2011-01-31

Review: KDE 4.6

A couple days ago, KDE 4.6 was released for the world to enjoy. It boasts myriad bug fixes, new features for applications like Dolphin and Marble (among others), a revamped Activities feature, and better integration of GTK+ applications. I've come to enjoy testing new KDE 4 releases because it gets noticeably better with each release (or so I would hope), as opposed to GNOME, Xfce, LXDE, and other DEs which don't change much between "point" releases (i.e. X.Y ("X point Y")).
That said, it's not available for Linux Mint 9 "Isadora", and I don't plan on upgrading that until the next LTS release (Linux Mint 13 "M[...]a") unless some radical change (that I don't like) makes me switch distributions (but given the lead developer Clement Lefebvre's recent statements on the matter, that is highly unlikely). Right now, it's only (in terms of Ubuntu-based distributions) available in Ubuntu/Kubuntu 10.10 "Maverick Meerkat" and Linux Mint 10 "Julia" through a backport PPA. As I had a Linux Mint 10 "Julia" GNOME live USB handy, I used that to do testing; I will say that this method may have been the cause of many of the problems that you will read about shortly. Follow the jump to see how it went.

After rebooting into the live USB, I typed into the terminal "sudo add-apt-repository ppa:kubuntu-ppa/backports" followed by "sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop" (all without the quotation marks, of course). It took a little time to install everything, but it all seemed to install successfully. (For the record, when asked, I chose GDM as the default login manager over KDM.) After that, I logged out and logged into the KDE Plasma Workspace session.
This is where the trouble started. After going through the KDE splash screen, instead of showing the lovely KDE 4.6 desktop that I had seen in pictures, the screen went black save for the cursor. I then had no choice (because the desktop wouldn't respond to keyboard or mouse commands) but to do a cold reboot and then a reinstallation of KDE in the live session. I then did this again.
Thankfully, this time the desktop loaded successfully. The KDE desktop hasn't really changed much, though I'm not sure why there's a KDE microblogging Plasmoid present by default. The new wallpaper looks pretty slick; for some reason I'm more of a fan of KDE's darker wallpapers.
I then eagerly tried to find out if KDE's GTK+ integration was as good as advertised, so I loaded Nautilus and Dolphin side-by-side and...it was not to be. Nautilus still used the ugly and blocky default GNOME theme (and not even the Mint-X theme used by default in the GNOME session), and it stuck out like a sore thumb. Interestingly enough, running Nautilus also loaded the default Linux Mint GNOME desktop in the KDE session (sans the GNOME panel). Running "killall nautilus" in the terminal took care of that.
I tried out a few more GTK+ applications as well as Mozilla Firefox to similarly disappointing results (theme-wise). Even going into the KDE System Settings and making GTK+ applications use the QtCurve theme by default did nothing. (I even looked into the .gtkrc-2.0 file and that seemed to show the proper GTK+ and icon themes, but it seemed meaningless, as the GTK+ applications still looked ugly.) Thankfully, the "kubuntu-desktop" package also configures OpenOffice.org to use the Oxygen style, so that at least integrated well with the KDE desktop.
The "kubuntu-desktop" package also comes with Rekonq as the default browser. I've tried it a few times before, and I'm really pleased with the way it operates. It's stable, fast, and has a slick UI, and it can display all the webpages I frequent.
I also checked out desktop effects, as KWin is supposed to be much improved. These all worked smoothly and without any hassles; plus, they even felt a little quicker (or maybe that was just a placebo effect).
Unfortunately, more problems arose here. I wanted to open a few more applications and then try the revamped Activities, but at this point, KDE was throwing up black screens every time I tried. I finally gave up.
By this time, I had enough of KDE, so I logged out. Speaking of which, every time I logged out of KDE, I got a Plasma crash error. At least it didn't happen in the middle of the KDE session. I then logged back into the GNOME session to look for my screenshots...only to find them missing! Because I installed KDE in the live session, there wasn't very much space left at all, and even the screenshots were taking up significant amounts of the remaining space. I have a feeling this space issue was also why KDE was crashing so much. Anyway, that's why there are no pictures here today.
Overall, I'm quite disappointed with KDE 4.6; more precisely, I'm disappointed with how it treated me today. That said, it wasn't as bad as KDE 4.4 which refused to load at all. I'm sure that if I tried a distribution that focused on the KDE 4.6 implementation, I'd have a much better experience, so I will certainly try such distributions in the future. Furthermore, this still doesn't discourage me from testing the next KDE release. This particular bad experience was probably a combination of the way I tested it (and the resulting lack of space), my inexperience, and the fact that KDE 4.6 was released just recently. Nevertheless, it was a bad experience for me.

