Problems with install disk, KDE

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Problems with install disk, KDE

Postby LandOfConfusion on Tue Feb 19, 2013 6:20 pm

I'm not sure where to post this but as most of the forums seem to be about asking questions so if this is wrong can a moderator please move it somewhere more appropriate? Thanks.

Also I'm sorry if this seems like a rant but It's been a long day and I really have had enough.

About me: I have a background in computer programming (Java mainly) on Windows but have tried Linux on and off since Mandrake 7. I have some experience setting up simple Debian based servers but in every case I've shunned the various GUIs as I have really never got on with them.

Recently my brother has being trying LM and from his demonstrations it looked quite good so I thought I'd give it a try. Unfortunately though it seems Linux is still miles away from being usable for the average user or in my humble opinion suitable for use as a production desktop system.

My problems begun during installation. It seems that the noveau (open source Nvidia) drivers have taken over from the older nv modules. This is bad for me as the older modules worked just great on my test hardware but the noveau driver causes kernel lockups. So to get around this problem I used the compatibility mode on the live system to do an install but, rather unhelpfully, I found that I cannot install the closed-source Nvidia drivers at the same time, which means I ended up with a system which locks hard as soon as X starts. Now my usual first port of call, the distro's rescue mode is not an option as LM's system auto-mounts the root file system (sda1) as read-only, which means I can't just simply chroot onto it and use apt-get to install the closed source drivers. Instead I have to (once again) boot the live CD and use that to mount the target drive, chroot onto it and install the drivers.

Some time later and (finally) having a system that (mostly works) I try to fix up the apt cache as it had become mildly corrupt in the process. I did this by executing apt-get update followed by apt-get upgrade. At this point I should mention that my original intention was to install Debian and do that directly onto an SSD but after numerous problems and two secure-erase wipes with hdparm I decided to save some SSD-wear and install onto a harddisk first. And I am so glad I did.

Apt-get update revealed that there were more than 460 packages to update. That's a lot of small, SSD-killing writes and definitely not something I'd expect from a Linux distribution downloaded less than 14 hours ago.

Anyway after that had completed I was finally able to boot into KDE. But the problems didn't stop there.

Round 2: WHAT THE!?!?! (KDE problems).

Probably the most important phrase ever said about user interface design was this: “Don't make me think!”. It's something I try to bear in mind when designing my own interfaces and it's one area where Microsoft really shines. But unfortunately it seems to be one of KDE's weak points:

I had trouble sorting out the mouse cursor as the relevant bits are spread over several different menus. Recommended practice is to keep everything together in one place so it's easy to find but the annoying mouse cursor animations are not in the same place as all the other mouse controls. Grrrrrr...

The panel bar is somewhat unintuitive and crashed when resized (a well known and entirely reproducible problem looking at the bug reports).

Widgets were not as easy to find as they should be and downloading and installing them from KDE's site is a hassle as they're not usually simple "download then click to install" packages.

When configuring the panel widget description popups kept getting in the way.

The calender has to be closed with a specific click inside the widget. Clicking away or pressing escape has no effect.

The panel bar at one point became corrupt although I was eventually able to fix it.

When opening a file I once had the screen go completely black except for the mouse cursor.

Additional widgets and themes are available from KDE's website, which in itself is not ideal and made worse by the lack of information scent – there is no immediate indication from any of KDE's menus that such a resource exists.


I could go on but my LM Cinnamon iso has just finished downloading. Lets see if that's any better.
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Re: Problems with install disk, KDE

Postby catweazel on Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:17 am

LandOfConfusion wrote:About me:

You seem to have forgotten to ask a question.
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Re: Problems with install disk, KDE

Postby LandOfConfusion on Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:06 pm

TehGhodTrole wrote:
LandOfConfusion wrote:About me:

You seem to have forgotten to ask a question.


Oh I'm sorry. I wanted to give somewhat informed feedback about my experiences with LM and this board's title "Chat about Linux Mint" seemed like the right place to do so. Can I ask where you would suggest I request this topic be moved to?
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Re: Problems with install disk, KDE

Postby catweazel on Wed Feb 20, 2013 4:01 pm

LandOfConfusion wrote:Oh I'm sorry. I wanted to give somewhat informed feedback about my experiences with LM and this board's title "Chat about Linux Mint" seemed like the right place to do so.

