Open Source

KDE 4: So long and thanks for all the fish

Jack Wallen reviews KDE 4 and says, "No, thanks." Find out what he likes -- and dislikes about the new version.

The release of KDE 4 has long since come and gone. Much ballyhoo has been made over the release. Many are praising it. Many are condemning it. Me? I fall in the latter category. Why? Let me explain.

42.

Oh wait, sorry...sorry.

Recently I was tasked to do a Get Up To Speed presentation for Techrepublic about KDE. I initially thought to use KDE 4. So I did a fresh install of Kubuntu and fired it up. Very quickly I realized two things: (1) It just wasn't ready for users and (2) it's too much like Windows Vista. Shortly after that a very scathing thread started on the Ubuntu users mailing list where a user ripped KDE 4 apart. Many of the die-hard readers replied by ripping the user apart. The user claimed that Ubuntu was adding software that was not close to being ready to be used. He was right.

But in the sake of spirit, I am writing this blog outside of my usual Enlightenment E17 desktop and in KDE 4. I wanted to have some critical feedback for my Techrepublic brethren so that a solid, enlightened, educated discussion could proceed. So, without further adieu, here is my take on KDE 4.

Look and feel

This has to be the ugliest default desktop since the days of Fvwm95. It seems to me some of the KDE 4 developers found the Windows Vista desktop pleasing enough to copy it. Actually it very simply says what I have felt all along with KDE -- they are simply following along the Windows path to ensure the users have a feeling of familiarity with their desktop. Yes, this is very smart thinking on the part of KDE. But Vista? To my knowledge, the vast majority of people are very unhappy with Vista. Sure it may look clean and fresh, but it's performance and track record are horrible. Why try to physically emulate that? Wouldn't the users think, "Oh no, not Vista again!"? This, of course, is the new Oxygen theme. It doesn't take much to open up the OS X-like system settings tool and change the theme (although I couldn't find how to change the desktop background anywhere in the system settings tool -- eventually right-clicking the deskop allowed me to open up the Configure Desktop window where I could change wallpaper).

How about Panel properties? In KDE 3.x you could change just about everything with regards to the panel. KDE 4? Not so much. You can resize it and move it. That's it.

Widgets. Yes. Widgets. You knew it was coming. When Superkaramba came around I knew that the widget would be the way of the future of the KDE desktop. And why not? It's where OS X is heading and KDE has become, of all things, a follower not a leader.

Performance

I will give this to KDE 4. It does perform well. In fact I would say it performs, as far as snappiness is concerned, much better than 3.x. That's pretty incredible considering how early it is in its life. Granted, you will need at least a mid-level graphics card to play around with some of the better bells and whistles. But overall, in the realm of performance, I am impressed.

File management

Why in the world, after so many years, did KDE switch from Konqueror to Dolphin for file management? This goes well beyond the realm of comprehension as far as I am concerned. Konqueror was a so-so Web browser but one of the finest file managers available. But no. KDE isn't happy with that choice. Instead they want to focus their efforts on making Konqueror the best Web browser available (and the default for KDE 4) and Dolphin the new file manager. I just don't understand this move. Why not make Firefox the browser and keep Konqueror the file manager? That would allow the developers to spend more time shoring up everything else in KDE 4. Instead we have to deal with a horde of issues. Speaking of which...

Stability

I was actually a bit hesitant to write this blog entry in KDE 4. So much so that I found myself constantly saving in case one of those random crashes occurred only to find me pulling out my hair wishing I had hit save more often. My experience with KDE 4 has been thus: Run it for a bit, log out, attempt to log back in only to have it crash before making it to the splash screen. Sometimes deleting the ~/.kde4 directory works. Sometimes I have to open up Synaptic and re-install the kde4 package. I can usually get it up and running again, only to have it crap out on me later.

