1/ Remove akonadi/nepomuk/mysql - a full mysql install just to provide a data store for "PIM and metadata" is ludicrous.
2/ Make sure the Semantic desktop/Semantic Search/nepomuk is optional. I respect that it maybe useful for some, but please respect that it may not be useful for all.
3/ Ditto for consolekit/policykit
4/ Ditto for KDE PIM. The moment Kopete, Konversation, Kaddressbook etc depended upon the PIM stuff, was the moment I dropped them for Pidgin. Why? See point #1
For many users, removing all the above isn't an option. For users its complex and time consuming. Failing to make them optional (rather than default) KDE will suffer -- losing users, as memory consumed by an idle desktop triggers horrific flashbacks to darker Windows days.
My perception as a user is that Gnome (minimalism uber alles) and KDE (everything and the kitchen sink) have gone to extremes and forgotten their user base.
Gentoo and its USE flags system makes this sort of thing really easy. If you have an otherwise idle machine sitting in a closet somewhere, you could even create a Gentoo binary package builder  for your primary Linux machine, so you don't have to spend time building the world on your primary box.
 You compile software on the package builder, it creates tarballs and installation instructions, then you use the package manager on another machine to install those tarballs.
Try remove akonadi, consolekit, polkit, kde-base/pim add "-consolekit -policykit -udisks -udisks2 -upower -raptor -redland -semantic-desktop -virtuoso -soprano -gstreamer -canberra" to your USE flags and rebuild KDE.
Ended up having to create a custom ebuild, mask a whole lot of stuff and add some stuff to package.provided to make it work.
> you could even create a Gentoo binary package builder  for your primary Linux machine
I wasn't complaining about compile time, I have 20+ cores distributed for distcc compilation.
First the good parts: KDE is quite stable for me. I have hardly any crashes... this is huge as Unity had some ugly bugs I could not resolve.
But I had to install the Numix theme and icons and tweak knobs to get a common look between KDE/GTK2/GTK3.. I found the default Oxygen ugly and not well designed but this is probably a question of taste.
With Numix the machine feels and looks great but I'm not so happy after installing Windows 8.1 on an 10 year old Pentium M notebook with 2GB RAM and having to realize that Windows is way faster and responsive and more feature-rich than KDE and Unity and requires less RAM.
I'm not trolling - I'm talking about stuff like browsing files using the file manager and using a browser or office for writing documents.
Back to KDE: I don't understand Plasma at all - I don't use "activities" I tried it but found it useless. I don't care about widgets. I'd care more if the widgets would not be so useless.. something like gkrellm that ran on fvwm95 gives me more and better data about cpu/disk/network usage than any widgets I've found in the collections.
Memory... at least 400MB RSS after a fresh boot running only Konsole. No semenatic desktop, no Akonadi, no widgets... This is just crazy.
I have no SSD and 4GB RAM - maybe I'm too cheap for KDE but Akonadi and all semantic desktop parts never worked for me.
Why can't I disable the desktop search? After some hours googling I managed to kill most of Akonadi and Desktop search but I really would enjoy something like a minimal KDE desktop.
Dolphin/Kwin/Konsole/Kate/Okular are really great tools, through and I enjoy using them more than the Gnome tools..
I don't think I'm an old grumpy user - I really enjoy the Unity concept and even found Gnome3 interesting but I'm still feel some longing from time to time for the speed and functionality of KDE 3.5.
But overall I can work with KDE. I would be probably a lot more happy if I had a SSD and 16GB RAM and well.. that sucks. I don't want to install Windows on this machine for it to be faster!
I know there are alternatives.. but running Windows 8.1 on this 10 year old Pentium M notebook just made clear to me that the problem is not the hardware - it's the software.
Why is it so hard to to have a highly functional and low-footprint system?
It didn't try so hard to be pretty. Actually, I always thought KDE 2/3 did have a pragmatic, technical elegance. KDE 4 (sorry: KDE-SC-Plasma-something 4) just looks like an early alpha preview uniting all the bad ideas of Windows Vista.
> I don't understand Plasma at all - I don't use "activities" I tried it but found it useless. I don't care about widgets.
This stuff constantly gets in your way. Because it is a solution in frantic search of a problem. Unworldly and counter-intuitive to the greatest extent.
I have a feeling this is a big part of why open source projects aren't more widely used.
A part of them being open source is that a great deal of the people working on them are doing it as a hobby - because they find it interesting or fun. For a programmer, digging into a pet project (in my experience) is more of a learning experience or tinkering than a real attempt to make a usable product. There have been plenty of times myself or my colleagues have made a cool little toy without much practical use.
Honestly, I'm not intimately familiar with Gnome or KDE or Unity anymore but I have a feeling this hobbyist habit of writing code for fun leads the project astray where a commercial project (like Windows or Mac) wouldn't.
