A week of KDE4 usage

Alex Schuster wonko at wonkology.org
Wed May 11 23:27:50 BST 2011

Rafa Griman wrote:

> On Tue, May 10, 2011 at 1:49 AM, Alex Schuster <wonko at wonkology.org>
> wrote:

> > [Oh, this has become rather lengthy. It's a description of my various
> > problems with KDE4, the details are not so important, no need to read
> > it all. My question is: Are your experiences similar to mine?]
> No and yes.
> My experiences WERE similar (not any more :) The thing is that the
> issues I had with KDE SC stability/hiccups/whatever were on a certain
> distro. When I switched distro ... KDE SC was stable.
> I have not had any stability issues with KDE SC on ArchLinux.
> Previously I was running openSUSE, Mandriva, ... Same KDE SC versions.
> With ArchLinux I have had NO issues whatsoever since KDE SC 4.2.

Strange. I did not expect so many differences.

> Stability issues that is. As you say, maybe some features are missing
> ... but whn I'm at work with Windows ... I also miss some features
> (hell ... I miss ALL the features I have in my ArchLinux + KDE SC at
> home ;)

I agree. I use it on my notebook right now while I'm away from my
desktop PC, but I only run thunderbird and firefox, and an xterm with a
tmux session running on my desktop PC. So I'm doing most things in the
shell, which is also okay for me. But on my Linux desktop I often prefer
to use the user interface KDE gives me.

> So the thing is: have you tried another distro? Honestly, change
> distros and you'll see that KDE SC isn't as bad as you think.

Nooo way, this won't happen :) Sorry, but I just love Gentoo Linux. I'd
rather give up KDE4 than using another distro for my personal purposes.

I also have some experience with [open]SUSE, Fedora and Ubuntu, but I
did not use KDE4 much there, and did only basic things that would work
here, too.

> Yes, I do suggest other people to use KDE.
> OK, OK, ... ArchLinux, Debian, Gentoo, Slackware, ... are "difficult"
> to use. You can't get your dad/mom/aunt/whatever to use it. TBH,
> that's BS. My sister in law is running ArchLinux on an ACER ONE 800 KM
> from me. She has NO idea of computers (much less Linux).
> What I did was install ArchLinux with KDE SC on her netbook on the
> weekend, she left on Sunday ... and hasn't had an issue in over 2
> years. Just one "support call" because she changed DSL provider and
> the guy that came to install the DSL didn't know Linux. She called me,
> told her to start a konsole, su -, /etc/rc.d/network stop,
> /etc/rc.d/network start ... WOW !! I can browse the web again !!!
> That's all it took.
> She listens to music, edits her own videos, edits her own music,
> browses the web, watches movies, ... Oh, BTW, she's an aerobics
> instructor ;)
> My small sister ... same case, but with Debian. ex-girlfriend ... same
> case with Gentoo (maybe that's why she's an ex-girlfriend ;)

My small sister's PC runs Gentoo, because I installed it and I know this
distro best. But she only uses KMail, Firefox and aMSN, nothing special.
Not sure what to install on my Mom's notebook. ArchLinux and Gnome
maybe. Something very very simple, this stuff is new to her. She does
not speak English, so a good localization is necessary, KDE4 still has
too much English stuff.

> My wife: ArchLinux + KDE SC ... I work 100 KM from home and travel a
> lot. Support calls since she uses KDE SC 4.2? None ...
> The trick is to setup the computer with all the stuff they need. It's
> stable, it works, no virus, ... no calls :)
> In the openSUSE Spanish mailing list, there have been all types of
> regrets towards KDE 4 ... how many have tried KDE on another distro ?
> ... But people keep on ranting that it's KDE's fault. That's not true.
> We all know that distros usually add some "features" to "help" you and
> "make your life easier and nicer".
> Honestly, try ArchLinux. It just works. Maybe you have to spend a
> whole weekend installing it and configuring it. But once it's up and
> running ... you never ever configure it again: it's a rolling distro
> :)

Yes, I heard good things about ArchLinux, I think it would be my choice
if there were no Gentoo. And a rolling distro is great. Back in my
SuSE/Mandrake/Debian/Libranet days, there was not a single upgrade from
one version to another that did not have big flaws. Some bugs were
fixed, but others appeared, all in all things went not much better, and
I had to put time into discovering the new problems and finding
workarounds for them.
Gentoo sure also has it problems, but if some update refuses to install
I can continue working. I do not have to take a free weekend like for a
Mandrake update, hoping that the time would be enough to get a working
system again, and being prepared to restore the backup just in case the
update would mess up everything. I do not even have to take the machine
down for upgrading, my home server once had an uptime of > 400 days,
running the newest software. Well, except for the kernel, which is why I
had to reboot eventually.

> And I've run ArchLinux + KDE SC with and wothout the official closed
> source ATI catalyst drivers. No stability issue whether I used
> catalyst or not.
> I have Arch on AMD64, AMD 32 bit, Intel Atom, Intel Centrino. NVIDIA,
> ATI and Intel GPUs are what these computers have. FLOSS and closed
> source for NVIDIA and ATI, no stability issues.

I think it's my Radeon HD3200, which is not supported as well as newer
chipsets. I already thought about replacing my on-board graohics with
another graphics card. Most problems only show up in KDE4, but this may
be because I do not use much compositing and such in other window
managers, and I do not use them often.
I did, however, try KDE 3.5 for some days, putting some effort into
duplicating my highly configured KDE4, and had no probems. But I already
missed so many nice KDE4 features... that's the problem, KDE4
sucks, but I'm hooked. And I love it. <sigh>

> OK, so you're not going to switch to a new distro, fair enough ...
> What about your hardware? Are you sure it's stable, well configured,
> ... I've seen people ranting about how unstable Linux is ... the
> reason was flaky hardware: cheap RAM, wrong HDD cables (specially
> during the PATA timeframe), ... Check the hardware.

That's what people are telling me since my OS/2 days... and the hardware
was always okay (I think). And I believe my hardware is. Memtest does
not find any errors, the drives are okay and tested by smartd regularly.
And hardware errors tend to show up when using Gentoo, like when
compiling gcc fails, that builds itself twice and compares every bit.
I had lots of X crashes, but they were mostly reproducible, and happened
with specific drivers and Xorg versions only.
Many of my errors are reproducible, and I often found existing bug
reports. I also filed a dozen or so, and most were confirmed. So it
seems I'm good at finding bugs that maybe exist only in certain

> On the other hand, KDE SC is not perfect. We all agree with that:
> Human Made ;) And yes, I do have a "wish list", but before ranting
> about KDE ... maybe you should chek whether it's KDE's fault or not.
> Honestly, check your hardware and try another distro ;)

Maybe I'll download a VM of another distro with a current KDE and check
if my bugs happen there, too. And I should more often things try on my
own machine, but with a different user. I wonder how much cruft might be
in my configs that could be the source of some trouble.  On the other
hand, I hate to restart with a clean config, recreating my setup takes a

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