June 24, 2008

openSUSE 11.0 KDE4 inclusion

There seems to be a lot of misconceptions regarding the inclusion of KDE4 in openSUSE 11.0 that are leading to a great deal of anger on the mailing list.

KDE4.0 is the default in openSUSE 11.0. It is being forced upon users.

Not true. Both KDE3.5 and KDE4.0 (and GNOME) are offered when installing from the DVD or netinstall. There is no default. The KDE4.0 description is

KDE 4.0 is the most recent evolution of KDE. It comes with many new KDE technologies, but is less mature than the other desktops.

While KDE3 is described as

KDE 3.5 is the previous generation of the K Desktop Environment. It is mature and stable.

which I personally think is a fairly good description. This is only shown on new installs, if a user is upgrading an existing installation then he or she will remain with his or her existing desktop. Users are not forced or even suggested to change from KDE3 to KDE4.

Novell forced the inclusion of KDE4.0 was forced upon the openSUSE community for [insert conspiracy reason here]

There have been dozens of “Novell did not listen to the users” comments which are wrong for several reasons.

The topic was discussed at length in various media which are all open to everyone.

The result of these discussions is what we have in openSUSE 11.0. They were not ignored, in fact they led to the inclusion of the KDE3 option clearly in the installer.

The second problem with these statements is they assume that everything that happens in openSUSE is a direct result of Novell policy. The openSUSE community is made up of many people including many who work for Novell. The decision to include KDE4.0 was made by the community and particularly the KDE team. There is no evidence that there was a Novell policy that KDE4.0 must be included in openSUSE 11.0. In fact, the descision was delayed until as late as possible when it could be made on technical merit.

KDE4 should not be included until it is ready.

How do you define ready? KDE4.0 is already ready for some users. Whether it is ready for you depends upon what featureset you use. I will not be switching myself until certain features are implemented.

There are good reasons to begin the move to KDE4.0 early.

  • People can move over when KDE4 is ready for them.
  • openSUSE specific tools and integrations can be ported to KDE4 gradually.

So far this process is something like this.

  • openSUSE 10.3 : KDE3 the only prominent option in the installer. KDE4 was available for testing. The openSUSE tools are KDE3 based.
  • openSUSE 11.0 : KDE3 and KDE4 are both prominent options in the installer, with a warning that 4.0 is not mature. Updater applet has been ported to KDE4. YaST has a Qt4 UI.
  • Future : KDE3 may be dropped when KDE4 is good enough to replace KDE3 for the vast majority of users.

The current state of KDE4 migration is available on the wiki

There is no point filing bug reports against KDE4 because the developers know what is wrong with it.

  • Few people will have exactly the same configuration as you, or use the same featureset, so will not run into the same bugs/missing features.
  • Both upstream bug tracker, and the openSUSE bug tracker allow you to search for duplicate bug/enhancement reports before you file. You can find out for yourself whether anyone else has reported your issue.

This argument just seems to be “I’m too lazy to report issues, but quite willing to rant about them instead.”

Including KDE4.0 will lead to bad reviews.

This might happen. However, so far reviewer’s quibbles have been with entirely different issues. In fact there have been several positive reviews of the openSUSE shipped KDE 4.0.

There should be a KDE3.5 installable livecd.

This was not produced as there were insufficient resources to produce and test three installable livecds. Someone can always step up and help produce one.


  • openSUSE is not forcing people to switch to KDE4. Users can switch to KDE4 when they wish. Both are included on openSUSE 11.0.
  • If you find bugs in or are missing functionality in KDE4 please file bug reports so it can be fixed.
  • If you have an opinion regarding when the timescale for moving to KDE4 you are free to get involved and influence the decisions. You do not have to resort to insulting developers on the mailing lists to be heard, in fact insulting developers so is a good way to ensure that people disregard your opinion.

