Thoughts on KDE 4.x
KDE4.1 is mislabeled. At best, this is beta software. I have personally used
kde in various distros (starting with redhat, then slackware, debian and
then finally kubuntu) over the years. I am no stranger to kde, or linux for
that matter. I did a clean install of kde 4 (which was an unmitigated
disaster) and then removed it. Then installed kde 4.1 from hardy repos.
Seemed to be a vast improvement on kde 4.0. However, functionality is
1. Right clicking on a zip archive no longer brings up an option to extract
the files. Opening with ark reveals an empty space. Good for me that I am
savvy with commandline which I use for anything that needs snap in any
case, but this would be a showstopper for anyone brought up in GUI land.
2. KDE 4.1 does not offer to decrypt LUKS encrypted volumes that are
connected via USB. I have to use the cryptsetup luksOpen grind which I do
not mind, but this is again an area where the project has regressed.
3. If the computer crashes (and this is probably a bug related to an openafs
module I recently built) half of the KDE 4.1 settings are gone. The names
and number of the desktops is changed back to default (2), and the taskbar
is resized to fill the entire screen. Whatever happened to the old creed of
remembering the settings ?
4. If I resume after hibernating, the session opens up without any password
protection. This is a serious security hole.
5. I have an ATI card (X1300). I did the following : I copied my .kde4
directory to a backup .kde4.backup. Then enabled desktop effects. The
entire screen went blank. No issue - this is a known problem with fglrx
drivers. What happened next was a shocking and damning indictment of kde
4.1 : I switched virtual terminals, killed kdm, deleted the .kde4 directory
(rm -rf), copied it back from the backup I made (cp -pR). Then logged in.
Found all, yes, all my customizations to kde4.1 gone. Yes, GONE. I had to
redo each one of them. If .kde4 does not store all the settings, then what
does, and if something else does, then why did it not restore them (nothing
else was deleted) ?
There are many other annoyances, but the 5 above are a flavor of what to
expect. Its simply not production ready and the developers have pushed it
out of the door in a way that would make Microsoft's Vista developers
cringe. Its pretty and I can see myself using it someday. But one would
want some honesty in disclosure - this is a beta release and calling it
even 4.0 (let alone compounding that mistake with a so-called 4.1 release)
is misleading. I have seen kde go from kde 1 to kde 2 to kde 3. Except for
episodic dalliances with Gnome, I do not think there is a version of kde
that I have not used. Each has been a seamless transition from the previous
(yes, even the change from kde2 to kde3 was much much better than this).
KDE developers need to be congratulated on their hard work, and their
attention to aesthetics, but one thing you never regress on is
functionality. I do not care what nice shiny new bells and whistles you
add, you never lose functions and stability. And getting corporate style
creative with the version numbers is a cheap trick that is guaranteed to
lose users. I know you are not being paid to do this, but at some level,
you must value users. If you do, then please do not pull this stunt again.
What is done is done. But do not release a 4.2 release without making sure
that it is feature equal of 3.5.9.