KDE4: It hurt, but did it work?

Last month's release of the KDE 4.4 desktop environment restored the faith of many after what has been something of a roller coaster two years. Even the most loyal KDEians found that loyalty stretched by the debut of version 4.0 in 2008. Reassessing, and with hindsight, I think it's fair to characterize the whole saga as both a cautionary tale and an admirable example. Admirable, because the KDE team has displayed a quality that is so often lacking in open source software development: leadership.

By 2008, thanks to its stability, performance and feature-set, KDE3 had become one of the best desktops on the computer scene. However, it was becoming clear that a successor, KDE4, would represent a significant break with the past - the best was about to get even better. More than a mere upgrade, it was to be a complete rewrite and absolutely packed with mouth-watering technology. To the credit of the development team, they released largely on time, but it was a release that pushed the community first to bafflement and then resentment. It was unusable - and when I say unusable, I mean it literally couldn't be used for any serious work - due to stability and performance problems. To most people, a 4.0 release means a new version of a finished product, yet the general consensus was that KDE4 ran like an alpha. To top it off, it lagged behind KDE3 in terms of features.

The other jarring aspect of KDE4 was that the changes that had been made were so bold. For example, music player Amarok had been an application that had evoked the sacred phrase, "killer app", magic words that desktop Linux desperately needs to have associated with it. It was, however, like so many of the old favorites, nominated for a rewrite and redesign. It's much improved since the initial, disappointing release, but it still doesn't quite have feature parity with the final KDE3 version. Konqueror, the file manager/web browser combination was another beloved, if slightly eccentric, KDE fixture that found itself depreciated in favor of something new.

Just what were team KDE thinking in terms of pushing me out of my comfort zone? The answer: they were doing what had to be done. KDE had reached the end of the line and needed to be restarted to keep up, and begin to lead, in the world of desktop environments. Some of the decisions were criticized, but there's a saying that good leadership is always in dispute. The problems that did crop up were due to poor communication and a determination to release on schedule, no matter what.

Two years on, things are back on track. It's perhaps time to begin a campaign of telling people who left KDE, "it's safe to come back!". As it stands, not only is KDE 4.4 a superb desktop, thanks to the new frameworks that are now in place the potential for new developments is almost overwhelming. Personally, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend KDE4. However, it's been a rocky couple of years getting here.

______________________

UK based freelance writer Michael Reed writes about technology, retro computing, geek culture and gender politics.

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Who forced you to change from 3.5

Anonymouser Penguinista's picture

Im just going to piggyback on this comment that makes all the points and questions I have of people who whined about 4.0 not being ready.

Unlike a lot of dumbasses I RTF press release which said what .0 was about.
I tried it on a test machine.... and then went back to 3.5.
When 4.2 came around, i moved our family computers to 4.2 and even my folks after my son had brought his laptop over one day.

But from the day 4.0 came out to the day we moved to 4.2, I used KDE3.5 like I had enjoyed before. I loved 3.5 and even have it on a partition but lets be honest, it looks dated now.

I have now installed Linux (Mandriva mainly and 1-2 Kubuntu) for my folks, my wifes parents and 3 aunts and uncles.
ALL people over 70. Two of them never used a computer.
KDE was a breeze for them.
(except that one flaw thats been bugging me: the system tray icons will not become bigger no matter how big you make the taskbar and for people with bad vision, you can barely tell those small icons apart.)

Kudos to KDE devs. I had the

manny's picture

Kudos to KDE devs. I had the patience to wait till KDE was usable and boy, it is really usable, beautiful and rock solid. I too use Linux Mint 8 but switched from Gnome to KDE at release and never went back to Main. Any way, I can't image if that guy had to pay for the OS like the ones did for Vista. Just be cool my friend and try Boo's creation, you will be very grateful you give KDE a chance again.

KDE 4 is developing nicely

Anonymous's picture

After KDE 4.0 was released I, like many other longtime KDE users were astounded it was so featureless. When it came to being a useful desktop the new version paled by comparison to it predecessor, v. 3.5.10. Many people expected, by how long it was in development and the release nomenclature used (alpha 1, beta 3, rc...), that when 4.0 went "final" it would be a new and useful desktop. The folks at KDE released 4.0 calling it final and in the same breath labeling it a developmental release. A bit confusing? Expectations were very high and I think, looking back in retrospect, that most people didn't understand the magnitude of the work required to bring the KDE developer's vision for v.4 to fruition. I certainly didn't. Now that KDE 4 is two years down the road I have to admit that what I initially saw as a major disappointment is becoming a really fine desktop. Is KDE 4 there yet? No, in my opinion there is still much work to do, but what I see is really nice. In time certain "holes" will be filled in and people will forget all about how KDE 4 come out of the gate.