Windows for example, will have large design teams, QA teams, UX teams and managers. All of them will have a good idea of what they have to do and they're being paid to solve the problems of their customers rather than voluntarily working for fun.
Gnome and Unity on the other hand, made huge changes with (judging by the response of users) very little interaction with or consideration for their users. Sure they came up with some novel concepts but I can't sit my grandmother in front of a PC running Unity or Gnome anymore and expect her to be able to operate it. This was most definitely feasible with Gnome 2.
The opposite is true of Windows or Mac. Even Windows 8, with its pretty massive changes would be operable by someone who's used a computer in the last decade or so.
I still believe open source DEs can be successful but I think there needs to be a bigger focus on the perspective of the users and less of a focus on making a cool thing.
The 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' saying could also be applied to a lot of the things these projects have been doing.
This is exactly how I describe KDE 4. It was in development just as Vista was being demoed and it shows. The entire design of the system appears to have been heavily influenced by a failed MS product and the project is still living with that legacy. Time to go back to the KDE 3 code and start working on KDE 5...
And also the constant rewrites is so annoying. First Qt4, then graphics view, now QML. I don't blame them. Who wants to maintain code anyway.
/me is happy cinnamon user.
I guess you can't please everyone.
That said, I still like Oxygen, just not the taskbar design. I think they could have iterated on it and got a really really awesome and unique design. In there situation, I'd make the gradients a lot more subtle and smooth then work in more of the idea of lighting into the design. The icons could be abstracted a little more too.
And if you don't like a theme... change it. Guh-nome and Unity don't really like to allow you to do that. I never liked the jellybean XP theme, and would change any of my XP machines to Win Classic theme. It seems an odd complaint to make for something that is easily changed. Complaints on the code side of things... fair enough.
Despite BS comments from some Linux zealots to the contrary, a Windows desktop was almost always snappier than Gnome/KDE official releases, especially after version 2 for Gnome and 3 for KDE.
Now, for the serverside things change drastically. It also changes drastically if you just use some mininal window manager on Linux.
But the whole "Windows is bloated/slow" etc was mostly uninformed boasts, for people who didn't use both on a day to day basis and took the whole "open source is by definition faster/less bloated/etc" line hook and sinker.
Windows (from Microsoft, no OEM) could be really good, snappy and usable.
On the other hand what many users see is a locked down enterprise installation at work and a bloatware-ridden laptop from hp, dell or one of the other mainstream brands at home.
Furthermore a Windows installation (the OEM one ordinary people have to go through) can easily take 2+ hours. And then you have to pay up for and install office.
Compare this to any linux after Ubuntu (they weren't too bad before either) where installation takes 30 minutes and includes a decent office package.
Oh, -and multiple desktops, a sane system-wide package manager with upgrades.
Windows (as delivered by Microsoft) is neither slow nor bloated. As experienced by many end users it very much is.
Windows 8 clean installs are very quick indeed (less than 30 minutes in my experience) due to improvements MS made to the way files are copied. They claim most upgrades take 40-60 minutes. See http://arstechnica.com/business/2011/11/windows-8-to-have-fa...
(As can be seen from my comment history I like Windows 8)
I always custom install from a Windows disc, and throw away the "monstrocity" that comes pre-installed in the OEM machine.
Sadly that's not an option for most people.
Why Microsoft hasn't punished the OEMs over the years for making them look ugly, slow and bloated is an unanswered question to me.
Luckily that means we now have several Linux distros to choose from.
So I'm curious as to what you're doing wrong.
I really enjoy KDE. I just don't like fighting it. Likely a combination of using stock Kubuntu and having tons of files in my home-folder caused the problems. I'm now using a subset from the PPA without KDE PIM and things run smooth.
I _really_ like KDE and enjoy using it most of the time. But I think it's not unreasonable to assume that it could be much better. From my subjective point of view is Windows 8.1 on the Pentium M 1.6Ghz notebook with 2GB faster when using the explorer than dolphin on a Core2Duo 6550 with 4GB RAM (with a quite fast Ultrastar A7K1000 HDD). Opening and saving files and things like that. It's still reasonable fast. I really can't complain. I just don't like the defaults and as I said I think KDE could do a lot better than that. When using Eclipse and doing Java development every megabyte RAM is worthwhile :)
+1. This is why KDE has been my favourite desktop for 10 years. I don't do fancy stuff on my computer. I code. KDE gets the basic, essential tools right. Dolphin is better than Mac's Finder, Windows Explorer and Gnome's equivalent. And so is Konsole.
I hope KDE keeps going strong.