- 19 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

[Skip to the latest comment]
  1. Felix-Nicolai Mueller

    Come on. I had so many talks about this issue beforehand. I was told explicitly on IRC that KDE4.0 is now preferred over KDE3.5. A proof of this – I was told – is rather pushing out a KDE4 live CD than a KDE3 live CD and the new ordering “rule”. And not one objected to this on #opensuse-project. Once openSUSE agreed to list the different hiDEs in alphabetical order. Ts obviously has now changed. Who wants to tell me there is no reason behind it?
    I don’t like the way many things were handled. This is one of it. And quite frankly, I lost the fun in the community and openSUSE does not work for me anymore.
    Ohh, and I predicted this whole issue would arise again. So stop whining and live with it. You really asked for it.

    So for my part: I will stop whining now (I am not, I just found this blog post to be quite, well… I can’t really put it in words, it makes me laugh and shake my head in disbelieve at the same time). I took my personal consequences for my involvement in openSUSE and I never really made a public big thing about it. And don’t worry, I will not say something about that in the foreseeable future.

    Have fun

    24 Jun 2008, 23:35

  2. I did not say that KDE4.0 is not in some ways preferred over 3.5, eventually 4.x will presumably be the only choice. However, the suggestion that the community was not consulted about the position of KDE4.0 is patently untrue.

    I have no problem with people disagreeing with the placement of KDE4.0. I myself do not have a strong opinion on the matter. What I do have a problem with is people’s insulting and offensive attacks based on invalid facts.

    25 Jun 2008, 02:39

  3. jdd

    I tried kde4 and it’s obvious it’s more or less an immature product, comparing to kde3.
    This don’t mean it’s unusable, but it’s not a choice for any new openSUSE user if you want to promote openSUSE. And live cd are aimed to demos and new users…

    on the 11, kde3 is so much more apealing!

    I hope this will no more be the case in 8 month for 11.1 (hope kde4 will be mature)


    26 Jun 2008, 11:20

  4. ne...

    The primary/major reason why I moved to openSUSE was because KDE4 was offered as an option to install. I initially installed openSUSE 10.3 with KDE3 and added KDE4. I moved to using KDE4 exclusively when the third beta came out. I now use the 4.0.8x series on my 10.3 install. I plan to move to the 4.0.8x on my openSUSE 11 install when I figure out how to get the system booted (that is a story for another day.) Having said this, I believe openSUSE were right to offer the choice to users of the desktop they wanted. I do not have any prior knowledge of how this decision was made, nor do I think it is important for me. About there being a KDE4 live cd and not a KDE3 one, well I guess we now know that Novell has finite resources, both human and financial. If people feel the need for a KDE3 live cd, they should step up to the plate. My guess is the vocal minority will only be satisfied when KDE4 gets dropped. We need to let them know that might happen round about the release of KDE5.4 .


    26 Jun 2008, 14:09

  5. mxttie

    I for one, believe the message was perfectly clear!
    and even if you are caught by surprise, what’s the problem since you can install both..?

    26 Jun 2008, 17:27

  6. john_hudson

    Agree in principle; I think however that people new or returning to OpenSUSE haven’t picked up the message. On the positive side, it has generated a (mostly) useful debate.

    26 Jun 2008, 19:07

  7. Nate

    I still think including KDE 4 was a bad idea. I love KDE, but let’s face it guys—it is down right awful. It makes Vista look fabulous. If you really wanted to include it on the DVD, a better description would have been: “KDE 4.0 is a work in progress and should be used for testing purposes only.” A KDE 3 live CD would have been better too.

    26 Jun 2008, 19:16

  8. Don Ray

    I am very pleased with openSUSE 11.0. I am using the KDE 3.5.9 version, but I also tried the Gnome version and the KDE 4.0 version. I like the direction that KDE is taking.

    I thought the install process was very good and the support on IRC has been very good. I was using KUBUNTU prior to this and am finding openSUSE to have a more stable product than I had with KUBUNTU.

    Congratulations to the openSUSE team for a job well done. I look for even better things in the future.

    26 Jun 2008, 19:30

  9. Larry Stotler

    I have a hard time believing that it was that hard to create a KDE3 livecd. Like it has been pointed out before, THAT particular decision makes a statement that KDE4 was the prefered KDE desktop.