Overall

I realize it was time for a major change in KDE 4. But why not follow more in the steps of a Compiz or something exciting instead of trying to combine the "best" of MS Vista and OS X? Wouldn't it have been better to create something truly exciting and unique that would make everyone oooh and ahhh instead of making them think, "Been there, done that?"

Naturally I will give KDE time to settle down and grow some roots so that it may stabilize. But I don't see myself ever migrating full-time to a KDE 4.x desktop. I am one of those people that use Linux because (out of the many reasons), it's different. So when I am on my Linux desktop, I don't want it to look and feel like anything else. That is, in all honesty, how I win people over. They look at my desktop and say, "Oh, I want that!" If I am using KDE 4 those same people are going to be saying, "Oh, I have that...no thanks."

And, for the time being, that's what I am saying to KDE 4: No thanks!

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.

37 comments
martosurf
martosurf

One of the things that never cease to amaze me is how lightly, hollowly and flat stupidly some people from IT speaks, because we all know it's a fact of life 'loose-mouths' are all around the corner, but to read stupid rants like this one from people that pretends to breath IT it's merely a showcase of how devaluated is our industry - with bushleagues everywhere. This sitty rant is the same rant that's now can be heared everywhere about GNOME 3 / Shell, that was heared until recent time about Canonical's Unity all across the net and that's still heating up some mailing lists about systemd. PLEASE SHUT YOUR FVCK1NG MOUTH AND LET THE DEVS WORK, THAT'S MY ADVICE. And if you aren't to speak of anything technical please make clear that's your own opinion based on _your_ own likes and dislikes so this way it's made perfectly clear that the article have the same weight as horse 5h1t. Thank you very much.

opensourcepcs
opensourcepcs

I agree that I am not quite as happy with KDE 4 as I was with KDE 3.5. And I agree that Konqueror is the best file manager I have ever seen and I don't like Dolphin (perhaps because it's just not Konqueror). But the KDE team has done good things in the past and I am sure they will focus more on stability, usability and configurability. I am clueless how to do many things in the new System Settings utility. Perhaps the KDE team will post a few videos on Youtube showing how to do various functions. I have heard that there were some compelling reasons for KDE to a major rewrite but do not know what they are. Is there an article that (briefly) discusses the reasons? Thanks, Paul

sefrancis
sefrancis

It does take the typical rip off feel, only I dont know if I would compare it directly to Vista, but they do have one thing in common - They both are the result of a very bad turn. KDE 3.5 has well established features, and myself personally, I am very comfortable using and tweaking it. My first sign that KDE4 would be bust was when KDE4 apps started popping up - Krdc for example in SuSE 10.3. What a disaster *that* is, among others. It seemed like anything with KDE4 after its title was destined for the circular file from the git go. Being somewhat open minded about it, I figured, ok maybe its just because its written for KDE4, and some features dont work exactly right under 3.5. But upon downloading and taking SuSE 11 KDE4 Live for a test drive, I was immediately... how should I say this... Not surprised? Its broken right out of the box! Example? Hover a desktop icon, the 'delete me' X pops up in some funky extra feature box. Click on it. It will then want to confirm that you want to delete the file. Makes sense. Now click the cancel button. And voila! THE FILE DISAPPEARS! Wow. This works really well. And KNetworkManager. WTF happened here? I think the under-the-hood components are probably worth having, but I'm with you on this - I'll be dropping KDE4 like a rotting fish in favor of its much more adept predecessor 3.5, ASAP after install. :)

damian205
damian205

I have been saying this for some time now. Why oh why must KDE emulate Windows and Gnome kinda follow Mac. Innovate not emulate. Fins something better and people will follow.

