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Attempting To Reframe "KDE Vs. GNOME"

kdawson posted about 5 years ago | from the evolution-revolution dept.

KDE 455

jammag writes "Setting aside the now tired debate about whether KDE or GNOME is the 'better' Linux desktop, Bruce Byfield compares their disparate development approaches and asks, not which desktop is subjectively better, but which developmental approach is likely to be most successful in the next few years. 'In the short term, GNOME's gradualism seems sensible. But, in the long-term, it could very well mean continuing to be dragged down by support for legacy sub-systems. It means being reduced to an imitator rather than innovator.' In contrast, 'you could say that KDE has done what's necessary and ripped the bandage off the scab. In the short term, the result has been a lot of screaming, but, in the long term, it has done what was necessary to thrive.'"

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455 comments

2nd Paragraph. (3, Insightful)

tpgp (48001) | about 5 years ago | (#27385619)

In the second paragraph, the blogger says:

The claim sounds like one of those overly dramatic statements that some journalists make in the hopes of creating controversy and increasing page hits.

s/journalists/bloggers/ and you've got this story.

Re:2nd Paragraph. (2, Informative)

the_womble (580291) | about 5 years ago | (#27385821)

It is not an either/or choice - you can use any desktop environment with any apps (which means you have components of other environments runnins).

I use XFCE, with Gnome several applets in the panels as well as XFCE ones. I use some Gnome apps (Gedit, Epiphany), some plain Gtk ones (Firefox, Deluge, various configuration GUIs, Thunar) and some KDE ones (Akregator, Amarok, Konqueror, Kwrite, Kmail).

I am thinking of switching from Kmail to Claws, and I am not altogether happy with any file manager and would like a clipboard panel applet for XFCE that is anything like as good as Klipper. Other than that it all works very well for me. YMMV.

Re:2nd Paragraph. (4, Insightful)

the_womble (580291) | about 5 years ago | (#27385833)

Yes, I know the article is on development methods, but it still suffers from this. There is no reason why both are not fitted to survive: both approaches have produced good software so far.

Incidentally, the fact that Windows is the most widely used OS, suggests that backward compatibility matters.

Re:2nd Paragraph. (5, Insightful)

someone1234 (830754) | about 5 years ago | (#27385943)

>Incidentally, the fact that Windows is the most widely used OS, suggests that backward compatibility matters.

No, lock-in, monopoly and inertia what matters.
If you have those, you can force anything on your customers.

Re:2nd Paragraph. (4, Insightful)

Haeleth (414428) | about 5 years ago | (#27386005)

And what exactly do you think "lock-in" is, if not a dependency on backwards-compatibility?

Re:2nd Paragraph. (5, Insightful)

noundi (1044080) | about 5 years ago | (#27386185)

What? That makes absolutely no sense. Lock-in means that you bundle two normally separated products to exclusively function with eachother. It can be the .doc format and MS Office Word, or Apple Itunes and the iPod, or even Half Life and Steam. The dependency can be a past, current or future product and whichever it is is irrelevant.

Re:2nd Paragraph. (1, Insightful)

GreenTech11 (1471589) | about 5 years ago | (#27386067)

SO that is why communism is so "sucessful", the sheer inertia. If enough people aren't happy then someone of something is going to pay. Microsoft is sucessful because it is the most pratical o.s for most people. Slashdot users who actually want to use thier computers to their full extent can use other os and stop whinging that the world doesn;t conform to their views. That's life guys, sometimes the world doesn't conform.

Re:2nd Paragraph. (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 5 years ago | (#27386159)

For most people it was the best OS for the most widespread platform, and now I'd say it's even more so ...

Lock in? Just if you need your old apps, but when I don't feel much locked in with AmigaOS even though I used that ..

Monopoly? There are plenty of OSes around, they may not work as good in general as Windows does, but that don't make monopoly the reason stick with Windows. The reason is it's the best for their purpose.

Inertia? Yes, if it's not broken why fix it? Also what would be the better alternative for most people? You seriously suggest most people would feel more happy with say Ubuntu than Windows? I think some of them have even tried, and thought not ...

Sure, DOS sucked, Windows pre 98 sucked, but so did MacOS, and what alternatives was there except OS/2 for most people?

Applications and what you can do with your computer matters much more than having a superior solution. Without applications it's useless.

Re:2nd Paragraph. (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 5 years ago | (#27386127)

Incidentally, the fact that Windows is the most widely used OS, suggests that backward compatibility matters.

Which could also be said for the lame attempts to save Amiga.

Workbench 3.0 came 1991 or 1992, Commodore filed for bankruptcy 1994.

And here we are and people still try to release systems with the same old or make a compatible environment instead of something fresh and modern but with the same "feel."

Though, there are so much good software on the Amiga which one would want to run.

I guess the same could be said about Haiku, but I have no idea how much may be new and fresh in it, and BeOS was more modern than AmigaOS to begin with.

Though, even superior yet compatible don't have to win, see OS/2.

In the end it won't matter - it is a server OS and (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27386021)

no one really cares.

Both will stay relevant (4, Insightful)

walshy007 (906710) | about 5 years ago | (#27385631)

Gnome and kde are designed for different types of people, in gnome everything is typically simple and straight forward, but lacks the ability to be configured the exact way you like and is less powerfl.

KDE on the other hand, gives a lot more flexibility and power over the way you have things, but the trade off is complexity.

Both will continue to be relevant to their different markets for the foreseeable future. Even if development halted right now.(not that it would)

Re:Both will stay relevant (1, Redundant)

X0563511 (793323) | about 5 years ago | (#27385651)

Insightful, but completely unrelated to the topic.

The story is about development methods used. The summary itself says so!

Re:Both will stay relevant (5, Funny)

Hurricane78 (562437) | about 5 years ago | (#27385679)

Hey, I heard Slashdot is a write-only forum. So I thought I write something completely unrelated to the article, summary, title and comments I'm replying to.

I even tried to not relate it to the site and reality on/in which I am, but it's kinda hard.

Am I doing well in blending in?

