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Linus Torvalds Tries KDE, Likes It So Far 289

Posted by timothy
from the harry-seldon dept.
sfcrazy writes "Linus Torvalds has never been a big fan of Gnome owing [to] its extreme simplicity. Even Gnome 3.x failed to impress the father of the Linux kernel. He has now given KDE a try after a long time. Linus using your software is double edged sword, especially if Linus doesn't like it — get ready for the harshest, yet the most honest and useful criticism. Interestingly, Linus has so far liked KDE, and for one simple reason: 'But ah, the ability to configure things. And I have wobbly windows again.' This should make KDE developers a bit happier." Evidently, Linus didn't get the message that desktop UIs for Linux don't matter any more, since he keeps acting like they do.
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Linus Torvalds Tries KDE, Likes It So Far

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  • Yakuake (Score:5, Informative)

    by CajunArson (465943) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @10:31AM (#41864279) Journal

    On the Google+ thread there are some recommendations for Yakuake [], which Linus might find useful since I'm sure he does quite a bit of work from the terminal.

    • Yakuake is great, though when I'm not using KDE I prefer Tilda.
    • by Hatta (162192)

      I find it easier to just keep a virtual desktop with 4 consoles open, and just switch with a hotkey.

    • Why? It's fine for Quake, but a video game command console doesn't help me get work done. It's more meant for typing a quick command then dismissing to get back to your game (or work in this case). I couldn't use that as an interactive terminal emulator.

  • by Dyinobal (1427207) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @10:34AM (#41864297)
    In other news Linus Torvalds tries crunchy peanut butter, and likes it so far.
    • by Galactic Dominator (944134) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @10:43AM (#41864359)

      He likes it! Hey Linus!

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 03, 2012 @11:04AM (#41864469)

      You're missing the point. This is important because Linus is expressing an idea that millions of other Linux users are thinking. Unlike him, they don't have a large audience, so their thoughts mostly go unnoticed. But these thoughts nevertheless have a huge impact on the entire Open Source ecosystem.

      More and more people are realizing that GNOME is on its way out. Alternate desktops, like KDE and XFCE, are clearly the sensible way to go these days. Unlike GNOME, they don't treat their users like rubbish. They provide an enjoyable experience, without stupid UI shenanigans. Linus has come to realize this, as have millions of other Linux users.

      • mfw he hasn't ever given KDE much as a sideways glance after all these years.
        • by wdef (1050680)

          mfw he hasn't ever given KDE much as a sideways glance after all these years.

          Incorrect. IIRC he praised KDE over Gnome a few years ago and admitted he used KDE and disliked the direction Gnome was taking, pretty sure it was on /. I thought I must have been looking at an old post at first.

        • He liked KDE 3, but when KDE 4 came out he got poxed off with it. I can't say I blame him, KDE 4 was silly when it first came out. Non configurable, awkward, bloated bullshit.

          But KDE 4 has come a long way since then and is a very nice desktop (I don't use it myself, but I do have it. I tend to keep a KDE environment around for some of the apps, like K3B for example, which is my favourite burning front end, and "kpdf" now built in to "Okular"

      • by flyingfsck (986395) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @12:01PM (#41864855)
        What is this Gnome thing that everyone keeps complaining about?
        • by G3ckoG33k (647276) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @01:53PM (#41865759)

          Gnome used to be a desktop solution of Linux. But like Hurd it never really "got it".

          KDE was the first but since it, at the time, was closed source Gnome was created as an alternative, even if it ended up as 2nd rate citizen, always choking in the dust.

          Gnome had it its purpose up until KDE went GPL, i.e. more than 10 years ago. Now it is time to move on, with KDE or xfce.

          • I'd say Gnome had a very big purpose to live in the KDE4.0 days, when the K environment was basically useless, GNOME had a niche of a good enough interface.
        • by Sussurros (2457406) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @10:05PM (#41869469)
          Thank you for that, it gave me my first real laugh of the day. Just this morning I realised that I use no Microsoft products at all and haven't done so for ages and I've never noticed. Your joke and my laughter at it makes me realise that I haven't used Gnome at all this year and I've long stopped noticing its absence.

