back to article KDE hopes to fill boots with 4.2 release

The Linux K Desktop Environment project is hoping to bag a few ordinary computer plebs with the latest release of its desktop suite. KDE 4.2, which carries the slightly self-congratulatory codename “The Answer”, was released yesterday in a variety of flavours for Linux, Windows and Mac lovers everywhere. Freetards can now get …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    The Answer

    It's called "The Answer" because that's what "42" is. Nothing to do with self-congratulation. Probably.

  2. Cameron Colley

    I hope they like the result.

    But I don't. As soon as I get to know the little guys with fishing rods and pointy hats better I'm giving them or Fluxbox control of my desktop.

  3. Nate


    This term has to stop. Freetards download crap they should otherwise be paying for -- or so I thought.

    KDE is free. You're not a Freetard for downloading it. You're a Freetard for downloading a Windows ISO, without owning a copy of it to begin with.

    Seriously. That's just ignorant, and insulting.

  4. Robert E A Harvey

    Minor quibble

    That web page says "Technology previews of various KDE applications for Windows and Mac OS X are available". I didn't see anything to justify your implication that the whole desktop is available for Windows or Mac, and I would be quite surprised if it was

  5. adnim


    What is it with the use of "tard". It is not amusing nor does it promote the author to the status of "cool", "with it", savvy or whatever, especially when describing those who use free software. Who decided it was retarded to use free software. The term paytard although equally unfunny is at least an appropriate description of those who pay for and use MS products.

    Please Reg can we drop this whole *tard thing? I presume Kelly and the rest of El Reg staff are over the age of 12.

  6. A J Stiles

    "little known" ?!

    "little known Konqueror web browser" indeed!

    I like Konqueror a lot. It's faster than Iceweasel / Firefox; and unlike Opera, it's Open Source.

  7. Will Stephenson

    KDE on Windows

    Here's a writeup of the whole shell running on Windows:

    I haven't heard of anyone trying to replace the Mac shell with Plasma yet.

  8. Greg

    @ minor quibble

    "I didn't see anything to justify your implication that the whole desktop is available for Windows or Mac, and I would be quite surprised if it was"

    You might want to have a look here -

    From what I read and see there, it looks very much like you can run the full desktop. Never liked KDE personally and I don't see that changing, but I am impressed with what they've done on the cross platform front.

  9. Mark McC
    Thumb Down

    We're all freetards now?

    Since when did the hideous term 'freetard' expand from "those who defend their right to download copyright material without paying" to "anyone who uses something that is free"? Since El Reg doesn't ask readers to pay a membership fee for the site, I guess everyone reading this article is now officially a freetard.

  10. Mark McC

    And again with the freetards

    Sorry to double-post, but this really got my goat (gnu?) up. A quick visit to that den of iniquity known as the Pirate Bay reveals a lot more 'freetards' are sharing Windows ISOs than the latest openSuse distro. In fact, given the availability of OSS for Linux, I'd wager that a great many more Windows users engage in piracy than their Linux counterparts.

    To label anyone who might be interested in the latest KDE as a pirate is wholly unjustified and, quite frankly, insulting. While 4.0 has had a flaky start, I'd still rather use it than pay big bucks to Microsoft for the dubious privilege of running Vista.

    Using open-source software does not automatically mean that one is a) a pirate or b) retarded.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    and does KDE4.2 have the Kasbar reinstated ? Any actual reviews ?

  12. Chris


    Reg hacks are such tardtards.

  13. Henry


    +1 to the tards comments above. It's getting to the point where it's making me consider stopping reading here, and by the sounds of it I might not be the only one.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Presstards... anything ended with "tard". Humm that means that you have Regtards to?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In agreement

    I am in total agreement with both Nate and Adnim. The term freetard is nothing but an insult. The use of the term definitely needs to be stopped as it is derogatory, especially to the people who (and the companies who allow their staff to) donate their time to work on these products and provide them free of charge to those who choose to use them.

    The fact that a lot of F/LOSS software is free is irrelevant. What matters to a lot of people is that the product works, and works the way the user wants it to. It does the job and it does it well. If it didn't then they wouldn't use them.

    Call me a freetard and you question my right to choose, and you have absolutely no right to do that.

  16. E

    Speaking as a KDE 3.x user

    KDE 4.0 was barely functional. KDE 4.1 was marginally functional. It is a very good thing induction cannot be applied here.

    If the KDE team wanted to rebuild from scratch that is fine and I am sure they will produce a great new desktop when they are fiished. A rebuild does not excuse releasing half finished software though.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    KDE 4.2: the Linux equivalent of Vista?