Re:Both will stay relevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27385737)

You missed the russian reference joke (as in: in soviet slashdot, post forum you) but it's kinda okey

Re:Both will stay relevant (4, Funny)

jeremyp (130771) | about 5 years ago | (#27385799)

Considering your completely off topic post is now at +3, it's hard to deny that your premise seems to be correct and you are in fact doing well.

Re:Both will stay relevant (0, Offtopic)

walshy007 (906710) | about 5 years ago | (#27386039)

my bad for pre-empting the inevitable topic that would arise later in the discussion of this article. essentially I knew it would devolve into 'x is better than y' (as has happened later on in this discussion already) and funnily enough all the later posts are informative or insightful while essentially saying the same thing.

Slashdot posters and viewpoints are easy to predict most of the time, the groupthink is strong here, but lesson learned do not post something to resolve an argument before someone has posted to start it, lol

Re:Both will stay relevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27386383)

I read the article and didn't find it focused on development models... or not what I mean by those words anyway.

Re:Both will stay relevant (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27386299)

His post isn't offtopic as he argues that you cant mesure its devel method success.

Whether or not one method is better is irrelevant. One may need more developers than the other, but this doesn't mean anything, as long as dev. Resources are cheap.

Re:Both will stay relevant (1)

foobat (954034) | about 5 years ago | (#27385693)

both projects feed off each other

everyone will continue to bitch and moan about which one is better

world will keep turning.

Re:Both will stay relevant (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | about 5 years ago | (#27385783)

both projects feed off each other

Care to elaborate?

Re:Both will stay relevant (4, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 5 years ago | (#27385835)

both projects feed off each other

Care to elaborate?

More likely they bounce off each other. A gnome developer who wants animated icons everywhere and per-component customisation of transparency can be told to piss off to KDE. Likewise a KDE developer who wants to enforce on one good way to do everything can be sent packing to gnome.

Re:Both will stay relevant (5, Insightful)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | about 5 years ago | (#27385727)

This isn't your typical Simple Gnome vs Flexible KDE debate.

For lack of a better analogy, this is like comparing Apple's transition to OSX with Windows' NT-2K-XP-Vista transitions.
Windows has been mostly successful at maintaining backwards compatibility, but it is starting to resemble a millstone hung from the neck. It's holding them back and getting in the way.
Meanwhile, Apple broke backwards compatibility and now are not encumbered by obsolete paradigms.

Re:Both will stay relevant (0, Offtopic)

aliquis (678370) | about 5 years ago | (#27386227)

On the other side if the latest Windows would be totally incompatible with your 2.5 year old machine people would complain a lot.

Macusers tend to accept that to some extent, or well, atleast in general, not the actual affected users.

(So your GPU suck and you don't have support for Core Image? You don't have an 833+ MHz G4 and can't install Leopard? You can't run EAs games thanks to lame GPU? No Snow Leopard on PPC machines (so what if your superexpensive mac pro can't run it?))

Re:Both will stay relevant (4, Interesting)

donaldm (919619) | about 5 years ago | (#27385759)

I think you have summed this up quite nicely.

From my personal experience I have always preferred KDE over Gnome but with my own laptop I have always allowed a choice for my wife and kids. For many years KDE was preferred although my youngest son liked Gnome.

When I installed Fedora 10 it came with KDE 4.0 and that was a shock. For my wife the change was too radical and I quickly switched her to Gnome. I knew KDE would improve over time however what forced me to change to Gnome was the fact that switching users was impossible at the time. For a while Gnome worked quite well but I wasn't that happy with it since it always felt "old school" but usuable, however KDE at the time was painful to use.

When KDE 4.2 came out to it was much more stable and had the features I was happy with so I quickly switched back and have been happy with it since. To me the new KDE 4,2 while different to KDE 3.5 is IMHO much more interesting and fun to work with than Gnome, however my wife is yet to make the switch back since she is much more conservative. My youngest son is still quite happy with Gnome.

From the article the following quote is very relevent.

You can see the differences in the current states of the two desktops from the reviews. Reviews about KDE are not always positive, but they are about large issues and shifts in the desktop paradigm. Reading them, you cannot help but come away with the impression that KDE developers are headed in a definite direction, even if you disagree with some or all of the details.

At least we have the choice.

Re:Both will stay relevant (1)

SenseiLeNoir (699164) | about 5 years ago | (#27386097)

You could try what my wife does. She does like "new and shiney" but does not nessasarily trust it on day to day work, so she has two user accounts, one for "normal" and the other "Experimental". And she trials out the new stuff, then asks me to help switch the "normal" one if she likes the new stuff.

She found she preferred KDE even though the change was quite drastic.

Re:Both will stay relevant (3, Insightful)

Azaril (1046456) | about 5 years ago | (#27385951)

I realise that this is /., and you're discouraged from RTFA, but I think failing to read the first line of the summary is impressive even for here:

"Setting aside the now tired debate about whether KDE or GNOME is the 'better' Linux desktop, Bruce Byfield compares their disparate development approaches and asks, not which desktop is subjectively better, but which developmental approach is likely to be most successful in the next few years."

The point of the article is to discuss whether the design approach of gnome (gradually building and polishing its legacy code) or KDE (a complete rewrite) is more effective in the longterm.

Re:Both will stay relevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27385969)

Not configurable in the GUI by n00bs you mean.

It can usually be configured - sometimes just not in the "Windows way".

Re:Both will stay relevant (2, Informative)

Haeleth (414428) | about 5 years ago | (#27386031)

No; there is much in Gnome that simply cannot be configured, even by experts. Unless you count ripping out complete subsystems and replacing them with non-Gnome components as "configuration", I guess.

And there is a lot more that technically can be configured, but only by editing undocumented gconf settings -- and since they're undocumented, they are subject to change at any time. So you might upgrade to a point release and suddenly your configuration is broken.

Sorry, but while Gnome has many virtues, configurability is not one of them. Those desiring a configurable desktop should look to Kde, or (if they want a Gtk+-based desktop) to Xfce. Or they can roll their own desktop environment by taking a standalone window manager and choosing the utilities they like best.

