Is the KDE 5 desktop stable enough for normal users?

This not a rant! I just want to share some concerns about the quality of the current KDE desktop and its deployment to normal users.

I upraded to KDE 5 by upgrading from Fedora 21 to Fedora 22. I did this rapidly on four laptops because I liked the new fresh look. Two of them I use heavily for personal work. The plasma version in use was 5.3. But after some weeks of work I collected a long list of heavy issues with that desktop. They all showed up doing very general things. Especially problematic are multi screen configurations. Things you usually do when you plug in and plug off your laptop from the display at your working place.

Here is a (incomplete) list of issues I currently face with the plasma desktop 5.4

  • Attaching and removing screens from the laptop does not change the screen configuration. That means attached screens get not actived and removed screens not deactivated. Usually I have to reconfigure the screens manually in systemsettings. Afterwards killing and restarting plasmashell is required, exspecially to get rid of disconnected screens. If that does not help I usually try restarting kwin too, although I’m not sure that helps. Multi-screen switching somewhat worked with plasma-5.4 but broke again with a kdeframework upgrade. If you have configure multiple panels in a multi monitor setting you can find them jump around (even stacking) if you change anything in the screen positioning. If you attach a new screen and activate it, sometimes plasma moves on to the new screen (good!) but the old screen gets black. I can move windows onto it but there is no plasma running in its background (bad). But that is relatively small bug.
  • As not all applications have been moved to KDE 5 yet, some of them use kdewallet4 and some use kdewallet5. This means that you are asked for a password to open the wallet twice in the same session – and those passwords can be different! Even if you know that you often have to try one password and after that the other one. Since the last updates the kdewallet5 password window can be visually distinguished from the kdewallet4 one what helps me with that. This is not a real bug but very very uncomfortable for users.
  • The digital clock applet just stops and shows an old time.
  • The digital clock applet will never show another timezone than UTC if UTC is your system timezone, no matter what timezone you configure in its settings. Really I never had so much problems getting the correct time displayed on my desktop – because I had not find out that the system time ist the problem.
  • The window taskbar gets out of sync with the application windows. That means you can click on firefox in the taskbar and what open up is a dolphin window (or no window at all).You see taskbar entries for applications you have closed and you miss them for ones you have opened.
    When you have two screens with two taskbars each of them configured to show only the windows of the current screen -> windows get mixed up and are shown in the wrong taskbar. Worst: Sometimes the taskbar(s) do not work at all. Praise the “Show windows” desktop effect, it saves your day.
  • krunner will sometimes not execute commands. In that case I have to restart plasmashell via terminal.Very annoying because I have to do that often.
  • krunner sometimes does not appear at all (maybe fixed in 5.4)
  • If you have two screens with two identical panels, sometimes applets in one of the panels will not be able to show a plasma popup on one of them. That means if you have a application starters on your right and left screen, the application starter just works on the left one. (maybe fixed in 5.4)
  • After having changed the screen positioning the plasma applets do not recognize that and do open somewhere on the screen and not beside the panel (maybe fixed in 5.4)
  • Moving plasma pannels between screens works only with patience and it is really messy. This becomes a problem in conjunction with the issues making panels jumping around on screens in dynamic multi-screen configurations.
  • On three systems with intel based graphics of different generations I did not find one with a opengl version and interface combination which did not sometime create a garbled screen. I know that the linux graphic stack is a nightmare and the fault is likely in there exspecially as Fedora is on its bleedings edge side. But this was better in plasma 4.
  • UPDATED: File search in dolphin does not work at all. It never finds anything.

This is the situation now – and it is much better than it was when Fedora 22 came out with Plasma 5.3.

I found the following additional heavy problems in the plasma 5.3 desktop (which has been shipped out to end users by various distributions):

  • Migration from kdewallet4 to kdewallet5 lets you enter a password for the new wallet. Unfortunatly the password you enter did not work to open the new wallet afterwards. I had this on three systems and I’m sure I did not make a typo three times. The problem got fixed afterwards but the systems upgraded with that bug are somewhat of broken. There is no obvious way to get a new working system wallet.
  • Plasma animations running long start to eat up one CPU core completly. This means if the network applet tries to connect too long or telepathy tries to connect to IM accounts with broken down servers (making the panel icon spin all the time) you burn your laptop battery. Oh – and do not do long file transfers with dolphin because the progress spinner in the panel will fight with the copy process for cpu cycles. This bug has been fixed in 5.4 but people report to still see it occasionally.
  • Too many windows caused plasma to eat one CPU core too. I often work with several firefox windows. The second one usually made the whole desktop slow and made plasmashell burn half the cpu power. The problem went away when the window was minimized. So you were not supposed to have more than a few windows open in plasma 5.3. I think system memory is something that can limit the amount of open windows – your desktop should not.

That bugs made me step away from KDE until plasma 5.4 was pushed out in Fedora. The last time I did that was during the KDE 4.0, 4.1 time frame.

These are just the bugs I was able to clearly identify and reproduce. I had many more problems. SDDM was some kind of a nightmare when it became the default for KDE. I had heavy problems with it in a multi screen setup and I could not login into a second session. I had to fall back to kdm several times. Luckily the heavy problems have been mostly sorted out in recent updates. Ktelepathy is another area where I had my problems. I migrated to it from pidgin mostly because plasma 5 did not support the old sysicons anymore. Ktp has its issues exspecially when using the OTR plugin and having contacts that are logged on several computers (sending and receiving messages does not always work). I hope to get into good working order by not using OTR anymore and with the latest updates. It still has a preference for crashing plasma when using the contact list applet. Since three weeks its systemsettings module crashed when I tried to modify a specific IM account of mine. Well, I had to delete and recreate it.

I did not search for all of the listed bugs in bugzilla. The ones I search for I found there reported. The bugs are so obvious that I’m sure they are all reported. I’m not sure which bugs are caused by the distribution (Fedora). Maybe a few that I did not look for. I mostly can rule out that they are caused by old config files because I tried to fix them by deleting the old ones several times. The bugs show up even using fresh user accounts.

I find it very hard to work with the KDE desktop in its current state. Again, this is not a rant. I do not complain. I have no time to help development, I live with what I get. I’m sure developers to their best to enhance the situation. I can just say: This is the first time that I’m really not interested in updates because of new features or performance enhancements. I just wish myself bugfixes.

What puzzles me is that plasma desktop is widely reported to be a stable desktop

I have not seen a review of KDE (or a distribution using it) mentioning any of the problems I am seeing daily. This is somewhat of explainable: You will not find the bugs without really working with the desktop. You have to use it some days, do your work on it and plug your device on to different monitor. Unfortunatly I think most press reviewers do not do that. You can cope with the current KDE if you have just one screen, always a stable network connection and restart daily. You normaly do not work under such conditions, do you?

Would I’ve known that KDE 5 has so much rough edges – I just would not have installed it on my production systems. Fair enough. Oh – and I would not have upgraded my wifes computer who thanked me with “No more updates ever! This does not work at all!” And she was even right.

The reality is that I do not see how one could cope with current plasma desktop without good knowledge of the system and the ability to restart kwin, plasma or the whole session from the command line. In the same time I see this desktop being pushed out by many distributions to normal end-users. I personally often try to migrate normal people from Windows to a Linux Distribution. This often works quite well. But would I try to give one of them the current KDE desktop, I’m sure I would not succeed in freeing the person. My problem is: That’s what distriubtions currently do and I do not see one word of warning.

Either the problems I list are just happening to me – or users should be warned that they should currently stick with KDE 4.12 if they are neither experts nor brave. I consider plasma 5.4 somewhat useable for me, but in my opinion plasma 5.3 was too heavily broken. Nonetheless it was shipped by Kubuntu and Fedora. Fedora is a bleeding edge distribution (meaning that is okay), but Kubuntu is directed at less experienced users.

Nevertheless, especially because I had to switch desktops in the last months to get work done, I can only say that I still find KDE the desktop I like most. I just hope that it lets me use it more easily.


113 thoughts on “Is the KDE 5 desktop stable enough for normal users?

  1. Emdek

    Indeed, so far KDE5 is not complete enough for daily work, at least not the versions shipped with for example Kubuntu (version from 15.10 beta was more usable but still had various bugs, like easy to crash Dolphin which was also somehow missing some small details like simple filter bar, regressions in Ark etc.)…
    Maybe 5.5 will be like 4.4 / 4.5, which drastically improved usability back then.

    1. Elvis Angelaccio

      Please file a bug if you have encountered any actual regression with Ark. As other developers said, don’t assume that those bugs are already reported.

    2. EMR

      No, it’s not ready…
      Clipboard is broken (still).
      XEmbed is broken (again): Yeah it used to work in 5.4, but not in 5.5… So I have to regress to get the xembed-sni-proxy app to work… whatever they did to “incorporate” that app into plasma5.5 is broken even worse than before. Before the java / non SNI apps would /at least/ show up in the system tray though you could not click on them… now they are all missing together (Pidgin/DavMail/etc.) I should NEVER have upgraded to KF5

  2. Shawn Peterson

    I’ve been using kde since around 2010, and I am having the same frustrations as you. I am on kubuntu using 5.2, and I am afraid to even change the theme settings for fear that something might become corrupt. Supposedly this is fixed in 5.4 as well, but I must admit I am a little gun shy. Since fedora now has a cinnamon edition, I am thinking of switching to this (at least for the next batch of releases).

