Open Ballot: Has KDE become a second class desktop?

TuxRadar

Last week, it was announced that Canonical are no longer going to fund Jonathan Riddell to work on Kubuntu. Add to that, Aaron Seigo has also announced that his funding to work on KDE development is also coming to an end. This got us thinking, has KDE become a second class desktop on Linux?

No major distribution ships it by default openSUSE is the only major distribution to ship it by default, its funding is being cut back, and it seems that, when people talk about alternatives to Gnome Shell or Unity, it's XFCE that gets mentioned.

What do you think: Is KDE slipping in mind share and importance? Or maybe you see a bright future for this desktop, as Qt and other KDE technologies spread on to mobile devices and TVs? Let us know in the comments. We'll be reading out a selection on this week's podcast, and of course we'll be throwing in our own thoughts too.

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Your comments

I like KDE apps but not the desktop after 3.5

I loved KDE 3.5 and I stuck with it as long as possible. It's just too difficult to install on newer distros, so I moved to KDE 4, but I found it to be too slow, too clunky and too full of nonsense. So I use IceWM but I use the latest versions of kmail, klipper, kcolorchoser and several other KDE apps. KDE and IceWM play nicely together.

When we watch steaming video, I connect my PC to the TV as it's more comfortable for us to watch it rather than being huddled round the monitor. When I installed the box, it was running Mandriva 2009 but with KDE3.5, and it supported the monitor/TV setup perfectly. When I upgraded to Mandriva 2010.2 and KDE4, the same hardware could not drive the monitor and TV. When trying to drive two monitors, the video stream spluttered so badly that it was unwatchable. The only way to get this to work, was to disable the PC monitor and just use TV out. Since I was using the old hardware and it used to be fine with KDE3.5, I was not best pleased! Hence the switch to IceWM, where dual monitors work fine.

Other things that I dislike about KDE4, compared to KDE3.5 is the cashew, the lack of ksensors and the many nonsense plasmoids, none of which I need. If the authors of KDE could replicate the speed of 3.5 in 4 and allow us to use the old desktop widgets, then KDE would be perfect.

I find the new plasmoids take up too much screen space. Compare the old kweather with the equivalent kde4 plasmoid and you will see what I mean.

new is diferent, not better

@...First Class Desktop for Power Users
@...KDE is simply too much for a normal user!

Come on!
Power user does not need DE!!!
Power user doing all things in command line (period).

First OS that I bought, was SuSE Linux 6.0-1998, second SuSE 7.0-2000, third SuSE 7.1-2001,...,
Maby I`m not Extra_Giga_Mega_POWER user. But I know what is good DE!
KDE 3.5.X IS EXCELLENT ONE!

@...Chakra is on the way
@...especially on a multi-monitor setup.

I have 3 mon (various sizes, on duall Radeon GC)
On Chakra KDE 4.???,...my far RIGHT monitor is Master one, and in configuration it is LEFT MONITOR!?!?
To get to the central one I go all around world, far, far right...to get to the most left monitor end then
go thru that left monitor to central one.
For KDE 4.@#$%!@#$%^ it is very logical way!
I give up from configuration! I do not use KDE 4.@#$%!@#$%^

Please, look at any release of Windows(!!!) to see how to deal with multiple monitors!

@...too many configurable options for an average user.

If it can be configured in desired way, please pre-configure it to work as KDE 3.5x!
Solve all problems with ideas what KDE 4.x should be.
Show to us (average users) that brilliant piece of DE.
Look at SuSE Studio and see that XFCE is in front of KDE in building distros.

@...Yes Of course!

Yes Of course!

@...I am very impressed with its 'activities' feature.

'activities' what for? There is much more COMMON and SECURE way to do things!
Virtual machine: WMware,...( hard jobs - start and paused when ever you want), or
Virtual desktop( web, writing, drawing,...all others jobs )

@...Pity how the whole thing turned out. Someone fork an old version, stop creating new paradigms and just keep it updated.
@...KDE could make it, but I don't know why they don't...
@...If the authors of KDE could replicate the speed of 3.5 in 4 and allow us to use the old desktop widgets, then KDE would be...
@...Oh, and I don't speak English (in case you don't understand anything I said)

Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!

