Can KDE Save a Dying Windows Platform?

As a longtime KDE user forced to use Windows, is the recent announcement and availability of a port of KDE for Windows a dream come true? "KDE 4.0.0 was released and there again was much joy. More importantly an actual honest to goodness Windows port is released." Blogger MrCopilot gives us a hands on review with 50+ screenshots of KDE in action on that other operating system and tries to answer that question. KDE on Windows is not yet ready for the masses but hopes to be declared stable for KDE 4.1.


by Thomas (not verified)

Where Mr. Ballmar accuses us to do medicide to his Windows thingy, we actually do livesaving... gotta love that arrogant approach to achieve world domination...

by djouallah mimoune (not verified)

you are not serieus ;)

by Anonymous (not verified)

Hint: the Windows platform market share is not increasing.

by jospoortvliet (not verified)

duh, it's pretty much as big as it gets.

by she (not verified)

That is true however there is no real alternative available.

Imagine if KDE was feature rich on Windows. People would try it out.

And now imagine if KDE-on-Windows actually gave LEGIT advantages over
windows out of the box!

by starbase218 (not verified)

Some people would. They would tinker with it, and a lot of poeple would switch back.


Because KDE on Windows is not the standard. The strength of Windows is that it's everywhere. People can take place behind a computer and instantly know how to use it - because it's familiar. Moreover, it's commercially supported, which is very important for large companies. Besides, for a lot of people, Windows is "good enough". They don't necessarily need the power of KDE.

Compare it with existing Windows shell replacements. None of them ever achieved a significant installbase.

by Troy Unrau (not verified)

KDE on windows is not a shell replacement, it is simply a suite of apps and libs.

by BabaLi (not verified)

Yes and one day Dell will ship computers with windows with kde apps preinstalled.

by Hank Miller (not verified)

Most likely it will not be KDE, but the Dell desktop (of some other name their marketing comes up with). It will be KDE (at least KDE games, kdepin, kdeedu, and koffice, some other the other great parts may not make it), but with KDE replaced with Dell in all the documentation. They will likely to their own theme, so it will LOOK very different. The code will not have significant changes - Dell is a marketing company and marketing just wants to look different, they don't care about the code so long as it is good enough. (This is a good thing)

They will ship the source code right on the harddrive. I wouldn't be surprised if they sent patches back to KDE for any changes they make. (Come to think of it, they may not do this for the first release, but by the 3rd update they will just because re-patching all their work in is such a hasstle)

Maybe it won't be dell who does this first, but the parts of KDE I listed are great, and nothing like that comes with windows. They can have a large marketing advantage by shipping those parts of kde. They could get the same result by shipping other programs, but they would have to increase the price they have to charge which marketing doesn't like (Microsoft Office is obvious). Add in the fact that they can apply a Dell theme to kde, and they have a marketing winner that they can't get now for a reasonable price.

by reihal (not verified)

It's inevitable that someone will make a shell extension with KDE 4.

by linuxaddict (not verified)

It is true that (for now) Windows still holds the majority of computers, especially in government departments, hostage. But, almost every week I read an article in the news about government departments switching their computers from Windows to Linux. Around the world, people are starting to tear themselves away from the Windows beast. I, personally, have had several devout Windows users ask me why I like Linux so much. I sent them a few Linux 'live' distros to play with, and told them that if they had any questions, I would be happy to help them find the answers. Every one of them, within a week of receiving the distros, has, at the very least, dual-booted their machines. A few of them made a complete and total switch to Linux. Despite the propaganda coming out of Redmond, Windows IS dying.

by sw (not verified)

Most people don't care, period. You see, when car guys get all excited and start talking about why this car is better than the other one and what sort of parts it has in it and why it's more reliable and all that ... I still don't care. It's just a car. For most people, it's just a computer. Any significant changes that we want to see in the technology landscape need to be filtered through that.

Windows isn't dying, it's lost a small bit of its complete and total hegemony. But you can keep pretending if you like.