Gnome alienating users (5, Funny)

HvitRavn (813950) | about 5 years ago | (#27385653)

Instead of planning for a 3.0 release, GNOME is opting for a gradual, piece by piece updating that will culminate in a 2.30 release. The change in version numbers is significant: It indicates that, unlike with the KDE 4 series, there will be no major break with past releases. This philosophy was obvious long before it became official last summer, and has the obvious advantage of not alienating users.

In my opinion, despite Gnome's incremental approach, they are still highly successive in alienating their users.

Re:Gnome alienating users (5, Insightful)

BrokenHalo (565198) | about 5 years ago | (#27385815)

In my opinion, despite Gnome's incremental approach, they are still highly successive in alienating their users.

That, sadly, is true. I've been a big fan of Gnome since ~version 1.0, but have lost count of instances where the developers have arbitrarily decided that the way I like to get something done is no longer cool or trendy, so they break it.

Having said that, I do try occasionally to give KDE a fair go. But I have never managed to last more than a couple of weeks. I just find the interface unnecessarily cluttered, and it makes me cranky. Or crankier than normal, anyway.

At least neither of them are bad enough to drive me into the arms of Microsoft...

Re:Gnome alienating users (1)

coaxial (28297) | about 5 years ago | (#27385825)

GNOME has been stupid from a UX approach from day 1. In the beginning it used to be a billion options each with "clever" names. And when Sun did their user study they found out (GASP!) those options were confusing. So they removed them all in a quest to taylor it for the mythical user that has never used a computer in his/her entire life.

For years GNOME was taking the worst ideas of windows and implementing them in an amateur way. Now they're adding the worst ideas from MacOSX as well. (GTk FileChooser I'm looking at you!)

I have no faith that anyone in the user interface group has any idea what they're doing.

Re:Gnome alienating users (1)

zbharucha (1331473) | about 5 years ago | (#27385893)

I used Gnome for 3 years or so after which all the constant changing got the better of me. I switched to KDE but found it to be close to unuseable (OK - I started using KDE just when that horrible 4.0 version came out). Then I found what I was looking for - XFCE. It has everything I need, does not hog resources with all the unnecessary bells and whistles and just works. I don't think I'll switch to anything else in the near future unless I decide to go xmonad.

Re:Gnome alienating users (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27386151)

I still use KDE 3.5 or whatever. I also often use iceWM and it what I am using now. Its even lighter than XFCE.

Meanwhile, MS Has Recovered From Vista... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27386043)

A decade or so after desktop Linux has been around Microsoft's massive OS monopoly was in its most precarious position it has ever been with:

* Their main OS overpriced and not viable on the exploding Netbook market

* The Vista PR fiasco

* And the worst economic conditions in half a century leading companies and consumers to be more interested than ever in lowering their computing budgets

And the open source crowd is still sitting around jerking each other off about how 'wonderful' 'choice' is with the completely inane Gnome vs KDE bullshit still going on.

High five open source dipshits, the execs at Microsoft must be shaking their heads in disbelief at what a bunch of incompetent retards they are up against. They now have:

* Massive praise for Win7 from both users and the computing media

* Gotten Win7 to run well on Netbooks

* Kicked Linux off into a irrelevant niche of the Netbook market with Win XP

Keep posting those hilarious Gnome vs KDE flames and +5 Insightful manifestos about 'teh power of choice' and all the other crap you losers do instead of getting your shit together.

Re:Meanwhile, MS Has Recovered From Vista... (1)

bug1 (96678) | about 5 years ago | (#27386201)

All thats happened is Microsoft have improved their propaganda, woops i mean to say PR.

Its not software (GNOME vs KDE) thats holding back the adoption of Free software, its educating the brainwashed masses.

Re:Meanwhile, MS Has Recovered From Vista... (1)

Narishma (822073) | about 5 years ago | (#27386347)

And who says Linux's (and Gnome and KDE) goal is to beat Microsoft?

Re:Meanwhile, MS Has Recovered From Vista... (3, Insightful)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 5 years ago | (#27386405)

the troll has 1 relevant thing to say here:

instead of getting your shit together.

Now, I don't care so much about gnome v kde, but I do wish there was more consistency for all Linux GUIs. If everyone had a common standard to work to (eg the Windows Style Guidelines [amazon.com] ) then the Linux desktop would become a better place to work. MS did wonders for themselves with this, and until recently kept with it - unfortunately, now they've replaced the menu bar with a round button thing, no-one can find the print option anymore - which only goes to show how important and powerful the guidelines were.

Linux has the opportunity to be great (we all know that, even the MS trolls), but isn't necessarily following up on its potential. Gnome v KDE is probably the biggest factor stopping this from happening.

Incremental approach (1)

Yenya (12004) | about 5 years ago | (#27386069)

I think it is not because of an incremental approach of GNOME, but rather because of their decremental approach.

Things like replacing GDM with a rewrite that still does not match the original GDM feature-wise (it even could not do XDMCP for a long time and it cannot do auto-login for single-user systems even now), replacing Sawfish with Metacity, replacing Galeon with Epiphany, which - even with epiphany-extensions package - still cannot match Galeon (despite the fact the development of Galeon has been dormant for several years now), etc.

I guess the next decremental step would be kicking out Ekiga in favour of Empathy.

Re:Incremental approach (1)

rrossman2 (844318) | about 5 years ago | (#27386429)

"and it cannot do auto-login for single-user systems even now)" You may want to re-checked... I've been running GNOME on my laptop for the last.. well long enough, but Ubuntu 7.10 (IIRC) and Ubuntu 8.04+ (I know for sure) allow for single user auto-login. That's how my laptop is setup.

Re:Gnome alienating users (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27386173)

Just today I was using that Nautilus thing to browse files over a SSH connection. That's nice functionality, and I know KDE has it.

Does KDE have the feature that means that switching from Icon view to List view requires the entire directory listing to be re-fetched from the remote site. In this case a few thousand files ...

Well, I think (4, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | about 5 years ago | (#27385659)

"Ripping the bandage off of the scab" is a pretty accurate description of KDE 4.

