Masterfully Typified

Story: How a “Welded-to KDE 3.5 User” Began a Move to KDE 4.4 - Part 1Total Replies: 28
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Nov 22, 2010
11:11 AM EDT
Great article Tony...I am looking forward to part II.

If only for one reason...

I look at Linux desktop use and adaptation from a smaller perspective, and that is from the new user experience.

The KDE team has put in huge amounts of work to bring KDE4 up to usable standard and I am awed by the skill it takes to do what they do. However, in my mind and in the minds of those who work to bring Linux to "the masses", KDE4 has not worked for many.

I mean, just look at the verbiage.


Akondi Server?

Strigi Server?

Yes, I know their functions and purpose. What I don't understand is the "in your face" presentation of the daemons and processes. They are confusing, obviously difficult to configure and their purpose, when discovered, are not at all clear.

I'm not saying this to attack KDE4 or those who develop it. My point, If I really have any, is to suggest that KDE4 was written for mid-level desktop users at best.

The people we introduce Linux to wouldn't be ready for this on their best day. I'm left to wonder at what some desktop developers are thinking when they go to work...and who they have in mind as end users.


Nov 22, 2010
11:20 AM EDT
I don't understand why anyone would think an email address book requires a database engine to be running at all times. Etc.

It just seems like massive over-kill for a "desktop" user. Unnecessary complexity, just one more thing to go wrong, etc.

Helios seems to have hit the nail on the head, here. KDE4 isn't for grandma any more.

Nov 22, 2010
11:41 AM EDT
I use gnome because I shouldn't have to think about the DE. I find KDE makes my head hurt. I'm not a newbie, have no idea what Nepomuk is, and don't really care.

Nov 22, 2010
12:49 PM EDT
Well, here's the 'self-proclaimed KDE defender' to the rescue:

Akonadi uses a DB because the idea of the framework is 'write once run anywhere'. So, the very same piece of software will also find its way in (future?) versions of the Kolab groupware server. After all, in the Linux kernel there's lots of stuff for servers too, and nobody complains.

The reason why Linux-kernel users don't complain, is because the 'server'-features are less in your face and can be turned of.

There were plans to offer more lightweight-servers instead of MySQL, like SQLite etc. However, due to too few developers and some issues which other DB's don't satisfy, it's only MySQL at the moment.

Then Akonadi and Nepomuk: Most important is, they're simply not ready! IIRC, Nepomuk isn't even _used_ in 4.4. In 4.5 (the one I'm running), it's indexing, but you can't use the index created to search as of yet! 4.6 maybe. Also, it eats lots of CPU load (for lack of a better way to phrase it).

Moreover, it seems there are too few devs to fix the Akonadi issues. See my article about the leap_second for example, it's quite easy to workaround or fix; there are more issues like this. Also, there's the dreaded "Nepomuk not registered at DBus". Most people turn Nepomuk off BTW, because you can't use it to search at the moment.

Of course we might also mention in the "near past" Nepomuk changed it's backend to Virtuoso, which is also kind of 'new not well tested' technology.

However, Nepomuk is sponsored by the FP7 of the EU which means it's a _research_ project. Of course, if something is a research project, you can't expect it's stable.

Now I'm going to read the article I think.

Nov 22, 2010
1:14 PM EDT
Why is Nepomuk indexing if you can't use the index?

Nov 22, 2010
1:40 PM EDT
> ...'server'-features are less in your face and can be turned of... >'s only MySQL at the moment.... > ...they're simply not ready! ... > ...there are too few devs to fix the Akonadi issues..there are more issues like this. > ...which is also kind of 'new not well tested' technology... > ...if something is a research project, you can't expect it's stable...

And this is KDE 4.5. Five point releases after the software was supposed to be stable. The last piece of software I saw that had this many problems was Vista.

I'll install KDE 4 when I upgrade to the latest Slackware, simply for a few of the apps. But I won't be using it for my desktop.

Nov 22, 2010
1:43 PM EDT
I remain impressed by how much effort seems needed to make KDE 4 -- more than 2 years after the 4.0 release -- a comfortable desktop.

Well, I presume it's comfortable. Can't know for sure.

Nov 22, 2010
1:57 PM EDT
mortenalver: Nobody knows! So please, if you meet 'nobody', tell us - because we're curious!

jdixon: Fully agree. That was the point I tried making, but without actually making it. Some apps are stable though, see my response in the other thread. But most KDE 4.5 frameworks are not even used by the KDE-apps though, porting to the new frameworks (Nepomuk, Akonadi, Strigi etc.) can take multiple years to come.

