!
by boofar on Mon 27th Jul 2009 20:48 UTC in reply to "Not many good KDE4 distros"
boofar Member since:
2008-04-23

I've used Kubuntu for a couple of months and that was just a horrible experience. Just as Thom describes: Slow, broken anf visual artefacts everywhere. In my experience distro specific "polish" and patches just mean more bugs. That's why I'm back on Arch now (with atandard kde packages). It's amazing how much more pleasant this machine is to use now.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Not many good KDE4 distros
by ple_mono on Mon 27th Jul 2009 20:59 UTC in reply to "Not many good KDE4 distros"
ple_mono Member since:
2005-07-26

If you want good out of the box KDE4 experience, try Pardus 2009 distribution.

If you want to go do-it-yourself way, try installing Arch Linux and using kdemod repos.

Personally, i haven't tried Fedora with KDE. Kubuntu needs to be much improved to match Ubuntu's user experience.

I can only second that. Pardus is an insanely polished kde4 desktop. I like how they have integrated pardus specific system settings (that are not part of kde system settings) as .kcm modules, so they are integrated in system-settings. Kubuntu does that too, but the kubuntu system-settings havent got very many kubuntu specific .kcm modules ATM.
EDIT: pardus 2009 is only at kde 4.2 yet, though!

Too bad the PISI package manager in pardus doesn't remove unused dependencies upon package removal though. That is where i draw the line unfortunately.
A modern package manager should, IMHO at least, remove unused dependecies on package removal, and also log install reason so that i can see what packages i installed *explicitly*.

Edited 2009-07-27 21:02 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Pardus and Package Management
by sebas on Mon 27th Jul 2009 21:29 UTC in reply to "RE: Not many good KDE4 distros"
sebas Member since:
2008-02-02

I agree that Pardus really delivers a very polished KDE experience, the team is doing awesome work and I can only commend their integration between KDE and the underlying Linux system. Definitely worth looking at.

On the account of removing "unused" packages, I'm not so sure about it. I'm using a bare-bone Kubuntu system with KDE compiled from SVN (I'm a KDE developer). At least the list of packages APT gets me that are unused are all actually packages that I want to have on the system, libraries that "seem" unused are actually needed to compile the other software I'm using on my system. I'd definitely not want to uninstall "unused" dependencies automatically since I often want to keep packages that I've installed by means of a dependency. It's probably not the most wide-spread use case with Linux becoming more and more popular, so not sure how much that counts.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Pardus and Package Management
by ple_mono on Tue 28th Jul 2009 00:07 UTC in reply to "Pardus and Package Management"
ple_mono Member since:
2005-07-26

Funny you should elaborate on kubuntu in particular. Guess what has sparked me recent interest in this? apt *inability* to present me a list of packages i've installed by hand. Even though apt does remove "uneeded dependencies" upon package removal, it's a very complex guessing game, because dpkg/aptitude/apt-get/synaptic/tasksel has this old and increasingly complex relationship. And it doesn't get it right every time. Especially when dealing with "metapackages" and task.
I'm not saying ubuntu / debian got it right. I'm saying the architecture of PISI is beautiful, and the python code is very lean. It wouldn't be too hard to implement "autoremove" and proper marking of packages install reason (manual/automatic), and the introduction of hard/soft depends.
Take a look on pacman in arch linux. That's a work of art if you ask me.

Edited 2009-07-28 00:08 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Not many good KDE4 distros
by Elv13 on Tue 28th Jul 2009 00:02 UTC in reply to "RE: Not many good KDE4 distros"
Elv13 Member since:
2006-06-12

If you compile stuff by yourself, you don't want that kind of behavior, it should never end up as a default option.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Not many good KDE4 distros
by KenP on Tue 28th Jul 2009 01:03 UTC in reply to "RE: Not many good KDE4 distros"
KenP Member since:
2009-07-28

Pardus 2009 is an excellent KDE4 distribution. Its well customised and has system configuration tools that are Qt/KDE4 friendly as opposed to GTK+ ones for most other distributions.

To see how well a KDE4 desktop can look and behave, Pardus is the way to go -- release 2009.

Reply Score: 3

Pardus
by James-T on Mon 27th Jul 2009 20:35 UTC
James-T
Member since:
2009-07-27

I think one of the best KDE-centric distributions out there is Pardus. It comes from Turkey, but the English version is good too. Since the current version was only released about 10 days ago, it's really up-to-date at the moment.