    I still love kde, and imagine I will ultimately switch back to it again, but it is a little rough right now.

    1. tom troudecu

      >I still love kde, and imagine I will ultimately switch back to it again, but it is a little rough right now.

      Im sorry but I cant even grasp the logic behind this comment. This is EXACTLY the same thing that happened last time… people were running like Chicken Little saying that KDE4.0 wasnt ready. But you know what was ready and working great and supported for two years after 4.0 came out? KDE3.5.
      Most intelligent people just sat back, enjoyed their computers and did you know… WORK on them and when 4.1 came along and then 4.2 they tried it and most didnt bite. When 4.3 many finally decided to abandon 3.5 but many who have family and friends waited till KDE4.4 and later to make the switch. And it was seamless.
      So forward 6 yrs and its still the same deal: NO ONE IS FORCING YOU TO CHANGE TO PLASMA.
      Just stay with KDE4 until Plasma is ready.
      If you are using Kubuntu, then you really have nothing to bitch about. Kubuntu 14.04 is an LTS which means its supported until 2019 which should be enough time for Plasma 5 to be useful and getting ready for the switch to Plasma 6!!!
      If you love KDE, why the hell would you switch to something else?
      5 is not ready so because of that you dont want to use 4 anymore? WTF?
      I have teenage nieces that make more sense when talking about boys.

      >but it is a little rough right now.
      Arghhhhhhhh,… its the same donks as 2009…… “I have to leave the old KDE that works fine because the new KDE isnt ready.”

      What makes the problems more frustrating for some people (those that HAVE to have the latest version) is that very often these regressions are the EXACT same problems we saw back in 2008-09 during the KDE3>4 switch and with the same attitude towards those problems now as back then, mainly “You dont need this option. Do it this way, its better.” and “Since we upgraded to a better infrastructure, we cant do this thing anymore.”

      1. btux1984 Post author

        Well, you are right, people went to KDE 4 when 4.3 came out. I myself migrated to 4.2. Never had such stability problems though, in that times it were the missing feature. What is unexpected is that even the 5.4 release (and the layers below) makes so much problems.

        Migrating to plasma desktop 5 is not entirely optional. If you had updated to Kubuntu 14.10, you have to upgrade to 15.04 within 9 month. Fedoras last version with KDE 4 Fedora 21 is supported one month after Fedora 23 is released. That will be in early december before plasma desktop 5.5 comes out. It is the first time since my starting in Fedora 10 that I have a system running the older release for more than three month.

  3. Alexander

    “I still love kde, and imagine I will ultimately switch back to it again, but it is a little rough right now.”

    My thoughts exactly. KDE 5 is my favourity desktop – I just like the way it has been designed but right now it’s quite buggy so I have temporarily switched to GNOME 3. While I generally like KDE 5’s design much more (I just prefer the traditional taskbar and start menu design than GNOME’s more modern approach) GNOME is more stable (now that I think about I can’t rememeber a gnome program crashing on me for a long time) and way way more polished.

    I think that’s perfectly understandable though – GNOME’s current version is 3.18 which is what, 9 stable revisions after 3.0? It is just more mature and I’m sure KDE will catch up in several revisions at which point I’m going to go back in it. The last couple of KDE 4 releases were the best desktop I’ve ever used. Compared to that I see no loss of features in KDE 5 and I prefere the more modern breeze design.

    1. btux1984 Post author

      Interesting. Not even kwallet issues? Graphic driver differences I suspect more. What graphic chip and driver are you using?

    2. Marko1

      Well, I am using plasma 5.4 as well on gentoo, and I’ve seen almost all of those problems too. Maybe you don’t use multidisplay setup?

      1. talienator

        I do, I connect my laptop to external monitor (vga) at work and use both monitors. At home I use only laptop monitor most of time, but occasionally connect to TV (hdmi). Had no problems.

    3. Kevin

      Could be disto specific or really depend on which version of which component is being in use, but I also don’t have any of these problems with Plasma 5 on Debian/Unstable.

      I am especially sure about not having the multi monitor problems, because I have my laptop connected to an external monitor right now and also had it connected with two previously unknown projectors during a conference.
      Even using different modes, i.e. using side-by-side at home and “clone” during the presentations.

      I also have multiple time zones configured for the digital clock applet and can “scroll” through them using the mouse wheel.

      As for the wallet, I did have a problem with migration, but a different one.
      I.e. it didn’t migrate the passwords when triggered by session login, but it worked when I triggered it manually.
      None of the other problems since then though.

      1. btux1984 Post author

        Okay. But I did not want to say that Plasma 5 is not able to switch on attached screens. It is perfectly capable of doing that.

        The problem starts when you plug in and plug out screens often. When you do that the question is whether the desktop is automatically adapted (new screen activated, panel correctly positioned) or not. In my case I have to go into systemsettings and activate/deactivate the screens every time I move my laptop in or out of its dockingstation. Often (not always) I have additionally to restart plasma afterwards to fully adapt.

        The problem with timezones shows up when I configure UTC as system time. Afterwards clocks will never show anything else than UTC, no matter what timezone is configured. I can reproduce it on two systems and have bugreported.

      2. Kevin

        Well, as I said, this laptop got attached to and ultimately detached from three different devices in a matter of days, each device having different resolutions and using two different schemes for positioning their screens relative to the built-in one.
        I.e. when I returned home and plugged in my monitor, it came online and the panel I had configured there was exactly where I expected it to be.

        Interesting find on the UTC thing.

      3. btux1984 Post author

        Well, Martin Gräßlin pointed out that there are issues with graphics drivers and within Qt. So it might work for some people. For me it is more on the disaster side. Interesting that Debian seems to do things well although its not them pushing out the desktop to its (stable) users.

        Concerning the clock it turns out to be different. Clock will always show the system time if you not activate the “change by mousewheel” option and use it to select another timezone. Bug is here.

  4. wvl0

    Long time KDE user here. KDE5 has been ugly for me too. I definitely recognise some of your issues and could easily add a list of my own. I use the clipboard with shortcuts for edit contents and show clipboard at this position and my mouse is set for focus follows mouse. Its a disaster. The edit contents shortcut simply doesnt work and the clipboard manages to swap the last thing I copied with a blank entry, despite the setting: prevent empty clipboard.

    So yeah it’s bad. Plasma still likes to crash allot, SDDM is still half baked – just stopped bringing up a KDE session and so on and so on.

    But yeah, I’m still hanging in there. My coworker tried KDE5 just a few days ago, got fedup with the plasma crashes after 1 day and switched back to i3.

    My distro: kubuntu wily, his arch linux.

  5. Martin Gräßlin

    Concerning screens: that’s unfortunately an issue with Qt. Bugs are reported with Qt 5.5 it should be better.

    > The digital clock applet just stops and shows an old time.

    That’s weird. Never heard of that except for coming from suspend 😉 What GPU do you have. That somehow sounds like missing painting updates on the graphics side.

    > The digital clock applet will never show another timezone than UTC if UTC is your system timezone, no matter what timezone you configure in its settings.

    Works fine here. I have UTC as system timezone and it correctly shows CEST. You are aware that you can change the timezone to display in the settings of the digital clock applet and that you can mouse wheel on it to switch time zones (that works, I tried before replying).

    > The window taskbar gets out of sync with the application windows.

    Has never happened to me and I’m a heavy taskbar user. Sounds very related to the clock not repainting issue.

    Overall as you already mention problems with garbled screen I think you have really, really bad luck with the drivers. We know there were severe issues especially with Intel (crashes and what not), unfortunately out of our area to work on. All we can do is telling distros to properly package and we did that.

    1. btux1984 Post author

      Hello Martin,

      indeed, some problems concerning the clock and the taskbar might be caused by missing updates of all what is inside of the panels. The panels more or less freeze. I currently see that on a Haswell Core i3. Even killing and restarting plasmashell does update the panel only once. They will not get back into a working order.

      But not everything is caused by this. The problem that the taskbar shows applications running on a different screen is happening on at least one other system. It even happens when the panel itself is updating properly.
      The problem with timezones really exists on one system. I know I can switch timezones with the mousewheel. But on one system that did not work (digital clock did always show UTC, other clock applets worked well) until I switched the system timezone away from UTC to my local timezone.
      Before writing the post I checked whether the bug can be reproduced when I switch back to UTC. And yes, I can reproduce it.

      1. Martin Gräßlin

        I am interested in seeing the output of:
        qdbus org.kde.KWin /KWin supportInformation

        for a system showing the problem of missing updates. My guess is: OpenGL 3.3 + EGL + Intel.

        > But not everything is caused by this. The problem that the taskbar shows applications running on a different screen is happening on at least one other system.

        That’s probably because the window overlaps with both screens. I think we recently looked into it to properly ignore window decorations in this case.

        > The problem with timezones really exists on one system.

        all right. Then please report a bug for it, so that our clock experts can look at it 😉

      2. moondrake

        Clock staying the same is a result of the panel being completely broken. It happens when using EGL on haswell. Use glx and it will work again (there is a bug report on this but I forgot the link).

