So I decided to give KDE/Plasma a try. My thoughts and a critique of GNOME...

Discussion in 'Linux/BSD/Free Systems' started by Lunar, Nov 3, 2018.

  1. Lunar

    Lunar Limp Gawd

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    So, I've been a GTK based desktop user since I first switched to Linux almost two years ago. I started out with Cinnamon, which while nice it's compositor had some frustrating issues with the proprietary NVIDIA drivers. Basically, in order to run the desktop without tearing I had to Force Composition in the NV driver, which then introduced a LOT of stutter when moving windows around.

    So, I then moved over to GNOME, which while it still has issues with the compositor, they aren't as bad as Cinnamon's. So, I've been on GNOME for over a year, but as time has passed it has worn thin on me. The minimalistic UI, while nice on the eyes, leaves much to be desired in functionality. For instance, why is it that in GNOME the easiest way to determine free space on a drive requires either opening GNOME System Monitor or running df -h from the command line? How is it that Nautilus doesn't include this functionality. In fact, Natilus is the primary source of frustration for me outside of the GNOME teams "our way or the highway" mentality. Removal of support for tray icons, dropping desktop icon support, lack of an actual theme engine, etc.

    The appeal of Linux for me has really become the idea that it's my OS. I can enable or disable whatever I want, and within reason, make it behave however I want. That more and more is not the case with GNOME. So, after many false starts, I've decided to actually give KDE a proper try, and wow am I impressed. The last time I used KDE in any real capacity wasfor about 3 hours while I was distro hopping about a year or so ago. I was overwhelmed with how much customization there was, and not being as well versed in Linux terminology then, I just gave up.

    Now however it's a different story all together, and I must say that the flexibility, stability, and overall smooth operation have made Plasma my desktop of choice for the foreseeable future. It, so far, is giving me everything I want while still getting out of my way. The issues I had with composition are completely non-existent, it's memory usage is surprisingly low, and it's just plain fast. After getting so used to GNOME, I didn't realize just how sluggish of a DE GNOME really is these days. I know that 3.30 improved speed and whatnot, but it's still not anywhere near the speed of KDE, in my experience.

    Now, this isn't an attack on GNOME, and if you use GNOME and love it then I'm happy for you. This is not an extensive comparison, and no DE is perfect. These are just the ramblings of a relative newcomer to the Linux world. That being said, the beauty of Linux and FOSS in general is the choice it provides. What works for one person may not work for another. I know that as it stands today I've found my new DE, and I'm quite enjoying the experience.

    Here's a screenshot from my laptop:
    Screenshot_20181103_223922.png
     
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  2. IdiotInCharge

    IdiotInCharge Not the Idiot YOU are Looking for

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    Got Kubuntu 18.04.1 on my ultrabook, going to see how that goes.
     
  3. DeathFromBelow

    DeathFromBelow [H]ardForum Junkie

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    In Ubuntu I just open a window and click 'Other Locations' to see used/total space on all my drives.
     
  4. ChadD

    ChadD I Love TEXAS

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    Glad you found something you like. Great thing about Linux you always have options.

    I still prefer Gnome myself. I find the striped down experience superior to anything else. But that is me.

    Just to be clear you don't HAVE to use Natilus.

    Install which ever file manager you prefer. I myself use Thunar. Gnomes gio command line lets you easily change mime type defaults, such as inode/directory handler (file manager)

    Run;
    gio mime inode/directory
    which should return something like;

    Default application for “inode/directory”: Thunar-folder-handler.desktop
    Registered applications:
    Thunar-folder-handler.desktop
    org.gnome.Nautilus.desktop
    Recommended applications:
    Thunar-folder-handler.desktop
    org.gnome.Nautilus.desktop

    To set a default simply type;
    gio mime inode/directory Thunar-folder-handler.desktop

    Anyway point is if you dislike Natilus your not alone, your also not tied to it. You can even set non-gtk file managers to your default if you really wish. If Krusader is your thing or Konqeuror or KFE or nemo from cinn ect you can install them and set them as Gnomes default. There are more file manager options then there are DEs. :)
     