43 comments:

  1. Hi Prashant,

    I urge you to use Arch linux for your next KDE review. the reason is that it uses 'vanila KDE' from upstream sources with little changes. Since it is a rolling distro you can try it out immediately after launch and not wait for the next release.

    I upgraded to KDE 4.6 the same day it was released and the upgrade was flawless. I cant comment on the gtk integration since I don't use gtk apps. But to get the 'real' KDE experience try some KDE apps like digikam which can go head to head with any similar app on ANY platform both FOSS and commercial.

    Also try Konqueror with webkit. Its now become my default browser with Chromium as a close second. Firefox used up too much of resources.

    good luck with the next reivew :)

    cheers
    V

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  2. I've never read or heard that Kubuntu was the best implementation of KDE (after all their primary focus is Ubuntu and Gnome). In order to review KDE you should test it using a distro where there is a focus on getting it right.

    Also, is your being a Gnome'er (obvious in your writing) affecting you review? Just asking.

    Does using a *buntu backport with a Gnome Mint livecd possibly cause issues?

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  3. Seconded for the Arch Linux recommendation.

    I have gtk-qt-engine installed, as well as oxygen-gtk. In the system settings screen I set GTK apps to use oxygen-gtk, and the integration is spectacular. oxygen-gtk even works when you change the KDE color scheme.

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  4. @Anonymous: If you noticed, I did try Rekonq (which is Konqueror with WebKit, as far as I know), and liked it a lot. Also, as far as I know, Kubuntu's KDE implementation is fairly vanilla, so I don't see how that differs much from Arch. I have tried Chakra before, which admittedly has branched off a bit from Arch, but in any case, I may use that next to try KDE 4.6 again (because aside from the package manager and branding, it's pretty vanilla as well). And I have used Amarok and digiKam and have made them my default music and photo management applications respectively even on my Linux Mint 9 "Isadora" GNOME desktop. Thanks for the comment!

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  5. Obviously it's a bug between your keyboard and chair. KDE 4.6 works fine.

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  6. I've always had rotten luck with Kubuntu (any of the *buntus, really). I second the Arch recommendation above. The micro-blogging widget is not on the desktop by default... that must be a Kubuntu thing.

    As for the review itself, could you talk a little more about the feature pack? The improvements to desktop activities alone is worth the upgrade. I was a little disappointed that your review only covered what the thing looked like. If you're not really familiar with the KDE 4.x layout (which could easily hamper your review) give me a few days; I'm presently writing a tutorial on the use of the KDE 4.6 desktop environment for my website. I'll send you the link if you want.

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  7. "Obviously it's a bug between your keyboard and chair. KDE 4.6 works fine."

    Ha ha ha.... nice one.

    Next time try a distro that actually favours KDE. Also forget about trying to do things "the Gnone way". KDE left Gnome behind a long time ago... And what is all this typing of apt***** this and apt***** that. Get a proper distro with a proper package AND repository manager and use the GUI. Stop scaring newbies with unnecessary command line crap.

    Peace ;-)

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  8. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE! When reviewing KDE, stay away of anything Ubuntu-related. It has been said time and time again that Ubuntu and KDE mix like oil and water. No, despite what you may hear from Ubuntu-fans, Kubuntu is not a good KDE distro: it get so many things wrong and its affiliation with the main Ubuntu project casts a big shadow over other better supported/maintained KDE distributions which probably will give you a much better experience anyway!

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  9. Definitely an issue with the distro, nothing to do with KDE 4.6, which works fine... Please stop blaming KDE for integration issues.

    For your info, Rekonq and Konqueror are completely different things, two very separate code trees. And oxygen-gtk works perfectly for me (OpenSUSE), so it must be something related to your config.

