<shortening the last reply considerably, but adding a lot of my own replies>
On Sun April 12 2009 2:20:00 pm Larry Stotler wrote:
> On Sun, Apr 12, 2009 at 1:49 PM, jdd <jdd(a)dodin.org> wrote:
Unfortunately, this has been tried before, and
the KDE3 users were
basically harrassed and ignored and told to just suck it up and deal
with a basically broken KDE4 because it is the wave of the
future(which is basically what M$ is doing with Vista). I had
previously exposed many fallacies with KDE4 in regards to faster and
leaner, but was ignored, or told to waste money on nerwer hardware.
That is their favorite tactic, not addressing the underlying issues.
I run Linux because (unlike Brand X) it doesn't emphasize glitz over
functionality. I don't object to eye-candy provided it is optional, and
doesn't impose performance or maintenance penalties. But when it does, I
don't mind not having something zooty to show to the uninitiated...I
just want a strong, fast, stable platform.
And I did briefly try to engage one of the lead KDE4 designers about the
need to get the basics working, as well as to make a "classic" mode in
KDE4 to ease the transition. Even M$ gets that one.
Instead I was told that KDE4 was introducing a radical new paradigm that
was of such great value that it needed the new desktop stuff ASAP, and
then the apps could be ported over to the new platform. And that keeping
KDE3 functionality was a technical drain on their resources, unless they
retrofitted it once they got all the new goodies working. (Really, how
many users care *what* icon set or theme they are using, once they find
one that isn't visually obnoxious?)
Obviously, they must think that they are going to conquer the world with
KDE4 -- that it is Linux' new "killer app".
I began with KDE because I basically was in agreement with what Linus
Torvalds said a few years back, that Gnome tended to dumb things down,
thereby limiting Linux' utility.
After my sad attempts at co-existing with KDE4 (both stable and factory,
to try to fix the stable version), and after probing the mind-set of the
developers, I ran across another comment of Linus', that he just wants a
desktop that allows him to easily do whatever he wants to do, and
doesn't get in the way. And for him right now (recently) it was Gnome.
(Sorry, haven't the time to dig up the details, but it wasn't an April
Fool's or Onion type page, it was one of the standard sources for info
on Linux -- just can't remember which one. I read a lot online.)
While Gnome has become less "dumbed down", I'm sure he must have more
reason than that to switch back to Gnome.
I work in a predominantly SLES shop, and am encouraged to run either
SLED or openSUSE on my personal work machine. I chose openSUSE to be on
the front edge of where SLES/SLED are going.
I originally went with o/S 10.3 about a year ago, running KDE3.5. I
skipped over o/S 11.0 and went to 11.1, initially trying KDE4. When I
investigated and found out what the repair/enhancement strategy was --
this new paradigm MUST be running first AND users MUST learn to use this
powerful new paradigm for their own good -- I attempted to switch back
to KDE3.5. All I ended up with was a hodge-podge.
Finally, out of frustration, I switched to Gnome (no, not because Linus
did -- I found out about his switch while setting up Gnome), and it has
been much more useful. And I haven't once woke up thinking "I could have
been a part of a new desktop paradigm, but I have chosen to hang back
and avoid change. Woe is me!"
Others in my group have not simply defected from KDE4.5 after upgrading;
instead they elected to go for simplicity of administration -- so they
defected to Ubuntu.
If I thought 3.5 would be available for as long as I wasn't satisfied
with the state of 4.x, I would wait for KDE 4 to get to its "promised
land", then switch. But this thread shows the futility of that.
I thought KDE3.5 was better than Gnome, by a small amount, and that
Gnome was much better than KDE4 (from a user perspective). If I believe
the KDE design team leads, KDE4 is the greatest, because its
fundamentals are more sound, and that when it is finished, it will blow
both Gnome and KDE3 away. But I must live in today...
What the KDE developers fail to realize is that not all of us who use
Linux, KDE, or whatever, have time to become lab rats for the developers
over an extended period of time.
