KDE: [insert poorly worded and derogatory comment here]

Editor’s note: This, as everything we write on The Linux Experiment, is an opinion piece.  I fully recognize that some people may be quite happy with having KDE, Harbinger of Doom, in their lives as an every day desktop environment.  Who knows?  Maybe if KDE had been my first user experience with Linux – back in my early days with Ubuntu – I would have enjoyed it a little more.  For now, I love Gnome.  I will continue using Gnome until such a time that KDE decides to stop sucking the fattest of donkey penises.

Why [I Personally Dislike KDE] (or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Gnome)

My absolute first experience with KDE – about a week and a half ago, for this experience – did not start well.  Upon initial boot, I discovered that I had absolutely no sound.  Great, I thought!  Let’s just un-mute this [particular distribution] and get started.

KDE [random alternative acronym] dealt its first lethal [hit] across my face at this point.  Nowhere in the Multimedia settings did I have the ability to switch my default sound device, and no manner of muting / un-muting my audio device could get anything to work.  Thanks to Tyler’s initial problems with audio though, I was able to – after twenty minutes of tinkering – get some audio all up in this piece.

That amounts to about all of the success I’ve had with KDE so far.  Thanks to another one of Tyler’s posts I was just able to get touchpad clicking working, but check out this full list of things that don’t work in KDE that definitely work (now) in my Gnome desktop environment:

  • My volume dial on the side of my laptop
  • Screen brightness keys on the keyboard
  • Fn+F9 key functionality (mute on my laptop)
  • Suspend to Disk
  • Touchpad scrolling
  • The majority of my font changes (why are menu bars still so huge?  They’re not in Gnome for me!)
  • My happiness

Among other things, reduced battery life (even with the – and yes I will admit this – awesome application that is PowerDevil) and a ridiculously elongated boot time are not subtracting from my ever-burgeoning list of frustrations.

I know that some of you were maybe hoping for something a little longer than this (that’s what she said!) but I can’t honestly vent all of my frustrations here -  I clearly have to save some of it for the podcast on Sunday.  Listen closely as you hear me completely nerdgasm over my ability to use Gnome again.


  1. Protip: Dana is a man’s name too. It means “Man from Denmark”.

    In other news, it sucks you’re having such a hard time with KDE. I actually had better luck with my volume keys through KDE than I did GNOME, but I think that’s just luck as to which drivers KDE has got around to supporting.

  2. Ironically I am having the complete opposite experience with GNOME. My screen brightness really only goes from half-way to full, anything less than half-way doesn’t actually change anything. Which kind of begs the question, why does GNOME give me a full bar when only half of it matters?

    I’m also surprised you’re having power issues with KDE; since I moved to GNOME I’m actually getting less battery life…

    This weekend’s discussion is going to be an interesting one that’s for sure!

  3. i wish you knew how ignorant you sound by blaming KDE, the desktop environment for your system’s inability to suspend to disk .. i mean, how exactly do you connect the two? …are you sure your issues are with KDE as a desktop environment or underlying problems with the distro you tried KDE on? ..

  4. @mtz
    He connects the two because when he was running GNOME it worked. Since he switched to KDE, there’s been an issue.

    I know when you see smoke, it doesn’t always mean a fire, but 99 times out of 100, you better get the fuck outta dodge.

  5. Unless you are using LFS or DIY Linux, you are obviously using the wrong distribution/operating system. 99.9% of the problems you are facing are distro specific (besides the reduced battery life).
    I see a Slackware link on the right. I suggest you use it yourself. Judging by your posts tags, you dont seem to have done so.

  6. @Phil D

    did he install KDE on the same system or did he try KDE from another distribution?

    Suspending to disk is a function of the kernel and/or other packages that sits waaay under the desktop environment, ..are you saying if he had installed KDE and Gnome on the same system, a gnome session would have suspend to disk and KDE wouldnt? ..

    he sounds like a person who tried KDE for the first time for half a second and blame all the problems on KDE without taking the trouble to see if the problems are in KDE as a desktop or underlying system

    he is probably one of those people who use ubuntu by default and then try kubuntu to check out KDE and then blame KDE for their issues without knowing how terrible kubuntu as a distribution is

    in my opinion, Kubuntu is bad for KDE

  7. @Greg
    I don’t think thats true. Why would the problems only pop up when switching from GNOME to KDE?

    As far as I know, he installed KDE on the same system without reformatting or reinstalling, and is still running the same Fedora install. If this is correct, then yes, with GNOME he was able to Suspend to Disk.

    If you’d looked at his Guinea Pig Page, you’d know he’s not running Ubuntu or Kubuntu – he’s using KDE with Fedora 11.

