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KDE 4 revises the desktop

By Bruce Byfield on January 14, 2008 (5:00:00 PM)

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After more than 30 months of planning and development, KDE 4 was released on Friday. The new version of the popular desktop environment is an ambitious revision on almost every level, from the performance and design to the applications and system tools. While it sometimes shows the influence of other desktops, most users should find something to like in the hundreds of new features. However, users' overall verdict may well depend on their tolerance for new layouts and logic.

Today, KDE 4 packages are available for Kubuntu and in Debian Experimental, but have not yet appeared in most other major distributions' repositories. Those who wish to see the final release without compiling the source code themselves can take advantage of the live DVDs offered by a number of distributions, including Fedora, Kubuntu, and openSUSE (which replaces some of KDE's own system management tools with Yast2). Users may also want to open the KDE 4.0 Visual Guide on another computer while they investigate the live DVD, so that they don't overlook some of the less obvious features.

Behind the scenes, KDE 4 has employed new applications for interacting with hardware and multimedia, switched to the Qt4 widget set, and rewritten large sections of the core libraries. The combination makes for a noticeably faster desktop, even on a live CD -- one that rivals Xfce, the previous leader in speed among the major desktops.

Even more noticeably, with the new release, KDE takes a giant leap forward in visual sophistication, with transparencies, abstract wallpapers, and the clean, three-dimensional icons of the default Oxygen theme. Of course, you could always customize earlier versions of KDE, but the common complaint that the default KDE desktop looked unbusinesslike compared to GNOME is now obsolete. The new version of KDE is built to impress, and it succeeds.

The desktop

KDE 4

As you start to work with KDE 4, numerous changes to the desktop become obvious. The panel has the expected start menu, task manager, virtual desktop pager, notification tray, and clock. To these, KDE 4 adds a New Device Notifier to track external disks. However, the panel in KDE 4 is less flexible than in previous releases or in GNOME. It is now fixed at the bottom, its size is unchangeable, and its color cannot be customized independently of the desktop themes. Gone, too, are the panel applets and subclasses of panels available in earlier versions. You can still add icons from the start menu to the panel for standard programs, although you have no control over how they are positioned.

The upper right corner of the desktop is now a desktop manager where widgets -- the equivalent of applets -- can be placed directly on the desktop as floating windows. In some distro-specific incarnations, these widgets include panels that make up for the loss of the subclasses of docked panels. These widgets are variously sized, which makes for a cluttered look on the desktop, especially if you add icons from the menu. Each is surrounded by what might be called a control collar: a set of mini-icons that become visible when the cursor passes over it, which are used for configuring, resizing, repositioning, and deleting the widget.

The start menu is similarly overhauled. Instead of listing all available programs, it now displays an uncustomizable series of views -- Favorites, Applications, Computer, Recently Used, and Leave -- topped by a search field. Submenus for a view do not open in their own attached window, but instead replace the top-level view, with an arrow icon for toggling between levels. If you find -- as I did -- that this arrangement gets you lost, you can add a traditional KDE menu to the desktop as a widget.

Other changes affect how the desktop is used. Click in the lower right corner and a calendar pops up; click in the lower left and the start menu appears. You can also use a number of keyboard and mouse shortcuts, such as Alt-LeftButton to move a window, or Alt-Right to resize one with the mouse anywhere in the window.

KDE's developers, in making these changes, seem motivated a wish to simplify and organize, and make better use of underutilized parts of the desktop. However, at times, these efforts seem to conflict; for instance, the space saved by having submenus all appear in the same menu is lost by the large default sizes of some of the widgets.

The success of the interface changes is going to take a while to sort out. Already, during development, some experiments, such as the placement of icons on the desktop for minimized windows, were quietly dropped. I suspect that in upcoming releases, the inflexibility of the panel is going to be changed due to user demand.

Standard applications

KDE's applications have undergone changes only slightly less radical than those in the desktop's design. Although Konqueror is still usable as a file browser, KDE 4 promotes the use of Dolphin instead. Dolphin is a far more flexible tool, especially because of its extensive options and the ability to display two directories at once.

KDE 4 also reorganizes the viewing of major file types. The new Okular application is a document viewer that supports a number of different formats, including PDF and OpenDocument, which greatly reduces the number of necessary viewers. KDE 4 also promotes the use of Gwenview for image formats. Gwenview includes a full-screen view, which is not only a necessity for viewing large files conveniently, but also provides a simple but adequate slide show program.