    I enjoyed the combination of KDE 3.5 and Compiz, and the fact that the GUI didn't change as often because there were no sales people that needed something "new" to sell was a big plus (also a good feature of OpenOffice).

    What has been done to KDE 4 may be good code wise, but from my perspective it was a disaster. Not many usable apps (or whatever they're called), confusing desktop and the biggest innovation was the ability to put a bunch of directory windows together on the desktop.

    Which, if memory serves me, was something possible in Worries for Workgroups 3.11, probably one of the reasons MS brought out Windows 95 (it was too useful and too good for productivity).

    So, to me KDE 4 is in the same league as the Vista GUI: new for newness sake, confusing, not offering any benefits for an END-user and generally a good argument to start looking elsewhere. If 4.2 is better, hurray, but there is a lot of credibility to be regained before I go near it again.

    It deserves a Microsoft award.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    What a surprise!

    Another POS article from Kelly :)

    At least she's consistent.

  19. Pete Dixon

    Freetard? Who me?

    Hell ya. I like the term and am darn proud to be one. The vast majority of digital information necessarily has to be free. There's no other logical alternative unless you plan on shaking down people on the streets for their thumb drives.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Where's the .....

    .....Linux vs Windows angle?

  21. davcefai


    Reg authors get more and more like the uncle who cracks the same joke every time you meet..

    If a journo cannot tell the difference between a "pirate" downloader - which, I believe, is what the word first meant - and a free software user then should we be reading his drivel?

    Personally I stopped reading when my eyes saw "freetard". Is there a reason that the Reg is trying to alienate the open source community?

  22. KenBW2


    "A Windows man, a Linux man and a Mac man walk into a bar."

    I was disappointed to see no continuation of this joke :(

  23. The Reg-ular

    Gadgets and widgets and panels, oh my!

    It's the antithesis of "streamlined". The 4.x paradigm has all the object management confusion of the OS/2 Workplace Shell (remember "Create Shadow"?) and all the usefulness of Active Desktop(tm).

    Some folks can't have too many RSS notifiers, clocks, calendars, sticky notes, stock tickers, weather bugs, and media players jumbled together on their desktop, or too many overlapping ways to arrange commonly -- and even uncommonly -- used items.

    People that prefer KDE 4 over 3.5 seem to be the type that would put xeyes in their .xinitrc because they had some screen real estate left over that didn't beep, blink, fade, scroll, or flash (on virtual desktop #14). KDE 4.x enables them, as they are less obsessive than Blackbox themers and generally afraid of vi. Hence I think the market for write 'em yourself python powered screen bling is overestimated.

    PS -- Tard.

  24. John
    Thumb Down

    I concur..

    Its been happening more frequently, the expansion of 'freetard' to cover the legitimate use of linux rather than those who download copyright material.

    I have never liked all the *tard names, its just so, I don't know, juvenile but I tolerated it. however now it has just getting too much. Please, just stop with it. Its old, its not clever and apparently quite a lot of other people (your readers) are in agreement on the subject.

  25. /etc

    Of 'tards and men

    @ admin

    quote .... What is it with the use of "tard"[?] ... end quote

    I think it was Dan Lyons (a.k.a. Fake Steve) who started this - or at any rate popularized it among wiseguys in the techno-journalism field.

    He certainly used - and may have invented "freetard" (I guess we'd have to ask the OED on that one) - but virtually any name could and did take the suffix "-tard" with Dan.

    "So OK, the Szulik-tard and Fleury-tard want to play with the big boys. Fair enough. Well, here's my thinking. I whip the shit out of Red Hat's business, steal a few customers ..."

    Perhaps Dan Lyons should be "tard" and then bzipped!

    Oops! scrub that. What am I saying? It would have to be gzip to placate the FOSS diehards, since bzip2 is BSD licensed.

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Insulting register how can?

    I do not know what is the meaning of this ordinance, as Linux users FreeTards now?

    Of course, this kind of violence is the best preserved of piracy, etc., and not used to describe those who would like to see Bill Gates is not too self-filling the screen every time you use your computer?

    You LeeJunMinged, Hacktards!

  27. E

    @The Reg-ular

    Hahaha, well said.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: Tagline

    the joke doesn't finish because it's not physically possible

    the correct sentence should be "A Windows man, a Linux man and a Mac man walk towards a bar, the Linux man starts getting smart about how great his free open source OS is and calls the other two paytards and gatestards and jobstards. In responce, they call the Linux man a freetard and then it all kicks off in a full-on rumble before any alcohol has been drunk because Linux users can give lots of abuse to other-OS users but they're not very good at taking it"

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ha. Just reading that ars technica link...

