2003 Interview with George Staikos

The USA Linux Users Group features an interview with George Staikos, restless KDE core developer and promoter. They are interested in what to expect in the upcoming release 3.2 of "the industry's leading Window Manager". Further topics include the default look and settings of KDE, what makes KDE successful, how it appeals to new users and of course the all time favorite question as to whether Linux and KDE are ready for end-users.


Is KDE just a Window Manager?

By OI at Sun, 2003/11/09 - 6:00am

No, read the interview answers.

By Anonymous at Sun, 2003/11/09 - 6:00am

It is so sad that US citizens don't seem to like KDE. Probably ximians anti-qt propaganda raised some fruits or RedHat's KDE policy. KDE is a mature alternative and the apllications are good, too. However, i ve got the impression that KOffice diminishes the KDE impression. Program corps like Kpaint. And KDE still has no good OpenOffice integration, although scripts can be used to add the KDe icon set to KDE. Perhaps SOT Office may specialize on KDe integration, I suppose this was a big market niche.

By matze at Sun, 2003/11/09 - 6:00am

This is an interview published by the USA Linux Users Group. They are quite liberal with their praise for KDE. What's sad about that?

The problem is more that KDE does not get enough exposure and promo in North America -- people are less aware of it and sometimes don't even know it exists. When they are made aware of the existence of KDE (say through being installed on 200 desktops or more at University), I can very happily report that they are just as happy with the desktop as you are...

To the prankstar on Stop it please. Very funny. :-)

By Navindra Umanee at Sun, 2003/11/09 - 6:00am

> Program corps like Kpaint

Hence kdenonbeta/kolourpaint is under development

By anon at Sun, 2003/11/09 - 6:00am

> It is so sad that US citizens don't seem to like KDE
It is so sad that they confuse it with a Window Manager :P

> RedHat's KDE policy
Well, they're out of the picture now since they don't make free linux distros
anymore. Their KDE support was hopeless anyway.

> KOffice diminishes the KDE impression
Why? It works as long as you don't try to save to any other format than the
native ones.

> And KDE still has no good OpenOffice integration
KWord has working OO filters. KOffice 1.4 will use OO formats natively.

By anon at Sun, 2003/11/09 - 6:00am

Redhat has a free distro called fedora in You may be unsupportive of the non existant kde policy of redhat but look before you leap

By rahulsundaram at Sun, 2003/11/09 - 6:00am

Although fedora is a community project, nearly all maintainers/contributors are RedHat employees. I don't expect fedora to have any sorta change in KDE policy than RedHat did overnight.

By anon at Sun, 2003/11/09 - 6:00am

> It is so sad that US citizens don't seem to like KDE.

Plenty of people here in the US like KDE. What's a shame is that more Windows users don't use KGX (kde/gnu/X Windows)

By anon at Sun, 2003/11/09 - 6:00am

The control center has improved, still it is not organized very well. Improve Usability and the desktop is ours.

By Dirk Heinrichs at Sun, 2003/11/09 - 6:00am

OFF-Topic remark:

Is this a dead project, I don't see any usability reports submitted.

By Dirk Heinrichs at Sun, 2003/11/09 - 6:00am

That project was there before the kde-usability mailing list was opened, where most usability discussion happens.

By anon at Sun, 2003/11/09 - 6:00am

Will Kexi be a mysql tool like deZign? I find it very strange that the best mysql tools are commercial programs for Windows while linux programs don't semm to sell. There is not even a port! Perhaps because nobody can keep track of distri and versions variety. Nobody wants to build x packages. KDE has to provide a unified running plattform.

By Gerd at Sun, 2003/11/09 - 6:00am


You may have problems as you need which some (most?) current distros don't use. It also seems to have a few other bugs, but worth a try.

Its a kylix proggie, so feels more KDE than Gnome.

By hmmm at Sun, 2003/11/09 - 6:00am

Like deZign? Yeah, we plan to go with Kexi similar way. Kexi as MySQL tool? Not especially MySQL-devoted/dependent tool but really more generic in design, thus usable for more db engines. Who likes MySQL more than other engines may want to add some special plugins - this will be possible "soon".

