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Month: August 2009

Re: [kubuntu-kde3.5-users] What's missing in KDE 4: let's file some bugs

From: kb9vqf@...
Date: Sun, 23 Aug 2009 12:14:25 -0500 (CDT)
> Hope is nice, but with no developers working on KDE 3 it will soon
> suffer the same bitrot that all abandoned software suffers (think
> BeOS, Amiga).

Hi Dotan,

While I don't agree with the tone of some of the replies you received (I
do appreciate what you are doing here) I need to respond to this
particular point.

I *am* developing KDE3.  If you look in the PPA that I maintain, you will
see a whole slew of my patches that add new features, fix old bugs, and
generally keep the code compilable and functional as the backend libraries
change over time.

Now, from all appearances, *if* I were to stop development then yes, KDE
would bitrot and become unusable--purely because no one else has stepped
forward to assist.

I use KDE3.5 for a different purpose than some.  My desktop is configured
to look, feel, and act like an enhanced version of Windows XP in "Classic"
mode.  Like it or not, and I know many would argue with me, Microsoft had
one of the best desktop interfaces available with that release.  If they
hadn't abandoned it, I would still be an avid Microsoft user.

Likewise, I know I will be argued with up and down on this, but KDE4
seems, from a look-n-feel perspective only, to be a hybrid of Windows
Vista and the latest Mac OS.  I hate those two operating systems.  In
almost every design choice.  Period.

I am not alone here.  Many engineers I have talked with do not like the
new interface.  There are some of us who use a GUI simply because more
information can be placed on it, and many tasks made faster, than the
command line.  Gnome and KDE4 don't have very much *useful* and *relevant*
information on the screen at any given time.  These people have also
mentioned that the interface has a clunky feel, that they are having
difficulty just getting basic tasks done in a streamlined, efficient
fashion.  Simply, more clicks required in the UI per task == more time

The clunkiness has a direct impact on this.  The DE should recede into the
background, not constantly push its way into the foreground.  When it
shoves its way into the users programs, in the form of excessively large
menu bars, taskbars, and buttons, valuable screen space is stolen from the
user's application, forcing more scrolling, window management operations,
and application menu use inside the user's program.

This is a common flaw with the new direction all desktops seem to be
heading in.  They are all pretty (well, actually, the Mac OS is pretty,
while Vista and KDE4 are really ugly), and seem to work well--until you
try to use them in your job, when you have 4 clients and 2 managers
demanding you get X, Y, and Z done *NOW*.  Then you find that in order to
multitask in any sensible form you will need to learn to click constantly,
everywhere, and end up purchasing a really big replacement monitor.  Yet,
somehow, your old monitor was perfectly adequate under Windows XP and
KDE3.5.  Your programs haven't changed.  So why again is your DE forcing
you to buy new hardware and slowing you down?


No thanks.

I have even caused some older folks, who have used Windows since it came
out, to switch to Linux.  How?  By showing them a truly better desktop
interface: Windows XP classic + some sorely needed features--in other
words, KDE3.5.  They all hated where Windows was going, and Mac was too

So, rant aside, try adding a "super-tiny-taskbar, icons, buttons, and
menus" option.  Also make an "angular buttons option" so that they can be
compacted on the screen the way they always were.  (Actually IIRC that
last one finally does exist in KDE3).

Also, make it so that the shiny stuff can be turned off.  Menu drop
shadows are OK, but shiny rounded menus are distracting.

Bring back the old KDE control center.

Bring back task tray icons as plasmoid replacements.  I DON'T LIKE having
to minimize my windows (an extra click) to get at something critical like
the network manager plasmoid and then have to un-minimize them all again
when I am done (another extra click).  To say nothing of having to check
connectivity in another program and then go back to the plasmoid....click
click click click click....grrrr...Windows was so much better...  This is
a massive waste of the user's time and is, bluntly, a really, really
stupid design decision.  You NEVER want to make the users think what I
just wrote.

I like putting icons on my desktop.  Only icons.  Can we turn off that
stupid cashew yet?

The UI fonts are way too large.

Why can't I *easily* and *intuitively* reconfigure something as basic as
my desktop???

You get the point.  Many of these items are design decisions that the
developers made to "set KDE4 apart".  I don't think they will be fixed
anytime soon.  Feel free to surprise me though! :-)

Timothy Pearson
KDE3.5 Maintainer
Embedded Systems Engineer
Raptor Engineering