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10 reasons why GNOME is better than KDE

A new battle is playing out in the Linux desktop arena. See why Jack Wallen believes that today's GNOME has pulled ahead of today's KDE in terms of design, stability, and usability.

A new battle is playing out in the Linux desktop arena.  See why Jack Wallen believes that today's GNOME has pulled ahead of today's KDE in terms of design, stability, and usability.


It seems like only yesterday that I was reading thread after thread of "emacs vs. vi" flame wars. Those were the good old days. Now the "emacs/vi" wars are pretty much over (with no decisive winner ever declared) and with it, most infighting among Linux devotees. Well -- almost. A renewed war is brewing that should promise to bring with it as much sharp tongue and wit as did emacs/vi. This new battle? GNOME vs. KDE.

I realize that many of you are shaking your heads thinking either that battle never got off the ground or it was won long ago. That was then, this is now. The "then" was when KDE completely trounced GNOME in the desktop war. The "now" is GNOME -- and GNOME is slowly but surely pulling ahead of KDE.

How could this happen? Well, read on to find out exactly why today's GNOME (>= 2.22) is better than today's KDE (>=4.1).

Note: This article is also available as a PDF download.

1: KDE 4

This reason (nay, the entire article) could end with three letters and a number "KDE 4." The backlash from KDE 4 has been pretty severe. When KDE 4 was first released, it simply wasn't ready. KDE 4 was a complete redesign, from the ground up, of KDE -- and it showed. KDE took a solid desktop and pulled the rug out from under it. What replaced the ever-popular KDE 3.5 was something unstable, hardly usable, and as configurable as Windows Vista. Gone were the days of configuring KDE to your exact specifications. KDE was (and is) the first-ever "Microsofting" of the Linux desktop. The developers released something that was painfully worthless and refused to listen to the users when the users gave feedback. On the other side of the battlefront, you have GNOME, which is steadfastly moving forward -- the same direction it has been moving for years.

2: Start menu

With GNOME, there are three simple menus from the main panel: Applications, Places, and Administration. It should be pretty obvious what you can find from each one. It should also be fairly obvious that navigating these menus is efficient and as simple as it is elegant. KDE 4, on the other hand, has an incredibly clumsy menu. If you click on the K menu, you will initially see five tabs: Favorites, Applications, Computer, Recently Used, and Leave. By default, the Favorites menu contains System Settings and File Manager. To open an application, you then must click on the Applications tab, navigate to the category the target application will belong to, find the application entry, and click on it.

This can be made irrelevant by adding an application launcher widget to the panel. But if you're like me and you use numerous applications, you will quickly have a panel full of launchers. This KDE menu system needs some serious streamlining before it can be considered an efficient use of a desktop.

What's worse, at least for the new user, is that finding the menu editor tool is not intuitive. There's no entry in any configuration control panel. To edit the main menu, you have to right-click the K button and select Menu Editor. But even then, you can edit only entries within the Applications tab. You will also notice another entry in the K button right-click: Switch To Classic Menu Style. This menu style is more in line with what most users are accustomed to, But again, what new user is going to know to right-mouse click the K button to find this?

3: Nautilus vs. Dolphin

With KDE 4 came the new file manager, Dolphin. Prior to this change, KDE had the best graphical file manager available on ANY operating system -- Konqueror. But now, KDE uses Dolphin, which is similar to Nautilus minus the stability. Nautilus is a no-frills file manager. It does one thing and it does it well: It manages files. It has add-ons for Dropbox (and integrates with that system seamlessly) and is very stable.

Dolphin, on the other hand, was an attempt to get away from what was considered the bloatware of Konqueror and to adopt a more simple, streamlined file manager. What they have created is a file manager that has features most will find worthless. Take for instance a file/directory rating and comment system. If you are the only user on a machine, what use is a file/rating system for your files and directories? I can maybe understand this if you are on a multiuser system, where users depend upon files being rated. I would like to think that Dolphin would lend file/directory tags to the KDE search engine, but it does not. So honestly, I can't think of a justifiable reason for adding bloat to an application that was supposed to be free from bloat.

4: Foundations

When KDE 4 was built, it was created on Qt 4 in the hopes that KDE could (and would) be ported to other platforms (such as Windows and OS X). This was a huge change from the previous Qt 3. With this change, KDE had to be completely rebuilt. GNOME 2.24 continues to use GTK+ 2 but includes flags in the code to enforce stricter compatibility with the upcoming GTK+ 3.These flags are included so that when GTK+ 3 is put in production use, the transition for developers will be seamless. When you install GNOME 2.24, you'll be using is the newest release with many new additions, but the underpinnings are effectively the same. Because of this, the latest GNOME is still stable (even while containing flags for the migration to a new foundation.) vs. KDE 4's instability. Yes, this instability is due to the immaturity of the code base, and I fully understand and appreciate that. I have to admit it would be cool to have a Windows port of KDE. But to port KDE 4 (and its huge code base) to Windows would take a great deal of resources. Considering how far KDE 4 has to go before it is truly production ready, I think redirecting any viable resource away from the main project would be a mistake.