Reply Score: 3

v KDE almost ready...
by bjorn nitmo on Mon 27th Jul 2009 20:40 UTC
RE: KDE almost ready...
by Zolookas on Mon 27th Jul 2009 20:43 UTC in reply to "KDE almost ready..."
Zolookas Member since:
2006-03-01

Distributions are not ready for KDE4.

Sounds funny, but it is true.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: KDE almost ready...
by molnarcs on Tue 28th Jul 2009 07:15 UTC in reply to "RE: KDE almost ready..."
molnarcs Member since:
2005-09-10

Well, if by distributions you mean Kubuntu, you might be right. However, a lot of people mention Pardus here, plus I can tell you from personal experience that Mandriva is definitely ready ;)

Reply Score: 4

RE: KDE almost ready...
by mgl.branco on Mon 27th Jul 2009 21:50 UTC in reply to "KDE almost ready..."
mgl.branco Member since:
2009-07-22

Obviously you haven't been reading release announcements. Reading is a good thing. For instance, in the release announcement of KDE 4.2.0 they said:

After the release of KDE 4.1, which was aimed at casual users, the KDE Community is now confident we have a compelling offering for the majority of end users.


Quite modest words in my opinion.

If you're a gnome fanboy, like I'm of KDE, btw, I'd save the jokes for whenever gnome 3.0 is out with that horrible shell.

Reply Score: 1

v RE[2]: KDE almost ready...
by bjorn nitmo on Mon 27th Jul 2009 23:00 UTC in reply to "RE: KDE almost ready..."
RE[2]: KDE almost ready...
by stabbyjones on Mon 27th Jul 2009 23:39 UTC in reply to "RE: KDE almost ready..."
stabbyjones Member since:
2008-04-15

If you're a gnome fanboy, like I'm of KDE, btw, I'd save the jokes for whenever gnome 3.0 is out with that horrible shell.


I was skeptical of gnome shell but i've been using it randomly and i can see lots of things that are really interesting and would be easy to use as far as daily operation goes.

I've actually become MORE interested in GNOME 3.0 since i took a look at gnome shell.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: KDE almost ready...
by mgl.branco on Tue 28th Jul 2009 11:25 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: KDE almost ready..."
mgl.branco Member since:
2009-07-22

I was skeptical of gnome shell but i've been using it randomly and i can see lots of things that are really interesting and would be easy to use as far as daily operation goes.


Nice to hear that, someone liking it. I can't see myself using activities to launch documents and apps in a daily basis. Seems too intrusive to me.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: KDE almost ready...
by stabbyjones on Tue 28th Jul 2009 23:17 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: KDE almost ready..."
stabbyjones Member since:
2008-04-15

Nice to hear that, someone liking it. I can't see myself using activities to launch documents and apps in a daily basis. Seems too intrusive to me.


I think it would be easier to see it as some strange kind of start menu mixed in with a tab switcher that controls desktops and windows.

It doesn't seem any more intrusive than using something like gnome-do. and it's not like you won't still have a file manager.

Sounds like you have more of a problem with Gnome Zeitgeist than with the shell.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by motang
by motang on Mon 27th Jul 2009 20:57 UTC
motang
Member since:
2008-03-27

Sounds awesome, and one of the reasons as to why I have jumped on the KDE4's wagon is because of the poor, unpolished implementation like the author mentions. I should try out Fedora 12 with KDE 4.3 later on this year and see how that works out.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by satan666
by satan666 on Mon 27th Jul 2009 20:58 UTC
satan666
Member since:
2008-04-18

I had nothing but great experience with KDE 4.3 in Mandriva cooker so far.

Reply Score: 4

Folder view plasmoid...
by ple_mono on Mon 27th Jul 2009 21:05 UTC
ple_mono
Member since:
2005-07-26

The folder view plasmoid has also recevied some love, and you now can drill down into folders simply by hovering over them; this is a very handy little feature that negates the need for Dolphin when simply looking for a while you wish to open. It does have an implementation problem, though; as the drilling happens on delayed mouse-over, it often happens by accident when moving your mouse around or when trying to actually open a folder in Dolphin.

Yes, and the last time i looked, you cant turn it off. I hope this will be taken care of before release.