    ...about KDE on windows.

    "Amarok, the popular KDE media player, is also included in the installation. The user interface seems to work fine, but I was unable to get it to play any audio during my test."

    Welcome to the party mate I hope you brought a bottle. I've been using linux for work and play for over 6 years now and the sound setup makes me cry with frustration every single bloody time I change OS. The latest lovely was when my previous installation of Ubuntu went out of support (I admit I was running one of the mayfly versions) and I stuck the latest LTS on instead. Sound worked until I ran the updates.

    Now this end user experience has been opened up to all those poor sods using windows.

    I'll now point all the happy "Year of the Linux desktop 20??" people at the crowd of "Fix it yourself, the problem's not in my code" punters that are runnning at me with pitchforks and torches, while I make a hasty exit.

    And yes, I agree, freetard is insulting on so many levels and it's one of the few things that I really hate about the reg. I am not a freetard. I have made a lifestyle choice. If you must, I prefer 'freeviant'.

    I'm out of here, there's a large number of Buster Keaton vids on youtube I still have to check out.

  30. Gerry

    The last time I checked...

    ... no one is forcing anyone to use KDE 4.x

    I find the seemingly web-wide attempt to ridicule the project a little mystifying. The levels of ire seem similar to those of someone getting rejected for a date.

    Don't like it? Then don't use it. You are free to exercise choice.

    Personally, I think KDE 4.2 (without all the effects that make me feel seasick) is elegant. All the non-techies that I have shown it to, find it so attractive, they want it. I think it will be a major driver of growth for systems based on GNU/Linux.

    But equally, why all the infighting? Like Gnome? Use Gnome.

  31. P. Lee

    re: Gadgets and widgets and panels, oh my!

    I have to agree KDE seems to be heading in the direction of vista eye-candy and performance, but...

    1) the widgets and confusion are because RSS notifiers, clocks etc are the easiest and therefore first bits of code to produce.

    2) I'm really hoping some speed improvements are on the way as functionality-coding reduces and optimisation-and-stability-coding increases. KDE 3 is lightning fast in comparison.

    3) Eye-candy isn't always just a pretty face. The tipping point for me was the "Present Windows" function. I haven't worked out a use for multiple desktops, but "present windows" solves the "taskbar isn't large enough to be useful and I don't want to use more screen on another bar" issue. And no, I don't run xeyes - just a directory-listing window ;) Now we just need a decent OSX-like dock for kde4...

    4) The quick directory access (like osx stacks, but better) is rather good, though it took me a while to discover it.

    5) You can turn off most of the eye-candy. For many people though, 3d accelerators are available. I'm not sure if there is one, but a simple slider-bar config for speed-vs-pretty functionality might be useful.

    6) The gui shell is pretty good, now I just wish all my favourite apps (particularly mozilla, openoffice) didn't open mis-sized, non-kde dialogue boxes.

  32. Lars Silver badge

    Safari more known

    But based on the Konqueror. (for free, for the real freetards of this word)

  33. Stuart Butterworth
    Thumb Down

    Title? What title?

    Kubuntu Intrepid installing KDE 4.1 was what drove me to ditch KDE for Gnome on my Linux boxen - I'm going to be trying this out this weekend, but I cant see it being much better than 4.1, which relied far too much on bling rather than a clean look and the ability to customise my desktop the way **I** want.

  34. Gene Cash Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    This is the cool thing about Linux/X Windows/FOSS

    Because I can stick to FVWM2 and ignore this shit.

    I don't have to go along with the rest of the crown and have "Aero" or "iGloss" or whatever the fuck excuse to sell video cards this week.

    I said "apt-get install kde" and it said it wanted to install 370 packages totaling over 807MB. Uh, no. Just... no...

  35. Anonymous Coward

    So let me get this right

    Comments can no longer follow the letter M with the $ sign because they'll not get past the moderatrix, but columnists calling folks interested in KDE "freetards" is perfectly acceptable?

    Consider my subscription cancelled, or whatever equivalent applies to whatever RSS is.

  36. Alex Rose

    @all the "tard" comments

    "Biting the hand that feeds IT" doesn't give you a teensy-weensy clue that this site doesn't necessarily take itself too seriously?

    Mines the one old enough to remember when it was all just an email newsletter 'round 'ere!