5: Resources

One issue where KDE 4 has bragging rights over its predecessor is memory management. According to the developers, KDE 4 uses approximately 39% less memory than KDE 3.5 does. GNOME 2.24, on the other hand, uses less memory than KDE 4. On my running system, from a fresh log in, KDE reveals 1268876 K memory usage in GNOME vs. 1279348 K memory usage in KDE 4. That is a change of 10472 K. Granted, this is not a huge difference. But it does show that GNOME requires less hardware to run. And when you're running the desktop, you can certainly tell the difference between a default GNOME 2.24 and a KDE 4.1 desktop. You will also find that KDE 4 is a bit flakier with video cards. Even NVidia cards, which typically "just work" with Linux, can have some issues with KDE 4. NVdia suggests several performance tweaks to get KDE 4 working with its cards older than GeForce 8.

6: Clutter

With the advent of KDE 4 came the widgets. With the widgets came clutter. KDE 4 emulated the OS X dashboard with its plethora of widgets and tiny applications that can do various and sundry tricks, all the while making your desktop a veritable junkyard. I am currently staring at a KDE 4 desktop with a single widget, Desktop, that is doing nothing. What is it? It is a simple file manager for a single directory -- ~/Desktop. This widget is on the KDE 4 desktop by default. Why? I have no idea. When I can open up the file manager and see what is in my ~/Desktop folder without having extra clutter on my desktop, why would I need a widget to do that for me?

The widgets included with KDE are fairly useless. Naturally, developers are going to leap onto this and create some pretty nifty widgets that might actually add some worth to the whole dashboard metaphor. But as it stands, I prefer to keep them off my desktop. Of course my desktop is not everyone's desktop. I do understand that there are plenty of people out there (like my wife with OS X) who like to have all those bells and whistles on their desktop. KDE 4 will give those people plenty to play with. But those of us who prefer a workspace that is efficient and clean will want to stay clear of KDE 4.

7: Customization

You would think that KDE 4 would allow for nearly infinite customization. What KDE 4 does allow for is the addition of tons of "things" (widgets, panels, etc). You can change the size of your panel and reposition it. But that's really where it ends. Unless you add a theme to KDE 4 you can't change the look of your panel. Not so with GNOME. With GNOME, you can pretty much do whatever you want with your desktop. That is the Linux way. KDE 4 has gone the way of Windows, locking the user down to limited configuration options with regard to the look and feel of their desktop.

Now you might think this is counterintuitive to the whole "efficient workspace" argument I frequently make. Not so. One of the nice things about the typical Linux desktop is that it lends itself to customizations that can fit almost any need. To make up for lesser configuration, KDE 4 glazes over the desktop with the addition of, yet again, more widgets. Take this, for instance: With KDE 4, you have one mouse menu, the left mouse menu, which offers Konsole, Run Command, Desktop Settings, Unlock Widgets, Lock Screen, and Leave. Gone is the Winlist desktop menu, where you click a mouse button to see what applications are running (and select a particular program to get focus). KDE 4 has also removed the ability to add mouse menus. Without mouse menus, the desktop has become even less efficient.

8: System Tray overkill

You know how it seems like a never-ending lineup of System Tray applets will load and load and load and load with Windows?. By default (on a Fedora 10 KDE installation), the following applets are in the System Tray: Sound, Wifi, Klipper, Power, Beagle, Knotify, Battery Monitor, and Clock. GNOME? Power, Wifi, User Switcher, Clock, and Sound. The biggest difference is that the GNOME System Tray loads instantly (allowing Power and Wifi to come up as detected), whereas KDE's System Tray loads up one after another.

But load time of a System Tray isn't so much the issue -- it's space. If you tend to have a lot of application launchers on your panel, an already full System Tray could make for a very cluttered panel. It is my opinion that Beagle could be folded into the K menu, and that the Battery and Power applets could easily be one. This is typical bloat in the KDE 4 desktop that isn't limited to just the System Tray, but the System Tray is a perfect example.

9: Default applications

As stated earlier, the default file manager in KDE 4 is not good. The original default file manager, Konqueror, was moved over to act as the default Web browser. Don't get me wrong, I think Konqueror is a fine Web browser. But when you are trying to win over users, and show everyone that yes, Linux is just as easy to use as Windows, the last thing you want to do is give them something completely foreign as a Web browser. That's the tool they will use more than any other tool. When you have a Web browser available that is giving Internet Explorer a serious run for its money, AND is one of the best browsers available, why not make that the default? On top of this, they made KOffice the default office suite. This is a serious problem because KOffice isn't even compatible with Microsoft Office. Try opening up .ppt files in KOffice and see what happens. At least GNOME has the intelligence to make Firefox the default Web browser and OpenOffice the default office suite. Of course, you can change the KDE 4 defaults. But the new user doesn't want to have to install and set a default application right off the bat. These things should be done correctly upon installation.

10: KDE = Vista?

Ask anyone about Vista, and you're sure to get a negative reaction. Vista has been nothing more than a failure for Microsoft, and KDE 4 seems bent on emulating Vista. You can even add Emerald and theme KDE 4 to give it the glass feeling of Aero. But why? Linux is Linux, and one of the things that makes it Linux is that it doesn't look or feel like Windows. The OS X interface doesn't share much with Windows, and neither should a Linux desktop. It seems that KDE opted to take the route more often traveled. I get that, I do. But even in the name of new users, it seems counterintuitive to the Linux way. Don't get me wrong, I am not advocating that the Linux desktop be different just to be different. But I am advocating that the Linux desktop be true to its core. Linux is about stability and flexibility. KDE 4 (at least in its current state) goes very much against that, whereas GNOME (in its current state) holds true to those values.