I think KDE's biggest problem is that it lacks developers and other resources. And the few resources they have are regularly wasted on rewriting code, adapting KDE for failed tablet projects, and well moving KMail (once the best mail client) to a system (Akonadi) that uses MySQL and some RDF database. Which is like the most useless combination.
Why would anyone think that using MySQL to locally store metadata for emails would be a good idea? It constantly eats your battery. And I highly doubt that any individual person receives enough mails per minute to require MySQL to handle the metadata. Which Akonadi couldn't even do anyway because the RDF database just absolutely kills scalability. I've tried to delete a few hundred mails and the RDF database went berserk. So why even bother with MySQL then? They've now replaced the RDF database with a simpler replacement they've wrote. So maybe it scales a bit better now. And maybe in a few years they'll figure out that the whole MySQL thing was a stupid idea and replace that with a simpler backend.
(Oh, and it doesn't seem to properly support IMAP IDLE, at least I can't tell KMail which folders to watch...)
That's not the way to do it. Maybe there are some GUI ways to disable it, but in effect, your ~/.kde4/share/config/nepomukserverrc should have:
... and some more stuff...
I see that the devs have been trying to create a new paradigm in desktop use but sacrificing the user base on that altar seems strange for so little benefit.
I don't use activities, dolphin, konsole, kate, nepomuk, etc. I just don't care about all of this, my kde environment basically consists in fullscreen terminals (real fullscreen, with no window decoration and no space eaten by menu bars) and full screen browsers. No menu bar (I use the run command for everything I do not launch from terminal), no plasma widgets (my tmuxes give me hour, which is all I need), no whatever desktop integration. I even don't use compositing.
So, why am I using kde, would you ask ? Because I never found any desktop environment as much configurable. Kde is over-featured, but still never get in the way if you want to.
Each window has an incredible set of configuration to make it looks like what you want. Those settings can either be temporary or be persisted, using regexp on various attributes allowing to target specific applications, or even specific popup created by specific application.
The list of keyboard shortcuts you can define is massive. And every application allows to redefine its shortcuts individually. I've actually never found any action I wanted to redefine and it was not allowed (and keyboard is by far my main interface). Damn, you can even define keyboard shortcuts for calling your own scripts.
I'm a big fan of gentoo for the control it gives me over my system, and kde is just the perfect counterpart in the desktop environment world.
So yeah, they can do whatever they want with themes, fonts, plasma widgets, etc, I won't mind :)
Performance is indeed a problem. In the past, I've switched a lot between kde and wmii, which offered the same kind of configurability (through its plan9 virtual fs - not sure it's still the case since wmii developers are obsessed with removing features) just because of that. Today, I have the kind of computer you have after being developer for a while, so it's a non issue.
But in terms of KDE itself, I'm a recent convert and absolutely loving it. I just wish that if you wanted to change the look, you didn't have to hit three or four different settings (window chrome, taskbar, wallpaper, mouse icons etc) - it'd be nice if there was a 'theme' section that did all of these at once. But otherwise I do love the old-school tweakability of it, something that's being pounded out of major desktops (including win and osx) these days. I use KDE as a traditional desktop, no 'activities' or 'widgets' and it works fine.
Given the generally lower developer resources that open-source projects have, I think it's less of an issue that it's not optimised for older, 'underpowered' hardware - there are other DE's to handle that (but yes, in an ideal world...). LXDE and XFCE are popular and work better on those machines... they're just not well-integrated like a heavyweight DE...
Compare this with:
Is it just me or is this focus on humans/people good at creating unpopular software?
Not saying Mac, Gnome and Unity are bad, just that I don't like them and have good reasons for not liking them. But I guess annoying power users isn't a good strategy to get more user advocates.
Also, the switch to Qt5/QML2/Wayland allows graph scene rendering. Expect huge improvements in that area.
Qt5/QML2/Wayland are all great ideas but these can't compensate for bad design. If I install a fresh KDE it feels like a Desktop to show your 16 year old friend and explain them the concepts but actually never do more than playing around with the knobs. This is of course nice and legit but it's not a Desktop for getting work done.
So maybe I just want a switch to disable activities and widgets and get some more RAM and calm for that.
This is really difficult and I don't want to ridicule any effort and the hard work that went into KDE. I'm not involved and don't have a lot of better ideas to offer. So don't take me too serious - I just have the feeling that a lot of these efforts will perish due to bad design and strange ideas about UI.
If you feel that strongly about widgets, you can switch to the Folder plasma view, which is a standard OSX, Windows XP-style desktop without any extravagance. Or just widgets on the standard desktop, if even folders aren't austere enough for you.
(I agree with you about activities— so far as I can tell, they're basically virtual desktops without the convenience; ironically, the only 'advantage' they seem to have is having different sets of widgets. But they're basically unintrusive— I certainly don't remember the last time I interacted with them on my desktop)
Disabling the Desktop in a folder is the first I'm doing when on a new system with KDE. I can see how it is useful to have multiple folders accessible on your desktop but I can also do it with the traditional Desktop and widgets. Never felt the need for it - but there are a lot of different use-cases.
