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Plasma: The Next-Generation KDE Environment Review

Hemos posted more than 7 years ago | from the you-got-plasma-all-over-my-screen dept.

240

slashy writes, "MadPenguin has taken a quick look at Plasma, the next gen. KDE environment. 'Plasma is an ambitious project being pursued by the KDE 4 team which aims at providing a workflow-sensitive design of the user interface that improves productivity of an average KDE user. The focus is on improving the clarity and reducing the clutter present in today's desktops. The plasma development will bring together key contributors, such as the visual artists, usability experts, technology experts, programmers, and enthusiasts at a very early stage during the development process. This will enable them to create a new desktop environment that meets the requirements of novices and experts alike.'"

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240 comments

Reducing clutter (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130143)

Let me start by saying that I have been waiting for KDE 4 since it was first announced, mainly because of it's lower memory requirements.

Having said that, I have found that most people will clutter their desktops regardless of what the software tries to do. Remember XP's desktop cleanup wizard, which attempted to help people remove things from their desktops that they didn't use often? I still see the majority of people with hundreds of icons and files haphazardly arranged. When I helped my friend migrate to Linux, it only took him a week to turn KDE into an icon pile. Add Firefox into the mix, which drops downloads onto the desktop by default, and the battle is completely lost.

Re:Reducing clutter (5, Insightful)

tolan-b (230077) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130203)

I think they mean UI clutter rather than clutter of the desktop 'surface'.

Re:Reducing clutter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16130208)

mainly because of it's lower memory requirements.

You can't possibly believe that a newer version will ever have lower memory requirements.

Re:Reducing clutter (5, Informative)

LLuthor (909583) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130263)

QT 3's internal data structures are quite bloated and require a lot of memory. In QT4 a lot of bloat has been removed or trimmed, and a number of things can now share memory where previously they had each their own copies.

Simply re-compiling a trivial GUI app from QT3 to QT4 will give noticable performance and memory usage improvement (even if you do not change the code at all).

Not to mention the other improvements in things like MOC which make debugging and testing easier.

Re:Reducing clutter (3, Funny)

TommydCat (791543) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130492)

Simply re-compiling a trivial GUI app from QT3 to QT4 will give noticable performance and memory usage improvement (even if you do not change the code at all).

# emerge --update --newuse world

...and the Gentoo crowd goes wild!

Re:Reducing clutter (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16130596)

# emerge --update --newuse world
...and the Gentoo crowd goes wild!


Well, they have plenty of time to go wild now.

Re:Reducing clutter (5, Informative)

davFr (679391) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130507)

AFAIK, there is no way to compile directly Qt3 applications to Qt4. The Qt4 does not support all previous Qt3 widgets, and their is no automatic and efficient way to transform Qt3 code to Qt4. That said, Qt4 is certainly more memory efficient than Qt3, as it was the main development goal. My 2 cents.

Re:Reducing clutter (5, Informative)

Psiren (6145) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130658)

The Qt4 does not support all previous Qt3 widgets

There is a Qt3 support library [trolltech.com] in Qt4. It does look like some renaming of classes will be required, but I'd imagine any small codebase could be converted reasonably quickly.

Re:Reducing clutter (1)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130211)

I agree, it's pretty much always the user who creates these problems, I use GNOME but I have at most 4 icons on my desktop. I used to use KDE and think I had a similar number. I wonder what they could take away which will not reduce productivity, I mean I need the computer, home and wastebasket (and my external HD is just handy to have there)

They could stop people creating icons or files on the desktops but that will really annoy people because some just like it there.

Shame I couoldn't get to the article, maybe they explained it, although the summery was light on details...

Re:Reducing clutter (3, Interesting)

Zantetsuken (935350) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130756)

somebody said in another post somewhere beneath the top of this thread:

"toss in firefox which automatically sets downloads to the desktop, and the battle is lost"

maybe it would help if in firefox's initial setup wizard, it prompted where you want downloads to go to - somewhere like My Documents\Downloads for Windows, and somewhere like /home/username/downloads/ for Linux with the option to change directories...

...an icon pile? (4, Insightful)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130243)

So?

I thought the whole idea of personal computers was to allow people to work they way they wanted to?

You may like clean desktops while others like cluttered desktops.

Let's start a holy war over how many icons can dance on a screen.

Re:Reducing clutter (1)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130262)

That's why I say we get rid of the damn thing. That's what your home directory is for; there's no reason to put stuff in a useless place like the desktop as well, where it will be obscured whenever you actually start doing things.