KDE is my favourite

I use openSUSE because of KDE. I gave Linux Mint 12 a try because of the KDE-version. Slackware seems not to be a major distribution?
The negative side:
Nepomuk error messages are very irritating. openSUSE update is not flawless.

Nice legs, shame about the fonts

I go back to kde from time to time - the only gripe I have is that is the default fonts for kubuntu 11.10 look exactly the same as they looked with kubuntu 7.04, really old!

The ubuntu fonts look smoother and neater. Why don't kubuntu use the same fonts as ubuntu?

Gnome will fade

KDE is smart being able to adapt for different devices. Ubuntu saw this strength and followed suit with unity.
Gnome will fade further away as new devices are developed, KDE and Unity are future proof by design.

KDE4 is awsome and perhaps not for noobs

As a Mandriva user KDE has been my DE for many years. You can build the desktop after your own likings. I also have Gnome, XFCE and sometimes other DE's installed but KDE is best on modern computers. Using a Mac/Gnome i long for my own KDE4 laptops. BUT: I think that some users would benefit from a "restore KDE to default" button in KDE. Conclusion: for me as a power user in daily production KDE4 is my choice.

n00b

It is so sad to see, that naming people as "n00bs"
is the only answer from KDE 4 people, to a bad paradigm of KDE 4!
Making more new problems and not solving existing ones is bad paradigm.

Question: What daily production can be achieve with that paradigm in KDE4?

Bad paradigma is to have the same DE for 24" and 4" screen.
It is out of common sense! Reprezentation must be different but logic the same!

Users have a choice, and lot of them say NO to KDE 4!

KDE 4 would benefit from a "restore KDE to PREDEFINE_xyz" button, not users!
...KDE to predefine_24",
...KDE to predefine_04",
...KDE to predefine_3.5.x,...

This would lead to grouping of errors and their ease of solving.

KDE Debate

I really think that it depends on what you start with which you prefer. My first foray into the Linux world was with Ubuntu 9.04. At first coming from the windows world was a big adjustment. The menu was on top totally backwards from Windows, however is was logically laid out.

I actually got kinda excited for the new unity interface when I saw screenshots and read about it. The interface for myself while taking some time to get used to was good. I love the search based menu, the downside is if you don't know the name of the program you are looking for it can be harder to find applications. They have made good progress making the Unity dash more usable in the current implementations.

I was fine with unity until ubuntu 11.10 which moved to GTK+ and Gnome3 (Gnome-shell) as the base. At that time you lost about half of the configuration tools in system settings. After doing much research I decided to switch to Linux Mint. I am currently running 11 Katya because of the same reason 12 finally went on to Gnome3.

This then encouraged me to look into different DE's. I feel like I have at least tried all of them. Openbox, LXDE, KDE, Enlightenment, Gnome-shell, Unity, and Cinnamon.

As for KDE specifically I can say it looks nice I ran it with Pardus Linux for the most of my experience as well as Mint KDE version. There is simply something about KDE that makes me uncomfortable. My first foray into it with OpenSUSE I managed to delete my bottom panel with a few simple clicks and I played hell getting it back to defaults.

While it seems pretty stable in Pardus and Mint coming from a Gnome 2.x and then 3.x environment it feels like KDE is an entirely different language then Gnome. The things I could easily do in Gnome took a bunch of Google searching to figure out in KDE.

Lastly I'm not sure about who is better suited to move to the mobile market (which I'm sure is the future) but I think that the Gnome team is going to have problems moving forward if it doesn't start listening and implementing changes that it's users want. Clem of the Linux Mint team recently forked the Gonme-shell code to create the Cinnamon shell. After being asked why he said that the Gnome team would not listed to the changes he made and thought his work to make it more user friendly was not worth implementing. This is also why Unity was born, disagreements between the Gnome team and Cannonical about the future of the desktop.