TtfnJohn
TtfnJohn

While it still is guilty of the "sins" that you imply in your review it's now usable for most of not all daily use. There are still rough edges, mind you, as there were when KDE 3.0 appeared and that took some time to work out. Widgets are fun things, sorta. In GNOME they're called something else but they're there too. And I am glad they didn't integrate Compiz for the simple reason that I've always felt that it's just eye candy for it's own sake when I could actually get it to work. I will disagree with Jaqui in that I'd never recommend GNOME to someone coming from Windows, though it's seriously dumbed down interface and lack of configurabiltity is similar to Vista. KDE remains a far more powerful desktop than GNOME, it isn't reliant on Mono to work well and it far more configurable. The eye candy is nice but, then again, in the eye candy department GNOME is worse looking than Win 3.1. All this pitching for E17 means I'll have to take a look at that too! ttfn John (And no, I don't use GNOME, don't like it and aren't likely to except the occasional glance to see why anyone in their right mind would ever use it.)

techrepublic@
techrepublic@

You can change it as much as you want, KDE4 (and also KDE3) look and feel is highly customisable. I use Mandriva as my main desktop Linux distro with KDE3 desktop but it's look and feel was dramatically to fit my tastes. By the way, the KDE team clearly states that KDE4 4.0.x is a work in progress and KDE4 4.1.x will the first complete version of KDE4. KDE4 is base on QT4, a major upgrade from QT3. QT4 has some nice improvements (e.g. SVG support, OpenGL full integration) that allows for very flexible and creative GUI.

Jaqui
Jaqui

While KDE is an excellent Desktop Environment for those just coming to GNU-Linux from Windows, it is not what I want on my systems. Neither is GNOME for that matter. I still like E15/16 best.

eclypse
eclypse

I've been using KDE 4 since it was available as pre-release RPMs for FC9. I expected some things not to work properly and I got what I expected. My personal opinion is that if this is really still beta software (which it feels like), then it should be classified as such. However, I've not had it crash on me for quite some time now. The big issues seem to be the beta Xorg version that Fedora shipped with FC9 doesn't work worth a crap with either my Nvidia card or my i810-based card, so I've gone back to the FC8 Xorg packages to be able to work. There are still issues (usually with the desktop lock and glmatrix), but nothing I can't live with. Again, some of this is partly the fault of people trying to have a new distribution every six months come hell or high water and trying to get stuff out there for people to see as soon as possible instead of waiting until it is more stable. I do like two things that KDE4 does very much - the split view in Dolphin and Konsole - that is really handy for me. The search functionality in their "Start" menu is nice. The default Oxygen theme is a little bland. If I wanted Vista, I would have bought it. If I could justify spending that much money on a Mac, I would have bought that instead. However, KDE4 is (mostly) configurable to look like whatever, so I'm not too worried about it. Overall, it works for the things I do with it. I did have to make some changes to the default key bindings to get the same behaviour as in KDE3 when switching desktops, but that was about it. It is not necessarily "exciting", but I do prefer it over Gnome (I also prefer a beating over Gnome, too).

pgit
pgit

This echoes my experience with KDE4 exactly, crashes and all. A better than average video card is not a luxury, either. On lesser, more office-oriented equipment there are many insufferable video artifacts in 4. After all the hype I am disappointed. And I agree konqueror is the best file manager to be had, dumping it is a classic "what were they thinking?!" moment. I voted that I'll switch when it becomes more stable. To be more specific; I'll use KDE4 when my distribution of choice finally releases it as the default WM. At present that looks a long way off. Meantime my well polished 3.5.9 laptop continues to turn heads wherever I go, and I'll always oblige the curious with a tour of Linux. It's amazing how little people know of it.

stewarth
stewarth

There are many stable Linux distributions available without having to fool with this one. My current favorite is SimplyMEPIS.