Reply Score: 2

Mandriva .. hands down
by gnemmi on Mon 27th Jul 2009 21:05 UTC
gnemmi
Member since:
2006-08-17

Amazing you didn't try Mandriva .. Conectiva had it once .. and ever since they bought it (and Helio began working on Mandriva's KDE) they inherited the best KDE implementation/integration I've ever seen ..

Reply Score: 5

RE: Mandriva .. hands down
by ruel24 on Tue 28th Jul 2009 02:13 UTC in reply to "Mandriva .. hands down"
ruel24 Member since:
2006-03-21

...the best KDE implementation/integration I've ever seen ..


I'll second that! If you haven't tried Mandriva, you are definitely missing out! KDE 4 is simply stunning in Mandriva, and by far, the most polished of all distros. Too bad I still long for Synaptic instead of RPMDrake, though...but it's not bad.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Mandriva .. hands down
by blw37 on Tue 28th Jul 2009 03:59 UTC in reply to "Mandriva .. hands down"
blw37 Member since:
2009-07-28

I agree that Mandriva provides the best KDE 4 I have seen. I had been a KDE fan, then questioned it seeing the Kubuntu and Suse versions of KDE 4. Mandriva works well for me though.

Reply Score: 2

woo
by liamdawe on Mon 27th Jul 2009 21:05 UTC
liamdawe
Member since:
2006-07-04

I have been waiting for this write-up (i am tatewatkins on twitter) so i am glad to see that it was a positive experience, i too will be trying Fedora's kde again once F12 is out, but i will also try Ubuntus Karmic.

It is definitely coming along!

Reply Score: 1

requisite khtml gripe
by _txf_ on Mon 27th Jul 2009 21:06 UTC
_txf_
Member since:
2008-03-17

"performance-wise it can't really hold a candle to Firefox 3.5 and Chrome just yet."

More accurate would be "never" instead of "just yet".

Edited 2009-07-27 21:07 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: requisite khtml gripe
by OfficeSubmarine on Mon 27th Jul 2009 23:31 UTC in reply to "requisite khtml gripe "
OfficeSubmarine Member since:
2006-12-14

I find the khtml gripe to be mandatory as well. A lot of people, me included, find the browser to be the absolute most important and used program. And it's just lagging so far behind webkit. I mean chrome's beating it in almost every way, and it's not even that close to being an alpha yet on linux.

Reply Score: 1

RE: requisite khtml gripe
by Carewolf on Tue 28th Jul 2009 14:33 UTC in reply to "requisite khtml gripe "
Carewolf Member since:
2005-09-08

That is an odd comment. Just about the only major benifit khtml has over Firefox is that it is many many times faster. I am surprised everytime I have to load a page in Firefox how long it takes. The real problems with khtml is that it is not recognized and supported by many webapps including google's who then sends it broken javascript making khtml appear broken.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: requisite khtml gripe
by pompous stranger on Tue 28th Jul 2009 18:43 UTC in reply to "RE: requisite khtml gripe "
pompous stranger Member since:
2006-05-28

I think it is KHTML/Konqueror's javascript engine that is broken, not Google's javascript.

KHTML/Konqueror still doesn't support XSLT or XPATH (needed for AJAX), for example. Which is — incredible? — for a desktop project's default browser in 2009.

Every other popular browser project has recently overhauled their javascript engine to focus on execution speed. They are essentially on JS 2.0. Using Konqueror feels like a beta of JS 1.0. It's basically an HTML/CSS page viewer at this point.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: requisite khtml gripe
by _txf_ on Tue 28th Jul 2009 20:03 UTC in reply to "RE: requisite khtml gripe "
_txf_ Member since:
2008-03-17

That is an odd comment. Just about the only major benifit khtml has over Firefox is that it is many many times faster. I am surprised everytime I have to load a page in Firefox how long it takes. The real problems with khtml is that it is not recognized and supported by many webapps including google's who then sends it broken javascript making khtml appear broken.


It is true that khtml is quite fast on many (simple no javascript heavy) sites, but performance is also having websites work properly. It is even slower if you consider that one has to start firefox to get website x working properly

Reply Score: 2

KUbuntu 9.04 + Launchpad
by drTRS on Mon 27th Jul 2009 21:11 UTC
drTRS
Member since:
2008-07-29

Well I am using Kubuntu Jaunty with uptodate packages from KDE4 eg. 4.2.98 (RC3) with NVida 7050 and I am very happy user, really..

Actually this is the first time after moving to OSX that I am enjoy K/Ubuntu again.