    Anyway, thanks for at least looking over the fence, that's a nice move :)

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  10. @Anonymous 1: I'm sorry I didn't make it clear in this review (probably because of the issues I had that sort of took precedence in my thought process), but I have made it clear that my use of GNOME every day certainly does not make me a totally unbiased reviewer, and I have never thus far seen a need to switch from GNOME even when KDE (e.g. 4.5) is perfectly fine anyway. Also, my purpose of doing it this way was to focus more on the DE itself. If I use a distribution that does it right, it also tends (on the whole) to include other applications and neat tricks to set it apart, so KDE becomes but a part of the distribution as opposed to the defining characteristic. Finally, I do state in the article that testing it on a live USB could potentially have caused many of the issues I experienced.
    @Erik: Unfortunately, I don't have the skills to install Arch Linux. I may check out Chakra again with it comes with KDE 4.6 installed by default, as that may give me a better picture of what KDE 4.6 is like. Also, I unfortunately haven't ever had success with those gtk-qt engines or oxygen-gtk themes.
    @gene: I haven't really had any trouble with Ubuntu or its derivatives. Also, I don't really have the experience to try installing Arch, so for me, as far as I can tell, that's out of the question. Finally, I would have talked more about the feature pack if the desktop didn't either go blank or lock up (or both) practically every time I clicked on a button. When I review a distribution that primarily uses KDE 4.6, I'll talk more about it then.
    @Anonymous 2: Did you read the article at all? It seems like that thought process didn't go through your noggin at all.
    @Anonymous 3: Yes, I certainly will try a distribution in the near future that favors KDE. But I wanted to first try KDE beside a GNOME setup to see how well it plays with GNOME and GTK+ applications when both are present. How exactly is that doing anything "the GNOME way"? Is there really a "GNOME way" or a "KDE way" to using the desktop? Or, shockingly, could it be possible that I just want to use the desktop? Also, you've got to be trolling me about the package management and repository management. For a power user, it may come out inadequate in some very obscure areas, but for the rest of us it works just fine, thank you very much. I suppose I could have done the same thing in Synaptic Package Manager or Mint Software Manager, but this time I felt like doing it in the terminal. Is there a problem with that?
    @Anonymous 4: That may have been true 6 months to a year ago, but from the reviews I've been reading of Kubuntu 10.10 "Maverick Meerkat", it provides an extremely pleasant, stable, and friendly KDE experience (if not a fully customized one) and is certainly worlds better than previous releases of Kubuntu. That's why I'm not sure that statement is entirely fair anymore (except for KDE versions released in PPAs for versions of Kubuntu that have older versions of KDE).
    @Anonymous 5: I guess then I should try a different distribution with GNOME by default and install KDE on top of that. (Maybe Debian?) Also, are you saying that Rekonq is separate from Konqueror + WebKit? From what I had read recently about both, many writers seemed to explicitly say that Konqueror + WebKit = Rekonq.
    Thanks for the comments!

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  11. What a horrible review! You review KDE but your focus is clearly the Gnome stuff. I mean it's OK to mention Gnome here and there in a KDE review but in this case, the whole article is about Gnome. The reason why the gtk applications are that ugly in KDE is simply because gtk is ugly everywhere. And as the previous posters mentioned it's not fair to test KDE on Ubuntu or its derivatives.

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  12. @Anonymous: Thanks for commenting, but let's get a few things straight. One of the features touted by the developers of KDE 4.6 is better GTK+ integration. I had a lot of trouble with that in the past, so I tried opening many different GTK+ applications in a KDE session, to no avail (in terms of integration). Why GTK+ and why not just focus on the applications in KDE? Because I've done that before, and not much has changed since my previous reviews of KDE 4.X (other than Marble, which I should have installed but sadly didn't). Finally, why do you say GTK+ is ugly everywhere (or, to put it another way, have you seen Linux Mint GNOME), and why don't you think it's fair that I'm testing KDE on Ubuntu? Maybe I should add a disclaimer saying that Ubuntu may add some problems to installations of KDE on top of GNOME, but frankly, given the positive reviews of Kubuntu 10.10 "Maverick Meerkat", I think it's only fair that I expect a generally positive experience (confirmed by my past review of KDE 4.5). Plus, if I test any other distribution, it either is incredibly difficult to install and get running (Slackware, Arch, Gentoo) just to experience vanilla KDE or it modifies the experience (changing looks, functionality, or applications) enough that KDE is no longer vanilla and the focus of the review turns to the distribution as a whole rather than KDE specifically.