Yes, 3rd-party software packaging on linux looks like not solved problem, especially ok high-integrated environments like KDE and Gnome. This can be a main reason that win32-related-companies won't port theirs software EVEN if they use Qt (!), like Adobe Photoshop Album.

By Jarosław S... at Sun, 2003/11/09 - 6:00am

There is - german only by now, but he asks for help.

By Carlo at Mon, 2003/11/10 - 6:00am

GIMP 1.2x is no photoshop or paintshop replacement and is getting outdated. Gimp 2.0 will be nice but is second best and of course no KDe program. Why don't they open a penpal account or a gimp foundation. I would like to pay for a proper Linux "paintshop" because I need it. KPaint and similar approaches are nice toys, even tuxpaint provides you with more options.. MosfetPaint seems to be discontinued. And I also don't need 20 non-mature vector graphic programs.

By Gerd at Sun, 2003/11/09 - 6:00am

"And I also don't need 20 non-mature vector graphic programs."

That's how it often begins. Remember how it was with cdburning programs?


By Jorge Adriano at Sun, 2003/11/09 - 6:00am

there is still no cd burning program that can fully compete to windows tools - not even k3b. neither in function nor ui

By Carlo at Mon, 2003/11/10 - 6:00am

I must be a weirdo. I'm a US citizen and love KDE. I don't
give Gnome the light of day (except to see how they're doing).

Seriously, I think it is all because of Red Hat. I understand
businesses wanting redhat because it's reliable like a Ford F-150....
but we like KDE because it's great, like a Corvette. I guess it's
like growing up....sure my dad liked Corvettes, but he wasn't
gonna haul bails of hay in a Corvette for the know
what I mean? (BTW, I'm from Texas, USA)

However, KDE has really matured and *is* reliable(above statements
reflect general sentiments....not really mine). I think the only
thing holding it back is that businesses are using RedHat in the US
and that people are scared of its youthful glow (for some reason,
people think something has to be old and ugly to be reliable).

As mentioned in other posts, if IBM or some big company backed
KDE in its pure form, Linux would just take over everything.

By Nonya at Wed, 2003/11/12 - 6:00am

I'm a US citizen, in fact I'm the guy who interviewed George...and I love KDE!


By munky at Fri, 2003/11/14 - 6:00am

> And KDE still has no good OpenOffice integration, ...

OK, I not much heavy user of Office programs, but it seems that KOffice getting very close to be enough. So I guess, that I do not care much
about integration with OO and I have it just as an intermediary solution before I will use KOffice completely. And M$-Office formats are pretty good for interchange, aren't they? :-)



By Matej Cepl at Fri, 2003/11/14 - 6:00am

I think kde has many good application like kmail (the best email client i know) or konqueror. The main problem area is koffice's stability.

By fireball at Sun, 2003/11/09 - 6:00am

They have made my beautiful KDE a shit by adding their crappy menus and icons...


Does "debian" or "Suse" has the default beauty of KDE, style, wallpapers, splash screen, icons, keybindings etc?

I want a distro which allows default KDE looks... please suggest. thanks.

By KDE user at Sun, 2003/11/09 - 6:00am

SuSE messes around with the styles and things as well. Debian doesn't. You might want to look into slackware or gentoo as well, which are very good distros and leave KDE the way it's supposed to be.

By Traktopel at Sun, 2003/11/09 - 6:00am

Debian definitely doesn't munge anything -- KDE is KDE is KDE.
The only problem is that if you are used to speed of inovations of Suse/Mandrake/RedHat you have to use testing distribution (or external package repositories, which is what I do), but I have switched to Debian two years ago and I have never looked back for minute. Go for it.


By Matej Cepl at Fri, 2003/11/14 - 6:00am

If KDE is not a Window$ clone, where is it REALLY different? And please, don't tell me about the application menu that can be put on the top of the screen like Ma¢O$ because it is completely irrevelent. There must be a feature in KDE that haven't been made just to create a desktop environement "as good as the others" for Linux.

Please, prove me wrong.

By at Sun, 2003/11/09 - 6:00am

Nothing is innovative, in real life, you are copying styles of other people, you use "words" copied from your parents, peers, newspapers, etc. if you call yourself innovative create your own language and speak with yourself. So, You are just a copy of the people you've met or read about... in this sense, you are no unique.

