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A Week With GNOME As My Linux Desktop: What They Get Right & Wrong

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  • A Week With GNOME As My Linux Desktop: What They Get Right & Wrong

    Phoronix: A Week With GNOME As My Linux Desktop: What They Get Right & Wrong

    When I sent the Fedora 22 KDE Review off to Michael I did it with a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. It wasn't because I didn't like KDE, or hadn't been enjoying Fedora, far from it. In fact, I started to transition my T450s over to Arch Linux but quickly decided against that, as I enjoyed the level of convenience that Fedora brings to me for many things.

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=21817

  • #2
    Author's request: No flaming. I don't care if you disagree with me, that's fine-- I expect that, its an editorial after all. But no "You're a dumbass." "Go kill yourself." "Apple Fanboy!" or anything like that. If you disagree with me say why and explain. I wanted this article to bring about a discussion and honest critiquing.

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    • #3
      Nice comparison, thanks! I agree that it appears like gnome has designers assigned to almost everything they do by principle, and it's not just a bunch of coders that may or may not ask for "help" from some design team. That side-by-side comparison clearly demonstrates it.

      Still, KDE software probably has more features / is more powerful, so if you are a power user and not afraid of "interesting layouts" in some places, then KDE is pretty nice as well. I use unity, which has some stuff from Gnome, but some Canonicalisms too. And a separate app store / update manager like KDE.

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      • #4
        I was sceptical at the beginning of the article, but in the end, I must say, I completely agree with you. I was just not able to put my feelings about KDE and it's direction in words like in this article.

        KDE is indeed lack of direction. I am hoping that with the transition to KF5 complete things will change. KDE is doing a way better job than GNOME with the transition to the next major version, they learned from their error in the transition from version 3.x.x to 4.x.x. GNOME just put the next version saying: "that's how your desktop works now!" where in the contrary, KDE has a really smooth transition to the next version, even for developers (I'll write about this later) but the transition could have been better. Yes, the desktop is better now. Yes, every tools now have every features the old KDE had. But the problem here is that maybe it's too smooth or too soon. The desktop is ready but almost none of it's application. Where is KDevelop? Where is Dolphin? Where is Phonon? Where is ... The answer is: in the land of KDE 4.x.x! KF5 doesn't even have a music player, amarok is for KDE 4 and the new player is currently just a bunch of mockups.

        Me too I love KDE, it's my main desktop and my favourite, I recommend it for every expert/power user, but for beginners, I sadly recommend GNOME. Why? Because it IS ready, it feels unified, it feels complete. This is where KDE have to improve and where KDE must work on pretty soon. The KF5 desktop is not ready, it lacks many application left in KDE 4.

        Now for developers, this is where KDE has made things RIGHT. Why the transition to KF5 is so long? From almost every blog posts I read about the transition to KF5, to talked about cleaning things up before the transition. They want to remove the mess they created and start clean again. The transition from Qt4 to Qt5 is quite easy to do. GTK 2 to GTK 3 on the contrary is seems like hell. non-GNOME application either get ported to Qt (or other), or still uses GTK 2. Look at GIMP, still in GTK 2. Almost every GTK themes? still at version 2. GTK broke almost everything in his API, and broke it a few time more in the early GNOME 3 era.

        Now, I'm just waiting for the dust to settle. GNOME has stabilised, now I'm waiting for KDE to finish the transition to both Qt5 and wayland. I really hope the VDG will get involve more, and I can't wait for all application to get ported. I was hoping for this summer, but to be realist, I think and hope everything will get better next spring.

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        • #5
          While I used and loved KDE 3.5, after I switched to Xfce, every time I try KDE, it feels slow (I hate animations), ugly, and most of all, disorganized. Also, I depend heavily on CLI functions, like xfconf, dconf, etc., and KDE has not a on-the-run alternative (in KDE you have to close and reopen apps).

          On the other hand, it is a pity that all beautiful and organized desktops seem to force a paradigm on you (GNOME, Pantheon, Unity, etc.).