The battle continues...

This battle isn't over and will be waged for a long, long time. But while competition will continue to breed innovation, that innovation needs to be forward leaning. Prior to 4, I would have picked KDE over GNOME any day. But with the advent of 4, I have to say GNOME is far ahead of KDE in terms of design, stability, and usability. What's your pick?

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

77 comments
vijer
vijer

You need to update this article. On openSuse 12.1 KDE4 seems to have improved a lot, you may still dislike it but I would be curious to see what you think of it now almost two years later.

VolkerBause
VolkerBause

Despite having written comments that sound intellectual, I cannot see to much evidence of intelligence. As everybody has a right to his/her own opinion and moment of glory, I will leave your comments at that. Obviously comparing KDE to Gnome without any mentioning of the specific sub-version and features is absolutely ridiculous. KDE and Gnome are both ongoing projects and so are their many sub-projects such as Dolphin and Nautilus file managers. While some may claim that KDE 4.0 was a disaster, these people in my opinion are fools that don't understand the 1st thing about software developments. I don't actively part take in KDE or Gnome developments but have studies System Analysis and Design as well as Programming for a period of 3 years. At present KDE has reached 4.6 with KDE 4.7 under development. Clearly KDE is an ongoing Desktop Manager project and every version fixes a lot of bugs while adding new features which in turn might bring new challenges. KDE aims at being multi-platform capable and should eventually run on Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X system. Obviously that already is a mayor difference toward Gnomes goal of running on Linux and Unix based systems. KDE was stared by guys from Mehico while KDE was started by Germans. The geographic difference has nothing to do with my preference, me being a German myself. Actually I sit in Nam (i.e. Namibia). In a head on fight, seriously, who would you pick for developing the next generation Linux desktop. Now, I am not saying that our brothers from Mexico are incapable or incompetent (The contrary is true). Anybody producing a significant product such as Gnome which is used by millions will get the red carpet treatment from me. KDE will however get their shoes shined from me as well. Microsoft will get my shoe in their backside. I have gained most of my gray hair from uncle Bill because he did not close the Gates. I wish people would forget about comparing KDE or Gnome like they do with their dads (fathers). These desktop managers are and never will be equivalent just as Windows will never be Linux. Gnome and KDE desktop managers focus #1 on opensource (Therefore being free) and #2 primarily on being GNU / Linux Desktop managers. Where KDE's shoes should get a shine is the extra step they took towards bringing Windows users into the Linux world. Only so, can Gnome, KDE and whatever Linux based developments score. The fact that their is so much talk about KDE is the fact that they have something excellent to offer. You will always get those guys that are jealous. In my opinion, get over it. If you don't like something in KDE, it is your choice to contribute positively. Both KDE and Gnome are free and open to contributions. If you truly want to rant, you should do so about the differences between Mac, MS Windows and Linux and their respective applications/projects. I would be happy if KDE, Mac, Gnome and Windows all balanced at a 25% desktop market share. Obviously Gnome and KDE aim at promoting Opensource and GNU / Linux for that matter and that in my eyes is a very good thing and one of the reasons I would choose their developments above and beyond any Microsoft development. If you want to fight, pick a fight with the big bully on the block, Microsoft Windows and not KDE Linux. Obviously KDE Linux and Gnome Linux are little and big brother and should behave as such. Apple Mac is just that other kid on the block. Mac has had their chance and I truly believe the time has come for Linux to shine. Thumbs up to Google who is giving Microsoft and Apple a run for their money on Smartphones and Netbooks. I hope they succeed big time. Thanks for all other contributors like Gnome, KDE, Samba, Apache, Ubuntu, Novell, Red Hat etc. etc. and yes, even Oracle that have spent millions in making Linux a success. You all have my thumbs up!

Jay Purple
Jay Purple

Got a shipment of both in 9.1 and the current version. I use Windows as my computer is a rental but when I buy it out in 2 months, straight to Linux!! I did, however, install both beside windows and I have to admit, GNOME is better in terms of speed, customizability and overall ease of use. I must also say, the way the media player & IM Clients are integrated right into GNOME is beaut. Set your offline or online status, add msn and g-talk etc.

Gnome_Sucks
Gnome_Sucks

There is a reason Linus wouldn't use Gnome. "If you build it for idiots, Only idiots will use it." Gnome has to be the worst desktop on the planet. It very simply cant do what needs to be done. It just gets in the way at every turn and at everything I want to do.

DeeCodeUh
DeeCodeUh

I just gave gnome a try... and it's annoying! I can't do what I want to do with the panels like I can in KDE. I'm going back to KDE.