Me, I don't really care if Windows dies. I just want it to have to compete on value and I feel like that's what, in some markets, it is being forced to do. If Linux could even get and hold 5% of the global desktop market that's enough to make MS change the way that it does business.

by starbase218 (not verified)

Exactly. Most people want to get things done. They expect things to work, and don't want to tinker. Most people in the community are different (myself included), but if KDE really wants to achieve world domination :), it is important to acknowledge this.

As an example, the hardware support situation on Linux is still far from perfect. Now, the community has always stated that that is not their fault. Of course it isn't. No-one said it is. But for most people, it is a fact. Some people might be able to learn how to write device drivers and spend a lot of time on that. Or they can do what they originally wanted to on Windows, and then move on. because they use their computers to actually do functional stuff, not to have to learn C or whatever "scary" programming language.

by Jeff (OS Switcher) (not verified)

You may be reading of OS migrations throughout industry or government sectors but keep in mind that a lot of what you're reading is speculation based on promise (in both directions).

I can assure you that in many cases, these migration news bits are not fully followed up on. News of migration to another OS (platform) can leak out when a sector (public, private or governmental) starts just the investigation into cost analysis with a new vendor (speculation based on promise). I've read that some migrations went sour and the company involved lost a ton of money in the effort and lost more during the move back.

It's been said that the numbers on a chart can be made to show any desired outcome. Keep that in mind while you're reading the news.

by Ryan (not verified)

Well firefox was not the standard but people are certainly using it everywhere. I have a lot of hope in linux.

by starbase218 (not verified)

Why do you think MS is now putting more focus then ever on IE? Firefox got a lot of publicity and marketing. That helps a lot. Firefox became more than software, just like Heineken does not sell beer, but the ability to have a good time.

Technically-oriented people often say this is nonsense, and they are right - from their point of view. So use whatever you like, but don't go telling people Linux is better on all accounts. It's just not that simple.

by Ivan Speranza (not verified)

You're right about windows being everywhere,the question here is,why has Windows been the only operating system available for the last twenty five years??.I started working on computers when the only OS was Windows 3.1, and let me tell you, i don't remember going to the store and being to big on choices in that area.That's what we call "Monopoly".They are the best right now because there wasn't anybody fighting against Windows(Bill Gates).They owned the markets for so long is not even funny if you think about.I like open source more than anything else and all nine pc's i have run some version of Linux.Fuck bill gates,i don't see my self paying that fucking asshole any money for licenses any time soon.....ever.Open source code rules....and it works just great.

by Nolan (not verified)

Dying, not likely. i can see it on the server side maybe because linux has that almost. but not desktop ever. linux is just far to unwieldly for the regular user. i have a resident linux expert in the house who is a huge supporter of linux and is always bashing windows. But he still uses windows more. sure he uses linuz for doing his programming and what not. but for everyday tasks he still uses windows. you can argue like he does and says it's because the support for linux isn't there yet. well hes been saying this to me for 10 years now. to me it's just an excuse. sure he could get most of his everyday stuff working in linux, seen him do it. but where it's usually a 5minute install for me, it's about a half hour for him. time is money ppl and the more you waste the less you get. I've tried linux, and found that for me, the average user, even the user friendly versions involve you knowing a bit about the language linux uses. kinda like you need to know the language for windows a bit, back in the dos days. the trick was windows got rid of the need for users to know any of that, while linux is still trying to do that. you can say it's superior if you want, but remember it's only superior in some ways, and only for some ppl. for the rest of us windows is fine.

by Anonymous (not verified)

Sure there is: Linux and MacOS (which is iirc up to 10% market share in US meanwhile).

by Grósz Dániel (not verified)

You cannot compare KDE to Windows, just to the desktop environment of Windows. KDE as a desktop environment is by far more feature rich than the desktop environment of Windows. However, KDE as a desktop environment will not be ported to Windows, just applications, most of which are not found in Windows by default.

by Lee (not verified)