Of course, I don't think they were talking about desktop icons in TFA. I just wanted to throw in my anti-icon rant here.

Re:Reducing clutter (3, Insightful)

nostriluu (138310) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130430)

I think the metaphor for the "desktop" is, ahem, a "desktop".. an intermediate place with stuff you haven't put away yet, or are actively working on, resides.

Just putting everything in your home folder /would/ be a disaster.

Of course, it's nice to have multiple desktops, so when you're working on a different task you can just go to a different desk.

Hmm.. doesn't seem like you can change the Mac's desktop on the fly.

Re:Reducing clutter (1)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130589)

There's still the issue of a desktop cluttered with icons.

I rather liked a gDesklets applet with a circular launch bar... you could create sets of launchers by theme or whatever and switch between them.
Everything neatly organised, and the desktop remains completely free of clutter.

Re:Reducing clutter (0, Troll)

justkarl (775856) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130467)

Remember XP's desktop cleanup wizard, which attempted to help people remove things from their desktops that they didn't use often?
 
Maybe you're not familiar with the functionality. The desktop cleanup wizard removes icons that are used often.

Re:Reducing clutter (2, Insightful)

SevenHands (984677) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130628)

Are there people who actually have used this functionality? I have not used this features once yet. Features like this and the "Hide inactive icons" in the system tray seem like they may end up doing more harm than good possibly getting rid of certain needed info or hiding an unwanted automatically started process.. For me, I like to see all of my system tray Icons, including the "inactive" ones, just so I have a partial idea of what's running in the background without having to go through the process listing in the task manager.

Re:Reducing clutter (1)

Zach978 (98911) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130594)

In KDE 3 there is an option to disable icons on the desktop, that's what I have been doing for a while...

Re:Reducing clutter (4, Funny)

Jesselnz (866138) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130709)

A quick look? (4, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130159)

A quick look is somewhat understating the review - not a single screenshot and 8 paragraphs of next-to-nothing except what "will" or "should" be in Plasma.

Useful content: 1%

Like the "Buy a Link Now" on the article itself... I think someone just bought themselves a link from Slashdot.

Re:A quick look? (3, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130665)

I do have to wonder what that review was? Wouldn't preview be a better term. I mean to review something it has to exist, which KDE 4 doesn't yet.
I can honestly say I like BOTH gnome and KDE. I prefer to work in gnome but KDE is prettier and frankly more fun.
With KDE I created a totally useless script that pulls down a few images from some websites using wget. I then set the KDE desktop to use a slide show background. So now have a wall paper that rotates through two hi resolution webcam shots of a local beach and the weather radar.
Like I said fun but useless. To get Gnome to do the same I am thinking of writing a desklet.

huh? (0, Redundant)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130160)

I can't get to the article (naturally), but the summary looks like a bunch of marketspeak buzzwords. The summary seems to be a whole lot of "whats" and not a shred of "hows". Has anyone actually been able to RTFA and see if there is any actual content, or just a bunch of empty promises?

Re:huh? (3, Informative)

ledow (319597) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130218)

Content: nil
Useful information: nil
Reviews of implemented features: nil
Screenshots: nil
What it "will" be: 8 paragraphs spread over two pages for no other reason than to increase advertising revenue.
How they're going to do it: nil
Useful links: nil

That penguin is pissed! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16130258)

Cujo the rabid penguin is timing out at me!

active desktop (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16130163)

The desktop will no more be a static entity with a fixed set of icons. Your desktop will be capable of providing different kinds of items and services as and when you need them.

Active desktop?

Re:active desktop (5, Informative)

LeRandy (937290) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130207)

No. SuperKaramba will be built in (think Apple OSX Widgets). So your calendar, inbox contents, local weather, PC stats, whatever can be displayed on your desktop. Active Desktop was IIRC just a way of putting HTML or Animations on the desktop - they weren't programs per-se, that could tell you useful stuff.

Re:active desktop (2, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130250)

No. SuperKaramba will be built in (think Apple OSX Widgets). So your calendar, inbox contents, local weather, PC stats, whatever can be displayed on your desktop. Active Desktop was IIRC just a way of putting HTML or Animations on the desktop - they weren't programs per-se, that could tell you useful stuff.


Right. But aren't these things just combinations of XML and Python code? IOW, the grandparent's comment about ActiveDesktop really isn't too far off the mark.

Re:active desktop (1)

Sqwubbsy (723014) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130278)

Active Desktop was IIRC just a way of putting HTML or Animations on the desktop - they weren't programs per-se, that could tell you useful stuff.