    And if you look up you might just see the joke flying over your head (he noted, patronisingly.)

  37. Charles Manning

    @KDE4 == Linux's Vista

    Having been a long-term KDE user (ten years or so), I must regret to say that KDE3.x is as far as I am prepared to go.

    I've used Gnome, Windows (since 2.x), KDE (10 years), various Macs, HP-UX, .... and KDE4 is the only time I've given up and done a reinstall.

    KDE4 is just trying to out-Vista Vista. It is loaded with pixel light shows that seem to be designed to show off the programmers' ability to manipulate graphics but is as useful as the Northern Lights. Swirling lights doing fuck all!

    Reading through the raves in Linux Format etc, it seems that the main goal has been to grab the attention of converts with shiny effects. Unfortunately people eventually want to do something useful and then KDE falls well short.

    GUI effects should not be there for their own gratification. They should be there to improve usability. For example, Mac OSX's "pouring windows" help people remember where their windows went.

    I don't mind GUI developers getting their jollies, but please don't do it at the expense of providing a useful offering. KDE4 is deserving of Linus' computer science masturbation comment far more than micro kernels.

    I don't mind KDE people playing with new GUI ideas and architecture. That's how the world improves. What's really broken though are the distros pushing it into prime time. Leave KDE4 in the lab until real people think it more usable than what went before.

    Like Stuart Butterworth I've finally gone over to Gnome with Kubuntu Intrepid for one box that needs to run Intrepid (kernel testing with bleeding edge stuff). I rolled back others to 8.04.

    Perhaps it is a way to kill off Kubuntu and get people to STFU and use Gnome. Hopefully there's going to be a retro Kubuntu that has 3.x instead of 4.

    [And why can I only attach one flame to a comment!]

  38. OG

    The punchline?

    A Windows man, a Linux man and a Mac man walk into a bar...

    They ask for 3 pints. The barman gives the Windows a 90% full glass and charges him £3.50. The barman gives the Mac guy a full glass, but charges him £8.50. He then gives the Linux man some barley, hops a bit of yeast, a glass, and a book on brewing beer and tells him to do it himself.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns


    That's right. Keep arguing over which desktop to use. That way there will never be a fully working one to compete against windows.

  40. Charles Calthrop

    @little known

    if Konqueor is so well known then, you'll be glad to show me a source where its listed as popular. What % market share has it then? 50%, 20% or a % of 0.24%. Just cos *you're* using it doesn't mean that if you went up to a misguided customer in PC World and asked them if they'd heard of it, they'd say yes.

  41. Jean-Paul

    Linux guys are the most sensitive!

    I don't like the freetards term like most, nor all the fanboy comments for appreciating a product made by apple. However you Linux guys really have a chip on your shoulder for using this freestuff. Chill out man, make some money buy some proper software and you won't be tarred with that brush ;-) pun intended roflmao

  42. John

    @all the "tard" comments By Alex Rose

    I've been reading the reg daily since somewhere around 96 or 98, the newsletter part you refer to was prior to that I imagine but I do think it puts me on pretty much equal terms with regards to being a 'regular and long term reader'. The Nu Way of insulting wide tracts of their readership is a fairly new thing, I sure has hell don't recall feeling insulted pre-tard when reading an article.

    This trend of randomly adding "tard" to everything has gotten old, and clearly a bunch of folks do feel that refering to linux users as 'freetards' is insulting, I don't presume to make the assumption that they are *all* new readers without a clue to El Reg;s humour.

    If its a "joke" then it fails, when a number of your readership obviously "just don't get it" and consider it a personal attack, then its probably time to give it a miss.

    Icon because I think I'll need flame proof goggles.

  43. zenkaon

    KDE4 was why I switched to gnome

    I've been using KDE for about 10 years or so and was really excited about KDE4, even had a go at some betas. Gnome was always horrible as far as I was concerned.

    Then I tried kubuntu 8.04 and boy did it suck. I tried ubuntu 8.04 a realised that gnome has come on leaps and bounds just at the same time as KDE is going through a very kluncky transition. Been a happy gnome user ever since, although I still use KDE3 happily on some of the PCs at work.

    KDE apps still rock, wouldn't want to swap amarok or KDevelop for anything (including apple or windows software)

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: Gadgets and widgets and panels, oh my!

    >6) The gui shell is pretty good, now I just wish all my favourite apps (particularly mozilla, openoffice) didn't open mis-sized, non-kde dialogue boxes.