Please don't believe the hype you hear within your own community about your own community. Wherever you are, it's the same: local radio will tell you your area has great attractions, world-class events, etc. To find out the truth, you have to go elsewhere, see other attractions/events, listen to people from other places, etc. It's the same in software communities or any other subgroup that isn't formed around a negative theme -- I remember being part of the Amiga community over a decade ago, believing the hype in it's press, its fanbase, about its great future, great technology, etc. The fact is, it *started* with world-leading technology, was not marketed or developed properly, and went on for years purely due to its fanbase. However, things like the PC moved on, and the Amiga stagnated. The IT world would be MUCH better now if the Amiga's OS had replaced Windows or even Mac. To believe the hype, it was inevitable -- Amiga had already beaten Atari STs, and PCs were just the next logical step. But in reality, Atari STs were just as dead, but just as popular in their own communities.

Don't make the mistake I did, because it feels sucky when you finally wake up. KDE is great. It's a joy to use. It might be one of a thousand factors that pushes MS to the brink. Will MS ever die? I highly doubt it. Will KDE ever get the recognition it so richly deserves? I highly doubt that too.

Enjoy it for what it is. Be part of the community, and part of the secret. Don't imagine the world will suddenly understand someday. They won't.

by Max (not verified)

Either way, the market is shifting..

and Microsoft knows that. Why do you think there is this big debacle with Yahoo at the moment. Microsoft is looking for alternatives to diversify.

We're slowly moving to "operating system as a service".

I have great hopes that KDE will be at the forefront of this movement and will, together with Apple, take over more of the desktop market. I like choices.

by Walking Turtle ... (not verified)

Gee. So the idea is to throw a layer of basic KDE4 functionality atop the Overpriced Redmond Product with the Dangerously Enforceable License, and make things all right at last for WinBox users in that manner? Well, OK. I'll have a look at the demo and maybe adopt it once she goes stable, if I like it at all.

But I would not bet on Vista's hospitality, really. I think the Redmond krue is just plain insular, judging by the responses that well-respected folk such as Mr. Steve Gibson ( HTTP:// ) get from the MS home office when wide-open vulns become just too obvious to ethically ignore.

Um, y'think making a printer work on Linux is hard? Hmph. I'm looking at a fine near-new HP 5610 all-in-one, sitting by my left foot right now, that Vista apparently just would not touch. Its former owner (newly upgraded to Vista) finally bought a Lexmark unit of similar capability, THEN hacked his way (again) through all the necessary anti-just-everything cyber-condom$ and thus got his retail business running again, after a mere week of foolishness, head-banging and lost trade...

Maybe he really needed a different printer, maybe not. Not my department. But I think Redmond just might have started to compete with CUPS, at least. I reckon I'll wait no more than half a year, myself, afore someone in our community plops the right homemade HP driver into Foomatic. (Being semi-retired, I confess I am half-inclined to look into what is required for easing that aspect's lead-time myself - a printer-driver *generator* utility such as the Amiga world once enjoyed is the notion I have in mind.)

So I work on the Other End of the Corporate Cybergear Food Chain. We salvage moribund Windows boxes both from the street and over-the-counter as a community service (now headed toward becoming one viable non-profit inner-city public cyber-recyling depot). At ComPDQ, we Linux the best - and scrap out ("upgrade") the rest back into their component materials. No extra charge for never ever putting any part of our materials into your air, lunch or drinking water. Haven't yet found a boggy-to-crashed CPU yet that did not have Windows on its' deck, of course.

But when it comes to revitalizing any no-longer-wanted, gone-boggy Windows box: Up to now a DoD diskwipe followed by a fast shot of Freespire (for "just-wanna-USE-it!" folk) or Mandriva/KDE (for the more adventurous or demanding) has stood for a few years, now, as our sovereign agent for resurrecting and nimbling-up those moribund '586 boxes that find their way to us for ethical disposal. (Not to mention the RIPLinux distro that confers basic Linux desktop functionality to just about any insufferably munged laptop unit, all in one swell foop, and does NOT wear out the CD-ROM drive like, say, a Mandriva One disk'll do to ya'.)

Gummints ain't the only ones learning to like Linux, turns out. Po' folk like it just fine, too. Different reasons, but still the same love-on-contact. MUCH simpler demos and testing, of course, compared to an entire State government's requirements. Easy to keep the warranty honored appropriately, too.