    Also, I installed with the KDE4 live cd, and when I tried to switch to KDE3, there were way too many dependencies to make it even worth my time trying to fix it, so I re-installed without KDE4. On top of that, so many KDE4 “features” were forced on the stock install over the KDE3 versions(which are much better IMHO), that it is very obvious that KDE4 will end up being the prefered version.

    I just installed an old copy of SuSE v8., and, wow, it had KDE3. And it was not much different from the current version. KDE4 is so different, and so “Vista” like, it really takes away from the SuSE experience. Having used it since SuSE v5.3, I can honestly say that. Not exeryone likes bling, or has a heavy duty machine to handle it.

    27 Jun 2008, 01:31

  10. Matt

    I love the KDE 4.0 dekstop even though I admit, that it is not fully functional quite yet. Given users the choice between 3.5 and 4.0 is a very sensibel solution.

    27 Jun 2008, 12:16

  11. Jens Uhlenbrock

    I have a different concern with the KDE4 inclusion that I already raised here: http://news.opensuse.org/2008/06/24/numbers/

    Opensuse 11.0 is really awesome. I use it with KDE 4.1 and it’s already quite stable. Though, KDE 4.1 should have been included in the official release instead of 4.0.4. When I read about all the backporting of kdepim, plasma and other features I think that if all this effort would have been spent on stabilizing 4.1 beta it might already be in RC quality. Of course, I’m exaggerating but it looks like a tremendous effort from the suse folks to deliver a usable KDE 4.0.4 and in one month it’s going to be for naught because 4.1 is out which will have even more features but again a few ones didn’t make the cut because of limited resources (e.g. proxy support). And yet there is not much difference in stability between 4.1 and 4.0.4.

    27 Jun 2008, 18:40

  12. Nightfall

    People should stop complaining about KDE4. When do you realise it is still in development? You want too much, you want it too fast, too badly. You, the ones that complain, look like little kids if i read the stuff on the internet. Geez, grow up. If you love/like Vista more go ahead.

    What OpenSuse did is great and it runs fine on my laptop and it’s the first time that i used such a stable KDE4 environment. Enough for now. Thank you developers of Opensuse for making such a beautiful stable KDE4. It pulled me over from Ubuntu to Opensuse.

    29 Jun 2008, 03:12

  13. Omaha

    I’m a litte puzzled to be honest. If someone have installed KDE 4.X and don’t like it – just replace it! Simple as that. I’m running OpenSuse 11 – at present with KDE 4.0.84.x, and it works very well. It’s been quite common knowledge for months and months that it won’t be complete until the 4.1 release. It’s expected that some applications are not yet ready and that som features are missing!

    KDE 4.1 is different from 3.5.9 and it should be! Therefore users will have to learn and get used to the altered functions. If users are unwilling to be openminded and positive about great progress i have no petty.

    I suspect that those ranting about KDE 4.x are exactly the same people that would raise their voice if it fails to be perfect upon release. Come on! By releasing KDE 4 early OpenSuse are doing KDEusers a giant favour. Or would you rather prefer betatesting the released version?

    Upgrade is not compulsory – in fact it generally makes sense to give a distro a month or two before swapping. Get the new toy whenever you are ready for it. Until then stick to the setup you are happy with. If someone are in doubt about it and want to test it – install it in a testbed and make the upgrade whenever you are comfortable and ready for it – that’s what I do.

    I find KDE 4.X to be intuitive and from a user point of view it’s superb compared to just about anything I’ve seen on a desktop. The other distros and desktops will have to work really hard to match this release. In my book OpenSuse 11 KDE 4 is the reference to measure against.

    When OpenSuse 11.1 is released I believe THAT will be what’s written in the reviews too.

    30 Jun 2008, 00:17

  14. T. Johnson

    An excellent blog post, it clearly explains the essence of the issue and cuts off deprecations and insults. More links shoud be sowed on the Internet pointing at this article. I’ll try to help with it.

    It seems that openSUSE is outclassing all other distros at the moment. Though I deem the amont of new linux converts attracted by the distro is more important than the amount of users enticed from other linux distros.

    And surely politically it was more than correct to keep KDE 3.5.9

    This is a great distro,
    though I have tried KDE 4 and returned to KDE 3.5, I will surely try to use next KDE 4.x releases.
    Tony Johnson

    30 Jun 2008, 12:27

  15. rob enderle

    Anyone care to explain to me what the SJVN vendetta against KDE4 was all about?