Of course many packages what I am using are backports from Karmic (9.10) so I think there are a lot of work from the Kubuntu team to make KDE a pleasant use in their new distro...

Reply Score: 1

What about Debian?
by No it isnt on Mon 27th Jul 2009 21:14 UTC
No it isnt
Member since:
2005-11-14

Being biased towards Debian based distros, you probably should try Debian itself. I've been using the 4.3 RCs in Experimental for some time now, and I haven't really seen any problems except the ones you mention: slow compositing. I noticed compositing was a bit faster when I switched to EXA instead of XAA, but then that also turns Flash into a CPU hog...

Debian's KDE packages have always been top notch, something which I can't say for Ubuntu.

Oh yes, there's one more problem with Debian's KDE 4 RC release: the Network-Manager plasmoid isn't there. You'd have to compile it and install it manually if you need it.

Reply Score: 4

RE: What about Debian?
by troy.unrau on Tue 28th Jul 2009 00:05 UTC in reply to "What about Debian?"
troy.unrau Member since:
2007-02-23

The networkmanager applet has not been officially released yet, as it still has some stability issues, last I checked.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: What about Debian?
by No it isnt on Tue 28th Jul 2009 13:27 UTC in reply to "RE: What about Debian?"
No it isnt Member since:
2005-11-14

Well, it's in Debian Sid's KDE 4.2.4, but depends on KDE 4.2.4 and can't easily be used with 4.3RC. It does lack a few important features, though.

Reply Score: 1

Kwin performs great
by diegocg on Mon 27th Jul 2009 21:16 UTC
diegocg
Member since:
2005-07-08

Kwin has good performance here for the basic operations (it used to be slow in the first releases, but these days it works so fluid that I can go months without noticing it is enabled), and I'm using a crappy Intel embedded graphic chips. So your poor performance is probably caused by the weird problems that sometimes propietary drivers create...

Reply Score: 2

RE: Kwin performs great
by sebas on Mon 27th Jul 2009 21:38 UTC in reply to "Kwin performs great"
sebas Member since:
2008-02-02

It actually greatly varies per driver. While the biggest performance problems with the NVidia binary driver have been fixed a couple of months ago, the people using a recent version of this driver will have an OK, but not stellar user experience (in terms of KWin compositing). I'm noticing a slight delay in many operations with the NVidia driver.

Comparing that with an integrated Intel chip on my notebook actually made me notice this. With a recent Intel driver, Xorg and Kernel the window management feels really snappy and reacts immediately.

With the Free radeon driver on an old-ish ATI integrated chip in another notebook, the difference is made the the MigrationHeuristics setting in xorg.conf's Device section. Leaving it at default (i.e. not mentioning it in xorg.conf) makes the desktop really snappy, but can cause corruption once in a while in Kate and Quassel. Setting it to "greedy" makes this problem go away, but it causes this "laggy" feeling, noticable for example when bringing a minimized window to the foreground.

My general impression is that pretty much all of the graphics hardware for laptops and desktops built in the last 3 years is capable of running a smoothly composited desktop -- as long as the drivers work well.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Kwin performs great
by kragil on Mon 27th Jul 2009 22:04 UTC in reply to "RE: Kwin performs great"
kragil Member since:
2006-01-04

Thom means Xorg drivers when he says Kwin. Just because Compiz may perform good does not mean that it is Kwins fault. Kwin uses a lot of features Xorg and the driver should provide with good performance but don't yet do.

Reply Score: 5

ports
by Lengsel on Mon 27th Jul 2009 21:38 UTC
Lengsel
Member since:
2006-04-19

I have been happy with KDE4 from ports, how do you guys find it? Don't you find the team does a good job with it?

I have not used Linux to try KDE4 because of problems with the way the Linux kernel seems to have been engineered.

Reply Score: 1

Mandriva is nice
by Mark Williamson on Mon 27th Jul 2009 21:44 UTC
Mark Williamson
Member since:
2005-07-06

I'm running Mandriva with KDE4 on my Eee 701 and it's really nice. I had to upgrade the memory - KDE4 plus Mandriva's memory-hungry tools kept crashing it on the default 512MB (no swap configured). But with 2GB in there it runs smoothly with KWin effects enabled and it's generally a pretty slick experience. A few niggles (some bugs which may have been fixed now) but mostly rather impressive.