Confused by yourself

Morty's picture

"After KDE 4.0 was released...[snip]....the new version paled by comparison to it predecessor, v. 3.5.10."

You sound confused by yourself. You know that both 3.5.9 and 3.5.10 was released after KDE 4.0. The developers did this to serve their users and give them continued improvements of the excellent existing platform, until KDE4 was in a state where migrating most users was sensible.

That some distributions completely failed their users, along with some users who also failed to get the loud and clear message from the KDE developers, are the thing that should be remembered. I for one will never use a distribution that show such lack of good judgment and QA. Who knows what kind of other grave mistakes they make and ship.

The major killer in KDE 4.x

Doug.Roberts's picture

Until the release of 4.4 there was a killer bug in KDE 4, in plasma_desktop -- a memory leak that made it impossible to stay logged into a KDE session for more than, say, three days. Happily, that has now been fixed, and most of what comprises KDE 4.4 is pretty solid.

One exception: Dolphin, which is otherwise pretty nice, lost it's ability to log on to SMB shares somewhere between KDE 3.5 and KDE 4. At present, it will happily accept the userid and password, but then it gets all flustered and repeatedly re-asks for authentication info. This is an outstanding bug, and I expect to see it fixed soon. Especially when the KDE developers start reading about it in places like Linux Journal. Perhaps another article about this on Linux Today is called for...

;-}

As an aside: I've noticed that developers don't consider a bug to be important until either

a) they start reading about it in the press, or
b) they can't open their email in the morning without seeing hundreds of new complaints.

--Doug

OH NOEEES!!!!!!

Tom Willis's picture

I've been happy with KDE since ~4.2 but now that I see that 2 people have commented how they went to gnome and are happy, I'm afraid I may have made the wrong choice. One of them is even qualified to say that "they lost many users..." It's hard to make a decision about your desktop environment, installing them takes like 5 minutes, that's a long time. I just wish someone would tell me which one I should be using, or better yet, just have it installed when I buy the damn computer so I don't have these moral dilemmas on blogs anymore.

BTW I agree, KDE4.4 is rock fucking solid.

Let's not fool ourselves

Doug.Roberts's picture

Both Ubuntu and Kubuntu are great offerings, now that 10.4 is about to be released. It's good to have choices.

openSUSE or Debian

KDE-User's picture

You have a good sense of humor : "Both Ubuntu and Kubuntu are great offerings, now that 10.4 is about to be released. It's good to have choices."

Most KDE user would know that Kubuntu is practically left to wither [http://www.itnewstoday.com/?p=1459 somewhere in the middle of the text]

To do new KDE users some good,
- point them to openSUSE for a good experience or
- Debian if they are keen to do a KDE4 minimal install and start the fun there.

I agree

Tom Willis's picture

I was poking fun at the kde haters in the thread. my sarcastic wit has failed.

No it hasn't

Doug.Roberts's picture

Your sarcasm was appreciated.

And, as you will wee when my first Linux Journal blog post hits the presses here soon, I will use a bit of sarcasm now and then as well.

--Doug

KDE-my way into linux

Ronen's picture

if it wasn't for KDE, i would have probably stayed with Windows. When I started getting interested in Linux 5 years ago, and testing different distros, before landing on Ubuntu, i could not use Gnome. It was just too boring. Lucky for me i discovered Kubuntu and KDE and since than enjoyed it, up until recently, while moving to KDE 4, realized that openSuse handled KDE 4 a lot better, less buggy and much more stable. Like the article said, the change to KDE had to come, and no matter how the change was introduced (in the shape of a half baked KDE 4), the end result was worth the trip.

Well I tried KDE4.0 just when

Ein Gin's picture

Well I tried KDE4.0 just when it came out,but I often switched to KDE3 at first. When 4.1 was released KDE3 was sheldom used and eventually I switched completely to KDE4. I must admit that I tried GNÔME few times back then but was not impressed.

DO NOT RELEASE A PRODUCT UNLESS IT'S READY & CLEAN

Ammar Halawa's picture

KDE4 made a big mistake by releasing KDE4 to the public while it was not ready. It was full of bugs, crashing, unstable etc...