Even if I buy their argument that I must be willing to test the new KDE
in order for it to improve, I still reject their assertion that I must
choose to do so on their timetable, regardless of whether or not it
interferes with my job or my other Linux interests. And Linux is all
about choice, so why would I choose the pain, unless I were a true
believer in the vision. But any vision that doesn't provide a decent
migration path, or a comprehensible list of benefits, isn't a vision I
am likely to buy into. And no, working Plasmoids just don't rock my world.
And I wholeheartedly agree with David Rankin's post earlier, basically
describing the fallacy and danger of "letting the tail wag the dog".
If the KDE developers don't want to take a year to get apps working,
then go back to building the desktop to conquer the world, as someone
else suggested, then why not at least stop new work on the eye-candy,
and devote more effort into responding to the needs of the KDE
community, in both versions for now.
And no, Mr. Asiago of the KDE team, although I had been a member of the
KDE community, I do not need a new desktop paradigm, may not even need
one, and I do not feel that, as a Linux or openSUSE community member, I
am obligated to work to advance your vision of KDE, regardless of how
right that might be someday. Especially since most of the benefits you
enumerate have to do with issues that are at best of marginal interest
to us as users.
Had I sensed that KDE leadership was going to zealously allow KDE3.5 to
be fully available to all KDE users for as long as it took for them to
be comfortable with KDE4, I might have muddled through. But instead, I
was told that KDE4 is so different that unless users are forced to try
and learn the new paradigm, they might never cross over to the KDE4
promised land, so they felt that they had to guide users into KDE4.
And elsewhere they suggest that Factory versions will provide fixes
faster. But in a production shop, I elect to only run Factory fixes when
and if I have a specific problem that I need to resolve -- not to enable
me to learn a new paradigm while it is being debugged, or as part of my
standard update strategy.
I suggested supporting both in parallel -- sorry, the infrastructure is
different, and we don't want to take time away from making the apps work
in v4. But we are hampered in doing that as well, they claim, because
they need to finish evolving their new paradigm in order to have a
stable base in which to get apps working again.
I have added this post because I feel it adds another user perspective,
one not fully spelled out elsewhere -- the need of users who work
professionally with SLE[SD] to be able to run an openSUSE release that
does not interfere with their work, and that does not require extensive
use of Factory builds to try to overcome what could have been, and
should have been, pre-release testing in many cases.
In the end, I feel sorry for just about everything about KDE -- because
it *was* the best interface (except for a couple of features in OS/2),
and because it could have evolved (albeit more slowly) into something
above and beyond that, introducing a new visual and working paradigm --
but instead, KDE4 languishes in the end-user community because it is
being force-fed, and because KDE3.5 has now become something that has to
be "reverse-engineered" into new releases of openSUSE, if indeed even
that can even be done effectively.
I personally will not return to KDE, based on my experiences thus far,
until such time as I see that they have (re-)built a satisfied user base
with a version they intend to continue to fully support. And I will
remain with it only if the new paradigm doesn't continue to get in my
way after I have learned the basics, and only if there is sufficient
perceived benefit to make it worth investing the time.
Had they (the KDE team) taken a less aggressive and imperative approach
to the introduction of KDE4 (and especially its claimed radically
different new desktop paradigm, plus a reduced set of functionality in
areas other than the desktop itself) -- had they made the transition
more gradual, voluntary, and on the users' timetables for change -- I
would probably gladly have worked through bug issues with the transition
AND made a sincere effort to comprehend the new paradigm as well.
But instead, I find myself in total agreement with much of what has been
said here by other frustrated users.
I have added this "rant" in part because it is the best forum for being
heard about my experiences, and also because I am a member of what
Novell should consider an important sub-community of the openSUSE
community -- those who use it as a way to be at the leading edge of SUSE
because they actively support Novell's commercial efforts on a daily
basis as part of their work, but who don't work for Novell.
For me, and for most of those I know in a similar situation, we cannot
invest a lot of time in trying to help stabilize what is unstable,
unless it is a part of our assigned work duties. And we cannot routinely
run the Factory versions of things, as we need to be able to depend on
our machines working today at least as well as they did yesterday.
After investigation, "no KDE4" became an easy choice. And after trying
to roll back, and then finding out that I was going to be caught on a
weird backwards-compatibility bleeding edge, trying to run KDE3.5 out of
Factory repositories, etc., I felt like I had no choice but to jettison it.
