NewsForge: Q&A with George Staikos about KDE 3.3

NewsForge has caught up with KDE developer George Staikos to talk with him about the upcoming KDE 3.3 release, KDE's future, Konqueror, KWallet,, KOffice and more.


> > Unfair comparison but try this: install a fresh Windows 98.
> > It boots _and_ logs in in 15s on a 300 Mhz!
> Or better yet: I could run DOS on that machine! I bet it would boot in 5
> seoonds!

Only if you have a bloated autoexec.bat :-)

> Seriously: I thought we were talking about serious operating-systems with
> top-of-the line UI's here?

Sad thing is: 6 years after Windows 98 was released, it still has more functionality than Linux 2.6 + KDE 3.3. I'm talking multimedia,
office suite (yes, MS Office is much faster and easier to use than OO not to
mention the excellent MS doc compatiblity since it is MS after all), games,
application compatibility...

By w at Thu, 2004/08/19 - 5:00am

"Sad thing is: 6 years after Windows 98 was released, it still has more functionality than Linux 2.6 + KDE 3.3. I'm talking multimedia,
office suite (yes, MS Office is much faster and easier to use than OO not to
mention the excellent MS doc compatiblity since it is MS after all), games,
application compatibility..."

You are not talking about the functionality of the OS, you are talking about the functionality of the apps that run on top of that OS. Just about the only thing where Win98 has the upper hand when compared to Linux, is games. And less and less games are compatible with Win98. Win98 does not have the stability, performance, security and features that Linux 2.6 + KDE3.3 has. Not even close.

Besides desktop: can I use Win98 as a server? Would it work as well as Linux would? No? Then I guess it does not have "more functionality", eh?

"I'm talking multimedia"

I have zero problems creating oggs and/or mp3's on my Linux-machine. I have no problems playing back music, watching DVD's, burning CD's/DVD's etc. etc. I fail to see your point here. Hell, burning CD's is EASIER in Linux, since the apps are free. In Windows, just about all of them are payware. So in Linux I have a kick-ass burning-software (K3B), whereas in Windows I have some crappy shareware-app.

"office suite (yes, MS Office is much faster and easier to use than OO not to
mention the excellent MS doc compatiblity since it is MS after all)"

I don't have any problems with either Koffice or OpenOffice. How exactly is MS Office "easier to use"? I bet it's just because it's the one you have used before, so changing to something different will feel "difficult". But that doesn't mean that the app is more difficult to use in reality.

"application compatibility"

My Linux/KDE-box is compatible with all the apps I use :). Well, games are an exception, but I don't game that much anymore.

By Janne at Thu, 2004/08/19 - 5:00am

During all of this thread I was in a permanent state of bogglement -- because, yes, KDE 3.3.0 was a lot slower than I had any right to expect seeing that I've got a 3Ghz machine. It certainly was slower than Windows XP on the same machine, and I was rather surprised at some of the claims of 'instant' konqueror and konsole bandied about. Dash it, if I so much as loaded slashdot, the fan would jump into the breach, cooling down the poor over-worked processor. Even if I disabled java, javascript and plugins.

Then I decided to finally do something about the missing image previews -- I knew the code still worked, because it did so for a test user -- and I removed my .kde. On startup, I was amazed. Konqueror _was_ instant. No time to excavate the nose waiting for konsole anymore. Even Krita, was quick enough to make testing a pleasure again. Only... This is a traumatic experience. One does _not_ want to do without ones wallet. And not without alt-f1 set to vertical maximize. And all the other settings I need to work with pleasure.

So, something in that .kde (that had survived all transitions since KDE 1.1.x, with only an occasional manual pruning) must have caused a lot of lag. I don't know what it is -- though I have saved a tarbal of my .kde for future research.

Oh, and network settings etc. were tops, because, if they aren't, you're not looking at a five or ten second delay, but thirty seconds or more.

By Boudewijn Rempt at Thu, 2004/08/19 - 5:00am

I have noticed longer startup times - but not in KDE. The individual linux distributions do many things differently and are constantly changing them. But - as a way to test - go to konsole and type "startx -- :2". There will still be a number of distribution specific things going on in the startx - but my KDE 3.2 comes up in about 15 seconds (1.4Ghz - normal ram - normal disk) (Haven't bothered to check but I'm sure the speed would be the same from a console without having a KDE already loaded).

Don't blame your distributions shortcomings on KDE.

By PaulSeamons at Tue, 2004/08/17 - 5:00am

KDE *is* getting faster, just not so much in the initial loading department.

The speed improvement from 3.1 -> 3.2 was pretty substantial on my K6-2 450mhz/192 megs RAM and KDE is faster than Win XP here.

Personally, I really don't care about loading since my computer is always on and I have to reboot only when a new kernel comes out. You should probably consider using the sleep features of your computer instead of rebooting all the time.

By Mikhail Capone at Tue, 2004/08/17 - 5:00am

Just a simple comment: I read a lot of people talking about performance and start-up time, trying to compare performance by just mentioning CPU and Ram issue. For your information:
I just update my HD from a IDE Drive (6 year old, 6M) to a very fast SATA disk with 8M of cache. The performance improvement is very important: more than 2 time faster.
I you get a look at the CPU usage, often you may notice that CPU is not at top usage while booting. The flow factor here is the HD, not the rest of the box, which is most probably fast enough since already a few years.


By stephane petithomme at Wed, 2004/08/18 - 5:00am

I respect the enormous work of developers that have led to the present capability of KDE. And surely, one may find a lot of nuances or lacks to be correcterd in the future versions of KDE.
I, as a user, mostly do not use the KDE itself (there are few exceptions like KMail). What I need is a great number of applications (fulfilling my particular needs) integrated with KDE environment.
The present state of KOffice is funny (or tragical, it's up to you) but is not suitable for daily use. (To be precise: I like it, I am trying to use it, and after a failure I have to switch to OOo - according to 25-30 opportunity this year).

