KDE 4 simply broken
Okay, this is going to come across as pretty much just one big
whinging email. I've been moved to tears these past several
weeks, though, as I've battled KDE 4 on my laptop (Wind, 1.6GHz
2GB RAM - a reasonable if not hugely powerful machine). I've
often wanted to revert to 3.5, but I know that's a huge amount of
re-work, and it'll be high maintenance to start pegging everything
there, and even testing isn't a safe haven by the sounds of it.
I simply can't believe that every other unstable user, now using
KDE 4, can be having the same types of experiences that I am
and not talking (complaining) about them here.
Up front I should point out I've been a Debian user & advocate since
the mid-90's, and a KDE one since late '98.
I entirely *get* that the following are upstream software, not
Debian packaging, problems. OTOH, as above, I fear we're about
to really turn off a bunch of KDE users by forcing v4 on our testing
demographic. Unstable users tend to be a bit tougher skinned, but
to be candid, this is the biggest mess I've had to wade through in
a decade and a half.
Again, I emphasise that I understand this is not a Debian
maintainer's problem -- my experience with our maintainers has
always been very positive.
The one possible packaging problem I've seen is Kaboom, which
seems to fail (bits are not visible on-screen, and you can't alt-
mouse-drag during that part of the process) on a 1024x600 screen.
I've set up a page, just so that I can track the issues that I
have against various bug sites (mostly b.k.o) that you're
welcome to have a look at, too. These are things that I can, for
the most part, replicate consistently and/or that I can identify the
actual component that's breaking.
Now, if anyone wants to read my litany of woes, and possibly
shed some light on how to resolve some of my problems (or
even offer me some empathy with a 'hey, me too') .. read on.
I've turned off all 3D features, as whilst pretty they just slowed the
system right down - even scrolling in konq (a decidedly non-3D act)
was painfully laggy with that stuff enabled.
In general I'm seeing between one and five crashes a day, mostly
when I try to do something 'challenging' like plug an external VGA
monitor into my laptop, but sometimes 'just for the heck of it' (eg.
after successfully playing a 25-min avi, the system will hang if I
try to play a second one). Crashes vary between just X (which is
just annoying) and full system crashes (which is bewildering, as
well as annoying). While I was typing this email, f.e., I had a
total system crash (amarok, ktorrent, iceweasel and konq's running
on other desktops, CPU hovering around 25-30% at the time).
Things are slower than they were with 3.5, and most applications
have fewer and/or dumber features. There are little things - like no
longer having the option to have a 'hide the taskbar' button on the
panel / task-bar - something sorely missed when working on a small
screen. Right-click on the title bar, and the 'move to desktop' is
now the top item - which strikes me as (one of many) gratuitous
changes. But it just feels dodgy when you find the same menu when
you right-click on a task in the task bar and 'move to desktop' is
where it was with 3.5 (second from top). For a .2.2 release, a year
after the .0 release, with a stable template (3.x) to work from, it
feels very .. unpolished.
I'm trying to be polite here.
krunner (alt-F2) often spends an extra second or so, after I hit
return, showing me icons for things that I've clearly decided aren't
the thing I want (I've already hit return!). It doesn't let me run
things as a different user (and it's not like kdesu is easy to find,
let alone in the path) or at a different priority - both things were
of course painfully easy with 3.5. Stripping out all the weighty
options with krunner makes it slightly more responsive, but even
still it acts inconsistently. F.e. - 'kdict word' fails to run - just
sitting there blankly when I hit return, until I strip it back to
kmail spends 2-10 seconds whenever I go into a large
folder, sorting it by threads - something it never did before,
and something that gets repeated each visit (not each session).
It doesn't remember my folder layout (sender, subject, date, size)
and instead reverts to its default on each login. It doesn't respect
custom fonts as there seems to be a clash with custom themes.
It shows slashes either side of a word as italicised, and
doesn't seem to offer a way to disable this pseudo-markup
(which makes describing *nix sub-directories quite the challenge).
The panel has been instructed to not sort tasks, as I liked the
predictability of the 3.5 default, where the most recent tasks were
shown to the right. Nonetheless it seems to sort tasks in there
quite randomly, making the thing far less useful. I used to (3.5)
keep maybe 20-40 konqs open across 6 desktops, but kde4 just
never stays up long enough, and takes so long to restore the
session, for me to build up / trust it back to that level. The pager
seems to randomly revert to single-row mode, despite the settings
clearly saying two-rows and 'force number of rows'.
konqueror .. heck, where to start. Lots of graphic artifacts, with
bleed-throughs sometimes from *different desktops*! The artifacts
include stuff within menu/toolbars, as well as within the display area
proper. Toolbars come and go (but mostly go) and when you try
to restore them they're randomly located on the top, or on the left
(where I usually keep them) or icons+text or just icons (which is
how I always show them) and set to default size (I always set them to
small). Session management of konq browsers seems to imply
duplicating every web-konq I had open the last time I logged in, but
dumping all duplicates to whichever desktop has focus at login.
Login credentials for various sites (codeigniter.com f.e.) are not
remembered between kde logins - but this worked perfectly on 3.5.
I can't do in-line renaming of files anymore, instead getting a little
pop-up that frequently occludes the original filename or its
neighbours. If you liked the search pop-up (which I did) and hate
the new in-line search status bar (which I do) then you're stuffed.
The little 'x' icon to clear the location bar, previously sensibly
located on the left, right near the thing you would want to clear,
is now located way over on the right and in my case appears to
be a mini-icon for an openoffice impress document type. Scrolling is
a hit and miss affair, with the middle-mouse-scroll thing often
finding dead spots on a given page (perhaps blocked images,
perhaps empty space, perhaps the colour blue, who knows) and
often requiring hovering over the scroll bar in order to get it to
actually scroll. Similarly opening a new konq often results in
cursor keys not being respected for scrolling that page - until
after I click somewhere in the window.
ktorrent seems to crash whenever I quit it (4 out of 5 times), as
does kontact. Amarok usually doesn't remember to start up (is
this a session problem or an amarok one?). Even though file
systems are configured to be opened by konqueror (of course)
the USB devices plugin still offers me the option to 'open with
Dolphin'. There's no way to disable that feature for certain
devices (say, crypto usb devices).
I could go on ... as evinced by the above. But I'll stop here.