One might wonder why they're already discussing OpenGL ES 2.0 support & merging QT I think? Let's hope Nokia & Attachmate throw some money at it!

Nov 22, 2010
2:00 PM EDT
I have some time before this machine gives up (I only reinstall after a major H/W upgrade, which is about every 3-5 years) but I'm seriously considering to compile KDE3 Trinity myself if I have to. I'm not waiting for tricks like that. Sure, that will eat away HOURS, but I don't know if this route is any shorter.

Nov 22, 2010
2:03 PM EDT
> That was the point I tried making, but without actually making it.

Always glad to be of service, Hans. :)

Nov 22, 2010
2:11 PM EDT
@theBeez: (other Hans): Considered OpenBSD? I'm not sure if it's of any use for your case, but it will give you up to date security + KDE 3.5. It's a bit of a hassle if you're used to Linux though.

Nov 22, 2010
2:14 PM EDT
Have to add: Once, I found myself compiling KDE4 while 3.5 was still on my system. It ought to be possible to have both on the same time on Gentoo.

However, the worst dependency hell I ever came across was the result. Took days of configuring, compiling, failing, configuring again, another error, and then I gave up. Removed everything KDE3 (I thought) and emerged 4. I thought I was all set and done!

Then, 'backwards compability' kicked in, some applications only indirect linked to KDE3 were still there. For about a year some applications have been wanting to pull in the full QT3 eco-system which I painstakingly removed. Only recently, this has stopped and I'm free of the nightmare of trying to separate KDE3/ 4 in the sometimes chaotic environment that is 'portage'.

Nov 23, 2010
9:13 PM EDT
Hi Helios and others.......and yes, I'm the author of the article in Part I. I use the name of "Ridcully" after the character of Mustrum Ridcully, the irascible, grumpy, stubborn old curmudgeon who is the arch-chancellor of Unseen University in the Terry Pratchett diskworld series - and I just couldn't resist the parallel. Totally untrue of course ~ because I'm never stubborn. (Oh, and my family informs me that I tell fibs too :-) .

Thankyou for all the constructive comments. I found myself in agreement with many of them but withheld from returning any comments until I had checked with LXer's "powers that be" about the protocols of comments and using my pen-name. I obviously don't want to say too much because I don't want to reveal Part II and my final conclusions, however I will say that Part II is now in the final stages of production and will be out very soon and almost certainly early next week if all goes to plan.

One thing I can say is that I have, over the past year or so, tinkered with KDE4 in its versions, but each time it was a "brief play about" until I got pretty disgusted with what was happening and dumped it. I never on any of those occasions actually put my data in place and began to use it properly ~ I just didn't see the point since I considered the software unusable. However I always thought that KDE4 might, just might get to the "useful tip-over point" around version 4.5, so when the latest openSUSE came out, I decided to get thoroughly serious and actually find out if KDE4.4 would work if I had to rely on it as my sole desktop. Until you do that, anything you say is really only observing from the sidelines ~ you have to put on the uniform and boots and get "down and dirty" if you want to properly understand the game of football from the player's perspective. So I did. I have now been using KDE4.4 as my sole desktop for about 5 weeks and I am coming to grips with its good and bad sides, and it very definitely has both in my opinion.

It's been very revealing and confirmed many pre-held concepts, but shifted or removed others. One thing I will say at this stage is that I have found KDE4.4 to be far more difficult to administer than KDE3.5. My daughter has read Part I and while she admits she could not understand much of the terminology, she has told me quite clearly that she would not (and I stress she uses computers extensively in her daily work and has her own Linux laptop), ever like to go near anything that I did to accomplish my results.

For "Hkwint", one of the most infuriating things that happened to me during this whole process was the installation of a package called DeVeDe which I treasure because it is a GUI package that allows me to convert avi files into standard dvd's playable on any commercial dvd player. I had a dependency hell. Eventually, I forced DeVeDe installation and it then told me it was lacking certain files when I started it up......One by one, those files were put in place until I got to the last two. One was "libMagickCore1-" and the other was "libMagickWand1-", both readily available over the internet. So using Dolphin, I clicked on libMagickCore and once YaST started up, I got told that I could not install this file without libMagickWand. So I went back and started the installation of libMagickWand, only to be told I could not install this file without libMagickCore could see this Catch 22 coming couldn't you ?

Eventually what I did was to tell YaST to go ahead and install that first file and break dependencies.....which it did. Then I installed the second file and this time it simply went ahead and was happy. Then to make doubly sure, I went back and reinstalled the first was happy too. DeVeDe then decided it was happy as well.

