06.09.20

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The KDE Plasma Experience is the Best One Can Find and It Continues to Improve

Posted in GNU/Linux, KDE at 4:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Top: My dual-head KDE4 set-up (secondary laptop). Bottom: My dual-head KDE5 set-up (primary laptop). There’s another dual-head GNOME set-up (not shown here). Screenshots taken minutes ago.

Summary: A new version of KDE Plasma was released earlier today; it’s time to discuss a decade of turbulence in the KDE project and ways forward (possibly a fork of Qt)

THE most advanced, at least features-wise, desktop environment is KDE. It’s not running only on GNU/Linux. Some BSDs have it as well. No environment such as Windows or MacOS comes close to KDE. This is hardly a controversial thing to say; sure, there are some more complex or advanced tilting-type environments, but in terms of the number of features they’re nowhere near KDE. Not even close.

I myself am a KDE user. Over the past two decades I’ve used it on and off, always on at least one desktop or laptop. My wife is also an on-and-off KDE user. She kept switching between Unity and KDE and nowadays she uses only KDE (although she has all the Debian desktop environments installed on her ThinkPad).

No matter what else I try, I always come back to KDE.

I was a huge fan of KDE3 and I last tried booting KDE3 on an old laptop about 2 months ago. It wasn’t as appealing as I remembered it. Maybe being nostalgic caused me to think it was a lot better than it really was. Linus Torvalds was a KDE fan until KDE4 (he tried the flaky 4.0). I’d urge him to give KDE/Plasma5 another chance (maybe he already has). A lot of the work he does is in the command line either way. When I last met Dr. Richard Stallman in person he used a combination of GNOME and ncurses stuff (including CLI, Emacs, other stuff I could not quite recognise). No KDE…

The transition between different versions of Qt was rather disruptive to KDE development because applications needed to be rewritten and sometimes there was missing functionality following the ‘upgrade’. Moreover, considering the licensing plans of Qt6 (there’s a mostly polite/amicable controversy about it online), there’s growing concern in the KDE project with… the possibility/prospect of forking Qt to ensure it stays truly Free software. Qt will probably figure out some sort of compromise at the end. KDE is a massive marketing tool for them.

“If people out there still say that “Linux sucks,” then they’re almost certainly trolling.”Today’s release of Plasma 5.19 (see the latest Daily List) excites us a bit. The version we currently use is already very stable and reliable; I love it!

If people out there still say that “Linux sucks,” then they’re almost certainly trolling. Either they didn’t really try all the right things (patiently, learning all the pertinent features) or they’re just opportunistic provocateurs. Nowadays a lot of games can also be run under GNU/Linux. The same could not be said a decade ago. So what are the remaining barriers anyway? Well, FUD for one thing. The perception that GNU/Linux is “difficult” or “sucks” (even if it runs most of the world’s computers, barely named when and where it does). KDE does not spend billions or even millions on marketing (lying to people is antithetical in the Free software world). So people might not think it can be as good as stuff from Microsoft and Apple; but it’s actually better. It eclipses both in terms of functionality.

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3 Comments

  1. Canta said,

    June 9, 2020 at 8:16 pm

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    Well, I love using Unity. I don’t want to change it, even if development stopped. Could not care a bit if other DEs keep changing stuff: I mostly need changes in my applications, and not in how to launch them or arranging them on desktops. I also find it prettier than Apple stuff, and way less cumbersome than Gnome (v3+). From time to time, I’m frankly consider to start developing something over it.

    When Unity came out, it was rough. Thing didn’t worked well, crashed frequently, consummed a lot of resources, and was horrible handling fullscreen opengl stuff like games. That was 2012. By 2014 was already fine. But I didn’t tolerated it because I’m some kind of Ubuntu fanboy, or because it had more or less functionalities than other DEs: I actually hated that Apple-inspired unhideable top bar, and had a hard time adapting my mind from Gnome2. I tolerated it because, 1) I believed (and I still believe) Canonical’s convergence was the right way to go, and 2) Unity’s father was Ubuntu’s Netbook Remix DE, which was both cool and also the right thing to do. I believed it would have been beneficial for the whole GNU/Linux community to have both convergence as a goal and the netbooks as starting point for it.

    Today we have netbooks extint, there’s STILL no mobile GNU but as a niche and experimental thing, systemd spread like cancer even when explicitly talks crap about our most strong standars (like POSIX), Torvalds is defanged, there are coups in FSF and GNU, etcetera. And for me, the hate against Unity (seen to this day in some places) was the starting point of doubt about “what the hell is going on with our communities”.

    Tried KDE about 2008; preferred Gnome2 back then. Tested it again in 2012 I guess, when Unity was bad. Can’t remember why I didn’t liked it, I guess it was its wheight. XFCE was cool for a moment, but got fat and LXDE took its place as lightweight. I use LXDE for my beloved netbook, as well as old notebooks I recycle for my friends and family.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    And for me, the hate against Unity (seen to this day in some places) was the starting point of doubt about “what the hell is going on with our communities”.

    This is not a new thing. Ages ago we had many KDE v GNOME fights/flamewars.

  2. Canta said,

    June 9, 2020 at 8:32 pm

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    Missed my point in last comment: it doesn’t matter what you use, the point is that we can choose. Having multiple DEs is choice, and choice is freedom. For Windows and Apple people changing DEs triggers some kind of cognitive dissonance, but for us is just installing another program.

    And a funny thing about it is: I actually started programming wanting to make my own shell for Windows, back in the nineties. I knew I could replace progman.exe (later explorer.exe) with anything else, and so I wanted some cool videogame UI for my computer: videogames that ran in the same computer already had them, so they were a fact, not some lunatic theory. I was of course horrible programming as a novice, and the task was too much for a kid alone. Yet, I grew up doubting about why nobody else wanted to change the UI like I did, even when everybody seemed to be happy picking absolutely any software from anywhere for any other task. And, to this day, there’s people saying stuff like “you don’t have that many programs to choose from in Linux, that’s why I keep using Windows”. People is weird.

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