Another basic application that has undergone major revisions is Konsole, the KDE virtual shell. Developers have reorganized Konsole's menus and added more keyboard shortcuts. As with Dolphin, the new Konsole includes a split view that allows you to work on related operations without opening separate instances of the application. Other new features in Konsole include automatic changes of the title of a tab to reflect the program that is running, and a history for search results.

Configuration and administration tools

In KDE 4, the KDE Control Center is now a thing of the past, replaced with the Systems and Setting window, which is a far more organized tool. It's a tree of setting panes with icons arranged in groups of four and divided into General and Advanced tabs. Moreover, the layout of Systems and Settings is far more consistent than that of the Control Center.

The one puzzling feature is that some tools, such as the printer configuration tool, are banished to the general settings menu, while others, like the KDE menu configuration tool, were not added to Systems and Settings. Even given KDE 4's efforts to reduce the options presented to users at any one time, these choices seem arbitrary.

KDE's configuration tools have been complete for several releases, so there are few additions to functionality in KDE 4. However, KDE 4 has added tools to control the Splash Screen, to set Preferred Applications, and to activate and deactivate sets of fonts, a feature that graphics designers have wanted for years.

A delayed verdict

This is only a sampling of the changes in KDE 4. A complete list would make a long set of bullet points. The real question is: How well does does the new version succeed?

In one sense, given the scope of its changes, KDE 4 succeeds remarkably well. Although it includes some inconsistencies of design, those can be addressed later. What really matters is that so many sweeping changes seem to have been added with a minimum of performance problems. One or two of the versions of KDE 4 I looked at crashed a few times, but whether that was due to KDE 4 or to the hurry to integrate it into a live DVD is impossible to determine.

But, in another sense, KDE 4 includes so many changes and so many challenges to our traditional sense of the desktop that the first reaction for many will probably not be whether the release is effective so much as simply that it is different. Some will reject it for that difference, and others embrace it for the same reason. Only when you have used the new desktop daily over an extended period of time will you be able to come to your own decision about KDE 4.

The one thing that's clear is that KDE 4 is ambitious, and its developers deserve credit for trying to extend the concept of the desktop. Some of the ideas have been borrowed from other desktops, ranging from Mac OS X and Windows Vista to GNOME and Symphony OS, while others appear unique to KDE 4. Personally, I am far from sure that all the experiments succeed, but they intrigue me enough that I plan to switch my main machine from GNOME to KDE 4 as soon as possible, and use it until I can give a more definite answer.

Bruce Byfield is a computer journalist who writes regularly for Linux.com.

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on KDE 4 revises the desktop

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Using it since Saturday. Thumbs down, so far.

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 63.251.108.100] on January 14, 2008 06:55 PM
I've been using KDE 4 on Kubuntu Gutsy since Saturday. So far, I'm thumbs-down on it. The KDE 4 panel is a huge step backwards in functionality, so much so that it utterly leaves me wondering "WTF were they thinking?!" Screenshots give the impression that they've borrowed some things from the OS X UI, and they have, and that is a good thing, but they offset that by crippling the panel. We are not amused.

When GNOME seemed stagnant and KDE was making great strides, I switched from Gnome to KDE 3.0, which was a huge leap forward over GNOME, KDE 2, and everything else out there at the time. KDE 4 has not shown me that kind of leap forward. Heck, if they keep going like this, GNOME might even have a shot at retaking the lead again.

As for me, I'll keep using the KDE 3.5 branch while I start looking at alternatives. I've used Enlightenment in the past and may go back there. XFCE also has its charms. But dang it, there are a lot of KDE apps I really like, why did they have to foobar the panel so badly that I'm looking at chucking KDE after all these years? :(

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Re: Using it since Saturday. Thumbs down, so far.

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 200.54.149.115] on January 14, 2008 07:12 PM
KDE4 pannel is only the first version; developers are workink on give it all the functionality that KDE3 panel has. Nobody is happy with actual design, starting from developers.

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Re: Using it since Saturday. Thumbs down, so far.

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 192.168.0.88] on January 15, 2008 07:13 AM
KDE 4 is not complete and they are still working on it. Even the developers have warned that many parts of KDE 4 may not function well. KDE 4.1 would be the more usable release. So wait for that release =)

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KDE 4 revises the desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 82.255.79.177] on January 14, 2008 07:15 PM
Dude, look forward to KDE 4.1, or even to 4.0.x. Most of the problems with the panel will get fixed. It doesn't have reduced features on purpose, just that some of them couldn't make it in time. It'll get more in the next few releases.

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KDE 4 revises the desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 68.222.157.217] on January 14, 2008 07:27 PM
I wish I could be as optimistic as you seem to be. But to me it seems they ruined all the features that made KDE superior to all other desktop environments.