          Gnome stopped be a point of disatisfaction for me and became a part of history about six months ago. It would take a massive reinvention and a reason from some other cause to ever get me to look at it again. Gnome has microsofted itself for me and while perhaps Wayland can help it, I doubt it. It's going down Nokia Alley on the greater stage too, becoming the bearded lady in the corner when it used to be centre stage.
      • But the problem is that Xpenguins [], the most important application to convince your girl friend of Linux does not work with Kwin. So indeed, Linux on the Desktop is a completely lost cause unless these basic features remain unfixed by the KDE team. On the other hand XPenguins works fine with CDE.
        • by allo (1728082)

          but there is the kde window sitter. amor or something like this, i cannot remember the full name.

      • I thought it more interesting that he likes wobbly windows. I've seen for a long time Linux elitists deride those of us who like a little eye candy on the desktop, calling it useless and suggesting that eye candy is just for simpleton Windows or Mac users. It's kind of nice to see that someone of Linus's stature will openly say that he likes a little candy, too.

      • by Dyinobal (1427207)
        I wasn't missing the point I was just making a joke.
  • I agree with Linus (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jfdavis668 (1414919) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @10:35AM (#41864301)
    All the desktop UI need to start focusing on what users need, not flashy features that aren't really useful.
    • by tuppe666 (904118)

      All the desktop UI need to start focusing on what users need, not flashy features that aren't really useful.

      I'm not one to disagree, but when did a a desktop have to be boring. My onboard graphics card has been delivering wobbly windows and spinning cubes since intel i815, and anything less simply.

    • All the desktop UI need to start focusing on what users need, not flashy features that aren't really useful.

      Wait... Linus' main point was that he liked his wobbly windows. How is that a need, and not just some stupid flashy feature?

      To think that thousands of dedicated engineers worked for years on awesome high-performance graphics hardware, only to have it wasted on this.....

      • by gmueckl (950314)

        At least it's not wasted on such ridiculous things as Crysis, Call of Duty, Battlefield and all the other high budget game productions out there - oh, wait... the money they make is actually why you have that nice hardware *at all*.

  • ...make submissions about RMS, then? Are we waiting for HURD to ride his every sentence?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 03, 2012 @10:47AM (#41864387)

    It seems like every other environment has decided that letting the user configure things how they want them to be is "too hard". Thus, they figure, it's better to remove every shred of choice. Because, you know, choice is hard and confusing.

    KDE is one of the only environments left that doesn't treat its users like morons. It isn't a perfect piece of software, but it's one of the only remaining things that isn't after the "dumb everything down!!" mantra. The others: Windows, Gnome, Unity, OSX, IOS, Android, all seem to be chasing the other roads.

    For that reason alone, I've found it worth giving them money, which you can do here: - I've given them about euros 100 over the last year.

    Disclaimer: I have no association with KDE except for being a user of their desktop environment.

    • by bmo (77928) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @11:20AM (#41864571)

      KDE is one of the only environments left that doesn't treat its users like morons.

      This can't be said enough. But not only that, there seems to be a fad in the other direction to be as user-hostile as possible in the name of extensibility. Dwm doesn't even have a config file, you are expected to edit the source and compile it, because a dwmrc would be "bloat." Another window manager requires you to learn haskell. GUI based configs like those found under WindowMaker are eschewed as "bloat." Well, damn, if I'm going to have to learn a whole new programming language just to change the background color, I may as well go back to twm and write a twmrc on clay tablets or write my window manager.

      I don't get it. I don't understand the goals of the above. On one hand we have "the user is stupid, don't let him configure anything" and the other is "let the user configure anything, but make it artificially difficult."

      KDE is a sane middle ground between the two paradigms.


      • I don't get it. I don't understand the goals of the above. On one hand we have "the user is stupid, don't let him configure anything" and the other is "let the user configure anything, but make it artificially difficult."

        Never used XFCE, or Enlightenment, have you? They both put KDE to shame, on the configurability side of things, yet both have a plethora of GUI tools to make said configuration easy.

        • by bmo (77928) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @12:31PM (#41865077)

          >Never used XFCE

          I have actually. I even used it back when it was a clone of CDE.

          >or Enlightenment

          Enlightenment is one of those things that you wished worked, but I installed it the other day via a PPA because of the Enlightenment article here, and I couldn't even get the Debian applications menu to show up. Nor could I quit normally, I had to go to a terminal and kill X. It was worse than it was 10 years ago, when I had it as a window manager with the waves plugin to "impress" passers-by.