Re:Well, I think (1)

Swizec (978239) | about 5 years ago | (#27385781)

I rather enjoyed that move. Never cared much for backwards compatibility when it comes to a DE as long as everything I need works and guess what, it does. So despite not having lost anything I, the user, have gained a lot of OOO SHINY SPARKLY AWESOME effect. And I like that. As a user that's exactly what I want my desktop to do.

Just, you know, don't ever use KDE's built-in effects library or whatever, Compiz all the way. KDE is great for them desktop widgets, which are far far better than having icons all over the place intermittently sprinkled with the dinosaur that is karamba.

being reduced to an imitator rather than innovator (-1, Flamebait)

QuantumG (50515) | about 5 years ago | (#27385665)

Yes, because we all know you have to throw out the baby with the bathwater every 5 years to "innovate". Uh huh.

Kinda seems like KDE is the imitator.. kinda seems like KDE has always been the imitator.

Re:being reduced to an imitator rather than innova (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | about 5 years ago | (#27385771)

Yes, because we all know you have to throw out the baby with the bathwater every 5 years to "innovate". Uh huh.

Not every five years, just whenever it becomes easier to redesign and rebuild rather than tack on.

Re:being reduced to an imitator rather than innova (4, Insightful)

Chainsaw (2302) | about 5 years ago | (#27385809)

Strange. I seem to recall the GNOME project being started because of KDE using the Qt toolkit, and then trying to catch up with KIOSlaves, DCOP, KParts and other superior technologies in the KDE camp.

Re:being reduced to an imitator rather than innova (2, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | about 5 years ago | (#27385909)

Yes, because we all know you have to throw out the baby with the bathwater every 5 years to "innovate". Uh huh.

Say what you want, but five years ago it wasn't reasonable to design the modern composite desktop. Five years is still a long time in computing and it shows. Think of it a little bit like construction work - you can remodel an existing building but if you really have to change the fundamentals you build new. That means you get all the fun of working out the kinks in the plumbing and wiring and whatnot all over again, and for a while that sucks. Then you realize it's actually quite great to live in a modern building.

Kinda seems like KDE is the imitator.. kinda seems like KDE has always been the imitator.

KDE is by default imitating a lot more, then has the configurability to decide where you want to be innovative. Desktops are very much "works for me" kind of stuff, when you like the "new way" that's great but Gnome has pulled a few on me where I just go "why couldn't you just leave this the #""#& alone and don't mess with it?!" and the way to revert it is usually in some obscure gconf option or no longer available because it's not "supposed to" function like that.

I've worked with Qt4 quite a bit and it's become a very complete and consistant toolkit. The changes were large, painful and it took quite a while to get everything working as well as in Qt3. I think the same will be true of KDE 4, once the dust settles it'll have the potential to rise much higher than KDE 3.5.10 and Gnome. As well it should, it's OS X setting the standard these days...

gnome better than kde (1)

phatsphere (642799) | about 5 years ago | (#27385763)

spoiler, i'm a gnome fan, but not only because it is simple and i don't have to think about how to use it (after about 10 years of linux experience i want to focus on other things than silly desktop effects). I recently got kde 4.1 here at my office and the first thing which was really annoying is, that the "Dolphin" file manager eats about 200mb of ram almost instantly. That's simply not acceptable and is only the tip of the iceberg. At gnome, things are reduced to fit their purposes, repsond faster, eat less resources. Therefore i think, kde has a really long way to go and I don't think that gnome's gradual way has any problems for the next years... Netbooks and web-applications will demand new features and gnome is well prepared.

Re:gnome better than kde (2, Insightful)

Lord Lode (1290856) | about 5 years ago | (#27385861)

Reason I don't like Gnome, is because GTK simply isn't good. I mean, it can't even show a window inside a window to get MDI or floating toolbars. There are almost no complex programs with a good GUI in Linux (programs like photoshop, paint shop pro, 3ds max, ms office 2007, ...), because GTK doesn't support doing floating and dockable toolbars or multiple open files in a good way. Blender is one of the few programs with a complex well done interface in Linux, but they did the entire GUI in OpenGL I think, not using a library like GTK.

I don't know why, but this is related to the philosophy of Gnome and GTK and since I don't like that philosophy, I don't like Gnome either.

Re:gnome better than kde (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27385941)

Clearly some people decided that users are too stupid for MDI, don't be surprised if a future version of GNOME replaces those confusing moveable resizeable windows on your desktop with TABS.

And it looks like Qt agrees, as half the functions in the QMdiArea class are for using it in "tabs mode".

Re:gnome better than kde (1)

claytonjr (1142215) | about 5 years ago | (#27385979)

Blender is one of the few programs with a complex well done interface in Linux...

I think that is debatable.

Re:gnome better than kde (4, Interesting)

_merlin (160982) | about 5 years ago | (#27386343)

Have you considered that it could be a conscious decision, because MDIs and dockable toolbars are ugly and annoying? OSX doesn't use either of those UI paradigms, and developers don't cry out for them. As a user, I find OSX's floating, contextual inspector palettes to be much nicer than the mess of toolbars and dockable crap in visual studio. I'm getting a Linux box this week, and if Gnome doesn't have MDIs, I think that's one more thing to push me in that direction. (I think I'm going to choose Fedora as my distro.)

Re:gnome better than kde (2, Interesting)

Lord Lode (1290856) | about 5 years ago | (#27386413)

Yes, indeed I have considered that it is that decision. That is exactly the philosophy I don't like that I mentioned. That is the problem: the lacking features of GTK aren't due to lack of developers and time, but due to these decisions.

I'm not convinced of the advantage of these decisions. Also you say OSX doesn't use it, but OSX is conceptually a totally different type of dektop. In Linux, how something like Gimp looks, sucks.

Also, whether or not MDI is useful might differ from person to person, but I'm sure a lot of people, including me, like it, and there's no reason to leave it out from a proper GUI and desktop.

Neither, thanks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27385765)

I'd rather use neither, thanks, because they both suck sucktasticfully.

Hail KDE 3.5 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27385769)

I don't know what this KDE 4.2 is supposed to represent, but KDE 3.5 is the future baby!