lame user
lame user

1) 4.0 was a release of development platform? What exactly did you not like about the kde4 libraries? 2) right click on the menu button, please. Or you can change for diferent menus for example lancelot. 3) you can use konquerror for file management the same way as you did. or you can choose to use dolphin if you want to. Yeah, everything has some features, you don't need. I don't need printing support or airbag for second seat in my car (yeah, that is discutable:) ). 4) i do not get the point. you do not redirect any resources from the main project. Well, if a developer is interested to write software for some platform, he will do so anyway. If he is not, he will not do it. Pure simple. And what is bad about using library, that makes the code more portable? 5) all right, I see. gnome uses less then 1% less memory after startup. besides where is the point in mesuring the memory consumption uppon startup? What matters is, how much system resources were taken from the memory pool after the kde (gnome) applications, you usually use have started. 6) You can use the desktop as you allways did. Yes, there are some widgets, you don't need. Well, I don't need amarok for example, or X forwarding support in ssh daemons on my servers. Still, I don't say, amarok or openssh is bad for that. Besides, it was the distribution developers desition to include the widgets in distributions kde4.x package or the X forwarding feature for ssh. Not kdes fault. 7) yeah, I wish, there were much larger customization support too. But, the number of customization features is increasing rapidly. compare the 4.2 to 4.1 or with the 4.3 beta1. And don't forget, that kde4 is complete rewrite from the scratch. First it is important to have something that can by customized, not the other way. 8) yeah, by default on fedora. which is not default kde actually. Did you use the kde original *default*? 9) firefox and openoffice are *not* gnome projects, and you will not find it in gnome's code base. btw. firefox sucks 10) I didn't get the point. How is emerald related to kde project? And besides, whats bad about it. Someone likes the vista skin so much, theat he creates something, that resembles the look. And is nice of him to share it with others instead of keeping it for him self. I thought, it is not the look, that sucks about vista, or is it? Well, I don't like kde4 too and am stuck with the 3.5 branch. But I am not happy with your argumentation, it's kind of... immature.

Daedalu
Daedalu

Some of us like to work with the extra 'Stuff' with KDE. If one does not like it and want a plane jane desk top then by all means use Gnome! This is one reason that Linux is having such a hard time getting into the main stream. If one is going to use it for a production environment then I can understand having less or 'quick' for the desktop. But most of the people that I load Linux for want the Bells and whistles, they like having the clutter on the desktop. They use there computers for more than just work,they use them for the entertainment value.

l.m.moseley
l.m.moseley

I have been using Linux since early 2005. I can use it for everything I need. I am also a gamer in a clan; [MXC]MAXIMUMCARNAGE and honestly, I game on it too. Hands down, given my previous choice of KDE3 as my desktop and my love of Gnome from the start, "KDE4 is Vista"!!! Got it KDevelopers?!?! IT's just the same crap only under Linux. Filemanager crashing and lockups, non-functional desktop with what? No Icons? Contextual menus blown away? Cant get to my Home folder unless I dig through the new crap menu for 15 minutes. Actually, I had more fun in Windows Vista and at the least had Icons and could get to my documents and such without a hassle. KDE4 is pathetic and a waste of time. Gnome is far more of a desktop than this eye sore could ever be at this point. My advice to the KDE developers and take this to heart fellas, from a Linux Desktop user; You guys "f"ed up bad. You dropped the ball completely! My advice is to abandon this pile and take a step back to 3.5. Take it and use QT4 to rework what is there and please don't take away the options we as former KDE users love so much. Make what you got better not remove one of the best desktops around ever and replace it with pooo! Sorry but I am very disappointed and refuse from here on out to even consider the KDE environment as an option and wouldddnt use it on a double dog dare.

chris
chris

KDE 3.5 still kicks GNOME all over the place (at least for someone who is familiar with MS Winders). It just has so much more in customizations and right click menu options. Love it and am waiting for kde4x to come out and bring some of that back.

shryko
shryko

I like the idea of comparisons, but when they make as big a change as the 3.5 to 4.1 leap... they should really be seen as 2 completely different things. You can't say something is better than windows, because it's better than Vista, if it's not as good as XP... and that's how I see your arguments here. I use KDE 3.5, I agree that they picked the wrong evolution path for 4.0... but I'm a windows convert. I grew up on windows, and for people like me, KDE 3.5 is the desktop to woo with. Stick a windows shmuck in front of Gnome, they'll be lost for a while. Yeah, it's easier to learn from no knowledge, but, they're familiar with stuff that's similar to 3.5, and wouldn't need to "relearn" everything. As such? KDE 3.5, Firefox, and Open Office make for a winning combination! That said, everyone has their own opinion, and some people like KDE 4... Just like there are people out there who would rather command line than either KDE/Gnome... ...oh, and it should be noted that what people want is not always what's best... Options are what makes for the best fit for the most people, because it doesn't have to be everything in one! (and if it's all one, there will be tyranny, be it tyranny of the few in charge, or the tyranny of the majority)

zammi.kahan
zammi.kahan

Article seems to be a plain fanboy cry. Not sure at least he has tried out KDE. I've used GNOME for a about 6 months (Perhaps started to write a GTK theme engine as well). Not satisfied, revert back to KDE 4.2, very happy.

pgit
pgit

Hard to be objective with a topic like this. It's strictly a matter of opinion. My opinion is gnome is very stable and functional, but lacks, for want of a better word, zip. It's boring. KDE 3 is rock solid as well, and a lot of my users will stick with it indefinitely. I admit KDE 4 is still a work in progress, but it's just about ready for prime time now. Mandriva's implementation of KDE 4.2 is really cool. You can get an idea of where they are going with the new model. I like it. Gnome plain sux. My opinion of course. I rarely use it except on those machines KDE doesn't seem to want to run upon. That's like 1 in 500. If I recall correctly I have exactly 2 users that prefer and use gnome. Both are because their odd hardware didn't like KDE.

