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View Full Version : Will KDE ever go in a similar direction as Gnome Shell/Unity?



user1397
December 11th, 2011, 08:50 AM
Just wondering, has there been discussion about this already or not?

Would be interesting if the KDE devs decided to go a similar path..although it wouldn't make much sense IMHO.

BC59
December 11th, 2011, 09:21 AM
I think KDE lost impetuousness. All the lights are focused on Unity and Gnome-Shell. They need a lot of work to keep on the race. I'm not sure if they plan something, but they should.

viperdvman
December 11th, 2011, 10:13 AM
They already made a radical change when they went from KDE 3.5 to KDE 4. A lot of KDE users ended up migrating to GNOME after it came out, just like a lot of former GNOME users are migrating to KDE, Xfce, and LXDE now that Unity and GNOME Shell are out.

However, I've read that KDE 5 is being worked on, though I don't know if it's gonna be an evolutionary change like Win Vista to Win7 and every Mac OS X... or if it's gonna be a revolutionary change like KDE 3 to 4, GNOME 2 to 3, and Windows 7 to 8. I'm hoping it at least keeps the traditional desktop arrangement that KDE 4, LXDE, and Linux Mint have.

I'm starting to dislike how interfaces change so quickly and radically. However, I do adapt.

GeneralZod
December 11th, 2011, 11:38 AM
However, I've read that KDE 5 is being worked on, though I don't know if it's gonna be an evolutionary change like Win Vista to Win7 and every Mac OS X... or if it's gonna be a revolutionary change like KDE 3 to 4, GNOME 2 to 3, and Windows 7 to 8. I'm hoping it at least keeps the traditional desktop arrangement that KDE 4, LXDE, and Linux Mint have.


KDE4 -> KDE5 is expected to be an evolutionary change.

LowSky
December 11th, 2011, 01:59 PM
Gnome 4 is just around the corner too, lol

smellyman
December 11th, 2011, 05:21 PM
KDE is amazing.

it is so configurable, you can make it like Unity or Gnome Shell or customize it however you want.

I re-"discovered" kde because of Unity/gnome and I thank them for that.

Dragonbite
December 12th, 2011, 02:56 PM
You mean like KDE's Plasma Netbook (http://kde.org/workspaces/plasmanetbook/) interface which it has had for a while now?

BrokenKingpin
December 12th, 2011, 05:53 PM
You mean like KDE's Plasma Netbook (http://kde.org/workspaces/plasmanetbook/) interface which it has had for a while now?
++

KDE is designed in a very modular way, so drastically tweaking the UI does not require the whole DE to be re-written. If KDE does come out with another UI design, the current desktop and netbook themes will still be available, so no one will get upset.

I really do love the design of KDE, but every time I try to use it as my primary DE there are just so many small bugs and issues that turn me away. And the default configuration is just too bloated.

Mikeb85
December 12th, 2011, 06:00 PM
All user interfaces are going this direction - hiding information and programs that aren't needed on a regular basis... And its a good change IMO, I personally love unity, as well as android. Older interfaces which rely on too many mouse clicks are simply inefficient...

Simian Man
December 12th, 2011, 06:27 PM
I think KDE lost impetuousness. All the lights are focused on Unity and Gnome-Shell. They need a lot of work to keep on the race. I'm not sure if they plan something, but they should.
Yes, but most of the lights focused on Gnome and Unity are negative. KDE is doing just fine and doesn't need to force changes just for attention, they are right to leave that to Gnome developers.


They already made a radical change when they went from KDE 3.5 to KDE 4. A lot of KDE users ended up migrating to GNOME after it came out, just like a lot of former GNOME users are migrating to KDE, Xfce, and LXDE now that Unity and GNOME Shell are out.
The transition from KDE3 to KDE4 was actually not very radical at all. They didn't change the way the desktop works at a fundamental level. The problem was that KDE4 was not at all mature when KDE 4.0 was released. They should have labeled 4.0 as Alpha, 4.1 as Beta and them 4.2 as the first real release. Hardly any KDE users now prefer KDE3 to KDE4, so it's a totally different situation from Gnome3/Unity.

KDE already has a great netbook interface as Dragonbite pointed out. The framework they have is so modular that they can target the desktop to new use cases without starting from scratch. A lot of open source projects can learn from KDE.

Canis familiaris
December 12th, 2011, 07:13 PM
Gnome 4 is just around the corner too, lol

What? You mean Gnome 3.4 surely.

Warpnow
December 12th, 2011, 07:40 PM
Yeah, KDE started the trend. It was first. So it can't follow in its own footsteps.

