The awesomely epic guide to KDE

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The awesomely epic guide to KDE

Postby Orbmiser » 02 Sep 2014 04:03

http://www.linuxvoice.com/desktops/
The awesomely epic guide to KDE
KDE is wonderful, as they all are in their own way. But in our opinion, KDE in particular suffers from poor default configuration and a rather allusive learning curve. This is doubly frustrating, firstly because it has been quietly growing more brilliant over the last couple of years
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Re: The awesomely epic guide to KDE

Postby Snap » 02 Sep 2014 06:43

Thanks for the link.

I have to agree with that paragraph. The defaults are left for the distro mantainers tweaks, but I cannot blame kde since other distros and WMs have terrible defaults too. Compared to many, the actually poor KDE defaults are already quite good IMO.

About the learning curve, Well, if you want features and customization possibilities there's always a learning curve. Call it KDE or whatever. Try to learn to deal with OpenBox or FluxBox. That's a real learning curve. Don't like to tweak? Go Gnome. :lol:
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Re: The awesomely epic guide to KDE

Postby Zero Angel » 02 Sep 2014 13:59

KDE is awesome. However I agree it has poor or mediocre defaults.

The few things I disagree with about KDE's defaults.

- Kickoff instead of Lancelot. Kickoff is not a very efficiently designed start menu. It takes more mouse-travel-time and mouse clicks to traverse the menu. Even the classic KDE menu has it beat on the usability front and a lot of diehard KDE fans switch to classic right away. However the Lancelot plasmoid also improves the UX over Kickoff and looks better too.

- Control+F# global shortcuts (e.g. plasma functions, show desktop, etc). In my opinion the control key should rarely ever be used for globals. The SUPER key or CTRL+ALT should be used for globals and CTRL and ALT on their own should be used mostly for functions that relate to the currently running (foreground) program.

- Non-emphasized foreground window. Traditional window managers highlight the foreground window's decoration to clearly display which program window is the active one. Plasma does this by using a blue glow around the window. While I understand that it makes much much more obvious which is the active window, the blue glow is overpowering and gaudy. Better to just use a subtle and slightly darker shadow and use decoration colors I think.

- Too much monochrome. Yes Oxygen is a slick looking theme, and furthermore judicious use of color can actually help to improve usability by emphasizing the (colored) aspects more. My problem is that the design philosophy around Oxygen negates the strategic use of color (e.g. on tabs, scrollbars) that might normally aid in usability as well as attractiveness (a splash of color here and there can make the OS look less 'plain')

- Unclear added features. KDE 4 adds a lot of features that can improve usability but they're hidden or non-obvious. Some of these features include the ability to middle-drag windows onto other windows to group/tab them or set up hotcorners to do things like activate the task switcher. Since KDE uses a traditional desktop style as its default, it's not always clear how to showcase the ways that it can be used to improve usability without breaking its traditional design. This is a head-scratcher that the KDE devs should think about so that people can be aware that KDE is more than just a boring classic looking desktop.

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Re: The awesomely epic guide to KDE

Postby dyfet » 02 Sep 2014 14:38

I agree a KDE "default" desktop tends to initially confuse and confound new KDE users. Having a default desktop with a folder view widget and with unlocked widgets is what I would choose to note in particular. Having something that, for a user that has never experienced KDE before, but likely has experienced other desktop environments, as you simply mouse over the desktop strange things suddenly happen (the folderview widget toolbar popping out, for example) can be very jarring. Enough so that I found people who were first introduced to KDE in this way for a long time afterward feel it is in some way "unnatural" or "strange", and this really does kill initial KDE adoption. This is the desktop version of the problem of the "uncanny valley", I think...

