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Plasma: The Next-Generation KDE Environment Review 240

slashy writes, "MadPenguin has taken a quick look at Plasma, the next gen. KDE environment. 'Plasma is an ambitious project being pursued by the KDE 4 team which aims at providing a workflow-sensitive design of the user interface that improves productivity of an average KDE user. The focus is on improving the clarity and reducing the clutter present in today's desktops. The plasma development will bring together key contributors, such as the visual artists, usability experts, technology experts, programmers, and enthusiasts at a very early stage during the development process. This will enable them to create a new desktop environment that meets the requirements of novices and experts alike.'"
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Plasma: The Next-Generation KDE Environment Review

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  • Reducing clutter (Score:4, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Monday September 18, 2006 @11:02AM (#16130143)
    Let me start by saying that I have been waiting for KDE 4 since it was first announced, mainly because of it's lower memory requirements.

    Having said that, I have found that most people will clutter their desktops regardless of what the software tries to do. Remember XP's desktop cleanup wizard, which attempted to help people remove things from their desktops that they didn't use often? I still see the majority of people with hundreds of icons and files haphazardly arranged. When I helped my friend migrate to Linux, it only took him a week to turn KDE into an icon pile. Add Firefox into the mix, which drops downloads onto the desktop by default, and the battle is completely lost.

  • A quick look? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ledow ( 319597 ) * on Monday September 18, 2006 @11:04AM (#16130159) Homepage
    A quick look is somewhat understating the review - not a single screenshot and 8 paragraphs of next-to-nothing except what "will" or "should" be in Plasma.

    Useful content: 1%

    Like the "Buy a Link Now" on the article itself... I think someone just bought themselves a link from Slashdot.
  • by tolan-b ( 230077 ) on Monday September 18, 2006 @11:09AM (#16130203)
    I think they mean UI clutter rather than clutter of the desktop 'surface'.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 18, 2006 @11:12AM (#16130228)
    amen to that.. we should ditch X-windows altogether. there's really no demanding need, at least in the linux world, for X-windows. sure, one could argue that it's a must in thin-client setups, but the overwhelming majority of linux boxes are not thin clients.
  • by rayde ( 738949 ) on Monday September 18, 2006 @11:12AM (#16130229) Homepage
    (i am not trolling here, this is just my observation) i think most linux fans fall into one of two camps. Those who want Gnome and KDE to stop doing parallel efforts and instead concentrate on a unified GUI for linux... and then those who appreciate having more choices and want KDE and Gnome to push each other.

    I fall into the former. I think it's a pain when you see some cool feature or eyecandy or whatever appearing in the desktop environment you aren't using... but it isn't enough to make you totally switch your current desktop. And just when you do go and switch, your old environment will come out with some sweet feature and you're back to square one.

    i realize it's a complicated issue, and neither KDE nor Gnome is about to fold and allow the other to take precidence... but I still look forward to the day when everyone is working towards a common goal, and when a new user interface element is implemented, everybody can benefit from it.

  • icon pile? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NotQuiteReal ( 608241 ) on Monday September 18, 2006 @11:15AM (#16130243) Journal

    I thought the whole idea of personal computers was to allow people to work they way they wanted to?

    You may like clean desktops while others like cluttered desktops.

    Let's start a holy war over how many icons can dance on a screen.

  • by LLuthor ( 909583 ) <> on Monday September 18, 2006 @11:21AM (#16130307)
    And do what differently?

    Care to point out some deficiency in the X codebase?
  • by TheWoozle ( 984500 ) on Monday September 18, 2006 @11:28AM (#16130378)
    The average user can't figure out how to organize their *own* desktop to accomodate their workflow better than "this pile of icons is for this, that pile of icons is for that", and these guys are going to come along and have the *computer* decide what's best?

    Sheesh, have we learned nothing from Microsoft? Having the computer decide what things a user can interact with and how the user can interact with them based on a set of hidden, unchangeable rules is counter-productive at best; at times, it can be murderous-rage inducing.

    How about we actually help people become better-organized by, oh, I don't know...teaching them some useful organizational skills?!
  • by lawpoop ( 604919 ) on Monday September 18, 2006 @11:35AM (#16130424) Homepage Journal
    I used to think that 'duplication' was just a waste of effort. Wouldn't it be better if we all put our effort together in harmony and came up with the Next Big Thing? United we stand, divided we fall?

    The problem is, when your working on a huge monolithic project like that, people really don't work together. There are arguments and disagreements. Energetical people with radical, new ideas will encounter old farts who want to do things the old way, become disenfranchised and give up. Productive old workhorses will be frustrated by young upstarts trying to pull them in 100 different directions at once, selling a bad idea from 10 years ago as the latest, greatest idea. The project will proceed on the lowest common denominator, implementing vanilla ideas that are promoted simply because nobody could find a reason to reject them.

    Would you like it if Apple and MS got together to make a unified desktop? Don't you think that the bureaucracy and organizational overhead would stymie the project and ultimately water down the end result?

