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Date:      Mon, 26 Jan 2009 15:00:19 +0100
From:      Polytropon <>
To:        Wojciech Puchar <>
Cc:        Eduardo Cerejo <>,
Subject:   Re: KDE: What a monster!
Message-ID:  <>
In-Reply-To: <>
References:  <> <> <>

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Dear list, I'm starting to make myself unpopular today. :-)

On Sun, 25 Jan 2009 14:53:51 +0100 (CET), Wojciech Puchar <> wrote:
> fortunately it's only tendency to "trendy" software like KDE. not for all 
> unix software.

But sadly for the most software that is used for real productivity,
such as media players, programming environments, or even web browsers
and mail clients.

> and definitely NOT for FreeBSD OS inself, that gets 
> same or faster every release on THE SAME machine!

Exactly, that's why I'm such a happy FreeBSD user, or, to be honest,
HAVE BEEN, because I think... well, sometimes I could crash the
stupid box against the wall because things that worked well years
ago when I setup the system with "old" software aren't possible
with "modern" software anymore, and that's a thing I cannot
believe. Evolution is good, but what if it's not only about
adding, fixing and optimizing things, but making things impossible,
due to handling or dropping of functionalities? In this
regards, FreeBSD always was / is good: A solid OS base where
certain things can be EXPECTED to work. Up to today, I haven't
found an operating environment that serves me as good as FreeBSD
did in the past.

FreeBSD in the "equation of speed":

	--------- = speed++

And yes, I think I could notice the speed improvement in the
past. Improvements in performance and startup speed are always
welcome, allthough they're not a major issue to me. As long
as it works flawlessly in general, I'm happy. :-)

> it's not unix problem. it's problem of people that like to have their unix 
> be "like windows" so it is :)

I cannot imagine one (!) reason why I would like to have my UNIX
to be like "Windows", I'm happy it NOT like "Windows". :-)

(These words from a man who has never used "Windows", so I'm not
spoiled with its strange concepts or assumptions about how things
should be done.)

> what exactly software you rebuild and found slower (except KDE/Gnome 
> bloatware) ?

You're inviting me to complain. :-)

Before I will start, I may say that I often heared that "KDE is
an excellent development platform", so I tried it out,
especially because of KDEvelop which I found quite interesting
(running it without KDE). KDE and Gnome are simply too much
for my machine - end for me. So much stuff I don't need and
don't want (such as automounting devices, this is - in
terms of security - not wanted on my system). And all that
stuff that comes bundled with it that I even don't know
about... And I think Gnome isn't much better due to Gtk 2
and its huge pile of dependencies. People keep saying that
XFCE 4 would be good for a lightweight desktop, but it uses
Gtk 2, too, so same problem here. Okay, when your weight
is 200kg, then 150kg may be "lightweight", but not compared
to mankind's average. :-) KDE wouldn't let me utilize the
keys on my Sun USB Type 6 keyboard anymore.

I've always been a fan of lightweight software (and I MEAN
lightweight), such as WindowMaker, an excellent window manager,
and all the programs that do not have a K or a G in the name. :-)

Now, let's start complaining.

It will be a looong list, and I have to admit that I've not
found the motivation yet to fix the problems that can be fixed,
allthough I'm sure not all of them can be fixed.

Introduction: I've used FreeBSD 5.4-p something since I set it
up some years ago, and up to July 2008 when an inode crashed
my life, the universe, and everything, the system ran fine so
I had no reason to update anything.

Machine is an Intel P4 with 2 GHz and 768 MB SDR-SDRAM (yes,
I know, I'm too mean to buy DDR1-SDRAM for this). GPU is an
ATI Radeon 9200 / RV250 AGP. Sound is CMI.

First I found that compiling lasts much longer. I know that the
new C compiler does much more optimization, but compile times
have almost doubled - remember, we're talking about the same
hardware configuration, no change. Some numbers:

FreeBSD 7
buildkernel KERNCONF				1:05:25.90	97.2%
						1:11:05.53	94.4%
buildworld					3:54:15.31	96.8%
installkernel KERNCONF				   0:46.89	63.9%

... make update ...

buildkernel KERNCONF -D USBDEBUG		1:58:29.08	64.7%
buildworld buildkernel KERNCONF -D USBDEBUG 	6:06:03.90	86.9%
						7:19:49.24	78.2%
installkernel KERNCONF				   1:11.85	43.1%
buildworld buildkernel KERNCONF			6:01:33.44	90.1%
						6:19:33.55	92.8%
						7:39:11.57	82.0%
						9:12:00.28	65.1%

FreeBSD 5
buildworld buildkernel KERNCONF			5:46:42.25	96.4%
buildworld buildkernel KERNCONF			5:46:30.40	95.9%
buildkernel KERNCONF				  43:42.15	97.6%

I will need to have a look at my kernel configuration file.
In some regards, my knowledge is still on the standpoint of
FreeBSD 5 and I've got to learn some new things.

