Impressions of KDE4 and the Debian packages
I just finished fighting with installing KDE4 on my laptop. As I've got
quite a few issues, here's a short (or not so short) write-up:
1. Debian packaging issues
First, let me thank the Debian KDE maintainers for doing such an
enormous amount of work! Although below you will find mainly criticism,
I really do think that you did a great job. It's not an easy task you're
So, here's some notes:
1.1 KDevelop (Show stopper for me!)
What's really keeping me from using KDE4 is a result of the package
maintainer's decision not to let KDE3 and KDE4 be installed completely
in parallel. One of the side effects is that you can't install KDevelop
together with KDE4! For me this means I can't use KDE4 at the moment!
Other packages will surely suffer from the very same decision.
1.2 Metapackages are often useless (everytime I tried!)
I tried to do a simple 'sudo aptitude -t experimental install kde4'
several times before. Never, really never, could the pacakge
dependencies be resolved: At the time of this writing, e.g. kdebase
(4:4.0.72-1) depends on several packages (>= 4:4.0.72-1). But they are
not there. Everything but the metapackage itself is still stuck at
4:4.0.68+svn794641-1 or so. I had to pick all those packages manually.
Sure, that's maybe just my bad timing, but I tried approximately 20
times in the last 2 months, it never worked!
Where are my konqueror bookmarks? Shouldn't they get imported from KDE3?
I'm not sure if this is a problem with the packaging (maybe .kde/ vs.
.kde4) or an upstream problem.
1.4 Menu entries - what's the name of the app?
I tend to know the name of the application I'd like to start. If I like
to find e.g. Amarok in the "Applications" menu I have to look for "Audio
Player". Only when I move the mouse pointer over the "Audio Player"
entry I see, that it's actually Amarok. The same holds for lots of other
1.5 KDE3 vs. KDE4 in general
Although already mentioned above, I don't think the decision not to make
KDE3 and KDE4 co-installable was right: As long as there is a single
KDE3 application that's not installable if KDE4 is installed, someone
might be hindered to use KDE4 at all. See my case with KDevelop. It
should be easy to switch to KDE4. A missing application might be a
Furthermore, testing KDE4 is made so very complicated by this decision:
KDE4 doesn't install easily, and it's even worse to get back to your
KDE3 environment. In essence, I strongly doubt I'll try again before
KDE4 gets in by a dist-upgrade.
And there's another problem based on KDE3/KDE4 concurrence: Now that
I've tested KDE4, and saw it's neither stable nor usable for me, how am
I supposed to switch to KDE4 with good faith when it is supposed to be
production stable? I can't. I'll really be afraid the day aptitude pulls
If I would not loose my KDE3 environment, I would gladly switch to KDE4,
knowing that I've still got KDE3 as a working fallback!
2. Upstream (probably) issues
2.1 Bookmarks (minor issue)
See 1.3 above, but there isn't even a simple way to import bookmarks!
Not from Konqueror 3.x, not from Iceweasel/Firefox/Opera...
2.2 Files and icons on the desktop (a real nuisance!!!)
Why the f... do we need all the ...?
I've got a couple of similar named files/directories/links on the
desktop. They all look the same now: "2006..." or "http:..." or "DSC..."
or "test_...", "NFS...". They are indistinguishable now!!!
In my eyes, it was the worst decision ever in KDE development to
introduce such abbreviations in konqueror (file manager mode with icon
view) back somewhere in the development of the KDE3 series. Now they
did the same on the desktop...
BTW, what's the use of the dark squares around the desktop icons? It
just looks cluttered.
2.3 KDM (very minor issue)
There's a cursor blinking in the password field, but I can only type in
it after clicking into it.
2.4 Stability (show stopper)
It simply isn't stable. I lost the application panel (What is it called
now? It used to be kicker.) and didn't get it back (even after
re-login), complete desktop freezes occurred several times, all of it in
about 1 hour of testing.
Although KDE4 sure looks nice (apart from issue 2.2), it's not usable
for me at the moment. I strongly hope, it *really* is ready when it hits