    2. btux1984 Post author

      I forgot:
      Good that the multi screen problems might become better with Qt 5.5. I did not want to blame anyone anyway.
      I just want to point out that working with changing multi screen configurations is quite common and it is very frustrating for users having to fiddle each time they change their working place (good if they are able to fix it anyway). I just want to point out that users should be informed that if they rely on multi screen they might not want to update yet. That is something the distributions should communicate, but they have to know that they should do that.

      1. Martin Gräßlin

        Sure no question. I know how frustrating it is as I also have multi screen. We run into interesting things like Qt doing calls to XRandR which block in the Intel driver (causes freeze of the whole system). I reported that to Xorg as a possible security issue, but never got a reply. We run into problems that Qt thought it’s a good idea to allow that there are no “screens” and Qt crashing internally. Our distributions are aware of these problems and some have even devs working on these issues. Overall I agree it’s something which distros should notice users about or make sure that they have Qt 5.5. We have there hardly any control over it. On the other hand: users should be aware of their distro. If someone uses rolling release distros and then complains: sorry you should know what you are in. Same for Kubuntu not using the LTS release.

  6. RussianNeuroMancer

    KDE 5.4 and KDE Applications 15.08 in Kubuntu 15.10 is pretty stable for me. Maybe you should try Kubuntu 15.10 release build that will be there next week.

    1. Charles Morticum III (@cmorticum)

      Yeah same here: Plasma 5.4.2 is pretty solid. I run it on both my laptop (Intel Ivybridge), desktop (AMD open source drivers), and iMac (dual graphics, nvidia blob). The only problem I have is on the dual graphics iMac where resume from suspend shows a black screen. I DID have an issue on my AMD system with SDDM that disappeared after updates some time ago. On my Intel system, EGL compositing backend has a bug with the task switcher which causes it not to animate moving from window to window. But as I said, no showstoppers here.

    2. Markus

      I use also use Kubutu 15.10 but I also have a lot of issues, like plasma/krunner is crashing after every resume and sometimes after the screen look was disabled (plasma automatically restarts). Dolpin is also crashing regular, also often after a resume…

      I have a ThinkPad X230 Laptop with Intel, so that might be the problem, especially because some other crashes list seqfaults in libQt… as source.
      Anyway, you probably can have luck, or not 😉

  7. Adriano

    I switched from 4 to 5.2 a while back on my Arch laptop system. At work I have a Mint 17 KDE4 system, while at home I have a desktop with Kubuntu 15.04 (Plasma 5 release). I also have a netbook on which I recently installed Arch and Plasma5.4.
    So I try KDE in all its versions all the time.

    I’ve had some niggles in 5.2 – actually my first thoughts were that all the praise for KDE5 was definitely not deserved (I still think that in some ways). 5.3 was better, and 5.4 looks pretty stable to me. I don’t have any really major issue:this may be because I don’t do dual-screen stuff (only a bit on the netbook, and without much requirements) and I don’t use KWallet. Never had an issue with Krunner (which is the main reason KDE is still the desktop I like the most) or with many many windows open. I do dislike the missing features, but what’s there looks pretty OK to me. Not as stable as 4.14, but stable enough. Still, I think that back in 5.1-5.2 times the praise was definitely not deserved and the switch was premature for most users, especially because there was almost none additional features and the performance improvement was negligible, if there was any. Yes, it looks cooler, tho.
    Mind, I also encountered many bugs, which I reported, but they were minimal. The most annoying is still related to high CPU usage by Plasma, and seems to be associated with the moving notification icon.

    Plasma will go ahead and make progress. KDE > 4.8 was *exceptional*, so of course it is hard to beat. I’m not blaming the KDE guys: the switch to 5 was a great effort, which included lots of refactoring. But yes, in this switch it was wuite evident the need KDE has for more testers and especially developers (there are annoying bugs left rotting singe the dawn of time for lack of manpower).

    Also, latest “bring touch to KDE” Randa meeting didn’t seem to bring much touch to me, to be honest, and that is an increasingly interesting topic: I can configure my own touchegg and stuff, but the average user cannot and will not.

    1. btux1984 Post author

      If you do not do dual-screens and have a good combination of graphic chip and graphic driver I very believe that the current plasma desktop works fine. I suspect distro and KDE reviewers usually do not do much multi-screen work in their testing. The problem is that switching screens is very common today and users expect something simple like that to work – because they are used to it being working.

      1. Adriano

        Actually on my systems I have both integrated Intel (2) or discrete Ati (2) graphic cards, all running on open drivers, so i think I get a good mix. Anyhow yes, I also saw that dual screen seems to be more messy than in KDE4. By the way; I recently had to attach a Windows 7 laptop to an HDMI television. For some indiscernible reason, it took about 30 mins. So at least we are in good company! :þ

  8. Alexander

    It is entirely possible that some of the graphical glitches may be due to driver bugs. On my laptop (intel haswel graphics) KDE’s stability and the existing of graphical glitches varies between unusable with severe graphical glitches and mostly stable with no graphical glitches depending on whether I enable sna in the intel configuration or uxa. From what I understand this has been traced to a bug in the intel driver.

      1. Alexander

        In my particular case UXA works well with EGL selected in System settings under the compositor options and SNA with GLX. SNA with EGL results in a lot of graphical glitches (enough to make KDE unusable).

        Even under this base case scenario there are several graphical glitches left (for example if a drop down or right mouse button menu is activated) but nothing that makes the system unusable.

      2. Fabian

        try “glamor” too. should work pretty good now.

        Section “Device”
        Identifier “intel”
        Driver “intel”
        Option “AccelMethod” “glamor”

  9. dragonbite

    I agree with the attach/detach monitors and 4 vs 5 applications, but otherwise I found Plasma 5 to worked well and worked better than my current Gnome 3.18 installation (problems started with 3.16, but I just updated to 3.18 and have not seen any improvement). Both of these I am running on openSUSE Tumbleweed.

    I’m about to go back to KDE on Tumbleweed gnome has gotten so bad. This is on a dual-core laptop w/4GB of RAM so it is no powerhouse.

  10. Bob

    I tried Plasma 5.3 and now Plasma 5.4 and am sad to say the experience brings back traumatic memories of early KDE 4. When KDE 4 was released I had to flee to Gnome, and now history is repeating, so now I have to flee to Gnome again… I appreciate all the work the KDE devs do and I suspect Plasma 5 will eventually mature (like KDE 4 eventually did), but man these early releases are hard to swallow. It feels like I keep getting the carpet pulled out from under me.

  11. Mk.82

    Definetly not ready.

    I updated from 4.11 to 5.2 or 5.3 and I haven’t actually used KDE5 much since that. I even started to use Windows 10 as this feels to work better than the KDE5.

    Something went wrong with KDE5 and I say it now just directly, too much power was given to designers!
    Things that worked well, were redesigned. The styles and themes were changed (again) that broke the experience.
    Everything looks and feels now like KDE is a sandbox for some designers who doesn’t understand anything about good usability and user experience as usability researchers do.

    And on all my systems (Nvidia, AMD and Intel GPU) KWin crashes a lot, maybe a two or three times an hour. After third or fourt time the KWin doesn’t recover anymore so it is required to logout and in via Krunner.

    I am just totally shocked that KDE5 became to be like KDE4 before 4.2.
    I have asked few times that when the “KDE5 is ready” and no one really knows or it is said to be ready. Yet the basic software is still catching up or were just updated (like Dolphin).

    I would say that stop advancing the KDE5 with its versioning. Stamp a “Beta” label for a while and actually stabilize the thing, add missing features and fix the system. Or soon we are on KDE6 and we are again following the same route that some designers has got bored and wants to redesign everything and engineers and coders needs to try follow them.

  12. dh

    I upgraded my laptop “internet machine” to Fedora 22 / Plasma 5; didn’t like it. Desktop “work machine” stayed on Fedora 21.

    Touchscreen: with KDE4 it emulated a left mouse click. Not ideal but consistent and mostly usable. With Plasma5 it appears there’s special handling — which does no more than emulate mouse focus in most cases. Not usable.

    Notifications: until recently they came up often and expanded to fill the entire screen until I clicked them. And tapping on the touchscreen didn’t work to close them. Major usability breaker for basically the entire Fedora 22 release period.

    HiDPI: little difference. In both cases forcing DPI in the fonts config, changing icons changing a few toolkit/theme tweakables makes most but not all things okay.

    Plasma 5 is pretty but until I find it as usable as the KDE4 shell I’d prefer the latter. Keeping it as an option in KDE5 would have been nice. On the other hand, the Qt5 transition seems mostly to be seemless so good work on that.

    1. Henning

      Plasma 5.4 is running mostpy stable…
      One thing that usually fixes alot of my problems and is totally annoying is clearing all configuration and cache.