I would suggest a very different initial default desktop experience. Even the KDE netbook desktop (and with locked widgets) actually seems to feel less "uncanny" and unfamiliar to new users than that initial default desktop experience does. Perhaps a default that uses the folder layout desktop with the panel, plain and old fashioned as it might be to some, and especially with widgets initially locked, would I think be far less jarring for new KDE users. Another thing that could be nice for an initial user's KDE experience would be to pre-populate the dolphin places with the xdg shortcuts.
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Re: The awesomely epic guide to KDE

Postby Snap » 02 Sep 2014 16:16

a lot of diehard KDE fans switch to classic right away.
The very fist thing I do when I fire a KDE distro up for the first time. Neither Kickoff nor Lancelot nor Homerun for me, thanks.
In my opinion the control key should rarely ever be used for globals. The SUPER key or CTRL+ALT should be used for globals
Fully agreed.
Plasma does this by using a blue glow around the window.
I think it's Oxygen, so Kwin, not Plasma. The very second thing I do is disabling the Oxygen active window glow shadow.
Too much monochrome
I don't see an issue here.
Unclear added features
True. KDE is famous for lacking user guides or their total absence. Look for any calligra suite manual, for any of the apps, shame. Or KDE itself... holy crap.
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Re: The awesomely epic guide to KDE

Postby Deleted User 2763 » 02 Sep 2014 17:35

My problem with KDE is the instability of the plasma desktop. With both nvida and nouveau, it's constantly crashing (it usually restarts) and/or goes black. ("User switch" usually makes it go black.)

Other DE's don't seem to have that problem (I have tried quite a few).

It's hard to recommend Linux to a new user since KDE is culprit, not Linux, but the new user sees them as one in the same.
-Hinto

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Re: The awesomely epic guide to KDE

Postby Snap » 02 Sep 2014 17:43

My problem with KDE is the instability of the plasma desktop. With bot ndivida and nouveau, it's contantly crashing (it usually restarts) and/or goes black. ("User switch" usually makes it go black.)
Yep, it used to be more stable in this area a few versions back, but I have less kwin crashes handling windows, etc... than ever before. Always a weak spot at least in one section. With the recent versions Kwin won, Plasma lost.
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Re: The awesomely epic guide to KDE

Postby Orbmiser » 02 Sep 2014 18:09

hinto wrote:My problem with KDE is the instability of the plasma desktop. With both nvida and nouveau, it's constantly crashing (it usually restarts) and/or goes black. ("User switch" usually makes it go black.)

Other DE's don't seem to have that problem (I have tried quite a few).

It's hard to recommend Linux to a new user since KDE is culprit, not Linux, but the new user sees them as one in the same.
-Hinto
Hmmm don't think it's fair to Blame KDE as on the one hand you say you are using nvidia and nouveau. As I am using legacy Ati 4350 using the open drivers on dual displays and had Zero crashes of desktop. This is with KDE on SolydXK , Kubuntu, Opensuse, Mint, Manjaro, Netrunner and have had zero issues with all of them.

So if it was KDE then wouldn't I had issues with at least one of them?

Sounds more like a specific hardware issue then KDE?

Just shooting in the dark and could be off the mark. Just doesn't seem a True Ring about it being a KDE issue.
As if it was KDE wouldn't it rear it's ugly head and have more reproducible crashes on more distro's?
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Re: The awesomely epic guide to KDE

Postby Deleted User 2763 » 02 Sep 2014 18:27

All my evidence of course is anecdotal.
I can install say LTS 14.04 based Gnome, Mutter, Gala, LXDE, OpenBox, XFCE and KDE distros and the only one that gives me problems is KDE.
I can install SolydXK X and SolydXK K and the only one that gives me problems is KDE.
I have installed that above on either ATI or NVidia and the only one that gives me problems is KDE.
I have installed on Desktops and Laptops and the only one that gives me problems is KDE.
If I VNC to a KDE session, plasma consistently crashes.

Granted the above doesn't happen every time, but 2-3 times a week is really too many.
-Hinto

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Re: The awesomely epic guide to KDE

Postby Orbmiser » 02 Sep 2014 18:36

Yep seems even more hardware specific Laptop? Desktop? proprietary drivers?