Kubuntu is what I use on my desktop. I think their KDE 4.2 release is the nicest to use yet (partly because 4.2 is the best release so far) but it does have some annoying issues that I don't see on my Eee. Some of this is probably due to the install just being old and hacked about. Maybe I should just go and use Konstruct and compile my KDE from source and see if that improves things - I understand it's not too hard to do.

One advantage of Kubuntu, though, is that packaged versions of each new KDE release do come out very quickly, so I can upgrade right away and play with the new features! Obviously that's not a fully supported release, so it wouldn't be fair to judge Kubuntu too harshly over it.

Reply Score: 3

Konquerer
by robojerk on Mon 27th Jul 2009 22:25 UTC
robojerk
Member since:
2006-01-10

I haven't used KDE in awhile but maybe try using Arora (QT based webkit browser) instead of Konqurer.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Konquerer
by lemur2 on Mon 27th Jul 2009 23:31 UTC in reply to "Konquerer"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

I haven't used KDE in awhile but maybe try using Arora (QT based webkit browser) instead of Konqurer.


Arora is the default browser for Kubuntu Karmic instead of Konqueror. It is fairly lightweight and snappy, and it uses webkit as the rendering engine, but it doesn't have anywhere near the extendability of Firefox.

Firefox is however a GTK+ application. This means the dialog boxes and things like favourite shortcuts are all not integrated.

It is very frustrating. Why can't KDE users have a browser that uses: a Qt front-end GUI, XULrunner for programmability and extensibility, and webkit and squirrelfox (i.e. Google Chrome) as the backend? The best of all worlds. While we are at it, lets have a better-integrated version of gnash and openjdk as well. It is all open source, and isn't open source supposed to be a meritocracy?

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Konquerer
by pompous stranger on Tue 28th Jul 2009 18:48 UTC in reply to "RE: Konquerer"
pompous stranger Member since:
2006-05-28

Why can't KDE users have a browser that uses: a Qt front-end GUI, XULrunner for programmability and extensibility, and webkit and squirrelfox (i.e. Google Chrome) as the backend?


You can achieve some of that ghetto-style with kgtk, an LD_PRELOAD hack that replaces the GTK filepicker (the most aggravating part of GTK) with the default KDE one. Been using it for years, though often it involves editing the launcher script for Firefox, which likes to unset LD_PRELOAD. It's just a one-line comment deal.

Reply Score: 1

KWin with new plasma theme?
by theosib on Mon 27th Jul 2009 22:27 UTC
theosib
Member since:
2006-03-02

I thought one of the great improvements for 4.3 was that the window manager would have window decorations that matches the plasma theme. But I don't see that in any of the screenshots. I'm expecting rounded edges and translucency and stuff like in the plasmoids. What am I missing?

Reply Score: 1

RE: KWin with new plasma theme?
by milianw on Mon 27th Jul 2009 23:35 UTC in reply to "KWin with new plasma theme?"
milianw Member since:
2007-03-22

Try that:

http://kde-look.org/content/show.php/Aurorae+Theme+Engine?content=1...

But it's just in its beginning afaics... You'd need a theme for it which fits your plasma theme.

Reply Score: 1

Resizing problem
by Elv13 on Mon 27th Jul 2009 23:59 UTC
Elv13
Member since:
2006-06-12

Will be fixed in Qt 4.6, it is actually not a slowness, just how X handle resize. KDE3 and Gnome have an hack to speed it up. As most "hack" were dropped in the transition from KDE3 to 4, the old unofficial Qt-copy patch was dropped. Look like Nokia told Trolltech that it was annoying, finally (it will enter in officiel Qt tree). I saw a port on qt planet some time ago about that. X send only few resize request per second (on clock based timing), not everytime the size actually change (it make sense in 1990, but surely not 2 decade later).

Reply Score: 4

KDE Needs a Focused Distribution
by segedunum on Tue 28th Jul 2009 00:06 UTC
segedunum
Member since:
2005-07-06

What KDE needs is a distribution entirely focused on showing off KDE 4 in its best light and integrating the rest of the system with it. It needs a distributor who will work very closely with upstream and understand what the hell is going on technically. Until that happens then it's just popcorn in the pan and we're still going to see a huge disjoint between any good stuff that is happening in KDE and what the distributor actually does and implements. We need to stop putting our faith in 'enterprise' distributions who just care about keeping the desktop ticking over.