          > They both put KDE to shame\

          No they don't. Neither has kioslaves and neither has dolphin or konqueror. Those two reasons alone are enough to use KDE.


    • by MSG (12810)

      Thus, they figure, it's better to remove every shred of choice. Because, you know, choice is hard and confusing.

      People continue to repeat this reasoning, attributed to various developers, but that doesn't make it true. The guiding thought is not that users cannot make choices. It is that every option MULTIPLIES code complexity. Options tend to interact with other options, and testing is required to verify that all options work together, or that the system provides a means of preventing options that don't from being used together. The drive to simplify interfaces is intended to reduce the number of bugs present in

      • by gmueckl (950314)

        How do you explain that gnome is actually more configurable than it presents itself? There are vastly more options in the gconf database than in the GUI. By your logic, these shouldn't exist.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 03, 2012 @10:47AM (#41864389)

    I think we can all finally admit that GNOME 3 has become the most significant OSS project disaster to have ever occurred. It has been worse than the XFree86 licensing debacle. It is much worse than pre-EGCS GCC strife, or the Perl 6 inaction.

    Never before have we seen an open source project drive away some of its most valuable users (including Linus) so quickly and so efficiently. It's like everything that possibly could have gone wrong with GNOME 3 did go excruciatingly wrong.

    The user experience is absolutely terrible. GNOME Shell is universally hated. And even now, 1.5 years since GNOME 3 was first released, it isn't getting any better. In fact, it may be getting worse, as many developers and potential developers are now repulsed by it, and want nothing to do with it.

    The rest of us who lead or are otherwise involved with OSS projects can learn a lot from the GNOME 3 disaster. They've made it very obvious what not to do. First of all, do not buy into hype. The hype around tablets, which are now obviously an outgoing fad, is the force behind many of the horrible UI decisions that were made. Second, don't be afraid to reject stupid UI ideas coming from failed "web designers". Third, at least have the courtesy of listening to what existing users are saying about your application or system. Fourth, don't shit down the throats of your existing users.

    There absolutely no need for a GNOME 3-style debacle to take place. It can be easily avoided by just thinking a little bit, and acting sensibly. It worked well for KDE, XFCE, and the multitude of other open source desktop environment projects that are out there.

    • by tuppe666 (904118)

      I think we can all finally admit that GNOME 3 has become the most significant OSS project disaster to have ever occurred.

      Here is the thing Gnome 3 Apps are still great, and I'm currently I'm using cinnamon with which I'm sure you are aware is just Gnome 3 with a more sensible Desktop. They are looking to be making good and bad choices with nautilus too, renaming it files wasn't one of them.

      Its Gnome Shell and nothing else.

      • The problem for me is that Unity uses Gnome Shell. I am working on a java app which I start from a terminal. When the app starts, the gnome shell puts it in a different workspace from the shell. I debug by watching the UI and the terminal at the same time. Needless to say this pisses me off greatly. All I want is an option in unity to turn workspaces off completely. Compared to workspaces in (say) fvwm they are completely useless anyway.

    • by MSG (12810) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @01:35PM (#41865605)

      GNOME Shell is universally hated.

      No, it isn't. I have a number of non-tech friends (and my mom) who use Fedora with GNOME Shell. I use Fedora with GNOME Shell. I know a fairly large number of GNU/Linux users, and very few of them actually hate GNOME Shell. Not none, but few. For my part, I think notifications aren't very good, but otherwise the system does what it's supposed to. It stays out of my way. It isn't distracting and it uses minimal screen space. I like those things quite a lot.

  • KDE looks like ass (Score:4, Insightful)

    by realmolo (574068) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @11:29AM (#41864623)

    I like the functionality of KDE, and I like the configurability, but it looks terrible. Nothing quite "fits". All the buttons look like they aren't placed/sized *quite* correctly, and the button labels look like they are just a *little* off-center.

    Basically, all of the window decorations/elements aren't sized right. Still. That is apparently the "KDE look", but I can't stand it. And yes, I've tried to tweak it to my liking, but it's impossible.

    By contrast, Gnome and Unity are very well put together. They look nice and clean.

    • by jones_supa (887896) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @11:41AM (#41864697)
      While the appearance of the desktop is indeed important, I actually don't get the same feeling from KDE. Can you put a link to some screenshot which shows the problem(s)?
      • by allo (1728082)

        the default theme is just a bad choice. That's nothing new, there were many releases with bad default themes.
        Oxygen window decorations are just ugly. Keramik widgets are just awful.