      Don’t know why but this helped me a lot oft times and I wish it would be possible to have a configuration im / exporter that would validate… But I know that this would be an enormous task 😦

  13. andreduartesp

    I had some issues whith plasma repaint (like clock stopped, taskbar out of sync, systray out of sync), and in my system I resolved using GLX instead EGL in compositor settings…

  14. Luca Beltrame

    Am I the only one with dual and triple screen configuration with no issues? That said, I wish people would stop using “KDE5” as term, first of all. There is *no* KDE5, you’re talking about Plasma 5: Applications and libs (Frameworks) are a different matter.

    On the actual issues reported (those I can comment on, at least):

    > As not all applications have been moved to KDE 5 yet, some of them use kdewallet4 and some use kdewallet5.

    Instead of two passwords, you can workaround the issue by using a strong login password and using pam_kwallet and pam_kwallet5 to unlock wallets with your login password (you need to set them to have the same, of course).

    > The digital clock applet just stops and shows an old time.
    > The digital clock applet will never show another timezone than UTC if UTC

    I can’t reproduce those here, at least on 3 different systems (2 desktops, 1 notebook). What distribution are you using?

    > The window taskbar gets out of sync with the application windows.

    I haven’t seen this one either, But if you can reproduce this constantly, you should file a bug.

    > If you have two screens with two identical panels, sometimes applets in one of the panels will not be able to show a plasma popup on one of them.

    I haven’t seen this either, but I’m using Qt 5.5 and latest Plasma master, so not the exact same configuration.

    > After having changed the screen positioning the plasma applets do not recognize that and do open somewhere on the screen and not beside the panel (maybe fixed in 5.4)

    Did not see that either (same caveats as above apply).

    > Moving plasma pannels between screens works only with patience and it is really messy. This becomes a problem in conjunction with the issues making panels jumping around on screens in dynamic multi-screen configurations.

    Can you explain this a little better? I’ve done it quite a bit (especially during the 5.3 -> 5.4 dev cycle where kscreen had some issues). It’s not the best, but not too annoying either (to me).

    > UPDATED: File search in dolphin does not work at all. It never finds anything.

    If it’s the same as I’m thinking, that was a bug: fixed once your distribution / you upgrade to KF5 5.15.

    > The bugs are so obvious that I’m sure they are all reported.

    Never, ever assume that. I had a super annoying bug hit me for *weeks* because I thought it was so “obvious” it’d get noticed. It wasn’t. After filing a report and adding information there were enough clues to fix it. Every time I’m lazy with bugs I end up having them still haunting me. And if you feel they’re distro bugs, do file them at the distro too. The number of packagers is inversely proportional to the number of packages they maintain, so errors can slip past.

    > What puzzles me is that plasma desktop is widely reported to be a stable desktop

    It is at least for me. I use it on 3 machines (openSUSE + unstable repos), even on my work desktop, with little issues. Thanks to code review, CI and what not, IMO the quality of the commits hs increased. Bugs still exist, but at least, less escape unattended. That of course doesn’t mean we (as in KDE) can’t do better.

    And automated tests like openQA like we use in openSUSE were good enough to have a basic desktop working (they test that, although in a VM, so stuff like openGL can’t get tested).

    I would encourage to post your problems to the forums, so that they can get investigated better, and then see if they need to be reported in the tracker.

    1. btux1984 Post author

      Hello Luca,

      I will see that I create a screencast about my problems moving panels between screens.
      Most of my issues concerning the panel are likely graphic update issues happening on different Intel based systems running Fedora 22.

      Many bugs are now explained by problems in the distributions packaging. Thing is: it does not matter what is causing the issue if the normal users see a broken desktop. Distributions cannot only select their packages as the current plasma and kde applications require them. If they require very specific and uptodate packages there is a high chance that the normal user will receive a non optimal result.

      I think it is obvious from the comments here that many users have difficulties with the plasma desktop they get from their distribution (Fedora and Kubuntu are named here often). As there is obviously a high chance of running into heavy issues when migrating to plasma 5 (altough no guarantee of course) it is important that users now that before they have to find it out themselves.

      As said, I am puzzled about of the lack of “official” talk about those stability issues and it looks like that feeling is not wrong.

    2. btux1984 Post author

      I have a screencast of my tries to move the panel from my workplace monitor to the laptop display.

      Always when I try to move the panel across the screen border, it jumps to the right side. Sometimes plasma crashs doing that. In case I try to move the panel from the bottom position to the bottom position in the left screen, the panel jumps to the right side. It grows vertically so that I cannot see the sysicons anymore.

      I cannot repair the panel afterwards. I have to delete it and add a new one. That is one of the reasons why I do not adjust panels anymore but use the standard ones. You loose your configured panel to often, it has no use.

      I bugreport that and suggest discussing it in the report.

  15. Albert

    If you’re going to post on planet KDE pretending you’re a KDE develpoer you could at least use the proper nomenclature. Hint “KDE 5” does not exist.

  16. joncr

    I’m sure distribution integration of Plasma 5 with KDE 4 packages that have not been ported over contributes to this bumpy ride. However, I’ve been checking dailies from Kubuntu 15.10 and Fedora 23’s KDE spin through their alpha and beta phases and see similar issues in both.

    Fedora 23 is now at feature freeze. Today’s KDE daily has been glitch-free. No crashing components. I could work my way through System Settings without relaunching it. KWallet is behaving: I launched KMail, created an account via Account Wizard on the first attempt, grabbed some mail, closed KMail, logged out and back in, launched KMail *without ever being pestered by KWallet*. That is in stark and happy contrast to all previous experience on both distros: KWallet would pop up and demand to be configured near the end of the Account Wizard process, then the Account Wizard would fail, and I’d start over. Then, every new launch of KMail brought its demand for a server password, even though it was clearly stored by Kwallet.

  17. Markus S.

    > Is the KDE 5 desktop stable enough for normal users?

    Plasma 5.

    > The digital clock applet just stops and shows an old time.
    Blame Intel and their buggy EGL implementation:
    Switch to GLX (Plasma 5’s default) or downgrade the driver.

    > (maybe fixed in 5.4)
    Then update to 5.4. It’s an official Fedora update since quite some time!

    1. btux1984 Post author

      Thanks for the hint. Is Plasma 5 still the currently correct name if I want to include applications which are not part of the desktop? I include e.g. ktp in this article and its not part of the workspace packages.

      My systems are usually running the GLX backends.

      I HAVE updated to Plasma 5.4. I even fetched that before it got stable from the Fedora update-testing repository which produced no good result. I just wanted to express that I’m not 100% sure that I’ve seen the listed issues after updating. So maybe the bug is fixed.

      1. GreatEmerald

        It’s KDE Applications (15.04, 15.08 or 15.12). Just use one term or the other depending on what you are referring to, the desktop workspace or the applications.

      2. btux1984 Post author

        But I refer to both, desktop and the applications.
        Would the correct title be then “Is the Plasma Desktop and KDE Applications stable enough for normal users?”

      3. GreatEmerald

        Yes, because you’re talking about two different things then. Although you could shorten it to something like “Plasma 5 experience”.

      4. Markus S.

        > Is Plasma 5 still the currently correct name if I want to include applications which are not part of the desktop?

        No. Applications and Plasma are different products. Maybe you should also read publications by KDE once in a while…

        > My systems are usually running the GLX backends.

        Whatever. It’s not KDE’s duty to work around bugs in the graphics drivers of multi-billion dollar companies and a KDE contributor who posts to Planet KDE better check his facts. Now we have “KDE contributor thinks his project sucks” articles floating through the web. Great job!

      5. btux1984 Post author

        I understand that you feel offended. Be assured that I’m an active reader of official and inofficial KDE publications although I’m personally not very strict in following the changing naming conventions of things. Sorry for that. You can be certain I would have been more careful if I had known the coverage of my blog post before.

        But it is a unfair to make me responsible for what other people write after reading my post. I cannot control that. You can say that I should have seen that in before – but on the one hand I have not seen that as there was never that much interst in my blog posts and on the other hand it is easy to say that afterwards.
        The post must have hit some nerve – otherwise it would have been ignored. Interestingly there was another article released on the same day: That happend purely by accident.

        I can understand your opinion that I damaged KDEs reputation. But I see the situation from another point of view. Let me explain:

        You say it is not KDEs fault that intel drivers are buggy. You are right. As people have explained here, the problem might be the distribution packages, the graphic stack and many more. Thing is: That does not matter at all!

        If the users get a broken desktop, they get a broken desktop. Their desktop would not be broken if they would have stayed with KDE 4 or something else.

        I do not think it is bad to talk about problems with the plasma desktop and it should even be on the planet. The problem is: You read about the great new features and performance improvements here in the planet, in the KDE publications, in the distribution release notes and all the derived media reviews. But you do not read about the reasons why you might want to stay away from it currently.

        You say it is bad that people now read that the Plasma desktop is unstable/broken/not ready? I think it is much worse if people do not read about that, upgrade to the desktop and find themselves faced with problems of different severity, burn their time solving the issues or trying hours to get back to their stable KDE SC 4 desktop. I think that really hurts reputation although you rarely read about it in the media.

        That the Plasma desktop currently can make many heavy problems you cannot deny from the comments here. Even if it is all distributions fault, people do install that distributions.

        So if this article makes people screw up their noses, not upgrade to Plasma 5 now and do it later when 5.5 or 5.6 is released, it actually will prevent many bad experiences and delay good experiences in the worst case. I do not think that is too bad.