g2g591
g2g591

reason 1: first mistake is comparing 4.0.0 to 3.5, if you thought about visting kde.org when it was released, you would have read that it was not for general use and had many warnings essentially saying DO NOT USE. 2. the favorites is basicly a replacement for quicklaunchers, why did you think that you needed to make quick launchers (though quicklaunchers are nice for the very most frequently used apps)? 3. Dolphin is stable, I must admit though, that tags and ratings arn't particularly useful at this time. 4.This is one of the most incorrect claims I have ever heard. KDE 4 has ALREADY been ported to windows (take a look at http://windows.kde.org ) as for the foundations, I bet Gnome will continue to stay looking like the same old gnome in 5 years... 5. as for resources I don't dispute your memory usage, but as far as the nvidia issue is concerned, it is NOT a kde problem but an nvidia driver problem. 6. Whats so hard about removing any plasmoids you don't want? and there are plenty of useful plasmoids available already (check on kde-look.org) 7. you can have as many panels as you want whatever size you want, I have one of mine on the right side taking up half the screen, and one in the upper right. 8. as for system tray apps, thats fedora's problem, on my default installation of kdemod in Arch Linux I only have Kgpg, Klipper, and Kmix 9. I would prefer that Firefox was the default default web browser, but that is easily changed, as for Koffice, it works well for .doc (havnt tried .ppt) and it works just fine for creating its own files. 10. Yes, KDE looks more windows like than Gnome. Boo Hoo.

blueget
blueget

The whole article is a big FAIL. I thought basically the same the moment I saw 4.0, 4.1 was at least usable, and KDE 4.2 is the best KDE I ever saw. You wrote yet antother uninformed KDE rant, solely based on the user experience delivered by the very first version of KDE 4, which is OVER A YEAR OLD as we speak! Shame on you, you didn't even BOTHER trying a recent version of KDE 4.

depuxster
depuxster

i disagree. KDE 4.2 is user friendly, like gnome. KDE 4.2 had brought new view of desktop managers. Wat can i say is that gnome nautilus is much slower than dolphin especially on remote browsing. Another thing, vista was unsuccessful, because requires to high computer performance, not because of their appearance. I think, vista is very user friendly.

oorza2k5
oorza2k5

Your article here is so full of contradictions, out-dated data, misplaced blame and logical fallacies it's shameful that many people will read it and assume you are representative of the linux community. So, I present to you: 10 Reasons Why Your Article Fails: 1. The first major issue I noticed was your assumption that the initial releases of KDE 4 were deemed "ready" by KDE. To the best of my knowledge, KDE4.0 was included in very few distributions, as it was clearly labelled and shipped as a developmental preview and was not intended for production usage. You're blaming the bad decisions of the morons that maintain Fedora Core on the KDE developers. Furthermore, 4.2 was the "casual user" release, thus invalidating all of your claims that 4.1 was user-friendly enough. 2. There are three different application launchers for KDE, three. None of them is particularly hard to find or use. The menu is not clumsy, and it's not hard to populate the favorites menu (since when is right-clicking a hard task?). 3. Dolphin is fast, and it's stable. I've been using KDE4 since 4.1 and have had exactly 0 crashes with it. You've offered no evidence, empirical or otherwise to support your claim here. 4. QT4 is far and away one of the most advanced C++ library suites and your own ignorance blazes forward here, without so much as acknowledging this. And if you've looked at the code, it would be nearly impossible - and certainly take more time - to port all of KDE from QT3 to QT4. Regardless of what the GTK developers are doing, the KDE developers did the right thing, and QT4.4 is a rock-solid foundation to build software against and I doubt highlit GTK3+ will be anything comparable. And now that QT4.5 is LGPL'd the rights activists have nothing to complain about. 5. KDE4 might use more RAM than GNOME does, but it uses less CPU - average CPU usage here is about 5% vs. about 11%, KDE4.2 vs. GNOME 2.24. RAM is cheap, CPU cycles aren't and the decision to use less CPU at the cost of more RAM was a great decision. With most modern PCs packing >2GB of RAM, the usage of RAM is hardly an issue. 6. How can you say widgets for KDE are useless? Plasma supports native plasmoids, superkaramba widgets and OSX widgets, whatever they're called. SO you've bascially gone ahead and said that all widgets, across linux and OSX, are useless. It's an incredibly uninformed and useless statement you've just made. 7. There's nothing, in KDE4.2, that I do that's default any more. It's not too hard to roll your own theme for your taskbar (not that there aren't dozens available already). As far as mouse menus go, you've got a point, but given the direction that releases have been headed in, I wouldn't think that the faith in the developers to re-introduce this functionality is misplaced. 8. Once again, you're blaming the collective idiocy of Fedora Core's default layout on KDE. It's not KDE's fault if people set it up poorly, as clearly FC has. I use Arch and the only thing that came default in my taskbar was the clipboard utility, which is useful and where it belongs. Perhaps you should discuss this with the FC developers instead of misplacenly raging at KDE. 9. These application defaults are customizable and are at the choice of the distribution. Really, you ought to have titled your article "Why FC's setup of KDE is worse than FC's setup of GNOME" since you can't seem to differentiate between FC and KDE. 10. How is this even a point? There's nothing you made. Really, I'm ashamed, as a linux user, that this got published and you represent me to the public. Finally, you say that innovation needs to be forward leaning, yet previously you laud Nautilus and GNOME for doing the same thing they've always been doing? Contradict yourself much?