Copper Bezel
December 12th, 2011, 08:53 PM
KDE already has a great netbook interface as Dragonbite pointed out. The framework they have is so modular that they can target the desktop to new use cases without starting from scratch. A lot of open source projects can learn from KDE.
Should be pointed out that Gnome 2 was pretty damned modular, too - as easy or easier than KDE in switching bits out. Gnome could have stayed modular, too.

Simian Man
December 12th, 2011, 09:34 PM
Should be pointed out that Gnome 2 was pretty damned modular, too - as easy or easier than KDE in switching bits out. Gnome could have stayed modular, too.

Gnome was modular in the sense that the different aspects of the desktop existed in different processes. So you could kill the panel while keeping the window manager and so on. But Gnome was never designed for that purpose. Removing all gnome-panels or not using metacity took hacks to accomplish. KDE on the other hand allows you to remove all panels if you wish and also lets you choose any window manager through the GUI.

But what I was really referring to was the "under the hood" modularity of KDE. They do a great job of keeping as much code in reusable libraries as possible instead of applications. This makes extending KDE - such as the various activities available far easier than it would be under Gnome.

StephanG
December 12th, 2011, 09:43 PM
Everyone knows that the KDE 3 to 4 change was drastic, radical and painful for many people. Many people couldn't understand what the KDE group was trying to achieve.

But, what they don't know, is the situation before the change. KDE 3.5 was fast, light and full of features. But, it was also becoming increasingly difficult to maintain. As the code complexity grew, it became harder and harder to make simple changes.

So, what they were trying to do, with the KDE 4 switch, was primarily not to redefine the desktop. Instead, they compartmentalized the different parts of a desktop into various infra-structure elements.

Basically, what this means, is that if you want to write a KDE app, for example a writer that can also play music. You don't have to know how to write a music app, you can just tell KDE to play the file "song.mp3" with a few simple lines of code.

Basically, the vision behind KDE 4, was that everyone can just code on the parts of KDE that they are personally good at, and not have to worry about the rest.

What they wanted, was to become "future proof" in the sense of never again having to rewrite the entire desktop. And, they have definitely achieved that. KDE becomes more flexible with every release.

And, as painful as the transition to 4 was, I think they had incredible vision in doing so. They re-designed the entire DE from the bottom up in a way that means they will likely NEVER have to make another drastic change like that again, and they did it in time to sort out the biggest bugs & problems before the world really started looking to Linux like it did after Android.

Now, while Unity and Gnome 3 are still going through their birthing pains, KDE is starting to pick up speed a tremendous amount of speed.

lykwydchykyn
December 12th, 2011, 10:01 PM
For a lot of us long-time KDE users, watching the paroxysms over Unity/Gnome 3 is a bit of deja-vu.

I think it'd be an interesting challenge to recreate Unity from plasmoids; if I could ever figure out how to create a desktop containment that might be a fun project.

Oddly enough, long before I ever laid eyes on Unity, I had my laptop setup almost identically to the Unity layout. Eventually scrapped that layout, though.

Copper Bezel
December 12th, 2011, 10:31 PM
Removing all gnome-panels or not using metacity took hacks to accomplish.
In general, you're right, but for these specific examples (along with the power manager, network manager, volwheel, desktop manager, etc.) the binaries are specified in gconf. That's not a "GUI method," but it is a layer of modularity, and it's not quite the same thing as KDE having a panel and desktop manager in the same process that's designed to always be present (to my knowledge) but the ability to turn one or the other off (though you come around to the same result.)

Gnome has always had fewer things in the GUI than KDE, just as XFCE has even fewer. That's separate from the modularity question. The settings daemon and the policy kit, of course, are all-or-nothing. Gnome 3 is another thing entirely, with everything baked into the window manager.

batharoy
December 12th, 2011, 11:16 PM
Eventually scrapped that layout, though.

What was the reason?

lykwydchykyn
December 12th, 2011, 11:39 PM
What was the reason?
Mostly because I couldn't find a way to make a dock on the left side of the screen not annoy me in some situation or another.

And also because, in spite of all these cool beautiful animated menus and launchers, I just ended up typing what I wanted into krunner 9/10th of the time, making them kind of a waste of space and resources.

Nowadays I scrapped KDE for awesome on my laptop, and just use the search & launch (a.k.a. netbook interface) on my desktop machine.

3Miro
December 13th, 2011, 02:00 AM
While KDE had a huge uproar, their problems were quite a bit different from what you see in Unity/Gnome-shell. KDE 4.0 was very buggy and very incomplete also considerably heavier than KDE 3.5. However, KDE never tried to "reinvent" the desktop, but rather do the things a different yet better way. KDE is the most customizable DE that requires virtually no knowledge and no 3d party settings tools to do any of that. Unity/GS take a different approach, they changed the very customizable Gnome 2 and replaced it with a "less is more" philosophy, giving a rather bare interface with customizations out-sourced to extensions or tweaking tools.

