Engine Started - First Look at 11.1/KDE4.1 LiveCD

FWIW, I started my engagement with OS11.1RC1 today by D/L the x86 KDE 4.1 live iso. I’m coming from a background of using 11.0/KDE3.5 for everyday production and, before that, right back to Suse 7.x I believe. I started out on RH7, and have installed and eveluated a whole schwack of OS’s, including getting sucked in to a VERY less than satisfactory experience with OS 11.0 and KDE (“it’s really production-quality, honest” - NOT!) 4.0. Never again would I trust the KDE crew, I said, so I’m being generous and good-willed to them by evaluating the RC of 11.1 and 4.1 … you know, the “everything will be better and useful by 4.1” release mantra that we heard in 11.0 days.

The booting and the presentation of OS 11.1 to the desktop is smooth, no rough edges, and the work is clearly polished as one expects with the openSuse crew. KDE 4.1 less so, much less so. It is still what I would describe as back in beta stage. And if yesterday’s KDE announcement about 4.2 availability in late January, 800+ bug fixes so far, still missing functionality (compared to 3.5) after 4.2 release, is a reflection of KDE 4 versus 3.5, then KDE 4 will still be a true beta after the end of January. I commend Novell/Suse for their recent decision to include KDE 3.5 with 11.1 and suspect they will have to do the same with the 11.2 release, given the non-production quality of KDE 4. But I digress.

I originally booted the LiveCD, changing only the default 1600x1200 selection at the onset to 1024x768, and it seemed to boot into the desktop well at that resolution. Menu fonts were incredibly tiny and mis-shaped though, even after using the Fonts section of Personal Settings to increase sizes across the board. Of course, increasing the font size had absolutely no effect on Firefox 3’s menus or dialogues, so it remained especially useless, as usual. This isn’t a Suse/KDE issue (I think), but I am getting tired of this FF3 piece of cr#p on linux. I’m told it looks fairly good in Windows, so I can only assume Mozilla is going for the money and ditching OSS … the people that got them where they are today … as (very distant) second class users. Thanks, Mozilla. I’ll stay at FF2 or, if it becomes unsupported, migrate to Opera, rather than deal with FF3 and ruin my eyes.

Before I rebooted to let the LiveCD use my monitor’s native resolution, I played around with some KDE settings. The first, of course, was to try to reduce the size of the clock applet’s font. Maybe I’m stupid, or didn’t spend the requisite number of years studying nerdlike emulation of Gnome brain-dead design esthetics, but I couldn’t for the life of me change the font size. Funny, I couldn’t in 11.0 and KDE 4.0/4.1 either. I guess it didn’t rate enough priority over the “gee whiz” bells and whistles “needed” to make KDE4 “appeal” to the 10 or so supplicants to the Nerd God. I never got all the fonts to look remotely sharp, though … always fuzzy or reedy.

A few more notes to the KDE crew. I think the “folder view in a window” concept still sucks, big time. Personal view only. I tried to expand the default folder view placed on the desktop to make it fill the whole desktop area. All I could do is move it to the bottom-left of the screen, above the taskbar. Thereafter, it wouldn’t move an inch. Guess only one shot at moving it is permitted. As for Dolphin, does the back-and-forth "progress bar ever stop moving? Or is it a subliminal message that your system is still operating? Thanks for getting rid of the peanut in the upper right of the desktop, though.

At this point I gave up on this (1024x768) screen resolution and rebooted, letting the desktop come up at native 1600x1200. Change font sizes to produce crisper (though not sharp) displays, but Firefox3 menu/dialogues and Yast and others are still unacceptably small and, apparently, unchangeable. Query: if people can be put on the moon, shouldn’t it have been remotely possible to straighten out fonts by now? Clock font smaller, but still too large (and unchangeable). It seems anti-aliasing is enabled now … does this work?

Thinking that something between 1600 and 1024 might produce a more acceptable result, I usued Yast to adjust the monitor to 1280x960. The desktop resized fine, but the KDE takbar was an absolute mess with major (important) portions off the screen. The clock was on the left, for example. Nothing seemed to work/be available to resize it and get back the Dolphon, menu icon, etc., icons. So at this point I just gave up.

So that’s my experience with the live CD. The base Suse stuff is solid and polished, at least in my limited testing. KDE 4.1 is still rough and beta quality. Does anyone know if the DVD permits a 3.5 install at the onset, like 11.0? I sure hope so, or I won’t be migrating to 11.1 when the final version comes out. YMMV.

I commend Novell/Suse for their recent decision to include KDE 3.5 with 11.1 and suspect they will have to do the same with the 11.2 release, given the non-production quality of KDE 4

I totally agree. I still miss a lot of things in KDE4. And it is not stable at all, even though KDE4 made a great progress since 4.0.

the KDE takbar was an absolute mess …]The clock was on the left, for example.

Happens to me all the time…

I tried to expand the default folder view placed on the desktop to make it fill the whole desktop area

That’s possible by now. Just rightclick on your desktop and choose folderview in the uppermost drop down-menu.

Does anyone know if the DVD permits a 3.5 install at the onset, like 11.0?