cassianoleal
cassianoleal

Most of the reasons you cite here are only matters of personal taste. One of them, though, is plain wrong: 9: Default applications ===> The default web browser in GNOME *IS NOT FIREFOX*!! It is EPIPHANY! (http://projects.gnome.org/epiphany/) The default office suite for GNOME *IS NOT OPENOFFICE.ORG*!!! It is rather a set of individual applications that somewhat make up for a complete office suite (http://live.gnome.org/GnomeOffice): AbiWord, Evince, Evolution, Gnumeric and other minor ones. *IF* you have those apps as defaults for GNOME on your distro and not for KDE, then you should probably be complaining about inconsistent default apps throughout the DEs that *YOUR DISTRO* offers! Do not blame KDE!

mshelby
mshelby

Good article. I was prepared not to like it. Was ready to write it off as another flame-worthy smear article. This author does a good job at not-so-much bashing KDE4 as helping developers understand the average user's level of frustration with some of it. I've pretty much buried the GNOME/KDE war long ago as a sort of "right brain/left brain" thing. I use KDE because it is more "winows like." I don't use Gnome because it is more "Netscape" like. It just isn't as intuitive, polished or pretty to me right out of the box. Still... Good article.... And for the record I think emacs and vi both stink! Long live "nano!" It is what a non gui text editor should be -- simple...!

haggus71
haggus71

Excellent article. GNOME has freshened up while maintaining its stability and simplicity, while KDE has tried to be Vista on Linux. The fact that OpenSuse switched to GNOME as default, and Linus Torvalds abandoned KDE 4 for GNOME, shows how KDE lost its way in trying to be all things to all people.

johnlayt
johnlayt

I think you should have done more research and had a look at KDE 4.2 before publishing this. While some of your points are valid (most of which are addressed in 4.2 and so are moot), most are just plain wrong. Just a couple of examples. How is it KDE's fault that Nvidia have bugs in their drivers? You seem to confuse the Panel and the System Tray, e.g. the Clock is on the Panel not the System tray. The new system tray in 4.2 features hiding of icons, and several items such as network management are now widgets instead so can go on the panel or desktop as you prefer. Power Management has been massively overhalued and rationalised. But most items that go in the tray are put there by apps that have nothing to do with the default KDE install, e.g. Beagle is a Gnome app! Default applications are chosen by your distro, so that's a complaint you should address to them if you think the selected ones are not suitable for your distro's target users. You can hardly blame us for preferring our own software in our source configuration now can you? The KDE Windows team consists of about 3 volunteers who work on it because they want to, we can't just 're-direct' them, and they have most modules now working. The KDE Mac team is also only about 3 guys and also have most modules working. You can try them right now. That's because the underlying toolkit and platform were built to a high standard with quality, portability and future flexibility in mind. KDE 4.0 and 4.1 laid the foundations. In 4.2 we've built on those foundations to restore much of the flexibility and features that KDE is renowned for, leaving us free to now innovate further in our future releases. That may sound like I've drunk the kool-aid, but the feedback we're now getting tells us we were right to take the leap we did. Talking to the Gnome guys (yes, we actually get along well, this whole KDE vs Gnome thing is now just a fan-boy and media construct), they know they have to make a similar leap soon and are trying to learn the lessons from our PR problems, but are still worried that it's going to involve pain for their users as well. Any major leap will involve pain, just look at the kernel move from 2.4 to 2.6, that took about two years to shake out fully. Oh, and I always thought the Linux mantra was "Release Early, Release Often" not "stability, stability, stability"? Take a critical look at KDE by all means, despite your snarky comment we do actually listen to our users and welcome feedback, but please do it from a position of knowledge not from ignorance. John Layt.

ron weasley
ron weasley

1) That's the DISTRIBUTIONS fault. If you went to their website, it said something like "Developers preview" through KDE 4.0 and 4.1. 4.2 is the stable release 2) I like the bar on the top for launching programs with their name (and with auto completion too). Gnome doesn't have that 3) You can still use konqueror as a file manager, they use the same libraries underneath. 4) Can you really back up your claims that the differences between qt3 and qt4 are that minor? Besides, GTK is pretty much part of the gnome project, while qt is not part of KDE. 5) If a machine can run GNOME, it can run KDE. 1MB on those machines won't make a difference. 6) (I have been testing KDE 4.2 on a virtual machine), and I like my desktop without icons (or I really really hate the folder view widget). The only widget I have running gives you the weather, but it doesn't have a good source for my city (in Argentina) 7) I recognize that KDE4 was a step backward compared to KDE3, but is still nirvana compared to gnome... 8) That might be true. I miss the two level tray on KDE3, but on the virtual machine (Ubuntu jaunty) it only has two icons (klipper and sound) 9) Fine, go and make a port of Firefox AND OpenOffice.org to kdelibs. No? Then don't complain when they try and give you 'native' apps. Besides, save for the configuration panel, Konqueror looks almost like Internet Explorer 6, no one is stopping you from installing firefox and OpenOffice.org, AND they are not the true gnome 'versions' of Koffice and Konqueror. You would be looking at Epiphany and GNOME Office. 10) Goto 1. The main point is, when they decided to port KDE to qt4, they said "We have to rewrite pretty much everything, might as well rethink the desktop". They sort of screwed up with their numbering scheme (4.0: Frozen API, 4.1: Getting there, 4.2: Come on and see), but most of your criticism is because you used not-quite-ready software