OpenSuse tries to backport features that it really shouldn't and Kubuntu wanders off following Ubuntu around. It shows. There is also very poor integration. YaST is actually a decent system tool and the best we have currently (doesn't say much), but why oh why after all these years do they keep coming up with that piss-poor user interface that is completely separate and not integrated with the desktop's control centre? Mandrake has always done it as well. That confused me when I first started using Linux distros and it still confuses the hell out of users to this day.

Not finding a good enough distribution to show a modern open source desktop like KDE 4 in its best light has pushed me into recommending Macs for a couple of Rails developers. That's sad because the software is there, it should be the perfect environment for such usage and it's obviously costing more in hardware. Par for the course at the moment.

Reply Score: 3

RE: KDE Needs a Focused Distribution
by KenP on Tue 28th Jul 2009 01:07 UTC in reply to "KDE Needs a Focused Distribution"
KenP Member since:
2009-07-28

Agreed. Most "mainstream" distributions are, unfortunately, GTK+ based primarily. This may be due to earlier restrictive licensing of Qt. However, now there is no excuse for the same for any distribution that wants to go with KDE4 as the main DE.

My current favourites are:
1. Pardus 2009
2. openSUSE
3. Mandriva
4. Kubuntu

Fedora, sadly, is too GNOME-centric and, I suspect, may never really give KDE4 the due it deserves.

Reply Score: 2

RE: KDE Needs a Focused Distribution
by terog on Tue 28th Jul 2009 01:52 UTC in reply to "KDE Needs a Focused Distribution"
terog Member since:
2007-03-09

What KDE needs is a distribution entirely focused on showing off KDE 4 in its best light and integrating the rest of the system with it.


While I agree, I also think it's KDE's fault by not coming up with good defaults to begin with. IMO this is what makes it so difficult for the distributors in the first place.

The fact that it is so difficult also results in inconsistencies between KDE based distributions, which in turn creates uncertainty for the users.

So, maybe some day we'll get that ONE "perfect" distribution for KDE... But that'll never satisfy all users who also might have other preferences (for pkg-management and the like).

Edited 2009-07-28 02:02 UTC

Reply Score: 1

segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

[qWhile I agree, I also think it's KDE's fault by not coming up with good defaults to begin with. IMO this is what makes it so difficult for the distributors in the first place. [/q]
I don't think it's KDE's fault at all because the average distributor seems to be so, so poor at making decisions as to what goes in. PulseAudio is the biggest example of an exceptionally poor decision made by many distributors to include it.

Distributors are just no good at putting things together into a coherent whole and making sure that they get involved upstream to make it happen. They're just glorified packagers and you don't get the impression they are putting together an 'operating system'.

Reply Score: 5

terog Member since:
2007-03-09


I don't think it's KDE's fault at all because the average distributor seems to be so, so poor at making decisions as to what goes in. PulseAudio is the biggest example of an exceptionally poor decision made by many distributors to include it.


I should have said "partly KDE's fault", as I was only talking about the default settings in the DE. This is related to the problem that many people have complained over the years: you often have to tweak KDE yourself in order to get good usability. In contrast to this, Gnome is very often considered to have good defaults and usability.

Let's take this as an example from the article where Thom talks about the problem with the new "drilling" feature:

"It does have an implementation problem, though; as the drilling happens on delayed mouse-over, it often happens by accident when moving your mouse around or when trying to actually open a folder in Dolphin."

I can't believe they're even considering to make it work by mouse-over. I'm sure though, that they'll provide a setting to change it to on-click behavior. This will still mean that the bad default behavior will make it to most of the distributions.

Reply Score: 3

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

I can't believe they're even considering to make it work by mouse-over. I'm sure though, that they'll provide a setting to change it to on-click behavior. This will still mean that the bad default behavior will make it to most of the distributions.


That's the problem. They CANNOT make it work on click, because the default single-click behaviour is to open Dolphin. Even fi they changed opening Dolphin to double click, you'd still have a problem because on the first click of a double click you'd get drilling.

It's an interesting and useful feature, but it conflicts with the usual behaviour of a folder view. Maybe they should use middle click or something, I don't know. This nut is tougher to crack than you'd think.

Reply Score: 3

setec_astronomy Member since:
2007-11-17

It's an interesting and useful feature, but it conflicts with the usual behaviour of a folder view. Maybe they should use middle click or something, I don't know. This nut is tougher to crack than you'd think.