I don't think KDE will go the same way any time in the foreseeable future.

Copper Bezel
December 13th, 2011, 02:37 AM
However, KDE never tried to "reinvent" the desktop, but rather do the things a different yet better way.
Those phrases do not mean different things. What you mean is that KDE was more similar to its previous interface and that you liked it more.


KDE is the most customizable DE that requires virtually no knowledge and no 3d party settings tools to do any of that.
Certainly, but that's a very narrow form of customization - the kind of customization that doesn't require modular design, and the kind that's largely cosmetic. It's not, "huh, Gnome's power manager doesn't seem to be working for me. I think I'll replace it with XFCE's." It's, "I like this button to be over here, and blue."

And even Gnome 3 or Unity doesn't require "third-party" settings tools - they're just not installed by default. (Most of) Gnome Shell's extensions are third-party, but so are Plasma widgets, aren't they?

3Miro
December 13th, 2011, 04:00 AM
Those phrases do not mean different things. What you mean is that KDE was more similar to its previous interface and that you liked it more.

KDE 4.0 came with the same old panels + menus interface just like KDE 3.5 and Gnome 2. The issue was that KDE 4.0 had lots of bugs and incomplete features.

Unity/GS on the other hand seem to introduce a rather different approach. Unity/GS do "reinvent" the desktop in some sense, KDE did not.



Certainly, but that's a very narrow form of customization - the kind of customization that doesn't require modular design, and the kind that's largely cosmetic. It's not, "huh, Gnome's power manager doesn't seem to be working for me. I think I'll replace it with XFCE's." It's, "I like this button to be over here, and blue."

And even Gnome 3 or Unity doesn't require "third-party" settings tools - they're just not installed by default. (Most of) Gnome Shell's extensions are third-party, but so are Plasma widgets, aren't they?

Can you change the Power Manager under Gnome-shell? From what I have seen, the "Advanced Settings" in GS are more basic than the basic settings of Gnome 2. GS and Mutter are not compatible with freedesktop.

Does Canonical work on Ubuntu-tweaks? UT is the only way to change the position of the Unity Dock. You certainly don't need a 3d party app like that to change the position of any KDE panels or widgets.

KDE may have lots of 3d party widgets, however, you cannot compare a widget that checks Gmail and Facebook with a Gnome-shell extension that simply changes the behavior of Alt-Tab. I know that GS can be extended a lot, but those extensions require one to know Javascript. KDE makes no such assumptions at least for the very basic interface.

Unity and Gnome-shell do have a very different approach compared to KDE. Those appeal to completely different set of people, which is the whole point of freedom: everyone can do whatever works best for them. However, I don't see KDE going the Unity/GS way any time soon.

Copper Bezel
December 13th, 2011, 05:42 AM
I don't disagree with any of that, save perhaps the difference between Gnome Shell extensions and Plasma apps, because I don't think it's a detriment to the extensions that they can hack so deep into the UI, and I do think that Gnome is justified in supporting a limited number of options within the UI and letting them fill the gap.

With that said, I don't think my comparison was very relevant, because I'm not claiming that Gnome 3 has the customizability of KDE. I was arguing that Gnome 2 did, and then using Gnome 3 as a comparison for some features of KDE, simply because I think you were overplaying them.

I already mentioned that Gnome 3 doesn't allow any of the damned services to be swapped out, and I'm not happy about it. It's the worst of both worlds - no built-in customization features and no modularity. Unity, of course, has a few built-in options, but nothing special, and of course, no extensions. (Effectively, it takes the one thing that can still be customized out of Gnome.)

I didn't realize that Ubuntu Tweak did anything you couldn't do without it. Since I'm not using Unity, I haven't played with it since the switch to Gnome 3, and in Gnome 2, it just organized some Compiz and gconf settings.

irrdev
December 13th, 2011, 06:35 AM
The new KDE is so modular that it can easily adapt to new features. Also, if anything, Gnome is copying KDE when it comes to emulating the Gnome Shell after KDE's Plasma (not in the UI, but in the way it is built). Also keep in mind that KDE is built around QT, and KDE 5 won't appear until after QT 5 appears next year... probably at least 6-8 months after the first release of QT 5 comes out. It should be solely an evolutionary change and that will be just fine, as the current KDE design is very well adapted to modern computing.

user1397
December 13th, 2011, 08:55 AM
so if kde is so modular that it probably won't be "reinvented" for at least a long time, is gnome3 the opposite? basically is gnome3 so NOT modular that in due time it'll no longer sustain itself and will be subject to another complete rewrite?

lykwydchykyn
December 13th, 2011, 03:49 PM
so if kde is so modular that it probably won't be "reinvented" for at least a long time, is gnome3 the opposite? basically is gnome3 so NOT modular that in due time it'll no longer sustain itself and will be subject to another complete rewrite?