  5. Lunar

    Lunar Limp Gawd

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    How on Earth did I miss this? lol
    Yeah, I've toyed around with other file managers on gnome a bit, but I personally like to use the default as they tend to be better integrated. Plus, my gripes aren't just with Nautilus, just an example of my frustrations with GNOME. At this point my main issue is one of philosophy. The GNOME team has become rather authoritarian in their approach as of late, and it kinda annoys me. It's one thing to decide to remove a feature, it's another to outright dismiss concerns from the community like they did with the removal of tray icons.
     
  6. ChadD

    ChadD I Love TEXAS

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    That is fair. I find the Gnome team takes a lot of heat they don't deserve. I look at it this way. Gnome is the one and only commercial Linux DE. (I know it isn't per say but it is) If a company switches to Linux workstations / desktops... they almost always use Gnome. It's the default in every major RHEL / Ubuntu / SLES and the free widely used cent. As such the team doesn't go in for 1001 useless things flipped on by default for a reason. They want admins to be able to install stock and mostly forget about it after... and the stripped down interface is without question a boon for productivity. There is no way you can install Default KDE into a say a legal office or an accounting firm and walk away. You can do that with gnome. (sure no company just installs a stock anything... but gnome is closer to what those users are looking for out of the box)

    So imo that is why the Gnome team takes a lot of undeserved hate. I do wish they would build out a proper theme system... I don't disagree with you. But even there I can sort of see the advantage of not doing so. Again it means the user experience on all the major commercially supported workstation distros looks damn near the same.

    As for tray icons again they get a lot of hate on that. Again they haven't removed them, they simply removed their default display behaviour. They encourage GTK developers to use the proper notification system, which I would say the majority of developers use these days. However if you have software that stills uses top icons and you really want them. You can install top icon plus no issues and see them again if that is what you want. I understand completely removing them... they have always been messy, now if you want them or not is a choice instead of the default. (considering the commercial nature of Gnome defaulting them off is much more logical imo)

    For the record I'm not trying to get you back on Gnome or anything. lol KDE is a great DE... nothing against it. I like to use XFCE when I don't setup Gnome. I like XFCE a lot as well... its light, its clean, you can change the compositor. For my money I have always leaned toward XFCE over KDE, as I feel I can customize XFCE in many of the same ways, and much more. Over the years I have setup XFCE desktops for a few people I know that just really wanted the standard bar/menu windows alike look.
     
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  7. Algrim

    Algrim [H]ard|Gawd

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    KDE is being deprecated in upcoming RHEL (and most likely CentOS) builds.
     
  8. Vermillion

    Vermillion 2[H]4U

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    KDE is a great DE and it's only been getting better. It is my preferred DE of choice now. I was running the preview version of Solus Plasma for months and after the whole thing with Ikey and Solus I have moved onto KDE Neon. I love how much of Plasma you an configure and things like KDE Connect are just icing on the cake.

    Except that Topicons Plus has been discontinued due to the fact that the api has been deprecated and will no longer function in a future version of Gnome. https://github.com/phocean/TopIcons-plus/issues/91

    Gnome really doesn't give a shit about their users. I also have found Gnome-shell to be wildly unstable and crash prone especially compared to Plasma.

    I do still have some love for XFCE. It was my DE of choice for a long time especially when paired with Compton as it's compositor. Lightweight, stable, and fast. Considered moving back to it after leaving Solus but Plasma is just too good.

    Budgie has a soft spot in my heart too but I fear it'll dwindle now that Ikey is no longer part of Solus. Ikey's vision was to get Budgie off the shitty Gnome stack but I fear that isn't happening now.
     
