Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The end of KDE (for me)

For the last two weeks I have been stuck using KDE at work due to a lack of Internet access. This was quite good as it gave me a chance to evaluate it as I haven't properly used it for many years. I'm using Kubuntu Edgy.

What I like about KDE:
  • Tiered menus - The KDE games menu subcategorises so that there are about 10 games in the base menu after installing the Gnome games. In Gnome the menu is huge.
  • KSysguard is great - you are able to monitor all sorts of system signals (CPU, memory, sockets...).
  • Kontact. Clean and simple it was immediately obvious what it did as soon as you opened it.
What I don't:
  • KDE has far too much information. Right click on anything and you get hundreds of options. Each menu entry is a short sentence - it's like reading a page of text for every menu.
  • Annoying use of on-top splashscreens.
  • Excessive, excessive use of 'K'. Either name things imaginatively or descriptively. It's very hard to scan through a menu with everything Kthis and Kthat.
  • KHTML. Not practical for actual WWW use.
  • QT frames - the old fashioned surround everything with lines. Visual clutter that looks terrible against GTK+ frames (bold headings, no lines).
  • Apply buttons. Just unnecessary.
  • Katapult. No idea what this does. It just opened a splashscreen, no obvious information on what it is.
  • The animation effects seem inconsistent.
General problems in both KDE and Gnome:
  • Apps shouldn't automatically quit if they can't be immediately useful, e.g. xsane. I think it creates a bad experience if you can't see inside programs. In this case it should state there are no scanners and just disable the scan button. What if you wanted to connect a scanner while the program was open?
  • Add the example content directory as a shortcut on the file open dialogs. Often when playing with a new app you just want to open something. There is a lot more content that could be added - anything that can be opened should have a default file.
And the final straw for me is printing a test page to the local printer. I incorrectly entered the URL as ipp://host which caused the printer to print out the ipp traffic as text. That's fine, it doesn't speak IPP. However since the printer was not sending back any responses it continued to send out more printing requests. Thirty pages or so I finally stopped it by doing killall ipp. This may be KDE specific or it may be CUPS specific but it's unacceptable. Test pages should only be retried by the user and the GUI should indicate if it's printing multiple pages. This seemed to bypass the CUPS queue so nothing was indicating where these print jobs were coming from. Printing has a long way to go before it works-out-of-the-box.

In summary; I didn't like KDE a few years ago and I don't now. It's got the details but still the basics are annoying. It's too cluttered for new users to find easy and for power users like me it's full of cruft that gets in my way.

Now installing Gnome...
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