Tuesday, 2 March 2010

The Real Reason I Can't Bring Myself to Switch to KDE

I have tried KDE now, three times. And I've actually managed to get some great eye-candy out of it...In fact, in terms of looks, I do ADORE KDE. Some examples of what I've done with it in the past:
From Screenshots
From Screenshots
However, there's one little thing that means I can never quite stick with it! You might be forgiven for thinking it was one of the following:
  • It is too resource-heavy compared to Gnome
  • It annoys me slightly that the panel never matches the windows
  • The zoom out feature is still a bit buggy
  • The customisation settings, while more extensive than stock Gnome, are more difficult to get a grip of
  • That damn KDE wallet asks me for my password every time I come back from suspend
...and so on and so forth. But in the end, all of these things are just little niggles, things that you would get over in time, just by using the desktop environment, and getting to know it better.

So what is it, then, you ask? Don't laugh...

Native KDE applications all have ridiculous names!!!

They all appear to be contrived to contain a "K" in some way, like when high school kids decide that it's not "wicked", it's "wikid". Or they just get lazy, and stick a "K" on the front of a literal name describing exactly what the application does. All you have to do is take a look at KDE's website to see what I mean:

So let's examine the evidence, and compare some Gnome and KDE default applications:
  • Web browsers: Firefox vs. Konqueror
    I suppose Konqueror is more than just a web browser, so maybe that's what they were going for with the whole "conqueror" epithet, but it doesn't excuse the "K". It's up there with "Hed Kandi", "Krazy Glue" and "Krazy Kamp" (the musical my middle school put on in the 7th grade).
  • Mail Clients: Evolution vs. KMail
    The lack of imagination here is just staggering. Could we not come up with a better name than "KMail" for a mail client in KDE?
  • BitTorrent Clients: Transmission vs. KTorrent
    See above. Come on, guys, let's have a little naming creativity here!
  • Music players: Rhythmbox vs. amaroK, now Amarok
    This one is arguably the weakest example, since the name actually means something in another language ("wolf" in Inuktitut), so the "K" is a transliteration anyway. Also, the dev team get points for seeing the light and fixing the capitalisation issue, which is what landed it on my list in the first place.
  • Feed readers: n/a vs. Akregator
    In fairness, this isn't quite an even comparison because Gnome doesn't ship with a default feed reader. But "Akregator"?! Come on, it's "aggregator", so at the very least, it should be "Akkregator" or something...Basically, there's no excuse for this one...
Now, I can't be completely one-sided here, as Gnome has its fair share of awkwardly-named applications, like gedit, but it's nowhere near the volume that KDE has.

What it all comes down to is that I get embarrassed telling people that I use applications with such ridiculous names. All the major OSes, including Windows and MacOS, put a lot of thought into the names of their applications, and I wish KDE would do the same. If they could crack that, they'd pretty much have a convert!


  1. I agree with your naming arguments. In fact I had even written an article about this a while ago:


    However, it would be kinda sad if the names alone kept you away from using KDE. Get over with it ;)


  2. Well, yes, it is sad :( But because of the poor names, I can't help but feel that KDE is an amateur operation, and it's a feeling I just can't shake. Regardless of whether it's founded, it's the impression I have!

    I'm a retailer by trade, and I know that in order to sell a product, I only have a small amount of time to convince my customers to buy. If anything puts them off a sale in that first impression, I'm not doing my job properly...And that's exactly what happens with KDE. I use it for 2-3 days, get put off by the silly names, and I don't go back!

  3. Hey! This post is very funny! :-)


  4. The names are silly, yes. But not all developers are very good at coming up with good names. I see them as more something that started off as a dev name and just continued being used out of habit.

    And I don't recall they ever had "K" name guidelines. It was just something the community liked and did for quite some time, but as of late they're really toning it down alot.

    Example: AmaroK renamed to just Amarok. ^_^

  5. I agree it's difficult to come up with "good" names. I wouldn't even say that the Gnome names are particularly "great"! However, having put some more thought into the names makes the dev community seem more mature and to me, in a Linux distro, mature dev community -> more stable and complete DE.

  6. the naming system rocks! its easy to know when browsing
    app repos which are kde apps and which are not. I'd like
    it even more if all of them would start with a k.

  7. I too can't seem to get used to KDE despite the fact that I love its interface; When I install it I always end up removing it at the end of the day, because simply it feels weird! I'm not talking about the placement of everything nor the looks, I'm talking about the actual GUI, it's hard to explain.

    As for the names, Gnome also have that, they add a G (Gedit, gbrainy...) or simply all the word gnome-something, it's not visible and over-used like KDE but it exists. If I ever liked the names that include K, it's because they are easy to identify in a software manager.