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

Install some programs and take us on a tour.Otherwise it's like religion---thirty years of study and there's no proof that God exists or that heaven and hell are real!

nzimas
nzimas

I do not like KDE4 either. Evident lack of stability aside, i find it too much restrictive and "Gnomish". Being a KDE 3 diehard since 2003, i've got used to tweak nearly each pixel of my desktop at ease. This said, i think the reviewer has chosen the wrong distro to test KDE 4, anyways. I've got a better test drive on Fedora 9.

bdg.anonymous
bdg.anonymous

I think too much end users reviewing KDE 4.0 already, they never want to understand the reason why those new technologies are implemented (yeah, why the heck they should care, they are only users used to proprietary software). To re-emphazise: KDE 4.0.x was intended for developers so that they can start porting their applications to the new library. Why they ripped File Management function in Konqueror? Because it was a mess in term of code and nobody did a real maintenance. Someone came up with a new File Manager, and it is quite good, why don't just maintain and improve the new one?. And for your information, Konqueror now also uses Dolphin part to do file management, so the file management part is back, with the fresh code, and the library is shared between two applications, is that good? And also, why people always comparing KDE with Vista, even the Oxygen widget theme is far from Vista-ish. About the black theme, you can change it to any color you want, the default doesn't meant you have to use it. Do you know that default GNOME theme is an utter crap, but distro usually change the default to make it more pleasant to your eyes. And I'm always wondering why it is always a sin when something resembles Windows but it is ok if it clones Mac OS X? Also, Compiz is good as compositing manager, but it's window management feature really _sucks_, not to mention the configuration is a real PITA. And it would be really hard to make Compiz work well with KDE (in terms of integration). Even GNOME is adding compositing feature to Metacity (and also XFCE already got compositing feature, so I wonder who will use Compiz in the future, fvwm95 users, huh?).

d1g1t
d1g1t

I am running gusty version of Ubuntu. Of all the new distros that came for 2008 it's the only one that on install actually saw my wireless card and "just worked". When I started messing around with adding/removing programs, I saw that Hardy Heron 8.04 was available and went whole hog with a 200 plus Megabyte download. I also switched over to KDE 4 at that time. It didn't take long for the whole thing to become one big unstable mess. The only way to recover was to start from scratch. KDE 4 desktop did not uninstall very cleanly at all. So now I am back on Gnome running Compiz on Gutsy Gibbon with a handful of Kapplications while I work through Mark Sobbels book "A practical guide to Ubuntu" and when Hardy Heron offers a version of Firefox that actually supports all of my extensions I will upgrade. That was the other big dissapointment. The stable version of Firefox is 2.0.0.14. All my extensions work with this version. The 3.x beta that wiped out 2.0.0.14 didn't support half of what I use on a daily basis. So until it does Gutsy is good enough for me. "Ford fiddled with his Sub-Etha Sens-O-Matic. It was silent. He sighed and put it away."

wizard57m-cnet
wizard57m-cnet

feel better? What is that on your face? Moron...a freakin' zombie moron.

kevlar700
kevlar700

I use dolphin most of the time and love the applet next to the K button (start bar). You can still run konqueror for it's ace plugins and extra options and then select filemanagment mode. Or right click the kbutton → edit menu and add an entry for "konqueror --profile filemanagement" Dolphin is designed to solve the bloated file manager problem. Except they've done it properly rather than like windows (hiding Internet Explorer and Windows Explorers interdependence and hence difficulty of removing Internet Explorer (IE can still be opened when IE is uninstalled). Loading activex and scripts on the services tab (ugghhh). Disable scripts and activation doesn't work. Disable RPC (security risk) and Windows can hardly do anything. As for KDE copying Vista, you show your lack of knowledge. KDE is so featureful that you could play with it alone for hours with it constantly impressing you. Vista has copied the KDE print screen function many years later and it's still nowhere near as good. Vista and Windows 7 can't even keep themselves updated in a stable manner. Fedora IS Red Hat Beta so what do you expect (bleeding edge in their words) but I agree Ubuntu/Kubuntu could be more respectful of tried and tested code as it is not labelled bleeding edge, but then that might slow development. A menu of choosing one or the other would have been nice, but I presume fitting it onto one cd was the issue. Other distros like debian and Suse waited a while with 3.5. Atleast you have a choice and are not paying to test beta code as is almost always the case these days in Windows to reduce software testing costs.