Excuse me, but what's the difference? OS X widgets are just HTML, granted with stylesheets and javascript, but still.
And sure, it's not right on the desktop, but callable by a hot key, but really, what is the difference? And where are the 'programs per-se' in OS X and whateverKDEwillfinallycalltheirwidgetengine?

Re:active desktop (1)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130380)

Active Desktop was IIRC just a way of putting HTML or Animations on the desktop

Don't forget the JPEGs.

Want a .jpeg on your desktop? Sure, enable Active Desktop.

Re:active desktop (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130516)

Actually, since I'm using Win98SE on my old Thinkpad 760XL (P166-MMX, 64MB RAM, 10GB) I've hit that limitation a few times. However, you can open the JPEG in Internet Explorer and then "Save as..." a BMP. Not that I use MSIE for anything else, though.

Re:active desktop (1)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130622)

Oh, yes, that's a very good idea... if you've got spare RAM.

A .bmp of a large .jpg tends to get can't-fit-on-a-floppy big. Not good.

Then again, what do I know... how much RAM does Active Desktop take?

Re:active desktop (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130671)

I don't think Win98SE keeps the compressed JPEG data in memory to use it as a wallpaper. Then again I also don't know how much memory active desktop use because I've never used it.

I do agree that BMPs are a good way to waste storage though, but it's the only way to use a wallpaper in Win98SE without active desktop.

Re:active desktop (1)

miyako (632510) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130692)

I don't think using a jpeg for a wallpaper as opposed to a bitmap is going to save any ram. a bitmap is uncompressed, a jpeg is compressed. If you set a jpeg as a wallpaper, it still has to uncompress that jpeg to display it. Worst case is you are now using the same amount of ram, but for the jpeg you are also adding the processor cycles to decompress it.

Re:active desktop (0)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130746)

Well, since JPEG is a lossy compression format, I'd think the picture gets smaller anyway.
Ah, well... who cares, really...

New Project - Redo X-Windows (-1, Offtopic)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130201)

How about a new project called Redo X-Windows? Just a thought.

Re:New Project - Redo X-Windows (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16130228)

amen to that.. we should ditch X-windows altogether. there's really no demanding need, at least in the linux world, for X-windows. sure, one could argue that it's a must in thin-client setups, but the overwhelming majority of linux boxes are not thin clients.

Re:New Project - Redo X-Windows (4, Informative)

Xabraxas (654195) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130758)

we should ditch X-windows altogether. there's really no demanding need, at least in the linux world, for X-windows. sure, one could argue that it's a must in thin-client setups, but the overwhelming majority of linux boxes are not thin clients.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. X is being overhauled as we speak (modularization, GLX implementations, etc), but one thing that is staying is the client/server architecture of X. There is nothing wrong with the way it works on a local computer, and it has the added benefit of being able to work across a network. A myth in the FOSS world is that the client/server architecture of X is one of the biggest problems with Unix.

Re:New Project - Redo X-Windows (1)

backwardMechanic (959818) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130793)

So you don't use it. I'm currently logged in to two remote machines (one of them being my linux box at work), and making good use of the graphical environment.

But I think you're right, we do need a clean up. I've never used your computer, and really see no demand for it. I propose we ditch it.

Re:New Project - Redo X-Windows (5, Insightful)

LLuthor (909583) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130307)

And do what differently?

Care to point out some deficiency in the X codebase?

Re:New Project - Redo X-Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16130381)

stupid config file?

Re:New Project - Redo X-Windows (1)

cortana (588495) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130425)

That's an implementation detail.

Assuming you are talking about the Xorg server, it's going away for X11R7.3, hopefully.

Re:New Project - Redo X-Windows (1)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130481)

And do what differently?

Make it always display Pretty Pink Ponies.

Care to point out some deficiency in the X codebase?

I'm living in the past [slashdot.org]

Re:New Project - Redo X-Windows (1)

Doctor Crumb (737936) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130696)

I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume your problem is with the xfree86 server implementation, which is being replaced by the xorg implementation by pretty much everyone. You *have* heard of it, neh?

Sounds to me like a rip-off of Vista (0, Troll)

rhartness (993048) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130215)

Which, in many ways, is a rip-off of OS X.

Re:Sounds to me like a rip-off of Vista (1)

kypper (446750) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130242)

Are we really going to do the rip-off route?
Let's just go all the way back to Xerox [wikipedia.org] ...