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KDE 4 revises the desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 70.91.34.61] on January 14, 2008 07:33 PM
Like others, I'm hopeful, but also skeptical of KDE 4. I'm going to wait and see.

However, Konqueror works pretty well, and it can easily show two directories side-by-side. I'm interested in the new file manager, but I'm not sure what it does that Konqueror doesn't.

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KDE 4 revises the desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 12.40.51.66] on January 14, 2008 08:17 PM
I tried this out yesterday. IT was weird that all of my desktop icons had a box around them with three option icons for configuring the desktop item. There was no way to turn the box off and the little icons didn't tell you what they do (no pop up box). The new KDE is nice, but still needs some polishing.

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Re: KDE 4 revises the desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 152.157.11.33] on January 15, 2008 06:17 PM
Right click on desktop, then click lock the widgets, and the box with 3 icons will no more be around every icon.

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KDE 4 revises the desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 81.156.40.165] on January 14, 2008 09:30 PM
The new panel is far more flexible than the old Kicker panel (I stayed with GNOME precisely because I hate Kicker, but used KDE's desktop, Amarok, Konqueror etc. from within GNOME). Kicker was pretty much hardcoded for the default configuration, and the code has rotted into an unmaintainable soup. The new panel, however, is simply one of the desktop widgets. From a code level it is a hell of a lot more flexible (Google for kde4 plasma containments), but in the same way that a debootstrap install of Debian is incredibly flexible; it is a functioning base that isn't much to shout about. However, unlike KDE3's reliance on Kicker, the panel icons and applets and things are all desktop widgets too, so someone can write a new panel widget without having to replace or wrap around the old panel widgets, because they'll all just work.

Has anyone downloaded some Wiki software? There's no point complaining to the makers that you just get a working Wiki with no content, because that's what it's meant to be. KDE 4.0 is saying "Here, we've spent years making these abstractions and APIs and libraries for you, and now they are ready. Here you go, make stuff with them, knock yourself out."

I think instead of complaining and saying how the old system is better (why don't you use it then, it's free and out there to download?) users should rephrase their comments into ideas for improvements (so instead of "I can't resize the panel" why not "If the widget handles were reworked to make sense on the panel then it could be resized"?)

By the way, the Oxygen widget theme looks incredibly sexy. KWin's composite effects fail pretty badly on my laptop's setup though (Ubuntu with fglrx and XGL :( )

- Warbo

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KDE 4 -- Just lost the war! Move over!

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 70.109.146.10] on January 14, 2008 09:39 PM
Early on in my nearly decade long interest in GNU/Linux (since MS announced product activation) KDE was by far preferable to Gnome. It did have some serious core problems which had prevented my --and those I support-- switch from Windows to GNU/Linux. Gnome was just plain awful when viewed from the perspective of people coming from Windows. The hope was, that in time, KDE would fix those core usability issues and broken/incomplete features.

This morning I downloaded and checked out the kubuntu-kde4 iso mentioned in today's DistroWatch weekly. To say that I was disappointed would be an extreme understatement. I can only assume that the KDE team has taken up praying to their crack-pipes when searching for inspiration. Not only did they not fix the original usability issues that KDE has always had, in spite of the myriad of adjustment available to the user, but they have made them even worse than ever and have removed even what saving grace they once had.

On the other side of the coin, however, Gnome has been moving in the right direction. Even though they haven't changed their conservative view where user available settings are concerned, they've apparently been listening to the users. At least when their desktop has a feature, it works properly. I recently learned that one of what I had considered a core problem with KDE was now a properly working feature of Gnome.

Bottom line? Gnome seems to be moving in the right direction by trying to make Windows users more comfortable, while KDE, under what is obviously extremely poor leadership by incompetents such as Aaron Seigo and others, are off making some fanciful, unusable, nightmare desktop that fills the needs of absolutely nobody but themselves and their own over inflated egos. You folks have only succeeded in wasting my time while hoping your heads would fall out of your backsides. Now, either get back to the basics (core) or just get out of the way.
If Gnome would like to further cater to the needs of prospective Windows defectors who like many people, like Windows just fine, but hate Microsoft and their intrusive,heavy handed EULA's, they could (please) offer an easily selectable Windows-Classic layout/theme option.

