Lewis' Blog Tales from the trenches of information technology


Hate KDE Plasma5 on openSUSE Leap 42.1? Me, too.

After severely breaking my well-oiled openSUSE 13.2 installation, and wasting a couple hours trying to fix it (unbootable), I finally bit the bullet and just did an in-place upgrade to Leap 42.1.

Of course, the first thing I noticed was that my display driver was incorrect (max res 1024x768). The second thing was that the desktop was all but unusable.

My first assumption at that point was that it was just the resolution, and that I was indeed missing something which was somewhere off-screen. However, after installing the proper radeon driver, I was left with the same, barely usable desktop. What happened?

Apparently, the openSUSE team decided to switch to KDE's Plasma5 from KDE4 as the default desktop. Not only is Plasma5 unfinished (unfinished=still missing some expected functionality and components common to KDE4), but it seemed (for me) to leak memory badly and do a number of other not-very-nice things when moving windows and such. In addition, the kicker was awkward to use, cluttered to read, and decidedly non-SuSE in appearance.

I tried a few new themes, thinking that perhaps it was just the rather unbranded, default KDE theme which was at fault, but alas, nothing would help.

I stumbled upon this thread in the openSUSE forums, which provided some great links.

Once I got KDE4 back (as well as my old familiar desktop selector menu at login), I discovered that my Apper widget was missing from my panel. I fixed that by downgrading to Apper from plasma5-pk-updater, then uninstalling plasma5-pk-updater and friends (breaking the pattern to satisfy the dep solver), and then marking Apper as locked and plasma5-pk-updater (and friends) as taboo (never install).

Perhaps at some point I'll provide a detailed set of instructions for all of this, but for now, my heartfelt thanks to Wolfgang Bauer (wolfi323) for his wonderful repo and build of plasma5-session (which allows switching back and forth between desktops).


With the coming of Windows 8, there has never been a better time to switch platforms

Have you read the reviews of the "new" UI from Redmond? Have you had a chance to give it a test spin of your own?

I don't know that I will ever quite understand the need for developers to change things in such large steps. Of course, for me, the most comfortable and familiar desktop interface is eComStation's enhanced Workplace Shell, taken from IBM's OS/2 Warp 4. Elegantly object oriented and functional, while it's not without its own set of issues, it has remained relatively stable and unchanged for well over ten years. Objects behave as I expect them to behave, and I don't have to waste time trying to figure out where things have gone from version to version of the underlying OS, or how to accomplish simple tasks (it's a desktop, after all; at a physical desk, would I want to have to read a manual every time I needed to open a drawer or answer the telephone?).