So: Until/unless a customer up and explicitly asks me to KDE their Windows for them but insists to "SAVE THE WINDOWS PLEASE!", I think I'll stick to fresh, full-scale installs and a shop-standard initial packages/config formulation that consumer-minded low-end people do tend to value highly. As long as it works when they get it home, though, y'all's exactly right - they DO NOT CARE what the actual code under the hood really is, who wrote it, or why it works at all. Some might just rip DVDs, many surely do cruise the Net for oh whatever, and some just LOVE the Magnatunes service - a little sumpin' for free for Just Everyone sure helps draw grassroots folks over to the Linux Side.

Even when the desktop does *not* look so very much like Mr. Gates' brainchild. Muscular gorm at ones' fingertips is one thing; corpy-standardized eye-candy is another.

This manner of revitalization and recycling has proved to be a *great* way to make new friends and keep old ones very happy indeed, in my own humble experience over the last five years or so. It keeps 'em out of the landfill and in the hands of poor-but-inquiring fellow humans. This happy situation can only improve again and yet again over time.

by Kristho (not verified)

If all goes according to the plan, then I'm a teacher in 7 years or so ;) I hope I can enjoy KDE-EDU on the school I have to work on - I hope it could be on a Linux platform, elso KDE4 on Win is okay too ;)

by ... (not verified)

I really hope in 7 years or so you get to use modern up-to-date computers and OS's (and GUI also.)

by Andrius (not verified)

And I really hope taht I will be using higher version of KDE after 7 years. At least KDE 5...

by foobar (not verified)

Honestly, i can't find a reason why the windows platform should be saved.

by jospoortvliet (not verified)

me too, but it's an incredibly funny title :D

by mr_x1035 (not verified)

Embrace, extend and extinguish. That's the microsoft motto!
They may soon be begining to taste what it is like to be extinguished!

by Dr. Asfak Motiwala (not verified)

Forget windows, just think about open sourced win32 operating system "Reactos" running kde4 in future would be great combination. Right now both in alpha stage are incompatible (i have not tried out but reactos developers are eager to do so in near future).

by Wiseman (not verified)

Oblivion and other few notable games are still hardly playable under Linux. Few things are better than sex and a new Elder Scrolls game is, so I need to have Windows somewhere :( .

by Ben (not verified)

It might sound strange but Windows is like television. So many of my friends including myself don't miss a TV set anymore. Unthinkable 12 years ago.

Apple is gaining market share, Vista does not really sell... Even Windows applications start to work out of the box with wine.

Windows is a large plattform with many developers and many users. KDE on Windows will be another step to get the choice of your OS irrelevant for most of the users. Most applications I used on Windows were free: firefox, thunderbird, azureus, freemind... They run out of the box on Linux as well.

by Raphael Emportu (not verified)

What do you mean? They run out of the box on Linux as well. Are you for real?

by Ian Monroe (not verified)

He means all those apps he listed run fine on Linux.

by Soap (not verified)

I miss the days of excessive packaging for software.

So when I install anything, I first make installation CDs, 3.5" floppies, and 5-1/4" floppies, then I print out all the documentation in a non-standard form factor, and spiral bind it (or put it in custom made 3-ring binders). Then I create some simple box art, print it on a piece of paper that wraps around a cardboard box with corrugated inserts for strengthening. The installation media goes in the cardboard box with the documentation, and all that goes on the shelf to collect dust.

by kwilliam (not verified)

Lol, that made my day. I think my favorite thing about switching to Linux was realizing that software could be installed by simply checking checkboxes in Synaptic... and if I didn't like it, I could UNinstall it by just unchecking those checkboxes! ('Course, now I do that with apt-get in Yakuake.) Trying new software and uninstalling it in less than 5 minutes - it was unreal! Installing software on Windows requires going through a bunch of "Next" buttons and giant splash screens that take up time, and uninstalling software from Windows was a dark art. (Sometimes programs left registry entries that caused trouble, or even left their Start Menu entries resulting in broken links.) Installing Software... now there's something where Linux really beats the Windows experience.

