Migration Reflections

Despite the original journey taking much time, the migration away from GTK desktops to KDE has gone well as did the heavy update from Slackware 14.2 to 15.0. Known all along was these efforts would be much about trading paper cuts. There now seem to be fewer paper cuts.

Much welcomed is reduced reliance on the frustrating GTK file picker. Not missed are the limitations of GTK theming.

As is the current fad in most software, KDE defaults to flat icons. Mostly this is not a problem when carefully configuring the desktop. The Oxygen theme seems to eliminate almost all flat icons yet provide colorful and distinguishable icons.

After decades of using 1990s-like desktop theming, acclimating to the KDE “modern” look is ongoing. There is something to be said about the “simplicity” of the 1990s Windows and Linux desktop themes. While acclimating to a “modern” look is ongoing, the basic desktop can be configured to be simple and traditional like 1990s desktops.

KDE scrollbars are too thin but at least they do not disappear like with GTK or Windows. This is a silly interface design that many developers have bought into. Thin and auto-hiding scrollbars might be useful to some people, but users should have the final say.

On the house network T400 laptop, about half the time the battery status widget fails to appear in the panel system tray. Restarting KDE or toggling the System Tray Visibility restores the widget. Hopefully this quirk is resolved when updating to Slackware 15.1 and KDE 5.27.x.

The KDE Kate Find tool design is anti-productive. Conversely, KDE Kate is more enjoyable than TDE Kate.

Konsole Bookmarks are a pleasure.

Moving away from Meld to Kompare has not happened because Kompare does not support inline editing, bidirectional changes, or syntax highlighting. Meld mostly functions as expected but seems to freeze often when performing a search-and-replace and requires using the GTK file picker. Other GUI diff tools have been evaluated and fall short.

Thankfully, everything in KDE seems to support Alt+underlined mnemonics.

The local n=1 observation is Qt seems a tad snappier than GTK.

Conversely, despite a 4-core CPU, 16 GB of RAM, and SSDs, KDE seems just a wee bit sluggish. In part this might be caused by the conservative CPU frequency governor, but the latency should not be dismissed. After testing different governors, the ondemand governor seems to best reduce the latency. There is no reason why KDE should not be snappy even with the powersave governor. Yet this perceptive sluggishness was seen with GTK desktops too. Perhaps modern Linux desktop software are just plain slow one way or another.

Dolphin has proven to be a decent GUI file manager, despite the childish root warning.

KDE configuration file storage organization is a mess. Without fancy scripting, about the only way to backup a KDE “profile” is backup the entire $HOME directory.

While TDE remains a decent desktop environment, cherry picking TDE tools within KDE has proven valuable in the house network.

Migrating from Lightning to TDE KAlarm has reduced some stress. Thunderbird now launches faster and reminder events no longer are prisoner of an email client.

Viewing system emails and certain online email accounts with TDE KMail resolved various issues such as displaying PDFs generated for system mails. Because of contempt for Akonadi, likely TDE KMail will remain entrenched for some years.

In all KDE has done well. Limiting exposure to GTK tomfoolery has reduced many frustrations.

For the most part Slackware 15.0 has not caused significant problems. The days of ConsoleKit and lack of PAM seem more laid back, but elogind and PAM have not caused much screaming. The lack of framebuffer console scrollback remains irritating. Mostly the other irritants have become shoulder shrugs.

Posted: Category: Usability Tagged: General, Migrate

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