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  13. Gtk+ integration: you actually have to configure it properly. Apparently it wasn't. The "trick" is to set Gtk+ to use the Oxygen Gtk+ theme, something I find easiest to achieve with the GNOME control panels. It would be nice if your distro would set it up that way for you by default.

    Black screens: that's what happens when a kwin effect goes wrong. Often this is due to a bug in the x.org driver that is being triggered by the effect. Sadly many x.org drivers are still dreadfully buggy.

    "KDE 4.6": there is no such product as "KDE 4.6"; you essentially reviewed (or attempted to review) Plasma Desktop

    I'm sorry you had a poor experience, but it really doesn't seem like many if not all of the problems were with Plasma or other KDE software.

    "and not much has changed since my previous reviews of KDE 4.X"

    did you check the release notes for the 4.6 releases? there are a number of things that are new and/or improved, and several of them were wel documented there. they even include (re-usable) screenshots :)

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  14. I think you should try openSUSE instead, it has a very decent GTK+ application integration in KDE.

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  15. I'm running 4.6 on my Gentoo system now. Works pretty well, but there were some headaches getting it up and going. I get that crash on logout as well, so that looks like a real bug. It looks about the same, with some minor tweeks to the theme, but nothing major. The big news is that the KDE Pim apps seem much more stable (though, they still aren't technically at 4.6 yet and aren't going to make it into 4.6.0). I expect some patches to come thru soon addressing the crash.

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  16. Rekonq is a completely separate project from Konqueror, and has quite a different layout and feature pack. At the moment I'm using Konqueror+Webkit, but if Rekonq gets a couple of little issues dealt with it may become my web browser of choice. I'll stick with Konqueror for a file manager though; Dolphin still bites weenies.

    As for "problems" with Ubuntu, I'm sorry, but there's no excuse for a release to come out with such an enormous buglist. If I'm running a rolling release like Arch, fine, I expect an update to break something from time-to-time. But for a so-called "stable" release the Debian/Slackware creedo is the only one that makes sense: it's not ready until it's ready.

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  17. @Aaron Seigo: I actually tried that as well. I set the GNOME icon theme as Oxygen, but that didn't work. It seems like the Kubuntu package doesn't include an Oxygen GTK+ theme; if that were present I suppose it would work nicer. Also, the "not much" comment was with regard to applications. I realize there have been bajillions of bugfixes as always, but in terms of applications, other than the improvements to Marble, I didn't see anything either in the release notes or in my own experience to suggest big changes.
    @Anonymous 1: Yeah, and that's because the openSUSE developers are one of the few to pay essentially equal attention to both GNOME and KDE releases. I've reviewed openSUSE 11.3 KDE before (in a comparison test), and I plan to review 11.4 KDE (and/or GNOME) when that comes out.
    @Anonymous 2: It's good to know that you have it working and that I'm not the only one facing the logout Plasma crash bug. (Note: I am nowhere near skilled enough to try KDE on Gentoo.)
    @gene: I hope you don't mind that I ask, but what exactly don't you like about Dolphin as a file manager? I read an article a couple days ago detailing how Dolphin can quickly be made to have an interface very similar to that of Konqueror 3.5. Also, I agree that Ubuntu's choice of sticking with predefined release dates is often detrimental to the distribution. But then, while I admire Debian and Slackware's commitment to not releasing a distribution until it is truly ready, this means that their versions of included software are often two versions behind when released. That's why I like the Linux Mint release schedule -- don't release it until it's ready, but try to time the release reasonably close to the corresponding Ubuntu release. The result is a Linux Mint release that comes not more than a month or so after the corresponding Ubuntu release, yet has far fewer bugs. Furthermore, because Linux Mint is community-driven, there's no need to set specific deadlines as a corporate-driven distribution would not to do. This also means that when a new version of Linux Mint is worked on, 95% of the attention goes to the main GNOME release, but after that, the KDE, Xfce, and other releases get similar attention and aren't released until they are truly ready (months after the GNOME release, typically). This is also why I think (based on other reviewers' experiences) Linux Mint KDE and Xfce tend to be of higher quality than, respectively, Kubuntu and Xubuntu, because the latter two get less attention than Ubuntu (admittedly, Xubuntu is not an official Canonical project but is an "officially-sponsored" community project) but are still released at the same time. Thanks for the comment!