Sad to hear and first culprit would be to disable Desktop Effects for me. To see if that is the culprit.
For some just disabling the Blur effect resolved their issue.

But like I said had totally opposite experience on all flavors and many DE's & WM's with zero graphic issues.
Why I'm leaning to more of a specific and unique hardware issue. Remember Nvidia issue that was just one model difference.
Example: Numbers made up GT650 vs. GT750 older worked great newer was problematic. Even read a few older models never getting complete Love to resolve the issues and users had to upgrade board to get a stable system back.
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Re: The awesomely epic guide to KDE

Postby Deleted User 2763 » 02 Sep 2014 18:42

All drivers the same. KDE desktop effects were enabled (but so were the gnome/Compton/etal ones).
At the end of the day, too many distro and DE's to choose from so I just dropped it.
I read a forum signature once upon a time- "An operating system must operate".

To be fair, KDE 2 years ago was rock solid. Now, not so much.
-Hinto

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Re: The awesomely epic guide to KDE

Postby Snap » 02 Sep 2014 19:01

Same here. Nvidia GPU gives these issues with Nvidia or Nouveau in two machines. One of those two machines with the Nvidia card removed and using the onboard generic Intel GPU, zero issues whatever the DE, WM or distro I used.
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Re: The awesomely epic guide to KDE

Postby Zill » 02 Sep 2014 20:21

hinto wrote:...I can install say LTS 14.04 based Gnome, Mutter, Gala, LXDE, OpenBox, XFCE and KDE distros and the only one that gives me problems is KDE.
I can install SolydXK X and SolydXK K and the only one that gives me problems is KDE.
I have installed that above on either ATI or NVidia and the only one that gives me problems is KDE.
I have installed on Desktops and Laptops and the only one that gives me problems is KDE...
Similar experience here. I first used KDE way back around 2001 with Mandrake 8. Since then, I have tried KDE several times with various distros, such as Mepis and Kubuntu, running on various machines, but it has always struck me as bloated, buggy and unreliable.

The various blingy eye-candy features KDE is loaded with, while impressive to newbies, just get in the way of simple and efficient functionality IMHO, and simply slow down the machine for no advantage.

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Re: The awesomely epic guide to KDE

Postby Snap » 02 Sep 2014 20:45

The various blingy eye-candy features KDE is loaded with, while impressive to newbies, just get in the way of simple and efficient functionality IMHO, and simply slow down the machine for no advantage.
I somewhat disagree here. Some effects are real advantages for workflow. I only use a bunch to say the truth. Most are disabled. The real problem with many eye-candy effects is that they need some time to happen and be displayed or there won't be any effect (minimize, maximize, magic whatever, etc...) That's what slows down the entire system. I invariably set my Kwin instant, no effect, no animation and activation delay set to 0 ms for desktop switching. These four settings affect the whole Kwin performance. Set like this you won't tell a difference in responsiveness and snappiness compared with other DEs. Anything that doesn't fit these parameters is always disabled in my systems, The only eye-candy I allow (and like) are wobbly windows, not too much, just a touch of wiggling. And doesn't affect performance at all. So it depends on how you decide to use Kwin. What makes Kwin special and useful are Present windows, Desktop grid, hot corners for those mentioned before and the pseudo-tiling capability. That's why I love Kwin. Never been a fan of Plasma, but a true lover of Kwin set this way.
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Re: The awesomely epic guide to KDE

Postby Deleted User 2763 » 02 Sep 2014 20:57

^Those are all preferences.
The real issue is current level of stabilty. Enabling/disabliing effects is like going to the doctor and saying:
You: "Doc my arm hurts when I go like this"
Dr.: "Don't go like that."
-H

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Re: The awesomely epic guide to KDE

Postby Orbmiser » 02 Sep 2014 21:09

+1 to snap take. As also don't consider KDE bloated. Yes many what I consider useless flash. Others add to my workflow.

Funny thing is my KDE desktop comes in lighter around 400mb and 420mb with rainlender calender,Yawp Weather tray and Conky script running. I turn off all the wobbly windows,blur,etc I don't need or consider useless for me.