How about using active corners + single click (a la Dolphin) or mini-hover icons (similar to what is used in Lancelot) for drilling?

Personally, I would advise against defaulting to input actions that don't translate well to all target devices (think touchscreens).

Reply Score: 2

terog Member since:
2007-03-09

That's the problem. They CANNOT make it work on click, because the default single-click behaviour is to open Dolphin. Even fi they changed opening Dolphin to double click, you'd still have a problem because on the first click of a double click you'd get drilling.


I see. Didn't think it trough... However, it still works as a general example to make my point more clear.

Reply Score: 2

segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

In contrast to this, Gnome is very often considered to have good defaults and usability.

Yes, because more often than not it doesn't do anything. It's easy to decide on defaults when all you have are a handful of widgets on a window and you have far fewer features and you've decided that you don't want to face and solve the usability problems as a result. That's how Gnome, collectively, has decided to progress. Gnome is nowhere near having the 'drilling' problem below because it isn't close to being able to implement anything like it.

I can't believe they're even considering to make it work by mouse-over. I'm sure though, that they'll provide a setting to change it to on-click behavior.

I'm not sure that they can change it to a clickable behaviour. As I understand it it is supposed to be a bit of a cross between a preview and actually physically opening a Dolphin window. I haven't tried it yet though so I stand corrected.

As Thom says though, trying to get the implementation of a neat feature like this as usable as possible is a very difficult thing to get right.

Reply Score: 6

terog Member since:
2007-03-09

Yes, because more often than not it doesn't do anything. It's easy to decide on defaults when all you have are a handful of widgets on a window and you have far fewer features and you've decided that you don't want to face and solve the usability problems as a result.


True, but KDE has had "strange" defaults even in simple things like e.g. opening a document - not in a separate app as usual but embedded in the Konqueror window. Sure it is a powerful feature for those who desire it, but for a newbie coming from other environments it can very confusing and therefore should not be the default action, IMHO.

But I do think that with KDE4 they are improving the defaults though.

As Thom says though, trying to get the implementation of a neat feature like this as usable as possible is a very difficult thing to get right.


Agreed.

Reply Score: 2

Bille Member since:
2007-05-31

Somehow I misread part of your comment as "declined to progress" ;) .

Reply Score: 2

distribution for KDE?!
by l3v1 on Tue 28th Jul 2009 06:48 UTC
l3v1
Member since:
2005-07-06

Now come on, in the text, in the comments, you keep bringing up how there's no good distro with KDE. I tell you what, a distro is just as good as the one who installs it and sets it up. A good pre-selection of themes and default settings from the distro's part can help somewhat but that's just how far it goes. You want a good distro for KDE (still find this nonsense) ? I use Debian testing with kde4 from day 1, and it's working great. Yes, this is just me, and yes, I'm an idiot who sets up his own stuff the way he likes it, and I didn't ever stuck with a prepackaged distro's settings, ever. So what ? It's still a very good way to have a working kde-based desktop.

Oh, one more, for years I've been mad about how boring and ugly screenshots people show about kde (or gnome for that matter) in reviews. Well, I see that will never ever change.

Reply Score: 3

RE: distribution for KDE?!
by dagw on Tue 28th Jul 2009 08:42 UTC in reply to "distribution for KDE?!"
dagw Member since:
2005-07-06

Oh, one more, for years I've been mad about how boring and ugly screenshots people show about kde (or gnome for that matter) in reviews. Well, I see that will never ever change.

I hope it never does change. I want my screenshots in reviews to be as simple and boring and default as possible. Screen shots should be used to illustrate certain features or failings which are easier to show than to describe. Anything which distracts from showing off the feature should be left out of the screenshot.

Screen shots packed full of dozens of third party apps and tweaks showing off nothing but the users questionable aesthetic tastes don't really serve any purpose in a review.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: distribution for KDE?!
by molnarcs on Tue 28th Jul 2009 11:35 UTC in reply to "RE: distribution for KDE?!"
molnarcs Member since:
2005-09-10

Screen shots packed full of dozens of third party apps and tweaks showing off nothing but the users questionable aesthetic tastes don't really serve any purpose in a review.


I beg to differ - showing off the capabilities and flexibility of a desktop environment is a valid reason for reviews. Now you can describe customizations (click this menu, select that, than push that button on the bottom left corner) or... you can show a screenshot of a heavily customized desktop illustrating what you can do with it.

