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KDE developer suggests Plasma needs to be simpler by default

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KDE developer Nate Graham, the same person who recently said they may become the "Windows or Android" of the FOSS world is back again with more thoughts - this time about keeping it simple.

The Plasma desktop is pretty darn powerful, that's for sure and it has a massive amount of customization options for practically every little thing. For many people this is great, however it can also have a detrimental affect on the experience by new users and users less comfortable with computing. So what's the answer? Graham thinks they need to keep things simpler out of the box.

KDE Plasma Screenshot
Pictured - KDE Plasma on my own desktop.

What this doesn't mean is Plasma is going to get "dumbed-down". Sounds like they're not going to be targetting people in the lowest category of computing skill with their thinking. Noting that they would likely never be happy with KDE and that "GNOME and ElementaryOS can have those users".

Instead, the plan sounds like it's more a case of ensuring every part of Plasma comes with sane defaults "Essentially we need to fully embrace Plasma's motto of 'Simple by default, powerful when needed' [for] all KDE software, not just Plasma".

As an ending note, Graham mentions how some of this is already happening like "our simple-by-default Kirigami apps gaining power and customization opportunities, and our powerful-by-default QtWidgets apps gaining better default settings and a streamlined appearance".

What are your thoughts?

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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botato 1 Dec, 2021
[quote=CatKiller]part of KDE's UI guidelines.. is that an option is only worth having if it's worth having on by default. /quote]

I'm sure that's absolutely not a KDE guideline. That sounds like GNOME. I've never heard that saying for the ~3 years I've been following KDE.

The opposite philosophy is truer. "Simple by default, powerful when needed." Now, do all KDE apps follow that mantra? Not really.
That's part of trying to enforce a vision with an OSS suite. Only so much you can do if you're not the maintainer.

For example, Kate is a mess of buttons by default. They're all opt-out, but they should be opt-in. There's a great notepad program in there, but it's overwhelmed by unnecessary options upon install.
Kate was just replaced with Kwrite as the default notepad app. Coincidence? Absolutely not.

Robust programs can be streamlined. Streamlined programs can't be robust.

KDE is the only DE right now trying to make something modernized and pretty, without neutering customization and functionality. There are more edge-cases, but it's the only way to get something truly worthy of a daily driver for anyone, imo.
botato 1 Dec, 2021
Quoting: randylI think saying that Elementary and Gnome are for "those users" is absolutely the wrong mindset if they want to be the mainstream option like Windows or Mac OS.

Totally agree. GNOME and Elementary is the last thing I'd want to give a casual end-user coming from Windows. Familiarity will always trump clean design for people who use software as an appliance. KDE is pretty much in that sweet spot, but for a couple settings and the odd bugs. The amount of small bugs quashed in the last year or so has been staggering, though.

Don't give your grandma GNOME people, please... For your own good!
CatKiller 1 Dec, 2021
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Quoting: botato
Quoting: CatKillerpart of KDE's UI guidelines.. is that an option is only worth having if it's worth having on by default.

I'm sure that's absolutely not a KDE guideline.
Already linked upthread:

QuoteMost people never change most of the default settings for their software. Any feature which is off by default is likely to be missed by most users. Therefore, when proposing a new feature, don't make it configurable and leave it off by default. Have confidence in your designs and features! New features and design changes should be on by default, if they should even be configurable at all.
CatKiller 1 Dec, 2021
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Quoting: x_wingKubuntu is not a good example of KDE integration. Try KDE Neon if you want a Ubuntu based distro with a stable KDE.
KDE Neon is the opposite of a stable KDE. Its purpose is to push out new versions of KDE immediately.
CatKiller 1 Dec, 2021
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Quoting: botatoDon't give your grandma GNOME people, please... For your own good!
Yep. They're all chewy and make grandma cross.
Eike 1 Dec, 2021
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Quoting: STiATThey break stuff on a regular base. I am using it as a daily driver too since 1998 (1 year break using Budgie though), and have been contributing to KDE for some years (I do not any longer).

I think it's actually the same year for me. I installed Debian in 1998, and I cannot remember ever having used anything but KDE for more than trying out something. Of course, I did get a share of bugs and crashes in 23 years...

Quoting: STiATAnd thats just a few of those I experienced in the past 6 Month only using stable releases.

... but if your list is from half a year, I'm really surprised. I get my usual problem after updating nvidia drivers, sometimes write permissions when mounting my phone are wrong, but I think that's about it. I had a bigger problem with the database thing (akonandi?) going wild over my data in I guess the last but one Debian update, but that's at least half a decade ago. Maybe using Debian stable and not the latest release anymore is helping me.
Mohandevir 1 Dec, 2021
Quoting: Eike
Quoting: STiATThey break stuff on a regular base. I am using it as a daily driver too since 1998 (1 year break using Budgie though), and have been contributing to KDE for some years (I do not any longer).

I think it's actually the same year for me. I installed Debian in 1998, and I cannot remember ever having used anything but KDE for more than trying out something. Of course, I did get a share of bugs and crashes in 23 years...

Quoting: STiATAnd thats just a few of those I experienced in the past 6 Month only using stable releases.

... but if your list is from half a year, I'm really surprised. I get my usual problem after updating nvidia drivers, sometimes write permissions when mounting my phone are wrong, but I think that's about it. I had a bigger problem with the database thing (akonandi?) going wild over my data in I guess the last but one Debian update, but that's at least half a decade ago. Maybe using Debian stable and not the latest release anymore is helping me.

Thing is, they all have bugs, depending on use case... It's only a matter of determining what is a game breaker bug, for you and then choose your desktop accordingly.

Example: Screen flickering while using Steam Link, on Gnome, is a game breaker for me.

Edit: And my personnal experience seems to point in the direction of graphics drivers, more often than not. Some bugs seem to be exclusive to AMD and others to Nvidia. But I didn't do an extensive search on the matter.


Last edited by Mohandevir on 1 December 2021 at 9:18 pm UTC
TromboneSteve 1 Dec, 2021
I started to like KDE once I stopped trying to customize everything after a fresh install.

Now I just set all the theme-related stuff to dark mode. After that, I only change settings if something comes up that I really want changed.
STiAT 2 Dec, 2021
Quoting: Eike... but if your list is from half a year, I'm really surprised. I get my usual problem after updating nvidia drivers, sometimes write permissions when mounting my phone are wrong, but I think that's about it. I had a bigger problem with the database thing (akonandi?) going wild over my data in I guess the last but one Debian update, but that's at least half a decade ago. Maybe using Debian stable and not the latest release anymore is helping me.

That's for sure, debian stable is certainly stable, but as a software developer the base is too old for me.

The list is from the past 6-9 month, so those issues are really ones which either exist or existed (in example most of the dual-screen stuff is solved by now).

The file indexer thing you meant is probably Baloo - ye, I had my fair share of issues with it too, but that ended about a year ago.
Deleted_User 2 Dec, 2021
From a pure User perspective (i'm not into software development)i wish for 2 things:
- if i'm going after some customization, most of the time i don't want to see ALL options. Just give me the most common ones and let me see the advanced options only if i ask for that
- give me a reliable source of help. I'm absolutly fed up with "Look into the forums." where i get 10 "solutions" to my problem, every single one of them contradicting the others, on different hardware, then i have to figure out if it is a problem of the distro or the DE, then i have to type in some cryptic commands in the shell according to other forum members and hand them other infos which i barely understand myself and hope that the guy (or lady) has the patience to help till the end. That is absolutly not helping to get confidence.
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