Who's right, who knows I can only say from my opinion that I am a big fan of the Mint version of Gnome 2.x and I am looking with high hopes for the Cinnamon desktop to become the next big thing. It is not just available for Linux Mint but can also be install in Ubuntu, Fedora, and OpenSUSE.

So, what's the First Class Desktop then ?

Tried KDE a couple of times (PC-BSD, Chakra, Suse) and thought it was pleasant but a little frustrating coming from a more Gnome-ish(2) background. XFCE seemed good, but clunky somehow and (Xubuntu) seemed to fall over a little too often for me and yes, it didn't look so good. Then there's the Gnomes - 2 was a good compromise and had been my default (Ubuntus and a spell with Fedora 14) and 3 seems likeable but I get the old Windows fear (having been a DOS lover way back when) of not feeling I'm in control of what's going on somehow. Then there's Unity - yuck - tried several times but just doesn't do it for me. No real experience of LXDE, (although I really liked Crunch Bang's Openbox), Fluxbox, any others ?

So, they all seem a much of a much really. They've all got faults and most have some good points. KDE's positive was that yes, it looked nice (to me) but I couldn't get into it's default apps - one 'K' too many perhaps. I think for it to be resigned as an also-ran implies that Gnome 3 or Unity are now class leaders and I've gotta say that I certainly don't feel that's the case. Kubuntu was one I was curious to try, so let's hope it flourishes out in the community, in theory it deserves to as much as any of the others and I have to say I'm surprised, with the criticisms of Unity, that Canonical didn't then show KDE a bit of love and promote Kubby to take up where Unity had lost friends.

KDE 4 Still Sucks

Damn I miss KDE 3.5, gonna try the new Trinity desktop. Just installed CentOS 6.2 for work and both KDE 4 and GNOME suck.

going back

I first started using KDE way back in Red Hat 8, it made the transition from Windblows a snap for me. I loved it right up until I got tired of reloading the Kids Win 98 machine they used for media apps,I needed something, more indestructible they could use with a shorter learning curve. Kids have a short attention span,and soon get discouraged. I didn't want them to give up in frustration The early KDE 4 at the time was not the answer I needed. So I switched to gnome on Ubuntu for the entire household as it made everything easier. While at the time it seemed a really good idea, this Unity DE soon killed all that. The kids, even with being used to mobile devices absolutely hate it, as do I. They are all out of the house now and have their own machines running Linux. The oldest kept trying new distros on his own and now uses KDE on SuSe. He has made converts out of the other two. So not too long after they switched I get an email asking me why I didn't start them out on it. All I could say was good question. While I haven't played that much with the new KDE, it does seem a bit slower than the older version I was using on an older slower box, but that could just as easily be SuSe as well.

KDE needs more assertiveness

KDE 4.8 is now my desktop of choice. When I first tried KDE, I didn't understand how it worked, and I thought it was too feature-rich and distracting. After trying many other desktops, including Unity, various versions of Gnome, Mate, Cinnamon, and Xfce, I tried Linux Mint 12 KDE and was hooked. By this time, I had figured out how to configure KDE, and I was won over by its polish, aesthetics, and functionality.

Now that I have discovered the merits of KDE, I am surprised that it is not more popular than it is. I think there are at least two reasons for this. First, the various distros that offer KDE do not present it in its best light. Often, the default configuration of KDE is not as attractive or functional as this desktop is capable of being. Second, the developers of KDE are not being proactive enough about their own product.

Despite the recent apparent setbacks with Kubuntu and Pardus, it is encouraging that Linux Mint and Netrunner have entered into a partnership with KDE to help develop and promote this excellent desktop. In addition, Kubuntu 12.04 and Linux Mint 13 will be LTS editions, which may help to stimulate the adoption of KDE and enhance its longevity.

Dropped KDE4 in favour of Xfce

Just as the title suggests...