Re:Sounds to me like a rip-off of Vista (1)

BushCheney08 (917605) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130266)

Are we really going to do the rip-off route? Let's just go all the way back to Xerox...

I really wish someone would "rip me off" by giving me millions in stock.

Re:Sounds to me like a rip-off of Vista (3, Funny)

kypper (446750) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130284)

Given that your nick is BushCheney, I'd say that's already happened ;)

Re:Sounds to me like a rip-off of Vista (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16130368)

Only if you're a Macfag using one of your Fapple Crapintosh machines.

Re:Sounds to me like a rip-off of Vista (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130717)

Is fag still an insult? I think society has moved past you. Keep it relevant and call him an Islamo-Macfascist. Crapintosh is pretty good, but what the hell is a Fapple? That sounds like a flavor at Starbucks.

Re:Sounds to me like a rip-off of Vista (1)

Bralkein (685733) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130660)

Insightful? The parent poster didn't even give a reason for their opinion. That's probably because the amount of concrete information about KDE 4 is so low that it's very difficult to find a reason for having such an opinion. They're either clairvoyant, or being an ass. I'd suggest the latter.

Re:Sounds to me like a rip-off of Vista (1)

rhartness (993048) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130811)

The reason why I made such a post was because the article expresses the idea that the KDE 4 team is coming up with something innovative and new. Sure, I'm excited about it myself because I am a KDE fan. That doesn't change the fact that I get pissed at any company who touts new features for their upcoming software as 'original' when it's already been done before.

Any computer geek who is remotely interested in the history of modern computing knows all of the big rip-off stories of the past thirties years. This is a practice that has come to be all but excepted. I just wish, however, that the developers of such projects would be a little more honest in their presentation of their ideas. They could just have easily said that 'We like the direction that many OS environments are going in the PC industry and we think we can improve on them from within the KDE.'

Why is that so hard?

the grass is always greener (3, Insightful)

rayde (738949) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130229)

(i am not trolling here, this is just my observation) i think most linux fans fall into one of two camps. Those who want Gnome and KDE to stop doing parallel efforts and instead concentrate on a unified GUI for linux... and then those who appreciate having more choices and want KDE and Gnome to push each other.

I fall into the former. I think it's a pain when you see some cool feature or eyecandy or whatever appearing in the desktop environment you aren't using... but it isn't enough to make you totally switch your current desktop. And just when you do go and switch, your old environment will come out with some sweet feature and you're back to square one.

i realize it's a complicated issue, and neither KDE nor Gnome is about to fold and allow the other to take precidence... but I still look forward to the day when everyone is working towards a common goal, and when a new user interface element is implemented, everybody can benefit from it.

Re:the grass is always greener (1)

Shadyman (939863) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130247)

You've got a point. Gnome and KDE follow totally different philosophies, and I think that is more of a hinderance than a help when it comes to merging.

Gnome follows the less-is-more philosophy, while KDE follows the More is More philosophy

Re:the grass is always greener (1)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130287)

Don't forget the camp that considers them both bloated and forgoes them for something else. The Ratpoison/wmii/dwm/Ion/TWM/PekWM/*box using crowd.

Re:the grass is always greener (1)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130543)

All in all, it's a good thing we have a choice.

A single, unified desktop environment would be great for making Linux more accessible to new users. Which is all fine and dandy, but given all the conflicting UI philosophies people adopt, merging would only lead to everyone but the newbies rather dissatisfied.

All in all, I used to be an avid Gnome user, but grew dissatisfied with it. I still use it, though, because KDE is just not there yet, and certain Gnome applets are just way too useful. With Plasma, KDE might get there and I might switch.

Then again, maybe E17 becomes a bit more stable so I can switch to that.

It can be a pain, but all in all, choice is good.

Re:the grass is always greener (1)

fyoder (857358) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130560)

At home I run windowmaker, but also have kde and gnome installed so I can use their apps. At work I use kde, but also have gnome installed for the apps. Switching/switching back wouldn't be difficult. I also run windows under vmware. Rather than making absolute choices I prefer 'all of the above'.

Re:the grass is always greener (1)

orasio (188021) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130342)

I don't think the same way you do.

Right now, what you are talking about is actually happening.
UI stuff is not a matter of implementation, but one of design. When the KDE project does something nice, and it happens to work in practice, it's much easier for the Gnome team to add it to Gnome.

But there is a difference between Gnome users, and KDE users.

I see KDE target as people who want the latest features, and the most configurability.

Gnome seems to be about having good features, even if they take a lot of time to be integrated in the desktop, and the best default configuration, even if things are not that easily configurable.