Re:Hail KDE 3.5 (1)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | about 5 years ago | (#27385879)

I know that has been modded as funny (at time of writing), but the AC has a point. I used KDE 4.2 for about 4 hours before I gave up on it and went back to KDE 3.5. There weren't any major bugs, but there were simply loads of tiny bugs which all accumulated into massive annoyances:

* The desktop icons wouldn't remember their positions
* Konqueror wouldn't remember its settings
* Loads of minor graphical glitches (but this more the fault of the nVidia driver)

The biggest issue I came across was after I installed it, the Show Desktop widget corrupted after the first reboot. It did this on another machine too.

In fact, my laptop was so disappointed that the motherboard died...

Kubuntu Januty comes out in a few weeks but I'm going to stick to Hardy. Maybe I'll revisit KDE when 4.3 comes out.

Both have evolved too in leaps and bounds (5, Informative)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | about 5 years ago | (#27385819)

From the article you get the impression that KDE use radical changes whereas Gnome strive in little steps...

How in accurate. Both evolve in little steps and both occasionally make radical changes.

Gnome had a major remake for 2.0 which reduced the older clotted layout.

KDE had a major remake for 4.0 which vectorized most of the gui.

Otherwise, changes are small. For both.

.

Re:Both have evolved too in leaps and bounds (1)

v(*_*)vvvv (233078) | about 5 years ago | (#27385925)

I tend to agree. Feels like the author is just writing to meet his quota. Whether KDE or GNOME comes out ahead in the coming years, I doubt it would have anything to do with what is said in this article.

Re:Both have evolved too in leaps and bounds (3, Informative)

sarathmenon (751376) | about 5 years ago | (#27386015)

KDE has already done it with KDE 2.0 (which IIRC was before GNOME 2.0) which was a complete overhaul from what KDE 1.x was. Doing this in the 20th century was easy, but with the current user base and dependencies, it takes a lot of guts to shelf away backwards compatibility. I was first frustrated with what they did, but the more I look at it, this seems the better choice for them in the long run.

Gnome = windows, while KDE = OSX? (1)

Part`A (170102) | about 5 years ago | (#27385841)

So Gnome is like windows in that it tries to keep old bit of code comptatible no matter how painful it is, while KDE is happy to break things to get them right?

Re:Gnome = windows, while KDE = OSX? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27385953)

Why do you need to compare with Windows/OSX? Why can't KDE/GNOME have their own taste?

The question is wrong (1)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | about 5 years ago | (#27385863)

It'd be: which team leaves the less behind? The KDE team seems very interested in new things and leaves a lot of old feature behind. The GNOME is more conservative but slower in advances. Try XFCE in the doubltd.

Re:The question is wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27385993)

Try this point of view: if you spent 2/3 years *remaking* most of the desktop shell would you just reimplement every single feature that previously took you ~5 years to reach or do you do the basics first and some neat stuff to show how flexible the new code is in order to attract new blood that might help you out to reach those old features in less time... and while adding new and exciting stuff?

I want to use programs from both.... (1)

Clarious (1177725) | about 5 years ago | (#27385869)

... without having to install a bunch of dependencies, what about modularity? Both of them have their own advantages, and it is wiser to choose the best from them, not to choose one seperately. So I think they should better focusing on interoperability, that is the best for the user.

For now, if I want to use Kopete on my xfce desktop, I will have to spend 200+ MiBs of HDD, something that I don't want to do at all just for an IM programs.

Re:I want to use programs from both.... (2, Informative)

CarpetShark (865376) | about 5 years ago | (#27385915)

You can do this just fine on Debian/Ubuntu. Choose a decent distro if you want decent installation options.

Re:I want to use programs from both.... (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 5 years ago | (#27385961)

For now, if I want to use Kopete on my xfce desktop, I will have to spend 200+ MiBs of HDD, something that I don't want to do at all just for an IM programs.

The 1990s called and want their arguments back. Even the smallest Vertex SSD is 30GB. Detailed dependencies are hell, for example I'm pretty sure a great share of those 200MiB is icons. This applications uses new/open/edit/delete, that applications uses new user/edit user/remove user/search and so on. And for most people it won't make any differnce at all because they got plenty KDE apps using most any icon. It's a lot of work, and for what? Not much at all.

And a large chunk will be help (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27386049)

But if it were left out, then there'd be the complaint that Linux doesn't have any good documentation.

Fooked whichever way it goes.

PS I preferred GNOME until GNOME2.0. Then I found that the speed difference wasn't there any more and so I went KDE because it was fewer clicks to get what I wanted up and running.

XFCE 4 and GNUStep (0, Offtopic)

Colin Smith (2679) | about 5 years ago | (#27385883)

XFCE if you just need GTK libraries and a relatively fast and lightweight desktop.

GNUStep if you want to port back and forth between Mac/linux/*bsd.

Frankly, GNUStep would seem like the most sane option for most commercial vendors who want to support both Mac and Linux.

 

KDE 4.2 (5, Insightful)

ardor (673957) | about 5 years ago | (#27385891)

Since 4.2, KDE4 has become quite usable. I already prefer it over KDE 3.5.

The real edge of KDE over Gnome has always been the tech, though. kioslaves vs. gnomevfs is one example, KParts another. Add Qt 4.5 to this, and it becomes obvious that KDE is vastly superior under the hood. But, this is not what users are interested in. I do think that KDE4 learned a lesson or two from Gnome about this. I just hope they don't start removing all options because they think the "user may be confused" (just like with the infamous printing dialog Linus Torvalds was so frustrated about).

Re:KDE 4.2 (4, Interesting)

Aladrin (926209) | about 5 years ago | (#27386197)

I have to say, 4.1 wasn't -that- bad. 4.0 was horrid, though.

4.2 is indeed more stable and prettier, though. And finally firefox looks right again... A lot of the radio buttons and checkboxes wouldn't show up right on 4.1.

At 4.0, I seriously considered a switch to Gnome. I even installed it to try it for a while. But 4.2 has totally relieved that feeling.