Gnome just happened to be the least painful transition -- although if
there had been no Gnome, I would have gone to xfce or something like it.
It was not a pro-Gnome decision. And it was not based on an initial
dislike of KDE.
The KDE crew can go paradigming to their heart's content. But they
definitely risk facing a reduced user base, at best only temporarily.
And their "brave new world" may very well fail to attract users and/or
recapture those who have defected, either because others don't like the
new paradigm even after they learn it, or because a large group of users
develop a backlash against being forced to upgrade.
After all, isn't that one of the biggest complaints of users in M$-land,
that they are forced to upgrade when they don't want to? Everywhere else
in my experience, Linux distros have tended to allow the older version
to co-exist with the new, until there has been enough time for not only
the early-adopters, but those who want to see acceptance before jumping
onboard, to move to the new on their own pace.
KDE is breaking this model, and since it is the desktop of choice for
SuSE Linux, from a new user perspective, it looks like Novell and SuSE
are breaking this "no forced upgrade" implicit promise to the user
community. (Other than reasonable and gradual new versions that do not
force a major shift until stable new functionality has been introduced,
Ubuntu would be easier for me to install and operate, but openSUSE
represents a better overall experience, because of the community and the
add-ons available, as well as because of its relationship to my work.
But this only works for me because Ubuntu could only make it so much
easier, as long as openSUSE didn't become too much of a hassle.
But the KDE thing has the potential to turn the openSUSE overall
experience into more of a hassle, from a lot of perspectives. And if
KDE3 is gone from 11.2, and someone tries out 11.2 with KDE4 for the
first time, then tries Ubuntu, the gap will be much wider.
Even those who are technically proficient enough to handle it will be
much more inclined to defect, if the experience begins to go downhill.
(Had I not been working in a SUSE shop, I might very well have just
started with a new distro, likely Ubuntu, instead of trying to retrofit
Gnome to my 11.1 upgrade.)
If it were up to me, and I speak only for myself, in spite of the work
that I do, -- if it were up to me, I would bring out 11.2 with KDE3.5 as
the default, require KDE group to provide a clean and tested upgrade
path to KDE4, plus an easy path to roll-back to 3.5 (or Gnome) if not
satisfied. Or even provide Gnome, plus both KDE's, and do as some other
distros do -- "The choice of a window manager is too personal for us to
make a recommendation", followed by several choices and a way to find
out about other choices. And if the KDE team can't make the transition
in both directions painless for 11.2, then put 4.X in as an option, not
Unfortunately, switching "on the fly" in SUSE Linux is not anywhere near
being a "box check" or even zypper change to go cleanly between KDE3 and
KDE4, much less between other desktops as well.
If the KDE team ever gets to where it can win the support of the user
community for the version it elects to support, I will consider changing
on the next OS upgrade. But if it is the default choice, simply for
historical reasons, that will only make me more suspicious of the
choice, given the history...and I suspect I will not be alone.
quality has dropped with the empasis on glitz, so I've basically moved
on to testing out other Distros. I will be installing PCLinuxOS 2009
which is KDE3 based this week since I now have a lot of time because I
was laid off.
Sorry the previous administration and govermental mismanagemt at all levels has invaded
your life. ... however, don't run from openSuSE, it is still worth saving, instead,
change the audience you write to be more effective. What you say is basically right,
the audience is wrong. Management needs to be 'educated' about how their
profits can and will suffer if they continue to make poor decisions at the highest levels.
Nice sentiment, but even though "management" may need to be educated,
have enough other "problems of the world" to deal with. For me, I won't
abandon openSUSE yet, but I clearly have abandoned KDE (as opposed to
not trying or not initially liking it). And I have done so because of
the management of the KDE team. And I have corresponded directly with
them, shortly after my first 4.1 experiences, before arriving at this
And I tried adding repositories on their recommendation, tried to
understand what could possibly be so great that I would endure a year or
more of reduced functionality to obtain it, etc...
I only abandoned it after trying to do "the right things" about getting
the KDE team to see how this looked from the users' end, and was told
that it was for the users' good, but that they wouldn't be smart enough
to migrate to what was better for them, so they had to given only the
"better" choice in order to get them to understand how great their lives
will be under the new paradigm.