I've been a KDE user for about the last ten...fifteen years (first on SuSE, Debian, then Gentoo). But with the introduction of KDE4, I became slightly less than enthusiastic about the system. KDE has always tended to be a little bit bulky, with a slight tendency to respect Unix system conventions a bit less than its competitors... but earlier KDE issues were still rather, well, "bearable" in this subject, with the benefit of being very well useable at the same time. With the advent of KDE4, this has changed (for the worse). A good Unix system is known from its principle of being built up as a composition of systematically "independent" components, that tend to do few, well defined task, and implement those "few" tasks well. Unix app layer stuff is also never designed to mess with system layers that are none of their businesses. On the contrary, KDE4 is a large, bloated hell of stuff, which is designed around someone's "brilliant" idea of how a graphic desktop environment should behave. It's full of of cross dependencies (one can't even run simple KDE apps like Kate without loading/running lots of fuss, several "key" KDE4 components anymore), it's built around principles (indexing and cross-referencing everything) that I don't like, never agreed to and won't ever sacrify system resources (and system responsiveness) for at the first place. It also has an ever increasing habit of doing everything by itself - even those that are no businesses of a desktop environment but other layers of the Unix system and the X Window System in particular. We have seen systems that started from a bad concept and still keep dragging on their bad concept today, after investing a hell of a lot of work and more than 20 years of development into them. I _believe_, Unix' concepts are well inspired, they work and they have worked for the past 30 years. KDE4 is, in this respect, a nice example of an obviously bad concept. No experts with respect towards Unix system design principles would have created such an obviously faulty design (which is, on the other hand, an obvious sign of ex Windows guys taking key positions in free/open system development projects). I won't even have dragged this myself as far as still using KDE4 for the last couple of years, shouldn't the Gentoo developers had made it possible to at least get free of having to run Nepomuk and other "clever" and "mandatory" components of KDE4. ...Still not a perfect shot, though, I usually had problems with knotify and other "key" KDE4 components showing up in top's output, consuming a few percents of CPU time while doing basically nothing, and some other glitches that I could never get around to diagnose and (obviously) fix (...note the basic rule: the larger the bloat and cross dependencies, the less chances to reach to a well defined cause). Then, some weeks ago I made up my mind, moved all my stuff to Xfce4, uninstalled KDE4 and its associates for good, and up to now, that's all. Unless someone takes KDE's development concept into a new direction, that's probably all I can say about my KDE story for the next couple of years.

As an average user who was

As an average user who was willing to switch from Windows 7 to Linux, I found the overload of KDE by far too much. Settings aren't grouped in a logical way. In so many cases I wasn't able to find a setting until I found it was buried where noone would expect it to be (e.g. switching off bouncing icons setting).

On top of that, things like Nepomuk and Akonadi are simply not needed by average users. It's just the opposite. Even though I've learned about its usage, I still find it completely unnecessary that this is installed and integrated by default. Most desktop users (especially those who come from Windows) will not need this, unless you work in a business environment on projects. This semantical groupware stuff should be optional, but not default.

Also, what bothers me too, are "Activities" desktops. Again, as an average user, I find this extremely unnecessary and also annoying. It's rather confusing than helpful. Average users are fine without these Activities. Seriously, this is for total freaks who want an extra shit for every little thing. Yes, KDE is overengineered. So much manpower wasted. It could long have been a serious competitor against Windows 7 if the developers would have worked together in focusing their strength on less but superbly done features.

I want a stripped down version of KDE, without all the bloat. I want a straightforward desktop environment without semantic indexing cpu hogs by default.

Just have a look into KDE's system settings and you get the picture: BLOAT combined with HORRIBLE usability. Reduce that shit and Windows users will come in and start to use it by the dozens.

Anyway, I switch to Xfce4 now. Because Ubuntu still sucks with my Wifi (since they introduced 11.04, my Wifi doesn't work with Ubuntu).

Went back to KDE

I'll admit that I am a KDE fan, but after first trying KDE 4, I was disappointed with its flakiness and switched to Gnome 2 for a while. I once gave Gnome 3 a shot, since it's supposed to be the next 'new thing', but I'm sorry. The interface is pure garbage. Garbage, because it looks like they tried to please everyone with their design choices, and by doing so, they pretty much alienated everyone.