And the funny thing I found is KDE coming in much lighter and more responsive then Ubuntu Unity or Cinnamon or Gnome for that matter. But we never hear about them being bloated just how KDE is bloated. I say Hogwash!

To each there own. I can see that the bewildering array of features and settings can be daunting to those new to it. And give the impression of Bloat. But that isn't the case. Maybe if you compare it to the lightweight DE like Xfce or the like. But that is really an unfair comparison.

I'm in the user camp of rather have a feature I don't need and turn it off. Then one I try to add to a less and more minimal environment. Where I have to hack workaround and tinker with all kinds of config files and such.

Each their own. And if KDE isn't their cup of tea. Fine with me. But find it unfair to call it a Mess,Buggy or Bloated. As that has Never been my experience with it. I was an old time Gnome users and use to parrot the "KDE is Bloat" mantra. Until I actually tried it for awhile. As no matter what DE I would use. I was always pulling in more mature and feature rich apps like K3b,Okular,Amarok,Clementine,etc pulling in half of KDE frameworks with them. Even when running Gnome. So bit the bullet and gave KDE a serious go and came to appreciate it's advance features set. Tho hate the mish-mash kitchen sink Settings. And their default Fisher Price/Candy Desktop.
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Re: The awesomely epic guide to KDE

Postby oneleaf » 02 Sep 2014 22:04

dyfet wrote:I agree a KDE "default" desktop tends to initially confuse and confound new KDE users. Having a default desktop with a folder view widget and with unlocked widgets is what I would choose to note in particular. Having something that, for a user that has never experienced KDE before, but likely has experienced other desktop environments, as you simply mouse over the desktop strange things suddenly happen (the folderview widget toolbar popping out, for example) can be very jarring. Enough so that I found people who were first introduced to KDE in this way for a long time afterward feel it is in some way "unnatural" or "strange", and this really does kill initial KDE adoption. This is the desktop version of the problem of the "uncanny valley", I think...

I would suggest a very different initial default desktop experience. Even the KDE netbook desktop (and with locked widgets) actually seems to feel less "uncanny" and unfamiliar to new users than that initial default desktop experience does. Perhaps a default that uses the folder layout desktop with the panel, plain and old fashioned as it might be to some, and especially with widgets initially locked, would I think be far less jarring for new KDE users. Another thing that could be nice for an initial user's KDE experience would be to pre-populate the dolphin places with the xdg shortcuts.

This has been exactly my experience with KDE, including a recent install of SolydK. Although, I can say that I found KDE to feel just as light and snappy as Xfce, which was very surprising to me. It seemed much more polished than the previous versions I have tried, but I still find myself confused and lost by the whole experience.

I can't really fault KDE though, because it is a very personal thing as to which DE you "synch" with. For instance, I find Openbox to be very intuitive and easy to use, even without a panel, but I find Fluxbox to be confounding. In the end, Xfce is my favorite, and I especially like solydX, Mint, and MX-14's version of it. I think the default Xfce install is pretty ugly though!

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Re: The awesomely epic guide to KDE

Postby Snap » 03 Sep 2014 03:45

I find Openbox to be very intuitive and easy to use, even without a panel, but I find Fluxbox to be confounding.
That's it. Add features and tweakability, and you'll get a complex and confusing environment for newcomers with some learning curve needed. Get it simple and then it's smooth and easy from the start. That's OpenBox or Xfce versus Fluxbox and KDE. Nothing new under the sun. You can extrapolate this to anything else.
I think the default Xfce install is pretty ugly though!
Find a DE or WM without an ugly and unappealing default look. Once tweaked and themed they can look very good or even superb... though I only found superb visual experiences with KDE, Compiz and Fluxbox (well, and lately Razor-Qt too) Again the defaults of these three (or four) are terrible. Specially Fluxbox. Very discouraging at first sight, but digging deep enough you'll find the treasure.
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