        But you CAN configure it to look nice. Try using Plastik widgets, maybe with Plastik or even Keramik window decorations. Just start by configuring the look and feel, then continue with the behaviour, step by step, change one thing when its annoying you, keep it, if you like it.

        In the end you get a nice desktop.

        That's what gnome i

    • by caseih (160668)

      I've always had this feeling about KDE, since the KDE 2 days. It's so hard to quantify exactly what is off about the interface, or what is wrong. It is a matter of spacing. Maybe it's also that the fonts are the wrong size (always too large, too heavy, or too small), especially when displaying next to a Gnome app. I have the GTK theme on for my Qt and KDE apps, but it still just isn't there. I don't think it's a Qt problem because I've used Qt apps on Windows and they look just fine, spacing wise.


  • by rubycodez (864176) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @11:39AM (#41864687)

    more accurate to say he liked the ability to configure every little thing, but has many gripes too about overall look & feel and defaults

    I'd say his post overall is why many people still go to things like xfce4, mate, cinnamon, LXDE, etc.

  • by scharkalvin (72228) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @11:44AM (#41864715) Homepage

    I agree with Linus, I'm back to KDE after the Gnome2 to Gnome3 transisiton. While the default KDE settings may not be optimal, some distros (such as Mint) have chosen more sane defaults for THEIR implementation of KDE. I'd suggest that Linus try Mint 13 KDE, but since he probably knows how to tweak things to his liking he can use any distro he likes. I've also tried Kubuntu, but Mint is closer to my desired configuration out of the box.

  • by jones_supa (887896) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @11:48AM (#41864743)
    Mmh. I agree, KDE is quite nice and customizable. XFCE is nice too, Unity is, etc. However the longstanding problem which seems not to go away, is the lack of general quality assurance. All of the DEs are full of little bugs here and there. Some button does nothing, some feature is not implemented, occasional crashes, settings that do not have an effect, little glitches, etc. Things like that. Maybe it requires a big company like Microsoft or Apple to get it right, but maybe also the OSS community could be arranged so that things like these could be improved. I think it's really important.
  • Linus using your software is double edged sword, especially if Linus doesn't like it — get ready for the harshest, yet the most honest and useful criticism.

    Smooch Linus' ass much 'sfcrazy' ?

  • WTF is "wobbly windows" supposed to be? Useless eye-candy with no purpose?
  • The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 03, 2012 @12:20PM (#41864993)

    Dear KDE developers, please learn the lesson from Unity and Gnome 3 (and Windows 8). You will win, and win big, if you don't screw up. Keep your desktop environment the same and let people use it to get their work done. Don't change paradigms or get user interface designers involved. Just provide what you're already providing without radical changes. People are migrating off of these broken, unusable environments en masse.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 03, 2012 @01:35PM (#41865599)

      I think what KDE has really done right is branch their various paradigms into separate, connected projects. There's KDE's regular desktop environment and there is the Active environment and.... What's the other one? Netbook? Anyway, they realize different devices require different approaches and have kept each sub-project separate, but using the same stable base. I think that is really a good way to go. GNOME, Unity and Win8 are all trying to make every device use the same interface and the result is a watered down desktop that works okay in most places, but doesn't excel anywhere.

      • That's what the change into KDE 4 was all about. They added a layer that makes it possible to fork the interface without forking most of the code, gaining the flexibility required for creating all those projects.

        Do you remember when they were promissing that KDE 4 would be set for the future (before the release of 4.0)? That was what they were talking about.

    • by LtGordon (1421725)
      Also, for that matter, please learn the lesson from KDE 4.0.
  • by gtirloni (1531285) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @01:24PM (#41865519)
    This is getting out of control.
  • So, is there some problem with posting links to G+? I saw the comment, checked his posts and read his comments...then realized the article link pointed to someone's blog....why not go straight to the source?
  • A lot of you guys are missing the point. Linux only has a chance in the long term if it gets a portion of adoption by the masses. The masses are not interested in configuration, they do go by the first thing they see, and as distasteful as it is for us all, the Apple-esque Gnome look is what they seem to be happy with. If you enjoy configuration then you have the option of wiping gnome and installing KDE on almost any distro. Everyone is happy.

Whoever dies with the most toys wins.