Linux,  Mandriva

One week of KDE

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.


  • FACORAT Fabrice

    As nspluginviewer is an “hack”, it’s unfair to take into account crashes caused by nspluginviewer.

    Amazing, I never had Kmail crashes, but I experienced many crash with evolution especially with 2.21/2.22.

    Concerning removable devices handling, normally you have the removable device applet where you can mount the device without having to use konqueror.

    Concerning file association, indeed there may have some issue have you have several places where you can set it, and kmail doesn’t seem to respect theses settings :(

  • Frederik

    nspluginviewer a hack? Maybe nsplugwinwrapper is, but I am speaking about nspluginviewer, which is an integral part of KDE itself, so if it crashes, it is KDE’s problem…

  • Fitzcarraldo

    I use both KDE and GNOME regularly and do not experience any of the problems mentioned in your blog. Also, it is possible to automount removable devices in KDE, without using Konqueror to open them first. In my case, browsing samba shares under KDE is more reliable than under GNOME. It took me almost a year of using both KDE and GNOME to finally decide which of the two I prefer (KDE, as it happens), and I think a lot of it comes down to one’s personal experience on the specific platform(s) one is using them on and one’s personal preference for the look and feel of the GUI, applets and applications.

  • FabriceV

    that exactly describes the current Linux reality. KDE is much more featured, but much more bugged. It’s not true in all case… Tracker, Strigi… All that things zealots used to compare Linux’s features with Apple! Depending on configuration Evolution is really buggy too… Well, I love and use Linux, but disinformation is really a problem… Does not help all of those who try to promote efficiently Linux. Just an example: SoundJuicer tags correctly with new Ubuntu Hardy… That just means that previously, a program that does not tag correctly was promoted… We are in 2007 !!!

  • Trojan

    Nice work, definitely able to create a lot of flaming

    I am using Debian (not *buntu) with KDE 3 on a desktop and laptop for the pass number of years.

    No crashing so far :-)

  • Graeme

    I have had one or two crashes since switching back to Mandriva about six months ago, using KDE throughout (apart from one or two days trying out Enlightenment).

    I have had more problems with Gnome functionality than KDE: for example, I found that file browsing over sftp works very reliably in Konq, but not in Nautilus.

  • ReinoutS

    Pidgin is not a GNOME app. (Empathy/Telepathy has been proposed for 2.22 but this has been postponed hopefully for 2.24.)

    F-Spot is not a GNOME app either. (Not that there’s any official GNOME equivalent…) But basically you’re comparing random GTK+ based apps against KDE.

  • Frederik

    Well, in that case, you could say that it still looks worse for GNOME then: strictly speaking GNOME does not even contain an instant messaging and photo organizer, so it still has even less features than what I was assuming…

    But in the end it does not matter: end users do not care at all about what is officially part of the GNOME desktop, but care about what is installed by default. AFAIK all important distros ship Pidgin and F-Spot by default in GNOME. Let’s hope Empathy will be in shape soon to become a better and more feature complete IM app for end users than Pidgin currently is. In any case, it’s somewhere on my TODO list to compile the latest Empathy stuff soon, in order to take a look at it :-)