      6. Martin Gräßlin

        But it is a unfair to make me responsible for what other people write after reading my post. I cannot control that. You can say that I should have seen that in before – but on the one hand I have not seen that as there was never that much interst in my blog posts and on the other hand it is easy to say that afterwards.

        Sure you could have known that. You provided an easy click-bait for pages like Phoronix. They did not even check who you are, they did not even think about that they never wrote anything. If you would have contacted plasma devs before hand (which might have been a nice thing to do as you certainly have valid points and it’s nicer to not discuss them in public), we would have been able to predict that. That’s how click-bait works.

        Interestingly there was another article released on the same day: That happend purely by accident.

        Nah, that’s just a case of “you broke my workflow”. Author doesn’t like that we changed how the dashboard works now. Sure one can be sad about change, but making a whole article about one feature that changes – shrug.

        You say it is not KDEs fault that intel drivers are buggy. You are right. As people have explained here, the problem might be the distribution packages, the graphic stack and many more. Thing is: That does not matter at all!

        If the users get a broken desktop, they get a broken desktop. Their desktop would not be broken if they would have stayed with KDE 4 or something else.

        First of all: that’s just nonesense. GPU driver bugs happen and they randomly kill applications. This time it was Plasma 5, next time it will be GNOME Shell, who knows. If I think about it: kwin 4 had been hit by such issues way more often than Plasma 5 had been so far. Saying that not upgrading would have prevented it, might be wrong. Maybe kwin 4 was also affected and nobody ever noticed as Fedora had upgraded to Plasma 5?

        Second of all: nobody forces anybody to upgrade and that’s why up until recently 4.11 was still maintained. It’s a known thing what Fedora is for: bleeding edge software of the whole stack. It’s a known thing what rolling release distros are and it’s also a known thing what Ubuntu releases which aren’t LTS are. I can only recommend users to test the stuff before doing an upgrade. Your workflow breaks? Don’t upgrade. We have life isos and what not. Nobody can tell me that he was forced into such an update. Nobody can complain to me that Fedora is exposing bleeding edge software, god damn that’s the whole point of that distro. You don’t like to be a beta tester? Don’t use Fedora! Nobody can complain to me that they got a bad experience in Kubuntu 15.04: stick to the LTS, any other release is just the beta for the LTS. Nobody can complain to me if he uses a rolling release: all new driver issues hit Arch first. I have seen this over the last years. Just like Fedora: rolling is beta testing just on a different scale.

        So if this article makes people screw up their noses, not upgrade to Plasma 5 now and do it later when 5.5 or 5.6 is released, it actually will prevent many bad experiences and delay good experiences in the worst case. I do not think that is too bad.

        And what about the lost motivation of the devs? Yes, I feel heavily pissed if I have to read blog posts like yours. Especially the fact that you didn’t report the issues and went on a public blog post on planetkde instead of talking with the devs. What about all the users who would get a better experience? Those who don’t run into the issue you run into (yeah, you were unlucky and yeah I think you are the odd in the million, sorry for being that).

      7. btux1984 Post author

        And what about the lost motivation of the devs? Yes, I feel heavily pissed if I have to read blog posts like yours.

        Well, I cannot share your standpoints and could just repeat myself. But for that I’m just sorry. I do not think that I targeted developers, critics is more directed into distributions pushing things too early. So I did not want to offend devs and I appologize if it happened notheless. I like your work and I’m a loyal reader of your posts. Moreover I found most comments appreciating the KDE work. They just say they have issues. But that I’m the one in the million having problems is just not what you get from the comments. Really not.

        I will in the next days try to get useable bug reports out for things I can reproduce. Things just happending now and then are the hardest to fix, I know.

      8. mck182

        In the original article you write “I upraded to KDE 5 by upgrading from Fedora 21 to Fedora 22. I did this rapidly on four laptops because I liked the new fresh look.”

        Then in teh comment above “You say it is bad that people now read that the Plasma desktop is unstable/broken/not ready? I think it is much worse if people do not read about that, upgrade to the desktop and find themselves faced with problems of different severity, burn their time solving the issues or trying hours to get back to their stable KDE SC 4 desktop.”

        That’s why you have live images. To try if things work and if they work the way you want/need. If you update all your laptops at once without actually checking with at least one machine what are you upgrading into and then ranting about how you are not happy and cannot go back…well, that I don’t understand. Especially coming from a Fedora user, which I always thought are somewhat more advanced users.

        Also, no matter how many times you slap “this is not a rant” into a rant, it will still be a rant. Just like handing you a coffee and telling you “it’s not a coffee” will not make it a tea 🙂

      9. btux1984 Post author

        You got me wrong, I was not that stupid. I first updated my laptop. One week after I found it okay and updated others, always waiting a little. But most problems showed themself and accumulated much later. Some showed themselves only with the specific worflow on the updated system.
        Example: Migrating to ktelepathy is a good way to avoid problems with the old pidgin sysicon. During using it you discover problems with it – but not immediatly.
        It was three weeks after that I finally gave up and left KDE until Plasma 5.4 got stable in Fedora (what took long).
        To see the issues you have to really use the system, do your work (you do not every kind of work everyday) and put the system under some real world stress.
        That is nothing you normally do with a live-cd and nothing reviewers usually do.

        For me a rant is when someone is really pissed off by something and just writes down his anger without caring what targeted persons might think about that – or even having the intention to offend other people.
        I can assure that I did not intended such things and wanted to avoid it. I really have a concered feeling about the state of open source desktops. I really think that is problematic when users see similar issues as I do. I can somehow cope with that but I’m an expert user.

        I try to push people to use free software desktops based on linux. Would I have tried to push it in my working office using a recent kubuntu version (normally a good choice for normal users) we likely would have been back on Windows within one week. And never try it again in years. My boss would just say “We tried it, it did not work”. My objections that it was just a bad version and that there are other desktop options would not help. It’s completly unfair, but that how it would have been. I’m sure similar things happened.

        Luckily I did not do it because I noticed the state of the desktop before being in such a situation. But how should someone know about the problem without heavy self evaluation if no one writes about them? This is my real concern. You may think that this concern is rubbish – but believe me, I do not want to offend. But I have a very different point of view. I do not develop the software, I try to distribute it.

  18. Pingback: Linux News Today: Developer Questions the Stability of the KDE Plasma 5 Desktop for End Users |

    1. btux1984 Post author

      Thanks, I am not sure I have seen that one back then.
      For the ones for whom waiting for a distribution update is not fast enough there is another option.
      Pidgin has a plugin which makes its sysicon appear again. It’s the ubuntu indicator plugin.
      Sad thing is that it does not work very well. That was the reason why I migrated away from pidgin to telepathy.

  19. Andrea Paternesi

    What puzzles me as a developer is: is really really necessary refactor or rewrite the code so often? I mean kde 4 at last was quite usable and actually stable, but after many years of hard coding and polishing. Meanwhile outside there was the hell.
    Now they start all from scratch. I cannot understand why. This is a problem indeed. Innovations are cool, but changing things constantly makes the software not usable for ages.
    In no way linux will become user frendly if there is not a clear vision of what desktop should be.
    This is also why people blame linux all the time and its desktops managers. And I agree with them.
    No way to have a standard. No way to have stability. No way to have a good and robust desktop experience.

    Plasma 5 is super cool but it even lacks of plasma 4 plasmoids. This is a shame to me.

    My 2 cents..

    1. joncr

      As a non-developer, I agree. KDE4 is as strong and as reliable as it is precisely because it has been in maintenance mode, receiving regular patches and avoiding feature creep. While Plasma 5 may contain many wonderful new things for developers, and may in fact prove to be a better platform in the long run, the differences that I see — my app choice remains what it is — are cosmetic at this point, And, since I prefer the Oxygen look to the Breeze look, those cosmetic differences vanish.

      At the moment, then, I’ve no compelling reason to move to 5, other than the pending demise of 4.

      Whether KDE or Gnome or elsewhere, I would much prefer a development model that was more evolutionary and that incentivized users to move to the New Stuff by prematurely killing off the Old.

    2. mck182

      > Now they start all from scratch. I cannot understand why.

      Because everything in KDE4 was based on Qt 4 toolkit. Qt 4 went end-of-life, Qt 5 came with new QtQuick stuff, which is incompatible with Plasma4. Hence the rewrite. We cannot really keep depending on an unmaintained toolkit, plus Qt 5 offers much more things, no little thanks to KDE devs upstreaming lots of KDE code to Qt.

      And in case you’re wondering, yes, there will definitely be another rewrite in the future, when Qt 5 will go end-of-life and Qt 6 arrives.

      1. Emdek

        It could be at least mostly source compatible, but KDE developers decided to go for QML only for Plasma (QGraphicsView is still available in Qt5).
        While it has advantages it also force to rewrite all C++ based plasmoids (and more complex ones will still need C++ part, in form of data engine…).

      2. Andrea Paternesi

        No. In no way you should break the interface compatibility while a library changes or become obsolete. You should rewrite the underlining code to support the new library and not break everything for ages. Rewrite things take a lot of time. And finally you will obtain only to have a constantly bugged interface since you are running behind QT evolutions. This is not the way, at least according to me. However the responsibility here is heavily on kubuntu people who decided to use basically a beta plasma workspace.