Edit> I agree though that customizations should be done with the default tools available in the specific implementation. System Settings, GetHotNewStuff, etc qualifies - you know the tools that are immediately visible to the average user. Stuff you download from kde-apps and compile them yourself don't qualify.

Edited 2009-07-28 11:38 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Window resizing...
by agnus on Tue 28th Jul 2009 06:53 UTC
agnus
Member since:
2006-05-10

> While slow fancy animations are tolerable - up to point - window dragging and resizing are also
> unbearably slow, which I think is completely unacceptable.

Window resizing has partly to do with the existing Qt implementation. This will most likely be improved with the next Qt release.

http://labs.trolltech.com/blogs/2009/06/10/smooth-and-solid-resizin...

Edited 2009-07-28 07:05 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Other Plasma goodies
by jfebrer on Tue 28th Jul 2009 09:09 UTC
jfebrer
Member since:
2009-07-07

My two Plasma features that I love more about KDE 4.3 are these:

* Different activity for each desktop.

* Use a separate Dashboard.

The first one permits to have a different set of widgets and different wallpapers for each virtual desktop.

The second one is to have a different Dashboard than what it is on the desktop, it is like Mac OS X uses Dashboard. By default when you see the Dashboard pressing CTRL+F12 it appears the Dashboard with the widgets that you have on your desktop, but if you use this option, this Dashboard will be different.

To access to these options you have to zoom out your desktop an select "Configure Plasma".

Also you can have Plasma widgets on your screensaver.

Right now my favorite application launcher it is a folder view widget with programs:/ address so you can easily execute an application using the drilling out feature of folder view.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Other Plasma goodies
by molnarcs on Tue 28th Jul 2009 16:03 UTC in reply to "Other Plasma goodies"
molnarcs Member since:
2005-09-10

Would mode you up if hadn't commented earlier. It's one thing to have nice eye-candy bling on your desktop, but sometimes it's difficult to see how they can be actually useful. Nice examples there for the latter, especially liked the idea of combining konqi's applications:/ with the new drilling feature the have a new alternative for the application menu (lancelot, kickoff, etc.)

Edited 2009-07-28 16:04 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Glad you like it
by bralkein on Tue 28th Jul 2009 12:49 UTC
bralkein
Member since:
2006-12-20

As a KDE fan it is good to see other people enjoying the DE too ;) I think KDE 4 has really shaped up now, and judging by the rate of progress, I can only imagine what it will be like in a couple of years' time.

I like the default kickoff menu myself, but I can understand the dislike others feel for it I suppose. But to prefer the Lancelot launcher instead!? That thing is a mess! For people who dislike kickoff I would recommend the classic menu style, which you can use by just right-clicking on the Kickoff icon and selecting the option. Then you can use the menu editor (accessed in the same way) to strip out all the crap you don't need, leaving you with a really simple and easy custom menu.

I also don't understand why the dislike of KHTML/Konqueror is such a big deal. As I said before, I have been a KDE fan for about 6/7 years but I still just use Firefox because I think it's better. It seems to let me use eg. Okular to use PDFs and everything so there is no problem with integration as far as I can tell. Actually having Konqueror is a good thing because the split view is really useful, I fire it up if I want to drag and drop some images or files from the web into a local folder, for example.

Also one new feature making a comeback in KDE 4.3 is mouse gestures. It is very cool to be able to bind a mouse gesture to a d-bus call to be able to control amarok. The mouse gesture engine is good enough that I can write my name with it and have it recognise it with good consistency.

Good review overall, though!

Reply Score: 2

Comment by jjmckay
by jjmckay on Wed 29th Jul 2009 13:10 UTC
jjmckay
Member since:
2005-11-11

Thanks Thom for the review. Would love to see you review Pardus 2009 with 4.3 and maybe another and then compare them. I want to love KDE4 too. I guess my main concern is something you note also. It is perpetually unfinished, lacking that last bit of polish. This isn't unique to KDE4 though. It's all in a perpetual state of high flux.

Reply Score: 2

Multi-Monitor support
by grat on Wed 29th Jul 2009 16:12 UTC
grat
Member since:
2006-02-02

KDE 4.3 still treats each monitor as a completely separate desktop, with separate backgrounds. Very annoying.

It's the one thing from KDE 3.5 that I really miss, and makes both Gnome and KDE 4.x irritating for my day-to-day work.

Reply Score: 2