I made a lot of the same points as in this thread with the team lead
about how this implicitly assumes that the users are either too dumb to
switch to another alternative, or are contradictorily, smart enough and
altruistic enough to put up with the pain. Sorry, I don't want to wander
in the desert, even if it isn't for forty years...
wasn't ready for prime time, and the major and vocal supporters
are the ones who are keeping their system fully updated with the build
service. They have forgotten that the majority of users don't use
these mailing lists and don't keep their systems up to date with the
current KDE4.2.x versions, but that these same users have to deal with
only whatever updates that are released for them via the update
And for many, it still isn't ready and at the moment, a developer group has defacto
control of an entire distribution by the way they are doing 'business'. Novell
needs to regain control.
And if they do, I may return to a stable and useful version of KDE. But
if they do not, some will defect SUSE, others like myself (and Linus)
will remain with our distros but abandon KDE.
As someone who had supported SuSE since 1999,
I'm very disappointed
with the current 11.1, and still use 11.0 on most of my stuff while I
That is a valid reason to not upgrade, but for those that MUST upgrade to address some of
the very issues you mentioned previously but will lose the current, functional version of
their desktop environment. KDE3 is an essential part of the functionality of openSuSE
for many reasons and whether or not you find KDE4 an acceptable replacement, the fact
remains that for some, they are being forced to live with existing bugs in KDE or other
packages in the openSuSE distro, OR to give up their current environment in order to
address other issues such as drivers, kernel, etc. which are fixed in later distro
It is simply pre-mature to elimiate a functional option in deference to something that is
not yet ready for prime time for many people.
I agree that KDE (3) is a significant part of the SUSE experience, but
if the developers cannot find a way to continue to maintain 3 while
building 4, then perhaps either a fork would be in order (a new "old
paradigm" team, with the current team free to innovate), or the KDE team
needs to reevaluate its priorities from the community perspective, as
opposed to their perspective of the user community. (However, since the
current team feels that their paradigm is so radically different that it
must be pushed out to the users to get them to use it, I doubt that this
... Maybe in a couple of releases I will see
what I have come to
expect from SuSE, but I don't see it now, and the lack of support for
current versions(isn't 10.3 still supported as well?) and the push to
only include the next big thing is counter to what I had come to
expect. SuSE always pushed boundaries, but it also made sure stuff
was stable. The 10.1 fiasco with the broken package system that was
shoved in during the 3rd Beta and then a release with a broken package
system was bad enough. 11.1's broken KDE3 install IF you change
ANYTHING is as bad if not worse.
I don't fault KDE devs for wanting to develop a replacement for KDE3, but I do fault
openSuSE management for their head-long rush to the same cliff the rest of the lemmings
are jumping off of.
Yes, openSUSE management and Novell management should continue to push
for the new. But not at the expense of utility and functionality for the
Another example of the "make them take it and they will be better off"
mentality, is Novell's (and Miguel de Ycaza's) desire to see the MONO
project succeed, and somewhere along the line, the decision is made to
make MONO-based Beagle the default search engine, and to have it on by
default, even though it can be a negative on a small system, especially
if the user doesn't need it.
Instead of this approach, perhaps both the openSUSE community and Novell
need to consider letting these "leading edge" projects exist, but not as
defaults, and provide painless transition between using them and
The Freedom we
have with Linux and FOSS is what allows us to use a
specific version, but it also allows us to move on when what we
want/need is no longer the same as where the current version is going.
As the motto says: Have a lot of fun!
... Remembering that openSuSE is a development tool for their SLE* product line, and
bugs and bad decisions made there will increase their costs in the end product that they
sell because it will require more time and money to fix the bugs that openSuSE
'WONTFIX' and will cost money by having to provide support to their paying
customers fixing bugs that could/should have been fixed. SLE* lags openSuSE by one or
several openSuSE releases, which if those base distros contain 'WONTFIX' bugs will
remain to cost them in debugging and support issues later.
As I said before, the tail (KDE design team) is wagging the dog (Novell,
openSUSE community, and prospective new users). But if the tail turns
out to be a problem on a dog breed, the tail is cropped off.