Yes, it does. And I’m afraid I’ll use this option, since the KDE3.5 workflow still feels better for me. Don’t get me wrong. I really like KDE4, but for me, it still has to improve significantly to be used in a “productive environment”.

KDE 4.0 = for development
KDE 4.1 = for advanced user
KDE 4.2 = for KDE 3.5 user

so IMHO it’s right to remove KDE3.5 from opensuse 11.2.

i just upgraded my 4.1.3 to 4.2 on my 11.0 and will do so on 11.1 when i install it
and wow what a difference runs really smooth and haven’t had a problem yet

Try under LCD, 1680x1050 60hz, runs excellent here on KDE 4.1.3 . Set the rez in Sax 2 after it starts.

Your in for a treat on KDE 4.2. Every problem you had with KDE 4 is really improved in 4.2. In fact I think it’s the best “well rounded” desktop out right now. Sure 4.2 won’t be perfect, but comparing it to 4.1 can’t be done. It’s a whole new beast and I can easily say is what I was waiting for out of KDE 4.

Is it going to be the desktop that everyone should use and grab onto when released…no, only because now that all the features are in place and all the main KDE apps are ported and almost done (except for k3b, which works but needs some help) people can begin refining them and making them faster and adding new features that make them better. Not only that, but developers can come in and start tweaking KDE’s look again and even start getting some new themes out in the world. and some plasmoids too.


Quote: “Is it going to be the desktop that everyone should use and grab onto when released”

That is EXACTLY what the KDE folks and fan club said when the great 4.0 schmozzle was unleashed against an unsuspecting user base, and the huge outcry resulted. “Wait till (insert your version number here)”! It was a crock of statements then, and it is a crock now.

Yes, it is getting better. Yes, KDE developers are working diligently and hard on improving the pittance that was 4.0. I even see that they are finally focusing on what the overwhelming majority of mainstream users want, rather than the “neat”, whizbang, impractical stuff. But, no, they have not yet demonstrated that 4.2 (or 4.3, or 4.4) is, or will be, comparable to KDE 3.5 in functionality, day-in-out utility, and stable.

After blatantly presenting 4.0 as “production-ready” (it was a proof of concept at best), and then insinuating it was all the fault of the mainstream users because they didn’t appreciate the works of greatness implied, or weren’t using it properly, or "you can do that simple 3.5 thing if you just follow this easy 132-step “workaround”, excuse me if I don’t have much faith in their glorious pronouncements, let alone yours.

My assessment is that the KDE folks explicitly made the decision to fast-track KDE4 in the public consciousness, to get the widest possible bug-detection apparatus (us, the unsuspecting public) up and running. This backfired big time, and should serve as a template for others on how NOT to cynically mislead and misuse the trust, patience and goodwill of a mainstream user base.

I’m a KDE3 fan. I use or maintain

  • KDE-3.5.5 on openSUSE-10.2 on my mother’s PC,
  • KDE-3.5.7 on openSUSE-10.3 on my desktop PC,
  • KDE-3.5.7 on openSUSE-10.3 on the old family Fujitsu laptop PC,
  • KDE-3.5.7 on openSUSE-10.3 on my wife’s PC,
  • KDE-3.5.9 on the openSUSE-11.0 partition on my backup (and test) PC,
  • KDE-3.5.10 on openSUSE-11.1 beta5 on the test partition on my backup (and test) PC,
  • KDE-3.5.10 on openSUSE-11.1 beta5 on my new Dell laptop.

I have played with KDE4 on a series of openSUSE-11.0 live CDs (created by the openSUSE community) and in separate user account on my backup (and test) PC.

I’ve never had the problems on KDE4 with fonts reported above in this thread. The KDE4 fonts “just worked” for me. I find KDE4 more asthetically pleasing than KDE3. The main reason I am still on KDE3 (as opposed to KDE4) is I have not taken the time to learn how to use KDE4 to the extent that I can in KDE3.

A key point that the vast majority of users, who put down KDE4, conveniently overlook (IMHO probably because they have no conception as to the significance of the points) is:
a. most of them don’t pay for their Linux and do not contribute to any KDE development, and
b. they all conveniently overlook the fact that KDE3 simply is not maintainable any more. The code base is too complex/difficult.

There is no future in KDE3. It can’t be maintained.

From my view, the King is Dead. Long Live the King.

Depends on what you mean by impractical I guess. Some people have applauded that the function to set different wallpapers for different virtual desktops is coming back, which I personally fail to see the point of. Others think having icons on the desktop is a necessity, while others (like me) thinks the same icons only clutters the desktop. Others say that the effects in KWin is unnecessarily bloat. You get the point. What’s impractical for one is a productivity booster for another. I’d say you’ve fallen into the trap of “KDE4 is not like how I want it to be so it is by default worse than KDE3 for everyone”.

The things is, functionality is up to the user to decide. And as far as I can tell, most of the functionality (not all though) is on the track of returning soonish, and with some additional functionality KDE3 never had. Whether it is enough for everyone is another matter though.

As far as stable goes, 4.1.3 is rock-stable for me. As was 3.5.10. In fact, I can’t tell them apart on that issue.

Except that they didn’t. 4.0.0 was referred to as the “will eat your children” release.