      3. mck182

        > @Emdek – also force to rewrite all C++ based plasmoids (and more complex ones will still need C++ part, in form of data engine…).

        That is not true, you can have a private C++ import for QML, no need for a dataengine. Many applets have their own C++ imports, some even combine C++ imports and a dataengine (eg. the Notifications applet), but dataengine is /not/ a condition for C++ based applets.

        > @Andrea Paternesi – No. In no way you should break the interface compatibility while a library changes or become obsolete.

        No. Qt 4 and Qt 5 are binary incompatible. You do have to port things and while porting things, it’s always a good time to actually review things or rethink certain things and clean up where clean up is due. You cannot avoid it.

      4. btux1984 Post author

        Moreover: Developers like to throw away old code and do it in a better way. And guess what: That is okay!
        It is important that developers like their work – otherwise users would not get any great new KDE work 🙂
        I think it is completly okay if developers break the desktop if they like so. It will get fixed.

        What I think is bad that developers and distributions only talk about the shiny new features and look the new desktop provides but not about the issues normal users might face when migrating. Distributions should not push unstable desktops to users, if they do it should by an option only and they should be open about the problems that might arise using the shiny new desktop.

        Developers should do and break as they like, its their work. But normal users should not get updates that disturb their work by force or without a good warning.

      5. Emdek

        @mck182, data engine or not, rewrite is required.
        And it is not fun at all, especially if you have several plasmoids to port…

      6. Martin Gräßlin

        @Emdek: we understand that and we are sorry that we were not able to provide API compatibility. Initially we wanted to make it possible to also allow QtGraphicsView based applets. But it just didn’t work – the concepts are too different and we focused on making the API better for the future instead of keeping a compatibility layer around which would have made the life harder for everybody involved.

        What’s important to remember is that it was possible to prepare for the port already in 4.x times. There it was already possible to use QtQuick and by that prepare for the port. In the Plasma area we did that to ease porting.

        And of course we know how much work it is: after all we also ported all the core applets which are nowadays available.

      7. Martin Gräßlin


        What I think is bad that developers and distributions only talk about the shiny new features and look the new desktop provides but not about the issues normal users might face when migrating. Distributions should not push unstable desktops to users, if they do it should by an option only and they should be open about the problems that might arise using the shiny new desktop.

        I think that’s not realistic. This would assume that one knows about the problems. I’m quite certain that the Intel driver problem you hit in Fedora was not known at the point when Fedora released. I’m also quite certain that Fedora thought the QScreen related crashes are fixed, after all a Fedora dev worked on those areas in Qt. The feature matrix of different hardware and different drivers is so extreme that such issues can go unnoticed for quite some time.

      8. btux1984 Post author

        Well, but many are tracked in the bugtracker (it’s not that I did not look in there at all, you know). CPU is being eaten up in 5.3 by animations. Yes, it is fixed in 5.4.
        Still, in the long time until version 5.4 people would install the 5.3 version and would face that bug (can be quite problematic on instable network conditions and so on). If I am not mistaken a current standard kubuntu install will bring that. They could have known about it by reading the bug tracker or following some forum. But that is not what normal users do and it should not be expected of them.

        I promise I will look through all my points and see what is really not known in the bugtracker. I do expect to find some more of them there – and not everything is a driver problem. Even if things are reported and properly worked on, the overall situation for users running into the version having the bugs can be quite difficult for the user. Especially as they are stuck with what their distribution chooses.

      9. Emdek

        @Martin Gräßlin, yes, I know that it was possible to start porting with Qt4, but that iteration of QML wasn’t good enough for my needs and I was expecting something better from Qt5 (well, it is better, but not perfect).
        For me the most annoying thing about QML is that it fails to fully eliminate need binary packages for plasmoids (although it greatly reduces that need), as some stuff simply requires C++ anyway…
        I’ll find out how much work it will take soon, as users are already asking for ports.

  20. Jaroslav Reznik

    Well, I think Fedora choose the right version of both KDE and Fedora to do the switch from 4 to 5. In the beginning I was probably the most pessimist KDE SIGger but then I voted +1 as I was using it that time and it was becoming better every single update. And in the end, I think the user experience was very nice. One thing I like is how interoperability between KDE 4 and KF5 apps works. But I have to agree with multi monitor support, it’s still not there. In Fedora, we did a lot of Qt patching, a lot of stuff landed in Qt 5.5. So it’s becoming better but… Still I think it’s a huge step from KDE 4 times.

  21. alex

    I’m a KDE fan and I do use it regularly for work.

    But yes, it has issues that would make me reluctant recommending it to users coming from Windows or OS X. What I regularly see is random crashes on shutdown or restoring windows on the wrong screen on the next startup. Also, sometimes konsole and krusaders are restored on startup, sometimes they’re not. So far, I have yet to determine why – it just seems random to me.
    Quite often, when switching activities, the taskbar shows windows from other activities too (those windows that are marked with orange when using breeze dark – I think it means windows that were updated and not yet seen).

    So yes, it’s usable if you love KDE. Otherwise, I can see users going QQ.

  22. Sergio

    Cannot say about Plasma 5.4. I’m still on Kubuntu 15.04 (and will be on it until 15.10 comes out), so I’m on Plasma 5.3.2 and Framework 5.12. I’m a long time KDE user and I can say that 15.04 has been a real pain for everyday use, something that Kubuntu should have never inflicted on users. There has been a lot of discussion about Kubuntu recently and what was strange to me is that none of it considered technical merits and poor communication with users.

    In my opinion, the issue is not the readiness of Plasma 5, which is still not there but certainly coming, but the way in which Plasma 5 was forced on users by some distros and certainly by Kubuntu, which did a huge damage both to the users and to KDE. For instance, in Ubuntu-land, I still wonder how could one ever think of saying “If you want the stable Plasma 4 stick to 14.04” /after/ people had already upgraded to 14.10, which was still Plasma 4, but had an obligated upgrade path to 15.04 (plasma 5) in 9 months.

    Main issues I see in Plasma 5 are:

    – Continuous trouble in switching between laptop screen, external monitor, laptop + projector configurations. It is not just the continuous crashes (which may be qt fault), but the fact that kscreen fails to correctly poll the hardware, so when you connect an external monitor, kscreen thinks it is the projector that had been connected before (this is easy to see, since the display configuration shows the display brand and model). Furthermore, once an external screen is added, Plasma 5 always opens new windows in the wrong screen.
    – Lack of legacy (xembed) system tray support (may be a good choice to drop it, but a plasmoid substitute should be provided as a short term workaround then, inflicting the use of wmsystemtray was a bad decision IMHO).
    – Issues with HPLIP (all versions of hplip needs to be patched to assure correct hplip autostart).
    – Lack of session restore support.
    – Lack of screensavers (this is an issue. May seem incredible, but machines get unplugged when they appear to be off because of the black screen)
    – Erratic connect/disconnect buttons on the networkmanager applet (must be pressed multiple times before they react)
    – Issues with spellcheck support (hyph_EN_GB is not a language to say one!)
    – Crashes in logging out (and after the crash is automatically recovered, it becomes impossible to log out at all)
    – Crashes in konsole (that also bring down apps launched from the crashing konsole)
    – Wallet 4, Wallet 5 mess due to need of having both
    – kded4, kded5 mess due to the need of having both
    – Totally broken bluetooth support (bluetooth applet does not start and must be started manually with a dbus command).
    – Storage manager not recognizing some devices as removable

    Plus minor issues, such as

    – Plasmoids that cannot be properly aligned (e.g. calculator and trashcan)
    – Lack of plasmoids (scientific calculator?)
    – Lack of refresh in plasmoids (e.g. using calculator by keyboard instead than by point and click, calculator display refreshes erratically)

    1. rtfa

      Can you list all the bug report numbers for all those “problems” otherwise they are not bugs, just figments of your imagination.

  23. Nicolas

    First of all Fedora is not the best distribution to use KDE system but even without this problem, plasma5 and KF5 are not at the leverl of maturity and stability than KDE4 was. The main problem and this is what annoyed me the most with KDE is that the same mistake made at the time of KDE4 is made again: It is not possible to have kde4 and plasma5+KF5 installed in parallel. The consequence of that is that people get fed up with all the problem with the new version and since they cannot use their previous one they are going to use another WM (Gnome, Mate, Unity, XFCE4…) and there are less and less people reporting bug because there are less and less user.
    I am lucky in a sens that the distribution I am using Archlinux does still provide KDE4 but I am now seeing problem with application which are ported to KF5 (dolphin does not have the pdf preview for example, KTP does not start…) but at least my workflow is more or less the same (I still have the right to use multiple desktop and having different widget for each desktop in KDE4) and stable.

  24. GreatEmerald

    Another happy openSUSE Tumbleweed user here. (Well, that with the wolfi repository with latest KDE packages, which helps too.) I haven’t experienced the majority of the things you noted here. As Martin noted, many seem to be driver issues more than anything else.

