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On a different note, I also wonder what is the point of all these different distributions, and why don't they share bug fixes and config files freely among themselves and upstream. Its nice to talk about choice, but currently it seems they more or less offer the same fundamental thing, all of them duplicating most of the effort. I can see that Slackware, Gentoo, Debian are different in a deeper way, but I don't see a huge difference between Debian/Ubuntu/Mint/Fedora/Suse/Mandriva in terms of functionality.
Ubuntu and Mint maybe, but Fedora has a completely different heritage and serves a specific purpose; to be a staging ground for future RHEL releases. Mandriva and Suse are far older than Ubuntu or Mint or even Fedora (though Fedora does retain the old Red Hat Linux heritage) and of course Debian and Slackware are ancient. So there is strong historical precedent for these divisions, and those heritages do contribute to differences in how they are handled.
And I would not complain too heavily about Fedora or Suse, as Novel and Red Hat are the main Linux vendors who are working out the bugs in the Linux software and driver stack.
This is probably not the best place to rant about things, but AFAIK unfortunately KDE 4.7 has a severe taskmanager bug where entries from closed applications remain in the taskbar.
I am using KDE 4.7.3 now and haven't seen that bug in awhile. Of course, there's Plasma crash on every logout, but that isn't so annoying and can be considered of minor importance to me. Other than that, everything runs pretty damn well, given that Qt graphicssystem is set to "raster", Nepomuk is disabled, Akonadi is stripped out from system (that thing should be killed with fire, IMHO, because it uses way too much resources and constantly hogs CPU), and I am using Icon Tasks instead of standard Task manager (this plasmoid is the best that has happened to KDE lately).
I guess I will try out Icon Tasks whenever I get time . For the problem of closed tasks not leaving the taskmanager, I believe it is present with taskmanagers other than the default one too, and as I mentioned, it is apparently an issue with kwin. I am also sticking to kde 4.6 for some time and perhaps won't even bother to look at 4.8.
The fixes from icon tasks have made their way into 4.8 (due out January?). The number of fixes in libtaskmanager is significant. (you will still want icon tasks for 4.7 or if you want your tasks to be icon only).
Thanks for all the feedback regarding the taskmanager issues. Indeed I am happy to see that there is has been some progress in that direction as seen in one of the bug report threads. (In fact it is right now the topmost in the list of most hated bugs.) See https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=277010, comment #49 for details. As I understand, they are working on it with the help of the author of Icon Tasks, who claims to have already fixed in Icon Tasks. Many people are reporting that the problem is resolved for them with kde 4.7.3, but I will wait till its completely okay. Also, I am sticking to kde 4.6.5 no matter what happens as 4.7 has been a bad experience for me and it took me some time on Gentoo to upgrade to 4.7 and then downgrade back to 4.6. I usually don't update my packages often and prefer a stable desktop. Plus there doesn't seem to be a pressing reason for me to use 4.7. (I am in fact okay with 4.4 or 4.5.) I'll probably look at late 4.8 or 4.9 if time permits.
@ Shining Arcanine, BlackStar, disi:
About the network management issues, I am happy to say that I tried the KDE networkmanagement software again, and this time around it was perfect to my liking. (I am on Gentoo, and this is from the default portage repository and is a snapshot of networkmanagement from 20110714). I have been using it for a couple of days and it has been pretty "smooth". No more annoying kwallet messages (and I had set kwallet options to basic with no password), and the wpa2 enterprise wireless connection at my university also worked with no issues, and so did the other usual assortment of ethernet connections I use. The configuration interface has improved a lot -- at par or even better than the nm-applet's (gnome) interface. It seems a little quicker than nm-applet, though that may just be me.
It is true that "smooth" is not a proper description of software. But as some actual annoyances I faced - earlier when one used knetworkmanager, if the connection required a password, it would show up a kwallet configuration window, which asks another ton of questions. If one takes the minimal settings of no password, then knetworkmanager would eventually fail due to authentication issues. All this without any error message, and one would have to look at the system log (/var/log/messages) to figure out what went wrong. So basically one had to have a password for kwallet. That doesn't end there - sometimes it asks for password twice - once for kwallet and then for knetworkmanager. In contrast, the nm-applet of gnome would show up a gnome-keyring window for the first time, in which one can provide a password or choose not to use any password (which would warn you that it will store in insecure plain text), and it would not bother you again. Further connections and re-connections usually go automatically without any manual intervention. Nevertheless, these have been issues of the past, and the current KDE networkmanagement "just works".
I appreciate simple software like wicd, but I have never used it or plan to, since I have always been impressed with networkmanager, nm-applet and their support for a wide variety of connections. I also prefer text config based connection management software as a last resort (for example Gentoo has /etc/conf.d/net and startup scripts /etc/init.d/net.*), but they are sometimes unwieldy for complex connections and I don't want to figure out the syntax each time (which incidentally also changes often based on whims of various people) and is easy to get it wrong if a bit careless.
@ Hamish Wilson:
I always appreciate stable enterprise-grade desktop distributions like RHEL and Debian-stable. I also appreciate the purpose of various other distributions. But as I can imagine, there can only be few good objectives based on various tradeoffs - enterprise,stable or bleeding edge,shiny,unstable; free or commercial; binary or source based; and perhaps a few specifics like server or low-latency or realtime; gnome or kde may be. But most purposes can be handled by one distribution with a few "spins", kernels and flexible package management, or at most four distributions. Yet there seems to be a ton of them which differ in possibly just the package manager, and some superficial changes, all with the same bugs, little or no coordination/communication between them and tons of duplicate effort. I wouldn't mind if there were thousands of distributions (which perhaps there are), but had any positive outcome (other than the shallow benefit of choice).
Basically, Nepomuk is there for programs that use Nepomuk. Try Bangarang. It loads as fast as XMMS, does 80% of what Amarok does, and then some things Amarok will never do. A library based music player at the cost of a library-less one, with MP3 searching essentially for free, that's only ONE of the thing Nepomuk is about. Also, persistent tagging of your files, ratings, and desktop searches.
Sounds interesting, but some of us still don't want/need this. I don't want to underestimate your work or to sound ungrateful, but still have to say that nepomuk (also akonadi, strigi, soprano, whatever) are only a resource hogs for my system. I would really loved to see an compile time option to disable all those things. Also I fail to understand how come a simple application like kmix can eat up to 15 MB of physical memory? That's why I don't like the way KDE is going - it's on a path to become a bloatware.
Also I fail to understand how come a simple application like kmix can eat up to 15 MB of physical memory? That's why I don't like the way KDE is going - it's on a path to become a bloatware.
If you compare some KDE application to Gnome/Unity memory usage isn't better out there. On my 64bit system kmix uses 6,4MB. You were looking at wrong numbers, I guess. To check out how much memory does some app use just right click on a process and choose "Detailed memory information" in KDE's system monitor.