On the other hand, Xfce4 is at least usable, but although it doesn't really excite me with its plain interface, it gets the job done. But nowadays, KDE 4 can do the same thing, and has become a lot more polished since the time it was released.

So I went back to KDE, and I'm not regretting it.

Previous Gnome User

I have always used Gnome and have tried KDE several times in the past, but stuck with Gnome. I didn't really like Gnome 3 and kept having crashes, so I decided to give KDE another shot. I was really impressed with the changes that they've made. KDE is friggin sweet now.I don't know why people on here are saying new users would have a hard time using it because as far as I can tell I haven't had to really customize or change anything. The only problem I seem to have is not being able to set the desktop icon's sizes; 32x32 or 64x64 options would be great as well as auto-valign. But at least there is a desktop to be able to put icons on without having to download the gnome-tweak-tool to do it (kinda ridiculous).

I think KDE needs to invest in some marketing now that it's more attractive. I wish they would change the application menu to have it drop in the list of programs or like a regular menu, to the right; kind of annoying always having to click back if just browsing through them (unattractive to new users). As far as I'm concerned, Gnome 3 basically dug it's own grave. Hell might freeze over before I switch back.

BTW: I started out using Ubuntu until I found out it sucked. Now I use Fedora and initially loved the firewall tool; now I use my own rules, but hated being forced into it with Ubuntu.

KDE perfect with Debian netinstall

I am a fluxbox user - a rare breed that prefer functionality to bling (e.g. openbox + tint2)

Anyway, to actually realise the flexiblity and user friendliness for the desktop, one must first put in a little effort as follows:

1. Install Debian using netinstall to ensure that bare minimum is installed by installing the base (and laptop utils if you are using a laptop) during tasksel and reboot.

2. Then install xorg, wicd and wireless-drivers if required.

3. Next install kde-plasma-desktop, which is a minimal set of applications for the KDE Plasma Desktop.

4. Reboot and that's it. You will notice that there's a one time (a few) customization to your needs.

5. Install any additional packages that you need when the need arise. If you use that for one month without switching, NO other distro and DE/WM can satisfy your needs anymore.

Give it a try and find out for yourself.

I came back to KDE and I'm loving it!

When I first tried Linux (Red Hat 6.4) about 12 years ago it was using KDE. At that time I wasn't prepared to switch to Linux full time but I've fiddled with Linux on an off over the years. Then I had a look at Ubuntu 8.10 (Gnome DE) and was very impressed and decided to change to Linux full time shortly after. I used Ubuntu for the last three years or so but I always thought the Gnome DE was rather 'cobbled' together to some extent. To get it looking really nice I had to install various bits like Emerald, upgrade Compiz, etc etc. Then along came Unity :-( I tried to like it but gave up after a couple of months, I'll say no more!

So, I recently had a look at Kubuntu with KDE and was blown away with how functional and pretty it is. I love the configuration options as I guess I am a 'power user'. It feels a lot more integrated to me with the appearance settings all in one place. I'm quite happy using Kubuntu 12.04 on my five year old desktop and it is quite snappy in use ... doesn't feel at all bloated or heavy to me.

Blue Systems

Dead!? Why is nobody referring to the sponsors of Kubuntu, Mint KDE AND Netrunner....ALL the BEST KDE's...!!???

KDE rocks

PClinuxOS, OpenSUSE, Mepis, Mageia, Chakra, ROSA....

switched to kde from unity

I switched to kde from unity/gnome3.
I think unity want to be kde. unity dash or lens similar to kde features.
Gnome3 is same too. Both desktops are not functional. Just simple icon click, like smart phones interfaces. KDE is showing us that how desktop is should be.

KDE best for dual monitor with right-hand primary

My dual monitor setup has the the primary screen on the right-hand side. With all other desktops in this configuration, desktop icons move to the left-hand monitor. However, with KDE in folder view displaying the desktop folder, desktop icons stay put on the primary monitor, even if it is on the right-hand side.

