Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 27th Jan 2009 13:46 UTC
Editorial With Windows 7 having made its grand debut, and with KDE4's vision making leaps and bounds forward with every release, we have two major software projects that have decided to implement some fairly drastic interface changes. Such changes are bound to receive some harsh criticisms - but the funny thing is, these criticisms usually come from people you least expect it from.
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Kokopelli
Member since:
2005-07-06

I am sorry but the whole argument that KDE 4 criticisms are centered around an aversion to change is simply delusional.

Yes there are users who will resist change and will criticise a product due to that, this is not and has not been the primary criticisms for KDE4. Most technology advocate sites have praised KDE 4's direction with Plasma, Solid, Phonon, etc... It is a good direction and will eventually lead to a good user experience. 4.0 was not it. 4.0 was a disaster in communication down the entire pipeline. It was not usable as a desktop by any but the most forgiving. Yes Aaron and a few others posted on their blogs warnings but the statements were marginal and late. Users were not clearly communicated to, nor were distro teams evidently since many went to 4.0.

4.1 was an improvement but still far from stable or feature complete. Features had to be deferred and removed to allow the release. This was not a decision due to a paradigm shift in the way to use the desktop but a pragmatic decision to allow the product to be released.

4.2 is a usable desktop in some instances but still has some glaring and significant problems. For me the completely broken interaction with xrandr on laptops with intel graphics is significant. Rotating a screen crashes X in KDE 4 but not any other desktop environment I use. Adding a monitor using xrandr sometimes crashes X, sometimes KDE depending on the laptop. Either way I have to restart the session to get a usable desktop and still have no second monitor. This is not an aversion to change, this is the inability to do a basic function.

Most users of Linux who have been at it for more than a year or two have gone through multiple desktop environments, usually with significantly different ways on how to configure and operate in. Kde 3, Gnome, XFCE, and even KDE 4 in their default configuration have the same basic concepts for interaction, configuration, and window control. KDE 3 offers much more in the way of user configuration, while Gnome offers sensible defaults. But when it comes down to it the start menu, task bar, and application control via title bar and window level menu is common. Fluxbox, FVWM (yes FVWM is a windows manager but it can be configured to act as a dektop environment), Awesome and other more fringe environments behave differently from this common paradigm though. How many Linux users of over 3 years that you know have not tried at LEAST 3 distributions and various desktop environments? The willingness, even desire, to distro/desktop hop argues against a long term Linux users aversion to change. Indeed the average Linux enthusiast spends a significant amount of time playing and trying different environments to find what is most effective for him. This tends to suggest that most Linux users have the predisposition to experiment and determine effectiveness of an environment. The fact is KDE 4.0 and 4.1 was a significant step down in ease of use and effectiveness from 3.5.

KDE 4 is currently not as effective a Desktop environment as KDE 3 is. 4.2 is in my opinion on parity with Gnome now but has significant usability issues to its detriment. But do not balme the user for being critical of an application for dropping or breaking basic features. This is not an aversion to change it is a simple reaction to removing that which we expect out of a desktop environment.

This was from KDE 4.2 by the way but I have now come downstairs and want to use my second monitor so need to switch back to Gnome.

Edited 2009-01-27 15:27 UTC

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