          In the end, it seems you can't have your cake and eat it. Xfce still seems to me the best compromise between organization, ease of use, speed, and you can make it more or less as beautiful as GNOME.
          Last edited by teresaejunior; 07-12-2015, 03:54 PM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Isedonde View Post
            Still, KDE software probably has more features / is more powerful, so if you are a power user and not afraid of "interesting layouts" in some places, then KDE is pretty nice as well. I use unity, which has some stuff from Gnome, but some Canonicalisms too. And a separate app store / update manager like KDE.
            I've been using Gnome for the past few months on both my desktop (with 3 monitors) and my laptop, and I do consider myself somewhat of a poweruser. I absolutely love Gnome. It doesn't get in my way yet it does give my everything a modern DE has to offer.

            Whereas, everytime I try KDE again (it was my DE of choice up until about a year ago), I am disappointed for almost exactly the reasons pointed out in this editorial. KDE is very customizable, but there is, for me, no intuition in the design or the settings.

            Between switching from KDE to Gnome, I first switched to win8.1 and win10 preview. Even those environments were more productive for me. Thinking back, I think it might have exactly been due to the issues mentioned in this editorial, causing me to favor win8.1, win10 preview and Gnome over KDE.

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            • #7
              Okay well, that was a rant, and in many places a misguided one. Muon for example isn't exactly a new application, and it's going to be some time yet before KDE gets completely worked over to fit the VDG's suggestions. Complaining about Dragon Player is also more than a little bit misguided. The goal of dragon is to be a very simplified barebones media player what you're looking for was known as Bangarang but that's gone now.

              As to your complaints about Amarok, well I'm going to be blunt... Itunes isn't the only way to design a music application, and the design of Amarok is perfectly valid even if it's not something you're used to, and you're perfectly free to use Clementine if you want something Itunes style or Tomahawk if you want something that follows a more modern design. Both of which fall under the KDE umbrella.

              As to auto-login and being prompted for your password all I can say is... Grow up. The current behavior is default for the very good reason of security and whining about it is along the lines of whining about cars having locks.

              And as to system settings well... Eric ... I would have expected you to be the last person to be complaining about this since I'm sure you're quite aware that the VDG is working on this problem but that it is still very much a work in progress which we may not see for another few releases but I'm quite sure you know are coming.

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              • #8
                When i read the first pages, i only got the impression that it was a rant. The only thing i actually enjoyed reading was the last part, your overall experience and impressions.

                "Eight releases of Gnome 3 later and the unimaginable happened. Gnome got user friendly."

                Really? It was somewhat annoying to use in the beginning, but at 3.8 it started to get sane. It didn't really get much easier after that, just a few more default applications, refinements to the design and a few features. The core hasn't changed much since.

                I prefer tiling wms, but if i had to choose a DE, it'd be either Gnome or Pantheon. KDE is fine, but i can't stand when all the prompts getting in my way all the time. The reason why i prefer GTK apps are because they are just simple and clean. KDE has gotten better the past couple of years, but it still got a long way to go. Every time KDE4 tried to look stylish, it just looked overkill and cluttered. Those desktop widgets was just too much, and the Oxygen theme with all its fancy blue shadows and stuff was annoying. I tried other themes, but there was still a few things that annoyed me, so it was easier to just use Gnome than to configure the shit out of that beast. It feels like KDE is trying to do so much that it forgets the basics alot of times.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Ericg View Post
                  Author's request: No flaming. I don't care if you disagree with me, that's fine-- I expect that, its an editorial after all. But no "You're a dumbass." "Go kill yourself." "Apple Fanboy!" or anything like that. If you disagree with me say why and explain. I wanted this article to bring about a discussion and honest critiquing.
                  Then you shouldn't have written it as a rant. Bluntly this is worse than even one of Michael's flamebait pieces.
                  Last edited by Luke_Wolf; 07-12-2015, 01:15 PM.

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                  • #10
                    I use startup automation to setup my desktops and applications at login, and that's something that KDE makes trivially easy. I used to do the same with GNOME, but it required coding a script on my part for no particular reason. There's a user base for every desktop environment, so I find comparing them kind of pointless. An apple isn't a very good orange, and an orange isn't a very good apple. That doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with either of them.

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