This is just one example of the exquisite control one has with KDE, making it my desktop of choice.

I love KDE.

I don't think any other DE can match up with KDE.

KDE best fit.

I started out with Ubuntu 5 years ago, and left that for Arch four months later. That being said, I felt KDE was too involved at first and stayed with GNOME up through GNOME 3. I found GNOME 3 absolutely horrid, and as with GNOME 2, the effort it took me to customize turned me right off. I started using Open Box for another five months or so, and while I enjoyed the light footprint, I missed the glitz of a full DE. I went to KDE for a bit, and then tried unity. Fed up with the lack of customization, I went back to KDE where I can set the interface up as my interface easily. It took ten minutes to make my perfect* desktop. That's why I choose KDE, because even on a laptop, I like to have my interface my way. KDE allows that effortlessly.

*perfect desktop is a misnomer, since I change things a little bit to make it more efficient for my use every week or so.

No, I don't like Gnome, or

No, I don't like Gnome, or indeed any of the DEs with the taskbar at the top of the screen - never have done. I've been using various distros since Mandrake, can't even remember what version, and KDE is the only one I ever got on with. I just deleted my Kubuntu 12.04 partition because I can't stand Plasma. I'll give Mint Mate another go, though I still had to install and keep switching to KDE to do any serious configuration last time I used it, and maybe that'll be enough. If not I'll delete my Linux partitions and just stick with my Windows 7 and XP installations. I want the desktop like in KDE prior to 4, and like in Windows. I want icons on the desktop for Computer/My Computer, and - in Linux - for the various shared NTFS drives, not some widget that only shows shortcuts to them with default folder icons. The fact that you can't change this stuff, apparently, or not without more work than its worth (and making it this difficult to configure it the way you want, if you can at all, means it's not worth much).

KDE's better on openSUSE (what with KIO slave sysinfo) - what I have on my laptop, along with Windows 7 - but on the desktop openSUSE doesn't work with my Wi-Fi.

I think KDE being slow is

I think KDE being slow is really a myth, I switched to KDE recently after using gnome for years and I think KDE has really improved in terms of performance and its memory footprint, currently I am using KDE 4.9.2, which is faster and lighter than gnome3 and MATE (a fork of gnome2) I have been using. And now it seems like I am not going back to gnome again. The only issue with KDE is that there aren't many applications out there as compared to gnome.

Yes it has

So many Linux users have decided to move to other desktops since KDE 4, including myself. Actually, disgusted by KDE 4 and Gnome 3 I hardly use Linux at all these days, and when I do I use something like Mate, Cinnamon, or some more classic KDE implementation like the PCLinuxOS one.

Mint KDE is Perfect match of Best of Breeds

Felt a little restricted in regular Linux Mint and felt a little too much like Win98 without options. Don't people realize whether it's Ubuntu, Mint, or whatever, when they get to big they try to fork their own version and manipulate you into dumbing it down and making it easier on regular Distro developers, which then (because it's not their primary focus) by default is not best of breed. Leave UI to the UI experts. Support Gnome or KDE or XFCE, whichever you prefer, but don't let them just dumb it down and rebrand it (Unity, Cinnamon, etc.)

Hopefully Mint isn't manipulating me...

Hopefully Mint does not just put out these different versions with XFCE and KDE to then say aaaaahaaaw, got you! No KDE for you! Mint is the only one with choice right now...isn't it amazing how freedom of choice always ends up winning? And locked down forced to always ends up losing ground? There is a balance in choice where Ubuntu would never be where it is with it's UI, but will cater to dumbed down just like Arch linux will cater to the DYI. The big Distro will strike the balance between the two. It's why Windows has actually been successful in the past and why they'll be regulated to 10% of the market like Apple without flexibility in choice. If I had a distro, while more work, would definitely be more of the Mint route with choice. Hopefully it's just not a tactic to have the rug pulled out...