MS is a very good example of copycat. it copies all new technologies into its OS and call its own innovation. Like terminal services (RDP) copied from citrix.

KDE provides familiar GUI (Popular existing Desktop Environment like of CDE, MS, MAC os) to all UNIX. And this is innovation... ONE Easy GUI for all UNIX Flavors. KDE has (and will have) all best things of all the Desktop Environments.

Remember NT stands for New Technology! why? because NT4 could be installed on different CPU architectures. MS called it New Technology, huh! when unix was running on multivendor machines, since 70s.

if you want to see a real clone of MS Windows, visit

By KDE user at Sun, 2003/11/09 - 6:00am

how about the fact that KDE is network transparent out of the box?

By Larry at Sun, 2003/11/09 - 6:00am

gnome is a clone of a kde is a clone of windows is a clone of mac is a clone of amiga is a clone next is a clone of parc

and nothing wrong with that

By anon at Sun, 2003/11/09 - 6:00am

Watching the screen you can tell KDE is a 'good looking desktop', like many others.. But have you ever seen the internals ?
Do you know you can replace virtually everything in KDE? We can make a 3D reactive desktop, kicker can be repalaced with a 'personal information collector and application launcher' (or by slicker at instance).
Have you ever seen kio? network transparency or others? try to put "system:/" in your konqueror's location and see what happens.
Try to develop a KDE application and see that with 2 lines of code you can add a fully working system tray icon to your application.
You can't even imagine what's to come and how far is kde from others.
Is this enough "" ? If not, please let me tell you that this is just the beginning.

By koral at Sun, 2003/11/09 - 6:00am

The features are there, but their availability and instructions on how to use them seems fragmented or at least not well presented.

I think it also is a matter of attrackting developers as purely a seperate interest group.

Back in the days when I crawled around in a snakepit, I used to code for MFC and there was/is this site: which was realy attractive to visit as a MFC developer.

There is no such attractive place for KDE APPLICATION developers to group togheter, unless it is some boring newsgroup or sloppy looking web site I am affraid. It's more a matter of stumbling accross bits and pieces of information in posts like these or newsgroups that a potential KDE developer can learn.

Perhaps a 'codeproject' site for KDE developers can attrackt more KDE developers. By developers for developers so to speak?

By ac at Mon, 2003/11/10 - 6:00am

All your examples lack the community following existing in the example I gave.

Your examples are more or less static examples which do not separate KDE application development from KDE "the desktop" development.

For example, I create some nice framework KDE code or widget hack for my app and think others might be able to use it as well. On codeproject you could group this into a logical place in that one site. Other visitors could visit other developers KDE app codebases/widget examples etc etc.

Just take a look at and observe it is one site whereas you mention at least four sites which are fragmented and are in my opinion not even comming close to showing the power of KDE to developers.

And that KDE power is -so much greater-, better representation of that power is likely to attract more developers, because I really believe many developers out their are not fully aware of KDE's power for developers. The information is too fragmented.

Almost all stuff on codeproject is based on 'closed' source widgets, toolkits, proprietary etc. etc and yet all the examples and tutorials are wide open and have a large community following. The question then is, why couldn't KDE have something similar?

By ac at Mon, 2003/11/10 - 6:00am

Very easy to explain this situation. See that banner on codeproject? Refresh a few times to see different banners. This site is sponsored by Microsoft. They also resell MS products. KDE is not commercial, it can't sponsor sites or offer them resale oportunities. On codeproject you can also see banners for commercial tools used for Windows programming. There are no commercial tools for KDE programming, commercial Linux tools are either generic C++ or Java tools or avoid using KDE (Kylix).
You see, building good sites is all about sponsorship. This is about the best you can get without strong sponsors such as MS.

By Anonymous at Mon, 2003/11/10 - 6:00am

Try (thanks to Ian).

By Ravi at Mon, 2003/11/10 - 6:00am is only for people working on KDE istelf, not for people writing standalone applications for KDE.

By Stephen Douglas at Tue, 2003/11/11 - 6:00am

*looks at himself and scratches his head*

By Datschge at Wed, 2003/11/12 - 6:00am

"All your examples lack the community following existing in the example I gave."

You must be joking... so if has such a better community following, where are the consequently superior programs and libraries (superior to KDE with its "non-community" "non-following")?