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KDE 4 revises the desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 71.131.218.194] on January 14, 2008 10:20 PM
I'm not going to switch to this until openSUSE adopts it as the default desktop. There's too much risk that stuff will simply crash. I'm already having a certain problem with Konqueror crashing in 10.3 when copying files - which never happened before 10.3. So clearly an upgrade to a 4.0 release of KDE would be a dangerous move. I don't have time to be debugging half-tested new software. I also do very little customization of my desktop, so I have really very little interest in mods to panels, widgets, and the like. As long as I have a wallpaper changer that works (and that crashed last night while updating the list of directories), I'm usually happy. The changes described in the article simply don't excite me, and some - especially the Start menu changes - irritate me. I prefer the classic KDE menu and intend to keep it.

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Disappointing Journalism From Newsforge, Yet Again

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 86.143.206.176] on January 14, 2008 10:31 PM
I'm disturbed by a growing trend here at Newsforge where they've displayed a lack of journalistic initiative, especially about KDE, and ended up with entirely the wrong end of the stick. I've said it before and I'll say it again, you can't go around labelling your writers personal ramblings as articles on such a prominant site without meeting some of the basics of journalism. As with the 'closed' Oxygen article, where you don't understand something, as a journalist you should be going to the source and ASKING people questions. If you had done the most rudimentary background research (e.g. read some of the blogs at www.planetkde.org or e-mailed the KDE press team), you would have found that the configuration tools for the 'panel' did not make 4.0.0, but that the 'panel' is indeed fully configurable. The configuration gui is expected in the near future, Aaron says it is now his #1 priority.

Many, many other news sites, reviewers and bloggers have got the message that KDE have been openly communicating for the last few months that 4.0.0 is just that, an 0.0 release and as such will not be feature complete and may suffer from a few rough edges (think Apache 2.0.0 and Linux 2.6.0 for comparison). But for a 0.0 release, it's mightily impressive from a stability and feature viewpoint.

John.

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Re: Disappointing Journalism From Newsforge, Yet Again

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 127.0.0.1] on January 17, 2008 02:28 AM
None of this would be an issue if KDE had done the appropriate thing and called this was it is - a functional beta. It simply does not meet the quality standards of a release - not withstanding the .0.0 suffix. It looks to me like the plasma team hijacked the product. Form is dependent upon function; not the other way around.

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KDE 4 revises the desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 212.145.210.131] on January 14, 2008 11:52 PM
"Although it includes some inconsistencies of design, those can be addressed later." I honestly hope you didn't really mean that. One of the biggest issues with FLOSS is "code now, design later". If that's again the case with a 30 month long project, the hopes are really low now.

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KDE 4 revises the desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 78.1.111.136] on January 14, 2008 11:56 PM
Ah.. and what about stability? I have seen no stability in kde4! Everything seems so sluggish, slow and buggy. It seems the project has good ideas and plans, but this.. thing that was released.. it's far from every day usable..
And don't make me mention the start menu - a buggy and unusable version of opensuse kde3 start menu.. which I really like...
I dunno.. I think this can only be used as another beta preview.. nothing more.. Kudos to people who have the nerves and stubbornness to use it longer than 15 minutes.. Or even as default desktop.. Good for you.. Me, I hope 4.1 becomes usable.

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KDE 4 revises the desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 15.235.153.107] on January 15, 2008 12:12 AM
To me the negative comments simply point to rumbling within the anti-KDE ranks (read GNOME) who know that despite their doomsday prophecies about KDE4 ever being released, it has made it and its amazingly "stable" for its 0.0 developer release.
A brand new look, brand new technologies underneath and polish overall is the best part of KDE4 (*not* KDE 4.0.0)

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KDE 4 revises the desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 78.1.111.136] on January 15, 2008 12:22 AM
Ahh.. gnome.. who cares about gnome.. a featureless piece of slowish DE.. KDE on the other hand.. I really wish for a stable and usable release..

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KDE 4.0 is for testers

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 217.216.157.2] on January 15, 2008 12:47 AM
KDE 4. is not KDE4 complete version.

It's a testing version!!! and that's how was announce.

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Hey, KDE dudes!

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 192.168.32.1] on January 15, 2008 01:59 AM
I'd hereby want to thank you for KDE 4, which seems to be poised to become a great environment.

Don't get discouraged by the many comments about this first release. You know where you going to, and some users (like me) have already developed things in previous lives (heh) so we know how things are done.

In fact, this approach is the very signal of care and the good quality which I think is to be expected from the new KDE codebase.

I also know you have little resources, maybe even when compared to Gnome. I don't know what value this has to you, but thank you very much for an excellent job done and let me make it clear I will keep using KDE -- and mainly because your basic ideas are right... it's not like I hate the others (Gnome, XFCE, etc.) -- it's just that KDE is better.

Take care.

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Re: Hey, KDE dudes!

