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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
 just 'kdict'.

 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.


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