Ah, you were venting your spleen.

Can I ask where you would suggest I request this topic be moved to?

No.
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Re: Problems with install disk, KDE

Postby LandOfConfusion on Wed Feb 20, 2013 4:56 pm

TehGhodTrole wrote:Ah, you were venting your spleen.


No I was providing informed feedback. Specifically I was trying to see things from the average user's point of view and was pointing out places where significant improvement was possible.

TehGhodTrole wrote:
LandOfConfusion wrote:Can I ask where you would suggest I request this topic be moved to?

No.


OK. Well it's been nice to see a lively forum of knowledgeable, helpful people who are really interested in providing an alternative to Microsoft.
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Re: Problems with install disk, KDE

Postby fraxinus_63 on Thu Feb 21, 2013 6:37 am

I am sorry to hear about your frustrating and confusing experiences installing Mint KDE. You are right that this is the correct area of the forum for "observations" (positive and negative!) about Linux Mint and its world. As a very happy Mint user and advocate, may I attempt a polite reply to one or two points in your original post -- though I don't think I can help much.

Which edition of Mint did you download? Have you installed Mint 14 KDE (the latest Ubuntu-based version)? Or the long-term support edition Mint 13 KDE? Or have you downloaded Linux Mint Debian Edition and then installed KDE? If you have found yourself having to install huge numbers of updates straightaway, then it may have been LMDE. LMDE is a rolling distro and the ISOs are not updated that frequently - a matter currently being discussed elsewhere on this forum! You are clearly an advanced user and you may have specific reasons for installing the Debian edition (if that is what you have done), but the "average user" is likely to find the Ubuntu-based versions easier to install and maintain.

With regard to your rant about aspects of KDE 4, I am afraid I can only sympathise. The scattered menus, the issues with the panel, the endless notifications ... I used to love KDE -- and it is still very beautiful! -- but it got too complex for my taste. If you are persisting with Mint I hope you have a better experience with the Cinnamon ISO.
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Re: Problems with install disk, KDE

Postby anandrkris on Thu Feb 21, 2013 9:23 am

I am KDE 4.10 (latest) user and my experience is good so far. In fact, I find the plasma workspace much functional. Though i admit it requires a steep learning curve and may not be intuitive at first. I am recent MS Windows convert. I dual-boot Windows 7 but i use Windows only for HDMI display as i have NVidia Optimus which is unsupported at the moment.

My personal experience of latest KDE 4.10 -
1.Huge improvements in Desktop Search
2.Faster acess to files through improved Dolphin
3.Refinement in Desktop Widgets

http://www.muktware.com/5194/kde-410-review-time-switch-kde - An elaborate review of KDE 4.10.

The calender has to be closed with a specific click inside the widget. Clicking away or pressing escape has no effect.


More than agree. This is annoying for me as well. :( But you must understand that if these are reported as bugs, developers will surely fix it.

Actually, most of the essential widgets are available offline and even the online ones i am able to install and configure without any hassle.
And i can boast of an elegant desktop with proper functional widgets. Comic strips, weather applets, dictionary, system info, transparent clock, etc.
I have heard good reviews about Cinnamon perhaps you could try it.
Cheers,
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Re: Problems with install disk, KDE

Postby LandOfConfusion on Thu Feb 21, 2013 2:49 pm

Hi and thanks for the nice reply.

fraxinus_63 wrote:Which edition of Mint did you download? Have you installed Mint 14 KDE (the latest Ubuntu-based version)? Or the long-term support edition Mint 13 KDE? Or have you downloaded Linux Mint Debian Edition and then installed KDE?


It was LM14 KDE edition. I tried a plain Debian install before that but I found installing the Nvidia drivers was a bit of a hassle and I was recommended LM as an alternative.

fraxinus_63 wrote:With regard to your rant about aspects of KDE 4, I am afraid I can only sympathise. The scattered menus, the issues with the panel, the endless notifications ... I used to love KDE -- and it is still very beautiful! -- but it got too complex for my taste. If you are persisting with Mint I hope you have a better experience with the Cinnamon ISO.


