KDE and Plasma fucking suck!
Let me take you back to the time when my edgy 12-years-old kiddo ass first got ahold of a Linux Distribution. I actually don't know where I got it from, but I remember it was an at the time already outdated version of SuSE Linux; maybe version 7.1.
Back in the day, my best friends and I thought Windows was the 💩 and we had some sort of “operating system reinstallation addiction”, trying out all the different Windows versions and stuff like that. Much like the modern day distrohopping, but far worse, since we were so retarded that we reinstalled Windows pretty much every single fucking day.
I was pretty excited to try out something fresh and enlightening, though: “SuSE Linux, huh?”, I mumbled to myself. “Okay.” And then I ran home to check out this OS. Excited, but also pretty sceptical, because it couldn't be better than my beloved Windows, right?
Once home, I didn't hesitate to boot it up and loose my Linux virginity. Thinking about it, I don't think it even came with a LiveCD environment. It just went straight to the installer.
- A screenshot I found online.
So I clickedy-clicked my way through there and once done, I was greeted by some old-ass version of KDE, which I actually low-key liked, as it remembered me of my beloved Windows with it's thic-ass taskbar and application launcher that somehow resembled the Windows 2000 start menu.
A little sidenote: To this day I think that Windows 2000 was superior to Windows XP. Damn. If I had to go back to Windows, I would definitely want to live in the Windows 2000 era again.
- Another screenshot I found on the interwebs.
Well, as with many first times, the experience didn't last long.
I didn't have an internet connection for at least 1 or 2 more years and I also didn't understand at all how one would install programs on Linux. Repositories and package managers weren't part of my vocabulary, so I abandoned this excursion and stored the term “Linux” in my brain as some ugly, undesirable shit. Like some preteen boys would say: “Ewww, girls!”, I would say: “Ewww, Linux!” when I saw something that resembled a Linux interface in IT magazines, etc. But I knew even less than John Snow. I was an idiot. I even thought that this was “The Linux”. Didn't even get the concept of distributions back then.
KDE is only for cave-dwelling, neck-bearded ricers …
… who don't use their computers for anything else than distro-, desktop environment- and window manager hopping and who post screenshots on r/unixporn all the time.
I know, this sounds quite bold when I say that, after I've been addicted to reinstalling Windows over and over when I was a kid. But I was a kid. Well, I'm still a kid, as I always claim to be a 12 year old in the body of a 30 year old. My wife will agree. But enough of that. I matured. A tiny bit. At least leave me the illusion.
These days, I use the glorious Arch Linux with GNOME 3, stock Adwaita theme and a handful shell extensions to make the experience a little bit sexier.
And it works. It pretty much tickles my nips just as I like it. I'm having trouble not to instantly climax when I turn on my PC.
Some of the things I value the most about GNOME are …
- Consistant user interface
- Not too many, not too few settings
- Adwaita looks damn sexy
- Performance is good, contrary to popular belief
- Many good 3rd-party applications
- It doesn't get in my way
When I meet KDE users or GNOME haters online (mostly on Plebbit), I usually hear the same old arguments against GNOME again and again:
GNOME is …
- … made for tablets, because “BiG tItLe BaRs AnD lArGe IcOnS!”
- … anti-features and even takes established features away 1
- … slow and has choppy animations 2
What I also hear all the time is that GNOME “breaks all the time”. Well, I always imagine little Timmy trying out GNOME for the first time. Timmy probably doesn't even try to use GNOME the way it was intended by the developers. A couple hours of adjustment time and the mainly keyboard centric workflow can be really beneficial. But Timmy is a narrow-minded asshole, goes to the GNOME Shell Extensions website and installs a plethora of extensions, trying to imitate the Windows or macOS desktop paradigm and slaps some themes on his install. “Great!”, little Timmy thinks. “This looks rad!”
After some time, the next major GNOME update comes through and many extensions break due to changes in the API. Timmy now thinks GNOME is shit and goes back to Windows, or even worse: Back to KDE Plasma, because “It HaS bLuR aNyWaY!”.
Don't be like fuckin’ Timmy. Just don't. Timmy is mentally ill.
Yes, while I agree that the constant breakage of extensions is cumbersome, GNOME devs finally started an initiative to solve this issue.
Junkies for “a blast from the past”
I think another big group of GNOME haters consists of people who used GNOME 2 in the past and were greatly disappointed by the changes introduced in GNOME 3 back in 2011. And I understand that, as I was one of them. I happily used GNOME 2 for about 7 years. Then, the developers changed pretty much everything. And it's true: GNOME 3 was a buggy, slow mess when it hit and gone was all the customizability we knew and loved from GNOME 2. Even Ubuntu's developers at Canonical thought this way and introduced the Unity desktop, which - in my opinion - wasn't much better than GNOME 3 back in the day, but whatever.
Needless to say, GNOME 3 felt as if the developers didn't know where the project was going, but now - 9 years later - we came a long way. Things have changed: Unity was dropped in 2017 and Ubuntu uses GNOME 3 (with a couple changes) as default desktop. Turns out, GNOME developers did know where to go with GNOME 3: They were going for innovation. Today, GNOME 3 is the most popular desktop environment out there, despite also being the most controversal.