I like Gnome better, and I don't want it to be more like KDE. I believe KDE users wouldn't want KDE to be more like Gnome, and lose configurability and features.

Of course, this is only my interpretation, it was like this the last time I checked KDE in Suse 8.2, maybe they have converged now to a point where the difference is irrelevant.

Re:the grass is always greener (4, Insightful)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130424)

I used to think that 'duplication' was just a waste of effort. Wouldn't it be better if we all put our effort together in harmony and came up with the Next Big Thing? United we stand, divided we fall?

The problem is, when your working on a huge monolithic project like that, people really don't work together. There are arguments and disagreements. Energetical people with radical, new ideas will encounter old farts who want to do things the old way, become disenfranchised and give up. Productive old workhorses will be frustrated by young upstarts trying to pull them in 100 different directions at once, selling a bad idea from 10 years ago as the latest, greatest idea. The project will proceed on the lowest common denominator, implementing vanilla ideas that are promoted simply because nobody could find a reason to reject them.

Would you like it if Apple and MS got together to make a unified desktop? Don't you think that the bureaucracy and organizational overhead would stymie the project and ultimately water down the end result?

Instead of waste and duplication, think of it as parallel development teams, developing, implementing, and polishing the latest new ideas as a presentation to the larger mindshare market. Those ideas might need to re-developed or re-implemented, or they may be ready to be included in larger projects, like KDE or Gnome. It's a very effective and efficient way to harness human motivation and inspiration and deliver new ideas to the masses.

Re:the grass is always greener (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130558)

Except that in the eyes of many (me included) it totals up to four different operating systems:
- OS X
- Windows
- Linux/KDE
- Linux/Gnome

BSD? Nah, it's dead. ;-)

Mod Parent Up! (1)

TheNinjaroach (878876) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130699)

I agree whole heartedly with the parent. To add my $.02 I believe the competetion is great because when one team comes up with SuperSnazzyFeature2.0 the other team recognizes it as a great idea and implements it. Would be ashamed if everyone was working on one project and SuperSnazzyFeature0.3beta was killed because too many team members rejected the idea.

We have to re-invent ideas between the two desktops but they make great proving grounds for new UI adjustments.

Re:the grass is always greener (3, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130611)

Those who want Gnome and KDE to stop doing parallel efforts and instead concentrate on a unified GUI for linux...

And all you'd have to do is get the other few dozen GUI projects on board as well. In the meantime you can work on unifying Apple and Microsoft, a much easier task.

KFG

Re:the grass is always greener (2, Insightful)

alexgieg (948359) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130613)

What I really want to know is why, oh, WHY, both Gnome and KDE waste so much usefull screen space.

I'm serious. Now and then I install one or the other in a VM in my XP box, set to the same resolution as XP itself, and watch the state of the default menus, menu items distance, drop-downs, font sizes etc. For some reason I can't grasp, they're always bigger and more wastefull than what Microsoft made with XP. And as a result, I always feel my CRT had just lost one or two inches.

I wonder whether you all who use these system feel the same thing, but in reverse, with XP's screen objects seen as too small.

PS.: I've never tried MacOS, but that bar of big buttons I see in screenshots spells trouble for me. But if those who use it love it so much, then I guess that either my CRT is too small, I'm a screen-space maniac, or both. Who knows? :D

Re:the grass is always greener (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130871)

Now and then I install one or the other in a VM in my XP box, set to the same resolution as XP itself, and watch the state of the default menus, menu items distance, drop-downs, font sizes etc. For some reason I can't grasp, they're always bigger and more wastefull than what Microsoft made with XP.
I've never seen anyone stick with the defaults in Gnome or KDE. If the person using the computer is computer illiterate, I imagine the big menus and such are generally good.

Re:the grass is always greener (1)

urbanradar (1001140) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130741)