KDE Is Just Great

I've always meant to move to a FOSS workflow as a professional digital artist but no tools/apps were doing it for me. Then I found Krita, which is a KDE app. I tried Ubuntu main Precise/Quantal and they both had weird, intermittent rendering problems with that painting app (invisible cursor/brush outline, etc.). I switched to KDE (Kubuntu Quantal) and everything just clicked. I'm still on a dual boot Win7 because our studio still needs a specific layer hierarchy/layer clipping/effects that will break when imported/exported in GIMP, but Kubuntu is my main OS for personal projects now.

Rubbish

Ubuntu is effectively committing suicide by trying to force a mobile interface on the desktop users' non-touch screens. Even the die-hard Ubuntu users now look for alternatives. Add the plague of advertisments to that and Ubuntu will soon be dead for good. The thing is, I *want* options, I want to configure my desktop as I see fit. And I do not want anyone patronizing me about how a desktop should be configured. I hate Android and IOS and never understood why people are so obsessed with user interfaces that do not give you any choices. I want more screens, I want to move the taskbar, create my own shortcuts, have actions linked to desktop edges, specify which application to autostart and which not, oh and I certainly do not want any app to jump to fullscreen. Hence no Unity, no Windows 8, no i-whatever. KDE was and is the only DE that gives me the tools to configure it as I like.
One word to the guy who said that desktops will die out sonn: That may be true for consumers in the literal sense, ie people who do not produce anything but just swallow pre-made stuff. If you are creating anything, there is currently and for the next ten years no way around a desktop with a mouse or input-tablet and a keyboard. Try to write a 100 page document on a virtual keyboard. Try to retouch images with your fingertips. Try to monitor ten remote computers in 10 console windows when each window is fullscreen. See what I mean?

KDE4 is the only UI worse than Metro so far

As title.
KDE 4 needs to die soon, each day it lives is a stab in the gut of Linux on desktop (or tablet, or anywere else).
Please kill it in any possible way, don't use it, don't recommend it, don't fund it, praise every distribution kicking it out of the door.
I stopped recommending, installing and supporting OpenSuse as it is the last one supporting KDE 4.
Btw, I used all KDE 3.x versions and loved it.

KDE4 took a wrong and turn and kept running

KDE4 started off bad, and despite thinking that it would improve, it continues to focus on ridiculous garbage. I loved KDE. I wish they'd stop ruining it.

In response to people who say it for power users, that's pretty laughable. Why? Power is capability. KDE4 is slow, buggy, and focuses on weird things like widgets. They removed numerous useful features so they could add eye candy. Why is it powerful? Because it's configurable? That's great, and GNOME isn't configurable, but configurable doesn't equal powerful. It's like putting a spoiler on your VW Bug - just for attention.

KDE4 Still sucks

Yes, KDE4 still sucks, and yes, I've tried the latest versions. I'll also mention that it seems more of the latest version of much software sucks.

I've went back to CentOS 5.8 running KDE 3.5 and it sure as hell works better than any of the so called latest and greatest distros.Seems eye candy is about the only developers care about these days.

I supposed I had to say something...

Having been a SuSE user for many years, I suppose a topic like this was bound to get attention from somebody like me. Yes, I use KDE, but I will have to agree with the many that have said that KDE is a victim of the bloated, over-engineered approach that they have adopted in KDE 4. I've tried it, and I feel that while it does attempt to hold onto some of the previous version's good bits, it doesn't do enough, has lost some of the adaptability of its predecessor and spends too much time and effort on functions that, if anything, are throwbacks to such GUIs as Windows 3 (yes, I'm talking about Plasma here).

It's the reason why I spend so much time and effort trying to get KDE3.5 to work on increasingly hostile openSUSE environments, working against such half-assed ideas as replacing the admittedly complex HAL with the absolutely atrocious udisks2 (they seemed so proud in one press release, even though IT DOESN'T WORK! HAL was complex and a bugger when it went wrong, but it did the job!) It's certainly something that a new or less involved user wouldn't do, hence the rise of GNOME, even GNOME-drek like GNOME 3, or XFCE, which doesn't quite cut it for me but isn't anything like as bad as KDE 4.