I guess there will always be some stuck-in-the-mud GNOME 2 fans. That's probably why projects like MATE and Cinnamon emerged, the latter of which I have a similar rant post planned for in the future.
While I think that choice is a good thing (and we have a lot of choice in the Linux world), I think it is bad to just hate on projects that reinvent themselves every now and then.
GNOME works so good for me, …
… that even I got bored after years of almost constantly using GNOME, with only a little one-night-stand that I had with Budgie (love you 😘). 2 days ago, as I was creating a new concept for my home network, I thought it would be a nice idea to reinstall Arch on my system as well.
As I'm a pretty open-minded person who can admit mistakes and who at least wants to also try something else, I decided to do a rsync backup of my current install and set up a new Arch install with KDE Plasma. Maybe, all those people on r/kde are right and KDE Plasma is in fact superior to GNOME?
Well, long story short: I restored the backup and I'm now using Apostrophe on GNOME to type this shit that noone will ever read.
But what caused me to drop KDE like a hot potato?
Well, while installing that poor excuse of a desktop environment, I examined the plasma and plasma-applications groups, only pulling packages of programs I thought I'd need and simultaneously read the Arch Wiki page for KDE.
After I finished installing my packages and initializing SSDM, KDE's display manager, I was greeted with an ugly-ass sight: A theme that looked incredibly outdated and old. I had to change it to the more modern “Breeze Theme” in system settings. Should've been standard, but I thought it might be a problem specific to Arch.
I was pleasantly surprised that Plasma supported fractional scaling for my HiDPI display even on X.Org (GNOME can only do this on Wayland, but I have an NVIDIA GeForce 1050 Ti and rely on the proprietary drivers, where Wayland is not really working) and started my little adventure of disappointments:
I went through the extremely cluttered settings application and set up everything to my liking. At some point, I encountered the compositor settings for desktop effects and immediately felt my dick emerging, because I was reminded of the old days with Beryl and Compiz and all those fancy-ass eyecandy effects we all used to have back in the day on GNOME 2 and other desktop environments. I almost released some goo while I was playing around with wobbly and sliding windows.
But the fun didn't last long. I noticed that (with and without fractional scaling), the performance seemed to not be en par with what GNOME offers. And I kind of felt as if it was the compositor's fault. I didn't want to disable it though, as I think my graphics card should be beefy enough, as well as my 8-core CPU and 24 GB of RAM. I tried KWin Lowlatency, changing some settings in KDE and X.Org, but nothing really made the experience satisfying.
Things like KRunner launched after 1 second delay, etc. It was horrible.
Other things that I found annoying with KDE are:
- The available application launchers have stupid-ass search bars, while KRunner does it better… Can't even disable those unnecessary search bars, but hey: “KdE cUsToMiZaBlE, gNoMe NoT!”
- Spectacle, the screenshot application, is slow as hell when doing a rectangular selection …
- … and it has no option to directly copy the screenshot to the clipboard.
- SDDM always displayed on both my monitors - I had to disable one of them using Xrandr, as there was no built-in feature to do that.
- Akonadi, some stupid ass data collection service, running in the background and it spun up it's own MariaDB instance for storing the data… I mean, yes, many KDE applications require Akonadi to work and you can also run it with PostgreSQL or SQLite to make things lighter, but… Seriously?
Let's talk about KMail
One of the most outright retarded things was KMail, though. This is the mail client for KDE and I think it must've been programmed by some ape with crushed testicles. While on heroin.
On GNOME, I use Geary and most of the time, it does a wonderful job, but KMail just didn't really work.
I added 2 mailboxes that I self-host on my server to KMail. My private one and the administrative one. The setup reminded me of some old Outlook version, but it worked. Mostly. KMail pulled the mails for my private mailbox, but not really the ones for the other one. I don't know why. Sending mails worked, but doing multiple things (like deleting multiple e-mails at once) was slow as hell.
Then, there was this always visible and ugly as fuck vertical banner that stated the e-mail I was looking at was a HTML e-mail. I get it. Security risks. But what about some regular, dismissable banner? I looked online and apparently, the morons at KDE didn't even want to “fix” it (WONTFIX) and the only way to get rid of that thing was a Qt stylesheet. Again: “KdE cUsToMiZaBlE, gNoMe NoT!”
Enough with the rant
There were things I like about KDE:
- The Breeze theme feels quite modern.
- The blur effects. But again, I don't want to only look at my computer, I also want to use it and work with it.
- I liked the calendar widget, as I could set it up to change timezones when scrolling on it.
But seriously, when I look at r/unixporn one more time, I notice people using the blur effect all the time and I guess that's what turns on people about KDE. Now, that GNOME gets support for blur with GTK4, I guess we'll see that kind of shit on the other side as well.
Okay, faggots. Thanks for reading.
Last updated: 16.10.2020
I think this opinion was sparked due to GNOME developers taking away the legacy systray that many applications not specifically made for GNOME still use. You can argue if this is a good decision or not, but I personally think we're going in the right direction, despite me still having to rely on an extension to get the tray back (mainly for Telegram Desktop and Seafile). I plan on phasing it out sooner or later, though. ↩
Not a thing anymore since GNOME 3.34. ↩