Now all of that is normally not encountered if Packman is running properly.........Stand by for what happened.

Nov 24, 2010
5:11 AM EDT
Already wondered who'd suddenly write such an article for LXer, but thinking of it, it all makes sense!

Thanks for the article, and looking forward to the next one.

Screwups like 'mutual dependencies' ought to be reported as a bug ASAP I suggest! Usually they're pretty easy to solve, and prevent lots of user-headaches.

Nov 24, 2010
9:17 PM EDT
Ridcully, while I sympathize with your plight, I don't think you can lay the RPM h#ll at KDE4's feet, but rather your chosen distro, OpenSuse. Devede isn't a KDE app, or even a QT app, so it is rather unfair to lump it into you issues with KDE4.

That said, here are some additional rants: 1. Why did they neuter Konqueror as a file manager, but neglect to give Dolphin the ability to split the window more than once. 2. Since Kontact now runs off a server backend, why can't you share the same address book and calendar with multiple computers? Why doesn't Korganizer support shared calendars? Does NO KDE developer have a desktop and a laptop or perhaps a spouse they want to share a calendar with?

And finally, a tip: Newly discovered drives show up in the places toolbar in Konqueror and Dolphin, so if what you want to do with them is open them in a filemanager, and you already have one open, it only takes one click.

Nov 24, 2010
11:26 PM EDT
When KDE4 first came out I recall a motto for KDE4 was something along the lines of Work(s)the way you want. KDE4 doesn't work the the way I want, KDE3.5 did, and GNOME currently does, both after only a little simple tweaking, but KDE 4 doesn't, and many of the things I don't like can't be tweaked out.

Things like Konqueror being neutered, and Dolphin not living up to what Konqueror once was. Little cosmetic things like the left hand panel icons getting bigger or smaller when one resizes the LH panel - I can see the icons, thank you very much, what I want is to be able to read the text better, Stupid idiotic things like including the terminal inside Dolphin - I don't want my terminal trapped inside the file manager, I want a terminal that can be opened from the file manager, in the same file system context, but I want them free to go their separate ways (and the scary thing is Nautilus Elementary copies this dumb idea). The fact that it seems so restrictive. I can add all sorts of things to the current GNOME desktop, and really make it mine. I can't do that with KDE4, and I'm afraid GNOME is going the same way.


Nov 25, 2010
6:12 PM EDT
For Patrokov...........I thoroughly agree.......If you re-read my note above and especially the last sentence, you'll see that I haven't laid the RPM hell at KDE4's feet because it was nothing to do with KDE4 in the slightest. Part II comes out next week and you'll find out where the "blame" was then and what has happened; I think you will find it very interesting reading....All will be revealed. With regard to the drives, agreed; but that isn't what normally happens when I am working. Usually, I don't have a file manager open when I put in either a disk or a usb drive and so the larger number of clicks takes place each time. But again, wait for Part II.

And for Tracyanne, I also thoroughly and emphatically agree about Dolphin and Konqueror; Part II is on its way and again, "all will be revealed" - including some more on the DE environments.

One thing that is remarkably constant in this discussion is that even from avowed defenders such as Hkwint, there is agreement that KDE4 has defects. It is very, very frustrating at the moment, but my fingers are "blindfolded".....I would dearly like to say much more, but there's only another few days and part II will be out.

Nov 26, 2010
2:54 AM EDT
Monday everyone will get their Part 2 “Welded-to KDE3.5" fix, I


Nov 26, 2010
5:26 PM EDT
Here's a minor update on the start method of Freecell with Wine: In Part 1, I stated that the "drag and drop" method of starting Freecell by dropping its icon/link onto the Wine icon/link would only work properly when the "cashew" was unlocked. Right now, five weeks or so later, I almost invariably use KDE4.4 with the cashew locked........and the drag and drop method works perfectly. So something has changed. I have not the foggiest as to what it is, or what I did, because I certainly never tried to change the situation.

Nov 26, 2010
7:09 PM EDT
But why on earth would anybody want to run Microsoft's FreeCell anyway?

Even on Windows, better versions are available! I had a Windows version which could calculate if you could still solve your game, and you could use the keyboard to 'navigate' (1-8 for rows and a-d for stacks, h for 'home'). Nice thing was, it could calculate if you could still solve your game. Think I even got it legal, though not sure I have to admit, and I forgot the name, as I recently deleted it.

