Story 2014-07-17 3R2 KDE 5 has been released

KDE 5 has been released

in linux on (#3R2)
story imageKDE 5 has been released. Er, that's the KDE 5 Plasma Desktop since the folks at KDE are now very particular about making sure you call it Plasma. But nomenclature isn't important; what's important is what this latest evolution of the desktop brings to the user, and in my opinion it's quite a lot. Plus, two big things: First, unlike the transition from KDE3 -> KDE4, which broke everything, the transition from KDE4 -> KDE5 should be automatic. Secondly, this article points out everything has gotten faster, which makes clear a lot of energy has gone into optimizing underneath the hood. Sounds good!
  1. Converged Shell: means the same components can be used to design a desktop or tablet interface or phone interface. It lays the groundwork for a device that adapts its interface to whatever you're holding, like the Asus Padphone [ed. note: which is pretty damned cool!]
  2. Modernized launchers: 3 of them, including one called Kicker (for you KDE3 nostalgics like me)
  3. Improved notification area: leads to fewer distractions, apparently
  4. Better support for high DPI displays
In the words of Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols1:
When KDE made a radical change to its popular Linux desktop in 2008 in KDE 4, I hated it. Over a year and many changes later, I finally found KDE 4.3 usable. This time, with the just-released KDE Plasma 5, I didn't have to wait for it to be usable. The new KDE is already good to go.
1Get a nickname, dude! SJVN is too much to type!
Reply 7 comments

KDE Is Just The Best (Score: 1, Interesting)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-07-18 15:52 (#2JE)

It's the most polished and usable environment, with a real file manager instead of a pretend one. It seems as if they're almost always making the right choices over there (KDE4 beta distro debacle aside).

KDE doesn't get nearly enough respect in my opinion. Smooth software that works properly, and Linux GUI you can actually live in.

Re: KDE Is Just The Best (Score: 1)

by on 2014-07-18 18:15 (#2JJ)

On the next *ubntu release (14.10), I'll have to retry KDE again. I'll admit that it's been many years since I last played with it.

I fondly remember the math department at my university running KDE version 1 off a dual core 400Mhz Hershey Bar Pentium connected to several hundred X thin clients. I probably spent more time tinkering with the KDE desktop than learning whatever math program they where trying to make us use in that lab.

Wait and see (Score: 2, Interesting)

by on 2014-07-18 19:28 (#2JK)

Bleh. More Windows 1x style flat icons. It looks like that might be fixable through themes though. I hope this version kicks butt because lately I've been tiring of the weight of KDE; enough so I could see myself dropping it and LXQT certainly has my attention.

That calendar looks like a substantial improvement though.

Re: Wait and see (Score: 2, Insightful)

by on 2014-07-19 11:12 (#2JV)

I totally agree with your assessment of this new raging trend in flat icons. I fucking hate it. I hate it on IOS, I hate it on Microsoft Office 2013. I'm probably about to hate it on Android, if history serves. Even my wife hates the new IOS7 relative to the previous look. Why change just for change's sake? Oh yeah: fashion. Get offa my lawn!

Re: Wait and see (Score: 1, Insightful)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-07-19 12:23 (#2JY)

Thirded. The flat style, more damningly with every option hidden under invisible hot areas, is a a freaking abomination that seems to have infected every web and desktop and handheld platform.

It's horrific, ugly, and actively user hostile. Designers must die. I hope that KDE does it right.

Re: Wait and see (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-07-21 14:47 (#2KT)

That's interesting. I've always preferred flat looks for computers. For instance, I like the scrollbar on Firefox much better than those in Qt or Gtk. I don't mind the fake 3d shadows, lighting gradients etc. but when I see a heavily decorated application, it reminds of cheap plastic toys. Default theme for Java Swing is one example, it looks so "fake".

Way to go, KDE (Score: 1)

by on 2014-07-19 11:11 (#2JT)

I'm not totally smitten with KDE, but when I want a "full" desktop, I always choose it over Gnome. I liked Gnome 1 quite a bit; Gnome 2 less, Gnome 3 and Unity not at all. Meanwhile, KDE gives me what I want on Linux, which is lots and lots of tweakability. People say it's too complicated but I like it. That said, I'm hugely nostalgic for KDE3. It does "look" visually a bit old these days, but it was a damned usable desktop. KDE4 is slicker and better looking in so many aspects, but the Plasma Desktop with its widgets really doesn't wow me.

I give this project credit though, for running a properly-managed project. With the exception of the KDE4.0 debacle, they've generally kept the project moving forward with sensible design choices. I know why they abandoned KDE3 and redid the desktop in a way that each built component can be repurposed. It was a lot of work but I think from a design/architecture perspective they are much better placed now to grow and innovate in the future, so good on 'em. If KDE5 is truly faster, better optimized, and less memory intensive, that's also a huge win.

That said, maybe I'm getting curmudgeonly, but I truly find all I really need in a Linux desktop is a file manager, task tray for a few apps that require it, and a launcher. Windowmaker still offers me all of that, plus full keystroke configurability for things I do often like minimizing or shading windows pulling up the launcher, and so on. I have trouble seeing what else the enormous Desktops really provide at this point. Lastly, I find for some reason, whenever I leave a bittorrent client running for a long time on KDE4 things start to come unglued and eventually the GUI crashes. I am pretty careful to make sure whenever I am torrenting I'm doing so from Openbox or Windowmaker or something like that. Not sure what the deal is, but it's proof they've got some work to do.

Meanwhile, congrats KDE team. I will absolutely look forward to installing this.