You may not like that idea in the dog world, but it is a good paradigm
for what will happen to this particular "dog wagger". Let us hope that
the tail doesn't cause the breed of dog to fall out of favor in this case.
Experienced users can make the split, even if it isn't the official
position. But new users are more likely just to end up with a different
Sorry for the length of this, but I know that if I left out a lot of
this, the next replies would be: Did you try to communicate with the KDE
team? Isn't this just one example, and isn't it just a matter of a bit
of schedule slippage that will be long forgotten in a year? At least
they are doing something, why do you think it could be done better? Etc.
So I have tried to address all these points, because I have first hand
knowledge that it is more than a schedule slippage, it is an attempt to
forcefully wean users off of 3.5, with a misplaced confidence that they
will all end up happy on v4.
"I have seen the future, and I think I'll draw another hand..."
For me, that hand is a workable Gnome, since 4 is not a great KDE now,
and 3 is being made more and more inaccessible as time goes by. I agree
that KDE 3.5 definitely enhanced the Suse experience, but Brett Favre
was a great quarterback in American football, but at the present time,
and in his current condition, he might make a good coach, but I doubt
anyone would willingly choose him as a starting QB based on his current
ability. For some, he might also be rejected because of his recent past.
And KDE looks to me to be a lot like Brett Favre's career...once the
greatest, still better than many, etc., but not the one you'd choose
today, because he may be smarter today, but he is not a better starting
And that is about where the KDE team is at: they may have a smarter
vision of the future, but they are not able to execute it in a way that
won't cost them a lot of their backing. And even then, there is no
guarantee that they will be able to deliver, or that whatever they
deliver will look as great to the rest of the world as it does to them.
I did not write this to try to start a bonfire, but rather because I
want to see a better solution to the desktop issue in SUSE.
And KDE, unfortunately, stands out in Linux-land as the single thing
that most resembles the unpleasantries I, and others, have had to put up
with in M$-land. Not because of how it used to work, but because of how
it is today, and because I am asked to buy into, and even support, a
better future taken on faith.
And because I am told that I (as a Linux user) owe it to that project to
help it become even greater...sorry, Linux may be a movement, but only
for as long as it continues to be a more useful tool.
There are a lot of things that might make the world a better place that
I do not participate in, because I find that I have something else more
important to me, to become involved in. And I am first unconvinced that
KDE 4 represents a better paradigm, and secondly I am unconvinced that
v.3 could not be supported while v.4 is being developed. (No, it isn't
developed yet, it is a prototype.) Yes, it would take longer that way,
but you may not have much of an active KDE community left, if they spend
enough time in the status quo.
Indeed, unless the KDE team has a very large community of users who buy
into their vision and needs, keeping v.3 alive may be the only way for
them to prevent a mass defection from KDE. And I'm not seeing or hearing
that most of us are sold on KDE4, even as it will be, much less as it is.
So does anyone want to make any bets about where KDE will be in two years?
Very sad...but the world moves on, sometimes to the beat of a visionary
different drummer, but more often, to the same or similar daily beats,
while the visionary takes to their soapbox to castigate the world for
failing to adopt their better way.
Tell us again, please, Mr. Asiago and the KDE team, why anyone who is
not a "true believer" would put up with this. Alas, many of us will not,
and if we are proven wrong, all we will miss is a couple of years of
painful debugging of a project that is not ours. (Oh, yeah, that and you
will look down on us for not helping to develop your vision for the next
couple of years...guess I'll have to live with that.)
Consider this my eulogy for the KDE that could have been, but will not
be -- a KDE that leads us gently into a better world, with minor
discomforts perhaps, but without the radical, leave it all behind you
and join us building Utopia, mentality.
Still, I missed what KDE looked like it was, and was going to be, a
while back. But then again, perhaps it is a victim of too much binding
to the OS, instead of being a pluggable layer on top of it. But
regardless, it has long since stopped "being fun".
Senior Systems Administrator
<openSUSE 11.1 w/Gnome on a Lenovo T61>
(Still trying to get all the vestiges of KDE out of my way.)
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