Activities are a great idea in theory. But the implementation got stuck halfway before being really useful. I would love to have a usable version of that and lot of use cases for them e.g. monitoring and terminal stuff in one activity / IDE in another and another one for the browser/mail stuff.. but it never felt right and I was not able to pull that off. It also seems like the programs in each activity do just stay in memory and not really separated... so it's some good idea that is probably really difficult to get right.. okay. No problem with that, but the thing that annoys me a little bit is that they feel so forced upon me. If I don't want to use them they should be to able to configure away completely - remember - I can even rotate my widgets.. ;) as they are unrelated to virtual desktops in KDE (at least that was my conclusion after spending time with them) and only annoy me...
I could go on.. and basically these small little things are what I would say is bad design.. however I can see how difficult these things are and how diverse the opinions are on these debates. But I have the impression that nobody is really happy and as long as there is little improvement in these areas I'm not really excited about QML and mobile stuff..
I still think that the majority of KDE users are running Linux on older machines for doing programming and office work and well... nobody seems to really care about this anymore. Unity suffers from similar problems.
QtCurve with custom colors and widgets configuration file: https://github.com/numixproject/numix-kde-theme
You can load these files in the Systemsettings. If you install the icon packages you can select these there.
There is an option for setting GTK Themes in my KDE distribution - set GTK2 and GTK3 to Numix. The GTK themes and icons are in a an PPA: https://launchpad.net/~numix/+archive/ppa - you have to disable the option to apply colors to non-kde Applications as the themes are slightly different and this will cause problems.
I've tried this with Ubuntu 12.04 and did not get it to work (not GTK3 options) but it works really great on Ubuntu 14.04.
It's much more hacker-friendly than Gnome/Unity IMO. Its footprint is huge and there's enormous power in it that I don't use. XFCE is similar but doesn't have the polish that KDE does, especially around multimonitor support.
I would encourage the KDE team to focus on driving towards the hacker use case and letting that power drive the end user experience. :)
I'm not saying that's the truth, that was just the first thought that popped into my head looking at those screenshots.
Not having used KDE in a while (since the plasma disaster) I'm obviously not that into current details, but I remember advocating KDE over GNOME because it just worked and have what I needed.
Since Ubuntu those days are definitely gone. But now GNOME + unity is slipping too.
My next desktop may be cinnamon. I just wish I didn't have to be desktop-hopping like this to keep a nice, simple and working desktop. (and no, lxde and xfce is not for me. I find then too minimal and underpolished)
I keep meaning to learn vim and, in so doing, finally become a [SERIOUS PROFESSIONAL COMPUTER MAN], but KDE, when configured the way I want it, is the perfect development environment for me. I keep coming back to it. I have used every major computer operating system, different flavors of Gnome, XFCE, MacOS, Windows, and Linux under various lightweight window managers. If I need an OS for an older desktop machine, then I generally prefer razor-qt though :)
I've mostly outgrown the whole militant-OS-partisan thing, but I guess I'm kind of passionate about KDE. Passionate enough to write a long-winded thing on the internet, at any rate.
KDE is far from perfect. It's a resource pig until you learn how to use it effectively. But, so is everything else. It does seem like KDE development will chase the latest trends, but I hold out some hope that they might make some concessions for those of us who just want a lightweight system with a few powerful features.
I'm sorry to see it go (was my first Linux DE), but it's userbase has become a niche. It's mostly Unity and Gnome3 now.
I'm looking forward to the future of KDE and applaud the team for their effort and passion.
I was a longtime KDE user until a couple years ago when I switched to Awesome and a desktop-environment-less desktop (i.e, neither Gnome, Unity, XFCE...).
I felt I was in the minority for liking KDE 3.0 (the infamous "public beta" release), and the following iterations.
Plasma wasn't useful to me (as a coder, I like to have and editor and a shell occupying as much of my screen as possible), but I appreciated the work that went into it.
I remember seeing once that KDE had a bad reputation of working around platform problems rather than tackling them head-on, unlike Gnome. As a result, they were constantly playing catch-up with the system integration that Gnome had built. I particularly remember the Network-Manager applet being bad enough that I just used the Gnome one.
Nevertheless, keep up the good work KDE!
I think you mean 4.0
It is not fancy but does the trick
But the new Plasma design looks excellent. If you guys can pull off an environment with great customization options and out-of-the-box elegance, that would be fantastic. Looks like the new design is headed in the right direction.
Today I switch between elementary, kde and Windows 8
FLTK still retains the small-and-fast crown.