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 201.9.46.180] on January 15, 2008 11:37 AM
Being part of the dev team, let me say thanks!
I assure to you we're not discouraged at all, au contraire. :D Every day we commit some new code with a nicety or three, refining and improving upon our own work of love.
Some people miss an important point: We're not at war. There's in fact a lot of collaboration between projects, and both KDE and GNOME are quite interoperable with each other. People, of course, are different, and as such, developers approach a problem by different angles, and different opinions bring novel ways to accomplish a given goal. Freedom of thinking and freedom to create are essential to a lot of people, so we work on our projects (in my case KDE) because I'm free to do so, it brings me happines and I feel I'm improving people's lives, bringing good karma. ;D
As a sidenote, I'd like to say some words about 4.1.x development: It's getting better and better. I usually compile all of KDE from trunk once or twice a day, and it always brings some little good surprise at each new iteraction. Most people shouldn't try it as it's development code and things _will_ break, but we who "eat our own dog food" get more and more impressed about how good it tastes. ;)
Well, time to return to the kitchen and kook. ;)

Best regards,

Taupter

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KDE 4 revises the desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 67.176.88.192] on January 15, 2008 03:37 AM
Tried the live cd.
I don't care about file managers. I need good imap,ldap and caldav support. Could not get to it, since there where some widgets in a 200 fonts size or something. Couldn't read anything, everything was of the screen.
Early alpha seems to be the right description.

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KDE 4 revises the desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 124.183.6.55] on January 15, 2008 05:11 AM
You know that the KDE team has n o originality, no creativity, and no leadership when all they can do is steal a list of features from other major operating systems. These features may work adequately, or even pretty well on their host OS when used with the other UI tools on that OS, but to mix them all together is madness. This is just a "me too" mentality. It is OK for GNOME to copy Windows closely, there is a place in this world for that, but there is a place for someone to ask if all these program launch options, the wasted space, and the huge dead areas in the window decoration (sorry, "toolset" {sarcasm}), and between the icons is really needed. In fact the current growth of the Linux Desktop is most certainly on mobile machines with tiny LCD screens. For the sake of the user, why have one third of every window taken up by a huge mass of worthlessness? Not every user now, or in the future will be using 1900x1200. Even those people who do have 1900x1200 may chose to put that screen resolution to better use than a bloated interface. Please leave useless screen garbage to those who do it so well... like Apple.

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Re: KDE 4 revises the desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 69.180.172.33] on January 18, 2008 04:35 AM
Microsoft has been stealing ideas from KDE, gnome, Mac OS/X for some time. Microsoft has no genuine G/UI ideas.

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I love KDE 4.0.0 so far

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 89.212.182.79] on January 15, 2008 06:08 AM
I've been using KDE 4.0.0 on Mandriva Linux 2008 for about one day and a half and so far I love it. The new icons, theme and the looks in general is simply beautiful. A large step forward for Linux desktop environments. A new sound theme also gives a nice touch to KDE 4.0 experience. Another little thing that I love is the new KRunner dialog for starting applications. You can now also use it to quickly do calculation and other stuff (more features can be added by plugins). I didn't yet get comfortable with the new start menu Kickoff, but luckily this can be quickly changed. I just replaced it with a widget that gives you the old classic menu. And this widgets (plasmoids) are just another new feature I'm impressed with and have hige potential. You can put them everywhere (desktop, panels, ...) and basically you can build up your very own desktop look and fell by putting plsmoids together just how you like it, similar to LEGO :) Too bad there are still a lot of configuration dialogs missing that would make this easy, but hey, it is only their very first version in a new series of desktop. All is here under the hood and now only the user interfaces need to be added, I think this will be much faster and easier to do. All in all I'm very impressed with the start of KDE 4 series. I can still remember the times when 3.0.0 has come out, it was in much worse shape and less impressive then KDE 4.0.0. And just look into how excellent desktop KDE 3.0.0 has turned into. Great job KDE contributors!

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KDE 4.0 ROCKS

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 75.70.78.223] on January 15, 2008 08:05 AM
KDE 4.0 ROCKS

The demo KDE 4.0 I tried looks like a Vista killer, and major KDE upgrade. The Dolphin file
manager is what Linux has needed for years (I quit using Gnome after Nautilus wiped-out my
research). KDE 4.0 leaves Gnome in the dust. There's only the usual Linux questions: Did they
test it? Did they fix it? Did they test it again?

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Microsoft Whores

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 75.70.78.223] on January 15, 2008 08:23 AM
Some comments here are from (obvious) Microsoft whores. Anyone with a technical background knows KDE 4.0.0 is not completed, and is a feedback release. The negative comments above are not only lame, but show the trolls and scum who attempt to disrupt Linux development. You people are sick Microsoft whores.

