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KDE Celebrates 10 Years of Existence 270

Rob Kaper wrote in to tell us about KDE's 10th anniversary. From the article: "Yesterday at 10:00 AM the president of the KDE e.V. Eva Brucherseifer welcomed the audience of the presentation track at the KDE anniversary event at the Technische Akademie Esslingen (TAE) in Ostfildern near Stuttgart, Germany. Keynote speakers were Matthias Ettrich, founder of the KDE project, as well as Klaus Knopper of Knoppix fame. During their presentations they looked back at KDE's successful past 10 years and they offered their thoughts about the future of KDE and Free Software." Rob adds this thought: "We've come a long way in ten years, but where must we still improve?"
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KDE Celebrates 10 Years of Existence

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 14, 2006 @03:34PM (#16438331)

    how about memory usage ? be nice to run KDE on older hardware to replace those soon-to-be-defunct Win98 boxes
  • Where to improve? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Travoltus ( 110240 ) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @03:37PM (#16438367) Journal
    That's easily said and not so easily done.

    How about this one...

    All "official" KDE apps get restructured to be command line interface (CLI) and graphical user interface (GUI) front ends to shared object libraries. In every KDE app you can find an entry in the "about" function that shows you how the CLI would do various tasks, including the last task you did. You can even make it optional as a compile-time option in source code. (Power users would rather not have that function bloat up their code, no doubt.)

    In a flash, any GUI using novice with a hunger to know more about Linux, can look right there and see how it's done.

    In no time you'll have tons of people speeding up their KDE by doing everything on the command line and perhaps even using less memory (as far as CLI vs GUI memory usage is concerned).
    • DCOP?

      It's not the 1970s any more...
    • by Ant P. ( 974313 )
      KDE sort of already has that using DCOP/DBus commands. You still need the GUI app running for them to work, but it's a start...

      The one thing I like about K* stuff is that it's sort of like Perl, in that it doesn't force users to do things "This way, or else".
    • by eclectro ( 227083 ) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @04:03PM (#16438547)
      In no time you'll have tons of people speeding up their KDE by doing everything on the command line

      Your post gives me a hankering to boot up DOS 3.3, the last true great OS if you ask me.
      • by Nutria ( 679911 )
        Your post gives me a hankering to boot up DOS 3.3, the last true great OS if you ask me.

        Obviously you've never used OpenVMS.

        • CP/M-80 with ZCPR for the win.

          And yes, I still have my Kaypro II.
          • by Nutria ( 679911 )
            And yes, I still have my Kaypro II.

            I'd have never graduaded University without WordStar, the KayPro II and it's beautifully clear green screen.

            Still, that's comparing a hopped-up Datsun B210 to a Mercedes 300D.

            The Datsun is certainly nice and functional, but can't beat the MB.

    • I like your suggestion. If there's one thing I hate more than bad GUIs, it's GUIs that wrap CLI executables, rather than shared object libraries. The CLI wrappers tend to do a crappy job, and they don't generally handle failure conditions well - but with an SOL, the user won't be SOL. :)
    • by also-rr ( 980579 )
      In no time you'll have tons of people speeding up their KDE by doing everything on the command line and perhaps even using less memory (as far as CLI vs GUI memory usage is concerned).

      Since most of the GUI libraries used by KDE are shared if you have one KDE app open then you have 90% of the memory use required to display an interface for *all* of them (discounting the actual functional code, which is required if you are using the UI or CLI).
    • Welcome to the past (Score:5, Informative)

      by ( 653730 ) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @04:37PM (#16438799)
      DCOP can already do amazing things [], like opening and writing a koffice document (including commands to do things like ie: activate bold fonts and many other things)

      Do you want to send the oputput of ls -l to your IM contact via Kopete? Just do "dcop kopete KopeteIface messageContact "`ls -l `"

      Those are the kind of things that make many people use KDE instead of Gnome BTW
      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 14, 2006 @04:58PM (#16438951)

        Do you want to send the oputput of ls -l to your IM contact via Kopete? Just do "dcop kopete KopeteIface messageContact "`ls -l `"

        Wow. Here I'm sitting, thinking "Hmm, a suitable task for my friends Copy and Paste." And then you bring your simple and intuitive solution. Just WOW! Thank you.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by andersa ( 687550 )
      I. Don't. Wan't. To. Use. A. CLI. That's why I use KDE.
    • by Bogtha ( 906264 )

      A lot of what you want is already there. Use the 'dcop' command, and it lists the applications running that are available to manipulate. Use an application name that is already running and it lists the operations you can perform with it. Use the 'kdcop' command and you have a graphical application to explore what is possible.