With FreeBSD 7, my Sun hardware (Type 6 keyboard and mouse)
aren't recognized anymore, allthough they work. I have been
told that this is a hardware issue (due to poor engineering
on Sun's site), but I can't find any reason why it worked
on FreeBSD 4, 5 and 6 before and stopped with FreeBSD 7.

Usually, I get this:

	% dmesg | grep "^u[mk]"
	ums0: <vendor 0x0430 product 0x0100, class 0/0, rev 1.00/1.02, addr 2> on uhub1
	ums0: 3 buttons.
	ukbd0: <vendor 0x0430 product 0x0005, class 0/0, rev 1.00/1.02, addr 3> on uhub1

But it should be this:

	% dmesg | grep "^u[mk]" 
	ums0: Sun Microsystems Type 6 USB mouse, rev 1.00/1.02, addr 2, iclass 3/1 
	ums0: 3 buttons 
	ukbd0: Sun Microsystems Type 6 USB keyboard, rev 1.00/1.02, addr 3, iclass 3/1

The corresponding strings haven't disappeared from the usbdevs file
in the kernel source...

And burncd doesn't work on my CD/DVD recorder anymore, but
I have already made the switch to ATAPICAM oriented programs
such as cdrecord and cdrdao.

Now for X. The startup of X has been "improved" over
the startup of XFree86. It now lasts almost 10s from "startx"
to X. Launching WindowMaker needs no more than 1s of this
time. But sadly, X cannot run 1400x1050 anymore. Autodetect
does lead to stupid values such as 1024x800 or the like.
So I created the xorg.conf myself and cannot, under NO
circumstances, get 1400x1050 "hardcoded" in any way. My
workaround: Start at 1152x864 (seems to be the maximum
that's possible) and then have "xrandr --size 1400x1050"
and "xrandr --fb 1400x1050" in ~/.xinitrc. Generally,
everything on X is slower.

Further fun with X that has already been discovered by
others on that list: Whenever I switch to textmode and then
back to X, the content of the edit buffer (that what you select
with the left button and output with the middle button)
gets output at the window where the mouse is! So if it is
an X Terminal, the content of this buffer is in the terminal
window. And oh joy oh fun, if it contains carriage returns,
it even gets executed! Or when Opera has focus, the right
click context menu is displayed. It can easily be checked
with a text editor and something inside the edit buffer.

Opera has long time been my favourite browser, but today, I
tend to use Firefox more and more (FF2), but today, it it's
terrible to open some tabs, because load goes up to 90% and more
and Opera doesn't react anymore. The configuration dialogs are
worse, if I compare them to older versions. And if I try to
print pages, they look terrible (exceed page borders).
Furthermore, it crashes more often than Opera 5 or 7. When
Opera loads a page, the mouse pointer becomes ugly. Why
does it have to override the system standard? Instead of
the normal (black) mouse pointer, I get an ugly white one
with an hourglass attached. Does it want to tell me something,
time for tea? :-)

Ah yes, and Firefox doesn't have a key combination to quit
the program (such as every other program has, usually something
like Ctrl-Q).

Firefox has always been criticised for being slower than
every other browser. I'm still sticking to Opera because
I like the look and feel, the good keyboard support and
the mouse gestures. Yes, I know some of them can be installed
to FF as an addition, but... it's not the same! :-)

Oh and printing, apsfilter, allthough equipped with the same
settings as before, doesn't utilize the duplexer of my HP
Laserjet 4000 duplex office class printer. It reqires me to
pull paper cartridges (because it uses them, even if paper
is in tray 1) and then put paper manually (!) into tray 1.
What the hell? If I wanted this, I would have bought an
ink-pee printer (electric paper feeder)! :-) I didn't change
anything on the printer, I even have a second one that does
misbehave the same way, but works correctly on my 300 MHz
P2 FreeBSD 5 spare box.

I know that most of these "improvements" come along when the
developers decide to move to a new version of the toolkit,
for example Gtk to Gtk 2, such as it has been in X-Chat.
Try to follow this example (or try it by yourself): Normally,
you have X-Chat with a startup dialog of the available IRC
servers. In Gtk 1, you could double-click on an entry and
it would connect to that server. If you click today with
Gtk 2, once or twice, you can edit (!) the displayed name
(that's what the server configuration dialog has been for
in Gtk 1 where you could change display name, server settings
and port etc.). Well, fine, let's not way you have a web
browser open with some server and channel name you want to
pste into this "hybrid list - input box". So you select it
with the mouse, move focus to the list, click left and then,
in order to output the buffer, press the middle button.
What happens? Nothing! Yeah, super, wow! You need to enter
the information MANUALLY! The same applies for the server
settings dialog box that the Edit... button opens; here,
instead of a regular input box, this "hybrid" is there again.
Allthough I welcome the new layout (list on the left instead
of tabs) of the new X-Chat, it's very uncomfortable to use.

