KDE is a terrible tease and the reason we can’t have nice things

Last night I installed KDE and I was absolutely thrilled. For starters, it has built in widgets, which I absolutely love (when they work, that is). In general I find it a lot easier to customize than GNOME, and themes are easier to implement and look much nicer. This is a shot of my current desktop:

It's rather pretty
It's rather pretty

KDE also natively supports rotating wallpapers, which is absolutely wonderful – I had spent several futile hours toiling with cronjobs in GNOME desperately trying to get it to work. I’m not particularly proficient with Linux, so the fact that KDE offered this right out of the box really appealed to me.

The widgets range from useless-but-amusing (such as the Fuzzy Clock, which gives inaccurate times) to the practical-but-amusing (I have my frequently used folders in the top right corner) to the wonderful-but-broken (any weather widget). I’m actually a bit frustrated with the last one – I tried using LCD Weather Station, and it worked for the UK and the US, but it couldn’t read Environment Canada’s data. Maybe we could change our name to “United Canada” or something.

It gets a bit ugly

Being rather pleased with my progress, I turned on the computer this morning hoping to get my second monitor working. I plugged it in, started up my laptop and then ohjesusgodwhy my laptop and monitor started blinking on and off furiously, rendering my system unusable. Restarting X seemed to do the trick, and my laptop and monitor were synchronized and working properly. However, my monitor was only running at 1600×900, not its native 1920×1080. I decided to fix this in the most daring manner I could: changing the resolution to “1920×1080”. KDE, seeing through my dirty bag of tricks, had none of it and promptly started blinking and seizing, and to (probably incorrectly) quote Mike Tyson, convulsing like an infantile retard.

I had to restart xserver a few dozen times and finally got my system stable again, albeit without running the monitor. I tried the next most daring thing I could think of: going to the display settings. This enraged KDE so much that it decided to go into convulsions again. I restarted my computer hoping that would fix things. Nope, more convulsions. I tried using Catalyst, but that had no effect – literally – I couldn’t even add the new monitor. All in all, I basically tried restarting xserver/my computer a few times, and once the monitor seemed to work properly, I’d stop fiddling with it and accept my half-hearted victory.

Oh, and when I close my laptop the system assumes I’ve logged out, so I currently have the most useless dual monitor setup. Hopefully that’s easy to change.

So yeah, to hell KDE’s seduction.


  1. Sounds rough; do you have another desktop option available a login to see if you can get the resolution working from there? It is possible that the issues is with X and something new was pulled in when you installed KDE. You could also try asking in your distro’s IRC channel. I haven’t had these issues at all with the few systems where I have two monitors, but then again my resolutions were never that high.

  2. I believe that he was using GNOME originally and had similar problems – it seems to me that his problem is related to drivers, and not to desktop managers.

  3. I did have similar problems in GNOME. The difference is when I ran into this issue in GNOME, my display manager crashed and that was all. When I ran into it in KDE, my computer simply stopped functioning, which means if I’m trying to set up my external monitor, I can’t be doing anything else at the same time.

    I’ll try some stuff in xorg.conf later today and see if that fixes anything.

  4. First of all, I’ll never understand people weeping for software they get for free.

    Second, give us information if you need help, like ‘what distribution are you using’ or ‘what KDE version’.

  5. Debianero – read the man pages :P. Also, just because the software is free does not exempt it from criticism. Free software exists because people got pissed off at paying for crappy software.

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