Assuming the program you want is in your repository... the playing field begins to even when you have to compile stuff yourself. :-/

by Wyatt (not verified)

"...the playing field begins to even when you have to compile stuff yourself. :-/"

I'm a Gentoo user, you insensitive clod! ;)

by Michael (not verified)

IMHO compiling yourself is overrated:

1) Debian based distros (Ubuntu) have a far larger repository than i.e SuSE
2) Quite often ./configure && make will already compile it. For KDE apps ./configure --prefix=`kde-config --prefix` && make
3) You can use "checkinstall" instead of "make install" to generate a package.
4) Now, uninstalling works like with any other package.

by Santa Claus (not verified)

First of all you mean e.g. not i.e., and SUSE as SuSE is the old way :)

Yeah Debian's is bigger, but don't underestimate SUSE's repository it's been growing a lot since things became much more open after Novell took over. It's pretty amazing. Check these out:

The new 1 click install from SUSE is also pretty neat for things like "Codec Packs" or "KDE4".

You make compiling sound easy. But even if the compilation process is easy you need the appropriate development tools for it to compile (sometimes that's plenty) so you have to get and install them, and you also need to track and install all the dependencies for the compilation to be successful. Same if you want to use checkinstall.

by linuxaddict (not verified)

Microsoft evidently doesn't think much of Vista, either. I read an article yesterday that said Microsoft is trying to fast-track Vista's replacement, which is not due out until the end of 2009!

by SMB (not verified)

They 'fast tracked' 2000's desktop replacement, and then XP's replacement as well, did MS have no faith in those products either? Remember, Vista was originally a minor upgrade to XP planned for 2003. Oh my, that timeline seems familiar. 2001->2003 = 2007->2009.

by Vexorian (not verified)

For when I am forced to use a computer without Linux, I love "portable" apps, it would be awesome if KDE could work as portable app.

by Anon (not verified)

go to its main app is Gnome based, but it has links to portable linux versions that use KDE

by Paul Philippov (not verified)

SLAX works perfectly from a small USB pendrive, and it comes with KDE.

by Vexorian (not verified)

Yes, and that would be awesome if it wasn't so usual that you have to wait ages to boot (I am talking of any live-cd distro) and that dchp is not too common around here so configuring internet is always a pain, or the fact, that for most computers I frequent booting another OS would get me banned from those places. But hey, if it wasn't for those things, I would really like to use Slax...

by 3vi1 (not verified)

Nice headline, but tell me something: What color is the sky in your world?

by Anonymous (not verified)

KDE blue

by MrCopilot (not verified)

Nice headline, but tell me something: What color is the sky in your world?

What is this Sky you speak of?

Xp is a dying platform, like it or not. Microsoft EOL is coming. In that sense it is dying. The article though looks at a specific XP machine that was withering away from non usage.

My daughter has spent the last 2 days playing all the new KDE Games on the test laptop. She had never even touched it before, preferring her Kubuntu machine. Now she is asking me to install KDE4 on her box.


by JRT (not verified)

The reason is that KDE will not fix the security problems in MS-Windows. The internet security issues are the main thing that is killing MS-Windows. There are other problems with Vista, but the main issue is that the promissed security improvements simply aren't there.

by knifemonkey (not verified)

no matter how hard it tries, windows just is not linux. and when linux tries to be windows, well, it just uses WINE. The funny thing is that ultimately one of these operating systems is superior and yet people and developers still waste their time and our security and enjoyment by supporting windows. I would like to say 'there can only be one' but that is not true, there will always be underdogs, like beos, windows however, I believe, with a little effort, will be wiped from the face of the earth and looked back apon only as a bad memory (0x05637e) from the time when micro$oft ruled our right to software freedom. KDE for windows?! Cool! Let people know how sweet linux managers are before giving them the real thing. and if this is not there thing show them bblean instead :) just my educated point of view i aint no flamer or prophet...

p.s. do something good for the environment.