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  9. Lunar

    Lunar Limp Gawd

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    Yeah, I'm really sad about what's going one with Solus and Budgie. I too was looking forward to Budgie getting off the GNOME stack, but I highly doubt that will happen now. I'm still not sure what happened with Ikey, I just hope that he's ok. Last I heard he moved to England and got really sick. On the Solus front, it really is/was a promising little distro, and I just hope that they can continue moving forward without Ikey's vision, although much like Steve Jobs was the visionary for Apple, I really feel like Ikey served this role for Solus. I'm rooting for them, but I don't know how much hope I have.

    Yup. I was using Topicons until it stopped working reliably, and while Ubuntu's tray icons extension works ok, it's also inconsistent and some applications don't work with it at all. I'm looking at you Dropbox, although I've now switched from Dropbox to my own Nextcloud server, so that's not as much of an issue.

    So, I agree that GTK developers should be using the proper notification system, and it's great that most are doing so. However, where does this leave QT application compatibility on the GNOME desktop? This is an issue that they haven't really addressed. In my opinion, it shouldn't be up to QT developers to fix this, it should be up to GNOME to properly handle QT applications and their notifications/tray icons. The KDE team has gone to great lengths to ensure GTK application compatability, and the GNOME team should do the same. Not to say that QT applications don't work well on GNOME, they most certainly do, but I will say that I've seen far more issues with QT applications not displaying correctly on GTK environments that I have the other way around. Virtualbox is a great example of this. Vbox looks night and day different on Plasma than it does on GNOME. Sliders aren't formatted correctly, icons are often times too large, etc. This should not be the case.

    While I do agree with a lot of what you said here, I do think GNOME is making some decisions that are hurting the end user experience. Sure, most distros, especially enterprise, default to GNOME, and it's relatively easy to understand why. I agree that it is, in some ways, easy to pick up and use. However, it's such a departure from the standard UX that the vast majority of users are used to that it does hurt itself. In its quest for simplicity it has also made so many changes to how a computer is used that I think a lot of users would be lost. As an example, if I were deploying linux to end users in my company, I would be hesitant to use GNOME, or KDE for that matter, because they both aren't ideal for someone who's used to Windows or Mac OS X. GNOME has a completely different UI style what while easy to learn, does have a learning curve. In a business environment, that's not a good thing.

    KDE has the opposite problem. Sure on the surface it looks like Windows, but it only takes a few seconds in the settings panel to realize that it is most definitely NOT like Windows, and I would agree that stock KDE has some absolutely insane default settings. This is why I like Kubuntu's spin. They have what I would argue are some very sane default settings. I would agree that if I were deploying infrastructure, and had to choose KDE or GNOME, I would absolutely choose GNOME for most users. Although, if given the option of any DE, I think I'd probably go with Cinnamon or Pantheon. Both of those DE's have nailed the Windows-like/Mac-like UX, and for end users that's what really matters. If you take a Windows user and sit them down in front of Cinnamon, I think they'd be just fine for the most part. Sit them in front of KDE or GNOME, and I think you'll have a lot of questions headed your way.

    As a side note, I also wonder how much of GNOME's design was driven by a desire to go after the touchscreen market. The way the UI is designed, especially the application launcher, reeks of mobile design to me. The two extensions I install first on any GNOME desktop are Dash to Panel and Arc-Menu, and this is to get a traditional desktop interface back. I know they claim it's to remove distractions and open up screen real estate for applications, but as someone who absolutely HATES using applications in full screen, the defaults for GNOME drive me up a wall. For GNOME to be usable for me, and I stress for me, I require no less than 6 extensions to be installed.

    EDIT: Forgot to respond to a quote.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2018
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  10. Mazzspeed

    Mazzspeed [H]ard|Gawd

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    I've been really tempted to try Plasma. The one thing that stops me is...What is it with the font used for the time?! I can't stand the fact that it's so big.
     
  11. Lunar

    Lunar Limp Gawd

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    Well, I haven't tried, but considering how much the KDE team has allowed to be customized in Plasma, I'm sure you can change it. I can verify later whether or not this is the case if you'd like.
     
  12. Vermillion

    Vermillion 2[H]4U

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    You can absolutely change the font to whatever you want.
     
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