They lost lots of users. They should have kept it in Beta until it was usable!!!

RE: Do not release ....

GreyGeek's picture

You haven't been using Linux very long, have you? There is a time honored tradition in FOSS --- "Release early, release often". Why? Because FOSS developers cannot afford to pay testers to test their software. Development of software in FOSS is a community effort. IF you can't code, translate. If you can't translate, document. If you can't document, contribute $. If you can't afford to do that then cheer on those who do. But, by all means, don't stand on the sidelines throwing bricks at the participants. FOSS development is a quid quo pro exchange. The Linux user gets their software for free in exchange for testing it. I've been using Linux for 12 years and for most of that time RERO has worked great.

There are many things that factored into the KDE4 dustup. MS Technical Evangelists planting attack posts (You still doing that Wang?), disgruntled users of other DEs doing drive-by shootings, malcontents who felt they could influence the direction of development of KDE4 if they posted rants in blogs instead of reports in bugzillas, and a flood of new Linux users who didn't understand the role of Linux community members and dumped their pent-up aggressions against Microsoft onto KDE4.

Then there were the KDE3.5 users who demanded that KDE4 look and work like KDE3. They obviously didn't understand why Trolltech chose to start Qt4 from the ground up with a clean API rather than make a kludge tacking new technology onto old Qt3 structures. Neither did they understand why KDE4 and distro developers had to follow along. Supporting one DE is hard enough, supporting two, and the underlying API would be even harder, even if the development paradigm in Qt4 was better than that of Qt3.

One key behavior pattern of the complainers was that they never bothered to read about or learn the interface. One whiner wrote that it was "impossible" to change from the "XP menu" to the KDE3 menu. He just started whining and ranting without reading. (Right click on the Kmenu icon and choose "Classic Menu"). When you would explain to the whiner how to change the menu structure he wasn't satisfied. He'd pick another feature and just rant on about it. Some were even adding rants to threads that had been inactive for over a year!

A VOLUNTEER grad student (remember Tony?), began publishing weekly web pages describing in detail the various features and applets of KDE4, and explaining how to configure them. For his efforts he received massive criticism and personal, insulting attacks, and quit after he posted a reference to a Google Talk called "The Poisonous User". Tony and Google were right on the mark. KDE4 had too many poisonous users. A LOT of the noise quited down when many of these whiners and ranters stopped or moved on to other DEs.

To their credit, the KDE4 dev crew, lead by Aaron Seigo, continued on despite the hostility, and their faithfulness to open source has been proven by KDE4. I can't say that KDE 4.4 "turned the corner" because I never had any problems with KDED 4.3, or 4.2, or even 4.1.2. It's amazing what you can do if you just read up and learn to use your tools instead of blaming them for your own ignorance.

Linus Torvald moved from KDE to Gnome

Ammar Halawa's picture

FYI, information I've been using Linux since 2002, so I'm not totally ignorant as you think. I used to buy SUSE for $80 as SUSE was not available for free download. SUSE used KDE MERELY as its defaults GUI.

Also, I always donated $$$ for KDE. But I still think KDE4.0 should have been kept in Alpha until it was ready for production use.

OK I'm ignorant, is Linux Torvalds ignorant too? Linus Torvald "The Father of Linux" got tired of crashing KDE4 and moved to Gnome despite he used not to like Gnome "limited usability".

Please Open up your mind and look at the big picture if you want to make Linux viable productivity desktop like Mac OS.

Thanks,
Ammar

Hurt by distributon

Morty's picture

"OK I'm ignorant, is Linux Torvalds ignorant too?"

Obviously he is not, he was hurt by his distribution(Fedora). Who epically failed their users by forcing the upgrade prematurely. The Fedora developers ignored the KDE developers and failed their users by that move.

Linus then evaluated his choices and opted for changing DE rather than distribution, which makes sense for someone working on the lower layers of the stack like the kernel. And for a person more heavily using the desktop layer, changing distribution makes more sense.

Release early, release often

Golodh's picture

There is nothing wrong with "release early, release often", as long as you warn people when you're releasing alpha-quality software and don't pass it off as "ready-to-roll".

In addition to the "community" of developers, documenters, translators, and cheerleaders there is a fifth group, which is at least as important as any other: end-users.