Re:KDE 4.2 (1)

destroyer661 (847607) | about 5 years ago | (#27386379)

I was terribly bothered (and still am) by the amount of people who were all about to jump ship from KDE to Gnome when 4.0 was released, and even pre-4.0. If anyone would have stopped and listened to the developers, or read any of the mailing list stuff, hung out in their IRC, they would have discovered the disclaimer that came with 4.0. The dev's themselves said 'yeah, it's going to be buggy, it's going to probably suck for a little while because we're revamping everything. It's a new approach for us, and for the entire desktop environment.'

They were also waiting on some things from QT4 developers as well. This can't entirely be 'blamed' on the KDE team IMO. They went off the deep end(in a great way) on KDE4, and what I saw in the beta/alpha/concept versions made me want them to keep going. Yet I saw so many ignorant people just slander KDE and jump ship. Now they'll come crying back and say zomg look >4.2 is amazing! It's the classic scenario of an individual or group being innovative, yet only a few catch on to what's happening and are supportive all the way through. The rest who've abandoned or ridiculed the aforementioned innovators will then come crawling back in love and adoration. Patience and understanding will sometimes lead to great things.

What? (3, Funny)

DraconPern (521756) | about 5 years ago | (#27385921)

ripped the bandage off the scab

Eh.. that is usually a bad thing to do.

masochism or sadism? (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about 5 years ago | (#27386029)

ripped the bandage off the scab

Eh.. that is usually a bad thing to do.

Unless you're a masochist, and promptly pour some Tobasco on the open sore.
Or you could be the victim of a sadist - KDE 4.0 actually made me scream.

Losing interest (5, Interesting)

a09bdb811a (1453409) | about 5 years ago | (#27385923)

I just tried out the Ubuntu and Kubuntu 9.04 betas earlier today, and I think my interest in both GNOME and KDE is just about worn out.

Both are really quite bloated. I've been on Debian and KDE 3 for years, but I think I'll be switching to a stand-alone window manager like fluxbox, or maybe Xfce, the next time I have to upgrade.

GNOME on Ubuntu felt as sluggish and amateurish as ever. No amount of new themes and rehashed icons can improve GNOME. As a KDE user I was looking forward to KDE 4.2 but christ, it's so damn cluttered. I think they've actually added more clutter since 3.5, not taken it away. Every damn UI element flickers and flashes with a mouseover effect as you move around; some kind of indexing service is hitting the disk in the background; there's a plethora of desktop views or applets or whatever they're called, none of which I'm interested in; there's a new K menu that looks like it was a reject from Windows XP, and which takes several clicks to hunt around for what you're looking for; the default widget theme has super thick borders, even the pull down menus have thick borders around the menu items. The whole thing is just over-cooked. I couldn't make sense of it, frankly.

Sure, I could turn off or tweak most of that junk. But I think what I saw today is what happens when you try to copy Windows and Mac too closely. You end up copying the bad as well as the good. You inherit the same limitations and the same performance standards. It's a poor form of competition, and I despair at how much programmer effort must have gone into creating all this bloated mimicry.

Having said that, I only just scratched the surface. I know how good Qt 4 is, and I'm sure developing apps with the KDE4 framework is much nicer than KDE3. It's just that the result on the desktop (both of them) is a bit of a let down.

Re:Losing interest (-1, Redundant)

bogaboga (793279) | about 5 years ago | (#27385957)

I just tried out the Ubuntu and Kubuntu 9.04 betas earlier today, and I think my interest in both GNOME and KDE is just about worn out.

For KDE, why won't you then customize it to your heart's desire? At least it gives you the option. I do not know much about GNOME. Heck, KDE can even be made to have only those features that XFCE or GNOME have.

We all know it is impossible to please everyone. OK, tell us what a desktop should be and we'll do it. The trouble is everyone complains but does not put up a solution.

We're waiting for your input.

Re:Losing interest (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27386229)

For KDE, why won't you then customize it to your heart's desire?

He mentioned that he probably could. But why bother? It's easier to start with something that's close to what you want and tweak it a little, rather than starting with something that's a million miles from what you want and tweaking it a lot.

Heck, KDE can even be made to have only those features that XFCE or GNOME have.

Really? How do I set up KDE so that minimised programs become desktop icons, like in Xfce (and also Fvwm, CDE, etc)? So far as I can tell, for all its much-vaunted flexibility, KDE simply does not have this feature. It follows that KDE cannot actually be set up to behave like Xfce.

Decent defaults are the key (2, Interesting)

TheLink (130905) | about 5 years ago | (#27386341)

"For KDE, why won't you then customize it to your heart's desire?"

That is not the point. Read his post - he said "I could turn off or tweak most of that junk".

If the OSS GUI people keep picking crappy defaults and require 90% of the people to customize/tweak stuff to achieve "decent usability", then that means their desktops are unsuitable for public use - it means they FAIL! Sure one may feel Windows requires lots of tweaking etc to be decent, but it has the market advantage of being "defacto/preinstalled".

A good GUI designer picks good defaults, so that 90% of the people will find it tolerable or even usable and won't need to customize it.

Think of GUI design as "user choice + huffman coding". The most popular options should be only one or two clicks/choices away, the advanced options should still be possible, just more steps.

GNOME fails the latter - they seem to have the development philosophy of totally removing/hiding features just because they might confuse the user.

KDE fails for having poor defaults. Look at their latest default menu, how many people want to keep clicking backwards and forwards to navigate their stupid new menu to look for the application to launch? BTW I tried Kubuntu recently and KDE was crashing way too often - so that's another fail.

1) The typical desktop user would not know how to customize his/her desktops OR want to know, so the desktop environment FAILS if it requires customization to achieve a good level of usability.

2) Even if there are "resident geeks" around to customize stuff for the desktop users, this results in zillions of different customizations because every geek will have their own favourite customization. This creates a big problem when users try to call 3rd party "Customer Support/Helpdesk" - the helpdesk agents and people writing the helpdesk scripts won't even know where the caller's taskbar will be.

At least with windows, the typical user's "start button" will be in the lower left hand (windows users who have moved it elsewhere don't normally call support to look for basic help- they call support to try to get to some higher level tech ;) ).