  45. Toastan Buttar


    "A Windows man, a Linux man and a Mac man walk into a bar."

    They all ask for a beer.

    The barman pours a pint of Guiness for the Windows man and charges him £3.50. Once he's got the money, he passes the glass around the bar, allowing everyone to sneeze, cough or wash their hands in it before passing it to TWM.

    The barman then gives a can of Asda Smart Price 'lager-style alcohol drink' to the Linux man and gets him to open it. He turns round and puts another tick on Mark Shuttleworth's tab.

    The barman then reaches over and grabs the Mac man by his turtleneck and pulls him so that he's inches away from his furious face. "Steve says you're only allowed an Innocent Smoothie ! Try to buy a beer from me again and you're barred, sunshine !"

    Then a neutron walked in and ordered a Guiness. The barman poured a pint and handed it over. The neutron asked how much he owed. The barman said "For you ? No charge."

    Scientist wearing beer goggles.

  46. foo_bar_baz


    Sorry, troll . *nix users (let's not forget the BSD guys) have many functional desktops to choose from according to preference and scenario. Who cares about market share or what the latest ms/mac interface is like? I get the same FF, Eclipse and terminal on any *nix desktop, ms or mac. I choose Linux for other reasons.

  47. A J Stiles
    Paris Hilton


    If your birthday falls between July 23 and August 23, does that make you a leo-tard?

  48. Daniel Palmer


    Well, maybe if you were talking about LFS. Most Linux distro's and to a lesser extent BSD's come bundled with or have the ability to install and maintain a few thousand applications alongside the base "OS" (Bad terminology as the whole user environment isn't an operating system). Hell, Xorg generally runs without any configuration at all these days.... so your joke, to put it bluntly is pretty shit.

  49. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Tards

    >If your birthday falls between July 23 and August 23, does that make you a leo-tard?

    Yes. Yes it does.

  50. Anonymous Coward


    "Freetards", insulting as it is, might be applicable to many of the Linux users. They download ubuntu, fedora, centos, whatever and install it on their computer and then start whinging because the mac-like KDE eye-candy isn't to their taste, or that sound doesn't work the way they expect it to, or that they can't play mp3 files without downloading more software. Even worse, the whingers then tar all past, present and future linux distributions with the same brush: "I tried <whatever> five years ago and it didn't support <x> and I didn't like editing configuration files".

    So along comes KDE 4.2 and you get the whingers complaining that because 4.0 was rubbish and 4.2 can't possibly be any better. After all, they fail to say, nothing has happened in a year, no one has been working on anything so why should it be better? Well, why should it? None of the freetards has done anything but whinge.

    Fortunately there are those that rather than just sit and whinge they actually do something about it. They do one of three things: they help fix the problems (and test the fixes); they pay people, directly or indirectly, so the problems can be fixed; or they fix the problems themselves and pass the fix on to the maintainers of whatever it was that broke.

    And then there's a freetards and the whingers. The wingers, in particular, will never be satisfied. They make no contribution of any kind, they have a chip on their shoulder so big it could be used as a windmill sail and are of the fond belief that the open-source community is there to either serve them or bring down the free-world-as-we-know it.

    There's a final group, gentle reader, who neither directly contributes nor whinges. These are the people who are satisfied with what they've got or who start to realise that they can contribute something, one way or another.

    Nuff Said.

    I'm waiting for Fedora 11 now because I've got other fish to fry (like why gdm doesn't seem to want to do xdmcp), but I'm not whinging freetard: open source software the the best thing since sliced bread.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If you reply to messages does that make you a retard?

  52. Anonymous Coward

    All your tards are belong to us...

    I find it amusing that there is much gnashing of molars and wailing of lungs and tearing of hair here over the term "tard", but the Linux community has no problem at all with calling any newbie posting a question a “luser”.

    All a bunch of Kknobheads?

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    So ....

    ... does KDE work properly with dual-head systems now? Speaks volumes when one screen contains your desktop and the other is a shade of grey best described as 'Mosaic circa 1996'. Probably didn't help that I was using Fedora 10 at the time (another mistake ...)

    If 4.2 works properly, I might be tempted to give it another go. If not, I'll stick with XFCE (and F9)

    And yes, the whole 'freetard' thing is getting a bit old now.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I like the term. I find it funny.

  55. Anonymous Coward


    I believe if the author uses 'tard too often or incorrectly, that makes them a tard-tard?

  56. Anonymous Coward

    Fellow Freetards

    Freetards of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but ... well, nothing really...

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