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  18. Please, please, please (stop abusing) those damn parentheses (when you type). You use them in the (most annoying and useless) places, it makes reading your (articles headache-inducing).

    Also, this review is useless. As tons of other people mentioned, almost all the drawbacks you came across are due to the base distro, and not KDE 4.6.

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  19. @Friendly Photon: About the parentheses, sorry. I know I often overuse them, but at this point it's become a nasty habit. I'll try to consciously restructure the sentences to avoid using them when they aren't really necessary. Now, with regard to the review itself, I'd like to know exactly how it's useless. A previous commenter did say that openSUSE does well in integrating GTK+ applications into KDE. But that's openSUSE. What if it was Arch? As I have no experience installing base Arch and customizing it, I'm not going to try this anytime soon, but let's say that KDE was installed on top of Arch with GNOME. Would the GTK+ integration be any better? I truly don't for sure, but something (e.g. Aaron Seigo's comment -- I hope you don't mind these parentheses too much) tells me that the issue would remain, meaning it's not an Ubuntu problem or an Arch problem but a KDE problem. Another commenter also said the KDE logout Plasma crash is a recurring bug. Is that an issue with Ubuntu? No, that's a KDE issue. What about the space problem and possibly associated KDE application crashes? That's most likely an issue with my methodology; I don't think it would have mattered if it was Ubuntu, Arch, Gentoo, or whatever. But most importantly, are you seriously calling the whole post useless? I talked about how Rekonq is much improved. I talked about the Plasma crash at logout. I made it fairly clear in the comments, if not quite as much in the article, that I will never use this method again to test a new version of KDE and that I will always use an installed system from now on. That last point could be beneficial for other people trying different DEs on live systems. Yes, it wasn't the best review. Yes, I could have done better. Yes, I use parentheses too much. And yes, many of the problems do relate to Ubuntu, while only a handful relate to KDE. I generally welcome comments on my posts, but if you feel that this was useless to you, then I must sincerely ask what compelled you to comment on it. However, if you think this was useless to the community as a whole (i.e. not just the gurus), I challenge you to prove it.

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  20. I continue to have issues with KDE also. Random annoying crashes, the black screens, the logout plasma crash, the inability to customize basic parts of the DE. These happen regardless of distribution as I have tried on several. The normal responses are to blame everything but KDE. The xorg drivers are buggy - why are they not buggy with Gnome and Compiz? Nothing to do with KDE 4.6, which works fine... Please stop blaming KDE for integration issues - what you can't just install KDE and expect it to work properly - Gnome and XFCE work fine when installed in addition to another DE. And my favorite - Obviously it's a bug between your keyboard and chair. KDE 4.6 works fine - apparently not or I would not have these issues!

    These have been the same type responses from the KDE developers since KDE4's introduction. Never the fault of KDE. Too bad KDE went from a superior DE with KDE3 to a DE inferior to even Windows with KDE4. And oh no, with that said, here come the attacks from the KDE4 crowd again. Thus why the KDE still has reliability and usability problems.

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  21. I appreciate your comments about KDE as it is always blaming some thing else. If some one suggest in an article that they have tried other desktops other then KDE people slam them for even bringing up this topic. I for one look forward to articles like that as it give me an idea as to what to use instead. I do not like them changing so much and making it harder for people to use. I realize that KDE has put different ways to do things but to people like me I do not like these ways of doing things. Another thing is Arch Linux is not that had to install with the beginners guide. I installed it and did not have issues doing so. The length of time to do this though is longer then other distributions but it is not all that bad.

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  22. I agree with anonymous above me. I just stopped testing out KDE4 releases. There is always a crash, and that crash brings whole DE down. Tested it few times in Debian, Ubuntu, even OpenSuse once or twice. I'm a quick "clicker" and enjoy playing with preferences, but no matter what I do, in about half an hour time - crash, and drkonqi (if I remember correctly). I just couldn't understand KDE focus (and energy) to (for example) re-implement compiz, but they just couldn't make a release focused solely on stability. Maybe it's just me and my experience, but reading around the net, I don't feel lonely at all.

