I love the KDE desktop for Linux. I’ve been using it ever since 3.5 came out. Maybe even 3.4. I don’t remember. So I was really, really looking forward to 4.0 and all the promised excellence it would contain. Then it came out, and was essentially one big shipment of fail. Developers were quick to point out that 4.0 wasn’t really a finished product. They wanted to get people using it so that they could get feedback. Unfortunately, in the rest of the computing world, 4.0 is a finished release. Sneaking a beta on to people’s desktops by not calling it a beta was a poor decision that put a lot of users off. In fact, I found it completely unusable, with little other than some pretty bling to recommend it (and a boatload of missing functionality to disrecommend it). But every so often I try again (a package updated… maybe everything’s better now?). So today I will enumerate the things I still dislike as of 4.0.3:
- The desktop wallpaper. I can no longer have “centered maxpect” as an option. This means that all my pictures too small to reach the edges of my monitor stay too small unless I scale them (distorts the image aspect ratio) or “scale & crop” them (make them reach all 4 edges, and possibly some of the picture is off-screen). Highly annoying, but not a show stopper.
- Rotating (slideshow) wallpaper has no option for how to display the image at all. If I want to change from centered to scaled, I have to display a single wallpaper picture, make the change I want, then go back to the slideshow. Again, an annoyance.
- Advanced->Special Window Settings->Preferences allows you to choose active and inactive opacity levels. Sweet. Too bad it doesn’t work at all.
- Under KDE3, my keyboard volume controls would visibly affect the sound level (a graphic would pop up center-screen showing the volume level). Gone. In fact, the volume controls don’t seem to affect the system sound anymore. They don’t work on Amarok. They do work on mplayer.
- Most of the apps are still KDE3 apps.
- Most of the plasma widgets are just plain lame (so far).
- When I click on Logout, Restart, or Shutdown from the K menu, it pops up a window asking me if I want to Logout, Restart, or Shutdown. This is maddening. I just got done telling you what I wanted 0.1 seconds ago. Why are you asking me again?
- The new default K menu blows. Hard. I want my old-style K menu back.
- I can add the old-style K menu to the taskbar as a widget, but it appears on the right-hand side of the bar instead of the left. There is no way to change it.
- Konqueror is in my “Favorites” on the menu, despite me never using it. Firefox is not, despite me using it all the damned time.
I think that’s it for now. It’s mostly minor annoyances (or major annoyances), but when the list of annoyances hits 10 within a half hour of use, and the number of things I like (1: ooh, pretty; 2: Kopete for KDE4) is equally minor, and tops out at 2 even after many days of use, the answer is clear. KDE 3.5 > KDE 4.
UPDATE: Now on 4.0.80 (4.1b1), all 10 of these issues are still present, and I see no new features worth mentioning.