Jaqui
Jaqui

my own little way of poking KDE 4 http://jaqui-greenlees.net/files/kde4.html 11.3 MB Flash video of a DEFAULT KDE 4.x desktop with Mandriva. also, a quick look at the PERL scripts that comprise the Mandriva Control Centre.

hiltons
hiltons

thats not 10 reasons why GNOME is better, its 10 reasons KDE 4 is bad.

smerball
smerball

hear hear. well said. thank you. finally an article that compares the stupidity of kde4 to anything. kde4 is wrong, wrong, wrong on so many levels it ain't funny. it's sad actually. my biggest problem besides the fact that i can't find anything to like about kde4 is the way it's being pushed upon everyone. it's new, improved, better, faster. it's the future paradigm. what a load of crap. if it came out as an addition to all of the different desktop environments instead of hijacking and killing something (kde3) that already works great then i would probably be excited about it and enjoy exploring it. but, the way it was pushed out just makes me stand defiant and i refuse to use it or say a kind word about it. i've tried it, seriously i have and i can't understand why it is the way it is. i simply can't use it.

pgit
pgit

You are going to LOVE gnome 3. It takes everything of any value in KDE and gives it a thinner, faster and infinitely more usable interface. I've been a die hard KDE fanatic for years. (10+) But I plan on using gnome 3 once it's finalized.

shryko
shryko

...and if people hate the fact it feels sluggish? do like Linus did when faced with the surveys showing windows as faster, more secure, etc... treat it as a bug, and help the developers by making it more efficient (but still do as much). don't like how big it is? help shrink it down a bit (without just cutting off all the features, think efficiency of code).

Jaqui
Jaqui

until KDE 4.5 at least. They have to "port" all KDE apps to the new environment to get that back in the 4 series. the bloat in the 3 series was bad enough, the way 4 is set up, it will never be usable.

g2g591
g2g591

you forgot to mention that KDE 4 has already been ported to windows though (windows.kde.org)

blueget
blueget

Congratulations for this great post!

gak
gak

If it is not stable it is crap. CRAP, period. "Release early, release often". "Often" means that a single new feature justifies a new release. "Often" does not mean that you may release that which has Add but does not have Delete or Edit. "Early" means that it should be released when something works. For example, if one file format out of twenty works it should be released. "Early" does not mean that you may release anything that crashes or corrupts data. Stability is not a mantra. It is THE main prerequisite for everything. If you cannot provide it or at least cannot draw a line between that which is done and that which is experimental then you fail miserably as software architect. To an end user, some KDE errors look like flaws in its architecture. I do not know what role QT4 plays in it, but as far as I understand the previously rock solid Opera browser became unstable with transition to QT4. Offtopic: I am not surprised. Things like smart pointers are OK provided you can guarantee nobody uses normal pointers side by side. Qt is a very good C++ library, but libraries can substitute basic language features up to a limit. It is common to write poorly designed code first and "debug" it next. This results in debugged poorly designed code, that is, crap. Commercial software vendors do that because they know lock-in and marketing millions let them get away with it. I am not sure why FOSS developers do that. Possibly because people are not born good architects and become ones when they are not students any more. Or maybe because companies do not delegate their BEST people to work on FOSS projects. "How is it KDE's fault that Nvidia have bugs in their drivers?" Whose fault is it? Who provided the environment in which it is hard to write a driver? Who made any fault in the driver critical? Who uses a driver as if it is guaranteed to be perfect? Offtopic: video driver is the simplest of all since it pumps data in only one direction and timing faults like a missing frame are OK. When video driver fails in Vista it just resets it. KDE and GNOME do well enough to capture 1% of the desktop market. Guys, you fight Windows which is a joke OS and get that far! Personally, I liked KDE 4.2. However, I am not ready yet to pay 1 gig of RAM to a desktop.

r_widell
r_widell

I've tried 4.2, IMHO it's still not ready for prime time and I'm hoping that 4.3 (and beyond) will restore the functionality I have with 3.5. There was so much functionality lost going from 3.5 to 4.x that I'm evaluating ALL OTHER WMs. The list of features lost in 4.x would take days for me to delineate, so I won't. The bottom line, there are 3 things I look for in a WM: 1) Ease of administration: 3.5 had this in spades and was largely the reason I chose the KDE environment when 3.5 was the norm. The centralized point for doing administration no longer exists in KDE4.x. You can argue that MCC(Mandriva) & YAST (SUSE) make this a moot point. I'll argue that it doesn't. What if I want to use KDE on a distro that doesn't have the centralized administration features of Mandriva or SUSE? 2) Ease of configuration: There seems to be the opinion out there that people only want to see icons in their GUI windows. Well, I DON'T!!! My preference is for a file manager window that looks like a scrollable output of "ls -la". I could almost get there with Konqueror in 3.5. It can't be done with 4.x in either Konqueror or Dolphin. Oh sure, I can click on the details icon to get an approximation, but as soon as I go to a different level in the directory hierarchy I'm back to looking at icons and have to click on the details again. Worse, I can't configure a persistant setting for the details, so I have to reconfigure the whole thing every time I open a new directory. WHAT A PAIN!!! Moreover, the "system:/" protocol has been removed in KDE4. If there's something to replace it, I sure haven't found it. 3) Convenience: I really like the flexibility and ease of use provided by the apps that run under KDE (e.g. Ktorrent, K3b, KNetworkManager) because they not only work, they minimize the steps I have to go through to accomplish something. K3b is a perfect example, I have the option from within the app to do a verify of the burn. Other apps (like brasero) require that I perform additional steps (some sort of checksum) outside of the app to accomplish this task. Add to the above that documentation is really scarce (this MAY be a function of the distros I've tried), and the result is a system that's only barely usable. I've really enjoyed using KDE3 and I find that I miss many of the KDE apps, but KDE4 is so completely unusable that I'm finding ways to work around the shortcomings of the (less functional) equivalents that work under other window managers. ron