By Datschge at Wed, 2003/11/12 - 6:00am

When compared to Windows (though not necessarily other X window managers), KDE is miles ahead in simple things like window management. Honestly, I feel crippled using Windows machines after having used KDE for years. Why? Little things: good virtual desktops, horizontal/vertical window maximizing, middle-clicking to send a window to the back, the ability to give a window focus without bringing it to the top, easy resizing (alt+right mouse allows you to resize a window by clicking anywhere on it), easy moving (alt+left mouse allows you to move a window by clicking anywhere on it), window shading with mouse hovering, and the list goes on. KDE has had most (all?) of these features for years. Windows is truly far behind when it comes to simple convenience features on the desktop. This is just window management, too; the list gets longer as you compare kicker to Windows' "start bar" or konqueror to IE.

By Matthew Kay at Sun, 2003/11/09 - 6:00am

>>middle-clicking to send a window to the back


I cant believe I have to learn this great feature this late on a KDE forum..

That middle click think is really a time saver!

By ac at Mon, 2003/11/10 - 6:00am

Heh, in that vein, here's a related one I discovred only a few days ago: you can alt-middle-click anywhere on a window to toggle it "bring to top"/"send to bottom". I find this particularly useful because the click event isn't actually sent to the window, so you can easily bring a window to the top that you can only see part of, without accidentally clicking on something important in the window.

There's always a little gem left somewhere in KDE :).

By Matthew Kay at Tue, 2003/11/11 - 6:00am

Nothing is terribly innovative these days. Consider the changes (in the UI) made between Win98 and WinXP. What's really changed? Things look different, because of Luna, but that's just visual. KDE itself isn't much older than WinXP, and consider all that has changed since then.

KDE's two biggest strengths:

1) Extremely powerful framework. Stuff like DCOP, KIO, KParts, and the other KDE libraries allow a desktop that's supremely well-integrated, and joyful to develop for. Neither WinXP nor OS X offer that level of integration, or that level of power.

2) Extreme customizability. KDE can be molded to the user's preference. It can behave like Windows, or like OS X, or anything inbetween. You might consider a MacOS-style menu irrelevent, but its a manifestation of this overall principle. Personally, I find it invaluable. My main computer is a laptop with a 15" LCD, and I can save a lot of space by setting up the desktop just-so.

In addition to these two points, you've got all the other features people here have mentioned.

By Rayiner H. at Mon, 2003/11/10 - 6:00am

What do people think about the new kmix behavior:

Left button now shows/hides main window.
Middle button shows volume control.

see also

By Anonymous at Sun, 2003/11/09 - 6:00am

KMix now finally follows the KDE HIG rules for systray entries, the previous behavior didn't follow it and thus was inconsistent with other systray entries, see

By Datschge at Sun, 2003/11/09 - 6:00am

Well, as you can probably tell, I am from the USA, and just so you know, my favorite desktop enviroment is KDE. I rarely use anything else unless my machine is too old and slow to support it. KDE is a truely wonderful thing, and it makes Linux ready for the desktop of the normal user, IMHO of course :)

While many people don't agree with me on that issue, I have helped many new users that can use Linux very productively, mostly because of KDE. I have help many a user convert from that other os, KDE has made it much easier for those new to Linux to switch. I've also had the pleasure of introducing Linux to someone who has never ran a computer before, KDE is on his desktop, and he's having alot of fun using his computer now.

Many thanks to George Staikos for his time, and to all the developers who work on KDE. Your work is appreciated, yes, even in the US :)

By the way, has MANY users that aren't from the US. Several from the UK and Canada, and other parts of the world also.

Thanks again,


Dave Crouse
Site Administrator

By crouse at Mon, 2003/11/10 - 6:00am

Hm, just a thought: One reason for Gnome's popularity is that Miguel and Nat have done a good job promoting it. KDE really needs a stronger PR effort and some "faces". That's why I enjoy hearing of the existence of interviews likes this one.

By Eike Hein at Mon, 2003/11/10 - 6:00am

great interview, IMHO! both the questions and answers were enjoyable.. it was a quick, easy read with some great content... kudos to USALUG and George!

By Aaron J. Seigo at Mon, 2003/11/10 - 6:00am