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KDE 4 disappointment

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 192.101.64.254] on January 15, 2008 10:49 AM
I just tried KDE4 on my Kubuntu machine. Well, I'm disappointed to say the least. There's like one fifth of the features that KDE3 has. It's all lazy and buggy. I wouldn't say a thing if it was clearly marked as Alpha or Beta, but from the news (with all those "starts something amazing" catch phrases) it appeared to be be FINAL. If it wasn't for this, I wouldn't even bother to try it yet. IMHO this is Alpha at best, and it needs like another 6 months of development to have at least most features in place, and reasonable stability. THEN only should it be presented to users to collect their opinions and polish things. Current version is pretty much useless, wrongly labeled, demo

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KDE4 is not for users

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 62.174.233.85] on January 15, 2008 11:13 AM
OK,
I am a user, not a developer myself.

As such, I would like to request to all my fellow users: PLEASE REFRAIN FROM JUDGING KDE 4.0.0.0.0.0.0.0

If you are a user and criticize things like 'lack of features, bad panel, bad bad, stability' you are, sorry to say that, a presumptious nit wit.

Open Source development: release it when the foundations are ready, and wait for the community to pick up and enhance.

Capice?

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KDE 4 is rocking the Linux world

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 62.243.211.122] on January 15, 2008 11:51 AM
I never really liked KDE. When I started using Linux back in 2003 I tried KDE, but just didnt feel good.
Too confusing and butt-ugly. I went for Gnome instead. But Gnome's gfx-lib(GTK) is a stinker. And
its noticeable in every single gtk-app - throughout the hole Gnome desktop.

I tried KDE 4.0 now. And I know its not a finished KDE4. I can't config my network, I have trouble dragndrop files
between filesystems and a lot of things seems buggy and some even unpolished. But KDE 4.0 feels GOOD.
It looks great, the ideas around plasma is cool.

Im going for it at 4.0.1!

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KDE 4 revises the desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 70.58.53.62] on January 15, 2008 12:20 PM
>> You know that the KDE team has no originality, no creativity, and no leadership
>> when all they can do is steal a list of features from other major operating systems.
  
What I care about is synergy. How it all fits together. There are some good features in one place. That when combined with good features in another place. Create something with just the right "wow" factor. I tend to find that KDE tries to deliver that.

I have never seen before the stuff KDE 4 is doing with the Maximize button. I.E. left click maximize, right click maximize horizontally only, left click maximize vertically only. As Morris Moss would say, "Brilliant!" Then there is the hold down the alt key and left click to move the window, right click to RESIZE the window. Even if these are only incremental improvements. They synergy is fabulous.

I am expecting these things to become standards in the linux community. Fluxbox, Enlightenment and XFCE will probably pick these features up in the next year or so. And yes, even gnome.

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KDE 4.0 is like GNOME 1.0

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 129.240.235.122] on January 15, 2008 12:44 PM
As people are discovering, not everyone reads the small print about KDE 4 being a test release or a "beta" when there's a big fanfare going on about it being the next big thing. Perhaps the promotional activity was well executed in getting attention, but the message wasn't exactly delivered very well.



Cluebolt to KDE developers: if it's a test release, call it a test release; learn what "alpha" and "beta" mean in the context of software engineering and apply the terms. What's happened here is a repeat of GNOME 1.0: a declaration that something is ready for wider consumption and a bunch of disappointed people whose only mistake was not trawling through the developer blogs and sifting through the hype for the underlying message.

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KDE 4.0.0 = development framework ready, not desktop ready

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 212.18.162.33] on January 15, 2008 02:34 PM
KDE 4 is built over a cross-platform widget (Qt 4), multimedia (Phonon) and hardware (Solid) frameworks. A lot of work is involved, and Amarok, Konqueror and Okular (former KPDF) were already ported over Windows and OSX. Amarok was ported in 2 days to OSX and could have been ported faster, according to developers.

Phonon allows a media player to use GStreamer or Xine on Linux/BSD, Quicktime on OSX and DirectShow on Windows without changing code. Same goes for Solid, which will allow use of removable devices, Bluetooth, WiFi, ACPI on all supported OSes. And have a look at the impressive Decibel framework.

There's much to be said about KDE4 besides Plasma and SVG rendering, but reviewers aren't looking in the right place.