  • A song... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Mateo_LeFou ( 859634 ) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @03:39PM (#16438373) Homepage
    Kappy Kirthday to you,
    Kappy Kirthday to you,
    Kappy Kirthday Kister Kresident,
    Kappy Kirthday Ko Kou
  • Congratulations! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by reldruH ( 956292 ) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @03:40PM (#16438385) Journal
    I'd just like to say congratulations and thank you for making such a great desktop. Keep up the good work for KDE 4. Just in case anyone is interested in getting involved, here's the link to the Support KDE [] page. There's info there on how to donate money, time, code, etc.
  • Improve? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by shadow42 ( 996367 )
    Not that KDE's a bad window manager, but it seems too... childish. Brightly colored icons that bounce up and down whenever I click something don't generally appeal to me. Let's kill the bouncing.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by midkay ( 984862 )
      "Let's kill the bouncing."

      Or disable it in the configuration options. In fact, the several times I've used KDE in the not-too-distant past, it was off by default.
    • by abigor ( 540274 )
      Control Center -> Appearances and Themes -> Launch Feedback

      Use your brain next time, kid.

  • Finally improve kphone to the point where it is stable enough to live through 2+ phone calls and make it use arts instead of using the sound hardware directly.

    Even better, throw it out and start something from scratch that aims to be a good SIP phone while being modular so you can expand it with plugins to a useable Asterisk switchboard console or add codecs that cannot be GPLed (or both).

    This is possibly the only KDE app that I feel like missing when using KDE.

    Disclaimer - I have not looked at kphone for a
    • by arivanov ( 12034 )
      One more: Software defined audio mixers.

      Currently NAS and ESD in a network environment are rather useless because there is no way to control the volume and mix correctly into NAS or ESD input on the server. Having the mixer done in software and mapping it onto hardware only if hardware is present will definitely help here. It will also allow to emulate some capabilities not present on some of the less supported hardware.
    • by Rumagent ( 86695 )
      You might want to take a look at [] It has been getting pretty decent reviews...
    • by caluml ( 551744 )
      Make it use SRV records too. It's annoying if your domain name A record points at a hosted box, but you want to receive SIP calls for it on another box. SRV records are supposed to do it, but KPhone doesn't use them. Gah.
  • No flame please (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bookstack ( 1002086 )
    It would be annoyed to see another flame between KDE, GNOME, XFCE, *box, FVWM, E17, WM, ... Shall we just focus on KDE, buddies ?
  • by linguae ( 763922 ) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @04:08PM (#16438591)

    I was a KDE user on FreeBSD before I bought a Mac a few months ago. I was generally very happy with my KDE experience, and they seemed to have done a great job with their desktop. There are a few complaints that I've had:

    1. All of the themes look too "plasticky" and fake to me. You may find this very strange coming from a OS X user, but compared to OS X's Aqua or the Windows Classic theme (or even GNOME's themes), the KDE themes just don't feel right to me. I want something either a bit more serious (like Windows Classic) or something that does a great job with fanciness (like Aqua or even Vista's Aero). The KDE themes aren't terrible, but they can use some more work. I am also somebody who spend hours on web sites finding alternate themes, either; I call that a waste of time that can be better spent actually doing work.
    2. Now that I've been using OS X for an extended period of time, I can't live without Expose and Spotlight now. Expose is easily doable; I've seen GNOME and KDE clones of that feature. A clone of Spotlight is much harder; the closest thing that I've seen to it is Beagle. I'll like to see an effort to introduce something like Spotlight or even the long-delayed WinFS to the Linux world. Heck, I may strongly consider contributing to such a project.
    3. This page [] describes a few more complaints that I have about KDE. As an ex-Windows user (I dual-booted between FreeBSD and Windows XP), I like toolbars (I was upset with the Office 2007 ribbons because operations that used to require just one click on the toolbar may require two or three clicks, and there is no customizability). However, there is a such thing as too many default toolbars and too many options on the screen, which I notice in KDE applications. Many OS X applications handle access to features with Inspectors, which are dialog boxes that contain all of the main functionality of a program stored in tabs. The toolbar is only used for very commonly-used operations. Whenever I get to work, I just want a good-sized window to work with, along with a toolbar that contains some commonly-used operations. I don't want my workspace to be hidden by gobs of menus, toolbars, and other options. However, I don't want my functionality compromized either. Inspectors are a nice way of handling this. KDE can improve in this regard.

    Those are my only complaints about KDE. KDE is a very nice desktop environment. These improvements will make it the perfect desktop environment for me, and a serious contender to GNOME, Windows, and OS X for most other users. Keep up the good work.

    • by rmm4pi8 ( 680224 )
      First there was Kat, which seems to be dead for unknown (personal to the lead developer?) reasons, but is still packaged by eg Mandriva, and is very useful, see its Wikipedia entry []. Now its successor is Strigi [] which acts as KPart and KIO-slave. I don't think anyone's currently packaging it because it's pretty new, but there's no real cost to switching something like a search engine, so use Kat for now if you want it, and switch to Strigi when it becomes available for your distribution. I love the Plastik
    • I've got something called 'Kerry' in my KDE desktop. I haven't looked at the source so I don't know exactly what it is doing, but I know it is based on Beagle and from a user's perspective appears to do much the same as spotlight does on a mac. It is a fair bit slower than I remember spotlight being - takes roughly 5s for a search of a few gigs of data (all fully indexed). It correctly indexes quite a number of document types including HTML and PDF. It claims to do "Office Documents, Conversations, Image
  • Presents? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nutshell42 ( 557890 ) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @04:18PM (#16438669) Journal
    Couldn't /. celebrate the birthday by finally replacing the old (as in 10 years old) logo with the new (as in 5 years old) one?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MarkRose ( 820682 )
      I propose a new tag. If everyone were to tag this article and others with 'oldicon' as needed, perhaps the editors will get around to updating old icons.
  • I had installed plain-old Ubuntu a few months back, and was fairly impressed.

    But Kubuntu....well, it sucks. The interface is cluttered as hell. I actually had a couple of apps FREEZE, which I've never seen before. It's slower than Gnome on my machine. File management is goofy. The themes are ugly. And, honestly, it seems to me that most of the cooler applications are written for Gnome/GTK, and don't fit in very well under KDE.

    I was suprised at how bad it was, actually. I used KDE way back when, becaus
    • by Chaffar ( 670874 )
      I had the same problem with Kubuntu, and promptly uninstalled it in favour of Vanilla Ubuntu...
      However, when I had to get a new PC I thought to myself "let's give Kubuntu another look, maybe it just needs some getting used to"... and I've learned to enjoy it ^^, and now prefer it to Ubuntu ^^
      But I must also admit that it probably isn't the best implementation of KDE you will find...
  • by VanessaE ( 970834 ) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @04:35PM (#16438781) Homepage
    I've been a KDE user for a while (now using 3.5.4), and have run into a few things here and there that I think really *do* need an improvement. Off the top of my head:

    • One of our machines has a TV for it's second head, but the TV is almost always turned off or displaying a movie from our DVD player. Since the TV is never used for anything but movies, KDE should be able to ignore the presence of it entirely when a new window is opened, but still let me drag an already-open window over to it if I want to.
    • From the point of view of an advanced user, there doesn't seem to be any logical reason for the Dock-Apps panel to exist. Why can't I just dock my WM/AS apps into a regular panel instead?
    • As one other user pointed out, there are a few sluggish spots here and there that shouldn't happen on a fast box like mine (AMD64x2 3800+ with 1GB RAM and Nvidia 6600). These seem to concentrate on Konqueror when it's used for file management.
    • When the Control Center can't load a settings module, it should display a warning message and tell me what to do to fix the problem, instead of just saying "Loading..." and then returning to the 'main' start screen after a couple of seconds.
    Other than these, KDE seems to do pretty well for my husband and I. I've tried several other environments (Gnome, E, Windowmaker, Afterstep, FVWM, XFCE) and KDE just had the best round-up of features for my needs and preferences.
  • by bogaboga ( 793279 ) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @04:48PM (#16438887)
    "We've come a long way in ten years, but where must we still improve?"

    For me, it's the two major sub-items covered under one big one: Beauty.

    • The fonts are ugly. What does it take to make KDE display beautiful fonts. I am particularily impressed by this Kdevelop image. ide.png []. If a product is touted as significantly better technologically, it should also be a pleasure to look at.

    • They (KDE) should look at hiring a beautification expert. Xandros and Linspire should provide a hint. The point here is that KDE should be a pleasure to look at by default. Thank you.
    • I'll add to this: less Klutter (get it, ha! I'll be here all week, thank you). The volumes of apps included in a standard KDE desktop is just staggering plus all the eye candy turned on by default. KDE needs to be toned down and more modular.
    • If a product is touted as significantly better technologically, it should also be a pleasure to look at.

      No, no, no. This is most certainly not a requirement.
      • No, no, no. This is most certainly not a requirement.

        Where is it mentioned that a pleaseure to look at *is* a requirement? I simply, as the subject noted, had my take on KDE.

    • KDE problems, fixed (Score:3, Informative)

      by BeeBeard ( 999187 )
      It's funny how most of KDE's critics just have no idea what they're talking about, and haven't even used KDE long enough to know how to fix any of the "problems" they have with it. All of your issues with KDE are easily fixed. Watch:

      The fonts are ugly.

      Font anti-aliasing isn't even enabled in the screenshot you linked to. That's a very easy fix. Control Center --> Appearance & Themes --> Fonts --> Tick "Use anti-aliasing for fonts". The difference will be dramatic. Everything will look beau
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bogaboga ( 793279 )
        I think a I mentioned that KDE should be a pleasure to look at by default. I wonder whether its default look satisfies anyone. Do you know?
        • The default look satisfies me, so that's at least one. I'm sure it could be improved but it's not that bad at the moment.
      • by Overly Critical Guy ( 663429 ) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @06:54PM (#16439649)
        Users shouldn't have to fix someone else's broken interface. Telling someone to go to "Control Center --> Appearance & Themes --> Fonts --> Tick 'Use anti-aliasing for fonts'" or tear off all the toolbars to get them out of the way is just stupid.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by zsau ( 266209 )
        It's funny how most of KDE's critics just have no idea what they're talking about, and haven't even used KDE long enough to know how to fix any of the "problems" they have with it.

        That basically is my problem with KDE. There's so many ways to fix just about every problem with it that to work it out, you have to spend ages searching. But some problems which I haven't yet worked out the solution to:
        1. OK/Apply/Cancel. Having used GTK and OS X based apps for so long, I forget to do this. I won't ever use a deskt
        • I'll answer the ones I can answer:

          1. Just click OK. It's not that difficult. If you close the dialog or click Cancel you're telling the application you aren't sure of your changes.

          4. Most (if not all) KDE applications have Settings -> Customise Shortcuts. This will let you customise all of the shortcuts for the application. I admit, being able to do it from the context menu on a toolbar button would be nice though.

          5. Well, for me the open/save dialogs are a hell of a lot better than those you find in GTK
          • In all honesty though it sounds like the Gnome style of sparse options is more suited to your tastes, so you should probably stick with it (I'm assuming that's what your current DE is).