People who want to use software to get something done, not merely to play around with. A few hundred million people do that for MS Windows, which is why it's so ubiquitous and so much "The Standard". Despite having numerous architectural drawbacks. But to end-users those don't count. Polish and interface and usability do,and Windows has that. For better or worse, in the end, it are the end-users who determine if a system is going to be a hit or a niche affair. And the V2000 - Betamax wars show that the winner needn't be the one with the best technology.

It's true that KDE had to do a re-write as the Qt library changed. When the Qt library (which KDE is built on) moved from version 3 to version 4, that brought change and new features. In order to benefit from those new features, KDE had to do a big rewrite anyway, which was a good point to go the whole hog. It's since (after about 2 years of solid work and bug-fixing) stabilized to the point where it's useful again. That's good.

I don't know about "leadership" though. To me it felt more like an act of irresponsibility and the squandering of a huge window of opportunity when MS Vista arrived. Linux might have gained serious marketshare then, but it didn't. KDE didn't care about that. They actually said so.

So the result was that KDE 4.0 and KDE 4.1 were no serious competition to MS Windows XP and they provided Microsoft with a much needed breathing space to come up with yet another good-enough Windows version. Ah well, what's 10 years in the process of converging to a new market equilibrium? Because that's what KDE's principled stance resulted in.

An no, interfaces should not need a manual to use. They should be intuitive enough to be used without one, or they should follow established conventions of user interfaces (like e.g. MS Windows). Otherwise they're more of a problem than a help.

Other than that, the KDE brings good things to those who can wait for a couple of years. I spend that time using MS Windows XP as my main computing platform. Currently it's starting to look attractive to switch again,mainly because the applications have matured too. Like Open Office, Firefox, Qt designer, Lyx, Quantum GIS, and various others.

RE:RE: Release early

GreyGeek's picture

Hi Golodh, still haunting LT?

"Others" was the 5th group.

don't know about "leadership" though. To me it felt more like an act of irresponsibility and the squandering of a huge window of opportunity when MS Vista arrived. Linux might have gained serious marketshare then, but it didn't. KDE didn't care about that. They actually said so.

The KDE4 dev crew didn't have a choice about the timing and they didn't "squander" any opportunities. They had to follow Trolltech's time line. And, KDE3.5 had gotten long in the tooth and wasn't attractive against VISTA. As it turned out VISTA "borrowed" from KDE4. Besides, when the KDE3 app developers wouldn't write KDE4 apps till it was released, and the dev crew didn't want to release KDE4 until there were apps written for it, the dev crew was in a catch-22 situation. Aaron's leadership in that situation was exemplary.

So the result was that KDE 4.0 and KDE 4.1 were no serious competition to MS Windows XP and they provided Microsoft with a much needed breathing space to come up with yet another good-enough Windows version. Ah well, what's 10 years in the process of converging to a new market equilibrium? Because that's what KDE's principled stance resulted in.

Golodh, you are in classic form with that little piece of disinformation. A causal reading of your posts around the web will reveal what I pointed out to you on LT a year ago (http://www.linuxtoday.com/news_story.php3?ltsn=2009-07-17-015-35-OS-CY-M...): you are and always have been an XP user and MS advocate. Linux DE market share grew considerably during the VISTA fiasco. Two years ago even Ballmer put the Linux DE market share above that of Apple's, at around 12%. It hasn't shrunk since then, either, and Win7 isn't the MS savior Ballmer hoped it would be. Your comment about the KDE4 dev crew "making a principled stance" is like asking someone of they have stopped beating their mother. The KDE4 dev crew had published milestones. Not being a programmer you wouldn't appreciate what that means, but it is NOT about "principled stances", it about maintaining an organized development process.

Other than that, the KDE brings good things to those who can wait for a couple of years. I spend that time using MS Windows XP as my main computing platform. Currently it's starting to look attractive to switch again,mainly because the applications have matured too. Like Open Office, Firefox, Qt designer, Lyx, Quantum GIS, and various others.

"Wait a couple years" -- I always see that in anti-KDE4 rants. It's a disingenuous claim because those that made it a couple years ago are still making it today. From your Internet postings, which I pointed out to you a yeas ago, you are a Windows fan and you've always used XP. The implication that you used Linux before you switched to XP is bogus. OpenOffice and FireFox have nothing to do with KDE4 and they've been MATURE products for years. Both are at V3.x, and FireFox has overtaken IE as the most used browser. Qt Designer is now called QtCreator, but you aren't a programmer and you haven't been using Linux so you wouldn't have known about that change which occurred a year ago. Besides, since you are not a programmer why would QtCreator be "attractive" to you? Implying that you "might" switch to Linux because of them is also disingenuous, since your "advice" is to "wait a couple years".