    3 articles in a row including the last one which is about forking KDE3.5.
    I get Gnome fanbois (he says he is going back to Gnome and wont try KDE for a long time) will look for any reason to hate.

    4.04 is exactly what we all say it is and while the 4.1 beta is soooooo much better, it still has a bit to go.

    I may not agree with everything KDE is doing but I am starting to appreciate how the new paradigms will make the desktop more powerful.
    Change scares people.

    01 Jul 2008, 02:46

  16. irrdev

    I don’t understand why there are so many complainers on this issue. If you wish to use a stable desktop environment with Opensuse 11, then you can go with either KDE 3.5 or GNOME. Personally, as a GNOME user, I enjoyed the chance to try out the latest version of KDE. It definitely is still in beta-stage, but that doesn’t mean that it is at all unusable. After a few days of running KDE 4.04, I downloaded and installed KDE 4.1 Beta 2. The newer version is far superior, and I expect that its inclusion with Opensuse 12 will be a great success.

    For those who staunchly complain about the LiveCDs, I can only say that KDE 4 is the future of KDE, whether the 3.x.x advocates like it or not. There will no more version 3 releases, upgrades, or bug fixes. While I think the KDE developers perhaps should have supported KDE 3 a bit longer, this is in no way Novell’s fault. KDE when finished will sport an impressive amount of libraries, features and stability. I believe that by KDE 4.3 we can expect KDE 4 to finally reach a high degree of stability. In the meantime, I have no problem with an occasional bug report or missing feature. Without testers and users, KDE 4 will after all never reach its goal. In fact, the inclusion of KDE 4 with Opensuse 11 was one of my biggest “musts” for upgrading! In response to “KDE 3-only” enthusiasts”, I say no one is forcing the issue, and that the choice of KDE 3 and 4 in Opensuse 11 was a completely fair choice. ;)

    01 Jul 2008, 09:10

  17. omaha

    In order to establish wether I’ve missed something about the rants in question I revisited them giving the writer the benefit of doubt. I even Googled to see where he has published before. The merits appears ok, the writing not.

    The problem is not that a writer is critical about (in this case) KDE 4, but lack of thoroughness. I have difficulties finding the drawbacks when anything resembling Everything was better before is omitted. Being a person without any credibility as regards Linux I am naturally more free to express my opinion subjectivly.

    I simply expect a professional writer to do better homework. According to his site he is a Journalist and Analyst by profession and that rises the bar a nod or two. The basis of Journalism is balance, relevance and facts. Analysis could be anything really, but items that comes to mind are: Structure, Methology and Scientific basis.

    When a writer uses Journalist and Analyst to add weight to his opinion i therefore expect balance, correctness and a certain depth in the testing which is the basis of an article.

    Unfortunately I fail to see any of these principles applied to the articles and that’s what turns the writing into rants.

    If articles are 100% positive there is always a need for caution. If articles are limited to conclude with looks nice but sucks – even more reason for caution.

    01 Jul 2008, 15:53

  18. opa and oma

    Well to every one first Opensuse is free right?.
    I will complain with Microsoft windows you have to pay right?.
    So if you areI will complain to Microsoft if one thing is not working because your paying a share of it.
    All of you try Opensuse,something have a bug in the system of course every one have the right to Email OPENSUSE.
    I’m happy I get free OS :)

    09 Jul 2008, 03:50

  19. AlbertoP

    /> There should be a KDE3.5 installable livecd.

    This was not produced as there were insufficient resources to produce and test three installable livecds. Someone can always step up and help produce one.[/quote]

    This makes me laugh for two reasons. 1) Live CD are quite buggy, so the testing was generally lacking. 2) If there were no resources for two KDE based live cd’s, just drop the KDE 4 one and do the KDE 3.5 one. Or behind this there’s the fact that the KDE 4 LiveCD is already done anyway, and as a consequence it doesn’t subtract almost any resource, if not for the addition of the live installer?


    18 Aug 2008, 21:08

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