Now for mail. Sylpheed has always been a good mail client,
easy to use and fast. It isn't anymore. Startup (Gtk 2,
formerly 1) needs 5 seconds. After pressing the "Get" button
to incorporate new mail (from /var/mail, I fetch separately
via fetchmail) disables its whole GUI for several seconds,
especially when retrieving 50 -- 100 messages from this list
(per day).

Another thing is the Gimp. I like the concept of NOT having
a main window, but image windows, dialog windows and menus (!)
arrangable on one or more desktops as I like it. Gimp startup
(without loading a file) now lasts 15s. In order to get the
menu, I click the right button inside the image. For the menu
to show it needs further 3s. When trying to print with Gimp,
it complains that it cannot access lpstat. Hello? Good morning?
I don't have CUPS installed. And bringing up the printing dialog
lasts 5s.

The image viewer xzgv, a fine thing, now has problems displaying
the file and directory icons on the left. Let's say the window
is 800px in height, then all the images are visible (xzgv -tz).
But if I scroll down that list, only the file names are shown,
the icons are missing.

Some multimedia stuff: mplayer is one of the finest players (and
encoders) out there, or, in my opinion, THE finest. But now,
when scrolling inside a movie, no matter if from a DVD, from
a file, no matter which file format, the indicator bar doesn't
update. Let's say I'm at the 1st quarter of a file, then the
bar is 	[|||---------]. While I keep holding down cursor up
or cuirsor left, this bar should move [||||||||----] until the
end of the file. But now, allthough I can hear the sound "move",
the bar AND the screen content doesn't update, so I could reach
the file's end without knowing it. And OSD doesn't work anymore,
but I don't care for this.

Whenever I quit some programs (confirmed for: xmms, xzgv), the
Num Lock light on the keyboard switches off, allthough the Num
Lock state keeps active. I need to press the NumL key twice in
order to get NumL state and indicator to match! This happens
on some programs, but not on all of them.

For a long time, StarOffice 5.2 was my tool of choice when I
thought I needed something except LaTeX. It didn't matter
that it brought its own desktop. For some time afterwards,
versions 1.x of OpenOffice could be installed via pkg_add,
including the german version. Since 2.x and now with 3.x,
it seems that compiling it is required. I don't have an
office package installed at the moment, I think I should
look if AbiWord can be installed as a german version...
(I prefer my system to be english-only, with this particular
piece of software as the only exception.)

Then, the Midnight Commander has been "improved". The command
line now includes the full path, and for longer paths, column
70 is easily exceeded, making it useless because you can't write
and edit commands correctly anymore (you're just seeing a five
letter excerpt from it). Such stupid stuff, you see your path
from one of the panels anyway! Ah yes, and sometimes it doesn't
handle the terminal (background) output anymore, instead of
displaying a program's output, it displays nothing, but the
command is running, and this seems to happen if you "run" 
enough files using the mc.ext facility (e. g. pressing Enter
on a mp3 file launched madplay in textmode and xmms in X mode)
And if you then quit the MC and want to start it again, it
displays "read (subshell_pty...): No such file or directory (2)"
Sometimes, "killall mc" helps.

And wine doesn't run my old games anymore. I'm talking abouth
things like Jedi Knight II and the like. Even Mortyr or
Descent 2 won't run. And if I run generic "Windows" applications
(which I have to, for testing recovery software), instead
of text I only get Boxes, Xes and circles. So wine has
gotten nearly useless for me, allthough it had major improvements,
at least in its version number.

Enough for now, I'm getting angry. :-) I could surely find
some more complains (and I may add them if they come to my

In the german language, we have an artifical term for this,
it's called "verschlimmbessern" which means with the intention
to make something better, it's made worse in fact. And that's
how I see this "improvements"...

It simply CANNOT BE that things run faster on my 5.x 300 MHz P2
with 256 MB RAM.

So now a suggestion could be: Why don't I run XFree86 and all
the software with the older version numbers that worked
perfectly? Answer: Because I think that's impossible or at
least much too complicated, so I'm crunching my teeth and
accepting this situation, grrr...

And most of today's applications are tied to the "modern"
versions of many many libraries and other dependencies, so
it's nearly impossible to run, say, XFree86 and a recent
version of mplayer (requires dependencies).