    The only real annoying bug is the QScreen crash bug, but as noted it’s due to Qt. It’s not yet solved in Qt 5.5 either, they’re considering how to fix it for Qt 5.6. See the bug report here:

    Otherwise, let’s see… The Dolphin and search thing had me stumped for a while too, but eventually I figured it out: you can NOT have mismatched versions of Baloo and Dolphin and expect it to work! You must be using Dolphin KF5 (15.08) and Baloo KF5. Most distributions still don’t ship Dolphin KF5, and the old one can’t communicate with the new Baloo. (Once again, yay for Tumbleweed with wolfi’s repository!)

    KWallets, well, right now I’m running with only KWallet5. The only app that doesn’t use it yet is Pidgin, but its devs are sort of right in that you shouldn’t use important passwords for your IM accounts and if someone can read your config files, you’ll probably have larger problems anyway. (There’s a KWallet5 plugin for Firefox already, by the way.) As for the indicator, the Ubuntu indicator plugin works just fine for me.

    And that’s it, I’ve never seen any of the other bugs you describe, even though I’ve been using Plasma 5 since 5.2.

  25. Pingback: Un año después, ¿está listo Plasma 5 para el usuario normal? » MuyLinux

  26. Sean

    I’ve been running Kubuntu 15.04 with next to no issues on both my Lenovo T420 (i5 CPU, Intel Graphics) and my three monitor workstation at work (Core i7, nVidia card). Granted I’m not adding and removing displays, but everything seems to be working fine across three monitors.

    Both machines have desktop effects enabled and both were upgraded from 14.10. I regularly have Firefox, Chrome, Kate, and Dolphin open with Yakuake as my console.

    Truth be told, aside from two panels that act as task bars / quick launchers with the time, I rarely use any other widgets or plasma windows… mostly because the previously mentioned applications are all running fullscreen on each monitor.

  27. Sergei Danilov

    I have a lot of the same issues with my Lenovo Y50 laptop + external HDMI monitor:
    1. Krunner search and kicker search sporadically just crash plasma. KRunner does not appear at all quite ofter. Not usable at plasma 5.4
    2. Both kwin and plasma periodically crash by it’s own. It could happen after resume from suspend or just during regular use
    3. Sometimes KDE loses configuration of the second monitor and I need to reconfigure it through the systemsettings
    4. There is a noticable twitch when window is between two monitors while moving it from one monitor to another

  28. Thomas

    5.4.2 User on Gentoo here. I made very bad experiences with multi screen set-ups. I regularly run into a situation where I have to delete KDE config files because the desktop crashes and I only see a black screen. The logs tell me that stuff segaults!!!

    Okt 16 10:22:01 client6 kernel: kscreen_backend[4087]: segfault at 10 ip 00007fd8d7349bb0 sp 00007ffd213cfd28 error 4 in[7fd8d7334000+22000]
    Okt 16 10:22:02 client6 kernel: kactivitymanage[4022]: segfault at 18 ip 00007f75b3233682 sp 00007ffcc030b3d8 error 4 in[7f75b3204000+b5000]
    Okt 16 10:22:03 client6 kernel: kwin_x11[4263]: segfault at 18 ip 00007ff4ae08287c sp 00007ffe6466fb30 error 4 in[7ff4ae039000+b5000]
    Okt 16 10:22:03 client6 kernel: krunner[4264]: segfault at 18 ip 00007f9c1c2d687c sp 00007ffe29b64950 error 4 in[7f9c1c28d000+b5000]
    Okt 16 10:22:03 client6 kernel: plasmashell[4267]: segfault at 18 ip 00007f009df6887c sp 00007ffc88cfccd0 error 4 in[7f009df1f000+b5000]
    Okt 16 10:22:04 client6 kernel: klauncher[4274]: segfault at 18 ip 00007f45932bb87c sp 00007ffeedb258f0 error 4 in[7f4593272000+b5000]
    Okt 16 10:22:07 client6 kernel: kglobalaccel5[4277]: segfault at 18 ip 00007fbbf587c87c sp 00007ffc9b6c14f0 error 4 in[7fbbf5833000+b5000]

    Apart from that I’m very pleased and like the new design very much.

  29. Frank Hellmuth

    I’m using KDE from daily git-checkouts on gentoo. I stay away from using kwallet or kdepim (or anything akonadi related) from multiple bad experiences in the past, using thinderbird and the built-in password wallets in firefox/chrome. Apart from that even the unstable development versions are stable enough to do my daily work.

  30. kaismh

    I still remember the difficult upgrade from KDE 3 to 4, that is why I still use 4.14.2 on both my work machine and home laptop. I check out the new plasma every few months and read about the updates from time to time. I won’t update to 5 unless it is as stable (and as customizable) as my current desktop. I know it might take time but I am not in a hurry since 4.14.2 rocks

  31. Gilles H

    I use plasma 5.4 on archlinux. Here is the crashes on 3 days of moderate usage.
    I use it on my desktop and laptop, and I notice various issues on both.
    Perhaps, the official adoption by ubuntu and suse will help to increase quality.

    Fri 2015-10-16 21:13:48 CEST 1695 2000 100 11 * /usr/bin/kactivitymanagerd
    Fri 2015-10-16 21:15:55 CEST 26059 2000 100 11 * /usr/bin/kactivitymanagerd
    Fri 2015-10-16 22:03:10 CEST 28884 2000 100 11 * /usr/bin/systemsettings5
    Fri 2015-10-16 22:03:21 CEST 27090 2000 100 11 * /usr/bin/kactivitymanagerd
    Fri 2015-10-16 22:03:22 CEST 16761 2000 100 11 * /usr/bin/kglobalaccel5
    Fri 2015-10-16 22:03:22 CEST 27075 2000 100 11 * /usr/bin/kglobalaccel5
    Fri 2015-10-16 22:26:50 CEST 1672 2000 100 11 * /usr/bin/kactivitymanagerd
    Fri 2015-10-16 22:27:09 CEST 9990 2000 100 6 * /usr/bin/ksplashqml
    Fri 2015-10-16 23:10:41 CEST 10016 2000 100 11 * /usr/bin/kdeinit5
    Fri 2015-10-16 23:21:52 CEST 1707 2000 100 11 * /usr/bin/kactivitymanagerd
    Fri 2015-10-16 23:35:25 CEST 5378 2000 100 11 * /usr/bin/kactivitymanagerd
    Fri 2015-10-16 23:41:22 CEST 9698 2000 100 11 * /usr/bin/kactivitymanagerd
    Fri 2015-10-16 23:42:06 CEST 12212 2000 100 11 * /usr/bin/xembedsniproxy
    Fri 2015-10-16 23:42:09 CEST 12124 2000 100 6 * /usr/bin/ksplashqml
    Fri 2015-10-16 23:46:07 CEST 12191 2000 100 11 * /usr/bin/kactivitymanagerd
    Fri 2015-10-16 23:46:24 CEST 14127 2000 100 11 * /usr/bin/xembedsniproxy
    Fri 2015-10-16 23:46:27 CEST 14042 2000 100 11 * /usr/bin/ksplashqml
    Fri 2015-10-16 23:46:56 CEST 14108 2000 100 11 * /usr/bin/kactivitymanagerd
    Fri 2015-10-16 23:47:16 CEST 14704 2000 100 6 * /usr/bin/ksplashqml
    Fri 2015-10-16 23:51:42 CEST 14769 2000 100 11 * /usr/bin/kactivitymanagerd
    Fri 2015-10-16 23:51:44 CEST 14736 2000 100 11 * /usr/bin/kdeinit5
    Sat 2015-10-17 11:46:17 CEST 3050 2001 100 11 * /usr/bin/kactivitymanagerd
    Sat 2015-10-17 11:50:08 CEST 4524 2000 100 11 * /usr/bin/kactivitymanagerd
    Sat 2015-10-17 11:50:53 CEST 6270 2000 100 11 * /usr/bin/kactivitymanagerd
    Sat 2015-10-17 11:50:53 CEST 6731 2000 100 6 * /usr/lib/kf5/kscreen_backend_launcher
    Sat 2015-10-17 11:50:53 CEST 6746 2000 100 6 * /usr/bin/kglobalaccel5
    Sat 2015-10-17 11:59:48 CEST 6882 2000 100 11 * /usr/bin/kactivitymanagerd
    Sat 2015-10-17 12:07:54 CEST 10229 2000 100 11 * /usr/bin/kactivitymanagerd
    Sat 2015-10-17 12:07:54 CEST 13701 2000 100 6 * /usr/lib/drkonqi
    Sat 2015-10-17 12:11:45 CEST 1693 2000 100 11 * /usr/bin/kactivitymanagerd
    Sat 2015-10-17 13:41:27 CEST 3165 2000 100 11 * /usr/bin/kactivitymanagerd
    Sat 2015-10-17 19:47:34 CEST 31653 2001 100 11 * /usr/bin/kactivitymanagerd
    Sat 2015-10-17 20:03:48 CEST 2074 2000 100 11 * /usr/bin/kactivitymanagerd
    Sun 2015-10-18 11:38:20 CEST 3318 2001 100 11 * /usr/bin/kactivitymanagerd
    Sun 2015-10-18 17:45:32 CEST 26051 2001 100 11 * /usr/bin/ksplashqml
    Sun 2015-10-18 21:12:01 CEST 26131 2001 100 11 * /usr/bin/kactivitymanagerd
    Sun 2015-10-18 21:12:18 CEST 17985 2000 100 11 * /usr/bin/kactivitymanagerd
    Sun 2015-10-18 21:13:02 CEST 28025 2000 100 11 * /usr/bin/xembedsniproxy
    Sun 2015-10-18 21:15:48 CEST 29185 2000 100 6 * /usr/bin/ksplashqml

    1. Ivan Čukić

      Have you tried reporting the crashes? At least, you might get the instructions how to fix the issue (that many applications crashing is a problem in the setup, or in an underlying library)

  32. STiAT

    I personally think that the faster release of Frameworks and the split between Applications and Frameworks actually decreased quality for some reason, while the opposite should have been the case.