"Others" was the 5th

Golodh's picture

"Others" was the 5th group.

Glad to hear it. Only they got short shrift from you as always, where they should be getting focused attention.

The KDE4 dev crew didn't have a choice about the timing and they didn't "squander" any opportunities.

Depends on what you mean. Of course they had to follow the developments of Qt, but that's not the issue. They could easily have applied further polish to the KDE 3.x line (you know, the sort of polish that sustains MS Windows) and not spent a lot of time on re-inventing the file manager or fancy (useless) features like Compiz. They also had a longish wish-list regarding KDE3, which they didn't want to spend time on. To be fair, nobody would *like* to do boring things like polishing KDE3 when they could instead develop KDE4 from the ground up. That's probably a feature of all-volunteer development. Unfortunately it's also a major weakness when you are trying to establish an alternative to MS Windows. Why do you think Ubuntu got such a following so quickly? Polish. Nothing else.

Vista didn't gain much popularity. It was MS Windows rewritten from scratch, and had lots of unavoidable problems. Starting with drivers. I see no reason why there was much need for KDE to respond to it by rewriting from the ground up instead of focusing on end-user usability.

But be that as it may, KDE did squander a lot of goodwill by bringing out KDE 4.0 just like that (instead of as a "developer release").

Golodh, you are in classic form with that little piece of disinformation. A causal reading of your posts around the web will reveal what I pointed out to you on LT a year ago (http://www.linuxtoday.com/news_story.php3?ltsn=2009-07-17-015-35-OS-CY-M...): you are and always have been an XP user and MS advocate.

I don't know how to break the news to you, but just because you feel a particular condition applies doesn't necessarily mean it does. For starters, you never could be bothered to substantiate your hypothesis that I am a MS advocate. Presumably because it's not true.

Just to be clear: me being forcefully critical of inane rants about the merits of the commandline interface, noting that end-users don't want it, and condemning the silly idea that Linux doesn't need a setup tool like YAST, or that it needs umpteen different-and-subtly-incompatible distros, or that I tried to explain to a Linux enthousiast audience that a "pay-for-use computer" just isn't as far-fetched commercially as some people might think, doesn't support your hypothesis.

And neither does me noting that MS Windows XP is simply good enough to its users for day-to-day usage. We all know its various drawbacks, but those apparently aren't sufficient to allow Linux to win marketshare. Based on that observation one could ask oneself: what would be needed to let Linux gain marketshare? And (part of) the answer (as I see it) is: polish and ease of use.

What I have consistently reiterated is that compared to antics one sees with e.g. KDE 4.0, MS Windows has a very clear advantage in usability and to some extent even in TOC. Only about 95% of all end-users agree with that sentiment, as evidenced by their daily use of MS Windows.

In addition, to forcefully point out that the smug, self-congratulary tone in certain Linux platforms, the short-sighted dismissal of the need to have an interface that's as polished as in the MS Windows, and the off-putting treatment of novice Linux users (i.e. variations on RTFM) are distinct put-offs, doesn't make me a MS apologist either.

Your comment about the KDE4 dev crew "making a principled stance" is like asking someone of they have stopped beating their mother. The KDE4 dev crew had published milestones.

Good for you. How does having published milestones matter when what they release as version 4.0 isn't functional? And how about the 25k bugs that they squashed between version 4.1 and 4.3 ? Doesn't that point to a lack of usability when users complained bitterly?

Of course a development programme has its own structure and its own internal goals to meet. And yes, most developer time will go into that until the product largely works as it should, by which time end-user concerns will be addressed. And yes, KDE did very good work in largely cleaning up a total rewrite in 3 years or so, but that doesn't mean their stuff wasn't unsuitable for day-to-day end-user work in the mean time.

Priding yourself on being "a programmer" and being forgiving to the KDE crew is all very well, but end-users don't care about that ;-P They care only about the end-user experience, which I often find treated with contempt in the KDE / Linux world. That needs to change if Linux is to be successful.

"Wait a couple years" -- I always see that in anti-KDE4 rants.