That's probably not an accurate characterization. Gnome 3 is already apparently flexible enough for the Linux Mint developers to create their own desktop shell.

BrokenKingpin
December 13th, 2011, 06:06 PM
That's probably not an accurate characterization. Gnome 3 is already apparently flexible enough for the Linux Mint developers to create their own desktop shell.
This is not because of the system being modular though, it is more that they made the shell customization with java script (customizable != modular). Modular is more about swapping out entire components, not tweaking existing ones.

Copper Bezel
December 13th, 2011, 10:46 PM
Yeah, they're both false premises. Gnome should actually have an easier time making either kind of change, because they don't have to deal with maintaining outdated internal standards in case someone is using this or that component instead.

And actually, I hope Gnome's next complete re-write does come sooner than its last one. A default Gnome 2 layout was embarrassingly old-fashioned by the end of its cycle, and the only thing that saved it was the modularity.

lykwydchykyn, taking advantage of a modular design would be something like Unity, not MGSE. And it seems to be an uphill battle in this case.

lykwydchykyn
December 13th, 2011, 10:55 PM
lykwydchykyn, taking advantage of a modular design would be something like Unity, not MGSE. And it seems to be an uphill battle in this case.

I thought Unity was a compiz plugin, not a gnome plugin.

I'm not well versed in the Gnome architecture; I've done some tinkering with plasma, so I get how KDE is put together to some extent. I've heard people talking about Gnome "plugins" and alternate shells, so I assume there's some level of modularity there (at least enough that the whole thing won't have to be rewritten from scratch to embrace a new desktop paradigm?).

Is that not correct?

inobe
December 13th, 2011, 11:26 PM
Just wondering, has there been discussion about this already or not?

Would be interesting if the KDE devs decided to go a similar path..although it wouldn't make much sense IMHO.

i think it is similar, they both use the same framework, that be QT!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qt_(framework)#UI_Environments

i think essentially what kde has done with version 4xx, conanical is following.

sort of a beginning, similar to kde 4 that lacked tons of settings at one time, the same couldn't be said several versions later.

Copper Bezel
December 14th, 2011, 12:20 AM
I thought Unity was a compiz plugin, not a gnome plugin.

I'm not well versed in the Gnome architecture; I've done some tinkering with plasma, so I get how KDE is put together to some extent. I've heard people talking about Gnome "plugins" and alternate shells, so I assume there's some level of modularity there (at least enough that the whole thing won't have to be rewritten from scratch to embrace a new desktop paradigm?).

Is that not correct?

Not quite, or it's a bit oversimplified, at least. It's not possible to have a "gnome plugin," because Gnome isn't a single application. A "plugin" adds additional features to a particular application (and is usually binary and installed system-wide, where an "extension" sets parameters within a given framework provided by the installed software.) Compiz uses plugins in the role that Gnome Shell uses extensions; most web browsers have both. But a web browser, Compiz, or Gnome Shell is a single application.

Gnome is the entire desktop environment, which is a collection of applications run together and talking to one another. Collectively, they're called the "desktop stack."
Running Gnome means running Gnome's session manager, policy kit, etc., and a list of required components, like the window manager, desktop manager, etc, along with daemons to control settings, manage functions like audio, power management, and networking, etc. Those components can be designed as interchangeable, tightly interdependent, or even combined into other processes.

It's possible to start a session with just a window manager and a terminal, literally just those two processes, and fire up whichever services you need from there. (Fun to play with, and I'd recommend trying it if you haven't.)

Using Compiz in place of Mutter (or previously Metacity) means running most of the desktop stack, but replacing the window manager with an equivalent component. That's still possible in Gnome, and it's how Unity works, but the Gnome devs actually seem resistant to this, and some of those other background services can't be replaced at all in Gnome 3. If you're using Gnome's settings daemon, then (AFIK) you're using Gnome's power manager, network manager, audio device control, etc., and Gnome Shell's panel will only talk to those components. In Gnome 2, it's possible to replace all of those things (including the window manager) and still use Gnome's panel, or settings daemon, or policy kit, etc.

When we're saying that Gnome 3 is less modular, it means that the components that make up the desktop environment are more tailor-made for each other and less amenable to being replaced with alternative applications. So it's nothing to do with plugins and extensions, which just alter the behavior of those individual apps.

weasel fierce
December 14th, 2011, 02:42 AM
In a way, the KDE guys took the leap "ahead" a while ago. Gnome has taken it's leap now. I think it'll be a while before something radically different crops up.

I'm sure we'll see plenty of polishing and bug-fixing, and new features being added, but I can't see either environment needing massive overhauls currently.

Glenn nl
December 14th, 2011, 11:21 AM
They are more or less. Look up Telepathy-KDE.