KDE and GNOME merging would be a horrible idea. First, for technical reasons: GNOME is constructed on GTK, mostly in C (and, lately, C# / Mono). KDE is built on QT and mostly C++. If both projects somehow merged, you'd either end up with having to throw one of the toolkits out of the window, or you'd end up having a desktop environment that requires two toolkits. Yes, you might argue that most modern Linux desktops have both toolkits installed already anyway. But a desktop environment that is built on more than one base just wouldn't make a lot of sense and would most likely be cumbersome to develop for. The fact that you'd have two programming languages (albeit related ones) probably wouldn't help that much, either.* And as for just dropping one of the toolkits and languages - you'd have to more or less re-write roughly a gazillion applications from scratch just to fit into the new scheme. Hmm. I've heard of better ideas. You could say the same about Human Interface Guidelines. You'd definitely need to throw one set out of the window, and make non-trivial changes to the interfaces of countless programmes. * Yes, I do know that other languages are occasionally involved, and some projects already do mix C and C++ in some ways. I'm simplifying things a bit here on purpose. Then, there's the fact that the two projects follow a completely different design mentality. Now, me, personally, I've never liked GNOME much. There's some elements I like and it's definitely "tidier" than KDE in many ways and there's lots of delicious eyecandy, but there's also tons of stuff I dislike. I hate that stupid menu bar at the top, I hate the awful file dialogues, I hate the way preferences are dumbed down, I consider Nautilus to be useless both in spatial and in browser mode, gEdit is a sorry excuse for a text editor in my eyes. KDE on the other hand - I love the way I can set it up just the way I like it, I find it much more usable than GNOME, IOSlaves and the high degree of integration between the different programmes have made my life much easier, JuK is a nice little jukebox, Konqueror a gorgeous file manager and web browser, Kopete is much nicer than gAIM nowadays, Kate is the best text editor I've ever seen - and so on, and so on. Remember, that's just my personal preference, I'm definitely not trying to start a flamewar. Because for everyone who agrees with me, there's someone who prefers GNOME for his own personal reasons and hates KDE. And that's OK. Choice is one of the best things about FOSS. Somehow merging GNOME and KDE would destroy much of that choice. So, do I advocate the Linux desktop being fragmented forevermore? Actually, I don't, even though I think a KDE/GNOME merger would be terrible. I think what we need is not one unified desktop, we need standards that most Linux desktops adhere to. We need the different desktops to be as interoperable as possible. To a large degree, they already are - I can run gAIM or GIMP under KDE just fine. And things are getting better still. If you haven't heard of it yet, you should check out the impressive desktop standardisation work of The Portland Project [freedesktop.org] . To sum it all up: A merger would be near-impossible to pull off and a crappy idea because it requires lots of re-writing, destroys choice and makes things more difficult for developers. However, common standards are extremely useful. IMHO, the Linux desktop is already heading the right way as it is, no matter whether you use GNOME or KDE or something else!

Re:the grass is always greener (1)

Itchy Rich (818896) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130902)

I think it's a pain when you see some cool feature or eyecandy or whatever appearing in the desktop environment you aren't using... but it isn't enough to make you totally switch your current desktop. And just when you do go and switch, your old environment will come out with some sweet feature and you're back to square one.

I agree with other posters in that competition is a good thing in this sort of environment. Ideally it'd be made easy to transfer your data and applications from one environment to the other (much like moving your laptop, notepad and pencils from one desk to another) although I appreciate that it's more complicated than that.

Re:the grass is always greener (1)

nawcom (941663) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130903)

I have always been frustrated with the direct link from Linux to X-Windows. Using Linux as a desktop is understandable, but what about the other operating systems? FreeBSD? Solaris? Many unix operating systems can and usually use X-Windows as a GUI. If one has Linux, one may have X, but if one has X, it doesn't mean they are running the Linux kernel.

My usual window manager always seems to be based off of blackbox (fluxbox, openbox, etc)

Redundant (1, Funny)

Spad (470073) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130231)

The K Desktop Environment Environment, you say?

Re:Redundant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16130344)

Yes. It's like Bob. He works at the button factory factory. They make button factories there.

Re:Redundant (1)

Soothh (473349) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130552)

Just like "Built on NT Technologies" or NewTechnology Technologies...

or DOS Operating System, which is DiskOperatingSystem Operating System.

my favorite "i chat on mIRC" uhhhhh its IRC morons! :)

The article (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16130240)

Poor poor CMS, the "article" is just some text, full c&p below:

It has hardly been a few weeks since the release of KDE v3.5.4, one of the most popular desktop environments for Unix/Linux/FreeBSD operating systems, and the KDE development team is already hard at work. They have a dream of revolutionizing the concept of desktop by providing an array of innovative features aimed at improving both the looks of the desktop environment as well as the productivity of end users. In this article, we will look at one such component called Plasma that promises to change the look and feel of a conventional desktop.

Plasma is an ambitious project being pursued by the KDE 4 team which aims at providing a workflow sensitive design of the user interface that improves productivity of an average KDE user. The focus is on improving the clarity and reducing the clutter present in today's desktops. The plasma development will bring together key contributors, such as the visual artists, usability experts, technology experts, programmers and enthusiasts at a very early stage during the development process. This will enable them to create a new desktop environment that meets the requirements of novice and experts alike.