From the applications pont of view: the KDE present state is more than satisfactory, although not perfect. But for longtime development procedures, needs to be stable for years.

By devians at Tue, 2004/08/17 - 5:00am

3.x apps are compatible. you can write apps on 3.0 (2 years old) and they'll work on 3.3.0 (at least, they should, if not - file a bug). and if it takes another year to bring out kde 4.0, well, apps have been able to work for more than 3 years without modification. thats fine with me...

and about Koffice, well, I have no problems with it. Use it all the time, for my work for the university, and its ok for me. Maybe it doesnt have all the fancy features M$ office features, or Open-office has (I dont use these anyway) but it loads faster, is network-transparent (I love to just edit the files on my university's ftp harddisk, without any manually copy-ing around) and is mostly quite stable.
indeed it can be improved. but its good enough for normal work, imho. name a few features you miss in the latest Koffice that are present in OOo? then start coding ;-)

By superstoned at Tue, 2004/08/17 - 5:00am

It's good to know that "a lot of work" has been done on Konqueror File Manager, but it seems keyboard navigation and selection was once again forgotten.

It is still a real pain trying to select a bunch of files on the right using the keyboard. The thing seems to randomly switch between different selection modes, and overall it is very inconsistent and a lot of times simply broken.

So, is there any chance we have a functional file manager, maybe by 3.3.3?

By Kirill at Tue, 2004/08/17 - 5:00am

You mean 3.4 or 4.0

The next 3.3.x will be only bug fixes and security issues.

By JC at Tue, 2004/08/17 - 5:00am

It seems to me that, if this is a genuine bug, it could/should be fixed in a pointrelease.

BTW, of course it would need to be properly reported. A posting on the the dot does not count as such, a report on with a clear description on how to reproduce the problem does.

By Andre Somers at Tue, 2004/08/17 - 5:00am


Or check here:

I think Konq works well as a general purpose filemanager/browser, but if you better like an app that only manages files, who keeps you from trying?

Afcourse Konq should have proper shortcuts for filemanaging -- you could do a investigation of what is exactly lagging and report it to the devs.

By cies at Tue, 2004/08/17 - 5:00am

I'm using KDE 3.3 recently released in Debian Sid, and I have have 2 annoyances not previously found on 3.2.

- When using grid aling on desktop icons there's too much vertical space between icons. This means you have enough space between rows to put another one there :(

Vote for this here:

- And now when using multicolumn mode on file manager you get long filenames truncated with a elipsis (...). I have found an option for changing number of lines in icons' text, but this doesn't seem to do the trick.

See the attached shot for an example.

I don't point to a bug report here to make sure I'm not missing some unknow config option ;)

By anonymous coward at Tue, 2004/08/17 - 5:00am

ugh.. why is it so impossible to have sane defaults in konqueror file manager?

Truncated file names and ellipses are good for detailed list view (ensires a column other than name is always visible so you can paste, create new directories etc with RMB) but it is not what people expect at all with multi column view..

I guess I am happy since I use detailed list view, but why must fixing my preferred view fark up someone else's?

By jason at Wed, 2004/08/18 - 5:00am

I have said it before, and I'll say it again: multicolumn-view in Konqueror "just doesn't work". Take a look at these screenshots I have taken:

One is Windows Explorer, other two are Konqueror 3.2.3 using multicolumn-view with word wrap on and off.

Seriously: which of those looks best to you? Which of those three dispays the filenames the best way? Which of those displays the filenames in such way that they are easy to read (or readable at all!)?

By Janne at Wed, 2004/08/18 - 5:00am

Sincerely Windows seems better here...

But the nasty problem is that the word wrap "on" desn't work at all, only working mode is the truncated one. So as you may see in the screenshot it's really unusable right now.

By same anonymous ... at Wed, 2004/08/18 - 5:00am

Just curious...

By Richard Bollinger at Wed, 2004/08/18 - 5:00am

Just updated to qt-3.3.3 on SUSE 9.1/KDE 3.3. Few bugs: on every login i need to remove and add pager and system tray back to the panel as they get 'inactive' (dcop comms error?). Any ideas how to fix this?

By jmk at Wed, 2004/08/18 - 5:00am

Hmh, qt seems to break this entirely. Minicli shows up on random desktop, system tray occasionally explodes (gets *huge*), kontact/kmail message windows sometimes appear on taskbar and sometimes not, etc. Has to be some dcop/qt shonk.

By jmk at Wed, 2004/08/18 - 5:00am

Yes, it is correct that to get bug fixes with OSS that you need to upgrade. The simple fact is that after a branch is finished that there are very few (or no) bug fixes added to it. I see no problem with this.

The problems are:

1. New branches and releases since 3.1.0 have had serious regressions. Obviously this means that upgrading to get bug fixes is no longer a totally satisfactory solution -- especially for commercial users.

2. The bugs are not always fixed on the current release branch. I see this as a serious issue. All bugs in the current release should be dealt with on the current release branch. The fact that it works on the current CVS HEAD is no help at all to users -- the bugs should be fixed FIRST on the current release branch, and then "front ported" to the current development branch.

If we can't avoid the regressions, we are going to have to start releasing two branches like GNOME, and other projects. This would have (or should) have meant that the KWin problems would have been avoided since the new features that broke it would have first been applied to the unstable release.


By James Richard Tyrer at Wed, 2004/08/18 - 5:00am