            Hit the nail on the head. The good news for people who have unsurmountable problems with KDE is that there are literally dozens of other options out there. With enough energy and curiosity they'll find something they like. KDE, one of the few DE's that at least tries to be a shoe that fits every foot is taking heat for its

        • Those are way better complaints than the typical ones, which are usually something like "KDE isn't the way I like it by default and I don't understand why a desktop environment is not exactly the way I like it by default! Forget navigating one menu and clicking one option, What about my needs!"

          1. OK/Apply/Cancel - Yes, this was stolen from Windows and I can't say I like it myself. In the Control Panel, if you forget to apply your settings before moving on, you will get a notice asking you if you want to a
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Blakey Rat ( 99501 )
        I guess you missed the part where he said "by default."

        The offense is even worse if KDE is technically capable of better, and yet is set to look crummy by default. What are the developers thinking?
        • No, I read the word "default" just fine. I guess I just don't share the arrogance associated with believing that I'm some kind of Everyman and that all software I use should be exactly the way I like it the first time I use it--especially when making it that way requires the most trivial of changes.

          Bizarre megalomania aside, if the default settings are too spartan and ugly for you, then perhaps you've forgotten that every time something is made "prettier" it uses more RAM, burns more CPU cycles, or both.
          • I can guarantee I'd be happier running Vista. I'm running OS X right now. Last time I tried KDE, I took one look at the preferences window and ran away screaming. There's no way every single one of those 40,000 different options are all actually used by people, and it's impossible to QA a product with that many different combinations of settings. (Not that the open source community usually gives a crap about quality, but either way.)
            • Fair enough. At least you don't presume to demand that KDE should be the way you like it the moment you use it, the way some of these other people have. That's about as empty and selfish as complaints go. But if you're sitting there trying to use the software, and you have an idea to change something, look at the menus and go "Eh..." then that's a sure sign that there's a problem. The KDE "Control Center" is easily the best and worst thing about it. Best because hey, the options to change almost everyt
  • I stopped using KDE years ago, but does Konqueror still do that ridiculous thing where it asks you what you mean when you drag and drop a file, every single time you do so, with no option to set a default?

    As ridiculously poor user-interface decisions go, introducing extra clicks to achieve a common goal rather than defaulting to the almost universal standard of assuming a drag-and-drop means "move" ranks right up there as one of the worst I've seen.
    • by caluml ( 551744 )
      I always thought that it was "move, if it's the same device, copy, if it's not". When you drag a file to a network share, do you want it to disappear locally?
  • First of all. Congratulations. Kde has come a long way.

    Now as for things that I would like to see:

    - better integration with sites like kde-look. Why is there a "Get New Wallpapers" button and not a "Get new icons", "Get new themes" and so on. Everyone likes eyecandy (even those who claim they don't:) ).

    - Mac Spotlight 'nuff said

    - And when we are stealing from apple: why not read ience/ []. These people are know for the usabilty of their os and applications. Wh
  • Happy Birthday KDE! I love you!

    Where I would like to see you improve -- Please, Please Please implement support for OSX style application bundles -- it would make it so much easier for me easier to make easily distributable packages for you if you would support them.

    Don't pay attention to the clueless dorks who are suggesting that you should switch everything from C++ to something else, use GTK libs or reimplement everything to be a GUI front end to CLI commands -- those are incredibly bad ideas. You are pr
    • by jmt(tm) ( 197664 )
      Please, Please Please implement support for OSX style application bundles

      Like, uhm, klik []?

    • Don't pay attention to the clueless dorks who are suggesting that you should switch everything from C++ to something else, [...]

      On the contrary, it would be enough if KDE did switch to C++.

      At the moment, it uses a bastardised dialect of C++ which doesn't support exceptions. This makes combining KDE with just about any other ISO C++-compliant library (Boost being but the most obvious) in the same application impossible.

      From this C++ developer's point of view, it's the most important fix, and it won't be

      • by Kesha ( 5861 )
        It's strange to hear you say that KDE doesn't use exceptions -- that's the first time I hear of it. Do they disable exception handling at compile time in their libraries? I uses exceptions all the time in my multi-threaded Qt based code -- works great. Are you sure this isn't a distribution/packaging/build-time issue?