t0ken
t0ken

And it's along the lines of what I was about to post. Almost everything in the OP was addressed and/or fixed in KDE >=4.2 (I use Mandriva 2009.1 beta) I'm a rather recent Linux-convert (I'd been using Windows since 3.1), so maybe that's why I like KDE? I don't know, to me, it doesn't look like Windows, just looks like KDE. Gnome is counter-intuitive in my opinion and really doesn't and could never look as nice as KDE. Not that it looks bad, but it just looks "retro." I actuall use it on a server I have installed, but I use KDE on my desktop & laptop. Perhaps if I were a longtime user of Linux, I'd like Gnome better...?

hotmao
hotmao

I was going to post a long response to this article with all these points you put so intelligently. Nicely put, great work on KDE keep it up! I hate this hit grabbing entries like, Gnome is Better then KDE. Linux will never beat Windows, etc... They're almost always badly written poorly researched and a quick cash grab. To default applications, I use KDE 4.2 on OpenSUSE 11.1 and the distro chooses to make Firefox and OpenOffice the standard. KDE 4.2 is so slick, I do miss some of the KDE 3.5 functions, but most of what I use is now back in KDE4. Anyway this website kind of sucks anyway. Why do I have to tell you my life story to make an account to post with? Really phone number is mandatory? Seriously...

Jaqui
Jaqui

at the flash video, of KDE 4.2 I posted the url to in the post "Here Jack" KDE 4 is the DEATH KNELL for KDE. lose the insanely stupid "plasmoid" widget to access DESKTOP content, specially considering that EVERY distro is shipping with FIREFOX as the default web browser, WHICH SAVES EVERYTHING TO THE DESKTOP BY DEFAULT. that plasmoid is the absolute, KDE 4.x is useless feature in and of itself. THEN, the "dialogue" model used for apps, is so stupid it's insane to have implimented it. the ONLY acceptable time to use dialogue based user interface is when it is a NETWORK CONNECTION between the end user and the application host. NEVER ACCEPTABLE ON THE SAME HARDWARE.

johnlayt
johnlayt

P.S. Why do I have to provide so many personal details just to post a comment on this site? Address? What for? Am I about to get snail-mail bombed with offers form your associates? And what are you doing displaying my e-mail address for all the world to see and abuse?

csmith.kaze
csmith.kaze

i guess your right. Since not using KDE != using gnome for alot of people.

blueget
blueget

Just shut the fuck up, go ahead and try KDE 4.2. Post again afterwards.

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

initially, I didnt like it, but I kept at it for over a month. And guess what, I still dont like it.

shryko
shryko

roll out QT 4.0 versions of everything, but do them all one piece at a time, allowing them to all be replaced independantly... and thus, allowing for the cross-platform QT4 to replace the QT3 versions... without taking away anything... if there's still the debate/problem in a few years, I suspect we'll find at least 1 fork in the path of KDE, as at least 1 person would want KDE 3.5 functionality, while still moving ahead and joining QT4... heck, if I'm still witnessing the divide in a few years, I think I'd polish my coding to make that happen myself!

csmith.kaze
csmith.kaze

While I agree with you 100%, using uppercase words should be for emphasis, man. That..It's just too much! :D just kidding!

Slayer_
Slayer_

Then just turn the address off after you register.

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

post the way you have. We are all nice to each other here, including to those with lesser than normal brain functions such as yourself. We tend to try to be more compassionate for peoples with your intelectual abilities on this site. Some aer wondering, what you think makes kde4.2 better than previous versions of KDE? We really would like your input, which just didnt translate over very well with your previous post. If it was intended to, sorry, the TR servers do not read minds from crack baby's as of yet, however this function may be included in another 30-40 years. Testing is ongoing. We are empathetic to those that were born from crack sluts, and those that survived the coathanger abortion policies that your mother put you through. That bathtub delivery must also have been a hard thing to endure. You truly aer doing well for such an upbringing as you have had. Keep working hard and you may even be able to converse in sentences with someone in the future! I know you look forward to that day, however, I wont hold my breath. I just really wanted to instill some hope for the truly hopeless out there.

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

that obviously didnt read the comment thoroughly. I have lots of issues with KDE4 as well, and moved back to 3 because of them. Since you are accusing of not trying it, why not point out the benefits rather than post this shlt-for-brains comment? F**king LOSER

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Forget what I was talking about before; go back to being the abusive Scummy we know and love.

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

I should have posted it in a nicer way. I guess I was trying to make the losers blood boil over to cause some serious problems for being an a$$. Maybe I should type up a new reply -- on the nicer side. Stay tuned, it may take a little time :D

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

don't worry. You get two more chances since he's posted the basically the same thing three times in this discussion. Once again you're not making the newbie feel welcome. No tithing to you at Black Mass this Saturday night.