d1g1t
d1g1t

Sabayon had a really high Gee Whiz effect on me the first time I saw it, but I could not get it to work with wireless. Still, it depends on what your doing. Damn Small Linux and Puppy Linux for USB drives? CentOS or Redhat for the headless server rooms? Scyld Beowulf for clustering? or Embedded Linux for the embedded market? Debian and Gentoo are still where everything seems to begin. I guess I just expect FC9 to be buggy because its not Red Hat. What I do NOT expect is that the folks responsible for Ubuntu, OR KDE developers, to follow the same logic with a new release since they are obviously targeting the induhvidual. The last thing I want to see is end users getting scared off Linux because they went with the supposedly latest and greatest version, while not realizing that what they really got was buggy beta code to play with. Always wanting the newest release is, after all a Windows user mentality. It is not a unix administrator mentality. But it is something potential converts will do, and when buggy Ubuntu crashes because of KDE 4 or for some other reason they will switch right back to Windows or Mac in the blink of an eye. This is why I think KDE and Ubuntu will become wed at the hip. They are our best shot at making in-roads to the desktop unless of course we can get more pre-installed oem's to remove the responsibility of installing the OS from the end user. This would help the Linux market share immeasurably, but the pressure is still on Ubuntu and KDE to remain glitch free. Everybody slams Windows for crashing, but Linux distros in the hands of newbs crash more often. I will stick with Ubuntu/Gnome for now, but I want more some how. I don't know what that will lead to though. Maybe I need help. Maybe I have become a distro junkie!

jlwallen
jlwallen

for those coming from windows i would recommend, in this order, these Linux desktops: KDE GNOME XFCE Enlightenment Afterstep No, I'm not including all Desktops and Window Managers because many of them would scare windows users away. Afterstep might be one of those because configuration isn't as simple as it should be.

owner
owner

As far as ease of installation, I haven't run across anything that is better than the various falvors of Ubuntu and Wubi. I haven't tried SimplyMEPIS...when I have a system availible, I will have to check that out.

owner
owner

The problem is that OS' are a religion to many people. Look how many peole out there complain about Windows or complain about Linux or complain about Macs yet never use them and would never even think of taking them for a test drive before they bitch and moan. I am a die hard Windows fan, but I check out distors like Ubuntu (and Kubuntu) to see how things are going and even use them on occasion. I use whatever the best technology is. I think Bill Gates is a genius and love MS products, yet I am a ColdFusion Developer and can't stand .NET. Unfortunately a lot of the tech community will rally around a single company and turn thier noses up to other companies with a religious like fervor that would make Torqemada proud. The better attitude would be to jsut use whatever is best for your needs.

owner
owner

I see the same problem with people reviewing Vista. They seem incapable of seeing the big picture. Yes vista uses a lot of resources, but if you compare windows version from Windows 1 on up...they increasingly used more resoures. Same with every OS...even linux flavors with graphical desktops. I personally like Vista and have no real issues with it. I din;t see how KDE 4 is Vista-ish at all. The reason it is a sin is because to many linux fanatics, anything by Microsoft is bad, no matter how good it really is. Folk like that sound just as sheeple-ish as the Mac fanboys who believe Steve Jobs can walk on water. All OS' have their advantages and thier disadvantages and issues. The key is to get what works best for you and your needs...not following some fascist like devotion to a single product to the exclusion of other. I think that linux is still not ready for the average user as it is till a bt too quirky, though it has made great strides over the years. Having something that is familir will go a long way towards more wider acceptance amongst the masses. I can tell you that someone like my mother would give up on KDE, Gnome or any other linux distro after about 10 minutes. I am trying tog et my fance used to it since we can't afford to ge another copy of Vista for now so she has something to at least surf (she is not happy that world of Warcraft won't run though hehehe). Even I find the interface to not be as inuitive as it should be.

