When 3.5 > 4.0

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Advanced->Special Window Settings->Preferences allows you to choose active and inactive opacity levels. Sweet. Too bad it doesn’t work at all.
  4. 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.
  5. Most of the apps are still KDE3 apps.
  6. Most of the plasma widgets are just plain lame (so far).
  7. 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?
  8. The new default K menu blows. Hard. I want my old-style K menu back.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

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  • txf  On July 1, 2008 at 7:43 am

    I’ll correct you, or make suggestions on some of these points:

    3. will probably be fixed, or that is a nvidia bug (I know that that certain transparency settings don’t work because of that)…dunno I you’re using nvidia

    5. Which kde3 apps do you use? you can still use them within kde4, and it will be the case for some time.

    6. True…but you can use karamba widgets as well as some osx dashboard widgets

    8. you can get the classic kmenu by right clicking on the k and selecting the classic style.

    9. right click on firefox icon and choose add to favorites (it is not a most used list)

  • superpowa  On July 1, 2008 at 8:09 am

    – I think that points #3 #4 #7 are your problem … or a your distribution issue.
    – I think that … we give different meanings to the word MOST (#5) … there are few apps that will not be ready on qt4 at the 4.1 release date
    – (#6) Plasma is an environment, an infrastructure … and the plasmoids are simply “nothing” at this point. Community will have a simple and effective way to produce on Kde without those orrible desklets and Karrambish things
    – #8 #9 #10 … are the same point … you don’t like the new menu and u have problems gettting rid of it. Wat abut checking on bugzilla?

    well … I think that points #1 #2 don’t make a superior DE … anyway I believe some of those problems willbe solved on 4.1

  • wolfger  On July 1, 2008 at 8:23 am

    3) Yes, I’m using Nvidia, so maybe that’s their issue… but I don’t think that’s likely. Transparency itself works fine, it’s just the advanced settings to set active/inactive transparencies that doesn’t. I can make any window have any % of constant opacity and that works fine.

    5) Yeah, I know… but using KDE3 apps under KDE4 isn’t giving me a different user experience from using KDE3 apps under KDE3. In fact, Adept for KDE3 has crashed on me several times under KDE4. Now that beta 2 is out, I’ll try again. If I can get that to be repeatable at will, I’ll file a bug. I should file more bugs.

    6) Where do I get those. The “install new widgets from internet” feature doesn’t appear to do anything…

    8) I’ll give that a shot… thanks! (still doesn’t remove the complaint about the widget I added being unmovable)

    10) If “favorites” isn’t a “most used” list, then I suggest somebody is working out of a bad dictionary. Apps I never use are not favorites by any definition I’ve ever read. I suppose it’s possible somebody uses an app all the time that they don’t actually like, but the inverse is unlikely to be true.

  • txf  On July 1, 2008 at 8:47 am

    5). Adept in my experience is crash happy in 3.5 as well as 4.1

    6). for karamba and dashboard widgets you have to download the files then add them, unless you have karamba for kde4 installed where you can use get hot new stuff.

    For the other issues, you might consider reporting them as bugs or wishes (if they haven’t been already, I know 7 is well known)

    and the positioning bug should be fixed soon…

  • Tarah M. Wheeler  On September 6, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    Has anyone figured out the “centered maxspect” thing yet? I’ve got oddly-sized images I like to use for my desktop, like screenshots of movie posters and such.

  • wolfger  On September 6, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    As of the latest packages in Hardy Kubuntu, no. I tried again this morning.


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