I've used KDE 2.x, 3.X and now 4.9 and all I can say is the 3.x series was the best in terms of lack of issues. I really cannot believe they thought it OK to release something with so many obvious bugs and usability issues. And as for Gnome, the 2.x series was, and in my humble opinion still is the best.

And as for Cinnamon, I installed LXDE last night on my KDE edition install, tried to get compiz working, failed (some things worked while others like the cube did not) switched back to KDE only to then find it had broken... So I installed Cinnamon and gave it a quick try.

At first it looked good - I prefer gdm3's login method (enter username then password from keyboard rather than go from mouse to keyboard - making users switch input method like that is not good design) although KDE's window manager switcher is better. Otherwise things initially things looked good. The menus were clear and there wasn't too much going on but then I started to find problems.

The "start" menu apparently cannot be set to Windows-like classic and had a noticeable delay in responding to clicks and I think there may be a problem with the window manager as some applications like the Nvidia control panel and Firefox looked like they were using some retro GTK widget set. I tried to fix it by changing the theme but it had no effect.

On the other hand I did find it a little more intuitive and the meta/super key works in calling the start menu up (great!), although with the same delay as above in displaying.

I think when I get some more time I'm going to give the Xfce edition a try and see if it breaks with KDE installed as a side. Also while I think of it could you tell me where I can post feature requests for LM? The Nvidia drivers aren't compatible with the framebuffer and I'd like to use uvesafb (http://www.mjmwired.net/kernel/Documentation/fb/uvesafb.txt) to get high-res terminals back.
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Re: Problems with install disk, KDE

Postby LandOfConfusion on Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:31 am

anandrkris wrote:http://www.muktware.com/5194/kde-410-review-time-switch-kde - An elaborate review of KDE 4.10.


Thanks. I'll give it a read.

But you must understand that if these are reported as bugs, developers will surely fix it.

I hope so. I'll wait until 4.10 goes gold and test that. I have an account on KDE org now so any problems and I'll flag them up.

Actually, most of the essential widgets are available offline and even the online ones i am able to install and configure without any hassle.

Yes the widgets. Although I had some problems the underlying concept (if I understand it right) is actually very well thought out. Use Javascript but replace the web libraries with KDE applet ones instead. Very smart. I might give that a try.

And i can boast of an elegant desktop with proper functional widgets.

I must admit one area I found surprising was the screen quality. My monitor has a known issue with colour, specifically it has a blue tint out of the box. It' was something that was mentioned in all the reviews so I knew about it before I brought it and Iand just used Nvidia's control panel to adjust the blue channel gamma setting. In Linux it wasn't until I noticed an app for setting the hue that I realised I hadn't changed it yet - and the screen looked alright! :D

I have heard good reviews about Cinnamon perhaps you could try it.

As above I used to like Gnome until they decided to do a project reset around the time 3.x was released and although they've come far, I don't think they've quite matched KDE's attractiveness for Windows users yet, which is a shame.
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Re: Problems with install disk, KDE

Postby fraxinus_63 on Fri Feb 22, 2013 6:33 am

@LandOfConfusion - I hope it all goes well with you and that you identify the Mint that works best for you.
LandOfConfusion wrote:As above I used to like Gnome until they decided to do a project reset around the time 3.x was released and although they've come far, I don't think they've quite matched KDE's attractiveness for Windows users yet, which is a shame.

I know there is now a bewildering choice of desktops. I share your love of KDE3.5, which was a superb, mature environment for doing real work and was endlessly customisable. Hard as I tried, I could never adapt to KDE4 (and believe me, I did try!) so I moved to Gnome. Nowadays I prefer MATE, which brings you all of the goodness of Mint's customisation of Gnome 2.

Three years on, my nostalgia for KDE3.5 has still not died. It should be possible to install the forked Trinity desktop on Mint so that it can live on. I'm going to experiment soon, following the instructions for Ubuntu (http://www.trinitydesktop.org/wiki/bin/ ... stallation). However, I'm not sure there is a Trinity binary yet that will work on Mint 14 - I'll be using Mint 13, based on Ubuntu Precise.

Having said all of that, early reviews of KDE4.10 sound pretty encouraging. Too much choice for us all.
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