Well, given that you tend to view strongly critical pieces from users as "rants" you will have your own opinion about it. To me it means that I'm by no means the only one dissatisfied with the lack of polish in Linux offerings, and KDE's offerings (until 4.3) in particular.

It's a disingenuous claim because those that made it a couple years ago are still making it today.

Is that true? Suppose you are maximising a function, you take steps and improve the function value but the derivatives continue to point in the same direction: "more polish, more ease of use". Does that mean those derivatives are invalid, or does it mean you didn't go far enough? You seem to think the former, I think the latter.

The implication that you used Linux before you switched to XP is bogus.
Good to hear you know better. Giving up on Linux, KDevelop, for being clunky to use and inefficient compared to MS Windows XP and MS-Visual-whatever tells you it was all bogus. Ah well.

OpenOffice and FireFox have nothing to do with KDE4 and they've been MATURE products for years.

Yes, and perhaps that's those are the things that most people install first on their new Linux box (as opposed to using a raft of half-baked K-whatever apps). They know how those apps work, they are satisfied with them, and since they work as well under Linux as under Windows it's easy to switch. That's the secret. Switching is easy if the new platform "dominates" the old one, i.e. has no disadvantages but only advantages (except to people who want to spend their time interacting with the operating system rather than in their applications). Unfortunately that time is still some way off, except for the applications just mentioned.

Qt Designer is now called QtCreator, but you aren't a programmer and you haven't been using Linux so you wouldn't have known about that change which occurred a year ago.

Well, I used it only a few months ago. Under Windows. And then under Linux. Its portability and ease of use gives it an edge over KDevelop, and your software is also more portable. And no, I didn't look up a what exactly it's called when I write a comment. Compilers care about exact naming; people less so (unless they want to score cheap debating points by ignoring meaning and highlighting other people's inexact quoting of names).

It might surprise you to learn that I recently found an area where Linux offers more ease of use than MS Windows. It's manipulation of OpenStreetmap datasets and running dynamic traffic simulations (using SUMO). Setting up the tools is actually easier under Linux than under MS Windows (presumably because they were made in that environment). Of course many of those tools are Javabased, so you really interact with the Java engine instead of with the operating system, but it's a start.

As an aside, professional traffic assignment and/or GIS packages tend to run mostly under MS Windows (GRASS GIS is an exception but it has a clunky UI). Because their manufacturers target the largest user base, and don't waste time on making things run in a niche environment.

And for better or worse, professional software packages are the way to go for transport and traffic engineers because they can easily justify spending 20k$ on a package that saves them oodles of time by sporting a polished interface and that's inter-operable with everything else.

Just a hint for those who still don't get it: ease of use determines uptake, and interface strongly co-determines ease of use. No excuses about "publishing milestones", "complete rewrites", "need to read the manual".

Tricking users into thinking

Anonymous's picture

Tricking users into thinking that 4.0 was a stable release is why people had a bad taste in their mouth. KDE4-ALPHA or KDE4-BETA would have more accurately described KDE 4.0. It doesn't matter how much they said it was not ready for prime-time elsewhere. Had ALPHA or BETA been included with the version number, some of the people that were angry would have been happy. KDE still would have had it's testers, although not as many. This is why they were less than honest about the version... to get more testers. Some people resent that fact.

I used KDE3 from 2003 to 2009. Now I'm using XFCE. I lost faith in those who control the direction of KDE when "4.0" came out.

RE: Tricking users...

GreyGeek's picture

Oh ya. The KDE4 dev crew just couldn't wait to "trick" the users. Tee hee hee. It was a side-slapping good time.

???

Did you even pause a second before you posted that "tricking" remark and consider how stupid and ill informed it is?

No one put a gun to your head and forced you to use KDE4, so the hostility is unreasonable. Equally unreasonable are those complainers who make a point of visiting as many web sites as they can to spread their rants. Or those ranters who, by their own admission, switched to other DEs long ago yet the continue to post outrageous rants to articles about KDE4. This goes beyond "dislike" and is more aptly described as an agenda.

Because KDE4 use is growing, it is obvious that a larger number of people are having good experiences with KDE4 than those who do not but, like the "tea party" people who bus in their "protesters", or the 60's radicals, a small disgruntled group of KDE4 haters with an agenda make a lot of "noise", giving the causal observer the impression that their numbers are larger than they are.