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  23. @Anonymous above: obviously you are not alone. However, there are also many happy KDE users out there. Do you think those people will stay with KDE if it is just as bad as this review described?

    I think the writer wrote a pretty good review over his experience with KDE on Ubuntu, which turn out to be a bad experience. However, so far i have a very good experience with KDE 4.6 on openSUSE, so, i think the title for this article should "Review: KDE 4.6 on Ubuntu".

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  24. "gtk is ugly everywhere."

    agree :))
    tested with Xorg only without any DE, launch simple dialog both gtk and qt from xterm, which one is shown ugly ?

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  25. "why are they not buggy with Gnome and Compiz"

    Maybe because Gnome and Compiz developer are more friendly with upstream (i think this is the case with xorg), or maybe because whenever they hit an upstream bugs, they simply make a workaround on over it on their code.

    As far as i know, KDE developer choose to let upstream bugs get fixed by upstream, not by creating ugly hack on their code. Personally i think this is a good decision, but, Of course there are price for it.

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  26. I can't agree with the last couple of posters; I haven't had trouble with plasma crashes since KDE 4.3. I think there's probably a major problem with distros trying to customize the damn thing; I run only distros that ship vanilla packages, and don't have all these problems. I'm not experiencing the logout crash; in fact I haven't had a single plasma crash of any kind so far since installing KDE 4.6.

    Two things for the author: first, the author of the article you linked (I've been following this guy) is, by his own admission, nobody's idea of a power user, and his very basic usage of file management tools illustrates the point. Dolphin doesn't have half of Konqueror's advanced functionality, and doesn't seem likely to get it. I still don't understand why the KDE devs switched over to Dolphin as the default.

    Second, you keep refferring to certain distros as being difficult to install. I don't see that... well, okay, Gentoo is hard to install. But Slackware, for instance, is very easy, as is Arch. The thing with these distros is that it's not intuitive; you have to read the documentation. Not so much for the installation (the installers walk you through it) but for the post-install configuration. I do believe, however, that a complete noob could easily install and configure Slackware or Arch if they can follow simple step-by-step instructions. I have a website full of Slackware tutorials aimed at beginners (and have been told by many that they're very good), and Arch has the superb Wiki. There's a diference between being difficult and not being intuitive. the command line isn't really difficult, it's just not intuitive. Same goes for installing Arch or Slackware. I switched my main desktop box over to Arch a week or so ago and got everything running in just a few hours:

    http://genek.net/wordpress/?p=80

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  27. @Anonymous 1: Agreed. I don't know why it seems sacrilegious to put even the slightest bit of blame on KDE. I know that part of the blame does lie in the GTK+ libraries which don't play well with KDE, but the KDE 4.6 release announcement did specifically promise better integration of GTK+ applications out-of-the-box, and that didn't happen. How is that not KDE's fault? Finally, I do think the best version yet is KDE 4.5. It's stable, fast, feature-filled, and has a lot more than Microsoft Windows. It seems like for me at least, KDE 4.6 threw the stability part of the equation out the window (no pun intended).
    @United Against: Thanks for your support. Although, I'm not sure I fully understand: who is always blaming someone else, and for what? Also, I have heard that the Arch beginner's guide is extraordinarily useful, but frankly (as you will see with today's post), with regard to installing Arch, I just don't have that kind of time now and won't for a while.
    @Anonymous 2: Yeah, I really dislike it when an application crash in KDE 4 locks up the whole desktop. KDE 4.5 seems to have resolved those issues, but KDE 4.6 seems to have brought the bad memories back.
    @m_goku: I won't dispute that there are many happy KDE users out there. However, I will say that when KDE 4.0 was released, a large portion of users moved to other DEs and many of those still haven't come back because of the initial trauma that was KDE 4.0. Plus, I think it's telling that for the first time (that I can remember), a desktop environment has been forked: KDE 3.5 is alive and kicking thanks to the developers of the Trinity project. I'm not trying to dispute what you say, but it's just something to keep in mind. Also, I think your positive experiences with openSUSE also have to do with the fact that KDE on openSUSE is a bit customized and tailored (i.e. not vanilla), and openSUSE does work on many of the KDE components (e.g. Plasma bar, Kickoff). Also, with regard to GNOME and Compiz vs. KDE, although from a coder's perspective the workaround is an ugly hack (as opposed to an upstream patch), I would much prefer the bugs be fixed sooner rather than later while waiting for upstream action.
    @Anonymous 3: I agree that GTK+ doesn't look the best by default. But it's amazing how far a little customization can take it: look at Linux Mint, Lubuntu, #!, etc.
    Thanks for all the comments!