    It’s my subjective feeling, but it seems since frameworks are on their own schedule, the releases see less testing than before.

  33. Graham Davis

    Plasma5 is unusable on my machine that has an nVidia graphics card unless I install the nVidia driver to replace nouveau. The same nouveau driver works fine with Gnome. Judging by the lack of response lately to my bug report, it will be a long while before I’ll be able to switch from KDE4.

    KDE4 was also released as a working product when it was really only in alpha or beta mode. Reason given then for releasing a totally unfit product was to get lots of users to test it! Due to one particular bug then with Konqueror, I lost several files and folders. Unfortunately, I didn’t realise they’d gone until my backups had expired. As I recall, KDE4 wasn’t safe to use until 4.3 came out. At least Plasma5 crashes before it can do any permanent damage.

  34. Till

    The Problem of unlocking Kwallet 4 and 5 separately can also be solved by using the GPG-Backend (which is probably also more secure) using the same key for both wallets.

  35. dpeterc

    On Suse Leap 42.1 with latest updates (KDE plasma 5.4.3) drag and drop still does not work, in spite of tons of bugs reported and supposedly fixed:
    Don’t care much for plasmoids, if I can’t do basic file management stuff from 1984.

  36. Rafael Linux User

    Krunner on Plasma 5 in OpenSUSE 42.1 is working like a turtle. If you try to find something () and begin to type the letters of what you are looking for, Krunner began to read like mad your hard disk and make this search feature UNUSABLE.

    1. btux1984 Post author

      I see currently two bugs in krunner. One is an “stays hidden” issue in multi monitor setups and another is, that sometime it simply does not run any commands. That is very problematic too.
      All in all I have not seen a real improvement of the state of the plasma desktop after updating to plasma 5.5.

  37. Jake Swenson

    I’m running KDE 5.5.4 / Arch and it’s quite stable with one HUUGE exception:
    Dolphin5 (15.12.3-1) is utterly worthless, segfaults within minutes, never runs longer.
    The good news is that it’s not a big problem to install and run Dolphin4 in KDE5, set as default, rock-stable.

    1. Adriano

      Dolphin NEVER crashed on me, that’s strange that it does for you. Do you have a bug report for that? By the way, Arch by now has 5.6.1, which brings many improvements. Be sure to update packages regularly.

    1. btux1984 Post author

      Well, KDE gets stable currently. Developers have pointed out that it runs better with Qt 5.6. I can confirm this after Fedora upgraded to that version. Plasma 5.6 is another bringer.
      So you can use Plasma 5 if you have a distribution that provides both packages in that recent versions.

  38. tlodsnake

    I’m using kde-plasma/plasma-meta-5.5.5 stable package under Gentoo Linux. I have not the worst hardware (top Skylake CPU, nVidia 980ti and stuff) so I would not say that any performance troubles may occur. But it’s buggy like hell! I was upgrading from rock solid super stable setup of KDE4 (Plasma4) and now I’m feeling like I’m not the Beta but Alpha tester. My taskbar freezes from time to time, kwin crashes randomly, new Breeze l&f is crap, so I switched back to Oxygen, Fusion widget style somehow changed and I don’t have that nice underlines under tabs in Konsole.
    May be I should give a try to 5.6, but under Gentoo it’s not in stable branch and I’d rather not mixing stable with testing a lot.
    I’m really surprised that so mature guys as KDE dev team did their work that bad.
    I really love KDE4, it works for month non-stop without any single issue and I was wondering to get something on top of that but sadly for now KDE5 is a huge disappointment. Will hope for better though.

    1. Thomas

      Gentoo Plasma User here.
      I can only recommend you get ~amd64 for all KDE/ QT/ Plasma stuff.
      I had similar experiences like you but with every release things got better and I would say it’s meanwhile almost as stable as KDE 4.

    2. alex

      Fwiw, I’m also on a Skylake+Nvidia combo and I have a mostly smooth experience. A few annoying bug here and there, but their numbers are dwindling with each release. This just goes to show that it’s not entirely the developer’s fault and even similar hardware can exhibit different issues, depending on configuration. I don’t have any of your problems (save for kwin crashes maybe, but I get those like once a month, tops) and I quite like Breeze (dark).

      That aside, if you want the latest and greatest KDE, you need to know about the new kid on the block:
      Their dev builds are already on Plasma 5.7 beta.

  39. kaismh

    I finally made the move to Plasma 5 few days ago, I started with Neon and ended using Arch. So far things are good, minor bugs that I can easily live with.

  40. N.Naydenov

    Unfortunately my laptop was upgraded yesterday to Kubuntu 16.04.1 (by me). I have some problems during upgrade: sddm an baloo related. Sddm just do not work till to the moment i use dpkg-reconfigure. Baloo eat almost all IO that my disk can bring, putting my system to be unresponsible. Both together gave me a black screen ;-). I wait full 4 months before I try the upgrade. And yes I test it on virtualbox and was prepared for the sddm problem – it was so easily reproducible that it is a shame not to catch it during the test phase. Ok, let these two be a distribution problems. The third one just beat me badly. So much that I plan to switch to unity. In fact the only application I really will miss is konsole. The “plastik” windows decoration that came with KDE (on Kubuntu. I am not sure for other distros) is not stable/usable. What happens and how to reproduce. Set plastik, close all windows or just reboot. From that point it can crash even on kwallet prompt (to unlock the wallet for wifi pass), but best way to see the problem is:
    1. Open the system settings. Go: system settings -> startup and shutdown -> sddm -> background image -> load from file. Now it can crash sometimes or work. Usually works.
    2. Open konsole (or skype, probably some other apps as well, but konsole come with KDE and is best example).
    3. Close the system settings first and next the konsole.
    4. Open system settings again and repeat the things from ‘1.’
    5. Bang! You do not have anymore decorations, you do not have ctrl+tab or edge actions. Your windows manager is segfaulted.
    6. Relogin – all works.
    It was really disappointing to see a system in the same state on my virtualbox – really fresh install, not the upgrade. I just made a fresh install to eliminate that I do something wrong, but problem was reproducible in 60 sec after reboot from install. I switch back to breeze – it works, but why to have something that come with the distro and do not work well. I will accept breeze decorations. I do not like them, but they work for me. Will gave a last chance, but on first similar problem in the next months will plan and prepare for fresh KDE free installation. At the moment my syslog is full of segfaults. I use KDE since KDE 1.0. This is the first time i lost my patience. Why I upgrade to plasma5 when old one works fine? Guys the world is no only KDE. There are pretty much more things in each distro beside the desktop manager. So I am agreed withe the author: a year later plasma5 is still not ready enough, even on distro named Long Time “What…”

  41. Bachsau

    And if you report a bug you are bothered with tons of questions eg. “update this, try that, does ot work that way?” because they don’t get it is not your job to test their software. And the bugs are never really fixed.

    1. btux1984 Post author

      Your post is ugly and stupid. It is no ones job to test or fix free software, because no company hires you for the job. (Only a few are, but they often do more care about the important architecture work) So it’s as much your job as a user to test the software as anybody elses. In fact many bugs only show themselves in special circumstances and cannot be reproduce on the developers computers – otherwise they would be found easily. So yes, the developer needs your help to get an idea what is wrong.
      There is nothing wrong about that and nothing to complain if there is actually someone looking into your bug report. Yes, software development is hard and there is much work. This software is free and has bugs. Other softwares are not free and still have bugs.

      1. Bachsau

        An excellent reason to not use free software for productive work. I want my computer to work for what I’m doing, not fixing the work of others which they don’t care of. In fact, most bugs could be easily found if developers would try and test whats described in a bug report before asking further questions that often require a bunch of work to answer. For example, I won’t install a complete build environment and compile latest trunk just to confirm the bug still exists. It is most likely to be if no one fixed it before, and developers could easily test this themselves.

      2. Kevin

        That is actually a common misunderstanding, due to system complexity.

        The likelyness for a bug to be triggered can vary widely depending on all kinds of things that are not the software in question itself, e.g. configuration, data, software in lower levels of the software stack, other software running, etc.

        There can be really hidden things that are not easily detectable by normal testing, e.g.

        Because of this, bug triage, narrowing down state and effected version, getting as much information as possible, is industry practise.

        Vendors with huge install bases have often another pre-triaging/analysis level, where data mining software finds similarities in reports or telemetry data, adjusts priorities, etc.

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