Again, I know that some problems can be fixed (e. g. wine
fonts maybe), but isn't it sad that it NEEDS fixing? I didn't
encounter these problems with OLDER software, why do I have
them with today's software?

Don't get me wrong: I'm not toying around with "bleeding
edge" software. I do setup a system ONCE and then don't touch
it anymore because it simply works - that what I have FreeBSD
for. (On servers, in opposite to my home desktop, I do of
course follow the security updates for FreeBSD with freebsd-update
and the neccessary updates for the installed programs with

> > FreeBSD brought a higher bootup speed to my system, faster system
> > services and better performance.
> INDEED. contrary to linux that it's mostly faster in artifical tests, 
> slower on everything else. contrary to NetBSD, (no idea about openbsd), 
> not mentioning Slowlaris :)

Hey hey, Solaris is not that bad, it's my secondary OS (usually
for professional use, not for the home desktop). :-)

> that's why i use it!

I prefer FreeBSD over Linux because of its tidy system layout,
the well intended structures, the separation between OS and
everything else, the excellent documentation (as a developer
the Alpha and Omega!) and the look & feel as a real UNIX that
does behave like a UNIX - and not a marketing demonstration. :-)

> > But what about these advantages? They've got eaten up by all the
> > applications installed, their libraries and especially their GUI
> > toolkits. Nearly every Gtk application has been switched from
> > Gtk 1 to Gtk 2, including more disk consuming libs and depencencies,
> > slower program startup and slower reaction.
> unfortunately you are right. but you can use IMHO firefox with GTK1

This would be an exception, and maybe it would reduce in

> are you sure there are no other problems with your system?

No hardware problems (because I never changed something there),
but maybe I should start over and build everything new with
FreeBSD 7.1. I think I'll get a new HDD next month and then
try it.

As I described above: What Im encountering CAN'T be normal.

> > On the other hand, there are "old" programs that seem to profit
> > from the system's speed gain. That's why I love to use them instead
> > of their "oversized brothers".
> so use them as long as you can - as i do.

I would still run my 5.x system, I would change back ANY DAY.
But it's impossible. I can't even get my files back due
to "fsck_ffs: bad inode number 306176 to nextinode"! :-)

> > Such an "oversized brother" is KDE 4. Don't get me wrong, please.
> so why do you use it? it's mostly useless even if it would be fast.

I don't use it anymore. I tried it with PC-BSD, but then found
the german language internationalization too bad and I quickly
switched to english. I prefer a good english UI over a bad
german one. (Gnome's i18n seems to be much better, just as a
sidenote, I tried it out with some openSuSE live system CD.)

> There is NO USE for it's "GUI", and it's programs are toys, not much 
> usable.

KDE's philosophy seems to resemble the same concepts that have
spoiled users who are long time "Windows" users: Put as much
functions as possible into one program. Don't mind if it takes
up half of your hard disk. Don't mind if it doesn't work completely,
it's just important that you can click on something, no matter
if the result is what you expect. :-)

No, honestly: KDE involves too much work (changing settings) to
get it the way I like it - while others may be completely
comfortable with the default settings. So I'm much faster
doing work "the old fashioned way", say, CLI and specific
programs for each purpose.

I think that's UNIX great advantage over all these "one program
does everything" concepts. Sure, there are many little tools
that seem to perform similar tasks, and you have to choose
which one you'll use, but I enjoy HAVING that choice instead
of being forced to use what someone else thinks I should use.

Allthough KDE tries to integrate all the components, it often
fails with it, for example, scaring german computer users with
an english error message allthough "Deutsch" has already been
selected as the "system language".

> use separate programs for spreadsheets, word processors and similar 
> "office" work.

I grew up with this spirit. =^_^=

> > On an up-to-date hardware basis, it's surely a joy to use, fast
> you are wrong. it's slow on quad core intel with 4GB RAM.
> i tested it.

It was just an assumption so it wouldn't look like I did not like
KDE in the first place. :-)

> > and responsive. But if your system isn't from today, you don't
> > gonna have fun with it. Around me, other users seem to favour
> > Gnome instead of KDE because they are not willing to update their
> gnome is slow too. just a little bit less slow ;)

Are we comparing desktop systems noch in magnitudes of "how much
they suck"? :-) Okay well, that's how elections work here in
Germany: you're voting for the party or the candidate that
seems to be the smaller evil, allthough everyone knows that
it / he IS evil. :-)

> BTW are there somewhere available older version of opera package? :)

It seems to be good to store /usr/ports/packages of older versions
that habe been confirmed to work well, but if they can ever be
installed on a newer system...?

Okay, I hope I haven't bothered the list too much, but that's my
revenge for 50 -- 100 messages per day. :-)

>From Magdeburg, Germany
Happy FreeBSD user since 4.0
Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, ...

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