How would the designer pick the defaults? They could test various designs with a large sample of users.

Just asking people what they want doesn't work that well, because often the users themselves don't know what they want or don't say it. After all, millions of people wanted chunky spaghetti sauce, but never said it in surveys till Howard Moscovitz did some taste tests with dozens (100?) variations of spaghetti sauce and found that a lot of people liked chunky sauces (at that time there were ZERO chunky sauces on the supermarket shelves!).

So a good designer will narrow down the variations (getting rid of the totally crappy ones - you don't bother testing varieties of spaghetti sauce that are totally awful) to a manageable number of varieties for testing.

Re:Decent defaults are the key (1)

bogaboga (793279) | about 5 years ago | (#27386419)

OK...I got your point(s). Now I believe you will agree with me, that defining what a "decent default" is may take lots of effort around here. There are too many skill sets and tastes when it comes to Linux and its desktop environments.

It possible to create theme and menu packages that reflect various "decent defaults" to users. This is especially so in KDE. The users can run a script that would ask questions and later create a package that satisfies them. Think of it as similar to what takes place when one has to compile a kernel.

Question is: Where do we start? Or will this idea be dead on arrival?

Re:Losing interest (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27386411)

I had no idea that the MacOS I use was 'blingy'. Those radical grays and blues. I'm going to have to re-evaluate my taste in desktops.

The cluttered desktop with my System drive icon

The distracting icon Dock, sitting there, staring at me. The Horror!

I think I'll switch to Kubuntu and KDE 4. My Mac HAS been performing horribly ;)

SLASHDOT SUCKS!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27385931)

Instead of all these FlameWars you should ask THiS: why is the KDE-logo above the GNOME-logo?? What does kdawson wanna tell us?

Well... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27385975)

The K still stands for Krap.

Re:Well... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27386237)

That's karp, you insensitive klod!

legacy sub-systems (1)

YEPHENAS (1518907) | about 5 years ago | (#27385999)

But, in the long-term, it could very well mean continuing to be dragged down by support for legacy sub-systems.

GNOME replaces legacy sub-systems, too. For example Bonobo with D-Bus, GnomeVFS with GIO, libglade with GtkBuilder, etc. The GIO port is almost done: http://live.gnome.org/GioPort [gnome.org] I don't see why supporting a subsystem until it is fully replaced by another drags down development.

Unmentioned benefit of KDE 4 - Xorg+drivers (5, Interesting)

sskang (567081) | about 5 years ago | (#27386011)

One of the major effects KDE 4 has had on the free desktop has been to light a fire under the metaphorical asses of Xorg and driver development. There has been tons of work going on in Xorg since the split, but until KDE 4 came along and proved that stuff like Composite could have a real effect on user experience (Compiz came first, yes, but that was more or less just bling until apps started using composite), there was not as much pressure and expectation from free desktop users.

Turn on desktop effects on any system using KDE 4 and if you have Xorg with good drivers, the difference in experience is startling.

The rate at which Xorg and some of the drivers are getting better is exciting, as is Qt and KDE itself, and this is in part due to the expectations that KDE 4 has set in the minds of free desktop users. Kudos to the Xorg and FOSS driver devs for stepping up. The next couple of years are going to be fun.

Re:Unmentioned benefit of KDE 4 - Xorg+drivers (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27386233)

Turn on desktop effects on any system using KDE 4 and if you have Xorg with good drivers, the difference in experience is startling.

Yeah, I especially was startled by the part where my textures randomly get corrupted. Really innovative.

Re:Unmentioned benefit of KDE 4 - Xorg+drivers (1)

Narishma (822073) | about 5 years ago | (#27386409)

You must have missed the "good drivers" part from that sentence you quoted.

Re:Unmentioned benefit of KDE 4 - Xorg+drivers (1)

MostAwesomeDude (980382) | about 5 years ago | (#27386283)

Indeed. I really liked the part where the KDE devs seem to exclusively use nVidia cards with closed-source drivers. :3

Written by a KDE user. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27386047)

The article seems to be written by a KDE user, since it mostly ignores important changes in gnome, for example the change from gnomevfs to gvfs: although it's not directly visible to the user, but mostly relevant to programmers, the user *will* notice, as its much more feature complete and stable. Transparent access to files is a very important feature for a modern desktop, since users work with files from various locations these days (local harddrive, lan network, internet services, etc).
The author says gnome is a "random collection of applications", but ignores the fact that these applications are carefully chosen to fill specific gaps in functionality that people expect in a modern desktop. There are no 2 applications in gnome that do the same thing. Yes, most new apps in gnome have existed for a while before they become an official part of the gnome desktop, but imho it's better to re-use exising technology than to try to reinvent the wheel every time, like KDE has done for 4.0.
The author mentions a few new things in KDE 4, but most of them have been present in gnome for a while. Gnome has a new sound system too (pulseaudio replaced esound), gtk2 is still good enough that it doesnt need replacing (and gets improved with every new release), and svg graphics have been supported in gnome for ages.
He even calls D-bus "inspired by DCOP" but ignores the fact that D-bus is not part of gnome, but gnome has instead switched to a universal standard that is not desktop-specific, and was already used by non-gnome applications on the system, including low-level components such as udev and hal. I'd wish KDE would do the same, no one needs a 2nd seperate message bus system on his machine.
Same story for PolicyKit, PackageKit and all the other Kits they come up with these days. They are not part of gnome, gnome simply reuses what is already present on the system, where KDE often tries to do its own thing. I like gnome's approach better, it causes less overhead.

Some people call KDE "more powerful", but even though the gnome UI prefers simplicity over functionality, gnome has a lot of features under the hood that you can configure in gconf-editor. These are mostly for power-users, or for developers to create a utility around. I actually like not having my desktop cluttered with configuration options you only use once in the machine's lifetime (after a fresh installation usually).
But this is all personal preference. I can see good points about KDE too, and even though i don't see myself using anything other than gnome soon, i don't want KDE to go away, cause choice is good, and not everyone has to agree with me.