Nowadays I use KPat, on my system it has a green background. Whether you like the graphical design is a personal issue I guess.

Nov 27, 2010
12:13 AM EDT
Well Hans, I do, my daughter does and my wife is happily playing it right now. I'll bet there are others who still love it - perhaps not many, but that isn't the point. It's an old and very simple classic and it's our personal preference.

Yes, I know there are supposedly "better" versions available, and in KDE3.5's KPat, there is a pretty good version of Freecell which works very well. If I didn't have the antique Win98SE version, that's what I'd be playing. There was a comment on LXT with respect to this very thing which went along the lines of "more modern and updated is not necessarily better" and personally, I don't really care to be told in advance that I cannot win - I like to find out for myself (frustrated or not) and restart the game.

Really, it all boils down to this: "If that ancient and simple version of Freecell is what I prefer and I (and my family) are very happy with it, why not ? If you like the bells and whistles updated version and are happy with it, why not ? Each of us has a choice and in FOSS, personal choice really does count."

In any event, the most important part of the Freecell episode was to demonstrate how to get a Wine operated piece of software running happily in KDE4.4 and the "glitch" that "self-removed".

Nov 27, 2010
5:33 AM EDT
Basically, I've always had the opinion the fewer Windows-software on my Linux system, the better. Preferably not having Wine at all would be best. That's the reason for trying to phase out / seeking Linux alternatives for any .exe on my system.

Of course, I've been playing FreeCell using wine for years as well. Recently, kpat came so close to mimicking the old Win98 / fcpro version, I decided to get rid of Fcpro6.exe.

Anyway, I'm glad there are more die-hard freecellers! I've always felt having or not having a decent FreeCell program is important for a distro, and at first I didn't even know it was in KDE. Because who cares about dependency hell, FreeCell is much more important!

Nov 27, 2010
6:17 AM EDT
LOL.........What can I say ????? And there I was thinking you didn't like Freecell..........Seriously however, I have become very, very pragmatic. If I can use FOSS software to do what I want, I most definitely will. I loathe the lock-in of Redmond and all its works....BUT, there are some items of software that will only run in Windows and for that you need either Wine, OR, its "kissing cousin" Crossover Office, and usually Crossover is much easier in dealing with Win-based software. I don't want to go any further because this will all be explored in Part II...........but I have three items of Windows based software that I must have and a fourth which I prefer to have.........Let's leave it at that.

However you have really excited my interest. I have not heard of Fcpro6.exe........???????????????????

You have seen what I have done which is the old freecell.exe and cards.dll.......but yours sounds very, very interesting.......Okay, you have whetted my appetite........please give.

Nov 27, 2010
9:20 AM EDT
My Mom wouldn't switch to Linux until I found Penguin Freecell.

Nov 27, 2010
1:26 PM EDT
You see, never underestimate the power of Freecell. It makes or brakes any Linux experience!

FC Pro is here:

Be sure to read the rest of the website as well, the FAQ is great! It shows you the one game of the Microsoft 32k which can't be solved (if you ever encounter that one) and offers solutions for many games, in standard notation. Moreover, you can save games, change the number of free cells (3 cells is enough to save about any game) and so on. There's also statistics like number of moves needed, hints and so on. Best of all, it uses the original CARDS.DLL.

It's "freeware", nowhere is a license mentioned. Hence, if you don't have a valid Windows-license it's probably "more legal" than running the MS one. It runs great in wine, I've been using this for five years on Linux I think.

Nov 27, 2010
3:55 PM EDT
Quoting:My Mom wouldn't switch to Linux until I found Penguin Freecell.

I had a similar problem. My mom couldn't do without hearts. There wasn't any good hearts game for Linux (except an old KDE one) so I wrote this:

Nov 27, 2010
9:14 PM EDT
Thanks Hkwint.........I'll definitely download and then give it a whirl sometime to see what it looks like.

Nov 28, 2010
5:32 PM EDT
The absolute best Solitire game is PySol. Pysol is, if anyone remembers the the old DOS game Hoyles, Hoyles for Linux. It has just about every solitaire game in the book, including, of course Freecell, and variations on Freecell.

Now development work on PySol stopped in 2004, and eventually PySol was deprecated and removed from the Debian/Ubuntu/anyother debian based distro repositories. However, pysol has been forked and is now available as PySolFC, and is once again under development, with a number of bug fixes and new development, PySolFC is available in the Debian, and derivatives repositories.

I highly recommend PySolFC to any Solitaire lover.

Nov 29, 2010
1:00 PM EDT
You can all get your part 2 fix now..

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