KDE appears to be taking over my Xubuntu XFCE desktop. I feel cornered. I don't know what to do.
It all started a few weeks ago when something - I'm afraid I cannot now remember what - asked to install Dolphin. I let it. Then Doplhin popped up where it was not wanted: when I instructed either Firefox Downloads or gnome-search-tool to "Open Containing Folder".
Now Ubuntu Sotware Updater is trying to install a whole legion of KDE programs.
It's like having an army of Orcs jostling at my garden gate. They might only want to come in to do some odd jobs. But how can I be sure when there are so many of them and they are all so big and ugly?
The last one I let in is still sitting in my living room with the TV on. He seems completely oblivious to the fact that he's overstayed his welcome. It's a bit awkward when I have polite friends round for tea - which doesn't happen often anymore. There might be no room to move if I let them all in.
This might not be such a problem if the Software Updater did its job properly. But it does not. It gives you the option of installing only the software you want. But when you untick the check box to tell it you don't want to install something, it just parks the option up temporarily. Then every time it comes back with more updates it thrusts the rejects under your nose again, and again, and again, until you make a mistake or cave in.
Even if the Software Updater did really give you the choice it says it gives you, there's no way of using it unless you are a full-time linux administrator, or someone else who spends every waking hour familiarising themselves with software components, like a Professor of Open Source Software Components.
I mean, it's impossible to know, from the arcane information the Software Updater gives your about your 'choice' of updates, what you can and cannot do without. Even if you could say no, there would be no way of knowing what you could really say no to.
Take this KDE invasion, for example. The Software Updater tells me it wants me to let all these big brutes in:
- translation files for all KDE core applications for the language "British English".
- KDE Help Center
- KDE core applications for the language "Simplified Chinese".
- Get Hot New Stuff v3 library for the KDE Development Platform
- Activities library for the KDE Development Platform
- Console Mode Authentication Library for the KDE Development Platform
- Core executables for KDE Applications
- Core plugins for KDE Applications
- Core shared data for KDE Applications
- Declarative Library for Plasma
- DNS-based Service Discovery Protocol (DNS-SD) Library for KDE Development Platform
- Executables for the KDE Activities library
- File Selection Development Library for the KDE Development Platform
- Framework for KDE Platform components
- KatePart for text editor components in KDE
- Kate part library
- Classes for porting from KDE 3 to KDE 4 Platform
- KDE Platform Core Library
- KDE Platform User Interface Library
- KDE webkit library
- KHTML Web Content Rendering Engine
- KJS API Library for KDE Platform Platform
- KMediaPlayer interface for the KDE Development Platform
- Kross scripting bridge library for KDE Development Platform
- KTextEditor interfaces for KDE Platform
- Library for configuration of KDE Notifications
- Idle time library for KDE Development Platform
- Nepomuk meta-data library for KDE Development Platform
- Nepomuk Query API for KDE Development Platform
- Nepomuk Sematik Core Libraries
- Nepomuk utility library for KDE Development Platform
- Networl-enabled file management Library for KDE Platform
- NTLM type authentication library for KDE Platform
- Plasma library for KDE Platform
- Pseudo-terminal library for KDE Platform
- Runtime components from official KDE release
- Shared data files for Kate and KDE 4 Base applications module
- Simple XML-RPC client library for KDE Development Platform
- Solid library for KDE Platform
- Nepomuk KDE Meta Data library
- ThreadWeaver library for KDE Platform
- Utility classes for KCM modules in KDE Development Platform
- Utility classes to deal with emoticon themes in KDE applications
- KDE documentation tools (Ha ha ha)
Now it is true that I have over the last few months acquired - quite innocently! - some KDE applications. I think I may have installed Kate while fumbling in the dark for an XML editor, for example. I can't quite remember now. I don't even know what to do with an XML editor anyway. It just seemed like a good idea at the time.
The usual routine is, you go to the Software Centre and type in 'XML Editor' or whatever, because you've acquired a bunch of XML files and you don't know what to do with them. So you install a couple of applications and see what they do. I do also confess to having installed Nepomuk at some point while looking for a search tool - I think that's what happened anyway. Nevertheless, it's there - unused, as far as I am aware.
So some of these KDE orcs at my gate might be responding innocently to requests for reinforcement by those I already employed to hog my television and (I remember where the other ones are now) to lurk in my shed and the understairs cupboard.
But all of them? KDE Plasma? That sounds to my worried ears like a full-on desktop install. The last thing I want to do is come home from a night out to find a wall-knocked through, my bookshelves replaced with pinball machines and orc-**** all over my living room. I'm still getting over the attack of post-traumatic-stress-disorder I had after Unity Desktop installed itself on my Ubuntu machine a couple of years ago. I still have nightmares.
So what am I supposed to do? If the Software Updater was doing its job properly it would tell me why the hell all these brutes were jostling at my gate. I might assume that some of them are part of the deal when you invite Kate to stay. If the Software Centre would tell me this, and tell me what the implications were, I might then make an intelligent decision to throw Kate out before I got in too deep. Likewise the Nepomuk under the stairs.
I mean, if Kate expected you to smile sweetly with a tray of bubbly by the door while a full-on KDE invasion trapsed down your hall - not just of your "Open Containing Folder" but your whole bloody desktop - then Kate would have to go.
But if Kate was really only dependent on a couple of these brutes I might be prepared to put up with them. That would mean however that the rest of them were interlopers: mates back from the pub, and their mates, and their mates' mates: "There's an open door at that fool Markling's gaff - lets all pile round and see what's in the drink's cabinet!"
If the Software Centre said: "Brutes A, B, C are essential support for Kate; Brutes D, E, F, are the commando unit ahead of a full-on desktop invasion - you don't want them unless you want KDE to start taking over; and Brutes G, H, I are just lazy hangers-on posing as essential Kate updates and you really don't need them because they're bad news but there's not much you can do about it apart from throwing Kate out until she sorts her life out; and this does mean by-the-way, that you will lose the use of your bathroom and the Thunar file browser" - then I might make an informed decision before really getting into trouble. Because ignorance breeds fear and prejudice as much as it gives encouragement to the unscupulous and succour to the lazy and greedy.
It would of course be useless to be able to make an informed decision unless the Software Updater was true to its word. But it's like a dishonest salesman that comes to your door and says, 'This bunch of orcs here - do you want to let them in?'.
And you say, 'Not really, no'.
And the Software Centre smiles out of one-side of its mouth and says, 'Okay! Have a nice day!'.
And the next morning you look out of your window and the brutes are all still there pacing around at the end of your garden, play wrestling, and hastling passing cars. And the Software Centre is in there with them, and he gives you a little thumbs up and shouts over, 'Hey! Are you sure you don't want to let them in yet?!?'.
And you say, 'No, not really,' and close the curtain back, and sit down and bite your finger nails, looking at the orc sat there in your nice chair with your TV controller, watching The Jeremy Kyle Show and dropping gnawed bones on your carpet. And you think, "What am I going to do?".