KDE Wants To Fix Every Linus Tech Tips Complaint [Updated]

KDE Plasma desktop and a photo of engineer Nate Graham (top left)

The Linux community seems divided on their feelings about Linus Tech Tips’ (LTT) Linux Gaming Challenge series. Maybe you believe the hosts are deliberately creating scenarios that will end in disaster or disappointment. Perhaps you see a genuine desire to expose usability problems with desktop Linux with the hope of them being improved. I’m in the latter camp, which is why I was thrilled to stumble across this issue board started by my favorite KDE engineer, Nate Graham.

Let me give you a bit of context in case you’re not following the video series. LTT’s Linux Gaming Challenge recently put the games on pause and veered into more mainstream user territory.

The team attempted to carry out 12 “basic usage” tasks on their distributions of choice, with largely successful results.

Were there a few hiccups along the way? Yes.

KDE’s Nate Graham took it upon himself to document every single one.

KDE Is On The Case

Some of them were legitimate usability issues. Things like Okular not having an intuitive way to embed a handwritten signature into a PDF. Or KDE Plasma notifications getting missed on physically large screens.

However, the majority of the complaints revolved around KDE’s Ark application. Ark is a graphical tool for compressing and decompressing files and archives. That’s probably an activity most of us take for granted because we have our own comfortable way of doing it.

Here are a few examples:

  • If the file manager isn’t called Dolphin, Ark can’t drag-and-drop to it.
  • Ark’s “compress here” menu actions don’t prompt the user for a filenames when compressing multiple files.
  • The selection highlight effect on Ark isn’t visually accuruate.

“Anything can be difficult or impossible if you lack the requisite skills, resources, or knowledge.”

Linus Sebastian

So, Nate Graham isn’t just documenting the nitpicks. He, along with the KDE team, is doing something about them.

“I want to let you know that we’re working on fixing the issues Linus brought up, and you can track our progress here,” Graham writes on his excellent blog. “Thankfully most of the issues are fairly minor and should be easy to fix.”

The Ripple Effect Expands

This is admirable! And it’s yet another result of the ripple effect Linus Tech Tips is having on the entire desktop Linux world right now.

Graham’s actions are the latest in a string of improvements being made.

Fedora is chasing down partnerships with hardware and software companies involved in live streaming. Pop OS and KDE Plasma have both patched their distributions to prevent the accidental removal of the desktop environment.

It also bears repeating that a young Ubuntu developer (he’s 12!) designed an app called Gamebuntu, an installer and overlay intended to make gaming on Ubuntu easier for newcomers.

So thanks to Nate and the entire KDE team for taking genuine criticism seriously. And thank you for so passionately pursuing improvements on KDE Plasma.

If you haven’t yet, I highly recommend Nate’s “Adventures in Linux and KDE” blog. He publishes a lot of great insights and strong opinions, and they’re always an enjoyable, educational read.

You can track the “LTT Usability Issues” board here.

UDPATE | Saturday Dec 11: It looks like the work has begun, as indicated by a couple closed issues on the aforementioned board, and this dedicated blog post at Nate’s Blog.

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6 Responses

  1. Please don’t. Dumbing down things just to accomodate those that want things to be like on windows will just lead to remaking windows. And windows is what many linux users are trying to escape.

    Remember someone they tried to put amazon adds in their “start menu”? Reason that did not stick is linux users not wanting that. Now imagine you have “bigger market share” with many exWindows users. They would see no problem with such ads since they are used to them. Majority would be ok with it and we would have ads in start menu.

    Gatekeeping is a must.

  2. I Love KDE, and I wanna see it grow and improve. I have an idea that will (maybe) bridge the differences of Windows users and the people who are already used to KDE. How about having a preset of settings for Windows users at the welcome screen of KDE (which also needs to exist btw), and making KDE work as much frictionlessly as possible for the daily windows user. For eg:

    Dragging-n-dropping a folder should just move the folder from the source to destination instead of asking whether to copy/move.
    Creating shortcuts should be called ‘Create a shortcut’ because that’s what people expect to be able to find in the right click menu.
    The right click menu should at least have similar options that windows has had since windows XP (and I am sure most of the population has it in their muscle memory by now)

  3. In my eyes, Linux is meant to be an operating system for people of all skill levels. If devs add these quality of life features, people coming from Windows will adjust faster to the new landscape, seeing familiar features and learning new ones.

    And about remaking Windows, Linux isn’t Windows and people who do use Linux have more say in what they want in their OS. People choose their distros, so they can get an experience tailored to their needs. If they don’t like their distro, they can always switch.

    I myself use Windows and Arch and some of the design choices in my distro have puzzled me. This is why I’m advocating for these changes so more people can begin to use Linux. I have a ton of optimism for Linux as a feasible option for the average computer user, music producers, artists, gamers, etc, you name it. I just want everyone to have a fair chance.

    And above all, Linux is free, the community is amazing and open source software is the future. 😉

What's your opinion?