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  28. @gene: I figured there's probably something else you would be missing from Dolphin. Anyway, when I say hard to install, I didn't mean hard to just install; I didn't make this clear, but I meant to include post-installation configuration into this. Maybe what I should say instead is that on Slackware, Arch, and Gentoo, it's hard to get a working KDE system up and running quickly. Thanks for the comment!

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  29. The author appears to be too ignorant to be writing a review ( on this subject at least).

    I use KDE but I am able to change the theme of gtk apps such as firefox and java freely, via the systems settings module of KDE. This author doesn't seem to be aware of how to do that.

    At least he should then switch to a user friendly distro...

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  30. Prashant please install it correctly before you go around bashing the BEST open source desktop available today. I use it everyday since 4.4 as main development system and have nothing but praises for KDE. I hope you understand it's annoying to read reviews where the reviewer has no idea what he is up to but still continues to disparage the efforts of others. Better luck next time.

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  31. @PV: i have to admit that you make a valid point there. As a user, i would prefer that bug get fixed sooner.

    As for openSUSE KDE being not vanilla, i think neither Ubuntu KDE is vanilla.

    And finally, i think KDE 4.6 are not part of official release of any distro yet. Even on openSUSE it is located on Factory repo which mean the packages are not fully tested yet and may contain bugs. If PPA on Ubuntu is the same as Factory on openSUSe, then all your problem are expected.

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  32. What a poorly written 'review', shallow, ignorant, embarrassing at least. KDE team, keep up the good work!

    --Written on Kubuntu+KDE4.6 .... works great.

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  33. @Anonymous 1: I don't know if I didn't make this clear enough or if you didn't read it, but I did in fact try this very thing (in the KDE System Settings), still to no avail.
    @Vikram: Next time, I'm certainly going to install the distribution before testing KDE (at least in a virtual machine).
    @m_goku: I suppose then what I should do is wait to retest KDE until it does officially become part of a distribution.
    @Anonymous 2: Please do explain. I'd love to know.
    Thanks for the comments!

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  34. hi, a few things to say about this review. First of all you don't test kde on linux mint and on kubuntu/ubuntu. you just don't. if you wanna say that kubuntu has improved and payed a lot more attention to kde lately it's just blah blah, kubuntu is just useless. the only distro that i have seen to make a worse job with kde is linux mint. with mint you don't even use kde, you use gtk and gnome base. that being said, it's difficult for people to take your review serious since you admit not to be able to install arch linux - which is just the best kde distro out there next to mandriva. but if you really want to review kde how about writing about kde, not about gtk applications in kde, which by the way integrate perfectly in opensuse, arch, mandriva. so this means the problems you've encountered where distro related not kde related. and once again- YOU NEVER TRY OUT KDE ON KUBUNTU AND LINUX MINT!!!!

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  35. @Ovi: Thanks for the comment. It's probably true that the GTK+ application integration issues have more to do with Ubuntu/Linux Mint than with KDE. However, the reason why I focused more on that now is because that is one of the selling points of the new KDE 4.6. My other question is, if you say that saying Kubuntu has improved is meaningless, how do you explain the slew of reviews praising Linux Mint 9 "Isadora" KDE and Kubuntu 10.10 "Maverick Meerkat" (as Linux Mint 10 "Julia" KDE isn't out yet)? I agree that Kubuntu and the "kubuntu-desktop" packages probably aren't the best way to try out KDE, but frankly, they've improved a lot. (Of course, there are the recurring bugs, like the KWin crashes, etc.)