    Instead of waste and duplication, think of it as parallel development teams, developing, implementing, and polishing the latest new ideas as a presentation to the larger mindshare market. Those ideas might need to re-developed or re-implemented, or they may be ready to be included in larger projects, like KDE or Gnome. It's a very effective and efficient way to harness human motivation and inspiration and deliver new ideas to the masses.
  • by nostriluu ( 138310 ) on Monday September 18, 2006 @11:36AM (#16130430) Homepage
    I think the metaphor for the "desktop" is, ahem, a "desktop".. an intermediate place with stuff you haven't put away yet, or are actively working on, resides.

    Just putting everything in your home folder /would/ be a disaster.

    Of course, it's nice to have multiple desktops, so when you're working on a different task you can just go to a different desk.

    Hmm.. doesn't seem like you can change the Mac's desktop on the fly.

  • by alexgieg ( 948359 ) <> on Monday September 18, 2006 @11:55AM (#16130613) Homepage
    What I really want to know is why, oh, WHY, both Gnome and KDE waste so much usefull screen space.

    I'm serious. Now and then I install one or the other in a VM in my XP box, set to the same resolution as XP itself, and watch the state of the default menus, menu items distance, drop-downs, font sizes etc. For some reason I can't grasp, they're always bigger and more wastefull than what Microsoft made with XP. And as a result, I always feel my CRT had just lost one or two inches.

    I wonder whether you all who use these system feel the same thing, but in reverse, with XP's screen objects seen as too small.

    PS.: I've never tried MacOS, but that bar of big buttons I see in screenshots spells trouble for me. But if those who use it love it so much, then I guess that either my CRT is too small, I'm a screen-space maniac, or both. Who knows? :D
  • by SevenHands ( 984677 ) on Monday September 18, 2006 @11:56AM (#16130628)
    Are there people who actually have used this functionality? I have not used this features once yet. Features like this and the "Hide inactive icons" in the system tray seem like they may end up doing more harm than good possibly getting rid of certain needed info or hiding an unwanted automatically started process.. For me, I like to see all of my system tray Icons, including the "inactive" ones, just so I have a partial idea of what's running in the background without having to go through the process listing in the task manager.
  • Re:A quick look? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Monday September 18, 2006 @12:00PM (#16130665) Homepage Journal
    I do have to wonder what that review was? Wouldn't preview be a better term. I mean to review something it has to exist, which KDE 4 doesn't yet.
    I can honestly say I like BOTH gnome and KDE. I prefer to work in gnome but KDE is prettier and frankly more fun.
    With KDE I created a totally useless script that pulls down a few images from some websites using wget. I then set the KDE desktop to use a slide show background. So now have a wall paper that rotates through two hi resolution webcam shots of a local beach and the weather radar.
    Like I said fun but useless. To get Gnome to do the same I am thinking of writing a desklet.
  • by cp.tar ( 871488 ) <> on Monday September 18, 2006 @12:31PM (#16130933) Journal
    maybe it would help if in firefox's initial setup wizard, it prompted where you want downloads to go to - somewhere like My Documents\Downloads for Windows, and somewhere like /home/username/downloads/ for Linux with the option to change directories...

    It is possible to change the default download directory rather easily... and there are extensions which help you filter and sort downloads so you can send .mp3 to ~/music, .mpg to ~/video and .doc to ~/trash.

    AFAIK downloading everything to desktop by default is a feature, not a bug: most users download something, then get confused as to where the bloody thing went. This way, they only have to search their desktop.

    Therefore, no initial setup is required... do it after installing; you know where to find it, and you don't confuse the (l)users with complexities.

  • OS covers.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Nichole_knc ( 790047 ) <> on Monday September 18, 2006 @01:08PM (#16131262)
    Not to start a debate but as it is my understanding KDE has been for a more "eye-candy" look and Gnome for a more "clean-minimalist" look. I am one of those minimalist types when it comes to the GUI-OS interface. I used Gnome for years on BSD then in Slackware. When Pat dropped Gnome (understand the build issues) I started using KDE with much fuss due to the "clutter". I have hense learned the finer points of advance customization of KDE in much the same way as I had Gnome. And that is my point.. When the KDE crew builds a new UI as long as they maintain advanced user customizable features go for it, it is a good thing. Like any Linux flavor the UI should be customizable in all regards. That is, as many here know one of its appealing aspects.
  • by ElleyKitten ( 715519 ) <kittensunrise@g[ ] ['mai' in gap]> on Monday September 18, 2006 @05:02PM (#16133598) Journal
    Those who want Gnome and KDE to stop doing parallel efforts and instead concentrate on a unified GUI for linux... and then those who appreciate having more choices and want KDE and Gnome to push each other.
    I'm in the latter. Competition is good for almost everything. Without the competition, why would they bother to innovate (think about IE6)? Also, being separate, KDE and GNOME (and XFCE, and Fluxbox, and...) will innovate in different directions, so you have options and are not herded into what "most people" like (if you liked what "most people" like, you'd be using Windows XP anyways).

    Anyways, it's trivial in most distros to install and use both. In Ubuntu, type sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop, and KDE is an option in the options menu on the log in screen. Consult your distro's wiki, and try a different desktop just for fun.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @04:56AM (#16136427)
    This is like Microsoft starting an initiative to reduce anticompetitive behavior.

    Hmmm, acknowledging a problem and working to solve it... Wouldn't that be a good thing?

"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not Compute' -- I forget which." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982