How do I distinguish between the ranters with an anti-KDE4 agenda and others? The ranters rarely post bug reports. Responsible KDE4 users do. They want to see KDE4 continue to grow, the others want to destroy KDE4. They have failed.

Some of us just want the KDE

Anonymous's picture

Some of us just want the KDE people to understand that the transition from 3 to 4 was handled poorly. You want less "haters"? Show the users some respect and be as honest as possible. That includes saying KDE4-BETA instead of KDE 4.0.

Even the users that don't report bugs can help a project in other ways. Like by getting more people to use it. Users are important. More important than developers. This attitude that everyone should kiss developer butt is ludicrous. The users matter more. The more users, the more potential developers.

With no users, all you have is some unheard-of project. When a developer joins an already established project such as KDE, they take on a responsibility to the existing user base. Don't like it? Leave. No one is putting a gun to your head.

You wonder why there are

Anonymous's picture

You wonder why there are ranters? I tried to explain that to you. You are so quick to label anyone that thinks differently than you as a ranter or complainer. Take a look in the mirror pal. You are the one complaining. All I did was try to inform people like you who REFUSE to see things any other way. KDE is not a religion. Get over yourself.

KDE4 was broken

Doug Winter's picture

I loved KDE, and used it for years, but KDE4 did it for me. I moved to gnome and I'm really glad I did.

KDE4 was broken, flakey and awful. It may well be a lot better now, but I lost my faith in it.

KDE SC Rocks! Yeah, it does!

Hey! Dojo's picture

I used KDE 4 from the very first OpenSuSe live cd preview release (Before the unfortunate bed wetting incident with Microsoft) And right now, in Fedora's rawhide, is a KDE SC that I think is truly a remarkable and a notable piece of software, which will go down in history as one of the true great triumphs of free and open source software.

Everything is sharp and responsive. Apps launch quick, the desktop is very stable (I've not had a single real crash related to KDE in well over a year) And it is a pleasure to work using it.

For writing code, there is kwrite with it's superb syntax highlighting and accurate search and replace feature.
For file browsing, the multi-tabbed experience provided by dolphin is second to none and the konsole is simple and intuitive. Just what's required for rapid application development.

I need nor want anything more from a desktop and window manager.
KDE SC suits me fine and here's hoping that the developers continue to go from strength to strength because every new KDE SC release is a major step forward in computer desktop software on every single desktop platform available to man.

Amarok

Anonymous's picture

Amarok was really killer app for me. But its should be Amarok not Amorok :P

oops.

Michael Reed's picture

Oops - corrected ;-)

UK based freelance writer Michael Reed writes about technology, retro computing, geek culture and gender politics.

Really true but ...

Guillaume BINET's picture

I love kde 4, I have switched from kde 3 to kde 4.1 and never looked back despite the tons of problems I had to deal with on my everyday use.

IMHO Everything is going to the right direction... except PIM.
Akonadi is not ready, "Search service" is just a resource hogging thing you cannot completely remove. Compare it to the sqlite-based super efficient spotlight and it looks like a joke.

And release after release they are pushing that unstable thing to the user making mandatory to use akonadi/mysql for more and more applications. I gonna have to drop my beloved kontact applications that works so well without this !!

Seriously the leadership should look at this and say no, I won't merge it until the branch is lean, stable and ready, PIM stuff is really too important for a user.

My 2 cents...

KDE 4.4

ubufreak's picture

Glad to hear this! I was one of the many driven away from the initial release! I do, however, find issue with your statements about konkeror: Konkeror in KDE 3 is a bit awkward and strange, whereas the new dolphin file manager that has replaced konkeror is really slick! I wanted to stay with 4.x but the pain was just too great. I saw so much potential, but the stability/etc. issues made it unusable. I plan to test the 4.4 waters sometime soon.

Agree also

Doug.Roberts's picture

I've reported many bugs since 4.0 escaped. I'm happy at how much improved the current 4.4 release is.

--Doug

KDE 4.4

Anonymous's picture

I agree completely. KDE 4.4 desktop is very, very nice and very usable and stable for me. I run it on four of my own systems, as well as having installed it for several non-technical people, all of whom do fine with it. I think there are many people who merely fight change, from some of the complaints I've read on blogs. Change happens with everything, from the smallest details of our lives right on up. I'm older...retired....so change isn't particularly easy for me, but a bit of patience and KDE 4.4 is as comfortable, if not more so than the older KDE. And, I appreciate many of the new features.

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