  8. Why KDE sucks?
    It is slow and bloated, has huge overhead, and uses way too much memory. SInce when we need a mysql database to organize our music, amarok is epic fail, worst apps ever. Long logout time is also annoying, gotta spit 5 screens of crap in vc/1 first! Bad code = bad program. Kickstart is laggy, even on 260GTX and 190.40, lol. GNOME on the other hands sucks much much less in all of the fields.

  9. What is the point of this article. If you don’t like KDE, then fine, don’t use it. KDE works fine for me; I could probably write a cute item about haw much Gnome sucks, but who really cares?

  10. Gnome sucks elephant penises. I hate the look of the icons and window decorations in gnome. Most of the problems you mention are not due to KDE as such. KDE is so beautiful and sensible. Shows you are a Ubuntu user who tried to venture into Fedora which is again biased towards Gnome. Use Mandriva or PClinuxOS. Fedora is such a buggy distro. Once my package update system got screwed on its own and whatever I did I could not fix it. So I moved to Sidux without any problems. Don’t use amarok if you don’t like it. Debian+KDE=lovely, no problems.

  11. You people are missing the point here. We’re trying out specific distributions with at least two different desktop environments.

    Clearly, given the combination of Dana’s hardware and distribution KDE is not a good choice for him. Regardless, he tried it and learned that he’ll probably not want to run KDE on his laptop again in the near future.

  12. Look fellows, I know that you just got linked over to our lovely little site from a news aggregation service, and we really do appreciate your taking the time to visit, and even more so, to comment.

    That said, a worrying number of you have dismissed the opinions in Dana’s piece as unnecessary simply because he has never tried a desktop environment other than KDE (mtz), isn’t using your distribution of choice (Greg, Sid), doesn’t understand how the Linux OS stack works (mtz – do you?), is running Ubuntu (mtz -holy fuck man, relax), is exercising his right to post a piece on the Internet that nobody will ever read (dot), and has yet to hit puberty (djohnston).

    Regardless of the relevance of these rigorously proved factoids, you freetards would all benefit from taking some time to learn what our site is about, and to read up on some of the things that Dana has posted in the past. I couldn’t help but notice that every single one of the accusations leveled at Dana has been debased in one of his previous posts. Well except that bit about him not yet hitting puberty. I always knew that there was a reason for his lovely singing voice.

    In any case, do yourselves a favour, stop pulling a /. and do a little bit of background checking before reminding the entire Internet that you enjoy typing without thinking.

    But really, thanks for stopping by. Tell your friends!

  13. well, this will be my last post here .. the writer used strong language when talking about something he doesnt appear to know that much about and strong language against him should be expected ..you get what you give..

    his comment about KDE failing to suspend his computer to disk reminds me of another comment i read today on a forum where somebody blamed KDE heaviness on his X failing to start. I could be a KDE4 fanboy but some of the things that are thrown at KDE at just a bit too out there ..KDE is too heavy and thats why X is failing to start? ..KDE4 is buggy and thats why the system cant suspend to disk? .

    unlike gnome, KDE4 icons can be set to 4 sizes, default, small, medium, large and huge.. did the writer change icons to suits his needs? i am sure one of the sizes would fit the sizes used in gnome

  14. The original author clearly is about 12 years old. The title just galvanises this belief for me and clearly shows a lack of respect for all the amazing work everyone in the open source community does. While the author may dislike KDE I don’t think that the tone of this article represents anything constructive to the community at all.

  15. Today, desktop Linux has less than 1% of market share. In a situation like this what would you expect from a Linux enthusiast? He/she would write articles highlighting the best features of the distribution of his/her choice, write helpful guides for newbies or claim for better interoperability among distributions. What do we have? Sloppy articles whose only result is creating dissent among Linux fans. I don´t see many texts from Microsoft fans criticizing Linux. Why? They have people like you to do the job.

  16. @Ian
    While I actually see the merit of your comment, your personal attack on the author cheapens your point. Regardless, the tone of the original post is over-the-top angry.

    However, the fact is that sometimes when Linux fails, it fails hard. You can’t tell me there’s never been a point in your experience with Linux where you just got enraged at Linux doing something bizarre.

    We’re bloggers, what we do is recount our personal experiences with Linux. If we get enraged at Linux, we write about it. If Linux does something right, we write about it.

  17. Use xfce 4.6.1, it’s a real gem. Here it takes 3 secs. from gdm login screen to a full desktop, Gnome needs 30 secs. exactly and that on a dual core machine with 3 gigs of ram!!! I did not time KDE4 but do not believe it fared much faster, perhaps marginally. They’re both going into the wrong direction in my factopinion.
    Use xfce and mix and match apps. It has plenty of configuration options too these days if you are concerned about having to hand craft files. Have a good day.

  18. Debian Testing + KDE4 is great. Sorry to hear those donkey penises don’t taste as good as you expected, perhaps next time. GNOME’s penises taste much worse IMHO, so…

  19. @mtz – The machine suspended without issue under GNOME. It failed to do so under KDE. No other configuration options had been changed. Therefore, the responsibility lies with KDE.