joe
joe

I don't think you should take the reviews quite so personally. KDE or Gnome? Vi or Emacs? Everyone has their WM preferences. The beauty is you can choose your WM. Just because the reviewer doesn't like your WM is no reason to get your feelings hurt. Also, the way I read it, KDE was being "chastised" for emulating MacOS as well as Vista, without saying "it's OK" about either one. One of my biggest complaints about the Linux community is it's unwillingness to listen to positive criticism. Just because it's not a glowing review doesn't mean it's bad. If only MS would listen to a little positive criticism now & then... Now I've got to finish loading Slack on my new box. If you aren't running Slack, you don't know Jack! :)

owner
owner

I couldn't get the wireless card working from a fresh install of Kubuntu with KDE 4 and gave up and dragged out a wire. The Wubi installation of it, however installede seamlessly and the wireless card too after instaling wlanassistant (I think that's the name of it) and the kde wireless manager. Konquerer was pretty bad a browser, but I quickly installed firefiox and life was good. The only problem I have is witht he ATI drivers. I tired to install World of Warcraft using WINE and it was so sluggish that I couldn't even get it installed. This isn't exactly a high end card, but it wasn't a bargin basement model either. I am going to try it again when I get a new nVidia card and see what happens.

martosurf
martosurf

Obviously this guys is misinformed since the first working demo of KDE4 was unveiled quite some time before the first not-working demo of Vista.

pgit
pgit

Slax is more feature rich than puppy and damn small, though it's author really doesn't want anyone installing it. It's supposed to be a mini-cd live system with your changes saved on the USB. But heck, it's so small yet rich I've installed it on hard drives, works great on that old P-III 600 laptop with the 10GB hard drive. For the most stable KDE on a system the average user won't crash try Mandriva 2008.1. Of course no system is infallible, but this is as close to "works out of the box" a KDE system has become. I've been watching all manner of newbies having an easy go of it.

Jaqui
Jaqui

really? since it is meant to look and feel like Macos, I wouldn't think it is a good option for familiarity / comfort for those coming from windows. Which can also be said for XFCE. I would think FWWM would be less intimidating in use than either Gnome or XFCE if the only os used previously was windows. I generally try to recommend a KDE distro for those who are used to windows and want to look at linux, because of how close kde is to windows in look and feel. Gnome based distros for those who want to add linux to their mac world. [ mac users not being prone to losing macos even if they do add a linux distro ] but for a clean user interface with minimal clutter, nothing beats E. and if someone likes the way my systems look with E, I tell them pick a distro and install E, un-install whichever GUI they used by default in that distro.

gerbo_san
gerbo_san

Just wondering which version of KDE4 they've been trying. the original KDE4 or the KDE 4.1 beta. Also I'll prefer the opinion of a KDE user. Difficult to change the wallpaper? man, the menu to change it was always with right click on the wallpaper. I haven't tested KDE4, because I read that will be better to wait till KDE 4.1, also I've read some nice comments about it. Why not test KDE4.1? The real not just the package that comes with kubuntu (beside the review I read about the last Ubuntu qualifies it as fair, not good.)

