KDE Is Bloated

so, KDE suffers from bloat, over-engineering and user confusion. apparently.

personally, i never thought that to be the case until now, but, there are others who seem to hold these beliefs to be self-evident. i respect everyone's opinions and beliefs, even though they may be different than, or opposite to, my own.

i want to help. really, i do. therefore, i have spent some time thinking about an alternative to this over-engineering bloatness problem in KDE. luckily, i think i found a solution: DOS.

please let me explain. let's start first by enumerating KDE's most blatant defects:
1. Bloat
2. Too many configuration options
3. Over-engineered
4. Confusing to the average user

this list of shortcomings seems incomplete. to wit, i shall add my own personal complaint about KDE:

5. Too many blue icons and buttons

i want this blog entry to be an objective, professional and knowledgeable comparative analysis of KDE's weaknesses vs. DOS' strenghts. therefore, i will now enumerate DOS' overwhelming superiority over KDE, in the areas mentioned above:

1. No bloat, runs in 64K. beat that if you can.
2. No configuration options. if you disagree, name one.
3. Under-engineered (i think you'll agree)
4. Very clear and concise for any user (you only need to know about C:\, and everything is command line)

and, most importantly:

5. No blue icons or buttons.

if there still is any doubt about DOS' superiority over KDE, please allow me to describe a few typical KDE user situations. for example, in KDE, if you want to get to a shell command line, you have to start Konsole. Konsole has blue icons. therefore, Konsole is Bad. Bad Konsole makes for a Bad user experience. what's even worse, Konsole comes with a Blue Background. that is also Bad. another example: in DOS, every directory on your hard drive starts at C:\. easy enough, clear, intuitive, concise, no confusion possible. that is a Good Thing. compare that with Konqueror, or Krusader. again, Blue Icons for folders. Bad. Blue buttons at the top. Bad. there is no C:\, and all these Blue Folders are arranged in this weird tree-like shape. Bad.

Conclusion: DOS is better than KDE. QED.

i live in a Blue State. Bad.


Living in a 'blue' state in the U.S. is generally a good thing.. from a political POV :)

By bloat, do you mean in code, in interface, or both? I'm not a developer so I dont know how tight the libs are, but some applications do put *a lot* in the user's face.

I certainly agree there are too many configuration options. I understand KDE is the people's desktop (and provides wonderful features they request). However, at times all of those wonderful features get in the way of the application and make a simple task much more complex.

Over-engineered: this sounds technical so I cant really comment. Too-many-cooks-making-the-soup syndrome?

I think the points you mention before "Confusion" attribute to it. A complex interface and complex application for a simple task would be confusing to most users.

The icons I dont know if I have a comment on. Metaphors and images used in the icons are IMHO more influential than color, however color does effect mood and willingness to learn and understand. There are plenty of colorful themes available, however I would argue how easily they can be acquired and installed.

By seele at Wed, 11/09/2005 - 16:16

i hope noone took anything in my silly post seriously. :-)

i do not think KDE is 'bloated' (whatever that means). i do not think it is over-engineered and i do not think it has too many configuration options. and i like blue icons (and states too). :-)

seriously now:

i do not believe that these broad qualifiers (or criticisms) can be applied effectively, and credibly, to a system as complex as KDE, IMHO. simply because KDE is not a Big Monolithic Blob. KDE is a highly modular design, built from a collection of Lego-like independent blocks, which can be taken out or plugged in, just like in a Lego set. yes, it is extremely complex. but users need not worry about this complexity because it is not visible to them.

for example: JuK. it was designed and written to play music, and it does that. playing a music sample is a fairly simple interaction from a user perspective: choose a song, click "Play". one might also want to stop before the song is over, rewind, fast forward, etc. one might also want to know how many minutes and seconds the song takes to play. one might also want to organize a collection of songs, and save it for future use. JuK does all this.

compared to JuK, Quanta has siginifcantly more configuration options, menu items and so on. well, Quanta is designed to perform a fundamentally different set of tasks, inherently more complex (from a user interaction point of view) than JuK. this doesn't make Quanta over-engineered, or bloated: it does what it is supposed to do, but what it is supposed to do in the first place is very complex. one can't compare the two. in other words, the complexity of the design is linear to the complexity of the feature requirements set.

one could easily apply the same type of broad criticisms to Blackbox (for example): Blackbox is "bland", "stupid", "featureless", "useless", etc (how many times have i read these). i find them just as baseless and not credible as those about KDE. Blackbox was designed as a minimalist desktop in the first place, and it is extremely successful at that: it is a very successful implementation of its feature requirements set, and minimalism is its defining feature.

about the "user confusion" issue: human beings can process a limited amount of information per unit of time. this has a very interesting side-effect: a truly over-engineered, over-featured piece of software (most likely published by a corporation located in the NW USA, near Seattle, WA), will *appear* to the user as having very few options. why ? because the user will tune out most of the information presented as a set of features, and will remember, and use, only a very limited subset of these features. i honestly do not think i use more than 10 features of LookOut (at work, i have no choice in this matter), and i also honestly admit that i have no clue what the other 3644 unused features are, or what they do.

anyway this is too long already. it was only supposed to be my 0.02. :-)


"Nobody Expects The Spanish Inquisition"
- Monty Python

By Stefan Teleman at Thu, 11/10/2005 - 01:38

That is what they mean, bloat everywhere!

You have too many words and ideas in your reply. I am so confused! There are what... 1,2,3.. demn, I lost count how many paragraphs!

On January 5th, 1976, on this very spot nothing important happened.

By suslikreal at Thu, 11/10/2005 - 04:50


First of all, thanks for your work on KDE.

The reason I registered on this site and am taking the time to post: I agree with you that KDE is not bloated, and along the same lines, does *not* have too many config options. I agree *emphatically* on this point. KDE 3 is outstanding, and I hope KDE 4 will be more of the same with some new ideas.

I'm sure it's been mentioned amongst the devs a lot already, but... If a significant number of users/devs think that reduction of config options is necessary, I think that hiding the options is a much better way to satisify people than eliminating them completely. A simple choice of basic, standard, or advanced configuration level could reveal/hide various options.

Again, thanks for your hard work. Make sure your voice is heard (because your opinion is the right one, heh).

By onesandzeros at Thu, 11/10/2005 - 09:39

...why DOS is better: it does not start with a K. As any "5, Funny" slashdotter will tell you, kthat kis kno kgood.

By zingo at Wed, 11/09/2005 - 18:03

Your post suffers from a lack of capital letters where they should be, and from the same being thrown in where they shouldn't be.

Please, it just takes 0.1 seconds to hit that key with an arrow on your keyboard, making your post faster to read and better looking for hundreds of visitors. It is not cool not to care about your readers.

By martin at Wed, 11/09/2005 - 19:28