    @Ian – Thank you for your reasonable comment, we appreciate you taking the time to leave us a message.

    @ch – While you are correct in saying that we should be working to increase the penetration of Linux in the consumer marketplace, that doesn’t mean that we should simply ignore and gloss over legitimate problems with the software. As a software developer, I reject the idea that we should not talk about the problems that a system does have. Dissent gives developers an idea of where improvements are needed.

    @Barnabyh – I have been using XFCE on top of Debian Testing recently, and do appreciate it’s speed and stability. It also seems to be extremely configurable, although the default configuration was not nearly as easy to use as the default GNOME setup.

    Again, thanks for your comments guys, but please try to be respectful to the poster.

  20. Your Audio output device can easily be selected using System Settings in KDE. Simply go to System Settings > Multimedia. from there you can select the output device per medium type by selecting the category on theft and then moving the preferred output device to the top of the preference list.

    KDE has an awesome font manager.. System Settings > Appearance > Fonts. Then change the font sizes or whatever as desired. If that doesn’t make your menus smaller you might also want to go to System Settings > Appearance > Icons > Advanced and change the icon size, as this might be keeping things massive. Also under System Settings > Appearance > Style > Fine Tuning you can configure how text/icons behave in toolbars etc…..

    I promise you that KDE does not universally suck at Suspend/ sleep. These actions are out of the scope of KDE. I’d strongly recommend installing any KDE distro before calling it KDE’s fault. Its more likely a packaging problem where some “vital” thing didn’t get set properly.

    If your touch pad doesn’t do scrolling etc, its most likely an xorg config problem. Again its not up to KDE to to interact directly with your hardware.

    As for special laptop keyboard buttons not working, i’d be interested to know if it worked no config required on Gnome, and if so whether the two are being used with exactly the same Kernel? These special keys are handled within the kernel, KDE just listens for the events.

    In summery i think the audio thing was rather harsh, as its pretty easy to configure. The menu and fonts thing sounds like KDES fault, if for nothing else because you couldn’t work out how to configure it yourself. The touchpad/non functional laptop keys / non working suspend are not ‘KDE problems’ as these events aren’t handled by KDE, and again would recommend not installing kde onto a gnome based distro.

  21. Again, thanks for your comments guys, but please try to be respectful to the poster.

    Bit much to be demanding respect when the poster is not giving any. You get what you give after all. The flamebait title and post are clearly meant to cause offence and get people riled up. It would have been perfectly possible to express his opinion in strong terms without descending into the gutter. I’m sorry, but juvenile rantings like this mark this website down as one I will never visit again.

  22. KDE through 3.5 has been my GUI of choice, but V4+ has been nothing but one disaster after another. Trying to run 4.3 has twice removed my boot record. Easy enough to fix, but it leaves me wondering just what else KDE is going to do to my drive.

  23. Actually, i fail to see how the problems you say are KDE related. You should provide more information on which distro you try gnome/kde.

    I am a KDE user (since 4 years ago); and i write in a fresh installation of Kubuntu (before i had opensuse). And brightness keys work, but they also work in text mode! Aren’t this keys ACPI related? I don’t get how switching from gnome to kde changed that. Ditto for suspending to disk. Are you really comparing gnome and kde on the same distribution? All this seems distro related to me.

    Fonts can be a quirky issue. In opensuse i haven’t had any problem, but now in kubuntu, i see gnome applications bad integrated; but again, the distro didn’t make the effort of integrating everything right.

    Actually, i think that both desktop environments are so customizable, that choosing one or the other comes down to the details. KDE 4 has been a bit unstable for some time, but now it looks very good; it is what i am used to, and i’ll probably stick to it for some time.

  24. BTW, i’ve tried gnome and xfce (for quite a long time) too (just in case anyone tries to debase my claims saying i am a kde fanboy who hasnt tried anything in my entire life)

    I was re-reading the article now and strikes me as unprofessional (but all this gnome/kde discussions are, anyway). Reduced battery life? I can’t take that as serious, maybe because it relates that you weren’t able to decrease the brightness of your laptop. Well, if you wanted comments and like to write in the internet, i’ll tell you something: Don’t complain if you’re flamed when you’re providing so little insight in your article. No one will take you seriously if you didn’t take the effort to write a good article, because the article is little more than a excuse to start a flame war.

  25. Just had a thought, i bet he’s still using GDM as the log-in manager, which would explain at least the problems with suspending and maybe a few of the other ACPI/hardware related issues.

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  1. KDE on Gentoo: slightly less inflammatory but still difficult | The Linux Experiment
  2. The Linux Experiment Podcast #2: What the Hell [Desktop Environments]?! | The Linux Experiment

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