Last week, I swtiched back from GNOME to KDE for one week. I used KDE 3.5.9, not 4.0.2 because I think that one will very probably not be mature enough for my needs.
What is nice in KDE, is that it is often much more advanced than GNOME functionality wise. For example, Kopete has much better MSN support than Pidgin: it supports sending and receiving of away/personal messages, there’s webcam support,… The KDE notifications framework is a great way to fine tune all kinds of different notifications to events, such as sounds, passive pop-up notifications, etc,… K3b is by far the best Free CD burner application, while Amarok is still unrivaled in its combination of power and GUI attractiveness and GNOME’s F-Spot does not even have half of Digikam’s features. KDE’s memory usage also felt better than GNOME. My 1 GB system seemed to swap less than in GNOME, running comparable programs.
The big problem with KDE however, still are the random crashes and various things which do not work as expected. In one week of time, I experienced two random Kontact/KMail crashes. GWenview/nspluginviewer is crashing when entering a directory with movies if you have mplayerplug-in installed. KMail sometimes gives new mail notifications for old, unread e-mail and changing the file associations for MIME types, does not always seem to work correctly, especially when using the right click – Open With menu, and selecting the option to always use the selected application in the future. KDE does not support mounting LUKS encrpyted file systems and the fact that you have to explicitly open a removable device first in Konqueror in order to have it mounted, can be annoying at times.
So I am back to GNOME again now. While it has generally less features than KDE, the features that are there, generally work very reliably, which is not always the case in KDE. Unfortunately, I am afraid that the Linux desktop will only really start taking of if there’s a desktop which can nicely combine stability, features and ease of use, which is not yet the case to my feeling. I am curious to see what KDE 4 will bring in the future. Based on Mutt’s motto, for now I dare to conclude: all desktops suck, GNOME just sucks slightly less.