[kde-linux] Users guide to KDE?

Kevin M Coonan MD kevin.coonan at gmail.com
Thu Jul 3 21:36:07 UTC 2008

On Thursday 03 July 2008 10:43:04 David Jarvie wrote:
> There is a lot of KDE user documentation in the application and system
> handbooks. It should be installed as part of KDE. See
> http://kde.org/documentation/ if you can't find it on your system.

It was my experience with that documentation that led me to post my first message.  

KDE is a very user friendly UI (except for the broken parts of KMail*), the documentation is NOT.

For example (more to follow, I promise):  Chapter 5.  The KDE Control Center showsa screen shot with Sound & Multimedia controls but no documentation of them.  Since I still cannot get *()^&^!ing surround sound to work right  (my fault, really, I really should have read the ALSA documentation in the source code and then the on-line news groups before thinking about installing).

Last survey I saw said Linux (etc.) users were using Firefox, GIMP, and OpenOffice.  Not having a section on how to make them sing and dance in KDE with or without the KDE components is a disservice to the community. Try looking up krita for version 3.5.x.  Oops.  Nothing there.  What about GIMP?  Oh, not mentioned.  DigiKam?  Nada. The PDF version doesn't say which versions of KDE it applies to, but on page 4 of the FAQ: "Currently, the latest stable version is 3.5.5"  Phoey.  I use 3.5.9 and it is stable. 

The PDF user guide has blank pages in the middle of the document (probably a DocBook XSLT issue, but why not edit the result and get rid of page 20).  The online documentation has two scant pages in chapter 19, and 5 pages in chapter 2 about Konqueror.  Links are broken online (help:/... in particular).  Seriously, go the HTML version of chapter 6 and click on the Kate Handbook link. There is a PDF of FAQs, which should be covered in the documentation and not just relegated to the FAQs.  The PDF version has hyperlinks, which don't work very well in the printed version.  Why have a hyperlink to a ftp site in an Acrobat document???  

Love the quote about DCOP:  "While this is increasingly useful to KDE programmers, it is also beneficial to the ordinary user who would want to create a script, or, say, a SuperKaramba theme."  Pardon?  Ordinary users?  And people wonder why "ordinary users" run in fear from KDE/Linux (or BSD or ...)  Ordinary users want to get their work done and go home.

Also, the need is for something in print.  I.e. dead trees (or hemp if the economy of scale gets worked out) or an e-book reader.  You cannot even print out sections and there isn't enough introductory material.

However, in looking it up I did find out that in Konqueror (but not Firefox, which I have installed as my default web browser, and which chokes on all the help:/ links) I can just type "help:/appname".  Cool.  Wish I would have known about it two years ago!

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of current books in print about Windows Vista.  There are none about KDE.  Perhaps one of the reasons why people settle for such a mediocre operating system is that they can find well written useful documentation about it.

How do you expect businesses to migrate to KDE when every time the CIO is browsing the tech section all they see are books on MS Windows and a handful of (to them) indecipherable Linux books which don't even come close to addressing their needs.  The walk out with the latest Steven Covey book under their arm and still think that the guys in their IT shops are out of touch with reality when they say the enterprise should look at switching from Windows to KDE (which is what the transition is as far as end-users are concerned).


*To my earlier gripes add:  cannot add terms to spell checker (I cannot even find the documentation on what library it uses, let alone how to get it and OpenOffice, Kate and Eclipse to all use the same dictionary!!!  Also, the spell checker sometimes work (even when selected) and sometimes doesn't.  Finally, the color chooser still is broken--and why it cannot show some system default palate (honestly, I seldom use anything other than red and blue, why do I need a palate suitable for interior decorating in email?  Never mind, someone would want it.  I tried to use the "custom palate" to set up what should have been the default palate and accidentally added red twice.  No way to delete, that I can find.  None of these are new complaints, and I am sure the KMail developers have tons of reasons why I don't need these features no matter how many other people say that it is essential and are driving more and more people to use GTK+ email programs like Thunderbird or Claws . . . they are right, I am free to write my own email client if I don't like theirs.  
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