One of the immediate goals of plasma is to provide a better looking desktop. The team is cashing in on the improved graphic capabilities of X server (namely COMPOSITE) and Trolltech's Qt application programming interfaces (APIs) to mesmerize you with those stunning looks. Although a great looking desktop will be a welcome step, the KDE team is not assuming that everyone will have the latest version of X server installed. Thus, care is being taken not to make such looks integral to the functioning of the system. Plasma is being designed in such a way that even people with older versions of X server will be able to effectively use their desktops without the unnecessary frills.

Plasma will be divided into four distinct components. They are:

- Desktop: In plasma, the role of the desktop will be much more than a place where one keeps beautiful looking icons and immediately required files. In fact, it will be a place for the user and the computer to interact with each other. The desktop will no more be a static entity with a fixed set of icons. Your desktop will be capable of providing different kinds of items and services as and when you need them.

- Applet: Applets are small programs, such as clocks, weather notification and application launchers (to name a few) that will help you better manage your work. The aim of the plasma team is to make them easy to develop as well as easy to distribute. They can be authored in a plethora of languages including C/C++, Java, Python and Ruby. The team is currently in the process of developing the Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that will expose the functionality of libplasma library. After developing the applets, they have to be packaged together with all the artwork, HTML and other resource files into a single archive file. This archive file can then easily be distributed over the Internet.

- Panels: Panels are basically containers for other plasma element. They will be responsible for providing a way to connect applets together.

- Extenders: Extender is a standard graphic element that provides a plasma element to temporarily grow in size (through some sort of animation) and reveal a larger usable space whenever one clicks or hovers over them. This helps to group related widgets that need not be visible all the time and take up important desktop space. Instead, whenever the user invokes them by means of clicking or hovering, the extender provides a mechanism to reveal the extra information.

The KDE 4 desktop aims at revolutionizing the concept of a desktop by providing not only an eye-candy look but also a workflow sensitive design. With full support for newer frameworks such as KHotNewStuffs , it will become extremely easy for applications based on KDE to search and download new plugins, extensions and updates from the Internet. According to Zack Rusin, a prominent KDE developer, "Plasma will blow you away. Nothing you've ever seen or will see in the coming years will come even close to what you'll experience with Plasma. And that's a promise." We agree.

Workflow-sensitive? (4, Insightful)

TheWoozle (984500) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130378)

The average user can't figure out how to organize their *own* desktop to accomodate their workflow better than "this pile of icons is for this, that pile of icons is for that", and these guys are going to come along and have the *computer* decide what's best?

Sheesh, have we learned nothing from Microsoft? Having the computer decide what things a user can interact with and how the user can interact with them based on a set of hidden, unchangeable rules is counter-productive at best; at times, it can be murderous-rage inducing.

How about we actually help people become better-organized by, oh, I don't know...teaching them some useful organizational skills?!

What I want, part deux (2, Funny)

MasterC (70492) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130383)

You know, I had a thoughtful and insightful list of maybe half-a-dozen things/comments about KDE I would want as a power user. Then KWin seg faulted on me and I had to restart X thus losing my comments.

My list now consists of one things:
  • Fix KWin from seg faulting

That would be super!

Re:What I want, part deux (1)

Verunks (1000826) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130530)

you don't have to restart X just switch to a text console with ctrl+alt+fn and do export DISPLAY=:0 (or whatever display you use) and start kwin

I prefer to design my own desktop (4, Interesting)

rueger (210566) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130417)

... which aims at providing a workflow-sensitive design of the user interface that improves productivity of an average KDE user

My experience with both Windows and OS X is that anytime the OS tries to "help" me it makes life more difficult.

For me the holy grail of desktop design is one that allows me to place what I want, where I want on the desk top and have it remain exactly where I put it.

Even better, when I switch from the 12" laptop to the big flat screen on my desk, allow me two desktop settings that make best use of the different real estate available.

OS X widgets seem like great idea, but I find that the need to pop up or drop into the widget level, and then wait for the actual widgets to load up and begin functioning is a pain in the butt. I'd rather have things like calculators or weather or currency converters right on the desktop and immediately available.

Apple's solution just seems to add more clicks and more time to do routine tasks.

If KDE goes the route of trying to guess what I want, please give me the option of turning that guessing game off.