The Road to KDE 4: Phonon Makes Multimedia Easier
http://dot.kde.org/1170773239/

The Road to KDE 4: Solid Brings Hardware Configuration and Control to KDE
http://dot.kde.org/1177385913/

The Pillars of KDE 4: Decibel
http://dot.kde.org/1170892771/

The Pillars of KDE 4: Decibel Definitions and Benefits
http://dot.kde.org/1171659655/

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KDE 4 revises the desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 198.50.63.15] on January 15, 2008 05:21 PM
This is really ridiculous. KDE 4.0 desktop is not ready yet. Developers told us that and they keep reminding everyone that it is not ready. What is it all of you doubter don't understand? If you don't have anything good about this release to say, don't say anything at all. If you have some good criticisms, they them, the developers want to say them. Just don't keep complaining about issues that are not there yet and were told it is not ready yet. This is a major major effort. A big migrations from Qt 3 to Qt4, New technology is being implemented. It will be available not only on Linux, but also on Windows. There are many many things that are being ported, modified, enhanced and improved with little resources. This release is a feedback release and most are considering installing it as a final release, well it is not. You have been told so. If you want to test it, fine. if you don't, just don't and shut the heck up and wait until you are told it is ready. In the mean time, keep using KDE 3.x if you are happy with it, change to GNOME if you are not until KDE 4.1 is released and shocks you in the head. May be that will shut you up for good. Just stay tuned.

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KDE 4 revises the desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 134.174.149.186] on January 15, 2008 05:35 PM
http://www.kde.org/announcements/4.0/

"KDE Project Ships Fourth Major Version of cutting edge Free Software Desktop
With the fourth major version, the KDE Community marks the beginning of the KDE 4 era.
January 11, 2008 (The INTERNET).
The KDE Community is thrilled to announce the immediate availability of KDE 4.0. This significant release marks both the end of the long and intensive development cycle leading up to KDE 4.0 and the beginning of the KDE 4 era."

It *does not* say anywhere that this is beta, testing, feedback release, whatever. There is no small print which we did not read. It announces with fanfare a major new version. No wonder people are tempted to try it, and then they get upset with it. They are right to do so.

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Re: KDE 4 revises the desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 89.212.26.99] on January 16, 2008 09:57 AM
"4.0.0", "cutting edge", "the beginning of the KDE 4" <- I think these alone say enough about what to expect. The very first version in a new series, not even a bugfix release. It is on the cutting edge and not for everyone out there. Normal people that demand stability should use "maintenance" and "service" releases like 3.5.x.

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KDE 4 Whart? A Cashew thar spits M&Ms?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 70.109.146.10] on January 15, 2008 07:50 PM
Enough vitriol already, how about some humor? What's with the Cashew (nut) icon that looks to be spitting out tiny M&M candies floating around at the right-hand upper-most corner of the screen in the screenshot? Hilarious! Was that done on porpose? Maybe it only looks like that to me because I haven't had lunch yet. Go figure.From memory, the only thing that can top that is the original Mepis Logo prior to its current Egyptian pyramid, it looked like a spaceman with a huge male member (willy) getting ready to urinate. You know, Me-Piss...

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KDE 4 revises the desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 208.46.32.4] on January 15, 2008 07:51 PM
Wow this is incredible. More complaints about a first release version of a desktop and taking it apart!!! I would agree with the comments made from Gnome and Winblows fanboys. They spread all this garbage about the desktop so no one will try it hoping their desktop of choice becomes the defacto choice. It won't work. KDE is by far the best developed desktop for linux bar none. This is the initial release with many improvements yet to be included. To fully compare 4.0.0 to 3.5.x is like trying to compare the first year of a new automobile model to a model that has been out for three to five years. First year of anything will have bugs to be worked out. For those wanting to use this for daily use might want to reconsider and keep the 3.5 until a few releases come out. Then give it a try. Gnome has its place but not on my desktop and not the bloated overpriced and resource hog that Microshaft released last year. Constructive criticism is what the community is looking for. Nuff said.

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KDE 4 revises the desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 67.169.199.178] on January 16, 2008 10:10 AM
All design complaints aside, I dont understand the purpose of a FOSS desktop, such as KDE, to release such an obviously finished product. Leave that to the proprietary companies who have to meet financial deadlines.

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KDE 4 revises the desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 64.45.235.41] on January 16, 2008 10:20 PM
I'm thumbs-down at this point. I depend on the bottom taskbar (like OS X dock) and I'm damned if I can see how to add programs to it. I also get two "Add Widgets" icons in the upper right of my screen...what's up with that? Great hopes for 4.1 though!