martian
martian

I upgraded (with a clean install. /home separate partition) to Xubuntu 8.04 soon after it came out. I'd attempted, and partly succeeded, to play WoW back in Xubuntu 7.10 but it kept crashing on me. This forced me to maintain my dual boot with XP. Yeah, I'm lazy and just wanted it to work with minimal effort and research. Now, with 8.04, I am able to launch the wow.exe right off my Windows' NTFS partition with nary an issue. It's looking a lot like my dependence of Uncles Bill and Steve is about to end. My next step will be to do the complete commitment by installing it directly on my Linux file system. But for now, it's working, and since then I've hardly booted into the XP partition. As with all things, YMMV. Hope this helps.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I had an ATI AIW 9600 GPU in my last machine that ran dog slow when I tried to install Linux native Neverwinter. I could get good quality 2D out of the GPU but the community and ATI provided modules never could produce 3D above around a 20 fps. My 8800 GPU has been fine though I haven't finished my "getting to know you" tests including a second try at native Neverwinter. It may very well be the lack of vendor support for your hardware that is causing your GPU issues.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I can see why one would clarify the environment from the window manager; they may be drastically different too a developer who works within all those layers. My education appears to have been the same as yours. When I first setup X, it asked me to setup a window manager. It gave me twm, I added AfterStep for my needs at the time. Even later when moving to Enlightenment, it was referred to as E window manager often. I still see Gnome and KDE as window managers as a result but I am referring too the consolidated package also.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

my meaning was the consolidated desktop display rather than just the layer managing windows behind the UE so it was a fair nit-pic. I did indeed mean that it's even nicer when fvwm, kde, gnome, internet exporer, (whatever osX display layer it named), Enlightenment, etc, doesn't matter. "Oh, cool, they used XYZ over X for these workstations.. now on too what I actually need to do..) On low powered notebooks, I've added X and a basic UE simply to support multiple terminals on the same screen. The four cli in view at once is a dietary staple for me.

pgit
pgit

On every Linux I've ever used the dm is the display manager, XDM, KDM, GDM, and this is what the desktop environment rides on. Then the desktop itself IS a "window manager," though the only one still using that in the name is IceWM. But the "K desktop environment" is a window manager. The "Gnome desktop environment" is a window manager. XFCE etc are all window managers. On every deskop I've set up with Linux (there's been hundreds) the service "dm" starts at boot. But you do not land on a desktop. You only get to a log in screen. After authenticating the user's window manager of choice is then loaded. That's what yields any "desktop environment." (doesn't have to tho) That last is a matter of semantics, "desktop environment" sounds like marketing. I've always known it as the window manager, and some of them that's barely all they do. But certainly under it all is the "display manager," which is more concerned with drivers and hardware than the WM is.

Jaqui
Jaqui

the "Desktop Environment" is the ui we interact with :p you can use icewm with Gnome, KDE, XFCE, E or any other D.E. Or, use KWM, GWM or any of several other "window managers" that hide behind the DE. :D What you probably mean is that the desktop doesn't matter, it's how comfortable you are with the running desktop that matters. I know, pedantic to nit-pick the minor detail of window manager and desktop environment ;) and there is no way that Gnome is intuitive if it emulates macos behavior. menus not being in the window for the app in question is as non intuitive as you can get. When Gnome throws an error and warning message when booting on a non networked machine. [ gnome 1.14 ] because "there is no network, functionality is limited" Gnome took itself permanently off the list of usable desktops.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

My PDA uses Gnome, my desktop uses KDE and I move between the two with little issue (my QT based keepassX has a little grief with the gtk based Gnome interface; Diablo is supposed to fix that soon). My old notebooks use Enlightenment or Afterstep if I install X. It's even better when the window manager stops mattering but I'm not at that point fully yet either.

lastchip
lastchip

Since changing to Linux pretty much full time now, I've always looked for KDE, as I felt far more at home. *But,* since moving to Debian Etch, which comes with Gnome as default, I've become very used to Gnome in a very short space of time and moving back to my laptop PCLinuxOS, with it's KDE desktop now (almost) feels strange. It's surprising just how fast one can adapt to Gnome and how intuitive it is. *And*, even though I suppose I'm a Windows veteran, I really find it strange now. Don't even want to think about Vista; it's banned in this operation!

jlwallen
jlwallen

i think i was looking mostly at ease of use over familiarity. even though i don't use gnome now, i always found it easy to work with. the interface and configuration is very intuitive. yes it does look more like OS X but i think new users will find the learning curve very shallow. and you're right - nothing beats E on all levels.

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