Re:I prefer to design my own desktop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16130762)

OS X widgets seem like great idea, but I find that the need to pop up or drop into the widget level, and then wait for the actual widgets to load up and begin functioning is a pain in the butt. I'd rather have things like calculators or weather or currency converters right on the desktop and immediately available.


If you had RTFA, this is exactly one of the things KDE is doing with plasma (Actually, it's already been implemented with Superkaramba, they're just integrating it into the system)

Whaaa--...??? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16130433)

...Redesign the *DESKTOP* you say...??!!!

So, are they going to get it right this time? What with all the artists and all, eh?

Or, are they just dicking around again, and in 5 years they'll wind up redoing the entire thing because whoops, whoah, that thing we did in 2006? Whoah what a piece of crap THAT was, who thought THAT would work, sheesh.

Sorry I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. But come on what the HELL people blah blah blah desktop blah blah blah redesign blah blah blah usability blah blah blah icons blah blah blah.....and all it ever amounts to is some kids playing a shell game with menu items and toolbars. The result? I gotta do 3 more clicks to open my document and now I get to my email this way instead of that way and wow the control panel is over here now and gee there are 20 more options and 4 more tabs on this "Options" dialog box and I can choose between "fade-in" and "slide" for all right-click menus and would you look at that I can do URLs right in the file system browser now and oh yeah I can FINALLY make all my windows 63% transparent. I've been *waiting* for them to get around to that! Yeah baby, look at this, *THIS* time, we got it right! No fooling this time! Really!

That's life in the mass produced modern world I guess. It's just bits on a hard drive somewhere, you don't like 'em, wipe 'em out and start all over again, engage hype machine, tinker around for a few years, and then down the road decide new version was just another piece of disposable crap, wipe out the bits and start over again. Total cost: $0.00. Total worth: $0.00.

I hope you folks are happy with it.
Me, I'm already bored to tears.

Ha-ha, my vword:ashman

PS not trollin on KDE. Could easily do a search+replace KDE-->Microsoft-->Apple-->Insert-your-pile-of-crap -software-here.

Re:Whaaa--...??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16130597)

Wow. Jaded much?

Am I the ONLY ONE who thought this was about TVs ? (0, Offtopic)

JoshDM (741866) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130470)

Honestly. I'm looking for a good Plasma TV and I thought they were going to talk about the next generation of Plasma TVs. I'm thinking of getting a 42" Panasonic.

Re:Am I the ONLY ONE who thought this was about TV (0, Offtopic)

speckledpig (880809) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130587)

I thought the same thing...until I read the rest of the subject line... :-/

Re:Am I the ONLY ONE who thought this was about TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16130609)

If you seriously read the title of this article and thought it was about tvs then perhaps you don't belong at a news for nerds site.

3D Desktops (1)

aersixb9 (267695) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130501)

Are there any good 3D desktops for linux or windows? (Maybe as a replacement for explorer?) I guess a 3D desktop could be something as simple as 3D models for icons instead of 2D bitmaps, 3D accelerator support for fast rendering, a 3D background object, and maybe some rotating or zooming virtual desktops. It might be nice to have built in scaling for all programs too, rending the programs' 2D images onto a 3D polygon, then allowing the user to scale that polygon at 1:1, or at a different ratio (such as a 'zoomed out', or even a 'zoomed in' mode), and the zoomed out mode would be useful particularly when there were multiple windows on the screen, and fine detail wasn't too important...

Are there any practical 3D desktops around, or other desktop alternatives? These new desktops are just more of the same, heck some people still use the old version of the desktop, the 'shell'.

I found that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16130690)

Most of the above posts are entirely off. Plasma won't "do things for you" and get in the way.

I'm very excited about KDE4!

Vlad

The headline couldn't be more appropriate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16130833)

Back then we had a drinking game where we sat with mugs waiting in front of the TV while Star Trek:TNG was showing. We would toss our mags back as soon as we heard the word Plasma, or whenever we saw Jean-Luc straighten his uniform.

Going off KDE (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130858)

I think I'm going off KDE.

It's nice on a fast machine, but tediously slow on anything under 2GHz. I do like Window Maker [windowmaker.info] . It's a bit different than you probably were expecting, but I think it's a bit truer to what X used to be like before everyone started trying to turn it into Windows.

XGL? (1)

sarcasticfrench (949383) | more than 7 years ago | (#16130892)

Here they are, talking about using things from the latest version of X server, various APIs, etc. to achieve the visual effects they want. But there is no mention of XGL! XGL has so much to offer in the realm of visual effects, I think it would just be stupid if they don't even have an option in the installer to install an XGL version.
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