Too bad

KDE 4 and Gnome 3 are the worst pos software I've ever used. And that is a pity, as W8 suxx so bad that any decent GUI would have sold like hot cake.
But if Linux community prefers suicide themselves providing two pos like KDE 4 and Gmone 3 as mainstream desktop environment, I'll keep my Gnome 2 on Debian until it blow up, then I'll buy a Mac.

KDE 4 - mess of config tools

An example: I have installed KDE 4.8 (Kubuntu) several months before. I wanted to have the main panel vertical on a wide screen - it was not complicated to set. But I could not find how to set appropriate size of incons in the collection of indicators in this panel (for network, keyboard etc.). They were extremely big, blurry and ugly. No config menu for this collection available. I spent several hours going through settings of KDE then searching the inet and found nothing. The authors apparently have never tried to use it.

KDE4 has gotten pretty good

I never liked KDE4, always found it too clunky and too buggy. Recent releases though (4.10 and 4.11) seem to have matured greatly. nepomuk is no longer a useless bloated piece of crap, and for the most part things work pretty well, and performance is as good, if not better than gnome 3 or unity. And kwin is by far the best composting window manager available for linux when it comes to performance, features, and stability.

I'm still not the hugest fan of plasma, it still feels kind of "janky", but KDE is currently the most usable desktop for me, and extremely customizable.

KDE, Qt, Gtk, remotivation...

The problem with the whole scene (Linux) is that everyone is trying to stay "too far" ahead of the cutting edge of new tech and that is costing users in a big way. I was a new developer for Qt a few years ago coming from Windows/MFC and was ready to learn learn learn. The sad thing is, the KDE Api docs are almost all (esp. now) wrong or out of date, etc... they are trying to put the gun to QML and the new devs have no API documentation to work with. Lately have to use an older version of QtCreator just to keep things going right, I even keep my dist locked at 12.04 just because things getting upgraded breaks stuff left and right. And its not just Qt/KDE that this happens with but it seems like KDE has the worst of it. Qt seems to be working to merge with what canonical is doing and not with where KDE is going, this is evident in the newest versions of QtCreator on saucy... its this constant reshuffling of the deck that makes linux less desirable to develop on (unless you use only vim or text based development) And then after QML is standardized, another new thing will come and take its place TOO EARLY and documentation will get out of date again.. I hate Microsoft and everything but at least the documentation over there seems to be better (im talking KDE API here, not Qt!) and more up to date (and not missing!). It feels like canonical is trying to force everyone over to Unity whether they want to or not. And dont get me wrong I love KDE, but lately I feel like both sides are playing their parts to make it fall. Then you add bugs, and lack of hardware support (linux, not kde) and you have a very bad experience depending on what you use, not everyone owns a *#*$ nvidia card... ATI-AMD/Intel/Microsoft/Etc, OF COURSE ITS A CONSPIRICY.. of course... if people could get it here, they wouldnt spend their money on M$ & friends, god forbid having that... but I havent spent a penny on S/W since i switched out from windows... so KDE is definitely a better choice for me, even if it is circling the drain, it works for me, and works well (at my frozen versions). It took me too long to find the perfect version #s to freeze at, so dont ask me how to do it :)

kde is my desktop of choice for 15 years now

i am a kde user since 1999. but its true that kde seems to be less supported by mainstream distros.
you can forget about opensuse. they scared away most of their user base by offering miserable support and an insulting forum.
and i say that as a long term suse user.
but its also true that the latest kde version is better than anything i have seen so far on the opensource desktop.
i love how i can completely customize my desktop, download addons directly in the config dialogs, have direct support for the opengl effects.
kde is also my 1st recommendation for windows migrators because the look and feel is more familiar. so i can not really understand why its not supported more by the mainstreams.
but kubuntu and kdemint still work pretty nice out of the box so i think kde users have nothing to worry about.

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