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KDE 4 RC 1

I have installed and thoroughly played with KDE 4 RC 1 from Debian Experimental (thanks for the work getting that uploaded so fast!).

To be clear, there are a ton of really bad things I could say about the current state of things. But I will not do so as Aaron has stated publicly that 4.0 is going to be more about the platform so more developers come in to the fold. So, there is generally understanding that ... um, a lot remains to be done.

So let's talk about the positives.

I really like the K menu thingy. It's elegant looking and compact. Time will tell whether the navigation method proves to be annoying or productive; the integrated search is fast and immediately responsive -- faster than the two Gnome competitors: Gimmie and Gnome Main Menu.

Though the vast majority of widgets that came with it do not work, I like the look and feel of the Plasma desktop. The accelerated 2D primitives are used elegantly resulting in some hot UI ideas that Gnome could really get some inspiration from.

I love KWin's ability to do both OpenGL and XRender based composition. Though the OpenGL composition is not working in RC 1, the XRender based stuff worked with a little prodding and KWin gracefully enabled those plugins which could be handled by the reduced feature set of an XRender acceleration.

Dolphin is amazingly functional for being a complete rewrite of Konqueror's existing file manager functionality. I tried both in KDE 4; I'm not sure why both file managers are still there. But, as far as I could tell, they differed in few ways. Both were stable and worked really well. Konqueror's web page rendering looks nicer (some very strange artifacts when doing CTRL+MSWheelUP/DN).

Okular is interesting; seems stable and functional. Appears to be feature-for-feature identical to Evince.

The KDE Games suite is giving our Gnome Games module a run for its money. Some sexiness is there. I like sexy.

Props for having an XRandR applet that supports version 1.2 before Gnome. Multimonitor hotness.

KDE 4 has lots of pretty clocks. I don't know what I'd do with them but they are pretty...

Anyways, the upshot is that KDE 4, with the right developer momentum, will probably rock some sweetness in the 4.1 timeframe. As a Gnome user/contributor, I'm a bit concerned that they are going to get this sweetness running on an entirely C++ platform whereas we're trying to do the same on a C/Python/Mono platform. I'll give 4.0 final a run around the block when it's out just to check in.

All in all, congrats to the KDE 4 peeps for bearing fruits for their labor.

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
ex_cgwalter
Nov. 21st, 2007 03:33 am (UTC)
I'm a bit concerned that they are going to get this sweetness running on an entirely C++ platform whereas we're trying to do the same on a C/Python/Mono platform.


Why does the language matter?
d2rano
Nov. 21st, 2007 03:47 am (UTC)
It matters quite a bit when you make C++ the lowest common denominator instead of C.
hub_
Nov. 21st, 2007 04:40 am (UTC)
-Resources
-Speed
-Ease of programming

probably some other properties. Each language present a combination of these, that's what language matter.
(Anonymous)
Nov. 21st, 2007 09:32 am (UTC)
Because every language has different properties.

The advantage of doing everything in C++ instead of C/Python/Mono is:
- You need to know one only language to be able to understand/fix every program of your daily platform/desktop
- More languages introduces more dependencies
- Languages like C# and Python needs VM/interpreter in the background which wastes resources

Having all this languages and bindings is nice for people who know one of these languages and want to use them for their private or in-house solutions. But for the public platform/desktop i think it is better to offer everything in one language.
eeanm
Nov. 21st, 2007 08:31 pm (UTC)
Well the KUbuntu desktop uses Python/KDE a lot. They are trying to work on this though, they recognize having Python/Qt and Python/KDE apps open by default on startup isn't idea. Though I wouldn't be surprised if some of the de facto default plasmoids are in various scripting languages.

That said, all the main stuff in KDE is C++ and it will probably stay that way. Qt/C++ really provides an interface thats as nice as Mono but with the benefit of C compatibility. For instance Banshee has to write its own ipod-sharp library for iPods, Amarok just uses libgpod and supports other devices thanks to folks writing other libraries in C. All the issues you mention aren't really that big of deal - its easy to learn new languages, only anal users care about how many packages are installed (Linux + full set of desktop apps still doesn't take up much hard drive space), VM's don't waste all that much resources (though the added startup time if enabled by default can be a problem).

as for the blog: Nice review. :)
ext_30240
Nov. 21st, 2007 03:49 am (UTC)
I played with it tonight too and it is pretty nice.
GNOME definitely has a lot of catching up to do on the visual polish front- after years (almost a decade?) of GNOME being the more visually polished and mature offering, KDE is suddenly offering a default setup that looks very sophisticated and polished, but yet not dull.

Past that and the plasma stuff (both of which are important, don't get me wrong), I'm not sure what advantages I see in the beta over KDE 3- I suppose the new infrastructure must be better, but the user experience doesn't seem hugely improved.

To stay relevant GNOME needs to get cracking on finally incorporating the bling (like AWN, empathy/identity, and alp's widget's work) as well as the serious usability improvements (o-d, gimmie). Lots of pieces are there for big improvement- they just aren't ready for prime time quite yet.
(Anonymous)
Nov. 21st, 2007 03:03 pm (UTC)
Gnome has Sugar
Which is everything that GNOME wanted in the first place. Everything is script-able, a beautiful interface, with the "N" in GNOME to boot!
(Anonymous)
Nov. 21st, 2007 03:16 pm (UTC)
Re: Gnome has Sugar
WRT scripability, the reality is that KDE is currently far better in this regard. This was true for KDE3 with DCOP already, but is even more the case with KDE4.
(Anonymous)
Nov. 22nd, 2007 12:59 am (UTC)
How did you install the RC on debian? As of now, debian experimental is missing libplasma1 and the oxygen icons package from RC1, so you can't install the full desktop. I had beta4 installed, but RC1 is not completely uploaded it seems.
jasondclinton
Nov. 22nd, 2007 01:15 am (UTC)
It's uploaded for i386 only until the buildd's catch up.
(Anonymous)
Nov. 22nd, 2007 02:15 am (UTC)
Ah, I didn't know that existed. Thanks.
(Anonymous)
Nov. 22nd, 2007 02:27 am (UTC)
Actually, what line do you have to put in your sources.list to access the i386 repos? I tried various combinations of deb http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/ experimental main/binary-i386 contrib non-free
with no luck..
(Anonymous)
Nov. 22nd, 2007 02:18 pm (UTC)
geeks
why we have many clocks? because we are geeks =)
(Anonymous)
Nov. 27th, 2007 08:44 am (UTC)
Why Konqueror is still in KDE
Konqueror is still in KDE because it is also a browser, not just a file manager.
In KDE4 the KDE guys have decided that Dolphin will be the default file manager while still keeping konqueror and all of of its functionality intact.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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