  • As I tried out Vista a couple of months ago I became rather fond of some of the (for windows) new features. I would love to see some of them implemented in Gnome/KDE/Ubuntu/linux in general;

    Instant searches and dynamic stacking of files. A constantly indexed system *cough*spotlight*cough* that lets you create dynamic stacks. Stacks behave like folders - you can browse a stack for instance - but have no physical location on your drive. This combined with instant searches from anywhere in the OS, gives you
    • by Ash-Fox ( 726320 )

      Instant searches and dynamic stacking of files.

      Beagle, Kilo, that instant search thing on Konqueror. Seem fine to me.

      Searches that include the entire system.

      I think Beagle is capable of doing that.

      Per-network settings.

      Problem is, many distributions have their own network management tools, some of which support which you ask.

      Quick swapping of pre-defined (configurable) power settings

      I've seen such a taskbar program in Mandriva that replaces klaptop, but I can't remember the name of it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Every one of those features is originally from Mac OS X, not Vista.
    • A lot of the things you mention are coming in KDE 4. In particular the system-wide searching (Kerry/Beagle, Strigi, etc.) and hardware / system integration through Solid, such as not doing silly stuff like power saving in the middle of a presentation, and network profiles.
  • One of my pet peeves is the taskbar. Having long textual descriptions on the buttons for open windows is fine when you have only a few windows open, but gets problematic rather quickly. Putting two layers of buttons over one another is not a good solution, as the top layer takes a lot longer to reach (Fitt's law). Moving the taskbar to the side of the screen helps somewhat, but results in the window buttons being rather too small.

    The right way to solve this, IMO, is to use icons, just like NEXTSTEP and its
  • "We've come a long way in ten years, but where must we still improve?"

    Continuous session saving. KDE already saves session state on logout. Now the API for doing this should be changed so that each application saves its state not only on logout, but on every change (with several seconds' delay so as not to overload I/O).
  • As per this 5 year old bug, proper mouse button support would be nice. Hacks are not very user friendly, as the whole POINT of KDE is that an end user isn't going to have to monkey with something like imwheel. Heck, 7 button support has been in Window Managers like Sawfish for 7+ _YEARS_. I'm not quite sure why this isn't implemented, but it sure as hell isn't because of QT. []

    I wonder about a recent bug I found.. about three months ago, about applications not showin
    • applications not showing on iconification when also shaded

      Interesting, I had never noticed that - but to be honest, shading is a feature that I have never thought was particularly useful. In your parents' case I would suggest changing the double-click behaviour so that they never use the shading by accident (which is the only way I ever used to activate it) and then they'll never run into the problem.

      To be fair, KDE has a much greater usability focus now than ever, and usability bugs do get fixed. Perhaps t
  • by xming ( 133344 )
  • I think the best thing you can get from MacOS is the SDI vs. MDI issue.

    In MacOS, Apple+Tab = switch Application. Apple+~ = switch window. This means I can easily go between application windows without futzing accidently into other applications.
    In KDE and Windows, this is not enforced, so I run into the situation of EVERYTHING being hidden in alt+tab.

    Consider: are subdirectories a good thing? Would you rather everything was in one root directory, each time having to search it for a file you want? No.

  • 10 years of the Kool Desktop Environment. really Kool!
  • I love KDE, but my biggest complaint is the time to start KDE. It's fast enough when it's running, but man, you have to get it started up first...add KDE startup on top of a live CD (like KNOPPIX) and then you're talking intolerably slow. Startup time alone keeps me using GNOME on my laptop, though I use the K on my desktop.
  • Now before you flame too hard, keep in mind:
    CDE...still sucks.

    User interface design is retarded. We need to get some complete computer neophytes to look at our interfaces, and point out the obvious blind spots we've created for ourselves.

    Put another way: Computer user interfaces SUCK! The current set of 'innovations' are only innovative and progressive within the context of users (such as ourselves) who have rigorously trained ourselves to think like computers.


Last yeer I kudn't spel Engineer. Now I are won.