Last, i wanted to mention that, altho the author says "people are apt to overlook that they are not saying anything objective", he then goes off and does the same thing. For him, a development model may seem like "something objective", but it is not. A development model is based on personal preference, just like GUI design choices are.
If the author reads this, I'd like to ask him not to bring up this old gnome vs kde discussion again, since it is indeed pointless and always bogs down to the same level as people arguing whether a blue or a red car is better.

Re:Written by a KDE user. (1)

Computershack (1143409) | about 5 years ago | (#27386111)

The article seems to be written by a KDE user, since it mostly ignores important changes in gnome, for example the change from gnomevfs to gvfs: although it's not directly visible to the user, but mostly relevant to programmers,

New users don't give a shit What they do see though is that this supposed cutting edge OS looks virtually exactly the same as it did FOUR YEARS AGO

Absolutely spot on. (1)

Computershack (1143409) | about 5 years ago | (#27386101)

It's spot on about Gnome. If you take screenshots of Ubuntu from 5.10 and compare them to 8.10, apart from the wallpaper and some very minor changes, it looks virtually identical. Other Gnome based distros are pretty much the same. It's one thing that for me personally, gives the impression that Linux distros really haven't come on much since Gnome 2 came out.

KDE OTOH has changed massively but 4.x is basically broken and to be considered Alpha/Beta1 at best and IMO, can't really be counted.

Yeah sure, a massive amount has gone on under the hood with Linux but the bit that the user sees has barely changed whereas in Windows, there was a massive noticable change from Win2k to XP to Vista to Win7 so people "feel" they're getting a new OS.

better equals faster (4, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | about 5 years ago | (#27386161)

These desktops are so bloated with useless features that the choice is for the least-bad, not the best.

To give an example, Gnome's file browser takes 5 seconds on my home PC (Athlon, 2GHz, 3GB) to list a 161 entry directory. A virtualised W2K instance on the same box takes less than 1 second to list the same directory - even though it's running in a VM and has to go through SAMBA on the host to access the directory. When doing this, I took precautions to ensure no entries were cached on either instance.

Whether that's due to a mis-configuration on my part (tho' the Ubuntu installation is simply "out of the box", no tweaks) or because the browser is badly written and poorly designed, I don't know.

What I do know is that this effect is not limited to the file broswer and is a severe demotivator for using Linux - or recommending it to others.

Lose the bloat, remove 50% of the features, optimise the code, THEN talk about which desktop is best.

Re:better equals faster (2, Informative)

Aladrin (926209) | about 5 years ago | (#27386259)

Is Gnome providing more stastics, previews, etc? That would make a huge difference in the time it takes to show a directory.

Also, have you tried KDE instead, to see how it stacks up?

Re:better equals faster (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | about 5 years ago | (#27386367)

Is Gnome providing more stastics, previews, etc?

previews and thumbnails are turned off - I was wrong when I said "out of the box" installation, as I turned these features off right after installation as it was far too slow. It does list the number of files in sub-directories, which is not configurable through the preferences dialog (or if it is, I've missed it).

Warning - Honest opinion below (4, Interesting)

bhunachchicken (834243) | about 5 years ago | (#27386217)

As someone who has been using KDE 2001 (around KDE 2), I have to say that I think the latest version of KDE is fucking shit. It's a MAJOR step backward from KDE 3. I feel like the developers have taken everything that was good about KDE, thrown it in the bin, and made every effort to drive me to another DE altogether.

Things that have so far fucked me off:

  • Removal of icons on the desktop - Seriously, WTF?!! (as far as I know) EVERY OTHER FUCKING DE ALLOWS THIS!!! (I believe it might be back in now, but in the form of a hack..?)
  • Panel Configuration - Before, I could right click on the panel, select Configure Panel, and get a nice window containing a bunch of things to be tweak. Now I just get this messy stack of... of... well I don't know what the hell that is.
  • Mounting devices - It was easy before, but now we have this strange menu that doesn't provide all the functionality that the previous 3.5 implementation did.
  • Some of the new DE is JUST PLAIN UGLY! The calendar, for one, doesn't look as neat and tidy as the one in KDE 3.5
  • ... probably some other things that I cannot call to mind.

I upgraded to KDE 4.2 a while back after everyone raved about it, but ended up reverting back down to KDE 3.5. I'm still not sure what the KDE team are attempting to achieve, but I would rather have seen a KDE 3.6 with all the fancy effects than what we have now.

I'm going to look very carefully at KDE 4.3 when that comes out, but I have little hope that it will reach the 3.5 standard, if I'm totally honest. Rant over. Sorry, had to get this off my chest. Am I the only one that feels this way? I'm sure when 4.2 came out Slashdot commentators were proclaiming it to be THE KDE 4 we'd been waiting for. Not me.

Re:Warning - Honest opinion below (1)

elmaxxgt (980095) | about 5 years ago | (#27386335)

i have to say that i like kde3.5 better than 4.x because of the functionality of certain applications. for example, kopete (kde4 version) just doesn't work as friendly as k3.5. and on the other hand, amarok [latest] for example just doesnt run (at least on my set up) on 3.5. So yeah, i feel a bit hurtful because i feel forced to use kde4. BUT! that's just a small inconvenience in exchange on what has been a wonderful experience since 2007. lll! (long live linux!)

Re:Warning - Honest opinion below (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | about 5 years ago | (#27386381)

>quote>everything that was good about KDE, thrown it in the bin,

Well it is a hobby for the open source authors, not a job. So you can't really blame them for goofing around and doing the things they get satisfaction from, rather than taking a professional approach of requirements, design, debugging, support, documentation and optimisations.

Re:Warning - Honest opinion below (5, Informative)

lbbros (900904) | about 5 years ago | (#27386423)

Removal of icons on the desktop - Seriously, WTF?!! (as far as I know) EVERY OTHER FUCKING DE ALLOWS THIS!!! (I believe it might be back in now, but in the form of a hack..?)

Appearance Settings > Desktop Activity Type > "Folder View" (4.2 or later) Very hackish... so hackish there's even an option to do so.

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