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KDE 4 revises the desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 212.201.72.123] on January 17, 2008 12:14 AM
If you are not satisfied with KDE and GNOME both switch to Xfce, you won't be disappointed!! easy to use and fast

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KDE 4 revises the desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 70.125.97.218] on January 17, 2008 05:45 AM
Really, really bummed out about KDE 4. Can it get better, be fixed? Sure it can. But so much of the basic things you use in a Desktop are wrong headed. I do wonder, what were they thinking? If you fix something wrong headed with more wrongly directed efforts it only gets worse. Looks like they are intending to match Windows Vista. Take a very good desktop, and modernize it so it is slow, sluggish, foolish and beautiful. Sorry, but while I like beauty, you shouldn't sacrifice the usefulness of software for it. My only hope is like Vista, uptake will be slow to non-existent among the various distros. Always like xfce, if KDE 4 becomes the standard, xfce here I come.

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KDE 4 revises the desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 76.98.166.12] on January 17, 2008 11:51 PM
I'll wait for Texstar to include it in PCLinuxOS, then i'll know it's ready.

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KDE 4 revises the desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 66.65.224.122] on January 18, 2008 03:06 PM
When Kubuntu takes on KDE4 as its desktop then you will know for sure it is at its peak performance level. 3.5 is advanced to the point that it almost shames other desktop types. I keep both Gnome and KDE on my system for the simple fact that I prefer to be able to change my layout at the drop of a hat. KDE4 looks to have some serious issues now, but has a nice visual appeal, Once it catches back up to KDE3.5 I'll be happy to adopt it into my system setup.

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KDE 4 revises the desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 67.9.60.35] on January 19, 2008 04:42 PM
I just want desktop icons where desktop icons should be. I don't want a widget in place of an icon. I want an icon! Bring back the image previews and tooltip like properties flyout, get rid of the "icon as widget".

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A+

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 76.232.140.242] on January 29, 2008 05:25 PM
i installed from the gutsy ppa on apt, so i actually have both 3.5 and 4 on the same system. ive been playing around with it quite a bit and surprisingly have yet to find any major problems. overall it is quite stable for a dev release.

krunner and kickoff are absolutely excellent; the exact kind of features ive been looking for. i can finally get to everything very quickly without the hassle. i like to develop and ill generally use an IDE like eclipse or kDevelop, often running a python or jython interpreter, taking a quick look through docs, making small edits to images, testing code, etc. normally i end up with a bunch of launchers and custom menus on my panel. the 'favorites','recent apps', and app typing are a godsend. features like 'gg: search_criteria' are extremely simple and effective. these types of innovative ideas are exactly what we need to see.

for those that made mention of lack of features, we should consider that the more we have present, the more variables are inserted into the equation. first we need to address the core issues and primary features. bug testing would become much more involved since there would be many more places to track bugs from. i dont think for a second that KDE would ever leave out all those added tweaks and functionally that made KDE so great in the first place from the general release. if they much such a critical mistake as this, KDE4 would likely lose the majority of users coming from 3.5, myself included. i want something flexible, powerful, and customizable; not some toy just for watching videos, playing games and web surfing.

anyways, im expecting to see KDE4 turn into an amazing desktop. congrats to the team on a clear success. perhaps its even time to get involved in the project myself :)

-- jyaan --

ps {if you want to add programs to the panel, right click items from the menu just like in kde3}

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how to study linux well

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 172.16.0.63] on February 07, 2008 11:03 AM
Hello i hope i will get it soon

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KDE 4 revises the desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 89.164.178.50] on February 08, 2008 09:02 PM
KDE 4.0 as a desktop is a disappointment to me. As a long time linux fan (over 10 years now :) I've changed many WMs and actually prefer simple desktop enviroments (xfce, e17) or none at all. There are two main reasons KDE 4.0 disappointed me:
- a disturbing decision to apply a major version number to a project obviously in heavy development and nowhere near production quality
- configuration infrastructure is so incomplete that the DE is useless to me

The second one would make sense for a beta or a release candidate but not for a major release. It seems to me that the only reason for a major version number was pressure related to exceeded deadlines (that they were self imposed only adds insult to injury). So I simply do not understand the logic of people who claim that you can't expect full functionality from a release that is proclaimed FINAL (therefore it is no longer alpha, beta or rc).

Quote from Wikipedia:
"In principle, in subsequent releases, the major number is increased when there are significant jumps in functionality, the minor number is incremented when only minor features or significant fixes have been added,..."

At this moment there is a loss in functionality compared to 3.5 so this release should at best be a release candidate. That said, KDE 4 will be awesome in a year or so.

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KDE 4 revises the desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 86.126.0.102] on March 07, 2008 09:55 PM
Tehy added the damn configuration utility for the panel ( kde version 4.0.2 ) so now, no one can complain about that damn panel anymore.

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