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  36. Hi again.
    I was just going to say, the good thing about your review is that you focused on this issue - gtk integration. that's one of the greatest improvements that I see with this new release, along all other features which I'm still discovering. The only way i can explain people praising kubuntu and mint-kde edition, is that they just haven't tried something else. surely, those two are much easier to use than arch or opensuse, which require a lot of patience and more skills, but if they get to use one of those they will see the difference. kubuntu has improved, sure, but have you seen the improvements made by opensuse, arch and mandriva?
    ;)

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  37. Kubuntu is not the first choice as a distribution. It looks like Canonical provides it show an alleged inferiority of KDE but in fact it's just kubuntu that is broken.

    On the other hand I fully understand that you want a debianized KDE distribution.

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  38. @aaron

    ""KDE 4.6": there is no such product as "KDE 4.6"; you essentially reviewed (or attempted to review) Plasma Desktop"

    DE in KDE => Desktop Environment. Stop beeing a language nazi now that Richard Stallman is not very vocal as a language reformer anymore. We call it as we like.

    We want KDE and hate a broken Desktop, be it Plasma whatever. Maybe you should provide a driver test suite, so Driver users can find out in advance if the driver would be a problem and the driver manufacturers can fix it accordingly or spill out a warning: Your driver is broken.

    In the end we don't care what breaks it, we just see that it still does not work for us.

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  39. @Ovi: See? I wasn't entirely wrong in opening up a bunch of GTK+ applications in KDE. :) Also, I understand that Kubuntu certainly isn't the best KDE distribution out there, and that distributions like Mandriva, openSUSE, Pardus, Sabayon, and the like surpass it by leaps and bounds. With that in mind, what I thought you were saying was that on its own merits, Kubuntu is a terrible KDE distributions, and I just wanted to say that isn't totally true anymore. Plus, none of those distributions have released new versions with KDE 4.6 included yet. I'll review them when they do.
    @Karin: I agree that Kubuntu isn't the best, but from what I've read, it's certainly usable and even pleasing to use (though not as much as the distributions I mentioned just above this). Also, with regard to Aaron's comment to which I should have responded with this earlier, I agree that it makes no difference. Honestly, Plasma is the only big component of KDE that users will frequently interact with. When I'm reviewing KDE, I don't review Phonon or Solid. I don't focus that much on KWin. I don't even install KDM. Most of the features associated with KDE are with Plasma, because most of the rest aside from KWin and KDM are basically back-end stuff with which the user will almost never directly interact. And that brings me to my next point: branding -- KDE has a branding problem. It's similar to what Acura was facing in the 1980s when it was new. Its only cars were the Legend and the Integra, both of which were quite popular but the former of which was far more popular, to the point where general name recognition of "Legend" was much higher than that of "Acura". This is the same problem here -- the "Plasma" name features too prominently, because the other core components of KDE (as far as I can tell) are just back-end stuff. That aside, I would like to say that developers of Fedora and openSUSE have kindly provided live ISOs with GNOME 3 on them just so users can try out GNOME 3. I will be previewing GNOME 3 as soon as I can, thanks to this. I suggest that the KDE developers do the same.
    Thanks for the comments!

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  40. Quick question, why would you load a QT desktop and then do a review on how it handled GTK+ applications? Some of the GTK stuff does not look as good, but the QT software included with KDE 4.6 looks pretty nice. Just asking for a little perspective.

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  41. @Brad Kelley: I've reviewed KDE 4 before, so I really just wanted to focus on new features this time around, and for my purposes, the most important new feature was improved integration of GTK+ applications. That's why I opened a whole bunch of GTK+ applications when the first and second ones looked ugly: to make sure it was a persistent issue and not a one-time thing. Plus, I do use quite a few KDE Qt applications on a regular basis, like GwenView, Amarok, Digikam, Okular, and KolourPaint. I hope that helps. Thanks for the comment!

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  42. Installing a lot of stuff while running live can generally only lead to tears; believe me, I've tried doing that a lot!

    I also disagree with the Chakra suggestion as, at the moment, has growing pains and the bundle system (which is the only way to try most GTK+ applications) is a major pain at the moment, though for testing the base KDE system and nothing else it's not too bad.

    You like Ubuntu-based distros and want to try out KDE 4.6 live? Here's my suggestion: try a Kubuntu Natty nightly live CD ( http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/kubuntu/daily-live/current/ ). I have Kubuntu Natty installed and it runs quite well, and actually has better fonts than most other distributions, and it has the oxygen-gtk theme installed.

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  43. @Joseph: Thanks for the tip!

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